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A Week In Pennsylvania On A $233,188 Joint Income

Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. We're asking real people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.

Today: a project manager who has a joint income of $233,188 a year and spends some of her money this week on a Phillies onesie.
All currency in USD.
Occupation: Project Manager
Industry: Tech
Age: 30
Location: Pennsylvania
My Salary: $145,188 ($130,800 base + 11% bonus)
My Husband's Salary: $88,000
Net Worth: $207,434 (Home value: $328,000, savings: $47,000, investments: $66,534, 401(k): $8,900, HSA: $18,000 minus debt)
Debt: $261,000 (Mortgage: $222,000, my student loans: $31,000, husband's student loans: $8,000)
My Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $3,579
My Husband's Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,000
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $1,579 + $250 HOA
Student Loans: $2,000
Husband's Car: $250
Peloton: $39.99
Hulu: $6.99
HBO Max: $5.99
Netflix: $9.99
Amazon: $1
Cable & Internet: $120
Water: $50
Electric: $100
Phone: $75
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Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
Oh yes. I excelled in high school and did not think there was any other path for me. I knew I wanted to do something in engineering and needed a college degree to get there. My mom encouraged me to go to community college, but honestly, I felt like I needed to get out of my hometown. My childhood and teenage years were chaotic, and I viewed college as my opportunity to escape. I was told my mom would take out $10,000 total in loans to pay for my schooling, and I was responsible for the rest. Regardless, I decided to go to an out-of-state school and accrued $120,000 in student loan debt.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
I was a parentified child and was burdened with a lot of my mother's concerns for money. I remember my mom always stressing about it. She'd hide purchases from my father, tell me she wouldn't be able to pay the mortgage if she bought me the sports equipment I wanted, and many other things. I was worried every day that we wouldn't be able to make ends meet. Sometimes I think my mom told herself that this was preparing me for adulthood, but in reality, I think it was that she couldn't carry the financial burden of my family, so she put it on me.
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What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was hostessing at a local restaurant. I couldn't keep it for long because I played sports, but it taught me a lot!
Did you worry about money growing up?
Y E S. It consumed my every thought. We moved multiple times after my parents' divorce, my mom lost her job, and my dad ran up the credit card right before the divorce. Every financial issue that could have crept up felt like it did. After years of therapy, I've come to realise that I should not have been the one to carry these worries, but it still affects me.
Do you worry about money now?
Immediately after I graduated and entered the working world, I would have said yes to this question. After a very large raise a few years back (and therapy), I finally feel secure. I do sometimes "check the facts" to see where we're at, and this tends to put me at ease if I start to panic.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I'd say when I left for college. I was still on my mom's [medical] insurance, and she paid for my phone, but I was responsible for all food, rent, and college necessities that I paid for with student loans. If that didn't make me financially responsible, then I'd say a few months after I graduated college when I began working full time.
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Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
No. I will make a note, though, that a few years after I graduated college, my dad started giving me $300 a month to help me pay for my student loans. I stopped taking those about a year ago when it was becoming clear that: 1) We didn't need his money and 2) His money came with strings attached.

