A Week In Essex County, MA, On A Joint $244,000 Salary

Photo: Getty Images.
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 marketing communications manager working at a nonprofit who makes $85,000 per year ($244,000 when combined with her husband) and spends some of her paycheck this week on cinnamon rolls.
Occupation: Marketing Communications Manager
Industry: Nonprofit
Age: 35
Location: Essex County, MA
My Salary: $85,000
My Husband's Salary: $159,000
Combined Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $6,270
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $2,965 (My husband and I own a three-bedroom house.)
Student Loan Payment: $0 (The military paid for my husband's education, and I paid for my degree by working full-time.)
Car Loan Payment: $675
401(k): I contribute 7% of my salary, and my husband contributes 3% of his. (His work matches 3%.)
Savings: 10% of my salary, automatically taken from my paycheck
529 Plan: $275
Health Insurance: $141.50, quarterly. (Benefit of my husband being retired from the military.)
Utilities: ~$300, plus $225 for my mom's utilities
Cell Phone: $250 for unlimited data and international plan
Car Insurance: $120
Childcare: $270 for after school & $600 savings for summer camp
Dog Walker & Dog Daycare: $475
Pet Expenses: $100
Horseback Riding Lessons: $185
Husband's Gym Membership: $50
Peloton Bike: $40
Audible: $15
Spotify & Hulu: $12.99
HBO: $14.99
Netflix: $9.99
Adobe Creative Cloud: $15.93
Microsoft Office: $9.99
Funimation: $5.99
Additional Expenses
Amazon Prime: $99/year

Day One

8 a.m. — Stayed up way past our bedtime last night, and no one feels like cooking breakfast, so we head out to the local greasy spoon. I order a three-egg omelet with spinach, mushrooms, light cheese, and home fries. My husband orders the full breakfast with French toast, over easy eggs, bacon, sausage, and a side of ham. My daughter has a chocolate chip pancake with a side of pineapple. This place isn't the same as it used to be; I'm not sure my eggs were even real. I hope I remember this the next time my husband suggests we come here. Oh well, at least my two cups of coffee were included in the meal. $50
9:45 a.m. — I take a shower and exfoliate using a coffee scrub I bought a few weeks ago from Target. This is the third time I've used it, and it looks like I can get one more shower out of it. Yay!
10:30 a.m. — We drive 20 minutes to a horse barn in New Hampshire so my daughter can go to her riding lesson. We usually don't go on Sundays, but my daughter has to make up a missed lesson.
11:15 a.m. — We take our dog to the dog park. We come here about once a week, and I know most of the other dogs' names.
12:15 p.m. — Back to the horse barn. It usually takes my daughter an hour to ride and another hour to tack/untack the horses. Sundays are typically faster though, and she'd been begging us to come back to see her ride. I don't feel like going, but this is what it means to be a parent.
12:45 p.m. — We stop on the way home at a mini-market because my daughter wants snacks. She grabs peanut M&Ms for me, a pack of gum and a soda for her dad, and Skittles for herself. It's all junk, but it's the weekend, so we let her have what she wants. $8.50
