A Week In Seattle, WA, On A Joint $409,000 Income

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: an attorney who makes $100,000 per year ($409,000 when combined with her husband) and spends some of her money this week on a new pair of Chacos.
Occupation: Attorney
Industry: Legal
Age: 30
Location: Seattle, WA
Salary: $80,000 + bonus (~$20,000)
My Husband's Salary: $309,000
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $1,931.83
My Husband's Paycheck Amount (Monthly): about $19,000
Rental Income: $11,000-$14,000 annually
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $3,447 (The mortgage itself is $2,827.49, and the rest is taxes/insurance. This is more than we wanted to pay for a house, but we had a hard time finding a cheaper house that didn't require a lot of work. We justify the higher mortgage by renting out the backyard cottage that came with the house on Airbnb.)
My Husband's Car Payment: $622
My Husband's Student Loans: $1,350 (I had a full scholarship to law school.)
Utilities: $282
Internet: $81
Health Insurance: $390 for my husband. My work pays for mine.
Umbrella/Life/Car Insurance: $282
HSA: $288
Retirement: $6,250 transferred automatically to our retirement accounts
Hulu: $11.99
Spotify: $9.99
Cell Phones: $110
Charitable Donations: $75/month in automatic payments.
Savings: Right now we have about $50,000 in our bank accounts. We're still deciding how we want to allocate that money between paying off loans, investing more, and setting up our emergency fund.
Annual Expenses
My Husband's Disability Insurance: $3,984

Day One

7:15 a.m. — Alarm goes off. I am reluctant to move, but my husband, A., is working a day shift today, so I need to drop off one of our dogs at daycare. Since his schedule varies so much (he's an ER doctor), we use a drop-in daycare for our larger (and louder) dog when we're both out of the house for more than seven hours. Luckily, with A.'s schedule, this only happens a few times a month. Our other dog is allowed to come to work with me because she's very sweet and quiet (and a reasonable size). Big Dog is 75 pounds and too much for an office! I shower, feed the dogs, and eat breakfast — overnight oats with soy milk, oats, chia seeds, and protein powder. I make breakfast for the week every Sunday. I also make coffee to bring with me to the office.
8:20 a.m. — Out the door! I drop Big Dog off at daycare. We prepaid for a discounted ten-pack of sessions a few weeks ago, so it doesn't cost anything today. The per-day cost works out to $33.50. It's more expensive than hiring a walker ($20 for one dog, or $25 for both, plus tip on Rover), but this way both dogs get plenty of stimulation. We're okay with it since we average about three to four daycare days per month.
8:50 a.m. — I arrive at the office — my work pays for parking downtown. Although there's public transit near me, I can't take the dogs on the light rail, and Big Dog's daycare isn't accessible off the train. Quiet Dog curls up in the corner of my office and naps — she really is the best office dog. I am preparing for a mediation tomorrow, so I spend my morning reviewing documents and tweaking some damages calculations.
12:30 p.m. — Lunchtime! I made a salad last night with romaine, cherry tomatoes, green onions, feta, green pepper, hard boiled eggs, avocado, and my favorite salad dressing, Fanny's Lite Italian. Fanny's is only sold in New England, so I periodically order it in bulk online. After lunch, I join several of the attorneys from my office on a walk to the water so Quiet Dog can have a potty break. It's a gloriously sunny day, especially for Seattle in February.
2 p.m. — I have a conference call in a sexual harassment case. We finalize dates and locations for depositions. After the call, I divide up the depositions with the partner working on the case. I haven't taken a deposition before, and I'll be taking three in this case. I'm excited, but it's going to be a lot of work.
3 p.m. — I snack on an orange I brought from home. We have lots of snacks in the break room, but most are kind of unhealthy, so I try to bring fruit and eat that instead. A friend messages to asks if I want to go to trivia tonight. I'm a little reluctant at first, but I remember that A. won't be home until late and agree.
5:30 p.m. — I head home. My hours are pretty reasonable when I'm not preparing for trial or arbitration. I pick up Big Dog on the way and and feed both dogs when I get home. I also spend a few minutes prepping our Airbnb cottage for the next guest. It's already been cleaned, but they requested we set up our air mattress for an additional guest. I inflate the mattress and make up the bed. I know the bar that I'm going to tonight only has veggie burgers for its non-meat option (which I can microwave for a whole lot less money, and it will taste about the same), so I eat a Quorn veggie burger and some broccoli before I leave.
7:30 p.m. — Trivia! I have a beer (Spacedust IPA) and share some tater tots with my friend. We come in second and win a $15 gift card (largely on the strength of my friend's song recognition skills, no thanks to me). At 10, I realize how late it is and pretty much run out of the bar since I have the mediation tomorrow. I offer to Venmo my friend money, but she refuses since she's keeping the gift card. I'll buy her a beer next time.
10:30 p.m. — I arrive home. I see that A. is just leaving work, since we have location sharing enabled. I try and wait up for him, but end up falling asleep on the couch. He wakes me up when he gets home, and I do my nightly routinely (wash face, moisturize, Tazorac) before heading to bed.
Daily Total: $0

