A Week In Suburban Chicago On A $325,000 Joint Income

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.
Today: a Partner working in Private Equity who has a joint income of $325,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a Louis Vuitton duffel bag.
Occupation: Partner
Industry: Private Equity
Age: 45
Location: Suburban Chicago
Salary: $325,000 joint — my share is $115,000.
My Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,954.16
My Husband's Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $5,857.85
Gender Identity: Woman
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Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $3,400 (we have a 10-year-old daughter, B.)
Student Loans: $300 (at 0.5% basically free money. Our balance is $28,000.) HOA dues, Property Taxes, and Home Insurance: $2,000
Term Life Insurance: $115
Electricity, Natural Gas, Home Security, Garbage Collection: $335
House Cleaner & Lawncare: $185
Cable and Netflix: $210
Spotify (Family): $14.99
Gogo Inflight Internet: $49.95 (reimbursed)
Mobile: $115 (we pay for parents' lines and my own)
Crossfit: $185 (for my husband, H.)
Husband's Gym: $45
Peleton: $39
Commuter Rail and Parking: $210
Child's Activities: $750
Amazon Prime: $119 (annual)
Credit Card Fees: $1,175 (annual)
Arsenal FC Season Tickets: $4,500 (annual)
Retirment Savings: $48,050 (anually, including employer match — current balance is $900,000)
529 Plan: $550 (For our daughter's school, current balance $225,000)
Family Trust Investment: $2,650 (current balance $125,000, if we have anything left over, we transfer it to a high yield savings account for projects, current balance $25,000)
We also donate anonymously to five non-profits totaling in the mid five-figures every year.

Day One

6 a.m. — I am a former party animal/night owl. Every morning is a struggle to get out of bed, regardless of how early I turn in the night before. Today is no exception. When the alarm goes off, of course, I hit snooze.
6:09 a.m. — As I am about to hit snooze again, I can tell my mom made breakfast — the scent of fried plantains and fresh coffee is beckoning me out of bed. I'm sofa king exhausted. Now that I'm in my mid-40s, I'm gaining weight although my workout schedule and diet hasn't really changed. I also have difficulty falling asleep and I cut back on drinking as a result. I take my meds: Prozac, baby aspirin, and Vitamin D. I also brush my teeth, wash my face (Chanel), moisturize (Algenist), sunscreen (Neutrogena), and put on mascara (Hourglass). I wear a pair of vintage cigarette pants, a blouse, and tweed blazer. I pack stilettos in a drawstring bag and toss them into my work tote. I wear a pair of Stan Smiths for the commute, and join my parents and my daughter, B., downstairs for breakfast.
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6:45 a.m. — I head to work in Chicago on the commuter rail. My monthly pass is $181; if you commute for 14 workdays per month, you basically break even. My parents get B. on the school bus and head back to their house. I appreciate their help so I can make it to work on time. When H. is not traveling, he works from home and takes care of B.'s needs. I get into work and head right into meetings.
11:30 a.m. — I hail an Uber to my former business school. A new school year is in full swing, and the alumni office hosts panel discussions for new students. Alumni are asked to share our experiences about life during and after B-school. I did not plan to be a stay at home mom for the first seven years of my daughter's existence, but life had other ideas. I faced a lot of setbacks while trying to re-enter the workforce, but when we moved back to the Chicago area three years ago, I got a job quickly. I essentially started over and was made a partner a few months ago. I'm grateful my career is back on track. However, in my mind, I'm still way behind the rest of my peers. $23.50
12 p.m. — I sit in on a few panels and then join an alumni lunch where I catch up with a few classmates. Meanwhile, B. has school lunch. $2.70
6:10 p.m. — The panel discussions are over and mine went pretty well! After a brief reception where I indulge in a glass of wine, I share an Uber with some current students who are also headed downtown. My companions don't let me split the cost with them, so I tip the driver $10 in cash since he made multiple stops (and I'm the last). I walk/jog the rest of the way to Union Station in my Stan Smiths. $10
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6:55 p.m. — I missed the train I planned to take and the next one isn't for another 35 minutes. So... I call an Uber pool to the suburbs. While in the car, I FaceTime with H., who is waiting for his flight home. He travels at least two out of every five workdays, so we are used to him being away. He tells me he already supervised our daughter's PT exercises by video chat and said goodnight to her. Hooray for technology. $35.70
7:40 p.m. — When I walk into the house, my parents are taking out a roast beef from the oven. Hooray! B. bounds down the stairs and gives me a quick hug before setting the dinner table. Dinner is so delicious. My parents also steamed jasmine rice and roasted Brussels sprouts with pork belly.
8:45 p.m. — After taking care of dishes and cleaning up the kitchen, my mom helps me fill out some immigration paperwork at the kitchen table. At the time I was born, my parents were not yet naturalized as US citizens. I need to fill out some forms and bring copies of my parents' documents to prove that while I was born in the United States. Once this is completed, I can apply for my dual citizenship (the US and the Philippines) and obtain a passport. I didn't think this would be something I wanted to pursue, but in order to own property in the Philippines, you need to be a citizen. We're working on our long-term retirement plan and want to create options for our family. Who knows? Maybe we can build a beach house in Palawan?
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9:30 p.m. — My parents are asleep when B. and I get ready for bed. We do our skincare together, making sure we both wash our faces and moisturize. I also take Trazadone (sleep/depression) and Singulair (allergies). We're asleep by 10.
Daily Total: $71.90

