Cost of Living Athens GA

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we’re tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We’re asking women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we’re tracking every last dollar.

Today: a Project Manager working in FinTech who has a joint income of $105,000 and spends some of her money this week on Chik-fil-A frosted coffee.

Editor’s Note: Refinery29 will be taking a Day of Pause tomorrow. There will be no Money Diary on Monday, but we will be back on Tuesday.

Occupation: Project Manager
Industry: FinTech
Age: 31
Location: Athens, GA
Salary: $60,000
My Husband, C.’s, Salary: $45,000
Net Worth: -$150,000
Debt: $152,000
My Paycheck (biweekly): $1,350
C.’s Paycheck (2x/month): $1,350
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Mortgage (includes taxes and insurance): $902
Loans: $1,600
Combined Minimum Debt Payments: $440
My 401(k): $408 (matched by my employer)
My Dental Insurance: $18
Health Insurance:$314 (this covers me and our baby, R.)
C.’s Health Insurance: $75
Daycare: $728 (paid partially by a dependent care FSA — $380/month deducted pre-tax from my paycheck)
Lowe’s Card: $276.92
My Car Payment: $332.33
C’s Car Payment: $298.85
Hospital Bills: $250
Electricity: $60
Gas: $40
Water/Trash/Recycling: $70
Internet/Cable: $80.46
Car Insurance: $266.36
Cell Phones: $125
Spotify: $14.99
HBOGO: $14.99
Netflix: $12.99
Hulu: $1.99
Amazon Prime: $9.92 (paid for annually, budgeted monthly)

Day One

6:30 a.m. — I wake up and nurse R., my 5-month old baby, play with him, then make coffee. I let the dog out and then feed her and our two cats.

8 a.m. — R. is acting hungry, so I nurse him again and he falls asleep for his first nap. While he snoozes, I watch an episode of The Great British Baking Show, because I just need to hear some polite and soothing British voices. R. wakes up after 30 minutes and I make breakfast — dairy-free spaghetti carbonara subbing nutritional yeast for cheese. It’s surprisingly good. Our pantry is getting down to refined carbs, canned beans, and shelf-stable bacon. Fresh produce? I miss her. I also prep potato lentil cakes for later using leftover mashed potatoes, canned lentils, onions, one of our last eggs, and panko breadcrumbs from a bygone time.

9:30 a.m. — My husband, C., gets up. I hand off a dressed and freshly diapered baby then crawl back into bed for a nap. I can hear my husband video messaging his parents so they can see the baby as I fall asleep. C. puts R. down around 10:30 while I sleep.

11 a.m. — I wake up at the same time as the baby and feed him. I set R. down on his playmat in the living room with C. and some teething toys, then try to do a load of cloth diaper laundry. R. is cranky and starts crying, so I decide to take him on a walk through the yard to distract him with flowers…and I walk barefoot into a fire ant pile. Great. Luckily, C. hears me hollering in the yard and rushes out to grab R. so can I brush off my feet. R. is getting fussy, so I comfort nurse him while my husband starts The Pharmacist on Netflix.

1:05 p.m. — We trade off comforting the baby and I fold laundry until it’s time for his nap. I nurse and rock R. in his room with the curtains drawn and his sound machine on, hoping to soothe him to sleep. I heat up leftover carbonara for lunch. Looks like 30-minute naps are all we’re getting today. C. plays with R. while I clip the dog’s nails, brush her, trim down her paw pad hair, and give her bath.

3:45 p.m. — I take a shower and cuddle up with R. in his room to nurse him before nap time. C. mows the backyard.

6:02 p.m. — He’s still asleep, in my arms. I’ve wandered out to the living room. My husband is done with a shower, and I hand R. gently to him. He wakes up happy as a clam. We watch Blackfish together while I preheat the oven to bake the lentil cakes, wash some lettuce, and whisk together some sriracha mayo. We’ll eat the cakes as lettuce wraps with our last sad head of lettuce.

7:30 p.m. — The cakes are about done and the baby looks hungry, so I start to feed him. We have no idea when he’ll want to go down tonight, so after he finishes one boob, C. changes R. into jammies and an overnight diaper. Then we finish nursing in his room with our normal routine: blackout shade drawn, humidifier on, sound machine on. He’s not super tired yet, so back to Dad who ate while we were nursing so I can eat. C. gets him down after some snuggles.

