A Week In Anchorage, AK, On A Joint $175,000 Income

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Today: a human resources generalist working in financial services who makes $84,472 per year (~$175,000 when combined with her husband) and spends some of her money this week on Lay's Salt & Vinegar chips.
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Occupation: Human Resources Generalist
Industry: Financial Services
Age: 31
Location: Anchorage, AK
My Salary: $84,472
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $1,916
My Husband's Bartending Income: $600 base pay every two weeks, and anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 a month in cash tips.
Our Joint Business Income: $36,000 (We have owned our side business for three years and bought it from my dad. We use this to pay shared expenses like mortgage and utilities).
Total Combined Yearly Income: ~$175,000 (We have joint expenses, but our shared business pays for all of those. We both use our separate incomes as our own discretionary money.)
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $1,500
Cable: $101.05
Gas: $21.73 (up to $150 in the winter)
Electricity: $86.28
Water: $94.24
Trash: $22
Car Loan Payment: $599
Life Insurance: $127.30
Housekeeper: $120
Netflix & Hulu: $19.98
Family Medical, Dental & Vision Insurance: $821.54
FSA: $100
Life Insurance: $46.60
United Way Donation: $20.50
401(k): $649.78 plus 2% employer match and 3% safe harbor
Savings: $1,700 for me and $50 for B.'s college fund. I accumulated a lot of credit card debt in my early 20s and paid it off, but it left me with little in savings, so I'm very aggressively saving now. There is a possibility I won't be retained after my company merges next year and I don't want to count on a severance that might not happen.

Day One

6:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off. Hallelujah! — the baby slept (almost) all night. M. handled her 2 a.m. wake up/feeding, so even though it was interrupted, this seven hours feels like the most sleep I have gotten in weeks. Because he gave her a bottle, my boobs are super full, so I pump and get over nine ounces (score!) before getting ready for work. I skip making coffee because the machine is loud and B. is still sleeping. (I've never been a big breakfast eater either.) I head out the door to drive to work. Anchorage is a small-big city, so my commute is only 15 minutes.
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8:03 a.m. — I arrive at work at my standard zero to five minutes late. I promise I'm trying to be better, but I also returned from maternity leave early due to our company merging and a coworker leaving (and they didn't fill her position), so I feel 0% guilt over this. I make a Nespresso from our office stash and settle in. We get free coffee at work, but I'm a bit of a snob, so my boss and I trade ordering pods. Next month will be my turn.
9:35 a.m. — Big Daddy Kane had it wrong when he said pimpin' ain't easy: He meant pumpin' ain't easy. My reminder goes off, so I get ready for a 15-minute pumping session in my office. I love the closeness I get with B. from breastfeeding, but our journey was not easy and I'm feeling ready to have my body back. I stick with it because it's free, and yes, it benefits her, but honestly, I'm looking forward to weaning. I check my emails and see my Color Street ($39) and Ann Taylor orders have shipped ($535). Alaska is not known for its fashion, so I do A LOT of shopping online.
10:15 a.m. — Feeling a bit peckish from my lack of breakfast, so I wander to the break room where we have a fancy market-style vending system. I get a bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast burrito ($2.75), which I eat at my desk while working on my travel request to go to California next week. I'm excited to meet some new team members, but mostly excited for my mom-cation (even though I know I am going to miss that chicken nugget something awful!). $2.75
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12:30 p.m. — Text M. while pumping to see if he wants to meet for lunch. He works nights as a bartender, so he watches B. during the day. We meet at Moose's Tooth, one of the best pizza places in the country (and located here in little ole Alaska!) and get mozzarella breadsticks and a medium pizza to split. I also get a cup of mushroom soup. I soak in all the baby snuggles I can and treat M. to lunch since I feel guilty over leaving him to solo parent during my trip next week. ($52.92 with a $15 tip). Usually he covers eating out, since I pay for groceries. $67.92
3:30 p.m. — Pumping again. I feel like a cow and scroll through my social media. Silently congratulate myself for not falling victim to impulse purchasing from ads.
4 p.m. — My boss brings around Häagen-Dazs ice cream bars for everyone to thank us for working so hard.
5:17 p.m. — Arrive home to B. snoozing in her swing and M. watching TV, so I start to make dinner. I genuinely enjoy cooking, so I don't mind. I make a jambalaya-type skillet using green peppers, onion, rice, shrimp, and caribou hot links M. got from a successful hunt last year. I love that we're able to live off the land! M. goes hunting every year and we dipnet (subsistence fishing only AK residents can do), so we usually have plenty of moose, caribou, salmon, and halibut to last the year. I honestly have no idea what fish costs at the store because I've never had to buy it. I pack the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
8:30 p.m. — I start B.'s bedtime routine and put her down to sleep. We are trying to get her to sleep through the night, but she usually wakes up two to three times. Hubs gets ready for work and heads out. I get ready for a night of solo-parenting.
3:30 a.m. — Wake up when I hear M. come home from work. Feel like Super Mom because B. hasn't woken up again.
Daily Total: $70.67