Day Two

1 a.m. — H. finally arrives home from the airport and joins me in bed. I roll over and go back to sleep.
5:30 a.m. — I jolt out of bed as I hear the alarm clock, mostly not to wake up H. After doing my morning routine, I put on a black pencil skirt, a black pussy bow (if only there was a better description, but you know what I mean) blouse and a black blazer, and pack low heeled pumps in my work bag. I wear flats as commuting shoes. My parents are already awake, having coffee and reading the paper. My dad offers to make me breakfast, but I let him know I have to leave much earlier today because of a work meeting. I give them hugs goodbye and thank them for their help.
6:47 a.m. — I pick up a pre-ordered grande no-whip mocha from Starbucks at Union Station as I head to a nearby bus stop (I have an offsite meeting today). $4.96
7:03 a.m. — The bus arrives exactly as Google Maps predicted. It's kind of impressive how technology has made commuting easier. On the way, I sip my coffee and flip through my script. Once there, I have some breakfast provided by work. $2.25
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10:45 a.m. — I get through my presentation without a hitch and once it's done, I feel like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.
12:30 p.m. — All of our presentations are done, and we are hosting a lunch. My company is old school — we have a five-course meal complete with two wine pairings. It's probably the best meal I get from my employer. Back at home, H. has leftover roast beef for lunch and he packed B. lunch as well.
2 p.m. — Our guests have departed, and the team is sitting around a table at lunch, finishing the wine and eating the sweets. I ask a server if he could box up a few floral arrangements and the petit fours for our staff back at the office. I share a cab ride back to the office with the other female partners. ($12 expensed)
5:15 p.m. — I'm on my regular train home and my brain is totally fried. I was supposed to have a dinner for one of the non-profit boards that I sit on, but thankfully it was canceled at the last minute. I'm so grateful to be going home on time. H. picks up some last-minute groceries from Heinen's. Since he is the family cook, he wants to have the freshest ingredients available when he wants it. It's annoying that he goes food shopping at least four times a week, but I find we don't have a lot of rotting produce or stale pantry staples. If he doesn't mind all this work, I can't complain, I guess? $33.26
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6 p.m. — So happy to be home with H. and B. Dinner is cacio e pepe, which H. prepares so well. I enjoy a massive bowl of pasta and shower my husband with thanks.
7 p.m. — I take a 45-minute spin class on the Peloton bike, rinse off, and respond to emails on my phone. H. supervises B. with her physical therapy exercises. She has Osgood Schlatters, and her knee has nagging pain since she started lacrosse last year.
9 p.m. — After H. and I tuck our kiddo in bed, we research flights for a quick trip to London in November. H. has season tickets to Arsenal FC and usually goes to three or four games a year. It seems silly, right? Here's our reasoning — if you buy a whole season of tickets, you get better seats. It's easy to resell the games that H. doesn't attend at a premium and it covers the cost of the whole season. Basically, H. goes to the games he wants for free. B. doesn't want to come because she doesn't want to miss school. My parents will be with her while we are away. My dad is B.'s favorite person, and they are making special plans that weekend. H. and I find a decent fare; we will sit in Coach on the way there and Premium Economy on the way home, because I have to go straight to the office as soon as we land. $2,394.06
9:30 p.m. — H. wants to see Death of a Salesman while we are in London because Wendell Pierce is starring as Willy Loman. I do not believe Arthur Miller intended for this play to be performed by an all-black cast, so we think it will be an enlightening experience. The production has had great reviews. We buy two tickets online for an evening performance during our trip then go to bed. $228.67
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Daily Total: $2,663.20

