A Week In Houston, TX, On A $144,870 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.
Today: an attorney who makes $144,870 and spends some of her money this week on Old Navy tennies.
Occupation: Attorney
Industry: Software
Age: 32
Location: Houston, TX
Salary: $144,870 (base salary of $125,974 plus 15% bonus)
Paycheck Amount (monthly): $7,166 (after taxes, insurance, and 401(k) contribution)
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $1,800 (I pay my husband this amount to cover my portion of the mortgage and utilities. He pays more than I do because he makes more.)
Loans: $0
Gym: $108
Personal Trainer: $300-360 (depending on how many Saturday workouts I join)
Car Payment: $467
Cell Phone: $80 (I'm on my parent's plan and pay them)
Car Insurance: $120
SiriusXM: $15
Netflix: $15
Spotify: $10

Day One

7:30 a.m. — Alarm goes off and I wake up from a very steamy dream. I snuggle up to my husband, S., to initiate a little sexy time. I'm out of bed by 8, and I'm making breakfast for the two of us (egg whites and quinoa for me, just egg whites for him) while he walks the pup, B. I'm meeting my gym buddies at 9 and want to digest my breakfast in time for the workout. I have a little extra time so I decide to start working on meal prep for the week. This morning, I made egg muffins for S. and then baked some chicken, roasted broccoli, and a pot of quinoa for my lunches. I'll put all of this together when I get back from the gym.
10:15 a.m. — I stop at the grocery store on my way home to pick up a few extra items for lunch for myself. I already went to the grocery store for the week, but I forgot to buy protein for my lunch today, groan (I could eat the chicken I pre-cooked, but then I'd be short a lunch for the week). I pick up an individual serving of pre-made chicken, broccoli, mushrooms, and a bag of curry cashews. After the store, I head home to eat an early lunch and S. heads to his favorite taco stand. Hi, we live in Texas and live and breathe tacos. I make my favorite Asian stir-fry, which consists of quinoa, the pre-made chicken, sautéed broccoli, mushrooms, red onion, and carrots topped off with coconut aminos, sriracha, and green onions. I'm gluten-free due to my IBS and coconut aminos saved my life when it comes to Asian-inspired recipes. $9.88
12 p.m. — After lunch, I finish my meal-prep for the week. I make more Asian-inspired bowls for myself (ground turkey, quinoa, shredded carrot, green onion, roasted broccoli topped with coconut aminos, and sriracha). S. despises this recipe (which is shocking because he usually loves everything I make), so I make him an easy kitchen sink salad (shredded carrots, tomatoes, chickpeas, hearts of palm, roasted chicken, spinach, and Annie's organic Goddess dressing). Eight meals prepped in 30 minutes, boom. I'll finish dinner meals later. While S. is cleaning out the garage, I treat myself to a couple of episodes of Love After Lockup. It's my newest trash TV obsession and the obsession is real.
2:30 p.m. — We head out to go see The Joker and I'm excited to see it because there has been so much social commentary surrounding it. I buy myself a small popcorn and a big water ($12.96). Good lord, I should have snuck in my own water. I really liked the movie but it was also really sad to think that this is our current state of affairs. In my opinion, the US is seriously behind in recognizing and treating mental health issues and not making it such a stigma. As someone who has been to therapy in the past for anxiety, I am very open with my story. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. My husband and I also saw my therapist for pre-marital counseling. $12.96
5:30 p.m. — We're home and I set out to finish meal-prep for the week. I take a meatloaf out of the freezer and make a big batch of mashed cauliflower to go with it for dinners. We then cook dinner together. We make GOOP's Crispy Coconut Kale with Roasted Salmon. It takes 15 minutes and it's beyond delicious. After dinner, we get into bed (we don't have a TV in our living room, so we often watch TV in bed at night, which I love because I LOVE. MY. BED). I tell S. that if he scratches my back he can watch whatever he wants and I'll read my book. I'm reading She Said right now about the journalists who broke the Harvey Weinstein story. It's a very interesting read, but I'm coming off of Where the Crawdads Sing and Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and I'm finding it hard to get into nonfiction after two amazing books. Lights out by 9.
Daily Total: $22.84