Day Two

6:45 a.m. — I shower and put my hair up in a microfiber towel to dry. I spend a little extra time doing my makeup. I usually just wear concealer and foundation because my skin isn't great, but I wear more when I want to make myself look more professional. As a young-looking female attorney, I'm always trying to avoid being mistaken for an assistant or receptionist. (Or worse, having someone assume the male paralegal is the attorney and I'm the assistant.) Since I'm going to be in “professional” mode today, I put on some eyeliner, light eyeshadow, and mascara. I wear on a navy blue pantsuit with a silk blouse.
8 a.m. — Breakfast is overnight oats again with coffee. A. isn't working today, so he'll take care of the dogs while he spends his day charting. I arrive at the office around 8:20, and we head out around 9 to walk to the mediator's office.
9:30 a.m. — Mediation is kind of weird — it's not like being in court at all. Both sides basically sit in separate rooms and the mediator goes back and forth trying to get each side towards a settlement. It's usually pretty effective, just nothing like being in court or arbitration.
12:30 p.m. — The mediator's office ordered lunch for us. Luckily there is one sandwich I can eat (tuna salad), since I don't eat non-fish meat.
2 p.m. — We leave the mediation early and head back to the office. My brain is always fried after mediations, so I spend the rest of the day responding to emails. I also draft a letter requesting additional discovery in advance of the depositions.
3:30 p.m. — My mom texts and asks if my friend wants to go on our family trip to South America. My brother's girlfriend was supposed to go but can't anymore, and the trip is pre-paid. I immediately text her the dates. She responds almost instantly, and it turns out she can make it! I call her, and we spend a few minutes chatting about the trip. She's one of my closest friends and lives across the country from me, so I am incredibly excited that I'll get to spend a week with her!
5:15 p.m. — I head out. On way home, I pick up a new carbonator for A.'s SodaStream. ($16.50) and fill up my gas tank ($39.49). $55.99
6:30 p.m. — A. is home. He home-brews cider and is bottling the next batch when I get home. I decide to go for a run. It's already getting dark, so I grab Big Dog and his running leash. I almost always take him when I run at night — we live in a pretty safe area, but the path is not very well lit and parts of it are pretty isolated. I like to think Big Dog is intimidating based on size alone, even though he's a big wimp. We go for a three-mile run along Lake Washington.
7 p.m. — I feed the dogs when I get back, then do a quick lifting session in our basement gym. I LOVE having a home gym — no fighting off stupid boys for the squat rack, and I can watch whatever I want on my laptop! Having the home gym saves us money in the long-term — our squat rack and weight set, bench, dumbbells, plyo boxes, kettlebells, and exercise bike cost around $800 altogether. We'd spend more than that in a year on gym memberships for both of us.
8 p.m. — I make dinner (eggs with avocado and cheese, and some steamed broccoli on the side). A. finishes bottling his cider and comes up to spend a few minutes with me before he goes to bed. He has an early shift tomorrow, so he'll need to get up around 4 a.m. He sleeps in the bedroom in our (finished) basement so I won't wake him up.
9 p.m. — I send my friend all of the emails about the trip. Because it's happening soon, I need to get her passport info ASAP. I make lunch for tomorrow as well — another salad. I finish the day by watching last week's episode of This Is Us and cuddling with Big Dog, who is a fantastic snuggler. I also have one of A.'s home-brewed ciders.
Daily Total: $55.99

