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A Week In Washington, D.C., On A $98,000 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. We're asking real people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.
Today: a nanny who makes $98,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Lululemon leggings.
Trigger Warning: This Money Diary mentions an abortion.
Occupation: Nanny
Industry: Childcare
Age: 22
Location: Washington, D.C.
Salary: $98,000
Net Worth: ~$214,500 ($20,000 in an IRA, $21,000 in a 401(k) from my previous job, $159,000 in investments, $7,500 in an emergency fund, and $7,000 in my checking account. I also have a trust fund from an inheritance, but I don't know how much is in it and I don't touch it.)
Debt: $0
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): ~$3,000, depends on if I work overtime
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,460 (for my half of a two-bed, two-bath split with my childhood best friend)
Electricity: $30
Internet: $40
Car Insurance: $620 every six months
Cell Phone: $50
Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
My parents definitely encouraged us to go to college, but my sister didn't go and they were accepting of the fact that it wasn't the right path for her. My grandfather set up a college fund for all of us before he passed away suddenly, so my college was paid for with that.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
I was always very into budgeting and financial planning. I have four siblings and everyone in my family knows I'm the only financially responsible one. Even when I was little, whenever I got money for my birthday I would always want to go put it in the bank. My family isn't super open about money but they would always answer questions if I asked.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I started nannying when I was 15 and absolutely loved it. I made great money and I really only got a job for something to do with my time.
Did you worry about money growing up?
I am blessed to be able to say that my family has been very financially stable my whole life. I still to this day have no idea how much my parents make. Both of my parents are pretty successful and my mother made sure to instill in me that I should never be financially dependent on a man.
Do you worry about money now?
Not really.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I graduated college at 20 during the pandemic and lived at home for a year paying $500 a month in rent. I moved out after exactly a year and have been 100% independent since then.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
I do have a pretty hefty trust fund. My grandfather suddenly passed away when I was younger and I inherited a good amount of money. I have no interest in touching this money anytime soon, I honestly don't even know exactly how much is in it. The money just feels dirty to me and if I ever do use it, it will be very far in the future. Part of me just wants to donate all of it. My college was also completely paid for by my family.

Day One

7 a.m. — I wake up and immediately get up to make lattes for my boyfriend, R., and me. While R. slowly wakes up, we drink our lattes and decide quickly that we want to go on a walk to the monuments before it rains. R. is visiting from out of town (we are long distance), so we want to get as many activities in as we can. We have a quick breakfast before we go, I have a piece of toast and he has a protein bar.
9 a.m. — We walk to the Washington Monument, and while we're there we decide to go to the Archive Museum as well.
11 a.m. — We finish at the museum, and this may be an unpopular opinion, but I thought it was pretty underwhelming. The documents are incredibly faded so I didn't really see the hype in staring at a shadow of the Constitution. We get home and make scrambled eggs and a simple berry smoothie and then head to the grocery store. We pick up eggs, ice cream, ahi tuna, salsa, and veggies. $24.39
1 p.m. — R. complains that he's bored so we decide to go to Gravely Point to lay out and read and watch the airplanes. We pack some green beans as a snack. When we get there we lay out our picnic blanket under a tree and read for a while. I'm reading After I Do by my favorite author Taylor Jenkins Reid. After an hour or so, a big family with tons of rowdy children decides to camp out directly next to us and R. reminds me he has to schedule his vasectomy soon, I get a good laugh out of that. With everything going on with Roe v. Wade we have decided that the best plan for us is for him to get a vasectomy. I have had an abortion before and it is emotionally hard, and I don't want to have to think about the risk of that again. Also, R. getting a vasectomy means I can get my Copper IUD removed, yay!
4 p.m. — It starts raining so we head home and watch Dear Evan Hansen. I make a snack/early dinner of lentil pasta and turkey spinach meatballs.
9 p.m. — We are still a bit hungry so we pick up a Too Good To Go bag from District Taco and share a bowl of chicken, pico, black beans, and rice. $3.99
Daily Total: $28.38