1:30 p.m. — At home, I have a mini-argument with my husband about what we're going to eat this week. Basically, neither of us feels like grocery shopping. We really need to do this on Saturdays, so we can have Sundays to just chill, but we never seem to make that work, so here we are.
2:30 p.m. — We agree on the list and head to Whole Foods. My husband thinks WF is a scam, but I do feel like the taste/quality is better there. We buy organic cauliflower, carrots, chips, bananas, mangos, apple, pears, strawberries, mushrooms, white potatoes, spinach, mandarin oranges, romaine lettuce, an heirloom tomato, two pounds of gulf shrimp (I won't eat any other kind, the imported stuff is slimy to me), bone-in chicken breast, two packages of pre-seasoned chicken breast, organic yogurt, chicken stock, chicken demi-glace, organic mozzarella cheese, and three cans of Steaz iced tea. I also buy nori to make homemade avocado rolls at home for my daughter. $151.95
3 p.m. — Next stop is Target. We buy two Nivea lotions (we don't share lotion), laundry pods, fabric softener, dryer sheets, toothpaste, and a new muffin pan (since I turned my old one into a game for our dog). Also, since my husband really doesn't want to go to our local grocery store, we end up buying Smartfood, Goldfish, gummy candies, potato chips, Oreos, bagels, donuts, and LaCroix ($50). I'm annoyed, because it is so much more expensive than it would be at our local Market Basket, where most snacks are two for $5, but I'm not feeling up to the going to a third store either. $174.18
3:30 p.m. — Come home and start to put the groceries away. My husband empties out all the bags, and I put the stuff away. I always feel like I get the short end of the stick here, but when he's not home, and I put the stuff away, it does feel like way more work, so maybe he's actually helping.
4 p.m. — I put half of the rice in the rice cooker so I can make my daughter her avocado sushi rolls. I also make egg muffin bites for breakfast for the week.
5 p.m. — My daughter wants me to watch The Hunger Games with her (only for the thousandth time), and I feel like I haven't spent too much time with her lately, so I head to the basement to our mini-home theater (three seats and an old projector) to watch the movie.
7 p.m. — Come back upstairs to heat up leftover pho from Tuesday, which we made in our Crock-Pot. Our big goal lately has been to spend less money on eating out and to cook dinner at home most nights of the week.
7:45 p.m. — I fold a load of laundry and then sit on the couch for a little me time. I let my husband wash the dishes. We follow the "cook doesn't clean up" rule as much as possible. He usually gets the short end of the stick here, because I make a huge mess in the kitchen most of the time. But tonight it isn't too bad.
8:45 p.m. — I get an email from my library that an ebook I put on loan is ready. Sweet, right in time to read before bedtime. No matter how tired I am, I always try to read for 15 minutes or more at night. It's the only time I can wind down and start to shut my mind down.
9 p.m. — Tidy up the house and head upstairs to bed. I can't settle into a book that I like tonight, so I scroll through social media and organize my paperless lists. I need to find a good book soon.
10 p.m. — Lights out.
Daily Total: $384.63

