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A Week In Bay Area, CA, On A $80,100 Salary

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Today: a realty specialist who makes $80,100 per year and spends some of her money this week on rental bikes.
Occupation: Realty Specialist
Industry: Government
Age: 31
Location: Bay Area, CA
Salary: $80,100
Net Worth: $358,702 (checking: $1,655, HYSA: $8,949, Acorns investing: $2,122, TSP (retirement): $106,404, KBB car value: $22,000, home value: $472,300, minus debt).
Debt: Mortgage: $240,728, personal loan: $14,000 (used to replace the plumbing in my house).
Paycheck Amount (biweekly): $1,831
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $1,048
Personal Loan: $500-$800 ($485 minimum) depending on my spending for the month.
TSP: $884 (pre-tax).
Life insurance: $26 (pre-tax).
Health Insurance: $224 (pre-tax).
Dental: $26 (pre-tax).
Savings: $380
Acorns: $33
Internet: $70
Cell Phone: On my mom's plan.
Electric: $30-$100, depending on season.
Trash: $41
Water: $35
Home Security: $47
Yard Maintenance: $110
Gym: $23
Streaming Services: $48 (shared with my boyfriend, mom, and sister).

Annual Expenses:
Property Tax: $4,100
Home Insurance: $964
Car Insurance: $1,800
Car Registration: $295
Costco: $60 (my half, split with my sister).
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?
Yes, my parents told me I had to attend a four-year university and that starting at the local community college would not look good. So, that's the route I took. They wanted me to live at home and attend the private college nearby, but I just couldn't live there anymore. I was able to convince them that the state university an hour away was a better school. My parents paid for school and bought me a car. I had a full-time job over the summer and a part-time during school that paid my rent and personal expenses. Despite the strains in our relationship, I'm thankful to them for allowing me to earn a degree without debt. It's the biggest reason I was able to purchase a house in my 20s.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
The phrase I always heard was "save your money," without an explanation. When I asked once, all my mom said was "for the future." We weren't given allowances. If we wanted something, we had to tell our mom the price, explain to her what it was, and whether we thought it was worth the cost. Before I was born, my parents ended up in a bad business situation which led them to be bankrupt and unhoused. Much of what they taught us came from trauma.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
When I was 15, I got a job as a tutor. I got it to delay going home. My parents were strict; I wasn't often allowed to go anywhere and was picked up right after school. With the after school job, I could linger on campus with my friends before work.
Did you worry about money growing up?
No I didn't. My parents had low incomes and struggled with bills when we were young, but we never equated their stress to finances. My dad was an alcoholic who was mean and moody. By the time I was 10, my mom had earned her degree and a much higher paying job that allowed them to buy a house. Even as my dad's drinking and spending habits got worse, my mom seemed so smart that I never worried about her financially.
Do you worry about money now?
I don't. Thanks to my mom's help when I was younger, I've been able to build a career and home for myself. I'm not a high spender and don't plan on having a wedding or kids, so I don't feel pressured to grind so hard.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
Officially, about 28. Although I bought my house when I was 25, my mom was still covering my car insurance. When I bought my current car at 28, I took over all expenses. My mom is absolutely my safety net and I'm sure my sister feels the same way. I hope one day, she will allow us to take care of her.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
My mom gifted me $10,000 towards my house down payment that she said was from my grandmother. My parents bought me a car in college that I sold in 2019 for $4,000. I used that money as a down payment for my current car, which my mom eventually helped me pay off. My dad died two years ago and although we didn't directly receive any inheritance, my mom now covers more of our daily expenses.

