A Week In Florida On A Joint $106,699 Income

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Today: an administrative assistant working in higher education who makes $31,699 per year and spends some of her money this week on Hint Pineapple Sunscreen.
Occupation: Administrative Assistant
Industry: Higher Education
Age: 28
Location: Largo, FL
My Salary: $31,699.20
Husband's Salary: $75,000
My Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $809.75 (This is after deductions, which include health, dental, life insurance for myself and the kids, and my 403(b) contribution.)
Husband's Paycheck (2x/month): $3,000
Additional Income: $859.50 (My husband is a veteran and takes classes, so we receive this monthly allowance from the GI Bill.)
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,595
My Car Payment: $374.91
Husband's Car Payment: $201.30
My Student Loans: $50.77
Car and Renter's Insurance: $326.56
Husband's Life Insurance: $43.95
Internet: $79.95
Electricity: ~$200
Utilities: $90 (water, sewer, trash)
Cellphone: $216.47
Credit Cards: $200
Daughter's Cooking Class: $99
Netflix: $11.89
Savings: $1,000 (sometimes more, sometimes less)
Amazon prime: $119/year
Car Wash Monthly Package: $36.95

Day One

6:05 a.m. — My son and dog wake me up before my alarm. The dog has to go out and my son is sneakily looking for his phone. We take away electronics at 8 p.m., and they don't get them back until all of their morning tasks are complete.
6:45 a.m. — Rushing, and then rushing some more to get out the door on time. I shower, prep breakfast and lunches, let the dog out, and we are out the door by 7:03 a.m. I yelled a bit more than I hoped to this morning, which will definitely lead to a guilt trip later when I am settled into my desk. Some mornings are great, others are not. Today my son, D., claimed he needed chicken and a smoothie because they have standardized testing and his teacher said to have a healthy breakfast. He's strange sometimes with food. D. and L. (daughter) spent most of the car ride bickering back and forth over lord knows what.
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7:35 a.m. — Kids are dropped off and I am at work. I really do love that their school starts so early, despite our rushed mornings. Earlier days mean that I can get out of work earlier. I typically work from 7:30 to 4 p.m., but my boss is incredibly flexible with my schedule. With kids, I feel like I am always leaving early for a doctor's appointment, orthodontist appointment, random school nurse call...etc...
9:42 a.m. — Work has been a little bit slower than usual. I get a text from my husband saying he misses me (aww). We are trying to be more in tune with each other's love languages. He jokes often that he doesn't know what love language I am on any given day, because words of affirmation, acts of service, and quality time are my top three. His one and only is physical touch, which happens to be my last love language. Opposites attract??
12:30 p.m. — Lunchtime! I eat my lunch at my desk, because I use my actual 30 minute lunch break to pick my kids up from school. We live right across the street from my work, so I pick them up, drop them off, and head back to work for two hours every day. Sometimes my husband helps out, but his work schedule is a lot more demanding than mine, so it's almost always me. Lunch is a taco-ish salad with lettuce, salsa, cilantro-lime crema, chicken, avocado, tomatoes, onions, queso fresco, and some crumbled tortilla chips for good measure. In January, we did a "no eating out challenge," and it really was easier than I thought it would be, so I thought we would do it again this month. Day three and we are going strong! It helps that I prep my husband's sandwiches. If not, he would be rolling through the drive-thru or getting Publix subs every day (and yet somehow still keep in shape...grr).
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4 p.m. — After work, I decide to run to Publix since it's the last day that a few items I want are on sale. Buy-two-get-one-free soda and BOGO Blue Point beer for C. (husband). $23.08
4:42 p.m. — Get home and find D. playing Fortnite and L. in her room being a preteen. Neither child acknowledges me, which is why I welcome my greetings from my fur child, N. He's a German shepherd and enjoys jumping up to "hug" everyone who comes in the door. As I settle in to make sandwiches for C. and D. for lunch tomorrow, I notice that we are out of brioche buns that C. has been using for his sandwiches. I text him to see if he needs anything in his lunch stash replenished, and he does, so I decide to head back out. First stop is Aldi for milk, pea crisps (addictive!), brioche buns, two kinds of protein bars, and crescent rolls ($19.86). Then I head to Winn-Dixie because I am ashamed to go back to Publix since I was just there. I don't typically shop at Winn-Dixie, but it's right across the street, so I decide to browse around. I end up with four boxes of crackers, two kinds of popcorn seasoning, and You're My Boy Blue blueberry wheat beer because it's on clearance and I love this beer ($19.99)! $39.85
6 p.m. — Once I'm back home and settled, I make tomorrow's lunches for C. and D. Then I make the kids dinner of Purdue chicken strips, Annie's mac 'n' cheese, and some frozen veggies. Tonight C. isn't going to his boating class because he has been working until almost sundown lately. C. is self-employed and owns his own land-surveying company. Work is so busy for him, which is a blessing financially, but it really drains him. C. has some anxiety issues, and being overwhelmed with work can be a trigger for him. When he gets home, he heads into our bedroom/office to send in his work, and I clean up the kids' dinner. I have a huge canker sore right now, so absolutely nothing but a glass of wine sounds good for dinner. C. heats up some leftover chicken and has that on some of the brioche buns I bought earlier.
8:30 p.m. — Around 8:30 I decide that I need actual food. C. offers to cook for me, but he is finally relaxing, so I sauté up some mushrooms and onions, leftover BBQ pork, and make an omelet. I top it off with queso fresco and a side of avocado and tomato toast. This whole meal is odd, and I usually hate eggs, but it came together nicely. C. and I spend some nice quality time on the couch — he watches YouTube fishing videos and I read a book on my Kindle. I'm ready for bed around 10, but he isn't quite tired, so he finishes his beer and comes in later.
Daily Total: $62.93

