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A Week In The Netherlands On A $140,000 Joint Income

Photo: Getty Images.
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 software engineer who makes $140,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on sunflowers
Occupation: Software Engineer
Industry: Tech
Age: 32
Location: The Netherlands
Salary: $140,000 (my husband is unemployed, so my salary is our only income)
Net Worth: ~$637,000 (~$327,000 in our joint brokerage account, ~$160,000 in our joint bank account, ~$100,000 in my personal bank account (we recently got married and are still in the process of combining all of our finances), ~$80,000 in 401(k)/IRAs, -$30,000 student loans)
Debt: ~$30,000
Paycheck Amount (biweekly): $3,533.80
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $771.21 (For a three-story house including all utilities. We are temporarily renting a house from my husband's family member until we find our own place, hence the cheap rent. (It was sitting unused before we moved in.))
Husband's Student Loans: $390.33
Phone: $44 for both of us, we are on a family plan with three other friends, which includes unlimited data and Netflix
Newspaper Subscriptions: ~$20
Charities: ~$40 for various recurring monthly donations
Tennis Club: ~$17.80
Apple/Google Storage: $5
Bike Rental: $25.98
Health Insurance: $333.41 (for my husband and me)
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?
Absolutely. My mum was the first in her family to go to university, and my dad never finished middle school, but I was expected to achieve straight As and go to university. I went to an expensive high school where over 90% of the people in my year went to university and I didn't even think there could be another path. In my culture, parents pay for university and I also never thought there could be another way. The price of university in my country was actually lower than the price of the high school I attended, although I ended up going to university abroad in Europe. Thankfully, that was still much cheaper than universities in the United States. I don't think that would've been an option for me, but I also didn't apply to any universities in the States. I later paid for my own master's degree.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
I didn't have many conversations about money with my parents. They never educated me about investing and I only opened my first bank account when I went to university. However, my parents were always very transparent about our finances and they never really spent much money on material things. The only thing my mom would spend money on was quality organic produce, which has rubbed off on me, as I am willing to spend a lot of money on good food. I regret opening a 401(k) and an IRA account extremely late in my career as I was just putting money into my savings account beforehand.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was a summer internship at a law firm in my first year of university. I was studying law and everyone got internships, so I just followed what was the obvious path. These legal internships had fixed compensation for the duration of the internship and I mostly used it to go out and get drinks at parties. It was extra fun money. My first permanent job was working as an associate in a law firm.
Did you worry about money growing up?
No. I know I am very lucky and privileged to have grown up the way I did, as both my parents worked and we always had more than enough. My dad owned a car, the apartment we lived in, and we could go on holiday once or twice a year. My relatives were not as comfortable and my parents would pick up the bill for family dinners every single time and also paid for my cousins' extracurricular activities and holidays with the extended family.
Do you worry about money now?
Yes and no. Due to COVID, my husband and I moved temporarily from New York to the Netherlands to be closer to his family as we are expecting our first baby (I'm currently 37 weeks). This coincided with my husband losing his job earlier this year and helped us cut back on expenses, especially rent. Although we have a healthy amount of savings, we want multiple children and I feel pressure to get a higher paying job so I can fully support us and give my children the same opportunities I had.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I would say I was financially responsible for myself at 25 when I was admitted to the bar and started working as an associate. As I had no debt, it was much easier for me to build up my savings and I worked extremely long hours. I was burnt out and made the switch to tech a few years ago, which came with a significant decrease in salary but also a much better work/life balance. I'm lucky to have a supportive husband who supported me during my career switch (he took over the entire rent) and I know both my parents and my in-laws will help out if we ever fell on hard times.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
Yes. My university was fully paid for, and over the years, I have received various amounts of money from family, relatives, and family friends over the holidays (red pockets) that equate to roughly ~$4,000. My husband also received an inheritance of ~$7,000 when his grandmother passed away last year.

