A Week In Charlottesville, VA, On A Joint $149,000 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: a consultant working in healthcare who makes $71,000 per year ($149,000 when combined with her husband) and spends some of her money this week on tickets to see The Grinch.
Occupation: Consultant
Industry: Healthcare
Age: 27
Location: Charlottesville, VA
My Salary: $71,000
My Husband's Salary: $78,000
My Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $2,073.48
My Husband's Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $2,274.75
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,235 (for a TINY one-bedroom apartment)
Student Loan Payment: $500.18 ($362.50 for mine, the rest are his)
Car Loans: $650
Hulu: $12
Netflix: $11
Playstation VUE Streaming Service: $45
Internet: $50
XM Radio: $14
Billie Razor Subscription: $9 every other month
Utilities: around $100
Health, Dental & Life Insurance: $151.98 (each; taken out of our paychecks)
Car Insurance: $138.86
Rental Insurance: $14.75
Phones: $75
Pets: $130 (for food/treats/occasional days at daycare)
Storage Unit: $125 (We moved from a 2,200-square-foot house to a 649-square-foot apartment, so most of our stuff is in storage or really weird places in our apartment.)
Savings: We're trying to save around $4,000 a month right now since we just moved from North Carolina. We sold our house and made $50,000 a few months ago, and we're trying to save to about $25,000 more before our closing date in the spring on the house we're building.
Retirement: We're not putting money into the 401(k) while we save for a few months, but then we'll go back to contributing. Our company puts in 1% right now.
Advertisement

Day One

7 a.m. — Alarm was set for 6 a.m., but of course I'm not up until 7. I don't know why I keep pretending I'm going to wake up from that alarm. I washed my hair last night so I don't have to do much today — I put on makeup, run a straightener through my already straight hair just to get out some weird kinks, and I'm out the door. (My husband gets up earlier and takes care of the dog.) On the way to work, I reload my Starbucks card ($10) and order a toasted white chocolate mocha. $10
12:30 p.m. — I didn't make anything for lunch today, so I run down the street to Chick-Fil-A. $7.86
1 p.m. — As I'm eating lunch, my friend and I nail down plans to see the new Grinch movie tomorrow night. I grab the tickets ($16) and she Venmos me $8 for hers! $8
4:40 p.m. — On Mondays I work at a local barre studio (checking people in, cleaning up after class) so that I can take the class for free. I head out of work at 4:40 so I have time to get changed before people arrive. Then I take the free class, and after I'm done cleaning the studio and chatting with some of the teachers, I get home to find my new Google Pixel 3 has arrived! We ordered new phones on Black Friday ($400 off original price!), so I've been waiting impatiently for three whole days. I make dinner from groceries bought over the weekend, and we watch SNL since we weren't able to watch it yesterday.
Advertisement
Daily Total: $25.86

Day Two

7 a.m. — Dry shampoo, makeup, and I'm out the door to Starbucks because I have a free reward today! Large Toasted White Chocolate Mocha it is.
12 p.m. — On my lunch break, I run to Target for some Christmas items for my office (tree, ornaments, star, tree skirt) and pantry items (spices, bread, tomato soup) since my husband is home sick and craving comfort food. All of it comes out to $71 — a great deal, since the tree was originally $45 but I got it for $17.50! For lunch, I have leftover chicken soup from last night's dinner. $71
5:30 p.m. — After work, I drag my friend to a cardio barre class before we head off to see The Grinch. It's her first time doing barre, and she likes it! At the theater, we order popcorn and loaded cheese fries to split because Alamo has the best snacks ($21), and I get a soda as well ($5). She Venmos me $11 for the food. While we're at the movies, our husbands play video games together with beer and pizza. My husband pays for the frozen pizza ($8). $23
9 p.m. — I get an email saying Shutterfly's Cyber Monday deal has been extended, and since I forgot to order our Christmas cards yesterday, I quickly add them to the cart and take advantage of the deal. I order over $120 worth of cards and only pay $69 with free shipping! $69.72
Advertisement
Daily Total: $163.72

Day Three

10:30 a.m. — I have a meeting on a different side of town. After, I stop for a biscuit on the way to my office ($4.83) before walking into back-to-back meetings. $4.83
2 p.m. — I have leftovers from Monday's dinner.
5:30 p.m. — Since we're new to town, I've been trying really hard to make new friends quickly so it starts to feel like home here. Tonight, I have a friend date at a local coffee shop near our apartment. If I drink coffee too late, I'll toss and turn all night, so I have a delicious caramel spiced cider ($4.20). Thankfully, we really hit it off, and we're already making more plans to hang out. Thanks, BumbleBFF! When I get home, I quickly make my favorite lazy but healthy dinner — Trader Joe's Cauliflower Gnocchi with their frozen turkey bolognese sauce. And I have some Cheez-Its. $4.20
Daily Total: $9.03

