A Week In Dayton, OH, On A Joint $95,000 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: a sales analyst working in publishing who makes $45,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a candle.
Occupation: Sales Analyst
Industry: Publishing
Age: 29
Location: Dayton, Ohio
My Salary: $45,000
My Husband's Salary: $50,000
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $1,145
My Husband's Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $1,500
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $757 (This includes our property tax and homeowner's insurance.)
Auto Payment: $675 (This is for two vehicles and a motorcycle.)
Student Loans: $378 (This will increase next year when our loans are out of forbearance. Combined, my husband and I have close to $100,000 in student loans.)
Auto Insurance: $160
Medical, Dental & Vision Insurance: $150 for me, $176 for my husband
Internet: $41
Cell Phone: $150
Gas & Electric: ~$150
Water & Trash: ~$40
Cable: $55
Apple Music: $14.99 for the family plan
Gym Membership: $32
Blue Apron: ~$110, depending how many meals we order for the month
Medical Bills - $90
Netflix: $11
Credit Cards: ~$200 (I was really dumb with credit cards when I was younger and I have about $5,000 left to pay off.)
Retirement: 5% of my paycheck goes into my 401(k) and my employer matches it. My husband pays $616 to the Teacher Retirement System.
Savings: ~$60 (Right now I am focused on paying off credit cards before putting a bunch of money in savings.)
Advertisement

Day One

4:30 a.m. — I wake up to nurse my baby. I gave birth to my daughter about one month ago and am currently on maternity leave for 10 weeks.
8:30 a.m. — I'm up to nurse the baby again and my husband is getting ready to leave to go into work for a few hours. He's a teacher and has the summer off, which has been extremely helpful. We may or may not have planned it to work out this way. I truly don't know how any mom does this alone!
11:30 a.m. — I nurse the baby again and attempt to make lunch for myself. We just had our Blue Apron delivered yesterday, so I decide to make one of the meals for lunch. This month they have Chrissy Teigen recipes, and I make the Chinese chicken salad.
1 p.m. — Finally sit down to eat. My daughter was not a fan of me sitting her down while I made lunch. What normally should have taken 30 minutes took like an hour and 30 minutes. In the middle of all of it, she decided to shit all over herself and make a huge mess. She's lucky she is so cute.
3 p.m. — Husband gets home from work and I declare I want a frappuccino from Starbucks, so I load $10 onto my card and head out. I get a decaf caramel frap with soy milk for me and a horchata almond milk frap for my husband. Let me just say that not consuming caffeine while simultaneously being sleep deprived is a new form of torture I am becoming very familiar with. $10
Advertisement
5 p.m. — My dad calls and says he's in the area for work and wants to stop by and see the baby. After he leaves, I order pizza and beer. Yes, this pizza place delivers beer. The total is $26, and I tip $5. $31
9 p.m. — I head upstairs to sleep for a few hours until the baby needs to nurse again. Right now my husband and I have a sleep arrangement where he sleeps downstairs with the baby and brings her up to me when she needs to nurse. I'm still super paranoid and won't get any sleep when I'm near my baby because I'll just be checking on her every two seconds to be sure she's still breathing. My husband is a little more calm and rational than me.
Daily Total: $41

Day Two

4 a.m. — My husband brings me the baby and I nurse her while watching Grey's Anatomy and let our dog out. He's a 10-year-old chihuahua and thankfully he's low maintenance. We have a fenced-in backyard, so I can just open up the back door and let him run around and do his business. He's still getting used to the fact that there's a baby around who is taking up all the attention and kisses lately.
8 a.m. — My husband wakes up and we both shower and wait for my mom to come over. She's watching the baby while we go to a doctor's appointment. Since giving birth, I've had some issues with my gallbladder and am meeting with a surgeon to see if it needs to be removed.
Advertisement
10 a.m. — Husband is starving, so we stop at Tim Hortons on the way to the doctor. I don't care for breakfast but have been making an effort to eat it since I need the extra calories while nursing. We both get breakfast sandwiches and he gets a coffee. $7.87
11:30 a.m. — Leave the doctor and, yep, I have to have my gallbladder removed. This is the last thing I want to deal with while recovering from childbirth. I want to try and schedule this toward the end of my maternity leave so I can try to get more time off of work. The more time with my baby, the better. I make a mental note to call HR later to let them know the situation.
1 p.m. — Once we get home, I nurse the baby and head out to get a pedicure. I think it's time to treat myself after the bad news I just got. The pedicure is nice, but I sit next to a lady who keeps talking about the fungus on her toes. Definitely kills the mood. It costs $53.62 with tip. Before heading home, I stop at Bath & Body Works to get three candles that are on sale ($33.63). When I head to my car, it's pouring rain. My bag gets too wet and rips open, and all my candles fall out and shatter in the parking lot. Ugh! I find closer parking to Bath & Body and ask them to replace the candles, which they do. $87.25
Advertisement
2 p.m. — Call my husband and tell him about my debacle. I ask if he wants me to bring home lunch, and we agree on Wendy's. I get us both spicy chicken sandwich combos. $16.91
3 p.m. — After lunch, my husband tells me he spent $40 on a license for school. He was recently promoted to high school principal and needs the new license for the position. He'll be getting a substantial raise, which is coming just in time to help us pay for childcare! $40
5:30 p.m. — My best friend comes over to fill me in on her dating woes. I miss getting to do this over dinner and drinks, but for now we gossip while my boob is out feeding my baby. Just as fun, right?
7:30 p.m. — Best friend leaves and I start cooking one of our Blue Apron meals. Tonight is Korean-style beef. My husband says it's one of his favorites, but I think it's just okay.
Daily Total: $152.03