Day Two

5:50 a.m. — N. decides to wake me up before my first alarm goes off to go potty. After pretending to ignore him for a few minutes, I finally get up and let him out. I try to go back to sleep for a few more minutes, but it's useless. I let N. back in, start waking the kids up, pour them some milk and get out breakfast, then I hop in the shower. We do our typical mad dash out of the house in time.
7:05 a.m. — Today I try to explain to the kids that my canker sore is killing me, and I can't keep going back and forth between them. This morning's car ride fight is about D. talking to L.'s classmates. L. thinks D. is telling them secrets about her. What secrets is he sharing exactly?! No one knows, but she's 11 and hormonal, so D. is getting her wrath. I laugh to myself while I act as the moderator. I wish D. good luck on his second day of FSA testing and remind L. that she has STEM club this afternoon.
7:25 a.m. — I head home to finish doing my hair, and C. is just about to head out, so I steal one more kiss! We have been married for 11 years and together for 13, but he still gives me the butterflies. :)
7:35 a.m. — I head into work and get settled for the day. I make a cup of English breakfast tea and hammer away at emails. I have worked at this college for almost five years now, and I really do enjoy my job. My boss is amazing and never questions or gives me a hard time about the eight million times I have had to leave early because L. has gone to the nurse for the fifth time or any other random thing that you can't make up when you have kids. C. makes way more than I do, and he doesn't have PTO, so I am usually the one taking the time off. I don't mind, but I dream of the day when I can actually use my bachelor's degree and have a big-girl job. C. is so supportive, and even when I was a stay-at-home mom when the kids were younger, he never made me feel bad about it. I know this should be normal and not need recognition, but I've found a lot of partners aren't always as supportive of their spouses.
8:54 a.m. — Time for another cup of tea, and I decide to break into my stash of Lucky Charms, because I'm an adult and I can.
12:35 p.m. — The day is dragging, but at least it's lunchtime! I make the same salad as yesterday and eat at my desk. After lunch, I leave work to pick up D. and drop him off at home.
2:45 p.m. — On Thursdays I leave work early because L. has STEM club. It's pointless to go back to work afterward since I leave an hour later, so I just use PTO every Thursday. After I drop off L., D. informs me that he needs me to do a load of laundry so he can wear special pajamas for a PJ party at school tomorrow. He wants to wear a fleece sleeper, but I don't think that's quite appropriate for 80-degree weather. I decide to go run errands and pick up some PJs for him.
3:30 p.m. — First stop is the car wash. C. purchased a monthly package for me, so I have been trying to go at least twice a week. While sitting in the parking lot of the car wash, I place a Target drive-up order (seriously THE best thing ever, and it curbs my spending!). C. needs deodorant and body wash, I need body wash, and D. needs PJs. I find Fortnite pajamas that I know he will love. Somehow SweeTART and Starburst jelly beans make it into the cart, too...whoops! ($47.67) I also swing by Total Wine for Maeloc Blackberry Cider (AMAZING!), some mini Prosecco bottles, and a Woodchuck Pearsecco ($18.47). $66.14
5:15 p.m. — I asked D.'s teacher if they needed any parent donations. I always try to contribute because some parents suck and teachers are so underpaid and under-appreciated. He responds that paper plates or water would be great, so I get a 24-pack of eight-ounce waters and a big pack of paper plates ($12.33). Last stop is Starbucks for caffeine, because it's happy hour! All grande espresso beverages are $3, so I go for an iced skinny caramel macchiato ($3.21 on preloaded app). $15.54
8 p.m. — I come home to some super hungry kids! L. is cooking for us tonight. She is making a recipe that they made in cooking class (minus the homemade pappardelle because who has time for that?!). She really enjoys cooking, and I am trying to be more patient and let her do more. She made a delicious pappardelle with mushrooms and asparagus. Dessert for the kids is "not-fried Oreos" that we made with crescent rolls and Oreos. I was totally skeptical of how they would be, but they really turned out well.
9 p.m. — Kids are tucked into bed, so it's finally time to relax! C. does work for a while while I hang out in our room and listen to music while drinking a cider. Once C. is finished with work and showered, we settle on the couch and I bring up that I would like to possibly go away for Mother's Day weekend. Mother's Day is particularly hard for me, since I had to go no-contact with my mom. I could write a 45-page paper on the reasons why, but the short and sweet version is that I couldn't jeopardize my children's emotional or physical safety any longer. It still hurts, but I refuse to let my children experience what I did as a child. I'm far from perfect, but my children are my entire world. I do not take the role of being their mother lightly, and I hope to give them the childhood I always wished I had.
10:15 p.m. — Bedtime! I've been having bizarre dreams lately, and I think it's because I'm taking too much melatonin, so I take just one restful-sleep gummy tonight.
Daily Total: $81.68