9 p.m. — I make some strawberry pecan “nice cream.” We leave the dishes for the morning. Baby wakes up around 9:30. I nurse and snuggle him in bed, then C. takes him back to his crib at 10. We go to bed.

Daily Total: $0

Day Two

6 a.m. — C. wakes me up to nurse R., then takes him back to his crib. We both go back to sleep.

9 a.m. — Wake up for realsies. I’m feeling congested. It’s pollen season here, but every sniffle makes me nervous. I nurse R. (If you hadn’t caught on, nursing a baby is like 50% of my day). Hand him back to C. to get him dressed, while I have a cup of coffee.

10:30 a.m. — R. is looking tired. I take him in his room to rock him and he’s asleep before we even get there. I set him down in his crib then heat up more carbonara for breakfast. Looks like we’re supposed to get severe storms and possibly tornados tonight. Just a regular spring in the South. R. wakes up at 11:40. Nurse him, change diaper, and then play in his room. C. takes over after cleaning the kitchen, then I vacuum bag our winter blankets to put under the bed and vacuum the living room. I roll up our living room rug and throw a load of R.s diapers in the wash. We do two washes for cloth diapers and I’ll add his clothes to the second wash.

12:44 p.m. — R. falls asleep again. I hold him in the rocker and argue with strangers on Reddit while he sleeps. It never makes me feel good, yet I can’t help myself. C. and I complete a questionnaire from an attorney we hired to prepare a will — I put a deposit down earlier this year. This process has brought up some questions that we realized we hadn’t yet thought of when it comes to how assets should be maintained or what kind of funeral we want, but luckily, we’re on the same page. Done with the second wash and throw stuff in the dryer, start a load of towels and blankets.

3 p.m. — R. wakes up crying but starts laughing after I pick him up. We watch Bohemian Rhapsody while we clean and take breaks to play with R., though he mostly entertains himself by chewing on a burp cloth, his new favorite game. Once we’re done, I nurse R. and he naps while we finish the movie.

6:30 p.m. — Baby bath time! I give R. a bath and then change him into his jammies and diaper. I hand him over to his dad and then throw together a weird dinner of leftover rice, beans, corn, and the last of the salsa in a tortilla plus a PB & J tortilla rollup. I nurse R. one more time before C. puts him down to sleep and then hop on my laptop to get a few hours of work done.

9 p.m. — We watch Westworld and then go to bed. We’re both tired. I wake up several times during the night because of the wind in the trees, but the storm is overrated; no tornados tonight.

Daily Total: $0

Day Three

5:50 a.m. — I wake up to R. crying while my husband is trying to get out the door — he’s an essential employee and leaves for work at 6. I feed the baby and he falls back asleep. I’d love an extra hour of sleep myself, but I don’t think it’s going to happen, so I get a cup of coffee and scroll on my phone in bed to help me wake up. I get dressed and start putting up his laundry from yesterday. Kiddo wakes up, and I change him and get him dressed. His arms are looking weirdly purple, so I Marco Polo my husband to ask his opinion. His lips are fine, his breathing is fine, so I chalk it up to weird baby circulation and decide to keep an eye on it.

8 a.m. — I nurse R. for a second time and then put him in his swing in the living room to get some emails sent out. Afterward, I change his diaper — he pooped! The things I’m excited about these days. Kiddo usually only poops about once a week (which is completely normal for breastfed babies). After he’s changed, I try to work a little more, but no dice.

9:30 a.m. — Nurse R. and try to get him down for a nap. I’m so hungry and we are low on groceries — both of our grocery orders from LAST WEEK aren’t ready yet. I look at a few local restaurants to see if anyone is delivering breakfast on Monday morning, but I don’t find anyone who is even open on Mondays right now. I decide to use a few Chik-fil-A rewards and order two chicken biscuits, some chicken minis, a frosted coffee, and a hashbrown for delivery. Add a $5 tip. $18.53

11 a.m. — The Chik-fil-A app glitched, but food arrives 15 minutes after I call in to see if my order was received. I get a free breakfast voucher for my trouble and they are incredibly apologetic. I have a meeting and R. starts crying while my call wraps up. Thank God, it’s internal. I eat the chicken minis, hashbrowns, and frosted coffee at the start of the meeting.

