A Week In San Jose, CA, On A $92,000 Salary

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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 tech support professional who makes $92,00 and spends some of her money this week on ski socks.
Occupation: Support Professional
Industry: Technology
Age: 27
Location: San Jose, CA
Salary: $92,000 base (with stock compensation my yearly compensation is $228,470)
Net Worth: $269,094 ($7,461 in investment accounts (for fun), $61,000 in 401(k) account, $210,000 in company stock plan (vested), (another $343,700 due to vest this year), minus debt.) My partner and I have separate accounts; we split utilities, household good costs, and grocery costs.
Debt: $9,367 in student loans
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,630 after deductions and taxes
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $700 (renting with three roommates)
Student Loans: $210 (I also pay it off in big chunks, paid $5,000 in December 2020 and I plan to pay it off by the end of the year.)
401(k): $1,554.92 (no matching)
Dental: $10
Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP): $1,060.16
Health Insurance: $50
Flexible Savings Account: $211.52
Group Life Insurance: $7.42
Vision Insurance: $5
Netflix: $13.99
Disney+: $6.99 (paid upfront for a year)
Spotify: $9.99
Cell Phone: $63.33 (split with family)
Amazon Prime: $9.91 (paid upfront for a year)
Costco Membership: $10 (paid upfront for a year)
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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?
Not explicitly, but yes. My parents never pushed me to go to college, but it was an unspoken assumption I would. I received my bachelor's degree and used a mix of work-study jobs, grants, and student loans to finance my education.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
None. My parents were bad with money, lived paycheck to paycheck, and did not save for anything. They spent money as they earned it.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first real job was as a server at a restaurant. It seemed like an easy enough job and I worked on the weekends for cash tips.
Did you worry about money growing up?
Yes. I knew that my parents could not afford many nice things for me growing up.
Do you worry about money now?
Yes, but not as much. I feel extremely lucky I got hired into my company at the right time and was given stock.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
22, when I moved out of my parent's house and moved across the country.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
No.

Day One

9 a.m. — Wake up, wash my face, and brush my teeth. Go downstairs, and make some coffee, and get dressed. My partner and I end up going for a quick run and walk around the neighborhood. We look around at all the new luxury home development and dream of owning our home one day (away from the Bay Area).
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12 p.m. — Head home and make some late breakfast for lunch — two eggs over easy, turkey bacon, hash browns with pico de gallo, and a slice of sourdough bread. Watch some Netflix and do chores around the house. Later in the afternoon, we head to Trader Joe's and pick up some light groceries (milk, fruits, veggies). $41.71
6 p.m. — Drive to the local grocery store with my partner to check. We get ramen, veggies, and snacks. I get ready for the week ahead and check on some work emails before bed. $12
Daily Total: $53.71

Day Two

5:30 a.m. — The alarm wakes me up — time for work. I make my daily coffee to save money and resist buying a coffee from Starbucks (my guilty pleasure). Brush my teeth, wash my face, and get dressed for work.
11 a.m. — Lunchtime. I get very tempted to buy food at lunch but also try very hard to resist by eating my packed lunch. Lunches bought at work can cost up to $17 ($10 on the lower side).
5 p.m. — Time to go home. Make some ramen for dinner and call it a night. I am absolutely exhausted from work and pass out by 10.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

5:30 a.m. — Repeat of day two. The alarm blares loudly, rousing me from my sleep. I groggily wake up for work and start making my way down to the kitchen to make my coffee. I get ready and pack my lunch downstairs then head into work.
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11 a.m. — Lunchtime — my Trader Joe's turkey, lettuce, and Swiss cheese wrap. I look around sadly at others who purchased their yummy-looking sushi-teriyaki bento box lunches. I then remind myself, "You are saving for a reason. They are throwing $15 away for ONE meal!"
6 p.m. — Stay late to wrap up things at work so that I can early leave tomorrow. It's a three-day work week, and I'm taking a half-day tomorrow to kick off the Christmas holiday. When I get home, I start packing for my Christmas weekend getaway.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

