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A Week In Minneapolis, MN On An $89,000 Salary

Photo: Courtesy of Uproot.
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.

This week: a software engineer who makes $89,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on an Uproot Deshedder.
Occupation: Software engineer
Industry: Education
Age: 38
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Salary: $89,000 (husband’s salary: $182,000)
Net Worth: -$66,432 (house equity: $200,000; personal savings: $7,900; joint savings: $25,000; 401(k) with 3% match: $105,000; personal Roth IRA: $7,000; joint Roth IRA: $53,000; personal investment account: $1,628; family HSA: $9,240, minus debt).
Debt: $475,200 (personal credit card: $1,200; student loan: $24,000; mortgage: $450,000)
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,573 (husband’s paycheck: $3,747)
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Monthly Housing Costs: $3,145 (mortgage)
Monthly Loan Payments: $323 (student loan)
All Other Monthly Expenses:
Daycare: $1,885
Streaming Services and Internet: $250 (includes (Netflix, Crunchyroll, HBO, and Kindle)
Utilities: $700 (gas/electric, water, pest control, garbage)
Cleaners: $235
Investments: $250 (joint investment); $200 (529 plan)
Life Insurance: $820
Peloton: $47.53
Phone Bill: $232 (split between me, my mom and my sister. I manage the account so it comes out of my bank. My husband pays for a plan for himself and his father.)
Planned Parenthood: $15

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?
My family background is mostly blue collar, so the expectation was that if I went to college, it would be more for specific job training (nurse, teacher) than just a general humanities degree. I originally went to become a high school history teacher, and then after the economy bottomed out my senior year, I ended up at my current company in a customer support role. I added an associate’s in software development a decade ago and have clawed my way up through product knowledge, good luck and old-fashioned begging.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent(s)/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
Looking back, I realize money was a very touchy subject between my parents. My dad was very frugal, whereas my mom budgeted for extravagances. My parents passed down very harsh money rules: no credit cards, buy the cheapest option you can, and have no brand loyalty. My spending habits ping-pong back and forth between austerity and indulgence; remaining disciplined when dealing with time constraints or stress is a big challenge, and I think some of that comes back to the strict and secretive nature of how my parents budgeted.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
I worked part time through high school at a fast-food chain. Once I started college, I worked 20 to 30 hours a week at the university tech support center and worked full time at Target or as a camp counselor over the summer. Money from my high school part-time job went to social and school activities.

Did you worry about money growing up?
I grew up in neighborhoods where the families around us largely looked like mine; everyone owned their modest-sized house, had one or two older cars, went to Wisconsin Dells or Disney World for the big vacations. I felt pretty solidly middle class. It wasn’t until I got to college and heard from classmates about how their parents paid for the entirety of their tuition or rent that I realized there was lots of nuance to economic class I didn’t see reflected in my rural town.

Do you worry about money now?
I worry about money a lot now; I could win a million dollars and I’d probably still be concerned I don’t have enough in case of emergencies. We hired a financial adviser last year who projected out our current standard of living until we’re 99 and that freaked me out a lot (may I peace out in my 80s, God willing.) I feel somewhat comfortable with where our retirement saving is right now, but we desperately want a second kid. My husband is also a staunch believer in our kids having as much of an economic cushion as possible, so between daycare costs and 529s, it’ll be very tight. I love being a mom though, and I just can’t abandon the dream of having two kids if there’s a chance we could financially handle it.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I’m not sure when I became completely financially responsible, as my parents always helped out when they could. They took on a portion of my student loans and paid for my dinner once or twice a semester when we’d go out to a restaurant; I paid for all other living expenses as soon as I started college. Twice I bought my parents’ used cars at a reduced price, and they lent me $1,000 once after an accident that totaled my vehicle (insurance wouldn’t cover it due to the age of the car).

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
My parents gave me $5,000 in 2019 for my wedding. My father passed away from cancer in February 2020, and my mother gave me $25,000 from his pension for IVF the following summer. We were able to get pregnant using $5,000 of that for IUI, and the rest has gotten split up into IRA, overnight doula care (best money ever spent), and general savings and investment.

