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A Week In Brooklyn, NY, On A $607,000 Joint Income

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Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. We're asking real people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.

Today: a senior manager working in tech who has a joint income of $607,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on omakase.
Occupation: Senior Manager
Industry: Tech
Age: 34
Location: Brooklyn, NY
My Salary: $447,000 total comp ($220,000 base + RSUs vesting quarterly)
My Husband's Salary: $160,000
Net Worth: ~$2.9 million joint ($1.1 million across all retirement accounts/IRAs/401(k)s, $666,000 in our brokerage, $60,000 in more "liquid" savings for an emergency fund, $686,000 in equity in our primary residence apartment, $346,000 equity in our rental property, $3,000 in our car. I also have about $250,000 of unvested stock I did not count in my net worth as it's future money.)
Debt: $63,000 left of a personal loan (replaces primary residence mortgage, explained below), $153,000 on the mortgage for rental property
My Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $6,800
My Husband's Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $3,800
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Primary Apartment Maintenance/Parking/Tax: $3,800 (At the beginning of COVID, when interest rates were super low, we took out a $300,000 loan (the amount we had left to pay on our apartment's mortgage) from our bank and paid off the mortgage, because interest was three percent lower and we got approved for a great deal. This was great for us because we were able to consistently put any leftover savings toward it every month. I liked having the flexibility and the minimum payment was only ~$500-ish a month. But because it’s not a fixed rate, our interest rates climbed with the change in the market. So we took $30,000 out of savings and threw it towards our loan, and have about $65,000 left. We are aggressively paying it down with anything we have left over each month after expenses. We typically pay $5-$10,000 a month towards it depending on that month's spending, but we don't pay a monthly sum.)
Rental Property Mortgage: $2,500 (covered by tenants)
Private Loan Payment: We average around $6,000 a month. Since it's a private loan, it's flexible and some months are up to $10,000.
Utilities: $120
Car Insurance: $145
Condo Insurance: $46
Rental Property Maintenance: $50
Cable: $180
iCloud Storage: $2.99
Netflix: $16
Peloton: $44
Spotify: $16
Thrive Market: $48 (autoship pantry staples)
HBO Max: $14.99
Donations: $35
EZ Pass: $135
ButcherBox: $232 every eight weeks

Annual Expenses
Amazon Prime: $151
Thrive Market: $59 (membership)
Annual Credit Card Fee: $550
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. I moved to the US at 14 so I could have a better chance of getting into a top-tier university. Both my parents have several higher education degrees from their home countries. I am the least educated person in my immediate family with only a bachelor's of science. There were never any discussions of other options besides college. I was in SAT prep class starting at age 15 and I had a lot of pressure to maintain good grades while participating in extracurriculars. My parents worked extremely hard to pay for me and my sister's education. I got a scholarship to a private school and was accepted into a good state school alongside a few other private top-tier schools, one of which was my dream school. I wanted to take the scholarship, but my mom said I should consider my dream school and she would pay for it. So I did. I didn't ask too many questions, but given how much she worked while I was away at college, I know the toll it took on her.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
We didn't have detailed conversations but I learned from observing. We went out to dinner once a month and on special occasions, and never ordered drinks or appetizers unless it was a birthday. My dad took me to a neighborhood restaurant once a week as a "treat," but I later learned it was because kids ate free. We lived in a modest house and lived well below our means. I was taught to save and my parents opened a credit card in my name at 12 so I could start building credit. I knew they had money in stocks and were smart with their decisions, but we didn't have any real conversations about that until I graduated college and started asking questions.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I was a camp counselor at 14 because I wanted to work and my friends were doing it. I was not allowed to work during the school year because I had to focus on grades. In college, I had an unpaid internship at a tech startup, and that one job paved the way for my entire career. I could only afford to take that job because my parents were covering my room and board.
Did you worry about money growing up?
No, never. We were comfortable enough to have everything we needed. My life before moving to the US was very modest, but once we moved to the US, I went to a high school with extremely wealthy parents/kids. I went to house parties in crazy mansions and had friends who got brand new BMWs for their 16th bday. We were extremely comfortable and never worried about money, but I didn't feel at the same level as my classmates.
Do you worry about money now?
No. I work really hard and have a high-paying career. I also feel pretty comfortable given my husband's job security and our emergency fund. I have been through five layoffs in my career and have always been "safe," so I know both how quickly and out of nowhere they come, but am also confident in the value I provide. However, money is always top of mind for me. I think about it way more than I need to and until recently was really scared to spend money. Before buying our apartment, I ate canned tuna and didn't go out to bars for about two years to save money for the down payment.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
21, when I graduated college. However, when I moved to NYC for a job, I was making $45,000 and could barely afford rent. My mom would come to visit and buy me household items and would randomly send me money each month as a "surprise gift" to help out. This stopped when I was 23.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
We make $250 a month of profit from our rental property. We have had longtime tenants that cover the mortgage and though we could up the rent to be more competitive in the market, we value their loyalty more. My husband bought this property before we met and lived there until we moved in together. This $250 mostly covers lawn care and some of the cost of maintenance/repairs.

