Money Diaries logo

A Week In Los Angeles, CA, On A Joint $7,050 A Week

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 showrunner who makes a joint $7,050 a week and spends some of her money this week on an air fryer.
Editor's Note: This is a follow up diary. You can read the original diary from May 2019 here.
Occupation: Showrunner
Industry: Television
Age: 41
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Salary: $6,000 per week me + $1,050 per week from the husband (I am freelance and get paid weekly so it doesn't make sense to calculate our yearly salary. We also receive $1,037/month as a stipend from the state for our two foster children who we are hoping to officially adopt. We put $500/month per kid into a savings account instead of treating this as income.)
Net Worth: $202,010 ($78,000 in index funds +$28,000 in retirement IRAs + $82,000 in savings + $10,000 in car worth and no debt for me. My husband has $14,000 in savings, no retirement, and no debt.)
Debt: $0, cars were bought with cash, we pay off the credit card every month
My Paycheck Amount (1x/week): $4,279
My Husband's Paycheck (biweekly): $1,916
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $2,300
Health Insurance: $714 (for my husband and me, the kids' health insurance is $0)
Water and Power: Fluctuates between $225 and $600 depending on the season
Gas: $25-$40 depending on season
Cell Phone: $26/phone on the family plan. My whole family is on this plan plus us two. The kids don't have phones yet.
Sling: $40
Netflix: $8.99 (Hulu and HBO from friends)
Internet: $54.99
Allowance: $40/kid
LA Times: $8
Adobe Creative Cloud: $9.99
Car Insurance: $109
Renter's Insurance: $170/year
Savings: $10-12,000 per month right now
Car Insurance: $105
Nintendo Subscription: $19.99 annually
Advertisement
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. My dad literally moved halfway around the world to get a better education and then became a college professor when I was growing up. On my mom's side no one had ever gone to college, so it was an interesting dichotomy. I was a very good student who got offers from a lot of schools and took a full ride to a private college in NYC, which was my dream city at the time. My dad was able to contribute about $400 a month to my living expenses (my scholarships covered all tuition and only partial living), which shocked me because I didn't think he'd contribute anything. I worked during college to pay for food and anything extra. Having a parent working in higher education is INVALUABLE when you're traversing the application and loan process.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
We talked about money all the time. I knew we didn't have much of it but that my dad was really good at budgeting. My dad is an economics professor so even things like the national budget and the world economy were talked about at length. My parents divorced when I was around 4 and my mom struggled a lot with steadily working and paying bills. When I was pretty young, I started balancing her checkbook for her and told her when she couldn't afford things — she didn't love it. I remember one time we were at a store and she told my sister and me we could pick out a toy and I said that we could not because she couldn't afford it, and I think our relationship was really cemented in that moment. Now that I'm an adult, I think about how wild it must be to suddenly have a tiny human in your house telling you what to do. I have more sympathy for my mom now than I did then.
Advertisement
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was babysitting and most of the gigs were staying in people's places at night, after their kids/babies were asleep, so they could go out. My dad was chill about me being up late which made me the perfect 12-year-old for the job. Then my dad's second wife lied about my age and hired me to do part-time telemarketing, which was a nightmare. She ended up leaving the family and fired me. I worked because I wanted money for things. As soon as I started working legit jobs, my dad stopped buying me clothes and paying for lunches etc., and those became my costs. While it probably sounds extreme, it really did prepare me for budgeting in college and the rest of my life so I understood it more later when I saw my peers blowing money and going into debt recklessly.
Did you worry about money growing up?
Yes, constantly all the time.
Do you worry about money now?
Yes, constantly all the time.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I would say 18. I had things paid for even if my dad didn't pay anything monthly for living expenses. When I graduated at 20, he paid my rent for the summer as my graduation gift, and then that was it. Nothing else from him. When I was 15, I started giving my mom money to help with her bills (and then my sister did the same thing) and she calls them loans but we know they're not.
Advertisement
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
No.