Day One

10 a.m. — My husband, Z., wakes up and cuddles me. We talk about the extremely sad Netherlands vs. Czech Republic football game from yesterday. I'm surprised I feel so bummed about it, I guess I'm finally starting to become Dutch! We realize there's less than an hour before my midwife appointment, so we quickly hurry out of bed. I pop into the shower and Z. runs downstairs to type and upload our birthing plan into the midwives' portal.
11:15 a.m. — Shower, skincare, sunscreen, and then I leave the house first to start walking to the midwives' office. I'm only a few weeks away from my due date, so I walk very slowly as my belly is so heavy. I typically have to cradle it to support the weight now. Z. gets ready after me, takes the bike, and beats me to the office. My midwife checks my blood pressure, the position of the baby, and the baby's heartbeat. We also go over my birth plan and potential pain relief options available to me. The Netherlands is a big advocate of natural births with around 30% of women giving birth at home, but I make it clear to my midwife that I want to go to the hospital. I'm hoping I can endure the pain for a natural birth, but who am I kidding, I will probably get an epidural. I have another appointment in two weeks. These visits are 100% covered by insurance.
12:30 p.m. — We walk another 20 minutes to the city from the midwives' office and sit down at a terrace. I have an iced cappuccino and a croissant with warm smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, and avocado, and Z. has a large drip coffee and a club sandwich ($31.17 including tip). The weather is beautiful and I'm glad I'm working New York hours so I can enjoy my slow mornings and afternoons. We leave a one euro tip on the table and go into the bakery next door to get two loaves of bread ($7.10). $38.27
1:45 p.m. — After the bakery, we go to a natural food store to get wheat germ and rolled oatmeal. I used to hate oatmeal, but I decided to start eating overnight oats to be healthier for the baby and now I like it a lot. I also use wheat germ in baking and to eat with yogurt. We see a discount basket of random items and pick up a small bottle of diaper cream as well. $8.19
2:30 p.m. — We spend too much time wandering around and I'm getting pretty tired. I head to Rituals to buy some nice shower oil for myself. I was using Sabon that I brought from New York and I'm almost out. There's no free shipping in the Netherlands, so I need to find an alternative. I buy a cherry blossom shower oil and a discounted Happy Buddha sugar scrub ($19.09). Meanwhile, Z. goes to a fancy coffee and tea shop and buys new coffee beans ($8.84). $27.93
3:30 p.m. — After another 35 minutes of walking, we're finally home. The Netherlands is generally quite flat, but we happen to be living in one of the only hilly areas. Lucky me? I consider it enough exercise for my pregnant self. I open my laptop and start my workday.
4:30 p.m. — I'm a bit hungry, so I eat a bowl of overnight oats. I typically make it with skimmed milk, rolled oatmeal, wheat germ, chia seeds, natural peanut butter, dates, honey, and a pinch of salt. I also top it with raspberries. I drink a glass of chocolate milk. This baby is getting a lot of calcium!
7:30 p.m. — Z. cleans the floors while I work. Work is a bit hectic today, so I decide on an easy dinner of a baked Mont D'or cheese, roasted cauliflower, Caprese salad, boiled new potatoes, and sourdough bread. I do all the prep work and instruct Z. on the baking times so he can have dinner ready when I finish my last meeting.
8:15 p.m. — The cheese is over-baked and the oil has separated. Z. can't really cook, and so far, I've only managed to teach him how to roast potatoes and wash rice. The roasted cauliflower turns out okay though and over-baked cheese on bread is good no matter what! After dinner, we open all the baby items we've bought and received from family and friends. Everything is so cute! Z. washes everything with baby detergent.
10 p.m. — We play a game of Rummikub. It's a game Z. used to play with his grandmother and now I love playing it because it's time we can be engaged with each other and talk without being distracted by screens. It's also a pretty brainless game to play after a tiring work day and really fun because we do a lot of extreme rearranging of the board all the time. Z. wins more often and he wins again tonight.
11:30 p.m. — Z. cleans the kitchen. I shower, do my skincare routine, and read a bit of the Contented Little Baby Book in bed. There is so much information out there on how to raise babies and I'm not sure what routine I want to follow. Lights out around midnight.
Daily Total: $74.39

