A Week In Savannah, GA, On A Joint $225,000 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 anesthesiologist assistant who makes $160,000 per year ($225,000 when combined with her husband) and spends some of her money this week on a Mcdonald's hot fudge sundae.
Occupation: Anesthesiologist Assistant
Industry: Anesthesiology
Age: 29
Location: Savannah, GA
My Salary: $160,000
My Husband's Salary: $65,000
My Paycheck (2x/month): $4,300
My Husband's Paycheck (2x/month): $2,000
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $1,780
Student Loan Payment: $0 (My anesthesia school loans are paid off and I didn't have undergrad loans.)
Tithe: $1,500 (approximately 10% of gross paychecks)
Cell Phones: $100 (for two lines)
Internet: $67
Electricity: $180
Pre-K Tuition: $455 for four days/week
Retirement: $2,500 (401(k) and IRA contributions split between my account and my husband's account)
Discretionary Spending Allowance: $200 ($100 each for me and my husband)
Pest Control: $25 (This is important in Georgia!)
Daughters' College Fund: $500
Extra Mortgage Payment: $500
Savings: ~$5,000 (This is essentially any amount left over. We like money to gain interest, not just sit in our checking account. We occasionally use our savings for vacations or unexpected expenses.)

Day One

5 a.m. — Waking up early is the worst part of my job. I get up, put on scrubs, grab my bag, and head out. My hospital provides lunch, so I don't have to pack any food. My commute takes about 45 minutes. We live so far from work because of our childcare situation. Grandma watches the girls for free — how can you beat that?! (We bought a house near the grandparents, even though it's far from work.)
9:30 a.m. — On my 15-minute morning break. The time of my break varies daily, as I have to wait for another anesthetist to become available to take over my surgical case while I'm gone. I run down to the cafeteria to grab a big bottle of water and some peanut butter crackers. Then I hurry back to the pumping room to pump for the remainder. My daughter is almost one now, so THANKFULLY I won't be pumping for too much longer (one year is my goal). At the end of my break, I put what little milk I could pump in our refrigerator and head back to the operating room (OR). ($5 expensed)
11:30 a.m. — Lunchtime. As with the morning break, I have to take my lunch break when another anesthetist is available to cover my case. It can vary from 11 a.m. to as late as 3 p.m. depending on the business of the surgical schedule. Once again, I run to the cafeteria and get a sub sandwich and another large water bottle (pumping really dehydrates me!) and go to the pumping room again. I use a pumping bra to hold my pump flanges so my hands are free to eat. We get 30 minutes for lunch, and I head back to the OR after putting my milk in the fridge. ($9 expensed)
3:15 p.m. — I am relieved from work. Once surgeries finish in the afternoon and ORs become empty, we relieve anesthetists in the "order out," which rotates daily. Today was about normal for me, as I work five days a week from approximately 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. It was a pretty good day. I had robotic hysterectomies in my OR today, and I always enjoy that room. I have a sweet tooth, so I go through McDonald's for a hot fudge sundae before getting the girls from Grandma's house. I pick them up and we head home. We usually play around our house until my husband gets home around 6:30. $1.07
6:45 p.m. — My husband arrives home from work and plays with the girls while I finish dinner. We have tacos with cheese, salsa, and Frank's Red Hot (my favorite). The baby loves her taco meat and cheese in a bowl in her high chair. We clean up the mess made by the baby and then it's bath time for the girls after dinner. I nurse the baby and my husband puts her to bed. Our older daughter plays for another hour and then goes to sleep around 7:30. My husband and I watch an episode of The Office before going to bed around 9.
Daily Total: $1.07

Day Two

5 a.m. — Up early again and off to work. It's hard for me to eat breakfast this early, so I typically wait until my morning break.
10:15 a.m. — I'm doing pediatric dental cases today, and those always wear me out faster than adult cases! It's my morning break. I get a large bottle of water and a bowl of yogurt with fruit in the cafeteria. Off to pump before heading back to the OR. ($6 expensed)
1:20 p.m. — Late lunch today. I get a steak salad and a bottle of water. Then I pump and eat in the pumping room. I go around giving lunches to the remaining anesthetists before being relieved to go home at 2:30. ($10 expensed)
6:25 p.m. — My husband gets home from work. He forgot to bring his lunch today, so he got a chicken burrito at Chipotle. We have BBQ chicken sandwiches for dinner with green beans. Bath time, nurse the baby, girls to bed. My husband works out in our garage "gym" while I wash dishes. Off to bed around 9:30. $7.62
Daily Total: $7.62

Day Three

8:15 a.m. — Break time at work. I get a plate of biscuits and gravy and a water bottle in the cafeteria. I'm in a neuro room (spine and brain surgeries) today. I eat while pumping and head back to the OR. ($7 expensed)
12:20 p.m. — For lunch, I get a plate of spaghetti. I know it will be difficult to eat while pumping, but I can't resist! Eat, pump, and back to my cerebral tumor resection. ($9 expensed)
4:10 p.m. — Late day at the office. The OR was busy today, and I get relieved later than usual. The good thing about my job is that we get paid an overtime rate if we exceed 40 hours in a week, so getting stuck late isn't always bad. I stop for gas on the way home and use my Kroger fuel points to get $0.60 off of the gallon. I pick up the girls and head home. $32.54
7:05 p.m. — A late day for my husband too. We have Crock-Pot chili for dinner that I started this morning. He tells me he brought his lunch to work but stopped for coffee this morning ($1.65). We share a bank account and do all of our finances together. It makes me happy to see our money in one lump sum that we can direct and spend together; we bond over making financial decisions and plans. I get a lot of enjoyment from finances — it's definitely my favorite part of adulting. I check our bank account once a day, and when I'm bored I like to calculate projections for our expenses and incomes. Yeah, most people think I'm crazy. $1.65
Daily Total: $34.19

