First, I'm sorry this is so long. Second - please be nice. We have debt, bad habits, and are Catholic. So if any of those things are going to get you spun up, just skip this one. Section One: Assets and Debt
Use this section to explain your current financial picture at large.
Everything here is joint – “M” and I have been married 22 years and we’ve had “smashed money” that whole time (and really for about a year before that). Retirement Balance
(and how you got there): Approximately $500,000 in a variety of IRAs and current 401(k)s. Equity
if you're a homeowner (and how much you put down and how you accumulated that payment). Bought our house in 2001 for $239,000 with 20% down (some aggressive saving and a gift from each of our parents). We refinanced, took some cash out for some home repairs, and reduced it to a 15-year loan in 2009 – our current equity would be about $195,000, but similar homes in the neighborhood are listed at $475,000-$525,000, so if we ever sell, we’re probably coming out ahead. Savings account balance
: $6,000 Checking account balance
: $6,500 Credit card debt
(and how you accumulated it): I hope you’re sitting down. Approximately $40,000. Yes, you read that right. How we accumulated it? The house is 90 years old and constantly falling apart, so we’ve had to charge things that needed to be done (some we wanted to have done, but some – like the time our oil burner stopped working in December – were needs). We had two dogs with numerous medical issues – I don’t want to calculate what they cost me, but they each had surgeries that were about $5,000 (each), plus other chronic and acute medical issues. And yes…for a while, we were doing and buying things we probably shouldn’t have (not bad things, just vacations, clothes, and non-essential home improvements) So…when I’m 100 and greeting people at Wal-Mart, I’ll at least have some good memories. That said, I can’t tell you the last time I used credit – if we can’t afford to pay cash, we don’t do it (and I say that fully realizing most people would feel that I shouldn’t do anything). Student loan debt (for what degree)
: None – my husband went to the military and then to work after high school and I went back to community college later in life and paid as I went. Anything else that's applicable to you
: If my ex-husband dies before me, I’ll have about $6,000 in a money market that he must have forgotten about. When we divorced, he was supposed to liquidate all those accounts and give me half. He was an accountant and a SOB, so I never knew exactly what we had, but what I got seemed accurate (it paid for furniture, my wedding to M and part of this house, so I was OK with it). Lo and behold, a couple years ago, I found out we still have this money market account in both names. I tried to find him so we could liquidate/split it, but he’s missing. I get the statements here now, and the good part is he’s older than me, so I’m holding out hope he predeceases me and it will be mine. Section Two: Income Income Progression:
I've been working in my field for a year and a half, my starting salary was $100,000. I did a salary story with the entire progression – long story short, I’ve made more, and I’ve made less, but this is probably about the average of the last five years.
My husband has been at his job for 14 years – he started there making around $75,000 and now makes $110,000. They usually give him a $10,000 bonus at the end of the year, but are always crying poverty if people ask for a raise. Prior to that, he worked for a company that paid very well and he had a 15-minute commute, but he got out one step ahead of their bankruptcy. Main Job Monthly Take Home:
J: $6,230 Side Gig Monthly Take Home:
M is paid $1,300/month by our parish for serving as Youth Minister. Any Other Monthly Income: $16.00
I get quarterly dividends on stock I was given when I was born (I may not have been born into money, but apparently my grandparents had friends who thought this was a good baby gift). The last few were around $50, so I divided by 3. Section Three: Expenses Rent / Mortgage / HOA fees
(please specify how you split it if living with a partner): $3,043, which includes the property taxes and homeowner's insurance Savings contribution
: $500/month without fail (my bank transfers $100 if we get over $500 in, so once each paycheck and once when we put the church check in). More if I feel the savings needs a boost. Debt payments:
- Credit card #1: $350/month (this is about twice the minimum)
- Credit card #2: $375/month (minimum payment)
- Credit card #3: $200/month (minimum payment - this is the next one getting whacked when #1 is paid off)
OK – anyone who isn’t screaming because I owe $40K is going to start now.
- $300/month to the church in the “collection basket” (it’s electronic, but same diff)
- $100/month to the church building fund (last year of a five-year pledge, thankfully – if I hadn’t promised to pay it, I wouldn’t)
- $25/month to Habitat for Humanity
- $20/month to Citymeals on Wheels
- ~$50/month to various other charities
- ~$100/month in food for the church food drive (we don’t have a food pantry, but collect food every week and anyone from the neighborhood can come take some. The rest is donated to several food pantries and soup kitchens in the Diocese).
