Money history: I come from a family that has absolutely no money sense. My mom raised 3 kids as a single mom, and as a snapshot we often had power turned off for a few days or barely any food. When she eventually remarried and became a high earner, she still lived paycheck to paycheck. Money was not talked about and the example was to spend it while you had it. My dad similarly had no money sense. Both of my parents highly stressed the importance of going to college, as both didn’t finish high school. I had no support in really much of anything growing up, and figured it all out the long and hard way on my own. I did drag myself through community college to a 4 year degree at a university, but not without irresponsible loans and a late realized FAFSA error that kept me from grants for almost my entire time as a student. I didn’t start learning about money until my 30’s. I have heavily relied on online resources to educate myself and work on getting myself out of debt. I am super proud of how far I’ve come. Section One: Assets and Debt
Retirement Balance: $0.00 I had some from 2 different previous jobs, but cashed them out at times when I was financially strapped (before I learned about managing my money!). We are moving this coming summer into an inherited house. We will get all debt paid off within one year (except my student loans). Once that happens, our goal is to put 50% away into savings/retirement. My husband also has not contributed.
Equity if you're a homeowner: We rent. We will inherit a house next summer in the sense that we will live there for free and have any house repairs will be paid for, but we won’t own it until way in the future.
Savings account balance: $10,650 (this was $0 six years ago and about $4,000 at the beginning of Covid-19). We realized we needed an emergency fund after covid hit, and then decided to put as much as possible here towards our move. We used to have multiple savings accounts with sub-categories, but we realized by putting it all in one account we were motivated by seeing a large number grow. We still have to access it for regular things, like the vet which you will see in this diary. This works for us.
Checking account balance: $1803.18
Credit card debt (and how you accumulated it): Yikes. The biggest regret of my life. I owe $9,065. My husband owes $7,318. Mine was accumulated from years of having absolutely no idea how to deal with money, not understanding saving, and basically financing my 20’s on credit. In the last three years we have paid off about $12,000 in credit card debt as we have become financially literate and started working towards financial goals. My husband’s debt was accumulated during his divorce, which was money well spent IMO!
Student loan debt (for what degree): I have $42,794 and my husband has $4,431. I have a degree in English, and he did not finish his degree. I loved earning this degree, but would 100% go back and do a STEM related degree, or a trade. All of our finances and bills are completely shared and managed by me. Section Two: $43,000 per year Income Progression:
I am not going to be too specific because I know a lot of people that read this sub-reddit.
2002 – 2006 $10 per hour at a box store
2006 – 2010 $29,000 per year at a small local company
2010 – 2011 $10,000 per year finishing university, lived rent free
2011 – 2015 $30,000 up to $50,000 through a salary evaluation that they did, and moving into a more client facing role that brought in more money.
2016 – 2020 $43,000 through main job and side jobs
This is really hard to explain because I have been all over the place. I used to have a much better paying job, closer to $60,000 with side job, but I went through a horrible depression and left that job. I started nannying and then house managing 5 years ago, and it was too comfortable to leave. I loved not being on a computer! Part of why I agreed to moving is to force me out of this job, that I am not happy or fulfilled in. I am actively looking for a job that is remote and I can keep when we move. Monthly Take Home:
$5,640 after all deductions Main Job
Me: $2050 for 30 hours of work per week after basic taxes.
W: $2540, after taxes for both of us and insurance for both of us. I am honestly not sure on every single deduction, as it’s a lot, but we pay around $350 a month in insurance for the two of us. Side Gig Monthly Take Home
I have a salaried side job that is $750 a month, and through other odds and ends I make another $300 a month on average. Any Other Monthly Income Here
I use my sisters Hulu, my mom’s Netflix and my boss’s HBO Max. We actually do have our own free Hulu through Spotify, but hers is ad free. I pay for Amazon which my whole family uses. Section Three: Expenses
Rent: $1730 for a 2 bedroom apartment
Storage Unit: $43
Car insurance, renters insurance and life insurance: $156
Car payment: $353 for new car, purchased certified pre-owned. The 2nd car, which I drive, was paid for in cash. It’s oooold but does the job. We owe $7829.95 on the new car, with a little less than two years left on the 1% loan we have.
Savings contribution: $1000. This varies by month and expenses that come up, but since covid it has been over $1000 a month. Before we were putting that money towards debt, but stopped to save for the move and an emergency fund.