Day Three

6:30 a.m. — B. crawls into bed with me to snuggle. H. is already up and blending smoothies downstairs. For a minute, I think I am running late for work, but we have B.'s parent-teacher conference today. I already told my team I would be at work around 9. Phew! I wear my preferred work uniform of black jeans, a sweater, and high heeled boots.
7:40 a.m. — All three of us head to school for her parent-teacher conference. It's always good to get an update on how B. is doing at school. When we ask her how things are going, she just says, "Fine." and doesn't offer much more info. Typical.
8 a.m. — H. and B. drop me off at commuter rail station. At this time of the day, my regular parking lot is full, and the only available spaces are about 3/4 mile in the opposite direction of our house. It's easier for me to just walk home if that is the case. Because of parent-teacher conferences, B. doesn't have school today. She plans to veg out in the morning, and we arranged for her BFF to come over in the afternoon for a sleepover.
9:15 a.m. — On the way to the office, I pick up a mocha from Caffe Rom. Things are quiet at my company after the frenzy of yesterday's meeting. I'm so glad for some peace. $4.55
11:45 a.m. — My loves have Chipotle for lunch. B. recently discovered burritos and apparently her world is suddenly brand new. $23.27
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1 p.m. — I suddenly realize I'm hungry. There is a cafeteria-style spot diagonally across from our building and they have a delightful sushi buffet. It costs $12.95 per pound and I pay $8.84 for 14 pieces. Heaven! $8.84
3:30 p.m. — H. picks up groceries at Heinen's market: a block of Parmigiano Reggiano, wine, chicken breasts, romaine lettuce, anchovies. $31.69
5:15 p.m. — TGIF! H. texts me that B. and her BFF are having a good time, and he made Chicken Parmesan and Caesar salad. "What wine can I open for you with dinner?" Bless this man. I request a glass of chianti.
6:30 p.m. — Everyone sits down for dinner at our dining table. B.'s BFF announces that chicken parm is her favorite starting right now. She is so sweet!
7:30 p.m. — H. does not look well AT ALL. I send him to bed, take care of dishes, and scrub down the kitchen. The girls seem to have trouble signing into Xbox One, so I stop what I am doing momentarily to help them out. Minecraft is a priority for the tweens, I guess.
10 p.m. — I'm tired, but H. is snoring loudly. I'm pretty sure that if I sleep in our room, all I would think about is how to murder my husband. I decide it's better for everyone if I sleep in a guest room. This way, G can get some semblance of sleep and I won't get his cold. Or punch him.
11:30 p.m. — I think I hear the girls giggling. Do I get up and tell them to sleep? Nah, who sleeps at a sleepover? Thankfully neither of them has to be anywhere important in the morning.
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Daily Total: $68.35