Day Two

4:30 a.m. — I doze while my husband gets ready for work. My daughter still crawls into bed with us in the morning. She's an early riser, but we made a rule that she has to stay in bed (she chooses ours) until Dad leaves at 5 a.m. for work. Then she can go downstairs, watch YouTube, and play with the dog until it's time to get ready at 6:30 a.m.
6:30 a.m. — I end up oversleeping at bit, but it's okay since I don't have to wash my hair. I take a quick shower while my daughter packs her lunch and eats her breakfast.
7 a.m. — Microwave two egg muffin bites and pack a yogurt with mango and strawberries. Put a load of laundry in the washer right before we leave.
7:20 a.m. — Now we're running late. Good thing my daughter's school is only five minutes away.
7:25 a.m. — Fight the school drop off line. This is the stuff memes are made of.
7:30 a.m. — Stop at the local coffee shop for my daily cappuccino. My husband calls me as I'm driving, and we talk over Bluetooth. He did the math for me on how much I spend on coffee a year, so we're talking about buying an espresso machine, but I have yet to decide on the model I want. The cheapest one I can find that will make a decent cappuccino is over $500. $4
9 a.m. — Squeak into the parking lot near my office. If you get in before 9:05, it's $24 for the day. Anything later is at least $40. Sometimes I take the bus, but I've been working late the past couple of months, so I've been driving most days. $24
9:15 a.m. — Grab my mobile order from Starbucks. Venti black iced tea with three pumps of sugar. I really need to break this habit of two drinks in the morning. I'm always thirsty from my cappuccino, and even though I fill up a thermos with water and keep it in my car, the iced tea always hit the spot. $3.24
10 a.m. — Email with our director to talk about changes to our website. I have a year-round intern, so she and I split up the task. We've been incredibly lucky to hire good interns. They are always worth their weight in gold.
11 a.m. — Answering emails and meetings all morning. I have another meeting in 30 minutes, so I eat the yogurt and fruit I brought from home.
11:45 a.m. — I order a Kale Caesar salad from Sweetgreen to pick up at 1 p.m. after my meeting. $10.65
1:15 p.m. — The meeting went 15 minutes longer than planned, but I'm still able to eat lunch with my coworkers before my 2 p.m. meeting. We're a small office, and we usually all eat lunch together. There is a huge variety in age amongst my coworkers, which makes for diverse conversation, from the Kardashians to grandbabies.
2 p.m. — Important meeting with the directors where we walk through an upcoming event. I speak up a few times but feel like I could have contributed more.
4:45 p.m. — Leave the office to head to the parking garage. I know traffic is not going to be pretty heading home.
5 p.m. — My coworker calls me to talk about work and her recent vacation. We're friends outside of the office, too.
6:15 p.m. — Come home to my husband working out on the Peloton bike. He did a 60-minute ride and is dripping in sweat. For dinner, we reheat meatballs, and he boils gluten-free pasta for me and angel hair for him. I make my daughter an avocado sushi roll per her request and she eats a banana and strawberries for dinner.
7 p.m. — Finish dinner, and my husband agrees to do the dishes so I can take a much-needed shower. I usually take two showers a day, which is a waste of water, but I feel like it's necessary. I sweat a lot.
7:30 p.m. — My daughter wants me to watch the pilot episode of Empire with her. She was too young when it came out in 2015, and she is probably too young now, but she unfortunately sees worse on YouTube. I'm not big on censoring her music or movies, but there are plenty of shows and movies we don't think she should watch.
8:30 p.m. — Check Mint to see what we've purchased today. My husband typically buys lunch because his job requires him to visit several hospitals and clinics over the week, and he's often traveling between campuses during the day.
9 p.m. — Upstairs to relax in bed before lights out. I'm reading The Saturday Evening Girls Club by a local author.
10 p.m. — Lights out.
Daily Total: $41.89