Day Three

6:50 a.m. — Early wake up again. I have a meeting at 8:30 and need to drop off Big Dog at daycare since A. has a day shift. I shower, feed the dogs, and eat overnight oats. Somehow I never get tired of eating the same thing for breakfast. I make coffee, head out, and drop off Big Dog off before my morning meeting. Quiet Dog hangs out in my office during my meeting.
12:15 p.m. — Lunch. I eat the salad I brought from home — romaine, cherry tomatoes, green onions, crumbled feta, avocado, yellow pepper, broccoli, hard-boiled eggs, and Fanny's Lite Italian. After lunch, I take Quiet Dog for a walk/potty break. It's another sunny day. When we get back, Quiet Dog rolls around on my office floor for a bit before curling up in a sunny spot on the floor.
3 p.m. — I give in to my afternoon cravings and grab a cup of SmartFood popcorn. I also get myself a mug of tea.
5:15 p.m. — I head out and pick up Big Dog on the way. A. is home when I get back, and we spend about 20 minutes picking up dog poop from the backyard. I joke with A. that this is our quality time for the day. His shifts tend to come in waves (a bunch of days on, then a bunch of days off), and when he's working I don't really see him.
6:30 p.m. — I feed the dogs, then do an upper body and core workout in the basement gym. When I finish, I make dinner: stir-fry with Quorn meatless pieces, peas, carrots, corn, peppers, green onion, garlic, and eggs. I save half of it for tomorrow for lunch.
8 p.m. — On a recent trip, I noticed I was getting blisters from my old worn-out Tevas, and I'm considering replacing them with the slightly more fashionable Chacos. I see a pair on clearance in my size from REI, and decide to buy them. For the most part, I don't care what I wear and spend as little money as possible on clothing and shoes. But I have a real weakness for outdoor gear, even though I don't really need most of it. (I pretty much have all the gear I need for the activities I do.) I really can't explain the obsession with (really expensive) technical gear, especially since it's not like I do any hardcore backpacking or climbing. I spend as little time as possible on REI's website and manage not to look at any of the other clearance deals. With a $20 off coupon I have, the Chacos are only $37.17. $37.17
9:45 p.m. — Several of our guests have requested another mirror in the cottage. I browse on Amazon until I find one that matches our general decor and buy it. We'll be able to deduct the expense later as a business expense. $37.42
Daily Total: $74.59

Day Four

7:15 a.m. — Happy Friday! I wake up and get ready for work. Shower, feed dogs, breakfast (overnight oats). I'm out the door by 8:15 and drop Big Dog off at daycare. Quiet Dog and I make it to the office by 8:50.
10:30 a.m. — I finish a deposition notice I was working on and then eat a banana in celebration. I move on to drafting a class certification motion in another case. Quiet Dog moves from a sunny spot in my office to the shade.
12:30 p.m. — Lunch! Leftover stir-fry and an orange. I take Quiet Dog for a walk when I finish.
3 p.m. — I have a short meeting about a new case (pregnancy discrimination). Afterwards, I get some dried mango.
5:15 p.m. — I leave the office. It's Friday, but I don't have any real plans apart from seeing A. for the hour or so between when he gets home and finishes charting and when he goes to bed. (He has another early shift tomorrow and Sunday...sometimes his schedule is really the worst.) I pick up Big Dog from daycare. On the way home, I stop at the grocery store to pick up bread, eggs, cherry tomatoes, canned tuna, bananas, salmon, asparagus, tomatoes, and a six-pack of beer for a party I'm going to tomorrow. I also buy butter, Saltines, chocolate chips, and brown sugar to make Saltine toffee for the party ($63.05). On the way out, I buy a package of Samoas from an absolutely adorable group of Girl Scouts. ($5). $68.05
7 p.m. — I get home and unpack the groceries. A. is on his way home, so I pan sear the salmon and steam the asparagus for dinner. I cheat and have a cookie before dinner.
7:30 p.m. — We eat dinner together while enjoying some of A.'s home-brewed ciders. We then watch an episode of Russian Doll while cuddling with our dogs
8:30 p.m. — A. goes to bed. I make Saltine toffee for my friend's birthday — it's the easiest recipe. Just boil butter and brown sugar together, pour over Saltines, and add chocolate! I pick up the house a bit before settling down to read book I got from the library (Washington Black). I go to bed around 11.
Daily Total: $68.05

