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A Week In Chicago, IL, On A $340,000 Joint Income

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

Today: a supply chain planner who has a joint income of $340,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on first class plane tickets.
Occupation: Supply Chain Planner
Industry: Consumer Packaged Goods
Age: 26
Location: Chicago, IL
My Salary: $90,000
My Fiancé's Salary: $250,000
Net Worth: $448,730 joint (my savings: $60,509, wedding savings: $9,547, checking: $2,662, my retirement: $52,037, fiancé's savings/checking: ~$200,000, fiancé's investment account: ~$40,000: fiancé's retirement: ~$100,000 minus debt. We are currently in the process of combining finances and share expenses.)
Debt: $2,025 left on couch payment and my fiancé has $14,000 left in student loans (did not qualify for forgiveness)
My Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,113
My Fiancé's Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,600 (base pay), $15-$20,000 (1x/month commission)
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $2,025 for two-bed/two-bath with storage unit
Couch Payment: $318
Student Loans: $500 (my fiancé plans to make one lump sum payment soon)
Health/Dental Insurance: ~$360
My Retirement: $450 per paycheck (10% Traditional 401(k), 5% Roth, employer matches 5%)
Fiancé's Retirement: 6% of each paycheck with 4% match; he maxed out his contribution in August
Renters' Insurance: $10
Cell Phone: ~$120 ($60/each paid to our parents)
Utilities: ~$150
Therapy: $300 (what I budget every month to pay for sessions)
Internet: $170
Gym: $120
Netflix: $15
Compost: $20
Apple Music/iCloud Storage: $11
Spotify: $10
Local Food Bank Donation: $25
Sponsor A Child Donation: $90 ($30 per kid)

Annual Expenses
Amazon: $120
Thrive Market: $60
Costco: $60
Tempdrop Premium: $35
Car Insurance: $720 every six months
Car Tags/Parking: $220
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 parents set the standard very early on that they expected me to go to college. Neither of my parents has more than a high school diploma so I know they always wanted more for me and my sister. I took college credits when I reached my junior year of high school and by the time I graduated, I had about a year's worth of college credits. I received a full-ride scholarship to a local college that I used for one year before transferring to a large in-state university. I was there for two-and-a-half years and graduated a semester before my classmates. As mentioned, my first year of school was paid for by scholarship and my parents covered the rest of my tuition expenses besides my last semester of school. I paid for my final semester with money earned from my summer internship. While at school, my parents covered all of my expenses. I took summer classes every year (14-16 credits worth) so they never pushed me to get a job in school.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
My parents were pretty open about finances throughout my life. I remember the first time I saw my mom use a credit card and I thought it was a magic card that you could use for whatever you wanted. That was my first money lesson as a kid. As I got older, they explained what money market accounts were, retirement, investments, and how to balance a checkbook. In my teens, my parents shared more about money issues they had when I was a kid. My dad lost his job in 2008 and for a year or so my parents accumulated credit card debt and refinanced the house. Any allowance/money I got growing up my parents had us split into savings, donations, and "fun" money. That gave me perspective on how I should be spending my money.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I was the neighborhood babysitter from age 13 until I left for college. My first W2 job was at a local fast-food restaurant as a cashier. I worked there my junior and senior years of high school. All of my friends had jobs during this time and I really just wanted a discount on the food I ate almost every day. I remember getting my first paycheck for $200 and thinking I was rich.
Did you worry about money growing up?
No. My parents provided all the necessities growing up. When my dad lost his job, my parents really buckled down with coupon cutting, no eating out, etc., but never led me or my sister to believe we should be worried.
Do you worry about money now?
Not in the short term. I worry more long term, like can we buy a house, raise kids, pay for their college, etc. Basically, can we support our future children like our parents supported us?
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I would say 21. I moved to Chicago and was responsible for my expenses at that age except I was on my parents' health insurance until recently. Our financial safety net would be either of our parents if absolutely necessary. If needed, our grandparents would help out too. We hope this is never the case and we can help support our parents through retirement.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
I received ~$2,000 when I graduated high school to kickstart my savings account.

