Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.
Today: a Business Analyst working in Finance with a joint income of $62,473 per year who spends some of her money this week on Reese's Cups.
Occupation: Business Analyst
Location: Cape Town, South Africa
Our Joint Salary: $62,473 (we earn the exact same amount)
B.’s Paycheck Amount (1x/month): $1,915
Paycheck Amount (1x/month): $1,573 (after 401(k), medical insurance, and life insurance)
Gender Identity: Cis-woman
Car Loan: $124
Cleaning Service: $70
Monthly Savings Goal: $555 (I also use an app called Stash that saves daily small balances)
Apple Music/Spotify: $13
Student Loans: $0 (I was lucky enough to have my degree paid for in part by my parents and in part through scholarships. B. didn't attend tertiary education — he's a self-taught software developer.)
Home/Car/Possessions Insurance: $138
Medical Account: $312/Paycheck (automatically deducted, this covers myself and B.)
401(k)/Retirement: $208 (automatically deducted)
Current Savings: $14,507 (we're saving for our first home and building up an emergency fund)
Note on our finances:
We share our money and expenses equally, almost like all our money goes into one pool and we spend it from there. All the monthly expenses I’ve included are the total amounts. There’s no "my money vs his money" mentality or paying each other back.
Editor's Note: All currency has been converted to USD.
7:45 a.m. — When I wake up, B. has already left for the run he does every Saturday. I get up and get ready for my hot yoga class. I'm tempted to snuggle in and miss the class, but I promised a friend from work I'd join them. I unpack and repack the dishwasher and clean up the takeout boxes we were too tired to clean up last night. I confirm plans with friends to meet them for a drink this afternoon and head out for yoga.
8:45 a.m. — I do a quick grocery shop for the potluck dinner we're attending this evening. I get some steaks, garlic bread, drinks, and some blueberries for brunch later. $24
10:45 a.m. — Back from yoga and the session kicked my butt! It was a free class since I'm new to the studio. After a quick shower, I make brunch — crepes with blueberry compote and mascarpone cheese. I relax and catch up on MasterChef while B. does some work.
3:30 p.m. — We head out to meet our friends for drinks. We buy some more things for the dinner we're attending later — a housewarming gift for the couple, some alcohol-free beers for B. since he's not drinking this month, and tonic water. We make our way to the bar, which was voted the best cocktail bar in the country for 2019. $20
5:30 p.m. — A few cocktails later and I am tipsyyyy ($17). Here for it. The friends we see are in town because they're getting married here three months from now, and ask us to be part of their wedding party. It's the first time we'll be in a wedding party together, and marks the third wedding this year that I'm a bridesmaid/MOH for. The bride-to-be has already bought the bridesmaid dresses and she promises to ship mine down to see if I need to get it altered. I am so excited for her and we spend most of the time in the bar chatting about their upcoming nuptials. We say our goodbyes and drive to pick up our friends that are joining us for dinner. $17
11:30 p.m. — Dinner is lovely — we barbecue (we call it ‘braai-ing' - an Afrikaans word), chat, drink, and laugh. Dessert is a highlight — milktart, which is a cheesecake-esque milk treat topped with cinnamon, and koeksisters, which are knotted rolls of sweet dough deep-fried and drenched in syrup. My heart is happy. We get back home and I do my nighttime skincare routine (face wipe and pray) and fall straight asleep.
Daily Total: $61
8 a.m. — I wake up to a snuggly cat on my chest and howling wind outside. It's summer, but the overnight wind has brought clouds and rain. Our cat tucks his head under my chin for a cuddle and B. snuggles up to me. We have a Sunday morning routine of lazing in bed with coffee, then planning our meals and grocery list for the week and doing the grocery shopping, and this Sunday is no exception. We have a Jamie Oliver cookbook that focuses on recipes that only use five ingredients, which helps with keeping the shopping list minimal. After I shower, I sit on the bed in my towel for an hour sucked into a Pinterest hole looking at bridesmaids' hairstyles.
11 a.m. — We arrive at the shopping center. I'm tempted to have a lovely brunch at one of the nearby restaurants, but payday is more than a week away so we go straight to the store instead. We buy all the ingredients we'll need for a week of meals: chicken wings, pork sausages, fish fillets, steaks, tomatoes, brinjals, bananas, onions, spring onions, sesame seeds, herbs, curry paste, pasta, bread, and milk. $39
12:30 p.m. — We're back at home and unpacking our groceries. B. cleans out the cat litter while I clean out the fridge and we flop on the couch after our chores. We'd planned a hike in a nearby forest with a group of friends, but canceled it due to the weather. What's nicer than a rainy Sunday afternoon with no plans? We binge-watch Survivor for the rest of the afternoon.
