A Week In Seattle, WA, On A $225,700 Joint Income

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 Technical Writer with a joint income of $225,700 who spends some of her money this week on vegan pizza.

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Occupation: Technical Writer
Industry: Tech
Age: 30
Location: Seattle, WA
My Salary: $90,700
Husband's Salary: $135,000
My Paycheck Amount (1x/month): $5,210.53
My Husband's Paycheck (2x/month): $4,307
Gender Identity: Woman

Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $2,250 (Mortgage for the first two years, then will go up to the full monthly cost of $4,000. We bought our house last year and had a huge amount of help from my husband's parents.)
Property Tax (2x/year): $4,000
Car Loan: $262 (We're both fortunate to have no student loans thanks to our parents.)
Savings: $1,000 (Husband contributes about the same amount)
401(k): $655
Utilities/Light: $483 (every few months)
Cable/Internet: $214.17
Husband's Phone: $100
My Health Insurance: $93.33
My Phone Bill: $93.04 (I'm on a family plan with siblings and parents.)
My Car Insurance: $63
Netflix: $12
Gym: $44.03
Publishers Marketplace: $25
Apple Storage: $0.99
Spotify: $22 (We each still pay for our own, stupid I know.)
Audible: $16.46
Amazon Prime: $119

Day One

6:30 a.m. — I wake to my alarm and a cat sitting on my head. After snoozing a few times, I nudge my husband, F., out of bed so he can use the bathroom first. We're having electrical work done on our house this week and the guys are supposed to show up at 8 but we learned that really means 7:40 because for some reason they're chronically early?!

7:15 a.m. — My turn to get ready. I do my morning routine (acne prescription, eye cream, Argan oil tinted moisturizer with SPF, concealer, powder, brows, mascara, blush, lippie... phew). Hair goes up with a cute headband wrap thing. I'm trying to accessorize my hair more. I bundle up because it's raining.

8:10 a.m. — As I'm heading out the door, the electricians offer to put in a light fixture in our front room, which doesn't have one, so that's great! They're here to update our 1945 wiring, and I didn't realize they'd also be able to install cool things like dimmers and light fixtures. We bought our house nine months ago and this was the one big renovation it needed, and it's not cheap! We're going to pay it off over 12 months, but the deposit of $5,450 came out of our savings.

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9:15 a.m. — I bus downtown (my work provides free public transportation passes) and stop at the Starbucks in my building. I've cut way back on Starbucks breakfast because it's so much cheaper to make my own but I still get it once a week or so. I get oatmeal and an iced coffee with coconut milk. $7.05

10 a.m. — Work is unusually busy this morning and I'm loving it! There are a lot of really slow days where I just ruminate and accidentally go down internet rabbit holes about things that make me anxious. So busy is good.

11 a.m. — My alma mater is doing a mentorship program with seniors and alumni, and I just got paired with a mentee! I respond to her email to schedule our first meeting. My friend tells the group chat that her ex is engaged; I feel bad for the girl who's marrying that douchebag. Another friend texts about yoga tonight and I remember I still need to buy the Groupon. It's one month of yoga for 80% off! $29

12:45 p.m. — My morning has been spent writing error messages and providing feedback on UX copy. Next I need to update documentation for an urgent bug fix that's going out today. I didn't bring my lunch and don't feel like walking too far from my office — there was a shooting yesterday in downtown Seattle and I do not feel safe (America, so cool and fun) — so I cross the street to Subway. I get a six-inch turkey sub and chips and eat in my office kitchen while reading American Royals by Katharine McGee. $7.97

2 p.m. — Time for my weekly one-on-one with my manager. We're both anxious and awkward people so sometimes these meetings are weird, but today the conversation is chill. We talk about some extra work I'm taking on in light of my promotion that should be finalized in the next month or so (yay!) and about the coincidence that we both have fancy, formal events this weekend.

