A Week In Long Island, NY, On A Joint $262,000 Income

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.
Today: an AML advisor working in compliance who makes $262,000 per year and spends some of her money on a Dunkin' latte.
Occupation: AML Advisor
Industry: Compliance
Age: 28
Location: Long Island, NY
Salary: Joint: $262,000
My Paycheck Amount (biweekly): $3,735
My Husband's Paycheck Amount (weekly): $1,704
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $3,736 (We purchased a four-bedroom 110-year-old colonial last October, this includes escrow for taxes and homeowner's insurance) Student Loans: $0 (I thankfully have paid mine off and my husband's parents paid for his college, thank you in-laws!)
Cable/Internet/Phone: $145
Cell Phones: $188
LIRR ticket: $350
Metrocard: ~$115
Cars: $450 (my husband owns his truck and I'm leasing mine)
Netflix: $12.99
Spotify Family: $14.99 (I see you, “family” members on our plan)
Pet Insurance: $79
Dogwalker: $600 (since our puppy is so young, someone comes twice a day to let him out and feed him, it's $30 a day)
Utilities: ~$100 (gas and electricity, water is paid twice a year and is $40 in total)
Amazon Prime: $129 (for the year)
Note: My husband and I have a joint account that we each put money into every month, this pays for all house and living expenses like our bills; it's also where we keep our savings. We also keep separate checking and savings accounts, which we use for our own day to day purchases. We essentially keep $3,000 each in our personal accounts and everything else gets transferred to our joint account at the end of every month or every paycheck.

Day One

1 a.m. — My husband and I just adopted a new puppy last weekend; he's a rescue from the Bahamas and is just under three months old. Since he is so young, we have to let him out every three hours or so. I'm the night person — therefore, I'm the one to take him out at this EXTREMELY early hour. I fumble my way downstairs and see he is already awake and waiting for me in his crate. We quickly make a trip outside, he does his thing, and we are both soundly back to sleep in our respective beds.
6 a.m. — Puppy time again! This time I just get up and stay up with him. I feed him, let him out, and then we play for a good hour while my husband, T., sleeps. Once he's up, we start alternating cleaning parts of the house while the other plays/watches the puppy. The past week was a whirlwind. We didn't expect to adopt a puppy (we went looking for an older dog), but there were so many who were brought up before the hurricane hit the Bahamas and we fell in love. That also means, we didn't have time to clean much during the week and everything is in disarray.
10:30 a.m. — Things seem to finally be in order so I head out to go food shopping for the week. I go to King Kullen and buy broccoli, bananas, grape tomatoes, red onion, salad kits, package of mesclun greens, bananas, cheddar cheese, milk, French fries, yogurt, strawberries, cucumbers, two bottles of dressing, and grapes. I didn't get to $100 so I couldn't use our weekly coupon! $75.32
12 p.m. — After unpacking everything and prepping our salads for the week, the puppy is very tired which is perfect! We are crate training him and don't want him to get too attached having us there all day since of course, we can't be there all day during the week while we work. T. and I head out and walk downtown to one of our favorite pubs to watch some football for a few hours. We order some wings and a couple of pitchers of beer and just hang out (wings and two beers were comped as a part of our membership club). $36
3 p.m. — We decide we should probably start walking back to our house and my tipsy self decides that we should DEFINITELY have nachos for dinner! I realize we don't have sour cream so we stop at a little grocery store to get ingredients. Ten minutes later, we are home cuddling with the puppy and watching some more football. Pretty sure I fall asleep at some time for about an hour and by the time I wake up, I feel it's too late for nachos, so sad. $3.26
9:30 p.m. — T. and I are tired and ready to call it a night. I pick out my clothes for tomorrow, wash my face (charcoal soap bar), moisturize (L'Oréal night anti-wrinkle cream), and pretty much fall asleep immediately.
Daily Total: $114.58

