A Week In Maine On A Joint $127,000 Income

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, as part of Your Spending In Your State: a marketing coordinator working in advertising who makes $50,000 per year ($127,000 when combined with her husband) and spends some of her money this week on Vitamin Water.
Edit note: This diary was written earlier this year.
Occupation: Marketing Coordinator
Industry: Advertising
Age: 26
Location: Maine
My Salary: $50,000
My Husband's Salary: $70,000 plus ~$7,000 bonus
My Paycheck Amount (4x/month): $743
My Husband's Paycheck Amount (4x/month): $900
Advertisement
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $1,053 for a two-bedroom, one-and-a-half bathroom condo
HOA Fee: $225
Student Loan Payment: $331.90 (for my loans)
Car Leases: $300 for my car and $309 for my husband's
Gym Memberships: $109 for me and $39 for my husband
Car Insurance: $201
Hulu: $0 (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)
YouTube TV: $39
Therapy: $25/week
Internet: $69
Utilities: ~$125
Spotify: $0 (I use my work account.)
Cell Phone: $0 (Thanks, Mom and Dad. My husband's employer pays for his.)
Health Insurance: $0 (My husband's employer pays for our insurance.)
Dental Insurance: $12
401(k): $60.05 per paycheck (I put in 6%, and my company matches 3%.)
Mutual Fund: $400
Savings: We keep around $7,000 in our checking account, $18,000 in our savings account and have $30,000 in investments.

Day One

7 a.m. — My alarm goes off, and I look over at our dog. He gives me a look like "I am not ready to get up, Mom," so I let us lie in bed for a few more minutes. Eventually I get up, and he follows. I take him out, feed him, throw in a load of laundry, and take another out of the dryer. Then I have a cup of coffee on the couch, fold the mountain of clothes, take a quick body shower, and get ready. I make Eggo waffles with SunButter and jelly with a side of grapefruit for breakfast, and then kiss the dog and my husband, N., goodbye.
8:50 a.m. — I settle in at my desk. I've been out of the office for almost a week (work trip followed by a long weekend home to visit my parents), so I feel way out of the groove, only to find my email somehow deleted itself, and now my inbox is completely empty including my calendar…not on a Monday, please. More coffee (I bring it from home, since the coffee here is less than desirable) and grab a seltzer from our kitchen. I box up some returns I need to ship and schedule a UPS pickup through our work account.
Advertisement
11 a.m. — No matter what I have for breakfast during the week, I am always hungry by 11. I peruse the kitchen snacks and grab some pretzels and hummus.
12 p.m. — Head to my barre studio a few blocks away for a 12:15 class. There's a 20 classes in 30 days challenge that started at the beginning of the month, but since I've been traveling I am late to start. Time to get moving!
1:10 p.m. — Stop at the sandwich shop below the studio and grab a wrap. I usually bring dinner leftovers for lunch, but I got home late last night. I pay $7.57 for the wrap with money my mom gave me before I left yesterday. (When my brother and I were in college, my parents always gave us a $20 at the end of our visits home. Years later, they haven't stopped.) $7.57
2:40 p.m. — I duck out to go register my car and get new plates, only to find out I can only pay the excise tax (ouch) and I have to go to the DMV to get the plates, since N.'s name is on the lease. Or N. can come to City Hall to register and get new plates himself, but he doesn't have a flexible job like me. I pay the excise tax ($680.49), get the form he needs to fill out, and will go to the DMV tomorrow. I have time before my 4:00 appointment, so I run to Whole Foods and grab a few things I forgot in our Instacart order yesterday: seltzer, Vitamin Waters, chicken sausage, fresh bread, and a Smartwater for now because I am so thirsty ($25.40). $705.89
Advertisement
4 p.m. — Off to a car appointment to get my car's damage appraised. A few weeks ago, when I was away for a girl's weekend, N. leased me a new car as a surprise (husband of the year) and two days later, I got rear-ended. I wish I was kidding. Thankfully it wasn't bad, just more of an inconvenience and an are-you-kidding-me-this-is-a-brand-new-car moment. The appraisal ends up being super quick. The guy is super nice and I am on my way.
4:30 p.m. — Home! I unload the groceries, fold laundry, and have some cheese and crackers to tide me over. My husband gets home around 5, and my mother-in-law drops off the dog shortly after. (The dog goes to work with my husband every day, and my MIL takes him and her dogs walking every afternoon, which tires him right out.) I feed him, and then my husband and I tag-team dinner — chicken sausage and lentil soup in the Instant Pot with bread. We discuss our days, the news, and catch up on things.
7 p.m. — Clean up and retire to the couch for the night. I read the latest People and complete all but three answers in the crossword (woohoo) while my husband watches TV.
9 p.m. — I take the dog out. (During the week I have the dog evening shift, and my husband has the mornings, and on weekends we flip flop.) The dog gets his nightly peanut butter, I have a TJ's bonbon, and we head up to bed. N. and I catch the tail end of our college basketball team's game. It's a nail biter, but they pull it off! I'm asleep by 10.
Advertisement
Daily Total: $713.46