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4 p.m. — I check our shared bank account and see we've been charged for next week's HelloFresh box. We just tried it for the first time because the first box was super cheap and I was intrigued by the idea of having two nights a week where we don't have to decide what to have for dinner. (Do you ever think about the fact that you have to decide what to have for dinner every night for the rest of your life? Adulting!) Our next box is half off and we enjoyed the first two meals so we're going to keep doing it for now. $20.95

5:45 p.m. — Home! F. is vacuuming because his allergies are acting up after being around the drywall dust from the electrical work. I give the cats their treats (I do this every day, secretly slipping Big Cat his pill with the treats; Little Cat gets treats just for being a cute good boy). Then I run to QFC for groceries: toilet paper, dish soap, hand soap refill, poop bags (for litter box cleaning), coffee beans, turbinado sugar, bananas, salad greens, cucumber, a Caesar salad kit, and Amy's dairy-free pizza for tomorrow. I hate how expensive this grocery store is but it's super close to our house. $58.31

6:30 p.m. — F. ordered Indian food for his lunch/our dinner ($50), but I'm not hungry enough to eat that before yoga. I throw together a quick dinner: a salad of greens, cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, and goat milk brie with brioche toast crackers. Then I drive to pick up my friend T. for yoga. $50

8:45 p.m. — Welp, we almost didn't make it to the end. It was so hard! But we feel amazing after, which is the only reason anyone exercises as far as I can tell. T. recently purged her closet so she gives me a bag of clothes to try on. I drop her off and head home. At some point today F. got gas for his car ($56.03) and a pack of beer ($12.09). $68.12

10:20 p.m. — Very dramatic night. F. seems to be having an asthma attack, not allergies. This doesn't happen to him often, luckily, but it's ironic because his doctor wouldn't prescribe him an inhaler until he got a pulmonary function test, then they couldn't schedule it for six weeks, and he was finally supposed to have the appointment TODAY and they canceled because the person was out sick. Our working theory is that F. gave himself asthma from smoking weed very enthusiastically every day for years (this asthma thing finally made him quit smoking for good). He says he's going to stay up and hope it gets better, so I shower, etc. and go to bed without him.

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Daily Total: $241.40

Day Two

6:20 a.m. — Oh lord. I'm awoken by F. saying he's going to the ER. He's going to take an Uber. Now you're all going to think I'm a cold and cruel wife for not driving him, but I took him to the ER the first time this happened and they essentially gave him an inhaler and monitored him for three hours. We both know the drill, and I have to be here in case he's not back to meet the workmen at 9:30. (Also, it occurs to me that we won't get the ER bill for a week or two; too bad I can't add it to this MD so we could all bash the US health system together.)

8:45 a.m. — I do my morning routine, feed the cats, and have a smoothie for breakfast (almond milk, peanut butter, banana, frozen blueberries, and strawberries). F. gets home and fills me in. They gave him a temporary inhaler prescription and the ER doc said he definitely has asthma and got screwed over by the “system.” I'll say. After making sure F. is going to be okay, I head to work. His Ubers cost $30 total. $30

9:45 a.m. — I grab an iced coffee with coconut milk from Starbucks ($3.14). I'm working from a different building today to sit with a new team I'm helping out. After about an hour, I finally get to work after cleaning off the desk. (The writer who sat here before me was a middle-aged man who left open bags of snacks and tooth flossers on the desk... seriously?! Never in a million years would I leave a job without cleaning up after myself. Men!) It's review season here and I have a lot of peer reviews to write. I've put it off until literally the last day so... guess that's what I'm doing for the rest of the day. Sigh. $3.14

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1 p.m. — I head out to lunch. Working from this building is dangerous because it's across the street from my favorite sushi place. I get a salmon platter with miso soup and read American Royals while I eat. I'm trying to finish this book ASAP because it's cringe-topia. (But clearly it's not entirely horrible because I'm notorious for DNF-ing books I dislike. Recently I quit reading a book after two pages, lol. That was a gem.) $15.76

3:15 p.m. — Time to walk to my massage appointment! Yeah, this was a ridiculously short workday but we're all salaried adults so no one keeps tabs, plus it's Friday. Real talk: this is my second massage this month. F. and I have been trying for a baby for over a year and it's breaking my heart, so I'm upping my self-care treats and exercise. I've been obsessing about TTC so I'm doing my best to stop thinking about it 24/7 and to lower my stress levels. Real talk, part two: this massage is fully covered by my insurance. How great is that? But still, I'd gladly sacrifice that benefit in favor of public healthcare for all!

