Welcome to Money Diaries, where we’re tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We’re asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we’re tracking every last dollar.
Today: a finance manager working in transportation who makes $95,827 per year and spends some of her paycheck this week on Blue Bell ice cream.
Occupation: Finance Manager
Location: Fort Worth, TX
My Salary: $95,827, plus $8,400 bonus target
My Husband’s Salary: $94,544, plus $7,800 bonus target
Our Combined Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $4,708.95
Mortgage: $1,758.95 (My husband and I own a home that we refinanced to a 15-year mortgage last year. This includes escrow for our homeowner’s insurance and property taxes.)
Student Loan Payment: $0 (We finished paying off our $50,000 in student loans last year.)
401(k): $3,000 (My husband and I are both maxing out. Our companies match 4.5%.)
Car Insurance: $161 (This is the total cost for our two cars.)
Health & Dental Insurance: $177 (It comes directly out of our paychecks.)
Additional HSA contributions: $200 (I max mine out due to a chronic illness.)
Cell Phones, Cable & Internet: $410
Pest Control: $35
Dog Wellness Plans: $85
Monthly Cleaning Service: $100
Jazzercise Membership: $36
Charitable Donations: $350
Amazon Prime: $100
Costco Membership: $60
Thrive Market Membership: $60
6:30 a.m. — I wake up, feed my dogs, and get ready for work. My husband worked all weekend, so he’s off today and still asleep. I was gone for the holiday weekend, and my flight didn’t get in until 10 last night, so I haven’t seen much of him. He wakes up before I leave, so we talk for a few minutes before I rush out the door. I grab a Larabar and a LaCroix on my way out but plan to come home for lunch.
7:30 a.m. — Traffic seems worse than usual today, but I swing by Smoothie King for a smoothie on the way and still make it to my desk by 7:45. I’m normally on calls from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Mondays, but my first two calls are cancelled today. I’m thankful because I can really use the extra time to get work done. $5.94
12:30 p.m. — This morning has flown by, and I’ve had no time to prep for a big meeting this afternoon, so I nix my plan to run home for lunch and grab a pre-made salad from our cafeteria instead. I pop in my headphones for true crime podcast adventures and get to work on spreadsheets. $6.48
3:15 p.m. — I’m finally done with my meetings for the day and can sit and focus on my work. I still have a ton of work to do and I’m hoping to get out of here on time, so I grab a package of cheese crackers out of the community snack basket and try to get work knocked out.
5:45 p.m. — I leave work, unfortunately too late to make my workout class, so I just head home. I spend time unwinding on the couch with my husband, D., watching Wheel of Fortune. I’m normally really good about meal planning and shopping on the weekends, but since I was out of town this weekend, I’m feeling way behind. I microwave a sweet potato and eat it with leftover chicken and avocado and figure out what we’re going to eat the rest of the week.
8 p.m. — Grocery list in hand, I make my way to Aldi. I don’t usually buy meat at Aldi, but I like their produce and pantry staples, and it’s less than 10 minutes from my house. We have a second fridge/freezer in our garage, so I like to stock up on protein when it’s on sale. I buy avocados, grapes, broccoli crowns, strawberries, blackberries, bell peppers, celery, dried fruit, sweet potatoes, bananas, two 15-packs of berry LaCroix, oatmeal, and two pints of Blue Bell ice cream. We try to eat paleo at home about 80% of the time, so most of what I buy fits into that lifestyle, but sometimes a girl just needs ice cream. $35.32
8:45 p.m. — After Aldi, I run next door to Target to buy four boxes of Kleenex (it’s allergy time in Texas, y’all), cold brew coffee concentrate for D., and two packages of sparkling water. I impulse buy a Target “Beauty Box” on the way out because, Treat Yo’self ($7). I pay with my Red Cart to get 5% off. $26.51
9:30 p.m. — Once I get home and put away the groceries, I get ready for bed, watch a few episodes of American Housewife on Hulu, play with the dogs, and then go to sleep at about 10:30.
Daily Total: $74.25
6:15 a.m. — I’m up before my alarm, but there’s no point in going back to sleep, so I get up and feed the dogs, take the trash out, and make myself a lunch. I know today will be a busy day at work again, so I’m not in a huge rush to get moving. I make myself a fancy breakfast of two rice cakes with almond butter and eat it while I get a head start on emails for the day.
8:15 a.m. — I roll into the office and start working through emails and accounting entries for the end of the month while I catch up on episodes of Wine & Crime.
