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 surgeon who makes $655,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on La Perla lingerie.
Industry: Health Care
Location: Washington, DC
Joint Salary: $655,000 (My salary is $515,000 and my husband’s is $120,000 — he is eligible for quarterly bonuses and I will be eligible for performance-based bonuses starting in summer 2020)
My Paycheck (biweekly): $12,178
My Husband’s Paycheck (biweekly): $3,084
Gender Identity: Woman
Property Taxes: $1,000 (We purchased our 4bd/4ba townhouse using money I inherited from my great grandparents, so we only have to pay property tax)
Student Loans: $0 (My husband just finished paying off his law school loans. My parents covered my undergrad and med school tuition.)
Retirement: We each contribute $775 per paycheck to our individual 401(k). Additionally, we contribute $6,000 to additional tax-managed investment accounts. (This account is managed by our family office staff.)
Charitable Giving: $3,000 (given to the family office for directed giving.)
Dog Day Care: $1,400
Pet Insurance: $28
Health Insurance: Mine is covered through my employer, my husband pays $212 per month for his health plan
Vision and Dental: $38 for both of us through my company’s health insurance
Insurance (Car/Home/Life): $480
Theatre Tickets: $690 annually for season tickets to an experimental theatre company in DC
Boat Club Dues: $750 annually
Work Parking: $115
Apple Music: $11
Coffee Bean Delivery: $40
Gym Membership: $352.12 for my husband and I (my husband expenses $50/month)
Credit Card Annual Fee: $550
Cleaning/Laundry Service: $800
Husband’s Fraternity Alumni Dues: $50 annually
My Sorority Alumni Dues: $33
4:45 a.m. — The alarm goes off and it already feels like a Monday. I put on workout clothes and run to the gym. I get a quick workout in and jog back home. My husband, K., is awake when I get back and making himself some eggs for breakfast. I steal some off of his plate.
6:15 a.m. — I take a quick shower and run through my morning skincare routine. I use Fresh Soy Face Cleansing Milk, Pixi Glow Tonic, Thayers Rose Water Toner, Drunk Elephant Vitamin C Serum, La Solution 10 De Chanel, and Bare Republic Tinted Sunscreen. I put on a little mascara and some PawPaw Lip Balm and I am out the door. K. leaves shortly after me and takes the dogs to daycare on his way to work.
7:15 a.m. — I finish up rounds and everyone is looking pretty good. My PA is running to Starbucks so I give her my card and she gets us each a latte. I head into my first surgery. $8.30
1:30 p.m. — The first thing I do after surgery is pee, always. I was not organized enough to make something for lunch so I give the hospital cafeteria a shot. I get a Quest bar and some carrots and hummus. I eat my food in about three bites while working on some charting and discharges. $9.41
5:30 p.m. — Done for the day! I stop to pick up some dry cleaning on the way home. The shop lady knows my family super well and asks after all my siblings and my parents. I pick up the dogs from daycare and one of the employees mentions that our younger dog has a weird mole on her mouth. Our vet’s office just closed so I will call to make an appointment for her in the morning. $115
7:30 p.m. — K. is home! We try to cook dinner or eat together most nights. I just recently finished my fellowship, so having my free time back has been so nice. We make cauliflower aloo gobi and I have a glass of white wine. I pack the leftovers up for us to bring to work tomorrow. We talk about the puppies mouth thing and K. says he can bring her in tomorrow morning if there’s an open appointment.
8:30 a.m. — K. and I go over our itinerary for our trip to Japan in December. Neither of us has the time/interest to really plan vacations so we rely on the AmEx concierge to do most of the planning. We send back a few edits but it overall looks good. We are spending two weeks and hitting Tokyo, Osaka, and skiing in Niseko for a few days. We’re going to celebrate our fifth anniversary. I decide to bite the bullet and order some clothes for the trip. I get a few pretty things from La Perla ($1,528) and two pairs of jeans from Everlane ($156). I have a one in, one out rule to keep my closet manageable, so I’ll need to add some things to the donate pile. $1,654
10 p.m. — I head upstairs and do my nighttime routine — DHC oil cleanser, Shiseido WASO Quick Gentle Cleanser (my mom brings it to me from London), Biologique Recherche Lotion P50, Thayers Rose Water Toner, Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Gel Yeux, DCL C Scape, Weleda Skin Food. I kiss K. and the pups good night and head to sleep. K. comes up at some point but I am already asleep.
