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A Week In Albuquerque, NM, On A $112,750 Salary

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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/Airbnb host who makes $112,750 per year and spends some of her money this week on doughnuts.
Occupation: Project Manager and Airbnb Owner
Industry: Real Estate
Age: 34
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Salary: $112,750
Net Worth: $374,577 ($220,000 in savings, 401(k), and bonds, and $250,000 in total property value (I own a house that I operate as an Airbnb and land in another state), minus debt.
Debt: $95,423 mortgage on my house. I own the land outright.
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $3,308
Airbnb Payout (1x/month): ~$2,200
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Housing Costs: $850 (this is my half of the utilities and mortgage for where I live. My fiancé owns the condo and I send him money).
Airbnb: $1,200 (mortgage, utilities, expenses, and fees).
Savings: $1,000
Medication: $3
Cell Phone: $48
Donations: $65
Spin Class: $75 (I pay monthly for four classes a month).
Trainer: $200
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?
Yes, it was expected of me to go to college and there were no other options presented. However, my parents also encouraged me and my siblings to go to college anywhere we wanted. They footed the bill for all of us. So, although I did not want to go to college, I left with no debt. I realized pretty quickly this was a huge privilege that not many of my friends were experiencing.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
My parents were extreme savers and money managers. At the age of 10, my siblings and I each opened a bank account and began receiving an allowance. We were required to save 40%, tithe 10%, and the remainder was money we could use on anything we needed. And when I say needed, this is where the extremes came in. Starting at the age of 10, we were all responsible for using this money for haircuts, clothes, outings with friends, anything we needed, excluding food and shelter. This made me a great saver, but also pretty anxious when it comes to money.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I started babysitting, dog sitting, and house sitting at the age of 10. I did it mostly out of necessity. My allowance was not cutting it when it came to getting new shoes at the beginning of the school year.
Did you worry about money growing up?
I did not worry about money growing up in the sense that I ever worried we did not have enough. I never worried about food or a safe place to sleep. However, the aforementioned allowance caused me a lot of worry mostly when it came to not having the cool stuff all the other kids had whose parents were buying them everything they wanted.
Do you worry about money now?
I don't worry on a day to day basis, but I do worry a lot about savings. I want to have children and I worry about how I will pay for their college or retire without burdening them.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I think the first time I was really paying all my bills was about a year out of college after I lived with them for a year. I always have and always will have a financial safety net. If I was ever in a desperate situation, I could turn to my parents and they would be there financially. My fiancé has the same situation with his parents.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
Yes, I inherited the property in North Carolina mentioned in my net worth. I also received a lump sum of over $20,000 from my parents about five years ago and I believe that will continue to happen based on my parent's philosophy of giving now rather than waiting until they pass.

Day One

8 a.m. — It's a sunny weekend morning and there's no rush to get out of bed. My fiancé, B., and I snuggle and make iced coffee. He makes me a yummy breakfast with bacon, eggs, and roasted potatoes. I'm off to spin class and he heads out to meet friends for brunch. I pay for four classes a month in bulk so this class is included. Typically I only go on weekdays, but I'm feeling extra motivated this morning.
10 a.m. — Spin class is over and I drive to my friend's house while I try to rehydrate. I am watching her cat for the weekend. I feed the kitty and then head home. I eat a few peaches before heading out the door to meet B. and his parents to play pickleball.
2 p.m. — Albuquerque has a very dry climate, but with a threat of rain today, it's humid and I'm so sweaty. I must have sweat off all my sunscreen too because I'm getting a sunburn. We briefly cool off in the pool by the pickleball court. I rinse off and head to a sugaring appointment. I pay $83 for sugaring including tip. $83
6 p.m. — Meet everyone back by the pool for dinner and then B. and I head home. We watch a movie when we get home.
10 p.m. — I pull myself off the couch, shower quickly, and get in bed. I fall asleep immediately. It's been a very long day and the perfect ending to a great weekend.