Day One

7:15 a.m. — Wake up and read the news while I hear a kid stirring in the living room. My husband, D., leaves for work before all of us wake up so he always kisses me bye on his way out. He also always takes care of the coffee so I just assume he has made it. I throw on some sweats so I can walk kid #1, F., and the dog to school. I ask her if she has her mask, sanitizer, and daily pass, and then we leave. I walk with her until we are one block away from her school and then she walks alone for the last stretch (this is sixth grade) and I walk back home to take her brother to his school. We get back and I take my morning medicine and ask kid #2, R., if he has his mask, his ID, his sanitizer, and his daily pass. R. is the older one, he's in eighth grade. I'm still WFH and have been for going on two years. I do have to go to set when we're filming but I have managed to limit that during the pandemic. All prep and post (which means the edit) is done from my home office.
9:30 a.m. — I realize I haven't eaten anything so I throw together an apple, cheddar, and crackers. Today is a delivery day, which means a cut is going out to the network. I essentially have to watch it and give all of my notes and then the editor and producer address them and then we send it to the network for their round of notes. Delivery days are stressful and this job has at least three per week, which is not ideal, as well as a very small team and that's why I'm getting paid more than usual. I knew before I accepted this job that it would be a ton of work. I did the math on how much more we would spend on take out and such, and the $10,000 more a month was worth it. Luckily, I am in my last three weeks of a three-month stint so things are slowing down a lot right now and feeling much less stressful.
Advertisement
12 p.m. — I work on this cut all day and eat a sandwich at some point for lunch. This seems like a good time to give a bit of an update since my last diary in 2019. At the time we were in the process of adopting kids, and we still technically are. We had a few matches with kids, but overall the whole thing has gone MUCH slower than we anticipated.  COVID is only partially to blame, but social workers keep telling us that if we were open to babies we’d have gotten a placement within days of being approved. So strange that the hold-up is wanting older kids given what we all hear about older kids in foster care. After several failed matches, our adoption worker called and told us about two kids, a little older than our range, who she thought made sense for us. We took her word for it and decided to meet them. It went well, they moved in and we've all lived together for several months now. My husband got his teaching credentials right before the shutdown and was laid off for the entire 2020-2021 school year, which worked out because he could be a stay-at-home dad. I have had consistent work through the pandemic (I worked on podcasts while the film industry was shut down).
4 p.m. — F., D.and R. get home. Luckily he's able to do pickup every day, so once I do drop-off I'm essentially off the kid hook until dinner time. I should say here that D. is the primary parent and does much more of the housework/dog work in order for me to even entertain jobs like this. If you're a person (with or without kids) in this business you either need an incredibly supportive partner or the money to hire a lot of help (or both!). A huge perk of working from home is that I can still be semi-present while working. Kids are now both doing their homework and arguing only minimally so I don't have to interfere. D. does therapy over the phone from our bedroom ($0 copay, I don't know how long it will be free).
Advertisement
5 p.m. — It's time to take F. to her soccer practice so D. does that while I stay home with R.
6:30 p.m. — I do some more work and finally close my laptop at 8. D. has fed the kids and they have showered. I finally have a chance to eat and relax. The kids tell me about their days and I help F. with her math homework. She has made a complete 180 this year with school and it's so heartwarming to see her reading so much more, trying so much harder in math, and generally being more excited to go in the mornings.
9 p.m. — Catch up on 90 Day Fiancé while we eat and fully decompress on the couch. The dog puts himself to bed before us. At 11 p.m. I decide to get ready for bed and lay down. We listen to a podcast while we drift off to sleep. Usually I'm fast asleep quickly but for some reason tonight my mind is racing. So I also place a Sprouts order for pickup on my phone that D. can get tomorrow when he does school pick-up. It has vegetables, salad stuff, fruit, chocolate chip cookies, milk, possibly the last watermelon of the summer, salad dressing, a veggie tray for when they're out of other snacks or dinner isn't enough, and odds and ends I'm forgetting. $69.66
Daily Total: $69.66