Day Three

5:45 a.m. — Guess who decided to wake me up before my alarm again? I love N. so much, but I really could do without the potty wake-up calls 15 minutes before my alarm is supposed to go off. Plus, it's pouring rain, so he has to wait anyways! After snoozing and snuggling for a bit, I go wake up L., who promised me she would get up early enough to shower in the morning. When I go to wake her up, she begs me to just dry shampoo her hair, but I tell her a deal's a deal, and she was all about the morning shower last night!
6:59 a.m. — D. looks so cute in his PJs, and I selfishly wish I could also be wearing pajamas to work! But at least it's Friday, so it's a casual jeans-and-T-shirt day. I had to remind D. three times to put underwear on. Full disclosure: D. usually doesn't wear underwear. At 16 months old, he was diagnosed on the autism spectrum. He had major speech and language delays and sensory-processing issues. I'm so amazed and proud of the progress he has made with speech, and he no longer requires an IEP! I credit all of his amazing therapists and teachers for how far he has come. Things like underwear, tags, and certain textures bother him. So no underwear it is! Surprisingly, the kids don't fight this morning and the car ride to school is relatively smooth.
7:30 a.m. — I settle into work and start running some reports. I snack on some Reese's Puff cereal because Friday deserves a sugary breakfast!
12:40 p.m. — It's been a busy morning! The day goes by so much quicker when I am busy. I make the last of my salad fixings and eat at my desk. C. texts me and asks if I want him to get the kids — um, YES! I do some internet browsing on Reddit and Yahoo.
3:30 p.m. — Since C. picked up the kids, I get to leave 30 minutes early today! Happy Friday!! I walk into the garage and immediately smell the amazing chicken curry that C. is making. Apparently D., our pickiest eater, has requested this for dinner. He made it a few months ago, and we begged him to try a bite and he ended up eating two bowls! I'm not hungry yet, but I get a load of laundry started and pour myself one of the mini Proseccos because #FriYAY!
8 p.m. — We spend most of the night relaxing and doing random chores. I spend over an hour looking through cookbooks for meal-plan inspiration. This weekend I have plans Saturday and Sunday (which never happens!), so I am trying to get ahead on my weekend tasks. I have a Patagonia beer and some snacks and spend most of the night just hanging out with C. I wash my face, clean my nose ring (I got my nose pierced a few weeks ago), and apply some self-tanner since I'm paler than Casper and I will be lounging by the pool tomorrow.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