Daily Total: $83

Day Two

6 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I immediately hit snooze. I end up sleeping in until about 7:30 and jump out of bed very groggy. Luckily, I work from home so I don't have to do much else but put on a bra and splash my face.
11 a.m. — I spend the morning trying to work but the weekend is really catching up with me and I'm having a hard time staying focused. B. texts to let me know he's headed home for lunch. We eat some leftover rice with eggs and then go to the grocery store. We stock up on basics plus some good snacks for the week. We get eggs, oat milk, tortillas, chips, salsa, eggplant, squash, bell pepper, onion, black beans, butter, pretzels, and pita chips. The total is $120, but we use Splitwise for all of our expenses so my half is $60. $60

1 p.m. — We unload the groceries, B. heads back to work, and I finally feel like my head is clear enough to do some real work. I drive down to a food hall to meet a friend and we co-work and share several plates of food. I pay. $30
4:30 p.m. — I say goodbye to my friend and make some tentative plans for the weekend with her. I'm now headed to meet with my strength trainer. We meet once a week and I pay for that in bulk as a monthly expense. As I'm headed to the gym, my real estate agent calls. I put in an offer on a house a couple of days back and unfortunately, I don't like their counteroffer. I've been trying to buy another investment property and the process has been incredibly stressful. A lot of letdowns, so I add that one to the list and remind myself that the right one will come along.

6:30 p.m. — I always feel so good after my workouts. I'm still feeling pretty full from the food hall earlier today so I don't stop for food as I normally would on the way home. B. is getting home right when I arrive and we get cozy and set up on the couch for a movie. I make a little salad with tuna and pickles.
9 p.m. — Nighttime shower routine. Get in bed, cuddle, and read a bit before turning out the light. I'm in a book club and I host this weekend so I need to finish the book.

Daily Total: $90

Day Three

6 a.m. — Alarm and this time we get up. It's so nice to start the day with a walk and the weather is beautiful. We get home and water the plants while we drink iced coffee. I make this in batches all summer long and it saves me a ton of money. B. goes into the office while I work at home, so I make him little snacks to take every day as well.
8 a.m. — I log in and work on catching up while eating my usual breakfast; peanut butter and banana toast. I have a pretty productive morning.

1:30 p.m. — I log off for lunch and eat a peach while I wait for B. to get home. When he arrives, we work together to make tuna and salad wraps for lunch. B. whips up fries in the air fryer. I sit on the patio and read a little bit. We hang out and he heads back to the office. I get back to work. A big part of my job is using and working on a new project management app. It's been a very big task trying to learn and balance the rest of my job. After about an hour, I shamelessly sit on the couch and catch up on an episode of And Just Like That. I'm using a trial subscription of HBO to watch the new season. It's on my calendar to cancel in 15 days so I'm not charged. While I watch, I pull out some chicken to thaw for tonight. We're having dinner with friends.

5 p.m. — I live for the end of the workday. I'm very grateful for my job and the creature comforts it affords me, but I don't like my job. This is the topic of conversation as B. and I prep to bring dinner to our friend's house. We enjoy a really nice night at their house talking and playing video games. We're home and asleep by 10.

Daily Total: $0

Day Four

6 a.m. — My alarm goes off and we do get up, but it takes a little while. We're out the door by 6:30 for a morning walk. When we get back, we hustle a little bit getting ready while we drink iced coffee.
12:00 — It's been a pretty busy morning filled with meetings. I eat lunch alone while reading my book. I eat some leftovers from last night. I also have time to wash my hair. I'm a curly girl so that only happens once every four days and there's a whole routine primarily involving the five hours it takes for my hair to air dry before I can go out into the world.
5 p.m. — Work day is done and I read for about an hour before my friend arrives. We walk to a vegetarian restaurant for dinner. She's treating me as a thank you for watching her cat. We have a lot to catch up on. The weather's beautiful for the walk and the food is good, but not great.
9 p.m. — I finish reading my book. We watch a bit of a movie and then go to sleep.

