A Week In Minneapolis, MN, On A $105,000 Joint Income

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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 research analyst on a $105,000 joint income who spends some of her money this week on a bucket of paint.
Occupation: Research Analyst
Industry: Higher Education
Age: 31
Location: Minneapolis, MN
My Salary: $57,000
My Husband's Salary: $48,000 (he is currently getting an additional $2/hour during coronavirus, so this will be a bit higher by the end of the year)
Net Worth: $96,000
My Paycheck Amount (biweekly): $1,461
Husband's paycheck (biweekly): $1,234
Pronouns: She/they

Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $1,395 total for mortgage and HELOC payment. I purchased my home in 2012 and live with my husband. We have $100,000 remaining of our mortgage and $43,500 remaining in our HELOC.
Auto Loan: $260 per month, including an extra payment towards the principal.
Student Loan: $88 (I have over $100,000 in loans from grad school and am working towards public service loan forgiveness)
Husband's Laptop: $77 (interest-free for 12 months)
Car Insurance: $1,700/year for both cars
Cell Phones: $150
Heat/Electric/Water/Sewer/Trash: $300
Internet: $50
Apple Music: $15
Peloton App: $15
Simplisafe Home Security: $25
Pet Insurance: $25
HBO Now: $15
Savings: $400 to a savings account for annual expenses and unexpected housing expenses; $350 a month to a high-yield savings account. We have $2,700 saved right now and are working on increasing our savings. Husband's 401(k): 15% plus a 5% employer match (pre-tax)
My Retirement: 6% to a pension fund, with another 6% from my employer and 1% to my 457 deferred comp plan, but I plan to increase this as soon as I get my cost of living raise (pre-tax).
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Day One

5 a.m. — My husband, S., gets up for work. I've been trying to set an early schedule for myself because his weekday schedule moved to 6 a.m. to accommodate the insane panic buying rush of COVID-19. He works for a local retailer as a grocery manager. I fall back asleep before he leaves.
6 a.m. — Finally up. Last week, our office was told to start working from home for an indefinite period of time. This is my first full week working from home and so far this is the best I've done this week getting up early. I let our dog, N., out and feed him breakfast, then set up my yoga mat in our office and do a 30-minute yoga flow on the Peloton app. It's not as challenging as what I'm used to, but I'm also pretty out of yoga shape, so that's probably okay.
7:15 a.m. — Showered, dressed, hair dried, and armed with a mug of tea, I log on to my computer. I figure there is no point in putting on makeup if I'm working from home. I've cleaned and organized our home office to get it set up as a work-from-home space. I have to say, the first day was hard, but I've developed a pretty good routine since then.
8:30 a.m. — I spend the first couple hours of the day updating a COVID-19 tracking spreadsheet before taking a quick breakfast break. I dish myself up some yogurt and berries and make a cup of coffee.
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12 p.m. — I spend the rest of the morning in virtual meetings. I break to heat up some leftovers. I make myself sparkling water with our soda stream and add a slice of grapefruit — homemade Pamplemousse! Then back at it. I've been trying to build some time into my afternoons to take N. for a walk, but it's been cold and blustery the last couple of days. Brr. No thanks. I order some seeds online to go with the seed starting kit that I bought the other day. I'm hoping to have a garden this spring even if garden centers are closed. $43.85
1:30 p.m. — I have a virtual brainstorming session with my boss in the afternoon, and at some point during the meeting, my husband gets home from work. He slips me a note under the door to say that he is hungry and wants to order food. I write him back imploring him to not make any big decisions until I'm done.
3 p.m. — My call wraps up and we chat food. I figure a weird early dinner/second lunch is just fine when the days are meaningless. We order takeout from a fried chicken place down the street — chicken, biscuits, and cheese curds — and he heads out to pick it up while I wrap up my day and make a list for tomorrow. $43.06
4 p.m. — We dig into the chicken, and when we're finished, I talk S. into playing a board game. I can tell he is really stressed about work and his typical defense mechanism is to veg out or play video games. I'm trying to be as upbeat as possible about the whole situation. But before we can get started, S. spills his beer all over the game. We get it cleaned up, but now the pieces have to dry, so we decide to FaceTime my family instead. It's weird how much FaceTiming and texting I've been doing this week. And I can't stay off of social media — my phone usage is just through the roof.
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7 p.m. — I've given up on the game idea for tonight, so instead we watch Outbreak on Netflix. You can tell how much reading I've been doing about pandemics in the last week, because I can't handle how nonsensical the movie is. I'm sorry, you CANNOT synthesize a cure for a virus in less than 24 hours and then just give it to Rene Russo and hope it works without inadvertently killing her.
9 p.m. — We call it an early night again. S. goes to sleep right away and I read in bed for a bit before turning off the light. I figure there is no time like the present to read the copy of Infinite Jest that I bought like three years ago and never read.
Daily Total: $86.91

