Money Diary: A Week In Los Angeles On A £950,000 Joint Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking a cross-section of women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last penny.

Today: an executive director who makes £379,298 per year. Combined with her husband's salary, this gives a total annual income of £948,261. This week, she spends some of her money on Christmas ornaments and a trip to Disneyland.

Ed note: All amounts have been converted to GBP.

Occupation: Executive Director
Industry: Finance
Age: 34
Location: Los Angeles
My salary: £208,614 base + £170,684 annual bonus = £379,298
Husband's salary: £170,689 base + £398,274 annual bonus = £568,963
Combined salary: £948,261

My paycheque (biweekly): £4,456 net
Husband's paycheque (semi-monthly): £4,275 net. (We max out our 401(k) contributions.)

Monthly Expenses
Housing: £2,124 mortgage
Utilities: £696. We bought in a gentrifying area of LA and did a gut renovation of the house. Our life savings are in the walls of our home.

Loan Payments
Students loans: £834
Cars: £1,221

All Other Monthly Expenses
Insurance (cars, life, jewellery): £1,297
Recurring charitable payments: £128 to UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, Los Angeles LGBT Center
Wine shipments: £132
Meal deliveries: £379
Housekeeper: £524
Pool man: £83
Gardener: £72
Dry cleaning & laundry service: £265
Subscriptions: £56 for Netflix, ABC Mouse, various magazines, etc.
Bonus deductions: Out of our annual bonuses, we pay for additional income taxes, over and above withholding (£28,828), and pre-school tuition (£18,207). The remaining balance of our bonus money is put into savings.

Day One

6.45am: Wake up and make breakfast for daughter, get her dressed, and my husband takes her to school. Running late so no time for breakfast. Get to work and it is Employee Appreciation Day! Scarf down muffins and terrible coffee, and then off to morning meetings.

12.15pm: Run out during lunch to pick up a gift for MIL's 65th birthday. Get a Tory Burch bag and wallet, both on sale! Pop into a few other stores to pick up a necklace that was being repaired at Chanel (the repair was free; the necklace was three months old when it broke), and try on some loafers at Gucci. They don't have my size, so I ask the salesman to call me when they're back in stock. £188.52

1pm: Stop in for my fave steak salad at my favourite wine bar, but sadly, no wine for lunch. Back to work. £34

5pm: Pick up daughter from school and head home to get dinner started. I make aubergine parm and it is delicious! Hubby loves it, too. Bathtime and books with the lil' one, and then she is off to bed by 8pm. Hubby and I tidy up the house and get ready for the next day. In bed by 10.30pm.

Total: £222.52
Day Two

6.45am: Rise and shine. Running on time today. It is my day for drop off, and the kiddo and I are out of the house by 7.45am. The coffee gods shine on me because there is parking directly in front of Blue Bottle. Iced latte, please. At my desk by 9am for a marathon of meetings. £4.36

9.30am: Free breakfast again! This time, my boss orders in breakfast for our team from a local bakery, Clementine. Yum, yum. I gorge on pastries and quiche, and do not need to eat until later in the afternoon.

12.50pm: Back-to-back conference calls are over and I am still not hungry. Take a few minutes to order tickets for our first trip to Disneyland. My MIL wanted all the family to go for her birthday, and this will be our daughter's first time. Very excited! £268.58

5.30pm: About to hit the road, and the hubby calls to say that our daughter has requested "sushi and cupcakes" for dinner. I think this is both adorable and horrifying. Is she that spoiled already? I shake my head and head over to meet them at our favourite family-friendly sushi spot. She is getting very good at using chopsticks. Dinner is so good tonight; the fish is super fresh (£132.64). When we are done, we get a cupcake on the way out (£3.22). We are all fed, happy, and relaxed. We head home to get her in the bath and then off to bed. She is down by 8pm and I am asleep by 9.30pm. £135.86

Total: £408.80
Day Three

5.30am: Make it to the 6am Pilates class. It feels unnatural to work out when it is still dark outside. I power through, though, for the good of my abs and glutes. Class is over by 7am and I head home to get dressed and help hubby with the morning routine. He takes her to school today, so I take a little longer to get ready because the soreness is already setting in. £18.21

9am: So hungry this morning. Had eggs when I got back from the workout, but I am about to eat my left arm. Get to the office and head over to Coffee Bean for a latte and a croissant before I get back to work. £3.41

11.30am: Employee Appreciation continues! My boss comes into the office today and wants to take us to lunch. We have a full lunch with apps at a new Greek restaurant, and I order a chopped salad. He picks up the tab!

