A Week In Texas On A $360,000 Salary

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 surgeon who makes $360,000 per year. She spends some of her paycheck this week on Canadian whiskey.
Occupation: Vitreo-retinal Surgeon
Industry: Healthcare & Medicine
Age: 40
Location: Texas
Salary: $360,000
Paycheck (Every Two Weeks): $10,113.05 after health, dental, malpractice and disability insurance deductions
Monthly Expenses
Housing: $3,832. ($1,832.00 plus an additional $2,000/month on the principal.)
Loan Payments: None — neither school nor car loans. My education was funded by parents, and extremely discounted from scholarships for my undergraduate and med school degrees.
Advertisement
All Other Monthly Expenses
Tuition: $1,000. My husband is in school full-time for business degree.
Utilities: $320 for water, electricity, and gas
Cable & Internet: $145/month
Cell Phone: $115 — mine and husband's
Netflix: $10
Church: $150
Car Insurance: $130 — mine and husband's. Both vehicles are paid off.
Credit Card: $4,000 on average, but this is variable. We pay it off in full every month.
Savings: $4,500. $3,000 for us and $1,500 for my parents, invested by a financial firm.
Emergency Fund: $1,000 - $2,000

Day One

6:15 a.m. — Wake up and get ready for work/clinic. Make brewed coffee at home (Trader Joe's Bali) with a splash of whole cream. Nixed the Starbucks habit (morning and afternoon) when I stopped drinking soy milk. (I don't like regular milk). Let the dogs out and feed them so my husband can sleep in. Have half a cup of yogurt, read/journal, and drive to clinic.
11 a.m. — Morning clinic done! Head home. Grab gas at the corner station near work. I drive quite a bit for work and need to start taking advantage of my practice's gas reimbursement program. $39.52
11:30 a.m. — Craving Indian food! Call a friend to see if she's free for lunch. She isn't, so I have rotisserie chicken (store bought by hubby yesterday) and steamed broccoli and cauliflower at home. "Dessert" is a slice of deli turkey and Swiss cheese. I get peckish when I'm not busy at work (no afternoon clinic), so I graze on leftover holiday candy and cookies, mixed nuts, and an egg while reading for work, watching Law & Order: SVU, and catching up on email. I buy a 2017 Passion Planner online for $29.50. Husband pays his $50 community softball league dues. $79.50
Advertisement
3:45 p.m. — Head out to an hour-long barre class. (I have one year's worth of unlimited classes already paid for.)
6 p.m. — Get ready for a work dinner at a new Italian restaurant. It's funded by our annual dues and is covered by work. I hitch a ride with a great work/life friend and catch up with old and new colleagues. Eat bruschetta, a Caesar salad, and choose the salmon and polenta entrée. Once food arrives, I eye my colleagues' pork ribs and mashed potatoes with envy.
10:30 p.m. — Ugh! One colleague WOULD NOT STOP TALKING! I finally get home over an hour after schedule and get coffee ready for the next day. Catch up with hubby for a little bit and turn in by 11 p.m.
Daily Total: $119.02

Day Two

6:25 a.m. — Wake up, let the dogs out, and feed them. Have the same brewed coffee and half a cup of yogurt at home. Read for leisure and drive to clinic. Work mornings are pretty routine.
11 a.m. — Morning clinic done! Head home and wait for hubby to finish his massage appointment so we can get together for lunch. I try to stave off "hanger" by making dental insurance phone calls (without getting anywhere), sorting through junk and work mail, and watching Trump's inauguration. Hubby's sports massage is part of a prepaid package and he tips in cash. $20
1:30 p.m. — Finally kill my Indian food craving! Hubby and I have the unlimited lunch buffet with chicken tikka masala, saag paneer and various other goodies. Yum! ($21.54 + $2 tip) $23.54
Advertisement
2:30 p.m. — Craving dessert, so I pop into Himalayan Bazar next door to the Indian restaurant. They have (overpriced) Cadbury chocolate; instead, I get Nimboo Pudina peanuts for $1.79. They only take cash. I eat a few handfuls on the drive home, plus mango cookies after I get home. $1.79
3:30 p.m. — Hubby comes home with groceries. (I love him!) He bought whole grain bread, a 12-pack of Diet 7UP, beef, full cream, ranch salad dressing, field greens, precut broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, and 2% Greek yogurt. $62.45
4 p.m. — Working and reading at home plus snacking mindlessly on Swiss cheese slices and handfuls of peanuts. Order a one-year subscription to a work-related medical journal for $600. Work reimburses the cost (whew!). Hubby comes back from getting our bulldog's nails clipped ($10). I head out to a half-hour barre class. $10
6:30 p.m. — Back from barre with a Redbox DVD. I'm too full for dinner. Spend the rest of the evening intermittently watching the DVD, reading, and screening after-hours emergency phone calls from patients. Hubby cooks himself steak. I steal bites after he offers me a taste. $2.17
10:15 p.m. — Late-night shopping online. I put items in carts from various websites without actually buying them. Find out I have a $36 PayPal "balance," i.e. money to spend. I buy a last-minute Kendra Scott e-gift card for a friend's birthday. $50
Daily Total: $169.95

