A Week In Seattle, WA, On A $65,000 Income

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.
In partnership with Intuit, we’re excited to share a new series of Money Diaries featuring entrepreneurs and freelancers. Thanks to Intuit’s suite of financial tools, including Mint, QuickBooks, and TurboTax, women everywhere are able to power their own prosperity.
Today: a self-employed business owner who makes approximately $65,000 per year with her husband. She uses Mint to track her personal and business accounts, and QuickBooks for tracking estimates, invoices, general accounting, and payroll. This week, she spends some money on a box of Mike and Ike's that she shares with her son.
Advertisement
Occupation: Business Owner
Industry: Home Improvement
Age: 37
Location: Seattle, WA
Salary: $65,000
Paycheck Amount (Monthly): about $5,000
Monthly Expenses
Townhouse Mortgage: $1,559 (I live with my husband, our son, and our dog.)
Loans: ~$450 (This is for my student loans as well for the family car.)
Health Insurance: $390
Cell Phones: $120
Utilities: $250
Retirement: $300 (This is for my husband. I'm not currently contributing to my retirement because I had many years of automatic contributions through other employment and haven't set up a new deposit schedule from our business. My husband had zero until last year!)
Investment Account: $70
My Son's Gymnastics: $90
Childcare: $60
Annual Expenses
Weekly Writing Class: $1,380
Classroom Fees: $430 (at my son's school)

Day One

6 p.m. — My husband and I are trying to make the best of the remaining time we have while our kiddo is eating dinner at his grandma's house. We stop by the teriyaki place next to Safeway only to find it's closed today, and we are starving. After phoning in a takeout order at another place, we run into Safeway for a quick snack, feeling the food panic set in. We get a couple of Kind bars and a kombucha as a remedy. $7.84
6:20 p.m. — We finally pick up our takeout order at the Thai restaurant down the street and drive home. We got three- and four-star spicy food since we know our kid won't be eating it, and it is so satisfying. We're both trying to cut down on our alcohol intake, so there is only seltzer in our fridge to accompany dinner. We have one of those ravenous, quiet meals, in which we are also amazed at how empty the room can feel without an eight-year-old tearing through it all times, even at meal times. $28.52
Advertisement
8 p.m. — It occurs to me that I should really be using my business debit card to make purchases of business-related books, but I'm not yet in that mindset. I keep forgetting that the whole "I own a business" thing isn't a game, like having a kid isn't playing house, so as I'm sitting on the couch browsing through content on my Kindle, I instinctively click "buy" on book just out of curiosity for $9.99. I am now a co-owner in my husband's business but there are a lot of details about both his industry and owning a business that I don't know. So, read up, honey. That is my answer to pretty much everything. For context, it's a home improvement company that my husband transformed from a part-time sole proprietorship (while I taught full-time) to an LLC business so I could join in ownership. It requires very little overhead so far; the business is run from our home. I officially joined this year, and I have prior experience as a director of a local nonprofit, but this is my first for-profit business venture. I'm the one checking on the finances every day and writing up client contracts, making website edits, and researching marketing strategy while my husband is at job sites. We're planning to hire at least two employees for next year and keep it growing from there. The business currently has between $8,000 and $12,000 of sales each month, and we are trying to pay ourselves about $5,000 through combined salary and owner's draw. $11
Advertisement
Daily Total: $47.36

Day Two

11 a.m. — After spending time muddling through QuickBooks and client emails, I am back looking at even more business books. The one I bought last night is not great. I need correct grammar and a tone that treats the reader like an intellectual. I find two, one about marketing strategy and one about business growth, and I go for it after perusing the samples. Click, buy. And as much as I'm intrigued and want to begin reading right away, I remember that I have a dance review due ASAP that I have barely begun. I'm still working on the whole writerly thing, giving it some more attention now that I'm not a full-time teacher. The rest of the day is clockwork — I go for a run, pick up the kiddo from school and help with homework, read those business books, walk the dog, family dinner, and monitor bedtime routine. I'm still new to the stay-at-home thing. It's not eating bonbons and watching Netflix all day, but it beats managing classes in a high-powered school all day. $14.29
Daily Total: $14.29

Day Three

2 p.m. — I'm super productive all morning, I would like to brag. I clean the house, do a tough speed workout at a nearby trail, and I spend a good three hours doing business stuff before I realize I haven't written yet today. Get out of the house, you! After a change of scenery, I cram in a twenty-minute free-write while enjoying a cappuccino at a coffee shop. There's a free armchair, so I sink in and try to lower my breathing rate for a while. Being productive is awesome, but it's anxiety-inducing to try to pack in too much. I buy a giant cookie to bring with me to pick up my son at his school. Special Ed bus isn't running again today, so off I go. $8.65
Daily Total: $8.65

Day Four

12:30 p.m. — Again, I'm trying to pack too much into my day. The amount of time I have for work, writing, and running ends up being teensy compared to what my brain thinks should be available. So I'm headed to the grocery store with just over an hour to spare before the Special Ed bus drops off the kiddo at the house — the first day this week the bus service is running correctly. I buy a box of red wine, but hey, it's easy on the wallet, not like six packs of beer every night or something. And of course, as I'm rolling the cart back to the car through the parking lot, my husband calls and says the bus has arrived early, and is waiting for me in front of the house. Figures. I toss the groceries in the back and careen through the neighborhood back home. I'm able to get home in two minutes and meet the bus. I get help from my eight-year-old with one of the grocery bags and we make our way in. $129.05
3:10 p.m. — Once a week, the Seattle schools have early dismissal, which gives us more time for afternoon adventures. Today is Menchie's froyo and Green Lake, the park in the middle of North Seattle. My husband gives me a hard time about feeding the kid too much junk food sometimes, so we agree to do no candy toppings on his frozen yogurt, just fruit, and a little caramel sauce. We sit at an outside table enjoying a sunny October afternoon and our junk food. Our budget probably doesn't allow for this, but we're still in the midst of transitioning from my school paycheck to our mom-and-pop business salary, so who knows, actually. I'm just going with it for now. $11.16
Daily Total: $140.21