Day Two

7:15 a.m. — Same wake up and take the kids to school routine. Today R. mixes it up by asking me what the difference is between blood types and honestly, I don't really know. He thinks it's wild that they're not all the same and I see his point. It would be much simpler if blood was just blood. I'm driving so I tell him we can look it up later.
Advertisement
8:45 a.m. — On Thursdays, I don't bring the dog because after drop-off I go straight to my doctor's office to get allergy shots. I was supposed to start these in spring 2020 but it was canceled when they canceled all non-essential appointments last year and so I finally started shots in April. It's so weird that you don't even know if they will work for you until six months in (what a commitment!) but because I'm working from home I've actually been able to not miss a single week since April, no small feat. Now that it's been nearly six months, they are saying it looks like the shots are working for me. HALLELUJAH! And if you're wondering if I'm allergic to dogs, the answer is yes — but the dog is a non-negotiable, so here we are. I'm also allergic to California though so this is a big win all the way around. Now I just have to continue doing these shots every week for another six months I guess? Copay is $5, parking at the doctor's office is $6. $11
9:45 a.m. — A rare trip to Costco! I haven't done the Costco run in like six months but picking up this slack is part of my husband going back to work. We take COVID very seriously because I have asthma, we have one unvaccinated kid, and if I don't work I don't get paid. Of course, this is on top of all the other reasons to take it seriously. So just picture me in my KN95 with my sanitizer every time I go somewhere. I get a giant piece of salmon, the cilantro lime shrimp, chicken breasts, croissants, eggs, juice, seltzer, cheddar cheese, parmesan cheese, smoked almonds, apple strudels, olive oil, laundry detergent, and holy moly they have Moose Munch now?!? Oh helllll yeah. $221.25
Advertisement
10:45 a.m. — My gas light is on so I stop at the gas station by my house. Then, I head back at home and do some work. $43.40
12 p.m. — I suddenly have cramps and realize my period has started, two days late. I am one of the people who had their period totally disrupted by the vaccine. It's the only real side effect I've had. My arm didn't even get sore, I was never tired, but dang my period is only now slowly getting back to kind of normal. I am on birth control and also old af so I don't really worry about being pregnant when it's late, I'm more just confused by it. I also never had coffee today so I have half of a Dr. Pepper Zero from the fridge to keep me awake.
2 p.m. — I remember to take my afternoon medicine on time! Wow, I'm really thriving today. Look at me! A woman doing it all! I eat a turkey wrap with some chips while I watch an episode for color correction and sound mixing. I get my office as dark as possible and go to town writing notes like “this white looks TOO white here” and “can you pump up the audio on 'I hate this'?” for the next several hours.
4:30 p.m. — The kids' social worker does her usual visit. I pause work briefly to talk to her as things have been pretty tense lately and honestly, this worker has not been any help at all. She apologizes but we both know it won't change because she has too many cases. Luckily, the rest of the workers on our case are incredibly helpful and responded to us quickly the one time we were in a tense situation. She goes to have a one-on-one with F. while R. and D. arrive home from school (with the groceries I ordered for pickup). D. handles the rest of her visit while I get back to work.
Advertisement
6 p.m. — I'm not quite done so I walk D. through making a dinner of rigatoni with a bolognese (but it's not with meat, it's with Trader Joe's beefless beef, since my husband doesn't eat meat). We bring up something with R., based on what the social worker said, and he essentially confesses that he's been lying to us about something for over three weeks. We tell him he's grounded but give each other faces that say we need to talk privately after this. We've never grounded a kid before.
8 p.m. — I jump back on my laptop and finish up some last-minute work that I delayed so we could eat dinner together. An editor calls me because she wants to discuss the impending strike off the record and so do I. I am all for the union, I wish I could be in the union! Little known fact, but most TV producers have no work protections because no union covers us — there are tons of positions in this industry with no union. My editor is in the union but our show is non-union so it's very confusing to know what we're supposed to do — everyone is trying to figure it out.
9 p.m. — Done with work and the kids are in bed, so D. and I can finally talk. We're both fuming about the kid but I grew up in a very strict household and he grew up in a very lax household and we realize we don't really know what regular grounding means. We decide on no TV, no mp3 player, no talking to friends outside of school, and beyond that we'll pretty much play it by ear but we know we have to be consistent. Really shocked to learn that grounding punishes the parents as well — not a fan of that part, to be honest.
Advertisement
10:30 p.m. — Get into bed and remember that the air fryer that was on sale at Costco was out of stock so I go on the site and order it. Yes, I held out this long, but I'm finally joining the cult of air fryers. I hope it works and can replace our toaster oven since it's a combo thing. $164
Daily Total: $439.65

