A Week In Bay Area, CA, On A $345,000 Joint Income

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Today: a Registered Nurse who has a $345,000 yearly income and spends some of her money this week on Tatcha Enzyme Powder.
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Occupation: Registered Nurse
Industry: Healthcare
Age: 31
Location: Bay Area, CA
My Salary: $95,000
My Husband, E.'s, Salary: $250,000
Net Worth: $390,000; $140,000 in savings, $100,000 in my 401(k), $150,000 in E.'s 401(k)
Debt: 0 (Finished paying E.'s student loans in January. Both cars are paid off)
My Paycheck Amount (2x/month): ~$2,100
E.'s Paycheck Amount (2x/month): ~$4,700 (varies with overtime)
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $2,900 for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo
My 401(k): $771 + 6% match
E.'s 401(k): $1,3000 + 7% match
Health/Dental: $100 (deducted from E.'s paycheck)
Savings: $6,000-$7,000
Car + Renters Insurance: $141
Cell Phones: $90
Electricity: $70
Internet: $50
Apple Music + Storage: $15.99
Netflix: $8.99
Showtime: $10
529: $400
Storage Unit: $110
Donations (I started these after I started my first job, I should increase both): KEXP: $20, ASPCA: $20
Annual Expenses:
Licensure: $390
Costco: $60
Amazon: $119

Day One

6:15 a.m. — Hello! E. and I wake up after hearing R., our 15-month-old talking in his room. R. and I read a few books (his favorite thing to do) while E. makes him breakfast: Dave's Killer Bread toasted with some peanut butter and sliced banana. I make a smoothie to share with R: soy milk, spinach, flax seed, peanut butter, and frozen berries.
7:30 a.m. — For the past month I have been taking occasional shifts from home. I never imagined working from home as a nurse and miss seeing patients, but am grateful to be employed during this time. Thankfully there are some interesting things to work on from home and it's given me some time to think of ideas for improvements. On average, I have been going in to work once or twice a week and working from home every so often (I've worked part-time since having R., as daycare in our area can cost up to $3,000/month...). While I work, E. and R. hang out around the house. Between the three of us, I think R. has had the hardest time with quarantine. He enjoys being outside and will sometimes cry and stand at the door. R. starts to get a little antsy, so E. grabs a mask and takes him for a stroll around the neighborhood.
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12 p.m. — Time for lunch! E. makes some homemade hummus and makes us sandwiches with whole wheat bread I made a couple of days ago. He adds hummus, spinach, cheese, and pickled beets. I also have some Ruffles because I can't have a sandwich without potato chips. R. eats a black bean burger (we made a ton using the recipe from Oh She Glows and froze them), topped with hummus and avocado with a side of chopped mango. I get back to work.
5 p.m. — My eyes are starting to blur from staring at the computer all day. E. and I grab masks and take R. over to a local university to walk around. There is no one else around, so R. roams around the rose garden and laughs at the palm trees.
6:30 p.m. — We get home and E. starts making calzones for dinner. I bought The Pizza Bible for him a couple of years ago and he has made some really delicious pizzas! While he's making calzones, R. and I set up KEXP Live on the TV and watch previously recorded sessions from Band of Horses and Black Pumas. R. is mesmerized. I try to get him to dance, but he's a little stiff. R. and I split a calzone stuffed with mozzarella, broccoli, spinach, olives, basil, and Rao's marinara. E.'s has roasted potatoes, bacon, and marinara. Both are drizzled with garlic butter on top. Mmm.
9 p.m. — E. and I share a pint of ice cream. We watch Vanderpump Rules (our guilty pleasure). We hadn't watched it for years, but once quarantine started, we needed some entertainment. E. We head to bed around 11.
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Daily Total: $0