Day Five

8 a.m. — I wake up with Big Dog's nose pressed against my face — he's tall enough that he can just stick his nose right into my bed. I get up, feed the dogs, and let them out and back in before going back to bed.
9 a.m. — I wake up and go for a three-mile run. I then make breakfast — eggs, cheese, avocado, and coffee. While eating breakfast, I remember I'm attending a friend's wedding in a few weeks and decide to get a gift early so I don't forget. I contribute $100 to her honeymoon fund, plus the $2.50 service fee. $102.50
10 a.m. — I sort our mountain of laundry and put the first load in. My friend texts me to remind me that the lottery for a permit to hike the Enchantments (a section of the Cascades) closes tomorrow, and I register for three possible dates. I also put in an entry on A.'s behalf to maximize our chances. The lottery application fee is $6 per application. $12
11 a.m. — I head out to run some errands. First I go to REI. A few weeks ago, I bought some rain pants for A. that were too big. I exchange them and manage not to buy anything else, though I'm tempted by the hydration packs. The sales tax is slightly lower at the store than where I originally bought them, so I get $0.05 back. The REI is right next to a Trader Joe's, so I swing by there next to stock up of a few things. I get coffee, peanut butter, balsamic vinegar, some boxed soups, flour tortillas, soy milk, feta cheese, cheddar cheese, string cheese, and coconut water. I also buy a pack of Chicken-less Mandarin Orange Morsels — I used to get this all the time in college and it brings back memories. $49.10
12 p.m. — I need a baby gate for Quiet Dog at work (so I don't have to close my door all the time) and a door mounted mirror for the cottage, so I go to Target next. They don't have any cheap baby gates, but I pick up a mirror for $16.49. I also buy aluminum foil and soy sauce ($12.36). I go to Walmart next to get a baby gate. They don't have what I want (a free-standing gate), so I just get the cheapest gate ($10.98). $39.83
1 p.m. — I unload the groceries and put in another load of laundry. Then I take the dogs for a short walk. When I get back, I realize I haven't eaten lunch and quickly eat a Quorn veggie burger before heading out.
2 p.m. — I play an organized sport, and I'm coaching a free clinic for elementary and middle school girls today. I have a great time showing the kids the basics and watching them play. We have a snack break in the middle, and I eat two of the leftover Chewy granola bars we bought for the kids. The granola bars remind me of my childhood.
6 p.m. — The clinic ends, and I head home. I shower and feed the dogs. The party starts at 7, so I eat a can of tuna and some steamed broccoli. Probably should have done more meal prep this week. I also swap the laundry from the washer to the dryer and pull the dry clothes out. I don't have time to fold, so I put them in a hamper on my bed. I also package up my Saltine candy to bring.
7 p.m. — I take a shared Lyft to the party since I don't want to drive. The party is low-key and I see some folks I haven't seen in a while. We play a lot of board and video games. $9.53
1:30 a.m. — I take a shared Lyft home. Somewhat surprised that I'm still awake. $16.53
Daily Total: $229.49