Day Two

6:30 a.m. — Wake up slightly before my alarm and realize my amazing angel baby is still sleeping! Pump, get ready for work, and head out. B. and M. snooze through my noise. I contemplate stopping at Starbucks (PSL is back, bitches!) but realize if I skip it I might actually be on time today.
7:56 a.m. — Huzzah! I arrive on time this morning and then get a blueberry Odwalla smoothie from the market ($4). Its payday, so I spend a few minutes reviewing our accounts and send a payment to my credit card to pay it off in full ($637). Usually I don't carry a balance, but I got a significant promotion and raise last month (almost $30,000!) and went a little overboard with #treatyoself before it actually kicked in — oops! $4
8:50 a.m. — Check the baby monitor app before I log into a conference call. B.'s still sleeping. She is so cute and I miss her sleepy morning cuddles, but I love my job (and it's our only option for health insurance), so being a SAHM is not an option.
10:24 a.m. — Start to feel a sugar crash even though I had a smoothie for breakfast. Head to the break room for a snack from my lunch and have a Chewy granola bar and Boar's Head hummus and pretzels. I also buy Lay's Salt & Vinegar chips (my weakness!) from the market. $1.25
12:30 p.m. — Head to the break room for lunch. My boss said we can leave at 2 p.m. to celebrate the long weekend early, so I take a quick 15 minutes to eat my leftovers and buy a Hoist water from the market. It's gross and I regret my purchase, but chug it down anyway because FOUR DOLLARS. $4
1:02 p.m. — Bad news. IT called and said my 10-year old Macbook I was planning on taking to California next week is about to explode. I take it to a computer repair shop and they replace the battery. $174
4 p.m. — B. and I head to my parents' house about an hour north of Anchorage. The state fair is this weekend, and my mom is going to watch B. while I go to a concert with friends tomorrow. I don't want to be in traffic tomorrow, so I'm spending an extra night tonight — plus it gives M. a baby-free night before my trip next week. I stop to get gas on the way. $39.98
7 p.m. — My mom and I decide to do a Target run. There isn't much else to do in "the valley," so we get B. baby food, socks, and a sleep sack, and I get shampoo and other toiletries to keep at my parents' house, since I visit often. $68.97
Daily Total: $292.20

Day Three

9:30 a.m. — B. woke up several times during the night, but I still feel fairly rested. My mom makes French toast and we hang out until it's time for me to leave for the fair.
1 p.m. — Head to the fair to meet my friends. I pay for parking and use the admission ticket I bought earlier this month to get in. I got all of our tickets at Costco. They offer to pay me back, but since country isn't really their thing, I tell them it's my treat. $5
1:15 p.m. — My friends are still 45 minutes away, so I head to the wine bar ($9) and enjoy a sauvignon blanc and some kiddo-free time. Wandering around, I stop by the Full Circle booth and sign up for organic produce delivery ($38.99). $47.99
9 p.m. — The Luke Combs concert is awesome, besides being sold out and not being able to really see the stage (it's an amphitheater-style venue with standing room only). M. gave me $160 in cash (aww!) to take to the fair, and I leave with $80 so my wallet, which feels good — but my stomach feels awful because it was all spent on food that was either fried or came on a stick. I tell myself the seven miles I walked makes it not so bad. $80
Daily Total: $132.99

Day Four

9:30 a.m. — B. must have a perfect internal clock, because she is awake at 9:30 on the dot again. My dad makes oatmeal for breakfast and we hang around and visit with my parents some more. I pack up our stuff and B. and I hit the road back home around 1.
2:15 p.m. — Arrive home and M.'s back is tweaked. I was hoping to get stuff done for my trip while he watched B., but that's not an option. He leaves to get a massage before he has to work tonight, and I'm tired from the weekend so I order Domino's and use my points to get one of our pizzas for free. $30.46
8 p.m. — B. and I start her bedtime routine. She goes down easy but wakes up every 30 minutes for the next two hours. Thank god tomorrow is a holiday!
Daily Total: $30.46

