A Week In Seattle, WA, On A $255,000 Joint 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: a senior HR consulting manager living on a yearly combined income of $255,000 who spends some of her money this week on prenatal vitamins.
Occupation: Senior HR Consulting Manager
Industry: Technology
Age: 29
Location: Seattle, WA
My Salary: $155,000 + $30,000 bonus + $65,000 stock grant
My Husband's Salary: $70,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $4,806.16
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $2,500 (we pay a little extra toward the principal each month)
HOA: $100
Loans: $0
Cell Phone: $30 (subsidized through work)
Electricity: $150
Water: $150
Garbage: $50
Internet: $65
iCloud Storage: $2
Hulu: $12
Property Tax: $811 (we don't pay this monthly, but this is the monthly value)
Donations: $1,000 ($600/month to a school for young women in India, $400/month to a local homeless shelter. Typically give to other causes through stock or bonus proceeds, but those are more sporadic.)

Day One

6 a.m. — Alarm goes off and I am super groggy. I flew back to Seattle last night from a week-long business trip, and I caught a nasty head cold while I was there. My husband leaves me a bowl of peanut butter oatmeal and honey-ginger-lemon tea next to my nightstand while he packs our joint suitcase for our trip to San Francisco. Bless him. Apparently I picked out my clothing while on NyQuil last night, but it looks weather- and family-appropriate at least. We pack our dog into the car and drop him off to our doggy-sitter before driving to the airport.
7 a.m. — We leave our car in the long-term parking lot and hop on the shuttle to the airport with my in-laws, my sis-in-law, and her babies. Both of them are already crying, and we are just starting. Luckily there are six adults to take turns holding the babies, and they are so sweet it's worth it. I tip the shuttle driver $5 for helping with our bags, car seats, and strollers and off we go to the plane! $5
1:45 p.m. — Land in San Jose and head straight to Costco. We had food on our flight over — my in-laws generously paid for our flights and upgraded us all to first class. Sadly, breakfast on the plane was a not very satisfying egg-and-bacon sandwich, so I grab a few samples from Costco while we gas up the rental car and pick up gifts for the extended family we are visiting — two large bouquets of flowers and two bottles of wine. $65.38
4:30 p.m. — After driving around for a while to get a specific brand of milk for the babies, we finally arrive at the hotel and realize we are starving. I chug a bottle of water and take some DayQuil to head off this cold. I'm determined to not miss this family trip, so I rally and put on a swimsuit for some pool and sun time before dinner. I grab a quick and crazy-expensive plate of chips and guacamole for $18 and a $6 tip — sigh. At least both chips and guac seem to be freshly made. Consider getting a glass of frosé, but decide against it since it's another $18 (!?) and comes from a machine. $24
8 p.m. — Out to dinner at an Italian restaurant, and the babies are in meltdown mode from travel, car time, and no naps. As soon as we sit down, the toddler starts to scream, so the adults alternate taking him for walks around the street. Luckily the food (and drinks!) come quickly — I split a Caesar salad with my husband, and get the branzino with vegetables and steal bites of my husband's pasta. The branzino is great, but the Caesar salad has a bit too much anchovy for my taste. I also get a strawberry-basil cocktail, which is good to start, but I end up walking the toddler around before I can finish my drink. My in-laws grab the check before the babies have a full-blown meltdown.
8:30 p.m. — In order to soothe the toddler, we decide to stop by Happylemon for some bubble tea on our way to the car. I decide to do a split cup of an Oreo bubble tea, and they end up making us two full drinks! Score. $5.50 and tip of $1. $6.50
Daily Total: $100.88