Day Three

5 a.m. — I sleep through my husband's 4:30 alarm – thank God! But my daughter crawls into bed with me at 5 a.m. to snuggle. The thing I miss the most about not having a kid is sleep. I dream about the days when I could sleep until noon or sneak into work late because I slept until 8:30.
6:30 a.m. — Today is my work-from-home day, so I don't have to rush. I still get up and get dressed, though. I know some people can work at home in their pajamas, but that doesn't work for me. I check email while my daughter gets ready for school. The best part of parenting an 11-year-old is that she can do most tasks by herself. She asks me to make her a bagel for breakfast while she packs her lunch. Usually I don't have time, but since it's my work-from-home day, I happily toast her bagel.
7:20 a.m. — Drop off the dog at doggie daycare. Our dog goes twice a week. If she doesn't, she tears the house apart on the days she is home alone. It's $25 a visit, but I can drop off at 7 a.m. and pick up at 7 p.m. I consider it money well spent. My husband and I have been discussing dropping the dog walking service we've had since our dog was eight-weeks-old. By the fall, our daughter will be old enough to come straight home from school, so the dog will be left alone at home for less time, and we'll save $60 bucks a week.
7:25 a.m. — Drop off my daughter and head for our local coffee shop for my morning cappuccino. $4
8 a.m. — Work call with our Accounts Payable person. She's a friend, so the call turns into a personal chat about how everything is going with her.
9 a.m. — I scrub our websites for broken links. I do this every week, so there aren't too many to fix. My desktop and MacBook both need updates, so I update them and decide to take a shower while I'm waiting. I shave my legs quickly and nick my leg (ouch!).
9:30 a.m. — Back on email. Working on the updates per our meeting yesterday. Receive an email about an upcoming PSA we are doing. The best part of working at a nonprofit is the opportunity to do a lot of different things, since resources are limited. But there's always more work to do. If only I had another 12 hours in a day. Or didn't need to sleep.
10 a.m. — Snack on organic yogurt and homemade granola with cranberries, walnuts, and almond slivers (yum!). I made the granola last week, and my husband sliced strawberries on Sunday. If we buy a quart of strawberries and don't slice them right away, no one seems to eat them, and the whole expensive organic mold mess gets trashed.
10:30 a.m. — Get an email from my friend at work with a Groupon offer for an indoor water park for school vacation week. Since it's a busy time for me at work, my husband has to take time off next week to take care of our daughter. This is a new development: While he was in the military, it was out of the question for him to take time off. He was away most of the time at training, or deployed. It's definitely been an adjustment, but this is one of the perks. I buy two tickets for $22 each for next Friday. $44.19
11:30 a.m. — Conference call with the entire team. We have a fairly new director, and her leadership style is toxic. It's mostly me listening in on the phone on mute, so I drink a LaCroix.
12:15 p.m. — Check the mail after my conference call is over. Our dog's Bullymake Box arrives today, and we get charged for it. It has a toy with bacon on it, plus a new cosmic ball, a Kong shaped like a grenade, and a nylon chew toy shaped like a fidget spinner. $39
12:30 p.m. — Also in the mail is a Mini Boden catalogue. My daughter is almost too old/tall for much of their clothes, but they also have a line for older girls called Johnnie B. I buy her two rompers and a three-pair pack of underwear. I use the 20% off code on the back of the catalogue. We're trying to limit spending on clothing to no more than $300 a month for the whole family. I can go a little crazy when it comes to my daughter's wardrobe, but I stay in control today. $94.40
1:30 p.m. — I fold a load of laundry and vacuum the first floor of our house. We buy the house a Christmas present every year, and last year it was two Dyson vacuums: one cordless for the hardwood downstairs, and one upright for the carpet. Honestly, I use the cordless the most and I know I'll buy another one when this one dies.
3 p.m. — I start an early dinner since I didn't eat lunch and my husband is on his way home early today. I make bone-in chicken breasts with demi-glace, mashed potatoes, spinach with Parmesan cheese, and mushrooms with garlic. Great meal, and the best part is: My husband has clean-up duty!
4:30 p.m. — My husband cannot stop laughing because I received an email from thredUp that my items were received and I'm getting a whopping $14.95. I sent jeans with tags on them from Kut from the Kloth, Hudson, Henry & Belle, and Liverpool, so I am not happy. I knew the risk, but needless to say, I won't be using thredUp again.
5 p.m. — Pick up the doggo from daycare.
6 p.m. — I was supposed to go over to my friend's house for an early week wine night (we typically meet on Thursdays), but she received some really bad news about her mom, so we reschedule. I head down to my basement to get in a workout on the Peloton. Alex Toussaint is calling my name. 45 minutes later, I'm feeling a lot more energized.
7 p.m. — My mom calls me just as I end my ride. We chat about her errands and work. She raised me and my two brothers without help from our father, and she doesn't make a lot of money, so I help her out when I can. It's her birthday this week, and all she wants is new clothes. I buy her new bras and underwear from Victoria Secret ($172.50), plus two pairs of work pants from Old Navy ($84.23). I use promo codes on both purchases. $256.73
7:30 p.m. — My daughter requests another avocado roll. I ask my husband to make the rice, and twenty minutes later I roll one for us and one for her.
8 p.m. — Fold another load of laundry. It really is endless when you have a house, dog, and child. Clean up after said dog and child: toys for the dog, various cups and snacks for the babe.
8:30 p.m. — I take a shower, then go through my nightly skincare ritual. I use Bioelements foaming wash, Crucial Moisture, eye cream, and serum. It's old school, but my aesthetician uses all their products, and I think they work for me.
9 p.m. — TMI ahead, but we've been married for over a decade, and we've always made sex a priority as a couple. It ebbs and flows given what's going on in our lives, but we make it a priority to reconnect physically about every three days.
10 p.m. — Lights out! Unless I'm super stressed out, I usually fall asleep very easily. Also, my husband was very giving tonight, so I drift off to weightless sleep in no time.
Daily Total: $438.32

