Money Diaries From Moms Around The Country

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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.
This year, in honor of Mother's Day, we're taking a look at the way moms are spending. It's one thing to budget for yourself, or you and a partner; it's another thing to factor in a young person who depends on you.
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Eeach of these mom-diarists spends her money differently. Some are spending on summer camp, while others are still budgeting for diapers. And some are in school, while others are getting into blogging in the hopes of launching a lucrative side hustle.
This group of moms-to-be and parenting veterans alike reveal how people's spending patterns, splurges, and needs can change as their families expand. Thanks to them for sharing, and Happy Mother's Day!
Money Diaries are meant to reflect individual women's experiences and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.
The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day. For more money diaries, click here.
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1 of 5
This week: a coordinator who makes $45,000/year and spends on an infant life vest.

Occupation: Coordinator
Industry: Higher Education
Age: 28
Location: Metro Detroit
Salary: $45,000
Paycheck Amount (once a month): $3,758

Monthly Expenses
Housing Costs: $1,180 mortgage, including property and mortgage insurance, for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home on three acres. We opted to use a FHA loan when the market was still in recovery to purchase a house with 5% down. The market value of our home has increased by about $40,000, so we consider it a worthwhile investment. (We pay for everything out of joint checking accounts.)
Loan Payments: ~$400/month for my undergrad and grad school student loans, plus another $400-ish for my husband's undergraduate loan.

All Other Monthly Expenses
Utilities: $450
Car insurance: $142 for two vehicles and a motorcycle. We drive older vehicles that we own outright to avoid car payments.
Pandora: $3.99
Amazon Music: $7.99
Gym: Free at work
Giving: $10 to public radio, $45 to Compassion International, $750 tithe
Health Insurance: $75 to cover me, my husband, and our kiddo
401(k): Work makes a 14% contribution without requiring a match.
Netflix: $9.99
Savings: $350. $50 of that goes into the kid's account, we use the Digit app to save up for trips, gifts, etc. We add whatever's left over in our checking accounts at the end of the month to savings, and we intend to start a more structured saving and investment process soon.
Pet: ~$45 for cat food, litter, turtle food, and tank supplies
Diapers & Wipes: ~$50
Child Care: $1,000

Day One



10 a.m. — Hubby gets up with our little one so I can catch up on sleep. I take advantage of it and get up late. They've both already eaten, so I fix myself a cup of black coffee and snuggle with the kid. He's teething and happy to be held while we watch one of those Saturday-morning kids' nature shows. We tidy up the house a bit before hubby remembers errands we need to run. We get dressed and head out.

12:15 p.m. — We decide on sushi for lunch, but our favorite place is only open for dinner on Saturdays, so we try out a highly-rated Japanese restaurant near my job. We order tea, gyoza (which our son loves), a toro roll, bibimbap (Japanese with a Korean influence, I guess?), and udon. Everything is delicious but the small space is not baby-friendly, so we add it to our list of possible lunch date locations when baby is with his caretaker. Everything comes to $42.34 with tip. Husband runs into the auto parts store next door and buys some odds and ends, since he handles most of our car maintenance ($47.12). $89.46

2:30 p.m. — We head to Kroger for a grocery haul. I use the Kroger app for coupons and list making. Cereal is on sale, so I stock up with eight boxes. Canned corn and black beans for easy salads, EVOO, baby-food pouches (I hate the waste, but the convenience is worth it!), La Croix, fruits and veggies, parmesan and gouda, salsa, bread, granola bars, chicken (on super sale), eggs, and ice cream. I also grab a Starbucks cold-brew kit, and hubby builds a six-pack of beers. With coupons and store deals, we save around $20. We put away groceries, then while the kid is napping, I tackle the dishes and laundry and start steeping the cold-brew packs. Hubby decides to mow the grass since it's finally spring and we're reasonably sure there won't be more snow. $150.54

4:30 p.m. — Nursing and using the time to check deals on Amazon. Wind up ordering dish cleaner, a decorative wall decal for my office, hair volumizer, baby sunscreen, and a mattress topper for the crib. We're hoping a squishier mattress will encourage our little guy to sleep in his own bed. $60.51

7:30 p.m. — We decide to try a new brewery for dinner, but the wait is two hours, so we opt for our favorite local place that's reasonably baby-friendly. We each have a beer (spring in Michigan is all about Bell's Oberon) and split a couple of appetizers off the specials menu — chicken taquitos and a Mediterranean-style pizza — plus mac and cheese for the kiddo. We finish the beers but take the leftover food home and catch up on a couple episodes of The Daily Show before hitting the hay. $43.19

Daily Total: $343.70

Day Two



8 a.m. — We get up relatively early since we're teaching children's church. Hubby and the kiddo eat cereal, but I've got a Starbucks reward I want to use, so we run by and I get a caramel Frappuccino light and, since I'm not super hungry but feeling a little indulgent, a croissant ($2.26). We find out our sunday school class has started a new series, and I need the book, so I purchase it with one click on Amazon. It's about exploring how Western culture has conflated the Eastern traditions and culture and context that Jesus lived in, so it should be interesting! $12.26

12:30 p.m. — We have a few errands to run and decide on a Chipotle-styled Mediterranean restaurant for lunch. We get a fattoush salad and a lamb rice bowl and split it between the three of us. The kid loves cucumbers, tomatoes, and the lamb. We have a free reward and only have to pay $10. $10

1 p.m. — We go by Babies 'R' Us to look for an infant life vest, but they don't have great options. I scour clearance and find three outfits for next season. I have a gift card left over from registry returns, so I only pay $7.27. We received a lot of gifts and hand-me-downs in smaller sizes, but now I shop major sales to get larger-sized clothes and store them until they're needed. We go by an outdoors store, but they don't have infant life vests. My husband grabs a a paddle leash for one of our kayaks ($9.95). While he checks out, I duck into the dollar store next door. I buy three mugs for a Pinterest project ($3.18). We stop by Meijer, Michigan's version of Wal-Mart, on the way home, and find a nice infant life vest for $35. $55.40

5 p.m. — After trying on the life vest (which the kid hates), my husband and I work on some small things around the house to get ready for the work week. I tackle my cold brew, which has leaked grounds into the water, so I have to filter the concentrate into another pitcher. I'm regretting spending $10 to make my own when I see that it only makes enough for about three servings — roughly the same amount I would have gotten from buying it at the store. I heat up leftovers to eat before community group and pack our lunches so we can come home and go straight to bed.

Daily Total: $77.66

Day Three



6:35 a.m. — Wake up late and enjoy some cold brew on my 35-minute commute. Hubby usually handles morning drop-off, so I make it to work on time.

8:15 a.m. — I heat up a honey-almond oatmeal bowl from the stash I keep at my desk. I'm feeling energized by the beautiful weather so I tackle my to-do list.

11 a.m. — I take time to respond to emails while I pump. I'm super lucky that I have an office and can get stuff done while pumping. I get changed afterwards and head to a free barre class. (Gym and class access are included in my benefits.)

12:50 p.m. — My coworker and I commiserate over the class while we heat up lunches. I have leftover string beans, a string cheese, and part of the rice bowl from yesterday. A student left a pack of La Croix as a farewell gift to our office, so I help myself to one.

