A Week In The Rocky Mountains On A $185,000 Joint Income

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: an asset manager who makes $185,000 a year and spends some of her money this week on a Revlon hairbrush dryer.
Occupation: Asset Manager
Industry: Finance
Age: 39
Location: Rocky Mountains
Salary: $80,000 (husband is $105,000)
Net Worth: husband retirement: +/- $200,000, 529 plan for the girls: $40,000, we do not have joint accounts.
Debt: $0 (college paid off – I only had $28,000, husband had a higher salary in his early 20s and wiped his out)
Paycheck Amount (bi-monthly): $2,212
Pronouns: she/her

Monthly Expenses
Mortgage/HOA: $1,597 (husband pays, we deliberately have less house than we could reasonably carry)
Loans: $0 (cars owned in full)
Unlimited Yoga Membership: $100
iCloud Storage: $0.99
Life Insurance: $250 (every six months, we both carry reasonable tuition for the twins' college)
Amazon Prime: $120 annually
Streaming Services: $0 (use friend's Netflix, husband pays for HBO and some sports package stuff)
Cell Phone, Health Insurance and Wellness Benefit: $0, covered by work (I use the wellness benefit for a ski pass)
Girls' Health Insurance: Covered by husband
Utilities: covered by husband, usually $200
Girls' Monthly Expenses: $800 (includes ski school, piano, soccer, skating, lax, camps, charter school fees)
Donation: $100 (not super organized about it)

Day One

7 a.m. — I wake up in the guest room — my husband, S., and twin daughters N. and O., are sick. The pediatrician diagnosed them remotely with COVID-19 and we assume S. has the same. They are very mild though, so it's a task to convince them that they're sick and they should take it easy. On the other hand, they are usually up by now, so I check my phone for anything I need to know/deal with, and snuggle back in to luxuriate.
8 a.m. — Girls are giggling in their room. I get them downstairs so S. can sleep in and give them Tylenol. I feed them muffins that we all baked yesterday (cooking breakfast is their shelter at home project) and hot cocoa. I read the news and pay my insurance-adjusted hospital bill for routine bloodwork a couple of weeks ago ($58.98). S. wakes up and I make us oatmeal with sautéed mushrooms and feta for our breakfast. I text my parents to check in with them. $58.98
11:30 a.m. — S. puts girls in the bath with bath toys and a lush bomb, they love it, and it keeps them briefly corralled. We sit across the room from one another working on our laptops. I send emails, do some reading/research, and check in with clients. Girls start squabbling (as they do), S. goes to break it up and gets coerced into reading a chapter from the book they're on now, then leaves them to finish up. I order a little present from Amazon for a friend who has a newish baby ($9.22). I text her to expect it and to not douse the box with disinfectant when it arrives, since it's a book. $9.22
2 p.m. — S. has a conference call, so I give the girls pb&j and crudités for lunch. I get suckered in with miles and discounts and do some online school clothes shopping at Brooks Brothers for them. I buy in advance and "shop their closet," so it's likely they'll be back in real clothes by the time these fit ($72). I do a load of endless laundry and marvel that we're still producing so much when it's just pajamas and day-jamas. $72
4 p.m. — I go for a trail run and when I get back S. has the girls doing math sheets. I start chicken soup for dinner while he corrects and coaches. He was working at home a week before my office closed so he's been the homeschool point person for most of this. He goes to have a nap and I keep an eye on them while continuing the soup and checking in with my office team group text chain.
7:30 p.m. — It's great to have dinner at a civilized hour since no one needs to get up for anything — we usually try to have the girls all done by 7 to get to bed at a decent time for school. N. and O. play with their dolls a little in the living room, I read to them from what we're reading together and send them up to bed. I follow about 15 minutes later to scoot them along: kisses, cuddles, talk about the day, and tuck in. When they're asleep, S. turns in early and I have a glass of scotch and go online to read. Bed at 10ish.
Daily Total: $140.20

