A Week In Alaska On A Joint $180,000 Salary

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.
Today: an entrepreneur working in network marketing who makes $60,000 per year and spends some of her paycheck this week on Ben & Jerry's.
Occupation: Entrepreneur
Industry: Network Marketing
Age: 28
Location: Alaska
My Salary: $60,000
Paycheck #1 (Monthly): ~$2,500. (I’m an independent contractor, so I’m responsible for my own taxes and save about $1,000/month for them.)
Paycheck #2: $800. (I work part-time as an office manager at a spa.)
My Husband's Salary: $120,000
My Husband's Paycheck Amount (Weekly): ~$1,800
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Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $2,156.17
Monthly Loan Payments: $2,500, for student loans and vehicles.
Utilities: $336
Internet: $95
Gym: $93
Netflix: $11.32
Prescriptions/Medical Supplies: $160
Allergy Shot: $25
Doggy Daycare: $360
Debt Repayment: $2,500

Day One

9:30 a.m. — We were up late last night, so I sleep a little later than normal. I generally spend about an hour in bed when I wake up dealing with messages and emails. I'm not a morning person, so I prefer to get work done that doesn't actually involve speaking first thing in the morning.
10:30 a.m. — My husband takes my car to the store to buy a fifth wheel hitch so he can work on his truck while I'm out running errands. We just got a new RV, which means new toys for the truck – a.k.a. man heaven. I'm not enthused about this large purchase, but it's necessary. $1,180
11:30 a.m. — Errand time! First stop – the pet store to grab digestive enzymes for my disgusting, poop-eating dog. This is the second bottle I've gotten her and fortunately, it seems to be working. I grab a toy while I'm there because my dogs are spoiled ($35.51). Target is next up on the agenda. I need tampons and they're the only store in town with the organic cotton ones I like. I run into a friend while I'm there, and we talk for quite a while before deciding we should both move on with our days. I grab a couple loofahs ($5) and a few pints of Ben & Jerry's because they're on sale! Ice cream is pretty much my kryptonite, especially when I'm on my period. I head straight to the checkout to avoid any more temptation ($26.49). $67
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1:15 p.m. — I stop for gas before I get home. $62.37
1:30 p.m. — Back at home, I give the doggies their new ball, put my purchases away, and tidy up the kitchen while my husband finishes his project in the garage. By the time I'm done with that, my pitbull has already chewed a hole in the damn thing. I'm not shocked, but man it would be nice if a toy lasted more than an hour around here!
2:45 p.m. — Most of my business is done online, which is awesome. I do a quick motivational Facebook live on my business page and then another one in my team group explaining the qualifications for our next company trip. I work with an incredibly generous company – they sent me to Las Vegas in October and I am headed on a cruise to Bermuda in May. The next trip we're working towards is the Bahamas in November. I love to travel and it's even better when it's free!
3:15 p.m. — We leave our house to pick up my sister and brother-in-law, who live a mile away. We're headed to our uncle's surprise retirement party.
4 p.m. — Surprise! He arrives and is definitely surprised. It's nice to spend time with some of our family – it doesn't happen as often as it used to now that all the kids are adults. A couple of my cousins have little kids and two of them are there. It's fun to play with the kids, and then give them back!
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5:30 p.m. — A friend is having a birthday dinner at 6 p.m. We want to stop by before we head to a show in Anchorage, so we leave to drop off my sister and brother-in-law. We stop at our house to drop the dogs off and do a little research since we heard the roads are really bad. Apparently the highway was shut down for three hours due to multiple car accidents. It's open now, but we decide to skip our appearance at dinner to give ourselves a little extra time for the drive.
6:30 p.m. — The show we're going to starts at 8 and we don't know what seating is going to be like, so we decide to head into town. My husband wants to read (what I'm sure is thrilling information) about his new hitch, so I drive. The roads aren't awesome by any means, but they're way better than we expected. We make it into Anchorage and I spend a solid 15 minutes driving around looking for free parking. (We're early, and I hate paying for parking!) There are apparently two other big events going on downtown, so we have to park several blocks away, but it's not too cold, so it's totally worth saving $20.
7:45 p.m. — We show up at the venue and there's already quite a line. It's a stand-up comedy show to benefit our local Planned Parenthood. The openers are funny, but the headliner has a sense of humor that isn't quite our style. It's okay, though, and we still have fun. I got these tickets a while ago, so we don't spend any money tonight.
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10:15 p.m. — After the show we head to the airport to pick up our friend who's here for spring break. We stop by Taco Bell for a snack before heading back. $12.77
12 a.m. — Home at last! It's been a busy day, so we head straight to bed.
Daily Total: $1,322.14