Day Six

8 a.m. — Unceremonious dog nose wake-up. They don't care that I got home late. I feed them and let them out, then go back to bed.
9:30 a.m. — Officially awake now. I shower and make breakfast (eggs and cheese). I start to feel slightly human after coffee. Not hungover, just tired. A. is working again today. Someday I will see my husband again.
10:30 a.m. — I am meeting an old college acquaintance who recently moved to this area. We're meeting at the dog park, since she also has a dog. Unfortunately, Quiet Dog is pretty reactive with other dogs (especially after she got attacked last year by another dog), so she has to stay home. I tell her Big Dog is going to the vet to make her feel better about being left alone. I load Big Dog in the car, and we head out.
12 p.m. — The dog park is amazing! It's one I haven't been to, and it's huge, with a great view of the mountains. I have a good time catching up with my friend. After about an hour, both of our dogs seem worn out. I load up Big Dog and head home. On the way back, I stop at our local fruit stand, where I buy peppers, lettuce, green onions, oranges, apples, tomatoes, broccoli, cucumbers, and limes. They're also selling “hit or miss” avocados for $0.20 each. As far as I'm concerned, every avocado is “hit or miss.” I buy five and hope to get a few good ones in there. When I get home, I make a salad using lettuce, green onion, asparagus, tomatoes, feta cheese, and Fanny's Lite Italian. I also cut up one of the avocados and it's a hit! I use half of it in my salad and save the other half for later. $23.57
2 p.m. — I have aspirations of making a lentil dish for the upcoming week, but A. texts me to say he's coming home early! He's going to chart tomorrow before his 1 p.m. shift instead of staying late to chart today. He wants to hang out with people tonight, since he hasn't socialized for a while due to work. I ask my college friend if she and her husband want to play board games tonight, and she says yes.
3 p.m. — A. gets home, and we enjoy some alone time together. Afterwards, we walk both dogs. Big Dog is super dirty from the dog park, so we have him swim in Lake Washington to at least get some of the dirt off. We really should bathe him, but the lake is a good stopgap. After our walk, I lift in the basement (leg day!) and clean the house. I also put in a dinner order on DoorDash since I'm not feeling up to cooking.
7 p.m. — Our friends arrive, and we give them a tour of the house. Then we play Concept while waiting for our food to arrive.
8:30 p.m. — Still no sign of our delivery order (which was scheduled to arrive by 7:30), so we head to a restaurant that's still open. I order fish and chips and a beer, and A. orders a burger and beer. The food is a little cold and disappointing, probably because it's so late, but we're hungry. We play Hanabi at the table. $48.47
10 p.m. — We head home. A. wants to watch an episode of The Leftovers. I agree and then immediately fall asleep on the couch.
Daily Total: $72.04

Day Seven

7 a.m. — I get up and immediately realize I forgot I had a PT appointment scheduled for 8 a.m. I forgot to look at my calendar before bed yesterday. I'm not going to make it, so I cancel the appointment with an apology to my PT. I feel bad — I'm not usually disorganized like this! I shower and feed the dogs. I forgot to make my overnight oats, so breakfast is just protein powder in soy milk. I also didn't make lunch, so I throw together a salad before leaving the house. A. is going in to work very early today to chart, so it's an unplanned doggy daycare day.
9 a.m. — I set up the baby gate in my office. It works fine, and I'm happy I can leave my door open even when Quiet Dog is at the office. DoorDash sends me a refund for the undelivered food last night, but doesn't offer any other explanation.
12:15 p.m. — Lunch. I eat my salad — romaine, cherry tomatoes, green onions, asparagus, feta, the remaining half of my avocado from yesterday, and Fanny's Lite Italian, plus two (prepackaged) hard-boiled eggs that A. brought home from the hospital and left in the fridge. After lunch, I walk down to the water with Quiet Dog. It's sunny again, and the view of the Olympics is amazing.
5:30 p.m. — I head out. I pick up Big Dog on the way home. I'm super hungry when I get home, so I have a quick snack of cheese and crackers.
8:30 p.m. — I told A. I would calculate our rental expenses and income for our 2018 taxes. We track literally every expense we have in a joint Mint account, so it's not too difficult. After I'm done with the tax numbers, I review our recent transactions in Mint since the month just ended. We track our spending pretty obsessively — just about everything is paid for with a credit card, so it's automatically tracked, and we categorize every single transaction into one of our custom budget categories. The downside of this system is that neither of us have any financial privacy. We see every single thing the other person buys. We've gotten used to it and don't nitpick each other's transactions, but eventually I'd like us each to have our own bank accounts not linked to Mint with a small amount of money in there. I make sure all of our transactions are correctly categorized and list our February spending for each category in our budget spreadsheet.
10 p.m. — I begin reading a book on taking depositions. Unfortunately, it's pretty dry, and I don't get very far before I fall asleep.
Daily Total: $0
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