7:05 a.m. — After me attempting to ignore the dog for as long as possible, N. demands to be let out. He doesn't understand that on weekends we sleep! I take his cue and get my day started as well. It's going to be a busy one!
8:15 a.m. — We usually take N. to daycare on Saturdays, so I get him ready to go and we realize that his leash is broken. C. offers to go to Target with me, and I will never say no to Target or time with C. We pick up a leash and a birthday card for my friend ($18.49). I also pick up a drive-up order that I placed for Neutrogena clear face sunscreen, Neutrogena beach defense sunscreen for the kids, Hint pineapple sunscreen for me, and makeup-removing cotton pads ($34.83). $53.32
9 a.m. — Now that N. has a proper leash, I load him up into the car and we drive with the windows down to daycare! He loves daycare and he loves car rides, so he is totally living his best life. I love him! I also make a mental note that his fourth birthday is on the 23rd and I need to buy him toys. I forgot last year and felt like a total dog-mom failure. $25
9:45 a.m. — Turns out C. wants to continue spending time with me! I ask him if he wants to head to Earth Fare and Publix with me, and he says yes. Our quality time has been really limited with his work schedule, so grocery shopping also doubles as date time. The kids want to stay behind and eat cereal and pack their pool bags for later. At Earth Fare, I pick up a gift card, a California roll (requested by my friend), and two sparkling rosé spritzers to bring to the pool ($34.76). Then we head to Publix where I get some chips, pimento-cheese spread, cupcakes, and a bottle of wine ($27.92). $62.68
11 a.m. — I drop L. off at cooking class. After cooking class, the kids and I head to my friend's house. We get a tour of her new house, make sandwiches, and then head to the pool! I get some quality baby time in with my friend's grandson, and we get to catch up as well.
5 p.m. — After we leave my friend's house, the kids and I stop at a really questionable gas station for something cold to drink. I tell them to quickly pick a drink (two Gatorades for them and a sugar-free pear Red Bull for me), and we get out of there as soon as possible. When we get in the car L. says, "That was not like any gas station I've ever been to. Let's not go back there again." She's my kid. $10.64
8 p.m. — C. and I decide to run to Publix because he wants to make me a nice dinner. The kids already ate — mac 'n' cheese pizza and chicken tenders for L., chicken tenders and pasta for D. We pick up the fixings for Champagne shrimp pasta, and I stock up on BOGO Mother Kombucha ($48.39). We also pick up Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2, because L. begged us to get something from Redbox, even though we not only saw it at the movie theater, but we've rented it before from Redbox. Should have just bought it by now ($3.50 for two nights). $52.43
9 p.m. — We spend the night together making Champagne shrimp pasta, drinking the leftover Champagne, making milkshakes for the kids, and then I watch three episodes of Queer Eye while C. watches fishing YouTube videos. The kids fall asleep on the couch watching their movie. We leave them there and I enjoy watching their sweet faces sleeping. One of the Queer Eye episodes features a newly widowed dad, and IDK if it's the Champagne or my impending period, but it hits me in the feels. C. says he wouldn't be able to go on, but I told him he would need to for the kids. The mom who passed away wrote cards for her kids for future birthdays, and it's just super emotional. All four of us end up sleeping on the couch, whoops!
Daily Total: $204.07