Day One

9 a.m. — Wake up to pouring rain. Get out of bed and take my Tempdrop off. I've been doing FAM (fertility awareness method) for almost a year after getting off birth control. This is my first month using the Tempdrop and so far, so good. I go out to the kitchen and pour my daily shot of aloe juice while making my usual turkey bacon, scrambled eggs, and sourdough. After breakfast, I start making my grocery list for the week. Typically my fiancé and I go shopping together but it's football season and I honestly want to shop alone today. (If you read my previous diary, yes I am engaged to my boyfriend of 10 years now and we are getting married next spring!)
1:30 p.m. — Now I remember why I don't go to Costco on Sunday, especially when it's pouring rain. I make it out in less than an hour with air filters, organic salsa, Grillo's pickles, Siete tortillas and chips, organic coconut water, brown rice ramen noodles, and toilet paper. $135.27
2 p.m. — 20-minute wait in the Costco gas line before it's finally my turn... $46.47
3:30 p.m. — Make it to Whole Foods before a literal monsoon outside. Pick up everything for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the week. We cook almost every day. $197.28
9 p.m. — We are finally booking our honeymoon flights!!!!!! We decide to fly first class to Europe and I am so excited. It's my first time traveling internationally (besides Mexico) so it feels really special. We are flying in and out of different cities so we've been tracking flight prices forever. We book our departing flight with United and pick our seats. After that, I go to Delta to book our return flight. My dad converted a bunch of his miles into gift cards for us (we did not ask, he just gave them to us) so we can cover most of our return flight with those. However, once I go to actually book the flight it won't let me confirm. I'm too tired to keep messing with it so I decide to revisit in the morning. $5,640
Daily Total: $6,019.02

Day Two

7 a.m. — It's my birthday! I'm working from home today so I have a slow start before making breakfast and coffee. My fiancé decorated the apartment and sings happy birthday to me.
9 a.m. — Turning 26 means signing up for my own health insurance! I call my dad for advice and get signed up on my company's health/dental/HSA program. Heavy sigh at the amount coming out of my paycheck now.
11 a.m. — After a few morning supplier meetings, I have about an hour of downtime at work. I go on Delta's website to try to book the flight from last night but I notice I have a reservation already booked. Somehow the transaction went through last night despite never getting a confirmation email. I look through the reservation and notice we don't have seat numbers. I try to pick them and it won't let me. After trying five times I decide to just call Delta. What I thought would be a quick conversation turns into TWO HOURS of talking with the nicest lady in reservations. Somehow when I tried to book last night it only booked my ticket, not my fiancé's. Neither of us can figure out how it happened but she helps get my fiancé booked on the same reservation and our seats assigned. I'm convinced Delta is the superior airline. $889.74
6:45 p.m. — I go to the gym after work and then go home. I completely underestimate how much time I need to get ready for my birthday dinner. I thought giving myself an hour to get ready was enough... I was wrong. We have a 7 p.m. reservation and my hair is still wet, oh well. We drive to the restaurant and park ($9 but my parking app is preloaded).
8:30 p.m. — We finish dinner. The food was good but verrrrry expensive for what we got. We had a crudités and dips appetizer, a salad, crispy potatoes, and lamb gyros. My fiancé had two glasses of wine and I had a mocktail (I don't drink). The waiter brought out this huge sparkler and little donut holes for my birthday. My inner Virgo cringes at the attention this sparkler is drawing. $228
Daily Total: $1,117.74