Day One

6 a.m. — Alarm goes off, and I snooze two more times until 6:30. Finally, I wake up and force myself out of bed. I have a Brazilian wax today, and if I don't get my workout in before, it won't happen. I let out our dog, V., and snack on peanut butter toast and water/nuun tablet. I head out for my run.
8 a.m. — Back from my run and feeling GREAT. I'm training for a half marathon and I nailed my workout today. Five miles with three of those miles being at my goal half marathon pace. My legs still aren't recovered from skiing over 20 miles on Sunday, so I am feeling confident after this. I shower quickly, throw on shorts and a sweatshirt and head to my wax appointment.
9 a.m. — Wax done. It's prepaid through my wax pass, but I pay for an extra service plus tip ($29). There's a Michael's in the shopping centre, and I need baking supplies so I pop over quickly. I buy flower-themed edible cake decorations and also sprinkles. I volunteer for a super cool organisation that gets birthday cakes to kiddos in foster care, and tonight I'm making cupcakes ($19.53). I also stop at a local coffee shop on my way home to get coffee and a bagel ($7.73). $56.26
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10 a.m. — I have a skip-level one-on-one with my director's boss that goes very well. I have a bunch of other meetings until 12:30. Make a quick lunch of TJ's Salsa Verde Chicken burritos, cantaloupe, and banana bread.
1:30 p.m. — Next round of meetings begin, so I hunker down. V. naps on my feet while I get stuff done. My VP is running a half marathon and raising funds for those suffering in Ukraine, so I donate. $20
5:30 p.m. — WOW, busy day done. My husband, C., spontaneously signed up for the same half that I'm running so he goes out for a run while I get our dinner together. We eat leftover chicken, rice, broccoli, and garlic bread. C. comes back from his run feeling great about his progress.
7 p.m. — I make chocolate cupcakes with vanilla icing and top them with the cute toppers I got earlier. Not my best work, but still happy with the results. Really trying to improve my decorating skills, and thankful that there are opportunities like this to do so while also giving back!
8 p.m. — Survivor is on! We plop on the couch and enjoy the episode. After, I wash my hair and am in bed by 10.
Daily Total: $76.26

Day Two

6:30 a.m. — Alarm goes off, and I snooze it but not for long. I need to drive the cupcakes into the city and am hoping to get in and out before 9. I put on an audiobook (Untamed), stop at Wawa to fill up on gas, and get a coffee. There's this adorable retro tumbler I keep eyeing up, and I see there are only a few left. I buy it, and my first coffee with it is free! Gas costs me $47.67 to fill up around 10ish gallons or so. $54.06
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8 a.m. — I arrive at the foster care centre where I'm dropping off the cupcakes. Goes smoothly but when I go to get back into my car, I can't find my phone! I ping it with my watch and don't hear anything. I frantically run into the foster care centre, and they don't have any phones. AH! I take a few deep breaths, walk back to my car and re-ping my phone. I hear it. It's underneath my car. I must have dropped it. Gosh, what a stressful feeling!
9 a.m. — Get back from the city and log in to work. I see that my boss has moved our meeting so we catch up via Slack. It's weird to call my boss my boss. We've been best friends at the company for so long, and due to some re-orgs/resignations, he happened to get promoted at the right time. Oh well, it creates a great dynamic.
12:30 p.m. — I take a quick break to eat a burrito, some cantaloupe, and a cupcake for lunch. Scroll social and see that two of my friends in town got together without me. I swear, even at the age of 30 this stings. Get back online to attend a virtual going away party for a coworker.
3:30 p.m. — Pull myself away from my computer because one of my best friends, K., has asked me to go to her first wedding dress fitting! I'm honoured and meet her at the bridal shop. Cue happy tears and just positive vibes all around. My friend who looks absolutely perfect.
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4:30 p.m. — On my way home, I call C. to see what he wants to do for dinner. I suggest Indian, and he's in. I log back on to check on work and order dinner. I have a message from my VP that they are looking for candidates for a technical/backend PM and asks if I know anybody who's interested. I say ME! We chat for while I put in our dinner order: butter chicken, tikka masala, samosas, and naan. $48.97
5:30 p.m. — I have therapy in a half hour and dinner just arrived so I scarf it down. Head down to the basement for my one-hour session. Things with C. have been hard lately, so we chat about that and some mom issues. $90
7 p.m. — I head back up, and C. went out to pick up groceries: bread, coffee, seltzers, gatorade, and beer. $26.99
8 p.m. — We each have a beer on the couch, then head to bed.
9:30 p.m. — C. seems down, so I ask if he wants to talk, and he doesn't really. I can see it in his eyes that he's not feeling great and it kills me. I soothe him in the best way I know possible…sexual favours. I know this probably isn't the best, but it feels good in the moment. Sigh.
Daily Total: $220.02

