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Today: a stay-at-home mom who also works as a dog boarder and makes $20,000 per year ($200,000 when combined with her husband) and spends some of her money this week on
Occupation: Stay-at-home mom, part-time dog boarder
Industry: Mom and Pet Care
Location: Placerville, CA
My Salary: $20,000 from dog boarding
My Husband's Salary: $180,000
My Husband's Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $5,000 (Everything else — like if he gets a bonus or a promotion, or anything from stocks he gets through work — is put into savings.)
Mortgage: We own our home and pay $2,000 toward our mortgage. I live with my husband, six-year-old kid, and a dog.
Camper Payment: $120
Cell Phone: $150
Car Insurance: $75
TV Subscriptions: $60 (This includes HBO, Hulu, Netflix & Amazon Prime.)
Apple Music: $15
My Son's Piano Lessons: $90
My Son's Karate Lessons: $70
Savings For My Son: $100
Ritual Vitamins: $30
6:30 a.m. — I wake up and quickly scroll through my emails, Facebook, and Instagram, hoping the next time I check it will be at night. My New Year's resolution is to be more present and not spend as much time on my phone scrolling through stupid stuff. I'm trying to check social media once in the morning and once at night only. I chug water and feed the dog and prepare breakfast for T., my six-year-old.
8:15 a.m. — T. is fed! He gets leftover waffles from the weekend. As he gets dressed, T.'s dad, BD (baby daddy, ha!) rolls out of bed to take T. to school. I used to take T. to school every morning and do pick ups every afternoon, but this school year BD decided to step up. It's nice not to have to change out of my warm onesie and drive in the cold rain. BD returns home to make his coffee and grabs some hard boiled eggs for breakfast before he runs downstairs for his morning meeting. He is in software development and works from home.
9:30 a.m. — My friend E. wants to go gamble at the casino for a bit. She's asked three times in four days already, so I agree. We've only known each other for a few years, but she's my closest friend here. We're very different in that she's loud and has this nonstop manic energy. But we have a lot in common and mesh really well, so we try to catch up when we can, even if that means going to a casino at 10 in the morning on a Monday! We end up staying for 2.5 hours trying random slot machines and playing roulette. We both end up losing money but I fared better. $40
12 p.m. — I have to get blood work done, but we make plans to have lunch right after. Every four weeks I get my blood drawn. I have auto immune and inflammation issues which causes severe and painful psoriasis on my skin and psoriatic arthritis in my joints. Last May was the first time where my skin has been completely clear from psoriasis since it first started, back in 1997 when I was 15. It's been incredible! However, I am apprehensive about it coming back in the winter because the weather is so cold and drying. But currently it's the New Year and so far so good! Unfortunately, my joints are another issue. I can't tell if it's the rain or my new diet that's making them ache. BD has wonderful insurance through his work, so it pays for most of the bill, and I pay what's left over. $14
12:45 p.m. — I meet back up with E., and I order a salad and 12 wings. The salad bar is kind of sad. I hate iceberg lettuce and the spinach is wet. But that doesn't stop me from clearing my plate and all of my wings. E. and I are on a keto diet, with me recently starting over again. I tried for a month last year but worried that all the fatty meats and cheeses were bad for my inflammation so I stopped. I find that I'm still worried about that today. $22
2:30 p.m. — I come home and am greeted by BD, T., and the dog. As I drive in, T. happily claps his hand in this adorable way, then runs over to give me a hug. I love him! I stay outside to watch him ride his four wheeler and throw the ball to the dog. The dog is high energy and can play fetch for hours. BD is on a five-hour work call. Afterwards, we go inside to start on homework. I give T. a snack of leftover pork chili verde with rice and black beans. Then I make him nap because he has his first basketball practice of the season with a coach I low key admire (he comes off a little cocky), and I want him at his best. While he sleeps I wash dishes, sweep, water all of my plants, and start the laundry.
5:30 p.m. — I wake T. up with hot chocolate, and we rush to basketball practice. He does really great and I'm super proud of him. T. is athletic, but not a natural, so he has to work harder to get at a level that isn't disappointing. I'm a competitive person, and I'm working on not pushing him too hard. But it's tough for me to not get frustrated when he's busy messing around and not focusing!