- As far as volunteer hours, M and I both teach Religious Ed. I'm on the Parish Council and co-social media manager of the parish (basically, I schedule Facebook). M also videotapes the 5:00 Mass and the children’s worship message each week and uploads it to the parish YouTube channel.
: $110 Gas (stove/hot water)
: $50 Oil
: $250/month in the winter Wifi/Cable
: $179 Cellphone
: $252 for both of us (I get mine expensed except $26 for my phone payment) Subscriptions
Car payment / insurance
- $.99/month for iCloud Storage
- $545/month for life insurance for both of us, plus $202 quarterly for the life insurance policies we took out when we bought the house
- $17/month for NY Times online
- $10.86/month for Ring video doorbell
- $12.99/month for Netflix
- $9.99/month for Spotify (I think M gets reimbursed for this, because he has it for Youth Ministry)
- $119/year for Amazon Prime (yes, I know, I am an awful person)
: $295/month for my car (leased). My husband is driving a 10-year old car that is paid off. $128/month for auto insurance Lawn care
: $50/month Commuting
: Now that we’re in COVID times, I’ve been buying a 10-trip off peak railroad ticket every five days for $78.75. Pre-COVID, M and I each bought a monthly ticket for $270, and I took the subway most days for an additional $100/month. I fill up the car about once a month (~$36) and M fills his about every other week (~$70/month) Saturday, September 26, 2020 7:45 am:
Up and at ‘em! I get up, get coffee, check emails and social media and start the day. 8:00 am:
M leaves the house for a long list of errands, the payment for which will be shown below. I put in a load of laundry and discover…a leak! There is a large pipe between our powder room sink (which I used when I woke up) and the outside world that runs through the basement and is apparently leaking. Yay whee. If you get one thing from this diary, let it be these words of wisdom – don’t buy an old house! No beautiful feature is worth the aggravation! I get the water (I hope
it’s water) cleaned up, a load of laundry in, take a shower, do some picking up around the house, get dressed in a Rangers t-shirt and cut off distressed jeans, do my makeup (Olay microsculpting serum and Miracle Blur over the bottom of my face, pink, gray, and violet eyeshadows, a swipe of foundation under my eyes, black eyeliner, black mascara, and dark brown eye pencil. This is standard everyday makeup for me and will be repeated each day. I put volumizing mousse in my hair and blow dry it (also routine).
In the meantime, M gets a haircut ($30 including tip), sets up the video equipment at church, goes to CVS for passport photos that he needs for an application ($18.87), and goes to the religious goods store for a book of the Liturgy of the Hours ($42.31). He is starting formation for the diaconate (the process of becoming a Deacon in the Catholic Church) today, and they said he’ll need that book. He also needs the photos for his application, and he stops at the bank for two money orders – one to send with the background check request and one for his high school transcript ($26). On the way home, he picks up breakfast (brunch?) for us – classic New York BEC, SPK (bacon, egg, and cheese on a roll with salt, pepper and ketchup) for him and egg whites, turkey and swiss cheese on a whole wheat wrap for me ($10.78), as well as cigs for him and vape cartridges for me ($36).
The washing machine isn’t causing any additional leakage, so I move the wash to the dryer and start moving the winter clothes from the portable closet in front of the leaking pipe upstairs (they’re not wet, but we’re going to have to move the closet when the plumber comes).