5:30 p.m. — Home. The massage was lovely (I spent most of it trying to notice when my mind wandered and “inviting it back to the present moment”). I give the cats their treats and then find F. He's napping, so I cuddle with him in bed as I finish reading American Royals. I get a text from someone at work about something we are trying to finish up, so I get out my work laptop and take care of it in about one minute. In my year and a half at this job, I've had to work after hours ONE other time. I will never understand people who feel like they're obligated to work nights and weekends for a salaried day job. (I'm sure I've just been lucky with the jobs/managers I've had, but I feel like if we collectively told capitalism to eff off outside of our 40-hour work weeks, it would be better for everyone, right?)

7:30 p.m. — F. leaves for band practice and I whip up a batch of brownies. My sister comes over for dinner and a movie. We have Amy's pizza, Caesar salad, and a glass of red wine each while watching Girls Trip. It makes us laugh so much! We eat warm brownies and somehow after the movie we both end up downloading TikTok to see what the youth are up to. It looks like a lot of branded content and commercials... but some of it is pretty funny. (I'm old.)

11:30 p.m. — My sister heads out, and F. and I go to bed.

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Daily Total: $48.90

Day Three

6 a.m. — My alarm goes off for me to take my temperature. I track my ovulation this way. Technically we're not even trying this month (I'll explain later…) but I want to know when I ovulate so I know the exact day my period will come.

9:30 a.m. — I wake up for real to find both cats sitting on my legs. This happens once in a blue moon and I love it! Also, I had a vivid dream about being close friends with Meghan Markle. (She had one dresser drawer entirely devoted to her 50 pairs of white jeans.) Good job, subconscious, keep it up! F. left early to play golf ($77) and I have a leisurely morning ahead of me. I have a smoothie for breakfast, feed the cats, and clean up the mess I left in the kitchen last night. Then I start laundry, shower, and do my curly hair routine. $77

11:30 a.m. — I drive to my favorite coffee shop and get an iced oat milk latte and a chocolate almond croissant ($10.92). I start reading Love at First Like by Hannah Orenstein and it's so much more enjoyable than the last book! I'm reading a bunch of romantic comedies for research/inspiration; I write novels and have come so tantalizingly close to getting published that I want to get it right next time. The book I wrote a few months ago is a rom-com and I'm currently trying to decide whether to revise the heck out of it or start a brand new one. $10.92

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2 p.m. — Okay, time to run errands and head home to get ready for the gala tonight. I swing by the pet store and get some treats and wet cat food ($22.88). Then I go to QFC and get almond milk, Kashi cereal, and frozen berries ($24.72). When F. gets home from golf, he orders food for a late lunch: chicken teriyaki for him, spicy chicken for me, and gyoza ($40). $87.60

5 p.m. — We call an Uber ($21) and head out. My hair looks amazing for some reason so I'm feeling great. We're going to a fundraiser gala for our synagogue. We're technically not paying members yet (it's expensive!) but we go there for the High Holy Days, and his mom is very involved with the community there. We paid in advance for our tickets which includes dinner and two drink tickets each, for about $300 total. We've agreed we're not going to spend too much more money at this thing (we're scarred from last year) so we'll see how this goes… $21

