A Week In Juneau, Alaska, On A $73,000 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. (Thanks, New York mag, for the inspiration.) This week a woman working in two jobs who makes $73,000 per year while paying off debt and canning her own soups.
Industry: Government, plus a side job at a restaurant
Age: 33
Location: Juneau, Alaska
Salary: $63,000 and another $10,000 from waiting tables.
Paycheck Amount (2x month): $1740 in take-home pay, $400 tips from serving Monthly Expenses
Monthly Housing Costs: $1,000 mortgage
Monthly Loan Payments: $720
Water, Sewer, Trash, Internet, Phone, Propane, Heating Oil: $240 (my half)
Credit Card Payments on 0% Interest Balance: ~$1,200
Retirement Contribution: My employer deducts a mandatory contribution of $600 which they match 62% of, and I contribute an additional $200.
Health Savings Account: $92
Union Dues: $65
Car insurance & Gas: $45
Chicken Feed: $17.50 (my half)
Netflix: $10
Contribution To Joint Grocery Checking Account: $150 (my half)
Joint Travel Savings Account: $300 (my half)

Day One

6:30 a.m. — I shower, make french press coffee, pour it in a to-go mug, and walk to my office job through driving rain (ugh). I keep cream cheese in the work fridge and a bag of bagels. Toast one and eat for breakfast. 12 p.m. — Heat up leftover pork tenderloin and roasted Brussels sprouts for lunch. I eat at desk. 2:30 p.m. — Text to ask for Saturday night off from the restaurant. Still recovering from a hunting injury (torn LCL and sprained ankle), and not confident I can do two nights serving back-to-back yet. 3:30 p.m. — I leave my desk job and walk down to restaurant to start serving shift. It's the big holiday gallery walk, so work is CRAZY. Pull myself a double espresso shot. I snarf as much of the samples the chef cooked up of the pre-fix dinner and take bites of random food the kitchen misfires between tables. 7:30 p.m. — Leg is acting up, so manager lets me go home early. Stop at grocery to pick up some lemons and a pomegranate for house cocktails. I don't charge to grocery account since it's kind of a treat and not normal groceries. $7.70 08:00 p.m. — I ice my leg, husband makes me bacon-fried rice with broccoli and sesame oil for dinner (so, so good) and I make pomegranate French 75s. 10:00 p.m. — Husband and I play fiddle for a couple of hours and then I head back downtown for a going away hurrah for the restaurant's manager's last night in town. I have martinis, whiskey, beer and a 1 a.m. grilled cheese sandwich. $43.50 Daily Total: $51.20

Day Two

12 p.m. — Finally drag myself out of bed, make coffee, and sit and listen to the radio for a while. Husband makes a scramble for brunch. 2 p.m. — Run errands, picking up canning supplies from storage and a few canning supplies from the grocery store. I charge them to grocery account. Next, I pick up a bottle of wine for a friend who's coming over for drinks and snacks tonight. $14.03 3 p.m. — Feed and water the chickens. I collect five eggs from six birds. (Good job, ladies!) 3:30 p.m. — Get called into work at the restaurant. Ends up being just busy enough that they need to keep me and I have to cancel the plans with my friend. 9 p.m. — Get cut [from work]. (Leg is acting up again.) Bartender fills a wine bag with ice so I can ice my leg while sticking around. Stay and have country pate for dinner and a cocktail. $25 10:30 p.m. — Head over to husband's band's show with my bag of ice, There, the bartender puts my drinks on the band's tab. Daily Total: $39.03

Day Three

9:30 a.m. — I feel like I got nothing done yesterday, so I get up early, make pancakes and coffee, and start cleaning kitchen to prep for canning. 10:30 a.m. — It's finally sunny out after a week of torrential rain, so I decide to walk over to the neighbor's to deliver my homemade high-bush cranberry ketchup and some fresh eggs from our chickens. (We just moved into our new house two months ago.) Neighbors invite me in for coffee and chocolate cake, [and I] end up staying for an hour. 12 p.m. — Get to work on making stock for canning. 4 p.m. — Four hours later, I'm just finishing up first stage of venison stock and chicken stock and haven't even started canning. Friend invites me down the street for cookies and hot toddies. That sounds better. 10 p.m. — Husband and I get home from never-ending hot toddies. We eat way too much cookie dough and a small bowl of ham and bean soup for dinner, then go to bed. Daily Total: $0

