SECTION ONE: ASSETS AND DEBTS My 401k + Roth IRA:
~$35,000 - I’ve been saving at least minimal amounts since the beginning of my career, but this is mostly the last two years of contributions after paying off my student loans Husband’s 401k + Roth IRA:
~$8,500 - Prior to his salary tripling in the last year, he wasn’t really able to contribute since he’s still paying off student loans Equity:
$0 - rent life! Individual Emergency Funds:
$20,000 - We each have $10,000 in our names only just for the sake of it Joint Savings:
$35,000 - We were supposed to be getting married this summer but then COVID happened Checking account balances
: $700 - We both tend to keep this less than $500 Car loan:
$24518 Credit card debt:
$0 - we pay these off in full each month Student loan debt:
$0 for me (paid off last year), $10,000 for my husband. Will pay it off in full right before interest starts again.
[Note: My husband and I both also have stock options in our companies but I don’t include them because not many have vested and none have been exercised. If they were all vested and exercised today though that’d be another $100,000+ in net worth.
] SECTION TWO: INCOME Income Progression
- Company A: $10/hr (~$35,000)
- Company A: $12/hr (~$40,000)
- Company B: $45,000
- Company B: $47,500
- Company C: $65,000 + $10k bonus
- Company C: $75,000 + $10k bonus
- Company C: $85,000 + stock options
Husband’s: He makes $85k annually too and will receive $25k in guaranteed bonuses. He was freelancing before this making like $36k annually. Monthly Take Home:
- Gross pay: ~$7,000
- 401k: ~$1,700 (This is 24.0%, then my employer matches 100% of the first 3% then 50% of the next 2%, all immediately vested)
- Taxes: ~$1,300
- Health/Dental/Vision: ~$1
- Net pay: ~$4,000
SECTION THREE: EXPENSES
- Gross pay: ~$7,000
- 401k: $0 (his employer is switching providers)
- Taxes: ~$2,000 (our withholdings are set differently)
- Health/Dental/Vision: ~$3
- Net pay: ~$5,000
Here’s how my husband and I organize our monthly expenses in YNAB categories and the bullets are everything that gets folded into them. They’re all guesses/based on YNAB averages from the past year. We’re lucky that we make enough money to not actually have a strict budget. (Not so) Necessary Spending
Just for Fun Spending
- Rent: $1,681 - we’re thinking of moving to a $2,600/month two-bedroom but I keep convincing myself that we can’t afford it which seems ridiculous now that I just wrote the above
- WateGas/Electric: $0 - included in rent
- Phone: $0 - reimbursed from work for me, he’s still on his parents plan and they don’t care about being reimbursed so he usually forgets
- Internet: $90
- Renter’s Insurance: $18.50
- Jewelry insurance: $6
- Spotify Family: $14.99
- Hulu + HBO Max: $23.98 - We also already have Disney+ from paying 3 years upfront, we have Netflix from my parents, Youtube TV from his parents, and have Apple+ from a year-long free trial
- Groceries: $400
- Car payment: $435.34 - We just bought a brand new car that we could technically pay for in cash but the interest rate is less than 2% so we don’t mind making payments on it
- Car insurance: $141
- Gas: $100
- Laundry: $10
- Pet insurance: $53
- Pet misc: $100
- NYTimes Crossword: $19.97 annually
- Duolingo Plus: $160 annually for both of us
- One Medical: $199 annually for me
- Clear Family Plan: $146 annually - I wasn’t proactive enough to stop this from renewing even though we’re not traveling right now
- Chase Sapphire Reserves: $900 annually - We’ve both had them since before the price went up; will probably cancel one of them by the time they renew if we don’t think we’ll spend at least $600 in travel next year
- His Fun Money: $500
- Her Fun Money: $500
There was a point in time where we found it useful to track eating out vs travel vs concerts/movies vs donations and all that jazz, but after one too many arguments about the allocations of those categories as joint expenses, we realized it was causing more problems than needed. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what we spend the money on, what matters is that we don’t spend too much. So I have free reign over my category, he has free reign over his, and anything we buy jointly gets split between the two. Savings
SECTION FOUR: THE DIARY Day 1 - Monday
- $5k - we're just throwing whatever’s leftover at the end of the month into whichever account makes the most sense
8:17am - I am not a morning person, so I dread this moment every weekday, and postpone getting up by scrolling through my personal emails. I see one saying that 5 years ago today I tweeted “Philippians 4:12”. I don’t remember that verse so I look it up: "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Great reminder for the start of week.
8:30 - Finally force myself to roll out of bed, brush my teeth, throw on yoga pants and t-shirt, and take the dogs (mine and my in-laws’) on a walk. Because of the LA heat wave and our lack of A/C, we made a last minute decision to spend this week at my in-laws’ house. I check my work email on the walk and see that I was selected to be a mentor for a new mentorship program that I’m excited about - yay!
9am - 3:30pm - Non-stop meetings and emails. At some point I took a 10-minute break to eat a breakfast burrito, but otherwise I was pretty good at focusing for the first half of the day.
