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Today: a paralegal who makes $52,000 per year ($102,000 when combined with her husband’s salary) and spends some of her money this week on breakfast tacos.
Location: Austin, TX
My Salary: $52,000 plus $7,000 annual bonus
My Husband’s Salary: $50,000 plus $150-300 a month from side hustle
My Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $1,620
My Husband’s Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $1,560
Rent: $972 (I live in a one-bedroom/one-bathroom apartment in South Austin with my husband. Water and trash are included in our rent.)
Student Loan Payment: $0 (We were both fortunate enough to have our educations covered by scholarships and our parents.)
Car Payment: $500
401(k): $120/month, and my company matches, plus 6% of my annual salary
Health Insurance: $0 (we’re both covered by employers)
Utilities: $60-$150, depending on the month. (Texas summers are the WORST!)
Car Insurance: $200 total for both vehicles
Phone Bill: $145
Savings: $100/week, plus random amounts through the Acorns app
8 a.m. — Wake up surprisingly refreshed for having been out way too late drinking pitchers of Lone Star at Deep Eddy Cabaret last night with friends. I drink two glasses of water just in case a hangover decides to sneak attack. Get up and wake my husband, C., who slept on the couch last night because he snores like a wood chipper after he’s been drinking. C. takes our dog down while I take a quick shower, and in that time, his hangover decides we need tacos NOW. I slap a little moisturizer with SPF on my face, put my hair up, and then we head out.
9:15 a.m. — Our favorite spot for breakfast tacos is the Veracruz All Natural trailer in the patio of a coffee shop called Radio. SO FREAKIN’ GOOD. And totally worth the long wait times. We order tacos (migas and bacon, egg, and refried beans on flour for me!) and head inside to grab a latte, black coffee, and two Topo Chicos. We then proceed to pet every dog on the patio. $30.03
11 a.m. — Head home and decide to get my Saturday nap on. I curl up on the couch with our dog and am lulled to sleep by the sweet sweet sounds of House Hunters in the background.
2:30 p.m. — Finally get up and moving again! I put on makeup and change so we can go see friends play a show at a local distillery in the hill country. We order two way overpriced drinks while there, but get to watch our friends song swap, which makes it better. $32.94
7:30 p.m. — Back in Austin, we grab dinner at an Italian restaurant on the east side we’ve never tried called Il Brutto. After fighting tooth and nail to get a parking spot on East 6th ($2.50), we end up eating way too much food and feel the comas coming on immediately ($78.61). Roll ourselves to the car and head home to hang out with our dog and watch a few episodes of The Office before calling it a night. $81.11
Daily Total: $144.08
8 a.m. — I wake up, take our dog down to go to the bathroom, and make a mental note to take her for a walk at the park later. She’s a mini schnauzer and LOVES getting her nap on, but we were either out or feeling lazy yesterday, and I feel really bad about that. C. and I watch CBS Sunday Morning like an old married couple before deciding to go get tacos again.
10 a.m. — Get to Radio and order two tacos each and then go inside for coffees and prepay for a refill for C. We pet more dogs outside before our tacos arrive and people-watch our butts off. I swear that’s one of my favorite parts of weekend breakfast! $26.66
1 p.m. — Back at home, C. gathers his stuff and heads out to our storage unit to go work on some chairs. We have goals/plans of opening our own mid-century modern furniture shop and are taking steps to make that happen! One of those steps includes selling furniture at Texas Antiques Week this fall in Round Top, so we’ve been prepping for that. While he goes out there, I send emails about some admin stuff for our booth and research business cards, packing materials, and other things we still need.
3:30 p.m. — Start finalizing a grocery list and head to H-E-B. C. and I split things up and work together to get out of there as fast as humanly possible. I love H-E-B, but it’s almost always chaos at the ones in our area. This trip we get: spinach, radishes, turnips, green onions, corn, zucchini, carrots, cabbage, lemons, limes, Texas gulf shrimp, ground turkey, eggs, cheese, local honey, tortillas from the bakery (because, duh), frozen berries, sparkling water (one cran-raspberry LaCroix and one lime), dog food, and cough drops. $115.86
5 p.m. — After putting everything away, we take our dog to the park near our apartment and let her burn off energy. Then we head back home and C. starts prepping dinner. I sit in the living room and stay the hell out of the chef’s way while texting my little sister about her trip she took to Fiesta Texas this weekend. She’s a freshman in high school, and I’m finally starting to feel more friend-like than mom-like with her, which makes me so happy.
8 p.m. — We have gulf shrimp in butter sauce with corn, radish, turnip, and carrot hash topped with a carrot and radish greens chimichurri. SO good. Then we catch up on what’s happening in Issa’s world on Insecure and sneak in an episode of Chopped before heading to bed.