Electric and alternating WateSeweGarbage: $200
Gym membership: Paid for by my main job
Pet expenses: recently more, $100 a month at this point
Spotify and MLB radio package: $15 per month
Debt payments: This is above the minimum on all of them
$300 Visa 1
$200 Visa 2
$100 Visa 3
$Balance Visa 4, this is a rewards card that is paid off at each pay check
$320 Student loans (Me) on hold due to covid
$139 Student loans (W) on hold due to covid Yearly Expenses:
Costco ($60 yearly)
Amazon ($120 yearly)
Oil changes ($90x 4 yearly)
Tabs ($550 yearly)
MLB subscription ($90 yearly)
NHL Subscription ($140 yearly)
Learned league ($30 yearly)
Microsoft office ($70 yearly)
Zoo membership ($110 yearly) At the end of each day please tally up your daily expenses. Then at the end of your diary please tally up all expenses in the following categories:
Food + Drink: $261.18
Fun / Entertainment:
Home + Health: $2.82
Clothes + Beauty: $44.84
Other: $218.93 Lastly, reflect on your diary!
This week had more spending than normal due to the vet bill and the gift for my mother-in-law. That said, I am consistently disappointed in how much we are spending. I try SO HARD to spend less every month, and while we are trending way down in spending, it seems like there are always so many expenses that come up. Food also continues to be a huge expense during Covid. We enjoy cooking great meals, and it has been hard to cut back our grocery budget – which is where we spend most of our money. I also have some leftover issues from food insecurity as a kid, and I love being able to buy groceries and have options. This week was also driven up by a Saturday out, which we have only done 3 times since Covid, so I don’t feel too bad about this expense. We want to pay debt and save, but also enjoy our lives as much as possible.
On R29 people really seem to freak out when you mention your significant other a lot, but also freak out if you seem in an unhappy relationship. My husband is my best friend and I am obsessed with my cat, but I mostly left them out of this. I also ALWAYS wear a mask, use hand sanitizer, don’t go in anyone’s house ever, etc. We take Covid-19 very seriously and feel lucky to live in a state that is also taking is seriously. Day 1: Pay Day
6:45am Wake up with my sunrise alarm clock and feel intense dread at needing to apply for a job a friend has recommended me for. This job is a stretch for me and I really don’t have the mental energy for this this morning.
7:15am: Finally roll out of bed and drink my leftover pour-over from yesterday as cold coffee with cream and eat a bowl of frosted mini wheats.
7:30am: Today is pay day so I log on to pay all my bills, which I love doing! I remember a time, not so long ago, I would just not even pay bills or put them off for as long as possible – which now seems so absurd! I look forward to pay day and knocking these things out for the month. I pay the balance on my rewards credit card, move money to savings, pay one of my visa cards, and Zelle my brother money for our phone bill. The plan is actually in my husband’s name but my brother set up his card for the automatic payments. This is fine with me since my sister never remembers to pay.
9:30am: Work, work work (while listening to podcast or audio book, always and forever).
12:00: Run to grab fish for my work family’s dinner and some hot food for my lunch from a high end grocery store. I end up getting myself some Okonomiyaki to eat for $3.99. They are also featuring lots of local restaurants and they have a famous coconut cream pie from a local place so I grab a mid-sized one to bring to a friends for her birthday today $16.99. Other grocery items go on work credit card. ($21.39)
3:30: Leave work and head home to prepare chili for dinner. I slow cooked beef chuck overnight in crushed tomatoes
so it goes quickly.
5:00pm: Head to friend’s house to drop off birthday pie. Stop by the fancy pet store to get food for main side job and pick up $75 worth of cat food that goes on work card.
6:30pm: Home and eat chili with sour cream, cheddar and Budget Bytes freezer biscuits
while watching the new Adam Sandler Halloween movie. I follow it up with some hot chocolate.
7:30pm: Feeling restless and decide to take a bath and listen to Crime Junkies podcast. After this I use our new Sonic massage gun on W’s back and then grab my computer and get in bed to finally apply for that job.
10:00pm: Finish up the application after a burst of creative energy and hit submit. Check email accounts for other side jobs and send some emails. Close the computer around 11pm, listen to Crime Junkies and fall asleep around midnight. Daily Total: $21.39 Day 2:
7:45am: wake up from a dream that I had a new job working for Post Malone, but actually
he and I were pulling an elaborate prank on a mutual friend. Okay? FaceTime my sister and niece to say good morning and drag myself out of bed. Drink some homemade chai I made this weekend and eat bowl of frosted mini-wheats while I chat with my sister.
