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A Week In South Florida On A $65,000 Joint Income

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 teacher who has a joint income of $65,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a coffee teething toy.
Occupation: Teacher
Industry: Education
Age: 29
Location: South Florida
My Salary: ~$65,000 (full-time and part-time jobs)
My Husband's Salary: $0, currently studying for the bar, will have an income starting in the fall
Net Worth: $122,945 (Roth IRA: $59,917, Florida Retirement System: $37,895, Capital One Savings: $14,550, Fidelity Investment: $3,150, Chase Checking: $3,150)
Debt: $0
My Paycheck Amount (Both school and part-time job paychecks are 2x/month, summer camp is seasonal (June-July 2021)): $1,872 (school paycheck) + $650 (part-time job, pre-tax) + $2,700 (summer camp jobs, post-tax)
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,640 for a two-bed, two-bath. I pay $1,240, my husband pays $400.
Roth IRA: $500
Doggy Daycare: $258
Car Insurance: $110
Internet: $66
Phone: $50
Pet Insurance: $33
Spotify: $11
Patreon: $8
Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
Yes! My dad immigrated to the United States to attend college so education was always prioritized in my family. When I was in high school my parents sat me down and told me I would either attend a state school with the money my grandma had contributed to a 529 plan or get enough scholarship money to attend a private school. Loans were not an option. I worked very hard in high school and got an almost full ride to a private liberal arts college, plus additional scholarships and federal grant money to cover the cost of living. I used the money in my 529 account to pay for my master's degree.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
We had a lot of conversations about money. Both of my parents were hyper-aware of their finances and decided to only have one child to afford the high cost of living where we lived. My mom always shopped the sale rack and used coupons. My parents emphasized saving versus spending and never taking on debt you couldn't easily pay off.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I started working as a babysitter at age 12. There were families in my neighborhood with young kids so it was a great way to make money.
Did you worry about money growing up?
Yes. My dad's job was outsourced when I was in seventh grade and he has remained underemployed ever since. My mom had to stop working when I was a junior in high school due to an autoimmune disease. It was a very difficult time period for our family. I didn't ask my parents for money and thankfully qualified for scholarships, Pell grants, and other stipends to cover the cost of college. I also had a work-study job all four years of college. After I graduated, I worked full-time while getting my master's degree.
Do you worry about money now?
Yes and no. I feel like I'm finally in a good place with how much I'm earning and my net worth, but my husband just graduated from law school and has about $90,000 in student loan debt. He's going to pay it off on his own, but it's still a lot of money!
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I became almost fully financially responsible for myself at 18 when I went to college. My parents continued to pay for my cell phone and my bus tickets home, but I didn't have a car or any large expenses that they paid for. Right now, I am my own financial safety net.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
Yes. My grandma contributed about $20,000 to my 529 plan, which I used to pay for my master's degree. My mom passed away last July and I received about $10,000 from her life insurance policy.

Day One

9:30 a.m. — It's Friday! Today is the last day of a week-long virtual public speaking camp I've been teaching. My husband has already left to go study in the law library. He graduated law school in May and takes the bar exam in two weeks. Since studying for the bar is his full-time job, I've been covering our living expenses for the past two months. Thankfully he starts working full-time at a law firm in a month.
10:30 a.m. — I feed the pup and take her on a quick walk around the block. Summer in Florida is no joke! I take a shower when we get back.
11:15 a.m. — I make a bowl of Greek yogurt and berries and drink some coffee. I log in to my computer and see that my paychecks have hit! I'm working three different jobs this summer — two camp jobs and my part-time job. It's the busiest I've ever been in the summer, but I'm not complaining.
11:45 a.m. — Get my Zoom and Google classroom ready for the last day of camp. This camp is based in California and is on Pacific time, which means my day doesn't start until 12. We break for lunch about halfway through, so I scarf down a veggie burger during the break.
3:30 p.m. — Camp is over for the week! The campers did a great job with their speeches and now it's time to fill out their evaluations. I take a quick budget break and see that my Amazon auto-ship order for fruit snacks went through. This is an expense for my classroom, but since it's the summer my husband gets to have them. I text him and he's thrilled. $5.59
4 p.m. — I take out the pup and make a snack of hummus and sliced cucumbers. I finish the evaluations while I eat.
5 p.m. — Naptime! I'm 22 weeks pregnant and need my daily nap. I put on a guided meditation and the pup snuggles next to me.
6:15 p.m. — I'm awake! I feed the pup and then work on dinner for the humans. I make roasted veggies and mac 'n cheese.
7:10 p.m. — My husband comes home as I'm finishing up dinner. Neither of us are very hungry, so I decide to walk the pup to the beach before eating while my husband unwinds after a long day of studying.
8 p.m. — Back from a two-and-a-half-mile walk and I'm hungry! The pup lays dramatically on our tile floor underneath the AC to cool off. I hop in the shower while my husband sets the table for dinner. We eat and catch up about our days.
8:45 p.m. — We're on season three of Manifest, so we decide to watch a few episodes before bed. I eat some Publix ice cream (iykyk) and try to figure out what the hell is going on with Flight 828.
10:30 p.m. — In bed. I've been having terrible pregnancy insomnia so I turn off my phone and try to get comfortable. I'm asleep by 11:30.
Daily Total: $5.59