Day Two

7:30 a.m. — We wake up, make our morning lattes, snuggle, and watch Grace and Frankie for a while until we get hungry. I make a breakfast of a fruit smoothie, waffles, and scrambled eggs.
9 a.m. — We shower and start getting ready for our trip to the Washington D.C. Temple. I've been dying to go and I'm so excited to finally get to go. I pick out a just above-the-knee-length white dress and hope that I am dressed appropriately.
11 a.m. — Fun fact, I had the shortest dress in the place. The tour was amazing and the building was beautiful. It is definitely an eye-opening experience and we talk about how grateful we are to have been raised in households that believe in casual Christianity. After the tour, we get lunch at a nearby hibachi restaurant. R. gets a salmon bento box and I get chicken, noodles, and a salmon roll. $26.71
2 p.m. — We get home and watch some more Grace and Frankie while I throw some chicken in the oven to bake. When the chicken is done, we put together my favorite salad. R. shreds the chicken and I add spring mix, cucumbers, diced tomato, roasted red peppers, and kalamata olives. I then make a quick dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, Dijon mustard, and a dollop of honey.
6 p.m. — We eat green beans before heading out to the park for a sunset hike. We have a lot of fun even though the trail is a bit muddy from the rain.
8:30 — We get home and have some salad for a late dinner. Then, we go to the grocery store to pick up some random things. We pick up marshmallows, corn flakes, yogurt, bananas, and peanut butter. The total is $14.72, but R. pays. On our walk home, we snack on some marshmallows.
10 p.m. — We make corn flake Rice Krispie treats and they are perfect and delicious. We watch another episode of Grace and Frankie and head to bed.
Daily Total: $26.71

Day Three

7:30 a.m. — Same morning routine as every day — morning lattes and Grace and Frankie until we get energy to actually move.
9 a.m. — I have scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast while R. has a meeting with his boss. After I finish breakfast, I go on Lululemon's website to buy a new pair of Wunder Under leggings, but apparently they don't make them anymore??? I go on Poshmark and find someone selling lots of great Lululemon so I buy three pairs of Wunder Unders, a pair of shorts, and a shirt for R. $175
10 a.m. — We head out and walk to the botanical gardens. On the way, we see a pro-choice rally so we stop by for a bit to listen to part of the speech. The botanical garden is one of my favorite places and we had a lot of fun. On our walk home, we swing by the library to pick some books I've had on hold.
2 p.m. — Work time! I pick the kids I nanny, K. and P., up from school. We get to their place and spend the afternoon coloring and painting. We then have a dance party and I make them dinner.
7 p.m. — Bath time goes smoothly and the kids are asleep. I do the dishes, clean the kitchen, clean up toys, fold laundry, and take the trash out. I leave around 8, which is pretty early for me, yay! I get home and R. and I finish the salad we made and then have some coffee ice cream. The sunset is beautiful so we go for a quick walk.
9:30 p.m. — We watch one more episode of Grace and Frankie and make some popcorn on the stove and then bedtime.
Daily Total: $175

Day Four

7 a.m. — R. and I wake up and watch Grace and Frankie while we drink our lattes, big surprise.
9 a.m. — We decided to do our morning walk in Old Town Alexandria. We stop to get smoothies for breakfast. $8.81
12 p.m. — We swing into a thrift shop and I pick up a fun floral dress and a puzzle for me and a pair of Brooks Brothers shorts, a cute duck tie, and a belt for R. The total was $30 and I paid. We then pick up a turkey wrap from Trader Joe's to share, and R. pays. On our way home, I see a gas station that has gas for $4.35 so I take advantage of the good deal (gas near me is over $5) and fill up my tank. R. pumps so he pays for it this time. $30
2 p.m. — We get home and walk to the grocery store and pick up arugula, a lemon, pasta, cheese, and some apples. The total is $16.40 and R. pays.
6 p.m. — R. makes salmon and I make pasta and arugula salad. After we eat, we head up to the rooftop to read during the sunset.
9 p.m. — We come back to my apartment and play cards for a bit before going to bed.