6:30 a.m. — I stop by Starbucks on the way to work to treat myself before I kickoff my half-day heading into the Christmas holiday — didn't make my daily coffee today. Happily sip on my cold brew as I head into work. $4.75
3:30 p.m. — Leave work and go home to pick up the boyfriend (he works from home). We pack the car with our bags and head to the gas station to fill up the tank before we start our drive. $30
9 p.m. — Finally arrive at our hotel in Lake Tahoe; we are absolutely famished after being on the road for four hours (holiday traffic out of the Bay Area). As I look on Google Maps, practically every restaurant in the area for takeout is closed. We decide on Taco Bell after debating on getting Dominos, McDonald's, or Taco Bell. The burrito bowl and cheesy quesadillas help lull us to sleep in preparation for an early day on the slopes tomorrow. $20
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Daily Total: $54.75

Day Five

8:30 a.m. — We stop by McDonald's to pick up some breakfast (Big Breakfast, McMuffin, orange juice) before we hit the slopes. Need as much fuel as possible! Skiing and snowboarding are very intense! I also stop by the CVS next door to buy a pair of ski gloves since I lost one of my gloves in Shasta year. I also eye a packet of Oreos and Goldfish on my way to the cash register and grab them too. $46.24
11 a.m. — My ankle and feet are extremely swollen from skiing. I fell halfway down the mountain due to the pain of the ski boot digging into my left ankle and foot. I think it is twisted; my body is in all sorts of pain and is very bruised. We stop by the ski shop and get schooled by a seasoned ski/snowboard expert who sells me a new pair of ski boots at a discount. I also decide to buy proper ski socks. We head back up to the bunny slope and I make more success down the mountain with these new boots. Hurray! $121
6 p.m. — We head back to the hotel and peel the damp clothes from our bodies and dry our boots. I ice the very red and angry bruise on my knee for about 30 minutes. We grab our mango hard seltzers (brought from home) and head to the hot tub to soak our sore muscles. While we soak in the hot tub with our masks on (while the annoying couple in the separated level of the hot tub does NOT follow the mask rules), we decide on Thai food for dinner. I find a place and try to call to place an order. I end up calling like 14 times and they don't answer. I then switch and call the Nevada location (same restaurant, same distance away from the hotel) of this restaurant and have success at placing an order. We head back up to the room, shower, and go pick up the food. It is mouthwatering, delicious Thai food: drunken noodles with calamari, tom kha soup with shrimp, scallops, mussels, squid, pad thai, and fried crab rangoon. We devour everything. $54.41
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Daily Total: $221.65

Day Six

9 a.m. — We wake up with sore bodies. My bruise is extremely purple and I yelp in pain as my boyfriend tries to massage it. I am able to extend my right knee and walk around slowly with a limp, but it hurts to even lightly graze over the skin. Clearly, I am in no condition to ski today. We end up ordering breakfast from a local diner and eat it in our room. It is delicious and hearty! We pack up our things from the hotel and decide that I will be sitting out from skiing. I do get a refund on my ski pass that I purchased (two days). I hang out for a bit while my boyfriend goes snowboarding. $27.37
12 p.m. — I get bored while I wait for my boyfriend to finish snowboarding. I wander around the ski resort but it is extremely cold and I am shivering. I find the gift shop and start looking for souvenirs to bring back. I end up with t-shirts for everyone in my family and a magnet to bring home. $129.78
5 p.m. — We fill up on gas on the way out of Tahoe and start the long drive back to the Bay Area. We end up getting Popeyes for dinner because it is Christmas, everything else is closed, and we are on the road. I thought my Christmas would be more eventful, but as my boyfriend and I talk and look back on 2020 and what we have been through, we feel very grateful for everything in our lives. The pandemic has devastated the world, crushed so many economies, and deeply affected people's lives as their loved ones were taken away by the virus. As painful as my stupid little bruise is, I acknowledge that I am very blessed to be where I am and hope for better things to come in 2021 for everyone in the world. $41.90
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Daily Total: $199.05

Day Seven

9 a.m. — I wake up and lay in bed, happy to be back home in my own place. I make coffee downstairs and read some magazines. I throw our clothes from the Tahoe trip into the laundry and make the bed. I make my usual savory breakfast.
1 p.m. — I finish with the laundry. We spend a lazy day at home doing nothing and recovering from the ski trip. My bruise is still dark but I continue to ice it and not bend my leg too much.
7 p.m. — We make some salad and chicken for dinner and tuck in with some Netflix. It's good to be home post-Christmas and relax.
Daily Total: $0
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