A Week In San Carlos, CA, On A $66,000 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.

Today: a teacher who makes $66,000 a year and spends some of her money this week on Bubly sparkling water.
Occupation: Teacher
Industry: Education
Age: 28
Location: San Carlos, CA
Salary: $66,000 (original salary for the year, see below)
Paycheck Amount (1x/month): $4,872.94 monthly (higher now that I've "sold" my prep period and teach an extra class)
Gender: Woman

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,300 for my portion of $3,300 that I share with my fiancé, M. (We live in a 520 square foot one bed/one bath. Send help).
Loans: $0 (my parents paid for most of my tuition and I paid the rest through college; I paid my car off two years ago)
Water/Sewage/Trash: $60 for my half
Phone: $25 to my family plan
Insurance: $0 (I chose the option covered entirely by work)
Pet Rent: $75 (only one cat is on the lease)
Parking Spot: $35
Internet: $40 for my half
Spotify: $9.99
Orangetheory: $119 for eight classes
Utilities: $40 for my half
Netflix: $12.99 (M. pays for Hulu and his parents pay for YouTube TV. We all share.)
Union: $108.10 pre-tax
Retirement: ~$500 pre-tax
Billie: $8.99 every three months
Car Insurance: $560 every six months
Roth IRA: I have $6,000 in a Roth IRA. My goal is to save $1,000 per month. I usually come in a little above that.

Day One

8:43 a.m. — I wake up without an alarm and get up to make coffee. Normally I would do an Orangetheory class on Sunday mornings, but I've stopped going as of early last week. I know they are doing their best to keep everything clean, but I'm trying not to be in groups when I don't have to be.
9 a.m. — I cuddle with my kitties and lounge around. I read a bit of Sapiens, the last book I checked out from the library.
1:03 p.m. — I pop a bag of frozen cauliflower in the microwave. My fiancé, M., and I usually get fresh produce, but we've been trying to avoid things that other people may have touched. I realize that somebody may have touched this frozen bag, but in my mind, it feels safer.
3:45 p.m. — M. and I go for a long walk. We alternate between walks and South Park before making chicken and brown rice for dinner.
8 p.m. — I settle in for this week's 90 Day Fiance and text my coworker, T., throughout. This season has sort of been a dud, but I feel like I'm in too deep. I can't stop watching.
10 p.m. — As the intro to Sister Wives hits, I shut off the TV and head to the bathroom for my nightly routine. I shower and double cleanse with Neutrogena oil cleanser and Neutrogena cream cleanser. I follow that with the Drunk Elephant raspberry serum (I refuse to double-check the ridiculous name of this product) and Drunk Elephant marula oil. Again, these are far out of my price range, but they were a special treat for my ~wedding skin~. I set up the coffee pot for tomorrow morning and head to bed. What a day of social distancing.
Daily Total: $0

Day Two

6:45 a.m. — Alarm time! I turn the coffee pot on, get dressed in yoga pants, a black t-shirt, and a fuzzy jacket. Normally I wouldn't be so casual for work, but no kids will be on campus today! I'm out the door by 7:05 and I stop at the grocery store on the way to work to pick up another bag of cat food. The grocery store has been far more crowded lately, and toilet paper is already gone. I also grab an Amy's broccoli cheddar bowl for lunch. $16.89
8:45 a.m. — We have a virtual staff meeting. Over the weekend, we were alerted that we can work from home or campus, but all students are at home as of last Friday. I think it's the right decision. I left my work laptop in my classroom, so I had to go in.
11:15 a.m. — Everyone is talking about how our county just declared a shelter in place — looks like we will all be working from home tomorrow. I gather up everything I want to take home with me. I have several bottles of hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes (I buy them every August, but my students never really used them until recently) and give some away to coworkers. The rest I will take home. Will I finally start wiping my kitchen down nightly? (Narrator: No, she will not.)
1:41 p.m. — I get an alert from my Orangetheory app that all studios will be closing down beginning tomorrow. I debate trying to squeeze in another workout tonight but decide against it.
3:30 p.m. — Time to head home. I wanted to stop at the grocery store to pick up something for dinner, but the lines are literally all the way to the back of the store. There must be hundreds of people in here. No way. I head home empty-handed. Everybody is panicking I'm sure, with the shelter in place order going into effect tomorrow, but I know we will still be able to go to the grocery store.
4:13 p.m. — M. and I head out for a walk. We're sure to keep our distance from everyone else who is out for a walk, which is more people than usual.
6:05 p.m. — I make butter chicken and potatoes with naan bread for dinner. M. used to do most of our cooking, but I've taken over recently. I'm glad to finally be able to make something beyond broccoli and rice for dinner. We watch TV and scroll through our phones. I order a black Madewell t-shirt dress through the Nordstrom website because the one I have is pilling. I know I'll wear this a lot in the spring and summer. $28.97
8:30 p.m. — I go through my nightly routine and get ready for bed. Tomorrow will be my first day ever working from home. M. works from home regularly (full time as of two weeks ago) and we only have one table. He will be at his usual table out in the living room and I will work at a TV tray or sitting on the bed in our bedroom.
Daily Total: $45.86

