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A Week In Wichita, KS, On A $335,000 Joint Income

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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 Senior Talent Partner who has a joint income of $335,000 per year and spends some of her this week on a front door.
Editor's Note: This is a follow-up diary. You can read the original diary from December 2020 here. This diary was written in February 2022.
Occupation: Senior Talent Partner
Industry: Healthcare
Age: 35
Location: Wichita, KS
My Salary: $110,000 plus bonus of ~$30,000
My Husband's Salary: $165,000 plus bonus of ~$30,000
Net Worth: ~$500,000 (this includes savings of $200,000, pension of $150,000, $450,000 in retirement (husband and mine combined), and $225,000 value of the rental property we own minus debt.)
Debt: $400,000 new house build loan, $125,000 left on our rental property mortgage
My Paycheck Amount (biweekly): $3,000
My Husband's Paycheck (2x/month): $5,208 
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Monthly Housing Costs: $900 for rental house mortgage plus $900 interest payment on builders loan for our new house build. I live with my husband and two children. We currently live in our rental home, but will rent it out for $1,500 a month once our new house is built. We also plan to pay off the entirety of the mortgage with this year's bonuses.
Utilities: $300 (including cable and internet)
Hulu: $14.99
Amazon Prime: $109 annually
Kid's College Savings: $600
YMCA Membership: $60
Peloton: $12.99
Fun Money: My husband and I each give ourselves $500/month for clothes, dinner with friends, etc.
Insurance: $800 (dental and medical for the whole family)
Kids Sports: $50
Savings: $2,500-$4,000
Car Insurance: $1,200/year
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?
There was an expectation that I learned how to contribute to society and take care of myself financially. My parents were not college grads so they were open to ongoing education or a trade career. I am the youngest of five siblings, three chose college and the other two chose trade careers. My parents paid for 25% of my college and my job gave me tuition reimbursement for about 25% and I took out $25,000 in loans to pay for the rest. I paid them off about two years after I graduated.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
None, my parents really didn't share much about finances with us. My dad is from a pretty well-off family so we never wanted for much but when my parents divorced, my dad would often complain about the cost of support and what he "gave up" asset-wise in the divorce. I wish fiscal responsibility was a topic because this was kind of a rude awakening for me when I graduated from college. Some of my siblings made some bad choices when they were in their early 20s and got into credit card debt, I learned from that by watching what not to do.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I worked at a gas station as a clerk when I was 16. This was to pay for car insurance, gas, and fun money. I ended up working here all through college and they helped pay for my undergrad which saved me from having significant student loans.
Did you worry about money growing up?
Not really. As I mentioned, we had everything we needed and most of what we wanted so money was never really an issue.
Do you worry about money now?
Sometimes I worry about retirement and my kids' college savings but for the most part, we are very fortunate to have stable jobs with solid incomes. We want to continue to buy properties and grow our rental income as well.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
21 when I graduated college. I have a financial safety net now but at the time, I didn't save much and was putting my income towards tuition.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
I have not. My parents helped pay for about 25% of my college tuition. I will have some inheritance when my parents pass (hopefully not for a loooong time) and this is estimated around $1-$1.5 million. This is life insurance plus property and part of a business my dad and uncles own.

Day One

4:30 a.m. — Up early for my morning workout. I get to the gym and do biceps and triceps. Home by 6 a.m. to get my son, K., up for school. Take a body shower and log into work to see if any urgent emails come up. K. starts school at 7 so we are out the door at 6:40 to get him there on time.
8:30 a.m. — Out the door to get my daughter, S., to school. She starts at 8:50 and we usually stop at Sonic on the way to grab a couple of drinks. I use the app to order ahead and get half-price drinks. A Diet Dr. Pepper for me and an OJ slush for her. $4
12 p.m.— It's been a quiet morning at work, I usually have my Mondays blocked off for catch-up and interviews. I make two eggs and one slice of bacon for lunch and look at flights for a summer trip we are taking to Florida. I end up finding a perfect VRBO and flights so I go ahead and book both. I cover it all for now. My mom, stepdad, and my sister's family will be going and pay me back for part of the VBRO and my mom will pay me back for her and my stepdad's flights. $4,800
4 p.m.— I usually take a 15-minute break at 4:15 when my daughter gets home from school to get her a snack and do a homework check-in. I also sign her agenda book and set out dinner prep. At 5, I log out of work. I start some ground beef for tacos and throw some broccolini in the air fryer. I add garlic citrus seasoning and call it good.
8:30 p.m. — Early to rise, early to bed! I get S. tucked in with a quick bedtime story then check in on K. He puts himself to bed when he gets tired, usually between 9-9:30. He is playing a new game on the Switch with some of his friends. I go upstairs and get ready for bed. Brush my teeth, put on serum and Tula moisturizer. I usually read for 30 minutes a day but it ends up being more like an hour. I have a goal to read 100 books per year and am currently at 23 for 2022. Some are light reads that I do in a day on the weekend. Right now I am reading The Underground Railroad. Lights out by 9:30.
Daily Total: $4,804