Daily Total: $38.81

Day Five

6:40 a.m. — I wake up a little early and R. begrudgingly gets up with me for lattes and Grace and Frankie. I keep talking about wanting new midi-length dresses for the summer so I have something to wear to nannying other than workout clothing so I shamefully place my first ever order on Shein. I buy almost 20 options and many will probably be returned. $210.28
8:30 a.m. — We go on a morning walk and run into an adorable family of geese with so many baby goslings, so I of course take 40 pictures. On our walk home, we stop at the grocery store and get Peet's coffee beans, yogurt, and yellowfin tuna. $27.56
12 p.m. — For lunch, we make turkey burgers from the freezer, I roast some green beans, and we have salad on the side.
2 p.m. — Work time! I pick up P. and K. from school. We play outside for a while. We then go inside and I make dinner. I used to bring a salad for dinner but I saw a TikTok about women caregivers eating a different “healthier” meal from the family and the lasting effects of that. It really opened my eyes and now I eat the same dinner that the kids eat and we all eat together.
7 p.m. — The children are in bed and I clean up just like always. I do all the dishes, laundry, clean the playroom, all the fun stuff.
9 p.m. — I get home and R. and I make some more corn flake marshmallow bars. Super yummy! We watch Grace and Frankie and then head to bed.
Daily Total: $237.84

Day Six

5:50 a.m. — I wake up and try for about 30 seconds to go back to sleep but give up and wake R. up to keep me company. We watch Grace and Frankie and drink our lattes while we slowly wake up. We make a big batch of waffles and have some for breakfast and freeze the rest for me to have for breakfast throughout the week. We shower and get ready for the day.
9:30 a.m. — We walk over to the botanical gardens but leave quickly because of the insane amount of middle schoolers. We have tickets for the Library of Congress, so we head there.
12 p.m. — We come home and I make us seared tuna for lunch to put over a salad. I then finish the corn flake marshmallow treats. We rest, hang out with my roommate, and talk for a while.
2 p.m. — Work time. I pick the kids up and we play outside in the horrible heat, have dinner, do bath, and color some pictures.
7 p.m. — Post-bedtime clean, I do all the dishes and laundry and then camp out on the couch watching a movie and scrolling TikTok.
1 a.m. — The parents get home and I head out. R. is already asleep when I get home so I quietly climb into bed and try not to wake him.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

6:30 a.m. — We wake up for lattes and Grace and Frankie followed by a breakfast of scrambled eggs and waffles.
9 a.m. — It is R.'s last day here and it's 100 degrees outside today so we just have a chill day in and spend a few hours playing card games. My Poshmark package arrives and literally nothing is as described so it's all being returned, sadly.
12 p.m. — We decide to just have lunch in. I have Kraft unicorn mac and cheese (the shapes taste better and you can't convince me otherwise). R. has turkey meatballs and yogurt.
1 p.m. — I drop R. off at the train station and instantly burst into tears, we both have busy work weeks for at least the next month so we don't know the next time we will be able to schedule a visit. Long distance sucks.
2 p.m. — P. and K. are in good moods but it's so hot out so we take a trip to Target. We buy some snacks, a splash pad for outside, and some craft supplies. This goes on the parents' credit card, obviously.
5 p.m. — We get home and the kids want to play with the splash pad and I realize that to use it you need a hose converter that we don't have. So now P. and K. are in full-blown meltdown mode. We switch our focus to dinner.
7 p.m. — Bedtime for the kids. It was a long day so I am very happy to be able to curl up with my book on the couch.
1 a.m. — Parents are home and I am off. I get home and get sad all over again that R. is gone. I wind down and go to sleep.
Daily Total: $0
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