Day Two

8 a.m. — I wake up in the guest room with O. jumping into bed with me for snuggles. I check her temperature and my own; I'm still normal, but she has a low fever. I give her Tylenol and then go upstairs to do the same with N., who is in bed reading. I herd them downstairs and talk them through scrambled eggs with diced onions, and also make them juice and toast. While they're eating breakfast, I go shower and get dressed in lounge clothes. I moisturize and put my hair in a scrunchie. S. gets up and comes down to work. I read the paper and do the same.
10 a.m. — I get my AT equipment ready to go ski up a closed ski mountain. Spring skiing is one of the best times of the season and I could use the workout. I don't want to leave too late; I live somewhere very active and the ski and hiking trails can get a little busier than I prefer around midday. No math sheets today because it's the weekend, but the girls are each taking a turn reading a book on FaceTime to one of their grandmothers as I head out.
12:30 p.m. — I get back from skiing and S. is working. I give the girls leftover chicken soup for lunch and text message an offer to Amazon some stuff to a friend who doesn't use it, and we text confirm the list. I place the order, and she Venmos me the $94 immediately. I text a few people to see how they are doing, including my parents. They live thousands of miles away. I'm very grateful that my sister and her (NEW THIS FALL!) husband live near them and can help them out.
3 p.m. — I send the girls to tidy their room and do an art project before they watch a movie. They only get to watch stuff on the weekends and even though they've been out of school, S. and I have decided to keep them to a regular routine as much as possible. For like the 300th time since we've been staying home I think about The Mirror (the workout mirror). I had looked at the numbers this winter, and ultimately decided to pass as I was happy with my yoga studio/practice, but now with everything closed I'm nowhere near my usual 3-4 times a week and KNOW I'd be using it.

9 p.m. — After the girls and S. are in bed, I pour a glass of wine (La Croix de Beaucaillou, St. Julien, if anyone is interested). I check emails, do some reading, and am in bed before 10.

Daily Total: $0

Day Three

9 a.m. — Still in the guest room, but I slept amazingly. The post-7 a.m. wakeups are not something I've had for years, unless on a business trip away. Girls get their temperatures taken and dosed with Tylenol and I give them English muffins with butter and jelly and make myself some green tea. I can't really eat first thing in the morning, so a lie-in makes for delayed breakfast, but I'll just have to handle it. Easy like Sunday morning. I check in by text with a few people and social media lazily for a little bit. S. wanders back and forth with coffee.
12 p.m. — I manage about 40 minutes of legitimately half-hearted yoga, but the 10-minute meditation is solid. N. and O. build a fort in the living room and have a meeting in there with some stuffies. I read the paper online and buy some soap from my favorite hippy soap website ($55.37 — Chagrin Valley Falls, their stuff is AMAZING). I make us all fried rice for lunch with veggies and egg, and afterward, give the girls each a Magic Treehouse book to read. O. sits on the couch with me on my laptop and N. returns to the fort to read. $55.37
3:30 p.m. — I do a drawing project with the girls and then head out for a trail run since it's so sunny and warm. It would normally be Fritos o'clock. I get home and read a chapter to the girls. They'll be back in the first grade remote school groove on their tablets next week, so it's nice to enjoy time with them.
6 p.m. — I start a lemon, goat cheese, salmon pasta for dinner, and noodle around on travel websites. We would still be on spring break beach vacation if it weren't for the, entirely reasonable, cancellations. I am bummed that we can't take the girls to visit my parents this spring. We love to travel with the twins and so far have taken them to Costa Rica, Japan, Portugal, and Thailand. We'd already agreed to stay stateside this year, and now we won't even do that, but Argentina and Italy are on our future list.
8:30 p.m. — The twins are in bed and S. is watching some dumb TV with headphones on. I go online and pay the copay for the girls' last wellness visit with their ped ($40). I log in to my online trading account, transfer over some money and place an order for some securities I've been eyeing through the wobbly freefall in anticipation of the usual Monday morning drop ($250). S. and I haven't been having adult time since he's been sick and I've been distancing at home, which is a BUMMER, but two weeks without sex isn't the hardest hardship, and I know we're all lucky to be stably housed, employed, and not seriously ill. $290
Daily Total: $345.37