8:20am: I see an email alert that my credit score has changed. Down 10 points??? Log on to see that it calculated my debt ratio while the payment on the card I use for monthly expenses was pending. So annoying. I also see that my main email account password has been published on the dark web since Monday. so I quickly log in and change passwords on multiple accounts and use the Gmail feature to do a security check. I see have 3 log ins for a chase account that I do not understand at all. I think these are from an old work credit card, but I make a note to call them.
9:15am: Leave for work with my hair looking like Legolas. Oh well.
9:30am: Arrive at work and make myself a latte and an americano for my boss on their espresso machine.
11:45am: Run to drop off an amazon return at a locker and pick up some supplies for my meeting with main side job, but the cost goes on my (other) work credit card (bill goes directly to them). Do some grocery shopping for work family and it goes on work card. I also pick up some fancy canned heirloom beans that went on sale for half off, milk and sleepy time tea for $7.25
12:30pm: Back to work and make lunch for me and the kids.
3:30pm: Off work and head to a meeting at main side job. Drive to her house listening to Crime Junkies! I’m on a binge.
6:30pm: Leave meeting after preparing for some upcoming projects and taking about Schitt’s Creek a bunch. She also gives me a new hoodie and fancy water bottle that she doesn’t want. I see an email back from an interview I did earlier this week asking me back for a second interview next week – YAY!
6:45pm: My friend, P, just moved back to Seattle from the east coast and text me and asks me to meet up for a drink with our friend, S. I drive to the lake and meet them at an outside corner table. I don’t drink a ton so I only have one cocktail and a grilled cheese with small salad. $24.78
with 25% tip. My friend P also orders me a hot chocolate, but she covers this.
10: 30pm: Home, check emails and put out a couple fires. I take the time, now that I am on my computer, to email back the place I am interviewing to thank them for asking me back and give them my preferred times out of those they offered. It will be 2 hour zoom interview with multiple groups of their staff.
11:20pm: Lights out with Crime Junkies. I have a problem. Daily Total: $32.03 Day 3:
7:00am: Wake up and make coffee in the Chemex. I make this every couple days and drink half fresh and hot, then save the other half to drink iced the next day. I eat oatmeal I bought at the beginning of the pandemic when I thought we should have a few shelf stable items in case we had to fully quarantine (if we had covid-19). To be clear, it was not a hoarding situation. I bought a few cans of beans, a couple things of pasta and sauce, oatmeal and a bag of rice. We have gone through all of it except the pasta sauce (since I normally make my own) and the oatmeal.
8:00am: Check work emails and do some work for my side jobs. Read Reddit for a while and finally get ready for work.
9:30am: Arrive at work and it’s busy all day.
12:30pm: Make a lunch of frozen dumplings for everyone, then take one of the kids, N, to the store with me as the kids want a treat. We grab last minute groceries for their family and Starbucks for the kids and myself. They each get a refresher and I get an iced chai with pumpkin spice foam on top and it is OUT OF THIS WORLD SO GOOD. My sister had seen this on Tik Tok and I feel blessed to know about it. This is paid for on my work card. I also need a bulk spice so I stop at the co-op and get that for work, as well as some Japanese yams, mushrooms, bulk corn meal and bulk polenta for myself. $12.87
4:00pm: Finally off work after a long afternoon. Stop at the grocery store because I forgot butter. I use the app to get some coupons so end up with regular butter, European butter, buttermilk, and klondike bars for $5.01 with a 50% off buttermilk since it expires tomorrow and a $5 credit on the app. Always check the app! $5.01
5:00pm: Home and running a meeting for a side job. There are 5 of us and it’s fun to meet some new people that I have been working with over email for months.
6:00pm: Meeting is over and start making skillet cornbread to go with the leftover chili. Usually I am on constantly listening to audio books but as you can tell I am on a podcast kick, which happens occasionally when something engages me. We eat dinner while watching Friends (the one where Joey and Rachel nearly hook up, WTF).
7:15pm: I take a long and luxurious bath.
8:30pm: Play a few rounds of a new (gifted) board game with W called Azul and we are hooked right away. The pieces are very satisfying, which will make sense if you are into board games. Do recommend.
10:00pm: Lights out. Daily Total: $17.88
Day 4: 7:30am: I have the day off! YAY. I actually have a very abnormal amount of things going on this weekend so I still get up early because I have some stuff I want to get done today. I eat leftover cornbread for breakfast and facetime my mom and sister for about an hour while I eat, drink the cold coffee from yesterday, and check emails.
