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A Week In Nashville, TN, On A $119,100 Joint Income

Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. We're asking real people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.

Today: a doula who has a joint income of $119,100 per year and spends some of her money this week on rollerblading.
Editor's Note: This Money Diary was written in December 2022.
Occupation: Doula
Industry: Birthing Services
Age: 29
Location: Nashville, TN
My Salary: I made $4,100 this year
My Husband's Salary: $115,000
Net Worth: ~$165,000 (Most of this is tied up in our home or assets we have such as cars, jewelry, etc minus debt. We used a big amount of our liquid cash on our home as it was a fixer-upper and we are now working to save again. We share all of our expenses and accounts. My husband is the main breadwinner in our family, but I am grateful to have a career that allows me to raise our daughter and still have something to fall back on if things got really tight. I manage all of our finances and we budget monthly.)
Debt: ~$205,000 (this includes what's left on our morgue and car debt.)
My Husband's Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $3,225
My Fee (I take on 2-3 clients each season): $695
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $1,112
Car Payment: $383
Phones: $88 (paid to my parents)
Electric & Water: $225
Health Insurance: $165
Dental Insurance: $38
HSA: $410 (My husband's work also puts in $78/paycheck and we max it out every year.)
Internet: $91
Pest Control: $35
Kindle Unlimited: $11 (I like trashy romance novels way too much to ever part with this!!)
Netflix: $17
Spotify: $15
Car Insurance: $147
Tithing: $250
Sponsor A Child: $350 ($50 per child, it's a lot, but this is all my husband asked for his birthday)
Savings: $850-$1,250
My Husband's 401(k): $225
Annual Expenses
Thrive Market: $60
Costco Membership: $120
Walmart+: $89
Squarespace: $114 (for my website)
Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
No, my mom never went to college and my dad got his bachelor's degree. They were more interested in me learning a trade that I was passionate about so I could have a career I enjoyed. I dropped out of high school and got my GED once I found a career path I loved. They fully supported me in that!
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
My parents were very open about finances and the importance of hard work. We always had to work around the house or for neighbors if we wanted money to buy things. My dad often talked about saving and investing with us once we were teenagers. At the time I found it very boring, but I am grateful now!
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I was a mother's helper for my neighbor when I was 10 making $2/hour. I worked most days after school and on weekends. In high school, I babysat, worked at a fast food restaurant, and modeled for a local boutique.
Did you worry about money growing up?
When my dad quit his job to open up his own business things got tight around the house and I could feel that. However, I never went without my basic needs and I knew I could work for money if I wanted anything extra.
Do you worry about money now?
Sometimes. With us relying heavily on my husband's job, I worry that if he lost it or if something were to happen to him it would be hard for me to make the same money he does. We have spent a lot of money on our house and medical bills this year and would like to make efforts to save more for the future.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I moved out at 17 and my parents gave me $5,000 to get on my feet. I have been financially responsible for myself ever since. My parents would help us out if we were to have financial hardships. I am very grateful for their generosity when it comes to money.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
My grandmother left each of her grandkids $5,000 when she passed and I used that money to buy the car my husband now uses.

Day One

6:40 a.m. — I wake up to our dog whining to go out. My husband, N., let's him in the backyard while I take my temperature. We have been trying to get pregnant for over a year and I've recently started hormone therapy. I fall back asleep as soon as I hear the thermometer beep.
7:50 a.m. — I get out of bed to go pee and then read for a few minutes. Our two-year-old daughter, B., wakes up. We're currently potty training so we immediately ask her if she wants to use the big girl potty, but she opts to get in our bed for snuggles. N. gets up to get ready for work and I make B. breakfast. Then, I get us both dressed and we head out to the backyard to play. B. plays in the sandbox and chases our dog around the yard while I chat to our neighbor.
12 p.m. — We go inside and I heat up leftovers for lunch. We FaceTime my mom while we eat and B. acts like a pig the whole time. The joys of being a toddler. I put B. down for a nap and then make a decaf iced coffee. I start to tidy up the house and make cookies for my church mom's group tonight.
4 p.m. — B. wakes up from her nap right as I am finishing up the last of the cookies. B. watches PBS Kids while I do my hair and put on a little makeup for tonight.
6 p.m. — Pack up the car with cookies and the kid and drive to N.'s work to swap cars. I get to the hostess' house early and help with set up. I have a nice time talking to the other moms from our church congregation. Everyone seems to be pregnant and I can't help but feel sad. Struggling with infertility is hard. I get home and N. tells me he just put B. down. He says they were having a rough night and that he took her to Chick-fil-A. He then tells me his brother and wife just found out they're pregnant and I start crying. I'm happy for them and sad for us. Wash my face and brush my teeth and head straight to bed. $12.38
Daily Total: $12.38

Day Two

7:20 a.m. — Wake up to the sound of construction. I take my temperature and read for a few minutes before getting out of bed to take the dog out and do a yoga flow. Still feeling emotional from last night but grateful to be able to move my body. B. wakes up and N. grabs her before he heads to work. I'm too tired to cook so we eat oatmeal cookies for breakfast.
10 a.m. — I'm over moping so I get B. and myself dressed, pack up some snacks, and grab tickets to the zoo. My parents got us a membership for B.'s birthday so it doesn't cost us. I place a Target pick-up order while sitting in my car. I get four decaf espresso pods, SmartSweets sweet fish, and blood orange Spindrift. $30.39
12 p.m. — We grab a coffee and french fries while at the zoo before heading to Target to pick up our order. I give B. a quick snack and put her down for a nap and get started on my to-do list. $9.08
4:30 p.m. — Wake up from a power nap and clean out my car. B.'s car seat is disgusting and filled with crackers so I take it inside to wash it. I place an order on Thrive Market for some veggies, candy, and laundry detergent. $79.38
7 p.m. — N. gets home from work and I heat up leftover enchiladas for dinner. We put B. down for bed and spend the next few hours reading before we do to bed.
Daily Total: $118.85