Day Four

8 a.m. — The girls wake me up with some bedroom chaos, but 8 a.m. is still sleeping in and I'll take it. I feed them breakfast: hard-boiled eggs, which they mostly do themselves, and toast, then herd them through showers and getting dressed. School starts back up tomorrow and the rule is no pajamas. I start them on a very basic sewing project: costumes made from old t-shirts for two of their dolls and after we clean up, I check in on S. and then go take a bath. I put on silk PJ pants, a cami, and a flannel, and S. and I start working online for the day.
10:30 a.m. — There's fresh snow this morning so I get my country skis and head out to a nearby wilderness area to run around. I can't wait until my girls are better so they can join me again. On the way home I stop at the smaller, less busy grocery and pick up garlic, lemons, grapefruit, sourdough pretzels, bread, and local honey ($48.42). Then I get a bottle of tequila ($48.95). When I get home, S. makes us spicy bloody Marias and I answer more emails. $97.37
1 p.m. — N. and O. are cranky and arguing more than usual. I separate them, listen to their respective grievances, and hand out math sheets. That buys some quiet time for me to get back to work. When they finish, S. checks them and heats up leftover pasta for lunch. I check in by phone and email with my parents and a few others and prepare for a client phone call in the kitchen. Afterward, I make some tea and order the Revlon brush dryer that my mom and I talked about as a present for her ($48.99). $48.99
7 p.m. — Dinner is steak on the grill (which S. does) and I lazily roast a head of garlic, some asparagus, and fingerling potatoes. After dinner, S. reads to the girls and then runs around at bedtime finding the right stuffed animal for O. Everyone but me turns in before 9, I read for a while and have some tequila on the rocks.
12:30 a.m. — N. wakes up, calling for S. and me, and wakes up O. as well. Both their temperatures are up, but N.'s especially and her joints ache. I place a call to the 24-hour on-call ped from our practice and she calls back within 30 minutes. We give the girls ibuprofen at her order and soothe them both. S. falls asleep on the recliner/rocker in their room and O. goes right back to sleep, but I cuddle N. in her bed and stay with her until 5 a.m. when I head back to the guest room.
Daily Total: $146.36

Day Five

8:30 a.m. — Because of the excitement last night, everyone is a little later getting up, but seem to feel FINE and class meeting starts on the girls' tablets at 9. I feed them frühstück (salami, cheese, toast) quickly while they get nominally dressed for school. They receive an interactive schedule with assignments to click through and check-ins with their teachers throughout the day. S. and I take turns steering them through that while working at our laptops. They are VERY excited to Zoom their classes and see their friends, especially since they've been watching S., whom they adore, do it for the past week. At recess, I get each of them showered while the other works on her writing work.
12:30 p.m. — School doesn't seem to be doing much, but they are enjoying it and getting used to the schedule and the interface. S. gives them PB&J and pretzel sticks for lunch, and we both have phone calls and work to do. After lunch, I get them started on the watercolor project that their art teacher has given them for the next few days, and then they take turns practicing piano while the other reads and has juice. With everything up in the air, I put down a deposit for June tennis camp instead of paying in full ($350). So many classes, activities, and camps have been canceled, for who knows how long, and it's mildly annoying to keep all of the refunds (or donated refunds) straight. $350
2:30 p.m. — I go out for a trail run and when I get back, S. tells me that N.'s fever has been higher again, and she's supposed to be taking a nap in bed. O. is reading on the couch and when it is finally clear that N. is NOT going to nap, O. goes upstairs with her books to keep N. company and they both sit in N.'s bed reading. I give them a snack of sliced apples to prolong the moment. S. goes out for a walk and some fresh air.
5 p.m. — I start making vegetable soup a little earlier than usual to get everyone off to bed while S. reads to the girls bundled up in throws on the couch. After dinner, they brush their teeth and go to bed at 7:30 with hopes that everyone will get the restorative sleep that they need tonight. I have a little scotch on the rocks and read Jia Tolentino in a quiet house before turning in myself.
Daily Total: $350