Daily Total: $142.52
8 a.m. — It’s Labor Day weekend, so I have today off! BUT I wake up with aches and a sore throat to balance out the excitement of no work. Damn! I drink water and head back to sleep for a while. My allergies have a terrible habit of making me feel sick when they start acting up, so I’m hoping it’s just that.
10:30 a.m. — Get up and dressed to take our car to the dealership for an oil change. C. has work today, otherwise I’d dump this chore on him since I’m not feeling so hot. It’s on the other side of town, and the guy says it’ll be at least a two-hour wait. Ugh. I’m tempted to just leave, but we’re going out of town on Friday so I don’t have a choice. I head inside to their free coffee bar and order a vanilla latte to kill five minutes. Cool, only an hour and 55 minutes to go. I put $2 in the tip jar on my way to sit down for the rest of my life. $2
12:45 p.m. — Car is finally done so I pay and head home. I take Benadryl and myself a turkey sandwich and drink a cran-raspberry LaCroix before passing out. $68.73
3;30 p.m. — Basically slept my day away, but it’s raining outside, so I don’t really mind. There’s a break in the rain, so I get up and take our dog outside to go to the restroom and for a quick walk. Then I prep my lunch and breakfast smoothie for tomorrow. I only need to make lunch for two work days this week, so I make “egg roll in a bowl” with ground turkey, cabbage, green onions, soy sauce, rooster sauce, and sesame oil.
6 p.m. — C. gets home from work with rosé and beers from Central Market ($26.99). A true gentleman! He starts on his fantasy football whatever thing and also starts making some homemade chicken noodle soup for dinner with chicken we thawed from the freezer, since I’m feeling under the weather. I text a friend about last night’s episode of Insecure and how we feel about the introduction of Nanceford/Nathan. $26.99
8 p.m. — We eat dinner while watching the RBG documentary on CNN. I missed it in theaters, so I’m excited to watch it! After it’s over, I take quick shower, brush my teeth, and head to bed.
Daily Total: $97.72
6:40 a.m. — Wake up as late as possible to still make it to work on time. I’m NOT a morning person, so it helps that I have a minimal makeup routine and everything already prepped. I get dressed, make myself look presentable, and drink the smoothie I made yesterday. This one has organic frozen blueberries, a tiny bit of frozen mango, almond milk, tons of spinach, Greek yogurt, and a little honey. Afterwards I grab my lunch, kiss C. goodbye, and head to work. He doesn’t go to work till 11 every day, and I try not to be bitter about it on the way out (jk, I totally am).
8 a.m. — Make it downtown to work right on time and get situated for the morning with my huge refillable tumbler of water and some green tea. I have a ton of work to do/catch up on, so I get right to it. First things first though, it’s the end of the month, so I get all my billable hours in and finalized for accounting to start preparing bills.
12 p.m. — Come up for air long enough to heat up my lunch that I made yesterday in the office kitchen and take it back to eat at my desk with a lemon LaCroix from the fridge. Normally I like to take a walk around downtown during lunch since I’m stuck at a desk all day, but today is not that day, since I’m swamped with work, and it’s raining outside. After lunch, I spend the rest of my day floating from project to project all while trying not to OD on cough drops.
6 p.m. — It takes me an hour to go five miles home today, so I’m itching for a snack out of sheer anger by the time I get home. I eat a piece of peanut butter toast and a few slices of cheese, then take our dog down for a walk. I come back in and do a little yoga to relax from this chaotic day. Afterwards, I prep my smoothie for tomorrow.
8 p.m. — C. and I eat leftover chicken noodle soup for dinner and watch a few episodes of Gilmore Girls. I really lucked out in a number of ways with C., but nothing compares to the fact that he loves Gilmore Girls just as much as I do! We’re currently on our 10,000,000th showing.
10 p.m. — Take a quick shower, brush my teeth, and head to bed. C. stays up to work on some concert posters he designs as a side hustle.
Daily Total: $0
6:40 a.m. — Wake up and repeat same rushed morning activities as yesterday. I swear, someday I’ll be a morning person! I listen to Lizzo on my way into the office to try and pump myself up for my chaotic work day.
8 a.m. — Make it to the office, fill my tumbler with water, and make some green tea. Luckily today is not as bad as yesterday, so I ease into my tasks this morning by catching up on emails, reviewing my billable hours from yesterday, and chatting with a few coworkers.
12 p.m. — Eat my prepped lunch while working on a project and then quickly duck out before anyone sees me and asks me to do anymore assignments. I decide to walk to Starbucks for a coffee since I’ve been drinking tea the last few days and am craving it. At least 10 Austinites glare at me for not going to a local coffee shop on the way, but what can you do? I have $4 on a gift card I need to use up! I order a grande vanilla latte and a chocolate chip cookie. $3.25
2 p.m. — I eat half of my cookie and stash the other half in my desk for tomorrow. Future me will be so thankful for it.