Daily Total: $1,786.71
5:45 a.m. — A more humane wake-up time today. K. takes the dogs out and I get up, make the bed, and then promptly get back in to check emails. K. makes coffee and some oatmeal while I shower and get ready. I have more face time with people today, so I use the Dyson Airwrap to curl my hair and I put on some makeup before heading out.
7:15 a.m. — I’m in the clinic today, so I log into my computer and start looking at imaging and EMR for my patients. I wish I had more time to spend with each patient, but I hope they leave the appointment feeling relaxed and prepared for their surgery. I also try to spend some time charting and doing paperwork. I sometimes feel like I’m doing more paperwork than anything else.
12 p.m. — On clinic days, I try not to do work during my lunch hour and instead, try to catch up with my awesome team of MA’s and PA’s. I check in with K. about the puppy. Thankfully, it’s a benign papilloma that will go away with time. He drops both dogs off at daycare and heads into work for the afternoon.
3:15 p.m. — I feel myself starting to fade, so I sneak a handful of chocolate-covered espresso beans in between patients. More paperwork, charting, etc.
6:15 p.m. — I’m free!!! We’re going to a lot of events in the next couple of weeks, so I stop at Total Wine and pick up a case of wine. K. picks up the pups and heads home as well. $212
7:30 p.m. — We meet up at my sister’s house for dinner. She is a badass working mom and I have so much respect for her. Plus, I love spending time with my niece and nephew (12 and 16). I like to tell myself that we’re not too far apart in age and that they consider me their cool older sister. After they leave the dinner table we secretly work with my sister to plan our Christmas gift for them. We’re taking them skiing in Utah for a week! We find good dates that work with their school break and end up booking business class seats for all four of us. $3,000
10 p.m. — I’m exhausted and want to crash the minute I get home, but I force myself to get up and take my make-up off. K. and I fall asleep watching some old Parks and Rec.
Daily Total: $3,212
4:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I force myself to the gym. I’m tired and have a headache, but I hold out hope that a workout will make it better.
5:45 a.m. — K. wakes up when I get home, but rolls over and goes back to bed. I shower, get dressed, and do my skincare routine. He’s up and moving by the time I’m ready to go. Smooch him and the dogs, grab two hardboiled eggs, and hit the road.
7:30 a.m. — Done with rounds and I chug a quick coffee before going into surgery. My tech puts on the Stones while we work and I am really feeling it today. $4.30
4:15 p.m. — Today has been bananas so I finally sit down and have some time to eat. I work on charts and head out around 5:30. I pick up the tired, happy pups and head home. On my way, I stop at the fancy grocery store and pick up nice cheeses and crackers. $32.60
7 p.m. — K.’s friend from law school, L., is in town from NYC and brings his new girlfriend over for wine and snacks before we go to dinner. K. and L. bro out about big law life, and I try to make friends with his girlfriend. She seems pretty shy, but nice! I spill a glass of red wine all over my silk shirt so I run up to change before we head to dinner.
8:30 p.m. — We walk over to a Turkish restaurant in the neighborhood and share lots of small plates and another bottle of wine. L. says that he wants to leave New York for the west coast, so I secretly want to set him up with my sister that lives in the bay area. We’ll see what happens… haha. K. and L. split the bill ($68) and we head home. $68
11 p.m. — We take the dogs for a quick walk around the block and I feel overwhelmingly happy. It’s a total 180 to how I felt during my training. The burnout rate for physicians is so high and I just feel so lucky to have come out of the other side of training really happy with my practice and my life in general. I do my skincare when I get home and we head to bed.
Daily Total: $104.90
6:30 a.m. — I wake up when K.’s alarm goes off. I work a rotating schedule, and typically have one weekday off a week. I head downstairs to make coffee and breakfast for him. He heads out the door and I take the pups for a quick walk. I get back in bed intending to check my email, but I fall back asleep.
8:45 a.m. — I am ready for the real world now. I jog to the gym and do a workout. My brain and body hurt from all the wine last night, but I make it through. I sit in the steam room for too long and start to get light-headed. I take a quick body shower and get dressed.
