A Week In Baton Rouge, LA, On A $182,000 Joint Income

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.
This week a Communication Strategist working in Marketing/Communications who makes a joint $182,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on children's Benadryl.
Occupation: Communication Strategist
Industry: Marketing/Communications
Age: 38
Location: Baton Rouge, LA
My Salary: $72,000
My Husband's Salary: $110,000
My Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $3,854
My Husband's Paycheck Amount (biweekly): $5,500 average (salary + commission)
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $800 2x/month
Loans: $0
Car Insurance: $206
Daycare: $1,560 (for our two kids)
Utilities: $600 (gas, electric, trash, water, pest control, home security, internet, and cell phones)
Netflix: $8
Hulu: $6
Sling: $40
Landscaping: $60 (Our youngest is allergic to mosquito bites, so we have our yard sprayed every three weeks)
Cleaner: $360 (our cleaner comes every week and this is the monthly cost)
Swim Lessons For The Kids: $160
Newspaper Subscriptions: (local paper, WaPo & NYT): $35 (this is an equivalent monthly amount, but we pay them all upfront once a year)
NPR Donation: $25

Day One

6:30 a.m. — Good morning. My alarm goes off at 6:30, but I snuggle into my husband for a bit before getting up. I get dressed and head out to kitchen.
7:00 a.m. —The kids — I have a four-year-old and a two-year-old — are up, so I make an oatmeal packet for each of them and one for myself. I brew a travel mug of coffee and pack the boys' lunches for daycare. I pack lunch for myself too, throwing together deli meat, cheese, a hard-boiled egg and an apple. My husband gets the kids dressed and I finish tidying up the house for our cleaner, who comes in every Wednesday, and write her a check (included in monthly expenses). The boys and I finally get out of the door around 8:20 a.m., late as usual. I do daycare drop-off, which is thankfully quick today. You never know when either kid will decide he doesn't want me to leave and needs extra hugs.
9:00 a.m. — I make it to work and, you know, do some work. I have a couple of meetings and conference calls today.
4:30 p.m. — I always try to leave the office by 4:30 or I risk getting caught in awful traffic on my drive home. I pick up the kids from daycare. We run to the grocery store on the way home for essentials — a gallon of milk for the boys, half a gallon of milk to make yogurt, bananas, and lunch meat. $18.17
6 p.m. — At home, it's gloriously clean thanks to the cleaner. Best investment ever. Having someone in to clean each week is something my husband and I agreed that we will keep up as long as we are both working.
7. p.m. — For dinner, I throw together some leftovers — pasta for the kids and chicken and veggies for me. I get the boys to bed and start the process of making yogurt. I got a pressure cooker about a month ago and I'm working to perfect my yogurt technique. After the yogurt is set for its 11-hour ferment cycle, I stay up too late catching up on The Handmaid's Tale and Working Moms. My husband is out of town on Wednesday nights, so it's my night to watch the stuff he doesn't like. I take a moment to make an online donation to our synagogue for the high holidays cantor fund ($200). I finally go to bed around midnight, knowing I'll regret it in the morning. $200
Daily Total: $218.17

Day Two

6:30 a.m. — My older son is up early today, so I set him up with TV and get dressed. I throw the finished yogurt into the fridge just before we walk out the door. I need to get the kids out the door early today because I have an offsite event, so I bribe them with donuts in the car to get them moving. We each get two donuts. I also grab a pint of milk for them and a coffee for me. $7.75
8 a.m.— I drop the kids off at daycare and head to my offsite event. It lasts until 3 p.m. and lunch is provided, thankfully. The event goes great, but I'm worn out from being on my feet all day. I definitely spend too much time sitting down in general.
3:30 p.m. — I head back to the office for one last meeting, stopping for gas on the way. Following my meeting, I leave to pick up the kids. $39.03
5 p.m. — Once home, I break into the Hello Fresh delivery that arrived yesterday. This is only our second delivery and we're trying to decide if we will keep the service ($66.87 with a promo code for three meals for four people). The ravioli with chicken sausage is a hit and my four-year-old requests seconds. Always the sign of a successful meal!
7:30 p.m. — My husband gets home as I'm starting bedtime and we collapse on the couch once the boys are in bed.
Daily Total: $46.78