2:15 p.m. — I remember I left my umbrella across campus at an event and it's sunny, so I decide to walk over and check lost and found. No luck finding my umbrella, but I buy an iced coffee as an afternoon pick-me-up. $2.23

5 p.m. — A student comes in for a last-minute meeting, so I don't get a second pumping session, and I run late to pick up my son. My empty light also comes on right as I leave campus, so I stop to fill up. Working mom woes, but the sitter is super gracious. $50

7 p.m. — Little guy's unusually fussy from teething, and hubby's running late, so I cancel on a ladies' night out. The marinated chicken I put in the fridge hasn't defrosted, so I eat some cereal and leftover udon. I get a flyer for upcoming concerts in the area and find out one of hubby's new favorite bands is performing close to us around his birthday. We've never been to the venue and it's general admission only; I buy two tickets. $37.50

9 p.m. — Our kiddo's feeling better by the time his dad gets home, and he has picked up yogurt, bananas, and milk on the way. We hang out and ignore the household tasks that need attention. I pack the baby's food for tomorrow. It varies, but he usually gets a couple pouches, a banana or avocado, scrambled egg, yogurt or cottage cheese, dry cereal or toast, and of course bags of milk. We watch Big Bang Theory before heading to bed. $8

Daily Total: $97.73

Day Four



6:15 a.m. — Shower and nurse the baby since he woke up earlier than usual. Hubby has an early meeting, so I have to do drop-off. I run out of time and grab some cold brew, a granola bar, and a banana from home.

11 a.m. — Eat my banana and pump. Pumping is by no means fun, and I'm hoping I'll only need to do it another month or so before baby can have whole milk (we've tried formula, but it's been majorly rejected). It does, however, make me stay at my desk and be productive, so now I have zero unread emails.

1:15 p.m. — It's a coworker's birthday, so we go out to lunch. I get an iced tea and a lunch combo that comes with California, cucumber, and shrimp rolls, miso soup, and cucumber salad. I also pay for the birthday girl and leave a tip. $31.13

5 p.m. — Pick the kiddo up and get home. He's in great spirits, so nursing and dinner prep go smoothly. I make roasted cabbage and the defrosted chicken. Once hubby gets home, we tag team spending time with our little guy while taking care of household duties. We eat some of the ice cream we bought Sunday while watching Big Bang Theory before bed.

Daily Total: $31.13

Day Five



7 a.m. — We have a ripe avocado, so I leave half with the baby's food and eat the other half on a slice of toast. I pour some cold brew for the commute and find that I'll get four servings out of it, but I'm still not sure if that justifies the effort and cost.

11:30 a.m. — Finish meeting with a student, pump, and snack on an apple I brought last week. My sitter is bringing my little one to campus to walk around, so I treat them to lunch. $12.27

5 p.m. — It's date night! Rush home to nurse baby boy and get a new sitter acclimated. Hubby actually makes it home on time, and we head to an early showing of Beauty and the Beast (Belle's my favorite Disney princess) ($17). Even before having a child, we usually only went to the cinema when we really wanted to see the film or knew the large screen will be worth it. Since having a kid, we've probably seen five films in 10 months. We're both pretty hungry, so we split a small popcorn and bottled water because they only serve Pepsi products (gag). Plus, we don't want to pay an outrageous amount for stale popcorn? ($10) $27

8:15 p.m. — The movie was very well done, and we are pretty hungry when we get out. We head a couple streets over to try a new brewery and restaurant. We are food sharers, so at new places we typically get a few small plates to split so we can try more. This time it was: house fries, chicken wings, a warm barley and mushroom salad, and a slice of ricotta cheesecake. The salad was exceptional, but everything else was mediocre. The beers (IPA and wheat) were decent. We weren't overly impressed but will definitely give it another try. $57.14

9:30 p.m. — Get home, pay the sitter, shower, and head to bed. $40

Daily Total: $136.41

Day Six



6 a.m. — Baby wakes up right before my alarm goes off (hate when that happens!), nurses, then dozes back off. I get dressed, pour the last of my cold brew, and grab a granola bar and some fruit before I head out the door.

11:30 a.m. — Another slow day. This is very atypical; I usually meet with three to five people a day, have at least two meetings each week, a couple of crises for good measure, a few extra projects, and organizing and leading workshops. I eat some leftovers I brought for lunch (chicken and cabbage) while I pump and check the news.

1 p.m. — A meeting that is scheduled to take most of the afternoon gets out in just over an hour. I hear Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus" playing as I walk back to the office in gorgeous weather. It's a coworker's birthday, and there's ice cream, so I happily help celebrate.

5 p.m. — Leave work and meet the sitter at my house. I find out my Stitch Fix was delivered and am excited to see what's in it. A couple coworkers tried it, and I was convinced to try it after I saw what they received. I also have no time to shop, but I need clothes for work and am using it to motivate me towards fitness goals. My first box was expensive, even with the 25% discount, but my stylist has done a great job with style and fit. I decide to keep everything in this second box. $207.37

7 p.m. — I make a super-easy sheet-pan dinner with potatoes, carrots, onions, chicken thighs, rosemary, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and reheat some of the leftover cabbage. I also catch up on laundry (actually my favorite chore) for me and the kid. I do all the laundry at our house except for ironing. I pack tomorrow's meals while hubby gives our son a bath. We remember we have two episodes of Longmire left on Netflix, so we go ahead and finish the season before bed.

Daily Total: $207.37

Day Seven



7 a.m. — Running later than I planned. It's graduation, and I need to be at work early to get a parking spot. I drive by Starbucks, but the line is ridiculous, and I forgot to order ahead. Oh well. I do wind up finding decent parking and brew a K-cup coffee in my office.

9 a.m. — I realize I'm hungry and never ate breakfast. I walk across campus to get a soy hazelnut latte and a bagel with cream cheese, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes. $8

12 p.m. — I'm not very hungry for lunch, so I eat a yogurt from home and catch up on emails while I pump.

1 p.m. — Budget meeting to go over some shared expenses before the end of our fiscal year. I check an app that keeps track of steps and see that I have enough points to purchase a $10 Whole Foods gift card. Yay! It's one of my favorite places to go for lunch, but I rarely grocery shop there. Too expensive and too much "woo" for me.

4 p.m. — I run by an office supply store on my way home to get training supplies, and I am happy to see that at least the markers are buy one, get one half off ($43.17, expensed). I forgot to get cash to pay for child care and don't have a check on me, so I use cash back with my debit card. Unfortunately, the limit is $40, so I take that and then drive out of the way to use the bank's ATM. I get extra ($300) since I'm there and never seem to have cash on me.

5 p.m. — Pick up the kiddo and settle up for child care costs ($250 paid with the withdrawn cash). I am facilitating trainings all weekend, so I tell hubby to grab something for dinner to allow me to spend some extra time with our son. He grabs a large pizza and a salad from a decent pizza place ($34.13). I wash and sterilize all my pump stuff and pack it up for my weekend work, make sure the litter box is in good condition (our cat prefers to go outside to do his business, so he only uses it when absolutely necessary), and tidy up. Little guy and I play and snuggle before it's time for him to go to sleep. I go to bed early and watch House Hunters while I drift off. $284.13
2 of 5
This week: a marketer who makes $50,000 per year and spends it on a pregnancy lotion kit.

Occupation: Business Development, PR, Marketing
Industry: Interior Design
Age: 28
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $50,000
Paycheck Amount (once a month): $3,000

Monthly Expenses
Housing Costs: $1,000 Rent
Monthly Loan Payments: $300 Student Loan

All Other Monthly Expenses
Cable/Internet: $116
Spotify Subscription: $9.99
Gym Membership: $20
Credit Card Payments: $250
Utilities: My husband pays.
Savings: $200
Hulu: $7
Netflix: My husband pays.