Day Two

6:10 a.m. — Good morning! E. goes to R.'s room to read books while I make breakfast. R. and I have oatmeal with peanut butter, flax, banana, and honey. E. has potatoes and eggs.
7:30 a.m. — Living in this area is expensive and our apartment here is much smaller than our last. We had to downsize quite a bit and before R. was born, we downsized even more. So many friends and family members have been generous with baby toys and clothes, but now our apartment is overloaded with stuff. I think if someone sneezed our cabinets and closets would burst open. Not a bad problem to have, but it's getting a little crowded. We spend a couple of hours putting toys in a box for storage and make another box of my clothing and some of R.'s clothing and toys to donate to the women and children's shelter nearby. I try to go through our things every few months for donation. R. follows our cat around the apartment trying to cuddle, but the cat isn't feeling it. Maybe someday?
9:30 a.m. — R. is itching to get out, so we grab our masks and head out for a walk around the neighborhood. It's a beautiful day and there aren't many people out so far. E. and I follow him around and dream of what we want to do once quarantine is lifted and things start to go back to normal. Before R. was born we used to surf and climb together, but I haven't done either since being pregnant. I used to go alone occasionally, but now I've felt a little afraid of being out in the water alone. I guess once you have another person who is completely dependent on you, it makes you rethink your own safety. E. and I make plans for a date of surfing and climbing once things get better. It's nice to have things to look forward to.
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11:30 a.m. — Time for lunch! R. has some pasta with cannellini beans, broccoli, spinach, and pesto. E. has leftover fried rice and I have some vegetables hummus and Hodo Soy curry tofu nuggets. Usually, our day has a bit more going on, but with quarantine, we've mostly been eating, cooking, and baking. So this will be more of a food diary. After lunch, R. takes a nap and E. and I take a quick nap too.
3 p.m. — I wake up and quickly renew my nursing license (in annual expenses). This is renewed every two years. R. wakes up and we read a few books then play for a bit. He's usually very active but has been really cuddly lately and I love it. E. grabs a mask and heads to Home Depot for curbside pick up to grab a few things we need to maintain a tiny bit of outdoor space we have ($41.85). I slice some apple for R. and he watches me cook chili for dinner. He loves being in the kitchen and I can't wait until he's bigger so we can teach him how to cook. We grab our masks and head out for a quick walk around the neighborhood. $41.85
6:30 p.m. — We sit down for dinner and eat chili topped with queso fresco, avocado, sour cream, and tortilla chips. Mmm. We've been eating a lot of comfort food lately. E. does bath time with R. and reads him some books afterward. I clean up the kitchen and do a quick workout in the living room.
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9 p.m. — E. reheats a couple of frozen oatmeal raisin cookies I made from Thomas Keller's cookbook, Bouchon. Some of the recipes are a bit labor intensive but every thing I've made has turned out great. We aren't fancy enough to eat at French Laundry, so we will just enjoy from home! We watch TV for a bit then head to bed to read. I read some short stories by Kurt Vonnegut. We head to bed around 11.
Daily Total: $41.85