Day One

7 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I spend the next five minutes on my mindfulness practice. It's not full-blown meditation because I can't stick to that, but I do a version of focusing on the five senses while still in the bed — feel the sheets, hear the construction, see the rays of light through the blinds, etc. I get up, brush my teeth, and make a coffee in my Nespresso machine. I am most focused first thing in the morning so I go right to my home office to get about two hours of deep work done when no one else is online. Today, I am reviewing a plan my team sent me yesterday. I am performance-managing one of my direct reports, so I take the time to give actionable feedback. I then start up a 2023 planning doc due this week.
9 a.m. — I emerge from the office and get ready for a workout. I find I have all this energy to expend after a few hours of super-focused work, so this is my ideal workout time. I hop on the Peloton for 30 minutes, which leaves me dripping in sweat and feeling great. While I wait to stop sweating, I make a smoothie with spinach, banana, almond milk, peanut butter, and collagen vanilla protein powder.
10 a.m. — I hurry through my morning routine. Body shower, blow dry the sweat from my hair, and put on Elta MD tinted sunscreen, concealer, mascara, and brow pencil. I get dressed in a suitable-for-work top, black Lululemon leggings, and slippers, which is my WFH uniform. I fill up my water and run into my office for a 10 a.m. Zoom meeting. During this time, my husband, R., buys a cold brew at a coffee shop near his work. Our expenses are fully combined, so I will count his purchases in this diary too. He has a "coffee out of the house" problem because he drinks cold brew year-round. We have tried every home-making cold brew device, and he never sticks with it. We used to argue about it, but I have learned to live with it. $5.55
11:15 a.m. — During our daily standup, I fix myself a big meal. I toast and butter two pieces of bread, peel three pre-prepped hardboiled eggs, heat up some chicken apple sausage I cooked a few days ago in the microwave, and refill my water. I also make myself a second coffee in a Yeti mug so it will stay hot for a few hours. I pop off mute every few minutes to answer a question or ask for an update between chews. I am back in the home office by 11:30 for back-to-back meetings.
6 p.m. — R. gets home and I haven't moved other than to pee or refill my water all day. My last meeting finishes, so I collect all my cups and snack wrappers and greet him. We are super intentional with our time together — no phones/distractions. We heat up leftovers (ground turkey, peppers, rice, Brussels sprouts) and chat about our days. After, he showers and I go for my daily two-mile mental health walk. I make a pit stop at Trader Joe's. I buy special sauce, salsa verde, tortilla chips, bagels, and blueberries. $22
7 p.m. — I stop by the liquor store on the way home to buy a bottle of champagne to bring to the office tomorrow to celebrate a launch with my team. I am expensing this, so I buy the good stuff. I get home and R. is watching TV. I chill the champagne and go back into my office to finish up work. Somewhere around 8:45, R. comes in to say goodnight. We have totally different work schedules, so we also have different sleep schedules. Eye masks and earplugs are key to our marriage. I review some other things my team sent me to approve and check some emails. I get so many Slacks and emails a day, I set aside time at night to just plow through them ($50 expensed).
9:30 p.m. — I finally finish work, shower, do my nighttime skin-care routine (Cetaphil face wash, The Ordinary serum, acne meds, and IT Cosmetics night cream), brush my teeth, and join R. in bed. He's already fast asleep, but I am still wired and need to calm my brain. I do Wordle (get it in three!) and buy a new rom-com book on my Kindle. It's just okay, but a welcome distraction. I read in bed until my eyes slowly start to close around 10:30. $5.99
Daily Total: $33.54

