A Week In Austin, TX, On A Joint $142,000 Salary

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Today: a librarian/adjunct professor working in higher education who makes $74,340 per year (about $142,000 combined with her husband) and spends some of her money this week on Nikes for her toddler.

Occupation: Librarian/Adjunct ProfessorIndustry: Higher EducationAge: 28Location: Austin, TXMy Salary: $74,340 My Husband’s Salary: $58,000, with about an additional $10,000 in outside contract work Paycheck Amount (Monthly): $4,670.78 (This fluctuates in the summer months when I’m not teaching my extra evening class.)My Husband’s Paycheck Amount (Monthly): $3,944.41

Monthly ExpensesMortgage: $1,950.26 for a three-bedroom, two-and-half bathroom houseCar Payments: $417.25 for my car and $530.68 for husband’s truck Student Loan Payment: $120Electric & Water: ~$200Home and Auto Insurance: $298.89Housekeeper: $90 biweeklyInternet: $115 Phone: $222.11 (this includes service for us both and monthly payments for my husband’s iPhone)Health, Vision & Dental Insurance: $238.58 (This is for my daughter. My employer covers my husband and me.)Daycare: $1,018Netflix, Hulu, & YouTube Premium: $35 Retirement: $461.62 to the Teacher Retirement System, a pension that public school employees pay into instead of paying into Social SecurityGym Membership: $28.13 (reduced rate through my employer that is deducted from my paycheck)Blue Apron: $60 (We typically do one box a month as a fun treat.)

Day One

6 a.m. — I wake up to get ready for work before my daughter wakes up. Once she’s awake, it’s go go go! Baby is awake about 30 minutes later. I feed her whole milk, and we share blueberry waffles while I pack both of our lunches. I spend all of my energy making her perfectly cut organic toddler food. Then I throw chips and salsa in my bag with a bottle of water and mini diet Coke. #Momlife.

6:45 a.m. — My husband is home from working the night shift. He plays with the baby for a few minutes and then helps us load up the car. I treat myself to an iced latte at Dunkin’ on the way to drop her off. I’m still adjusting to being home alone at night without my husband, and my sleep is suffering. He is taking his turn on the night shift for a few months, and it’s been a learning experience for the whole family. $6.37

7:35 a.m. — I arrive at work for the day. During the summer, my work schedule slows down a bit. There are still students taking summer classes, but not quite the numbers we’re used to in the fall and spring semesters. This morning, I’m on the reference desk, which means I’m helping students locate books and other research materials for their assignments. I help a slow trickle of students while I sip my latte. It’s not really making me any less tired. I get an email from the accounts payable department that my mileage check ($94.29) for last month is being direct deposited today. Perfect timing at the end of the month! My husband and I both get paid once a month, so those last few days before payday always feel like they drag.

12:30 p.m. — I end my shift on the desk and head back to my office for the afternoon. My husband has Jimmy John’s delivered to my desk. He’s always looking out for me and knew I didn’t have any leftovers to bring for lunch. We had a last minute visit from our California friends on their way to Mexico, so our week has been a little out of whack. I love it when our friends visit us. It’s been impossible to travel since we had the baby. Luckily our friends don’t mind coming to us! $10.25

2p.m. — The daycare posts two photos of my daughter on the parent communication app. She looks like she’s having the time of her life! My day is instantly better. I pay the invoice for a top I ordered from a friend’s online boutique. Now that I’m a mom, I feel like I want my wardrobe to reflect that. Having a kid and being on the cusp of 30 feels like a new chapter. $31.35

4 p.m. — On the way to pick up my little one from school, I stop by Randall’s for a few necessities. Breakfast has been difficult for me to fit in while juggling the baby and trying to get to work on time. I want to try out overnight oats, so I buy organic oats, agave, plain yogurt, 1% milk, apple slices, string cheese, plain Cheerios, and two Lean Cuisines. $35.51

7:15 p.m. — My husband, C., makes me a light dinner of scrambled eggs on sourdough after we put the baby to bed. He might eat later. The night shift is throwing off his eating schedule, so meal time has been all over the place. After dinner I make two servings of overnight oats for us to try tomorrow.

9 p.m. — We spend the rest of the night chilled out on the couch. C. plays Destiny on the Xbox while I watch YouTube videos on my iPad. It’s pizza day at school tomorrow, so I’m off the hook for making baby girl a lunch. I get a text from the housekeeper confirming for the next day. I Venmo her $90. It may seem like a lavish expense, but I consider my bi-weekly house cleaning to be the ultimate mommy self-care. Coming home to a clean house when you have a toddler is worth every penny.