7:30 p.m. — Well... we've spent SOME money so far. It's an auction and it's fun to cruise around, drink in hand, catching up with people and looking at the experiences we can buy. With our drink tickets, I end up getting two glasses of cava and F. gets a Manhattan and a beer. F. signs up for a poker game at the rabbi's house ($50), and we both sign up for a group knitting class ($36 each) because we're knitting a baby blanket together and we're still learning. We also buy four raffle tickets but we don't end up winning anything ($40). The auction continues through dinner with a live auctioneer, but these items are much more lavish so we do NOT participate. Oh, but they do show a video where little kids say what the temple means to them. I'm embarrassed to say I tear up watching it because, gosh darn it, when am I going to have my own tiny curly-haired child? I end up donating $36 more in case God pays attention to these things (lol, kidding... or am I?). $198

9 p.m. — The best part of the night is the dessert dash! There are a bunch of gourmet desserts and the table that bids the most gets to choose first. F. and I put down $60 and our table falls near the middle of the group; we end up getting a delicious chocolate hazelnut cake. Afterward, we join a group of friends at the bar downstairs, but the cocktails here are way too expensive so I just sip water (plus I had a giant glass of red with dinner and three is usually my limit). F. gets a smoky Manhattan for $19, then we Uber home ($22.20). 101.20

11 p.m. — Bed! I do my nighttime routine (argan oil cleanser, Kiehl's cleanser, rosacea prescription, Kiehl's night cream), read for a bit, and pass out.

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Daily Total: $495.72

Day Four

9:30 a.m. — Another relaxing day ahead! I give the cats breakfast, make my smoothie, and read Love at First Like for a good hour or more. I also drink a Trader Joe's coconut cream cold brew. I take a shower and wash my hair again, hoping it'll last through Monday that way, but I try something new (wet brushing) and it ruins my curls. Sad.

1 p.m. — The morning is spent cleaning. I actually enjoy when I have all day for cleaning and laundry; I take my time and listen to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. F. still isn't feeling well after the whole asthma thing, so he's on the couch working and watching football. I vacuum the whole house, clean the kitchen and bathroom, do laundry, and change our sheets. For lunch, I have leftover teriyaki and a salad. My mom calls just to chat; it's the second time in two days and I think she might be hoping for a fertility update, but there's literally nothing to say about it this month. Sorry, Mom!

3 p.m. — It's actually sunny out (?!) so F. and I walk to the garden store. They're doing 30% off indoor plants, so we get three air plants and tiny containers for them, and a prayer plant and a basket to put it in. I've read that prayer plants are cat safe... and I just *pray* I can keep it alive (sorry, I had to!). I'm really bad at caring for plants, but I've been craving greenery. $53.98

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5 p.m. — Time for my fertility yoga class. I prepaid for eight weeks ($180). It's a great routine and it's nice to have a community of women who are all trying to conceive. I also think it's helping me stay calm and mindful.

7 p.m. — I swing by Trader Joe's to get stuff for dinner. F. usually cooks on Sunday nights while I'm at yoga, but I told him I would since he's still feeling crappy. I get macaroni noodles, olive oil, vegetable broth, tomato sauce, kidney beans, cucumbers, celery, kale, yellow squash, mushrooms, a sourdough boule, and some more coconut cream cold brew. Hallelujah for cheap grocery stores! $29.87

8 p.m. — I snack on cucumbers and brie while I cook. I make vegetable minestrone and we eat it with buttered sourdough bread while watching an episode of Grace and Frankie. We each have a Lindt dark chocolate truffle for dessert. I take a hot bath with a face mask and Love at First Like, then do my skincare routine and continue reading in bed. F. doesn't read much so we're not a Read In Bed Couple, but I love that he never complains about me having my light on no matter how long I read. I finally go to sleep around 10:30.

Daily Total: $83.85

Day Five

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6 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I then sleep for another hour. Feeling surprisingly well rested for a Monday! I do my morning routine and make the best of my hair situation (pin the top half back with a butterfly clip). Downstairs, I feed the cats and empty the dishwasher. Then I take my breakfast of Kashi cereal and coconut cold brew to the couch, where I read cuddled up in a blanket with the space heater blasting. Around 8:15, I kiss F. goodbye and catch the bus to work.

