A Week In New Jersey On A $142,000 Joint 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.
Today: an assistant director working in higher education with a joint income of $142,000 who spends some of her money this week on a decorative basket.
Occupation: Assistant Director
Industry: Higher Education
Age: 30
Location: New Jersey
Salary: $63,000
Husband's Salary: $79,000
Paycheck Amount (biweekly): $1,680
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,350 for a two-bedroom duplex
Student Loans: $0 (paid off last year)
Car Payment: $320
Utilities: $175
Internet: $90
Car and Rental Insurance: $120
Health Insurance (covers my husband and me): $376
NPR Donation: $15
NY Times Online: $6
Spotify/Hulu: $5
Netflix: $12
Church Tithing: $120
Barre and Yoga Studio: $170
Savings: ~$2,800 (saving for house down payment)
Retirement: ~$500 retirement (my employer matches)

Day One

6:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off, and I get out of bed and try not to wake my husband, L. I like to have some quiet time alone in the mornings, so I tiptoe downstairs and make myself toast with peanut butter and catch up on some articles I've been meaning to read. We get The New Yorker, and I have an online NY Times subscription, but I don't read either as much as I'd like. Eventually L. wakes up and brings me a cup of coffee. I've only been drinking decaf for the past few months, but I still like the ritual of having a cup in the morning.
8:30 a.m. — I take a shower and get dressed so we can head to church. I was pretty involved in my Catholic church growing up, but the church broke my heart in too many ways and I left when I was 20. We found a Protestant church a few years ago that felt like a good fit. I know it's not for everyone, but it feels good to be part of a church community that's really welcoming and cares about social justice.
11:15 a.m. — We get out of church and walk a few blocks down to get crepes, which we pay for with a gift card. On our way back home, I stop at the stationery store to pick up some birthday cards for friends. Nearly all of my closest friends live far away, and I'm trying to be better about staying in touch with them. $13.81
2:20 p.m. — After putting away some laundry and cleaning the bathroom and kitchen, I head to the coffee shop near our house to work on a paper. The university where I work pays my tuition, which is an awesome benefit. When I got my master's degree, I was in school full-time. It's been much harder balancing grad-school work with a full-time job, but I'm getting through it. I order an iced tea and start working on my outline. $3.15
6:30 p.m. — I'm not done with my paper, but I'm hungry, so I go home. L. meal-prepped while I was out, so I make a bowl with rice, roasted veggies, and poached eggs for dinner.
8:30 p.m. — My phone alarm goes off, and I need to do injections. We've been trying to have a baby for almost two years and haven't had any success. We're both healthy and so far just had bad luck. After we tried IUI a few times with no success, our doctor recommended we give IVF a shot. I'm on my eighth night of injections and am starting to get some bad bruises. After I'm done with my shots, I do my skin-care routine — Fresh Soy Face Wash, Drunk Elephant Glycolic Night serum, Glossier moisturizer. I spent two years finding a skin-care routine that finally worked for me, but the fertility meds have made my acne return in full force, and it's made me so self-conscious.
9 p.m. — I take my nightly handful of supplements and watch Big Little Lies with my husband. By the end of the episode, I'm dozing on the couch, so I brush my teeth and head to bed.
Daily Total: $16.96