Daily Total: $83.48

Day Two

6 a.m. — My alarm goes off. I jump in the shower and hope for what every mom hopes for. Please don’t let the baby wake up in the next 10 minutes. When I get out, C. is home from work and has brought iced coffees and breakfast sandwiches for us. I was planning on having the overnight oats for breakfast, but I’ll just take them for lunch instead. I toss the oats, some apple slices, a string cheese, and a water in my lunchbox and head out the door. $16.83

9:45 a.m. — The daycare sends me two photos of my daughter coloring. It’s obvious she is destined for artistic greatness! Sending her to this daycare has been one of the best decisions we’ve made. Before this, she was staying at home with a nanny. We absolutely loved the nanny, but at $12/hour I found myself racing home every day to try and keep costs down. Now the baby benefits from the increased socialization, and I know that I’m paying one standard fee, no matter what. An added bonus is that the daycare gives us a slight discount (3%) for working in education.

11:45 a.m. — Desk lunch! I rarely take a lunch and prefer to eat at my desk while I work. In the long run I’d rather end my day early than take a lunch break. The overnight oats are…thick. I add some banana chunks and it improves significantly. I think this will easily fit into my meal prep rotation once I get the oat/milk/yogurt ratio correct. I also snack on some apple slices. I really need to get back on track with my healthy diet. I stopped breastfeeding a few months ago, and I almost don’t recognize my own body anymore. Pregnancy and breastfeeding have made the last two years really intense, and I know I need to prioritize myself again. I literally own one bra that actually fits!

3:45 p.m. — My husband calls me as I’m leaving work and asks me to pick up a six-pack of Miller Lite. I’m a teetotaler, but C. enjoys a few beers from time to time. I feel like he’s just glad to have survived his first full week of night shifts! Who can blame him? I buy the beer, then make my way down the street to pick up my daughter from school. $7.96

5 p.m. — C. announces our direct deposits just landed in our account. We work for the same company (very different departments in different parts of town) and both of our paychecks are deposited once a month on the same day. Personally, I wish they were a little spread out. Most places I’ve worked in the past were biweekly. My mother-in-law calls, and we decide to meet her for dinner. It’s Friday and payday. Why not?! I get soup and a baked potato. My husband and MIL each order the salmon. Baby eats macaroni and cheese. We treat my MIL to dinner, as she’s been super helpful with babysitting this last month. $67.76

6:30 p.m. — We get back home, and it’s time for baby’s bedtime routine. Bath, milk, and at least 14 books. She’s asleep by 7:30, and C. and I spend the evening relaxing and winding down from a long week. Even though he has the next two nights off, he is still going to try to maintain his nocturnal schedule. I turn in around 10:30 and leave him with his video games.

Daily Total: $92.55

Day Three

6:30 a.m. — Baby morning routine. It’s Saturday, but she doesn’t quite grasp that we should sleep in and snuggle on the weekends. Usually it would be just me and the baby until C. wakes up after lunch, but today is a little different. I have to be at Junior League at 8 a.m. C. gets about an hour nap before he’s on baby duty, and I’m out the door.

8 a.m. — Today at Junior League, we’re in prep mode. The new school year is coming up, and we are making sure everything is ready to go. My committee of about 10 women spends a few hours cleaning, organizing, and planning. Joining the league has been one of the best things I’ve done in the last few years. Making friends post-college (especially in my line of work) can be a challenge, but through the League I’ve met some great girls as well as found some extremely fulfilling ways to give back to my community.

11:30 a.m. — I call C. and let him know that I’m done for the day. He tells me to take some “me time” even though he’s going on about an hour of sleep. Another reason I love him! The first few days after payday are typically my most spendy. That’s when I buy the things I’ve been holding out for. This month I know I need to go clothes and shoe shopping for my daughter. She is walking all over the place now and really needs more than one pair of shoes. I cruise through Rack Room Shoes and buy her a pair of Nikes and another pair of shoes, since it’s buy one get one half off. I also pop into Old Navy next door. She’s growing like a weed and I always keep an eye out for clothes that are on sale in the next size up. They have the PJs she likes on clearance for $5 a set! I grab five pairs as well as two tops for her. I also find a pair of shorts and three shirts for my husband. I’m trying not to spend any money on myself, as I have a big bridesmaid dress purchase coming up. $174.19

1:15 p.m. — When I get back home, my whole family is asleep! Husband, baby, and both cats. I spend the next 20 minutes putting away my purchases and getting a grocery list started for tomorrow. When the baby wakes up, I take her over to my aunt’s house for a little visit. It will also give dad some peace and quiet so he can get caught up on his sleep.