Day Four

7:45 a.m. — H. tries to gently wake me up. Urgent care opens up in 15 minutes and he is headed there soon.
8:14 a.m. — I wake up to a text from H. saying the insurance did not go through. I groggily head downstairs to my desk to text him photos of my insurance card so he can pay the copay. $30
8:50 a.m. — H. is home and yes, he has strep. He washes his hands and makes a batch of challah French toast for his favorite girls. I prep a blender bottle of BCAAs and get ready for the day. I wear my favorite weekend clothes: leggings, a sports bra, tank top, and running shoes.
9:30 a.m. — I go to a SoulCycle class. I bought a 10-pack class a while ago, so I use one of those classes. My recent weight gain is bothering me. I think menopause is coming sooner than planned because my diet hasn't changed, and I work out a lot. As much as I try to fight this, I think it's inevitable that I will have to accept that I may not be able to control this. That being said, making human connections and working out regularly has helped a lot through my bout of depression.
10 a.m. — H. and B. drop her BFF off at home and stop at Walgreen's to pick up antibiotics and buy a new toothbrush since he has to throw his current one away. $6.45
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10:45 a.m. — After a quick shower at SoulCycle (the LeLabo products are pretty nice), I join a friend, L., at a nearby Starbucks. She buys herself a flat white and I order a Grande Mocha $5. I haven't seen L. for months because of our schedules. She is 20 years younger than I am and I'm grateful for the fact that while we are not in similar stages in life, we hit it off. This is a relationship I did not have in my 20's and would have appreciated it a great deal. $5
1 p.m. — I leave coffee to go to a wake of an old school friend. He was a person of integrity and very smart and his passing is very shocking to everyone. Losing him forces my friends and me to think about our own mortality and how we spend our time above the ground. After the wake, I fill my car tank with gas and head home. $35.88
3 p.m. — I get home, eat lunch, and take a nap.
5:30 p.m. — B. and I head to a small music venue to see an artist she is mildly obsessed with called Cavetown. It's only when I back the car out of the driveway that I notice that it's raining cats and dogs. Waze says it will take one hour to get there, but as the weather gets progressively worse, the ETA extends longer and longer. My kid starts to freak out that we'll be late.
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7:13 p.m. — I find a parking spot four blocks away and pay for parking using the Chicago Park app. I try to explain to B. that although the tickets say "Doors 7 p.m." doesn't mean that the show starts at that time. I assure her that Cavetown won't hit the stage earlier than 9. $4
7:30 p.m. — After checking my ID (I need to know how strict staff is because soon my daughter will be coming here without me) and picking up our will call tickets, B. and I belly up to the bar to buy: a hot dog, popcorn, two bottles of Fiji Water, and a glass of Pinot Noir for me. $30
7:45 p.m. — H. is starting to feel a lot better and goes to the nearby movie theater to watch the Downton Abbey movie. I'm glad that he didn't wait for me, because with our schedules these days, he may never see it. He loves his Dowager Countess. $13.75
8 p.m. — B. wants to check out the merch and the line is long. We wait in line while B. has her snacks. We can hear the first act, Jackie Hayes, on stage. I haven't heard her music before and it's always nice to hear something new. B. asks me to buy her a Cavetown hoodie and t-shirt. $75
8:25 p.m. — Chloe Moriondo hits the stage. She's adorkable. I love her. When she announces to the audience that she recently came out as a lesbian, the crowd cheers. It's so encouraging! B. came out to me about four months ago and I try my best to be as positive as I can, but I always second guess myself. So B. and I have an agreement: I have a lot to learn and will be learning alongside you. I will make mistakes, but nothing will change how much your dad and I love you. You can love whoever you want, and so long as they are a good person and you are loved back — we love him/her/them too. But if I say something that comes off wrong, you need to tell me. I need to know how you interpret my words so I can learn better for next time. We need to communicate no matter what.
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9 p.m. — The crowd is getting hyped by, I kid you not, SpongeBob Squarepants songs. I'm definitely feeling my age. I also realize that my digital parking meter needs to be reloaded, because you have to pay for parking until 10, so I add more value on the app. $2.35 including convenience fees. $2.35
9:15 p.m. — Cavetown is finally onstage. My daughter is so happy, and I'm grateful to be here to witness her joy. The lead singer is very sweet, and his music is quite mellow. I'm kind of glad that B. enjoys live music and that going to concerts is our thing together.
10:40 p.m. — The show is over, and we walk to our car. When we get home, we both crash immediately.
Daily Total: $202.43