Day Two

9 a.m. — Grab breakfast at the hotel before our full day of family events. I order a chai latte and huevos rancheros and share crème brûleé French toast with my husband. The food is delicious, but my tastebuds are messed up from the cold and the DayQuil, so I keep adding extra salsa. My in-laws put the breakfast on their room tab to make it simple. They are really generous with all of us, so we usually try to pick up at least one tab on these trips.
11 a.m. — We arrive at the family house for the birthday party with the flowers in tow. I spend time chatting with my husband's extended family, while my mother-in-law and the aunts pick up a variety of food from their favorite spots in Chinatown. We end up with a feast — shu mai, har gow, chow fun, bean curd with minced pork, garlic green beans, lychee ice cream, and key lime pie. I eat too much and start to feel groggy as the party continues. I sneak off to take another DayQuil and play with the kids until it kicks in and it's time to go to our second event.
6:30 p.m. — After visiting with some other family members, we decide to swing by In-N-Out for burgers. At this point the babies missed both naps today and are not happy sitting in their car seats, so we grab the food to go and each go back to our hotel rooms. My sister-in-law pays, and we take our animal-style cheeseburgers and animal-style fries back up to our room. I am tired and cranky from so much family time, and have to remind myself that we all like each other and this too shall pass. I only half believe it and go to bed after reading my Kindle for a few hours. I've been reading On the Come Up by Angie Thomas, but I'm having a hard time getting through this book compared to the last book I read, The Hate U Give.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

9 a.m. — I wake up in a better mood after a good night's sleep. We decide to go outside the hotel for breakfast and end up in a cute brunch spot in San Jose with outdoor seating. They don't balk at the size of our group or the two kids, so again we take turns walking the toddlers to keep them entertained. I order a cold brew and a goat cheese, spinach, and bacon omelet with a side of fruit to share with the kiddos. It is surprisingly good for being so simple, as is the cold brew. I need to make my own cold brew this year — I finally have a French press and coffee grinder, so I at least have the means. I pick up the group's $107.30 tab and tip $27, since they waived the cost of one of our entrees. $134.30
1:45 p.m. — We arrive at the airport, and I grab a water bottle after having a coughing fit at the gate. I'm pretty sure my cold is no longer a cold and has morphed into some form of allergy/sinus infection hell, so I also hand out some Airborne vitamin tablets to my extended family in the hopes they will fend of the sickness. As we are boarding the plane, we encounter a very rude gate agent who scolds us for boarding late (we were trying to tire out the babies before getting on the plane, and we're not bringing bags on board). She is condescending to our party, and then does a complete behavioral change for the white male passenger who gets in line behind us. Encounters like these could be absolutely nothing, but as a POC there is always that nagging question of why we receive different treatment. I confirm the passenger behind us did not get the scolding we did and note the gate agent's name to send feedback to the airline. $4.34
5:45 p.m. — We finally land, get the airport shuttle, and make it back to our car. The flight did not go well with the kids, and I give my sister-in-law MAJOR kudos for her parenting skills and patience, but my husband is on edge after all the family time and dealing with screaming toddlers for several days straight. We pay for parking for both cars with a coupon ($55.02) and hurry back to the dog-sitter to pick up our dog. We pay $100, plus a bottle of wine for the two nights. $155.02
7:30 p.m. — I am on edge after the back-to-back travel, and our fridge is empty, so we decide to grab conveyor-belt sushi near our house for dinner. We grab a variety of plates — seared salmon, avocado rolls, spicy tuna rolls, and tofu rolls. My husband is leaving for his own business trip starting tomorrow, and we both complain about the recent travel and work and decide that next weekend we are going to veg out and do nothing. After dinner we cuddle with the dog and watch reruns of The Office while my husband packs his bag for the work trip. The dog is EXTREMELY suspicious of the suitcase and follows me around before jumping in bed. He is not allowed in there, but I am too tired to fight it and cede him the center of the bed before falling asleep. $37.90
Daily Total: $331.56