Day Three

8 a.m. — It's so weird waking up this late for work! I brush my teeth, turn on the coffee pot, and do my morning skincare routine. I wipe some Dickenson's rose petal toner (not fancy) over my face before applying Beautycounter vitamin C serum (I just learned they are an MLM and will NOT repurchase!), Drunk Elephant moisturizer, and Murad SPF 30. Ugh, fancy products. My skin has never looked better. I "clock in" for work online.
8:15 a.m. — I answer a bunch of emails from students (mostly letting them know that everything they're asking about is posted on our Google Classroom) and create a how-to guide for one of our educational apps for my colleagues.
10:45 a.m. — M. and I take a break and go for a walk on our usual route (it's our usual route because there are a lot of cats on this route that I can stop and pet).
12:16 p.m. — I make us black bean and rice bowls with cheese, salsa, and sour cream for lunch. I do some arm exercises before eating mine and heading back to work.
3:20 p.m. — I clock out for the day via Google Forms. It's so weird to be done with work this early. Normally I'm at work from 7:15 until 4:30. Without a prep period, I have to do all of my grading and creating of content before and after school. I read Sapiens until M. is done for the day.
4:56 p.m. — M. and I decide to go for a jog before I make dinner. I make roasted potatoes with garlic, reheat the leftover cauliflower from lunch, and bake one of our last chicken breasts.
6:30 p.m. — I wonder what shelter in place is going to look like. I'd been feeling so stressed at work lately with no prep period and at first, I loved the idea of working from home. Considering the reason I am working from home, though, I don't know if I feel any more relaxed. I do feel so fortunate to have a job that I'm able to do remotely. I write in my journal and read for a few hours before getting ready to turn in.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

8 a.m. — Up and at ‘em. It's crazy how much time I save without having to commute and just throwing on yoga pants and a random t-shirt. I do my skincare routine and sign in through Google Forms.
8:30 a.m. — I post a Google Meet for my first set of office hours. One girl shows up and asks how to highlight in a Google Doc. Nobody else logs in. I sign out and get to work creating remote lesson plans. It's weird to be able to go to the bathroom whenever I want.
12:30 p.m. — Another round of office hours. This time three students show up, but they don't have any questions. They just want to hang out, so we talk for a bit about how the last few days have been and they show off their Pokemon cards and houseplants. I miss them already. The governor is saying that we might not go back to school at all this year. I'm moving at the end of the school year; it's so weird to think that I'll never see these kids again!
1 p.m. — We log out of office hours and I finish my plans for the next three weeks while eating leftover potatoes and chicken. For now, we are posting assignments, but not really teaching new content. I think that's going to change soon, and I plan out some videos and Screencastify clips I can make in the coming weeks.
3:23 p.m. — I clock out for the day and watch an episode of 20/20 on my phone.
4:12 p.m. — My mom calls to tell M. and me that our wedding must be postponed — the venue is going to be closed through May due to coronavirus, of course. We are sad but not entirely surprised. I try to be positive about the whole thing. It will still happen, just later. Everybody's health is more important. We can't actually get married either since the county office is shut down. The person I speak with via email lets me know that since my marriage license will expire during that time, I'll have to pay for another one. Great. I console myself with jalapeño Cheetos.
5:30 p.m. — I bake frozen meatballs and boil pasta for dinner. I'm feeling restless and stressed out, and dropping two of my meatballs on the floor as I'm heaping spaghetti onto my plate really doesn't help. Oh well. M. and I talk about how to make the 12 rolls of toilet paper we have last. I've never had toilet paper rules before!
7:42 p.m. — I write in my journal. My writing feels dull, I'm making more typos than usual, and I don't see my personality in what I'm writing. I decide to take a break and watch a few episodes of South Park with M.
9:30 p.m. — Another no-spend day, since we can't really go anywhere. I'm so much less tired than usual. Not standing in front of seven classes all day and being upbeat saves a ton of energy. I'm not tired, but I get ready for bed anyway.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

