A Week In Houston, TX, On A Joint $148,000 Salary

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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 business analyst who makes $72,000 per year ($148,000 when combined with her husband) and spends some of her money this week on rosé.
Occupation: Business Analyst
Industry: Staffing
Age: 30
Location: Houston, TX
My Salary: $72,000
My Husband's Salary: $76,000
Paycheck Amount (Bi-weekly): $1,806
My Husband's Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,200
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,838
Student Loan Payment: $0 (Really grateful to my parents for making sure I was able to graduate college without student loans.)
401(k): $332
Medical, Vision & Dental Insurance: $42
Phone Bill: $105 (for both phones)
Car Insurance: $270.92 (for both of our cars)
Utilities: ~$120
ClassPass: $35
House Cleaning: $120 ($60 per cleaning)
Hulu: $0 (We use my sister's account.)
Savings: Since moving to Houston, it's been hard for us to consistently save money each month because we've had to make some major purchases — cars, furniture, etc. We're finally done paying everything off and hope to save around $2,500 each month.
Additional Expenses
Amazon Prime: $100 (paid yearly)

Day One

7:30 a.m. — After snoozing for 30 minutes, I finally drag myself out of bed. I'm definitely not a morning person, and getting up is always hard for me. It doesn't help that my husband has a later start than I do.
7:45 a.m. — I am a big believer in breakfast, and hardly ever leave the house without eating. I grab a cup of low-fat yogurt and mix in chocolate granola. I wash it down with a small glass of fresh squeezed OJ, followed by water and my vitamin D tablet and L-Lysine pills. I recently had a full physical done and my doctor said I was vitamin D-deficient and that my good (HDL) cholesterol levels were low, so I've been making a real effort to improve my diet and up those levels.
8:20 a.m. — Arrive at work and immediately grab a cup of water from our office water filter. I try to always have water at my desk and sip it throughout the day.
10:30 a.m. — Ponder going downstairs to the coffee place in my building for a latte, but remind myself that I did this yesterday and am trying not to make it a habit. I go for some free Earl Grey tea that we have stocked in the office instead. I brought a small bag of walnuts from home and munch on these as well. Apparently walnuts have lots of that good cholesterol that I'm lacking.
11:30 a.m. — Head out on my lunch break to pick up my dry cleaning, only to discover it's not ready yet. Bummer. Decide to pop into a nearby Sephora and pick up this eye cream I like that was out of stock online, but apparently is in stock at this particular store. Today is just not my day — the store is out of stock as well. The salesperson is really nice and offers to call me when it's back in stock. I leave with a couple free samples of other products I've been eyeing. I'm kind of a skincare/makeup junkie…
12:30 p.m. — Back at my desk, I eat a salad that I brought from home with pesto chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, feta, and avocado (another great source of HDL cholesterol!).
2:30 p.m. — I meet with a group of about nine girls I work with to try to collectively win at HQ Trivia today. The prize is $300,000, and we've actually won as a group in the past ($12 each), so hopes are high!
3:30 p.m. — We didn't win :'( Oh well. Now I'm drained and in need of sugar. Luckily, I came prepared with a healthy option — a mix of raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. I'm really into berries. They hit the spot.
4:30 p.m. — I leave work a little early to meet a woman who's interested in buying a faux cowhide rug I'm selling on OfferUp. Hopefully the sale goes through! I get such a high from reselling stuff. Before we moved from Amsterdam, I tried reselling most things we weren't taking along in our move, and I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to get rid of stuff and earn cash. Now I try to keep up the habit.
5 p.m. — Aaaand she ghosted me. There were other people interested in the rug, so I start contacting them.
6:15 p.m. — Head to a spin class to get some cardio in. Since I moved to Houston, my sister has gotten me into spinning. I used to be a yoga-only kind of girl, but now I really enjoy mixing it up with a high energy, bass-thumping spin class. I try to do two yoga classes and one spin class a week. Keyword: “try.” I have a couple classes left from a class pack I bought last month, so no charge for this one.
7:30 p.m. — And I've got a bite on the rug! Someone is on his way now to pick it up. Hooray! I quickly shower and meet the dude to make the exchange (+$40).
8 p.m. — My husband, D., and I have been trying to cook more during the week, so he whips us up a pasta with salmon and spinach for dinner. He's definitely the cook in our household. I'm okay at the basics, but I just don't feel very comfortable in the kitchen. We follow a “you cook, I clean” method, which works out swimmingly.
8:45 p.m. — Tomorrow my sister-in-law and her husband are visiting us from Amsterdam! We're super excited for their visit and plan out our weekend with them while sipping green tea.
9 p.m. — I decide to quickly pop chocolate chip muffins (from a box mix, I admit) into the oven, so we have a sweet treat for our company upon their arrival tomorrow.
10 p.m. — I start my nighttime skincare routine a bit early because I'm so excited to use my new Clinique Sonic Cleansing Brush. I just got it yesterday, and after using it only once, I could already feel a difference in my skin. I use it with a gentle foaming cleanser and follow up with a retinol serum, eye cream, and moisturizer.
10:30 p.m. — Fall asleep relishing in the fact that I had a no-spend day! I learned about no-spend days in another Money Diary, and am now trying not to spend money for one day a week.
Daily Total: $0

