A Week In Northern Michigan On A $115,000 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: a product development manager who lives on a joint income of $115,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a rotisserie chicken.
Occupation: Product Development Manager
Industry: Manufacturing
Age: 39
Location: Northern Michigan
Joint Salary: $115,000 (our finances are combined)
My Paycheck Amount (1x/week): $750
Husband's Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,766
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $1,452 (I live with my husband, V., and my two daughters, A. (3 years old) and D. (1 year old)
Student Loans: $400
Daycare: $1,200
Car payments: $250
House Cleaner: $160
Netflix: $12.99
Sling TV: $25
Cell Phone: $110
Internet: $60
Savings: 10% of each paycheck gets divided up and goes into our savings accounts and into college funds for the girls.

Day One

8 a.m. — I open my eyes slowly as the light streams in the windows. I glance down at my daughter, D., and see that she's still asleep in her pack-'n'-play. It's our last day of vacation, and I dread heading back home. We've spent the past week at my husband's family's lake house, and it's been magical. D. and my older daughter, A., have had the time of their lives swimming, fishing, and playing with their aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and great-grandparents. D. wakes up, so I take her downstairs. My father-in-law makes us breakfast, and A. comes bounding down the stairs shouting for bacon. She's the best.
10 a.m. — We finish breakfast and my husband, V., packs the car. We stop to fill up the gas tank and grab snacks on the way out of town. Peanut butter crackers, beef jerky, and Chex Mix. All staples for a six-hour road trip. $44.56
5 p.m. — We're finally home. V. unpacks the car while I try to get the girls to burn off some energy by playing in the yard. We have no groceries, so we place an order for take-out. Cobb salads for V. and me, and chicken fingers for the girls. $32.78
8 p.m. — The girls are asleep, and V. is exhausted from driving. We relax on the couch for a bit and go to bed early.
Daily Total: $77.34

Day Two

6:45 a.m. — A. crawled into our bed around 5 a.m. It's a tight fit in our queen bed (we really should just get a king), so I shuffle her into the guest room and I sleep with her in there until V. wakes me up at 6:45. I throw my hair into a bun, slip on a blue dress, and apply some makeup: Elf primer, Huda concealer, Elf powder, Tarte eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara. I get the girls dressed and brush A.'s hair. D. doesn't have much hair yet, so she's easy. We also don't have much for breakfast, so I throw some Cheerios into cups for the girls, and we're out the door at 7:20. My car is making a funny noise, so we drop it off at a garage. I drop V. off at his office and drop the girls at daycare. The gas light dings, so I stop to fill up. $29.75
8:15 a.m. — I get to work and grab a cup of coffee. I work with a lot of overseas suppliers, so my mornings consist of replying to emails that I received overnight.
11:30 a.m. — I run out for some groceries. Blueberries, strawberries, oranges, bread, milk, yogurt, coffee, frozen veggies, lunch meat, cheese, eggs, bacon, salad, sunscreen, and a rotisserie chicken because I don't feel like cooking tonight. I eat my salad at my desk and surf online for a new dress. I'm heading to Chicago next weekend for a girls' trip, so I want something cute to wear. I don't find anything I'm in love with, so I'll have to keep looking. $72.22
2 p.m. — The repair shop calls with the diagnosis. It was a loose heat shield. The damage is only $118.82, so I'm relieved it wasn't anything more serious. $118.82
6 p.m. — Home for dinner. I whip up the rotisserie chicken and roast some cauliflower (Martha Stewart, eat your heart out) while V. plays with the girls.
8 p.m. — The girls have had their baths and are asleep. V. mentions he's not feeling well. I take his temp, and it's 103. Yikes! I send him to the guest room to sleep. Hopefully, he feels better in the morning.
Daily Total: $220.79

Day Three

6:45 a.m. — V. isn't feeling better and is going to work from home today. I wake up, do my normal makeup routine, and throw on blue-and-white pinstriped pants, a white shirt, and silver sandals. The girls get breakfast at daycare, but they're always hungry when they wake up, so they have blueberries and Cheerios and munch away while I get ready. I'm out the door at 7:30 and drop the girls off.
11:30 a.m. — I sit on a nonprofit board, and we have a lunch meeting every Tuesday. I drive downtown and hope that the catered lunch will be decent. Sandwich and salad buffet with brownies for dessert. Not too bad! On my way back to the office, I stop at an alterations store to drop off a jumpsuit I just bought. I think the legs are too wide, and I want to have them taken in.
1:30 p.m. — I'm back at my office and prep for a 2 p.m. meeting. We're introducing some new colors into our lineup, so I have lots of samples to show the rest of my team.
5 p.m. — I leave to pick the girls up from daycare and head home to make dinner. Chicken tacos with beans, cheese, and sour cream with a side of Dr. Praeger's Kale Littles (my girls love these!). We play for a bit after dinner, and then it's bedtime and lights out.
8 p.m. — V. still has a fever, so I once again banish him to the guest room. Since I have some alone time, I plop on the couch and watch The Hills. I know, I know, but it's so good!
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

