A Week In Indianapolis, IN, On A $40,000 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.

This week, we're featuring moms and their spending during the back-to-school rush. Per Deloitte, in the United States alone, back-to-school season is the second biggest shopping season of the year, "touching 29 million households and accounting for $27 billion in sales." Since women are usually responsible for household purchases, wherever they are in the country or in the world, we wanted to see what it's like for women with children of a variety of ages, in a variety of locations.

Today: a programs director who makes $40,000 per year. This week, she spends some of her money on Thai iced tea and tickets to Europe.

Occupation: Director of Programs
Industry: Nonprofit
Age: 29
Location: Indianapolis
My Salary: $40,000 | Husband's Salary: $26,500

Monthly Expenses
Housing: $728 mortgage payment
Student Loan: $90
Car Payments: $420
Hospital Payment Plans: $250 from HSA (I'm still paying off childbirth.)

All Other Monthly Expenses
Internet: $30
Gas: $45
Electric: $146
Phone Bill: $100 for two phones
Netflix & Hulu: I mooch off friends.
Insurance: $120
Roth 401(k) Contributions: $420
Short-Term Disability & Life Insurance: $60
HSA Contribution: $250
Emergency Savings Fund: $188

7 a.m. — I usually don't wake up this early, but my son woke up in his crib crying at 5:30. I've been scrolling through my phone since he fell back asleep next to me. I make avocado toast with a fried egg to nosh on while drinking coffee and watching news.

8:30 a.m. — I wake up my son and make waffles and a bottle for his breakfast, then we play and watch his favorite cartoon until I have to meet my mom to drop him off at 10. She lives 20 minutes away, but meets me halfway.

11:45 a.m. — Eat lunch at my desk: ham sandwich, salad, and half a grapefruit. Back-to-school is our busiest time of year and I'll be in and out of the building all day, so lunch is when I can check emails and organize papers. Not ideal — but I'd rather be on top of email.

6:15 p.m. — Usually my spouse picks up my son from my mom's in the afternoon, but he wants to mow the lawn and start painting the garage — so I'm making the full 40-minute round trip today. When I get to my parents', my son eats fruit snacks and graciously shares with me.

7 p.m. — I didn't plan on getting home so late because I prepped a meatloaf for dinner, which takes an hour to cook. While dinner cooks, I give my son a bath.

8:30 p.m. — FOOD. Meatloaf and cauliflower mashed potatoes with champagne — "fancy was my name." My sister-in-law's wedding was a few weeks ago, and we got some of the leftover booze.

Daily Total: $0
8:30 a.m. — This morning is payback for my pleasant morning yesterday. My son woke up around 2:30 a.m. so I moved him back into my bed. This morning, I got kicked in the face as a wake-up call from my son who is not in the mood. He wants me to sit with him, but I have 45 minutes to get both of us ready, eat breakfast, and pack lunch. I have coffee and avocado toast with a fried egg again since I have half an avocado left but I don't have time to be creative. I also end up eating the scrambled egg and fried ham I made for my son because he ain't having it. To get him in a better mood, I put on music. That works for a little bit until he realizes I jumped in the shower and wants in, too. Now the bathroom floor is all wet. All in all, I'm 10 minutes late meeting my mom. Sorry, Mom.

11:30 a.m. — Since my supervisor called in sick and I'm managing the building alone, I have another sad lunch of a sandwich, leftover cauliflower, and a Greek yogurt, blueberry, and honey combo. I decide to buy a grapefruit La Croix and a side salad as an add on, and also grab a yellow onion for tonight's dinner — all from the local deli. $5.58

4:30 p.m. — I've had to deal with way too many reports today, so I snag an extra snack of animal crackers from the share table and down the entirety of my water bottle to make up for not drinking any water yet today.

6:20 p.m. — Spouse picked up son since he gets off work at 3:30 most days. Even in the dead sleep of his nap, my toddler wakes up to my voice as I come in the door. He clutches me as I start dinner, and my spouse puts away the laundry he just finished. Champagne while I cook.

7:55 p.m. — Chicken cacciatore is finally done! Since I don't get off work until at least 6, I usually eat my meals later in the evening. I eat alone while my son plays since my spouse has a soccer game at his work league tonight.

Daily Total: $5.58
8:30 a.m. — Late again, but at least toddler stayed in his lane this morning. We eat oatmeal with honey and cinnamon while watching cartoons. I wore my hair in a French braid yesterday, so no need to shower. I arrive on time to drop off my baby.

11 a.m. — Today is an employee's last day so I treat her to Indian food. We do the buffet by the pound, which is $5.99/lb. Both of our meals are $16.02 together, which I can expense to work as staff incentives.

2:30 p.m. — I have to make a delivery to a program offsite, so I ask another staff member to help and we stop to get boba tea on the way back to the office. I buy a Thai milk tea with honey boba. $4.25

5:40 p.m. — I find dark chocolate my boss gave me two months ago in my desk. I eat a third of it and share the rest. It's still good!

6:30 p.m. — I finish up the chicken cacciatore with my spouse, spend the rest of the day outside playing with my son, and watching Moana until 10:30 p.m., while my husband works in the garage. Toddler goes to bed peacefully at first, but then he starts talking to me through the door. ("Mommy, I love you. Mommy, want out.") I eat tortilla chips and drink champagne on the couch while watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and trying to fight the urge to cave. When he is still crying at midnight, I lay on the guest bed with him until he falls asleep and then transfer him to his crib and go to my bed.