3:45pm - I suddenly realize I am reading Money Diaries. Oops. Back to work.
4pm - Jk, I remembered I need to go to the post office to drop off a family birthday gift to ship before 5pm. I buy a padded envelope and first-class shipping to make sure I can track the package, as I am endlessly paranoid. ($7.94)
5:45pm - I’m trying to get more casual with my boss now that I’ve joined the management team so I reply to his text with one that not only has a joke in it but an emoji 😂! Honestly was terrified to press send but he laughs at my joke back with two emojis!!! (🤪😆) A definite win!
7pm - This is the earliest I’ve stopped work in weeks! There’s always more scripts to read and notes to give and emails to send, but my carpal tunnel is flaring like crazy, I’ve had some wine, and I have a pretty open day tomorrow so no reason to work through the evening.
7:30pm - My husband made an incredible turmeric chicken with smashed potatoes for dinner based on a NYTimes recipe. I absolutely hate cooking so shout-out to my in-home chef!!!
11:11 - Make a wish! My husband and I still try to kiss the clock and each other at 11:11 both times a day. We usually miss it during the day, but if we’re in meetings, we try to text each other to let the other know what time it is.
11:30pm - After a shower (night showers ftw!), my nightly routine begins - 5 minutes of Duolingo, recording how I’m feeling in my health tracking app, long-form journaling, dot journaling, and reading. I started this routine at the beginning of August in quarantine, and I love it. Total: $7.94 Day 2 - Tuesday
8:57am - Roll out of bed, brush my teeth, throw on a dress, take the dogs on a walk, then to my laptop for work!
11:35am - While waiting for a colleague to join a meeting, my boss and I end up trying to see how many songs we can name whose lyrics start with the word Hello. We get five, and then when my colleague joins in he immediately throws in one more.
12pm - Morning meetings over! Check my email and see one of my former interns wants me to be her mentor for her senior capstone project in creative writing. I’m so excited to watch her grow, and I love mentoring so I immediately say yes!
1:15pm - During lunch, I update a draft of my Forbes 30-Under-30 application with feedback from an older colleague. I simultaneously hate talking about my accomplishments and love seeing them all written out in front of me as proof that working 60-80 hour weeks for the past 5 years has not been for nothing.
4:00pm - One of the best parts of my job is getting to have (or listen to others have) small-group discussions with pretty famous creatives. I’m so obsessed with who today’s meeting was with, I can’t even believe I’m luckily enough to be in the same (Zoom) room as them.
6:00pm - Check my personal email and see my recurring (twice monthly) Church donation went through ($102.02)
9:30pm - Right before my husband and I start our workout, I get a text from my boss asking if I can join his 9am with some execs in the UK. I say yes obviously but now that means I need to move my 9:30am with someone in South Africa, before my 10am about a production in Australia...
9:45pm - Back to our regularly scheduled couple workout, then I shower, and get back to work!
11:30pm - Stop work, start bedtime routine! Total: $102.02 Day 3 - Wednesday
7:57am - Scrolling through emails as I try to wake up, I see one of my colleagues was sending them at 2 o’clock in the morning. I truly don’t get how so many people in this industry survive on just 4-6 hours of sleep every night.
7pm - I absolutely CRUSHED my to-do list today so I don’t feel guilty taking a break to hang out with my friends (on Zoom) for an hour and a half. We’ve hung out every single Wednesday for the past three years.
8:30pm - Yeah, an hour and a half with my friends turns into me giving up on work for the night. Instead I cuddle with my husband and eat some ice cream while doing the NYT Crossword and finishing season 5 of Schitt’s Creek. Total: $0 Day 4 - Thursday
8:03am - Woke up before my alarm because we have some big things happening today!
1pm - In celebration of today’s accomplishments, everyone on our team is given a $30 allowance to order whatever food we want. I ordered ramen for delivery ($29.47 to be reimbursed)
and take a 20-minute no electronics break to eat on the deck with my husband.
5pm - I see our automatic car payment went through ($435.34)
7:45pm - One hour dinner break discussing everything from the (lack of) partying habits of Gen z, crime rate trends, and ketchup on pasta before getting my laptop back out and clearing my inbox.
9:30pm - Workout night!!! My favorite part is also my dog’s favorite part - when it’s over and my husband and I just lie on our yoga mats panting while our pup licks our faces.
10:30pm - Once last document to review and send notes on before an ep of Schitt’s Creek and our bedtime routine! Total: $464.81 ($29.47 to be reimbursed) Day 5 - Friday
8:57am - Woke up as late as possible before getting ready for my day of meetings. Starting to regret telling my assistant that I don’t mind back-to-backs...
10:03am - The upper left part of my arm has been throbbing for an hour in a way that concerns me so I log-in to my One Medical app to do a video chat. I realize then that I turned auto-renew off so I actually have to reactivate my membership ($199)
10:25am - The wait lines are longer than usual because of COVID and I really can’t move my 10:30am meeting so I give up on getting a video appointment.