Day Two

10:30 a.m. — I really love sleeping in and these are the last few weeks I will have a full ten hours of uninterrupted sleep. Our bedroom doesn't have blackout curtains, so I tend to wake up around 8 or 9 (plus there are tons of birds chirping here), but I usually just go back to sleep. Z. got up two hours ago and he has rearranged the baby room and continued with the deep cleaning. I check my email and see that my ASOS returns have been processed. I got a lot of my maternity clothing from there, but some of the petite sizes were just too short for me so I get $125 back.
11:30 a.m. — I browse newly listed apartments on my phone in bed. We've been house hunting for almost three months and the market is insane right now. Things will be listed and sold all within two weeks, often at $100,000 over asking. I wonder if we'll ever find our house. Z. brings me breakfast in bed — overnight oats with raspberries, a bowl of fruit (gold kiwi, apple, and orange), and one slice of multigrain spelt sourdough with Delice de Bourgogne cheese. If you like soft cheeses, you have to try this triple creme cheese, it's so good! We received a list of things we need in preparation for the baby from our midwife, and one of the items was a breakfast tray. Needless to say, I've gotten a lot of use out of it.
12:30 p.m. — Shower, skincare, get dressed, and we're out to a farm today for cherry-picking. It's sunny although it was forecasted to rain, so off we go!
1:15 p.m. — We arrive at the farm. It's a kiddie wonderland, with little kid cars, a blow-up jumping gym, swings, haystacks, and wheelbarrows with fur rugs in them. There's no fee to pick, so we take a box and head into the field. Since it's a weekday, it's quite empty and Z. and I have entire rows of trees to ourselves. The trees are really full and we pick and eat a lot of cherries, filling our box. When we get it weighed, it comes to exactly one kilogram. $9.49
2:30 p.m. — After cherry-picking, we go to the farm store and get some raspberry jam, raspberries, and dried apple chips. Z. pushes me around in one of the wheelbarrows and we take some fun farm pictures. We sit on the swings for a bit, talking about how this is one of the last times we will be just the two of us and we can just spontaneously decide to do something or go somewhere. Although it's only been a couple of months, it's been difficult transitioning from New York City life to living in a much smaller city, especially since we're not sure where we want to live permanently. $8.31
3:30 p.m. — Home and I start working. Our team is working hard for a feature release this week that has already been delayed for two months due to priorities shifting and people leaving. I'm pretty sure it will be delayed again, but we're all putting in a lot of work and hoping for a miracle. This should be the last feature I'll release before the baby comes.
8 p.m. — Today has been nonstop meetings. Z. left for his weekly tennis game thirty minutes ago. I finally close my laptop and start making dinner. Dinner tonight is whatever is left from the fridge, which ends up being sliced stir-fried lotus root with a gochujang, rice vinegar, sugar, and mentsuyu sauce, and stir-fried pork with broccoli and carrots in an oyster, soy, and five-spice sauce, with steamed jasmine rice. The pork turns out really good and I'm happy with how quick it was to throw together.
9:30 p.m. — After dinner, we each eat a Magnum mini for dessert. The ice cream selection in the grocery stores here has been extremely lacking — I really miss Van Leeuwen! The only choices here are Magnum, Cornetto, rocket pops, or Ben & Jerry's. We spend some time on our phones texting our friends, especially since Germany lost to England.
11 p.m. — We play Rummikub and tonight I win! Z. cleans the kitchen. I shower and read more of my baby book. We go to sleep around 12:30.
Daily Total: $17.80