Day One



7:30 a.m. — I wake up feeling well today. I recently found out that I am pregnant (I'm at the six-week mark right now) so my routine is changing. I turn the shower on and microwave a small bowl of oatmeal. I've been researching what I need to incorporate into my diet to ensure my baby's health. I mix my oatmeal with almond milk, instead of my usual 2% low fat milk. I get to work and brew coffee stocked in the office on our Mr. Coffee machine.

12:30 p.m. — I eat lunch I brought from home: chicken thighs with sautéed kale and sweet potatoes.

1 p.m. — I go for a walk to get some fresh air, and then stop by the bank to deposit my share of the rent into my husband's account. It's painful to think about that chunk of money going towards a temporary space. Luckily, we're moving out of NYC in two months and into New Jersey, my husband's home state. I am born and bred in NYC but with the news of our baby, I am pretty relieved to live out in suburbia. $1

4 p.m. — This is my sluggish point. I am distracted and start looking at maternity clothes online; the selection is surprisingly very slim. I also search for paraben-free skincare products. I struggled with teenage and early-adulthood acne and scarring. I finally got my skin under control and looking radiant in the last year. It goes without saying that I'm hesitant to start a whole new skincare regime.

6:45 p.m. — I get off at my subway stop and head to the grocery store. I decide to pick up veggies for dinner and snacks for the week. I purchase broccoli, lemons, pumpkin seeds, and two avocados. When I get home, I whip up some chicken with wild rice and sautéed broccoli for me and my husband. I cook, and he cleans up the kitchen. We settle in to watch a movie on Netflix. $12.35

Daily Total: $13.35

Day Two



7:30 a.m. — I am SO tired. Literally, I have no motivation to move. I struggle to make my way towards the shower to turn it on, and I microwave my bowl of oatmeal.

8:45 a.m. — I craved something cold on the train, so I get off at my stop and run to Starbucks for a tall iced coffee. I usually get a grande but because of bebe, I need to have a tall size. Unfortunately, I end up throwing it away after feeling sick from four sips. This was such a wasteful purchase. $2.89

10 a.m. — We recently finished an exciting hotel project that I'm pitching to some media publications. I start sending the pictures via Dropbox when I get notified that I've run out of space. WTF? This "ran out of space" crap is such a scam! I need it for work though, so I decide to pay the $9.99. I will get it expensed later this month. $9.99

10:15 a.m. — I brought an avocado to work with me and cut it up into cubes with olive oil and salt; a delicious snack — and I need those healthy fats!

12 p.m. — I am hungry. A restaurant close to my office makes a delicious chickpea pasta dish. I decide to order it for pick-up, substituting the feta for avocados and the pesto chicken for grilled chicken. $10.07

6:05 p.m. — My MetroCard is out of juice, so I refill it for $5.50. For some reason, I never purchase a monthly MetroCard. I probably don't trust myself to hold on to it and not lose it... $5.50

7 p.m. — I am allowed to have one 12-ounce serving of fish per week, and my husband decides to treat me to a lobster dinner for Valentine's Day. It's. So. Good! I love when we cook at home; going out to a restaurant is fun, but nothing beats a hearty meal at home.

9 p.m. — I indulge in RHOBH and fall asleep shortly after.

Daily Total: $28.45

Day Three



7: 30 a.m. — I'm so tired, I can't move. I snooze as much as I can until I hit the 7:50 mark. I hate being late but today, I DGAF.

8:55 a.m. — Made it to work on time. I sit at my desk feeling like utter shit.

9:50 a.m. — I have an "ah-ha" moment: I think morning sickness is starting to hit me! I stashed a ginger ale in our office fridge for this purpose, since I was waiting for this day. I open the can and break out some saltines. I don't think anyone in my office has picked up on my pregnancy yet and it's still too early to make an announcement. Luckily, I have more privacy than most people where I sit.

11: 30 a.m. — The thought of lunch grosses me out. I opt for leftover pasta in the fridge from yesterday's lunch, but I can't bring myself to consume it and just continue to eat saltines.

4 p.m. — Please let this day be over! My queasiness has not let up and I've been distracted all day. I've spent most of my time Googling "morning sickness" and "cures for morning sickness."

7 p.m. — I get home and fill my husband in on my day. We text for a majority of the day so he already knows I feel like poop. He inquires about dinner and I say it's all on him. He makes wild rice, which is all I can stomach, and he has a separate dinner. I eat as much rice as I can, so there's a digestive coating for my vitamins.

9:45 p.m. — I am laying on my couch, my eyes are closing, and I am down for the count.

Daily Total: $0

Day Four



6 a.m. — My husband wakes up for work; he has to be at work much earlier than me. Usually, I continue to sleep undisturbed, but today I wake up hungry since I didn't eat much the night before. I eat an organic, chocolate version of a Pop-Tart and have a glass of almond milk. I have intense heartburn but the almond milk helps. I fall back asleep.

7: 45 a.m. — I feel yucky after my early-morning indulgence. I rarely wake up, eat, and then go right back to sleep. I am not too hungry for breakfast, so I leave the house without eating anything else yet.

9 a.m. — Get to my desk and the queasiness saga continues.

11 a.m. — You better believe I brought wild rice with me to work. I heat some up and I start to feel better and become more productive.

1 p.m. — I go for my walk and head to the Whole Foods Body Shop. I wander around and look at the natural skincare lines without buying anything yet.

3 p.m. — Consume more wild rice to settle my stomach.

7 p.m. — My husband had a meeting after work so he is running late tonight. I decide to order in and go for something healthy that I may be able to consume: Mediterranean. I order a lamb shawarma wrap for my husband and a chicken shawarma platter for me, subbing the heavy sides for bean salad and tabbouleh salad. I don't end up eating much chicken, but I do consume the veggies. I am so over chicken! $32.56

10 p.m. — I usually start to fall asleep at this time, but I want to finish the last pages of my book so that I can pick up a new one this weekend. I finish the last few pages of Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore and pass out.

Daily Total: $32.56

Day Five



7: 30 a.m. — I discover the secret to fighting my morning sickness: I consume ginger ale and saltines as soon as I wake up. Then, about four saltines and 1/4 cup of ginger ale later, I start to feel better. My fog loosens up and I hop in the shower.

8: 45 a.m. — I stop by Pret A Manger and purchase a banana and iced coffee. I manage to consume both in peace without any heartburn or queasiness. $4.03

11:45 a.m. — I head to Whole Foods to buy lunch and snacks for the office. I purchase a bag of kale, an avocado, chips, and chicken for tonight's dinner. I get back to the office and make myself a nice simple kale salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The bitterness of the raw kale satisfies my craving and represses any icky feelings. $20.97

3 p.m. — I research a skincare line, Mama Mio, which apparently gets rave reviews from moms-to-be. I go to Buy-Buy-Baby and find the Mama Mio pregnancy kit packet, which includes a face wash, leg lotion, tummy rub, and "boob tube" to help with my sore boobs! I hold a newborn onesie up against my stomach. It's wild to think there's a baby growing inside of me. I am overcome with emotions and feel like I am about to cry. I have a 20% off coupon since I started my registry, and I use it towards this purchase. $31.24

5 p.m. — I have an avocado with olive oil for a snack.

7 p.m. — It's a three-day weekend! I am looking forward to my haircut tomorrow and sleeping in for the remainder of the weekend. I know I purchased stuff for dinner tonight but I get super lazy and my husband and I agree on pho take-out. I treat. $19.60

9 p.m. — We watch this inspiring Netflix documentary about New Yorkers who rose to the top overcoming the hardships and neighborhoods of NYC. I feel proud to be a New Yorker and raised in NYC. I fall asleep shortly after the documentary ended.

