A Week In Charlotte, NC, On A Joint $165,500 Salary

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: a senior accountant working in tech who makes $80,500 per year and spends some of her paycheck this week on organic baby food pouches.
Occupation: Senior Accountant
Industry: Tech
Age: 29
Location: Charlotte, NC
My Salary: $80,500 plus $4,000 annual bonus
My Husband's Salary: $85,000 plus a variable bonus
Combined Paycheck (Biweekly): ~$4,460
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $2,140. (We pay off a few hundred dollars more than the minimum payment each month. At this rate, we'll shave 12 years off of our 30-year mortgage.)
Student Loan Payments: $0. (My parents paid for most of my education, and I worked to cover the rest. We paid off my husband's loans.)
Car Lease: $205 for my car. (My husband paid his car off before we met. We are actively shopping to replace my car with a larger SUV, so the payments will go up soon.)
Health Insurance: $0. (Paid in full by my husband's employer.)
Netflix: $12
Monthly Parking: $100 for my husband's parking space
Cable & Internet: $180
Gas & Electric: $250. (It's much higher in the summer when we run the central air.)
Water: $38
Cell Phone: $160
Savings: $500-$2,000. (This varies based on the month's expenses. I keep a certain balance in our checking account, and I transfer anything over that at the end of the month. We used to save much more aggressively before our son was born and we had to pay for diapers and daycare.)
Additional Expenses
Daycare: $309/week

Day One

5 a.m. — I wake up and quickly get ready. It's a busy time of the month at work, and I'm trying to get to my desk as early as possible. Our eight-month-old sidetracks me by waking up early, but I still manage to leave close to on time. My husband handles daycare drop-off when I'm busy and luckily, my commute is under 10 miles door-to-door, and I'm at the office by 6:15. I grab a free coffee from the work kitchen (they have free soda, coffee, and tea) and drink it with a Fiber One brownie that I keep in my desk.
9 a.m. — I grab a can of Coke Zero Sugar from the kitchen. It's probably too early for soda, but I've already been up for four hours and need the caffeine.
12 p.m. — There's a chili and cornbread cook-off in the office today! I head over with two of my favorite coworkers and sample way too much food. I vote for two members of my team (anonymity fail) and return to my desk with a mini cupcake and a LaCroix for later.
2 p.m. — I go on Amazon and finally order the baby playpen that's been in my cart for over a week now ($65), and formula ($41). I pay with a $100 Amazon gift card that my husband and I got for Christmas. $12.13
3:30 p.m. — Someone calls to let me know that we were accepted into a childcare program starting this fall. It was hard to get into, so I want to hand in our paperwork and registration fee ASAP! I leave for the day to drop off the paperwork, and grab two donuts for my husband on my way out. Someone brought them in from a local donut shop he's been wanting to visit. $250
3:45 p.m. — On my way to pick up the baby, I swing by the food store, which is having a huge sale on baby food! I throw a ton of the organic baby food pouches that my son loves into my basket, Supermarket Sweep-style. I also pick up hot kimchi for a recipe I'm making later this weekend, and white wine to go with the sushi I intend to convince my husband we need for dinner tonight. $33.14
4:15 p.m. — Baby acquired, I call my husband to let him know we're on our way. He worked from home today while our new microwave was installed. I get home, unload the groceries, and pay the installers a tip as they finish. $20
6 p.m. — My husband is more than willing to indulge my sushi craving, so we order an Alaska roll, an eel-avocado roll, a salmon-avocado roll, two tuna-avocado rolls, and a spicy tuna roll. I get our son ready for bed while my husband picks up the food and then we eat with the wine I picked up earlier. The sushi quality is lackluster, and we both agree that even though this place is around the corner, we need to explore better options. $33.14
9 p.m. — Baby is finally asleep. We are exhausted and follow his lead.
Daily Total: $348.41