5 p.m. — We’re home, and dinner is a bit of a hodgepodge of leftovers from the week. We will go to the grocery store in the morning so we just eat whatever we can find. The baby has pasta and squash while I make a sandwich, and C. has a cobb salad. The baby is in bed by 7, and we spend the rest of the night watching Ready Player One on the couch.

Daily Total: $174.19

Day Four

6:15 a.m. — Baby is awake! I hang out with her in her playroom while she snacks on Cheerios and watches PBS Kids.

7:45 a.m. — C. is awake. We all scramble to get ready and meet his side of the family for breakfast. Breakfast is an ongoing tradition with them. We meet up for breakfast tacos, and baby girl has so much fun eating a pancake and playing with her grandfather. C.’s dad takes care of the bill.

9 a.m. — Grocery shopping time. Usually we do our weekly shop at HEB, but since we’re on the other side of town, we decide to do something more fun and go to Trader Joe’s. This can be dangerous to take my husband to — he loves a good impulse buy! We have a Blue Apron order coming this week, so we mostly focus on food for the baby, lunches, and snacks. I buy peaches, bananas, green beans, butternut squash, ravioli, chicken salad, ingredients for my salsa chicken meal prep, applesauce, waffles, coffee, and two jars of our favorite palm-oil-free peanut butter. $100.94

11 a.m. — When we get home, it’s nap time for everyone except for me. While the house sleeps, I toss on some laundry and get started on meal prepping. This week I’m cooking everything in my Instant Pot. I got it for Christmas last year, and it is seriously my most used kitchen appliance. First up is a big batch of steel cut oats as requested by my husband. After that is lunches for the week. I set a batch of brown rice to cook while I gather all of the ingredients for salsa chicken. I don’t have a real recipe, but it’s based off of something I read on Facebook. Into a big bowl I add roasted corn, green chiles, red, yellow, and green peppers, black beans, a jar of salsa, a tablespoon of taco seasoning, and a dash of garlic. When the rice is done, I add my salsa mix and three chicken breasts. It cooks on high pressure for eight minutes, and viola!

12:30 p.m. — Everyone is awake and ready for lunch. C. and I have small bowls of salsa chicken while the baby has some of the raviolis from Trader Joe’s and exactly one blueberry. The afternoon ends up being one of the most difficult parenting days we’ve had. Baby has allergies plus a new tooth coming in, so nothing makes her happy. At one point I drive around for an hour while she watches her iPad in the backseat. I get a stress-shake at Whataburger while I drive. $4

5 p.m. — C. grills burgers for dinner, and then it’s straight to the bath for baby. I’m not feeling great after such a long day, so I lay in bed playing on my phone and watching random things on my iPad. At around 11, I decide I just can’t imagine going into work tomorrow morning, so I email my boss to say I’m taking a sick day. This is very out of character for me, as I used almost every last bit of my sick time for my maternity leave, and it’s been impossible to build it back up.

Daily Total: $104.94

Day Five

6:15 a.m. — Even though I’m taking the day off work, I’m still up around 6 a.m. with my little early bird. I get her ready for the day, and then it’s off to daycare. I come back home and immediately get back in bed. I can count the number of days I’ve been able to sleep late in the last year on one hand. This is much needed.

10 a.m. — I wake up naturally, and it feels amazing. I think I really just needed the sleep. C. is still asleep and probably will be until the afternoon. I make myself two poached eggs and have them with a piece of buttered toast and some cold brew I made last night. The only way I can avoid my daily Dunkin’ is if I actually take the time to make a pitcher of cold brew in advance.

12 p.m. — It’s rare to have a weekday to get some errands done. I quietly slip out of the house and head to HEB. I need to pick up a prescription ($30) and a few things we weren’t able to find a Trader Joe’s yesterday. I buy cat food, cinnamon Life cereal, my favorite Mexican cheese, and some other odds and ends ($67.03). I’m back at home at around 1:30 p.m., and it’s salsa chicken time. I heat up my portion in a mini sauce pan. I can’t stand microwaved foods, so I have to get creative with leftovers. I eat while reading articles on my computer. $97.03

5 p.m. — For dinner it’s another random night. Our Blue Apron comes tomorrow, so we eat three separate meals. Pork tenderloin for the hubby, macaroni and cheese for the baby, and refrigerated raviolis for me.

5:30 p.m. — C. leaves for work early and the baby and I do our usual nighttime routine. I spend the evening cleaning the kitchen before laying on the couch and watching an episode of Suits.