Day One

8 a.m. — My alarm goes off. I'm a bit slow getting out of bed this morning. My house doesn't have air conditioning, so it was a little hard to fall asleep in the stuffiness last night. I log into work by 8:30 a.m., then make coffee and oatmeal.
11 a.m. — I take a break to throw in a load of laundry and walk the garden. I pollinate a pumpkin and a few cucumbers. All my wildflowers have died back for the season and I'm worried I'm not getting enough pollinators in my yard, so I'm using an old paintbrush to ensure I get some fruit. I pick a handful of strawberries and go back inside.
1 p.m. — Lunchtime. I put together a burrito bowl with the ingredients I cooked last week. All that's left is some of the ground beef that I'll have to figure out what to eat with later.
5 p.m. — I'm done with work. I've been talking to a friend about having a girls' weekend since we haven't seen each other in a while. We live far apart and want to meet in the middle. She found a hot spring resort and booked it for next month. I Venmo her my half ($266.60). Now a quick YouTube workout, which ends with me laying on my yoga mat for 45 minutes scrolling Instagram. $266.60
7 p.m. — My boyfriend, F., sends me a post that helps you sign up for TSA pre-check. I know it's annoying to travel together since he has it and I don't, so he endures regular TSA with me. I appreciate the gentle reminder and just go to TSA's website to fill out the application and make an appointment. Dinner is random leftovers from the weekend at my mom's house: a couple of samosas, a fried chicken leg, coleslaw, and potato salad. Some pineapple and my strawberries from earlier for dessert.
10 p.m. — Shower, skincare, and brush teeth. Got half the laundry folded and the clean sheets back on my bed. Chat with F. and fall asleep.
Daily Total: $266.60

Day Two

7 a.m. — I go into the office one day a week and try to wake up earlier on these days, to no success. I am not a morning person. I snooze a lot but I laid everything out last night, so it's quick to get ready. Morning skincare is cleanse, The Ordinary hyaluronic acid serum and moisturizer, and Supergoop! sheer mineral sunscreen. I'm packed up and out the door by 8:30 a.m.
9 a.m. — Arrive at work to files on my desk that need to be dealt with. I'm currently working on archiving some records. I warm up my oatmeal and second cup of coffee, brought from home.
1 p.m. — Lunch. Just an Amy's burrito from my freezer and a peach.
5:30 p.m. — There is a small gym in the building's basement. I get on the elliptical for 30 minutes while listening to an audiobook, Wrong Place, Wrong Time.
7 p.m. — I'm home and I head outside to water the garden and pick two cucumbers that I see are ready. Also, one of my sunflowers fell over and the stem snapped. It's disappointing because the seeds aren't mature. I've been seeing the reels where people are grilling young sunflower heads and eating it like corn on the cob. I guess I could try, but don't have the energy tonight, so I cut the head and stick it in the fridge hoping it keeps for a couple days. Shower and throw dinner together. I'm going to use up the rest of the meat from yesterday on nachos.
8:30 p.m. — Usually this time every week, I'm in a book club with three friends over Zoom. But, we are taking a week off between books. I use Libby to download our next book to my Kindle, then use this time to eat and catch up on What We Do In The Shadows.
11 p.m. — F. comes over because he has to go into the office tomorrow and my house is closer to it. We get in bed and catch up since we haven't seen each other in a few days. Fall asleep around 12:30.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

8 a.m. — F. wakes me up to say goodbye and encourage me to get up on time. I log into work. He's already made coffee and I'm so grateful to see he's put away the rest of my clean clothes.
10 a.m. — Garden break and eat my last peach. Nothing to harvest this morning. I receive my credit card statement. A group of friends spent a day out in the city celebrating a birthday last month. I put all the expenses on my card, and everyone reimbursed me for their shares. I make the payment of $437.51, but after reimbursement, my cost is $91.50 (technically part of last month's expenses so won't count it here).
12:30 p.m. — I make avocado toast with fried eggs and cucumber for lunch.
6 p.m. — F. comes back after work to hang out for a couple of hours. After he leaves, I finish the fried chicken, coleslaw, and potato salad for dinner. Watch TV and scroll on my phone the rest of the evening. My nighttime skincare is cleanser, Snail 96 mucin power essence, and I switch back and forth between Neutrogena retinol cream and The Ordinary moisturizer from the morning. Tonight is retinol. In bed around 11.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