10 a.m. — My boss sends a reminder about the baby shower we’re hosting for a coworker next week, and I volunteer to order the cake. This also reminds me I need to get a gift, so I buy a Boppy pillow from her registry. Thankfully, I remember I still have a Bed Bath & Beyond gift card from our wedding two years ago, and it covers the pillow ($42.14), with $35 left over.
11:45 a.m. — I come to a good stopping point on my work, so I take advantage of the break and eat my lunch: a salad I made with spring mix, beets, goat cheese, walnuts, jicama, and leftover chicken. It’s delicious. Seems like all my coworkers have left for lunch, so I have quiet time to myself. I talk to a friend for a few minutes and catch up on personal emails before getting back to work.
4:45 p.m. — I am pretty much finished with work for the day, but I’m going straight from here to a meeting, so I spend a little bit of time finishing up my meal plan for the next 10 days or so and looking at flights on the Qantas website. We’re going to Australia later this year and have booked our flights there and back, but still have in-country flights to book. I don’t book anything now, but might later tonight after talking to D.
5:45 p.m. — I’m a few minutes early for this meeting, and I’m hungry, but the only thing around is a Sonic, so I stop for tater tots and a cherry limeade. $4.35
8:15 p.m. — I get home from the meeting and graze on some fruit. D is busy doing homework, so I hang with the dogs and watch a few episodes of Modern Family before bed at 10:30.
Daily Total: $4.35
6 a.m. — D. left for work shortly after 5 a.m., so the dogs are up and looking for breakfast. I feed them and try to go back to sleep, which is a bust. I get up and eat cereal with lactose-free milk and get ready for work. I have a dentist appointment this morning, so I brush and floss super well to try to trick them into thinking I’ve been keeping up with my flossing.
7:45 a.m. — Our dry cleaner is next to the dentist, so I stop in and pick up the clothes D. dropped off on Monday. A half dozen of his work shirts, a few pairs of pants, and two of my sweaters. We get a 20% off discount through my company. $37.75
9 a.m. — I’m done at the dentist, but unfortunately need to get a filling replaced. My insurance covers all of today’s visit except an extra fluoride treatment ($27.65), but I prepay part of the filling cost ($58.93). I make an appointment to come back in two weeks, and I’m at my desk ready to work 10 minutes later. $86.58
11:30 p.m. — D. and I confirm our Australia itinerary over IM, so I go ahead and book the flights ($1,435.83 for three flights each). Qantas gives me a $30-off voucher for a hotel as a thank you. We’ve already booked most of our hotels using points, but we still have one night to go, so I go ahead and book our one night in Alice Springs ($91.42). $1,527.25
1:30 p.m. — I haven’t eaten since the cereal this morning, so I leave for lunch. I usually eat at my desk or go home for lunch, but once a week I go to the south side of town to get allergy shots at my doctor’s office and usually treat myself to lunch somewhere I might not normally go around there. Today I go to a gyro spot that I haven’t been to in a few months and get a gyro salad and an apple fritter ($10.45). Since they’re close to closing, the woman gives me two fritters for the price of one. I eat my salad and part of one of the fritters before getting my shots. The shots are around $13 out of pocket each week, but I only pay the bill every six weeks or so, and I just paid last week, so no charge today. $10.45
2:45 p.m. — I’m back at my desk and back to work. My one afternoon meeting got cancelled, so it’ll be spreadsheets and accounting straight through until 5 p.m.
5:30 p.m. — My Jazzercise studio just added a new Wednesday night class, which I’m really excited about. I like to go three to four times a week, but with random meetings and stuff in the evenings, it makes it hard. A lot of people laugh when I tell them about Jazzercise, but I’ve been doing it for two years and I love it. It’s a super supportive environment with women of all ages and body types, and I always get a great workout. My monthly membership takes care of tonight’s class.
7 p.m. — I’m home later than usual, and D. has already eaten random snacks for dinner. I planned to make one of my favorite Nom Nom Paleo recipes tonight, but it feels like too much effort, so I just cook hamburger with taco seasoning, mix in salsa, and eat it with chopped tomato, avocado, and jicama. I take stir-fry meat and chicken thighs out of the freezer to thaw for our next few dinners, clean up the kitchen, and talk to D. about Australia activities we’ve been researching.
