A Week In Silicon Valley, CA, On A Joint $270,000 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.
Today: a deputy director working in high tech who makes $100,000 per year and spends some of her paycheck this week on natural deodorant.
Occupation: Deputy Director
Industry: High Tech
Age: 34
Location: Silicon Valley
My Salary: $100,000
My Husband's Salary: $170,000, plus RSUs
Combined Paycheck (2x/month): $10,096
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $3,000
Student Loan Payments: $0. (My parents paid for my undergrad and I paid for grad school by saving up and working full-time. I lived on a very tight budget, but it was worth it because I’m 100% debt free now. Oddly, my husband did the same thing, although we weren’t together at the time, so neither of us have any debt.)
401(k): 14% of my salary, plus 4% company match
Savings: I put $3,000 into a joint account with my husband that he uses to pay all our joint living expenses, and put $1,000 into my personal savings account.
Planned Parenthood Donation: $50
The New York Times Subscription: $15
Netflix: $14
Eyelash Treatment: $75
Massage: $90

Day One

7:30 a.m. — Ugh, Mondays. I wake up, heat up a cup of cold brew that my husband dripped the night before, add about half a cup of organic grass-fed whole milk, and then do a three-minute meditation on Headspace and a five-minute yoga flow on YouTube. Afterwards, I put my husband's lunch on the counter so he doesn't forget to take it, make myself a second coffee (this time with coconut/almond milk) in my favorite Hydro Flask thermos, and throw my own in my lunch box. I take a quick shower and drive to work.
11 a.m. — I work with my direct report to get a bunch of deliverables out this morning, and then take a quick break for breakfast. It takes me a while to get hungry in the morning, probably because of the quantity of milk that I drink with my coffee (literally half coffee, half milk). I eat a sliced apple with a bunch of peanut butter, which I manage to get all over my pants. I run to the bathroom and use a wet paper towel to wash it off.
2 p.m. — I heat up a little container of roasted veggies and chicken breast and read The New York Times while I eat. There's no place to buy food within walking distance of my office, but I save a lot of money and eat a lot healthier because I always bring my food, so I don't care much.
5 p.m. — I get home, change quickly into running clothes, and walk to my community's gym, which is free and really nice. I sprint on the treadmill as fast as I can for a mile and then walk back to my apartment. I recently got to the point where I can run a mile in under eight minutes, which means my workouts are really short. Occasionally I run a mile and a half or even two, but I get so bored running that if I'm not feeling tired by the home stretch, I just crank up the speed so that I work up enough of a sweat to justify jumping off after a mile. Head back to my apartment and do another quick yoga flow to stretch.
8:30 p.m. — Dinnertime. I meal plan each week and buy groceries ahead of time. Tonight I poach fresh wild cod I bought at Whole Foods on Sunday with white wine, chicken broth, a bay leaf, and squeeze of lemon. I also sauté wild mushrooms and broccolini and cook farro in chicken broth. My husband gets home at 8:30 and we eat right away because I'm starving. Then I defrost soup for our lunches tomorrow and slice apples so we have snacks.
9:30 p.m. — My husband and I currently sleep on a mattress on the floor – mostly because we don't want to waste money on cheap furniture and aren't ready to buy anything as expensive as what we ultimately want. We're hoping to start a family at some point next year and will need to move to a bigger apartment, so I figure that might be a good time to buy furniture. A quick look at the website of our favorite furniture store, Room & Board, shows me that this is likely to be a significant financial investment on our part. My husband is a minimalist and would happily live in an empty apartment, so I like to give him plenty of notice when I start thinking about these expensive purchases. I fire the opening salvo by telling him it will probably be hard to get off a mattress on the floor when I'm eight months pregnant, so if he wants a baby we'll have to buy a bed. He smiles and tells me that's why I do yoga. I laugh, and we head off to our sad mattress on the floor.
Daily Total: $0