Day Three

6:30 a.m. — R. is awake, so I throw on my pajamas and go to his room to read books while E. makes breakfast. The boys eat oatmeal with peanut butter, flax, banana, and honey. I have a smoothie. E. heads out to go for a quick bike ride before everyone else is out.
8 a.m. — R. and I play and hang around the house. I strip off our flannel sheets and put linen sheets on since the weather is warming up. I bought the flannel sheets about eight years ago when I lived in a colder area and every year they get softer and softer. We start a load of laundry, grab a mask, and head out for a walk in the neighborhood. I'm trying to recognize the positives of this quarantine and appreciate that there is less pollution, the air smells clean, birds are chirping, and the environment isn't so polluted with noise and traffic. It has been nice to take enjoyment in simpler things. It's a gorgeous day! California poppies are blooming and now when R. sees them he says “poppy!” It makes my heart melt.
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10 a.m. — On our walk, R. and I swing by an older neighbor's house who is often out in his front yard. We haven't seen him in the past week or so, but to our surprise, he is outside! He stays near his front door and we stay on the sidewalk, so there are about 20 feet between us but it's still nice to catch up. He talks about his fears with COVID and just BS for a bit. I really appreciate seeing him.
11 a.m. — We arrive home and E. has been back for a while cleaning the kitchen and making calzones with the leftover dough. We are trying to go to the grocery store once every two weeks to limit our time out in public areas, so we are eating a lot of things on repeat. We eat lunch, then R. takes a nap.
1 p.m. — E. and I take turns updating our budget every week. We have been saving for a home somewhere else. We moved here a few years ago but have had a hard time adjusting. The area feels competitive with a focus on money and success. Kids in this area are held to such a high standard and parents have big expectations. E. and I both went to college, but don't feel like it's the end all be all and wouldn't want R. or any future children feeling that kind of pressure. We have been able to save a bit more after paying off E.'s grad school loans. E. went to community college, then worked to pay for his bachelor's degree. While he was in grad school, I worked at the hospital he was studying at and got partial tuition reimbursement for spouses. I received a scholarship for college and worked and my parents paid tuition. My parents hustled to help me during college, and I am happy we have the resources to contribute to a 529 if R. decides he wants to go to school.
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4 p.m. — Place an order online for a toothbrush for R., some hair ties (I buy a pack about once every five years and somehow I ran out now), a hair brush, nut milk bag (couldn't think of a better name), and some empty deodorant canisters ($45.05). E. makes homemade deodorant for himself and me. We FaceTime with my parents for a little. They live a few hours away and we usually see them at least once a month, so it's so nice to see their faces! $45.05
5 p.m. — Make the Tahini Billionaire bars that the Washington, DC Money Diary spoke about. Thanks DC, they're delicious! Throw some oats, cashews, walnuts, almonds, flax, chia seeds, dates, honey, and peanut butter into a food processor to make snacks for R. I sit outside in our little space while R. and E. plant some flowers.
7 p.m. — We're both too lazy to cook so leftover chili it is! Top it with avocado, queso fresco, sour cream. Get R. ready for bed, read books, and put him to sleep.
8 p.m. — Take a shower and apply some Sunday Riley Good Genes. My skin has been a hot mess since I stopped breastfeeding about a month ago. Has anyone else had the same problem? Any advice would be appreciated! Lay on the couch and read Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris because I need a little humor in my life. Good night!
Daily Total: $45.05
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Day Four

1 a.m. — Uhhh, no. I wake up disoriented and hear R. crying in his room. It has been a long time since he's woken up in the middle of the night. I wait a few minutes to see if he will mellow out but he doesn't. I get out of bed and rub his back for a bit but it doesn't help. For the past few days, he's had some redness and swelling where his incisors should be, and I wonder if he's uncomfortable. He starts chewing on his hand so I give him a micro dose of Tylenol, rock him in the chair, and rub his stomach until he goes back to sleep. It takes about an hour.
6 a.m. — E.'s alarm goes off and he gets ready for work. E. is also in healthcare and has a higher risk of exposure than I do. Since the pandemic began, he's been coming in and out of the back door of our condo if he's going to work and leaves anything that enters the hospital outside in a container. He has scrubs at work and changes into clothes before leaving but still walks through the hospital before coming home.
7 a.m. — R. is up. We both look a little rough this morning from the lack of sleep, but he's happy and I'm thankful for that. We read for a bit, then I toast some Dave's Killer with peanut butter and chop some fruit for him. I'm not that hungry, so I have a small bowl of cereal and clean up the kitchen.
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9 a.m. — Do some laundry and hang it outside to air dry. R. does some gardening. My hair is looking messy today so I tie it up with a bandana. It always makes me feel special. I grab a mask, then pop R. in the stroller and take a walk around the neighborhood.
12 p.m. — Make quesadillas for us both, then R. takes a nap. I take a look at Sephora's website since they're having a 15% discount. I add some Farmacy face wash, Ilia mascara for myself, and Tatcha rice polish enzyme powder and Fresh chapstick with SPF for my mom for Mother's Day. My parents are generous but frugal and rarely buy superfluous things for themselves so I like to buy things they'd never normally purchase, but would love. I hold off on placing the order for now because I might want to add a few things later…
1 p.m. — Catch up through text with some friends that are spread all over the country that are in healthcare and mental health. Two of them are working in hospitals with a lot of confirmed cases and go to work fearful of their safety and frustrated with the hospital administration. Knowing that you are at risk for exposure and at risk for spreading it to others is stressful. I'm grateful that E. and I both work at places that for now have a good supply of PPE and that so far, we have both been very prepared at work. Healthcare workers have been getting a lot of love during this pandemic, but shout out and hug, admiration, and appreciation to everyone who is going out to work — grocery store employees, farmers, cashiers, mail service, transportation, housekeeping, public safety, funeral homes... the list goes on! You're all keeping communities going and without you, we'd be at a standstill.
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4:30 p.m. — E. comes home, strips in the backyard (sorry neighbors!), and heads to the shower. We grab some snacks and masks and go for a long walk to the university. R. wanders around campus and we follow. He's doing the zombie/Frankenstein walk right now and it's so cute.
6 p.m. — Get home and make dinner using a recipe from the NY Times. I make herb sauce with cilantro, basil, chives, olive oil, lemon, and salt and throw it in the food processor. Sauté some garlic in olive oil, add cannellini beans, kale, vegetable broth, salt, and pepper. Defrost and toast the bread I made a few days ago and spread butter on top, add the beans and drizzle the herb sauce. It's simple but so good.
7:30 p.m. — I bathe R. then we read books and get ready for bed while E. cleans the kitchen. Afterward, I do a quick 30-minute workout in our living room. I shower, then grab a CoolHaus ice cream sandwich (they're normally expensive and worth it, but were on sale for half off so I bought like 12 before quarantine started…we were prepared) and watch an episode of Little Fires Everywhere. Kerry Washington's expressions are making me cringe a little.
9:30 p.m. — Read David Sedaris in bed for a bit then we both go to sleep around 10.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