Day Three

2:30 a.m. — Husband gets me up to nurse, and afterwards I tell him to sleep in bed and that I'll stay on baby duty. I do my best to try and go back to sleep and not panic at the baby's every movement.
10 a.m. — My husband needs to go into work to order furniture for his new office, so the baby and I tag along. We stop at Starbucks on the way and I load $25 onto my card. I never spend this much at Starbucks, but they have a promotion going on and I totally get suckered in. We each get breakfast sandwiches, he gets an iced coffee, and I get a decaf cinnamon dolce latte with soy milk. $25
Advertisement
12 p.m. — We leave the school, and on the way home stop to run a few errands. I make a return at Target (-$40) and put it on a gift card. My husband gets some new work shirts and ties and I buy a birthday card for my brother and an outfit for my daughter. After the gift card, our total is $56.62. Next stop is Walmart, where I exchange diapers that some family members bought us, and the difference comes to $2.11. Before heading home, we stop and get gas ($38.24) and then at Taco Bell for lunch ($15.52). I don't have the energy to make food at home. $112.49
3 p.m. — I log online and pay one of my many medical bills from my four-day stay in the hospital when I had my baby. I plan on setting the rest up on a monthly payment plan. The hospital billed my insurance $32,000 for my time there. I hate healthcare in America. It's ridiculous. $279.34
6 p.m. — My husband runs out to grab beer for himself ($23.74) and I start dinner. I make the last meal from our Blue Apron deliver: grilled chicken with kale salad and mashed potatoes. The flavors are super good but the meat this week has been very fatty. $23.74
8 p.m. — I give my daughter a little sponge bath and change and nurse her. My husband reads her a book and it's the cutest thing ever. I try to do my nighttime routine so I can attempt to be back on some sort of normal schedule again. It's been hard when I'm up every few hours and don't really have a bedtime anymore. I'm always so confused, and sometimes wind up brushing my teeth at the oddest hours. Welcome to parenthood.
Advertisement
Daily Total: $440.57

Day Four

8:30 a.m. — The baby only had me up twice last night to nurse and I'm feeling somewhat rested, if that's possible. I make my husband a breakfast of eggs and turkey bacon and I drink a chocolate protein shake with almond milk.
11 a.m. — My mom stops over to visit and then we go to At Home to shop around. I end up leaving with a decorative bowl to display lemons in ($21.34). On the way home, my mom gets Jimmy John's and I bring back some to my husband. $21.34
3:30 p.m. — My husband leaves to take a ride on his motorcycle and visits our friends at their tattoo shop. He buys a shirt from them ($21.45) and then they leave to go grab coffee at a local place ($3.25). I watch Netflix while the baby naps. $24.70
5 p.m. — My husband texts me and asks if I care if he gets a tattoo while he's there ($123.34). I say go for it, but I'm secretly really salty over it. It's been well over a year since I've gotten a tattoo. We are both heavily tattooed, and I always get jealous when he gets to go without me. He sends me a text a bit later and it looks like our friends stopped by with their baby, and now I have total FOMO. I decide to order some sushi because I am starving and it'll cheer me up ($21.33). I went without it for nine months, so I am making up for lost time. $144.67
Advertisement
6:30 p.m. — Husband gets home sooner than I expected and wants to order pizza. Had I known he was coming home so soon, I would have waited and eaten with him. We're spending more money this week than I would like. $19.95
9:30 p.m. — I head off to bed and try to sleep for a couple hours before I need to nurse. My neighbor however, has other plans for me. He's having a party, and it's so loud that I can't sleep. I thought I escaped this when I moved out of an apartment and into a house.
Daily Total: $210.66