Day One

8:30 a.m. — My husband T. lets me sleep in as he takes on toddler C.’s wakeup and breakfast. My Tempdrop says I got a solid eight hours! I take a nice shower, and eat some Starbucks bacon-and-Gruyère egg bites we get at Costco. C. is absolutely loving eating at his toddler tower instead of his high chair; it was an expensive gift, but so worth it, as he finishes all of his breakfast. We load C. into the BOB stroller and take our two-year-old golden on a mile walk.
11 a.m. — T. entertains C. for a bit while I sort through and pack away his 12-month clothes; so bittersweet to put away some of my favorite outfits for him. We’ve been trying for a second kid for nine months with no luck, so I’m not even sure keeping the clothes isn’t a waste of energy, but I can’t bring myself to donate them just yet. Then we take turns entertaining C.; very proud of us, we don’t resort to any TV (yet). Sunday afternoons are my husband’s free time, so I make leftover brats and chips for C. and me. We FaceTime my mom, who chides me for wanting to spend her generous Pottery Barn gift card on nicer towels (“Towels are boring and come out of the joint budget!”).
1:30 p.m. — I put C. down for his nap, and T. has decided he’d rather hang out with video games than go to disc golf as he usually does on Sundays. I finish my lunch and pack the diaper bag for later, and then try to get in a solid 60-minute weight-lift session. C. unfortunately wakes up before I finish, but T. is kind enough to give him a snack and an episode of Bluey while I finish.
4 p.m. — It’s the dead of winter here, which of course means it’s time for a trip to the indoor pool! I dress myself and C. in swimsuits and sweats so we don’t have to change into them in the locker room, and then head down to the community center. T. and I endlessly debate about how worth it a membership is, but for now I just pay the waterpark day pass. $25.50
5:30 p.m. — C. is a bit overwhelmed by the new experience, but we have a wonderful time hanging out in the shallow end and people watching. He lets me dress us with no fuss. T. is making dinner, but I swing by a grocery store on the way home to pick up odds and ends. It’s far cheaper to buy a week’s worth of croissants here than to buy them daily from Starbucks. Along with the croissants, we get chopped green onions, two bags of Purely Elizabeth, two individually packed pasta salads, and a rotisserie chicken (Costco was out this week). $59.31
7 p.m. — C. actually ate almost all of dinner (chicken sausage, fried egg with melted cheddar cheese) which is a freaking miracle. T. walks our dog around the block while I give C. a bath and a bottle of milk; I have to call in reinforcements for the diaper change. We read two stories, and he passes out almost as soon as he hits the crib. (Two miracles in one night!)
10 p.m. — The rest of the night is relaxed as I continue knitting a colorwork cowl gift for my mom while checking out the first episode of the K-drama My Demon. It’s cute so far, might stick with it. After T. showers, I take a wonderful bath with my oatmeal and honey bath salts and a face mask. We get to bed way too late after some Instagram scrolling.
Daily Total: $84.81