6 a.m. — E.'s alarm goes off. He gets up, packs his things, and heads to work.
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6:45 a.m. — R. is awake. We read for a while, then head to the kitchen for breakfast. I make smoothies for both of us and we have some peanut butter toast with the last of the bread from yesterday.
12 p.m. — Back for lunch. We have black bean burgers with hummus and avocado on top. R. farts and laughs during lunch — such a gentleman. We read for a bit then he takes a nap. I snack on some chocolate covered almonds and check my work email. I usually never check email from home, but since COVID has been going on, I like to stay up to date while I'm away.
3 p.m. — I go down a YouTube vortex about skincare and at the end still have no idea what's best. A couple of weeks ago, I splurged and bought Skin Ceuticals C E Ferulic serum and it arrived today. I'm crossing my fingers that the serum does something to give my skin a boost!
4:30 p.m. — E. is home and jumps in the shower. He stopped on the way home and grabbed four five-gallon water containers ($15). The number of COVID cases at his hospital are decreasing. We talk about what we expect the trajectory of this pandemic to look like and what we're expecting for the next year or so. We grab our masks and take a long walk around our neighborhood to a different park. On the way, we see that my favorite bubble tea place is open. You are able to order from your phone, wait outside, and they leave your bubble tea on a table outside. $25.81
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6 p.m. — We make it home and R. and I hang out while E. makes calzones again. I swear we aren't normally don't eat the same thing over and over, just really trying to limit what we're buying from the store. I love calzones, so I'm not mad about it. Get R. ready for bed and read books while E. cleans up.
8 p.m. — I had planned on exercising a little tonight but am just not feeling it. A headache came on all of a sudden and I think it might be related to my period. Who knows. Instead, I jump in the shower and watch Little Fires Everywhere for a bit, then get in bed with E. and start reading The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. I've read this book before, but love her so much I am reading it again. It has been a bummer not having library access, but luckily we have a lot of books around the house.
Daily Total: $25.81

