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A Week In Austin, TX, On A $360,000 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: an e-commerce consultant who has a $360,000 joint income and spends some of her money this week on Miralax.
Occupation: E-commerce Consultant
Industry: Tech
Age: 34
Location: Austin, TX
My Salary: $135,000
My Partner's Salary: $225,000
Net Worth: $2,280,000 (checking: $9,000, HYSA: $45,000, CD: $50,000, retirement investments: $653,000, non-retirement investments: $193,000, HSA: $20,000, home equity: $1.3 million (house is paid off), car: $10,000. My partner and I maintain separate accounts but we've effectively combined finances. We take turns paying various bills but don't keep track of exactly who pays for what. Whoever can cover the bills handles it).
Debt: $0
My Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $3,784
My Partner's Paycheck Amount: $5,900
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Property Taxes: $1,700 (my partner and I paid off our house last year).
Home/Auto Insurance: $200
Utilities: $325
Internet: $70
Cell Phone: $0 (I'm still on my parents' family plan. I've tried to pay them but they always refuse. My partner's company pays for his cell).
Netflix: $17
ESPN+: $13
Spotify: $14
Mosquito Lawn Treatment: $103 (every three weeks).
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?
100% yes. It wasn't an option, it was a requirement. My parents firmly believed that you had to get at least an undergraduate degree in order to get a job. I received a couple of minor academic scholarships to help with my public university tuition but my parents covered the majority of it. Because I lived such a naive, sheltered life, I didn't appreciate just how fortunate I was until I graduated and realized I didn't have any student debt.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
We spoke about money but it was always in the context of what you could buy with it. My parents encouraged saving but it was usually to be able to buy something. As reasonable as my parents are with everything else, they've always struggled with impulse purchases. They love to shop and buy little things. Instead of going on big vacations as a kid, I remember my dad coming home with all kinds of expensive small gadgets. The worst was when he came home one day with a new car and my mom had no idea. There were fireworks that night. Growing up with this mindset led me to a lot of stupid purchases and wastefulness in my teens and early 20s.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I got to college as naive as they come. I had never worked and all I had ever been responsible for during high school was getting straight As. I forced myself to get a job as soon as I got to college so I could get some experience. I worked at the fast-food restaurant on my college campus. I didn't need the money since my parents paid for everything but it made me feel good to make the pocket change from my part-time work.
Did you worry about money growing up?
I did but I think that's because I've always worried about everything. I never felt like we had enough, partly because my mom complained about never having enough. We were average in an above-average neighborhood. Our house was too small, our cars were too old, we didn't travel enough etc. The way my mom compared our household to others always made me feel like we needed to have more money to be comfortable. In retrospect, I think we did just fine, if not pretty darn good. My parents always made sure that I had what I needed and a lot of what I wanted.
Do you worry about money now?
I worry about money all the time. I have to consciously work to distract myself from worrying about money and the future. I know we're doing fine but I have a constant fear that something bad is going to happen to me or my family one day and is going to wipe out everything we have. I also have a lot of guilt from all the poor spending decisions I made when I was younger. I used to shop every weekend and I still have most of it sitting in my closet (out of date) 15 years later.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
Around age 25 is when I finally grew up a bit, got a stable job and was able to support myself. I do have a decent safety net that my partner and I have been able to save together. We're both in tech so our jobs feel especially uncertain these days.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
My parents have been incredibly generous with me all my life. They paid for college, gifted us $20,000 for our wedding and gifted another $100,000 for the down payment on our house.