1:15 p.m. — After an hour of rocking and attempting to put R. down multiple times, I finally get him to sleep INDEPENDENTLY! In his crib. I eat a chicken biscuit because I’m still hungry. R. wakes up at 1:50, but I got some emails sent out, so I’ll take it.

3:30 p.m. — Work for a little and then call my mom. It’s an annoying call per usual — she always has something terrible to say like call me stupid or say she’s going to “rescue” our baby from us. Afterward, I nurse R. again and then call about an overdue grocery order that I hadn’t gotten an update on. Looks like my order got lost. Cool. They’re prepping it now and I can pick it up before they close at 6.

5 p.m. — I drive to pick up the grocery order ($76). I get kale, oregano, bananas, hummus, salsa, coconut oil, barramundi filets, bagels, rye bread, beer, and cream cheese. They’re out of the local chicken sausage I wanted, but that’s okay. I drive the long way home because I need a few minutes of alone time. I nurse the baby when I get home, then hand him off to my husband. $76

6:30 p.m. — I sit on the back porch with a beer, hummus, and some stale crackers from the cupboard. We have a more substantial grocery pickup through Kroger scheduled for Wednesday. While I snack, I pull on some headphones and work again. Baby is still hungry after his dad gets him ready for bed, so I feed him and put him down. Pop a bagel in the oven and watch John Oliver while getting some more work done. My husband doesn’t eat dinner, which happens often.

10:15 p.m. — I wrap up a few more work things and I’m fried. My husband is re-watching Westworld, but I go ahead and crawl into bed after brushing my teeth and taking a hot shower. At midnight, I wake up to R. crying hysterically. My husband is with him in his room trying to calm him down. He seems like he’s really in pain so we give him a dose of baby Tylenol and then I nurse him in our bed. After he’s done and is calm and drowsy, C. takes him back to his crib. I fall back asleep immediately.

Daily Total: $94.53

Day Four

6:30 a.m. — C. brings R. to me to nurse in bed. I nurse him and fall right back asleep. R. falls back asleep in bed with me until 8. I unintentionally fall back asleep.

9 a.m. — Yikes! Finally awake. I check emails in bed for about 30 minutes, then get up to pour a cup of coffee and nurse R. It’s time for his first nap, so I try and fail to put him down after his nap. C. has convinced his boss to let him work from home Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I’m not a solo caregiver today. I call in the reinforcements to put R. down, then eat a bagel with cream cheese and start working.

11:30 a.m. — I take a break to tidy up the living room, start our knockoff Roomba, and refill my coffee. Having the house just a little tidier lifts my spirits; I’ve been very down since we started sheltering in place. R. wakes up shortly after. C. goes to get him up and change his diaper. I nurse him and then make burrito bowls for lunch using up some leftovers and some sad-looking produce in our fridge: seasoned bell pepper, onion, and corn with black beans over rice with a massaged kale salad using a dressing of the sriracha mayo and salsa.

4 p.m. — My meeting is done and I’ve wrapped up some other things. Feed R. who falls asleep in my arms. I hold him for this nap so he gets some sleep. After an hour, R., the dog, and I go to the nearby walking path while C. stays home to catch up on some things. It’s more crowded than I expected, but we manage to stay six feet away from folks. Our pup is an old lady and the walk wears her out. On the way home, I take a longer drive than necessary, just to see something other than our house.

6:45 p.m. — My husband’s podcast session is today and they’ve already started. I get R. in jammies and a night diaper then try to get him down for bed. We try several times before I decide to set him in his swing while I cook dinner. I think he’s overtired from his crappy naps because you can see he’s trying to fall asleep but can’t. Dinner is grits and succotash with bell pepper, onion, lima beans, diced Roma tomatoes, and corn.

8:45 p.m. — The podcast and dinner is done. C. puts the baby to bed and then we I chat while he eats. We get to sleep around 11.

Daily Total: $0

Day Five

7:15 a.m. — I wake up to see R. on the monitor, playing with his hands quietly in his crib. C is already at work. I grab a cup of coffee and nurse R., who falls asleep again. When he wakes, I change him and get him dressed for the day. We settle on the playmat in his room and he plays with a crinkle paper book on his belly then his back while I answer a few emails and make my to-do list for the day.