Day Three

6 a.m. — Alarm goes off, and I'm up and ready for my long run! I do eight miles, with over 590 feet in elevation gain. DANG I'm tired. Get back home, shower quickly, and make coffee and heat up my overnight oats. I have a call at 9:30 with my director.
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10:30 a.m. — The call with my director goals well, and she explains the position she messaged me about yesterday. It sounds like this is a really big step up with a lot of responsibilities, but she thinks I'd be a great candidate for it. She is going to keep talking to her boss about this and encourages me to think about it over the weekend.
1:30 p.m. — C. gets back from his run, and we eat lunch together. My afternoon is wide open, so I watch Grey's Anatomy while working through my to-do list.
3 p.m. — Our year of weddings is quickly approaching, so I place an order on Lulus.com for four dresses with every intention of returning two of them. I have a $10 coupon, and the total is $264 for all four dresses. I go through personal email and see that I still owe the maid of honour $100 for my one friend's bachelorette. I send that over to her. $364
4:30 p.m. — Day is done! C. and I go over to a local taco place to do happy hour. We split nachos, guac, and a few beers. $29
6:30 p.m. — We head back to feed the dog and chill on the couch. After, we go to our favourite brewery. I get two beers, and C. gets one. I'm trying to cut back on my drinking lately. I haven't loved who I've become when drunk. We also get a four-pack to go. At home, we chill on the couch, and then I head up to bed early. $51.29
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Daily Total: $444.29

Day Four

12:30 a.m. — I can not sleep at all. My anxiety is quite high. I go downstairs and put on Grey's Anatomy. I've got a LONG day tomorrow, and this isn't helping my anxiety. I do finally doze off.
6:30 a.m. — I'm up and can't sleep (ugh) so I start cleaning out my closets. I need to do some shopping on Sunday and would prefer that the closet is a little emptier before I hopefully fill it with nice new things.
8 a.m. — Y'all are not ready for this day I'm about to have. It is PACKED. I'm a chronic over-planner. First up is breakfast with my cousin. I lived with this cousin and her family for a bit growing up when my house was a little too scary for me, and I try to treat her like the sister I always wish I had. Last week, her mom treated me to breakfast, so I pay it forward and cover our breakfast. $36.50
11 a.m. — After breakfast, we head over to visit with my grandparents. My grandpa is battling lung cancer, and he fills us in on his treatment. We listen to stories from back in the day, and it is just lovely being in their presence. I adore them. My dad stops by, which is tumultuous because I've been keeping him out of my life over the past year or so. He tries to push some boundaries in front of my grandparents, but I like to think I defuse despite his constant pressing. Ugh, cue belly ache and anxiety.
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1 p.m. — Next up is my good friend's bridal shower! It's fun, and I stay for a few hours. I meet C. and some friends in the city for happy hour. We get yummy apps and cocktails. Across the street, I spy a super cool sports store. I immediately think about some potential gifts — I'm always on the prowl. The happy hour total is $36.17, which is a freaking steal. If you live in Philly, you must try Sampan. $36.17
4:30 p.m. — Before heading over to the show, we pop into the cool sports store across the street. I find an awesome Sixers shirt for myself and a shirt I know my father-in-law will love. His birthday isn't until July but, hey, one less thing. I also buy a Phillies onesie for my friend who is expecting. $90.17
8 p.m. — We're seeing C.'s favourite band's lead singer in an intimate show tonight! We have front-row seats, and we're so close that the singer calls me out for drinking my beer too slowly at one point. I sip on a beer for the entirety of the show because I am DD'ing us home. C. throws a few back. The bill is $35, but C. covers it on his private credit card. I pay $20 for parking on my personal card, so it kinda all comes out in the wash. Tickets were pre-paid, but I believe they were only around $20 each. $55
10:30 p.m. — The show was AWESOME, and we are starving. We stop for pizza on the way home. It takes way too long, so the shop only charges us half price. I get home and see that C. has cleaned the whole house — what a treat! $5.50
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Daily Total: $223.34