5 p.m. — Needing a TV break, I pick up my laptop to do some MOH duty. My sister is getting married in four months and I'm planning her bridal shower and bachelorette. She's not one for going out, so I'm planning a boho picnic slumber party at my parents' home for her bachelorette. I originally wanted to rent a house on a lake but finding space for the 17 ladies she wants to be invited proved too difficult (and expensive!). I call my mom to check that we can use their garden for the picnic and get an earful from my dad about trying to cut costs and sacrificing on the experience she's getting. It takes a while, but I convince him that its what's best, especially since her friends are recent graduates starting out their working careers and can't contribute financially. After we put the phone down, I vent to B., who makes me put my laptop and phone away for the night and gives me a shoulder and back rub on the couch.
8 p.m. — We pop a pizza in the oven for dinner and look for a movie to watch, settling on rewatching Avengers: Endgame. After the movie I prep my peanut butter, banana, and cinnamon smoothie for tomorrow's breakfast and pack out my yoga clothes. I find that doing my Monday morning prep-work the day before helps me feel more prepared for the week. We're asleep by 11:30 p.m.
Daily Total: $39
6:30 a.m. — Why is it so hard to wake up on Monday mornings? B. is super cuddly and the bed is so comfy, so I hit the snooze button.
7:30 a.m. — Okayyyy, time to get up and face the week. It's a hair wash day so after my shower, I blow dry my hair and finish my face with MAC foundation, blush, highlighter, eyeshadow, and mascara. I throw on a floral empire waist dress with matching pumps that makes me feel like a 50s housewife and head out the door.
8:30 a.m. — My office is a mile away from our apartment, so I walk to work every day. My company pays a commuter allowance if you walk/use public transport, so I am making money by walking to work! By 8:30, I am at my desk and prepping for a meeting with my manager to discuss my performance contract for the next year. It goes well, and when I get back to my desk I drink the smoothie I made last night while mapping out the requirements for my next project. I smash a few things on my to-do list before lunch.
12 p.m. — Once a month, my team and I do lunch together somewhere outside the office. We have a canteen where you can get a free lunch, but we skip that today and head for half price sushi, dim sum, and cocktails. One of my colleagues pays for the Uber there. I order duck, honey, and ginger potstickers to start, salmon California rolls, and a tempura prawn sushi platter for my main, and an alcohol-free mojito. I know if I want to have a productive afternoon I need to stay away from alcohol, and the virgin one turns out to be almost as nice. Another colleague pays for the Uber back to the office. $16
1:30 p.m. — I might as well have had a proper mojito. I feel like sitting outside in the sun all afternoon instead of being at work. A call from a friend I work with wakes me back up — the call is part catch up, part actual work that she asks me to help her with. After the call, I catch up on some emails and start on her request. (Insert a Venn diagram of me saying "Kind regards" in my emails vs. me saying "Kind regards" out loud. The circles don't touch.)
3 p.m. — I NEED COFFEE! I've cut down to one cup a day and this is the time of the afternoon I normally have it. I make myself a cappuccino in the work kitchen and chat with a colleague, S., while I sip on it. I remember I owe her money for a gift she bought for another colleague and Geopay (our version of Venmo) her. $10
5:15 p.m. — I leave the office and get home fifteen minutes later. I flip on the couch with our cat on my lap. I was supposed to go to yoga, but realistically what was I thinking? B. has been home for a while but is working on his side hustle so I catch up on some Netflix while absent-mindedly scrolling Instagram. Our doorman has given us a letter, and it turns out to be an invitation to a wedding in England in a few months. I check flight prices and do a double-take — it doesn't look like we'll be able to afford to go. We have seven (7!!!) weddings in just as many months this year. It's a real shame we can't go to the English wedding as the couple came to ours. We'll have to get them a really lovely gift instead.
8 p.m. — We sit down to eat the fish curry, rice, and poppadoms I've made for dinner while catching up on Survivor. After dinner, B. does the dishes (we have a one-person-cooks-the-other-cleans set up) and I chill out on the couch. I FaceTime with my best friend who's living and working in Luxembourg, while B. chats to a friend that we're going away with in two months. We head up to bed. I give B. a back rub, and we fall asleep around 11.