Day Four

4 a.m. — OMG why is my kid up already? Go back to sleep, please. I give her permission to go downstairs, because my head is pounding. I didn't drink enough water after my Peloton workout last night. UGH. I sip water and go back to bed.
6:15 a.m. — Okay, now I officially have to get up, so of course I browse social media on my phone for few minutes and then finally crawl out of bed. I am hoping a cup of black tea will ease my aching head.
6:30 a.m. — Drink tea and eat my egg bites. I'm hungry this morning after eating an early dinner yesterday. My head hurts and I don't feel like emptying the dishwasher, so I hand wash the bowls and utensils my daughter and I used.
6:45 a.m. — My daughter asks me to make her a bagel, but I tell her I don't have time, as I have to jump in the shower. I head upstairs and notice she's made her bed, but she threw her pajamas on the ground. I fold up the pajamas while the shower heats up. We switched to a tankless water heater last year and it takes a couple minutes to heat up. We're saving water, but it always seems like such a waste to run it. I wash my hair with Kevin Murphy Angel Wash shampoo and conditioner. My hair totally changed after having my daughter — it's much thinner and finer than before, so I need something that won't weigh it down. I put Bioelements Radiance Rescue mask on my face in the shower, and then lather up with my lavender body soap from Whole Foods. Shower off, towel dry, then use Bioelements Equalizer, Crucial Moisture, eye cream, and RayDefense (SPF 30).
7 a.m. — While getting dressed, I notice I have a run in my navy stockings. Unfortunately, it's the only pair that matches the dress I picked out. The run is above the knee and the dress goes over my knees, so I wear it anyway. I make a mental note to buy a new pair.
7:15 a.m. — Dice a mango, add sliced strawberries, and take an organic Wallaby yogurt. My daughter tells me she needs money for a book fair, so we stop by the ATM. $30
7:30 a.m. — Head to the coffee shop after dropping off my daughter at school. I'm still feeling hungry this morning and want something sweet, so I grab a cinnamon roll. $8
9:15 a.m. — Arrive at the office and can see our director talking to the graphic designer. That is never a good sign, and I hope today is not going to be one of those days.
11 a.m. — Ninety-minute team meeting. I bring my yogurt to eat.
1 p.m. — Head out with two coworkers for lunch. I pick up my Kale Caesar with salmon from Sweetgreen, and we head over to Chicken & Rice Guys, where my two coworkers want to eat. Suddenly my salad isn't as appealing. Sweetgreen is off their game today; my salad is only two thirds full and there are hardly any Parmesan cheese crisps (which is usually the best part). $13.05
2 p.m. — Back to work after a great lunch of catching up with my coworkers.
4 p.m. — Head to the parking garage and commute home. I work a longer day at home on Tuesdays so I can leave before traffic on other days. The trade off is I agree to check email every night until 8 p.m. Most nights are quiet, but when we're close to an event, it's a lot of late nights. $24
5:30 p.m. — Arrive home and chat with my husband. It turned into a nice day, so I take the dog outside for a game of fetch. My husband and I are both in the mood for seafood takeout, so we make the order and chat for a bit. Since he gets home earlier most days, he picks up our daughter from after school and helps her with her homework. My daughter comes up to say hi, and I always feel better just seeing her smiling face.
6 p.m. — We eat. It's good, but another place that is just not the same as it used to be. My husband bought me a soda as a surprise. He knows my weakness too well. I wash the dishes from breakfast and dinner. $45.15
6:30 p.m. — I take a shower, towel off, and lather up with lotion and oil. I see that I'm almost out of oil, so I order another bottle using my Amazon Prime subscription. $11.95
7:30 p.m. — Hang out with the hubby while he tells me about his day. He really loves his job, but his workload is much less than when he was in the military, where he was responsible for more than 2,000 soldiers. I think he's a little bored. He wants to direct his own hospital someday.
8 p.m. — I read a chapter of my daughter's new book, Renegades, out loud to her. It's been a long time since she's asked me to read to her, so even though I just want to relax on the couch, I'm happy she asked. She's not feeling well, so I give her Motrin. I think it's cramps — she recently started getting her period.
10 p.m. — Stay up later than usual, thanks to the Coke. My husband wants to know what Money Diaries is all about, so I read him a few, and now he's hooked.
11 p.m. — Lights out after staying awake to watch the final episode of America's Next Top Model. I've been watching this show since Cycle One, and it's a guilty pleasure.
Daily Total: $132.15