Daily Total: $75.84

Day Six



9:15 a.m. — I manage to leave my house on time for my hair appointment in the city. I decide to get a little dressed up today. It's been a year since I got a haircut, and my hair is long, thick, and wavy, so haircuts don't come cheap. I know I'll feel fresh afterward, and I want to make sure I have a whole "look" with it — plus my husband is meeting me afterwards to get lunch and have an easy day in the city.

10 a.m. — I get off at 14th and 7th walk a bit north towards 19th Street. The city is so quiet, and it's actually a pleasure to walk around at this time. I decide to go to a coffee shop next door to the salon and stock up on energy for my haircut. I purchase a carrot cake muffin and an iced coffee. $6.82

10:15 a.m. — While I wait for my hair dresser to finish with her current client, I talk to a woman who tells me about her children and raising them as babies. I can't help but take this as a sign considering it's a random topic. I share my exciting news with her, and she wishes me good luck. The first question she asks is, "Do you have morning sickness yet?"

12:50 p.m. — The haircut is finally over! That took way longer than I thought — two and half hours — but I am so happy with the result. I text my husband to let him know I am on my way to meet him for lunch. I pay with my credit card for the haircut: $131.45 and a $15 tip to my hairdresser plus $5 to the girl who washed my hair. I usually tip big and thought this was enough beforehand. I leave the salon and calculate that wasn't even 15%! Eek, oh well. $151.45

1:05 p.m. — I did a graphic design job for a friend's wedding, and was paid with a $60 Open Table gift card. I decided to use that towards Mercer Kitchen since I've never been, and the restaurants that accept OT gift cards are limited. (Again: scam.) I manage to grab a cab from the salon and arrive at Mercer Kitchen. I usually don't go to "hotspots" for lunch, and I've outgrown brunch dates, but why not give this place a try? $10.38

1:45 p.m. — After consuming a ton of whole-wheat bread and baked olives. I eat my salmon, Brussels sprouts, and mashed potato dish. I know that I need to eat everything since my appetite was weird this week. I bring myself to finish 95% of the dish.

2:15 p.m. — Lunch is over, and to be quite honest, I am ready to get out of the cellar-like atmosphere; it's making me dizzy. The bill comes to $111, the waiter applies the $60 gift card, and my husband takes care of the balance. $60

2:30 p.m. — We head across the street to a maternity clothing store called Seraphine. I researched the store and found that they sell these amazing, comfy leggings. I ask the salesperson for them and she brings out a pair. They are made of bamboo and so freaking soft. Without asking the price, I ask for two; then, at the checkout I find out my total is $90! I ask why and they tell me each pair is $45. I decide I can do with one pair for now. $45

3 p.m. — We catch the Q just in time. The day is going according to plan, since I wanted to get out of the city before brunch-hoppers and tourists take over. Plus, I am starting to get very tired. On the walk home, we head to the eyeglasses store to pick up my husband's pair. He looks so handsome in them!

4 p.m. — Hello, nap time. I fall asleep for two and a half hours and realize that my energy levels are not as high as they were even two weeks ago.

7 p.m. — Time for dinner: chicken with kale, broccoli, and sweet potatoes. I eat as much as I can but I am still taking it slow.

Daily Total: $273.65

Day Seven



8 a.m. — Wake up with hubby and we each have breakfast. My breakfast is a glass of almond milk and a raspberry-flavored Fage yogurt. This is the first time in five days I wake up feeling well.

9 a.m. — We head out to our local Barnes & Noble. I have a 15% coupon, which I know both my husband and I can use. He opts for Infinite Jest and I get The Goldfinch. We use the coupon, and my husband takes care of the balance.

10:15 a.m. — Head to our organic grocery store for produce: green leaf lettuce, two avocados, lemon, lime, kale, and two single wheatgrass shots. $20.19

10:25 a.m. — We head next door to Key Foods. I realize we have taco mix in our house and instantly start salivating over the thought of tacos. I find my husband, he asks if I can eat tacos, and I look it up quickly on various pregnancy sites. Seems to be okay, so I buy organic Kobe beef. We buy sour cream, almond milk, two yogurts, and corn tortilla chips. My husband grabs cold cuts and a mixed vegetable salad from the deli area. My husband usually picks up the groceries, but I decide to treat this time. $40.13

12 p.m. — Relaxing on the couch and breaking out my new book. My husband gets a text from a friend asking what we are up to tonight. I am super hesitant to go anywhere or be with anyone because my "morning sickness" can happen anytime and anywhere. We go back and forth, and I finally agree to have friends at our place. I love to entertain, and perhaps this will get me out of my sluggish, couch-potato mood.

2:45 p.m. — After my two and a half hour nap, I wake up feeling rested. I look at our fridge to make sure we have everything we need for dinner. I decide to make a run to Key Foods to get more beef, cheddar cheese, salsa, and tortilla chips. $15.84

4:30 p.m. — I start to prep the toppings platter: red onions, green leaf lettuce, grated cheddar cheese, and diced tomato. I cut up a lemon and lime and make pomegranate raspberry iced tea that I leave in the fridge so it will be nice and cold when company arrives. I remove the tablecloth from our small two-person table and place a candle with navy napkins and gold napkin ring holders. I love to entertain, and this is certainly keeping my mind off of queasiness.

6:30 p.m. — Our friends arrive! They bring wine and desert. I can't have the former but I will certainly treat myself to apple crumb cake. I finish heating up the tortillas and cooking the beef. Everyone digs in, and our friends love the pomegranate raspberry iced tea. After dinner and nerdy movie talk, we decide to watch Arrival. What a compelling movie!

Daily Total: $76.16
3 of 5
This mom: an associate merchant who makes $55,000 per year and spends it on summer camp.

Occupation: Associate Merchant
Industry: Corporate Retail
Age: 31
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Salary: $55,000
Paycheck Amount (Bi-Weekly): $1,400 plus $228 monthly child support. (Go ahead and laugh because I do every month.)

Monthly Expenses
Housing Costs: $864 monthly rent for a two-bedroom townhouse that I share with my 10-year-old daughter. (My mother has had some pretty significant health issues, so my daughter and I have been staying with her for several months.)
Loan Payments: $381 combined for student loan payments

All Other Monthly Expenses
Daughter's School Tuition: $600
Netflix: $10
Cell Phone: $100. Data to keep a child entertained is expensive.
Utilities: $250 for water, electricity, and internet
Savings: $200. I also contribute 10% of my salary with a company match to my 401(k).

Day One



8:45 a.m. — I go on our daily morning café walk to a new, yummy juice bar and get a cucumber/apple/ginger/citrus juice to go with my coffee and oatmeal from home. $5

12 p.m. — I forgot to pack my lunch today, so I head back to the café. I get a black bean burger, tots, and a cookie. $6

2:30 p.m. — I am in desperate need of an afternoon snack and a coworker brought in Peeps cupcakes! Another coworker grabs me a soda. I'll pay it forward on a future snack run.

5 p.m. — I leave work and grab my daughter from school. I do a little shopping at Target since I need nude heels ($33), and a sweater for my daughter since she can't find the white one for church. I also grab some hair dye to cover my grays, and toothpaste. $75.29

Daily Total: $86.29

Day Two



8 a.m. — I am woken up by the life-affirming screams of my daughter. Something about a "wolf spider"? I decide to get up and get ready. I make myself and the kiddo a bagel, fruit salad, and some vegetarian bacon. I add a cup of coffee for myself.

