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 business analyst who makes $62,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on new front tires.
Occupation: Business Analyst
Location: Coastal Maine
Net Worth: $180,000 (HYSA: $12,400, car savings: $1,100, travel savings: $800, 401(k): $40,000, half of our home value: $225,000 (we co-own the house but do not share finances beyond this), minus debt).
Debt: $99,000 (my half of the mortgage).
Paycheck Amount (weekly): $833 (after taxes/insurance/401(k)).
Mortgage/Electric: $755 (we pay this relative to our incomes. My husband makes $103,000 and contributes $1,400 towards our mortgage and home expenses each month).
Cell Phone: $37.93
Car Insurance: $48.59
Farm Sanctuary Donation: $20.93
Moon Juice: $56.97
Four Chambers: $9 (short film subscription).
Pet Insurance: $80.49
iCloud Storage: $0.99
Travel Savings: $200
Car Savings: $200
General Savings: $400
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?
My parents were just happy that I eventually got my GED after dropping out of high school. School has always been difficult for me and I struggled a lot with anxiety and depression. My parents just wanted me to be happy and they didn’t pressure me into going to college. I did try a few classes because my mom works at a university but it just didn’t work for me so I abandoned the idea of it.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
My parents didn’t speak openly to me when I was very young but I knew the situation was not ideal. My dad is self-employed and my mom stayed at home until I was 16. We always had food on the table and plenty of love but there were times when foreclosing on the house was a possibility.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was babysitting when I was about 14. I’m not sure why I started doing it because I don’t remember what I even did with the money.
Did you worry about money growing up?
Yes, just because I was an anxious person (and still am) and I knew my parents were struggling so it caused me a lot of concern.
Do you worry about money now?
Yes and no. I’m in a really good position with my job and feel like I’m able to save money while enjoying my life but I also know that if I was not with my husband then I most likely would live with a roommate or my parents.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
When I moved out with my now husband at the age of 19. My husband pays more of the mortgage than I do but I consider myself financially responsible for myself because if I needed to, I could find an alternative place to live.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
I have had one or two large gifts of $1,000 each from my grandparents over the past 10 years.
6:20 a.m. — Wake up and find my dog between my legs, sleeping. He is perfect. We all get out of bed and I get our dog ready to go for his daily walk on the trail near our home. I put his harness on and his bright orange bandana — no one really hunts in the woods where we go but I’d rather be safe. Once we’re back from our walk I get ready to go drop my car off for new front tires. Before we leave, I feed our dog. My husband, Y., and I stop at our local coffee shop on the way home and I buy us drinks — iced tea for him and an iced maple oat milk latte for me. My treat since he drove me home from the mechanic’s. $12.38
8 a.m. — We get home and I make my breakfast. I’ve been loving grilled sourdough bread topped with nut butter, sliced peaches, date syrup and cinnamon for breakfast lately. I also have a few bread ends topped with strawberry jam. I head upstairs to my desk to start my workday. I take a quick break to bring my dog outside.
12 p.m. — My mechanic calls and my car is ready so Y. takes me to pick it up. I eat a red plum before we leave. I pick up my car and pay — they don’t charge me for the labor, just the tires, which makes me happy. When I get back home, I cook some basmati rice to go with a chickpea tikka masala I’ll be making later today. Some of it will also be for my dog’s meals. His stomach has been off lately so I switched him to plain chicken and rice for a few weeks. I snack on some cherries and blueberries. $321.36
1:30 p.m. — I take a sip of my now room-temperature latte from this morning and contemplate my existence. I go downstairs, grab a bowl of the cooked rice and put some rice vinegar and a little gochujang on top. I then hunker down and get some work done.
5 p.m. — I’m done! I take my dog outside to romp around while I get ready to do some weed-whacking. Before we go outside, I put some dry lentils and water on the stovetop.