11 a.m. — I head to my hair appointment right around the corner. My stylist has been doing my hair for years and knows that I just like to sit in silence. I make a list on my phone of Christmas gifts for people and things that I need to get done before I host Thanksgiving next week. My in-laws are coming and it’s my first time hosting and I’m STRESSED! He wraps up and it looks great! The total comes to $450 including an $80 tip. $450
2 p.m. — I stop by Beefsteak on the way home and grab a Frida Kale bowl. I check my email and do some life admin while eating. $9
3 p.m. — I start to organize my closet, but end up laying on the floor scrolling through Instagram instead. I decide to look for a dress for K.’s work Christmas party. I can’t find anything that isn’t old and frumpy or too scandalous. I end up ordering a velour dress from Monique Lhuillier that I think I’ll be able to get a lot of wear out of. $2,000
4:30 p.m. — I’m advising a student from my high school on her senior project. We catch up for a little before getting into the nitty-gritty. She just heard back from her first college and she got in! She also applied to my alma matter and she asks if I will write her a letter of recommendation and I agree. She’s a great student and is doing a project on the impact of health care access in low-income communities in DC. It’s a little out of my wheelhouse, but I’m learning a lot as well. I stop by and say hi to one of my favorite teachers while I’m there. I was not the most motivated student in high school and she got me at a really good time and put me on the path to where I am today. She shows me pictures of her new grandbaby.
6:30 p.m. — I call my sister in California on my way home from the school. She’s a middle school guidance counselor and always has some wild stories. She went on a date on Tuesday and tells me all about how he’s such a Bay Area tech bro. Her words say she hates it, but I can tell that she had a fun time. They’re going to hang out again this weekend!
7:15 p.m. — I roast some salmon and veggies for dinner. K. gets home around 8:30 and we eat together. We talk about his work drama and our Thanksgiving plans. I’m kind of nervous since both his parents and my mom will be attending and they tend to be opposites on pretty much everything. I call my brother and check in with him. He’s moving to Germany early next year, so I won’t be able to see him as easily. He tells me that he’s planning on proposing soon, and is going ring shopping with my parents when they’re in town for Thanksgiving! I text my sisters immediately and we wonder if we’ll be bridesmaids, as none of us are that close to his girlfriend.
8 p.m. — I go upstairs to tell K. the news and he already knew. He and my brother went to high school together and are super close, so I’m not surprised. I can’t believe he kept it a secret though. We watch some Parks and Rec and I call my PA to go over tomorrow’s morning case.
10:15 p.m. — I get a text from my niece asking if she can sleep over tomorrow. I call my sister to check that it is okay and she tells me that all her friends are going to a birthday party and she wasn’t invited. She is maturing a little slower than her peers and it is starting to show more now that they are in middle school. I text her back that my husband is going to be out and we can have a girl’s night.
11 p.m. — I do my skincare routine and fall asleep before the lights turn off.
Daily Total: $2,459
4:45 a.m. — Up without snoozing my alarm. I run to the gym and it is so cold today! I consider Ubering home, but I stay strong.
6:15 a.m. — K. made coffee and some breakfast so I eat quickly while doing some emails. I shower and head out the door. I leave a voicemail for my lawyer on the way into work. K. recently finished paying off his student debt from law school and I was upgraded to an attending salary, so we need to make some edits to our prenup.
7:15 a.m. — Rounds are done and I’m into my first surgery. I don’t want to jinx it but I think I might just finish on time today.
12 p.m. — I eat some leftovers for lunch while charting and working on discharge paperwork.
4:15 p.m. — It’s the freakin’ weekend baby! I have a voicemail from my lawyer’s assistant asking for us to come in sometime next week. I text K. asking when he is free, and I’ll call them back on Monday morning. I pick my niece up from her house and then get the dogs from daycare. We make an important pit stop for ice cream and popcorn. $27
7 p.m. — My niece very diligently finishes her homework before the fun can begin. K. is at a work event tonight and won’t be home until later so we order Indian food and walk the dogs to go pick it up. $55
9:30 p.m. — My niece wants to watch Captain Marvel, so I get a month’s access to Disney+. It also comes with access to Hulu and ESPN, which we might use, but will probably end up being a waste of money. We make stovetop popcorn and snuggle with the dogs. $12.99
11:15 p.m. — We both fell asleep on the couch, so we make our way upstairs and brush teeth and do skincare. My niece wants the dogs to sleep in bed with her so I tuck her and both puppies in bed in the guest room. I tuck myself in and fall asleep immediately.
Daily Total: $94.99
2:30 a.m. — K. comes home and is pretty drunk. He tries sneaking into bed, but I wake up anyway. He’s honestly so cute when he’s drunk. He snuggles me and I fall right back to sleep.