Day Two

6:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off so I can be at the gym by 6:30, but a storm rolled in last night and our precious pup decided to wake us up at 4 a.m. shaking and scared. I can't be mad; she's too cute. I text the girls and go back to sleep. When I wake up at 7:15, I make eggs for myself (egg whites, salsa, and quinoa), and enjoy the coffee that S. made. He's a self-proclaimed coffee snob and makes coffee for us almost every morning.
8 a.m. — I have an early meeting I decide to take from home. On the way to work, I stop at a local café that offers free coffee on Monday morning. I put $1 in the tip jar (I regret not tipping more after) and head into work. On the way, I finish up a podcast from Crime Junkie. I am obsessed with true crime podcasts. $1
10:30 a.m. — I am debating an Old Navy purchase, everything is 40% off today, but I'm really trying to cut back on my spending. I am so eternally grateful to my parents for paying for our wedding, but during the wedding planning process, I still spent a lot more than I usually do. Hello, a monthly facial is NECESSARY when you are a bride. So, at the beginning of the month, I placed myself on a shopping moratorium until 2020. Thus far, I have stuck to my goal, but I love these tennies from Old Navy and they are on sale for $18 right now, is that even really a purchase? I hold off for now.
2 p.m. — I make an Amazon purchase for a bunny costume for B. Purchases for the pup are not included in my shopping moratorium. ($27) I decided we're both going to be bunnies for Halloween this year (just the ears for myself which I purchased last week). We are both going to look so cute. I then spend some time researching plane tickets to Vegas. My parents invited us to go with them in November for my dad's birthday, but I can't find tickets for under $500, which is highway robbery. I let them know tickets seem unreasonably expensive right now. Clearly I'm working really hard today. Then I break down and order two pairs of the Old Navy tennies as well as a red beanie and red gloves to match. As a Houstonian, a cold-weather wardrobe isn't really a thing, and I refuse to invest in clothing I will wear maybe four times a year. I feel kind of bad, but clearly not bad enough to not make the purchase ($57). $84
5:30 p.m. — I leave work to head home. Listen to another Crime Junkie podcast on the way. When I get home, I heat up the pre-made meatloaf and mashed cauliflower. We eat dinner together and discuss our day. It's gorgeous outside today, so we decide to bike to our favorite restaurant to get dessert. We order a glass of sparkling rose for me, a cocktail for S., and the Budino described as having dulce de leche, pistachio, and whipped yogurt topping. It is as good as we remembered. S. pays since it was his idea. S. and I have been living together for a little over a year and other than the money I give him for our mortgage, we try to split expenses somewhat evenly. We are still in the process of figuring out how to combine finances. Neither of us is in a huge rush to do so.
Daily Total: $85

Day Three

5:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off for the gym. I live two minutes away so I'm able to literally roll out of bed and be there on time. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I meet up with my workout ladies for our small group training at 6 a.m. We also meet on Saturdays at 8 a.m. Our trainer is a beast, but also a total sweetheart and we all have so much fun together. I eat a banana with a little peanut butter as a pre-workout snack. Today's workout is horribly intense due to what feels like 10,000 frog jumps, but I feel so good after.
7:15 a.m. — I'm back at home. S. made coffee and is on his way out the door. I shower and get ready for work, which consists of blow-drying the sweat out of my hair (I wash my hair twice a week and refuse to believe this is gross considering how much I work out), minimal makeup (Buxom foundation, Smashbox bronzer, NARS blush, Anastasia brows, Chanel mascara), and throw my hair in a low pony. I quickly make egg whites and quinoa to go, feed the pup, and I'm out the door by 8. I eat breakfast in my car every morning to save time.
11:30 a.m. — I head out to go pick up some skirts I had tailored to take in at the waist last week. When I originally picked them up, the tailor took in too much fabric and they were too tight, so I had them re-do the work which they did for free. I SEE JOSE ALTUVE IN THE SHOPPING CENTER. Today is game one of the World Series. I think this is good luck. I text everyone. I stop for gas on my way back into the office. $25
12:30 p.m. — I eat my quinoa bowl when I get back to my desk and think about all the brown bananas I have at home right now, but I don't have any sugar, so I research banana bread recipes I can make with no sugar.
5:30 p.m. — I head home. S. left to meet up with friends to watch Game One of the World Series at a bar a few blocks from our house. The Astros clinched their seat on Saturday. I could give a rip about sports (any RHOD Mama D fans out there?), but I can appreciate our home team being in the World Series. At 7, I leave for KLERB NIGHT! Once a month I meet up with four of my besties for our version of book club. Almost two years ago we started meeting and decided a book a month felt too committed, so we either read articles or listen to podcasts then get together to discuss. This month's topic is a true crime podcast about a college student going missing. Whoever hosts provides wine and dinner, and this month's host made a delicious chili and cornbread. She also set out a cheese and charcuterie platter with ghost-shaped cheese cut out, so cute.
Daily Total: $25