6 p.m. — I start my chickpea dish using a jar of cashew tikka masala sauce I got from the store. I add in chickpeas, red pepper and Swiss chard from my CSA. I start on Y.’s dinner — I like keeping the kitchen in a certain order and it’s easier for me to cook all our meals. We are both vegan but Y. eats differently than I do. I cook him his usual dinner of spinach, tofu and lentils. I top my dinner off with cilantro and mango chutney. I have the last peanut butter chocolate protein treat that I made last week.
7 p.m. — I feed my dog and start washing up the dishes while I make Y. his nightly dessert smoothie/breakfast for tomorrow. This is always the same: frozen banana, pea protein powder, blueberries, oats, cacao powder and almond milk. I split it into two jars and put a lid on the one he will take to work tomorrow morning. I just want to make it clear that Y. would absolutely make all of his meals himself if I let him but this works well for us.
8:30 p.m. — I take a shower and do my personal hygiene, which is the same every night (floss, tongue scrape, brush my teeth and put on moisturizer). We meet up for our TV/book reading hour of the day. Tonight I read Ubik by Philip K. Dick. It’s really good.
9:15 p.m. — I read for about 30 minutes before falling asleep on the couch. I wake up to Y. taking out the dog and move myself to bed.
Daily Total: $333.74
5:30 a.m. — I wake up to my husband saying sweet things to me before he leaves for work and then fall back asleep. It hasn’t gotten old after 10 years and I doubt it ever will. Alarm goes off at 6:15 and just like yesterday my pup has snuck under the covers and is sprawled out between my legs — it’s absolutely the best.
7:40 a.m. — We are back from our walk. After feeding my little boy breakfast, I make myself the same breakfast as yesterday except I use this cocoa magic spread from Raaka Chocolate, which is really good. I make an iced oat milk latte to go along with it and while I eat I listen to a podcast.
8:15 a.m. — I get to my desk and start my workday. I start a training course that I am working on. I’m new to my position and am trying to take advantage of any training that my company will agree to pay for. I’d like to have a good argument for a pay increase when I get my review next year and I’m also looking to stay in this career so foundational knowledge is key for me right now.
11 a.m. — I need a snack so I grab some cherries and a few plums that I cut up on a plate.
11:45 a.m. — I grab a Misfits s’mores protein bar to snack on before I jump into the book group I run for our company. Only a few people show up, which has been unfortunately very normal. It’s hard for a lot of folks to make time during the day to join but I’m actively trying to find ways for people to participate outside of the monthly book discussion.
12:30 p.m. — Book group wraps up (another great discussion) and I get back to work on my training. Then it’s time for a lunch break. I take my dog outside so he can sniff around. I hear something in the back of the yard and turn to see a large woodchuck staring at me. I tell him to go back in the woods and he scurries off.
2 p.m. — We come back in and I make a vegan omelette (I use Just Egg, which is mung bean-based) with basil and scallion from my CSA, herbed cashew cheese and then top it off with sriracha, mango chutney and cubed avocado. After lunch I decide that I need a little afternoon beverage treat so I put the kettle on the stove to heat up water. I make green tea to put in the fridge for my husband’s iced tea and use the rest to make myself a matcha latte.
4:45 p.m. — I go downstairs and my dog starts barking. Y. is home! I do a 30-minute full-body workout and am drenched afterward. I take a shower and wash my hair. When I get out, my new pottery has arrived — I’m so excited! I see that one of the pieces has a big scratch so I email the company right away and ask for a small credit.
6:45 p.m. — I start on my dinner. I’m not feeling like eating my chickpea leftovers so I cut up avocado, mango, tofu and cucumber while I cook brown rice pasta. I make a quick peanut sauce with PB Powder, coconut aminos and sriracha. I toss everything together with fresh basil and eat it out of my new pottery, which I am thrilled about. I cook Y.’s normal dinner and feed our dog.
8 p.m. — The kitchen is clean and everyone is fed. I do my personal hygiene and meet Y. on the couch for an episode of 48 Hours. This episode is really tugging on my heartstrings today. Justice wasn’t fully served in this case, in my opinion. I take our dog out and we settle into bed. I read a few pages of Ubik before getting tired and falling asleep.