Day Three

7:45 a.m. — I love Saturdays! Same routine as weekdays, except I start a little later, and my hubby's usually up and takes care of the dogs. Have coffee and half a cup of yogurt. Catch up with hubby and take a phone call from one of my patients. Still feeling munchy, so I boil half-a-dozen fresh duck and chicken eggs and eat a freshly cooked duck egg! So good and rich. Open Amazon, where I thought I made a purchase last night (books, hair oil, sling back strap holders, and an anti-blister stick for $166.15). It turns out that everything I "ordered" is still in my cart, with no record of the order being processed. I leave the items un-purchased, and spend the morning doing minor errands around the house and touching base with a friend for tonight's evening out.
Advertisement
12 p.m. — Barre class done. Errands time! Drop off my broken iPad for repair. My favorite Blowpro dry shampoo has a $5 in-store coupon, so I get it for $10.77. Given last night's purchasing fiasco, I hit up Half Price Books to use my $25 Secret Santa gift card. I get four books for $10.68. Get brows, et. al. done for $17 (including $3 tip). $38.45
2 a.m. — Finally make it home and I'm starving. Eat some of the rotisserie chicken with field greens, broccoli, and cauliflower mixed with leftover Chick-Fil-A avocado-lime ranch dressing. (It's not available in stores.) Catch up on recreational reading, etc. and snack on peanuts and mango cookies for dessert. Much on goat cheese afterwards.
7 p.m. — Hubby gets gas for his truck. We have an early dinner of two slices deli turkey and guacamole at home prior to heading out. $65
7:30 p.m. — At Topgolf for a friend's 35th birthday. While waiting for a station, I get a shot of single malt scotch, and hubby has two Crown And 7s. We tip $9. $53.92
9 p.m. — Finally get golf stations and start playing. Hubby orders appetizers and his dinner: chips with queso, salsa, guacamole, calamari, a Cobb salad and pickle fries. I get a glass of Malbec and he gets another Crown And 7. Food and drinks come to $79 after the $12.43 tip. Later, hubby gets two rounds of golf for $83.60 for the group. I nibble on food over the next two and a half hours. It was an expensive evening! $162.60
Advertisement
12 a.m. — FINALLY MAKE IT HOME! Lights out at 12:30.
Daily Total: $319.97

Day Four

7:30 a.m. — Not ready to get up, but sun's up and I can't sleep. Two cups of coffee over conversation with Mom. No room for yogurt. I head off to barre class.
10:45 a.m. — Pick up repaired iPad screen ($89) and get a new cover for $20. After tax, it comes out to $117.99. Grab groceries for slow-cooked Asian beef stew: baby potatoes, bell peppers, onions, tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, and baby carrots. I also get a can of mixed nuts, prepared broccoli, and bacon salad and kale with parmesan salad from the deli section, plus a copy of Newsweek about the inauguration. Everything costs $45.35, and I get $50 cash back. $163.34
12 p.m. — Throw ingredients for the beef stew into the slow cooker. Eat the broccoli and bacon salad for lunch with a hard-boiled egg, and have mixed nuts for dessert. Debate another barre class, but decide to catch up on reading and errands at home.
3 p.m. — Hour-long therapeutic massage (pre-paid package). I tip $15 in cash and return the Redbox DVD. $15
4:45 p.m. — Get home and have various eats over the next few hours. Start with kale and parmesan salad, and watch hubby watch football. Taste test the stew; I love the broth and have two cups. Hubby gives it his thumbs up! Eat a hard-boiled duck egg, browse house tours, and catch up with minor work while hubby watches football. Call parents, and head to bed at 9:30.
Advertisement
Daily Total: $178.34