Day Five

5 a.m. — The dog is whining to go outside, so I bump my way downstairs. I really can't see much without my contacts. While I wait for the dog, I hear my daughter leave her room and climb into my bed. Her stomach still hurts, and she's feeling nauseous now. Maybe it isn't cramps.
5:30 a.m. — Since I'm up, I check out the new show Splitting Up Together on the Hulu app on my phone. I end up watching the first three episodes. Some of the interactions feel forced, but overall, I like it. Add the show to my Watch List.
7 a.m. — Decide to go into work late today. My husband agrees to come home early so my daughter will only be alone for a couple of hours. I make a mental note to let my neighbor know she's home, just in case. The neighbor works from home every day (dream job!) and is willing to play second mom when I'm not home. Since we have no family around, we rely on our network of friends. I hate to ask for help, so we only rely on neighbors when we have to.
7:30 a.m. — Take a shower and then wash my face and apply daily concoctions. I remember to put sunscreen on my face, neck, and chest. It's easier to wash my face in the shower, but I read it causes wrinkles because the water is usually too hot for your face. I just recently started to notice fine lines and wrinkles around my eyes. I don't love this about being 35, but I have to say I'm happier and more confident now versus 10 years ago when I had no wrinkles.
8 a.m. — I still need coffee, and my daughter rides with me to drop the dog off at daycare and pick up my cappuccino. I get a cinnamon roll again today. $8
8:30 a.m. — I check my work email. My boss is working from home, and my intern is running late.
10:15 a.m. — Arrive at work to multiple issues that need addressing immediately. Since my boss and her boss are both out today, it's on me. I try not to panic and fix what I can. It's not the deadline that bothers me, but the lack of clear direction.
12:45 p.m. — I pick-up my Kale Caesar from Sweetgreen. It's on point today. $10.65
4 p.m. — Our new T-shirts for our upcoming event arrive, and I happily deliver them to everyone's desks.
4:45 p.m. — Pay for my parking and am off to fight the traffic. $24
5:30 p.m. — Stop at Whole Foods for a slice of pizza, a can of Steaz peach tea, a Rice Krispies treat, and a bag of chocolate chip cookies for my daughter. $12.98
6:15 p.m. — Home. I fold load of laundry, start the dishwasher, and change into yoga pants and a sweater. I have a pedicure appointment at 6:45 at my local spa. I go there for my facials and massages, too. Just the smell of the place (lavender and clean towels) makes me relax.
7:45 p.m. — My toes look great in OPI Malibu Pink, and I feel relaxed and refreshed. I buy eye cream while paying ($34). $89
8 p.m. — Get home to check on my daughter, who still isn't feeling 100%. I put the clothes in the dryer, then throw my black Rothy's into the washer.
9 p.m. — Upstairs to bed. I try out a five-minute deep-sleep meditation app. I like it, but I think the yearly fee of $100 is a bit much. I pass out.
Daily Total: $144.63