Day Two

6:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off. I hop in the shower, grab a cup of coffee (every morning when I turn off my pot, I get it set up for the next morning), and scroll through social media before getting ready. I have toast and grapefruit for breakfast and then pack up my to-go coffee, liter of seltzer, and lunch. I am out the door by 7:45.
8:10 a.m. — I am first in line at the DMV! I get my plates, and I'm out the door in 10 minutes. The woman was super friendly and efficient (I'm shocked at how quickly it went) and I'm at work by 8:30. $55.
11 a.m. — Snack time: pretzels and hummus again!
12 p.m. — Head to barre.
1:10 p.m. — Two down, 18 to go! I heat up my lunch (leftover soup) with crackers and grab a seltzer from the kitchen, which I follow with a fun-sized Kit Kat.
5 p.m. — The afternoon went by relatively quickly. I head home and the dog is waiting for me, so he must have gotten dropped off early today. I get dinner going: roasted chicken and potatoes with buffalo cauliflower. I also throw together a salad to have for lunch tomorrow, knowing there won't be leftovers. N. gets home shortly after I do. We eat, he does the dishes, and I throw in some laundry. Eventually we head to the couch, me with hot cocoa. We browse Realtor.com and discuss our house plans.
Advertisement
9 p.m. — I take the dog out, he gets his peanut butter, and N. and I watch TV in bed for about an hour before falling asleep.
Daily Total: $55

Day Three

6:40 a.m. — My alarm went off 10 minutes ago, but I snoozed it. N. left at 4:30 this morning for a trip, so I have the dog this morning. We're so snuggly, it's hard to get up. I am definitely one of those people who thinks my dog is my child. We got him when he was eight weeks old and about a month later, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. He's been such a light in our (and my parents') lives throughout this. Yesterday was his two-year homecoming anniversary! We get up and go out, and then he eats while I have a cup of coffee and scroll through social media. I take a quick body shower and get ready. For breakfast, I have toast and grapefruit, then make some tuna to have with crackers and salad for lunch later. We are out the door by 8.
8:45 a.m. — We're supposed to get a big storm this afternoon, so there was almost no traffic today, which is nice. I bring the dog to work when my husband is traveling.
12 p.m. — Morning goes by quickly, thanks to a few meetings that leave me with a bunch to do (which is good). I have my lunch followed by two mini Milky Ways. The snow has finally started, and it looks like it's coming down quick. Ugh, I hate driving in the snow. Last year we had a storm, and I ran into something in the road and got a flat tire. My husband says it was user error (eye roll!!).
Advertisement
1:25 p.m. — I pack up and head out. I have my weekly therapy session at 1:30 ($25), and it's right by our house, so I'm just going to work from home after. The snow has really started to pick up, so I presume most people will head out shortly after me anyway. I've been going to therapy for 14 months, and it's been one of the best things to happen to me.
2:40 p.m. — I get home and call my MIL to check on her plan is for the afternoon. She says she will take the dog for a walk and bring him home after. I tell her to just keep him for the night if the weather is bad, since he'll be with them tomorrow all day anyway.
4:05 p.m. — Hungry, so I break for some cereal and realize we have a package at the door. My parents sent us some things we forgot/couldn't fit in our suitcases, and they sent some surprises too! Coffee, caramel corn, a dog toy, and homemade banana bread. I call it quits for the day and clean out the fridge and freezer, scrub the counters down, take out the trash and recycling, and vacuum. I check our credit card activity (which I do daily), and see three charges from iTunes ($70, $30, $30), so I double check with N. that these weren't from him (and they weren't). He reports fraud and they cancel our card. I go through and make a list of recurring charges and accounts we need to update once we get the new card.
Advertisement
5:15 p.m. — My father-in-law drops the dog off. I pour myself a glass of wine, feed the dog, and take him for a quick walk around the block. The snow has turned to sleet, ugh. I watch the news and make dinner: chicken sausage with peppers and onions, French fries, and a salad. Post dinner, I clean up and then curl up on the couch for the night with the dog. I catch up on Grey's Anatomy (can't quit it), and he snores next to me.
9 p.m. — Take the dog out, give him his peanut butter, and have a slice of banana bread (thanks, Mom!). We head up to bed, and I throw on our diffuser, put on a face mask, and text with my dad for a bit. I fall asleep around 10.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