Day Three

7:15 a.m. — Same wake up and take the kids to school routine. Dog is super pumped because he gets a car ride again after yesterday where he had to sit out. It's a very quiet car ride with R. today.
8:30 a.m. — Sauté some asparagus, mushrooms, and onion and then scramble two eggs and toss those in. Add some cheddar cheese at the end, delicious. Eat it with a piece of toast because I've been doing a terrible job eating during the day lately and I'm trying to do better.
9 a.m. — I have therapy on Friday mornings. My therapist has been giving me homework to improve my mental health and one thing I did was stop letting anyone schedule a 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. Zoom so that I'm never rushing as my day starts. It probably sounds small but I felt a huge weight lift once I set that boundary. I often forget that I am in charge, so I can set my schedule. My new goal is to be less critical of D. and be more outwardly appreciative because I have been slacking in that department lately and he is a person who thrives on positive feedback ($0 co-pay). I have only been able to do therapy regularly because of telehealth, I hope we can stay doing telehealth forever honestly.
Advertisement
10 a.m. — I'm clocked in and replying to all the messages I got during therapy. There are some fixes I need to put an editor on right away so I get that moving and then realize I am feeling very focused right now and decide to dive into scripts and research that I need to edit before we lock the episodes. I decide to put Never Have I Ever on and dig in. Before I know it, I'm through all of them and it's only 11:05. Yet another task that took considerably less time when I was actually focused on doing it. Also, this show is pretty good. It has been great, gloomy fall weather all week but today it's getting hot again. I begrudgingly close up the house and turn the A/C on for what I hope is the last time this year. Then I check the weather and see that it's going to be hot all weekend and text our friend to see if she and her dog want to go to the dog beach this weekend. We haven't taken the dog all summer and this may be our last hot weekend. She's in! Back to work.
12 p.m. — A friend calls to get the tea on what R. did and she gives me grounding tips. She calls grounding in 2021 "Dickensian." Fair. Then the school counselor calls and it's generally good news about how the kids are doing but then she does drop another bit of info about R. that we'll have to talk to him about as well. Good lord, the hits keep on coming.
Advertisement
2:25 p.m. — F. gets home from school and starts her extreme snack routine. School has been giving them lunch and snacks everyday (for free) and she's so annoyed because one of her snacks today is a literal brick of cheddar cheese. She eats hummus and crackers, chips and salsa, a peach, and a plum and asks if she can have a cookie.
3:30 p.m. — F. and I go pick up R. because we're not letting him stay after school today. D. texts me to say he's picking up coffee from his favorite coffee shop so we can have fancy coffee tomorrow morning. On Fridays, the kids clean their room and try to get through their general chores before the weekend begins. $12.70
6:30 p.m. — We're miraculously on track to get everything out now so I wrap up early. I feel like I'll actually take our kid to her soccer game on time for the first time in weeks. Last week, by comparison, I worked until 10 p.m. on Friday night. Then D. gets a text that soccer is canceled, womp womp. Exciting that we have a free night, though! He feeds the kids some spinach ravioli and a salad while I order some sushi for us to eat after they go to bed. Two rolls, spicy tuna crispy rice, some pieces of salmon belly, and a big fat tip. $66
8 p.m. — The kids are showered and fed and finished with most of their homework so they head to bed early since they both still have to read for an hour. The sushi arrives. I've been wanting to watch Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar for months and for once we have the time! My husband clearly has been putting this off but realizes his time has run out. It's really funny and silly and totally great. I love when a movie feels like everyone had a blast making it. I give this movie four culottes and a seagull in the sand. We eat monster cereal for dessert; Count Chocula for me, Boo Berry for D. I have a bunch of house stuff in a Target cart, including a birthday present for F., so I check with D. and he says he has nothing to add so I order it. $77.44
Advertisement
10 p.m. — I start getting ready for bed again because my eyelids are drooping from the sleep gummy I ate. I almost never fall asleep before 11 but it's nice to lay down, relax my brain, and get some alone time to talk to the husband for a while before I doze off. D. tells me he bought some tapes on Bandcamp and spent $12. My skincare routine is whatever I remember but in the last 18 months I started using a retinol for the first time ever and I use an Olay night cream like my grandma did. I also only wash my face in the shower. I am hopeless. At some point today I get paid and move $4,000 into savings and pay a $1,400.10 credit card bill. $12
Daily Total: $168.14