8 a.m. — Awake and log in. This morning ends up being very busy with a lot more calls than I usually get in a day. I have coffee and oatmeal between them.
12 p.m. — I hadn't had a chance to get outside until now. Chips and salsa and an Amy's burrito for lunch.
4:30 p.m. — I turn in my timesheet, set my away message, and close up shop for the week. I'm logging off a little early to get to my TSA precheck appointment. It takes a few minutes to complete the appointment and there's a $78 fee. He informs me that I should receive my known traveler number in a couple of days! Why didn't I do this sooner? $78
6 p.m. — Drive back home, $7 bridge toll deducted from my prepaid Fastrak account balance. It's set to automatically refill once it falls below a certain balance. Go to Costco to fill up my tank, $59.12 on my mom's credit card because she wants to cover this for us now. Go inside and get some groceries: apples, blueberries, mini watermelons, ahi poke, cauliflower, Greek yogurt, pomegranate juice, mini its-its, cereal, mixed nuts, and Nature Valley wafer bars ($100.18). $100.18
7:30 p.m. — I was tempted to grab a chicken bake on my way out, but resisted. I have the last of the food my mom gave me last weekend. She made a large pot of beef and cabbage soup. I need to get rid of some broccoli from the back of the fridge, so I add it to the soup. I eat and watch She's The Man.
11:30 p.m. — F. comes over super late after a long day at work. We watch a little TV to unwind and head to bed.
Daily Total: $178.18

Day Five

7:30 a.m. — Although we took the day off, we can't sleep in because we have a ferry to catch! That is an exclamation, but don't be fooled, even just 30 minutes earlier hurts! We are going to Angel Island today. F. was born and raised in San Francisco and is taking me to all of the popular/historic spots around the bay that I've never been to. We pack up our coffee and snacks and head out.
9 a.m. — We arrive in Tiburon, a very wealthy-looking town that I've also never been to. $7 bridge toll deducted from Fastrak. We buy a coffee and a cinnamon roll to share ($14, split). The ferry tickets are F.'s treat ($60). There are also two-day camp groups taking the trip to the island. They are the cutest and loudest little things. Luckily it's a short ride. $7
10:30 a.m. — We arrive on the island and rent bikes to get around for $64 a person. We start our trek counterclockwise around the island. It's been a while since I've done a hilly bike ride... I'm going to be sore tomorrow. $64
1 p.m. — We stop at a little beach on the east side of the island to have lunch. I'm exhausted but having fun. We eat our sandwiches, apples, and mixed nuts.
2 p.m. — Our last stop is the Immigration Museum. I'm embarrassed to say I didn't know the history of this island. I thought it was just another decommissioned army base; but, it horrifically was a detention center for Asian immigrants. F.'s grandfather was detained here when he first immigrated. The site has been turned into a museum and we pay the entrance fee to tour it. $5
3:30 p.m. — The last leg of our ride is all downhill and so frighteningly fast, OMG. We return the bikes and board the ferry with the much less energized day camp groups.
5 p.m. — It's a fight through traffic to get to San Rafael to eat at one of my favorite restaurants for dinner. We both get large combination plates and share a lemonade ($78, split). $39
8 p.m. — Another fight through traffic, but we make it home. $7 toll deducted. This takes me below my balance for autofill, $40 gets automatically loaded to my account and charges my credit card. We shower and collapse on the couch. We have some popcorn while we watch the new season of Nailed It! head to bed around midnight. $40
Daily Total: $155

Day Six

10 a.m. — No alarms today and it feels so luxurious. We make coffee and breakfast burritos.
2 p.m. — We've just been hanging around the house. F. decides he wants to get his car washed. We stop at a grocery store so he can get cash. He spots the Iron Maiden Trooper beer while we're browsing and is excited to try it. He buys a bottle and gets cash back.
3 p.m. — We pass a sign for an open house on the way back, so we decide to stop and check it out. It's interesting to see how other people style their homes. Back at home, we sip on our beer and talk about what we want in our future home together.
5:30 p.m. — F. helps me move my compost bin to another part of the yard and harvests fruits while I'm watering. He gets two cucumbers and another handful of strawberries. He heads home and I have leftovers from for dinner.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

10 a.m. — Sweet late morning again. Make coffee and an egg and cheese sandwich.
11:30 a.m. — I head outside to see that my sunflowers have been ravaged! The four remaining flowers have had their heads chewed off and there are piles of empty sunflower shells around the yard. I've been through this battle with the squirrels before and knew I needed to put some sort of protection up, but my procrastination got the best of me. Damn. All the other plants are doing well.
2:30 p.m. — I check my email to see that I've received my Known Traveler Number! I pull up our flight reservation and add my number. I'm really looking forward to not taking my shoes off!
7 p.m. — I cook rice and slice up cucumber to go with my poke. It is so hot in the house, so I eat dinner on the porch and listen to my audiobook. In bed by 11.
Daily Total: $0
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