Day Two

9:30 a.m. — I'm awake! My husband has, you guessed it, already left for the law library. He's going golfing this afternoon, so I don't feel too bad for him. I take the pup out and start a load of laundry.
10:30 a.m. — I feed the pup and make my usual Greek yogurt and berries and coffee for breakfast. I text my mother-in-law and sister-in-law while I eat. We're making plans for Christmas, which will be a little bit different this year because we'll have a one-month-old. They're coming to Florida to meet the baby and get in some beach time, so we're deciding on a rental house. My sister-in-law finds an awesome one with a private dog-friendly beach. I offer to book it on my credit card to get the points, and my sister-in-law sends me $850. ($2,350 - $850). $1,500
12 p.m. — I get an e-mail that I need to renew my car registration. Exciting stuff. $40.35
12:15 p.m. — I work a bit for my part-time job, which is editorial work for a large edtech company. I majored in English and love editing/writing, so this is right up my alley. I eat some leftover veggies and mac 'n cheese while I work.
2:45 p.m. — I put on calming music for my dog and drive over to my friend's house. She's a mom of two and is hosting my baby shower in the fall, so we're going to BuyBuy Baby to add items to my registry! We pack up the kids and head out.
5 p.m. — Phew! I scanned 65 items to add to the registry and picked up a heavily discounted newborn lounger, a coffee-shaped teething ring, and an avocado plushie for the baby. Who knew tiny humans needed so much stuff. $40.31
5:30 p.m. — We stop by Sonic for an early dinner. I pay for everyone's meals as a thank you for showing me the ropes today. We eat in her car and chat before heading back to her house. I say my goodbyes and head home. $23.99
7:45 p.m. — My husband is back from golfing and I show him what I got for the baby. He spent $59.92 for golf and $16 on food. We eat some cheesy bread he brought back and call it a night. $75.92
Daily Total: $1,680.57

Day Three

10 a.m. — I wake up and feed the pup. My husband has already left for the day, but surprised me with a latte from our favorite coffee shop before he left. I eat my usual Greek yogurt and berries. I look at my to-do list and figure out where to start. $13.80
11 a.m. — I have about six hours of work for my part-time job today, so I get started. My pup curls up next to me and starts snoring, which is always hilarious.
12:30 p.m. — My husband is on a study break and calls to check-in. He stops at Whole Foods for lunch. We chat about our schedule and make plans to go for a drive on the beach tonight. When I get off the phone, I make a salad for lunch. $16.91
6 p.m. — Finally done with work for the day! My husband gets home and tells me he bought beer from Whole Foods before coming home. We head out with the pup for a drive on the beach. $26.90
6:15 p.m. — We stop by McDonald's. I get a Diet Coke and my husband gets chicken nuggets and fries. $10.48
7:30 p.m. — We decide to drive down to Surfside to pay our respects at the collapsed condo site. It is horrible. We have a long discussion on the way home about safety measures for condos and development on Miami Beach.
8:30 p.m. — I'm craving French fries, so my husband swings by Checkers. Not my healthiest moment, but still delicious. $3.48
9 p.m. — I'm also craving ice cream, so we drop off the pup at our apartment and head back out to Wal-Mart. We get two types of ice cream, cherry tomatoes, and more cold brew coffee. $21.50
Daily Total: $93.07

Day Four

7:30 a.m. — Hallelujah! It's my first Monday off in a month. I wake up early to drop the pup off at doggy daycare and my car at the mechanic.
8:20 a.m. — The mechanic is swamped so I set up an appointment to come back on Wednesday. I feel dumb for not knowing they have appointments.
8:45 a.m. — My husband surprised me with a prenatal massage for Mother's Day that I finally scheduled for today, so I stop by the ATM to withdraw money for the tip. $20
9 a.m. — Back home and I'm exhausted. I decide to take a nap even though it's only 9.
10:30 a.m. — Awake and feeling so much more energized! I make breakfast and plan out my day.
11 a.m. — I have a sudden burst of energy so I decide to deep-clean the apartment. Pregnancy is weird, you guys. I put on a podcast and get to it.
12:45 p.m. — The house is super clean and I am disgusting. I take a hot shower before my massage.
3 p.m. — The massage was amazing. It honestly felt more like a dynamic stretch than a deep-tissue massage, which is exactly what my body needed. I decide to stop by Publix on my way home to get some groceries.
4:30 p.m. — Back home from Publix. I got vegetables, fruit, pre-made salads for my husband, fake meat for me, tortilla chips, and guacamole. I cut up some veggies and eat them with hummus. $61.34
5:30 p.m. — I head out to pick up the pup from doggy daycare. She is exhausted but happy to see me. :')
6:15 p.m. — I feed the pup and make nachos for dinner. My husband gets home and says the house looks amazing. He still has more studying to do, so we eat dinner then he goes into his office. I do some work for my part-time job and play with the pup.
8:30 p.m. — My husband is finally done studying so we watch the last episode of Manifest. Mixed thoughts, although I'm bummed it was canceled. After it's over, my husband books his hotel for the bar exam. Even though he's taking it locally, we decided he should stay in a hotel close to the testing site for the two days he takes it. $269.35
Daily Total: $350.69