Day Two

7:15 a.m. — I snooze only once today, which I consider to be a win.
7:35 a.m. — For breakfast, I toast a whole wheat English muffin and top it with peanut butter and banana slices. One of the things I missed most about the U.S. when living abroad was peanut butter — Jif specifically. I probably eat it about three times a week.
8:15 a.m. — Settle in at my desk and grab a water.
9:35 a.m. — I can't stop yawning. I go downstairs for a vanilla latte. No regrets. $3.77
11:30 a.m. — Round two of dry cleaning pickup. This time it's a success. This is actually the first time I've gotten dry cleaning done since we moved here late last year. It's basically all my cashmere. $30.82
11:45 a.m. — Stop by CVS to pick up cotton eye pads. I cut these in half at home so they last longer. $3.30
12 p.m. — I've got an appointment with my brow girl to get my eyebrows waxed. She does a great job. $36
12:30 p.m. — Back at my desk, I start on my lunch that I brought from home, which is a salad made with leftover salmon from dinner, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, and my trusty avocado.
2 p.m. — The eagle has landed! Eagle being my sister-in-law and her husband. Neither D. nor I can take off from work early today to pick them up from the airport, so they Uber to our apartment and the doorman lets them in.
2:30 p.m. — Feeling a little hungry, so I snack on trail mix I have in my purse.
4:15 p.m. — Before heading home, I stop by my favorite blow dry bar for a blowout. I have really thick, semi-unruly hair, and I just want to have good hair this weekend. I am grateful for my hair, but it is a pain in the a** to style. Also, I love to be pampered. I have a Groupon that I bought last week, so I only need to tip today. $10
5:15 p.m. — Reunited with my sister-in-law and her husband, and it feels so good! We catch up over drinks at our place.
7:30 p.m. — We hit up our favorite neighborhood spot for Tex-Mex. We share quesadillas and tacos, with a round of margaritas. D. picks up the tab for the group. $84.08
Daily Total: $167.97