Day Five

7:37 a.m. — I wake up and I'm exhausted, but wash up and start the day. I know B. will be exhausted so I let her sleep in.
8:10 a.m. — I put on workout gear, prep a blender bottle of BCAAs, and kiss H. a goodbye and head out the door.
8:50 a.m. — I score a parking spot right in front of Barry's Bootcamp and pay for two hours using the Park Chicago app. $8
9:15 a.m. — Time for Barry's. It's my second class, ever. I took a friend here three weeks ago as a birthday treat instead of the usual dinner and drinks. In order to pay her without her knowing the expense, I paid for an intro pack of three classes for $60 and signed her up as my guest. I thought her husband might join us, but he did not. I have one more class to use before it expires next week. Single classes are usually $30, so this one is essentially free. Barry's is a lot of fun and I know I will be sore later today, but I cannot do this on the regular. While I don't belong to a gym, I recently paid for the Lululemon Chicago membership, which comes with a free class at a gym in the city once per month. I will end up driving all over the place for those classes, as well. I bet you are wondering why I'm a member at all. It's because the membership came with a pair of Align II 25" seam leggings with "312 CHI 773" down one of the legs and I'm a complete sucker.
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10:30 a.m. — I try a Mochalicious smoothie from Barry's Fuel Bar on the way out the door. It tastes pretty good, but it's not amazing. Just expensive. At least I know for the future. $10.04
11 a.m. — When I get home, I take a quick shower. I throw on a pair of skinny jeans, a sweater and boots. H. and I decide to go to lunch while B. is at a birthday party.
11:30 a.m. — Sadly, neither H. nor I enjoy our meals. I order a chicken schnitzel with German potato salad, and it is meh. H.'s fish and chips are not so good either. We know better for next time. Order the burgers, or don't go. $54
12:30 p.m. — We pick up B. from the birthday party and drive her to her lacrosse practice and game. Our tollway pass automatically replenishes because of this drive. $20
4 p.m. — Back home with B.'s friend in tow. The girls drop their lacrosse gear by the door and get down to the business of playing Minecraft. I clean up the kitchen while H. places a take-out order — one chopped salad, a medium pizza (1/2 cheese, 1/2 Hawaiian for the girls), and a medium Rudy's special pizza. $57.89
4:30 p.m. — H. heads out to get the food and get gas for his car. $28.17
4:40 p.m. — He decides to stop at Target first to buy a few grocery items (orange juice, thin Oreos, a half-gallon of Naked juice, Sprite, a case of LaCroix, a large bag of frozen chicken breasts, a rack of ribs, a large back of frozen tropical fruit, seedless grapes, a dozen eggs, and a box of butter). $59.16
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7 p.m. — After dinner, H. and B. drive her friend home. I start laundry. With an athletic kid, and a husband in sports nutrition, we have an ass-ton of laundry every week. I have to pre-soak it all in buckets with a scoop of Rockin' Green Platinum Series Laundry detergent. I notice we are running low, so I order another bag from Amazon.com $20.95
8:45 p.m. — I start feeling sick with a cough and the chills. I quarantine myself in the guest room because I cannot stop coughing and fire up my iPad to watch the season premiere of Mr. Robot via Xfinity app. I'm not going to spoil it, but that was sofa king intense.
10:30 p.m. — The last of our laundry is either in the dryer or hanging. I finally drift off to sleep.
Daily Total: $258.21