Daily Total: $0
5:30 a.m. — I wake up to my husband saying goodbye and he reminds me of his appointments for the day and that he loves me. I snooze a bit longer.
6:30 a.m. — Alarm goes off again and I get up to walk the dog. It’s been cooler lately so these walks have been more enjoyable. I take him for a longer walk today. We get home and I fix his breakfast and then mine. I’m going into the office today. I make sure to pack plenty of food because I often make the mistake of not bringing enough: a non-dairy peach yogurt and blueberries, a container of cut-up kiwis and plums, a banana, a protein bar, leftover chickpeas and rice plus the breakfast I’m making: peach slices on toast with nut butter. I make an iced oat milk latte to go before I head out.
8:30 a.m. — I get into the office and have my first meeting. I eat my breakfast before the next one starts. Everyone is in today so there is a lot of catch-up to do with coworkers. I have meetings until about 12. I eat some of my fruit while on mute and dodging the camera. I get a notification on my phone that an email came in from the pottery company. They decided to refund me 30% of one of the pieces I purchased since it was damaged. I email back saying how much I appreciate it.
12:15 p.m. — When the meetings are over, I take a quick break and heat up chickpeas and rice topped with mango chutney. I jump into an in-person meeting to work through a project with my team after I shovel down my food. After a few more meetings, I head home. My dog is so excited to see me and we hang out in the yard for a few minutes so he can play with his stick and I can rub his tummy.
2:45 p.m. — I have the yogurt I packed this morning and throw in the blueberries. I fill up my water and go back upstairs to get some more work done. A few hours later, I hear my husband get home. I ask him about his day and I can tell he needs some space so I give him a kiss and head back into work.
5 p.m. — Done for the day and it’s Wednesday so that means date night with Y. We lie down outside on a blanket and read while our pup throws himself on the ground, absolutely loving life. I get distracted by our dog and get up to throw his stick.
6:15 p.m. — We finish reading and I start getting dinner together. I’m feeling like something easy tonight so I decide to make brown rice pasta with pan-fried tofu, fresh tomato, basil and a herbed cashew cheese sauce. I also make Y.’s dinner, our pup’s dinner and then Y.’s dessert/breakfast. If you can’t tell, we love our routines in this house. We both deal with anxiety and structuring our weekdays really helps us. My mom calls so we can chat about my upcoming visit over the weekend.
7:30 p.m. — I take a shower and do my personal hygiene. Y. is having issues with downloading some hard drives and is frustrated so wants to work on that. I hang out upstairs with him and do some searching on Facebook Marketplace for an antique door. After an hour or so, I take the pup out and then we head to bed.
Daily Total: $0
5:30 a.m. — Y. says goodbye to me before he leaves for work and I fall back asleep until 6:30 when my alarm goes off. I get up and the pup and I leave for our morning trail walk.
7:30 a.m. — We finish our walk and get into the car. I start thinking about French toast, which leads me to start searching for a new fry pan. The ones I have are terrible and have started to get really scratched up. I can’t decide between getting a new nonstick, a stainless steel or a carbon steel. I realize I’ve been parked and on my phone for 10 minutes. My poor dog looks at me like, “Can we go get breakfast now?” I apologize to him and put my phone away.
7:40 a.m. — We get back home and I start preparing our breakfast. I decide to make said French toast. I use sourdough and the batter is vegan egg, oat milk, maple syrup, salt, vanilla and cinnamon. I slice up some fresh peach to go with it. It takes me a while to make four pieces but they turn out great. I also make my normal iced oat milk latte to go alongside. I make my dog’s breakfast and then I listen to a MrBallen YouTube podcast recording while I eat.
8:15 a.m. — I go upstairs to my desk and start work. Around 9:30 I take a few minutes to settle all my transfers since I got paid today. $188.75 goes into the home fund, $75 goes into my dog’s savings, $75 for groceries for the week, $124.93 to personal bills and $100 into my travel savings. The remaining $169.69 will most likely be used towards my credit card balance and towards my trip to visit my family.
