A Week In Austin, TX, On A Joint $154,500 Salary

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 analyst working in banking who makes $44,500 per year ($154,500 when combined with her husband) and spends some of her money this week on Cheetos.
Occupation: Analyst
Industry: Banking
Age: 24
Location: Austin, TX
My Salary: $44,500
My Husband's Salary: $110,000
My Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $1,400
My Husband's Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $2,800
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,460 for our one-bedroom plus office. This includes water/trash/sewage. We're moving next month, and our new rent will be $1,550.
Car Payment: $453 (Stupid lesson learned, ~$10k left to pay off.)
Student Loans: Paid off
My Dental & Vision Insurance: $40 (For medical insurance, I'm on my parents' plan.)
Husband's Medical, Dental & Vision Insurance: $150
Phone: $125
Spotify: $15.99 (My family uses it too, and we use their Netflix.)
Car Insurance: $146 for two cars
Internet: $50
Renters Insurance: $17
Utilities: ~$40-$90
Washer/Dryer Rental: $40
401(k): ~$200 (6% of my salary, and my company matches up to 6%). I currently have about ~$7,500 in it. My husband contributes 10% of his salary, about $850, to his 401(k)).
Down Payment Savings Account: $3,000
Other Savings: Whatever is leftover. Our paychecks are deposited into our savings account and we have $3,500 transferred into our checking account to pay off our credit card (which we use for everything) at the end of the month. Our rent and car payment are taken from the checking account as well.
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Day One

11:30 a.m. — Wake up with a slight headache from a concert last night. We're having brunch with friends who are in town. First we get ready and load the dishwasher before taking off. We meet up with friends at El Chile Café at 1. I order migas, and my husband, A., orders a chorizo and egg breakfast taco. Plus we each have agua fresca. The migas do not have nearly enough tortilla strips, but it's okay otherwise. $30.90
3 p.m. — Home. I clean out the fridge, put dishes away, and we watch The Great British Baking Show in bed because it's absolutely freezing outside by Texas standards. At 6:30, we wake up from our surprise nap. I don't really like naps because they ruin my sleep cycle. I eat a blueberry muffin, and A. cooks some eggs and sausage for himself.
8:30 p.m. — Head over to our friends' apartment but stop by H-E-B on the way to buy some ice cream and eggs they requested, since we asked if they needed anything. We also buy lemons, a prepackaged salad, sweet potatoes, carrots, crushed tomatoes, black beans, vanilla ice cream, eggs, tortilla chips, orange juice, croissants, and provolone. $33.23
9 p.m. — Hang out at their apartment. They feed A. shrimp kebabs (I don't eat seafood) and make brownies. We eat warm brownies with ice cream, drink tea, catch up, and watch YouTube videos of an old TV show in their native language (so they have to pause every 30 seconds to translate for me).
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12:30 a.m. — Home wayyyyy late. I'm typically in bed at 10:30 on a work night. I don't even wash my face before sleeping tonight. I'm gross, I know.
Daily Total: $64.13

Day Two

7 a.m. — Wake up, brush teeth, clean face, get ready for work, and I'm out the door by 7:45 (15 minutes late even though I woke up on time — I blame my addiction to The Great British Baking Show.) I arrive at work at 8:15, make coffee, and toast two slices of this amazing breakfast bread loaf that's loaded with apples, dates, walnuts, and raisins. I eat it every day.
12:15 p.m. — Decide to take my lunch break to eat my salad. I also buy some sour cream and onion chips from the vending machine in the building. The machine only has “healthy” snacks, so I get baked chips, which aren't as good. $1
3:50 p.m. — Leave about an hour early from work to go to a doctor's appointment at 4:20. I haven't had a physical in probably close to a decade, but I thankfully have no known health issues. I know that I should be more serious about taking care of myself. I get blood taken and a flu shot ($30 copay). $30
6:10 p.m. — A. calls to ask me to pick up veggie burgers for us. I oblige because I'm really hungry. We eat, cuddle, and watch part of a really dumb “flat earther” documentary on Netflix. A. falls asleep on the couch, and I decide to wash our bed sheets and cook sweet potato black bean chili while watching TGBBS on my phone (such a wholesome show). $13.04
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9:30 p.m. — Another load of laundry. I'm still not done cooking. Chopping sweet potatoes takes me a ridiculously long time, especially because I chop while sitting down.
10:30 p.m. — A. is still asleep on the couch. He is messing up his sleep schedule so bad but gets really annoyed when he's woken up from a nap, so I don't even bother. I have a small bowl of chili — it's one of the handful of recipes I make that comes out consistently great.
12 a.m. — Finally the last load of laundry is done and folded. I pack my lunch, quickly shower, blow dry my hair, and go to bed, where I find A.
Daily Total: $44.04