8:30am: W’s mom’s birthday is next week, and his parents are extremely generous with us, like too generous, so we try to give them nice birthday presents. I order a set of 2 olive oils from Brightland with 2 of the trendy spouts they have. Total cost is $95.98. This goes on my card for rewards, but will essentially come out of savings. $95.98
12:00pm: I spent the morning making Smitten Kitchen buttermilk biscuits
(to freeze) with the buttermilk that “expires” today (it’s still fine a week later). I make half of the dough with cheddar and chives and freeze all but two. I eat one while it is piping hot, obviously. I work a little on this money diary, planning out my weekend, and watering my many, many…many plants. Head out at noon to the vet.
12:15pm: Very quick trip to the vet to get a blood draw on Z. They pick him up out of the car, I pay over the phone, and the whole thing is over in 5 minutes. Cost is $108.75. I pay with credit card for rewards, but this will come out of savings as well. $108.75
12:30pm: Home to drop off cat, and pick up a bag of Nordstrom returns for main side job. I head to the Rack to do the returns and end up doing a little shopping for myself since I am there. I get 4 Burberry lip colors for $7 each (2 for me, 1 each for my nanny kids. They love branded makeup), 2 hair clips, 1 fun headband and a pair of super cute Hudson jeans on super clearance for my niece for $4. Total cost is $44.84. I put this on my Nordstrom card and put a reminder on my calendar to make a payment in 2 days when it is no longer a pending charge. $44.84
2:00pm: W gets home from work and we talk for a while before he takes a shower and a nap. I continue to work on my side jobs.
3:15pm: I eat one of the cheddascallion biscuits from earlier with some sliced local mole salami for lunch. I text with my friend, T, about meeting up her and her husband at a brewery tomorrow and research locations with covered outdoor seating.
5:30pm: After fielding calls for a work emergency for my main side job and tidying up around the house, I go hard down a rabbit hole of FBI’s most wanted criminals on their website while drinking a Kitty Cat Blues beer. Look up and am surprised that it’s been 2 hours! Oops. Check the mail and see that my check has come from one of my side jobs. It’s for $265 which will basically cover the birthday gift and vet visit from today. Instead of going into savings like it normally would, I will deposit to checking and make an extra payment on my credit card.
6:00pm: W wakes up from his nap and we start playing our friends trivia on Twitch. In between the forms he sets up on his website I somehow manage to click a spam add and my computer starts freaking out an popping up all these warnings and freezing up. I am super pissed and spend the next hour running various scans.
7:00pm: I put frozen dumplings I made last week into the air fryer and steam some broccoli for dinner. We eat while we continue playing trivia and then do a call with W’s cousin. While on the phone we learn that he is having trouble reading small font in books (he is a person with a disability), so I tell him I will send him an e-reader that we don’t use so he can enlarge the font and get free books from the library. I set him up for a library card online and promise to set it up this weekend and send it next week. I also fill out his unemployment for the week, which I am managing for him. W cleans up while I do this.
8:30pm: I run more tests on my computer and we spend a couple hours playing Azul. I eat a Reece’s Klondike bar and drink another Kitty Kat Blues while we play. I work on this money diary a little bit and text with my best friend. We head to bed around midnight. Daily Total: $249.57 Day 5:
8:15am: Wake up to my alarm and get ready to go a shredding event. I have a bag of our own paper items and several computers from a side job. I get ready and head out to the next city up the freeway to go to the event. The line is super long but it goes quickly. This is a free event so there is no fee.
9:30am: Meet my friend across the street at Starbucks. I get another of the iced chai pumpkin chai with the egg bites. I use points for the drink but spend $5.01 on the egg bites. We sit in the car with the windows all down and masks on when we aren’t drinking and catch up. $5.01
11:15am: Head home and stop at the Costco in this city for gas, as it is does much less volume and there is no wait. I fill up W’s car for $31.02.
12:00pm: Pick up W and head to an outdoor brewery to meet friends for lunch. We order Shake Shack ahead on the app, 2 burgers, 1 hotdog, 1 fry and 1 shake for $27.69
after a discount code I find online. We spend about 3 hours at the brewery catching up. One beer for me, four for W and one for our friend totals $52.
4:00pm: Home and facetime W’s parents for a while before I do a work zoom with a new volunteer from 6-7:45pm. I don’t love doing this on the weekend but in showing him how to do a bunch of my work, I get ahead for next week, which is fantastic. I also like making money.
8:00pm: W had walked to the local grocery store but forgot his wallet, so I meet him when my zoom is over. We get 2 delicata squash, broccoli, bananas, apples, pears, 1 cabbage, 2 russet potatoes, 1 green bell pepper, brussels sprouts, celery, 2 sweet potatoes, jalapenos, ellenos large yogurt, 6 small yogurts, cottage cheese, ground turkey, a pound of coffee, pretzels, 2 packs English muffins, cool whip, and an apple pie kit kat bar for $53.34.