After eating the egg sandwiches, we get changed for deacon class – I look like a good church lady in black slacks, a black and white flowered shirt with a black tank underneath, and black sandals with a chunky 2.5” heel. M goes with the classic golf shirt and dockers. While we’re getting changed, he mentions he needs new underwear, so I whip out the phone and order him some ($18.64). 6:30 pm
: Home from deacon class and Mass and the groceries show up! I ordered them yesterday, but I don’t think the charge went through till today, so here goes. Asparagus, broccoli, celery, bananas, cucumber, lime, grape tomatoes, peaches, carrots, potatoes, spinach, lettuce, zucchini, frozen burgers, ground turkey, chicken breasts, whole chicken, fried chicken and a pot pie for J’s lunches, yogurt, sugar free pumpkin spice creamer (YES! I’ve been looking for it for weeks!), milk, heavy cream, OJ, k-cups, frozen green beans, cauliflower rice, stuffing mix, microwave rice, cake mix (the good ones were on sale), chicken broth, potato chips, and trash bags. Spent $154.95 including delivery, saved $14.50 (very low for me), tipped the delivery guy $10. 7:00 pm:
After putting away all that food, what do we do? If you guessed order dinner, you’d be right! I don’t cook on Saturday unless we’re having company. We order from a new taco place – three each and “Mexican wings”. The wings were meh, but the tacos ranged from good to outstanding. $53.78 including tip. After dinner, M starts post-production of the Mass video and I do some laundry, watch the NASCAR race and the hockey game, and play games on my iPad. Remember, you’ll be old someday too! 11:00 pm:
I go to the basement to pick up laundry and remember I wanted to order a new garden flag (this isn’t as random as it sounds – all my seasonal decorations are stored in the basement). I have had a cart set up for days with two garden flags ($6.99 each) and four magnetic mailbox covers for my parents for Christmas ($11.99 each) – they’ve talked about having a different one for each season, and I saw them when I was looking for a garden flag. Total with tax and free shipping: $61.94. I love Christmas and generally spend way too much on gifts so I’m trying to start shopping before December and at least spread out the pain. We went to a crafts fair a few weeks ago and I picked up a few things and now I’ve got this done – go me!! 12:30 pm:
The hockey game is over (2 OT!) and I go to bed. M is napping waiting for his video production to finish. Daily Total: $463.27 Sunday, September 27 7:00 am:
The alarm goes off – ugh. It’s the first day of Religious Ed (virtual, but I have to do a 9:45 zoom with my 4th graders). Coffee, social media, shower, dress, makeup. Put on a black eyelet dress because we’re going back to church today so M can videotape First Communion. Do the usual makeup/hair thing. 10:30 am:
My 4th graders are great and we’re ready to roll (M has on a shirt and tie in honor of the First Communion), and we’re off to Mass. Drop off the food I bought for our food pantry last week and help him video. Of course, the kids are adorable! 12:00 noon:
We’re starving after church, so we stop at our favorite local pizza place on the way home. Get a variety of slices for $22.62, including a tip (we’re getting it to go, but I’m tipping everywhere, because I know restaurants have been hurt badly by the pandemic. These folks are in NYC and still haven’t opened inside dining.) 1:30 pm
: Ate, ran more laundry, changed into the jeans I wore yesterday and a Yankees t-shirt and call the nail place. Of all my expenses, nails are probably the most non-negotiable – I’ve been getting my nails done for 40 years, and when I couldn’t do so during the lockdown, I was miserable. They can take me right away, which makes me happy. 3:00 pm:
All 20 nails done – gel on the fingers and a regular pedicure with callus removal ($75 plus $15 tip = $90). I went with an autumn theme and got copper on the fingers and bronze toes – the nail polish looked in the jar like it would match the toes, but it doesn’t. Stop at CVS for eye cream (Olay for tired eyes) and mascara (L’Oreal Voluminous) - $27 with coupons. M asked me to pick up cigs on the way home, so I do, as well as vape cartridges, which I don’t technically need yet, but it will save a trip later in the week ($36). 3:30 pm
: While at the nail place, I saw that one of our favorite local restaurants had a fire, which consumed an entire block of restaurants and small businesses. The Chamber of Commerce is doing a GoFundMe, and I donate $25 to the cause - $28.75 including the charge. I also notice that the weekly charge for my church donation went through ($75). 11:30 pm:
Took a quick nap (the highlight of my week every week), put some fall decorations out, had our family Zoom call, laundry, got the end of the winter clothes moved upstairs, had dinner (roast chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and roasted asparagus), made an apple crisp (I’m not a huge dessert person but M is and I like making desserts, so it works), watched baseball, football, the NASCAR race, and basketball, and took a quick shower. Bring a Light & Fit Toasted Coconut Vanilla yogurt (the best!) to bed, finish my book (“Next Stop, Chancey”) and find the next in the series on my iPad – I’ve read them all before, but I’m in the mood for something cozy, especially after reading about the Current Occupant’s taxes – ugh!) , and turn off the lights around midnight. Daily Total: $279.37 Monday, September 28 6:45 am:
I work from home M/W/F and so I can sleep in. Relatively speaking, anyway. Get dressed in a sleeveless top and shorts (despite the fall decorations, fall nails, and roast chicken/apple crisp, it feels rather summery out there), do makeup, have some coffee and scroll through emails/socials, move yet another load of laundry (I’m trying to get it all done before the plumber comes), find the number for the plumber and give it to M to call, get the trash out, and boil some eggs for breakfast this week. I’m sitting in front of the computer by 8:15, which is ok (technically, my hours are 8:30-5:30 – it’s usually more like 8:30-6:00, and on WFH days, starting at 7:30 is not unheard of). M drops off the car at the shop – I think I forgot to mention this, but he mentioned yesterday that when he was driving around Saturday, there was a grinding noise when he backed up. More joy to come, I’m sure. 9:45 am:
I hear M on the phone with the garage – apparently, they can get a used part and do the job for $450. Not great, but it’s better than it might have been! He works from home basically every day except when he has to see customers, but thankfully we’re separated enough that we can hear each other but it’s not intrusive. 10:30 am:
Between cursing at people on the phone, M calls the plumber and I grab some cheese and more coffee! I’d tell you about my job, but honestly, it’s not worth talking about. Basically, I go to meetings, take notes on meetings, and send follow-ups (I do other things, but that’s most of it). When I get off my 11:00 am meeting, I’ll find out when the plumber is coming. You guys are getting a much more exciting week than I expected! 12:30 pm:
What a miserable day – it seems like everyone is annoyed! Take a break to eat a slice of leftover pizza and a Diet Coke (M finishes some rotisserie chicken from last week). He says the plumber may come today to look at the situation but can’t do the work till tomorrow. 6:00 pm:
Keep my head down and get some work done in the afternoon and knock off for the day. Run downstairs and make dinner – “tacos” with strips of beef grilled with Korean barbecue sauce, shredded cabbage, cheddar cheese, pineapple salsa, cucumber slices, and lime inside warmed tortillas. Delicious, if I say so myself! 7:30 pm:
I get on a Zoom faith sharing meeting and M gets on a Zoom religious ed class. 11:59 pm:
Contemplated Sunday’s Gospel with my small group, watched Tampa Bay win the Stanley Cup, took a shower and set clothes out for tomorrow, and off to bed. M picked up the car after Religious Ed. Daily Total: $450.00 Tuesday, September 29 5:45 am:
Ugh. Up and out – I’m wearing a green dress with a black jacket and have black slingbacks in my bag. I have to walk 30 short blocks and five long blocks once I get off the train, so I’m traveling light. I used to take the subway to my office, but since COVID, I try to limit that as much as possible. 7:45 am:
Off the railroad and walk uptown. I actually don’t mind the walk, because when I WFH, I walk very little – at the beginning of the lockdown, I had a nice walking routine, but lately the work seems to start the minute I wake up, so walking to work takes care of getting in those STEPS! I forgot my boiled eggs and I’m starving, so I end up buying an egg sandwich. $5.43 12:30 pm:
Because I only go to the city twice a week and I have to walk uptown with all my work stuff, I don’t bring lunch often (pre-pandemic, I used to bring breakfast and lunch every day, but I also took the subway). Decide to run to Pret and my boss and co-worker both ask me to pick something up. Of course, no one (including me) has anything but a $20, so they both say they’ll get me next time. I get my favorite chicken parm wrap and a Diet Coke. $32 12:45 pm:
I look at my personal email and discover that J’s car registration needs to be renewed. Hop on the DMV website and take care of that. $158.50. I also realize I never took out the sausages for tonight’s dinner and call M to ask him to do so. He mentions the plumber has still not shown up. 5:45 pm:
