Money Diaries, Couples Edition: A Week In D.C.

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.
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Leading up to Valentine's Day, we're talking about relationships and money. Today, we're excited to share the Money Diary of a couple living in Washington, D.C. S. is a protocol monitor working in cancer research and making $72,000, and her boyfriend, T., is an accountant making $74,000. This week, S. spends some of her money on candy to keep at her office.


Occupation: Protocol Monitor
Industry: Cancer Research (I love my job, and I get to travel abroad a few times a year on the government’s dime.)
Age: 26
Location: Washington, D.C.
Salary: $72,000
Paycheck Amount (Monthly): $3,900
Monthly Expenses
Housing: $0 (Thanks to my Hispanic culture, which encourages me to live with family until marriage.)
Student Loans: $330 (I pay $530/month instead, though, and have made a good dent in the past two years toward my grad-school payment.)
Car Note: $0 (This was a Christmas gift from my dad!)
Cell Phone: $80
Gym Membership: $30
Parking Garage: $20
Amazon Music: $8
ICloud Storage: $1
Health, Vision & Dental Insurance: $230 (Affordable healthcare is not affordable.)
Retirement: $210
Charitable Contribution: $160
Savings: $100
Joint Savings With T.: $100 (We just started this past month.)
Annual Expenses
Car Insurance: $1,280
Amazon Prime: $120


Occupation: Accountant
Industry: Public Accounting
Age: 35
Location: Maryland (D.C. Metro)
Salary: $74,000
Military Retirement: $9,600 (Proud U.S. Army veteran)
Paycheck Amount (Monthly): $4,000
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $1,628
Student Loans: $0 (Thank you, G.I. Bill.)
Health & Dental Insurance: $48
Electricity: $130
Water & Sewage: $25
Cell Phone: $74
Gym: $30
Parking Garage: $45
Car Note: $489 (My vehicle and my father's.)
Legal Services: $24
HSA: $25 (My work also matches this.)
Retirement: $602 (between my 401(k) and Roth IRAs)
Charitable Contribution: $50
Savings: $75
Joint Savings With S.: $150
Annual Expenses
Car Insurance: $1,735
Netflix: $0 (Thanks to my brother.)
In a sentence or two, please explain your couples spending philosophy.
S.: I read a Money Diary where the OP and her BF had a joint checking account that they used for their date nights out, and I thought it was a great idea, so I asked my man friend if we could try that. We recently opened a joint account and are using it as a savings account for a second vacation together. I wouldn’t describe either of us as frugal — we both like to spend money on activities and memories with others, rather than spend money on labels. Neither of us spends money we don’t have, and we do not carry commercial debt. We've been dating for five months.
T.: Between the two of us, I wouldn’t consider either of us frugal, but neither of us lives above our means. S. is always looking for sales (though sometimes I'm wary of what she means by "sale"). Our personal finances are separate, though we recently opened a joint checking account dedicated to future adventures together.

Day One (S.)

7 a.m. — Happy Friyay. Today is going to be a long day, so I take my time getting ready this a.m. to make sure I’m prepared for it all. I watch Sex and the City reruns as I get ready in the mornings. I keep wondering what character I am most like in SATC, and will remember to ask my friends later.
8:30 a.m. — On my way out, I pack two frozen meals: lunch and dinner. Breakfast to go is Nutella on toast for my short commute to work (25 to 30 minutes). I grew up in the D.C. Metro region, where the average commute time is 45+ minutes, so I consider my commute very good.
10 a.m. — I treat myself to a free cup of coffee at work while I read up on government-shutdown updates.
12 p.m. — I enjoy the Orange Chicken Lean Cuisine I brought in from home while I purchase a duplicate car title online. My dad gifted me a new car for Christmas, so I need to give him the title of my old car in exchange. $20
2 p.m. — Free popcorn at work!
5 p.m. — Heat up my frozen dinner, since I’m heading to volunteer after work. I volunteer Friday nights at my local parish, where I mentor high schoolers.
9:30 p.m. — After volunteering, I head over to a bar on the way home for a friend's birthday (old fling from Bumble, better off as friends). I stay for a drink and run into a couple people from high school and work. The total comes out to $25 after a drink and parking. $25
Daily Total: $45

Day One (T.)

9 a.m. — In order to get the fuel I need to make it through my first day back from vacation, I stop by Dunkin' Donuts for a coffee (and a doughnut, but do not tell my Woman Friend, as she doesn’t encourage sweets in the morning). $4
12:45 p.m. — Not feeling great, so I go to the café on the first floor of my building to pick up some soup (chicken and rice), which hits the spot, and a sandwich. $11
3 p.m. — I have a hankering for something sweet, so I “borrow” some sweets from one of my officemates.
11 p.m. — Still not feeling very well, but I know I should eat something. I scavenge through my pantry and find some ravioli that really does the trick. Then I take some NyQuil, my curtain call.
Daily Total: $15

Day Two (S.)