11:30 a.m. — We are finally dressed and ready. The shoes I grabbed from Target feel like torture devices and are getting returned.

1:45 p.m. — We're finished with church but I don't feel like cooking, and I know my mom won't either. My mom offers to split a DoorDash order with me for lunch! I pay. $46.91

2 p.m. — I only have a 1/4 of a tank of gas left, but I've got $0.40 off in fuel perks, so I stop and fill up for the week. $22.29

6 p.m. — After a lazy afternoon, I send my daughter to her room so I can stuff her Easter eggs and prep her basket. Pretty sure my mom's dog ate 50 cents that were on the floor...

10:30 p.m. — After some Netflix and cuddles with my daughter and the dog, we all head to bed.

Daily Total: $69.20

Day Three



8:30 a.m. — "Mommy! Happy Easter! Wake up!" I do as my daughter says and make myself another bagel and some coffee.

10 a.m. — Easter Egg hunt time! The dog "finds" an egg, and I have visions of a four-figure vet bill. Luckily he drops it in exchange for Italian bread and peanut butter.

1 p.m. — We finish watching a DVD of Hidden Figures, an Easter gift, and my daughter insists on making it a double-feature with Moana (another Easter gift). I heat up our DoorDash leftovers and power through.

4:45 p.m. — We swing by our apartment to feed and play with our kitty.

7 p.m. — Mom makes us Easter dinner: lemon garlic chicken, brown rice, green beans, rolls, and strawberry shortcake.

8:30 p.m. — I promised my daughter I would paint her nails, so we watch an episode of Agents of Shield on Netflix while I paint. Then it's off to bed for everyone.

Daily Total: $0

Day Four



6:45 a.m. — Wake up and get ready, and then wake up my daughter. She makes herself a bagel with vegetarian bacon, and we are out of the door.

8:40 a.m. — I realize I spent $15 on juices last week, so I force myself to be content with coffee and oatmeal from home at my desk today.

12 p.m. — I eat leftover spaghetti with vegetarian ground beef from home, an apple, and some rolls from last night's dinner for lunch.

3 p.m. — I'm. So. Hungry. I make myself some tea and oatmeal from my snack drawer and note that I'm running low on snacks that I will need to replenish on my next grocery run.

5 p.m. — Time to leave and go get my daughter from school.

6:15 p.m. — Return those terrible uncomfortable shoes and get my $33 back.

6:45 p.m. — Pick up a book my daughter needs for school from the library. I'm a firm believer in using the library whenever possible.

7:20 p.m. — Finally home! Time to heat up some Easter leftovers.

8 p.m. — I check my daughter's homework while she gets ready for bed. After reading for about an hour, I'm ready to pass out too.

Daily Total: ($33 deducted from final tally)

Day Five



7:15 — Definitely turned off my alarm at some point this morning. My daughter is crying because she can't find her uniform pants and wants veggie bacon and cake for breakfast. I get her to settle for the bacon and a bagel and my mother chides me for the lack of fruit.

8:50 a.m. — Get in late to the office. Make myself and cup of coffee and some oatmeal and get down to hustle.

10:30 a.m. — Time for my annual review. Gulp.

12:30 p.m. — Everything went well, and I got a merit increase! Celebrate with a packed lunch of scrambled tofu, brown rice, and green beans.

3:30 p.m. — Get an email reminder about permission slips due Friday with an additional reminder that I agreed to chaperone; tickets are $44 each. This is the most expensive field trip ever. $88

5 p.m. — Time to leave and pick up my daughter from school.

6:45 p.m. — It's been a year since I had my hair cut, and we finished our errands quickly this evening, so I stop into Great Clips. The guy does a great job, and I'm in and out pretty quickly. I pay $14, plus tip. $20

7:30 p.m. — Dinner of mac and cheese, broccoli, and brown rice. The perk of having a 10 year old is eating like one without shame.

8:30 p.m. — Paint my own nails. I got regular gel manis for awhile until my budget started taking a hit. I do a really good job on my own nails, so I can't justify the expense right now.

9:30 p.m. — I try to read a few more chapters of my book, but I pass out.

Daily Total: $108

Day Six



6:15 — We wake up on time! My daughter also eats some diced pineapple this morning with her bagel. Small wins.

8:30 a.m. — Get into the office and make myself my usual coffee and oatmeal. I also have bags and bags of leftover chocolate, so I pour some into an oversized mug to share with my team.

11 a.m. — Get a bill from the dentist for a filling from a few weeks ago. I write a check to mail on my lunch. As soon as I write the check, I log in to my HSA portal to request reimbursement. $42.60

11:30 p.m. — My mom's dog chewed up my underwear, so I go online and order a package from work with my discount and some rewards. I get a great deal on seven pairs. $18.44

12:30 p.m. — I eat my packed lunch of tofu, brown rice, and green beans.

1:30 p.m. — I head to the mail room and send my check to the dentist, as well as some additional documentation my HSA requested for a previous claim. $1

6 p.m. — I register my daughter for her sixth grade classes while trying to keep it together and not cry. That gets easier after she lets me know she wants to play three sports next year, which will amount to nearly $700 in fees. Time to have a chat with her father.

7 p.m. — My daughter requests Wendy's, and I'm honestly too distracted and tired to think about cooking, so fast food it is. $13

Daily Total: $75.04

Day Seven



6:45 a.m. — Another morning with fruit! She decides on an apple today, with whole wheat toast and veggie bacon.

8:30 a.m. — I, too, eat an apple along with my morning coffee.

11:30 a.m. — It's time to register my daughter for summer camp. You generally pay some sort of deposit to hold your place. I have a brief call with my ex-husband who is supposed to pay for half of her expenses, but hasn't ever done so in the three years we have been divorced. $235 doesn't seem like much, but the whole summer will cost me almost $3,000. I go ahead and register her anyway, using money I set aside for things like this in my savings. Her childcare expenses will also be partially covered by my FSA this year. $235

12:30 p.m. — I eat a packed lunch of pasta with pesto and some spinach.

2 p.m. — My mother calls to tell me she has been bitten by the dog. I leave work to drive her to urgent care. It's not a major issue in the end, so they wrap her up and send her on her way.

4 p.m. — We pick up my daughter from school, run a few errands for my mom, and head home.

6 p.m. — I can't even think about cooking after all this. I suggest Panera for dinner and everyone is on board. My daughter gets a Caesar salad with grilled chicken and a chocolate chip cookie and I opt for broccoli-cheddar soup and a brownie. $20

Daily Total: $255
4 of 5
This week: a registered nurse who makes $61,000/year and spends it on Living Proof shampoo.

Occupation: Registered Nurse
Industry: Healthcare
Age: 28
Location: Chicago, IL
Salary: $61,000
Paycheck Amount (2x monthly): ~$1,650. (I'm an hourly employee and this average does not include OT.)

Monthly Expenses
Housing Costs: $1,695 mortgage, including principal, interest, taxes, and insurance for a two-bedroom condo. I split this evenly with my fiancé.
Loan Payments: $100 student loan interest. (I'm currently in grad school.)
Car Payment: $297.84

All Other Monthly Expenses: All expenses come out of our joint checking account; my fiancé and I make almost the exact same salary
HOA: $260, which we split evenly ($130)
Gym membership $65
Ipsy: $10
Cable & Internet: $167, which we split evenly ($83.50)
Utilities: ~$100, which we split evenly (~$50)
Health insurance: $186, comes out of paycheck
401(k): $186, comes out of paycheck

Day One



5:45 a.m. — I roll out of bed, which is getting harder and harder to do, since I'm pregnant. I'm 14 weeks along and have only put on about five pounds so far, but I have been getting up to pee two or three times per night, breaking up my sleep. I eat breakfast at home: cottage cheese with pineapple and strawberries, and peanut butter toast.