8:45pm: Late dinner of lumpia that a friend dropped off for us a couple weeks and we froze. They come out perfect in the air fryer with no oil, with steamed broccoli on the side. I resist dessert after the milkshake and a tummy ache earlier. We watch American Utopia – the Spike Lee directed David Byrne concert and head to be around 12:30pm. Daily Total: $169.06 Day 6:
9:55am: Wake up just in time to set my fantasy football lineup. This NFL season is absolutely absurd and it makes me so sad to see all these players getting injured. I start coffee and make breakfast sandwiches with the savory frozen buttermilk biscuits from earlier this week. I sauté mushrooms to go on the side. I want to listen to my podcast so I spend the morning meal prepping lunches for W – sauteed onion, Thai peppers, jalapeno, broccoli, delicata squash, and ground turkey over brown rice. I also make the Comforting Cabbage, Onion and Farro soup
, from the 6 Seasons cookbook by Joshua McFadden cookbook, to have on hand this week.
4:00pm: I play Imposter with my sister and her friends while I snack on some pretzels and make myself a Frappuccino with the chai I made last weekend, some vital proteins collagen powder, maple syrup and ice. It turns out really good and helps my migraine. W walks to the store to pick up his medications ($2.82) as well as a wedge of parmesan and brown rice ($12.98). $15.80
6:00pm: I cook up two salmon fillets in the air fryer as well as some of the brussels sprouts. I freaking love our air fryer. It has 2 racks instead of a drawer and everything turns out so perfect. We top the brussels sprouts with balsamic glaze and add a bowl of the cabbage soup on the side with some freshly shaved parmesan. W watches Monsterland and I play more Imposter before getting up to sit at the desk and check emails and work on this money diary. At some point W makes air popper popcorn for us to snack on and I eat a Reece’s Klondike bar.
9:30pm: W goes to bed and I continue working on my side jobs as well as reconfiguring the Kindle for W’s cousin. I also pay the charge on my Nordstrom card. I get in bed around 11 and play Imposter before going to sleep around 12:30am. I deeply regret the afternoon chai. Daily Total: $15.80 Day 7:
7:15am: Sleep in a little before getting up and drinking the coffee I prepared last night so I wouldn’t have to this morning. Thank you past me. I eat some homemade granola with the Ellenos yogurt – it is extremely tart and not edible this way, so I slice up one of the Japanese sweet potatoes and bake that instead. I will have to make tzatziki or bake something with the yogurt. I facetime my sister and niece while we all get ready for the day.
9:30am: Busy morning at work. At some point head out to grab them some groceries and I get 3 cans of beans, hot chili oil, a cucumber, garlic, and 3 blood oranges to bring to a friend with a bottle of champagne tonight – her 30th birthday is coming up next week. $11.13.
12:30pm: I take the kids to lunch at Chipotle. The shut down the street at this outdoor shopping center and have tables spread out under a tent, so we eat there. This cost is covered by work, but I decide to get us some Chocolate & Mochi Xiao Long Bao from Din Tai Fung to share. $8.76 with tip. I regret this purchase due to the price tag, not the taste. YUM. I also stop at Paper Source to pick up an RBG birthday card for my mother in law, and this butterfly that will fly out of the card when she opens it. $14.20. $22.96
3:30pm: Off work and stop by local co-op to purchase some pork chops for hot and sour soup tonight. I also get a tiny but of swiss cheese from the “ends” section to have with some salami when I get home. Really craving protein today!! $7.97. My gas light goes on, so I do tomorrow morning me a favor and stop for gas. $20 even and this will last me 2 weeks. $27.97
6:00pm: After charcuterie and hot and sour soup, we pack up hot chocolate and warm clothes to head to an outdoor trivia our friend is hosting. We clip some rosemary on the way out to go with the blood oranges and champagne for our friend, when we realize we don’t have a bottle of champagne. We almost always keep some on hand for gifts! We stop at a gas station and get a bottle of Cooks for $11
9:00pm: Our friend does a phenomenal job transforming her backyard into a socially distanced trivia oasis and I feel like I am part of an incredibly cool secret society.
11:00pm: When we get home I take a hot bath and play Among Us with my sister and then get straight to bed thinking about how old I am after a satisfying teeth brushing with a new toothbrush head. Daily Total: $73.06
Weekly Total: $578.79