Day Three

6 a.m. — Back in the office today. Today I'm wearing dark-wash Rag & Bone jeans, a navy Gap ribbed tank, and a shacket from Oak & Fort with my cream Newbies. My fiancé drops me off at 7. As soon as I'm at my desk, I eat my daily eggs, turkey bacon, and sourdough.
12 p.m. — Break for lunch after all my morning meetings. I eat my meal prep of Italian sausage, sweet potato mash, and sauerkraut. Sounds weird but it's delicious and very fall. I take my daily walk with a coworker through downtown before returning for all afternoon meetings.
3:30 p.m. — Leave work a little earlier since I have a call tonight with a supplier in Asia. The bus pulls up right as I walk up to the stop, yay!
7 p.m. — Literally haven't moved in three hours so I decide I should probably start dinner. I chop up and start sautéing veggies for chicken tacos and prep the meat. Fiancé is at the gym or else he would be on taco duty (his favorite thing to make). I scarf down two tacos before my call starts.
10:30 p.m. — Tempdrop and mouth tape on, time to sleep!
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

6 a.m. — Blah, I'm up. Wash my face and apply Earth Harbor serums (Samphire retinol and Helios ampoule). Outfit today is dark-wash Mother jeans, an Abercrombie striped tee, and a light blue Gap chunky knit cardigan. Then I head out to the office.
7:30 a.m. — Breakfast consumed and I work on Wordle. I'm on guess three and I have none of the letters yet, ugh.
11 a.m. — I chat with a manager on another team who has an open position I'm interested in. He tells me HR won't let me apply because I don't have five years of experience (I have four and a half, for reference). I've never actually had an issue with experience before and it's even more frustrating that my own company is preventing my growth. I didn't know if I truly wanted this job so I'm not heartbroken but it's always a little discouraging when you get told no. I break for lunch after our convo with the same meal prep as yesterday.
4:30 p.m. — Walk to the bus stop and it pulls up right as I walk up again, this never happens!
5:30 p.m. — Fiancé is home later than usual so we get a late start to the gym. I've been doing full-body days four days a week with one large lift each workout and it has been a game changer for me. Today is conventional deadlifts with some hamstring and chest-supported exercises. I spend 15 minutes in the steam room before heading home. When I get home, I dry brush and gua sha before showering. Afterward, I apply my Earth Harbor serums, Andalou body lotion, and Divi hair serum. I typically don't support "influencer" products but I had horrible hair shedding post-birth control and liked the ingredients in Divi. I've already seen massive hair growth in two months.
7:45 p.m. — I take half a gummy and start making pizza. My fiancé got new gummies a couple of weeks ago and these ones have been sending me to outer space when I take them. I make my pizza using Capello's almond flour crust, sauce, cheese, and Applegate pepperoni. By the time my pizza is done, the gummy has hit and the pizza is amazing.
10:15 p.m. — Time for bed. Tempdrop and mouth tape on. I'm asleep within five minutes.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

6 a.m. — The morning after gummies is always rough. It feels like I took Nyquil last night but at least it's Thursday! Get up, sync my Tempdrop, wash my face, and brush teeth. My Tempdrop also tracks my sleep and I had over five hours of deep sleep last night, wow!
6:45 a.m. — Breakfast is prepped and bag is packed. I spent a solid 20 minutes staring into the abyss of my closet before ultimately deciding on light-wash 7 For All Mankind jeans and a cream-and-black embroidered Zara tunic. I pair my outfit with tortoiseshell Birks.
12 p.m. — Thursdays are usually quiet for me so I spend the whole morning cleaning up my to-do list from the week. I grab lunch with one of my coworkers in our cafe and eat the last of my meal prep for the week. We vent for 45 minutes about the nonsense happening in our business unit. My fiancé gets takeout for lunch. $12.36
3 p.m. — This afternoon is dragging. I've created shopping carts at Gap, Mango, Madewell, and Shopbop in my free time. I almost pull the trigger on Gap and Madewell but half the items are gone by the time I checkout. I take that as a sign. I leave work at 4.
5:30 p.m. — I ordered a set from For Love & Lemons last week when they had a super sale and my package arrives today. It's a cute bright pink set with embroidered florals. I leave it on and surprise my fiancé when he gets home.
7:45 p.m. — I've had grass-fed short ribs in an Asian rice vinegar-based marinade all day today. My fiancé fires the grill up while I start rice and roasted carrots. About 10 minutes into grilling, my fiancé comes in to calmly tell me there is a fire situation on the grill. He opens the patio door and the bottom tray of the grill is ON FIRE, WTF. I quickly grab the fire extinguisher under the kitchen sink and he puts it out in less than 30 seconds. My heart is literally racing, the propane tank was like two feet away so this could've ended badly. We also technically can't have a grill per our lease so that would've been a fun conversation with our landlord. After all that excitement, I take a tiny bite of a gummy to get the edge off. It does the trick and I have half of a Hu cashew butter chocolate bar before bed. Fiancé makes a prop bet on a football game. $5
Daily Total: $17.36