6 a.m. — I pay my prenatal visit copay online while eating breakfast. My health insurance is amazing, and this is the only copay I will pay for the entirety of my prenatal care until delivery, for which I will pay 10% of the total bill. I hate my job some days, but the insurance is a huge benefit. $50

12:15 p.m. — I didn't pack a lunch this morning, so I buy it from the hospital cafeteria: Szechuan pork, some kind of flavored rice, and a side of steamed broccoli. The cafeteria has been branching out in meal options lately. Now that I'm out of the first trimester and don't have any more nausea, I've been trying to eat more healthy and balanced options instead of just loading up on carbs. $6.23

8 p.m. — My fiancé texts me to say that he had a long day at work and wants to go to Margie's, a local ice cream shop. I've also had a long 12-hour shift and would love some ice cream, so I take the brown line from work and meet him for a huge sundae, which we split. $7.43

Daily Total: $63.66

Day Two



6:45 a.m. — I get out of bed too late to make breakfast this morning, but there's corned beef hash in the cafeteria today, YUM. I get a plate with two over-medium eggs and hash browns and devour it before heading up to my unit to start another 12-hour day. $5.46

7:40 a.m. — It is payday, so I take some time to pay bills while looking up my patient assignment at work. My fiancé and I have a joint checking account, but I take on the responsibility of paying all the bills since I'm a budget freak. We are also saving for our May wedding (which we moved up from our original August date due to our surprise pregnancy!), so I transfer $800 into our wedding savings account, since we will be paying cash. I also pay the car payment, gas bill, and student loan interest. I both love and hate payday; we are rich for a hot minute, but then the balance goes down once I pay all the bills. $800

2:15 p.m. — It's a busy day at work, and I barely get a lunch break. I scarf down a few things I threw together this morning: a PB&J sandwich, string cheese, some strawberries, and a Dove chocolate. Then it's back to work!

8:15 p.m. — Finally home! My fiancé tries to cook on the nights I work so that I can come home and put my feet up; he's the best. He's made his signature dish tonight: buffalo-chicken quinoa salad. We eat together and chat about our days before I hop in the shower and pass out at around 9.

Daily Total: $805.46

Day Three



9:30 a.m. — It is a beautiful day and the start of a rare three-day weekend for me, so I walk our two dogs to the local coffee shop and grab an iced latte. (My OB says I can have "moderate" caffeine intake while pregnant.) I sit at the park to drink it. $4.13

1 p.m. — I drive to my hometown, which is about an hour from the city, to have my final floral consultation, view the centerpiece mock-up, and pay the deposit. Everything looks beautiful and is exactly what I envisioned. I pay $1,500 of the remaining balance from our wedding account and will pay the rest two weeks prior to the wedding. I also fill up the car with gas and pay from our main checking account, since it is so much cheaper by my parents' house. $1,536

7 p.m. — My fiancé and I walk to a restaurant about a mile from our condo to grab dinner. Between work, wedding planning, and other life responsibilities, we have been super busy lately, so it's nice to have dinner and some time just for us. I have a big salad with seasonal veggies, fruits, and chicken, and he has a sandwich, fries, and two beers. Our meals are significantly cheaper now that I can't drink. We talk about potential baby names over dinner; luckily we agree on on a couple! We'll be finding out the sex a few days after our wedding. $36.73

Daily Total: $1,576.86

Day Four



8:30 a.m. — I make breakfast at home for both my fiancé and me: scrambled eggs and English muffins with fruit salad. We both have a pretty low-key day planned, which is nice.

11 a.m. — I drop our two dogs off for their "spa day." They both need nail trims and baths. One of the dogs is overjoyed, but I basically have to drag the other one to the groomer; she is not a fan. We both had dogs before we met each other, making things interesting when my fiancé moved into my condo last year. Luckily, both dogs get along! $63

12 p.m. — I meet a girlfriend for brunch/lunch at a delicious place on Southport. I get a breakfast skillet and a latte; she gets a delicious-looking sandwich. I haven't seen her in over a month, so it's nice to catch up. She and her boyfriend are starting to talk about getting engaged, and she freaks out over my now-apparent baby bump. I pay for my portion and then head back to the groomer's to pick up the dogs. $14

Daily Total: $77

Day Five



11 a.m. — I buy groceries for the week: chicken, fresh fruit, yogurt, bread, and a few other things to make meals with, not to mention Yasso frozen yogurt bars. Yum! My fiancé and I are trying to cut back on eating out since we have the wedding coming up and then the baby coming in the fall. We are pretty financially secure, but it never hurts to save more money; plus, it is healthier to eat at home. I have traditionally done most of the cooking, but he is learning a few recipes as well. $51

12 p.m. — I stop at Ulta on the way home to pick up more Living Proof dry shampoo and travel sizes of their shampoo and conditioner. I started using this brand a few months ago and can really tell there has been a difference in my hair! I wash my hair twice a week and use dry shampoo the other days, so I skip the bigger bottles with a pump and decide to go with the small sizes until after the wedding to save money. The little bottles last more than three weeks anyway. $47.06

7 p.m. — My fiancé and I make dinner together with the groceries I bought earlier. We make a seasonal dish of basil-peach chicken and a quinoa salad with asparagus, avocado, and homemade dressing. We always make pretty large portions so that we have leftovers to take for lunch. We eat out on the deck since it is a nice night. I pass out around 9.

Daily Total: $98.06

Day Six



5:45 a.m. — I make myself get up on time so that I can eat breakfast at home. Today, that's a protein shake with Greek yogurt, milk, peanut butter, half a banana, and chocolate protein powder. I drink it while walking to the train.

6:45 a.m. — I grab an iced coffee from the Starbucks inside the hospital lobby. It's a necessity for a long 12-hour day. $3.86

12:30 p.m. — I eat leftovers for lunch and chat with my coworkers. I usually like to get outside for a few minutes on my lunch break since I'm stuck inside all day, but it's raining today, so I sit in the break room and watch Food Network instead.

8:15 p.m. — My fiancé makes a frozen pizza for dinner that we eat together. He tells me he got his taxes back and owes $,1850. He has a salaried job, but also works freelance on the side and is considered a "contractor," so we always end up owing something. Luckily, I got a large refund from my taxes due to my mortgage and student loan interest, so we still net a little over $2,000 between us. We were anticipating him owing money and put my refund in our joint savings account. We use that to cut a check to the IRS. $1,850

Daily Total: $1,853.86

Day Seven



9 a.m. — I drop my fiancé off at work before going to a little French bakery for breakfast. I try to go about once a week; it's nice to have some time to myself. I order a bacon-and-Swiss quiche, a hazelnut macaron, and a latte. I sit for about an hour, read stuff on my phone, and relax before going to the gym. $12.40

1 p.m. — I eat a sandwich at home for lunch while studying. With everything else in my life, school has unfortunately become a low priority. I'm taking a leave of absence for the summer and fall semesters because aside from our upcoming wedding weekend, we also have my fiancé's best friend's wedding in June, and my sister's wedding in July. My demanding doctorate program would have been too much, even at my part-time status. I'm taking a 12-week maternity leave in the fall, so it also made sense to take off of classes then to focus on our little bundle.