Day Five

9:30 a.m. — I wake up and take the dog out. My friend's birthday is coming up, so I send him a $10 gift certificate to our favorite doughnut place. He texts me the nicest thank you. $10
10:15 a.m. — I feed the pup and then shower. I'm meeting my coworker for brunch today. I'm looking forward to it because I haven't seen her in over a month!
12:30 p.m. — Brunch is a blast! We catch up about our summers, the baby, school, etc. My coworker insists on paying and I make her promise I'll get next time.
1 p.m. — I play with the pup and then log in to check my expenses. I see that our internet bill and pet insurance both went through. I decide to pull the trigger and buy an online course for labor and the first few months of the baby's life. I put it on in the background while I do laundry and tidy up the house. $83.30
2 p.m. — I do some work for my part-time job.
4 p.m. — I drive my pup over to the vet for her flu booster shot. She's in and out in five minutes. $44.75
4:45 p.m. — Back home and back to work!
6:30 p.m. — Pup and I head out for a walk at our local park.
7:15 p.m. — Two miles later and we're home! My husband is back from studying and makes dinner. We eat and chat about our days. Tomorrow is my anatomy scan husband gets to come! This is the first appointment he's allowed to attend! We are so excited.
8 p.m. — My husband puts on The Office while we work. I'm going out of town on Thursday so I want to get most of this assignment done before I leave. I eat ice cream while I work.
Daily Total: $138.05

Day Six

7:30 a.m. — I literally jump out of bed, I'm so excited for this appointment. My last ultrasound was seven weeks ago so I'm dying to see our babe. I shower, then drink some water and coffee.
9 a.m. — At the appointment! I confirm that my husband is allowed to come in and pay the co-pay. $45
10 a.m. — The appointment goes great! We got to see the baby move her arms, flip around, and kick. She's grown so much since the last time I saw her. The tech said she's an active baby, which is reassuring because I haven't felt any kicks yet. I drive home and my husband drives to school.
10:30 a.m. — My husband stops at McDonald's for breakfast. I feed the pup and eat my usual Greek yogurt and berries. $8.31
11 a.m. — I head off to the mechanic.
1 p.m. — Finished with the mechanic. They have to order a part for my light, so I pay for the oil change and the part and schedule an appointment for Monday to have them install it. $461
1:15 p.m. — I make a giant salad for lunch and play with the pup. I pack for my trip tomorrow while my pup looks on disapprovingly. I give her extra snuggles to make up for my impending absence.
2 p.m. — Work time!
6 p.m. — Finish with work for the day. I feed the pup and then head out for a walk with her.
7:05 p.m. — We only do a mile because it is so hot out. My husband gets home shortly after we do. We eat the rest of the salad for dinner and he makes chicken for himself.
8 p.m. — I force my husband to watch an episode of Sex/Life, which is actually really terrible. I eat ice cream.
Daily Total: $514.31

Day Seven

7:30 a.m. — Travel day! I wake up early to drop the pup off at doggy daycare. I shed a tear when I say goodbye to her. She could care less and goes bounding into daycare without a backward glance.
9 a.m. — Back home and take a quick power nap.
9:45 a.m. — My husband wakes me up and we drive to the airport. He gives me a giant hug and reminds me to please be safe on the flight. I've had some travel-related anxiety since becoming pregnant, so I assure him that I will definitely be safe.
10:30 a.m. — Make it through security and buy a water bottle. My flight boards in an hour, but I'm one of those people who like to be at the airport ridiculously early. I get settled, connect to WiFi, and do some work before boarding. $3.81
3:08 p.m. — We land early! They made me check my carry-on at the gate so I text my husband while I wait for it to arrive at baggage.
3:30 p.m. — Luggage is secured and I go outside to meet my dad. I'm back home for my mom's one-year memorial and my cousin's bridal shower. I give my dad a side-hug from the passenger seat.
4:30 p.m. — Arrived at the Airbnb. I check-in, drop off my stuff, and head out to lunch with my dad.
5 p.m. — We choose a diner that my mom used to love going to. It's very, very weird being back here without her. I order a Caesar salad and fries and my dad gets crab cakes. I try to pay, but he laughs me off.
6 p.m. — The weather is beautiful so we decide to go for a walk on the beach. My dad and I haven't seen each other since April, so we have a lot to catch up on.
7:15 p.m. — My dad drops me off at the Airbnb and we make plans for tomorrow. He heads out and I chat with the Airbnb owner. I'm exhausted from the flight and walk, so I hop in the shower to unwind.
8 p.m. — I call my husband, who's at trivia with his friends. We chat briefly and he tells me he bought two beers. $22.46
8:15 p.m. — I have an hour of work left for my part-time job. I put on pajamas, hop into bed, and get working.
9:30 p.m. — I'm finished with work and so, so tired, straight to sleep I go.
Daily Total: $26.27
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