11:49am - Out of the meeting and realize my arm stopped throbbing and only hurts when I bend it. From experience, I think I may have slightly pinched a nerve, and I know that honestly the only cure is rest. However, this reminds me that I wanted to call my doctor about something else anyway so I leave a message for his assistant.
1:15pm - I’m absolutely exhausted so I take a 25 minutes nap during lunch. Thank god for WFH because back at the office I would find an empty conference room and sleep on one of the uncomfortable couches. Napping in bed is so much better.
4:34pm - I almost cry reading the essay my boss wrote about me to submit to 30-Under-30. He is an amazing leader, and I absolutely love working with him and everyone else on my team.
4:42pm - I actually do cry reading that Ruth Bader Ginsburg has died. Wow. No words.
6:28 - Having a hard time concentrating on work thinking about the impending demise of our country so I finish working early again today.
7:30pm - We have chicken tenders and wine for dinner and donate to ActBlue ($100)
9pm - A friend makes a Close Friends insta story about being sick and not being able to afford healthcare. I chat with her then Venmo her the amount for co-pays for her first two appointments** ($95)** Total: $394 Day 6 - Saturday
8:32am - On the verge of being awake I turn over and see my husband reading. I ask him what time it is and he says 8:32. I laugh and roll back over to sleep.
10:17am - Now at a more acceptable time, I wake-up slowly: cuddling with the dog, scrolling through emails and social media, and giving my husband a massage since we have a long drive ahead of us back to LA today and he’ll be at the wheel the whole way.
1:15pm - After cleaning up the house, packing, walking the dog, and a quick lunch we get on the road!
2pm - Have been on my laptop clearing my inbox and trying to get my weekend work out of the way, but I get distracted and into a Wikipedia rabbit hole after reading a logline about a Hasidic Jewish gang that torture husbands into granting their wives religious divorces. Learning about and sharing stories from different cultures is pretty much why I got into this industry so I find it fascinating.
4pm - We switch from music to podcasts for the next few hours and listen to Happiness Lab, Millionaires Unveiled, Hidden Brain, How I Built This, Cautionary Tales, and Thrilling Tales of Modern Capitalism (terrible title, good podcast). We stop for gas at some point ($46.66)
6:45pm - I see our Zola credits processed for things that never got delivered from our wedding registry so I spend the credits on three other things from our registry. Would have cost $84.84 without the credits.
7:15pm - There’s no food in our apartment so we order in from our favorite local spot ($74.70)
and quickly run by the grocery store to grab the necessities (aka wine and ice cream) and end up also getting really cool new ice cube trays ($55.56)
8pm - We decide to watch Cuties because I want to see what the controversy is all about. I’m torn because I agree that the director’s choice in close-ups are uncomfortable, but I feel like I’ve seen equally bad child choreo on Dance Moms/Toddlers & Tiaras/Tik Tok and I’m glad the film is prompting the conversations it wanted us to have.
9:30pm - We said we were going to do our usual workout but we do not. Instead we drink more wine and eat ice cream and watch Schitt’s Creek until bed. Total: $176.92 Day 7 - Sunday
10am - Up to watch a livestream of Church. An incredible message on faith and hope and the future. My favorite insight was about the idea that humans don’t perceive time itself, we perceive change. And in this quarantine time when we all feel stagnant and locked up and unchanging, it’s harder to imagine a future and that is why it’s harder to have hope.
11am - While my husband goes grocery shopping, I throw on a Spotify playlist to start unpacking and cleaning up. I gave him the goal of spending less than $100 on groceries, and he succeeds on a technicality, spending** $99.33** on groceries and on $10.71
1:30pm - While he takes the dog to get an allergy shot ($54.29)
and a bottle of wine for our friend who got our mail while we were gone ($14.99)
, I sit down to do some work in hopes that it’ll prevent me from needing any midnight work nights this week.
5pm - It’s Emmy night!!!! Schitt’s Creek, Schitt’s Creek, Schitt’s Creek!!!! So glad we started binging this a month ago.
10pm - Better late than never for our workout before one more episode of Schitt’s before bed. Now that I know season 6 won so many Emmy’s I’m excited to finish the series! Total: $179.32 Week Total: $1,325.01
- Food + Drink: $259.06 ($29.47 to be reimbursed)
- Fun + Entertainment: $0
- Home + Health: $209.71
- Clothes + Beauty: $0
- Car + Transport: $482
- Other: $374.24
Spending-wise, this week felt fairly high but I know we don’t spend this much consistently and always end up on budget by the end of the month so I’m not worried. We essentially just maxed out our monthly donations earlier than usual, and this just happened to be the week of the month that our car payment went through.
The biggest takeaway for me from this was that it just hit me that we should be able to save at least $50,000 a year, which was more than my husband even made gross last year! That’s exciting and means I should probably start thinking more concretely about our pre vs post-tax strategy and how much we should have in cash versus doing an end of year Backdoor Roth IRA.