A Week In San Diego, CA, On A Joint $260,000 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 materials engineer who makes $108,000 per year and spends some of her paycheck this week on a Dead Sea mud mask.
Occupation: Materials Engineer
Industry: Government
Age: 29
Location: San Diego, CA
My Salary:$108,000
Paycheck (Biweekly): $2,459.70 biweekly
My Husband's Salary: $152,000, plus a $50,000 bonus
His Paycheck (Biweekly): $3,436.75
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $3,500 for our two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment.
Student Loan Payments: $1,200 for mine and my husband's combined. (I only pay $200 per month for mine, but my husband went to an expensive graduate school for his MBA.)
Health Insurance: $49.47 per paycheck
Car Payment: $230 for my car. (My husband's car is paid off.)
Netflix: $12
Spotify: $9.99
Gym Membership: $50. ($20 for my BBG app, and $30 for my husband's gym.)
Utilities & Internet: $250
Cleaning Service: $214.50
Dog Walker: $440. ($22/day, five days per week.)
Cell Phone: $186
My Mom's Long-Term Insurance: $120
401(k): $166.26 per paycheck, and my company matches.
Savings: I put $250 in and he puts in $500 each month but we put the rest of our balance each month in as well.
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Day One

5 a.m. — Ugh, Monday's are the worst. I do a 40-minute walk/run (emphasis on the walk) to wake up. I walk and feed the dog, and then get ready for work. I'm excited to try out new makeup I got this weekend – finding foundation that works with my fair skin and freckles has been near impossible until now.
7 a.m. — Arrive at work, eat cereal, and drink two cups of coffee. Peruse the internet while eating grapes and one more cup of coffee, and wait for our 10 a.m. weekly update meeting.
11 a.m. — Eat carrots, almonds, and leftover chicken breast from grilling this past weekend while reading Money Diaries.
12:45 p.m. — I eat a cookie in our break room and listen to a podcast. Then I finally fill out my social security name change form, even though I've been married for nearly a year (oops!). I pay for the online submittal process so I don't have to go in in person. $38
3:15 p.m. — Leave work, return a few dresses I bought online that don't fit, and stop at Trader Joe's for groceries we can't get at our regular grocery store: pre-made salads, hummus, and grilled chicken. I get home, enjoy a cuddle session with my dog, and take her to the small dog park near us to play with the other dogs. $49.12
6 p.m. — My husband comes home with groceries from the regular grocery store including cereal, yogurt, oranges, cucumbers, turkey burgers, deli meat, and bread ($80.53). I'm so excited we don't have visitors for the first time in three weeks (we recently moved here, and family and friends have been amazing and visiting a lot), so I spend the night doing BBG pilates, drinking tea, putting on a face mask, and catching up on TV shows. I'm in bed by 9 p.m. $80.53
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Daily Total: $167.65

Day Two

6 a.m. — I forgot to set my 5 a.m. alarm, so no walk/run this morning. I wake up and feed the dog. Then I do minimal makeup (eyebrows, mascara, and bronzer) and head out.
7 a.m. — Arrive at work and eat cereal while drinking two cups of coffee.
9 a.m. — Received lab supplies that were the wrong size (my fault), and try to calm down while snacking on an orange and carrots. This careless mistake will seriously delay my timeline.
11:45 a.m. – Leave my meeting famished, and wolf down a handful of almonds, a Trader Joe's salad, and a cup of cucumbers. I'm a veggie fiend: My mom would always catch me trying to steal them from the grocery store as a toddler; weird, I know.
3:15 p.m. — Leave work and head to LensCrafters. My glasses broke a couple of weeks ago and I recently ordered the same ones and paid full price ($400) until I remembered that my company pays for vision insurance! They reimburse me the part that my company covers: $167.50 – I'll take it!
4:30 p.m. — I cuddle with my dog, walk her, and watch TV to relax before doing pilates. After showering, I cook and eat two turkey burger patties and grapes. I peruse Amazon for things I want: an Instant Pot, teeth whitening strips, a curling wand, a Dead Sea mud mask, and nail polish. I put them in my cart but don't buy them. I like to spend time thinking about whether they're really worth it and come back to evaluate in a week.
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8 p.m. – My husband comes home from basketball with friends and we chat for a while before he takes our dog out and I make us tea before bed. We're both introverted and really enjoying not having any guests for the first time in a really long time.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