Day Two

5 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I get out of bed. Getting dressed takes a little longer than I'd like — I'm so bloated that most of my pants don't fit. I settle on black high-rise jeans that have a lot of stretch and a loose top that covers my belly. I use a warm washcloth to wet my face and apply Drunk Elephant Vitamin C serum and moisturizer. I decide I don't care about makeup today, so I just comb through my eyebrows and put a bit of mascara on.
6:20 a.m. — I have to go to my doctor's office for bloodwork and an ultrasound, so I fill my travel mug with coffee, throw some leftovers from last night's dinner in a container for lunch, and leave the house. It's not too crowded today, but they're moving a little slowly, so I'm in the office for about half an hour. New Jersey has mandated infertility coverage, and I have incredible insurance. We've spent about $1,000 this year on copays for office visits and prescriptions, but nearly everything is covered, which has taken so much stress out of the situation.
7:15 a.m. — I stop at the grocery store to grab some Larabars to keep in my office and eat one for breakfast. I listen to The Daily on my drive to the office and get to work almost an hour before everyone else. Summer is definitely a quieter time on campus, but I have some big projects I'm working on. I close my door for the morning so I can get some work done without interruptions. $7.99
12 p.m. — My nurse calls and says my results look good and reminds me to drink electrolytes. I drive to the supermarket down the street during my lunch break to pick up a few bottles of Gatorade. I heat up leftovers when I get back to my office. $9.93
1:30 p.m. — I make a cup of herbal tea before I head to a meeting and realize that everything I've been reading on Twitter about how excessive air conditioning in offices is ruining women's lives is true. I have my space heater running more days than not, which is so silly when it's 86 degrees outside.
4:45 p.m. — I wrap up work and change into shorts and a tank top. I take a two-mile walk around the campus and listen to This American Life. I usually take barre and yoga classes four days a week, but my nurse said that until my egg retrieval, I'm only allowed to walk.
6 p.m. — I drive to my counselor's office for my weekly appointment. Infertility has definitely had an impact on my mental health, and when food, exercise, and journaling weren't helping as much as they usually do, I found a counselor. The counselor I see is out of network, but she specializes in infertility and women's health issues. My anxiety has been a little heightened this week, especially at work. Some days I dream of what it must be like to have a job that doesn't require me to be sending emails all day long. I waitressed all through high school and college, and I'd be lying if I said I don't miss it sometimes. I've thought about leaving my job, but the tuition and insurance benefits are too good to pass up right now, so I'm committing to sticking it out for at least another year. $80
7 p.m. — I head home, and L. is grilling chicken and veggies for dinner. He went to the farmer's market and the grocery store to stock up for the week, because he's dreamy like that. His schedule is a lot lighter in the summer, so he takes on a lot more of the housework. I take my dinner into our office and keep working on a paper that's due tomorrow. $58.57
8:30 p.m. — Time for injections. Usually L. sits with me while I do them, but we both find it's less stressful if I inject myself. I do my skin-care routine and put my pajamas on before going back to my paper.
10:10 p.m. — I make a cup of tea and realize I'm too tired to do any more writing. I decide that the paper is good enough and head to bed.
Daily Total: $156.49

Day Three

5:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off, and I immediately realize I feel pretty terrible. I feel like I have a hangover, except I haven't had a drink in nearly a month. I take some Tylenol and stay in bed to watch the news for a bit. I email boss to let her know I need to work from home this morning. She knows we're in the middle of an IVF cycle, and she's been really understanding.
10:40 a.m. — I take a break from working to make two fried eggs and toast for breakfast. I take one last look at my paper while I eat and submit it online so I don't have to think about it anymore. After, I take shower and don't wash my hair, because I'm hoping dry shampoo can get me through one more day. I put on a little bit of makeup today — Bare Minerals concealer, Glossier cloud paint, and Lash Slick. I put on my loosest pair of pants and grab a sweater for the office. I pack dinner (leftovers) and injections to take with me, because I have class tonight.
12:40 p.m. — I mobile order an iced coffee from Starbucks on my way to work and get stuck in traffic after I pick it up. We have a staff meeting today, so I rush to the office and eat a Larabar I find in my bag. $2.61
4:45 p.m. — Work's over, but I still have class tonight. I heat up my dinner in my office and call my mom to chat for a bit. We live several states apart, but I try to talk to my parents a few times each week.
6 p.m. — I go to class and regret that I didn't wear Uggs in July. I truly hate air conditioning.
8:20 p.m. — I step out of class to do my injections in a single-use bathroom down the hall. I'm trying to hurry and also not make any mistakes, which isn't the best combination. Over the past few months, I've gotten used to doing shots in strange places.
9:30 p.m. — I get home from class, take a shower, and spend some time talking to L. for a while before we both go to sleep. He had a tough day at work, so I listen to him vent. He's my favorite person, and I'm a little sad that life feels hard right now.
Daily Total: $2.61