Day Four

9 a.m. — We have blissfully slept in and the house is still very quiet so I'm betting the kids are still in bed as well. D. gets up before me and takes the dog out and feeds him. I stay in bed a little longer.
9:30 a.m. — I finally get up and the kids have eaten a strudel so I decide to make breakfast for lunch in a few hours.
10:30 a.m. — Call R. out to talk to him about what the heck is going on and also tell him that the counselor told us he hasn't been going to the after-school study sessions I signed him up for. He cries a lot. It's a very emotional conversation but ultimately we're still so confused about his behavior. We have adoption therapy this week and honestly, it can't come soon enough.
Advertisement
12 p.m. — I make breakfast quesadillas for lunch. I came up with this recipe to have another vehicle for the hot and sweet jalapeños from Trader Joe's (if you know you know) and they're so friggin' good. Scrambled eggs, cheese, smart bacon, and salsa and then D. and I add those tasty jalapeños. F. works on some homework and then we watch TV together. She snacks on veggie straws and a peach. D. tells me he got gas. $41.40
6 p.m. — I portion out the big piece of salmon I got. I always portion into eight fillets so we get two meals out of it. Tonight we're having rice bowls with zucchini and roasted corn and they turn out great — we don't usually do corn in the bowls but I had two ears about to go bad so I decided why not. I par-cook the other four filets for future salads. While I'm cooking, the dog goes for a long walk with D.
7 p.m. — We do family movie night once a week but R. is sitting out this week since he's grounded. He goes into his room to read while F. puts on her choice, The Sandlot. She said she saw it when she was really little so she's excited to see it again. When a boy tells another boy he plays like a girl she gasps and says “that's offensive!” and I'm proud that she gets it.
9 p.m. — Both kids are showered and in bed. We mindlessly watch TV while zoning out because we're both exhausted. At some point, we get into bed but I don't even look at the clock so I don't know when, and I'm out like a light.
Advertisement
Daily Total: $41.40

Day Five

8:30 a.m. — The husband and I are both awake but decide to read in bed since the dog is still asleep. We end up dozing off again until 10. When we wake up, the dog promptly pukes in our bed (this has never happened before). We're definitely up now!
10:30 a.m. — Dog is back from his long walk and eats breakfast while we watch Law and Order, my most long-standing weekend tradition. We're going to the dog beach at 2:30 so I decide to make a fun lunch. D. washes our duvet while R. decides to go outside and walk laps (our block is like a loop) because he's so bored.
12 p.m. — I make croissant French toast with chicken sausage and fruit (veggie sausage for D.). At 1:45, I say we need to change and grab the towels. We get ready to go and pack the dog's to-go bowl, sunblock and fill up our water bottles. R. is coming but the deal is that he's not swimming or having fun.
2:55 p.m. — Traffic is much worse so no one makes it by 2:30 but I guess LA traffic is back, baby. We pay for parking and the dog is losing his mind ($7). He LOVES the beach. F. tells us she's afraid of the ocean but before we know it, she's gone all the way in. D. goes with her first while I catch up with my friends. Then she asks me to go out deeper with her so I do while D. gets some reading time in a beach chair. The dogs are both running around and having a blast. $7
Advertisement
5 p.m. — After an hour of swimming we get out so that we can dry off before getting into the car. D. and F. do races on the beach and he wins every time — she's surprised old people can run so fast (rude). We have tickets to see Nightmare Before Christmas at a drive-in tonight so once we're dry we start packing up to head back home. The drive home takes nearly an hour so D. calls and orders pizza for pick up so we can have pizza in the car during the movie tonight. $37
6:25 p.m. — We FINALLY get home and the kids each shower and get into their pajamas for the drive-in. Drive-ins became a big part of our social lives during COVID. They're really fun and you get out of the house so it feels like you're really doing something.
7:30 p.m. — We get to the movie. It's in a parking lot near our house so it's very quick and they have a ton of deals so you can take a family for like $40 including drinks + snacks. D. jumps out of the car and walks down the block to pick up the pizza. He gets back to the car and we start handing out the pizza just as the movie starts. Maybe it's because we've been swimming out in the sun for a few hours but this pizza tastes especially good right now. I feel totally relaxed and happy and let the movie wash over me.
9 p.m. — The movie is over so we head home and the kids set their alarm, brush their teeth, and go to bed. I watch last week's RHOBH while getting ready for bed. The Erika Jayne drama is like popcorn this season.
10:30 p.m. — Get into bed with the washed duvet on and the fluffy dog running around doing his post-bath zoomies. We're all going to pass out hard. D. says he's not ready for Monday morning yet and I couldn't agree more.
Daily Total: $44