Day Two

1:40 a.m. — We're woken up by a call from the child protective services agency. We recently got licensed to be foster parents, and they have a child who needs an emergency placement. It sounds like this particular kiddo has a higher level of special needs than we're prepared to handle, so we decide to decline the placement. I have a hard time falling back asleep, wondering if it was the right decision.
9:15 a.m. — We're up! My husband heads to the garage for more work on the truck and I relax in bed with the pups.
10:30 a.m. — I actually get up and make myself look presentable. I have a scheduled video call with my team at noon, so I spend time preparing what I want to go over. I eat a protein bar, which will tide me over until our brunch plans later.
12 p.m. — My leadership team and I lead a successful call. This kind of stuff is important to our business and I really enjoy doing it.
1 p.m. — The mom of one of my husband's childhood friends is in town visiting, so we meet her for brunch. I've only met her once (she flew up for our wedding), but we keep in touch on Facebook. She's really sweet and it's nice to see her. She ends up generously picking up the bill. On the way home, we stop by Redbox and grab a few movies. While we're driving, we talk about the call we got last night and decide we want to call the social worker back and offer to take in the little boy if he still needs a place to go. Making that kind of decision in the middle of the night is pretty difficult, and we're feeling better about the situation now. His caseworker says she actually found him a placement with a special education teacher. We're happy to hear he's in a safe place. $4.54
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3 p.m. — When we get home, we load up the truck to take the trash to the landfill. We don't pay for trash service because the landfill is less than five minutes away and it's way cheaper. Our borough sends a coupon in the mail twice a year, so today's load is only $2. $2
3:30 p.m. — Home! We've had a busy weekend, so we're both ready to plop down on the couch and watch our movies. We put in Daddy's Home 2 first and each snuggle up with a dog.
7:30 p.m. — We pause our movie marathon to order pizza ($22.77) and a crazy fry concoction from a burger place down the street ($7.99). My husband starts a load of laundry (because he's one of those amazing mythical beings who does his own!) and leaves to go pick up the food. I should get up and do something productive while he's gone, but I play Candy Crush instead. $30.76
9:30 p.m. — We made it all the way through A Bad Moms Christmas. Two movies in one day is pretty impressive for my husband, as he's not great at sitting still. He has to get up early for work, so it's bedtime. I always get in bed with him, but I read, get work done, or watch Netflix for hours before I'm actually ready to sleep. Tonight I choose Friends!
11:30 p.m. — This is early for me, but I'm actually pretty sleepy! I've been trying to get better at not staying up till 1 or 2 a.m., so it's sleep time.
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Daily Total: $37.30