Day Three

8 a.m. — D. and I both take the day off to spend with our guests, but I have a gynecologist appointment later this morning. I wake up feeling anxious and stressed about it. In the Netherlands, they don't do annual pap smears/well-women exams until the age of 30. I just turned 30 a couple months ago, so I actually haven't had a check-up in five years. Cue the anxiety.
9 a.m. — D. whips up eggs and bacon for everyone. I manage to get a couple bites down, but my nerves are getting the best of me. I mention how nervous I am, and D. offers to drop me off at my appointment so I don't have to drive and figure out parking (which can be difficult where this doctor's office is).
10:45 a.m. — We all pile in D.'s car. The crew gives me a pep talk in the car, and I try to do breathing exercises.
11:30 a.m. — After waiting for what feels like an eternity, I finally get called back. The appointment goes better than I expect. The nurse and doctor are great and really help put me at ease.
12 p.m. — The team picks me up, and we all go to lunch at a cute spot with a big patio. D. and I share a Greek salad and a gyro. Thankfully, my appetite is back. D.'s sister and her husband take care of the bill.
2 p.m. — We walk to a nearby Gap so our visitors can go shopping — the prices here in the U.S. are so much cheaper than in Europe. Basically everything is on sale, and I end up grabbing a cute sundress and a graphic tee, plus D. gets two button-downs. The salesclerk tempts me with an additional 20% off if I open a Gap credit card. I take the bait. $73.36
3 p.m. — After a few hours of shopping in an outdoor mall, we pass a Susie Cakes, and I just have to go inside. I've heard great things about this place. I get a mini cupcake for each of us, but end up eating both mine and D.'s. Oops. $8
4 p.m. — Back at our place, the guys go down to our building's pool with a couple beers. Sister-in-law and I decide to both take naps inside. I get snuggles from my kitty.
6 p.m. — We all meet my sister and a couple friends out for happy hour. I have a gin cocktail followed by a glass of rosé. D. and I pick up the tab for the four of us. $90
8 p.m. — We quickly make a reservation for our entire group of eight at a nearby semi-swanky restaurant. I get the steak tartare, and we all have a great time. D. and I pay for our share. $92
10 p.m. — The good times are rolling, and we head to a new bar. I have a gin and tonic, and then one of our friends comes around with a tray of shots described as “upscale Fireball.” It's actually pretty tasty, and I am definitely feeling tipsy at this point. Someone in the group settles the bill, and we go to yet another bar.
12 a.m. — We arrive at a rooftop bar and the cover is a staggering $20 each, but we decide to bite the bullet and head in ($40 for me and D.). The place is rocking, and I dance the night away with a vodka cranberry, definitely not thinking about all the different liquors I've already had tonight. $60
2 a.m. — We Uber home, I quickly shower, and hop in bed. $4
Daily Total: $327.36

Day Four

11 a.m. — Considering the amount of alcohol I consumed last night, I feel pretty okay. We all get up and take turns showering, since we're meeting my sister and parents for lunch soon.
11:30 a.m. — I get a text from a girl saying it was nice to meet me last night. I have a habit of making friends at bars. I laugh and text her back.
12:30 p.m. — My parents want to give our visitors a real Texan experience, so we meet them at an award-winning barbeque joint. I get a pulled pork sandwich that really hits the spot. Gotta love grease to combat a hangover. My parents graciously treat us all to lunch.
2:30 p.m. — D. got tickets to the Astros game for the four of us. We Uber to the stadium to avoid parking. This is actually everyone's first baseball game ever (except for mine), so the group is very excited. $6
3 p.m. — I try to explain the rules while we munch on popcorn and guzzle beers that D.'s sister got for us. Unfortunately the ‘Stros lose, but it was a good game and fun experience.
6 p.m. — We walk to a nearby rooftop bar with great views of downtown. I have a lemony cocktail and we share fries. D. picks up the bill for all of us. $56
8 p.m. — We're all pretty exhausted after our shenanigans last night and busy day today. We decide to Uber to a low-key café near our house for dinner. $5
8:30 p.m. — D. and I share a soup and salad. Trying to balance out all the junk food and drinks from earlier. $25
9 p.m. — We walk home, and I crash soon after we arrive. Looking forward to a long night's sleep.
Daily Total: $92

Day Five

10:30 a.m. — I feel like I slept a solid 12 hours. It's so great. I toast myself an English muffin and top it with peanut butter and banana.
12 p.m. — It's a beautiful day, and we decide to drive to Kemah Boardwalk, which is kind of like a mini theme park on the coast. My sister meets us at our house to tag along.
2 p.m. — After the 45-minute drive, we're all starving. We put our names down for a table on the pier at a seafood place. In the meantime, I get tickets for everyone to ride the wooden roller coaster next door with me, except for my sister-in-law, who doesn't do rides. This roller coaster is actually a lot more intense than I thought it would be. We all exit the ride with tears streaming down our faces, and my sister curses at me. $26
2:30 p.m. — Our table is ready, and we are starved. It's crawfish season here in Texas, so we order a huge bucket for the table. My sister-in-law is kind of creeped out, but her husband has a blast peeling and eating the little buggers. I probably scarf down a full pound. D.'s sister and her husband cover the bill.
3:30 p.m. — We walk around the boardwalk, soaking up the sun and sea air. Once everyone has had enough, we drive back home.
5 p.m. — It's still beautiful out, so we head to the pool to relax. My sister heads home.
8 p.m. — We decide to go to dinner at our favorite sushi place. We don't normally eat out this much, but we like to make an exception when we have company staying with us. Houston has so much great food to offer. The four of us share a bottle of wine with edamame, sashimi, and a few rolls. We split the bill. $115
10:30 p.m. — Not looking forward to going into the office tomorrow. After a jam-packed weekend, I know I'll be exhausted. I hit the hay and hope for sleep to come quickly.
Daily Total: $141