4 a.m. — D. wakes up and is crying. I head to her room to see what the issue is and see that she's peed through her diaper. Sigh. I clean her up, change her, and throw her into my bed to sleep for a few more hours. I'm not changing sheets at 4 a.m.
6:45 a.m. — We are up and getting ready for the day. I slip on a black dress, pink cardigan, and black sandals. It's definitely a dry-shampoo-and-messy-bun kind of hair day. It's going to be hot, so I make sure I pack the girls bathing suits for daycare. V. is still not feeling 100%, so I'm on kid duty again. He works a block from their daycare, so he normally takes care of drop-off and pickup. It's out of my way, so it adds about 20 minutes to my morning commute. I ask V. to do a load of laundry and to make sure he washes D.'s jammies and sheets as I head out the door.
8 a.m. — I'm at the dentist for a scheduled appointment. I do not like the dentist. But all goes well and I have no cavities. Yay for flossing!
10 a.m. — At my desk answering emails. I realize I'm starving, since I didn't eat anything before heading to the dentist. I have a cup of coffee, a hardboiled egg, and two sausage links.
12 p.m. — I need to make a Costco run. I buy diapers, wipes, laundry detergent, cheddar popcorn, chicken salad, and pre-made stuffed peppers. I also eat all the samples. Back at the office, I secure a reservation at a restaurant for next Friday night in Chicago. It's a reunion of sorts, so there will be a big group of us. $116.82
3 p.m. — I'm working on a few projects for new product launches when I get a text from my friend L. She lets me know that a viewing has been scheduled for our friend's brother, who passed away last week. I let her know I'll duck out of work early to attend.
6 p.m. — I make dinner while the girls are outside playing in the sprinklers. They actually like the stuffed peppers, and I also make a quick fruit salad with blueberries, strawberries, oranges, and Greek yogurt with honey. After dinner, the girls are asleep. V. is feeling a little better, but he still schedules a doctor's appointment for the next morning. I pour a glass of rosé and settle in to watch Stranger Things. I'm so excited for the new season!
Daily Total: $116.82

Day Five

8 a.m. — The girls are dropped off at daycare, and I'm at the office. I grab coffee and a La Croix from the break room and make two sausage links and two hardboiled eggs for breakfast. I have a training session with a new employee at 9, so I don't dive into much work. I answer a few emails and look at my calendar to see what's on my schedule for the rest of the day. I get a text from V. letting me know that the doctor put him on antibiotics and took a throat culture. He should get those results back in a few days.
12:30 p.m. — I'm a volunteer mentor for a youth exchange program, and I need to complete an online training course before my student arrives from the Philippines next month. I eat my chicken salad and popcorn while I review the material and take the quiz. Luckily, I pass on the first try! I also find a dress online at Anthropologie that will be perfect for my girls' weekend in Chicago. I have it sent to the store in Chicago to save on shipping, and I'll pick it up next Friday when I arrive. $130
6 p.m. — Back at home after picking the girls up from daycare. V. and I are eating the leftover stuffed peppers for dinner, so I make mac 'n' cheese and peas for the girls. They're delighted, as it's one of their favorite meals. After dinner, I do some laundry and V. and I watch more Stranger Things until it's time for bed.
Daily Total: $130

Day Six

5:30 a.m. — Why are both of my kids awake? V. is able to get D. back to sleep, but A. is up for good. I let her watch Peppa Pig in bed with us and try to grab 30 more minutes of sleep. Once I'm up, I throw on a black-and-white dress and black sandals for work. I have some extra time, so I do my makeup and curl my hair. V. is back on kid drop-off duty, so we're all out of the house around 7:30.
8 a.m. — Someone brought doughnuts in, so naturally I have one (technically two). I cut a maple bacon and a jelly doughnut in half so I can have the best of both worlds. Back at my desk, I see I received a presentation deck from a webinar I signed up for last week. It provides a lot of good info on shipping procedures for a major e-commerce platform we sell our products on. I review the info and set up a meeting with a few additional coworkers to discuss the details next week.
11:30 a.m. — I duck out for lunch a little early to get a pedicure. It's lovely to spend 45 minutes relaxing without anyone yelling, “Mama” or crawling all over me. I then finish things up at work and head to the funeral. $35
5:30 p.m. — After the funeral, my friend and I decide to grab a drink at a local bar. I have a strawberry basil vodka lemonade, and it hits the spot. We catch up on life and make plans for dinner next week. $12
6:30 p.m. — V. texts me that his parents picked A. up for the night. I'm so lucky to have amazing in-laws who adore our girls. Since we're down to one kid, we decide to go out for dinner. I meet V. and D. at a restaurant with a big outdoor deck. We snag seats at the bar and order calamari, a Caesar salad, and fried zucchini. I also get a glass of sangria. D. tries calamari for the first time and loves it! $52
Daily Total: $99

Day Seven

8 a.m. — D. sleeps in (yes!), and when we're all up, V. makes us eggs and bacon for breakfast. My friend is in town visiting her parents, and she invites us to their beach house for the day. Her parents have an amazing house (and beach), and she has three kids, so it's the perfect play date.
11:30 a.m. — I put D. down for a nap, and V. runs out to get supplies for the beach. Two bottles of wine, a 12-pack of beer, and pretzels and hummus. My in-laws drop A. off. We pack up the car and head to our friend's house after D. wakes up from her nap. The kids have the best time playing on the beach all afternoon. And we're able to catch up with our friends, relax, and enjoy the beautiful weather. Win-win! $48
9 p.m. — We head home after a dinner of Italian beef sandwiches and salad. The girls are exhausted and fall asleep in the car. The sun is setting on the bay, and I think to myself...it doesn't get much better than summer in Northern Michigan.
Daily Total: $48
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