A Week In Lafayette, IN, On A $99,200 Joint Income

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Today: a project engineer who makes $57,200 a year and spends some of her money on Swiffer refills.
Occupation: Project Engineer
Industry: Manufacturing
Age: 24
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
Salary: $57,200 + annual bonus for me (between 2-6% based on performance), $42,000 for my fiancé (we have a joint bank account and all of our purchases come from the same account)
Paycheck Amount (1x/week for me, 2x/month for my fiancé): $830 for me (after taxes, dental/vision insurance, and 401(k) contribution), $1,300 for my fiancé (after taxes)
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $545 (My fiancé's and my share of a two-bedroom apartment that we live in with my sister.)
My Car Loans: $449 (My car payment is very high because when I was 19, I bought a car with a very high-interest loan, since I really had to have one. Unfortunately, it was a lemon, and it was barely drivable through college. Since my commute is an hour each way, my fiancé and I decided to get a new one to ensure my safety. The loan on this car also includes what was left on the old loan.)
Fiancé's Car Loans: $192
My Student Loans: $444
Fiancé's Student Loans: $30 to his parents
Utilities (electricity & water): ~$150 depending on the time of year
Cell Phones: $180
Car Insurance: $112
PlayStation Vue: $40
Netflix: $12.99 (My parents and sister also use this.)
Hulu/Spotify: $4.99 (We get a student discount with my sister's school email. She uses it as well.)
HBO GO: We use my fiancé's parents' account.
Health Insurance: We're still on our parents' plans.
Dental/Vision Insurance: $7.61/paycheck (My fiancé is still on his parents' plan.)
Roth IRA: $300
My 401(k): $100 with employer match
Fiancé's 403(b): $0 (He is a teacher, so his school corporation puts money in a 403(b) for him, but he does not currently contribute because we are trying to keep a lot of our savings liquid for our wedding and buying a house.)
Savings Account: ~$1,500 a month between the two of us, sometimes more

Day One

6:30 a.m. — My fiancé, E., wakes up for work. I am working from home today, so I get up with him and take the dog out. On weekdays, this is sleeping in for me, so I get to work after E. heads to school.
10:30 a.m. — I finish everything I had to get done for work today. I am so much more productive at home! I grab my grocery list and head to do some grocery shopping. I stop for gas first. $31.11
11 a.m. — I leave my first grocery store. I literally only bought a block of cheese and reusable grocery bags for cold groceries. In my defense, the cheese was on killer sale. $2.64
11:45 a.m. — I hit two more grocery stores. I make a list every Thursday and compare prices at the two main stores close to us. It takes a long time to compare every item, but it probably saves me around $10 a trip. I buy ingredients for chicken enchiladas, chili, and lasagna. I also get strawberries, apples, bananas, grapes, celery, carrots, peppers, potatoes, milk, eggs, butter, cottage cheese, sour cream, chicken breast slices, apple juice, Powerades for E.'s baseball games, Diet Mountain Dew, granola bars, and Bagel Bites for his classroom. $71.19
12 p.m. — I put the groceries away and eat leftover pasta with my sister, L., for lunch. She is in college and doesn't have class or work on Fridays.
1 p.m. — L. and I leave to go to my parents', who live about an hour away. We stop at their house to let the dog do his business, and then we drive to pick up my younger sister, V., from school. She is so excited to see the puppy. We stop for ice cream at our favorite local shop as a special after-school snack for her ($11). I have a chocolate cone, L. has a cup of black raspberry ice cream, and V. has a pretzel because she doesn't like ice cream. What kid doesn't like ice cream?! $11
5 p.m — My dad gets home from work, and my mom orders pizza. My parents pay.
8 p.m. — L. and I head out after an evening of playing with our sister and eating. We stop by a convenience store to get waters and gum for the drive ($5.56). E. grabs a buffalo chicken sandwich from a local spot ($12.23) and a soda ($1.38) on his way home from coaching baseball practice. $19.17
9 p.m. — We get home and hang out for a while. I take the pup out, take a shower, do my face routine, and we all go to sleep around 11.
Daily Total: $135.11