3:34 a.m. — M. and I jolt awake to the awful sound of screaming out on our patio. Something out there is screaming and thrashing around, and it sounds like someone is trying to break in. M. looks out the window — there are three raccoons fighting just below our bedroom window. Ughhhh. He bangs on the window and they run off to fight in the parking lot. My heart is still racing and it takes me half an hour to fall back asleep.
7:53 a.m. — Up for real this time. Make coffee, have a vanilla Yoplait, get dressed in yoga pants and a t-shirt for my old college.
8:30 a.m. — I log in for virtual office hours. Nobody shows up! Cue the sad violin.
9:50 a.m. — M. and I go for a walk just to get some fresh air. Not many cars on the road, but many people out for walks. We see a group of men jogging together and another big-ish group of people stopped at the end of our street, just chatting. Um. What? Six feet apart, people!
11:34 a.m. — I make grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for lunch. It's been nice to make lunch for the two of us this week.
12 p.m. — I log in for my second set of virtual office hours and five students show up. None of them have questions, they just want to hang out and show off their pets. I put the camera on my sleeping cats and they freak out over how adorable they are.
3:20 p.m. — I clock out online and lie down to read Sapiens. I am napping within minutes.
5:04 p.m. — I wake up from my nap and make dinner — roasted potatoes, leftover broccoli, and our last chicken breast.
8:30 p.m. — One of my coworkers sends me a link — the whole state of California is officially going to shelter in place. I'd been planning on going to the grocery store tomorrow, but now I think it's going to be crazy (even though nothing has actually changed in the Bay). I head to the grocery store now, and it's pretty quiet. I buy some frozen fruit, frozen veggies, cheese, chicken (they've finally restocked!), bread, lip balm, apple sauce, carrots, hummus, Cheetos (an essential), yogurt, and Bubly sparkling water (I've been trying to get into sparkling water for a while now to curb my soda consumption). I swing by the toilet paper aisle just for fun — nothing to see here. $69.24
9:45 p.m. — We put away the groceries and M. and I rewatch an episode of Firefly and get ready for bed.
Daily Total: $69.24