Day Six

7 a.m. — I had a restless night's sleep, so I'm feeling pretty grumpy this morning. I get ready for work and decide to pick up breakfast on my way in. Our company is sleeping on the sofa bed in the living room, and I don't want to wake them while making breakfast.
7:45 a.m. — I stop at a juice bar and get an acaí bowl topped with banana, strawberries, and granola. $9.47
8:15 a.m. — It's gonna be a rough day. I grab a water and get stuck in emails.
12 p.m. — I meet a good friend for lunch at our favorite coffee spot. I get a latte, cup of tomato basil soup, and a pistachio croissant. This place has the best pastries in Houston (in my opinion), and I cannot go here without getting something sweet. $14.23
3:30 p.m. — Struggling to make it through this day. All I want to do is go home and sleep. It's our last night with D.'s sister and her husband, and we're having dinner at home. I am so glad they came to visit, but could really use a night alone at this point. Hosting is draining, amirite?
5 p.m. — On my way home, I stop by the store to pick up a bottle of wine and a card for my coworker's birthday tomorrow. It's a gift from our entire team, so my boss said I could expense it ($16.96). I also grab stuff for the house: toilet paper, milk, yogurt, a box of mac and cheese, Amy's Pad Thai, butternut squash spirals, avocado, chicken breast, and Nutella. A weird assortment of groceries, I know. I normally like to come to the store armed with a grocery list, but I just wasn't prepared today, so I end up with a hodge-podge of stuff. $31.44
7:30 p.m. — Happy to be staying in for dinner after a few days of indulging and eating out. My sister-in-law and her husband kindly offer to make dinner for us. We have a pasta with chorizo and a tomato sauce. Simple and tasty. We reminisce on the past few days and talk about when we will see each other again, which will most likely be Christmas.
10:30 p.m. — I hit the hay and take melatonin to hopefully ensure a better night's sleep.
Daily Total: $55.14

Day Seven

7:15 a.m. — I roll out of bed and start getting ready. Our guests have a flight to catch this morning, so I can eat breakfast at home without the risk of waking them up. I have a bowl of yogurt with raspberries, blackberries, and chocolate granola.
8:15 a.m. — Arrive at work and grab a cup of water.
10 a.m. — For some reason I'm feeling hungry already. I snack on the trail mix I have in my purse.
12 p.m. — I venture back to Sephora because the eye cream I was looking for last week is back in stock! It feels like a deal because I have a small remaining balance on a gift card. $24.79
12:30 p.m. — Back at my desk, I start on my lunch. I made a salad last night with tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, avocado, and feta cheese.
3 p.m. — The salad didn't really do it for me, so when my coworker says she's making a Chick-fil-A run, I ask her to grab me a six-pack of nuggets. I kind of have a thing for nuggets. My cat's name is essentially “chicken nugget” in Dutch. I asked my coworker how much I owe her, and she says a million dollars. Well thanks, friend!
5:15 p.m. — I forgot that I signed up to participate in a chocolate chip cookie bake-off at work tomorrow. I run by the store to get supplies for my favorite brown butter cookie recipe: flour, vanilla extract, walnuts, butter, chocolate chips, and baking soda. $19.63
5:45 p.m. — While my butter is softening to room temperature, I decide to clean the house. Having guests over is fun, but it's nice to have the house back to normal. Looking forward to alone time with D. tonight. He comes home while I'm in the middle of vacuuming and goes for a run. Once the house is tidied up, I start on the cookies.
7:30 p.m. — Even though I've already eaten a substantial amount of cookie dough, I decide it's probably a good idea to eat dinner. I warm up tomato basil soup and serve it with garlic bread. D. and I eat while watching Along Came Polly. I forgot how funny that movie is!
8:30 p.m. — The cookies turn out perfectly! Feeling good about tomorrow. D. agrees that they are delicious.
10 p.m. — I start on my nighttime routine, excited to tuck in early. D. and I snuggle and read in bed together before lights out.
Daily Total: $44.42
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