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 customer experience manager who has a joint income of $370,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Chanel lipstick.
Occupation: Customer Experience Manager
Industry: Information Technology
Location: North Florida
My Salary: $150,000
My Husband’s Salary: $220,000
Net Worth: $250,200 (checking: $3,400, joint savings: $217,000, short-term savings $1,800, long-term savings: $13,000, 401(k)s: $15,000. My husband and I keep our daily spending separate, but our savings are joint. We share credit cards, but generally split things 50/50 other than eating out, which he pays for most of the time since I do all the shopping and cooking.)
My Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $4,600
My Husband’s Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $5,511
Rent: $1,795 for my half, $3,590 total. I live with my husband and our two cats and two dogs. We currently rent a four-bedroom house while we wait for our new house to be built.
Car: $1,070 ($535 for my half — we share a car since we both work from home)
Electric/Water/Gas: $350 (split with husband)
TV/Internet: $160 (split with husband)
Water Delivery: $50 (split with husband, we have hard water so this is a MUST)
Lawn Service: $40 (split with husband)
Short-Term Savings: $780
Long-Term Savings: $1,200-$2,000
Apple Storage: $.99
Google Storage: $2.12
Massage Subscription: $70
Cell Phone: My parents pay — it’s one of those things no one thinks about since my dad’s company pays for all of our phones.
Amazon: $128 (split with husband)
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?
Absolutely — it wasn’t really a question where I grew up. I would estimate at least 90% of my graduating class went on to college, as we lived in an affluent area where the expectation was to go to college and get a good job. My parents paid for 100% of my college tuition, books, supplies, rent, food, etc. I went to a state school. Again, this wasn’t something I questioned and my parents expected to pay for college. It is incredibly embarrassing to admit, but I didn’t know people took out loans to pay for school until a few months into college.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
Not many that I recall, other than a passing comment here and there about saving. Thinking back, my mom was definitely a spender and my dad a saver. I, of course, inherited my mom’s will to spend and shop.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I got a job at the mall at 17. I was shopping with friends and a manager asked if we wanted a job. It sounded fun and I’d get a discount, so I thought, why not? Since it was the summer, my parents were okay with it, but they would have preferred I focused on school and not have a job. I mostly used the money on clothing, food, and going out with friends.
Did you worry about money growing up?
Nope. I knew we lived in a nice area, in a house that was bigger than most of my friends, and my mom got a new car every few years. We ate out a lot, my parents took me shopping constantly, and I was rarely ever told no.
Do you worry about money now?
Not day to day at all. I know my husband and I are very lucky with our high salaries and we have savings if something was to happen, but long-term, retirement is just a big unknown for me. I don’t want to work the rest of my life — I’m more the “work to live” while my husband is more into “live to work” so I don’t think about it too often, but when I do I tend to get a little anxious since I am “behind” in the retirement department.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
Somewhere between 23 and 25 depending on how you look at it. I graduated during the recession, so while I paid most of my bills by age 23, my parents still helped with things, especially when I got laid off at 25. My primary safety net is my husband, but my parents could always help us out if needed.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
Yes and no — obviously my parents paid for all of my schooling, so I feel that must be said. I know I have a trust set up, but I have no clue how much or when I would get it. I am also one of two grandchildren and have four uncles, none of whom are married or have children, so it is assumed that we will inherit pretty much everything. Depending on how much is spent or invested, that could be upwards of $4 million.
6:30 a.m. — Wake up to dogs barking… it’s too early for this. Roll over only to get pounced on by a cat… guess I’m NOT sleeping in today. I grab my phone and see an invite to a 9 a.m. mandatory company meeting. Sigh, I knew this was coming. I head into the bathroom where my husband is and tell him about the invite — I assume I’m getting laid off today, but we both agree to not freak out until I know for sure. I take the dogs out, feed them and the cats, make sure everyone has clean water, and then head back to the bathroom. I wash my face, do my skin care (Naturium cleansing gel, Korean brand HA, random eye cream, Naturium moisturizer, Lancer sunscreen), and start putting on my makeup for the day. I decide to curl my hair, so if I do get laid off, at least I will look good. I throw on leggings and a sweatshirt and grab my overnight oats, a yogurt cup from the fridge, and fill my Stanley cup with water before heading into my home office.
