Months after settling on my two-bedroom Canberra apartment, I'm sitting on my kitchen table on a Saturday night trying to budget.
I'm one of the lucky ones.
I grew up in a well-off family and paid my way through seven years of university by nannying - much easier than pulling beers or waiting tables (if you like children, that is!).
A healthy combination of anxiety-fuelled frugality, the safety blanket of my family, and the live-in nanny job meant I had saved enough for a home deposit a year into my first full-time journalism job.
Buying property wasn't the plan, but after moving back to Canberra I really struggled to find a pet-friendly rental that did not cost an arm, a leg, and an ear.
I got a housemate and I'm (mostly) unpacked but the most I can squeeze out of my weekly earnings is $100 for savings and non-discretionary spending.
What do I do if interest rates rise again? I put away money for electricity, but Canberra winters are cold and my apartment is old.
And I've been born in a privileged position and am frugal to a fault: if there's anyone who could achieve the 'Australian dream', it was me.
I've never spent money on avocado smash or bought daily lattes; never paid for a Netflix or Spotify account. I scrimped and saved, stole chips off friends' plates and was generally a stingy pain to hang out with.
When I first met with my conveyancer, he told me: "You've really picked the worst time in 20 years to buy."
I laughed. "Well, I'm 25 years old but, yeah, it's a pity I didn't get into the market when I was five!"
But along with around 165,000 other first-home buyers who bought at record-low interest rates, maybe I didn't know what I was getting myself into.
I was told interest rates would rise, but I thought my pay would rise with it. I don't have any savings. But when I preemptively budgeted, I didn't think the high price of groceries would eat at whatever I could put away.
But actually buying a house is much like a wedding, or the birth of a newborn baby. In the excitement, you forget it is just the beginning.
The one beacon of hope for young homeowners is the employment market.
The unemployment rate is low at 3.5 per cent, making it easier to negotiate a pay rise or get a second job.
Personally, working as a nanny while managing a million other commitments got me this apartment.
And as I scour babysitting websites and nanny Facebook groups for casual work, I realise it must just help me keep it as well.
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