Day Two

5 a.m. — I wake up to take the dog out and go back to sleep.
9 a.m. — E. and I sleep in today. When we get out of bed, I make scrambled eggs and toast. We eat that with some grapes while we watch a few episodes of The League.
11:30 a.m. — After we clean up breakfast, we head to the library. E. picks up our books while I sit in the car with the dog. We try to bring him a lot of places because he loves car rides.
12 p.m. — We had to go to the library across town, so by the time we get to our side of town, we are hungry again. We stop at Wendy's. I get chicken nuggets and E. gets a hamburger and a chicken sandwich. We also each get fries and a Frosty. $20.58
1:30 p.m. — I get in the shower and get ready for my office Christmas party. It was originally supposed to be in January, but it was rescheduled for this weekend. Woo-hoo, Christmas in April! I put on a full face of makeup, straighten my hair, and get dressed. E. showers and packs while I primp (we're staying the night at the hotel where the party is happening).
3 p.m. — E. and I crate the dog and head out. My sister will be home in about an hour, so he won't be alone long.
5 p.m. — E. and I check into our hotel room and relax until the party starts.
6 p.m. — The party has started, and I have a vodka tonic from the open bar while we mingle. E. has a beer.
7 p.m. — Dinner is served. I have prime rib, mashed red potatoes, and a side salad. E. has prime rib, braised chicken, mashed potatoes, and a salad. For dessert, we each have a piece of cheesecake.
8 p.m. — The entertainment for the night is a hypnotist, which is always entertaining. I have another vodka tonic while we watch. We're going on a riverboat casino (fancy party!), so E. stops drinking so he can focus on gambling later. We have never gambled before and are pretty excited.
9:30 p.m. — E. and I head downstairs and onto the boat where the casino is. We each grab a beer before we start walking around ($7, plus $3 tip). $10
10 p.m. — I play a few different penny slots and video poker games and have absolutely no luck, so I decide that I am done for the night ($10). That's show business, baby. $10
10:30 p.m. — E. finds a $15 minimum blackjack table and puts a $20 down. After about 15 minutes, he is up $140 so he cashes out. On our way to the cashier, we spot my work friend at a $10 table and E. decides to hop in with him. I grab another beer ($3.50, tip $1.50). $25
12 a.m. — E. seems to be finishing up, so I grab a glass of wine while he decides if he should quit ($4.50, $2 tip). After I drink it, E. decides to cash out, which is probably wise because I am feeling tipsy. Over the course of the night, E. turned his original $20 into $285. We decide that it's probably beginner's luck, so we likely won't return to the casino in the morning. $6.50
12:30 a.m. — E. and I hang out in the hotel room, shower, and watch TV before we crash out around 1:30.
Daily Total: $72.08

Day Three

8:30 a.m. — We wake up slowly. I am feeling the drinks a little more than I expected to, but I guess that's what happens when you drink liquor, beer, and wine all in the same night. We collect all of our belongings and check out.
9:30 a.m. — We stop for McDonald's breakfast on the way home. Fast-food breakfast is our weakness on the weekends. I get a bacon-and-egg sandwich, and E. gets a steak-and-egg sandwich. We both get hash browns and a Diet Coke. $13.55
10 a.m. — We stop for gas off the interstate ($29.25), and I run into the station to get E. some ibuprofen because he has a headache ($2.15). $31.40
12 p.m. — We are finally home and with our precious pup. We do the weekend laundry and clean up so we can veg out the rest of the day.
1:30 p.m. — I head out to get more junk food lunch. We pick Five Guys. I get a cheeseburger and E. gets a cheeseburger with an extra patty. We split an order of fries. $20.78
7 p.m. — We have done nothing all day except watch The League. E. heads out to grab a buffalo chicken pizza for himself and garlic twists for me at a local pizza place ($27.60). We would never eat out three times in one day during a typical week, but E. is super proud of his winnings and wanted to spend a little before we put the rest in our bank account. Junk food and television is one of our favorite pastimes, so this is how he decides to splurge. Love him. $27.60
9 p.m. — We take the pup out for a bedtime stroll, clean up our lazy day mess, take showers, do our nighttime routines, make lunches, and hit the hay around 11.
Daily Total: $93.33