6:30 a.m. — I head out to round at the hospital. I wake K. up before I go and tell him to listen for our niece in case she wakes up. I stop and get a latte on my way. $4.50
8:30 a.m. — All set at the hospital. K. and my niece are making chocolate chip pancakes when I get home and he looks painfully hungover. I send him back to bed with a promise that we’ll bring him some pancakes.
11 a.m. — K. finally gets up and looks much more alive this time. He turns on the Formula One qualifying race. My dad and brother got him really into it and it’s been so fun to see them bond over it. My niece and I paint our toenails since neither one of us can wear nail polish on our fingers.
12:30 p.m. — We pack up my niece and both dogs and head out. We drop her off at home and stop at the fancy grocery store near my sister’s house to pick up lunch supplies. We head to our friend’s house in the Maryland suburbs. Our dogs play in the backyard and we hang out with their new baby. So many of our friends have had kids in the last few years that K. and I get our baby fix. $37
3:30 p.m. — K. and I drop the dogs at home and go to look at some furniture. We moved from a two-bedroom to a four-bedroom last year, and still haven’t furnished a lot of the house. We find some bedroom furniture that we like and some things for the office, but I want to run them by my mom before we buy. She’s a decorator and I trust her opinion and taste. I consider calling her just so we can get it over with but I think it’s too late.
6:30 p.m. — We’re both starving so we grab an early dinner near where we are shopping. I have an ahi tuna salad and K. has pistachio-crusted cod. $50
7:45 p.m. — We head home and collapse on the couch. I have a small breakdown about decorating and decide to hire a decorator. K. calms me down and reminds me that there are much bigger problems in life and that my mom can help us while she is in town. I eat some ice cream and then decide to transfer my meltdown on to my feelings about my weight.
8:30 p.m. — I go upstairs and hang with the dogs to try to get out of my funk. I end up ordering a set of table linens from Rough Linen ($390) for Thanksgiving. K. comes up and hangs out with me until I fall asleep around 10:30. $390
Daily Total: $91.50
8 a.m. — I wake up later than I have in a while. I needed the sleep though, and I feel so much better than I did last night. K. is out walking the dogs, so I make myself a piece of toast with almond butter.
8:45 a.m. — I head out to meet my friend for our weekly run. We’ve trained for six marathons together and she is one of my favorite people to hang out with. We finish up and I decide to keep running back to my house. Maybe I should train for another marathon next year?
11:30 a.m. — Out of the shower and making breakfast with K. I’m ravenous and eat scrambled eggs, toast, and a giant smoothie. We both have some work to do so we head upstairs to the office. I touch base with my PA about a few things and then get a little derailed doing some online shopping. I pick up a couple things from Aritzia ($497.14) and I work on a few pieces that we’d like to get framed. I get some inspo from Framebridge and Pinterest but will take them to our local frame shop to actually get done. $497.14
12:45 p.m. — I feel like I am lacking purpose in my life, which is what’s making me feel sort of bored and stagnant. I decide that 2020 will be my year to get a hobby and start volunteering. I did a ton of volunteer work in undergrad and med school, but kind of lost touch with it during my training. I text a friend who’s involved with Junior League to see if there’s anything she suggests.
2 p.m. — K. and I both need to get out of the house, and we’re almost out of dish soap so we head to Whole Foods. We pick up dish soap, beeswax wraps, and a tiny paddywax candle ($57.15). K. heads out to the gym and I head home. I stop at the pet store on the way home and pick up some dog food before my coupon runs out ($87.90). $145.05
4:30 p.m. — I FaceTime with my sister and we talk about her date. Apparently it went ~ very well ~ so I proceed to Facebook stalk him, but I don’t get much info. I ask her what she wants for Christmas and she says socks. I tell her I’m going to get her something from a gallery that she loves in SF and to pick something out soon or I’ll do it. Sometimes she just needs a little tough love. We hang up and I’m sad even though I get to see her in three days.
6:15 p.m. — K. and I start on dinner and lunch prep for next week. We didn’t go grocery shopping this weekend, because we have a big order coming for Thanksgiving. We make miso-roasted chickpeas to add to salads, and I eat some weird leftovers out of the fridge.
8:30 p.m. — K. and I sit on the couch and look at real estate listings out west. We’d eventually like to buy a place in the mountains, but we aren’t sure if we want to be closer to town/skiing or out farther with more land. We’re hoping to retire around 50 and then split our time between DC and somewhere else. K. mentions meeting with a broker when we are in Jackson Hole next month, but I worry that it might be jumping the gun a little bit.
Daily Total: $642.19
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