Day Three

6:40 a.m. — Wake up a little earlier than usual because I have a consultation with a plastic surgeon. I have always disliked my nose and wanted a rhinoplasty, and I am finally taking the plunge. I really like the doctor and want to go through with it. I'll talk to A. about it tonight. I was quoted $9,525, which includes the $200 I already paid for the consultation.
9:30 a.m. — Arrive at work, and five minutes later my coworkers invite me to Starbucks, where I order a grande hot chocolate ($3.73), I typically get iced coffee even if it's cold outside, but I really don't feel like walking back with a cold drink in my hand when it's 35 degrees outside. I pay using my preloaded Starbucks app and make a piece of my everyday toast when we get back.
10:45 a.m. — Get a notification that an item I listed on Mercari sold for $14. I'm trying to slowly get rid of stuff before we move. We move pretty much every year, and the less stuff we have to haul around, the better.
1 p.m. — Have my chili with some tortilla chips and lemon water. I've always thought fruit-infused water is bad because the taste is insignificant and the fruit gets all mushy, and I still think this is true for berries and cucumbers, but lemon really tastes good.
5:55 p.m. — Home from work. A. immediately drags me to bed to cuddle for 10 minutes the second I step in the front door. I will never understand why he finds me so cute. Afterwards, we head to the Apple Store to sell back an old iPhone. We get $150 for it, hell yeah!
7:30 p.m. — A. wants to eat before we stop by H-E-B, which is a good idea — never grocery shop while hungry. We eat at Whataburger ($14.81) and then buy baby wipes, toilet bowl cleaner, all-purpose cleaner, avocados, tomatoes, children's hangers (adult sized hangers ruin my clothes), peanut butter, paper towels, Diet Coke for A., Draino, Ritz crackers, popcorn, toothbrush heads, floss, Cheetos, and cotton pads ($76.95). $91.76
9:30 p.m. — We watch last half of Green Book (I cried) and fall asleep by 10:30.
Daily Total: $91.76

Day Four

6:55 a.m. — Wake up, get ready, at work by 8 a.m., have my coffee and toast.
11:45 a.m. — Can't wait any longer. I eat the lunch I brought from home, same as yesterday. I am one of those people who can eat the same thing (if I love it) for days or weeks in row. I receive an email that my blood test results are available for me to view, and they're all within the “normal” range.
6:25 p.m. — Home from work. It takes an hour even though it's only 10 miles away. Traffic really raises my blood pressure, so I lay on the couch for 20 minutes after changing into PJs. Our next place is within walking distance of my job, and I am so ready for it.
7 p.m. — A. heats up the last of the chili for the both of us, which we top with cotija cheese, diced avocado, and a side a tortilla chips. We then head to Home Depot to buy some boxes for the move. $9.79
8:30 p.m. — TGBBS has inspired me to bake. I decide to make black tea cake with honey buttercream frosting. We have ungodly amounts of loose black tea, so it will be put to good use. I shower and do my night time skincare (Fresh Soy face cleanser, Gardiner micellar water with a cotton pad, The Ordinary retinol, The Ordinary AHA, and The Ordinary moisturizer) as it bakes in the oven for 30 minutes.
9:30 p.m. — I frost the cake once it has cooled down. I ended up putting too much salt in the honey buttercream frosting, but the cake itself came out good and really tastes just like black tea! We each have a slice. Next week I'll try making chamomile flower cake. A. watches some TV, and I lay with him while I browse social media on my phone. We're asleep by 10:30.
Daily Total: $9.79