Day Three

6:40 a.m. — Wake up to take my basal temp and fall back asleep.
8:15 a.m. — The dog wakes me up wanting to go potty, so I let him outside then go use the toilet myself and brush my teeth. I can hear B. in bed so I go grab her and let her use the big girl potty. We get back in bed and turn on Disney+. Head to Chick-fil-A for breakfast. $20.93
10 a.m. — We head to Once Upon a Child and grab a few toys and clothes. I prefer to buy secondhand clothing for B. since she grows like a weed. $24.15
11 a.m. — We go to Costco where we get groceries and a hoodie for N. We get home and put B. down for a short nap while N. and I read. $287.71
5:30 p.m. — Head out for dinner at a local burger place we love. I get buffalo wings and a side salad, N. get a chicken sandwich, and B. get sliders. $57.16

6:30 p.m. — We decide at dinner that we want to go to a drive-through light show the city has going on so we get tickets to that and grab a hot chocolate from Starbucks on the way. $38.46

Daily Total: $428.41

Day Four

8 a.m. — We wake up and get ready to head to church. After church, we grab doughnuts at a local place that has the best croissants. Head home and put B. down for a nap. I start working on a few things while N. sleeps on the couch. $19.02
2 p.m. — Place an order using the Walmart+ app. I get diaper wipes, a loofah, tortillas, bread, and cheese. $48.94
5 p.m. — We're rushing to get out of the house for date night with our friends, but I want to get a Christmas tree first. We head over to Lowe's and find one that we like. N. also gets two lollipops for B. while we're in the checkout line. $73.35
6:30 p.m. — We make it to the restaurant before our friends do and order queso and guac for the table. I get enchiladas while N. orders fish tacos. The couple we are with picks up the tab. We then head over to the second part of our date — ROLLERBLADING! We cover the cost and it ends up being a really fun night. It's adult only night at the rollerblading rink so there are some really talented skaters and we have a fun time watching them. We get home late and shower, which leads to us having shower sex. We then get ready for bed and go to sleep. $54
Daily Total: $195.31

Day Five

7:40 a.m. — Wake up to construction noise again. They've been working on the sidewalks for two months and I'm over it. Skip taking my basal temp because I'm over that too and read in bed for a few minutes instead. Let the dog out and meal plan for the week before B. wakes up. B. is finally up and I get us both dressed. Throw on some tinted moisturizer and curl my eyelashes then head to a doctor's appointment to check my hormone levels. I pay the $14.88 bill using our HSA card.
10 a.m. — Head to Trader Joe's right after my appointment and get ground chicken, spaghetti squash, canned artichoke hearts, capers, apples, dark chocolate cover rice cakes, potato chips, romaine lettuce, avocado, cottage cheese, sour cream, parm, grass feed milk, green beans, sweet potatoes, old fashion oats, seaweed, lemons, mushrooms, chicken broth, and tomato soup. $94.59
12 p.m. — Get home and unload groceries, have lunch, put B. down for a nap, make a coffee, and get to work on some house chores. My bottle brush cleaner and sponges are looking well-loved so I jump on Amazon and buy a new brush and a six-pack of sponges. $21.75
4 p.m. — B. is up. We play in the backyard and make dinner.
7 p.m. — N. gets home from work and puts B. to bed while I clean the house. We watch a few trailers on Netflix trying to find something to watch, but decide to read instead. Lights out by 10.
Daily Total: $116.34

Day Six

7:40 a.m. — Wake up, feed the dog, and do a few things around the house. I'm watching my friend's baby today. I load B. into the car and go over to pick the baby up. Then I go to my chiropractor appointment. I pay the $100 bill using my HSA card.
11 a.m. — I grab a coffee at a local drive-through stand ($3.77). Then, I head to Whole Foods and get cookies, more popcorn, sushi, lettuce, gum, and chips. We find a seat and B. and I start eating the sushi while I give the baby a bottle. She is such a sweet little baby. After we eat, I drop off my groceries, chill for a bit with the baby and B., and then take the baby home. $81.89
5 p.m. — I let B. watch a little Disney+ while I take a quick shower. Then I get us both dressed and head out to meet N. at a Santa family photo shoot. B. is very much against a photo with Santa so we bribe her with a cookie. We stop at Chick-fil-A for dinner. We get home and put B. down for the night. The house is a mess from today, but I don't feel like cleaning. So I wash my face and get in comfy clothes and hop into bed to read. N. joins me and we talk for a bit before having sex and going to sleep. $20.35
Daily Total: $102.24

Day Seven

8 a.m. — I get myself out of bed. Let the dog out, brush my teeth, wash my face, and fill up my water bottle. N. goes out to put the spare tire on his car (he got a flat on his way home yesterday) and I read in the living room. B. wakes up and I feed her then get us both dressed and in the car. I drop off the car to get the tire fixed and they tell me it's currently a three-hour wait. We walk to McDonald's, get some food, and play on the playground there. $12.32
12 p.m. — After camping out at Mcdonald's for too long we get a text that the car is ready ($98.71). I stop on the way home to get gas ($38). When we get back to the house, I give B. a quick snack and put her down for her nap. I read for a bit and then clean the house. $136.71
5 p.m. — B. is finally up from her nap. I give her a snack and let her watch Disney+ while I make dinner. N. gets home from work and we all have dinner together. I then give B. a bath, put her down for the night, and cuddle with N. on the couch until bedtime.
Daily Total: $149.03
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