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A Week In Cincinnati, OH, On A $370,000 Joint Income

Refinery29
·19 min read

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 marketing director with a joint income of $370,000 per year who spends some of her money this week on Run Gum.

Occupation: Marketing Director
Industry: Healthcare
Age: 38
Location: Cincinnati, OH
My Salary: $220,000 +15% bonus + at least 200 RSUs
Husband’s Salary: $150,000 +15% bonus
Net Worth: $1.67 million ($255,000 equity in home, $160,000 investments, $105,000 in S.’s (older daughter) college fund, $50,000 in W.’s (younger daughter) college fund, $400,000 in K.’s (husband) 401(k), $20,000 in K.’s Roth IRA, $620,000 in my 401(k). $60,000 in my Roth IRA, $230,000 in savings, 2 cars worth $45,000 minus the $275,000 we still owe on our house.)
Debt: $275,000. We pay $2,000 towards our mortgage and construction loan but have total of $255,000 equity.
My Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $5,120
Husband’s Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $3,150
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $2,000
Utilities: $200
Water: $100
Life/Disability Insurance: $235
Netflix/Disney+: $30
Nanny: $900
College Funds: $1,200
Investments: $1,975
All-Day Kindergarten Supplement: $400 (half-day is free)
Cell Phones: $150 (including S. who now has her own phone)
Note: All other costs are either annually (car insurance, local swim club membership) or accounted for in take-home pay (health insurance deductibles)

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?
Yes, while neither of my parents completed college, there was a clear expectation that I would. I went to a five-year engineering program that included work quarters. I earned scholarships for most of college and whatever those did not cover, my parents paid for. My husband had academic and sports scholarships plus a small loan. We paid that off immediately after graduation.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
It was a tale of two cities — while my parents are still married, my dad was always more open with me about money than my mom. My dad would take me to their financial planner to understand more about savings and taught me about compounding interest as soon as I was old enough to understand.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
I worked at Old Navy in high school. My parents matched 100% of it and opened a Roth IRA for me.

Did you worry about money growing up?
I grew up lower-middle class but I didn’t really worry about money because everyone around me was in similar situations. I never worried about food or clothing but we also never did extras like vacation. I didn’t even know that taking vacations was something that other families might do until I went to college.

Do you worry about money now?
Not anymore. I did at first after college because I wanted a big nest egg, but I have enough saved to feel comfortable now.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
23 — this is when I took on my car insurance, my health insurance, and my own cell phone plan.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
I received $45,000 from a medical malpractice lawsuit from something that happened to me in my teens. Thankfully my parents found a great financial planner for me that invested this money and I basically forgot I had it until after graduation.

Day One

7 a.m. — I hear my husband, K., getting up for his run but the girls are still snoozing so I stay in bed until it’s time to get started for the day. Saturdays are usually calm for us since the pandemic hit and today really isn’t any different. I have cereal and a banana for breakfast while the girls have fruit plates and mini-muffins. The morning passes with me on the treadmill (I am on pace for over 2,000 running miles this year!) and the girls playing Animal Crossing together.

12 p.m. — After our thrilling morning at home, I decide I need to get us out of the house for a bit. There is a local gourmet chocolate shop that I adore and they have a walk-up window, so we head there. I get a lot of chocolates that will last us for a while! $52

12:15 p.m. — The girls want lunch from our local chili spot so we go through the drive-through before heading home. I heat up some leftovers for me and cut up an apple while K. grabs a salad and yogurt. We all eat lunch together. The pandemic has definitely changed our weekend routines and given us more family time together. $12

2 p.m. — Now it’s time to enjoy the fresh air some more so we go for a bike/scooter ride. We see plenty of people, but never got too close thankfully!

6 p.m. — For dinner, I make a Home Chef spicy beef and noodles box for the adults and pancakes and eggs for the girls before purchasing Mulan from Disney+ for family movie night. Such a great movie enjoyed by all of us — strong women films are my favorite for the girls to watch. $30

Daily Total: $94

Day Two

7 a.m. — I hear K. up again early for his run while the girls and I relax a bit — another morning of cereal, banana, and water for me and fruit and mini-muffins for the girls before I hop on the treadmill. The girls have a gymnastics bar they love to play on and I hear them trying out new moves while I am running and listening to some podcasts.

11 a.m. — The girls are hungry for early lunch so I heat up some of the chili leftovers from the day before for S., make W. a quesadilla, and make myself a sandwich with an apple. I take W. outside for a bit to run around our cul de sac because S. cheers later today and I want W. to have some active time too!

2 p.m. — I buy two tickets for S.’s youth football game — she is a youth cheerleader for the local football team. While I am somewhat surprised that tackle football is happening, the cheerleaders are very socially distanced from each other and the parents stay separated in the stands too. There is tape telling you where to sit and where not to sit. K., W., and I munch on some pita chips and granola bars during the game, which the boys sadly lose. $8

5:30 p.m. — Agh, I am annoyed. We had planned to pick up dinner on the way home from the football game but the pizza place we chose said they are overflowed with orders and are not accepting any more for the whole evening but we could come in and eat. Hard pass — we have not eaten at a restaurant since mid-March. We have done carry out plenty but aren’t ready to eat inside yet. I know there are some things people are going to question but we have made the choices for our family and restaurants are not one of those choices. So we head home and I make tortellini and garlic bread for everyone and then throw some cookie dough in for a yummy dessert.