Day Three

10:30 a.m. — I wake up and call for Z. to come back to the bedroom for my morning hugs and kisses. We have a video call for a house viewing so I quickly throw on clothes. The apartment is nice, but it's not our top choice. After, I text and call a few of my friends in Hong Kong and Japan to chat, and one of them makes a pregnancy announcement! I'm so happy for her, and really look forward to when we can see each other again with our little babies.
11:30 a.m. — Z. brings me breakfast again — overnight oats with raspberries, fruit bowl (cherries and kiwi), and a slice of sourdough with cream cheese and a fried egg. I'm feeling more tired than usual today, so I stay in bed for longer. I really need to pack my hospital bag, but I've been procrastinating. One of the items on the checklist is granny panties for after the birth, so I browse for some options online but don't buy anything yet.
12:30 p.m. — I decide to make the day a spa day. I shower and wash my hair and put on a deep conditioning hair mask. Then I take a bath and do a body scrub. Finally, I do an AHA face peel and a collagen face mask and put some hair oil in my hair. I also put on lots of body cream and body oil, as I'm hoping to not get any stretch marks.
2 p.m. — Start working. Z. cycles to the supermarket and gets milk, yogurt, ricotta, American cheese slices, avocados, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumber, spring onions, apples, chicken breasts, minced pork/beef mix, pork shoulder steaks, pate, smoked salmon, salmon roe, a bag of mussels, mussel vegetables, two boxes of Magnum minis, two boxes of instant soup packets, and a bottle of alcohol-free chardonnay. I was planning on making shiitake ravioli tonight, but I guess we're having mussels! $75.93
4 p.m. — I eat a slice of sourdough with cream cheese, smoked salmon, and salmon roe, a Wasa cracker with pate, and a few olives. As I have a sweet tooth, I also eat some dark chocolate.
5 p.m. — A buyer's broker calls us and tells us the counteroffer to our bid. We put in the bid a week ago and this seller has mostly been going on holiday and doesn't seem to be in a hurry to sell. The counteroffer is acceptable in terms of the price increase, but the delivery date is a lot later than we expected. The broker tells us there is one more interested party, so even if we accept the counteroffer and all of its conditions, we might not get the apartment.
6:30 p.m. — I have a few meetings coming up so I do some of the prep work for dinner and instruct Z. on how to cook the mussels so we can have dinner right after my last meeting. I chop broccoli and cauliflower into florets and peel and dice the carrots into big chunks. I also mince some garlic and shallots for the mussels. Z. can probably also chop everything, but I'm quite a control freak when it comes to the kitchen.
8:30 p.m. — Dinner is served! Z. did a really great job and set up the table nicely. We have steamed mussels, steamed broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, garlic bread, and leftover boiled potatoes. We recently bought a big mussel pot and it feels as if we're dining in a restaurant. I have a glass of the alcohol-free chardonnay (that we also used to steam the mussels) and Z. has a stout from a local brewery. Z. proudly tells me again that the Netherlands supplies most of the mussels consumed in Belgium and that mussels and fries is really a Dutch food.
9:30 p.m. — We each have another Magnum mini and play Rummikub. Tonight, I win! Afterward, Z. irons all the baby clothes and blankets and I fold them. It's pretty silly to iron baby clothes, but Z. likes ironing everything, and only the best for the baby! We decided to leave the sex a surprise, so we have a lot of green, yellow, white, and beige items. It's actually pretty difficult to get gender-neutral items because the gendered ones are so much cuter and have better designs.
11:30 p.m. — I prep more jars of overnight oats. Shower, skincare, and we're in bed discussing what to do with the counteroffer. It really seems as if we'll never get our own place, and we are really tired and done with renting.
Daily Total: $75.93

Day Four

9 a.m. — I wake up to the sound of the chirping birds again and I can't sleep. Z. is still sleeping so I play some Mario Kart on his phone while I wait for him to wake up. It's one of our pandemic hobbies we picked up, and it's really too addictive. We spend some time in bed together and I call for a doctor's appointment later in the afternoon for a check on what I suspect is a pregnancy-related skin rash.
11 a.m. — I shower and get ready for the day. Z. does a load of laundry of our bedsheets and towels. My parents call and we talk about their plans to visit once they're fully vaccinated. They're both workaholics and really enjoy their work, but they're trying to find time so they can come for one to two months and see me and the baby. I'm very close with my family but haven't seen my parents for over a year due to COVID. We also talk about the potential counteroffer on the apartment, and my dad tells me the delivery date isn't that unreasonable.
12:30 p.m. — No breakfast in bed today since I'm already out of bed. I have a glass of milk, smoked salmon, and cream cheese on sourdough, and a bowl of cut-up fruit (apple, orange, and kiwi). We need to get more kiwis! I've been really into the golden ones from New Zealand, but they're much more expensive than the green ones.
3:30 p.m. — Take a break from work to walk 15 minutes to the GP's office for my doctor's appointment. She confirms what I Googled: it seems to be a pregnancy-related rash. She tells me there is no harm to the baby. She prescribes me some antihistamines and some cream to relieve the itching. The pharmacy is quite close to our house, but in the opposite direction, so I decide to pick it up tomorrow when we're going into the city. Everything (including prescriptions) is covered by insurance.
7 p.m. — Z. bakes us each a pasteis de nata from the freezer. He also fries me an egg and makes himself an egg, ham, and cheese sandwich. It looks really good and I regret not asking for a sandwich and only an egg.
7:30 p.m. — We drive 10 minutes to a sports store and meet up with Z.'s sister. Their brother is having a belated joint birthday for him and his son on Sunday, so we're picking out presents for them together. The brother recently bought a camper van, so we get him a big tent and a full-face snorkel mask for his son. His sister pays and we transfer her our portion. $41.52
8:30 p.m. — Z. has another tennis match today and I make dinner. I caramelize finely chopped shiitake and green onions in a pan, then mix it with ricotta, Parmigiano, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and an egg. I use wonton wrappers that I defrosted from the freezer to make ravioli. Sometimes I make my own pasta, but tonight is not one of those nights! I also make a cold-cooked spinach and cucumber salad on the side. The ravioli is then served in a soy garlic cream sauce.
9:30 p.m. — Z. comes back from tennis and we eat immediately. I have another glass of alcohol-free chardonnay. We try to eat vegetarian at least once a week, but we've been unsuccessful this week. We really like mushrooms, so we never miss the meat when we eat them. After dinner, we talk about our plans for the weekend and decide to do a day trip to Rotterdam. I've never been and I love being a tourist. The movie theaters are open now so Z. buys two tickets for us to see A Quiet Place Part II on Saturday. $33.22
11 p.m. — Another evening, another Magnum mini for us. I don't think I'll ever be sick of eating ice cream. We play Rummikub (no surprise) and I win again! Z. puts fresh bedsheets on the bed. Shower, skincare, and then I watch an episode of The Good Place in bed while Z. reads the Dutch news. We go to sleep around 12:30.
Daily Total: $74.74