10 a.m. — I sleep in, "forget" to go to the gym, and make myself an egg sandwich this morning. I first do some arts and crafts, and I then pack clothes for the weekend in case I get snowed in tonight at T.'s house. I buy a hair brush on Amazon to keep at his house. We're expecting our first snow fall in the DMV region tonight. $8
1:30 p.m. — Sleeping in didn’t take away my drowsiness, so I stop by Starbucks on my way to T.’s house, where I get two drinks and a snack ($12). I regret taking the toll route to his house, but I was just too lazy to make a difficult U-turn to take the non-toll route. My E-ZPass account automatically transfers $25 whenever it hits below $10, so this toll triggered an auto payment ($25). $37
3:15 p.m. — T. and I go to "Adult Toys R Us," meaning the beer and wine store, to pick up gifts for his dad and aunt’s birthday dinner. T. is a very generous gift-giver. I buy myself a bottle of Montepulciano in preparation to be snowed in tomorrow. $25
6 p.m. — I enjoy a great dinner with T.'s family, and the snow starts! It looks so beautiful! T.’s step-monster (he loves her) sends him home with a tray of lasagna.
9 p.m. — We head to the grocery store and prepare to get snowed in for a day or two. The only thing T. and I always split 50-50 is groceries. I cook our breakfasts/lunches for the week. I Venmo him my half. $45
12 a.m. and 2 a.m. — Sex.
Daily Total: $115

Day Two (T.)

12 p.m. — I sleep in. That NyQuil hit me a lot harder than I expected. I get up and have a delicious breakfast of one strawberry (you read that correctly) and start to get ready for my day.
2 p.m. — My saving grace, S., brings me coffee — the caffeine I need to get this day started.
3 p.m. — At the beer and wine store, I get my dad a bottle of Glenlivet 18 (one of my favorite reasonably priced Scotches) and my aunt a bottle of Prince of Hearts Red Napa 2013 (S.'s choice — I think she really liked the bottle). Crossing my fingers, I hope they like them. $163
6 p.m. — Had an amazing time with family and S. My dad really liked the Scotch. My step-monster sends us home with lasagna.
9 p.m. — We head to the grocery store. I want to get ingredients to make my queso dip, but due to the weather, I think everyone got scared and purchased all of the ground beef. S. and I meal prep each week for a couple of our breakfasts and lunches in order to save money. $51
12 a.m. and 2 a.m. — I wasn’t going to put this in here, but S. told me she was, so apparently, I twitched in my sleep and I was “erected” up by my S. That’s definitely the best way to wake up, in my opinion.
Daily Total: $214

Day Three (S.)

11 a.m. — I sleep in and go look out the window — seven inches! It’s a nice, fluffy white snow. I make hot chocolate and eggs while T. shovels out our cars and the sidewalk.
12 p.m. — I warm up T. from shoveling outside with a quickie.
3 p.m. — I meal prep for the week: egg cups for breakfast and beef stew for lunch.
6 p.m. — It started snowing again! I was planning on going back home after cooking, but the roads started looking bad again with the new snow, so I am going to stay another night. Celebratory sex.
11 p.m. — After a perfect snow day in, I retreat to bed, since I have to work from home tomorrow. And sex.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three (T.)

10 a.m. — It sure did snow last night. I take my dog out, and she has to hop around looking for a place to do her business. I get all bundled up and clear the walkways and our cars.
12 p.m. — I finish clearing the sidewalks and deck of snow, and I am welcomed back in with some much-appreciated adult time…and hot chocolate.
2 p.m. — My little brother gets in touch with me and asks to borrow $80. I initially tell him no, but after he calls back and asks again about a half hour later, I reluctantly agree. This isn’t the first time he’s borrowed money, and I’m sure this won’t be the last time he asks. He shows up about an hour later and I proceed to first give him $10 in rolled-up change that I’ve had for the past couple years, as a test to see if he really needs the money. I do not expect it back. $80
6 p.m. — After S. finishes meal prepping for the week, she contemplates driving home. Sure, I think she would be all right driving home, but why tempt fate? It starts to snow again. So I recommend she stays for another night. She does, and you can imagine what happens next.
Daily Total: $80

Day Four (S.)

7:30 a.m. — Cuddle with T. a bit before getting ready for a conference call. I’ll be working from his home today while he heads to the office later to meet with clients. I heat up egg muffins I made for the week.
1 p.m. — I heat up the beef stew I meal prepped. So yummy and warm on this snowy Monday. I decide to bake brownies to surprise T. when he comes home.
4 p.m. — I decide to head home before traffic, although there really hasn’t been traffic the past couple weeks, since the government is shut down.
6 p.m. — I am prepping for the National Women’s Half Marathon (in support of women’s heart health!) in May, so I bring myself to the gym for Zumba and a jog.
8 p.m. — I eat delicious leftover lasagna for din-din.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four (T.)

