A Week In New York On A $240,000 Salary—& Two Kids

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We asked a millennial woman how she spends her hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last cent. (Thanks, New York Mag, for the inspiration.) Today, a teacher in upstate New York raising two daughters and remodeling a house.
Industry: Teacher
Location: Saratoga County, NY
Salary: $75,000 (combined with husband's, $240,000)
Age: 31
Family members: 4 (including self) Monthly Expenses:
Mortgage on House: $2,800
Mortgage on rental property: $1,700
Acura MDX payment: $635.52
Childcare: $1,740
Cell phone, utilities: ~$500
*Editor's note: All meals were cooked at home, unless otherwise noted.

Day One

10 a.m. — I go to Whole Foods for groceries. My husband, who works in e-commerce, is traveling to Seattle all week, so I plan to cook for just me and my two daughters (ages 1 and 5). I buy organic strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, lemons, clementines, frozen veggies, avocados, lettuce for salads, chicken breast, chicken fingers for the kids, organic milk (lots of it), diet soda, cereal, cheese, crackers, and craft beer (my husband loves to find new great IPAs). $180.48

7:30 p.m. — Facebook tells me that Kate Spade is having a surprise sale starting today. I quickly browse and find a nice big diaper bag marked way down. I can't pass it up. $151.43

Total: $331.91

Day Two

9 a.m. — We moved into a new house a year ago and are renovating the entire first floor, including installing new floors, a new kitchen, and tile for a half-bath and mudroom. I make an initial payment (the rest will be paid off later). $980.02 Total: $980.02

Day Three

10 a.m. — Our new wood flooring has arrived and we have to pay the balance. For big purchases like this, I put it on my Chase card and pay it off immediately. This way we can earn more reward points to be used for a trip with the girls. $3,035.20 4 p.m. — My daughter had some ear pain, so I take her to the doctor. No infection. I just had to cover the co-pay. $10

Total: $3045.20

Day Four

5 p.m. — My cat has been throwing up for a few days so I take him to the vet. I never wanted cats but definitely grew an attachment to Java. Thank god I got a spot remover vacuum thingy for Christmas to save my carpeting. $179.12. Total: $179.12

Day Five

6:00 p.m. — My daughter had dance class until 5:30, and I don't feel like going home to cook, so we go to Panera Bread for dinner. $20.26

8:30 p.m. — Next week is a no school week, so I sign my daughter up for cooking class. She loves these and has done some before, which are usually a lot more money, but I find a good deal. $15

8:40 p.m. — I pay for school lunches for my daughters for the next two months (for pizza day and chicken finger day, $26). I then buy donations for my daughters' gift basket at an upcoming fundraiser gala. ($10) $36 Total: $71.76

Day Six

11:30 a.m. — Gave someone at work my old Fitbit, so today they buy me lunch. Free! 4:30 p.m. — Even though it's Friday, and I usually refuse to cook on Friday, I will today since we had Panera last night. I go to Price Chopper for some more groceries. $23.33 7:45 p.m. — I need a new pair of casual sneakers, and look around online for ones I like that aren't too expensive. $74.73 Total: $98.06

Day Seven

9:30 a.m. — My husband is back from Seattle when I wake up. I take advantage of that, and leave the girls with him while I run to Target to pick up stuff for the house. $135.51

2 p.m. — We get lunch at a Mexican restaurant with my husband, the girls, my sister, and my cousin. It's a weird obsession we have for lunch every so often. We also split two pitchers of margaritas. $203.48 7 p.m. — I placed a bid on eBay for a new North Face fleece for my daughter a few days ago and win that today. I hope it comes soon because she can barely fit into the one she has. $53.77

Total: $392.76
Without renovation payments, this diarist spent $1,083.61. 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. Have a money diary you'd like to share? Email

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