Day Five

10 a.m. — Wake up, cuddle with Z., and then shower and get ready to head out because we're going into the city for the weekly market! We haven't been for a few weeks, and it's one of my favorite things to do.
11 a.m. — After a slow 40-minute walk, we're in the city. Things in the Netherlands fully opened last week and a coffee shop I've wanted to try is open. I get a latte, Z. gets a drip coffee, and we split a brownie. We sit and people-watch a bit and the couple next to us congratulates us on the pregnancy. People are very friendly here! $12.57
11:30 a.m. — We arrive at the market. Since the Netherlands is fully opened up, the markets are now also bigger, selling clothes, textiles, and random vintage items in addition to the usual fruits, vegetables, seafood, and meat. Z. gets three pairs of bamboo socks. $11.86
11:45 a.m. — Next up, we stop by the flower shop. I seldom bought flowers in New York because they seemed like such a short-lived luxury, but they are very good quality and cheap at the markets here, so I end up getting some every week or so. We pick up a bunch of peonies, lilies, and gigantic sunflowers. The stems are almost two inches in diameter! We get them wrapped and leave them at the flower stall to pick up later. $8.88
12 p.m. — We stop at a bunch of stalls. At the cheese stall, we get two portions of Delice de Bourgogne, a wedge of old gouda cheese, a wedge of young farmer's gouda cheese, a whole cremeux du Jura, and some comte ($25.47). We get eggplants, red peppers, green leaf lettuce, shiitake mushrooms, green onions, and a cantaloupe at the vegetable stall ($9.12). We try some cherries and strawberries at the fruit stall and end up getting two boxes of strawberries, blueberries, and twenty mandarins ($10.96). We also get some dried kaki, crystallized ginger, and roasted cashews ($5.39). Finally, at the chicken stall, we get chicken wing flats and chicken wing drums (called tv sticks here, funny name), one huge bag of chicken parts for making soup, and ten eggs ($14.93). Why they don't sell eggs in dozens here baffles me. $65.87
1 p.m. — We bump into Z.'s brother-in-law and three of his kids. We chat for a bit and I put some of the blueberries we got in a bag for them. I go to the bread stall and get a loaf of the weekly bread, five kaiser rolls, and 10 cookies ($9.48). I put five of the cookies in another bag and give them to the kids. After we say goodbye, we stop by the fish stall and get a whole red snapper, six scallops, a giant whole squid, and also a portion of kibbeling ($33.11). $42.59
2 p.m. — As we leave the market, we pick up the flowers we bought earlier. We spend some time going around shops looking for a big vase to hold the sunflowers as our old vase broke recently. I finally find one we both like at a store that is similar to Anthropologie in the states. $23.68
3:30 p.m. — After a long walk uphill with all of our purchases, we're home! Z. immediately tends to the flowers while I put everything else away. We have some of the cheese and bread we bought from the market and I also have fruit with yogurt and granola.
8 p.m. — Finish work for the day. I was hoping to log off earlier as it's a long weekend, but there's still so much work to do. We watch Switzerland vs. Spain, and the penalty shootouts are just too exciting. I actually had tickets to this game, but with all the COVID reschedules it became too close to my due date for us to feel comfortable going. I sort of wish we went since I'm not in labor yet.
9:30 p.m. — I'm still full from all the fruit and kibbeling from the market (also ate a cookie and some cashews a few hours ago), but Z. is definitely hungry. I make some kimchi fried rice with chopped up broccoli stalks, carrots, onions, garlic, kimchi, green onions, with melted cheese and a fried egg on top. I eat a small portion because it's good to eat some vegetables. Z. peels me a mandarin for dessert and cleans the kitchen.
11:30 p.m. — We both waste time scrolling through our phones, texting friends, watching stupid videos. We play a game of Rummikub and I win again! I think Z. is secretly letting me win. We shower, I do my nighttime skincare routine, and we go to sleep a little bit too late around 12:30. Hopefully, we can still wake up early for Rotterdam tomorrow.
Daily Total: $165.45