Day Four

5:15 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I get out of bed. I try to make my hair look presentable after sleeping on it wet. I do my 10-minute skin-care and makeup routine and spend 15 minutes searching for an outfit that doesn't make me feel like it might bust open with one wrong move. I settle on a loose dress and a long cardigan, because air conditioning.
6:15 a.m. — I pack two hardboiled eggs and a salad L. made me for lunch. He makes me a cup of coffee in my travel mug, and I head out for my ultrasound and bloodwork. I get into the office early (again) and eat some oatmeal while I read some articles from a higher-education news digest I get emailed every week. It feels like every week Betsy DeVos is doing something more gross.
9 a.m. — I'm in a training session all morning, and it's nice to spend some time with colleagues I don't see much. I am notorious for having too many beverages with me, and today is no exception — water, coffee, Gatorade.
12:15 p.m. — I eat lunch in my office and check my email. I also call a parent who left me three frantic voicemails. Talking to parents can be the hardest part of my job sometimes, especially when they yell at me for things outside of my control. This parent is actually kind and seems to feel a lot better after we talk. On my way to my meeting, my nurse calls and says we're going to switch up my medications because I'm almost ready for egg retrieval. She emails me instructions for tonight's injections.
1:45 p.m. — I spend the whole afternoon in meetings. I forgot to grab a snack from my office, so I buy a bag of peanut M&Ms from a vending machine. I eat half and save the rest for my next inevitable chocolate craving. $1.25
4:30 p.m. — I leave work a little early for an acupuncture appointment. I've been going for the past few months, and I'm totally unsure if it'll actually help. If nothing else, I get an hour to lie completely still and rest, and who doesn't need more of that? $20
5:45 p.m. — I stop at Whole Foods on my way home, because my prenatal vitamins are 30% off. I pick up two bottles of vitamins and grab some supplies to get me through my egg retrieval — coconut water and popsicles. When I get home, L. has grilled chicken and roasted veggies ready for dinner, but I don't have much of an appetite, so I pick at my plate. $66.57
7 p.m. — I spend some time reviewing my class notes because I have an exam tomorrow. Summer classes move really fast, but it's nice to get a full course out of the way in four weeks. I study on the couch with L. while he grades papers. He was finishing up a grad program last year, so he's really understanding about needing to spend so much free time on class work.
10:05 p.m. — I need to do two trigger injections tonight, and I have to take them at exactly 10:15, so I mix them and watch my clock until then. After, I wash my face and brush my teeth. I spend some time talking with L. before we both fall asleep.
Daily Total: $87.82

Day Five

5 a.m. — Alarm goes off and I'm feeling exhausted. I woke up three times last night, after having bad dreams about making a huge mistake at work. I shower, use some dry shampoo, and put on a bit of makeup. I put on my black jeans again and realize I need to use a hair tie to keep them buttoned. Cool.
6:15 a.m. — L. gets up to pack my lunch and make me coffee, which makes me swoon. I pack my work bag and leave to get bloodwork and an ultrasound. Everything looks good for my egg retrieval tomorrow. I text L. so he can let his boss know he needs the day off. On my way into the office, I listen to The Daily and stop for gas. $39.50
10:15 a.m. — I sneak out of a meeting to give myself my last injection. I'm past the point of caring that my coworker just watched me take my lunchbox into the bathroom.
1 p.m. — I sit outside to eat my lunch and read over my exam notes. My boss is out of the office today, and I send her a text to remind her that I'll be out tomorrow.
6 p.m. — I go to class and take my exam. It's not as bad as I anticipated, but this professor is a tough grader. I eat a Larabar I grabbed from my snack drawer, because I forgot to bring dinner tonight.
9:30 p.m. — I get home and tidy up the house a bit, which is my usual nervous tic. I take a shower, blowdry my hair, and set four alarms because I'm terrified I'll oversleep and miss my appointment in the morning. I collapse on the couch with L. and watch Handmaid's Tale before going to bed.
Daily Total: $39.50