Day Four

9 a.m. — Decided to take the day off from my office job to finish up my epic canning project. I work an alternate work week schedule, so I just swap my regular day off. I make coffee, fry up an egg, and get to work finishing the stock. 12 p.m. — First round of quart jars of stock are in the canner. 2 p.m. — Lots of downtime between canning loads. I make reservations at Comedy Cellar for an NYC trip coming up in three weeks. Update debt repayment graph on fridge door with monthly total. Altogether, I'm putting ~$3,000 towards my debt each month, and I'm tracking it on our fridge. I paid off $15,000 of credit card debt in 2016, and I only have $6,000 to go! Sort laundry. Send Roomba around and research tile and flooring for kitchen remodel we'll be doing in the spring. Text husband to remind him to check on chickens.
6 p.m. — Second- to-last round of quart jars of stock are done and we head over to my parent's house for dinner. 9 p.m. — Get home and put in last round of stock in canner. 10:30 p.m. — Canning project finally done. End result is 30 quarts of stock, 50/50 venison and chicken, plus French onion soup and corned venison that I made while stock was on the stove. Daily Total: $0

Day Five

6:30 a.m. — Make coffee, but can't find to-go coffee mug. Resist buying coffee on the walk to work and make terrible coffee in office pot. Bagel and cream cheese from office stash for breakfast. 12 p.m. — Eat leftover eggplant fricassee from one of last week's dinners for lunch. 12:30 p.m. — Walk down to bar to pick up credit card I left there on Saturday (whoops!). Pick up delicious apple scone from corner bakery as a special treat on way back to office. $4 4:30 p.m. — Husband picks me up from work and we go for a Nordic ski out our front door. (Hooray for a new house right on great ski/hiking trails!). It snowed five inches while I was at work. This is the first really active thing I've done besides serving since I hurt my leg, Overall it goes well, but we keep it relatively short to be careful. 6 p.m. — Take a long, hot bath. 8 p.m. — Walk down through blizzard to an Indian restaurant and order take-out. I get an employee discount since the restaurant I work at owns the Indian restaurant as well. Split the cost with husband. $20.00 9 p.m. — We open a bottle of red wine we got as a housewarming gift and eat Indian while watching Beverly Hills Cop and Coming to America on Netflix. (Ski + Bath + Indian Food + Red Wine + Eddie Murphy's laugh = Best night ever??) Daily Total: $24

Day Six

7:00 a.m. — Walk to work. Eat last bagel and cream cheese from stash. Make a note to do a grocery run. Make horrible coffee at work, still haven't found to-go mug. Coming to terms with the idea I might just need to buy a new one :( 12:00 p.m. — Eat the rest of the eggplant fricassee leftovers. 04:30 p.m. — Walk home. 06:30 p.m. — Warm up and eat Indian leftovers and leftover french onion soup. Make tuna salad to take for lunch tomorrow. 07:00 p.m. — Band practice at our house with my new old-timey band - working on building set-list for our first bar gig. Beers left-over from our house-warming party we had a couple weeks ago. Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

6:30 a.m. — Pull out some venison to thaw for dinner. Walk to work. Make crappy office coffee. Officially decide to break-down and get a two-pack of travel mugs from Costco this weekend. 12 p.m. — Tuna salad and rye crackers for lunch. 12:30 p.m. — Send in application for all-women's mountain climbing seminar in August. Five days including a summit bid for a 10,000 ft mountain in Washington! My derby wife is signing up too and we decided to wait to apply until this week so the application fee wouldn't mess up our budgets. I expect to be charged $500 deposit next week when they process my application in the next couple of days. 4:30 p.m. — Walk home from work. 5 p.m. — Research derby gear, take pictures, and post to Craigslist. Decided to retire from roller derby this year and need to bite the bullet and sell my skates. 7 p.m. — Make venison roast and salad for dinner with the husband. Daily Total: $0
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