Day Five

8:30 a.m. — I'm SO TIRED. I'm supposed to meet a friend, but she cancels on me — phew. I'm too tired to go anywhere.
9:30 a.m. — I chill at home on the couch and put in a grocery order. I want to make Half Baked Harvest's new recipe so I get the ingredients for that, as well as some baking things I need. My cousins and I are doing a cousin trip to Austin this week! I plan on making us a few baked goods and mailing them down to the Airbnb. $56.13
10 a.m. — I want to go to Express in the mall because I have a coupon, but see it's not open until noon. I chill on the couch with V. and start watching The Dropout. It is awesome.
11:45 a.m. — I head over to the mall with C. and buy him lunch on the way as a thank you for cleaning up the house. We go to Chili's and get lunch specials. $38.27
12:30 p.m. — I'm at the mall and already over it. It's insane. I try on a few tops and bottoms at Express and decide on two bodysuits, two blouses, these cool pants, and earrings. The total is $203, but I have a $50 coupon. $153
3 p.m. — I take a nap and then head over to the gym to run three shakeout miles on the treadmill.
6 p.m. — For dinner, I make Half Baked Harvest's gnocchi in brown butter sauce with burrata. I also throw in ground pork for protein. After, we relax on the couch and watch sports.
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8:30 a.m. — I am FEELING this weekend. I am wiped and definitely consider taking a sick day tomorrow. Head up to bed at the ridiculous hour of 9.
Daily Total: $247.40

Day Six

6:30 a.m. — Wake up extremely stressed with all that I have to do this week. I'm leaving for Austin on Wednesday and still have so much to do. I take a sick day to get much-needed rest and self-care time.
7:30 a.m. — First batch of self-care? Snuggles with V. on the couch. We snuggle and watch another episode of The Dropout. C. says something that triggers me, so I make a note of it on my phone for therapy next week.
8:30 a.m. — Next batch of self-care? Baking. I make Corn Flake cookies and begin working on a cake. Put the cookies in the fridge to chill and when the cake comes out of the oven, I let it cool while I take V. up to the park.
12 p.m. — I take a nap on the couch and check work quickly. Respond to a few Slacks, then get back to my day of R&R. I desperately need my eyebrows and lip waxed, so I go over to the nail salon across the street. Honestly, she does a terrible job, but I don't feel like complaining. $28
2:30 p.m. — I head over to the gym and run four and a half miles while doing a Peloton run to pass the time. I go home and make icing to decorate the cake.
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6:30 p.m. — We eat leftover pizza for dinner while watching The Dropout.
8:30 p.m. — It's massage Monday! C. and I are trying to incorporate this into our week. We give each other massages before bed, and I am thoroughly relaxed. In bed and asleep within an hour.

Daily Total: $28

Day Seven

6:15 a.m. — Naturally wake up before the alarm, take out V., and get dressed to do an easy workout. I do a 10-minute arms, 10-minute core, and 20-minute easy ride on the Peloton. I'm getting a tattoo in a few weeks on my inner arm and that is my motivation to get my strength work in for the week!
8 a.m. — Eat Cheerios while I log in to work. I don't have a meeting until 10, and C. doesn't have one until 9:30 — so you guessed it — we watch an episode of The Dropout.
9 a.m. — Catch up on emails and have a few meetings. I'm hungry from all the running so I eat early: a burrito, leftover fries, a cookie, and blueberries. I get an email from a coding non-profit I work with asking for a volunteer to help with an upcoming LGBTQ+ session. I've been struggling with my sexuality lately and want to attend, but I'm not sure I'm ready to in a mentoring capacity. I practice saying no.
1:30 p.m. — Keep working. While in a meeting, I see my Lulu's package arrived! Yay! I try on dresses and decide on the two I'll keep and the two I'll return, expecting a refund of $147.
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4 p.m. — Couples therapy time. Ugh, I always get nervous for these. $100
5 p.m. — Therapy done and time to head into the city for the Sixers game! We get Wawa on our way in ($11.36), pay for parking ($22), and head into the game. I get us a pretzel to share, a Diet Coke for C., and a water for myself ($17). The Sixers lose, UGH, and we head home. $50.36
Daily Total: $150.36
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