5 p.m. — I put a little bit of gas in the car on the way to pick my fiancé up from work. We talk about our days, decide to make something at home for dinner, and relax. $10

Daily Total: $22.40
5 of 5
This week: a real-estate asset manager who makes $96,000/year and spends it on starting a new blog.

Occupation: Asset Manager
Industry: Real Estate
Age: 27
Location: Long Beach, CA
Salary: $96,000 for me, including my bonus; $191,000 for the household, including my husband's salary and bonus.
Paycheck: $2,020; bi-weekly for me, including deductions for a 6% 401(k) contribution and a loan taken against 401(k); $2,638 twice a month for my husband.

Monthly Expenses
Housing: $3,204 (includes mortgage, PMI, homeowner's insurance, and property taxes). We own our home, and all expenses are paid out of our joint bank account. Our household includes myself, my husband, our two-month-old baby, and two dogs.
Car Loan Payments: $1,150 for two cars
Student Loan Payment: $500
Credit Card Payment: $154

All Other Monthly Expenses
Cable & Internet: $163
Pilates Membership: $127
Gym Membership: $45
Netflix: $10
Daycare: $305/week starting in May when I go back to work after maternity leave
House Cleaner: $80
Gardener: $35
Electricity: ~$75
Gas/Water/Sewer: ~$100
Life & Long-term Disability iInsurance: $329

Day One



7:45 a.m. — After feeding the baby, changing her, and getting some play time in, she goes down for a nap. (She woke up at 5:30 this morning.) I make myself a vanilla latte and my normal morning breakfast of cheesy scrambled eggs and chicken sausage, and then take a prenatal vitamin (since I am breastfeeding) and a placenta capsule. I just finished my last sausage and am running low on eggs, so I will need to have my husband pick up more groceries on his way home from work. I am currently on maternity leave, but getting out of the house with a two-month-old baby is a struggle.

10:15 a.m. — I take the baby and our two dogs out for our daily walk around the neighborhood. Sometimes we walk to the local Starbucks, but I skip that today since I made myself a latte for breakfast and have school tonight, where I will inevitably get coffee anyway.

12:45 p.m. — After getting the baby down for another nap, I make my favorite lunch of avocado with a balsamic drizzle on multigrain toast and a Diet Coke. Delicious! I snack on almonds and cashews as well since I'm on a high-fat diet to help with breastmilk production and fat content.

5:15 p.m. — I send my husband a grocery list to pick up some items from Trader Joe's. He brings home eggs, chicken sausage, avocados, a few bottles of wine, milk, and orange juice. $44.15

6:50 p.m. — I arrive at school, where I'm in my last quarter of an MBA program, and stop at the Starbucks in the building for a Grande iced cinnamon macchiato with almond milk and a reduced-fat turkey bacon and egg white sandwich with a side of sriracha. I also add on a chocolate chip cookie and a bottle of water. Part of our tuition includes a food allowance, so I use my student ID card to pay the $13.10.

10:30 p.m. — On my way home from class, I stop at Target to pick up some food and toiletries that I prefer over Trader Joe's branded items. I get Herdez Salsa Verde to go with my morning eggs, Diet Coke, bread for toast, and deodorant. I head home and have a glass of wine with my husband and then off to bed. I am blessed with a baby that sleeps through the night. $15.05

Daily Total: $59.20

Day Two



5:45 a.m. — Our baby wakes up for her morning feeding session. I snack on a S'mores Luna bar and a glass of milk while feeding her.

8:45 a.m. — I have my morning breakfast of a vanilla latte, cheesy eggs, and chicken sausages. I had my hubby cook all of my breakfast sausages for the week last night, so all I have to do is heat them up in the microwave. My cooking skills are extremely limited, and it is nice to have less to prepare in the morning.

12:10 p.m. — Baby and I head out to the county health department to pick up her birth certificate. There is a $28 fee for a certified copy. After, we head home and I nosh on my avocado / balsamic / toast lunch. $28

6:45 p.m. — It has been a long day. We are sleep training our baby in her crib (she slept soundly in a Rock N' Play for the last six weeks), and it has been rough. Very little nap time for baby = extremely little rest time for mom. I decide that trying to prepare something is too daunting, so I order Rubio's via DoorDash. I get a bean and cheese burrito, a fish taco (which was soggy by the time I got it, so I didn't eat it), and two churros. My husband is a CPA and works until 11 p.m. two nights a week during tax season; tonight was one of those nights. I chase my churros with a glass of wine after the baby falls asleep around 7:30, watch my trashy shows that my husband won't watch with me (The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Southern Charm), and then I head to bed. $18.85

Daily Total: $46.85

Day Three



7:10 a.m. — The baby spent her first night in her crib (yay!) but woke up at 4:30. I am definitely not complaining. She went back down and is up again at 7 a.m. I'm starving, so I grab a Luna bar and a glass of milk. After she is done eating, I make myself a vanilla latte and start getting ready. I am meeting my boss at one of my project sites. I am still on maternity leave, but my project finished construction while I have been out, and I am anxious to see it. My boss works in Northern California, and I adore her, so I am excited to see her as well. She has asked that I bring the baby so she can meet her.

9:50 a.m. — Our meeting is at 10 a.m., and I am a little early, so I hit up the Starbucks down the street and grab myself a grande iced cinnamon macchiato and a grande non-fat, extra-hot latte for her. I could expense it, but I'm not technically working and will likely forget by the time I get back in the office. $9.40

11:45 a.m. — My husband's office is on my way home from my job site, so I surprise him and pick up some El Pollo Loco for lunch for him and his team. Tonight is his last late night of tax season. I order three double chicken avocado salads, one shrimp taco, three crunchy chicken tacos, and a Diet Coke. I eat quickly as the baby is starting to get fussy and she wants her lunch too. I'd rather feed her at home than in his office. $32.78

1:15 p.m. — After feeding the baby and putting her down for a nap, I finish a Target online order I started yesterday. We are headed up to my family's vacation home in Paso Robles next week with the baby and some friends as a post-tax-season getaway, and I am not feeling completely comfortable post-baby. (I fully intend to soak in the hot tub.) I order a new one-piece suit, a high-waist bikini bottom, and a matching top. Target has some great swimsuits this season, plus I love their body-positive campaign. My total is $89.87 with my RedCard discount, but I apply a $10 gift card I have. I snack on cashews and chug some water. I aim to drink 100 ounces of water a day. $79.97

3:30 p.m. — I put my daughter down for an afternoon nap and decide to move forward with starting a blog. I have always loved writing, and starting a blog has been on my mind for a few years, but I was never sure about what to write about. Now that I have my daughter, all I do during my downtime is browse various blogs, looking for recommendations on different baby products, sleep training, etc. At the very least, it will be a good outlet for me to get my thoughts out. At the most, it would be a good way to earn some extra cash, since we have to start paying for daycare in a few weeks. I pay for a hosting site and professional webpage design and setup on WordPress. The extra charges for template setup and design are worth it to me, as my technical skills and patience levels are low. $502.96

6:05 p.m. — After a failed attempt at an afternoon walk with the dogs and my daughter (we only made it down the block before heading back, since my daughter was super fussy), I head back to the house, feed her, and put her down. I have no desire to warm the steak and asparagus my husband prepared for me last night, so I heat up a Hot Pocket for dinner. After, I eat fresh strawberries my mom dropped off yesterday with whipped cream.