Daily Total: $97.03

Day Six

6:15 a.m. — Everyone is awake! I help C. get the baby ready and he takes her to school. I make a cold brew latte with agave and 2% milk, and then head out the door to work. We noticed a blister on the baby’s foot last night, and I make a note to call the nurse at our pediatrician’s office when they open today.

8 a.m. — It’s another morning on the reference desk at work. This morning I get some interesting student questions about everything from reading comprehension to classical conditioning. This is why I love my job! Something new every day. I get an email from our administrative assistant that annual parking passes for the new school year are available to purchase. I order mine and choose to have the $40 deducted from my next paycheck.

12:30 p.m. — My reference shift is over, and I go back to my office for lunch. I brought the last of my salsa chicken, so I plug in my Crock-Pot lunch warmer, which is a must have for all microwave banishers, and soon it’s ready to eat.

3 p.m. — I leave a little bit early today so I can take the baby to the doctor. I pick her up at school and then swing by our house and pick up my husband as well now that he is awake for the day. Sometimes it takes two to entertain a toddler at the doctor!

4:15 p.m. — It wasn’t a blister! She somehow got an infected insect bite. Poor baby. I’m so glad I was able to get her into the doctor today and didn’t just shrug it off ($25 copay). We go by the pharmacy to get her prescription and antibiotic ointment ($17.68). $42.68

4:45 p.m. — Our Blue Apron was delivered today, but I know I won’t have time to unpack and cook it in time for the baby to eat, so I decide to swing by Chipotle for dinner. It’s easy to justify because they actually have a decent kids menu that isn’t macaroni, and I can get a bowl with double rice and chicken and take half for lunch tomorrow. Everybody wins! $14.61

7 p.m. — With baby in bed, I decide to go ahead and bite the bullet on my bridesmaid dress. I’ve been putting it off, but I know I’m the last one to order mine and I should just get it done. Usually spending this much money at Nordstrom would make me much happier! I spend the rest of the evening doing my nighttime chores and then watching Alex Strangelove on Netflix. $266.30

9:45 p.m. — Before bed I decide it’s finally time to dye my brows. I’ve been putting it off all week. My salon charges around $15 for a brow tint, and dying my brows at home is such an easy way to save. I ordered a kit off Amazon that’s around the same price and lasts me at least six months. Believe me…it’s not as scary as one might think!

Daily Total: $323.59

Day Seven

6:20 a.m. — Baby wakes me up, and it’s time to start the day. I get her ready and C. takes her to school. I make us both eggs and toast to eat when he gets back home. I finish getting ready for work and grab my lunch of Chipotle leftovers before I leave.

8 a.m. — I wake up my brain by reading the latest Twin Week Money Diaries. It’s fascinating to think about how differently two people with the same start in life can end up. I think about my own half sister. She’s years older than me, and we aren’t very close. One of the reasons we are so different is that our financial situations led us down very different paths in life. My journey could have been much different if I wasn’t given the privileges I had growing up with my mom and stepfather.

10 a.m. — It’s the first of the month, and I scan through our banking app while eating my morning yogurt. I have all of my bills set to auto-draft. Our electric bill is insane — $455!!! Last month was $140. I feel sick. This Texas heat is trying to kill me. I call my husband to see if he knows what’s up with the bill. It turns out he messed up, and we are paying last month’s and this months bill in one payment. *Eye roll.* I’ve always been a stickler about paying things off and on time. My husband is still learning, apparently!

12:15 p.m. — I eat my leftover Chipotle at my desk. I’m still in a bad mood about the electricity bill. That plus the bridesmaid dress have really thrown off our budget. This is not where I wanted our extra money to go this month, but I am grateful we always have some wiggle room. My paycheck will also be going up next month when my raise for the new school year starts. Our school uses a step plan, and my salary goes up one step every year. It’s reassuring knowing that everyone in my organization is paid on this scale, which only factors in two things: education level and years of experience. Wage gap be gone!

4:45 p.m. — My daughter and I are on our own for dinner tonight while my husband meets up with two of his friends for burgers ($11.73). I make one of the Blue Apron dinners: basil pasta with roasted corn, tomatoes, and goat cheese. My daughter helps me cook by playing with some mixing bowls full of water on the kitchen floor. We love a good sensory activity! $11.73

7 p.m. — After I put the baby to bed, I try to get my nightly chores out of the way quickly. I clean the kitchen, put on a load of laundry, and make my daughter’s lunch for school tomorrow. Before I go to sleep, I buy the things in our Amazon cart — a new backpack for my daughter that she needs for school next week, an eye mask so my husband can sleep during the day, and some more of the disposable spoolie brushes I use to apply my brow dye. $44.20

Daily Total: $55.93

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