7:45 p.m. — We rush home to get T. in a bath, eat dinner (leftover corn chowder with bacon), and get ready for bed. I make a big salad (healthy!) and small bowl of delicious leftover pizza dip (not healthy!) for my dinner. I slice up some oranges for dessert, and BD and I end up watching the first episode of Salt Fat Acid Heat on Netflix. I love it! I've never heard of Samin Nosrat, but she's pretty wonderful. Great, now I'm craving focaccia. We're about to start the second episode, but I'm the kind of person that needs more than eight hours of sleep or else I'm complete garbage the next day. I do my facial skin care routine, brush my teeth, chug water and head to bed by 10 p.m....where I scroll online for the next two hours. Sigh.
Daily Total: $76
6 a.m. — I wake up but try to sleep in until my alarm goes off at 7. I reluctantly roll out of bed and chug some water. I feed the dog and prep T.'s breakfast, which is leftover fried rice and orange chicken. I make him do a practice spelling test then work on his sight words. I read to him for 15 minutes, then make him get ready for school. BD and T. are out the door by 8:15. I scroll through social media and my emails.
9:30 a.m. — I go outside to play with the dog for about 30 minutes. I'm ready to play, but he's ignoring me and playing with the ball by himself. But I can't leave because he pops his head up every so often to make sure I'm still there. If I go back inside he runs back to the sliding door and stares sadly at me. So I sit and wait for him to notice me and when he does, I wave for him to bring me the ball so we can finally play fetch. He happily does and now we're rolling. The dog is deaf, by the way. There's a lot of exaggerated hand signals when it comes to communicating with him.
10 a.m. — I have to go shopping for food so my first stop is at Grocery Outlet. I buy Italian sausage, pork, Doritos, pretzels and popcorn for T.'s lunch and BD's new snacking habit since he's stopped drinking and smoking seven months ago. I also buy marinated salmon, blueberries, egg noodles, sunflower seeds, and two packs of bacon. $60.39
11 a.m. — Then I drive to Safeway for everything else. I buy salad, cherry tomatoes, organic chicken, a beef roast, cauliflower, cheese crisps, onions, Texas toast, and cream puffs. $95.05
12 p.m. — I need to get gas. I'm also getting hungry and glance wistfully at Starbucks since I've recently discovered their sou vide egg bites with bacon and gruyere, but I have a trunk full of groceries so I save it for another day. I make a pit stop at the library and head home to unpack. I make cauliflower fried rice for lunch using cauliflower, an old zucchini, and the beef from a leftover Asian stir fry. I'm a pro at reusing (and reheating) leftovers. $35
2 p.m. — I answer some emails and respond to requests for overnight dog boarding. I've been been boarding dogs in my home for over three years now using a website called Rover. BD's salary allows us to live comfortably in California. We are lucky to be able to take a couple domestic vacations a year, an international vacation every other year, and T. is fortunate to have the opportunity to do sports and other activities all year round. While I don't spend money on expensive clothes and fancy hair cuts, I do have expensive tastes in foods and travels, so I started working on Rover to supplement our income. My paycheck varies depending on how open I want my schedule to be, but last year I made about $20,000. Of course BD makes way more money than I do, but we do share everything we make. I have a pup coming later this week, and she'll be staying for three nights. I have another coming for two nights at the same time. I need to make sure they'll get along.
3 p.m. — I pick up T., and we practice basketball at his school. Four other kids join in, so I sit out and scroll through Instagram (whoops). But then I realize what I'm doing so I stop and join them in basketball only to realize how out of shape I am. At 4, I drop T. off at karate and go for a walk while I FaceTime my sister. Afterwards, I text BD to start on dinner while I wait for T. to finish karate. I also snack on two turkey and cheese roll ups that I bought from home.
6 p.m. — I come home to find the green beans nicely sautéed and the potatoes roasted but the roasted BBQ chicken isn't smelling too good. I tentatively take a few bites and it tastes funky. Yay, bubble guts! I throw the chicken in the trash and warm up leftover walnut prawns from the weekend and give that to T. with the veggies. BD ends up ordering pizza. He's on another five-hour work call so I let T. eat, then we finish his reading homework. Afterwards, he draws and watches a quick show while I do the dishes, fold and put away laundry. I feed the dog, make T. his school lunch, then make myself dinner: salad with the last of the pizza dip.