Day One

6 a.m. — Wake up and the first thing I do is make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and English breakfast tea. I can't do anything without food in my stomach. While eating, I check emails and Slack. After finishing breakfast, I get ready for the day. Today's routine consists of witch hazel toner, oil-free moisturizer, tinted sunblock, a little coverup and a light coat of mascara.
7 a.m. — I throw on a baseball cap and head out to my monitoring appointment at our fertility clinic. As soon as I start my car I see that I have 20 miles left in the tank (i.e. I'm on fuel reserve). This freaks me out. I make a quick stop at a nearby gas station and fill half my tank. $34.79
7:15 a.m. — I arrive at the clinic. I'm on day seven of my IVF egg stimulation shots. I get my blood drawn and an ultrasound. Fingers crossed I'm ahead of schedule and I get to stop the shots soon — I hate needles and have been jabbed at least 30 times in the last week and a half. I'm in and out of the clinic in about 20 minutes. I don't pay anything. If I owe anything, I'll get billed later. I'm back home by 8. I rush to make a team call. I'm in calls for the next couple of hours.
10 a.m. — Crap. I forgot to feed the dog. I rush downstairs mid-call to feed him. My partner, Y., books a hair appointment and pays a $25 deposit to secure his spot. $25
11:30 a.m. — My morning calls are over. Yay. I remember to schedule a grooming appointment for my dog and fund my toll tag account. I do some more work until my stomach starts growling. $20
12:30 p.m. — I heat up leftovers Y. cooked last night: chicken with green beans and mushrooms. Super tasty. He's been on a cooking kick and I'm not complaining. I catch up on emails and Slacks while I eat and let the dog out.
1:30 p.m. — Time for my sugar waxing appointment. I rush to get out the door. This will be my second sugar wax. I like it better than regular waxing because it burns less afterward. I get a Brazilian and leave feeling clean down there. I prepaid ($60) so I just leave a tip. $12
2:15 p.m. — Once home, I continue working. It's quiet since it's Friday afternoon and most people peace out early. I work uninterrupted for a few more hours with the exception of a quick call from my nurse. I'm ahead of schedule! Egg retrieval was pulled up by a day! That means I only have two more days of shots. Highlight of my week so far.
6 p.m. — Ah, Friday evening. Finally. Y. pokes his head in and says he's hungry. I am too. We order a pizza from our favorite place nearby and take our dog out for a walk while we wait. Holy cow, when did pizza delivery get so expensive? $43.86
6:30 p.m. — Perfect timing. We catch the delivery guy as he drops off the pizza. We inhale the pizza and feed the dog. We relax for a bit on the couch and catch up. We both work from home but we barely see each other during the day since we get so caught up in work. I gaze longingly at the last bottle of wine on the shelf. Too bad I can't drink. We started off with 12 bottles at the beginning of the month and rushed to drink most of it before I started IVF. Can't let that wine go to waste!
8 p.m. — Ugh it's time for my shots. I need to take three tonight. I hold my breath and close my eyes as my sweet partner administers them. Almost immediately, I feel tired. Must be the drugs and the week catching up with me. I get in bed and attempt to look at my phone but pass out within minutes.
Daily Total: $135.65

Day Two

8:30 a.m. — I wake up feeling good. Y. preps a bacon potato hash for breakfast. We eat while watching a Manchester City game. I do some window shopping on my phone but don't buy anything. I do the dishes before heading out. Whoever doesn't cook has to clean.
11:45 a.m. — Y. and I walk the dog to a nearby park. It's hot so we sit around under a big tree for a while then walk back. I feel a bit uncomfortable while walking, probably from the 20+ eggs growing in me. I've been taking it easy these days and have basically stopped working out so I feel soggy and bloated. We instinctively start thinking about lunch but then realize we are still so full from breakfast. We lazily lounge on the couch and watch more soccer.
1:30 p.m. — Y. and I get ready for a get-together at a friend's house. I don't really feel like going but Y.'s an extrovert and we're due a friend outing. We pack up the dog and head out. We pick up a friend on the way so we can carpool. The benefit of me not being able to drink these days is saving money on Ubers. I've been playing DD a lot.
3 p.m. — We have a great time at our friend's place. Our friend grills hot dogs and burgers for dinner. On the way home we stop by a gas station and fill the rest of the tank up. $28.01
8 p.m. — We get back in time to watch the end of a Dodgers game. We get the munchies and heat up some seasoned fries and dumplings from a nearby restaurant. A storm hits suddenly and the power goes out. I find a candle to light so I can take my shots. I go to sleep before the power comes back on.
Daily Total: $28.01

Day Three

9:30 a.m. — I sleep in again. I make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and English breakfast tea. I look for polo shirts for Y. but am not able to find anything he likes. Bummer.
10:45 a.m. — I put sunblock on and tame my crazy hair with a cap. We take the dog on a long walk. The weather is awesome. It's overcast so the sun doesn't burn like it normally does. Y. mows the lawn right before it rains. I eat a turkey salami sandwich for lunch while he's out.
2 p.m. — We go on our weekly grocery run. It feels like we buy everything except for booze. We get two loaves of bread, turkey, salami, prosciutto, lettuce, tomatoes, chicken tenders, veggies, milk, cereal, fruit snacks, tortillas, salmon, avocados, yogurt, soda water, apple juice, apples, blackberries, strawberries, oranges and limes. The receipt is long and doesn't even include our dog's food. Each week our grocery bill seems to get higher. I'm pretty sure we're buying the same stuff we've always gotten except we've cut back on alcohol. Inflation. $199.68
3 p.m. — Y. gets hungry and makes quesadillas with leftover pork he smoked a few days ago and fresh guac. Best partner ever. Y. and I lazily watch Unbelievable on Netflix. We joke that we're allowed to be this lazy because as soon as we have a kid, life will get crazy.
6:30 p.m. — Time to walk the dog again. We get back and continue watching Unbelievable. I do laundry and the dishes, feed the dog and mentally prepare for the upcoming week. We're too full from our quesadillas to eat dinner.
8 p.m. — Time for the trigger shots to kickstart ovulation. The first one is fine but the second stings a bit. I'm so relieved to be done with this phase of IVF. I'm fortunate that my side effects have been very minimal. No bruising, swelling, tenderness etc. Just a lot of fun bloating. I get ready for bed. Darn, I'm breaking out around my chin area. I stick a few Mighty Patches on. We watch TV until around 11:30 and then go to bed.
Daily Total: $199.68