Daily Total: $0

Day Five

6 a.m. — Wake up and go for a walk with B. Home for a little stretching and some iced coffee. B. is out the door and I am on the computer by 8.
12 p.m. — 1 Time for lunch. I really need to go shopping for some dinner prep but I opt to eat a wrap for lunch and start You're Invited by Amanda Jayatissa. This one is a thriller and I can already tell it's going to be scary. Probably the worst time to start a scary book, since B. is headed out of town for the weekend and I'll be here alone. After about an hour, I get back on the grind and spend my afternoon doing some trainings and working on ironing out my inbox.
5 p.m. — It's date night! We're trying out cooking a new recipe together. We're making chicken wings and plantains mixing and matching a couple of Bon Appetit grilling recipes. I didn't go grocery shopping today so we do that first. We get chicken wings, plantains, olive oil, tomatoes, bananas, seltzer water, and dairy-free cashew caramel ice cream. We split the total. $18
6 p.m. — We are grilling, drinking cocktails, and watching Worst Cooks In America. B. is the grill master tonight so I am also scrolling on my phone a bit. I check in on my Airbnb and see that everything is in order. It's a small house that I bought when I was in a toxic relationship. I'm not ready to get rid of it yet, so it's nice I can make some money from it.
8 p.m. — Dinner is served and the wings are absolutely delicious. We eat in front of the TV watching Only Murders In The Building then take it to the bedroom. After showering and getting cozy in bed, we read and turn out the light by 10.
Daily Total: $18

Day Six

6 a.m. — Up and at 'em. Same routine, but this morning my realtor sent me a new investment property to review, so B. and I discuss it while we walk. I'm feeling very awake this morning and excited for the day. I text my realtor back and make plans to see the house this evening.
12 p.m. — I've had a very productive morning. B. brings chicken sandwiches home for lunch and we chat while he packs for his weekend trip. Once he heads out, I read my book for a good hour and drag myself away to hop back on the computer for some more work.

3:30 p.m. — I pack up my computer and head downtown to meet my sister at a local coffee shop so we can co-work for about an hour before the end of the day. We're sitting outside and it's a hot day so I get an iced watermelon lemonade and an almond pastry ($10). At 5:30, I head to the potential investment property. It's a very cute house in a very wonderful little neighborhood, but just like many houses in that price range, there's a foundation issue that is completely hidden in the photos and not mentioned in the listing. Really hard to tell from the viewing how costly it could be to repair. Sadly, I move on. $10

6 p.m. — I leave the showing and meet back up with my sister at a local spa. We soak for an hour and get in a good visit. I love my sister so much, she is one of my best friends. She and her girlfriend are planning to travel for the next year, so I'm trying to spend as much time as I can with her. After our soak, my sister heads home and I rinse off because I've treated myself to a massage. I haven't had a massage in a while so I'm weirdly a little nervous, but my massage therapist is amazing and I'm incredibly relaxed when finished. $170

8:30 p.m. — When I get home, I make some frozen chicken in the air fryer and wrap it in a tortilla. I spend about an hour watching Jewish Matchmaking on Netflix, then go to bed. I'm kind of a scaredy cat so getting in bed alone tonight I'm a little jumpy, but I turn off the light. How did I ever live alone?

Daily Total: $180

Day Seven

6:50 a.m. — I'm not sure why I'm doing this to myself, but I've signed up for an 8 a.m. spin class. I get up, take my thyroid medication, drink some water, and eat something.
8:45 a.m. — Spin class is over and I look beat. Drive up the block to my favorite doughnut spot and grab three doughnuts plus coffee ($18). It's my step-grandmother's birthday today so I'm going over to her and my grandad's place with doughnuts. I've been busy so I haven't had a chance to catch up with them in a while. $18

11 a.m. — I leave my grandparents and head home. I gather a load of books that I'm going to sell at a local bookstore today and run out the door to meet my friends for lunch. We eat ($13) and then head to get pedicures ($45). We disperse and I head to the bookstore. While they're going through my books, I pick out four to purchase and then use the credit from the sale towards the total ($24 on top of my credit). $82

3 p.m. — I set up my new books on the bookshelf and sit on the couch to read for a little bit before getting up and tidying the house. I scroll through YouTube and decide to get in the shower and wash my hair.

6 p.m. — I make a gin cocktail and prep for dinner. Friends arrive with food and I throw chicken and veggies on the grill. We snack on hummus, salsa, chips, and guacamole. Tacos come together pretty quickly after the chicken comes off the grill and we chat and laugh at the table. After dinner, we play Mario Party and everybody's gone by about 9 p.m. That's my cue to hop into bed. I brush my teeth and scroll on YouTube before turning out the light. Tomorrow's the last day of the weekend and I'm going to make the most of it!

Daily Total: $100
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