Day Two

7:30 a.m. — Coffee, meditation, yoga flow. I purchased my Headspace subscription in January and so far I love it. I'm not sure if I'll do it again next year because I got this one for 40% off, but so far it's the only thing that has been able to help me meditate on a regular basis (even if it's only three to five minutes a day). We have a small one-bedroom apartment, but because my husband doesn't get up until 8:30 most days, I have the living room and kitchen to myself almost every morning. I take my coffee and lunch to go. Before I leave, I grab a cookie I made a few weeks ago out of the freezer and slip it into my husband's lunch with a little love note.
1 p.m. — I was in back-to-back meetings all morning and I'm starving. My director swings by my cube while I'm shoveling an extra large slice of Honeycrisp apple in my mouth, takes one look at me, and says he'll come back later. He knows I can be difficult when I'm hungry, and he knows I didn't get to eat breakfast this morning. I promise him I'll come find him as soon as I've eaten. When I walk into his office a few minutes later, he hands me a cookie just in case I'm still hungry. Since I try not to eat refined sugar (with the exception of really good desserts) or preservatives, I don't accept, but thank him for thinking of me. We quickly review a contract I wrote up for a program I'm expanding out; he recommends a few changes but is happy with the document overall.
4:30 p.m. — I didn't get to eat my lunch today since I was running around to offsite meetings all afternoon, so when I get home I'm too tired to exercise. I eat two slices of fresh bread (from a Bay Area bakery called Acme) slathered with butter while I read Money Diaries. Delicious. Afterward, I'm still hungry, so I have a cara cara orange and a bunch of brie and crackers, and then do laundry and make dinner while I watch a dinosaur documentary on CuriosityStream.
8 p.m. — My husband comes home from work and we eat dinner. I made a salad with lettuce, radicchio, endive, fennel, radish, scallions, tomato, avocado, black beans, frozen corn, shredded cheddar cheese, and chicken breast, slathered in Cindy's ranch. Ranch is my weakness. We watch Peaky Blinders (I just discovered this show and am OBSESSED) while eating a few squares of Trader Joe's 72% cacao dark chocolate. I honestly hate it, but it mutes my chocolate and sugar cravings effectively. We buy big packages of it because my husband insists on buying everything in its most cost-effective quantity, but I think the big bars oxidize by the end and the last part tastes far worse than the first.
10 p.m. — I'm out of deodorant and couldn't find a non-antiperspirant at Target last week. I decide to try a new natural brand from Amazon, Primal Pit Paste. It's a little bit expensive, but I order it anyway. Since it's Prime, it will come in two days. We head to bed around 11. $10.95
Daily Total: $10.95

Day Three

7:30 a.m. — Coffee, meditation, yoga, lunches to go. Crisis! I can't find my favorite (and only) coffee thermos. Contemplate taking my husband's, but decide that's a mean trick to play. I hope I left mine at the office. I rarely lose things, so this is odd. I use another thermos we have in the cabinet but I don't like it.
11 a.m. — Thermos is nowhere to be found. It might turn up somewhere, but I'm not taking any chances, so I hop on Amazon and order a new one in the same color ($21.45). I see that the green is only $16.50, so I add that to the cart as well and buy both. I've been meaning to buy a backup, and this seems like a good opportunity. Both ship via Prime, and will arrive by tomorrow! $41.12
2 p.m. — I'm absolutely starving, but my day has been a blur of meetings, and the next is offsite. I eat a half a baked sweet potato in my car with hands at a red light. It's not ideal, but better than being hungry.
5 p.m. — I get home and race to the gym for my one-mile sprint. I buy a new song on iTunes on my way to the gym. I buy four to six songs a month on iTunes because I can't run without new music and a good running beat. I have extra energy and the new song is good, so I make it a mile and a half. Later, I take a long shower, wash my hair, and do a face mask while I make dinner. One of my best friends calls, so we chat on the phone while I cook. As always, I also lay out my outfit for the following morning. I don't like to wake up my husband, so I leave my clothes in the living room the night before so all I need to do in the morning is slip out of the bedroom and shut the door behind me. $1.29
8:30 p.m. — Tonight we have lentils that I cooked with onions and a chopped potato on top of wilted fresh spinach. I also slice half an avocado into each bowl and put soft-boiled eggs on top. I grate copious amounts of parmesan over the whole thing. As usual, I package some up for our lunches tomorrow simultaneously. As soon as my husband walks in, we eat. I'm starving. After dinner, we split a grapefruit for "dessert." It doesn't really count as dessert as far as I'm concerned, but it is delicious.
10 p.m. — My husband watches a car show called The Grand Tour while I obsessively plan our next Europe trip. We're headed to the UK, and I've already booked our hotel. We'll be staying at The Waldorf Astoria, and although I have mixed feelings about not staying in a cute boutique hotel, I'm hoping we'll have enough Hilton points to stay in Hawaii for free next year because of it. I've created a list of the museums and landmarks we want to see in London, and I Google Map all of the locations so I can plan the best itinerary. We'll have to walk about five miles a day for the first two days and nine on the third day. I make a note that we should Uber between a few of the legs so we don't tire ourselves out. (We did a 10-mile walk one day in Paris when we were there recently and got way too exhausted.) We head to bed around 11:30.
Daily Total: $42.41