Leave a little early to get to the Fed Ex office and make my train home. I’m a little later than I’d like to be and it’s raining, so I get the subway, which is thankfully empty, reasonably clean, and quick. $2.75 7:15 pm
: M picks me up at the train station and mentions that he was so busy working that he didn’t take the sausages out. He asks me what I want to eat and we end up at Wendy’s. Cheeseburger, fries, and (surprise, surprise) a Diet Coke. He gets the same thing, but bigger. $19.75 11:30 pm:
Avoid the debate by watching the Yankees pound the Indians. Usual routine (plus ironing a shirt for J, because he has to go to a customer tomorrow) and off to sleep. I’m up to Book 3 in the Chancey series, for those keeping score. Daily Total: $218.43 Wednesday, September 29 5:30 am
: Double ugh. Woke up to use the bathroom and couldn’t get back to sleep, so here we are. Get dressed (long-sleeved Yankees t-shirt, straight leg jeans), do the face, have some coffee, and try to avoid the fact that my boss sent me an email at 11:00 pm last night looking for changes to a document, which I said I would do today. Get the trash out, pick up a little around the house, and get to work by 7:00. OH, and despite the lack of plumber and his lack of general motivation, M moved the plastic closet…in front of the washing machine! Glad I bought him underwear, because I won’t be doing laundry any time soon. Now I’m wondering if he looked at the menu (I am an obsessive meal planner and post it on the fridge weekly) and that’s why he didn’t take the sausages out – he’s avoiding zoodles! He can run but he can’t hide – I have zucchini and I’m going to spiralize it sooner or later! 8:00 am
: The document my boss needed is out, the agenda for our 9:00 am meeting is done, the morning emails are sorted (for now), and I got a link to our parish survey up on the Facebook page, so I make an egg and cheese on a tortilla and eat at my desk. 12:50 pm
: Wednesday is conference call hell – I have recurring calls every Wednesday at 9:00, 10:30, and 11:30, and the added fun today of a 10:00. There’s also a webinar every Wednesday that I try to tune into. Grab some chips and a Diet Coke and go check it out. 2:15 pm
: Still no damn plumber, but I’ll let M worry about that when he’s home tomorrow. My garden flags arrived, so that’s good. Hoping to get out and put the pumpkin one out before it gets dark, but the way today is going, that might not actually happen. However, I realize I never put dinner in the crockpot. Luckily, it only takes 3-4 hours on high, so I take care of that. It’s Tuscan Chicken with sun-dried tomatoes and spinach. By 2:30, I’m back at my desk with another Diet Coke and hard at it. Nightmares of rescheduling meetings, missing documents, etc. 6:45 pm
: Still at my desk! OK, I took some time to send an email to the parish webmaster about the survey, update this, and read the R29 money diary of the day. But overall, I’ve been working with no apparent end in sight – I could easily be here all night, but I won’t be because (a) I’m falling asleep at my desk and (b) I have a 7:30 Religious Ed teachers meeting. Hopefully I won’t fall asleep during that. Make a list of things for my boss and I to review tomorrow and finish prepping dinner. 7:15 pm
: Dinner was delicious – we had the chicken with rice for M and cauliflower rice for me, sautéed broccoli, and a basic salad (bagged spring mix, cherry tomatoes, cucumber). Now off to Zoom! 11:45 pm
: The Yankees game is still on, but I’m showered, my clothes are set out for tomorrow, and I’m fading. Turn off the light and hope for a win. Daily Total: $0.00
(bet you didn’t see that coming!) Thursday, October 1 5:45 am:
You know it…ugh. Get up, coffee, very quick scroll through the Yankees score/e-mail/social media. Get dressed in a black v-neck sweater, black and gray plaid skirt, and black jacket (not the same one I wore the other day). Am grateful the skirt fits – I gained some weight and am trying to resist buying clothes. Make sure I have the right shoes in my bag – I’m wearing high-heeled gray suede Mary Janes today. 8:15 am
: At my desk and ready to go – I remembered to bring 2 hard-boiled eggs today, which I eat with coffee while looking through emails. 12:30 pm
: Call after call after call, but I have a half-hour to eat. Run to the fancy buffet place that just re-opened for 2 meatballs, brussels sprouts, broccoli, salad, and the inevitable Diet Coke ($15.75). Manage to eat before my 1:00 pm call – go me! 3:30 pm
: Leave to go to a job site and pick something up that has to be shipped to Italy. Something that's almost as tall as me, but thankfully not heavy. Taxi down there because I’m in a hurry and I can get reimbursed ($14.04, including tip), expensed. 4:00 pm