Day Six

10:30 a.m. — Woops, I overslept. We wanted to leave early today as the drive to Rotterdam takes over an hour and we want to maximize our time in the city. It's the weekend though, so we want to take it easy and not be too rushed. We spend a few extra moments in bed together.
12 p.m. — Shower, skincare, get dressed! I put on makeup today — concealer, eyeliner, mascara, blush, and lip tint. I still want to look nice although my belly is huge, and it helps that Z. constantly tells me I'm beautiful. We fill up on gas before we get to the highway. (His brother let us use his car while he's away for work for two weeks. We're not sure if we will get our own car, but when we don't have his brother's car, we've been using the electric equivalent of Zipcar here, which doesn't charge monthly membership fees, but rather per time and distance usage.) $50.26
1:15 p.m. — We park at a garage outside the city, and take the train into the city. It's very convenient, and apparently, if we park and ride, the parking is free! $4.01
1:30 p.m. — We're in the city! Z. immediately points out the famous controversial statue, Santa Claus, otherwise known as "Buttplug Gnome." We take a picture with it. Since we haven't had coffee yet, we walk through the streets to find a coffee shop we like. On the way, we see a pretty stroopwafel shop that I can't resist. I get a medium-sized one with dark chocolate and hazelnuts. $4.69
1:45 p.m. — We find a coffee shop and sit down. I get a decaf iced latte, Z. gets a Chemex filter coffee, and we split yet another brownie. This week has been full of activities because we keep thinking it's the last week I can be so mobile. We don't usually go to so many coffee shops since it's a bit of a luxury. $11.27
2:15 p.m. — After coffee, we wander around the streets, and in one of the shops, I get a sparkler with Z.'s brother's kid's initial on it for the birthday party tomorrow. We then walk to the harbor for a boat tour of Rotterdam. $2.32
2:45 p.m. — We bought tickets online for the outside deck while we were at the coffee shop. It's not crowded at all, there is plenty of seating, and the weather is beautiful. It's a tour in both English and Dutch through the Rotterdam harbor, where we pass by the Eramus bridge, shipping boats, and the old harbor. We take plenty of photos and just have a great time. $38.22
4:15 p.m. — When we were walking to our boat tour, we saw people on shared e-scooters, similar to Revel in NYC. We downloaded the app while we were on the boat and find a promo code online for the first 30 minutes free. After the boat tour, we locate one nearby and take it to Markthal (market hall), the next stop on our itinerary. It saves us a lot of time and it was also super fun to ride on a scooter together! The ride only took 12 minutes, so it was free. At Markthal, after wandering around and checking out all the stalls, we sit down at a tapas and pinchos place. I get an alcohol-free gin & tonic with ginger and orange and Z. gets a Spanish pilsner on tap. We also get a plate of pata negra, mushroom and truffle croquettes, grilled octopus, and a selection of five pinchos. Everything tastes amazing. Z. gets a second beer. $80.76
5:30 p.m. — We leave Markthal and walk to De Bijenkorf, which is a department store sort of like Saks. I stop by Lush and get a tub of Dream Cream ($25.52). We browse the jewelry and home sections at the department store. I want to get a nice dinnerware set when we get our own place. Z. gets some Happy Socks ($16.43). $41.95
5:50 p.m. — At the food and alcohol section, I get two packs of The Duchess alcohol-free gin & tonics, one botanical and one floral. I recently discovered them and they really taste amazing compared to other alcohol-free options out there! Z. also really likes them. $16.39
6:10 p.m. — After our quick and frankly rushed shopping trip, we walk to the cinema, which we got tickets for two days ago. Since we're still full from all the pinchos, we don't get anything from the shop, but I'm amazed at the selection — nice beer selection, soft-serve ice cream, a wide variety of snacks, three types of popcorn, and of course, nachos. We've been watching movies and shows at home from our very small television (which is more like the size of a big monitor), and the enormous IMAX screen feels very luxurious. The movie wasn't as quiet as the first one, but it was very enjoyable! Z. cutely worries about the baby being scared by all the loud screaming noises. We'll put on some Mozart on the ride back home.
9:15 p.m. — We decide to walk to a hotel seafood restaurant that we saw while we were on the boat tour. On the way, I see a cute ice cream shop and I can't resist. I get a scoop of cookies and cream in a waffle cone and Z. gets a scoop of berries and cheesecake in a strawberry waffle cone. All the scoop shops in the Netherlands have amazing waffle cones, they're always crispy and don't cost anything extra. $4.15
10 p.m. — Although we're not very hungry, we still arrive at the seafood restaurant after a nice stroll. It has great views over the water. We get langoustines in a white wine garlic sauce and a lobster bisque to share. I get a glass of alcohol-free prosecco and Z. gets a pomelo IPA from a local brewery. The langoustines are really good and we mop up all the sauce with the bread provided. $47.50
11:30 p.m. — We decide to use the e-scooter to get back to our car since we had so much fun on it earlier. We ride along the harbor and cross a few other bridges. We arrive at the parking lot, validate the parking — the system is very cool, the cost goes to zero once we tap our metro card — and drive back home. $1.07
1 a.m. — Finally back home and I'm completely exhausted. Remove makeup, shower, skincare, and we fall asleep in bed right away!
Daily Total: $302.59