6:30 a.m. — Alarm goes off. The dog lets out a dinosaur yawn, and we get up. I take him out, feed him, and then hop in the shower. Coffee and the news before getting ready. Breakfast is waffles with SunButter and jelly and grapefruit. I load the dog into the car at 7:50, clean it off for a solid 10 minutes, and we're off by 8.
9:30 a.m. — OMG it took an hour and a half to get to work today, gah. I finished my entire liter of seltzer on the drive! I settle in for the morning.
11:10 a.m. — Grab a yogurt from the kitchen.
Advertisement
12 p.m. — Off to barre!
1:10 p.m. — Back at work, I grab my lunch — salad and tuna with crackers. I finish it with mini Milky Ways again. I always finish my meals off with something sweet.
4:20 p.m. — Hungry again. I find half a snack bag of Cheddar Bunnies in my desk.
4:30 p.m. — I wrap things up and head home quickly to feed the dog, change, and stuff a piece of banana bread down (because I'm starving), and then I'm off to my friend's house before we go to dinner. I snuggle her sweet babe while she gets ready, our other friend comes over, and then we pick up the fourth and are on our way to dinner.
6:45 p.m. — We each get a cocktail and split a meal for two and a bunch of apps. It's all so delicious, and we leave full and happy. Girlfriends are so, so important. One of my New Year's resolutions is to deepen my relationships with my girlfriends here (all of my closest friends live in other states), and so far it's been going well. It's good for the soul. $37.07
9 p.m. — Home to a very happy dog. I take him out, and we go right up to bed. He promptly falls asleep and I watch TV and text with my husband, wash up, turn the diffuser on, and go to sleep around 10.
Daily Total: $37.07

Day Five

6:30 a.m. — Ugh, I really don't want to get up, but TGIF! I take out the dog, feed him, and then we crawl back in bed with some coffee and watch the news for a bit. I body shower and get ready, make a tuna sandwich and pretzels for lunch, and have waffles with SunButter and jelly and grapefruit for breakfast. I load the dog and my stuff into the car, and then run back inside to bring some things to the recycling. While I'm doing this, the dog decides to help himself to my sandwich, so now my car smells like tuna, he smells like tuna, and I have no lunch!!! It's a good thing he is so darn cute. We are finally on the road by 8.
Advertisement
9 a.m. — Get to work, activate our new credit cards, and text with my husband about our weekend plans.
11:10 a.m. — Hummus and pretzels (brought from home).
12 p.m. — Off to barre I go.
2:05 p.m. — I run down the street and grab a salad — this used to be my go-to place when I needed to buy lunch, but then it closed about six months ago. It just reopened in a new spot, and the quality is not what it used to be. Bummer. Today's treat is caramel M&Ms…verdict is still out on how I feel about them. $8.63
4 p.m. — Fading fast. I make myself a cup of coffee, remember how bad the office coffee is, but drink it anyway.
4:40 p.m. — Pack up and head home. I get to our door and see all my husband's stuff (backpack, duffle bag, laundry) sitting on the doorstep, but he's nowhere to be found. I slightly freak out that the dog has run away, but eventually I see N. pop out of the neighbor's house, and he tells me the dog is getting dropped off in a few. Oy. We catch up on our weeks, shower, get ready, and have a beer.
7 p.m. — Uber into town for dinner ($7.74). We reserve Friday nights for date night — with N. traveling so much, it's a standing date we like to keep. We have a drink (Prosecco for me, beer for him, $24.68) while we wait for seats. For dinner, I have a Caesar salad, he has French onion soup, we split tuna tartare, and we each get an entrée. He gets another beer. We pay for dinner with a gift card I got from work as a thank you a few weeks ago. $32.42
Advertisement
9:30 p.m. — We decide to call it a night and head home ($7.47). We're asleep by 10:30. Wild Friday night! $7.47
Daily Total: $48.52