Day Two

6:45 a.m. — It's Saturday, and I somehow wake up before the infant. I should be productive, but instead, I lay in bed next to my snoring husband and scroll through my social media accounts. The baby wakes up around 7:15, and I ask my husband to take him while I heat up the bottle. We have a good routine on weekend mornings of getting the baby changed, dressed, and fed. I get myself ready and make coffee in a travel mug, and then remind my husband about the donuts from yesterday. Sadly, they don't live up to the hype.
8:20 a.m. — I am out the door, coffee in hand, and ready to do our main food shopping for the week. We live close to two grocery stores, and I do most of my shopping at the less expensive one. I buy English muffins, a salad, cauliflower, eggs, an onion, chicken breasts, formula (for which I have $15 worth of coupons), a big bag of potatoes, shredded cheese, soy sauce, mustard, ranch dressing, wine, Kettle Chips, pretzels, and organic veggies for making baby food. I am back home by 9, and my husband unloads the car for me. I play with the baby until I have to run back out. $75.21
10:15 a.m. — I drop off my husband's prescription at CVS and tell them I'll be right back for it, then I drop off and pick up our dry cleaning ($12.44). I also run into the market next door for a few things: chicken wings, organic frozen fruit to make baby food, and a few more baby food pouches ($24.40). I head back to CVS and wander through the store (resisting the urge to impulse buy anything) until my husband's prescription is ready. I pick up his along with a prescription for me ($52.40). $89.24
11 a.m. — Home again! It's super cold and windy by North Carolina standards. My car needs gas, so I bribe my husband to get some for me by telling him to buy whatever fast food he wants while he's out. I play with the baby in his playroom, and my husband comes home with two Big Macs, a cheeseburger, large fries ($8.09), and a full tank of gas in my car ($32.51). $40.60
12 p.m. — My husband goes downstairs to work; he's a tax accountant, and it's that time of year. I play with the baby and do laundry for a few hours before making myself a turkey wrap for lunch. It's nap time for the baby but he refuses to go to sleep, so I bundle him up in his stroller and we go for a walk now that it's a bit warmer. It puts him to sleep! We come home and I run around doing housework and baby food prep while he naps. I also work on my son's baby book, selecting 100 or so pictures taken since Christmas, loading them onto the Shutterfly app, and ordering prints ($12.93). I use the return address labels my husband got from St. Jude's and mail them a small donation since I can never say no to children's charities ($10). $22.93
3:30 p.m. — The baby is up, so we play again upstairs. We stay like this until my husband gets to a stopping point with work at around 5:30. I make cauliflower kimchi fried rice for dinner that hits the spot, and we hang out, drink wine, and relax for the remainder of the night.
Daily Total: $227.98

Day Three

7:45 a.m. — We are woken up by a crying baby and go through the same routine as yesterday. I make my husband his weekend usual – two eggs scrambled with cheese, sausage, and toast — and we both drink coffee from our Keurig. I would love it if we could relax all day on this rainy Sunday, but my husband has to work again. I know it'll be hard for him if the baby and I are home all day, so I take the baby out for some shopping.
10:15 a.m. — It's raining so hard that I regret my choice to leave as soon as we get on the highway. We get to the store right as it opens, and I slowly meander, looking for pieces to make the adult side of our extra room/playroom feel more finished. I buy a tray for the ottoman, a mirror, a frame, a mug for my husband, Valentine's Day candy for my son's teachers, and a rug for my entryway — and I manage to get it all out to the car with the stroller in the rain. We drive home, avoiding the highway this time. $102.97
1 p.m. — I immediately decide to return the mirror and frame once I see them in the space. My husband feeds the baby lunch and then we eat: leftover shredded chicken with salsa for my husband and leftover cauliflower rice with sriracha for me. My husband goes back to working and I go upstairs with the baby to play and fold laundry.
4:30 p.m. — I forgot a few things that I need for tonight's Super Bowl appetizers, so I load the baby into the car seat and return to the store, where I buy pickled jalapeños and wine, and impulse-buy chocolate for my husband. The super-sweet manager hands my son a balloon as we're leaving, and he is beyond thrilled. By 5, my husband stops working and we open a bottle of wine while I start making baby food. I like for at least two of my son's three daily meals to be homemade. (They were all homemade until he developed a love of pouches while we were visiting his grandparents.) At 6:30, we turn on the game and I finish up our appetizers: Irish nachos and baked buffalo chicken nuggets. Homemade appetizers and drinks have been our Super Bowl tradition as long as my husband and I have been together. The baby falls asleep just before 8, and we hang out while watching the game. $22.06
Daily Total: $125.03