8:45 p.m. — I shower and do my bedtime routine early so I can get out of our bathroom and D. can go to bed, since he’ll be getting up super early again. My skin is starting to calm down after a rough couple weeks of breakouts, and I do a clay mask to help it along. Then I say goodnight to D. before I retreat to the living room to half-watch old episodes of Law & Order while I read this month’s novel for my book club. With murders solved and the first few chapters read, I go to bed at 11 p.m.
Daily Total: $1,662.03
6:30 a.m. — I wake up before my alarm again, but this time by only a few minutes. I woke up way too early this morning when D.’s alarm went off, but fortunately went back to sleep pretty quickly. I get up, feed the dogs, and get ready for work. I slept with my hair wet last night, so it takes extra wrangling this morning to look half normal. I’m out the door by 7:30.
7:50 a.m. — I chat with a coworker before our meeting starts. I eat the second fritter from yesterday with a LaCroix I brought from home while going through emails and getting ready for the day.
11:15 a.m. — I go home for lunch and D. is there too, but has already eaten. I microwave a potato and put some of the taco meat from yesterday on it with ghee and avocado. It’s super nice today, so I sit out back with the dogs and let them run around for a while before I go back to work.
4:45 p.m. — It’s been a pretty standard afternoon, and now it’s time to go to Jazzercise. I eat a banana for a little pre-workout fuel, and I’m out the door.
5:10 p.m. — I get horrible stomach cramps on the way to Jazzercise and think about bowing out. I have Crohn’s disease, and sometimes my digestive system just doesn’t feel like cooperating with my life. I pop a couple of pills, hope for the best, and manage to power through class.
6:45 p.m. — I get home from class and start dinner. I make an easy broccoli and beef stir-fry and serve it with cauliflower rice. D. cleans up the kitchen for me while I shower and putter around the house.
9 p.m. — My back is hurting, so I lay on my acupressure mat for a while and try to stretch things out while D. and I watch House Hunters. The mustache on the husband of this couple is insane. We check Twitter for the best reactions and crack up at some of the comments.
10 p.m. — D. goes to bed, and I watch an episode and a half of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel before going to bed.
Daily Total: $0
6:30 a.m. — I actually sleep until my alarm goes off today! I have conference calls starting at 8, so I’m out the door before 7:30.
7:40 a.m. — I get to work and find out that one of my early calls is cancelled, so that’s one less thing to worry about!
10:30 a.m. — I’m already hungry and have an appointment over lunch, so I eat a banana I brought from home and a Reese’s egg my coworker brought me.
11:15 a.m. — I leave work and go to Home Depot to buy supplies for a painting project I’m heading up tomorrow with my church and Habitat for Humanity. I pay $16.97, which will be reimbursed. ($16.97 expensed)
12:15 p.m. — I have an appointment with my bikini waxer that I already paid for. I leave a tip. $10
1:oo p.m. — I go to Costco to order a cake for my coworker’s baby shower next week. While I’m there, I buy moisturizer, vitamins, facial wipes, antibacterial wipes, and a variety pack of LaCroix. (We drink a LOT of flavored water at our house.) $72.19
1:30 p.m. — I still haven’t eaten, and I need to get back to work, so I stop at Chick-fil-A and get a nugget meal with fries and a Coke. $6.59
3:30 p.m. — My boss and I have been collecting money to buy a gift for my coworker’s shower next week. I walk around and do a last call for contributions to the group gift. We’ve collected over $300, so I think we did pretty well.
4:45 p.m. — I’ve wrapped up everything I needed to get done this week, and it’s pretty quiet around the office, so I bounce for the weekend!
6:30 p.m. — D. and I watch Wheel of Fortune while I make dinner. I bake chicken breaded in ground-up plantain chips and roast potatoes. I manage to burn my hand on one of the oven racks when I take the potatoes out and have to run water over it for a while. I can tell it’s going to blister and scar, but at least dinner is good.
8:30 p.m. — D. is working all weekend and has to be up at 4 a.m., so he goes to sleep in the guest room, and I stay up watching TV. I have to be up early, so I go to bed around 11.
Daily Total: $88.78
6 a.m. — Strong winds woke me up throughout the night. I get up, feed the dogs, bundle up, and load up all the supplies for painting the house.
7:15 a.m. — I’m out the door and on my way across town to paint this house. It’s 35 degrees and windy, so I’m hoping people show up. I stop at McDonald’s on the way for a sausage McGriddle and a hash brown. $4.33
10:30 a.m. — Luckily, plenty of volunteers turn up for the paint project despite it being near freezing and extremely windy, and we get in done in just over two hours. The homeowner is so grateful. One of the other volunteers brought a ton of snacks and gives me a bunch of leftover breakfast tacos to take home.