Day Six

8 a.m. — The new morning routine continues. I've never had a job where I can work from home before, so the fact that I can open my laptop while still in my pajamas is wild.
8:30 a.m. — I do my virtual office hours again, but like yesterday, nobody shows up. I sign out when my half an hour is up and check the work students have submitted this week. I grade what's there. So far, we are only to grade work on a pass (they did it) or fail (they didn't do anything) basis. I put together a Google Slides with additional educational activities students can do if they're feeling restless, and include some book recommendations. Our curriculum website has a virtual library with a lot of titles (one of the few good things about it).
11:08 a.m. — The vet calls to let me know that my cat's medication is ready for pickup. We adopted an elderly cat in 2018 who was on a euthanasia list at her shelter. Last fall she started to lose a lot of weight and it turns out she has hyperthyroidism! Luckily the medication has been doing a great job of keeping her healthy, and she loves scarfing down the pill pocket she gets with dinner (seriously, those things smell BAD).
12:45 p.m. — I heat up last night's leftover potatoes and some black beans for M. and myself.
3:17 p.m. — I clock out online and head over to the vet to pick up my cat's medication. I have been really good about not leaving my apartment for non-essentials, but this counts as essential. I call from the car and they bring out the medication. $46.43
5:40 p.m. — I am craving sushi and decide to place an order for takeout from a local sushi place. M. and I get four rolls to share. $60.52
5:45 p.m. — I put together my cat's pill pocket, but she won't eat it. I try putting a pill in cheese and put out some wet food, but she won't eat that either. That's really concerning, as these are her three favorite things in the world.
6:25 p.m. — I get home from picking up the sushi. M. and I continue to binge Firefly as we eat. I looked forward to this meal all week and feel... let down. I mean, it's good. It's sushi. Maybe I thought it would be spectacular, or make me feel like I was outside again.
6:50 p.m. — I start to feel really weird and restless, and I'm having a hard time following along as M. is talking. My brain hurts and it feels so full. I start crying and have a mini-breakdown about everything that's going on, and I'm worried about our cat. M. is supportive and tells me that the stress I'm feeling is totally normal. I decide to lie down for a while and leave my phone out in the living room. I alternate between reading Sapiens and just staring at the ceiling. I feel like a huge baby.
8:30 p.m. — We go for a walk and talk about how we should be spending less time on our phones. Of course, we want to stay up on the news, but mindlessly scrolling through our phones for hours isn't making us feel any better. I decided I'll practice my calligraphy again and download some light reads to my Kindle.
9:12 p.m. — I download The Royal We and read for a couple of hours before doing my nighttime routine and going to bed.
Daily Total: $106.95

Day Seven

10:30 a.m. — After making coffee, I show my cat her food bowls and treats, but she's still not interested. I'm really worried about her. I don't get an answer at the vet; I'll call back soon.
11:12 a.m. — Our vet doesn't have any openings for us today and is closed tomorrow. The receptionist suggests a nearby urgent care. I try not to care about how much that's sure to cost and call to make an appointment for this evening. I cuddle with her and try to feed her more treats. She won't eat them.
12 p.m. — I make some black bean and cheese quesadillas for lunch and we watch a few reruns of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and go for yet another walk.
2:14 p.m. — I've been dressing so casually lately and want to feel cute, so I do my usual makeup routine of BareMinerals complexion rescue tinted moisturizer, blush, brows, and highlighter. I leave all the fancy makeup I bought for my wedding at the back of my makeup cabinet.
3:33 p.m. — My chin is flaking and I look like a stale, crusty croissant. I wash my face. So much for feeling cute.
5:15 p.m. — We get to the vet. Due to coronavirus, they bring her in and we wait in the car. The vet calls and says that her skin is yellow and that she most likely has liver cancer. We had her thyroid checked at our regular vet six weeks ago and they didn't notice anything. Given her age and how thin she is, they don't think that she will survive operations and recommend we say goodbye. I start to cry. I had no idea we were going to have to say goodbye tonight. They let us come in and we take care of the paperwork. The visit and euthanasia comes out to $350, M. pays. We spend some time with her. We give her cuddles and kisses and tell her we love her so much. The vet comes in and we have to say one last goodbye. She won't be suffering anymore. I miss her already.
6:30 p.m. — We get home and it feels emptier. M. and I give our other kitty a big hug. I kneel in front of the little cat bed, still covered in her fur. I cry off and on for a long time and don't feel like doing much of anything. I take comfort in the fact that she got to feel loved and safe for a year and a half with us.
8:56 p.m. — Our toilet tank won't fill with water. A valve is broken. What a weekend! I try to think of all of the things that I am lucky to have, like M. and our kitty and jobs that let us work from home during this time. Our families are still healthy. The fact that we still have toilet paper. Next week HAS to be better than this one.
Daily Total: $0
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