Day Six

7:15 a.m. — Same old morning routine. Somehow my period seems to be back despite ending two days ago. Sigh.
8:30 a.m. — Back home and no notes have come in so I realize I can continue working from my living room while watching TV. I make another quick breakfast of scrambled eggs with vegetables and a piece of toast and have it with a cup of coffee. I put on In Treatment (meh, do not recommend) in the background while I send a few emails and make some Instagram posts.
9 a.m. — The dog is being weird and then I realize that I forgot to feed him. Oops! He's fed now and goes right back to nap city. I text a friend we were planning on seeing this coming weekend to let her know that we have to cancel because of the grounding. She has two kids so she gets it but says her kids will be disappointed. So am I. Somehow it's 11 and no notes have come in. I become paranoid that my internet isn't working. I have finished all my paperwork and guess I can just relax? What is this feeling?! I keep refreshing all my inbox and Slack, just in case. I see that I have two recruiter messages on LinkedIn so I reply to them and email the host of the podcast I do to see when he can start scheduling new episodes because we're supposed to start recording soon. And yes, if you're trying to figure out my work plan this means that when I wrap and “take a break” I'll still have a job doing the podcast. I am terrible at taking breaks.
12 p.m. — We find out friends of ours who are also foster parents have officially adopted their baby! How exciting for them! I congratulate them and we chat about meeting up soon so our kids can meet. The dog is still conked out from yesterday's excitement. I use this downtime to read what people are saying about my show on Reddit and Twitter and it's honestly a blast but even more enjoyable because I know what's to come this season so their minds will really be blown in a few weeks. Text the funniest posts to our work group chat.
1 p.m. — Heat up the two pieces of leftover pepperoni and mushroom pizza for lunch while switching back to Never Have I Ever. The network emails that there will be no notes today so I move on with things on my to-do list. I fill out even more forms for the kids' schools because that task is neverending. My job is requiring proof of vaccination, which they know I have because they gave me a paid day off to get it, but I fill out their paperwork and send it over to tie up that loose end. Get another EBT card in the mail. We didn't sign up for this but this is the second one we've received. They were supposed to be distributed last fall for the 2020/2021 school year but they were delayed. VERY delayed. I really feel for all the families who desperately needed these last fall and never got it. The kids have agreed that we should spend the money on groceries for people in need so that's the plan.
2 p.m. — My family has a few events coming up and everyone wants to meet the kids so we're getting pressure to visit. The idea of going to LAX makes me feel tense so I've been putting this off. To be fair, going to LAX has always sucked. Traveling with kids is also new to us and I was shocked to find out that you can just fly with kids and they take your word for it since they have no photo ID. When you don't have kids there are a ton of things you don't know about how the kid-havers live. The only direct flight back is on Spirit and I've never flown Spirit because… it's Spirit. I'd rather go direct though and this flight is cheap as hell so I'm like, how bad can it be? Don't answer that! I sit on hold with Spirit for an hour waiting to find out if the dog can travel. When I talk to someone she says no other dogs are booked on the flight yet but she also admits the flight is less than 50% full, which also makes me feel better about booking it.
3 p.m. — F. is home and needs help with her math. She is thriving and got some very tough questions right. My psychiatrist's office calls to book an appointment in… FEBRUARY?? Hahaha, I don't know my schedule next month, but sure book it. I book all four of us onto a direct Delta flight going and it's $453 total with seats and bags. I now have to get the dog approved by them but their wait time on the phone is over two hours so I give up for today. I hate that booking flights has become such a time-consuming event, but at least the prices are low again. $453
4:30 p.m. — D. texts that it's supposed to storm. It has been super overcast all day but no rain… this is exciting! We almost never get real storms here. F. runs outside because she wants to “really experience” it. D. and R. get home and everyone (but the dog) enjoys the heck out of the storm. R. usually has therapy now, in person, in our yard, but this week his therapist had to cancel and given this storm, it's probably for the best despite his behavior issues lately. I cut up a watermelon for everyone to snack on.
6 p.m. — I make salads for dinner using the leftover roasted salmon, some roasted asparagus, cucumber, a head of romaine, a head of red lettuce, some teeny tomatoes, balsamic vinaigrette, and parmesan on top. A Hello Fresh box arrives that I forgot about, it has two meals for all of us in it and cost $68.77. We don't do Hello Fresh regularly, it's more of a supplement. D. tells me he sold a record on discogs for $14.60. $68.77
9 p.m. — My dad texts and asks if I can talk (he's a night owl who has no problem chatting at midnight). We talk about the flights I booked/am booking and I ask him to rent a bigger car for when we're there; he's already on it. We tell him about R. being grounded and he's like “raising kids is hard.”
11 p.m. — We hang up and I text him a link for what to do get F. for her birthday and get ready for bed. It's a full-on storm again outside and it's so lovely, even if it's loud. We're very excited to go to sleep to the sound of pouring rain.
Daily Total: $521.77