Day Three

9 a.m. — I'm up! I take the dogs to daycare on Mondays, so I make myself get out of bed right away. My husband texts me and says he forgot to clip our pit's nails, so I need to do it before I drop them off. Ugh...I don't wanna! She's a squirmy little sucker and she hates it, but I get it done. I get them fed and off we go. They LOVE daycare. As soon as I turn onto the road they start freaking out because they know exactly where we are.
10 a.m. — Today's a work from home day and I have a lot of random things to get done. I set a timer on my phone for 30 minutes and sit down with a book. I have to time myself or else I won't get anything else done. I eat a protein bar for breakfast while reading. I really need to go grocery shopping today. When the timer goes off, I check my social media notifications, answer questions, and respond to the messages that came in while I was reading. I have an appointment at noon, so I need to get up and actually get ready for the day.
11:45 a.m. — I head to my lash extension appointment. The owner of the spa I work for does them. I hate lying still for so long, but it's amazing and I'm addicted. I typically get two fills a month. They're $75 a pop, but she gave me a freebie, which I use today.
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1:30 p.m. — I go to the post office and realize I forgot my packing tape at home! I have a habit of walking out the door without all the things I need. I head to the store to pick up a few things. My husband travels a lot for work, but he'll be in town for most of the week, so I mainly need stuff for his lunches. There's only one grocery store around here with a good selection of organic produce, so I always shop there. Organic Honeycrisp apples are on sale! They're normally $4.59 per pound and today they're only $2.29. Serious score. I usually spend about $15 a week on five apples — that's Alaskan produce for ya! I grab carrots, radishes, lettuce, bananas, Alaska Grains bread (I try to buy locally-made things as much as possible), English muffins, cottage cheese, sliced cheese, Pop chips, and my weakness – white Monster energy drinks. I don't drink coffee and I don't have one every day – but what can I say, I just love them! $64.91
2:30 p.m. — I swing by my house to drop off groceries and pick up packing tape. I heat up leftover pizza for lunch and throw in a load of laundry. I snap a picture of my grocery receipt and enter it into my Receipt Hog and Receipt Pal apps. I get points every time I submit a receipt and can redeem them for Visa/Amazon gift cards. I've only been using them for a couple months and I think it'll take me about forever and a day before I earn anything substantial, but who am I to turn down free money?!
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3 p.m. — Let's try this again! I almost left without the packing tape again...I always have a roll in my car because I make frequent trips to the post office, but I took it out when I got my car detailed a couple weeks ago. It's now back in its proper home – a.k.a. my cup holder. I stop at a little contract post office that only takes cash, so I pull money out of the ATM there. Of course there's a fee ($4). I mail a gift to one of my customers ($3.75). This post office is tiny and rarely has a line, so I forgive its cash-only status. Then I run right down the road to get two months' worth of probiotics ($40.11) from a nutritional store, before running into one last store because my husband forgot to tell me he needs mayo and a apparently a sandwich just isn't the same without it. I spy speckled jelly beans and I have to grab those too ($9.71). $57.57
4:30 p.m. — Sometimes the whole "work from home" thing doesn't involve a lot of time at home! I have time to get chores done before I have to pick up the dogs. I typically clean the house on Mondays and I'd like to get as much as I can out of the way before my husband gets home. Part of the deal of me being a work at home dog mom is that I do most of the cleaning and pack my husband's lunches. I think that's pretty darn fair since he works 60-80 hours per week.
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6 p.m. — My husband gets home way earlier than usual, so we go pick up our fur children together. Daycare is worth every penny; they have so much fun and it wears them out. I'd love to be able to take them every day, but for now they typically go twice a week. I guess my husband got new tunes for his truck to help haul the fifth wheel better, so we're going on a test run to see how it drives. This is not my department, I'm just along for the ride.
7 p.m. — I cook dinner when we get home — chicken fettuccine alfredo. We watch an episode of Parks and Recreation while we eat. Most of the time we sit at the table without the TV, but we both kinda want to decompress tonight. After dinner, my husband has work to do for a class he's taking this week for his job. I prep lunches for the rest of the week: veggies, cottage cheese, and yogurt.
9 p.m. — I feel a migraine coming on, so I smoke pot and get in bed. I generally only smoke if I have a migraine or am getting one, which unfortunately is much more frequently than I appreciate. I bought this vape pen thing (which just makes me a little sad, because I think vaping is incredibly stupid, but it's convenient and doesn't dry out) at the dispensary for $90 about three months ago and the cartridge is about half gone. My drug habit is definitely cheaper than my prescription migraine medication!
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Daily Total: $122.48