Day Two

3 a.m. — Wide awake because apparently my body only needs six hours of sleep. I try taking a CBD capsule, which really relaxes me, but fails to help me sleep. I finally give in and read for a bit. I fall asleep right as S.'s alarm is going off at 4.
7 a.m. — I let myself sleep in a bit today, and it helps negate the effects of insomnia a bit. I decide to try a HIIT workout on the Peloton app today. I need to establish some sort of exercise routine in my life. The workout is only 20 minutes long, but I am absolutely dying by the end of it.
8:30 a.m. — I quickly shower, let N. out, grab some tea and breakfast, and get logged onto my computer. Today, I have no meetings, but I have plenty to do, so I get started.
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12:15 p.m. — More leftovers. I spend most of my day tracking COVID-19 updates and responding to emails.
2 p.m. — I'm really trying to avoid getting caught up in the COVID-19 panic-buying frenzy, but S. texts to say he has heard that we will be getting a shelter in place order, possibly today. I decide to do a liquor store run. An indefinite solitary confinement is going to get real boring real fast. I make it a quick trip and just grab a box of wine and a couple packs of beer that sound fun. $57.96
4:30 p.m. — I type up some quick edits to my coworker's report before signing off for the day. By now S. is home, so we take N. for a walk and have a couple of virtual happy hours with friends. Unsurprisingly, this shelter in place order is not materializing. I knew I should not have given into the urgency, but oh well.
8 p.m. — Happy hours are over, and we are hungry. I make a quick meal of gnocchi with butter sauce, truffle powder, and sauteed kale. We watch a couple of episodes of the new season of Altered Carbon on Netflix. In bed by 10:30 — what a wild Friday night.
Daily Total: $57.96

Day Three

6:30 a.m. — I'm wide awake and who knows why. I scroll through the news a bit on my phone before getting up and letting N. outside. S. and I cuddle in bed for a bit before finally getting up.
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8 a.m. — Breakfast time, and it's the weekend so we make pancakes with a pack of bacon that was in the freezer.
1 p.m. — We spend the morning doing laundry and lounging around until S. has to go to work. He's working nights this weekend, and working a longer day again. I order dog food from our local pet store to be delivered on Monday. They always offer delivery, but it's especially useful right now! $39.96
3 p.m. — After S. leaves for work I spend some time on Duolingo. I took a semester of French in college and minored in Spanish and I've been wanting to learn more French and brush up on Spanish. I spend the rest of the afternoon roaming between projects and watching The Office on Netflix. I've been needing to paint the dining room for quite a while, so I dig out some paint samples and throw some colors up on the wall. I crowdsource some opinions and decide on a cobalt blue.
6 p.m. — N. and I practice a little bit of training. He was crate-trained as a puppy, but we no longer use the crate on a daily basis. He's come to have a dislike of his crate, which is irksome since we like to use it on long car trips. I'm trying to coax him into liking it again, which basically consists of lots of treats. I gave him a haircut last weekend, and my first pass at a haircut never looks quite right. I spend a few minutes trimming more of his face to look less like a ragamuffin and more like a cute little fluff ball.
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6:30 p.m. — I decide to call my grandpa. My grandma died about six weeks ago, and my grandpa has been largely refusing attempts to spend time with him, so I've been trying to call. He seems in much better spirits today. My highly risk-averse grandfather is adapting to social distancing just fine, it seems.
7 p.m. — I know I need to eat dinner, but I'm feeling so lazy. I stick a couple of chicken strips in the oven and throw together a chicken caesar salad. I eat while watching an episode of The Last Kingdom on Netflix. I haven't decided if I like it or not. I like historical dramas like this, but the characters feel a little surface-level so far.
8:30 p.m. — I take a second to clean up the kitchen and N. helps by being cute. One silver lining of social distancing is that I've had a very clean kitchen this week.
9 p.m. — I spend the rest of the evening playing some of The Witcher 3. I used to play video games pretty consistently, but lately, I haven't found any game that can hold my attention. Maybe I'll reconnect with video games while I'm cooped up at home.
11:15 p.m. — S. will be home in a bit, but I can't stay up any longer. I crawl into bed with N.
Daily Total: $39.96