Day Four

7:30 a.m. — Coffee, meditation, yoga. I have a call with our East Coast design team to go over deliverables they've been working on and decide to do it from home. I text my direct report to let her know that I'll be in late this morning and give her a few tasks.
11 a.m. — I have my usual apple/peanut butter snack, and then run by my director's office. I requested a pretty substantial raise a few months ago, and my director agreed but needed to get approval from our executive director first. I used to intensely dislike negotiating, but I've worked hard to get better at it and now I don't find it quite so distasteful. I ask my director whether or not our ED will approve the raise, and he tells me it's looking good but that he's waiting for final confirmation.
2 p.m. — I drive to an offsite meeting a little early and eat my leftovers in the car. I browse the Nordstrom website while I'm in the car and find some things I want, but think about our upcoming trip and decide I need to save the money more than I need the clothes. Because we want to start a family next year, my goal is to have $25,000 in my slush savings account by the time a baby is born. Between traveling and bedroom furniture, I'm going to need to save very effectively between now and then if I want to accomplish this. My husband and I never worked out a formal financial agreement, but our spending habits are fairly similar, so we haven't argued over finances yet. This is, in part, because we save separately, so if we disagree over something the other wants to buy, we use our personal slush savings to buy the item. So I want to make sure I always have enough money to buy myself anything I want, even if we disagree.
4 p.m. — I stop by my salon to get my monthly lash fill ($75). It takes about 90 minutes to glue all the individual lashes on, and I find lying there impossibly boring. But my eyes look so fabulous that I literally only have to wear a little bronzer and blush for the rest of the month, so it's worth every cent. My other regular health and beauty expenses include a one-hour massage per month, and I'm finishing up my last round of laser hair removal (which has cost me about $2,000 for bikini and underarms in total). The lashes and massage I put on our joint card, but the laser hair removal I pay for out of my slush savings.
5:30 p.m. — I can't get my lashes wet for four hours, so I do a quick yoga flow at home instead of a run so I don't get too sweaty. I rinse the day off in the shower after my mini workout and start on dinner. Tonight we're having roasted cauliflower tossed in olive oil, garlic, lemon, and parsley, roasted red potatoes with garlic and olive oil, grilled asparagus, and grilled flatiron steak. I put the steak on the counter and drizzle it with olive oil, garlic, and salt, and then my husband and I head down to the communal courtyard to grill the steak and asparagus when he gets home. We'll take the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. We also make bubble water with our Soda Stream and squeeze a lime in it. Our local water tastes so mineral-y that I can't drink it plain, so we bought a Soda Stream and go through at least 14 limes a week between the two of us. I'm not sure if that much carbonated water is good for me, but at least I won't be getting scurvy anytime soon.
9 p.m. — We watch Netflix on the sofa and I meal plan for next week while eating a cara cara orange. I follow NYT Cooking on Instagram and usually save at least one featured recipe to try. We head to bed around 11.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

7 a.m. — I'm up a little early today because I'm launching a new program segment and I'm running the pilot at my office today. I do my usual morning routine and race out the door. When I get to work, I see that my project manager has set everything up perfectly. I'm lucky to have her on my team.
11 a.m. — I give my project manager my credit card number to order pizza for the program launch, but the bank flags the purchase and blocks the card. I call in to straighten everything out, and eventually, the pizza arrives. I'm starving, so I scarf down a piece and toss the crust. (I don't like crust enough to justify eating the extra white carbs. I try to save sugars and non-whole grain carbs for things that I really, really like, and pizza crust doesn't make the cut.) I'll submit this purchase to my monthly expense report. I had to travel two weeks for work this month, so my expense report will be really high. My husband and I have a travel card that gives us extra points for travel-related expenses, so I'm always happy to use my own card instead of a corporate card. ($175.74 expensed)
1:30 p.m. — Program launch goes off without a hitch, although my presentation could have been better (I'm still working on my public speaking skills). Regardless, I sign up an additional group for the program, meaning this year I've brought in enough business to cover myself and my direct report at our fully burdened rate to the organization we work for.
3 p.m. — I head to the grocery store and buy food for next week: one gallon of organic grass-fed whole milk from a local creamery, one bottle of toasted coconut almond milk, organic butter, olive oil, cheddar cheese, goat cheese, free-range eggs, whole milk Greek yogurt, steel cut oats, and bulk whole wheat flour. $61.96
3:30 p.m. — I head to a farm stand with really cheap local produce. I buy lettuce, endive, radicchio, fennel, spinach, zucchini, beets, tomato, cucumber, peppers, cara cara oranges, avocados, limes, lemons, and grapefruit. $31.25
6:30 p.m. — Tonight I defrost a ball of pizza dough from Whole Foods and let it rise while I work out. When I get back I stretch it out, sprinkle cornmeal on a cookie sheet (someday I'd like a real pizza stone, but for now a cookie sheet works just fine), and add plain tomato sauce I warmed with olive oil and garlic. I top it with shredded whole milk mozzarella, thinly sliced mushrooms, peppers, onions, and black olives. I also make a salad with lettuce, endive, radicchio, shredded carrot, tomato, cucumber, avocado, scallion, tomato, and balsamic dressing. When my husband gets home, we bake the pizza and eat while watching a movie. Then it's a grapefruit for dessert again.
9 p.m. — I have a coupon for a box of pears, so I send them to a friend who has been going through a tough time. Fresh fruit in the middle of winter on the East Coast is always nice. We head to bed around 11. $31.54
Daily Total: $124.75