Day Four

5 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I slowly get out of bed. Husband has an 8 a.m. meeting, so he can't handle the baby in the morning like he normally does. I get myself ready as quickly as possible, drop the baby at daycare, and make it to my desk by 7:10. I quickly scroll through my email and then head to the kitchen to make coffee. Nothing from my desk stash interests me, so I skip breakfast.
9 a.m. — I'm hungry and need a drink. I grab pretzels from my desk and a soda from the kitchen. Around 11:45, I'm back at the kitchen for the bistro box I bought last week. This one is grapes, apple, and Colby-Jack cheese. I get water as well since I've been drinking too much soda lately.
3 p.m. — I pry myself away from my desk and walk to the kitchen. I ponder buying a snack from the market in our office, but nothing sounds appealing. I give up and head back to my desk for more pretzels.
5 p.m. — I rush out to my car and get the baby from daycare. I hate the idea of him being there any longer than he has to be. He falls asleep in the car after barely napping all day, so I let him sleep while I do things around the house. I unload and reload the dishwasher and set up bottles and baby food for daycare tomorrow while munching on Kettle Chips. Then I gently nudge the baby awake and make him oatmeal for dinner with a frozen peach for dessert. Afterwards, it's bath time, play time, a bottle, and sleep.
7:40 p.m. — I heat up the rest of last night's nachos and buffalo chicken nuggets for dinner and put some chicken in the oven while my husband puts the baby to sleep. We eat and watch TV before going to bed around 9:30.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

5 a.m. — I wake up before my 5:30 alarm. Ugh. If I can't sleep, I might as well get ready. I shower, do my hair and makeup, and pour formula into the bottles I left out last night. My husband wakes up and I give him a groggy kiss before leaving.
6:10 — Go to the office kitchen for coffee almost immediately. There's leftover whipped cream from the chili event last week. It sounds good, so I put it on top of my coffee – no regrets.
9 a.m. — I grab a soda from the kitchen and pretzels from my desk. I need to get more creative with snacks!
12:30 p.m. — I'm starving and swamped with work. I run to the kitchen for another soda and the leftover cauliflower fried rice I packed. I've used up the sriracha I usually keep in the work fridge, but at least I have a few packets of low-sodium soy sauce in my desk.
5 p.m. — My afternoon is a blur of finishing up my reporting and urgent requests from my boss (and her boss). I can't believe it when I see that it's 5 p.m.! I run out to pick up my son and am so distracted that I accidentally make a wrong turn and take the long way to pick him up. Traffic is worse than usual, and I'm beyond cranky.
6 p.m. — Finally home! I straighten up the kitchen, load and unload the dishwasher, and get the baby's bottles and food set up for daycare tomorrow while he plays. He eats dinner, we FaceTime the grandparents, and he drinks his last bottle and passes out at 8. As soon as he's asleep, I heat up more buffalo nuggets for myself. My husband gets home as I finish eating and has the rest of the leftovers. Then I head up to bed to watch TV while he continues to work.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

5:40 a.m. — I accidentally oversleep and was planning to be up at 5, so I run around getting ready. Today is definitely a messy bun and jeans day. I love that my office dress code is basically nonexistent. I make a travel mug of coffee and grab the salad that I bought over the weekend.
6:35 a.m. — Make it to my desk only 20 minutes later than I intended to, which isn't terrible given when I woke up. I dive right into work; I have three important meetings with my boss starting at 2 p.m. that I am super nervous about since I feel very unprepared.
11:45 a.m. — Someone is eating fried chicken nearby, which is enough to make me realize I haven't eaten anything yet today. I go to the kitchen to grab a soda and my salad. I bring them back to my desk and inhale them quickly before getting back to work.
4:30 p.m. — My meetings run way over, but they go really well! My boss is happy with my work, and I leave with more responsibility than I went in with. I am feeling great, and I shoot off as many emails as I can until I leave at 5.
5:40 p.m. — Traffic was super light today. I have no idea why, but I'm not complaining! When I get home, I bring in the mail and the baby pen that I ordered off Amazon. Then I do my usual running around the house and make oatmeal for the baby for dinner followed by a treat of whipped cream. He mostly plays with it and maybe gets one bite into his mouth, but it makes him so happy. It also makes him a huge mess, so now it's bath time. After the bath, we play until he is cranky, so I give him his bottle and put him to bed.
8 p.m. — My husband gets home about 20 minutes after the baby falls asleep. I already have a frozen pepperoni pizza in the oven for him. Normally I meal prep for both of us on Sunday, but I got so distracted with Super Bowl appetizers and baby food that I forgot this week. Thank god for frozen food backups! I eat half of what is left of the chicken in a Trader Joe's low carb tortilla with homemade cheese sauce. After dinner and cleaning up, we both head to bed.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