Day Four

7:30 a.m. — Up early again, but today we lounge around a bit longer before getting up and letting N. out. I'm starving so I eat a handful of Cheez-Its while I wait for him to come back inside. I decide that I should probably shower and wash my hair today, since I have a couple of errands to run. I realize that I'm still sore from Friday's HIIT workout.
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10 a.m. — I look through my notes from earlier in the week and comb through a couple of cookbooks, marking pages with additional recipes I'd like to make. I jot down a few meals to make this week and make some notes on groceries to buy. S. signs off on my meal choices. We are fully stocked on non-perishables, but we need some produce. I also see that the Washington Post has an offer of $29 for a year subscription. We currently subscribe under S.'s account, but in the spirit of saving money, I decide to snap up this offer. As soon as I'm signed up, I log into S.'s account and cancel his subscription … and it says the subscription will be good for about 11 more months and we won't get any money back by canceling now. Great. I immediately email the Post and say my subscription was an accident (only a small white lie) and could they please cancel it and refund me the $29. So much for saving money. $29
10:30 a.m. — S.'s store is getting woefully low on groceries, so instead I head to the co-op down the street. They are adhering to a much stricter social distancing protocol than most places and capping the number of guests allowed in the store at any given time. There's a short line outside, with each shopper spaced six feet apart. I take a spot at the back of the line and hope it moves quickly. It's a little chilly outside.
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10:40 a.m. — Inside and shopping! I grab several pieces of produce for the week, including carrots, a bell pepper, mint, basil, broccoli, kale, jalapeno peppers, onions, cabbage, and a couple of avocados. I also get another bottle of soy sauce, white rice, and rice noodles. I'm thrilled to see that the store is more or less fully stocked. I round my total up to the nearest dollar. They take the extra change and give it to a rotating charity. $82
11 a.m. — I make a stop at the hardware store to pick up paint for the dining room. S. didn't have a lot of opinions, but he liked the cobalt blue, so I get two gallons of that, plus painter's tape, a bottle of tub and tile cleaner, and four bags of compost. $116.70
11:30 a.m. — Back at home and I put the groceries away and make grilled cheese sandwiches. S. heads out to work at 1:30.
2 p.m. — N. and I have the whole night ahead of us again. I really wanted to get a couple more projects done, but instead we notice the neighbors are out in their backyard with their dog. They invite me to come over and chat and see if our dogs can become friends. The other dog is a really sweet dog but she's pretty large and N. isn't keen on that. We let the dogs investigate each other anyways and spend time chatting about life in the time of coronavirus while maintaining plenty of distance from one another. My neighbor, U., is a restaurant worker who's been laid off, but his husband has been able to work from home. U. makes me a gin and soda and we chat for a while until I decide it's time for N. and I to head home. U. gifts me a container of Clorox wipes.
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7 p.m. — I have a FaceTime date with friends that gets a late start but then ends early because someone has to hop off. Oh well. I make a mental note to try to organize another hangout next week. I heat up some rice and Trader Joe's vegetarian gyoza for dinner. S. FaceTimes me to chat about his night. He lets me know that he's been asked to work evenings now on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday this week and my heart sinks. Him working a couple of nights a week can actually give me some much-needed me time, but five nights in a row means I barely see him. I just hope this is temporary. I ask him if the store is busy, and he says they have slowed down considerably. He says that is probably because their shelves are literally bare.
8 p.m. — N. and I spend the evening watching the new episode of Westworld before heading to bed. I loved the first episode of this season but the second episode leaves me with a lot of questions on the nature of this reality. I'm in bed by 9:30 and read for a bit before calling it a night.
Daily Total: $227.70