Day Six

5:30 a.m. — Wake up, and my daughter is in my bed. She still doesn't feel well. I have to go into work this morning, so I text my husband to see if he can come home early. He can, so I stay in bed for a few more.
6:30 a.m. — Take a shower, do my morning skincare routine, and get dressed. Then I load the dishwasher and do a load of laundry.
7:30 a.m. — Arrive at the coffee shop and receive two texts. One from my director telling me to come into her office as soon as I get in (great!), and the other from my husband who says he has to send $200 to his niece. I'll get the full story later, as I need to drive now. I pick up a veggie wrap with eggs, spinach, feta, and caramelized onion to go along with my cappuccino. $211
9 a.m. — Squeak into parking lot, order my Starbucks on the mobile app, pick it up, and head into work before 9:15. $3.24
9:15 a.m. — My boss is being fired today. My director wants me to lock my boss out of all of her accounts while they're in the meeting firing her. IT takes care of her email, computer, and phone, but we have the logins to our websites and social media.
9:30 a.m. — My soon-to-be fired boss comes to my desk to chat. She worked at home yesterday and wants to talk boards for our upcoming event. I am sick to my stomach having to pretend.
10 a.m. — My boss and director go in our ED's office. It's time to start canceling stuff. It takes a lot less time than I thought.
11 a.m. — I've been hiding in a coworker's office for the past 45 minutes. Cowardly, but I really don't want the awkward goodbye. They are giving her an hour to clear her office and resign. Also, they don't want anyone talking about this. Eye roll.
12:30 p.m. — She is still here, and I need to get out of this oppressive environment of pretending. A group of us go to lunch and talk about the way things have gone downhill in the past two years. I buy a rice plate at Chicken & Rice Guys. $8.50
3 p.m. — It's a beautiful day, and we're reluctant to go inside, but our lunch break is over. I am relieved to hear my boss has left. I feel a little annoyed at the fact they expect us to not talk about this. It's been five months of absolute chaos, and I feel shell shocked.
6 p.m. — Get home and I am annoyed to find the house is a mess. My husband has this annoying habit of opening all of the mail and then leaving it all on the counter, including mail that is clearly trash. I decide to take the dog for a walk to clear my head and enjoy the weather. My husband decides to join, and we walk over to an ice cream place near our house. I buy a scoop of mint cookie ice cream for me and a scoop of cookie dough ice cream for my daughter. $8.50
7:30 p.m. — I'm feeling better, but then I get into a silly argument with my husband that my daughter jumps in on. He says my feet stink, and I need to do something about it. I walk away pissed, fold the laundry, empty the dishwasher, and then go up to take a bath. Lavender bath salts do the trick every time!
8:30 p.m. — Go back downstairs and order pizza for my daughter, wings for my husband, and cheesy breadsticks for me. My husband and daughter drive to the next town over to pick up the food. I stay home to enjoy alone time. $40
9:15 p.m. — Bedtime. My hubby is putting out VIBES, but I'm tired and still stressed about the day, so I ignore them. He wants to cuddle, but I tell him I just don't have anything left in me tonight. I fall asleep fast.
Daily Total: $271.24