Day Six

6:30 a.m. — I wake up feeling terrible and my throat is on fire. After texting my admin to let her know I'm not well, I go back to bed.
8 a.m. — I force myself out of bed and go to urgent care. H. stops at Jewel-Osco to pick up meat for pot roast and some parsnips. $25.42
9 a.m. — Yep. Strep. Good times. $30 copay. $30
9:15 a.m. — I pick up my meds from Walgreens ($1.45 copay), throw out my toothbrush head, order a new one from Quip.com ($5), break out the free toothbrush you get from the dentist, and go back to bed. H. makes pot roast in the slow cooker and brews peppermint tea for me. $6.45
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10:45 a.m. — My mom FaceTimes me to say hello from Barcelona. My parents are having a great time. She also tells me they took a walk to the Louis Vuitton on Paseo de Garcia. I had my eye on a Keepall 45 Monogram Eclipse Bandolier bag because my current work travel bag is 20 years old and has seen better days. Mom says she got one for me. With the current exchange rate and AT refund, it cost $1,267. Thanks so much! My mom just saved me $717 (compared to paying full retail and Illinois sales tax). I Venmo my mom (she's a hip septuagenarian) the money and try to go back to sleep. $1,267
11:30 a.m. — I'm hungry. H. is at his regular therapist appointment ($50), so I make lunch for both of us: chicken cutlets pounded thin, breaded and fried, with lettuce, tomatoes, and Russian dressing. H. arrives home just as I finish making them. Perfect timing. $50
1 p.m. — I spend the rest of the afternoon on conference calls or tightening up my meetings for later this year.
2:50 p.m. — B. is home, off the school bus. She has thin Oreos and milk as a snack. She pops her head into the guest room to say hi and we chat about her day. I get a lot of one-word answers, which is her normal.
4 p.m. — H. drives B. to her lacrosse practice and works on his laptop at a nearby Starbucks. $2.95 for an iced tea. $2.95
6:30 p.m. — We have dinner together in the dining room. Pot roast is not my favorite, but the broth is so soothing to my throat tonight. I'm not sure if the antibiotics are kicking in yet, so I'll do whatever it takes to get better quickly.
7:30 p.m. — H. takes care of the dishes and cleans up the kitchen. I try to help him, but he suggests I go to sleep instead. I'm not going to argue. Since we both have the same malady, I think it's ok for me to move back into our room. I pack my work bag for the next day (just in case), wash my skin, brush my teeth, and go straight to bed.
Daily Total: $1,381.82

Day Seven

6:30 a.m. — I wake up and feel so much better; my throat doesn't feel raw. I check my work calendar and realize it would be better for all if I went to the office in case someone needs to talk with me, so I get out of bed. H. and B. are feeling well and in upbeat moods, chatting over breakfast smoothies.
7:15 a.m. — I try to keep my distance from others while on the train. At this point I know I am not contagious, but having strep isn't fun for anyone.
8:00 a.m. — I pick up a chai tea latte on the way to the office. When I arrive, I chat with one of our admins who recently gave her two weeks notice. It will not be the same without her here, but we all grow. I make plans to take her for drinks after work next week. Once I get to my desk, I respond to e-mails and phone calls I missed yesterday. $4.74
8:10 a.m. — H. sees his chiropractor for an adjustment ($25 copay). $25
11 a.m. — My work colleagues have been in and out of my office asking for guidance on analysis or getting my permission for a few to-do items. I let them know I'm not feeling so great and to keep their distance. H. is pressed for time, so he orders a burger and onion rings via Uber Eats for lunch. $23.67
12 p.m. — B. gets lunch from the school cafeteria. $2.70
12:05 p.m. — I pre-order a Chipotle Cowboy Salad from Just Salad using my Ritual App. $11.70
12:55 p.m. — My phone notifies me to start walking to Just Salad and pick up my lunch. I eat it at my desk. I like Just Salad, but the line can be long sometimes. It's helpful to order and pay ahead, but the wait can be an hour. That's nuts!
3:19 p.m. — I finalize a work trip and purchase my plane ticket, round trip to Los Angeles. This will be reimbursed by my employer, so I immediately submit the receipt with my itinerary in order to get a check cut ASAP. ($318.60 expensed)
4:45 p.m. — The office is dead! After wiping down my desk, phone, keyboard, and doorknobs with a Lysol wipe, I leave a little early.
6 p.m. — We sit down for dinner. Tonight, H. prepared chicken stir fry. Yum!
7:30 p.m. — After dishes and kitchen clean-up, I iron a couple of H.'s dress shirts, one of my work blouses, and a stack of pillowcases. I guess I am feeling better.
8:30 p.m. — I hang out with B. in her room and watch episodes of The Brady Bunch on Prime Video.
10 p.m. — H. and I tuck B. into bed and kiss her goodnight, then we snuggle until we fall asleep.
Daily Total: $67.81
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