Day Four

6:30 a.m. — It's hair washing day, which means I run out of time to make coffee at home, and end up reloading my Starbucks card to cover my coffee. $10
11:45 a.m. — Run to Target with a coworker to pick up a couple things for our charity gift basket and Shout stain remover wipes since I spilled coffee on my white pants today. $13.21
1 p.m. — I grab lunch from a cafe because I left my cauliflower gnocchi in the fridge at home. Turns out my husband did the exact same thing an hour before me. Oh yeah, we work for the same company. Thankfully, we don't see each other too often during the day. We do occasionally grab lunch together, but we try to keep things separate. $14.84
5:30 p.m. — My barre class for tonight was cancelled, so I stop by the library to pick up books and head home. I currently have eight books checked out, so I've got to get a few read this weekend. (I'm an aggressively fast reader and have read 49 books this year.) Once I'm home, I make some lemon chicken pasta with snowflake-shaped noodles from Trader Joe's (because the little things excite me), and we catch up on our shows since this is my only free night this week!
Daily Total: $38.05

Day Five

8:30 a.m. — Oh look, Starbucks again. OOPS. At least this is covered with the reload from earlier in the week. If I could just stick to black coffee and no breakfast, I would save a little more.
12 p.m. — Good lord, I am at Target again to get wrapping paper since I want to get all our gifts wrapped and under the tree! Originally we were supposed to head up to D.C. for the weekend to do holiday activities, but my husband has a horrible cough that is exacerbated by the cold, and the weather is going to be gross and rainy, so we postponed our trip. Thankfully, I have gift cards from Black Friday purchases, so it's $0 for today's Target haul! I swear I don't go to Target this much except at Christmastime. Lunch today is a frozen meal I had in the work freezer that I forgot about until today when the "we're cleaning out the fridge today" email went out.
5:30 p.m. — My barre studio just added a Friday afternoon class, and I missed Thursday's workout, so I head over after work (Wednesday and Friday are usually my rest days). After class, my husband and our friends met me downtown for our town's Christmas tree lighting. Once the tree is lit, we head over to our favorite Mexican restaurant. Chimichanga for me, quesadilla and a margarita for my husband, and we split cheese dip! We have a coupon, so our total comes out to $34.61 with tip. $34.61
Daily Total: $34.61

Day Six

10 a.m. — If we're in town, I start my Saturdays off with cardio barre before running errands. Today's errand is returning some stuff (-$28.41) and picking up spiked sparkling water, Coke Zero, and two boxes of Chai concentrate ($22.26). So technically, I made money on this transaction, right? My second stop is my weekly Trader Joe's haul, where I pick up food for the week through Saturday and chili for dinner tonight at our friend's place. For tonight: ground beef, cheddar cheese, guacamole, corn chips, tortilla chips, and tomato paste. For the rest of the week: chicken breasts, milk, Parmesan cheese, frozen cheese bites, tuna, pork chops, cauliflower latkes, and Greek yogurt. $72.75
1 p.m. — When I get home, my husband makes us grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup while we watch some Christmas baking shows and he cleans and does laundry. (There are very few things he can cook, and grilled cheese is one of them, so I always leave that to him!)
4 p.m. — We head over to our friend's apartment to sadly watch the Dawgs lose to Alabama. We devour the chili I whipped up in my Instant Pot, decorate Christmas cookies from a kit I picked up last week at Trader Joe's, and play some games to end the night.
Daily Total: $72.75

Day Seven

9:30 a.m. — Today is lazy. I wake up early and make caramel apple cider from groceries we already have and start my 50th book of the year by our Christmas tree. Once my husband gets up, we have cauliflower latkes for breakfast while catching up on SNL like we do almost every Sunday morning. Then I nap on the couch before doing a TON of laundry and watching Netflix Christmas movies.
1 p.m. — For lunch, my husband makes another round of grilled cheese and soup, since the bread is about to expire. We take the dog for a long walk through our new neighborhood to check out the progress, since they just broke ground on our house this week!
7 p.m. — After our walk, I finish cleaning up and make a chicken stew in the Instant Pot for tonight's dinner plus a few lunches this week. We finish out the night watching How The Grinch Stole Christmas. (Yes, I've watched both Grinch movies this week, and I feel no shame about it.)
Daily Total: $0
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.
Have you been working for at least 8 years and seen your salary increase or fluctuate? If so, fill out this form for a chance to be featured on our Salary Story series!
Have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Right now, in addition to our ongoing diaries, we're looking for potential diarists along the following theme:
Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here: r29.co/mdfaqs

More from Work & Money

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Documentary
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
Fashion
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Beauty
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
Documentary
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Documentary
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
Documentary
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Comedy
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Documentary
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Politics
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
Film
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.