Day Four

6:30 a.m. — Alarm goes off to meet the girls at the gym. We are working out a little later because I don't have to be at work until 9 today. When I get home I begrudgingly wash my hair, blow dry it, apply my usual makeup, make egg whites, and I'm out the door by 8:30.
11:30 a.m. — I break out of meetings to head to see my nutritionist. I started seeing her about seven months before the wedding and she has changed the way I eat. I haven't seen her since before the wedding when I was going monthly. I receive an updated meal plan and I make an appointment in four months. $70
6 p.m. — I head home. S. is going to Game Two of the World Series with his dad tonight, so I'm on dog duty. Tickets were super expensive, but it's a once in a lifetime experience and we're very fortunate that his dad offered to pay. I walk the pup and then I make banana bread from the recipe I found yesterday. Then I heat up dinner and settle into bed to catch up on my Real Housewives. The addiction is real. Yes, I am eating my dinner in bed. It's my secret single behavior. Also, yes this means I watch Real Housewives over the World Series. I head to bed around 10.
Daily Total: $70

Day Five

5:42 a.m. — Alarm goes off for the gym. I'm really tired for no reason and I'm not feeling it, but I know I will regret not going. When I get home, S. and I debrief about last night's game as I embark on my standard morning routine. After I get ready and make my breakfast (egg whites and quinoa), I say goodbye to S. and his dad and head into the office.
12 p.m. — My boss orders lunch for everyone so we can all eat together. This is also a nice break as I normally work through lunch at my desk. I order grilled chicken with brown rice and broccoli. It's boring but healthy.
5:30 p.m. — I head out with my colleagues for a happy hour. This is fairly rare and I only get to interact with them in person about twice a year so I'm excited to get to know them better. We go to a fancy seafood restaurant near our office and order a bunch of appetizers and drinks. I always get nervous about appetizers in group settings because being gluten-free makes this difficult, but I am able to add in some items I know I can eat (work pays).
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

6:15 a.m. — Gym time for some cardio with the gals. I get home around 7:30 for my usual morning routine, and then I'm out the door by 8:15.
12 p.m. — I eat the last of my quinoa bowls at my desk. This is the third week in a row I've made this lunch for myself and I'm over it. I'm a creature of habit if you couldn't tell.
5 p.m. — Normally I grocery shop for meal-prep items on Fridays on my way home from work, but this week I need to get ready to go meet up another couple to watch the World Series game on tonight. We also haven't seen them since the wedding, so they want a full wedding/honeymoon debrief. The restaurant we end up at is an interesting seafood/Thai influence mixture. We order lobster spring rolls, charred Brussels sprouts, and grilled octopus as appetizers. I order the seafood salad for dinner. Everything is delicious, but a little overpriced. Our friends usurp the bill from us and refuse to let us pay, as our wedding present. So unnecessary and sweet.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

7 a.m. — Alarm goes off. I make breakfast (egg whites/quinoa/salsa) and eat immediately so I can digest before my workout at 8. I'm meeting the girls for our usual Saturday class at 9. I feel like today is going to be rough since I'm slightly hungover from last night. But I find that "sweating it out" is the best recovery.
9:30 a.m. — Workout is done. I eat a banana with peanut butter I brought with me and head to the grocery store to buy meal prep items for the week. I end up also buying a lot of necessities such as hairspray, paper towels, bath wash, etc. I then head home to get the house ready for guests that are staying with us tonight. My good friend from law school is coming into town with her husband. She couldn't make it to our wedding because her five-month-old refused to take a bottle (HOW IS THAT A THING?), and we had a no kids policy at the wedding. I'm so excited to see her. $239.81
2 p.m. — I head out to run a few errands alone since S. ended up having to go into the office today. I stop by a natural pet food store to pick up a bag of dog food ($41). Then I stop by my favorite candle store to pick up a new candle for our guest room ($30). I head home just in time to greet our guests! $71
5:45 p.m. — We all head out to a restaurant that S. and I used to go to all the time. It's Italian so I'm a little disappointed because I'm not sure there's much I can eat. Much to my delight, they now have GF pasta (internal happy dance). We order a ton of food and numerous glasses of wine. S. splits dinner with my friend's husband ($157 for our half). We then head home to put the game on. My friend and I get in our jammies and talk into the early hours of the morning.
Daily Total: $310.81
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