7:30 a.m. — I wake up with a beautiful woman next to me. I head outside and to my surprise, all the snow I thought I shoveled yesterday is back. I grab my shovel again.
10 a.m. — I head to work and stop by to pick up my daily dose of caffeine, no doughnut this time, as S. heats me up some of the eggs she meal prepped on Sunday. $2
1 p.m. — I have the lasagna my step-monster made for us this weekend for lunch. I love next-day lasagna, as it gives the layers time to melt together.
6 p.m. — I make it home, and to my amazement, S. has straightened up the house and made brownies. I’m a lucky man!
Daily Total: $2

Day Five (S.)

8:30 a.m. – As I get ready for the day, I realize I am low on toothpaste, so I buy a three-pack from Amazon. I eat the last of the egg quiche I prepped for the week on my way to work. $12
12 p.m. — I sit down with my work husband for lunch, and he brought in beef stew from home just like me!
4:30 p.m. — I will be working late today, so I walk over to Walgreens across the street to stock up on snacks for my office. I pick up gummy bears and Reese's Pieces. $12
7:30 p.m. — I eat the last beef stew meal I prepped for the week. I often run into this problem where I don't cook enough breakfasts, lunches, and dinners to last the whole week. I don’t enjoy cooking, so I only tend to do it once a week.
8 p.m. — I show my mom how to use and navigate Venmo. I send her a dollar as a test. $1
Daily Total: $25

Day Five (T.)

9:30 a.m. — I head to work without my dose of caffeine. Not sure how this day is going to go.
11 a.m. — Free work lunch — Beef Bangkok from a Thai restaurant. So good.
1 p.m. — My car is in need of its own liquid beverage, so I look on my gas app to find the best deal for gas. $35
2 p.m. — My television is partially under warranty and has been acting up, so I call to get it serviced. $269
9 p.m. — I arrive at pool (billiards) league, and the coach informs me that I will be playing tonight. (It's $8 a night.) Just before he leaves, he asks me if I paid my annual dues, to which I reply: "What annual dues?" We have to pay $20 annual fees in order to play in our division. I'm really not a fan of annual fees, but I pay up. $28
Daily Total: $332

Day Six (S.)

6:30 a.m. — T. is super supportive of my half-marathon training, so he encourages me to go to the gym in the morning before work so he and I can hang out tonight. I am heading to NYC in two days for a girls’ trip, so I won't see him again until next week.
10 a.m. — I buy a bagel from work, since I didn’t meal prep enough breakfasts. $2
12 p.m. — I buy myself lunch from a place outside my office building. $7
1 p.m. — I finished the six seasons of Sex and the City, so I rent the movie to watch throughout the day! $4
2 p.m. — I make a $10 donation to a disabled fellow church member — his car was recently stolen and totaled, so there's a GoFundMe page raising money to purchase and modify a new car. $10
7 p.m. — T. picks me up from work and we head to dinner and trivia down the street. Neither of us is very good, but I sure do enjoy his company. Dinner, drinks, dessert, and tip. $62
9 p.m. — I make an undisclosed loan to a friend affected by the government shutdown. They will repay me whenever possible after the government is back open for business, hence why I'm not including it as an expense. Cardi B said it best: “I really feel bad for these people that gotta go to f***ing work to not get motherf***ing paid.”
Daily Total: $85

Day Six (T.)

7 a.m. — Traffic is crazy this morning and I’m running late for a meeting, so I must forgo my dose of caffeine again. I did have some eggs, which were meal prepped on Sunday before I left, which I am really thankful for.
1 p.m. — I have beef stew, which was meal prepped on Sunday. It's really good and hits the spot.
6 p.m. — Pick up S. from work and we head to dinner and trivia down the street. We try and miss placing in last place by one point. It's a lovely evening. S. foots the bill and I pay for the parking. $4
Daily Total: $4

Day Seven (S.)

8:30 a.m. — I seriously need to either meal prep for longer days or consider cooking twice a week. Breakfast. $5
12:30 p.m. — Lunch with work husband. I buy a salad. $12
1 p.m. — I'm supposed to go to a happy hour after work today, but it might snow and I still have to pack for NYC, so I contemplate skipping happy hour. By the way — I asked my friends what character I most resemble (personality-wise) in Sex and the City, and the results were Miranda. I guess she has it all: husband, kid, house, and a career she loves.
6 p.m. — I skip out on happy hour and go home instead. It started to snow again, so I pick up dinner on the way. $10
8 p.m. — I start watching You on Netflix while I pack and clean up around the house.
Daily Total: $27

Day Seven (T.)

7:45 a.m. — Wake up to a phone call from S. I think there must be something wrong, but she just called to say "hi." This is the first time this has happened, and it puts a huge smile on my face.
9 a.m. — Time for that daily dose of caffeine. Debating getting a doughnut but elect to get egg wrapped in tortilla instead. (I think S. is rubbing off on me.) $4
12 p.m. — All the meal prep is gone, so turkey wrap it is. $8
7 p.m. — I realize that there is still a piece of lasagna left in the fridge. I know what’s for dinner!
Daily Total: $12
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