Day Four

8:45 a.m. — I wake up and my head still hurts. It's better than last night, but definitely not gone. I'm super grateful for the night shift mode on my iPhone, because otherwise I couldn't even look at it when I have a migraine. I enter information into my Migraine Buddy app. It's supposed to help track patters and give me insights into what the causes are. I've gotten migraines since I was 12 and I still haven't figured it out! Today I have to be at the spa though, so since I'm not dying I get up, grab a quick breakfast and go.
10 a.m. — I have a few projects I'm working on here at the spa. I have a pretty set system of how I do things because I'm only here two and a half days per week, so I try to be as productive as possible. I'm almost constantly interrupted, but I'm used to it by now. This summer I'll be traveling with my husband for his job, so I'll be working remotely 90% of the time. I can't wait!
3 p.m. — The rest of the day is super hectic and I don't accomplish as much as I had hoped I would. It doesn't help that my head still hurts.
6:30 p.m. — I have a team video chat scheduled. I set up two per month for us to come together, do training, talk goals, and ask questions – whatever my team needs. I'm in communication with the people closely under me very frequently, but it's nice to touch base with my team members further down the line sometimes.
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7;30 p.m. — Dinnertime! I hate cooking in general, especially when I've had a crazy day, so I throw together a pre-cooked roast and mashed potatoes. Easy and yummy.
10 p.m. — We get in bed and my husband almost instantly falls asleep. I take time to catch up on my social media and respond to messages. I haven't looked at Instagram all day! Social media is a big part of my business, but some days I just don't have the energy to keep up with it. It's probably time for a day off soon. Every once in a while I'll just put my phone away for the entire day, which is rather refreshing! I watch Netflix and finally go to sleep at about 2 a.m.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

9 a.m. — After hitting snooze a few times, I actually open my eyes all the way. I don't usually set an alarm, but I woke up earlier when my husband left and read for a while till I could fall back asleep, which always throws me off. My snuggly dogs make it incredibly difficult to get up. They want breakfast, and I need to get my act together and get ready.
10 a.m. — Get to the spa and get right to work. I have a project I've been working on for 10 months and I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel! This will pretty much consume my time until it's finalized – hopefully next week.
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2:30 p.m. — Take a mini break and eat cottage cheese, mandarins, and crackers. I try to get my husband to tell me what he wants for dinner – a.k.a. the hardest decision on the planet.
6:15 p.m. — I intended to go to the gym after work, but I forgot my gym bag and I'm just not feeling it. I normally go three to four times a week, but if I'm busy I don't force myself. I really enjoy working out, so I never want it to feel like a chore. I hop on the computer and submit our applications for our Permanent Fund dividends. It's an Alaska thing. Put extremely simply, each year, qualifying residents receive a payment tied to the oil revenue the state makes. It varies from year to year: In years past, I've gotten between $800 and $2,200. We have the option to select a nonprofit to pledge part of our dividends to. This year, we chose an organization that helps homeless teens in our area with housing, education, and job skills. I also order a Bite Agave Lip Mask from Sephora. My lips are insanely dry and a friend just recommended this, so I'm gonna try it out. It's $26, but I have a gift card.
8:30 p.m. — My husband just got home with tortillas, so I make tacos for dinner. You can literally never go wrong with tacos. I could eat them every day. We talk about our days and play with the dogs for a while after we eat. $4.29
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10 p.m. — Bedtime for one of us! I stay up till about 12:30 reading and getting work done.
Daily Total: $4.29

