Aussie mum reveals the common luxuries she can't afford despite $190k household income

Screengrabs of Alice Raspin from TikTok
Photo credit: @aliceraspin / TikTok

A young mum has revealed the simple luxuries she struggles to afford despite earning an above average household income and sticking to a strict budget.  

Alice Raspin, a 27-year-old mum-of-one from Cairns, Australia, appealed to her viewers for advice on how to fit self-care into her financial plan amid the ongoing cost of living crisis.  

In a candid video shared to her TikTok, Raspin revealed that she and her partner earn a combined household income of around AU$190,000 (NZ$208,000). Her partner, who recently had been receiving workers' compensation for an injury, is a miner, while Raspin works in digital support for an insurance company.

But despite their higher income, the 27-year-old said she doesn't have enough money left over to invest in her appearance - including luxuries like manicures and hair appointments - with only AU$75 (NZ$82) of spending money budgeted a week.

In a video that has since been viewed almost 17,000 times, the fledgling content creator explained that buying their first home is the couple's top priority, with the bulk of their take-home pay going towards rent and savings for a deposit.  

"How are people honestly affording to get their nails, hair, lashes, and brows done all the time?" she asked in the clip, which has since amassed 500 comments.  

"We have a pretty strict budget with a bigger income so we can save for a house; our goal is to have a house by July next year. In order to do that, I only have AU$150 (NZ$165) of spending money per fortnight.   

"Your nails are, say, $100 every four weeks? I like to have my hair really dark but my regrowth is light, so my hairdressing appointments are like $200 every eight weeks. I usually get a lash lift, tint, brow lamination, sculpt and dye all at once. That works out roughly to be $170 a fortnight - so that's over budget.

"Tell me how you're affording it!"  

Like New Zealand, Australia has also been battling a cost of living and housing crisis. According to local media, inflation for the first three months of the year was 3.6 percent higher than last year, and national housing vacancy rates have held steady at 1.0 percent in 2024.   

Although Cairns, where Raspin currently lives, is more affordable than major hotspots such as Sydney and Melbourne, the city has still seen a median rent increase of 31.3 percent since March 2020, as per Core Logic.  

Speaking to, Raspin said she was genuinely curious to see how other Australians spent and saved their money, especially those with children and in a similar financial situation to her and her partner.  

"[I see] women who seem to have similar lives to mine - young children, mortgages, similar jobs - who have fresh nails, eyelash extensions, high upkeep hair colours. We currently rent, are saving for a house and have one child and these things just aren't affordable for me," she told the outlet.  

"Currently, I'd like to be able to go to the hairdresser regularly and get my eyebrows and lashes done regularly. Eating out is also a luxury we miss out on, due to our priority to save for a house."  

The video did attract some advice in the comments, with one woman revealing that she buys clusters of false eyelashes from Amazon to create her own lash extensions at home.  

"I prioritise what feels most important to me and DIY what I can, which is now basically everything but my hair [appointment] and the occasional massage," one said, with another woman adding: "I have kids so no chance. I cut our own hair - paint nails at home, box dye."  

"Do you have a TAFE [Technical and Further Education] near you?! Get the students to do it," another suggested.  

Others recommended applying press-on nails at home, purchasing hair dye from a wholesale beauty supplier, investing in at-home manicure tools from the likes of Amazon, or cutting out other non-essentials, such as alcohol, in order to afford a treatment or two.  

"Just started doing my own nails [by] collecting stuff from Amazon. Takes me a few hours every week... I tint my own brows and pluck between appointments. I have a friend who is an ex-hairdresser, she does my hair for me thankfully," shared another.  

"I do my own nails and now do my own foils in my hair. I've always done my own eyebrows and I use mascara. I refuse to pay such ridiculous prices for things I can do myself."