Day Six

7:20 a.m. — Sweet Jesus. Thank you R. for sleeping in!! What a treat. We wake up and E. grabs R. and they read while I clean up the kitchen and make breakfast for R. He has his usual Dave's Killer toast with peanut butter and banana.
9 a.m. — I have to get on a work call, so the boys take a walk around the neighborhood. After the call I head to the grocery store but there is a line wrapped around the building so I leave. I'll try to go later.
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12 p.m. — We sit down to have lunch. R. has a quesadilla with beans, cheese, spinach, and bell pepper with orange and I have some Trader Joe's vegetable gyoza with liquid aminos. After lunch I go back to the grocery store.
2 p.m. — Grab ingredients to make black beans, vermicelli bowls with tofu and vegetables, spicy sesame noodles with tofu, peanuts, and broccoli (NY Times recipe, so good). Also grab random vegetables and fruit to snack on during the week (champagne mangoes are on sale, so I grab some coconut milk too to make mango ice cream), whole wheat flour, bread, Tate's chocolate chip walnut cookies, and a bunch of other things. I see Captain Blankenship Mermaid Sea Salt Hair Spray and throw it in the cart. My hair hasn't been cut in months and is looking a little moppy. I like to let it air dry and hope that this gives it a little something. I'm rarely in the car alone, so on the way home I turn on Led Zeppelin and listen. I love Robert Plant's voice. Get home and unload the groceries then grind the peanuts into peanut butter. We eat SO much peanut butter. $200.81
3 p.m. — R. is up from his nap and E. just left for work. R. has a snack and we head out for a long walk around the neighborhood to the university. He climbs up and down little hills and it wears him out. I love coming here. This area can feel really crowded and rushed, but this is like a peaceful mini-vacation.
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6 p.m. — Get home and start making the spicy sesame noodles with broccoli and tofu (minus spicy for R.). We sit and eat and his new favorite words are "hot" and "cold" so we practice saying them back and forth. He's thrilled. Tonight is bath night and when I tell him he gets so excited he starts shaking in his chair. He LOVES the water. I can't wait until he's older and E. can take him surfing. After the bath we read for a bit then R. heads to bed and I do a quick 30-minute workout then shower.
9 p.m. — I get on the Sephora website. I end up purchasing the Farmacy face wash, Ilia mascara for myself, and Tatcha enzyme powder and Fresh chapstick for my mom. My birthday is close to Mother's Day so we usually do a weekend of celebration with my parents, but it might have to be postponed this year. Polish off another CoolHaus ice cream sandwich, read some David Sedaris, and head to bed. $158.21
Daily Total: $359.02

Day Seven

6:30 a.m. — The mornings where E.'s shifts overlap with mine can be a little chaotic. I get out of bed quickly and get ready for work. I haven't been wearing makeup since we've been at home all the time but put on some foundation since my skin has been so angry lately and add a bit of blush and mascara. R. is awake, so we read a few books then head to the kitchen to make breakfast. While R. is eating I pack my bag and lunch, brush my teeth, and get dressed.
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7:30 a.m. — E. is home and takes a quick shower. Once he's out, I leave for work. Our shifts rarely overlap and luckily my work has been really understanding about me being a few minutes late. Hopefully, E. gets a chance to rest a bit today while R. sleeps. I listen to The French Kicks and roll the windows down. The cold air feels great. It is SO nice to see coworkers, even if their faces are half obstructed by masks. Even though this area hasn't been ideal for us, we both hit the jackpot with wonderful coworkers. I'm thankful to be here today.
1 p.m. — It brings me serious joy to see patients. Sometimes I question if nursing is what I want to do forever, but taking care of and educating patients is so much fun. Watching how someone progresses over time and hopefully ends in a better place than where they started is really rewarding and makes me feel so proud of them. People can be so resilient and strong. I take a quick break to get outside and feel the sun and walk a quick lap outside. I eat lunch — a random combination of vegetables, hummus, Hodo Soy tofu, and peanut butter filled pretzels.
8 p.m. — Head home after my shift. Take a quick shower and change into pajamas. On days like this we try to have leftovers to make it easier for everyone. It's our last day of chili and we load it up with avocado, queso fresco, sour cream, Valentina hot sauce, and tortilla chips. We catch each other up on our days then read a bit in bed until 10:30 or so. Goodnight!
Daily Total: $0
COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic. Go to the CDC website for the latest information on symptoms, prevention, and other resources.
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