Day Seven

11 a.m. — After a fun but hectic day yesterday, we both want to sleep in and cuddle in bed. I look at our bank accounts to see our spending for the week. Since we spent a lot in Rotterdam, Z. and I decide to not eat out next week.
1 p.m. — I stay in bed and watch two episodes of The Good Place and catch up on group texts. Finally, I drag myself out of bed, shower, and get dressed for the day.
2 p.m. — I make a late lunch of stir-fried eggplant and peppers with a sweet and sour sauce, steamed whole red snapper with pickled chilis and chili oil, and steamed rice. I steam whole fish often, but this is the first time I made it with pickled chilis, and I definitely added too much! The spiciness is addictive but both Z. and I sweat profusely whilst eating it.
3 p.m. — We drive to Z.'s brother's place. Z.'s sister is also there, and since they each have four kids, it's very lively. We spend the entire afternoon there, playing with the kids, eating cake, drinking tea, and just enjoying family time. Z. has a big family and everyone has multiple kids. We check out Z.'s brother's new camper van and talk about their plans to travel. They really liked the tent, it will come in handy!
6 p.m. — Z. and his brother go into the garden to barbecue some burgers and chicken satay for dinner. Meanwhile, I go upstairs and watch Z.'s sister change a diaper — it looks so tricky! I also see a waste bin specially designed for used nappies and contemplate getting one. Z.'s sister urges me to create a baby registry (I didn't make one since I didn't have a baby shower) so the family will know what gifts to bring over when they visit after the birth.
6:30 p.m. — We have burgers, chicken satay, and salad for dinner. Z.'s brother lights the sparkler we got for his son, and everyone is mesmerized. Dutch people really love fireworks! After dinner, ice cream, and more tea, Z. and I head home.
8:30 p.m. — Home and it's alone time for both of us. We're both tired and just want to surf the internet or read books alone and recharge. I look into making a baby registry but decide to put it off until tomorrow since I have the day off.
11 p.m. — Where did the time go? We literally did nothing for the entire evening. Shower, skincare, and sleep. It was a long and fun week!
Daily Total: $0
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