Day Five

9 a.m. — I wake up to the "baby alarm." B. and I nurse, cuddle, and play while M. snoozes. She goes down for a nap and M. wakes up, so I start breakfast for us — eggs, bacon, and toast. We talk about how nice it is for fall (64 degrees and sunny!) and that maybe we should hike Flattop, but I have too much to do for my trip.
12:45 p.m. — I shower and head out the door to run my errands. I want to get travel-size stuff for my trip, so I head to Ulta. Normally I travel pretty minimally, but since this is a work trip and I want to look on point both days, I splurge and get my travel stuff, and new eyeliner, lipstick, a hairbrush, face masks, and nail polish strips. $209
1:45 p.m. — I walk past Old Navy and they have their new fall stuff out. I get a sweatshirt ($12) and summer blouse that's on sale ($23). I won't be able to wear it here until next summer, but we're going to Arizona for Thanksgiving and I'll wear it there. Like many Alaska residents, my parents "snowbird" and live in Arizona during the winters, so we take full advantage of the free house and car to use. $35
2:40 p.m. — Pop into Target since M. has B. and I don't want to feel rushed in the store. I get a nightlight for B.'s room, plus packing cubes, milk storage bags, and nursing pads. $48
6 p.m. — M. heads to work and B. goes down for a nap. I make mushroom ravioli with canned Prego I bought last week. Mondays are hard since M. goes into work early and I'm on my own for dinners. Usually it's a bowl of cereal, so I feel pretty kickass for making myself an actual dinner tonight. I get a start on packing but B. wakes up about 10 minutes in.
8:30 p.m. — B.'s bedtime again. It takes her an hour of rocking and singing, but she finally falls asleep. I get ready for bed and fall asleep watching Schitt's Creek, one of my favorite shows.
Daily Total: $292

Day Six

6:15 a.m. — It's easy for me to get up this morning. B. slept almost all night and I leave for my trip tomorrow, so it feels like a Friday. I get up, get ready, and head out the door.
10:45 a.m. — I'm starving and didn't pack a lunch. I head to the market for a ham and cheese sandwich and can of Pringles. $6.75
2 p.m. — Leave early so I can get my nails done for my trip. I head to RoseHIP, a boutiquey nail salon. My mani/pedi is $102 and since this is the first pedicure I've had that doesn't have me jumping from my seat (I'm very ticklish), I tip well. $142
4:30 p.m. — Get home and start packing for my trip. Trying to figure out how to pump while traveling is stressful, but I Google the Portland, Santa Ana, and Seattle airports and it looks like they all have nice nursing mother facilities. Thank god.
6 p.m. — Dinner tonight is baked salmon with herb cheese spread and breadcrumbs on top with asparagus and wild rice. After dinner I help M. with B.'s bedtime and head to bed since I have a very early travel day tomorrow.
Daily Total: $148.75

Day Seven

3 a.m. — Time to get up to head to the airport. One negative about living in Alaska is that it takes forever to travel anywhere. There aren't many direct flights, so you almost always have to go to Seattle or Portland first, which adds three to three and a half hours to each trip. And they are frequently red-eyes. I get a sausage McMuffin and coffee at the airport McDonald's while waiting for my flight, and since this is work travel, I get an $80 per diem to use towards food. ($5.95 expensed)
10:30 a.m. — Layover in the Portland airport. OF COURSE this airport would have a troubadour playing music in the terminal. I love you Portland. I pump and get lunch at MOD Pizza before boarding my next flight. ($11.95 expensed)
5:30 p.m. — Finally arrive at my hotel. There is an awesome shopping center across the street with tons of restaurants. I go to Kobuki and get sushi and fried pork belly. My corporate card declines, probably because I forgot to tell them I was traveling. I use my own card and make a note to request reimbursement when I get home ($32.14). On the walk back to the hotel, I stop at Whole Foods to get bottled water and granola bars for snacks ($8.49). Then I call M. so I can FaceTime him and B. for a few minutes. ($40.63 expensed)
8:30 p.m. — Wash my face and get ready for bed. I am taking full advantage of my mom-cation and lay in bed and read for a few minutes before turning out the light for an early night. Want to make a good impression tomorrow!
Daily Total: $0
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