10 a.m. — After responding to a few emails and such, I remember we need more dry cat food, so I order some. Ugh! I forgot how expensive this is. We always get the 25-lb bag of Young Again Zero and it lasts like six months. $129

11 a.m. — I eat a Nature Valley peanut butter dark chocolate protein bar that I had in my backpack. I'm not having lunch until 1 today because I'm taking an interview candidate out to lunch. I'm extremely introverted so it's not my ideal situation... but I've done it before and survived. I hope today's candidate is easy to talk to.

12:15 p.m. — Getting antsy for lunch over here. I text some friends about various things: one about the scary coronavirus in the news, another about the workout class we go to that I sadly don't have time for this week, and another about scheduling our next happy hour. (We make the very responsible decision to split a bottle of wine at her place instead of going to one of our usual expensive bars!)

2 p.m. — Phew, the lunch went fine! The candidate was easy to talk to. She also made me laugh by pointing out an attractive man and saying “oh he likes you. Too bad you're married.” I took her to a cafe where we both got fancy salads with pistachios and pickled shallots. I paid the $27.32 but it will be expensed. ($27.32 expensed)

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2:15 p.m. — F. texts me that his semen analysis appointment is over. THANK GOD. Okay so here is why we're not trying this month: His doctor ordered a semen analysis which was last week, but the clinic *messed up the analysis* and made him schedule another one. And they said he had to be abstinent until the appointment. While I'm currently ovulating. Yes, I cried (but actually the crying was more about waiting so long to have sex in general, lol... it's been weeks). I'm so relieved that we'll finally (maybe) get some fertility answers. Also, I told him to find a new doctor because seriously this clinic is a mess!

3 p.m. — I'm supposed to have a meeting but the person no shows... how rude. I stop by a vending machine and get peanut M&M's because I'm not a “salad for lunch” kinda gal and I'm starving already. $1

5 p.m. — I get home, give the kitties their treats, and get dressed for the gym. F. calls me on his way home and tells me he went to oyster happy hour ($60)?! This was a special treat post sperm analysis that I am definitely okay with (the whole situation is uncomfortable for him and I get that — plus, oysters contain a lot of zinc which is great for sperm health, lol!). But I tell him to invite his wife next time. He also fills me in on what the fertility clinic is like (exactly how it looks on TV!) and we have a good laugh when I ask what kind of porn he watched and he says, “I just looked at our wedding photos, honey.” He pulls up to the house as we're talking so I get to kiss him before I leave for the gym. I have no clue how much his insurance will cover for the SA so we'll have to wait for the bill. $60

6 p.m. — I stop by the Ulta near my gym and pick up my usual Juice Beauty mascara. I am surprised to see they have my Mad Hippie Vitamin C serum, which I ran out of a couple of weeks ago and usually buy straight from the Mad Hippie website. (PSA: if you have dark spots you want to fade or just want your skin to be brighter, vitamin C serum is MAGICAL.) After Ulta, I hit the gym where I do a short stint on the treadmill and some stretches while listening to Harry Potter. $63.84

8 p.m. — F. is at band practice tonight so I get the TV to myself, haha. For dinner, I have leftover minestrone, a slice of sourdough, and cucumber sprinkled with salt and pepper. There's a new Jane Austen show on Masterpiece Theater called Sanditon that I've been meaning to start, so I watch that while I eat. For dessert, I have a brownie with hot fudge on it and take my fish oil pills with applesauce (because I'm a wimp who can't swallow big pills with water). The brownie is way too much sugar, but Sanditon is a DELIGHT. I do some knitting while I watch. Then I shower and do my nighttime routine, read in bed for a few minutes, and fall asleep before 10.

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Daily Total: $253.84

Day Six

6 a.m. — Alarm. Temp. Back to sleep until 7:20 because I really do not want to get up! Finally, I make myself get ready. I feed the cats and pack my lunch (minestrone and a cucumber), then catch the 8:25 bus. It's one of those mornings so I get Starbucks for breakfast — oatmeal and iced coffee with coconut milk. $6.94

12 p.m. — Work is boring today. I eat my lunch in the office kitchen while reading.