Day Six

5:45 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I get out of bed. I wash my face and get dressed. I'm not allowed to have anything to eat or drink, so I'm a bit cranky. I usually drink a ton of water, and I always wake up thirsty.
7:30 a.m. — We leave for our appointment. It's a 50-minute drive to the office where I'll have the procedure, but I make us leave an extra half hour early in case we hit traffic, which we don't. We hang out in the parking lot and talk about plans for the next few weeks. Infertility can make you feel like you're on a tight leash — appointments can be super unpredictable, so it's hard to make plans. We're seeing friends twice next week, and we're going away for a long weekend after my class ends. I'm so looking forward to feeling a little more normal again.
9:05 a.m. — We check in and have to separate for a while. L. heads off to do his sample, and I get set up with a hospital gown and an IV. Eventually L. gets to come hang out with me, and we meet with the doctors doing the procedure. I go into the operating room for the retrieval, and the anesthesiologist knocks me out almost immediately.
12 p.m. — I wake up feeling a bit groggy but mostly normal. They got 13 eggs, which is more than I anticipated. Once I show them I can get out of bed and walk, they let me get dressed and we leave. I eat a PB&J sandwich I packed and chug a bottle of water in the car. L. stops at McDonald's to get me French fries on the way home, because the internet told me that's a thing. (Note to self: Stop reading infertility forums online.) I pass out in bed almost immediately after we get home. $2.12
3 p.m. — I wake up from my nap and relocate to the couch with a heating pad. I drink water and a coffee and watch Bravo. I look at Madewell's sale and put a bag in my shopping cart, but don't buy it yet. I tend to shop online when I'm feeling stressed or down, and I'm trying to be more conscious of it.
5:30 p.m. — My mom calls, and I fill her in on the day. My husband runs out to grab pizza, and we eat it on the couch. I've never felt more entitled to be my laziest self. $23.50
10:30 p.m. — I spend an hour reading before trying to sleep. (FYI: Taking a nap was a disaster, and I'm wide awake for most of the night.)
Daily Total: $25.62

Day Seven

8:30 a.m. — I wake up and head downstairs. My husband makes eggs for breakfast, and I look at my syllabus to see what I need to get done for class this week. After I eat, my doctor calls to tell us we've got seven fertilized eggs. Now we have to wait to see how many make it through the next five days. She reminds me to stay super hydrated for the next few days. Infertility treatment, I've learned, involves a whole lot of waiting around.
11:30 a.m. — I'm still pretty bloated, but I'm back to fitting in my jeans. I get dressed, wash my face, and brush my teeth so I can leave the house. I head to the coffee shop to work on homework and get my life together. I order an iced coffee and sit at my favorite table. I have a take-home final exam due at the end of the week, so I spend some time reviewing my notes. $3.68
3 p.m. — I stop by Target to pick up a prescription and also decide that I have to have a new basket. I'm a sucker for anything Joanna Gaines makes. I drive home and realize I still haven't had lunch, so I make a salad and down a glass of coconut water. $33.94
5:30 p.m. — I buy lawn seats to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire with a live orchestra next week, because I feel like I deserve a reward for surviving the week. I sort through a mountain of laundry and pour myself a glass of wine. I've mostly quit drinking, but since I'm done with fertility meds for the next few weeks, I'll indulge. $76.90
8:15 p.m. — I heat up leftover pizza, and we eat dinner on the patio. After, we spend too long picking a movie to watch and finally settle on Vice. I use Drunk Elephant Baby Facial, which is my skin-care equivalent to a glass of wine after a long few weeks of fertility treatments.
11 p.m. — I take some melatonin and hope for better luck sleeping tonight.
Daily Total: $114.52
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