9 a.m. — Log into my work laptop and into the mandatory meeting. My boss’s boss is leading and is checking off who is there — yup, this is what I think it is. I guess here goes nothing!
10 a.m. — WOW! I am a bit shocked. So there were layoffs but I was saved, along with everyone else on the call. Apparently, those who were getting let go were on a different call. While it sucks for them (I know I’ve been on the receiving end), I am really happy it wasn’t me. I quickly update my husband with the good news and jump into my next call.
12 p.m. — It’s really hard to focus after the news this morning so I decide to grab lunch and do some shopping as a distraction. I make my daily salad (greens, carrots, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, goat cheese crumbles, croutons, crispy onions, and homemade vinaigrette dressing) then head back to my office and peruse Amazon. I get cleaning solution for a tarnished necklace. I’m still not in the mood to work, so I read articles for a while. $9.50
1:30 p.m. — Back to work, but honestly not super productive. I answer some emails, get some meetings set up for next week, and do a little research then prep for my weekly meeting with my boss.
2 p.m. — Meet with my boss and discuss this morning again and new projects, and then complain about our legal team. We wrap up and I try to focus the rest of the day by putting together some slides for an upcoming meeting with leadership. Around 4:30, I decide I’m done for the day and sign off.
5:30 p.m. — I’ve spent the past hour watching TV and scrolling through social media but am starting to get hungry. My husband, N., is still working so I start making our typical Tuesday dinner: burrito bowls. I switch the channel to Chopped, another Tuesday staple, and start seasoning chicken and beans. I warm up brown rice as well for the bowl base. I assemble the bowls with rice, beans, chicken, cheese, salsa, sour cream, and crispy onions. Simple but tasty. I leave N.’s on the counter covered until he is finished up with calls. He joins me around 7:30 and we continue to watch Chopped, predicting who will win.
9:30 p.m. — We start our nightly routine: PJs, teeth brushed, retainer in, skin care (oil cleanse w/ No7, then same cleanser, HA, night serum, night cream, and eye cream as the morning), then head to bed where we watch a documentary on Disney+ about bats. Lights out around 10:30.
Daily Total: $9.50
7 a.m. — Still in bed, but awake for the past hour. I finally get up and take the dogs out, feed and water everyone, and then I get going on the rest of my morning routine. I wash my face, do my makeup and hair, and throw on leggings and a sweatshirt. I grab my overnight oats and yogurt cup and fill up my Stanley cup with water.
9 a.m. — At my desk and log into my work laptop, check my calendar, work emails, and personal emails — nothing major. I eat my breakfast while prepping for my 9:30 meeting. Thankfully it’s my only meeting of the day and a pretty straightforward one to discuss a new project idea I have with my project manager. I work for a global company and she is literally on the other side of the world. Remote work is awesome, but sometimes I miss making friends face-to-face.
1 p.m. — Finally break for lunch and have my usual salad. I scroll through LinkedIn and see an old coworker of mine got laid off last month and was too embarrassed to tell anyone. I shoot him a text and ask if he is okay. He tells me what happened and I offer words of encouragement and some places to apply. I also text my BFF random memes and she complains about the heat and some family drama. I transfer $500 from my checking account to our house savings fund. Guess this is a good time to mention that N. and I relocated earlier this year and we are in the process of building a new home. Even though we have more than enough for our down payment, with the way the world is going we still feel better increasing that amount, so we both contribute $1,000 each month (included in monthly expenses).
4 p.m. — I feed the cats and grab a cheese stick. I have been working on reporting pretty much all day with an email here and there and am almost finished. I power through the next hour and sign off right at 5.
5:30 p.m. — Walk to the corner and grab the mail, then try to decide what’s for dinner. I’m not in the mood to cook but am craving some alfredo, so decide to give in and make chicken alfredo with peas. I cook the chicken and make a homemade sauce with shallots, half and half, spices, butter, and parmesan. I mix it with whole wheat pasta and peas. I also find a ciabatta in the pantry, so I make two pieces of garlic bread and freeze the rest. This meal is always a winner and N. is ready and waiting as soon as I finish cooking. We watch a few episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond.