Daily Total: $26
5:30 a.m. — I have ambitiously set a 5:30 alarm so that I can catch up on the yoga I missed yesterday. Nope! It's snooze time.
7:30 a.m. — Two hours of cuddles with B. later and I am ready to get the day started. I shower (not a hair wash day, yay!), do my make-up, and throw on a geometric sheath dress that's a hand-me-down from my MIL. I'm out the door by 8:15.
8:30 a.m. — I'm attending a full day Advanced Excel course and the instructor is one of those super chatty, excitable middle-aged women who blabs about how slow computers were when they started and how her husband has never washed a dish in his life. Yikes! One of my closest work friends, L., is also on the course with me and in the breaks, we chat about her upcoming wedding in August (one of the seven).
12 p.m. — L. and I grab lunch at a café close to the office. Every day, we get a $5 digital voucher for most of the restaurants around the office if we don't eat lunch in the office canteen. I use the voucher to buy a curried chicken, Danish feta, and rocket wrap that is delish.
3:30 p.m. — The course finishes early and I am tempted to go home. Besides a little certificate, I'm not leaving with much else except a handful of useful tips I might use. B. messaged me earlier to say he's not feeling well and is working from home today. I drag myself up to my desk to reply to a few urgent emails and find a treat — the sunflower butter cups I ordered from my friend's new business have arrived! By 4:30 p.m. I call it a day and walk home.
5 p.m. — B. and I can't wait to try the sunflower butter cups so we have one each. He's feeling a little better but still unwell. The cups are nice, although they're missing the saltiness and amount of butter that Reese's would have. B. and I make a deal: If I go find the real deal Reese's, he'll make dinner while I'm out. I head to a shop that I know sells imported goods and can only find a bar of my dad's favorite raw honey paleo-friendly chocolate, which I buy for him ($4.50). I go to another shop and find success! I pick up four two-packs of Reese's peanut butter cups and make my way home ($7). $11.50
7 p.m. — While I was out Reese's hunting, B. made basil pesto, which we toss through some spaghetti and top with toasted almonds. We eat in front of the TV and watch Survivor, and while we're cuddling B. falls asleep. After I make my breakfast smoothie, I listen to a guided meditation and drift to sleep by 10 p.m.
Daily Total: $11.50
7:30 a.m. — Time to get out of bed for a busy day at the office! My leg hairs are at a critical stage but I just cannot be bothered to shave, so it looks like it will be a pants day. At least it's a little overcast today so the weather gods are working in my favor. After my morning routine, I put on a set of stripy pants and a matching top. B. is working from home today to be around for the cleaning lady that comes once a week to change the sheets, wash the floors, do the laundry, etc. so he's still in bed by the time I leave for the office.
8:40 a.m. — After missing a day in the office yesterday, my to-do list has really piled up. I have a client meeting in a little while so obviously I can't do any real work until then, and read articles about #Megxit instead. You go girl. The meeting with the client goes well and I spend the rest of my morning in Excel working on my next project.
12:30 p.m. — My manager and I head out to lunch at a restaurant that's on the digital voucher list and I get a cheese and garlic flatbread with a Tuscan tomato preserve. I only eat half of it and save the rest for later. I get tap water with ice and lemon so my lunch is free! Perks of working in corporate!
5:15 p.m. — My afternoon is an Excel salad with meeting sprinkles and by 5:00 p.m. I am OVER IT. I pack up for the day and make my way home.
7 p.m. — B. comes home from a drink with a friend and seems a bit grumpy that I skipped my Thursday evening yoga class (maybe he wanted the apartment to himself because he's secretly watching The Bachelor?). I read a book I got as a Christmas present in our bedroom upstairs and when he's hungry, he calls to me to come make dinner with him. We make a recipe we haven't tried before. It's grilled steak with brinjal, basil, and cherry tomatoes — it's enjoyable but I won't make it again in a hurry.
9 p.m. — We're watching (you guessed it) Survivor! One of the episodes we watch is the family visit one that always has me bawling my eyes out. B.'s mood has lifted and I suspect he may have been hangry. We cuddle on the couch and make our way to bed at 10:30 p.m.