Day Two

1 a.m. — Yup, you guessed it, puppy time! Sleepwalk down the stairs, let him out, and get back in bed.
5 a.m. — Ugh, alarm goes off, already have a case of the Mondays… T. and I get up at the same time. I brush my teeth, wash my face (charcoal bar again), and moisturize (L'Oréal moisturizer and under-eye cream, aging, bleh), then start getting ready. Yay me for always picking out my clothes the night before! Otherwise, I would be standing in front of my closet for 20 minutes every morning. I brush my hair, put on my makeup (just a little eyeliner and mascara), then I make my way downstairs. Puppy is awake and super happy. While I was getting ready, T. already took him outside and fed him so he's ready to go. We play and watch the news for about a half-hour before we head out the door. My husband is fortunate enough to work on Long Island, but I have to commute into the city so he drops me off at the train station which is just down the street.
8 a.m. — I'm at my desk and going through my emails to see what came in since I left Friday and over the weekend — not much which is great. I just started a new job and this is my third week at the company. It is such a drastic change from my previous job and I am so relieved. I left my previous employer because the micromanaging was really getting to me on top of the daily fire drills that I felt were not handled well. I came home super cranky every night and it was not good for me or T. This new job is kind of similar to what I was doing before, but the atmosphere is extremely laid back and the people are great so far!
10 a.m. — I packed Greek yogurt and strawberries for breakfast so I eat that while I go through some client approvals.
1 p.m. — My favorite time of day — lunch! My office is in downtown Manhattan, which means the views are excellent and we are right on the water. Since the weather is still nice here in NY halfway through September, I take advantage of it and go sit outside. Before I head out, I see that Ritual is offering Dollar Lunch deals so, of course, I take advantage and order fries with jalapeño ranch sauce. I eat them along with my salad and a seltzer I brought and read my book (Educated by Tara Westover, it's fantastic!). $1.06
5 p.m. — I leave work and get home about 6:45. It's Monday Night Football so of course, that's what we are watching. I finally get to make the nachos we were craving yesterday and we settle in with a cocktail each (don't judge). Of course, T. already bought the puppy a Jets jersey so he is wearing that, it's too cute. I probably take too many pictures. Then we get a call from the vet telling us that our puppy has two parasites and we have to pick up his medications tomorrow. I have a small breakdown thinking we've done something wrong and screwed up after only a week of having him, but my friends and family assure me that most puppies get parasites when they are young, especially those who have been in shelters.
10 p.m. — After cuddling with T. and puppy, assuring me that everything is going to be okay, I can't stay up any longer. I am sleepy and know that I have to be up in a few hours to let the dog out. I shower, pick out my clothes for tomorrow, and fall asleep almost instantly.
Daily Total: $1.06

Day Three

1 a.m. — Puppy time, you know the deal.
5 a.m. — Same ole routine, get ready, pack breakfast and lunch, play with puppy. We are out the door by 6.
12 p.m. — It's been a relatively slow morning since I am sort of still learning the ropes here. I've been doing some shadowing, but also trying to handle things on my own. My friend L. texts me saying that she's downtown in the city for a day because she's at a conference and asks if I have time to meet up for lunch. I say yes. Her conference is just a few blocks from my office so we meet in the middle at a salad/sandwich place. She orders a salad and I eat the one I brought from home. We used to work together, but both left the same company around the same time and it's great to see her.
3 p.m. — I've been back at my desk for a few hours now, chugging along. Our team had a meeting and there are a lot of new products that I need to learn, ASAP. It's time for an afternoon snack — veggie straws are my ultimate guilty pleasure (I always keep them at my desk) so I have some of those along with an English breakfast tea from the pantry.
6:50 p.m. — I finally walk through the door and am greeted with kisses both from the puppy and my husband! T. and I catch up on our day for a little bit, talking about our day. He went to the vet on the way home to pick up the prescriptions, said the puppy took them like a champ. I head upstairs to shower — I always feel so icky after being on the subway and the train every day. I pick out my clothes for tomorrow and head back downstairs. Dinner tonight consists of pre-packaged chicken teriyaki bowls from Costco, which are amazing and perfect for our lazy selves.
10 p.m. — T. and I put the puppy in his crate, head upstairs to get ready for bed, and I immediately fall asleep. I think that's my superpower…
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