Day Four

12:30 p.m. — Today I'm at a surgery center, and we have 24 cataract extractions scheduled. Due to the fast pace and the fact that I am alone here with my anesthesiologist, I don't have time for a morning break and I can't pump. My boobs are about to burst at this point! I warm up the cheese enchilada frozen meal that I brought from home and eat while pumping in an empty patient room. After lunch, we finish by 2:15 and I head home early — thank goodness!
6:35 p.m. — Hubby is home and it's dinner time: spaghetti with my homemade meat sauce! My husband stopped at the gas station on the way home, but since I had already used all of the fuel points, he paid full price. Bath time for the girls, nurse the baby, and it's off to bed. $42.55
Daily Total: $42.55

Day Five

10 a.m. — During my break, I get fruit and bacon from the cafeteria. I eat while pumping and then it's back to the OR. Today is a vascular day for me, and we are doing big surgery that requires a lot of attention and hemodynamic maintenance, so I am already mentally drained. ($7 expensed)
1 p.m. — Lunch and pumping time. I get a salad from the cafeteria and eat in the pumping room. We finished the surgery and are now wrapping up a leg amputation. I had to change scrubs in the doctor's lounge before lunch, as I got sprayed with blood during the last case. It's amazing how immune I am to the graphic nature of my job and how I can just switch to "time to eat!" after watching someone's leg get removed. I return to finish the case and follow up with an AV graft placement before getting relieved at 3:30 p.m. ($10 expensed)
6:45 p.m. — My husband gets home and brings Chik-fil-A. It's a nice break from cooking. I have a salad, my husband eats a nugget meal, and my three-year-old has a kid's meal. I make the baby a scrambled egg before I nurse her for bed. Friday night means movie night once the kids are asleep! We watch The Searchers — my husband's choice, since I got to choose last week. Today was payday, so I take some time to double check our paychecks — something I've made a habit of doing, especially because I get paid overtime and I want to make sure my hours are correct. Then I pay tithe via my phone and designate a home for the rest of the money. All of our bills are paid via direct withdrawal, so we keep track of the dates that they're scheduled to be withdrawn and make sure we have enough money in our checking account to cover everything. I only leave what's needed to our bills in checking and distribute everything else to either savings, extra mortgage payments, or IRA contributions. $21.06
Daily Total: $21.06

Day Six

8 a.m. — Yeah, it's Saturday! We sleep in until the baby wakes us and I bring her into bed to nurse and snuggle. I search my coupon apps to find deals for my grocery trip later. I'm obsessed with coupon apps. I save about $20 per week from coupons. I also make about $80 per year by uploading my receipts for cash back offers on apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51. We get our older daughter up, and we all have breakfast together: protein pancakes, eggs, and bacon.
11:45 a.m. — We all drive into town to pick up our groceries. Kroger has a Click List option where you can order your groceries through their app and pick them up at a designated time. You literally drive up, call them, and they load your groceries in your trunk! I costs all of $4.95 and it is the BEST money I have every spent!!! (Grocery shopping with the girls is a real challenge.) My husband also brings his lunch most days. We eat out occasionally, and mostly on the weekends. $187.76
12 p.m. — We stop by Zaxby's for lunch on the way home. I get the buffalo bleu salad and my husband get a grilled chicken Caesar salad. Our three-year-old gets "chicken and fries" per her request. $18.08
5:20 p.m. — It's college game day in Georgia — that means a Georgia Bulldog game. We order Papa John's pizza at half-time and have it delivered. $16
Daily Total: $221.84

Day Seven

7:30 a.m. — I wake up and nurse the baby while my husband works out. Then we get dressed and get the girls ready for church. We attend the 9 a.m. service at our church and then volunteer in the toddler Sunday School class during the 11 a.m. service.
12:30 p.m. — After church, it's our tradition to have lunch with my parents. We go to a local Mexican restaurant and have chili rellenos, fajitas, and guacamole. Yum! Next, we head back home to watch the Falcons game. We are a definitely a football family. We snack on chips and salsa during the game. I troll my credit card accounts during the game and redeem my cash back. $46 between the two cards — yes! We buy everything on our two credit cards (depending on which card offers the best cash back option at the time), then we pay the credit cards off in their entirety once a month. I make about $40 per month this way! $15.45
6 p.m. — For dinner, the hubby grills burgers out back and we eat them with pepperjack cheese and lots of mustard. Perfection. The girls play until bedtime. Baths, nursing, and bedtime for the girls. Then my husband and I watch another episode of The Office before going to bed around 10.
Daily Total: $15.45
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