Day Two

6:30 a.m. — C. slept through the night, which always has me waking up feeling like I can conquer the world. I shower, and quickly do my skincare before C. can wake up: The Ordinary exfoliating toner, Barefaced Overachiever serum, and Clinique moisturizer. I get C. up and dressed while T. packs our lunches; we’re having a lunch date today! I make an iced matcha latte as T. puts C. into his Columbia fleece and we are out the door right on time.
8:30 a.m. — I drop C. off at daycare; the teacher has to distract him with breakfast so I can sneak out. I have a little bit of time to figure out why my code is failing our test engineer’s setup, and then the rest of the morning is a blur of meetings. Now that I’m no longer customer facing, this many meetings in a single day is rare, but we’re trying to meet more frequently with other departments to get early approval in the hopes they don’t reject our code once we’re ready to actually commit it. Our last meeting is a quick retroactive discussion on how our team thinks our last agile sprint went (a period of time in which we scope out the tickets we want to get done) and what can be improved.
12 p.m. — Finally, lunch time! T. and I meet up to eat our leftover chicken tikka masala and rice. Leftovers are a lot easier to eat when they’re this tasty. T. also brought me an apple. We decide on dinners for the week, and T. puts in a Cub Grocery pick-up order for later: canned corn, black beans, ranch packages, a bag of Fritos, white rice, sour cream, shredded mozzarella, a dozen eggs, spinach, cilantro, tomatoes, a lemon, green onions, salmon fillet, chicken breasts, ground turkey, gluten-free waffles, and chocolate gelato. I sneak out to my car for the rest of lunch and continue knitting a simple blanket I’m making for my work desk. $90.55
5 p.m. — My team has a spirited two-hour discussion about how to organize data on a particular page, and I’m so wrapped up in arguing with my senior dev that I miss the kick-off meeting for a training I need to complete. Whoops. T. usually picks up C. for daycare, but he gets the groceries instead so he can get dinner started. I pick up C., who has to be persuaded to leave his Lego tower behind. We stop for gas on the way home. $30.83
7 p.m. — The turkey nachos aren’t as big a hit as the chicken sausages, but C. still eats a good portion, along with a fruit pouch. I walk the dog around the block and then it’s the usual bedtime routine: bottle, diaper change and PJs, two stories, and a song while T. cleans the kitchen.
10:30 p.m. — Mondays are my rest days, but I do a 10-minute Peloton bedtime stretch which feels quite amazing. Otherwise I continue on with the colorwork cowl. It feels so indulgent to be so lazy! Serves me right for taking so long to get to bed, cause my dog has taken up my entire spot by the time I get there.
Daily Total: $121.38

Day Three

6:30 a.m. — Another great night with C.! I almost allow myself to hope this could be the new norm. But optimism for this cycle is dashed as the pregnancy test is negative. I try not to obsess over the failure too much as I shower, do skincare, and get C. up. T. puts chicken breasts, corn, black beans, canned tomatoes, cream cheese and seasonings into the crock pot for dinner tonight as I dress C. and make my usual latte and eat a croissant.
8:30 a.m. — It’s a good drive to daycare, and C. doesn’t feel like a hug this morning, as he makes a beeline right for his classroom. I’m always a little sad when he turns down a hug, even while I’m simultaneously proud of his autonomy and that when he does hug me, it’s genuine instead of routine. I guess that’s parenting in a nutshell so far; always a little bittersweet. I also realize I forgot to check out what lunch is being served today. Our company offers free lunch, but doesn’t publish the menus ahead of time. I rush to put in my order, and ugh, the one entree option is not my favorite. Since I didn’t check at home and pack a lunch, I’m stuck with it.
11 a.m. — I am nearly out of my powder concealer, but it looks like the brand no longer sells the compact I had. I’m awful at figuring out what suits my skin tone, and did a makeup tutorial at Sephora years ago. Looks like they charge $75 for that nowadays, so unsure what to do there. Oooof, I also must be sadder than I thought though, because in just idly browsing, I’m tempted to buy a Valentine’s Day Little Sleepies PJ set, a Yeti rambler bottle, and a giant cheeseburger.
12 p.m. — Yeah I went and got a burger at Wendy’s. T. never eats at work as they don’t cook in a gluten-free kitchen, and he goes out for Jersey Mike’s with a coupon. $11.74
4:30 p.m. — I’ve spent the day banging my head against a complicated query my senior dev assigned me. My manager took a chance hiring me, as I was lacking in some skills that other entry level developers would have, and today is one of those days where the gap feels enormous. I’m so grateful to grow my skills and learn so many new things, but it can be frustrating how much I struggle. I head home to take the dog around the block and shred the chicken in the crockpot before everyone else gets home.
6 p.m. — It’s T.’s turn to take our kiddo to his weekly toddler class. They scarf down dinner and get out the door right on time. I clean the kitchen, start a load of laundry, eat dinner myself, and manage to squeeze in a 30-minute hiking bootcamp before they get home. It’s my running off-season, so I’m trying to focus on speed work, and low-impact zone 2-3 heart rate workouts. T. does the bedtime routine when they get home as I wash the bottles.
9:30 p.m. — T. and I spent a good hour talking about the pros and cons of an internal position change he was offered by one of our company’s executives. It might not result in a higher salary, but it’d give him a lot of great experience and freedom of movement. C. is more restless tonight, so we get to bed early in preparation for a bad night.
Daily Total: $11.74