5 p.m. — Make my way down the stairs and to the parking garage to head home. I take the dog for a quick walk and then head to the laundromat with my laundry. It’s my least favorite chore out there, so I always put it off for as long as possible. While waiting for it to be done, I update our shop IG with pictures of the inventory we’ve been collecting for the show in October and interact with people on there for a while. C. stops by on his way home to keep me company for a few minutes. We talk about our days. $5.50
7:30 p.m. — Back at home, I put all the clothes away, pour a glass of rosé, and relax on the couch. C. and I catch up on the Beto O’Rourke segment on Ellen and then talk about the upcoming election. I make us a super quick dinner of zucchini noodles sautéed with the leftover veggies from Sunday and pan-seared tuna. I top mine with arugula that’s on its last leg.
10 p.m. — After another episode of Gilmore Girls, (Rory goes to visit Jess in NY and misses Lorelai’s graduation, oh no!) I take an incredibly hot shower to get the day off and head to bed.
Daily Total: $8.75
5 a.m. — C. wakes me up to say goodbye. He’s taking our dog to his parents’ house to stay for the weekend, since we’re going out of town. After kissing both of them, I promptly fall back asleep in the middle of the bed.
7 a.m. — Get up a little later than normal and eat a piece of toast with peanut butter on my way out the door. Traffic is a nightmare, so there’s no way I’ll be on time to work today. C. stops on his way back to town to fill up his truck. $37
12 p.m. — We have a video conference lunch meeting today with the attorneys and paralegals in our main office, so the firm buys everyone lunch. We usually order from Walton’s Fancy and Staple, and today is no different. I get a chicken sandwich with lettuce, provolone, and jalapeño mayo with a tomato basil soup on the side. After lunch, coworkers and I head outside and take a few quick laps around to heat up from how cold our conference room is. C. goes to lunch at Doc’s with a coworker/friend and picks up the tab since he gave C. a ride to work last week when his truck was acting up. $26
4 p.m. — Turns out I was right — future me is so thankful for that half cookie!
6:30 p.m. — Dog free and it feels so good! I love our girl, but sometimes it’s just nice to come home and not have to immediately go back outside. I do yoga in the living room before unloading the dishwasher and reloading it while watching E! News in the background. Normally I unload the dishwasher and C. loads it, but I go ahead and take care of it since it’s not that much, and he cute.
8:30 p.m. — We make bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast tacos for dinner and catch up on our work days. Afterwards, we get up and ready to go see friends play at Continental Club Gallery on South Congress. I worked at a bar/music venue while in college (C. also plays music sometimes), and I can’t express how much it matters to show up and support your local music scene. We’re incredibly fortunate here in Austin, but I don’t always feel like people realize it.
10 p.m. — After paying for cover at the door for both of us ($10), we watch our friends play for a few hours. C. orders Lone Stars, and I get a Topo Chico, the official DD drink of Texas ($25). We end up getting home around 1 a.m., and then shower and go to bed. $35
Daily Total: $98
7 a.m. — It’s a short day for me! I wake up a little later and do my hair and makeup as quickly as possible. Kiss C., grab water for the road, and I’m out the door! C. is off today and heads to Radio to work on his side hustle and drink his weight in coffee ($10.75). $10.75
8 a.m. — Make it to work on time, grab coffee, and chat with a few coworkers about weekend plans. I originally took this job because I was considering law school and wanted firsthand experience of firm life. I realized pretty quickly that this path is not for me, but I absolutely love the people I work with and feel so fortunate. The Austin branch of our firm is almost entirely made up of women, and I seriously admire them. Even if being an attorney isn’t my path, I feel like I’ve gained so much knowledge and insight from these ladies that’ll stay with me forever.
12 p.m. — Get out of work and head home to pack the car up. I stop for gas on the way and see a storm rolling in, so I try to hurry ($22). We head out for Oklahoma just missing the bad weather. C. is playing a show up there and since I’ve never actually been to Oklahoma and we have some friends going, I’m tagging along. We listen to a few podcasts ( How Did This Get Made?, National Podcast of Texas, and The Dave Chang Show), and stop for McDonald’s ($12.07) and more gas and drinks ($26.08). $60.15
8 p.m. — We stop to eat dinner at a Chinese food restaurant in McAlester ($38) and then finally roll in to Tahlequah around 9:45. After dropping our stuff off at the hotel, we meet friends at the bar C. is playing at on Saturday and have drinks. The bar graciously picks up our tab for the night and makes sure we get a ride to the hotel. $38
1:30 a.m. — Back at the hotel, we finally call it a night. I’m absolutely exhausted by this point, so I shower and then quickly pass out.
Daily Total: $108.90
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