5 a.m. — I do a 40-minute walk/run to wake up, walk and feed the dog, and get ready for work with my normal routine: quick body wash, wrinkle cream, eye cream, primer, foundation, concealer, blush, finishing powder, eyebrow darkener, and mascara.
7 a.m. — Arrive at work, eat cereal, and drink two cups of coffee.
10 a.m. — Snack on an orange and almonds while making calls to vendors and finishing slides.
11:30 a.m. — Lunch is catered today since we have CPR training all afternoon. (Ocean testing combined with electrical equipment makes this a must.) I leave to pick up a few Diet Cokes because I'm craving it and need to take my mind off my hunger before lunch is served. We finally eat at 12, and I wolf down a ginormous turkey avocado wrap and spend the rest of the meeting with a stomachache. $3.99
3 p.m. — CPR is over. I used to be a lifeguard and this was a very basic class I thought I would ace, but there was a ton I forgot or that has been updated since my lifeguard days. I feel old! Still, it was a good break and a fun group exercise. My office only has five people in it, so it's more of a family vibe.
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4 p.m. — Get home and take the dog to the park. Her favorite puppy is there, so they play for over 30 minutes until she's pooped. I do the BBG Challenge workout – it's a brutal 30-minute leg workout and I'm spent. Afterwards, I watch TV, eat a Trader Joe's salad, and spend time with my husband discussing houses we're looking at this weekend in the hopes of buying soon.
8 p.m. — In bed with my tea, and my husband reminds me that I keep stealing his headphones since I can't find mine. I know the second I order another pair I'll find my old ones, but I've looked everywhere. I admit defeat and order the same pair, plus I throw in the Dead Sea mud mask ($15). $22.94
Daily Total: $26.93

Day Four

5 a.m. — I do a 40-minute walk/run, take care of the dog, and get ready for work. It's supposed to rain today, so I grab my rain jacket and find my headphones in the pocket as I'm heading to my car. Of course.
6:50 a.m. — Arrive at work, eat cereal, and drink coffee. I got paid today, so I Venmo my sister $200. My mom lives with my sister and her family in an in-law suite, and they've had some health and money problems recently, so I'm trying to help when I can while still trying to save for a house of my own. It's a difficult balance. $200
9:45 a.m. — My meeting gets pushed back from 10 a.m. to 10:30, and it usually runs over an hour, so I up my snack intake to an orange, cucumbers, and almonds to try and stave off the inevitable hanger.
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12:30 p.m. — Meeting finally ends and I wolf down a Trader Joe's salad with turkey deli slices for extra protein. I finish some experiments and am out the door by 3:15 p.m.
3:30 p.m. — Get home, walk the dog, and contemplate whether to work out or take a nap. Sleep wins.
6 p.m. — Husband comes home and we make plans for a date night tomorrow at a comedy club next to our place. Tickets are $15 each, plus tax. I eat a salad and contemplate whether to drink wine or wait until the weekend. I'm proud I choose tea instead. $37.50
8 p.m. — Watch TV and relax before falling asleep.
Daily Total: $237.50

Day Five

6 a.m. — It's Friday! I get to work, eat cereal, and drink coffee. Go to a couple meetings and do some work, but spend most of the morning planning what I'm going to cook for this weekend. Eat my last TJ's salad, carrots, and a handful of almonds.
1 p.m. — My boss wants me to use a certain chemical in the lab, but I don't want to because it's carcinogenic. My coworkers talk about it not being a big deal, but my brother died from colon cancer a couple years ago (not that they know). A rubber factory was dumping carcinogenic material into our backyard and my whole neighborhood has some form of cancer or another. This particular material is common and isn't carcinogenic once it's mixed and dry, but it puts a damper on my mood and I just try not to cry for the rest of the day.
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3 p.m. — Out the door and heading home! I send my husband a list of groceries for me to cook this weekend — staying in is just what we need. He picks up sausage, ground turkey, pasta, crushed tomatoes, fresh basil, eggs, breadcrumbs, ground beef, refrigerated crescent rolls, and pickles. I talk to my sister on the phone about my bad day and she cheers me up. $75
6 p.m. — I make a cheeseburger crescent ring with homemade French fries and it's amazing — definitely going to make it again soon. We drink wine, catch up on The Walking Dead, and head out to the comedy show. We have a couple drinks each at the show ($38) and a lot of laughs, and are in bed before midnight. $38
Daily Total: $113

Day Six

8:30 a.m. — I wake up a little hungover and see my husband is already up with the dog. I go for an hour-long walk on the treadmill and then we head out to meet our real estate agent at 10:45 a.m.
1 p.m. — Head back from all the house-hunting feeling exhausted. We found a house we really love but are weighing the pros and cons. It's beautiful, but expensive and not in the location we really want. San Diego is so expensive!
2 p.m. — I start cooking a tomato sauce in the slow cooker and throw in homemade turkey meatballs. Then, I organize my closet and watch TV while everything is cooking. We enjoy spaghetti with meatballs and another night in with wine and movies.
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Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

10 a.m. — I can't believe I slept in so much! I eat breakfast and do pilates while watching TV.
1 p.m. — My husband comes home from the gym and grocery store with groceries for the week: kombucha, cereal, turkey deli meat, turkey burgers, bread, carrots, grapes, yogurt, almond milk, apples, oranges, and cucumbers. We meet our friend and his dog and drive to the large dog park on Fiesta Island. We walk the entire perimeter while the dogs play on the beach for over three miles. $98.23
5 p.m. — After giving the dog and ourselves baths, we are all exhausted and content. We meal prep for the week ahead, look at a few houses online, and eat the rest of the spaghetti and meatballs from last night.
8 p.m. — We watch one more episode of Altered Carbon on Netflix with tea and then pass out. It was a great weekend. It's nice to finally relax and feel rejuvenated.
Daily Total: $98.23
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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