Daily Total: $0
7:45 a.m. — I treat myself to cat cuddles and then get out of bed, accepting the fact that I'll have to shave my legs today. Today's outfit is a shirt-dress that I pair with pretty flats and hoop earrings. Today is a big hoop earring kinda day — I need the energy for all the boring data work I'll be doing.
9 a.m. — I'm at my desk, drinking my breakfast smoothie and catching up on some of my bridesmaid duties for my friend getting married in four months. I design a quick bridal shower invite and send it to the rest of the bridesmaids to check that they're happy, then get cracking on my real work that I am actually being paid to do.
11 a.m. — I realize B. and I have been married 16 months today! I pop him a message and we make plans to do something fun after work. As if the universe is aligned, I get a message from someone looking at my wedding dress I've been trying to sell on Stillwhite and we arrange to meet in two days.
1 p.m. — The morning whizzes by and I manage to get a lot of work done. I have a lunch date with a friend, D., but she texts me to let me know she's running late and will meet me at the lunch spot. I get another half hour of work done, then go to the post office to send my sister some of her clothes I borrowed in the festive season and the chocolate bar I bought my dad the other day. My family lives across the country and postage comes to $7.50. $7.50
2:30 p.m. — D. and I catch up over lunch. She works with me and we have become best friends over the last few years. She always has me head-back-cheeks-hurting-laughing. I get the curried chicken, Danish feta, and rocket wrap I had earlier this week and it's just as tasty.
4 p.m. — My period has started — blessed day! That reminds me I need to give my MIL a call for our weekly chat, and I make a mental note to call her tomorrow. I need a period pain pill ASAP and don't have one in my bag, so head home.
5 p.m. — I'm home and I've taken a pain pill, and it makes me a bit drowsy. B. gets home and I change into a cute little white and blue striped dress and we head out to find a nearby bar to have a celebratory 16-month-aversary drink. I get a margarita cocktail that's charged with elderflower syrup and a splash of champagne and it's amaze! B. gets a Long Island iced tea and we share dill and feta phyllo pastry cigars and beef samosas (triangular little baked pastries — YUM). $21.50
7:30 p.m. — We get home and have a gin and tonic each while watching some TV. B. sits on the floor and I give him a shoulder rub. We'd planned to make sesame seed chicken wings for dinner, but are full from our little date so we make quick grilled cheese and call it a night by 9:30.
Daily Total: $29
6:15 a.m. — I promised a friend from work, O., that I'd join him for yoga at 7 a.m. I roll over and…
6:30 a.m. — Shit! I've fallen asleep again. I quickly get up, change into the yoga clothes I picked out last night (thank you past me!), and dash out the door. I make it to the class with time to spare, and top my yoga account up with two class credits. $10
8:15 a.m. — The yoga class is nice and empty and I enjoy my practice. O. and I grab a takeaway coffee and I pay ($3), pay for parking ($1), and head home. $4
9:15 a.m. — I'm showered, made up, and my hair is straightened, and I put on a pink baby doll dress and matching pumps. I make my smoothie and head out the door. On my way to work, I call my MIL and catch up with her week. She's like a friend to me and I love hearing her gossip.
9:30 a.m. — I'm at my desk and my manager is out for the morning. He's really relaxed about working hours and cares more about the quality of work, which is great for me because I'm a fast worker when I put my head down. Today, though, I browse some articles and vent to S. about my bridesmaid duties, which are starting to feel a little overwhelming. Eventually I drink my smoothie, put my head down, and get started on my work.
1:30 p.m. — I've had an unproductive morning trying to solve a tricky data problem. I leave the office to get two tampon packs from the pharmacy ($8), miraculously resisting the cosmetics section which I always succumb to, and a poké bowl for lunch. The poké bowl is more expensive than what the digital voucher covers, so I pay in a little extra for it ($1). $9
5 p.m. — I've spent the afternoon number crunching and I'm ready for the weekend! We're going to a market tonight with a group of friends, so I head home to change my outfit before our friends come pick us up. On my way home, I call my sister to catch up about her wedding plans, wishing I was there.
9 p.m. — The market is lovely, buzzing with people and warm summer air. We have shawarmas for dinner ($12) and B. drinks some beers while I share a bottle of champagne with a friend ($15). We buy a set of three sunflower seed butters from our friend who has a stall at the market ($8). We say our goodbyes and make our way back home. We're asleep by 11:30 p.m. $35
Daily Total: $58
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