Day Two

4:30 a.m. — Up early to go to the gym. Today is shoulders, which for some reason is my favorite day. I do a Peloton strength class then run a couple of miles on the track. My gym is my saving grace as I have pretty bad anxiety and starting with a good workout really clears my head and gets me ready for the daily stressors of being a working mom.
9 a.m.— Get the kiddos off to school. Send a Valentine's delivery to S. for school ($8 for a teddy bear). We get our usual Sonic drinks ($4) and then back at work for the morning. I am a recruiter and have a good variety of roles that I work on, so every day is something new and I really enjoy it. I have bounced between recruiting and strategy roles for years and there are pros and cons to each but I will say I prefer hiring to firing so it's definitely a lighter-feeling role. $12
12 p.m. — Time for lunch! I make crepinis with eggs, sausage, and a little cheese. My husband joins me for lunch.
5:30 p.m. — Log off work and I am not feeling like making dinner tonight. I order McAllister's from their app and have my husband pick it up on the way home from the office. I get the club salad, soup bread bowl for S., baked potato for K. and a turkey sando for my husband, J. He works in mergers and acquisitions for an oil company and sometimes that equates to a lot of travel (pre-COVID) and long days. I used to do HR work in M&A so we often bounce ideas off of each other on culture assimilation of the new groups. This gets me jazzed up! He is a total left brain and I am right-brained so we really balance one another out. $36.77
8:30 p.m. — Getting ready for bed, same routine as before — serum and moisturizer, teeth brushed, etc. S. gets tucked in with a story and prayers. Check in on D., he's doing his thing with his friends. I get settled in to read for the evening, but we recently started re-watching Sons of Anarchy so I watch that for a bit with my husband. It's getting close to Valentine's Day so I order him a new Rogue sweatshirt. I just started a certification course for SQL and data management. I never thought I would take on this type of role but honestly, data is our future and there are not a lot of HR professionals that are data-savvy so this helps keep my skills up and make me more marketable. I do some of the homework and submit. I usually only have to spend a few hours a week to keep up. Asleep by 10. $61.99
Daily Total: $110.76

Day Three

6 a.m. — Today is my rest day so I sleep in and wake up to get K. started for the day. He is ready and out the door with his dad by 6:40. He is definitely my morning kid, he is super easy-going and laid back.
12 p.m. — Break for lunch today! I decide to run to the grocery store to grab some supplies for V-Day gift bags for S.'s class. I am making cake pops and trying a new recipe making them with sugar cookies instead of cake. I also buy some melting chocolate for the coating. I grab a salad from the salad bar and some milk. When I get home, I eat lunch with the hubs who works from home most days. This is a great little break for both of us. $18.50
5:30 p.m. — Done with work for the day — it was a great day getting several offers out! I just got moved to a new team where I'll be working on executive recruiting so it will be a nice change of pace. I make spaghetti for dinner, this is a fan favorite of the kids. I pair it with some broccoli and Trader Joe's breadsticks. Chef's kiss, yum! I pick K. up from golf lessons and hear about his day.
9 p.m.— Getting to bed a little later today. Same routine as the other days. Today I start reading a new book — it's about the behind-the-scenes of the Real Housewives franchise. Total trash but I love some bad reality TV to veg out on. I also book two rental vehicles ($675) for our summer trip and buy a couple of swimsuits for the kids online. The thing about kids is when you feed and water them, they grow like weeds! My kids are both tall for their age group so they need to size up from last summer! $754
Daily Total: $772.50

Day Four

4:30 a.m. — You guessed it! Back at the gym for chest and back day. I get home, wake up K., and take a shower. I have naturally curly hair so I try to only wash twice a week and today is a hair wash day. Blow-dry and round brush then add a little makeup. I use IT Cosmetics foundation, Laura Geller powder, and M.A.C blush. I just started to get my eyelashes done so no more mascara for me. Out the door by 6:40.
9 a.m.— Get S. to school with our same Sonic stop along the way ($4). We are building a house right now so I drop by the lot and see that they are pouring the foundation! Woot woot, I am so excited. It should be framed by the end of February then we start picking out some of the finishes. I love this part of the building process. This will hopefully be the only house we ever build. It's on a great lot with a lake in the back and about an acre of land so we can put in a pool next year. $4
5:30 p.m. — S. has basketball practice tonight so I make a quick dinner of chicken and broccoli and we are out the door by 6:20 to get to the Y for her practice. Usually, I walk a couple of miles on the track or jump into a quick spin class to burn off some energy while she is shooting hoops. She started playing in kindergarten and has really excelled with the game.
8:30 p.m. — Home and get S. in the tub and ready for bed. She has really great hair but it tangles if she sleeps with it wet so a quick five-minute dry does the job. Same bedtime routine, start reading and J. gives me the eyes. So we take it from there... For being married 14 years and together 18 years, I can say I truly love this man more than the day I married him.
Daily Total: $4