7:45 p.m. — T. prepares for bed, but then BD comes upstairs and decides he wants T. to practice piano so they do a short lesson. I clean up some more, scroll online on my laptop, do my face, and I'm in bed by 10 but I don't fall asleep until after midnight.
Daily Total: $190.44
7 a.m. — We do the same morning routine. T.'s breakfast is the last of the corn chowder. I remind T. to do today's chore which is to get the trash from the bathroom, throw it away in the kitchen, and then reline the trash can. He's out the door by 8:15. Last week I watched a few episodes of Netflix's new series on the KonMari method, and now I've decided to purge. I'm generally a neat person and get grumpy if the house is dirty or untidy because when I see clutter, it makes my mind feel cluttered. Keeping up after a six-year-old, a husband who “doesn't mind mess,” and dog guests can be overwhelming sometimes. But today, I'm just running around the house picking up random items to see if it "sparks joy in me." Ching! I end up with a whole bag of trash and another bag to donate! I also prepare dinner which is a copy cat version of Panda Express's black pepper chicken and a keto friendly cauliflower mash for me. I also sweep, do more dishes, and dust.
12 p.m. — I warm up yesterday's cauliflower fried rice. It's not that great, and I'm glad there's no more left. I'm trying to be more aware of portion control, and I think the bowl I had for lunch is of normal size, but I'm still left hungry. I think about making a couple turkey and cheese roll ups but don't.
1 p.m. — I make and eat two turkey and cheese roll ups with cornichons and almonds. I also go on Amazon and order Deathwish Coffee for BD and a neck/back massager for me that I've been considering for over a month. $92
3 p.m. — I pick T. up from school, and we go to the library. He plays with toys, and I look for books about traveling in Japan. E. and I are thinking about planning a trip there this year. I remind myself to open up my Duolingo app again and try to learn some basic Japanese. We get home around 5, and I make dinner and get T. to do homework. He eats his dinner then takes a bath.
6:45 p.m. — I forget that BD has set up a practice fire alarm. I don't look forward to it because it's raining outside. Of course when it starts, T. is surprised by the drill and frantically runs around trying to find his raincoat and boots while covering his ears. We rush out the door towards our meeting point via our escape plan. Afterwards, we go inside and help T. find all of the smoke detectors. When school started, BD wanted T. to join Cub Scouts but there wasn't a leader available so BD volunteered. He takes his role pretty seriously, and I like that they're doing something together where I don't have to be involved. Knowing your escape plan in case of a fire is one of the things a Cub Scout has to know so we just checked it off our list. Yay! Now T. can get his next prize or badge or whatever it is they get!
7:30 p.m. — We go through the usual bedtime routine for T. BD eats the dinner I made earlier, and I make myself a bowl, too. It's a lot saltier than I prefer since I'm not eating it with rice. BD gives me some stressful news about his work. There were some unexpected layoffs last year, and then suddenly some more today. His job is safe this year but he's not sure about next year. We talk about downsizing our home and any other options. I want carbs but end up stress eating some almonds, another turkey and cheese roll up, and my cauliflower mash that smells like fart but tastes pretty good. I head to bed by 10 but take a sleeping pill because I haven't slept well for the past two nights.
Daily Total: $92
6 a.m. — I wake up earlier than normal because I forgot to take my Cosentyx shot last night for my psoriasis and arthritis. I'm supposed to take two shots a month, but I've been taking one every three weeks to slowly try and wean off the medication. Last year, when my insurance renewed, I had to pay over $3,000 for them before the insurance could kick back in! I don't want to be dependent on them forever, so I started trying to get healthier. After I take my shot, I have extra time to make T. French toast for breakfast. We do our usual morning routine and he's off to school.
10 a.m. — I clean and tidy up the house. I'm preparing for a dog guest who will be dropped off soon. B. is a very smart dog, but she's an alpha and can get a little aggressive unpredictably. She plays well with our dog, but I have another guest coming tomorrow so I will be on high alert until they both leave. When B. visits, I spend most of the time playing fetch with her and our dog. She is also a high energy pup, and I need to tire her out. For lunch, I make salmon with cauliflower mash and green beans.
3 p.m. — I pick up T. from school, and we practice more basketball. Today, I have him work on dribbling and catching rebounds. Afterwards, I drop T. off at karate and rush home to prepare dinner which is spaghetti with Italian sausage, salad, and Texas toast. I make myself a chicken salad over actual salad. I play another quick game of fetch and feed both dogs. Then I rush back out to pick T. up.