Day Four

7 a.m. — C. woke us up a few times (and got himself out of his sleep sack by 3 a.m.), but we didn’t have to go down to him so we consider it a decent night. I shower while my husband dresses C. and feeds the dog. There isn’t enough milk for both my latte and C’s bottle later, so I skip making mine and make a note to do a grocery run soon. I remember to order lunch before I leave the house! I ordered a cheeseburger today, ha.
8:30 a.m. — I got a hug today! C. is so excited about washing his hands he doesn’t notice me slipping out. I mobile order an iced matcha latte from Starbucks. I use part of the gift card my sister got me for Christmas.
12 p.m. — My manager one-on-one is casual and chit-chatty, which I try to interpret as a good sign that she’s not disappointed in my performance. I read The Hurricane Wars over lunch, which I only just realize is a Reylo fanfic I’d already read. Luckily, my hold on Yours Truly from Abby Jimenez is ready from the Hennepin eLibrary! I should really get through my Kindle Unlimited list as well…
3 p.m. — Our dog’s undercoat has been a tangled mess this winter, so I call our local dog daycare to set up a grooming appointment. They don’t have an appointment for several weeks, so I give in to the Instagram ad siren call and buy an Uproot Deshedder. T. and I agree to save up for the vacuum in the hopes we can reduce the grooming appointments. $21.61
5 p.m. — I rush home, walk our dog around the block, and get dressed for my weekly run club workout. I’m a slow AF runner with a very non-runner body type, and this club is one of the few running places where I’ve always felt welcomed and encouraged. Traffic is a bit rough going downtown as it’s been snowing (sadly only about an inch) but I’m able to park in a nearby ramp and get a quick warmup in before organized chaos begins. There are so many new people this year, it’s amazing! $2
7:30 p.m. — The intervals have thoroughly kicked my butt but I feel really pleased with my paces overall. I walk to a nearby Raising Cane’s for dinner ’cause I am craving fried chicken, and then head home. $13.45
10 p.m. — The workout and a Taylor Swift song on the way home have unlocked some serious tears. My husband and I have a loving heart to heart about our infertility struggles. I drift off to sleep with a Peloton meditation while T. showers. I’m still a little bit sad, but simultaneously so lucky and grateful for everything in my life.
Daily Total: $37.06

Day Five

6:30 a.m. — C. had a great night, unlike me. I drag myself out of bed to do my skincare and get dressed; at least today is WFH. T. loads and starts the dishwasher while C. “helps” me feed the dog. He then wants to play his favorite game of “vacuum,” which means I hold him while I vacuum. I adore how hilarious toddlers are.
8 a.m. — T. takes C. into daycare while I take our dog on a mile walk. I start a load of C.’s laundry, grab a croissant and login to work.
4:45 p.m. — Holy cow, what a day. I was on the phone almost constantly doing working code reviews with my senior dev and my testing engineer. I was able to switch out C.’s laundry for mine and do the kitchen, but ate lunch in front of my laptop. T. has a work happy hour so I’m solo with C. tonight; I prep as much of dinner as I can and rush out the door to daycare.
6 p.m. — I’m able to distract C. with Bluey while I get a salmon fillet into the oven and start our rice cooker. He also has a pouch since dinner is a bit later tonight. After dinner, I give him a bath and then do bedtime. He and I are both apparently feeling rough; he’s got big emotions today and I skip my planned workout and pass out once my husband is home from his happy hour.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