Day Six

7:30 a.m. — I'm up at my usual time and go for a quick run, yoga flow, shower, and meditation.
9:30 a.m. — When my husband wakes up, we stop by the farmer's market to pick up a fresh loaf of bread, two bunches of carrots, and a carton of fresh but out-of-season (so, not terribly delicious) strawberries. $15.25
10 a.m. — We go to the butcher, something we do every three weeks. We buy four full chicken breasts (we eat one or two a week), a pound of chicken thighs, a flatiron steak, a pound of ground turkey, a half pound of bacon, sliced turkey, and smoked gouda. The meat isn't very cheap here, but the quality is excellent. When we get home, my husband carefully cuts all the tendon attachments off the chicken breasts and freezes them in individual bags. $87.57
11:30 a.m. — My husband makes us scrambled eggs, bacon, fresh avocado toast, strawberries, and grapefruit. I wash and prep all the veggies I bought yesterday and make us a bunch of sautéed spinach to go with our brunch.
3 p.m. — We spend the afternoon watching '80s action movies and I research London restaurants. We have five nights in London, and we want to eat a different Michelin star restaurant each night. I carefully look at each menu, scroll through Google photos of the restaurants, read independent reviews, and Google Map the distances from our hotel. I try to get my husband interested in the details, but he just says "yes" to everything. Some of the restaurants I can already make reservations at; others won't accept them until 90 days out. I mark my calendar to remind myself to make them as soon as I'm able. I also research coffee spots for the mornings and pick a few good bakeries for lunches.
5 p.m. — My husband peels a few oranges and creates a smorgasbord of cheese and crackers for a snack. I continue my London planning. It seems a bit obsessive, but I find that we're far more able to take advantage of the places we visit due to my planning. I try not to lock us into anything except dinner reservations (usually after 8 p.m.) so that if we find something more interesting than what I've planned for us when we get there we can easily do that instead. But through my research, I learn the geography of the places we visit and have a better framework to understand any new options I discover once we're there.
8 p.m. — I defrost white bean and farro soup for dinner, and make us avocado toast to go with it. We rent a movie on iTunes and head to bed around 11. $5.99
Daily Total: $108.81

Day Seven

7:30 a.m. — Coffee, yoga, meditation. I read a new book on the sofa until my husband wakes up and makes us pancakes for breakfast. He usually makes a double recipe and eats a leftover pancake for breakfast every morning. We're creatures of habit.
11 a.m. — We head out for an easy three-mile hike; the weather is beautiful, but as usual in the Bay, its pretty crowded. We're both from the East Coast and miss the seasons, and we hope to move back within the next three to five years. In our area, any house that's big enough for a family, nice enough that we'd want to live there, and with a 20-minute commute in each direction will cost us $1.5 to $2 million. The down payment we'd need to make to bring our mortgage payments into the realm of feasibility would be almost all of our savings, so we'd rather move back east.
3 p.m. — I take a shower, do a face mask, fold laundry, prep lunches for tomorrow, and set out my clothes.
6:30 p.m. — We head to a nearby restaurant with some of our couple friends. The restaurant serves small plates for sharing, so we order as a group and split everything. We each start with a drink and then share a really wide variety of food; it's all amazing. We end with two desserts: a chocolate lava cake (that I could have eaten by myself), and an olive oil strawberry shortcake that I passed on after a bite. Next time we'll order two chocolate cakes. $80.46
9 p.m. — We stream Netflix and relax for the rest of the night.
Daily Total: $80.46
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