11:30 a.m. — I get home and take a hot shower to warm up after the cold morning. I throw in a load of laundry, warm up two of the breakfast tacos for lunch, and then get ready to go on to my next volunteer activity for the day.
12:30 p.m. — I’m on my way to volunteer for a prom dress boutique for a women’s organization I’m part of and as I’m waiting at a stop light, I give a homeless man on the corner a few dollars and granola bars I keep in my car. We talk about the weather until the light changes. $2
3 p.m. — I’m done with volunteer project #2 for the day, and head back home. I think about going to the grocery store but I’m totally wiped out, so I just stop at CVS to buy knockoff ZzzQuil for D. and head home. I move the laundry from earlier to the dryer, stick in another load, and lay down for a quick nap before D. gets home. $11.99
5 p.m. — I’m back up and fold the first round of laundry and wait for D. to get home. We both put on several layers of clothes and bundle up to spend a few hours outside at the Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival.
6 p.m. — There’s unlimited craft beer from local breweries and food from over a dozen local restaurants while local bands play. Quite a few of our friends are here, so we socialize and try amazing burgers and beer. Once the sun goes down, it gets pretty cold, so we call it a night.
10:30 p.m. — I watch TV and hang out with the dogs for a while before heading to bed.
Daily Total: $18.32
7:30 a.m. — The dogs start whining for their breakfast, so I get up and feed them. I try to go back to sleep but end up just lying in bed until it’s time for me to get up and get ready for church. I eat two more of the leftover tacos from yesterday and head over.
10:30 a.m. — I’m on two different committees for church and they both happen to meet today, one before the service, and one after.
12:30 p.m. — I go to Buy Buy Baby to buy a group baby gift with the money I collected from my coworkers. I buy a $300 gift card, a few smaller things from her registry, and cards for everyone to sign. ($331.01 expensed)
1 p.m. — I wanted to go to a local salad place for lunch, but it’s super packed and I can’t even find a spot in the parking lot, so I decide to skip it and just move on to my next errand: Trader Joe’s. I don’t come to TJ’s super often, but there are certain products I always buy here and stock up on. I buy four bottles of cold brew concentrate for D., plantain chips, Chomps, a few packs of frozen rice, peanut puffs, blood oranges, two pre-packed salads to eat for lunch during the week, face oil, and vitamin E to put on my burn from Friday. I eat one of the Chomps and the peanut puffs in the car while I drive to my next stop. $82.38
1:30 p.m. — I go to Sprouts to buy the rest of our groceries for the week. I pick up a package of chicken thighs, a whole chicken, romaine lettuce, grapes, apples, clementines, bananas, red onions, bell peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, avocado, mushrooms, watermelon, and almonds and mixed nuts from the bulk bins. $59
2:15 p.m. — It’s been raining a lot lately, so my car is long overdue for a wash. I stop to get a deluxe wash and interior vacuum. $12
2:30 p.m. — I run home, unload my groceries, and change out of my church clothes. I have just enough time to cut up the chicken thighs and stick them in a citrus herb marinade before I have to run out the door for a massage appointment.
4:15 p.m. — I’m done with my massage and feeling a lot better. The massage is covered by a prepaid monthly package I bought, but I leave an $18 tip. I’m feeling super relaxed but also pretty drowsy, and I have a lot of chores left to do, so I stop at Starbucks for a chai frappuccino. I don’t drink coffee or really much caffeine at all, but when I do, I go for tea. I use my rewards on my Starbucks card to cover it. $18
5:30 p.m. — D. gets home from work just in time to watch the last bit of the Masters. I take the chicken I marinated earlier and chop up bell peppers, red onion, mushrooms, and zucchini to make kabobs. D. smokes them on our Traeger while I clean up the kitchen and put laundry away. We eat dinner together, and then I catch up on work emails. I’ll be out of office for the next two days attending trainings, so I am trying to prevent myself from getting too far behind while I’m out.
9 p.m. — I spend the last bit of my weekend putting away laundry, cleaning up the house, and then picking out my clothes for the rest of the week. I try to do this on Sunday nights so I don’t waste time in the mornings being indecisive. I shower, watch TV for a bit, and then head to bed at 11 p.m.
Daily Total: $171.38
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