8 p.m. — We wrap up the night with the girls playing Animal Crossing and me prepping everything for our new afterschool nanny. Our school district will be full-time in person for my girls (parents could choose virtual or in-person) and they each had their trial day last week and transition to fall schedule on Tuesday.

Daily Total: $8

Day Three

8 a.m. — We all sleep in a bit — yay! It’s Labor Day today but no plans with the pandemic. The weather is great so after our usual breakfast, we head out on a bike/scooter ride. We go five miles total with a pit stop at a playground in the middle. I run seven miles on the treadmill when we get back before making everyone noodles, fruit, and some of our yummy chocolates we had bought earlier in the week for lunch.

1 p.m. — K. and I both catch up on some work while the girls play Animal Crossing together. S. has cheer practice today even though it’s Labor Day so I drop her off and play outside with W. Cheer practice is outdoors with everyone super far apart.

5:30 p.m. — Carryout from a different pizza place than the one I mentioned yesterday (because that one is closed today for Labor Day) — cost includes pizzas, homemade chips, and tip. W. and I do curbside pick up and K. picks up S. from cheer practice. The evening is spent getting organized for school and work tomorrow! I should note here that K. is working full-time in his office with strict precautions. I will start going back to my office a few days per week pending my meeting schedule also with strict precautions. The girls will not be riding the bus this year so I am doing most morning drop-offs and we have a nanny helping us after school. All backpacks, masks, lunches, and water bottles are prepped and ready for the morning! $35

Daily Total: $35

Day Four

6:15 a.m. — Rise and shine! Today is the first day that all four of us are going to work/school away from home since mid-March! Do some emails while the girls get ready and then it’s drop off rotation. It almost feels surreal that the time has come for them to head back to school — our school district has done such an amazing job preparing for this moment and I really am hopeful for all of the faculty and students.

9 a.m. — I go to my new office. I changed jobs during the pandemic, which was planned, but today is only my second day in the office as a new employee. I say hello to people I have only met over Zoom and get to work. Between meetings and chatter, I don’t even realize it’s time for lunch until 12:30. I grab my apple, string cheese, and crackers.

2 p.m. — Time to leave work. I’m taking a half-day today to get my new school nanny through the routine. I meet the new nanny (a virtual college student who has free afternoons thankfully) at our house and pick up S. first and then W. Both girls had great days of school and don’t mind the masks or new rules at all. We get home, pack lunches for tomorrow, and organize the back to school paperwork.

6 p.m. — Time for my weekly Blue Apron order. I order Blue Apron almost weekly depending on the menu. This week’s order is three meals for two servings because nothing looked great for the girls. I am already looking forward to Black Bean Flautas and Fresh Fettucine meals for next week. But for tonight I make the Hot Honey Crispy Chicken that came in this week’s box for K. and I and pasta and fruit plates for the girls. It’s a special chef menu and it does not disappoint! $59.94

7 p.m. — S. has her weekly ninja class so K. heads to pick her up (nanny dropped her off on her way home) while I check our credit cards. I see that K. bought some Run Gum so adding that expense to our weekly diary. He’s an early morning runner and this gives him an extra boost to get going. A bit more about the ninja class — the ninja gym has kept classes small while also adding new cleaning procedures. I have been very pleased with how seriously they take the health of the kiddos and she is so thrilled to be back! $39.99

9 p.m. — After some snacking and showers, everyone is getting ready for bed and another day of school and work tomorrow. Good news is that I am working from home so less driving and seeing people for me!

Daily Total: $99.93

Day Five

6:20 a.m. — Rise and shine for another day of school for both girls. Working from home today so I start a load of laundry that I can switch to the dryer between meetings. K. gets home from his early morning run so we catch up a bit too. Here’s a good time to mention that I don’t drink coffee and I am feeling a bit tired already this morning so will need to keep my energy up.

7:30 a.m. — Everyone’s ready to go after our normal breakfasts (cereal and a banana for me, surprised??) and we drop S. off first. She gets a quick temp scan and heads into the building. I see her best friend’s mom pulling in for drop off as I pull out, so hopefully, they can socially distance chat before heading to homerooms. Next up, drop off W. and then head home in time to get started on meetings by 9.

12:45 p.m. — After back to back to back to back Zoom calls (rocking my dirty ponytail), I realize I am getting hungry for lunch. I do tend to have a ton of Zoom calls but this week is somewhat extra with the holiday and with one of my team members being out on vacation for the week. Now that I have a 15-minute break, I grab an apple, string cheese, ham, and some chocolates from earlier in the week before hopping on my afternoon calls.

3:15 p.m. — Break from work to do pick up duty. I have my after school nanny but on Wednesdays, it is impossible for her to pick up both girls and get them where they need to be, so she picks up S. and takes her to practice while I pick up W. I arrive at 3:20 for the line that opens at 3:30 and am easily the 50th car in line. The school has a great process in place so the line moves quickly. We get home and grab W. a snack. I jump on my next work call and nanny arrives to take care of W. On work calls until 5:45.