Day Four

5:30 a.m. — My alarm blares and I slowly, slowly roll out of bed.
5:45 a.m. — E. takes the dog out and makes me peanut butter toast while I do my hair, skin care (cleanser, toner, serum, moisturizer), and put on my work face (foundation, concealer, powder, blush, mascara).
6 a.m. — I leave the pup and E. to play until E. leaves for work. I listen to Crime Junkie and eat my toast on my hour-long commute.
7 a.m. — At my desk, I catch up on weekend news and get to work.
12 p.m. — I finally take a break to eat lunch. I eat in my car today, so I can make phone calls. I work in a very rural area, and I have to drive into town to get reception. I eat celery, carrots, an apple, a banana, and stick of mozzarella while I listen to more Crime Junkie. After I eat, I call the doctor to make an appointment, our apartment complex to set up a time to sign our lease for next year, and the bank to have a new debit card sent to me (I lost my other one and had it locked last week while I looked for it, but I never found it. We use a travel card for all purchases and pay it off every month, so it wasn't a big deal to wait).
12:10 p.m. — E. forgot his lunch at home, so he runs to Burger King on his lunch hour. I guess he is still in a junk food mood. $10.69
3 p.m. — I finish up work for the day and head home. I talk to my mom and listen to the new Murder Squad podcast on the hour-long commute. I'm a huge fan of true crime podcasts, clearly. I am also a fan of Paul Holes's voice.
4 p.m. — Before I get home, I stop at the grocery store to buy ground beef for the chili I'm making tonight ($8.28) and chicken breasts for the chicken enchiladas I'm making on Tuesday ($6.50). The thought of eating meat close to the expiration date really icks me out, so I always try and buy it the day I'm cooking it. $14.78
4:10 p.m. — I check the mail and then get the pup ready for a walk. We walk for about a half hour through the bog near the apartment. I talk to E. on the phone while he drives to his baseball game.
4:45 p.m. — Back at home, I strip my bed and wash all of the sheets and blankets. I also wash the bathroom linens. I empty the dishwasher while the ground beef browns. After the beef is done, I add the rest of the ingredients and leave it to simmer.
5 p.m. — While the chili simmers, I sweep the bedroom floor, make tomorrow's lunches/snacks, and prep chicken enchiladas so that they are ready to bake when I get home tomorrow.
6 p.m. — The chili is done, so my sister and I sit down to eat. We watch an episode of The Act on Hulu.
6:45 p.m. — I clean up dinner and wipe the kitchen counters down. I save a bowl of chili for E. to eat tonight and another for him to take to school for lunch tomorrow. L. and I resume watching The Act.
7:30 p.m. — I decide to shower before E. gets home. L. continues watching The Act and shouts what's happening as I shower. Sisterly love. After E.'s game ends, he stops at Taco Bell for a “light snack” of a mini chicken quesadilla and a bean-and-cheese burrito ($3.10). He's one of those guys that eats more than seems humanly possible but never puts on any weight. $3.10
8:30 p.m. — We're watching yet another episode when I notice the dog is not smelling his freshest. K. and I give him a bath, which he dislikes but allows. He looks like a fluff ball as he zooms around the apartment in an attempt to get dry. I take a few videos capturing his cuteness.
9:30 p.m. — E. finally gets home and eats the chili I made earlier. We all chat and play with the pup a while. I take the pup out at 10:30 p.m., and then we hit the hay after our nighttime routines.
Daily Total: $28.57

Day Five

5:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off, but the pup is quiet and the cuddles are too strong this morning. Snooze.
5:45 a.m. — I am up and rushing. I do my hair, skin care, and work face, and E. makes me some toast. The pup is exhausted this morning. Baths will do that to you, I guess.
6:05 a.m. — I hit the road a little later than usual. I eat my toast and listen to the rest of my Murder Squad episode.
7:02 a.m. — At my desk, I read some news, research the week's weather, and finally get to work.
10 a.m. — My morning is broken up a bit by a hilarious string of texts from my sister describing a nearly failed attempt at making French fries in the oven.
10:15 a.m. — I am already distracted, so I go ahead and place an order on Amazon. I get two dog toys for tough chewers. I get really nervous about the pup swallowing pieces of toys that he chews up, so these put my mind at ease. I also get a bowl for his crate because if he goes too long without food, he gets a bad stomachache. He doesn't stay in his crate too much, but occasionally he'll have to be in there for a few hours. He gets anxious when he can see that no one is home, so being in his crate helps him relax and not have accidents when we're all gone. I also get coconut oil, Swiffer pads, and the Swiffer Wet Jet liquid refills. $49.59
12 p.m. — It is finally lunchtime. I eat celery, carrots, an apple, a banana, and a piece of cheddar for lunch. This is my go-to lunch. If I eat anything heavier, I can't get anything done in the afternoon because I get groggy. I read in the lunch room while I eat.
1 p.m. — I remember I brought Wheat Thins for a snack, so I eat a few of those while I work.
3:05 p.m. — I look up from my computer, and it's time to go home! On my drive home I call my mom, and we chat for a while.
4 p.m. — I check the mail and take the pup outside when I get home. After, I do the dishes and sweep the floors.
4:30 p.m. — E. has been extra tired from teaching and coaching this season, so I decide to make him a treat. He loves no-bake cookies, so I go with that. The warm cookie mixture is impossible to resist, so I take a few bites while the cookies cool.
5:30 p.m. — I throw the enchiladas I prepped yesterday in the oven. I read while I wait for them to cook. They finish right as E. gets home from practice, and we eat while we catch up on our days.
6:30 p.m. — It's super nice outside, so we walk the dog to a dog park near our house. There are no other dogs there, but the pup has a great time chasing his ball and sniffing around. When we get home, I take my shower while E. cleans up dinner and takes the trash out.
7:15 p.m. — We sit down to watch The League while we eat no-bake cookies. I end up falling asleep on the couch after a couple of episodes. I don't wake up until around 10, when my sister gets home from work. It's E.'s turn to make lunches, so he does that while I do my nighttime routine and then we go to bed.
Daily Total: $49.59