Day Four

5:50 a.m. — My alarm goes off, and my husband takes the dog for a walk. My head is throbbing, so I make a bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar and soy milk to coat my stomach before the allergy medicine and Advil take charge. I make my husband a latte, and we both get ready so I can drop him off at his office before he takes a Lyft for his flight with his coworkers. We chat about his trip and my OB-GYN appointment later in the day on the drive to his office.
8 a.m. — I swing by Starbucks and get a cold brew with sweet cream and a spinach feta wrap on my way to the office. Since I was traveling and on PTO last week, I am in back-to-back meetings before my doctor appointment, and I have a major meeting this afternoon to prepare for. I multitask during some technical calls in the morning, and my team can cover and pull together a few slides to ground my meeting this afternoon. $8.91
1:30 p.m. — I leave the office at 12:30 to get to my 1 p.m. OB-GYN appointment, only to find out it was actually scheduled for 1:30. I am annoyed with myself, since I left a meeting early to drive here, and I'm anxious for what the doctor is going to tell me today. I had two miscarriages last year, and after extensive testing, counseling, acupuncture, and self-reflection we took a year off from trying to conceive. It was absolutely critical for my mental health, and since I am in a healthier headspace we have just started trying again (though this was a "practice month" due to all the travel around ovulation). Last year I had discussed going on progesterone with my doctor, and I am disappointed that she does not recommend it and hands me some literature to read on the latest study. I pay my $25 copay and cry quietly in my car in the parking lot for a few minutes before driving back to the office. $25
4 p.m. — I make it back in time to print out my slides and meet with the EVP. I am pleased the meeting goes well, and he agrees with all of my recommendations. I love it when that happens! My mood has definitely improved since my appointment, and I finally text back and forth with my husband after his flight lands to talk about the doctor's recommendation and if I should go on progesterone. Since my stomach is now grumbling, I scrounge in the office kitchen and score some green tea, stale blueberry muffins, and the remnants of a fruit salad (e.g. watery cantaloupe). Leave the office at 5:30 to get home.
6:30 p.m. — I get home and take the dog for a long walk while listening to a podcast. I've been listening to White Lies and am disgusted but not surprised at the brokenness of the criminal justice system. I'm feeling pretty bummed by the time I head home, so I do a quick call to my bestie who lives across the country. We chat about work, my day, and the experience with the doctor. She points out that the doctor probably didn't think I was an idiot, since she printed out a research study article to share with me, filled with statistical detail. I appreciate this insight, since I left the appointment thinking my doctor (who I love!) thought I was someone who had WebMD'd a solution to my miscarriages. I heat up a frozen Trader Joe's chicken tikka masala and read the research study before opening up the laptop to prep for my meetings tomorrow. I finish work around 10 and read for 30 minutes before I shoot a quick text to the husband and fall asleep.
Daily Total: $33.91

Day Five

8:15 a.m. — I get up early to drive the dog to daycare. Since my husband usually drives him in, I realize I had the wrong address and waste a bunch of time driving around an anxious dog before getting to work. My dog has separation anxiety, and daycare twice a week is critical to keeping him socialized and tiring him out when I'm working. I get into the office late and decide to take an extra ten minutes to get a tall soy blonde latte and sous-vide egg bites. $9.90
1 p.m. — I attend a company-sponsored panel of LGBTQ+ employees talking about their experiences at our company. I love the company that I work for and our commitment to our values, but that doesn't mean we can't do better, as evidenced by the stories shared by our employees. I get kind of weepy hearing about their experiences and spend 30 minutes debriefing with my employee who attended with me. The event has a few sweet treats, but I want something savory for lunch, so I swing by our corporate deli and get a cup of chicken noodle soup for $5.45 and a tip of $1. $6.45
4:30 p.m. — I head out of the office early so I can go pick up the dog from daycare, drop him at home, and go pick up groceries from Trader Joe's. I grab a few bananas, corn, bell pepper, grape tomatoes, cauliflower gnocchi, kale & cashew pesto, ground beef, and shakshuka starter. After getting home, I make a huge batch of pesto cauliflower gnocchi, toss in some precooked chicken and tomatoes, and eat while I catch up on some work. I am leading a big project at the company, and we have run into technical issues the past month, hence the evening work and recent travel. I think we have a resolution path forward. $40.87
8:30 p.m. — I finish up work, scroll on Instagram, and read the news while I start watching Southern Charm from the beginning. I weirdly enjoy most Bravo shows while not actually liking any of the people, but this one feels like a true (and nice) escape from my West Coast lifestyle. I sip some candy cane green tea and eat half a banana before letting the dog out and getting in bed. My husband calls at 10:30, and we are both cranky that we didn't have a chance to talk all day. I am not my best self when I'm tired, and he cuts me some slack and agrees to chat before he gets to the airport and flies back tomorrow.
Daily Total: $57.22