9:30 p.m. — Change into pajamas and do my nighttime skin-care routine. In bed and another documentary on Disney+, going to sleep around 11:30.
Daily Total: $0
6:40 a.m. — I didn’t end up sleeping well last night and have been wide awake since 6, so I decide I’m going to go for a walk this morning. I get up, let the dogs out, feed and water everyone, then get changed into a t-shirt and Old Navy active skirt (seriously the best), then put on my visor, sunglasses, and Hoka shoes. I grab a bottle of water with electrolytes and head out. I walk about two miles around our neighborhood. I see a group of older ladies at the dog park and overhear them gossiping about some creepy guy. The women in this neighborhood tend to be pretty catty and into drama so I haven’t really made friends with any of them; plus, we won’t be here for too much longer so I don’t see much of a point. I get home, shower, do my skin-care routine, and then get ready for work.
9:15 a.m. — I don’t have a meeting until 10 so I grab my water cup, overnight oats, and yogurt and eat while I scroll through my personal email. I also hit Amazon and order some dog toys and a ruler. $17.29
10 a.m. — I hop on my first call of the day with my project manager and boss. We talk about updates and ideas for a few projects. On to my next task, which is listening to recordings and checking in on some customer issues.
1 p.m. — I realize I have a call in 30 minutes and am not in the mood for my daily salad, so I grab an applesauce, cheese stick, and almonds to snack on while I prep. I then spend the next hour essentially interviewing an employee about some processes as part of a much larger project I am working on. After we wrap up, I make some notes and Slack with my boss about what I learned.
3 p.m. — Ugh, why did I sign up for this webinar and why is it an hour and a half long? I log in and half listen while I answer emails. Some stuff is interesting and I take notes on it but mostly it’s nothing new. The bulk of the session is over after 45 minutes and they promise to send the recording and deck so I bail early. I finish the rest of the day out with emails, process-mapping, and reviewing docs shared with me.
5 p.m. — It’s quitting time! I have an idea in my head for a chicken parm panini for dinner. I grab the leftover ciabatta from the freezer and defrost it, then smear garlic dip I got at the farmers’ market on some chicken, which I dip into panko and parmesan. I cook it in my non-stick pan and throw some broccoli in the oven to roast. I then assemble the sandwiches using shredded mozzarella and Rao’s marinara sauce I found in the fridge. Then I throw them back in the pan and smash them down with a plate to make sure everything is melty and more like a panini. Dinner is a winner — N. gives it a 10! He puts on an old Batman movie while we eat. I think it is pretty terrible but I guess N. finds it nostalgic.
8:30 p.m. — I make a mention of how cookies sound good. Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so, as N. practically begs me to make cookies. I shut him down a few times then finally give in. I grab sugar, flour, butter, eggs, and my KitchenAid mixer and start making cookies. I get to the part where I should be putting in chocolate chips only to find out we don’t have any. FAIL. I get N. to run down to the store to grab some. Once the cookies are done we eat one each and clean up the kitchen.
10:30 p.m. — We go through our nightly routines — PJs, teeth brushed, retainer in, skin care done. I do a little online browsing from my phone while we watch TV. I finally try to go to bed around 12:30, sleeping cat on my feet.
Daily Total: $17.29
6:30 a.m. — It’s Friday and payday! I get out of bed and let the dogs out, feed them and the cats, refill their water, and get ready for my morning walk. N. joins me today. We do a three-mile loop around our neighborhood. It is getting pretty hot and humid by the time we get home. I chug some water and hop in the shower, do my skin-care routine, makeup, and hair, and get dressed in my WFH uniform.