Day Six

5:10 a.m. — I'm up early because I have a few things to do before work. I do my hair, skin care, and makeup while E. takes care of the dog and makes toast. I promise E.'s culinary skills go far beyond toast, but it's the only thing I can stomach this early. I am out the door by 5:30.
5:35 a.m. — I stop to get gas after I leave ($28.69). Then I stop at the ATM to deposit a reimbursement check that E. got from his school for paying for umpires at a baseball game last week. I also swing through Starbucks for a London Fog ($4.76). I try and only drink coffee on the weekends, because it makes me too jittery to focus at work. $33.45
6:50 a.m. — I look at the news and get to work on my current project.
12 p.m. — It's finally lunchtime. I eat my usual celery, carrots, apples, and cheese. I ran out of bananas, so I run to the local grocery store to get a new bundle as well as a pack of gum. $3.94
12:45 p.m. — On Wednesdays, E. has a long lunch break, so he and his work friend trade off buying food. It's E.'s turn this week, and they get burritos at a local restaurant. $18.58
2:40 p.m. — I leave a little early today, because the dog has a vet appointment right at 4. I talk to my mom on the phone while I drive.
3:40 p.m. — I scoop up the pup and we head to the vet. The appointment is only to take some stitches out, so there is no charge. I stop at a grocery store nearby and get some Italian sausage. I decide to drive across town to go to Pet Smart, too. Kong crate pads are on sale, and we need something durable since our boy has decided that he's a chewer. $45.25
5:30 p.m. — I make lasagna when I get home and put it in the oven. While it bakes, I shower and clean the bathroom. I like to cook and clean a lot to slow my thoughts down and keep my anxiety manageable.
6:45 p.m. — My sister and I eat while we watch The Act. When E. gets home from practice, he eats and we change over to The Wire. We clean up dinner and take the dog for a short walk.
8:30 p.m. — My sister gets ice cream for everyone. I have a peanut butter sundae. After I eat it, I fall asleep on the couch while they watch a few more episodes.
11 p.m. — E. wakes me up so I can do my night routine and go to bed.
Daily Total: $101.22

Day Seven

5:40 a.m. — I slowly wake up. I am not happy about it. I do my usual routine, and E. makes me some toast. I'm on the road by 6:05, listening to My Favorite Murder.
7 a.m. — At work, I chat with a coworker for a while and slowly get back to work on my project that's due at the end of the month.
12 p.m. — It is finally lunchtime. I talk with a coworker in the lunchroom for so long that I only manage to eat my carrots and celery. They probably think I'm a rabbit. I take the rest of my lunch into my office and eat my apple and crackers with turkey and cheese while I work.
3:15 p.m. — I leave the office for the day and talk to my mom on the phone while I drive.
4:10 p.m. — When I get home I take the pup out, empty the dishwasher, and make myself a baked potato. E. eats leftovers when he gets home, and I get ready to meet my friend for drinks downtown.
6 p.m. — E. drops me off downtown, and I get a pineapple margarita. My friend has a vodka cranberry, and we decide to split an order of chips with salsa, queso, and guacamole dipping options. I'm the type of girl who needs several dipping options.
8:45 p.m. — My friend and I wrap up our evening pretty early, since it's a weeknight. We both end the night with a glass of wine. I pick up the bill, since she's still a college student. I remember that struggle too well ($37.81 plus $11 tip). My friend walks home and E. picks me up. What an angel. $48.81
10 p.m. — By this time I am showered, through my nighttime routine, and in bed. Capping the night with a glass of wine always makes me ridiculously tired. I knock out almost immediately.
Daily Total: $48.81
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