7:30 p.m. — We've finished homework and our nightly routine. I take a shower and focus on my facial routine. In 2016 I got into the 10-step Korean skincare routine. I've narrowed it down to what works best for me in terms of money and time. It's usually a double cleanser (or a quick facial wipe in the morning), toner, snail mucin serum, moisturizer (a heavier one at night), eye cream (and SPF during the day). I also try to exfoliate, and use a cream mask and a clay mask weekly. I'm in bed again by 10 and manage to stay off my phone.
Daily Total: $0
6 a.m. — My Friday mornings are more hectic than usual because it's the day I volunteer in T.'s class. I get up earlier because I need to tire out the dogs before I leave. I also put more effort into my morning routine and even put on some make-up. In addition to our usual morning routine, I frantically dump ingredients into the crock pot for tonight's dinner: Mississippi pot roast. I take T. to school and give him a dollar to buy a cup of hot chocolate while I rush to the office to sign in. I want to start volunteering early so I can leave early to greet my next dog guest drop off. $1
10 a.m. — I make it in time to greet my next guest. P. is squishy and adorable and also deaf. I make sure to take a picture and text it to her mom to reassure her that everything's going well. Most of the time, my guests are pretty laid back, but every once in a while I get a guest, like P.'s mom, who needs constant updates and pictures of how their pups are doing while in my care. Of course, I understand, so I mentally prepare to spend the next couple of days with my phone glued to my hand.
11:45 a.m. — I play with the dogs for almost two hours straight, making sure B. is kind to P. Then I tell BD to keep eyes and ears out for all the dogs and rush out to go volunteer at our local soup kitchen. I volunteer every second and fourth Friday of the month. My job is to help prepare and cook that night's dinner. We usually prepare bagged lunches, a fruit salad, a regular salad, an entree with bread and vegetables, and put out desserts. The ladies I work with are a lot older than me, and they're really sweet and very hard workers. I'm still fairly new at volunteering here but I work quietly, am comfortable around a kitchen, and I don't mind dealing with raw meat so they like that I'm around.
3 p.m. — I finish volunteering and return home to play with the dogs while BD picks up T. from school and takes him to his make-up piano lesson. I boil egg noodles for the Mississippi pot roast, and when they get back I give T. his dinner a little early. He needs to go to bed right after our Cub Scout meeting because we have to meet at the basketball court tomorrow at 7:45 a.m. for his first game and I want him to get a full night's rest.
5:45 p.m. — I drive T. to his Cub Scout meeting. Since BD is the den leader, he's already there. Today's meeting will be cool! We get to tour a fire station. I silently pray that the rest of the Scouts listen well and show respect during the tour because we have a couple disruptive kids in the den. I don't have the most patience for parents who choose to ignore when their kids are misbehaving or being disrespectful in a certain setting. The excuse “kids will be kids” means nothing to me. It's your job to teach and encourage them to be better little humans! Get your house in order! Unexpected rant over. Another mom brings some yummy snacks, and I get T. to eat some so he can't stall and say he's hungry when we when get home.
7:30 p.m. — We get home and I put T. to bed. It's way earlier than his usual weekend bedtime, but I don't want to deal with a cranky tired child at 7 in the morning tomorrow. BD and I eat dinner (I eat the roast over salad), and I play a quick video game before I remind BD to let the dogs out before he goes to bed. I scoop up P. and we go snuggle together.
Daily Total: $1
6 a.m. — Ugh! Getting up this early on a Saturday sucks. I let the pups out before I feed them. I make breakfast for T. and then get his basketball stuff together. I play fetch with the dogs as long as I can but then have to get T. up and ready, too. BD finally rolls out of bed, and we are out the door by 7:15 am.
9 a.m. — The coaches pumps up the kids and the crowd with loud music. It wakes them up and we win! I feel like we have a very strong team this year, but I admit the coaches are fantastic. They know what they're doing and can easily command the team's attention. I'm super proud of T. and shower him with praises in the car for hustling and being present in the game. I normally don't like to leave my dog guests alone for too long so I calculate to see if we have time for breakfast, and we do. BD orders corned beef has and a waffle, T. orders pancakes, and I have a bun-less burger with a side salad. $40
10:45 a.m. — We get home and play with the dogs outside. B. gets a little snippy with P. for no reason so I put her back inside, and she howls loudly. I firmly reprimand her, and she sits forlornly by the door and gives me puppy eyes while I play with our dog and T. plays with P. After a while I put P. inside with T. and bring B. back outside to play. BD catches up on housework, and T. plays near him and helps out when he can.