Day Five

6:50 a.m. — We ended up waking up around 3:45 a.m. to move from the couches to the bed. N. decides that 6:50 is a proper wake-up call for Sunday, so I let him out. I head back to bed until around 8, when I hear L. and D. arguing about breakfast. D. is getting cereal, but L. says, "Mommy said she is making biscuits and gravy for breakfast, just ask her if she is going to start it now." Good morning to you too, L.! C. and I snuggle for a few more minutes until I realize that the breakfast monster will attack if she doesn't get food soon. L. happily eats two servings of sausage gravy, and D. sticks to cereal (surprise!).
10 a.m. — C. is not feeling the errands today, so I run to Aldi with L. We pick up milk, some snack items, yogurt, brioche buns, sour cream, and Red Thunder ($17.49). Then we head to Publix, where I pick up the lunch meat I ordered ahead of time, tomatoes, corn, basil, green beans, onions, garlic, bacon, pasta, bubbly sparkling water, crescent rolls, dish soap, paper plates, paper bowls, pesto, a birthday card for our cousin, buffalo chicken dip, BOGO Patagonia beer, avocados, lemons, and lettuce ($95.23). $112.72
11:30 a.m. — My mother-in-law comes over to pick up the kids right as we get home from Publix. I start unloading groceries and preparing a pesto pasta salad and green beans with bacon that we are bringing over to C.'s uncle's house. I am heading over there before C. and the kids to help his aunt with their new baby and toddler. I leave C. detailed instructions with what to bring over later. I jump in the shower and quickly do my hair before heading out.
3:30 p.m. — C.'s aunt is probably one of my favorite people. We text every day and are very close. I enjoy my time with her, and I thoroughly enjoy all of the baby and toddler snuggles! C. heads over around 3:30 with the kids, and C.'s uncle and his older daughter get home around 4 p.m. from a movie. We start fixing dinner — filet and ribeye, pesto pasta salad, green beans, and corn on the cob. The kids play, and the adults hang out and take turns with the baby. After dinner, I help L., D., and their cousin make "unfried Oreos." They love these!
7:30 p.m. — The night flies by, and I have to be the bad guy and tell the kids that it's time to go. It's a school night and bedtime is usually 8 p.m., and we still have showers and lunch prep to do. C.'s uncle lives on the beach, so on the car ride home the kids and I blast the music, roll the windows down, and catch the sunset! They also think it's fun to "race" Dad home. We win, but only because Dad had to stop at the gas station.
9:45 p.m. — After fixing my lunch, C.'s lunch, and D.'s lunch and doing some housework, we settle in to watch a few episodes of Schitt's Creek. This show is outrageous, and I love every single character. Moira is beyond extra, and her outfits and wigs kill me. I have a Patagonia lager while C. has a vodka and soda. I also eat a handful of jelly beans, because Sundays suck and jelly beans make the Sunday Scaries go away. We head to bed around 10:45 p.m.
Daily Total: $112.72