9:30 a.m. — At my desk, I check emails and confirm my to-do list for the day. It’s pretty light so I take advantage and do some online shopping. I first hit the Chanel website and order a CC cream and lipstick I’ve been eyeing that no one has in-stock around me ($103.31). Then I go on Amazon for a few things. It’s too hot for t-shirts in the morning so I find a set of six cropped tank tops and a set of three sports bras. I also remember I need a low-back bra for a dress I am wearing on vacation in a few weeks. I also need some outdoor walking sandals for this trip that are comfortable — I see some Adidas ones that aren’t super cute but seem like they will work and throw those in my cart. I hit order ($141.12) and get to work. $244.43
12:45 p.m. — Check in on a group chat to see if we are having our non-work-related call today, but everyone is busy so we skip it. I grab my daily salad, read an article, and decide I need a backup for those sandals I ordered this morning. I scroll LTK and get suckered into some cheap sneakers from Walmart that are supposed to be more comfortable than my Hokas. The only ones in my size are lavender so I guess those will work. I don’t hit the minimum for free shipping so I look around and find a red-and-white striped dress, put it in my cart, and hit order. $43.98
4 p.m. — I finish up my to-do list and decide to log off early today — it’s been a busy and unpredictable work week and I’m ready for it to be over. I spend some time cleaning up my office and doing a load of laundry while waiting for N. to finish up work. We usually go out for dinner on Friday but we both aren’t feeling it by the time he is done. He has some leftovers and I make a snack plate with crackers, cheese, nuts, garlic dip, and a small salad. We watch The Devil Wears Prada and chat about what to do over the weekend.
9 p.m. — We decide to go lay in bed and watch Bridesmaids. I love that N. will watch a funny chick flick with me. He’s asleep by 10:30 but as usual, I’m wide awake so I finish the movie, scroll around on my phone, then watch another documentary on Disney+ until 1 a.m.
Daily Total: $288.41
7 a.m. — Ugh, the dogs decide to start barking super early this morning so I don’t get much sleep. I get out of bed to let them out, feed and water everyone, and then enjoy some me time by watching random TV and scrolling on my phone while N. is still fast asleep. He finally wakes up around 9. I see a commercial for Chick-fil-A and cannot stop thinking about chicken minis. I also haven’t eaten yet so I’m pretty damn hungry. I decide to give in.
9:30 a.m. — I get dressed in shorts and a tank top and head out to Chick-fil-A. The closest one is about 10 miles away so we don’t eat there often, but the craving is just too strong today. I enjoy some alone time and jam out during the drive. The line is long as always but not too bad, I put my order in for minis and a Diet Dr. Pepper (N. texts that he doesn’t want anything). I have a reward, so I only pay for the drink. $2.57
9:45 a.m. — Back home with my minis watching Harry Potter. I decide I want to get out of the house today, so I do my skin care and start getting ready. I ask N. if he wants to come but that’s a hard pass when he hears HomeGoods. I kiss him goodbye and head out. First stop is Nordstrom. When I placed my Chanel order the other day, there was a nail polish I wanted but it was out of stock. I get to the counter and the lady refuses to acknowledge me which instantly irritates me. I can’t find what I need so I leave. I walk across to Dillard’s where a much nicer sales associate finds the polish. It’s too hot to continue to walk around so I find my car and leave the mall. $32.25
12:30 p.m. — I see JoAnn Fabrics and remember I need some thread for something I’m working on for a friend. I head in and see thread is on sale so I grab five spools and a sewing basket. I get in line and check my phone and see I also have a 20% off coupon! Finally, it’s my turn in line; I check out and then head back to my car. The sample of Chanel perfume I got with my purchase at Dillard’s smells amazing and I must have it now. I check my phone and see it’s only in stock at Ulta, so I head to HomeGoods first. $69.82
2 p.m. — At HomeGoods, I find a basket and some soft hand towels and grab those. I check the line and it seems short so I do a final lap looking for some pillows — no luck. I buy my stuff and head back to my car and over to Ulta. $30.08
2:20 p.m. — Get to Ulta and search for the Chanel perfume, but can’t find it anywhere. I ask a sales associate and she tells me they don’t even carry Chanel in that store. WTF! I leave empty-handed and go home.