Day Two

6 a.m. — My alarm goes off — it's an in-office day so I'm up earlier than usual. I throw on workout clothes, brush my teeth, down an espresso, and head to the gym in my building. I warm up with a mile run and do a 30-minute total body strength. I then jump in the shower. While my hair air dries, I make the same smoothie as yesterday and pack my lunch (chicken, rice, butternut squash), an apple, and Chomps meat sticks. I eat a hard-boiled egg while I jump online to respond to my EU teams' Slacks. Hair is sufficiently dry, so I blow dry, put on tinted sunscreen, NARS concealer, powder, mascara, blush, brow pencil, and Saie highlighter. I get dressed in black jeans, a blue short-sleeved sweater with ruffle sleeves, black boots, and a leather jacket and I am out the door. The subway is free — my company covers $70 of transit/month.
9 a.m. — While on the train, I make a DoorDash pickup order for 2 dozen bagels and cream cheese for the team, so I swing by the deli near the office and pick them up (I expense this). It's launch day! I set the bagels up in the kitchen, grab one for myself, and sit in the kitchen with my computer and chat with folks as they come in. In-office days are good for social interaction (and as an extrovert, I crave this) so I try and be more visible and not hole up in my office. I am way less productive, but it's worth it. At 10, we officially deploy our big launch and everyone is all high-fives and smiles. This is the best part of my job. We make plans to pop the champs at 5 ($67 expensed).
2 p.m. — While I'm at work, R. puts $25 on the laundry card at home. When I got promoted two months ago, my salary went up $47,000 and we discussed getting a cleaning lady. He has been a little burned out and dealing with health issues, so he decided to reduce his shifts and take on more around the house. This meant about a $20-$30,000 pay cut, but we can afford that and it is NOT worth his health. He loves his job, so leaving is not an option. Before, we split everything down the middle for chores — including invisible labor like remembering birthdays and sending cards/gifts, managing our social calendar, etc. Now, he's going to take on 100% of stuff we used to split. My mom did EVERYTHING around the house and worked full-time growing up. I vowed to never let that be my life, but I still feel guilty about handing all the chores to R. I remind myself that if the man was the primary breadwinner, this would be expected and he would feel zero guilt. $25

5 p.m. — After a long day of back-to-backs and eating my lunch in front of my computer, the team responsible for today's launch and I pop the champagne in the kitchen and hang out. It's the first time some of us have met in person, so we get to know each other. Around 6, they start to head out, and I head to my desk to take a call with the directors from the West Coast.

8 p.m. — I get home, simultaneously energized and exhausted from the in-office day. I change into comfy clothes and see the piles of towels and clothes R. cleaned today. We eat dinner and catch up and I tell him how much I appreciate him. We spend a few minutes putting the folded stuff away and discussing an upcoming trip for a wedding. I am reminded I need to get a dress altered. I check my schedule and put a 30-minute hold on my calendar tomorrow so I can run down and get it done.

9 p.m. — R. and I watch an episode of Seinfeld to wind down and I answer a few emails and Slacks from my phone while watching. I have two things due tomorrow, but I am too tired to will myself to the computer. We shower, do nighttime skin care, and get in bed to clean sheets. We have sex and immediately fall asleep.