Day Three

6:30 a.m. — Mornings are always busy, so it's nice to grab a few minutes by myself to shower and drink some coffee. I picked up a bag of pumpkin pecan pie blend from the store last week and I've been pretending it's not still 90+ degrees every day. Breakfast is the yogurt I made yesterday, which I sieved last night to make a little thicker, with local honey from just a couple miles down the road. My husband packs lunches for the boys and I throw together another grown-up lunchable meal for myself (deli meat, cheese, crackers, and an apple). I get the boys to daycare and to work.
12 p.m. — I only have one meeting today, so I get a decent amount of work done. I eat my lunch and grab a Diet Coke from the vending machine to go with it. $1.75
5 p.m. — I text my husband and we decide to go to Friday night services. We need to feed the boys first so we head to Whole Foods first and while waiting for my husband to join us, the boys help me pick out apples for the apple cake I plan to make Saturday. For dinner, the boys share a slice of cheese pizza, I get sushi, and my husband gets soup. We get three fizzy waters and a plain water as well. We eat in the café area and proceed to spill literally three times. $40.44
6 p.m. — We finally make it out of here and to services. We have one more spill during social hour before services start. That's four times mopping up water just tonight. Thankfully it was only water each time. My younger son is cranky and we only make it halfway through services before we bail to head home. The little goes to bed late, but we miraculously get the older to bed on time. My husband and I relax on the couch before going to bed.
Daily Total: $42.19

Day Four

7 a.m. — I can't sleep past 7, I blame kids. I get up and get the newspaper and make coffee. The kids are up shortly after I get up. My husband makes us breakfast — toads-in-holes and yogurt with honey. The kids have soccer starting at 9 a.m., so we load up and leave the house by 8:45 a.m.
9 a.m. — I'm not entirely sure why we enrolled my two-year-old in soccer, because he spends most of his time hugging my husband's legs. During soccer, we drink from our reusable water bottles and my oldest snacks on a couple of cookies leftover from last week when it was our turn to bring snacks for the teams.We have an hour break between my youngest and oldest sons' games, so we head to a nearby park. While we are there, my husband and I explore electric SUVs on my phone and debate the merits of an Audi or a Tesla. We hope to make our SUV last another four years, but we both dream of an all-electric family car.
12 p.m. — After my oldest son's soccer session, we go to lunch at Zoe's Kitchen with my in-laws, who joined us to watch the game. I was out on the field in the sun as “cheer coordinator” for his team, making sure everyone got turns playing and taking breaks. I guess I didn't take enough breaks myself because I end up with a bit of heat exhaustion and am feeling pretty queasy, so I stick with water and a side of fruit for my meal. My husband has falafel and the kids have salmon and chicken tender kid's meals. My in-laws pay.
2 p.m. — After lunch, we head home. The baby and I nap, while my husband and our older son play together. I wake up feeling much better and set about making an apple cake to bring to our synagogue's Rosh Hashanah oneg. I have to drop it off Sunday morning, so it needs to get done now. I realize we are out of orange juice, which I need for the recipe, so we load up and head to Walmart. Of course, we can't just buy OJ. My husband takes the baby to buy charcoal (he loves to grill) and I take our older son to get groceries, which include a gallon of milk, snacks for the boys to bring to school next month (we bring in two snacks to feed the entire class at the beginning of each month), garlic powder, applesauce cups, peanut butter, bread, and turkey pepperoni. I also grab a new set of paint brushes for the boys. $76.64
6 p.m. — We head home and pull together leftovers for dinner. I have spinach ravioli and chicken sausage, as does my older son, while my husband and younger son eat turkey tenderloin. We all eat from a bag of steam-in-the-bag frozen green beans.
7:30 p.m. — After dinner, we make my cake, put the kids in bed and sit back to watch TV. One of the movie channels has a free preview weekend on Sling, so we finally watch A Quiet Place. It's a thrilling life with kids, always doing the trendiest things at the moment they come out.
Daily Total: $76.64