Day Six

8:15 a.m. — Somehow, morning has appeared again. I am so not a morning person, but I get up and feed the dogs and send my husband a good morning/thank you text. I didn't realize he put my car in the garage after he was done working on his truck last night. Much appreciated, as it's still about 15 degrees in the mornings. That message is shortly followed by a "WTF?!" one when I get out of the shower and realize he stole my towel. Scoundrel... I finish getting ready for the day. How much effort I put in definitely depends on how much sleep I want. I have lash extensions and my eyebrows are microbladed, so most days I mix Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer and Stila Stay All Day beauty balm, slap that on, and comb my brows and lashes. Piece of cake. I do like playing with makeup when I have time, but it's not my first priority.
10 a.m. — I drop the dogs off at daycare – and I don't even have to get out of the car! I open the back hatch, they jump out, and the owner meets them at the door. (They don't even turn around to say goodbye...) I head to the spa, where I work for a few hours. Thursdays are usually pretty quiet, so I can get work done in peace.
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2:45 p.m. — I leave the spa later than normal because the owner comes in and we talk for a while. Now I'm going to the borough office to talk to them about a business license for our Airbnb, because I like talking to humans rather than trying to figure that stuff out online. Since we'll be traveling so much this summer, we've decided to take advantage of our absence and get Airbnb guests! While in the parking lot, I remember to pay our cell phone bill. We have a Verizon Up credit available, so I select a code for a free movie download from Vudu.
3 p.m. — That was easy! The lady was super nice and explained exactly what I needed to do. I run into the grocery store to buy a gallon of milk. We only buy milk that comes from our local dairy, because milk pus is a real thing, people! I drive by the dairy farm all the time, so I feel better knowing exactly where it comes from. $5.55
3:15 p.m. — Back at home, I make lunch and get to work. I have a decent amount of bookkeeping I need to finish up and send to our CPA for our taxes. I work on that, message with some of my customers, make a few social media posts, and overall have a very productive afternoon! I have to take a little break to run and get the dogs from daycare.
7:15 p.m. — We go to meet our friend we picked up from the airport the other night for dinner at our fave Mexican restaurant, which never disappoints. I have a weird thing where I need to make the total with tip an even number when I eat at restaurants, so it comes to $35. $35
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10 p.m. — We go to bed pretty much as soon as we get home. I end up watching the Barack Obama and Malala Yousafzai episodes of David Letterman's My Next Guest Needs No Introduction on Netflix. It's an interesting show.
Daily Total: $40.55

Day Seven

8:30 a.m. — I wake up to the glorious sound of dogs barking. Dogs barking is like screaming babies to most other people — I can't stand it! I decide I may as well get up and start getting work done. I finalize my information and email it to our CPA. I'm crossing my fingers that he doesn't need anything else. I purchase both our state ($50) and borough ($100) business licenses. Next up is finalizing our Airbnb listing. I'm super excited and a little nervous. This summer is definitely going to be an adventure. $150
1 p.m. — My husband comes home to pack for his work trip. He doesn't typically work on weekends unless he's on call, but a good friend of ours is going through a crazy custody battle and the trial is next week, so he's going on his trip this weekend so we can both be there to support him. He tells me he picked up a bottle of insulin on his way home so he has extra to take with him. He's a Type 1 diabetic, which is not freakin' cheap! Neither one of use has health insurance through our jobs and there's no way we could afford it through the marketplace. It sucks, but we make it work. I am super anti-Walmart, but they have their own generic insulin for $25 a bottle instead of $300 at the pharmacy we used to get it from. I can be okay with Walmart once a month if it saves us about $550. $25.76
2 p.m. — Husband leaves for the airport. I'm never excited about that, but it's a frequent part of his job. Luckily, he's never gone for more than a few days at a time.
5:30 p.m. — A few friends come over so we can all ride together to a birthday dinner. We go to Benihana because she's never been there. Our chef is very funny and we have a lot of fun. Dinner is great, but of course this restaurant is more expensive for just me than dinner was for both of us last night ($43)! It's for a special occasion, though, and I'm glad I went. I purchased a gift card ($50) for her earlier in the day and a friend will split it with me later. $93
9:45 p.m. — We are not feeling like party animals, so we all head home. I get in my PJs, grab ice cream from the freezer, and find something to watch on Netflix. The only plus sides to my husband being gone are not having to cook dinner and being able to binge whatever show I want. I'm actually pretty tired, though, and I try to take advantage of any night I feel like falling asleep before midnight, so I head to bed.
Daily Total: $268.76
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