Day Five

7:20 a.m. — Since S.'s schedule has changed again, I figure there's not much value in me trying to get up super early so I set my alarm a little later and roll out of bed for a yoga session. I shower, make myself scrambled eggs and toast with Trader Joe's everything bagel seasoning, and settle in at my computer by 8:30.
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11:30 a.m. — I spend my morning making notes on COVID-19 updates and pause to throw some chicken in the oven and farro in the Instant Pot for lunch. S. is up and playing video games. I ask him to check on everything in 20 minutes or so.
12:15 p.m. — Food is done, and I break for lunch. I throw together a salad with chicken, farro, blueberries, feta cheese, herbs, multigrain croutons, and a creamy avocado cilantro dressing while S. improvises a taco salad. We eat quickly so I can get back to work. He does clean up.
1 p.m. — I check in with my boss and then work on a coding project in the afternoon. I'm finding it very hard to focus today. I'm worried about coronavirus and worried about money. Money is a very standard source of anxiety for me. We just went on a trip that we thought we could afford at the time, but now it looks like it will be a challenge to pay our credit card balance. It's not too bad, but still more than I would like, and I'm frustrated that we are struggling to build savings at the rate that I would like us to. I realize I have a 0% interest rate offer on one of my credit cards and start to do some mental math on whether the 4% transfer fee will be less than the interest on the other card. I think it will be but I need to dig into it more. I spend the rest of the afternoon struggling to focus and end the day dragging and bummed out.
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5 p.m. — I end my day and take N. on a walk. The walk helps lighten my mood a bit and the weather is finally starting to get a bit better. When we get back home, I grab a rake and start to take out my perennial garden area. I make a deal with myself that I will just get everything raked into piles today and will wait until tomorrow to bag up the piles.
6 p.m. — I feel a lot better after doing some yard work but I still don't have a lot of motivation for the evening. I do manage to make an Asian noodle stir fry. Since I bought so much produce this week, I am 100% committed to not having any food waste. I eat my stir fry on the couch while watching The Office.
9 p.m. — S. gets home early! I'm pretty excited to see him but by now I'm exhausted so I don't have strength for much more than a kiss before I head to bed.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

6:55 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I lay in bed playing on my phone before finally getting up at 7:30. Too late for yoga if I'm going to be ready for work on time, so instead I do a 10-minute meditation in the Peloton app again to set up my day. I shower and decide to do my hair and makeup today since I have a team call. I let N. out and feed him breakfast while making breakfast for myself: eggs and toast again with green tea.
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8:45 a.m. — I'm logged onto my computer a little early. I have a team call at 9 and I'm happy to see that most people have decided to turn on their webcams today. Afterwards, I attempt to write code for a data pull again, but today is as hard as yesterday. I'm also starting my period. I hope that is more the source of my mood and not my current work/life situation. The period is only around for a couple of days and honestly I will probably feel better tomorrow. Working from home and coronavirus has a less definite end date. I'd really like to not feel bummed out every day for the next six weeks.
1 p.m. — S. makes himself another taco salad before leaving for work. Before he leaves, I talk to him about transferring my credit card balance to the zero interest card and he agrees that it's a good choice. I tend to be the person in charge of money in our relationship, but I've been trying to involve him more. TBH, he's a little reticent to take an active role in managing our finances. After he leaves I make myself a salad as well. Similar to yesterday, but this time with an avocado instead of chicken. I debate whether to add the whole avocado and decide why not.
1:30 p.m. — The afternoon drags by. I text my friends about another virtual happy hour, and everyone is in. We decide on tomorrow.
4:30 p.m. — I log off a little early and walk down the street to an auto parts store. S.'s car needs a couple of air filters replaced and both are easy fixes so we've decided to tackle it ourselves. The thought of a shelter in place order is always at the back of my mind, so I decide it would be good to get the filters we need while we can. $34.55
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4:45 p.m. — Afterwards I walk over to the gas station and get a pint of Ben and Jerry's and a bag of Sun Chips (the cheddar kind). I've decided to really lean into this period thing. It's not something I would typically do but I'm feeling really morose. $9.48
5:30 p.m. — I get home and spend the evening eating chips and ice cream and drinking wine while watching Game of Thrones on the couch and cuddling with N. Before bed I initiate the card transfer and clean the kitchen (the monthly payment needed to pay the card off in 12 months will be $300 a month, starting next month). I can at least feel like I accomplished something today.
Daily Total: $44.03