Day Six

6:20 a.m. — My phone must have died overnight, and I wake up to C.'s alarm. We get up pretty quickly, not much time for snuggling today. C. wakes up the kids while I heat up some leftover sausage and gravy that L. asked for. We jump in the shower and do our typical morning routine of running around like chickens with our heads cut off. We make it in the car by 7:04, and I feel like I'm winning...until we come across two accidents on the road we take to get to school. I cut through a neighborhood and still get the kids to school on time. Phew!
7:40 a.m. — I settle in at work and start going through emails. I also make a cup of tea and snack on some of the cereal I brought for breakfast.
10 a.m. — I'm super snacky today, and I break into my pea crisps and have another cup of tea followed by a cranberry bubbly. It's been a busy morning, and I prefer it that way.
12:30 p.m. — Lunchtime! I heat up some of the delicious curry that C. made Friday, along with some coconut rice. I meant to grab the cauliflower rice from the freezer, so the actual rice is a real treat! It's delicious and I text C. to let him know. He responds "nice," because he's a words guy — not.
1:25 p.m. — Typical afternoon mad dash to leave work, pick the kids up, drop them off, and head back to work. I remind L. that we have leftover chicken strips in the fridge, since she is always hungry after school. I notice that N. got a hold of both of my tomatoes from our kitchen cart, and there is now tomato on the rug leading to the patio. Thanks, N.! I'll deal with it later. I text C. to let him know that his dog is a dick. It's a joke that the kids and/or the dog conveniently become his when they do undesirable things. He responds: "lol." Again, such a words guy!
3:39 p.m. — I am slowly fading and only have 21 minutes left at work (but who's counting), so I crack open my kombucha and finish some small projects. I also make a quick Earth Fare list since N. decided my tomatoes are now his tomatoes.
4:15 p.m. — I head to Earth Fare after work to grab two tomatoes and an avocado. I try to avoid browsing, because I will find something else to buy and lord knows I spend too much on groceries! $4.86
5 p.m. — I get home and start doing some minor housework. Since I was so busy this weekend, I didn't get caught up on laundry, and I swear one basket multiplies into 10 when you take just one day off. I blame my preteen daughter and her 37 daily outfit changes. After, I start fixing dinner. Tonight's dinner is kind of random, but we are trying to eat up leftovers. The kids have leftovers from the weekend (chicken tenders, veggies, a random slice of pizza, and some leftover pasta), and I make a salad with leftover filet from last night, arugula, goat cheese, pepitas, avocado, tomato, caramelized onions, and a homemade citrus vinaigrette. C. has two sandwiches when he finally decides he's hungry.
7:30 p.m. — More laundry, dishes, lunch prep for tomorrow, and hanging out with the kids until their bedtime. They each get a leftover "unfried Oreo" for dessert to follow along with my "get rid of all of the fridge leftovers" plan. I realize that I haven't really detailed my morning or night "beauty" routine, but I shower every morning and usually do a quick body shower every night. I use Clinique's three-step both morning and night, but I double cleanse at night, along with some extra eye cream. I also recently started using self-tanner because I live in Florida, but as I previously mentioned, I am paler than Casper. I use St. Tropez face mist and Target's Up & Up daily firming tanner lotion.
9 p.m. — C. is finally done with his office work, and we hang out and watch some Schitt's Creek. We are almost finished with season four, and that's all that is on Netflix, so I find myself trying to limit how many episodes we watch. I'm not ready to part with the Rose family! I snack on some jelly beans, and then we head to bed around 10:30.
Daily Total: $4.86

Day Seven

6:05 a.m. —N. practiced self-control this morning and did not wake me up before my first alarm. Extra snuggles for him! I wake the kids up, and we do the same song and dance as every other day. Is it summertime yet? I shower, check on D. multiple times to remind him to pack his lunch box and get socks on, and we are out the door by 7:03. We have our typical chaotic drive to school, but if I'm being honest, I wouldn't have it any other way! Those kids are my world, and I know how much they love each other, despite the silly fights they have.
7:30 a.m. — I make it into work and get started on going through emails. They never end. I make a cup of tea and hammer away for a few hours. I also take a few breaks to do some vacation research. C. and I decided that we will take a mini vacation this summer that falls during my birthday. I am trying to plan a mini road trip, and we will make multiple stops along the way, including Mount Dora, Ocala National Forest, and one of my favorite places in the world — St. Augustine! We went without the kids a few years ago, and all I could think about was how much they would love it.
12:35 p.m. — Lunchtime! I heat up some of the leftover curry, and today I remembered to bring the cauliflower rice. The curry is delicious, and I smile thinking about how good of a cook C. is. I love cooking, but most nights it's just a race to the dinner table and I don't get to enjoy the process. During spring break, I made a home-cooked meal almost every night, and I did so much baking. The kitchen is my happy place in my "free time."
4 p.m. — Work was pretty slow this afternoon, and the last hour seems to go by the slowest. I head home and start on some housework and dinner. Normally, I meal plan and our meals are pretty consistent. For example, every Monday is turkey-burger night and every Tuesday is taco Tuesday, but I needed a break this week. L. wants to make a quesadilla, so I let her, and D. wants ravioli and chicken. I round out their meals by adding some frozen veggies. When I don't eat dinner with them at the same time, I still sit with them because I think family mealtime is important.
7 p.m. — C. just got home from work, and it was a long and stressful day. I feel bad that he has been working so much, and there really is no light at the end of the tunnel. He's not hungry and still has office work to do, so he grabs a beer and gets to work. Now is a good time to mention that our bedroom is literally right off the kitchen, so I "hang out" with him while I am in the kitchen and he is at the computer. We chat while I do dishes and he does work. I make myself the same salad from last night, because we still have leftover filet. C. has another beer and eventually some random fridge food.
Daily Total: $0
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