5:30 a.m. — Alarm goes off. I am less busy now, so I don't plan to get in quite as early. I shower, get ready, and head out. My husband should be awake by now but is unwilling to get up when I try to rouse him, so both boys are still sleeping when I leave. As I am heading out, I remember to grab the mirror and frame that I bought at Home Goods. I also grab English muffins and turkey slices for today and tomorrow's lunches.
6:15 a.m. — I use the Starbucks app to order a latte while at a particularly long red light. When I get to Starbucks, it's already waiting for me. I got something I've never tried before on a whim, and I love it – venti blonde latte with nonfat milk and five pumps of sugar-free cinnamon dolce syrup. $5.36
7 a.m. — My boss emails the team to say that she is home with the flu. This makes her the third person on my team to be sick, and I make a mental note to clean my desk with Clorox wipes later. I get an email from Overstock advertising a sale on area rugs, and I still need one for our bonus room. After more than two years in our house, I am determined that 2018 will be the year I finish decorating every room. Going from 730 square feet to 3,500 has meant an awful lot of furniture and décor purchases. I find the perfect well-reviewed navy blue rug on major sale and email it to my husband, who says I should go ahead and buy. I think it's a great deal for a high quality 8' x 10' rug! $198.97
9 a.m. — More pretzels and soda. I am determined to get better snacks after work at Target. I grab a pack of Clorox wipes from the supply closet and then meticulously wipe down my cubicle. I leave the wipes in a communal team space. I'm sure I'm not the only one worried about germs right now.
11:05 a.m. — I am unusually hungry today, though it may have to do with boredom because work has slowed down. Either way, I make lunch early: a toasted English muffin with yellow mustard and turkey. I grab a soda and go back to my desk.
11:45 a.m. — My friend and I head out on our lunch break to make my HomeGoods returns and pick up things from Target. I return the mirror and frame and buy a cute sippy cup for my son (and end up getting $45.17 back on my card). Then I pick up Fiber One cookies, hand soap, toilet paper, napkins, two storage bins, tin foil, and an "aunt" Valentine's Day card for my sister-in-law from my son. $60.66
12:40 p.m. — Back at the office and I am still so hungry. I immediately open a pack of the Fiber One cookies that I bought for my snack drawer. They were highly recommended by a friend, but I am less than impressed.
4:45 p.m. — I sneak out a little early so I can stop at the grocery store after picking up my son from daycare. I pick up Larabars, organic chipotle hummus, Halo Top, mini-bagels, a half-gallon of ice cream, pre-cut romaine lettuce, and two Roma tomatoes. The Larabars and ice cream are on sale and my husband loves them. $19.47
5:50 p.m. — When we get home, I unload all my purchases and start my usual weekday routine. I make the baby a scrambled egg for dinner after he refuses to eat oatmeal. He makes a huge mess, so I give him a bath. Then we play in the playroom and FaceTime my parents.
7:20 p.m. — The baby has his bottle and falls asleep just before 8. My husband is running super late. I planned to make a salad for dinner but I am exhausted, so I take my pint of chocolate Halo Top into bed and watch TV until I fall asleep. When my husband finally gets home from work just before midnight, he eats the leftover frozen pizza.
Daily Total: $284.46
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