Day Five

6:15 p.m. — The elementary school has rented out the local roller skating rink for two hours tonight, and so I wait patiently in line with my eight-year-old to enter, along with swarms of other kids and their families. A couple of kids say hi to my son, and he actually responds with an audible hello, which is revolutionary for him. We pay for entrance and old-school quad skates to rent. My son is pretty terrified of skating, but he wants the fastest skates, so I convince him that these are super fast. We lace up. We are super slow, inching around the rink, but we are happy. There are even parents I recognize and can wave to. It feels great. $14
7:05 p.m. — I pretty much agree to buying candy before we're even out the door to the skate party, because of course that is the only thing the kid remembers from last year at the roller rink. So, after going around a couple times, we stand in line and analyze the list of movie theater-sized candy. I let my son choose, so Mike and Ike's it is. A whole box. He agrees to extra teeth brushing later tonight. We share about half the box right then and there and put the rest in my bag for later. He is trying to convince me that slushies are healthier than soda and asks why we can't get one, but I distract him with an offer to take videos of the roller rink on my phone. Even I have limits. $3
Daily Total: $17

Day Six

11 a.m. — There's no school today, so I'm taking my kid to The Museum of Flight down at Boeing Field. I will not be emailing clients today or pondering our next marketing strategy. Instead, I'm shelling out what feels like a ridiculous amount of money to look at planes and rockets all day. Not my jam, but it's the kid's day, not mine. The place is bright and shiny and it is full of really cool stuff that definitely wasn't there when I was a kid, so I calm down a bit, and I get into reading some exhibits. I am pulled away constantly though, as my son isn't actually interested in pausing to read about any of the artifacts. But anything with a screen or button, he's game for, so long as what comes up on screen is not just some old guy talking about bomber jets. He moves on quickly. $39
1:25 p.m. — We drive over to the a nearby university to meet a friend of mine for lunch, and park just off the main drag of the student neighborhood ($3). I squeeze into a parallel spot trying carefully not to bump either of the black shiny cars in front or behind me. A group of young men stand on the sidewalk watching me. Come on, guys. The best thing is that once we we're parked and we get out, the group of guys gets into the shiny black car parked behind mine and drives off. Really? Couldn't have done that two minutes earlier and made my life a little nicer? Just saying. $3
1:40 p.m. — Since we made it through a pretty major argument in the museum, I'm exhausted and hoping desperately that the cafe will have super kid-friendly food. Score. Grilled ham and cheese, a limonata San Pellegrino, and a molasses cookie for the kiddo, and a turkey havarti sandwich with a pint of beer for me. Splurges all around when it's this kind of day. I catch up with my friend. I had gotten used to things like being able to go out to lunch and have not only a sandwich but a drink and dessert without thinking too hard about the budget, but I'm determined that with this new business, things will only go upward. $28
2:30 p.m. — After lunch, I walk my son up the street to the bookstore, where I tell him I'm looking for only two things: construction paper and a math workbook for him. Of course, because I go overboard on just about anything to do with him and his education, I buy three math workbooks, a book of mazes, a graphic novel, and notebooks for me. I had originally told him no books today, because we've been doing so great with buying books as rewards and special purchases. (Library books bury our house, however.) He recently read this graphic novel in English from the library and loved it, so when I saw it in Spanish on the shelf I had to get it. We stopped reading in Spanish together too long ago, and I want to get back into it. But really, how do we just walk out of stores laying down this much money? $57
5:15 p.m. — Even though we do have a Netflix account, we rarely use it. We rarely watch anything, actually. We mostly read with our free time, or try to get outside for some exercise. Nerd-central over here, folks. Also perpetually introverted, and with a special needs kid, sometimes it is just all too much, and things need to slow down. Tonight, we decide it's movie night though. Instead of looking on Netflix and indulging in a movie that our son has seen 13 times already, I drive with him over to the one brick-and-mortar video store in the neighborhood, where we have an account, and we pick out The Wizard of Oz. I also pick out two grownup movies for my husband to choose from for tomorrow night, when our son will be at gymnastics. $13.50
Daily Total: $140.50

Day Seven

4:50 p.m. — I've been coming down with a cold, which I finally admit to myself. I spend the day in the house, reading the business books on my Kindle and the new Alice Walker poems I bought at a reading of hers that I went to last week. I also help my son with spelling homework in between his visits with both of his grandmas (super lucky, I know). After about 17 cups of tea I decide I need to get out of the house just a wee bit. I walk to the drug store and come back with a pack of hair ties and a York Peppermint Pattie. I'm training for a half marathon and I can't be distracted by pulling on my loose ponytail every five minutes, so I buy some hardcore hair ties. And sugar. My mom offers to watch both the dog and the kid for a few hours and do drop-off at gymnastics. I have more tea and wait for my husband to come home. $4.87
Daily Total: $4.87
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 you been working for at least 8 years and seen your salary increase or fluctuate? If so, fill out this form for a chance to be featured on our Salary Story series!
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! In particular, we're looking for diaries from Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, and Mississippi.
Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here: r29.co/mdfaqs

More from Work & Money

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Documentary
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
Fashion
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Beauty
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
Documentary
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Documentary
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
Documentary
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Comedy
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Documentary
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Politics
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
Film
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.