Day Six

5 a.m. — I wake up early to take the dog for his walk and continue listening to the White Lies podcast. It is surprisingly warm and beautiful today, so I pause the podcast for part of the walk and try to be present, but find my fingers are itching to check my work much for mindfulness. I make myself a Nespresso and add hot water to make an Americano. I prefer a latte, but our milk steamer is not working well. I grab a banana and hit the road.
7:20 a.m. — I get into the office early, since I arranged a breakfast spread for a few of my employees who have recently won some work awards. I ordered veggie and bacon breakfast sandwiches, yogurt parfaits, almond croissants, and a massive fruit platter, which I got to expense. I spend the first 30 minutes of work chatting with the team, and I am happy that our EVP decides to swing by and congratulate my team. I am thrilled that my team got the recognition for their hard work after several months of long nights and stressful work. My exec assistant helps set up and tear down the food, so I can make it to my meeting on time — she is the best! ($187.50 expensed)
1:30 p.m. — I grab my Trader Joe's tikka masala from the fridge and heat it up between meetings while I ignore the giant sheet cake in the kitchen. There is constantly food in our kitchen, and I usually will pass on the cake or sweets...unless I am hungry and waiting for my microwaved meal to heat up. I cut myself a small slice and finish it within the four minutes it takes for my food to heat up. No regrets!
4 p.m. — I leave early so I can get to my acupuncture appointment on time. I started acupuncture for fertility reasons, but honestly the stress relief and meditation is worth it on its own. I have a lovely chat with my acupuncturist about my basal body temperature chart (all over the place this month with my travel and cold), as well as the progesterone. She offers a different point of view on that, and I appreciate that she recommends a balance of both Western and Eastern medicine. We spend the last 15 minutes talking about my issues with the insurance company — my health insurance covers up to 25 visits a year with a $15 copay, but the insurance has been kicking back the recent visits, and no one can give either of us an explanation as to why. Currently there are five visits of $100 that have not been approved, so I make a note to follow up. I pay my $15 copay for today and $30 for the herbs she recommends and leave feeling lighter. $45
7 p.m. — I swing by the teriyaki place on my way home to pick up food, since my husband gets home tonight (!!!). I'm a little annoyed that my tofu teriyaki is more expensive than any of the meat options, but it is delicious and worth it. We open a bottle of wine and have a few glasses while catching up on travel, the doctor and acupuncture appointments, and some drama at his work. I should work tonight, but it's important to my mental health to spend time decompressing with him, and it's sweet how excited our dog is to see him. $39.62
10 p.m. — I realize I am almost out of prenatal vitamins, so I make an order at a trusted pharmacy online to get a three-month supply. My doctor advised me to start taking the vitamins before we get pregnant, and in return for daily nausea I have noticed my hair has grown like crazy — at least there is a bright side! I also sneak one last peek at work emails and reply to a few before logging off for the night. $89.11
Daily Total: $173.73

Day Seven

7:15 a.m. — My husband apparently fixed the milk steamer and makes me a "to-go" soy latte and peanut butter and banana oatmeal that I drink and eat once I get to the office. I send off a few emails before I get into my morning block of meetings. We have a team boating offsite this afternoon, so again my calendar is compressed in the morning.
11:45 a.m. — Finished with all of my meetings! There will be food on the boat this afternoon, so I swing by the grocery store to grab a bottle of white wine for our adventures. I drive over to the address on the meeting invite and realize this is a yacht club that probably has a dress code. Oops! Luckily no one says anything about my T-shirt and ripped white jeans or gives me any trouble as I find the boat for our cruise. $23.17
4:45 p.m. — The food spread is pretty epic, but sadly we did not bring enough wine — we run out almost immediately! A glass of wine, a Bud Light, and several hours later, I am very glad that I carpooled. It was great catching up with our broader team and spending time with people I don't interact with frequently, but I am feeling my energy drain quite a bit and know I need to veg out before I go out to trivia night with friends. Luckily we are all down to be quiet on the long drive back to the office, and I use the time to send out some emails and check on the status of some deliverables for my project. Finally get home 15 minutes before we need to leave for trivia...ugh.
9 p.m. — My husband drives us over to the Mexican restaurant for dinner with friends and trivia. My energy level is low, so I decide a house margarita might help (spoiler alert: it does not) and order carnitas tacos. I get a little bit competitive during trivia; luckily my husband knows my triggers and runs interference with our friends. We somehow end up winning second place in trivia and get $10 off our tab. It comes to $62.50 and we tip $12. I read in bed for 10 minutes before my Kindle drops on my face, and I am out for the night. $74.50
Daily Total: $97.67
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