6:30 a.m. — The hormone crash is here, and it is rough. T. does C.’s entire morning routine so I can go back to bed, and I end up taking a PTO day. I kiss them goodbye, and do a 30-minute jog on the tread in hopes it can shake off my headache like usual. It actually does help, though my shin splints are saying it’s time for new shoes. That’s $125 I was hoping to not spend for another few weeks. I feel well enough to take our pup on a mile walk and shower.
4 p.m. — I lounge the entire day, doing some small coding bits and chatting over IM with my senior dev about the logic of a complicated requirement. It feels overindulgent and lazy now that I’m feeling better, but I try to shake off the guilt; mental health days are good too. My MIL is visiting for the weekend, so I make up the guest bed, vacuum, and tidy up. She picks up C. from daycare!
5 p.m. — T. arrives home with a Target order: beef stew meat, carrots, celery, bananas, two boxes of teethers, some GoGo pouches, milk, potatoes, deodorant, and cornstarch. He also ordered a white onion and they forgot to include it. My MIL and I entertain C. while T. makes dinner: chicken sausage meatballs and gluten-free pasta shells. $55.41
8 p.m. — Bath and bedtime go off without a hitch. My MIL offers to do bedtime Sunday evening, so I make a reservation at Rodizio Grill for a little date night. I also log in and pay off our outstanding healthcare bill: a test panel for C. from October, and then my follicle ultrasound for a canceled IUI round. We went through intrauterine insemination (IUI) to have C. so I thought I was prepared for the costs, but we had different insurance then and current insurance covered nothing for either of these. The bill hurts a lot, as we paid a similar amount last month to pay off C.’s ear tube surgery (that was 100% worth it). $1,244
10 p.m. — I chop up carrots, potatoes and celery for the beef stew tomorrow. T. and I have a wonderful shower together, and it’s lights out after some Instagram.
Daily Total: $1299.41

Day Seven

6:30 a.m. — T. was up for a very congested C. for over an hour last night, so after I shower and do skincare, I let them sleep in. I brown the stew meat and get the crockpot going. Once T. is up, he shovels our driveway and takes our pup around the block before it gets too cold out. I cut up a banana for C., get him up and dressed, and we’re out the door only a little bit later than planned!
9:30 a.m. — We had originally planned for the Minnesota Zoo for our family outing today, but it is just too cold, so we opt for the Children’s Museum instead. We decide to get the household membership since if we visit just three more times for the rest of the year, it’ll break even, and we’ve been looking for bad weather and daycare closure activities. We pay for MIL’s ticket as well. $155
11 a.m. — That was an amazing morning. C. had a blast at the museum, and we barely explored beyond one floor. It’s been so exciting having more activities we can do with him and watching him start turning into a bonafide little person. We get a parking discount from the museum which I pay in cash, and drive a short distance over to Red Cow for lunch. $7
12:30 p.m. — We’re all very pleased with lunch, which was both tasty and had a lot of gluten-free options. We pay for MIL’s lunch, and she keeps C. awake in the back seat all the way home so we don’t ruin his nap. $95.99
1 p.m. — T. takes care of putting C. down for his nap while I head back out into the frigid cold. I pump up my tires for free at Kwik Trip, and pick up my ovulation meds at Target. I also get a white onion (since that got forgotten yesterday), a water bottle for C., another pacifier pack, and a touch-and-feel board book that I just can’t resist (it’s called Never Touch A Dragon!). When I get home, I chop up and throw the onion into the crockpot and start a gluten-free white bread loaf in the bread maker (can’t have stew without bread to dip in it!). $38.10
4 p.m. — T. gets C. up from his nap while I clean the kitchen and tidy up the living room. The bread smells amazing. A good friend of MIL comes over for dinner, and we have a great time watching football and catching up. C. apparently isn’t a beef stew fan, but he does eat several egg bites.
7:30 p.m. — T. and MIL do bedtime while I clean the kitchen. I debate doing my weekly long run now so I don’t mess up my workout schedule, but it’s cold and I am wiped. I opt instead for a glorious and decadent hot bath. After the bath, I sit down and try to look up some tutorials on online budgeting tools. I haven’t followed a budget in a few years, and I’ve never figured out how to plan for random expenses like oil changes. Since Mint is shutting down, I try out a few different sites, and eventually decide to go with Monarch Money.
Daily Total: $296.09

The Breakdown

Weekly Total $$ Spent: $1850.49
Food & Drink: $326.45
Entertainment: $180.50
Home & Health: $1,303.71
Clothes & Beauty $0
Transportation $39.83
Other $0
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