Day Five

6:55 a.m. — Same routine, in the office by 8 a.m., eat my same breakfast. Today I decided to secretly wear black jeans to work. I only have three pairs slacks that I can wear to work, and I'm tired of outfit repeating day after day, plus I really like the slacks I do have and they are getting a bit worn out from being worn so often.
9 a.m. — Rhinoplasty surgery date is booked for late May, and the balance ($9,325) isn't due until mid-May. Haven't decided if we will pay in full or do interest-free financing for six months. This will delay our home-buying, but we talked about and have decided that we're okay with it.
2:20 p.m. — Go downstairs to buy chips from the vending machine ($1). I didn't bring lunch today and don't feel like driving or walking anywhere to buy a real meal. Plus, the nearly $10,000 bill due in two months is already making me feel guilty. I eat a Larabar from my desk drawer. $1
6 p.m. — At home, I boil some frozen dumplings from last week. Soy-filled for me, beef-filled for A. We top them with plain yogurt, tomato paste cooked in butter, sumac spice, and dried mint.
8 p.m. — We begin packing stuff that we won't be using within the next several weeks. We also rent a moving van and dolly, which costs $39.99 with insurance, plus $0.79 per mile. But that will be paid upon pickup. I had wanted to work out today because my apartment has a great gym, but I just can't get off the couch. I tell myself that once I'm not spending an hour and thirty minutes in traffic every day I'll use that time to work out. I watch Period. End Of Sentence. and three episodes of Workin' Moms on Netflix. I'm asleep by 10:30.
Daily Total: $1

Day Six

7:15 a.m. — Oops, snoozed a few too many times. I get ready for work, remember to bring some snacks, and get to my desk at 8:20, where I have my daily coffee and toast.
12:25 p.m. — I have an apple with some peanut butter and decide I feel like painting this weekend. I am not creative, so I look up pictures on my favorites album that I can recreate. I also think hosting a painting and wine night with friends would be fun and a good way to have everyone visit our new place. I read today's Money Diary where the writer mentions grieving her brother, which makes me think about the sudden loss of my grandmother 18 months ago. I spend the rest of the work day listening to sad songs that make me cry and reading a couple of articles online on grieving. Good thing I'm alone at the office today.
6:30 p.m. — At home, we boil some more dumplings, and A. decides to nap. I'm about to get in the shower but I see him sleeping so comfortably that I decide to lie with him. We wake up at 8:30 and immediately start to get ready before picking up some friends.
10 p.m. — We head to Rainey Street, where there are a bunch of houses-turned-bars. Parking is $20. We get on the street and realize most if not all of the bars are closed for private SXSW events, so we decide to hit up E 6th St. instead. Luckily we find free parking and walk over to one of our favorite little bars. I only have one glass of wine because I'm DD. $25
1 a.m. — We buy some tacos from a food truck. I have one chicken taco and A. has two. Afterwards, we drop off our friends and get home a little after 2. Typically we'd have taken an Uber but our friends live pretty far, and we didn't want them to have to pay over $50 each way. $14
Daily Total: $39

Day Seven

12 p.m. — Wake up, wash my face, have my toast, and head down to work out in our apartment's gym. I would like to go more regularly, but I'm lazy and anxious. Afterwards, I shower and get ready. We clean around the apartment and declutter, then take some clothes and other items for donation to Austin Pets Alive!, a thrift store nearby. All profits go directly to the Austin Pets Alive! No Kill shelters. They have a cute doggy at the store, too
3:30 p.m. — Decide to check out an international food store, where we buy some snacks. $6.41
4:30 p.m. — Drive to Central Market (if H-E-B and Whole Foods had a baby) to fulfill my bread needs for the week and also buy lemonade, olives, French bread, potato salad, a rotisserie chicken, and mac and cheese. $27.01
6 p.m. — Eat some chicken, mac and cheese, bread, onions, and pickled peppers. We watch Can You Ever Forgive Me?, which is not a movie we'd typically watch, but it's pretty good. After that we decide to watch Wreck It Ralph, which we both really like. We make popcorn and eat some of the snacks we bought at the international food store.
11 p.m. — We start to fall asleep one-third of the way into Ralph Breaks the Internet, so we call it a night. We'll probably finish it tomorrow because it's fantastic so far. I fall asleep cuddling in bed with my best friend.
Daily Total: $33.42
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