4 p.m. — Back home and reminded by N. that we have a reservation at 5 for a restaurant we have been wanting to try. I get changed and freshen up and we head to the restaurant. We decide to split turkey, sausage, and brisket with sides of mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and cream corn. The food is delicious! We strike up a conversation with the table next to us and they tell us about a few other places nearby to try. Florida people are so nice! We end the meal with banana pudding. I try to pay, but N. takes the bill from me and puts it on his card. We head back home.
6:30 p.m. — We decide to just relax and watch movies in bed for the rest of the evening. Put on a documentary and both fall asleep around 10.
Daily Total: $134.72
7 a.m. — We’re both up early. I take the dogs out and feed and water all the babies. We decide we are going to do a beach day today, but want to go for a walk first. We walk the same loop, get home, rinse off, and change. I pack up the BBQ leftovers, our beach bag, and a book and we head out.
10 a.m. — Parking at the beach is usually pretty rough, but since it’s early we get lucky with a spot in a less crowded part. We grab our bag, cooler, chairs, and new beach tent and head down to the sand. I get sunscreened up and dive into the book I’m reading, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. I’m getting a little hot so we take a dip in the ocean to cool off. Living so close to the beach is my favorite part of moving to Florida. After we’re cooled off, we decide it’s time for lunch and dig into our leftovers. We spend the rest of the afternoon alternating between reading and enjoying the water.
3:30 p.m. — It’s been a good beach day but we’re both ready to head home. We clean out our beach bag and cooler then take a cool shower when we get home. We discuss what to do for dinner and are both pretty dang tired, so we decide to pick up a pizza and salad. I place an order for pickup and pay. I leave a 20% tip because it’s a small family business and I know they are struggling with inflation and staffing issues. $53.35
6 p.m. — Back home and enjoying our pizza and salad while watching random TV. We finish up, put leftovers away, and decide to get ready for bed early. We go through our nightly routines and put on another Disney+ documentary. I see an email from Old Navy about sale items and I end up buying shirts for N. for our trip, an activewear dress, and a pair of shorts for me. N. also comments about how he needs more shorts and only likes a certain brand they carry on Amazon. I take a look and order him five pairs in different colors and put it on our joint card. We watch some more Disney+ and are asleep by 8:40. Wild Sunday night! $123.95
Daily Total: $177.30
6:30 a.m. — Another Monday. Get out of bed and tend to all the babies. We get ready for our morning walk and head out. We get home and I shower, do skin care, makeup, and hair, and get dressed in my usual and hop online by 8:45. I eat oatmeal while I work.
10 a.m. — Hop on my call for an hour, then dive right into my tasks for the day, stopping to answer emails and Slack with my boss. I have a doctor’s appointment this afternoon, so not a lot of time to get things done. I stop at 1, grab some cheese sticks and almonds, and head out to my appointment.
3 p.m. — After almost an hour at the doctor, I get my blood drawn and then head out ($0 copay today). I’m next to a Publix so I decide to grab groceries. I get a bunch of veggies, two bags of salad, guac and chips, chicken, turkey, bread, salad dressing, Gatorade, pasta, yogurt, oatmeal, and some other staples. Total comes to $200 and I put it on our joint card, which we will split. Get home and unload the groceries as quickly as possible. I’ve been offline for way too long today. $100
4:30 p.m. — Back online and Slacking with my boss. We hop on a quick call and he debriefs me on some not-so-great news. A major project I was leading has been pushed back. I am extremely annoyed by the time we are done and decide I’m not going to work late tonight. I wrap up a few things, send some emails, and sign off.
5:30 p.m. — I’m grumpy and decide to channel that into dinner. I make chicken tacos with a side of roasted corn and poblanos. We eat while watching reruns of Chopped. I scroll social media and text with my BFF. I see a pen on IG that looks cool and decide to order two from Amazon. $10
9 p.m. — I scroll Poshmark for an outfit to wear to a concert in a few months and put an offer in for a sequin dress, which gets accepted before I go to bed ($77.67). I decide now is as good a time as ever to move some money around, so I put $500 into long-term savings, $500 into house savings, and $200 in to short-term savings for our upcoming trip (all in monthly expenses). It’s been a long day so we decide to get ready for bed and watch a movie. We fall asleep after the movie is over. $77.67
Daily Total: $187.67
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