Day Five

5 a.m. — I am up for the morning. I nursed my daughter twice last night and I am feeling super tired. We lay on the couch and wait for Dad to wake up.
9:30 a.m. — I text a friend who lives up the street and ask her if she's free to cut my husband's hair. We're having family photos taken later and she cuts hair at her house for $10. She says we can come over in an hour but that she needs a water spray bottle because someone accidentally took hers the last time she did a haircut. I run up to Walgreens and pick up a couple ($5.35), and then my husband gets a cut ($10). $15.35
1 p.m. — Nurse the baby and get ready to head out to the park for the photo shoot. I scarf down a slice of leftover pizza from last night as we're heading out the door.
Advertisement
3 p.m. — Home from the photo shoot and my daughter could not have been anymore uncooperative. I kind of expected this to happen, considering she's only five weeks old. I feel as if I need to go out now and show off the fact that my hair and makeup are done for the first time since giving birth. Miracles really do happen.
5 p.m. — I call and place an order for sushi for me and szechuan beef for my husband for dinner, and then pick it up to save money on a delivery fee. $29.40
9:30 p.m. — Nurse the baby and head to bed. Tonight we're putting her in our room with us and moving her bassinet next to our bed. Fingers crossed we all get sleep!
Daily Total: $44.75

Day Six

6 a.m. — Awake to nurse the baby. She was up last night at 12 and 3 a.m., and I didn't sleep much because I just could not shut my brain off. Every time the baby made a noise, I had to peep in her bassinet and check on her. It was nice to be in bed with my husband, though.
9 a.m. — I leave to go pick up our grocery order. Ever since I've been able to order groceries online, I have been exponentially happier. I hate grocery shopping more than anything. I ordered the basics and stocked up on toilet paper and laundry detergent. $99
10:30 a.m. — Nurse my daughter and leave the house again to head to the eye doctor, who says my vision has gotten worse since last year. I order new contacts and consider ordering glasses later online from Warby Parker. The total after insurance is $139.05, but they give me paperwork to file for a $60 mail-in rebate for the contacts. $139.05
Advertisement
12:30 p.m. — Get home and see my new phone case has finally arrived. My husband and I got iPhone Xs last week and I've been waiting for the case. I've dropped my phone too many times already. Crisis averted.
1 p.m. — Husband wants to go to Melt for lunch. Don't worry, I'm aware we just spent $100 at the grocery store, but I'm excited to get out of the house. We each get a sandwich and he gets a beer. My daughter sleeps the whole time like a perfect angel. The total is $30.19 and I leave a $5 tip. $35.19
1:30 p.m. — My husband wants a peppermint mocha from the Starbucks across the street. I have no idea how anyone can drink something so hot in this weather, but I load $10 onto my Starbucks card. $10
4:30 p.m. — Husband wants to take a ride on his motorcycle, and goes to Target while the baby and I stay home and try to nap. He buys moth balls, granola, dog treats, loofas, and cereal. I apparently forgot a few things in our grocery order. I ask him to stop at Walgreens on his way home to pick up the photos I had printed from our photo shoot. He grabs candy while he's there. He has a sweet tooth and I don't mind. $28.86
7:30 p.m. — Nurse the baby. Afterwards, I start kissing her and she literally spits up all over my mouth. My husband laughs while taking a photo and my daughter looks rather content with herself. Ah, the joys of parenthood.
Advertisement
9:30 p.m. — Head to bed crossing my fingers that my daughter sleeps well tonight.
Daily Total: $312.10

Day Seven

5 a.m. — Well, crossing my fingers last night didn't work. Poor little babe was up all night with gas and an upset belly. I tell my husband I am going to cut out dairy and see if that helps her. It seems like every mom I've talked to has had to cut out dairy while breastfeeding. I've always wanted to, but have never stuck with it. I know that since it's for the benefit of my daughter, I'll have no problem sticking to it this time. I'll see you on the other side, cheese.
10 a.m. — I text my sister and ask when she'll be home so we can come visit. She has two kids who are three and one years old. My daughter was born a week before my niece's first birthday, and I can't wait for them to be best friends!
11 a.m. — We stop at Starbucks on the way because my self control is low and my hopscotch board is almost filled up. I'll have five free drinks on my account by the time this promotion is over. I get an iced green tea latte with almond milk and my husband gets a frap and a breakfast sandwich. I load the card with $20. $20
1:30 p.m. — After visiting my sister, we head to my husband's boss's house nearby. They're good friends, and I get along well with his wife.
Advertisement
4:30 p.m. — On the way home, we stop and get Jimmy Johns ($14.70). Maybe one day I'll have the energy to cook again. My husband asks me to stop at the drive-through and get more beer ($10.20). $24.90
7 p.m. — The baby is napping and my husband and I decide to rent A Quiet Place. It's not available to rent yet, so we buy it. $21.44
9 p.m. — The movie is very disappointing to me and I am bummed we decided to buy it. I have zero patience. I nurse the baby and we all head to bed.
Daily Total: $66.34
Money Diaries are meant to reflect individual women's experiences and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behaviour.
Advertisement

More from Work & Money

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Fashion
A look at the subcultures around the world that color what we wear — and why.
Watch Now
Travel
Explore the world's most most vibrant cultural and culinary centers—in 60 seconds, of course.
Watch Now
Beauty
The craziest trends, most unique treatments, and strangest subcultures in the beauty world.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Millennial survivor-woman Lucie Fink dives headfirst into social experiments, 5 days at a time.