Day Seven

7 a.m. — I get up after lying in bed for an extra 30 minutes. I feel much better this morning and we decide to get up, change the sheets, make a grocery list, and get to Whole Foods when it opens at 8.
8:15 a.m. — We make it to WF, and there are already a lot of people here. WTH. We buy strawberries, apples, pears, mandarin oranges, carrot chips, mushrooms, bananas, avocados, a bell pepper, sweet potatoes, medium carrots, bagged onions, Wallaby yogurt, frozen wild Alaskan salmon, boneless chicken thighs, chicken drumsticks, a pound of stewed beef, beef broth, frozen scallops, shrimp, clams, and calamari. I pick up another pack of nori and carrot wraps, too. I also see that my soap is on sale for $7.99 when it's usually $12.99, so I buy three bottles. I grab a coffee while my husband pays. $203.24
9:30 a.m. — We arrive at Market Basket near our house. We buy organic celery, snow peas, Capri Sun, Oreos, chocolate chip cookies, Lucky Charms, almond milk, corn bread, tzatziki, lemonade, passion fruit juice, burrito wraps, gluten-free crackers, Cheetos, butter, whole milk, onions and tomatoes diced with cilantro, and Crystal Light (for my husband). My husband has to drink sugar-free everything. His father was just diagnosed with diabetes, so he's cut most extra sugar. $163.60
10:15 a.m. — Get home and empty the car. Hubby volunteers to make us breakfast while I shower to get ready for yoga. It's one-on-one, and I like to feel fresh. It's nice out, so my daughter takes the dog out for a run.
11 a.m. — My daughter and I drive to her horseback riding lesson. It's my mom's birthday, so we call and wish her a happy birthday.
11:30 a.m. — Drop my daughter off at the barn.
11:45 a.m. — Arrive at the yoga studio. I've been doing one-on-one yoga for about a year and a half now. The instructor is really knowledgeable, down-to-earth, and practical at the same time. We always chat about life before we start. She's helped me work through some shit in my life. I consider it therapy and well worth the money. I pay her three visits at a time for $60 a visit. Today is my last of the three, so I buy a new set. This session is a lot of upper body work. I'm still a novice, but I can definitely see the progress I've made since I started. $180
12:45 p.m. — Our session is done, and I head to the horse barn to pick up my daughter.
1:15 p.m. — We get home, and my husband is burning leaves in a barrel in the driveway. His attempt is not successful, and I add branch removal to my list of things to talk to the landscaping company about.
1:30 p.m. — Husband agrees to grill the pre-seasoned chicken we never got around to eating during the week. We decide to make wraps. He uses the burrito wraps, and I try the carrot ones. We both add lettuce, avocado, chicken, and shredded cheese, and I add cucumber to mine while he adds the diced onions and tomatoes to his. I add a side of chips and a pickle, and drink a LaCroix.
2 p.m. — My turn to clean up. Then I go online to return a Lululemon shirt and yoga pants.
2:30 p.m. — Taxes. We owe $12,032 to federal and $887 to California, where my husband was living and working last year. Even though we both claimed zero on our taxes last year, it still wasn't enough. This year we tripled checked the withholding calculator that the IRS sent out. It said we had to claim zero and an additional $300 each paycheck. Our overall take-home pay went down, but I cannot pay this amount again next year. I die a little inside as I put both checks in the mail. This is one of those times when being an adult sucks. $12,919
3 p.m. — We make an appointment to speak with a financial planner my neighbor also sees. We don't know how much money we should be contributing to our 401(k)s. It's confusing, because my husband already gets a retirement from the military. I also don't know if we should be putting more towards our daughter's college fund. After all our deductions, bills, and expenses are paid, we have about $2,000 left. We don't know if we should use the extra money to pay off our car, pay off our house, invest, or something else. Both of us were raised by single moms, and though we're by no means rich, we have no one in our families who makes as much as we do. We try to talk to some of our friends about this, but most are 10 to 15 years older than us, and it's still a very taboo topic.
3:30 p.m. — We're both tired and decide to take a quick nap before we get ready to go over to our friend's house for dinner. My husband takes a 20-minute nap and I wake up and decide to keep sleeping. I Google how long to take a nap, and it says 20 or 90 minutes. Sweet, I choose 90.
5 p.m. — I wake up feeling refreshed and jump in the shower. My husband goes to the liquor store to get a bottle of chardonnay. I dress and get ready, then pull the organic carrots chips and tzatziki out of the fridge to take with us. $15
5:40 p.m. — We're late, and I feel bad when we arrive and my friend has made a mozzarella and tomato appetizer. It's clear I didn't try very hard.
6 p.m. — Our friends make steak, roasted asparagus, and Caesar salad. We have M&Ms for dessert, then play 45s. It's a confusing game, and we are definitely amateurs.
11 p.m. — We're home and agree to "reconnect" tomorrow morning.
11:55 p.m. — Hubby goes to bed, and I stay up watching a friend's vlog. She's walking the Appalachian Trail, and I am in awe of her. She posts a video every few days and just crossed over to NC. I would love to do something life-changing like this, but I love of showers too much. Oh well, I can live vicariously through her.
Daily Total: $13,480.84
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 a Money Diary you'd like to share? Right now, in addition to our ongoing diaries, we're looking for potential diarists along the following theme:
Your Spending In Your State: We want to run one Money Diary from a different state each week. Want to rep your state? Submit here!
Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here:

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series