Daily Total: $4.25
8:15 a.m. — Toddler wakes up and wants to play, so he races cars in the kitchen floor while I make a small portion of oatmeal with cinnamon and honey. This should tide us over until the spouse wakes up. I like to use quiet mornings to pay bills and read the news. An hour later, I make coffee, arepas, and perico-style eggs once I hear my spouse start to stir.

11:30 a.m. — Weekends are for groceries. Normally, I take my son with me, but he fell asleep as soon as I left the driveway. I decide to transfer the car seat to the garage where my husband is remodeling, and head to Lucky's Market. I buy deli ham, gouda, muenster cheese, salsa, beef top sirloin, pork ribs, broccoli, brussels sprouts, grape tomatoes, two avocados, lettuce, sweet potatoes, and four bananas. They don't have a type of bread I want, so I swing by a different grocery store on the way home. I get the sprouted bread and other items I forgot: sour cream and sandwich slims. $47.15

1:30 p.m. — When I get home, I start cooking salsa chicken so my leftover chicken doesn't go bad. I underestimate the cook time and eat a leftover arepa and tortilla, salsa, and sour cream. I give my husband the kitchen timer for the chicken, and head to the pool with the baby. I don't want to waste this beautiful day waiting on a chicken to bake!

2:30 p.m. — I've been debating buying a punch pass for the city pool, and when I find out that unused punches roll over to next summer — I decide to do it. The pack costs $35 for 10 visits instead of $5 per visit. I brought snacks, so we eat Maria cookies and applesauce packs poolside. $35

6 p.m. — Finally get around to the salsa chicken for dinner. After dinner, spouse drives to meet his parents to drop off our son. My mother-in-law has a party tomorrow and wants to have her grandson with her. Fine by me. Spouse has to stop and get gas. $25.82

8:11 p.m. — I notice we are running low on diapers and wipes. I cancel my Target subscription because I find a better bulk deal on Amazon. These will last four to six weeks — hopefully. $33.34

9:45 p.m. — Spouse and I head out to get a drink at a hipster restaurant ($8.56), then meet up with some of his coworkers. I drink double vodka sodas to keep up with the young folk ($17.50). They are in their early twenties and like to hit it pretty hard. I've been getting away from that more and more since I struggle through the next day way more than I used to. We get home by 3 a.m. $26.06

Daily Total: $167.37
11:30 a.m. — No baby means more sleep! I get up and make a healthy version of waffles I've been wanting to try while my husband does laundry and picks up around the house. The waffles turn out gross (whole-wheat flour is NOT the same), so I make eggs and we finish the last of the arepas from yesterday. I also heat up a frozen pizza to take to my part-time job. On Sundays, I work at a gym. I work 15 hours each month and often take off for weddings, showers, travel, etc. I mainly do it for the free membership, but I also really enjoy the people I work with — plus, it's easy work. It's a nonprofit, too, so it never hurts to build a relationship with an organization that might turn into a career opportunity later.

4:30 p.m. — I leave work a little bit early to make it to a doubleheader softball game. I swing by home to grab my forgotten water bottle and a banana.

5:52 p.m. — First game ends a bit early (23-7), so I run to Sam's Club next door to buy deodorant for my husband. We are on my in-law's business membership, so I only shop there if there's a good deal. Five deodorants for $7 is a steal. $7.07

8:20 p.m. — After another win (woo!), I clean up at home and make a beef and broccoli stir-fry. My husband and I watch the Gold Cup during for our last baby-less evening.

Daily Total: $7.07
8:45 a.m. — I wake up 15 minutes before my alarm and make avocado toast with a fried egg and coffee.

11:15 a.m. — I forgot my leftover beef and broccoli for lunch, so I eat pretzels from the share table and a chocolate kiss a kid gave me to tide me over.

1:15 p.m. — Luckily, I signed up to drive for a field trip to a local pizza shop. They give us a tour of the restaurant and treat us to a lunch of pepperoni pizza, breadsticks, and lemonade. Perks!

6:30 p.m. — While my husband goes to pick up our son, I make a pasta bake, wash the dishes, and fold laundry while watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I can't binge watch shows without falling asleep unless I'm sick, so it always takes me a long time to get through series.

9 p.m. — Spouse and toddler get home and we eat dinner together, read, and play until 10. Son still won't go down by himself without a fight, so I let him sleep with us since I missed him.

Daily Total: $0
8 a.m. — Avocado toast with fried egg and coffee while baby sleeps. He wakes up and has oatmeal and his bottle.

11:30 a.m. — I eat the leftover pasta bake I brought from home before running out to buy supplies for programming. While I'm there, I pick up toilet paper, milk, and three cans of chickpeas that were on sale. $17.54

12:30 p.m. — While I'm out, I run to Starbucks to use my reward on a grande cold brew. Some weeks, I get coffee two or three times. Other weeks, I don't go at all. It depends on the downtime I have. Today has been a bit slower.

6:30 p.m. — We have a late staff meeting for all units, which means dinner is provided. It's sandwiches, chips, cookies, and lemonade.

10:30 p.m. — I buy a one-way ticket in November to Rome, and a return flight from Amsterdam for a week later. Last weekend, my husband's coworker told me that she was looking for a travel buddy for a trip to Europe. I got a really good deal and the schedule works, so I jump at the chance. We can't afford for both of us to go, and my spouse has spent a lot of money on race tickets this year, so this is my turn. I honestly didn't plan this, but it's an exciting turn of events! $500

Daily Total: $517.54
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