Daily Total: $25

Day Three

6:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I groan. I am exhausted but I have two deadlines today. Same drill: brush teeth, Nespresso, two hours deep work time. I finish one of the deliverables and send it to my manager, but still have lots to do to prep for a 2 p.m. meeting and am starting to get stressed. Whenever I get overwhelmed like this, which is often, I take a deep breath and ask myself, "What is the worst that will happen if I don't do this?" Most of the time, it's not as bad as I think. In this case, the leadership attendance in this meeting is critical, so I check out my schedule and see what I can move — I reschedule two meetings, which gives me a sigh of relief, and hop on the Peloton for 20 minutes. I shower, make my same smoothie, throw on my WFH outfit, and head back into the home office to crank it out.
12 p.m. — I grab a snack and eat it in the elevator as I head down to the tailor. I get the shoulders and the length hemmed, and it's expensive because of the multiple layers of fabric and the rush (poor planning on my part). They tell me I will have it in two days, which is enough time for a touch-up before the wedding if I don't like it. I run back upstairs and continue cranking out my presentation. $100
6 p.m. — I have so much work to do but my stomach is grumbling. I head to the kitchen and find R. Swiffering, doing the dishes, and cleaning the countertops shirtless. Is it weird this is a total turn-on? We end up having a quickie in the living room. Sorry not sorry. We clean up, heat up leftovers, and eat dinner together. I am tired of eating the same thing over and over, but I'm too hungry to care. I tell R. I'm stressed and he offers to go with me on my mental health walk. We only walk a mile due to timing, but I come back with a totally different perspective.
8 p.m. — R. heads to bed to read and I open my computer for a few hours of work. I put on my playlist, which at this point primes my brain for focus and dive into my to-do list. I finish at 11 p.m. I lazily wash my face, do my nighttime skin care, and fall asleep before my head hits the pillow.
Daily Total: $100

Day Four

7 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I roll over and see R. has left already. I didn't even hear him leave this morning. I lie there and immediately start thinking about my calendar and what's on deck today. I take a few deep breaths and decide I need a rest day and am craving a somewhat slow morning. I am trying really hard to manage stress both because R. and I are trying to conceive and also because I know my work-life balance is nonexistent. I make a coffee and sit at the counter. I do the Wordle (get it in three), respond to some texts, and order cupcakes from Goldbelly to deliver to my best friend's house in two days. Most of my friends live scattered across the country, so I try to show my love from afar. I do not feel guilty spending money on the people I love. I do a 30-minute slow flow to get my mind right and breathe a little. $78
9 a.m. — R. buys a nitro coffee. I feel like a totally different person after that yoga class. I take a quick shower, make the same smoothie, throw on my WFH uniform again, fill up my water, and head to my home office. While I get ready, I blast a feel-good playlist while I mentally prepare myself for a few tough meetings today. I curl my hair for a little confidence boost. $6.55
12:30 p.m. — Nonstop meetings.
3:30 p.m. — I am hungry and realize I didn't eat breakfast. I scrounge together a snack plate — almonds, crackers, cherry tomatoes, olives, hummus, cucumbers, a meat stick, a Justin's peanut butter packet, and a banana — and eat it while on mute. I make myself a decaf coffee and tell myself it's caffeinated. Doesn't work.

7:30 p.m. — I look at the clock and realize what time it is. When R. is at work, I often lose track of time. I go on my mental health walk. I listen to an episode of Armchair Anonymous and answer some Slacks. It's a beautiful fall night with crisp air. I stop at a taco truck and get three tacos. I eat them at home with a side salad I dig up from my fridge. The lettuce may be old but it smells fine and I refuse to throw out food. I text R. while he's at work and keep an eye out for updates from my team. $15

10:30 p.m. — I'm waiting for a direct report to send me an update, but he has yet to send one, so I ping him. He's offline. Other directors and VPs on the West Coast are catching wind of this issue and asking for an update. I ping my team channel to get the latest, and send out a brief update and buy us time to send another by the morning. I fall asleep by midnight completely drained.