Day Five

4:30 a.m. — Today is a cardio-only day for me! I do 45 minutes of running on the track. Part of the reason I go so early is that this place is dead and I don't have to worry about getting close to anyone while I am there. During lockdown, it was super hard for me not having the workouts and I am so appreciative of this time. For me, working out is really about staying active, good heart health, and managing my mental health.
9 a.m. — Get both the kids off to school then get straight into work. I am training today. I get a rare treat of meeting up with one of my former co-workers and a good friend that I mentor. My builder texts me to let me know I can order our front door. We are going with an extra-wide arch, super excited to get the order in! $3,450
12 p.m. — I meet my friend, V., for lunch at a local farm-to-table brunch spot. It is soooo good! I order a turkey avo eggs benny sans the bread with a side of bacon and coffee with heavy cream. V. orders a benny omelet. I pay ($34.90) plus $40 tip, as we take turns when we meet up each time. About a year ago I started doing a random act of kindness tipping about once a month. I usually tip 100% or at least $50 when I do this. I just like putting that gratitude into the universe and hope others pay it forward. There is so much negativity in this world that we should each do something to spread some positivity when we can. $74.90
5:30 p.m. — I log off for the week and it's been super productive, lots of offers and happy offerees! I don't cook on the weekends, so we order from a local steakhouse. We split two prime ribs with a side of green beans, sweet potato, and salad. This is enough to feed all four of us with leftovers for tomorrow. Total is $45.99 plus tip. $69.45
9 p.m.— So lame, I don't even stay up late on the weekends. Work ahead on some homework for my data certification. Watch some Sons of Anarchy then call it a night.
Daily Total: $3,594.35

Day Six

7 a.m. — I don't get up as early on the weekends but still hit the gym in the morning. Saturday and Sunday are leg days. I usually do a 20-minute leg workout on Peloton then run. The Peloton leg workouts are no joke, I am jelly afterward. On the way home, I stop and pick up Starbucks for the kids. One strawberry frappe, one caramel frappe, one cake pop, and a slice of lemon bread. This is a weekend routine, again don't cook, so the kids get their sugar fix. S. has a basketball game today so we get her ready and head out. $16.80
12:30 p.m. — Game over and we head home to get showered up. Stop and grab some Chipotle curbside on the way home. K. gets his usual cheese quesadilla, J. and I split a bowl, and S. gets kids tacos. We get home around 1 and I decide to do a 15-minute all-hands-on-deck cleaning session. We do a once-a-week cleaning session where we jam to Alexa oldies station and each of us has our assignments. K. does the bathrooms, S. takes out the little trash cans and cleans her room, I clean the kitchen and our bedroom, and J. vacuums. Seriously, the house is shining within 15 minutes. $30
5 p.m.— Church time! We haven't been great about this since COVID but we tune into the sermon from the church app and listen in. For dinner, we order sushi. One salmon roll and one crab roll. YUM!! S. and I spend some time testing out our new cookie cake pop recipe and K. is the official taste tester. He give us two thumbs up so we start making the batch for S.'s class. These freeze well so we will pop them in the freezer until the day before her party then put the baggies together. I also bought slime packets so each will get a treat and a toy. I also put together a gift for her teacher. We do a $25 Starbucks gift card, a reusable cup, and some candy. S. loves her teacher and likes to do things to make her smile. I appreciate her kindness and continuing to work through this school year with so many challenges. Thank you teachers for keeping this together and continuing to help our kids learn. $30
Daily Total: $76.80

Day Seven

7 a.m.— S. has 1:1 basketball training this morning so we head to a different Y and I work out while she does her session. We have a coach who is great with her and has helped her improve her technique a ton. Each session is $20. $20
12 p.m. — Make some lunch at home. TJ's potstickers for the kids and husband, I just eat some nuts and cheese. I decide to take a bath then a quick nap. I love naps, I would take one every day if I could!
5 p.m.— Dinner time! I make a pot roast with baby potatoes and carrots. So delish!
6:30 p.m. — Run to the grocery store to pick up my click list. The usual — steaks, chicken thighs, veggies, milk, OJ, Diet Coke, some snacky food for the kids' lunches, and other essentials. Once I get home and get everything unloaded, I clean out the fridge and do a quick wipe down. I also wash all the produce with veggie wash then peel and chop for the week ahead. $157.99

Daily Total: $177.99
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