1 a.m. — Can't leave this part of the day out, you know what it is. Take the dog out, tell him he's a good boy for not going in his crate, and we both go back to bed.
5 a.m. — It's that dreaded hour, alarm goes off and I am not a snoozer. T. and I get up and do our thing to get ready for the morning. He's downstairs letting the dog out and feeding him while I get ready upstairs, then we alternate, he gets ready and I play with the puppy. Have I talked about this puppy too much already? Can you tell I love him and I'm obsessed? Time is up and we head out the door, T. drives me to the train as usual and then goes on his merry way.
7:45 a.m. — I'm walking from the subway to my office and spy a Dunkin' so I go in and get a coffee. I didn't bring any food today knowing we are getting pizza for lunch. Here's to hoping this latte holds me over until noon. $4.06
12 p.m. — Pizza lunch courtesy of management as a thank you for the team's hard work through a remediation that happened over the summer. I, of course, was not a part of it since I wasn't working here yet but am happy to reap the benefits! OMG, this pizza is delicious. I have a plain cheese and a slice with hot peppers on it. Spicy food is my weakness, the hotter the better.
2:30 p.m. — Okay, although the pizza was good, it did not fill me up. I look on the Ritual app to see what their dollar deals are and see that a gelato place in our adjoining building has a medium for $1. I order salted caramel, stracciatella, and dark chocolate. It is exactly what I needed! I sit outside for a few minutes reading and eating. It's nice to get away from the computer screens for a bit. Before I go back to my desk, I purchase a new book on my kindle because I'm almost finished with this one ($10.99). $12.05
4:45 p.m. — I leave a little early today with some other coworkers who live on the island. Once off the train, I call my mom to catch up. All of my family lives in MA, where I'm from, so I try to call her at least once a week although we do text almost daily. She tells me that her and my stepdad are heading to Vegas on Friday and she is over-packing as usual (I've definitely inherited this from her). Then she tells me that she bought gifts for her new grand-fur-baby and they are to arrive next week so I should be on the lookout. We end the call when I walk in the door and am greeted by my two favorite guys!
9:30 p.m. — I shower, dry my hair, and get everything ready for tomorrow. T. and I search through our DVR and watch Undercover Billionaire, which T. is really obsessed with and then watch last night's Mayans M.C. episode before heading up to bed and taking the puppers out one last time.
Daily Total: $16.11

Day Five

1 a.m. — You know what I'm going to write here…
5 a.m. — The dreaded alarm goes off and I slink out of bed. At least it's finally Thursday, but it's freezing! It's in the 40s outside and of course today of all days I choose to wear a skirt to work. Oh well, the only time I'm commuting outside is when I'm on the platform waiting for the train. T. and I get ready, play with the dog for a bit before putting him in his crate, and head out the door.
10:10 a.m. — I have to sign up for my health benefits. I've been going back and forth on whether or not I should sign up for mine or go on my husband's insurance. We are talking about trying to have a baby towards the end of this year and I want to make sure I pick the best plan with great coverage. I decide that mine is the best option and sign up for that. Now it's time for breakfast — greek yogurt with strawberries along with my daily vitamins (multivitamin, hair, skin, and nails, as well as calcium and Vitamin D).
12 p.m. — Time to take a break from the computer screens and take a walk. I recently purchased a pair of blue light glasses from Amazon because my eyes have been hurting and I've been getting headaches from staring at three monitors all day, erryday. So far they have been really helpful. I take the elevator downstairs and walk to Rite Aid to buy a bag of veggie straws that I like to keep at my desk — they're my go-to afternoon snack. I sit on a bench in our lobby for a half hour and read, then head back upstairs to eat the salad I packed at my desk. $9.07
3 p.m. — T. and I have been texting back and forth when we're not busy at work. He says our landscapers are coming today to rip up our yard and level it out. We both watch the dog on our puppy cam while they are there to see his reaction — he does not look happy and is barking. He's usually sleeping around this time, it's so heartbreaking to be so far. I take out the veggie straws I purchased earlier and surf the internet for a bit. I'm contemplating buying nail polish from Amazon since I stopped getting my nails done after we purchased our home at the end of last year. I decide against it and get back to work.
6:45 p.m. — I walk in the door, right on time. T. and I were texting back and forth while I was on the train about what to have for dinner. I had too many veggie sticks and I'm not really hungry so I'm feeling uninspired. We end up ordering Chinese food because we're both lazy and know it will serve us for two nights. We order two combo plates and a wonton soup. $25.37
10 p.m. — T. takes the dog out one more time while I clean up by putting away all his toys, shutting the TV off, and making sure his bed is ready to go. Then it's upstairs to get ready for bed and I fall asleep pretty much immediately.
Daily Total: $34.44