Day Seven

6:15 a.m. — I decide to try and be a little more ambitious with my morning routine today. My alarm goes off and I am out of bed by 6:45. I roll out my yoga mat again and do a 30-minute routine before hopping in the shower.
8 a.m. — I am logged onto my computer with a mug of green tea and a bowl of yogurt with blueberries, almonds, peanut butter, and honey. Today I get my diffuser running with an immunity boost essential oil blend.
9 a.m. — I'm feeling a lot better than I was the last two days but I'm still not feeling super productive, so I make some coffee. While it brews, I clean out a couple of food containers from the fridge and wipe down the cabinet under the sink. I realize too late that one of the containers had the farro from Monday's salads, which would still be good for a couple more days. Fail. I continue working, feeling more productive. Outside cardinals are singing. Also, the Washington Post messages me to say they are canceling the "accidental" subscription and they will refund my money (minus $29 from my weekly total). Yay!
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10 a.m. — I get a text from my sister that the shelter in place will definitely go into place on Friday. She's pretty well connected politically so I have every reason to believe her. She doesn't have a car and needs some groceries and wants to beat the rush so I agree to pick her up and do a grocery run with her. I leave a note for my team that I'm on a quick break.
10:15 a.m. — I pick up my sister and we head to the co-op. I truly don't need more groceries but she has a 10% off coupon so I get a few more things: frozen veggies, chicken, sausages, a ham hock for making pinto beans, a grapefruit, odds and ends, more yogurt, brown rice, black-eyed peas, bread, and tortillas. I Venmo her $115. $115
11:30 a.m. — Back at work with more coffee and a bowl of leftover stir fry for lunch. I spend the next couple of hours working on a project and watching a webinar.
2 p.m. — The governor gives his daily coronavirus briefing and S. and I listen while finally folding Saturday's laundry. He does indeed announce the shelter in place order. Because S. works for a grocery store and I am telecommuting, nothing will honestly change for us. I've been generally quite pleased with our governor's response to COVID-19. Overall he has been calm, pragmatic, and his responses feel measured and driven by data as best they can be. It's a real breath of fresh air compared to how some… other… politicians are handling this moment. When his address wraps up, I jump back on my computer and touch base with a coworker on a project and wrap a few things up for the day. I sign off by 4:30.
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5 p.m. — FaceTime date with my friends is back on. We all chat for about an hour, and it's great to see everyone. We make plans to call again on Sunday. Today is a rainy day and N. Is going a little stir crazy. He has constantly been barking to hang out on the porch and I finally give in, opening the door just wide enough for him to come and go as he pleases. He sits out there and watches the rain. What a weirdo. S. FaceTimes to give me an update on his night. I show him N. sitting on the porch watching the rain.
6 p.m. — Again, I have projects I could do, but I really don't feel like it. Instead I tidy up the house, heat up more stir fry leftovers, and curl up on the couch to eat and watch another episode of The Last Kingdom on Netflix. I've officially decided I do not like this show. The main character is consistently getting in his own way and doesn't really show much growth. Oh well. There's always more Game of Thrones to rewatch. I see a Kickstarter campaign on Facebook for service industry folks that have been laid off due to COVID-19. I make a small contribution. I feel like because S. will be exposed to the virus, I can't volunteer for anything to help people in my neighborhood. Instead, I want to try to give more to charity during this time. I'm hoping we can give a substantial piece of the promised $1,200-a-person checks from the government to someone in greater need. $6
9 p.m. — I remember that I had scheduled a pick up for charity tomorrow. I quickly put that together and get it on the curb, then head upstairs and read for a bit before crawling into bed with N. curled up by my side.
Daily Total: $121
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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