Day Six

6:30 a.m. — The dog jumps off the bed to get up, and I get up and realize N. isn't bed, which is odd. We go downstairs and find him. He's been up since 5 because he couldn't sleep. He tells me he'll take care of the dog, and I go back to bed.
8:30 a.m. — I get up and join N. on the couch for some coffee. He has a haircut at 9:30, so I decide to take the dog for a walk during the appointment. Post haircut, we all head to the beach so the dog can get some energy out.
12 p.m. — We go home, N. showers, I get ready, and we load the dog back in the car for some errands. First stop: the car dealership to pick up a check. (On top of getting hit two days after getting the car, the whole leasing process was such a hassle and the dealership was horrible.) Then to the mall — N. runs in and returns an extra Apple thing we don't need (we get back $31.02). Last stop: a distillery for a drink ($23.91). We love going because it allows dogs — everyone knows ours by name there and loves him! We grab lunch next door to bring home — chicken tenders and fries ($45.36). $69.27
2:45 p.m. — We finish up lunch and run to an open house. Then we stop at Rite Aid, and my husband gets deodorant, DayQuil, and contact solution ($26.28). Afterwards, we fill up my car at the gas station ($30.24). When we get home, there's a gift bag on the door. My in-laws dropped off a Valentine's gift for us — a toy for the dog, a very, very generous check for N. and me, and candy! $56.52
Advertisement
4:30 p.m. — I wake up from a nap, and we call my in-laws to thank them for the gifts.
7 p.m. — We call an Uber ($7.47) and head into town for dinner. I have a margarita and a lobster grilled cheese, and N. has a beer and a lobster roll and bisque. We split fries. After we finish, our friend comes to join us for drinks. Then we head out to meet up for one more drink with another couple. $130.73
11:30 p.m. — We are old and tired, so we all head home. Uber is outrageous, so we take a Lyft, which is hooked up to my husband's work card for some reason? We say hi to the dog, give him some peanut butter, and head up to bed.
Daily Total: $256.52

Day Seven

6:15 a.m. — The dog hops off the bed. I take him out, feed him, and we go back to sleep.
8:50 a.m. — We all wake up and get ready quick. I fill my to-go mug with coffee, and off to the beach we go.
10:15 a.m. — We get home, I make toast with SunButter, and my husband heads to the gym. Then I do some laundry and head to barre class.
12:5o p.m. — Home. We head to Whole Foods and get a bunch of different things from the hot bar for lunch, then take a ride to go look at a few houses. Once we're back, I make my grocery list and lie down for a bit. $37.76
Advertisement
5:15 p.m. — Today's grocery haul was a bit more expensive than usual because I needed to get a bunch of essentials (toilet paper, paper towels, Clorox wipes, Draino, garbage bags), plus our food for the week: carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries, potatoes, jalapeños, tomatillos, chicken broth, beef broth, red onion, ground turkey, chicken breasts (boneless), chicken breasts (bone in, skin on), salsa, black beans, fajita seasoning, tuna fish, seltzer, Vitamin Water, pub mix, pierogies, bread, SunButter, hot chocolate K-cups, shredded cheddar, and juice. (I put this on my gift card.) Then I run to Trader Joe's afterwards to get avocados, Gouda, chocolate-covered bananas, an ice cream sandwich, a green juice, and tulips ($26.92). At home, I unload the dishwasher and my husband folds some remaining laundry. I make How Sweet Eats Guacamole Salsa (yum!) and N. makes Half Baked Harvest beef and white bean chili in the Instant Pot (also YUM). $26.92
9:30 p.m. — Clean up and go to bed.
Daily Total: $64.68
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 questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here: r29.co/mdfaqs
Advertisement
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!
Advertisement

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series