8:55 p.m. — I FaceTime my husband's cousin and his new fiancé who is one of my best friends (they're welcome for the introduction!). They just arrived at their hotel for Coachella. I had tickets but had to sell them, since Coachella and new babies don't mix. I purchased my tickets during pre-sale about nine hours before I found out I was pregnant; there's always next year! During our hour-long FaceTime conversation (I need adult talk after a day with the baby when my husband is working late), I kill two glasses of wine and a Luna bar. After hanging up and putting some laundry away, I head to bed with another 20 ounces of water. I'm hoping for another good night with my daughter, as she sleeps in her crib for Night Two.

Daily Total: $625.11

Day Four



7:02 a.m. — My daughter woke up at 3:30 this morning, so I nursed her quickly and then went back to sleep. She wakes up again around 7, but my husband gets up and feeds her a bottle so that I can make my latte and cheesy eggs. Once I'm finished, I take over so he can get ready and head out to work.

9:15 a.m. — After my daughter wakes from her morning nap, I take her and the dogs on a walk for about 30 minutes and then head back home and get some cleaning done. My daughter loves her Ergobaby carrier and stays asleep the entire time while I vacuum, do some dishes, finish the laundry, and eat a Luna bar.

12:45 p.m. — After nursing my daughter, I put her down for a nap and make my typical lunch of avocado toast with balsamic drizzle, chased down with a Diet Coke.

4 p.m. — I am starving for some reason, so I nosh on a Luna bar while waiting for my husband to get off work. Our Friday night tradition before we had our daughter was to have dinner at an amazing little sushi joint down the street, and we continue it post-baby by ordering pick-up.

5:15 p.m. — My husband has finished work, so I call in our usual order, which he can pick up on his way home. They know me by name now, and I order a spicy tuna roll and gyoza for me, a beef teriyaki dinner and garlic edamame for him, and jalapeño yellowtail sashimi to share. My husband swings by Trader Joe's as well to pick up some wine. We eat our dinner, play with the baby, and then put her down for the night and enjoy some wine together. $87.88

Daily Total: $87.88

Day Five



7:06 a.m. — My daughter slept in until 6:15 this morning! Eureka! My husband gets up first and gives her a bottle so that I can sleep in a little longer. Then we switch, and I take her so he can get a little more sleep before heading to work. It is his last Saturday working during tax season. I play with her for a bit, then put her down for a nap so I can make cheesy eggs and toast.

12:15 p.m. — I head to a local outdoor mall to meet my husband during his lunch hour and take pictures with the Easter bunny. I misunderstood the ad, however, so instead of having an Easter bunny, there's a petting zoo with actual bunnies. We head to Cheesecake Factory instead for lunch. I order fish tacos and a Diet Coke, and my husband gets a Kobe burger. $49.76

1:20 p.m. — After enjoying lunch together (with our daughter sleeping the majority of the time), we pick up our cars from the valet so I can head home with the baby and my husband can go back to the office. I pay for his car and the tip, since he doesn't have any cash on him. $15

2:25 p.m. — I place an order from Amazon to stock up our family's vacation house with baby essentials next week to avoid carting stuff back and forth for our trips there. I also buy some new sunglasses for my husband since he lost his at a wedding last weekend. I order a small baby bath tub (we have a large 4moms tub at home that isn't conducive for traveling back and forth), baby shampoo and body wash, sunscreen, refills of bag packs for our Diaper Genie at home, and Von Zipper Elmore sunglasses. $152.28

5:49 p.m. — In case you haven't noticed, we order out for food a lot. Our monthly budget for food and drink is $1,600. Tonight, our level of exhaustion has led me to my Domino's app, and we order a medium pizza with mushrooms, sausage, and pepperoni. Luckily, I have enough points to get a free pizza on my next order! Love that reward program. $21.38

7:44 p.m. — I have an intense craving for something sweet, so I head to Golden Spoon to get fro-yo for my husband and me while he feeds our daughter her last bottle of the night. (We supplement with formula two bottles a day.) On the way there, I also decide to pick up wine, steak, and mushrooms for dinner tomorrow, plus bacon, chicken breakfast sausages, and flowers for my mother-in-law, whom we will be seeing tomorrow for Easter. $96.34

Daily Total: $334.76

Day Six



6:36 a.m. — We had an amazing night; our daughter slept until 6:30! I wake up, grab a Luna bar, and feed her while my husband gets ready for church and brunch. After, I make myself a vanilla latte and him coffee while he plays with her and gets her dressed. Then it's my turn to get ready before we head out to meet his parents at an Easter church service on the beach. Unfortunately, when we arrive, we realize they have special service times on Easter and we missed the only service they were doing for the day. It's the effort that counts, right?

8:44 a.m. — We head to a local brunch spot with his parents. I get chilaquiles, my brunch go-to, and a mimosa. I will give my daughter formula for the next two feedings so I can enjoy my mimosa without worry, and then I'll breastfeed the rest of the day. His parents pay for brunch, and then we take a walk around the marina.

1:12 p.m. — After some relaxation time at home, I heat up some of last night's leftover pizza while FaceTiming our friends at Coachella. The FOMO is real!

3:33 p.m. — Nasty Gal is having a 40% off sale, and I am desperately trying not to hit "purchase" on all of the items I have added to my cart. Instead, I tell myself that I can start buying new clothes once I can actually fit in regular clothes again, instead of the leggings and tunics I currently live in. I plop down to nurse my daughter while munching on another Luna bar.

7:13 p.m. — While I feed our daughter, my husband starts cooking the steaks and mushrooms I purchased last night. We take turns eating while trying to get her to sleep for the night. Once she is down, I watch the series finale of Girls and head to bed.

Daily Total: $0

Day Seven



7 a.m. — My daughter woke up around 5:30 this morning for a feeding. After nursing her, I bring her back to our bed so I can recline, and she falls asleep in my arms. She wakes up again just after 7, and my husband takes her and gives her a bottle. I cook up some cheesy eggs, breakfast sausages, and make him a coffee and me a vanilla latte.

10:33 a.m. — After taking my daughter and our dogs for a 30-minute walk, I drop the dogs at home and put my daughter in her stroller. We head out, and I walk with her to Trader Joe's to get some veggies and other groceries. I pick up bell peppers, a cucumber, hummus, coconut milk, apples, and almond butter. $27.30

12:10 p.m. — I get a quick arm and ab workout in, and then I chop up the bell peppers and cucumber and pull out the hummus for lunch while my daughter takes a nap. My cell phone bill hits my credit card. I typically get $70 reimbursed through work, but since I'm on maternity leave, I will have to pay the entire bill this month, which covers my phone and iPad. $147.37

2:33 p.m. — I need to wash the cover on my daughter's DockATot, which we started using this week to help with the rocker-to-crib transition. I didn't realize it couldn't be put in the dryer, so I have to wait for it to line-dry, making afternoon napping difficult. I order an extra cover to switch out in the future. I pull out a Luna bar for a snack. $71.99

5:55 p.m. — I whip up avocado toast with balsamic drizzle to eat before heading to school. Only eight weeks until graduation!

6:52 p.m. — I order an iced cinnamon macchiato with almond milk at the Starbucks on campus before class, and use my student card with my food allowance to pay the $4.95 charge.

8:23 p.m. — Our classes run from 7 to 9:50 p.m. and we typically get a 10-minute break around 8:15. I head over to Au Bon Pain and order green chili and corn chowder and a bottled water. I pay the $7.55 using my student card. After class, I head home and curl up on the couch with my husband and a glass of wine.

Daily Total: $246.66
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