12:30 p.m. — I throw our linen sheets in the wash and end up ordering more laundry detergent from DedCool since I probably only have enough for one or two more large loads. I always get the refill since it is in compostable packaging. I order that, a room and linen spray, and a trial size of their new pet shampoo. I will take the amount out of my personal bills fund. $77.60
1 p.m. — I grab a Misfits protein bar and put another load of laundry in. Then I take the dog out for a little while. I eat a date and a huge grapefruit.
4 p.m. — I start a 35-minute back and chest workout from the YouTube channel Nourish Move Love. I highly recommend her videos! I take a shower right after and then throw on a linen dress with a belt and Crocs (the quintessential CSA pickup outfit) and head to pick up my veggie share.
6:15 p.m. — I decide to repeat last night’s meal except this time I do sautéed tofu, broccoli and zucchini from my CSA. I add a little vegan parmesan into the sauce as well. I make dinner for the boys then clean up the kitchen. We watch an episode of Cold Case. It ends up being a really nice night.
9:15 p.m. — I take our dog out and then we all settle into bed. I’m feeling content.
Daily Total: $77.60
6:15 a.m. — I snooze my alarm and wake up at 6:30. I get out of bed. We do the usual trail walk and then head home. Y. is waiting for us in the yard outside and our dog runs over to him excitedly.
7:20 a.m. — I order more probiotics and joint supplements for our pup since he will be out soon. This amount will come out of the savings I put $75 into weekly for him. I make his breakfast and then make my sourdough with peaches, nut butter, cinnamon and date syrup. I add hemp seeds on top. I make an iced latte with half oat milk, half almond milk because the store-brand oat milk I got isn’t very good. $56.26
8:15 a.m. — I put a load of my laundry in before I head up to my desk with my breakfast and latte. I start thinking about the podcasts I want to listen to on the way to my parents’ tomorrow morning.
9 a.m. — Y.’s computer is acting up so he decides to go into work instead of working from home. I take the laundry out of the wash, hang up my delicates to dry and throw the rest on a low heat setting in the dryer.
9:15 a.m. — I get back into a training that I started a few days ago. I’m determined to have a productive day today.
1 p.m. — I take a lunch break. First I collect all my compost, recycling and trash to take to our local resource recovery center. I stop to get gas on the way home. This expense will come out of the personal bills account that I put my gas budget in. When I get back, I heat up the last of my chickpea and rice leftovers. I also make a quick matcha latte. I make a hot one today for a change but I take a sip and remember this oat milk is just not good. I mix in a little maple syrup and drink it so it doesn’t go to waste. I fold and put away my laundry. $32
3:30 p.m. — I’ve been back at my desk for a while now and I’m hitting that Friday vibe. I get ready for another workout. Today is a 35-minute lower body workout.
6:15 p.m. — I get started with dinner, which is the same thing I have eaten the past two nights: sautéed broccoli and zucchini with brown rice noodles and a creamy herbed cashew sauce. After I feed Y. and our dog, I get packed up so I can leave for my parents’ place in the morning. I make sure to pack my sunhat and books for beach/boat reading.
8:30 p.m. — Y. and I settle in to watch a 48 Hours. Then I take our dog out and then we go to sleep.
Daily Total: $88.26
5:45 a.m. — My alarm didn’t even go off yet but I’m awake. Y. and I take our dog for his morning walk together, which is lovely. I pack the car when we get back, feed our dog, have a long goodbye with lots of hugs with Y. and head out. I stop at a doughnut place around the corner to grab an iced dirty chai. I also pick up a spinach artichoke dip and some chickpea chocolate chip cookie dough balls. I put a podcast on and hit the road! $29.35
9:55 a.m. — I pull into my parents’ driveway. I give them both a big hug and we all eat a quick breakfast before packing up to go on the boat. My mom makes us all salads of mixed greens, kidney beans, apple, celery, carrot, sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast and vinaigrette. I add some crackers with the dip and the cookie dough balls to the cooler. We make sure to bring plenty of water and I bring along a lemon lime probiotic soda I had in my fridge from home.