12 p.m. — I spend 15 minutes doing my nails. I use Marmalade nails, and they are the best thing I discovered in 2018! They are high quality press on nails that you glue on that stay on for up to 12 days. I usually do them the day after I volunteer at the soup kitchen because even though I have faith in how strong Marmalade’s glue is, I would be horrified if I found out I lost a nail in one of the dishes. Today I use the Mirror Mirror color and it looks like liquid chrome. They reflect off my face, they’re so bright. As an Asian in this small country town, I gotta say these nails turn a lot of heads. I get them for me, but honestly, I live for the compliments, too. I go online and buy three more packs of various designs. $47
3 p.m. — We go for a family bike ride close to town. Normally we like to go down the hill to a trail about a 40 minute drive away but I don't want to leave the dogs for too long. We have snacks and stop for multiple breaks while T. tries to convince us to buy him a new bike that has gears.
7 p.m. — We prepare dinner which is a Sriracha pork stir fry with rice that ends up being too spicy for T., so he eats leftovers. I eat the pork with salad. We end up playing video games and board games all night. I learned how to play a game called Rummikub over Christmas, and I'm hooked. I take the dogs out one more time and then get both T. and myself ready for bed. BD is more of a night owl so he stays up and watches shows and plays more video games.
Daily Total: $87
7 a.m. — The pups allow me to sleep in until 7. I sneak out of bed so T. and BD can sleep in longer. I take the dogs out, feed them, and play with them. Then I start the laundry, finish the dishes, water my plants, change the covers on my couch, and wipe down the cabinets and counters. When the fam gets up we go for bagels. BD orders a breakfast sandwich bagel with coffee, and T. and I order a lox bagel. Yes, T. eats very well for a six-year-old. My bagel is not keto friendly but I scarf it up and feel good about my life choices. $30
11 a.m. — Its a normal lazy Sunday. We all lay around but then I get T. to do the day's chore: wipe down all door handles and light switches. I surprise him with a playdate with our neighbor's son, but I make sure he practices the piano, starts on his homework, and reads to me before we can go. I walk him down the street, and he happily runs off to play. I'm grateful that our neighbor's child is the same age is T., and they are both sweet, well-mannered kids who play great together! I'm also grateful that T.'s at an age where I don't have to stay with him on playdates so I rush back home to let the dogs out again. Then I start reading the Japanese travel books I borrowed from the library, and I end up taking notes for the next few hours.
2:30 p.m. — BD and I pick T. up from his playdate and take him to his indoor soccer game. The kids in this league are on a whole other level than the kids in T.'s regular league, so he's always out of his element. I know T. would rather not play in these games because he's always the weakest player but I encourage him to try his hardest. He will never get better if he's not challenged. I remind him that most of the players are older than him and praise him for all the times he's managed to touch the ball in the past. Last fall I coached T.'s soccer team. I had a very strong team, and we ended up on top but T. didn't play as well as he's capable of playing. I'm not sure if it was because I was coach or because his heart wasn't in it, but until he figures it out, we've been going to soccer clinics every month to ensure it doesn't happen again. This practice he does much better than normal, and I leave in good spirits.
5 p.m. — BD is hungry and wants to go eat at his favorite Chinese restaurant. We order wonton soup, kung pao chicken, and beef-and-ginger stir fry with fried rice ($65). Everything is delicious but would taste better if I had carbs. Afterwards, we stop at Baskin Robins for ice cream ($10). I take a lick of T.'s sherbet and try BD's mint chocolate chip ice cream while wishing it was the Brownie Mashup flavor, but I don't get any ice cream of my own. $75
7:30 p.m. — I feed the dogs and then give both dog guests a once over before they get picked up. On Rover, the guests get charge the moment we both agree on a reservation, but I don't get paid until two days after they get picked up. T. does his usual bedtime routine and heads to sleep while BD watches a movie and I read my travel books. I wait for both guests to go home. Once they do, I let our dog out one more time then make T.'s school lunch. Afterwards, I do my face, brush my teeth, chug water, and go to sleep by 11.
Daily Total: $105
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