Day Four

5:45 a.m. — Ah, Monday morning. I have a bowl of Special K cereal for breakfast and a large mug of English breakfast tea. I catch up on Slack and emails before getting ready for my appointment.
7 a.m. — The bloodwork takes 15 minutes. I'm back in time for my 7:45 a.m. call. I grab a banana with peanut butter because I'm already hungry. I'm in calls for most of the morning.
12:30 p.m. — I make a turkey and salami sandwich in the kitchen and eat at my desk while doing a recertification for work. Afterward, I switch over to working on my project. I remain buried in Jira, Confluence, Figma, Slack and Zoom for the next few hours.
3 p.m. — I take a break from work and play with the dog. The tree service guys arrive to cut down the dying tree in the backyard. I'm sad this one has to go but the trunk split down the middle after a recent storm. Y. writes a check from his checking account because mine won't have enough to cover it in addition to the upcoming credit card bills. Man, owning a home is expensive. $2,500
3:45 p.m. — I get a call from my nurse saying we are good to go for tomorrow's egg retrieval but because my estrogen levels are so elevated, I need to take meds for the next eight days to reduce back down to normal levels. For someone pretty healthy, I've needed to take a lot of drugs these days.
4 p.m. — Back to work. More calls and a lot of catch-up on action items from earlier calls.
6:30 p.m. — I walk the dog and in the meantime Y. prepares salmon with collard greens for dinner. I clean up afterward.
8 p.m. — No shots tonight! I get ready for bed because who knows when I'll knock out. I feel exhausted and achy and bloated. I'm ready for these eggs to get sucked out tomorrow. I watch more Unbelievable with Y. We go to bed around 11.
Daily Total: $2,500

Day Five

6:30 a.m. — I wake up and am immediately saddened by not being able to eat or drink since I'll be under anesthesia this morning. I put some tinted moisturizer on but that's it. Y. and I nervously chat before heading out. Watching him drink coffee is rough.
7:30 a.m. — Surprisingly I'm not very nervous when I arrive at the facility. The doctor and nurses have done a great job of prepping me for today. It should be a quick procedure (15-20 minutes) and I'll be under light anesthesia so there shouldn't be any pain. Getting the IV hooked up is the worst part. I remember getting wheeled away to a different room and then darkness. I wake up in the same private room where my sweet partner patiently waited. Y. says he got nervous when I took longer than expected to wake up from the anesthesia but fortunately everything seems to have gone smoothly. We're told 20+ eggs were retrieved. They were still counting by the time we were cleared to go. Guess I'll find out tomorrow. I hope that number is good.
10 a.m. — I'm feeling good after the anesthesia. Y. drops me off at home. After tucking me in bed and making sure I have plenty of Gatorade, he takes off for a hair appointment. I sleep until 11:30 and wake up to pop a couple of Tylenol for the incoming cramps. After I get back in bed, I pass out again. $60
2 p.m. — Y. tells me the guys from yesterday came back to fix the fence after removing the tree. He writes them a check from his account again. $400
4 p.m. — I wake up feeling okay enough to walk the dog, or so I think. I'm definitely sore down there and I have intense period-like cramps. I take it easy on the walk but keep it short because it gets more uncomfortable with every step. I take more Tylenol when I get home. I sit on the couch and scroll through my phone. So glad I took the entire day off today. I respond to a few easy Slacks and emails but save most of them for tomorrow. I transfer $500 to our HYSA since that's a low-risk decision. I've been trying to save more these days because we're spending so much money on IVF and that's only the beginning. Babies are expensive and I want to make sure we're as prepared as possible, especially with the possibility that the economy dips and Y. or I lose our job. It's tech, after all.
5:15 p.m. — Y. drives me to the pharmacy to pick up a few meds I'll need to take over the next eight days to bring my estrogen down. Luckily, insurance covers most of the bill. I pay with my HSA card ($8.36). I play with the dog when we get home.
6:30 p.m. — I help prep the veggies for dinner. Y. makes chicken fried rice for dinner with mushrooms and asparagus. I clean up afterward. I have some apple juice and a fruit snack for dessert. Y. jokes about opening a bottle of wine. Sigh. I wish. We catch up on his day since I didn't do anything besides sleep.
9 p.m. — I start getting tired again. I do my normal nighttime routine of Cetaphil cleanser, witch hazel toner, Elemis Superfood night cream and Laneige lip mask. I'm still trying to get rid of a couple of breakouts so I stick on a couple of Mighty Patches. I don't normally fall for these things but I recently ordered a lightning wand spot brightener from Hero. I haven't seen any changes since I've been using it for a couple of weeks but I apply it anyway since it's a sunk cost. I fall asleep within minutes of lying down.
Daily Total: $460