: I get a cab to the Fed Ex office – thankfully the first one I see is a minivan, so I fit in just fine ($12.74, including tip), expensed. 5:30 pm
: Well, that was harder than it needed to be – the Fed Ex office I went to didn’t have a box that would fit the item, so they suggested another Fed Ex office about 6 blocks away, so I had to walk through midtown Manhattan carrying an object almost as tall as me (it's 5' long and I'm 5'3" tall) while dodging oblivious people. Thankfully, the other office had my box, and they were super-sweet and helpful, but it took them forever to get it done. Bought the box and bubble wrap, which will be expensed (I brought the Fed Ex label, but I don’t remember the account number) ($43.54). Get a nice early train home, though! 6:45 pm
: Wow, we’re eating when I’m usually getting the train! Cheeseburgers, tots (tater for J, cauliflower for me), green beans, and vinegar coleslaw with the end of the shredded cabbage. Get the kitchen cleaned and the dishwasher run and settle in to watch the Jets – I’m not holding out much hope, but you never know! 11:30 pm
: I’ve showered, set out clothes for me and M (he’s seeing customers tomorrow), I prepped for Youth Group, which I’m leading because he’ll be working, and the Jets are winning, so I decide it’s time to sleep. Up to Book 5 of the Chancey series. I find series usually go downhill after about the third or fourth book, but I’m not sure what I feel like reading, so here we are. OH, at some point M must have gone to the convenience store, because there are vape cartridges on the table ($36). Daily Total: $122.07
; $70.32 expensed Friday, October 02, 2020 6:00 am
: Wake up, grab coffee, find out the Jets lost after all, do the morning e-mail/social media scroll. Leaving early to deal with that work errand has left me with a ton of stuff to do, so I get dressed (long-sleeved v-neck gray t-shirt, white tank because the v-neck is halfway to my belly button, dark wash skinny jeans), put out the trash, peel two hard-boiled eggs, and head to my desk. 12:30 pm
: As always, call after call after call. Plus a bit of aggravation when my boss asks me at 10:30 for an agenda for the 11:00 call, which I sent him at about 7:30, and which he returns at 10:59 with the formatting looking like nothing on earth. Yay whee! And a project was mentioned that he forgot to tell me I’d do. So in case I thought I’d have nothing to do (that never happens on Fridays), that’s not happening. Anyway, between calls, I run downstairs for the lunch of champions – a Hot Pocket and a Diet Coke. Just that kind of day. 6:15 pm
: Realize I have to run Youth Group at 7 and I haven’t even done my haimakeup. Get that done, heat up some frozen cauliflower rice/broccoli/cheese combination and add some leftover chicken. With a green salad on the side, surprisingly yummy. 8:15 pm
: I am not a good youth leader…couldn’t get anyone talking about the subject of the day, which I thought would be a good one. I did make them laugh a few times, so that’s something.
M is going to have some expenses because he went to see customers today, but I don’t know what they are and his company will reimburse him, so I’m just leaving them out. Daily Total: $0.00 This is the Week That Was:
Food + Drink: $326.06
Fun / Entertainment: $108 (if people can put drugs in as entertainment, I’m putting our nicotine in)
Home + Health: $61.94
Clothes + Beauty: $165.64
Transport: $638.03 (some of it will be expensed)
Other: $234.47 Lastly, reflect on your diary!
How do you feel about your spending? Was this a normal week for you? Has this inspired you to make changes or has it given you a “wow I’m doing pretty good” confidence boost? Is there anything you’re actively working on? No need to answer any or all these questions but just use this space to write any thoughts you have!
This was a fairly normal week except for the car breaking and needing to be registered – we're saving some now that we WFH more because M will not
bring food from home, but I used to bring breakfast and lunch at least four days a week. I know we should make changes, but I also know we don’t want to – honestly, if you looked at the way I lived 15 years ago, I’ve made a lot of changes already. We’re working on the credit cards – I’ve gotten rid of several already (paid off, not just moved balances around) and we don’t use them at all anymore (I can honestly say I don’t remember the last thing I charged). The bad news is that M’s car is on its last legs, and so I see car payments in our future. Hopefully, he’ll get something used – we have my car when we want to look good going somewhere (mine isn’t super-fancy, it just wasn’t hit by a bus and full of stuff for his job).
OH, and the plumber still hasn’t shown up! But that will be for next week’s expenses.