Day Five

7. a.m. — Awake. My oldest is already awake and the baby sleeps until about 8. I make pancakes for breakfast and we load up to bring the cake to synagogue.
10 a.m. — We stop at Target on our way home for a jar of applesauce. My oldest wants to make an applesauce cake, but the applesauce we bought yesterday was single servings. We also pick up a few more groceries (apples, chicken broth, tortillas, and more milk) and some canned goods (pasta, spaghetti sauce, soup, and green beans) for the food drive collection going on now at synagogue. I finally find a rain jacket both my four-year-old and I like. He wears it through the store and we almost make it out the door without paying for it when I realize he still has it on. We head back to the register. $57.95
12 p.m. — Back at home, the boys play outside while I make a half batch of the apple cake I made yesterday. We call the boys in for lunch and we all have a homemade lunchable — deli meat, cheese, apples, and crackers. My toddler is having a growing day and also eats 1.5 hot dogs and we share a bag of popcorn. After lunch, we all take naps.
3 p.m. — We try out the apple cake. It is so good. I wish I had made a full one. My husband heads out to mow the lawn and I watch some TV with my preschooler. The toddler is still asleep. I gave him a dose of Benadryl to combat a mosquito bite he got last night (he's allergic) and it has knocked him out.
5 p.m. — We start dinner. We open our Hello Fresh bag to make hoisin-glazed beef meatballs, but discover they sent the ingredients for pork tenderloin. The beef is thankfully there, since we don't eat pork. My husband starts to improvise, and I hop on chat with HelloFresh. I end up with a $29.32 credit for the botched meal.
6:30 p.m. — Our two-year-old finally wakes up before dinner is ready. I notice his mosquito bite looks pretty bad now and the swelling is extending over his knee. I call the answering service at his pediatrician's office and a nurse calls back. She advises we take him to urgent care or the ER. I know this isn't worth a trip to the ER, so I load up the kiddo and head to the pediatric urgent care. An hour later, we are headed home with instructions to ice the area, give Benadryl and Zyrtec. We've met our deductible for the year, so our responsibility is 10% of the visit. At home, my husband has taken our four-year-old to Erev Rosh Hashanah services. I feed the toddler and get him to bed as they arrive home. $10.24
Daily Total: $68.19

Day Six

7 a.m. — Happy new year! My husband I both took off to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, but it will be a busy day. We have apple cake and yogurt with honey for breakfast at home and hustle to get the boys out the door to make 8:45 a.m. children's services at synagogue. That is earlier than we need to leave regularly, so of course we are late. We arrive about halfway through, but maintain our streak of worst behaved children in children's services. We make it through, then drop the kids off with the babysitter for morning services. It's quite nice to enjoy the services without the kids!
12:30 p.m. — Services wrap-up and we leave shul to get some lunch. Even though they've had snacks (granola bars and gingersnaps), this is a very late lunch for the kids and they are grumpy. We head to the fancy burgers and shakes place and spend $52.39 on two kid's chicken tender meals, a patty melt for my husband, a turkey burger for me, fries, tater tots, and two shakes. It's way too much food and the toddler only wants the shake. The preschooler drops his shake, cracking the cup. My husband throws it away instead of asking for a new cup. The whole meal is a mess. $52.39
2 p.m. — After lunch, we head to the pediatrician's office. My youngest son's leg looks even more swollen and red this morning, despite following the urgent care doc's instructions. Our pediatrician confirms it's infected and prescribes steroids, oral antibiotics, and an antibiotic cream. While we are there, my older son and husband get flu shots. The little one will have to come back when his leg clears up. I'm getting my flu shot later this week at work. We have a credit right now, so our cost for this visit is $0.
3 p.m. — We head home, dropping off the prescriptions on the way. My husband settles the little one down for a nap and my older watches TV. I get a text the prescriptions are ready and head to the pharmacy to pick them up. The prescriptions don't cost anything, but I pick up more children's Benadryl and some gentle tape, which is our favorite for containing bites like these. Cost is $10.79 on the HSA card. $10.79
4 p.m. — I also stop at the grocery store to buy parsley and tomatoes for the potluck dish we are taking to synagogue tonight. I grab an antioxidant drink for myself — it's been a stressful holiday. $3.77
5 p.m. — Back at the house, my husband I make our side dish. It's time for swim lessons. I take our older son, but the toddler is a) still napping and b) shouldn't go in the pool with his infection, so my husband stays home with him. At swim, my big kid does great, even floating for the first time! We clean up and head to synagogue for potluck dinner. Dishes include breaded fish, kugel, potatoes, mac & cheese, rice, and quinoa salad. And a lot of desserts. We skip services, but help clean up, finally leaving around 7:40. The boys get to bed late and we fall into bed shortly after.
Daily Total: $66.95

Day Seven

6:30 a.m. — My alarm wakes me up. The toddler joins us in bed shortly after, complete with his pillow and book. After some snuggles, I get ready. Coffee, banana, and yogurt with honey for breakfast at home.
8 a.m. — I head to the office early. Daycare is closed today and my husband is staying with the kids. We have a staff meeting today and I grab a couple of pieces of candy and a fresh cup of coffee from the communal pot. I'm glad work provides coffee — my last job did not, which meant I spent a lot more on Diet Cokes from the vending machine. Meetings and lots of work to do today.
12 p.m. — Lunch is leftovers — quinoa salad and meatballs — as well as a cheese stick and apple. Work is busy and I leave late, but that's fine because I don't have to do the daycare run.
6 p.m. — At home, my husband is making the last of last week's Hello Fresh delivery, Crispy Monterey Jack Chicken.We get the boys to bed and do what married couples do best, stare at our phones for a couple of hours.
Daily Total: $0
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