Day Six

5 a.m. — I wake up too early from cramps. I can't fall back asleep so I start scrolling through my phone. I finally get out of bed and pop some Tylenol around 6. I eat a bowl of Special K and drink a large cup of English breakfast tea. Back to the grind today.
7 a.m. — I play catch-up all morning from being out yesterday.
11:30 a.m. — I have an early lunch of leftover fried rice. I eat an apple, hoping it'll suffice as dessert. Nope. I grab a pack of fruit snacks and Gatorade before going back to my office. I hope the electrolytes will help with my crummy bellyache. I also pop a couple of Tylenol. I have a missed call from my doc so I call back and get sent to voicemail.
2 p.m. — I get a call from my nurse saying 28 eggs were retrieved yesterday. That seems like a good number. Fingers crossed a good number of those successfully fertilized. All it takes is one good egg!
6 p.m. — I decide to stop working because my cramps are so bad. I lie down and take another Tylenol. Today felt busy but not very fulfilling. I think I'm starting to burn out from this job. It's either that or I'm just getting bored. My sweet Y. takes care of the dog all day since I can barely walk without looking like the hunchback of Notre Dame.
7:30 p.m. — I have a light salad for dinner and chamomile tea and Oreos for dessert. Y. whips up tacos for himself. Y. and I watch Master Chef. I lie on the couch like a sack of potatoes, trying not to move. Y. and I talk about our attempt to become parents. We still find ourselves shocked we're going through this. I send Y. an article about Amy Schumer's IVF experience and we get a little spooked at the numbers.
9:30 p.m. — I do my typical nighttime routine of witch hazel toner, Mighty Patches, Elemis Superfood night cream and that silly lightning stick. The dog and I go to bed while Y. stays up watching a documentary. I scroll through various baby-related articles online and then pass out.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

6 a.m. — Special K cereal and English breakfast tea. No surprises there. I scroll through my phone while I eat.
7 a.m. — I start my day with back-to-back meetings until lunchtime. Thursdays have the most meetings.
12:15 p.m. — I have leftover fried rice for lunch with Gatorade and fruit snacks. I actually get to eat with Y. today, which is unusual. Y. picks up some Liquid IV mix and Miralax (lovely, I know) for me from Walgreens. My nurse messaged me saying these may help alleviate the abdominal pain. Being on all these meds has not been conducive to healthy bowel movements. I look/feel pregnant already but nothing's in there except angry ovaries. $34.33
12:30 p.m. — Back to work. Jira, Confluence, Figma, Zoom, Slack, Slack huddles, Microsoft Teams calls, emails, testing etc. The day flies by. I barely remember what I did.
2 p.m. — The cleaners come for a deep clean so they charge us extra today (it's usually $240). They only do the downstairs today. I'm scared to think about how much it would cost in the long run to have them regularly clean the whole place every month. $450
5:30 p.m. — It feels early but I'm drained and my cramps are bad. I decide to call it quits and push everything I didn't get to today to tomorrow. I lie on the ground and stare at the ceiling for a couple of minutes. Sometimes I just like to zone out. I do a good amount of multitasking at work and it's nice to just act like a potato sometimes.
6 p.m. — Soppressata and prosciutto on sourdough for dinner. Y. has an interesting mix of leftovers: collards and cheesy egg muffins. He also stir-fries some shishito peppers for us to snack on. I try one of my Liquid IV mixes and eek, not a fan of the apple flavor. I think Gatorade tastes better. Y. goes back to work. I read for a bit on my Kindle. So happy it's already Thursday.
8 p.m. — Y. finally stops working and joins me in the living room to watch a Netflix documentary on the Tour de France. It's grueling to watch. I don't last long. My eyes start drooping. I wash up and last another half hour with Y. before I head to bed solo.
Daily Total: $484.33
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