Daily Total: $99.55

Day Five

7:30 a.m. — TGIF. I immediately open Slack to read updates and respond to a few emails. It looks like it's under control, so I send some kudos to our team channel. I brush my teeth, throw on workout clothes, and down an espresso while responding to more Slacks. A few folks are commenting that my direct report is still not responding. I ping him again asking if everything is alright and head to the gym downstairs. I do 20 minutes on the Stairmaster.
9:30 a.m. — Fresh out of the shower, I throw on leggings and a hoodie. I am making my smoothie when R. walks in the door. He looks absolutely exhausted from a tough shift so I give him a hug and send him to shower. I make him an egg sandwich while in a meeting. He eats, I tuck him in, make another coffee, and head to the home office for a long day of meetings.
2:30 p.m. — R. walks into my office while I am in the middle of an on-camera meeting and hands me a sandwich and a fresh La Croix. This is true love! Everyone in the meeting LOVES this and he's basically a hero for the day. I inhale the sandwich and then take a break between calls to give R. a hug and a kiss to thank him.
4:30 p.m. — R. buys a few gel ice packs with Velcro on Amazon because his knees have been hurting him from running. $39
6 p.m. — My last meeting ends and I flop on the couch. Usually we try and do a date night a few times a month, but I am not in the mood. I'm craving pizza but after putting things in my cart on Uber Eats and seeing $80, I decide against it. This always happens to me — I can't seem to press order when I know it would be like $5 to make at home. I find pizza sauce and canned olives in the pantry and pull out cauliflower pizza crusts from the freezer. I find shredded parm and prosciutto in the fridge, throw a pizza together, and plop it in the oven. R. makes a quick salad. R. and I eat the pizza while half-watching a movie. I end up falling asleep on his lap, so around 9 he wakes me up and carries me to the bathroom and I lazily wash my face, brush my teeth, and pass out.
Daily Total: $39

Day Six

9 a.m. — I sleep in and it feels glorious. I am so mentally and physically exhausted from the week. R. and I snuggle and have morning sex. We then slowly make our way to the kitchen for weekend morning coffee and brunch. I love slow mornings.
11 a.m. — After breakfast, coffee, and doing the Wordle and the crossword, we jump in the shower. We have our nephew's birthday party today, so we get ready to head to the 'burbs. I am so excited because my nephew is my favorite person and I got him a bike that he is going to lose his mind over. R. carries the bike down to the car and I can't get over how cute and small it is. We drive to the party.
3 p.m. — We leave the party exhausted, overstimulated, and full of sugar. My nephew immediately had to take the bike for a test drive so I think it was a success! We pay $16 for tolls on the way there and back, but they're covered in our monthly EZ Pass fee. As we're driving home, my friend, K., texts me and asks what I am doing tonight. I tell her I am exhausted, but craving sushi. A few minutes later she responds with an omakase reservation and a time and place to meet. This is why I love my friends — I am naturally a hermit, so I kind of need friends to force me to go places. I never regret it.
9:30 p.m. — We leave the restaurant stuffed and slightly buzzed on sake ($118). It was so good and I missed hanging with K. She also works in tech, so we have a lot to talk about. We also make similar-ish salaries (we don't talk exact numbers but are similar levels/roles), so it makes going all out on food easier since we don't need to have a conversation about it. We aren't ready to go home yet, so we walk west to go to a bar K. has always wanted to try. We get there and there's a line of 10 people and it's starting to drizzle. We take one look at each other, say NOPE, and head back to her apartment close by. We have a glass of wine, hang out on the couch, and chat until I start falling asleep. It's late and I am too tired to take the train, so I Uber home ($50). $168
Daily Total: $168

Day Seven

9 a.m. — Another slow morning — I love weekends. I luxuriously drink my coffee and sit on my balcony while doing the Wordle. I can't help myself and check my email to see 10 unread e-mails from my manager and some VPs. The topic is time-sensitive, so I check my schedule for Monday. It's jam-packed so I won't have time to get to it. I guess I know what I will be doing today.
2 p.m. — I finish work and head to the grocery store. I do a full week's shop. I get almond milk, spinach, bananas, apples, cucumbers, blueberries, three types of cherry tomatoes, Simple Mills crackers, zucchini, salami, mayo, chicken broth, olives, pasta, canned tomatoes, grated cheese, La Croix, butternut squash, chicken apple sausage, yogurt, two dozen eggs, orange juice, and apple cider. I get home, put the groceries away, throw on workout clothes, down an espresso, and go for a run. $140
4 p.m. — I stretch and take a shower after my run then prep food for the week.
6 p.m. — R. gets home from work and we have dinner: penne with turkey bolognese. We eat, watch House of the Dragon (we are behind), and pass out by 9.
Daily Total: $140
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