5:45 p.m. — Say bye to nanny and start on our Blue Apron Indian Chicken Tacos, which are amazing. The girls have quesadillas and fruit. Everyone is sleepy, but I decide to jump on the treadmill while K. gets the girls ready for bed. I have a big glass of chocolate milk and some more chocolates before a quick shower and bedtime. And somehow it was a $0 spend day!

Daily Total: $0

Day Six

5:45 a.m. — S. wakes up early and comes in our bed for a snuggle and falls back asleep but now I am up and do my morning check of our bank accounts and personal emails. Our quarterly nanny taxes came out overnight ($1,532). I track this in my excel budget tracker so knew it was coming. We use a nanny payroll service and these quarterly taxes are the highest of the year because it’s for our summer (highest hours) nanny. I see that S.’s school pictures are ready to view and of course order some 5x7s and digital download ($30). I also see that our lawyer finished updating our trust and I owe her for some final paperwork ($34) and also that K.’s prescription for some knee cream has shipped ($1 after insurance). $1,597

6:30 a.m. — Out of the shower and getting more ready than normal since I go to the office today — face cream, primer, and foundation on my face and some smoothing cream in my hair — then it’s time to get the girls up as K. returns from his run. I drop off the girls then go to the office.

9 a.m. — At the office and straight into meetings. I am getting used to my new office and not working from home every single day, but there are distractions here too. I am grateful that I only have to be in the office two days a week right now. My job is exciting and I get to make lots of decisions each and every day, but with the added layer of COVID, I also need time to independently focus and think things through.

12 p.m. — Break from meetings and get a notification that we were charged for the days the girls bought lunch this week. S. purchased once and W. purchased twice ($8) and also a notification that it’s time for Athleta’s friends and family sale and a friend sent me 20% off. I find a cute hoodie for me and a sweatshirt for S. ($68.46). W. has plenty of clothes that fit and doesn’t mind her sister’s old clothes usually but S. is growing a ton and we realized that she’s going to need some new fall things so this sweatshirt is a perfect find for her. Grab my lunch (tortellini, apple slices, string cheese, and a few bites of chocolate) and catch up on emails from the morning while I eat. We have a big business review on Friday so I check over my slides for that meeting. Being new to the company, I want to make sure I have my team’s data together and checked over extra carefully. $76.46

5:15 p.m. — Where did the afternoon go? Back to back meetings with my team for the afternoon — lots of great discussions and I know we are going to have a strong business review tomorrow. Thankfully my industry should be okay after COVID and we are starting to see what that will look like. Short drive home to switch my brain mostly from work mode to mom mode. K. arrived home before me and let the nanny leave for the day and started getting the girls organized for the evening (thankfully no homework yet but S. does have a tumble lesson tonight). Another Blue Apron dinner for K. and I while the girls have chicken nuggets, crackers, and yogurt before K. takes S. to tumble and I read with and play outside with W.

8:30 p.m. — Thursday night grocery pick up time! Nothing too exciting this week — organic meat for burgers, Gatorade to fuel our runs, pancake mix because we all love pancakes, tons of fruit, and all of the other staples. $171

Daily Total: $1,844.46

Day Seven

6 a.m. — It’s Friday!!! And I am ready for the weekend but first I have to get through the day. Shower, wash my hair, and do my usual morning routine. Our morning routine has a minor change today — drop S. off, drop my car off for routine service, and then drop W. off. Home in time for my 9 a.m. call.

10:45 a.m. — Off my morning calls and have to head out to my eye doctor. I have had glasses since I was 8 and seeing my eye doctor annually is a priority for me. The office has strict COVID processes in place and I am glad that my eyes are staying consistent now after years of getting worse. The visit is fully covered by insurance so no out of pocket for me.

11:45 a.m. — Done at the eye doc and have some breathing room in my meeting schedule so decide to pop into my favorite local bakery and buy some Ooey Gooey cookies for the weekend. These cookies are simply amazing. They only let two customers in at a time but no one is around when I head in. Contactless pay and on my way home for lunch and afternoon full of meetings. $17.50

12:30 p.m. — Wrap up lunch of sandwich, apple, and one of my Ooey Gooey cookies before getting back on Zoom. There is a regular call and then the big business review I mentioned yesterday. The girls and nanny arrive home while I am tucked away on my call. Luckily the call goes incredibly well and my proposal is accepted.

5:30 p.m. — Say bye to our nanny and go pick up my car from the service appointment. It’s also sparkling clean which is always a nice touch. Head home and meet K. We make some burgers and onion rings tonight and enjoy our cookies for dessert. $485

8 p.m. — K. has an extra-long run tomorrow so he’s heading to bed early while I get on the treadmill and the girls play on the gymnastics bar and read to each other. The girls get a bath while I go through all of the end of week school emails. I already joined S.’s PTO but have a request to join W.’s PTO ($10) so I do that and mark the added activities (virtual curriculum previews for parents and W.’s picture day) to the schedule for next week. $10

Daily Total: $512.50

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