Day Six

7:45 a.m. — Love work-from-home days and the extra almost two hours of sleep I get. I wake up without my mouth tape on and find it stuck to my foot about an hour later (????). When I first started using mouth tape, I would always wake up without it on and find it in random places later in the day. Still cracks me up every time it happens.
10 a.m. — Fridays are supposed to be no-meetings days yet somehow I've already been looped into three calls this morning that could've been handled via email. When I finally get a lull in work, I head to the couch to watch Chamber of Secrets. I planned to have Sunday be a Harry Potter day but my errands took way longer than planned. I'm very particular on which HP movies I like to watch. I prefer the ones when Voldemort is back, but don't like Umbridge as the headmaster or after Dumbledore dies so I find myself watching Goblet of Fire the most. I also have the same issue with The Office where I prefer episodes when Jim and Pam are together and Michael is still the manager, basically seasons 4-7. Am I crazy or can anyone relate? I should also mention I was raised conservative Christian so I only started watching Harry Potter last year after my fiancé suggested it. I've been obsessed since.
11:30 a.m. — Get some test results back from the specialist I've been working with. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis this year along with a slew of gut issues. I've been working with a specialist to heal my gut and improve my thyroid health for the last six months. I need to order supplements for my next protocol so I place an order. $88.15
4 p.m. — The groomsmen have still not signed up for their tux rental despite my reminding my fiancé almost daily. Everyone is now claiming they never received the signup link even though I know they got it, ugh boys. I tell my fiancé if they don't order by end of the week he's responsible for buying them all suits if ours gets sold out. My fiancé leaves for a haircut shortly after. $45
6 p.m. — I love working out on Fridays — the gym is empty and I can get through everything without waiting. Today is squat day and I'm officially hitting 135 for reps which makes me very happy. Spend 15 minutes in the steam room before heading to Whole Foods for dinner ingredients this weekend. Pick up different meats and some essentials for meals. $64.96
11:30 p.m. — I make pork ramen noodles for dinner, one of our faves. We watch Big Daddy tonight, per my fiancé's request, before heading to bed.
Daily Total: $198.11

Day Seven

6 a.m. — I hear my fiancé get up, he's golfing in the burbs this morning. I roll over until a more reasonable hour. $45
10 a.m. — That's better. I get up, sync my Tempdrop, and fold laundry from last night. I snack on some fruit until my fiancé comes home and we make breakfast burritos. All of the football games on right now are blowouts so we walk over to the park and enjoy some sunshine. Before we leave my fiancé throws chicken in the crockpot for tacos later.
4 p.m. — Back from the park and decide to go to a friend's house later to watch our alma mater's game. I get cleaned up and put on a school t-shirt, Rag & Bone cutoffs, and my white Nikes. My fiancé stops to grab beer on the way. $15
6:30 p.m. — At our friends' house for the game. They have the cutest pup that cuddles up to me the entire night. We brought our crockpot chicken and at some point make some tacos and other snacks while watching the game.
11:30 p.m. — Subtly drop hints to fiancé that it's time to go. Eventually, he obliges and we head home. Can't hang like we used to!
Daily Total: $60
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