Day Six

5 a.m. — Had that usual 1 a.m. wake up call to let the dog out and now this alarm goes off, but it is finally Friday! I wake up from a deep slumber — getting up in the middle of the night is not working for me. I put on extra under eye cream when getting ready this morning as if it's going to perform an immediate miracle. I still can't be bothered with much makeup so eyeliner and mascara it is. T. and I do our morning routine alternating playing with the puppers and getting ready then we are out the door by 6.
7:45 a.m. — I make it to the city and decide that I need caffeine. I have been dying to try Starbucks' Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew so I order ahead with money already loaded on my card and go pick it up. As I'm walking towards my building, I pass an Apple store with a ridiculously long line of people waiting to get the new phone. This is still a thing?! Employees are clapping as customers walk in as if they're saying “muahaha we can't wait to take all of your money for this new product that's not much different than the last.” Whatevs, this cold brew is delicious! I have just one meeting this morning so I settle in with my usual breakfast of strawberries and yogurt and catch up on emails before I have to get to this meeting.
12:30 p.m. — I decide it's time to take a break from the screens and head outside. How did it go from 52 degrees this morning to 71 this afternoon?! I sit outside for about a half-hour enjoying the view and reading. Then I head back to my desk to eat the salad that I brought along with some veggie straws.
5 p.m. — It's officially the weekend! I leave with a couple of coworkers and we head to Penn where I buy a Tall Boy beer for the train. It's my treat yo'self-moment every Friday ($2.50). Looks like T. bought some slices on his way home from work so that's our dinner this evening while we watch Live PD (we're obsessed)! It's a pretty chill evening of just us hanging out and it's perfect. I think we eventually go up to bed around 11. $26.50
Daily Total: $26.50

Day Seven

2:30 a.m. — Since we went to bed later that means pup goes out later, I wake up to let him out and we both go back to sleep
8 a.m. — I'm up, I just can't help it. T. sleeps for a little bit longer, but I think I woke him up playing with the puppers. Today is a full-on cleaning day. I tackle the inside while T. works on our backyard. It's a little hard to be cleaning when the dog thinks the broom and Swiffer are toys he gets to play with, but we make it work and get everything accomplished by 1.
2 p.m. — T. and I haven't eaten anything at all today and we have to make a Costco run so we both shower and then head out. Red Robin is basically right next door, so we stop there first and grab burgers and drinks ($34.67). Onto Costco, my favorite place on Earth! We need a lot of housekeeping items. We get dish soap, detergent, Clorox wipes, chicken teriyaki bowls, veggie sticks (duh), chocolate chips, craisins, walnuts, a sweater, naan, lettuce, dog toys, and two cases of beer. $257.39
4 p.m. — We're back home and we unpack everything, clean out the fridge, grab a couple beers, and head outside to sit on our deck and enjoy the gorgeous weather for a mid-September weekend. T., the pup, and I decide it's getting a bit dark so we head inside to our bar room (yes, it's exactly what you think it is) and hang out there pretty much for the rest of the evening. We're still so full from the late lunch so we just snack on chips, crackers, and cheese.
9 p.m. — Guess what, Live PD is on again and it's actually live! We settle in on the couch in our usual spots and zone out until we're both so sleepy that we head upstairs. Why are we so exhausted all the time?! Hopefully, tonight brings a lot of sleep and I wake up well rested tomorrow.
Daily Total: $257.39
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.
Do you have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Submit it with us here.

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series

Button: Register To Vote