Day Five

6:20 a.m. — Wake up and make coffee. Hubby gets up early and takes care of the dogs. I eat half a cup of yogurt for breakfast, get to clinic, and power through a busy morning clinic. Happy Monday!
12:20 p.m. — Lunch of bacon and broccoli salad, and a few bites of deli turkey. I'm not very hungry for lunch. I get a reminder to pay the 2016 property taxes in the mail. Start round two of clinic after lunch; thankfully, it's less hectic than the morning.
4 p.m. — Get home and munch on handfuls of mixed nuts, a hard-boiled egg, goat cheese, mango cookies, shortbread cookies, and peppermint chocolate while unwinding from work and catching up on recreational reading. See additional Redbox late charge. Grrr! $2.16
5:40 p.m. — “Dinner” is a few bites of Asian beef stew. I'm too stuffed to eat more! Forego barre tonight since my Mondays are usually workout rest days. Catch up on work notes, email, and reading for fun with Law & Order: SVU playing in the background. Hubby buys mountain bike gear ($49.99) and bike chain cleaner ($23.80). Off to bed at 9:30. $73.79
Daily Total: $75.95

Day Six

7:15 a.m. — Get up, make coffee, and have half-cup of plain Greek yogurt. Hubby is up and takes care of the dogs. Head out for an hour of barre at 9:30 a.m.
10:30 a.m. — Pop-up shop and sale at barre studio. I get joggers ($10), shorts ($10) and a Hard Tail yoga tank ($15), all in black. I pay cash. $35
Advertisement
11:30 a.m. — Hubby comes home with groceries: Ranch and "lite" Italian dressing, field greens, a rotisserie chicken, 2% plain Greek yogurt, deli turkey, and charcoal ($50.41). He also bought bike cleaning degreaser from Lowe's ($10.83) and cleaning tools from Amazon ($23.80). $85.04
12 p.m. — Work-life bestie wants to do lunch, and hubby wants to try a new Korean place near his university. We order Korean flapjacks, spring rolls, and calamari for appetizers. Lunch is pork belly (boiled bacon, which I end up hating) with kimchi, zucchini, and sprouts for me, and grilled spicy chicken with rice and similar sides; bestie gets beef bibimbap. Hubby is impressed; bestie and I less so. Hubby's and my share is $30.69 plus tip. $37
3 p.m. — Get front tires. No charge for the services, and no cash on me for tip. Get home and snack on mixed nuts, goat cheese, broccoli, and a slice of deli turkey.
6:45 p.m. — Another barre class! Catch up on recreational reading after barre. Hubby watches news, and it's lights out at 10:30.
Daily Total: $157.04

Day Seven

6:15 a.m. — Wake up, get coffee going, and take care of the dogs. Have half a cup of plain Greek yogurt and read while eating breakfast. See patients in clinic from 8 a.m. to noon.
12:30 p.m. — Get home for lunch: rotisserie chicken, kale with parmesan salad, and hard-boiled egg. Nuts for dessert.
1 p.m. — Munch on mango and shortbread cookies and peppermint chocolate while reading recreationally. Hubby gets home for lunch. He swung by the store for a bottle of Canadian whiskey. $16
Advertisement
2 p.m. — Get tire fixed. Thankfully, it was still under warranty, so it's free. Swing by Barnes & Noble while waiting and buy two books. Both are much cheaper on Amazon but I have a $50 gift card and I don't really want any other books. $1.64
4 p.m. — Get car cleaned. I have an $89.99 gift certificate from work. I choose an exterior cleaning and wax package and get talked into adding a $35 interior detailing. To be fair, I can't remember the last time I had my car interior cleaned. Total is $129.99. I pay with the gift card and leave a $10 tip. $45
5:30 p.m. — Get home still feeling kind of full. I eat a slice of Swiss cheese with almonds. Feeling under the weather, so I decide to skip barre class. I munch more on a slice of deli turkey and leftover Korean pancakes with beef. My sweet tooth kicks in and I go for a shortbread cookie and peppermint-chocolate kisses. Decide to eat “real food” later, and have a few bites of Asian beef stew and a slice of whole grain bread. Read Devoured and catch up with hubby while he eats dinner. Continue to catch up on recreational reading while hubby watches TV. Off to bed at 10!
Daily Total: $62.64
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.
Advertisement
Related Video:
Do you have a money diary you'd like to share? Right now, in addition to our ongoing diaries, we're looking for potential diarists along the following themes:
1. #TransWeek Diarists: In honor of Transgender Awareness Week (Nov. 14-20), we plan to showcase diaries from members of the trans and non-binary communities. Submit your week in money here.
2. Couple's Diaries: We want to take a closer look at how romantic partners who live together handle their money together — and individually. Whether you're married and live together, are unmarried and live together, or are in any combination of partnership and maintaining a joint household, we want BOTH of you to submit a Money Diary tracking your expenses for one week. We'll publish both diaries in an upcoming Money Diaries Monday story. Submit here.
3. Diarists With Disabilities: Have examples of how living with a disability impacts your life financially? Simply want to give a glimpse into your life, and how you handle your finances? We want to hear from you! Submit here.
Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here: r29.co/mdfaq
Advertisement