11 a.m. — The three of us drive to the marina and put the boat in. We head out into the pond and find a good place to anchor near an island. We eat our salads and then get out of the boat and over to the island. We find a good place in the sand to sit in the water against the rock wall and chat. We walk down the beach and see so many dogs. I immediately think of my dog and how much I miss him already. We head back to the boat and my parents go swimming while I do some reading. We eat our snacks and lounge for the next two hours.
2:30 p.m. — We decide to head to land and back home. The boat ride back to shore is beautiful and I’m feeling so thankful for having this experience. We get home a little while later and all take showers before getting started on dinner. I prepare a fruit bar using a recipe I find online. For the filling I use peaches, blueberries and wild berries from my parents’ yard.
4:30 p.m. — My grandparents arrive! My dad and I start prepping for dinner, which is going to be fairly easy. We are having vegan cheeseburgers with onions and mushrooms, sautéed green beans from my parents’ garden and baked fries (both sweet and regular). I take the fruit bars out of the oven before we sit down and enjoy the meal, which ends up really hitting the spot after being on the water all day.
6:30 p.m. — I go to serve dessert and find out that the crust is almost all burned at the bottom, which is a total bummer. I salvage as much as I can and serve everyone some. We play Apples to Apples before my grandparents start getting tired so they head out.
6:45 p.m. — My dad and I run out to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for a dish we are bringing to a family get-together tomorrow. In the car I come up with the idea to make a grilled vegetable pasta salad. We end up picking up a big eggplant, a green pepper, pasta, some sparkling mocktails since none of us drink alcohol, some fancy yogurts, cashew parmesan for the pasta salad and some groceries for the house. We split the cost. $56.71
7:30 p.m. — Y. calls and we chat about our days. I do my personal hygiene then watch TV with my parents for an hour before going to bed.
Daily Total: $86.06
8 a.m. — Wow! I end up sleeping super late. I know my parents let me sleep, which was nice of them. I get up and go into the kitchen. My dad is making us biscuits and vegan sausage gravy for breakfast. We all sit down to eat and discuss the day’s activities. Breakfast ends up being very delicious!
10:30 a.m. — I make salads for the day and do a chopped style with green cabbage, mixed greens, cucumber, carrot, sunflower seeds, walnuts and kidney beans. I make a tahini lemon dressing and pack it so we can dress the salad right before we eat. We also pack the leftover crackers and dip plus a few peaches. Then we head to my aunt’s house to sit on the beach.
11:15 a.m. — On the way to the beach we stop for coffee and my dad gets me an iced oat milk latte. I have them put it in an old marinara jar I brought from home.
11:30 a.m. — We get to my aunt’s and say hi to her and my two cousins before setting up our beach gear. It’s a gorgeous 80-degree day. I chat with my aunt about all sorts of topics from body autonomy to discussing sex work with her sons. Some of my other cousins start to arrive and we spend time catching up.
1:30 p.m. — We end up leaving our beach gear and heading over to my grandparents who live a few miles from the beach. When we get there, we unpack our salads and eat lunch while we chat with my grandparents.
3 p.m. — My dad starts the grill when we get home and I chop up tomatoes and basil for pasta salad. He grills slices of zucchini, yellow squash and eggplant. Once they are finished, I chop them and add the tomatoes and basil. The pasta has been cooking and is al dente, which is just how we like it. My dad makes a dressing with balsamic and a little vegan mayo. I toss in the cashew parmesan as well. We all try it and it comes out incredible. We pack the food in the car and head back to my aunt’s.
7 p.m. — After a few hours of fun with my cousins, we head home. We all take showers and eventually my dad finds a movie on Netflix he wants to watch about a female cop who ruins this guy’s life after they have a one-night stand. It’s a mediocre movie but it’s decent enough to finish. I go to sleep right after the movie ends.
Daily Total: $0
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