5pm: Leave to pick up kiddo and realise we need to do a grocery run before we go home. (We generally spend about £455/month on groceries.) We stop to get a quick bite at a local fast-food seafood place we like. It is always fun being able to sit and have a stress-free dinner with my daughter (£15.92). After, we head to the grocery store to pick up cleaning supplies for the housekeeper (£32.32). £48.24

8.30pm: The lil' one is down for the night and I have a few minutes to work on our Thanksgiving travel. I have been watching tickets for months and I think the price is finally right. I am still shocked at how full the flights are — no first class available, but premium economy is great for this. I get three tickets, and the upgrade to premium economy is free because I have Platinum status on American. Aloha! £1,594.21

Total: £1,664.07
Day Four

8am: Leave £106 on the counter for the housekeeper. Drop off my kid at school and once again there is parking in front of the coffee shop. I grab an iced latte and head to work (£3.60 + £0.75 tip). More conference calls, yay? £4.35

12pm: Ravenous and head down for lunch. Get crappy pad Thai and eat it at my desk (£9.51). While eating, I make a call to add another day to the hotel reservation for Maui. Rates have gone up and the extra day costs me £659.36, but now there is a fourth night free promotion. They will deduct it when we check out. Get an alert that J.Crew is having a sale, so I go online and pick a few things. I will see what fits and send the rest back (£405.66). £1,074.53

5.15pm: Hosting clients tonight to see Hamilton! We meet for dinner before the show and the 10 of us, hubby included, have a great meal. Off to the show. My company is a corporate sponsor, so the tickets are taken care of. We have great seats, 10 rows back from the stage. The show is incredible, but I am exhausted. (£796.67 expensed)

11.30pm: We are late and the sitter is pissed. Pay her for the night and then collapse into bed. £91.05

Total: £1,169.93
Day Five

9am: Downtown for a panel about women in corporate America. I speak on the panel, still feeling worn out from the long day yesterday. After the panel is over, I say a few hellos and head home. I am working from home today because I don't feel like trekking back across town to the office. Plus, I only have one call this afternoon and I can take it from my kitchen. £9.10 for parking

12.30pm: Pick up birthday cake for MIL's birthday dinner tonight. She will be thrilled; it is "sewing" themed and super cute. I hope she likes it. £140.37

6pm: We pack up the car and head to Anaheim for a birthday dinner, and Disney the next day. Car is electric and fully charged from the solar panels on the house.

8pm: Dinner for MIL's 65th birthday is at the Grand Californian Hotel. Dinner is great, but it has been a busy week and we are all tired. My daughter is up way past her bedtime and is fading fast. After the cake arrives, she and I jet back to the hotel, check in, and get to bed. It is going to be a big day tomorrow. £443.99

Total: £593.46
Day Six

8am: We are up and ready to go! We stop at Starbucks to make sure we are properly caffeinated for the day. The line is eternally long, and the espresso tastes burnt. Gross — but I drink it anyway. Caffeine is going to be very important today. £5.69

10.30am: Pitstop for more coffee, a caramel apple (my fave), and a giant lollipop for the kiddo. Everyone is happy and having so much fun. £14.79

1.30pm: We stop for lunch at the Blue Bayou restaurant. All I want is a burger and fries, but instead we have to do a full sit-down lunch. It is a little too formal for my daughter and she already starts to close her eyes. We rush through lunch, and then she and I go back to the hotel for a nap. The hubby and rest of the family continue on. £129.40

5.30pm: Nap time is over and we are back to meet the rest of the group. Daughter spots a balloon and I buy it for her. £6.82

6.30pm: More junk food (£18.96), a toy for my kid (£18.21), and Disney holiday ornaments for me (£75.12). Disney has been done and we are going to watch the parade and then head back to the hotel to watch fireworks from our room. £112.29

Total: £268.99
Day Seven

6.30am: Why, God, why? My daughter, who generally sleeps until 8, wakes at 6.30am. My body rebels! My legs and feet ache from the miles we walked yesterday. Tired is an understatement. We decide to get up and get home. We pack and check out (£333.10), and then stop by IHOP for breakfast (£32.29). Those pancakes are still good. £365.39

12.30pm: We are too tired to move and order in lunch — poke bowls. £26.83

6.30pm: More takeout. Thai food. Still tired. Time to get the little one ready for bed. She is fighting sleep because she is off schedule, and doesn't go down until close to 9pm. I muster up some energy to do a little food prep for the week, clean up, and head to bed. Asleep before my head hits the pillow. £31.53

Total: £423.75
The Breakdown

Food/Drink: £1,049.45
Entertainment: £1,283.31
Home/Health: £216.13
Clothes/Beauty: £404.63
Transport: £1,598.77
Other: £188.10

Total: £4,740.39
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