2:30 p.m — I'm hungry and dragging but I don't feel like going out to buy my usual cookie or smoothie, so I sadly eat a few wasabi almonds from my snack drawer.

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4 p.m. — On the bus home, I finish Love at First Like. It had potential — I enjoy books where you're just waiting for the inevitable trainwreck when the main character's crazy schemes catch up with her — but the ending fell flat. Ah well, onto the next. At home, I see that F. went to QFC and got almond milk creamer, coffee beans, pomegranate juice, and a couple of fancy orange juices. $36.22

6 p.m. — We're going to dinner at my parents' house tonight. F. drives and we pick up my sister on the way. The toll bridge costs $3.40 but it comes out of F.'s prepaid pass. Dinner with my parents and siblings is really fun tonight; everyone is in a good mood and laughing a lot. My mom and sisters compliment my new leopard print headband incessantly. We have pesto pasta with roasted vegetables for dinner, followed by Golden Oreos and tea. (My mom always has Golden Oreos in the house.)

9:15 p.m. — F. and I get home, and I take a bath while I start reading my next book, Don't You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane. I bought all these books a couple of weeks ago; that's not the norm for me, I usually get most of my books and ebooks from the library. This one is funny already. I'm hungry again after my bath so I have some Kashi cereal with almond milk; it's been a very carb-heavy day, but cereal is the only thing I feel like eating if I'm hungry right before bed. F. finishes up some work and we both go to sleep around 10:30.

Daily Total: $43.16

Day Seven

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8 a.m. — I get to sleep in today because Wednesday is my work from home day. I savor some kitty snuggles with Big Cat before getting up. I shower and do my makeup and hair; it feels great to get my curls back in shape after wearing them up the last two days. I have a smoothie for breakfast, then pour some coffee from the pot F. made before he left for work. I settle in at my desk and join a call, but I'm not really needed in the meeting so I zone out.

11 a.m. — Little Cat has been snoozing in the cat bed beside my desk all morning. He is SO CUTE. I love our cats so much. I decide to treat myself to a Trader Joe's coconut cold brew. While I'm at the fridge, I also decide to have some turkey pepperonis and brie with crackers because why not.

1 p.m. — I'm not super hungry for lunch thanks to my snack, so I have celery and cucumbers with ranch while watching Grace and Frankie, then some Trader Joe's herbs and spices popcorn and a Ghirardelli's chocolate. F. got tacos for lunch. $9.63

4 p.m. — Time for my volunteer gig at my neighborhood library. I'm a tutor for the library's homework help program. Being a librarian was my dream job that I didn't pursue due to practical/financial reasons, so volunteering here once a week means a lot to me. Today there are only two volunteers and the kids are wired, so it's chaos. But it's still fun — I read to a few five- and six-year-olds, help a fifth-grader with her math, and generally try to wrangle the others as they run around screaming. My car is empty so I fill her up on the way. $30.80

7 p.m. — F. gets a haircut ($45), and then we make one of our HelloFresh meals for dinner. It's spinach and ricotta ravioli with chicken sausage. I sauté some kale with lemon juice to go with it. It's delicious! We both think we want to keep doing HelloFresh even after our discount ends. I'm enjoying the feeling of not wasting a bunch of food like we normally do since they send you the exact amount you need. I also have a glass of rosé, and then we head upstairs... OK LISTEN... I normally cringe when MDs mention doing the dirty because it comes off as braggy to me, but I've waited so long! I'm just so relieved to have sex with my husband! Also: when we're done, we both look around to see Big Cat sitting on the bed, looking at us expectantly with his favorite toy beside him. He's never brought a toy on the bed before! Did he think it was playtime? We die laughing. $45

9:30 p.m. — F. does some work and I lounge on the couch watching Sanditon and eating a Ghirardelli's square. Then I take a quick shower, read in bed, and fall asleep around 11.

Daily Total: $85.43

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