Day Seven

7:15 a.m. — I hit snooze. It smells so amazing right now, in the post-storm air. Eventually, we get up and get the kids to school.
8:30 a.m. — I go through the Starbucks drive-thru to get coffee for today that will last until tomorrow to give D. a break on making coffee tonight. I also get a breakfast sandwich ($15.55). The girl at the window says that they can't add tips to cards anymore, it's either cash or on their app. That's frustrating. I tip the only cash in my wallet, $2, and make a mental note for the future. $17.55
8:52 a.m. — I get a text about work so I jump on that quickly but still no notes. The dog settles in on my lap. Shower and officially start my day. Talk to four different people about possible jobs because I have a sickness. The Spirit website is such a maze so I've been putting off actually booking the return flights but I can't put it off any longer. I prepare myself and dive in.
10:30 a.m. — Just kidding! Of course, I get a ton of emails just as I settle in for this unpleasant task. Time to get back into these episodes.
1:30 p.m. — Do the early pickup and get home to get back to work. Eat a quick slice of cheese pizza while I watch footage. Then eat a peach and some yogurt with almonds.
3:30 p.m. — Take a break to FINALLY book those Spirit flights and for four people with reserved seats and bags I spend $300.36. Only like 15 seats are taken so I hope they're chill when we fly. Take a deep breath and try not to stress about this. Now I just have to call both airlines (ugh) and book the dog ($110 each way so yes the dog's flight will cost more than ours). The air fryer arrived! And my new Arq underwear, which I ordered a few weeks ago! These were my two gifts to myself for doing this job. I always treat myself to something when I take a job; not necessarily something expensive (though I think these two things are), but something I've been putting off buying but truly want. The undies are fantastic A++, would buy again. $300.36
5 p.m. — I have a check-in with R.'s therapy group. They ask about how he's doing etc., and we get no more clarity. His therapists are on the call and say they will dig into it more next week when they come in person so I guess he's having two sessions next week. One also sets up a time to talk to D. and me separately in a few days. The kids never have copays for therapy.
6 p.m. — F. logs into her telehealth therapy appointment. D. makes spicy shrimp pasta for dinner and it's great. Everyone eats dinner and starts the nighttime shower routine. R. has us help him with a story he wrote for English class, but we see that a teacher already gave him a ton of notes he never did. Frustrating! He makes the changes and they both go to bed.
9 p.m. — We settle in for our favorite show currently, Only Murders In The Building! It's over too fast, as usual. We chat about our days and how many appointments are coming in the next week.
10:30 p.m. — Bedtime routine. I read about the Elizabeth Holmes trial as I drift to sleep.
Daily Total: $317.91
Money Diaries are meant to reflect an individual's experience and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.

The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day. For more money diaries, click here.

Do you have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Submit it with us here.

Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here or email us here.

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series

Advertisement