Day Six

7:30 a.m. — After an uneventful and restful night, it's day two of remote first grade. Breakfast is toast with cream cheese and salmon. N. likes capers (like me), O. doesn't (like S). The girls are even MORE excited for their 9 a.m. Zoom now that they know what to expect and play with their profile pics and emojis before they start. S. and I settle in for a workday and exchange smiles at the happy exuberant noises emanating from the girls' room.
11:30 a.m. — The girls work on their watercolor projects for school and play with their dolls and stuffies together for recess. They also work on the day's writing assignment before lunch and chat happily about how it's one of their friends from school's dog's birthday. S. mops the kitchen and the girls run over excited to help out, which S. jokes means they've never seen him clean before. Under normal circumstances we have a GREAT cleaning person who comes weekly, and sometimes brings one or both of her little girls with her, it costs $50 each week. But she's avoiding our plague-ridden household, and S. and I are here all day anyway, so we're doing it ourselves. The girls have (garbage but delicious) refrigerator-bake crescent rolls, which they make with butter and jelly for lunch, and I make them fruit smoothies.
2 p.m. — One of my friends texts and asks if my girls want to Zoom later with hers. We make a playdate plan. I Amazon some groceries — grapefruit juice, Bisquick, almond milk, pasta, and I want some paper towels, but haha sure ($45.11). I'd usually hit the grocery store for most of this, but I'm trying to limit that. Afterward, it's sunny and blue so I grab my cross country skis and hit a different wilderness area for some laps. When I come back I work with the girls on their sewing project. $45.11
5 p.m. — N. and O. feel okay, but still have mild fevers. I Tylenol them and S. does the same for himself. My temp is still normal and I feel totally fine. Clearly I'm either asymptomatic or immune, and I'm okay with either of those possibilities as it helps me take care of the rest of them. I check in with some friends and cousins to see how they are doing and get some more work done on my laptop. Dinner tonight will be the leftover steak with broccoli stir fry and noodles. I take a shower and change my lounge clothes. I pour S. and I some scotch rocks and do some reading before starting dinner.
Daily Total: $45.11

Day Seven

7 a.m. — I wake up in the guest room with N. and O. climbing on top of me. Clearly everyone is feeling better since they're no longer sleeping as much, alas. S. climbs in too for a family snuggle and I give in because it's all gone on so long and I'm still apparently healthy. I get them up and have them tidy their room and S. herds them through the shower process. School Zoom starts at 9 and they are off with their day. Little kids are so adaptable! This has been hard for S., I know, he's usually so active, but he's had some intermittent shortness of breath and isn't even using his stationary bike.
11:30 a.m. — It's sunny and warmish again, so I have the girls sit in the yard with some berry herbal tea while they work on writing letters to their grandparents. I don't want to overtire them, because they're still not well, so we tolerate a little running around and then get them back inside for lunch and school assignments. After lunch, I get some paper white bulbs, river stones, and pots and have the girls put little forcing projects together for the kitchen. Our growing season is short, but it's clearly spring and it helps to bring a little bit of that inside.
2 p.m. — S. monitors their math assignments and I go for a trail run. I feel lucky that I'm able to keep getting out while observing utter isolation. When I get back, I have them take turns reading to me from a more challenging book that we're all working on together. The girls then finish their watercolor projects and I snap photos and email the results to their art teacher. She responds right away with encouraging and approving comments. I think she's as grateful for the connection as we are. Some of my family members are teachers and I know this has been an especially challenging time for them.
6 p.m. — The girls take turns practicing some adorable but very plonky piano and FaceTime a lesson with their Suzuki teacher. I Venmo her quarterly, $80 for the hour split between both girls (in monthly expenses). She really does a great job encouraging their sweet efforts, even over the internets. I give everyone some cantaloupe for a snack and start dinner of miso ramen with vegetables and soy-eggs, while the girls play together pretty pleasantly, and S. continues to work.
Daily Total: $0

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