10 a.m. — I make a bagel with cream cheese and warm up another cup of coffee. R. plays with toys on his Boppy beside me while I try to work and listen to Thundercat’s new album. He is obviously still tired and cranky, so my “working” is mostly five-minute intervals between attending to him. At some point, he spits up on himself, so I change his clothes and diaper. He looks tired, so we struggle for a while to get him down to sleep. I rock him for about 40 minutes while scrolling through FB Marketplace and see a king headboard that’s exactly the style I’ve been looking for. I message the seller to see if they can drop off for an extra fee and she agrees. I’ll Lysol the heck out of it before bringing it in the house. $85

12:16 p.m. — Heat up burrito bowl leftovers from yesterday and add back in the cold kale salad. Pair with a Fresca and work while the baby is sleeping in his crib. Baby wakes before 1 and is cranky. I try soothing him and end up nursing him through a 1:30 call. He’s still upset after, so I side-lie nurse him on our bed afterward. He falls asleep for about thirty minutes while I scroll organizing pictures on FB. When he wakes, he’s my happy guy again.

3:30 p.m. — I’ve checked off my most important items, so I feel comfortable waiting until my husband gets home to keep working. I’ll keep my phone on me so that I can keep checking email and answering Slack, but I shut my computer and sit outside with R. to throw the ball to the dog and enjoy the afternoon.

4:45 p.m. — I nurse R. who falls asleep while I watch Sex and the City and check email and Slack. My husband gets home with our other grocery pickup from Kroger, and it’s a doozy, mostly frozen food and staples that will last us the next month — too long to list ($263.44). They were out of a number of things, including most of the produce we asked for. I decide to eat like a college-aged boy for dinner and have a handful of pizza rolls, a veggie burger, chips, and a beer. Turns out, that’s a TERRIBLE idea, and it turns my stomach into knots. $263.44

7:30 p.m. — I nurse R. in our bed while my husband and I discuss what to do with our tax return and stimulus money, both of which hit our bank account today. We discuss whether it makes sense to keep this money liquid in case one of us loses our job due to the pandemic, or whether we should pay off some of our debt and try to negotiate a lower interest rate with his credit cards (which we should do regardless). We’re lucky enough that both of our jobs are unlikely to be eliminated, but you never know what will happen. We decide to keep thinking about it before pulling the trigger either way. C. puts R. to bed.

9:30 p.m. — I go to bed, but my husband stays up to listen to a podcast and chat with some folks online. At some point, C. gets up to tend to R. and comes to bed.

Daily Total: $348.44

Day Six

5 a.m. — Wake up, feed the baby, let the dog out, and then go back to sleep/

8 a.m. — Wake up for real, real. Feed R. again because it’s a convenient time. My husband gets up to clean the kitchen like he does daily. I get R. dressed for the day before making some homemade granola. Fix a breakfast of vanilla Siggi’s, chopped apple, and slivered almonds (plus coffee, duh), then start working. C. is home with us again today and will be “first responder” with R. like I am Monday, Wednesday, Friday. I take a call and get some work done.

10:10 a.m. — I nurse R. and hold him for most of his first nap while I work on my phone. He sleeps for about 45 minutes. He wakes up then C. takes over to see if he’ll go back down. No luck, but he’s a happy kiddo. I start the robo vac and keep working, periodically checking in with the boys. The cats are cracking me up; simultaneously stalking and then avoiding the robo vac. I know it has to stress them out, but their hair all over the place is stressing me out, so…

12 p.m. — Baby goes down for a nap and I start making lunch.

1:14 p.m. — Baby wakes up. I nurse him then finish cooking the rest of our lunch by heating up some veggie burger patties in a pan and chopping up some lettuce, tomato, and pickles. I venmo a friend my portion of our collective gift for a baby shower ($50). I have a 2 p.m. Zoom call with some friends and eat my lunch while chatting and multi-tasking with work stuff. We finish at 3:45 and it was so nice to talk to them. I nurse R. again and hold him during his nap. What a cutie pie. $50

5:40 p.m. — Baby dinner time — nurse R., who falls asleep again. Folks warn against this nursing/sleep association, but whateva. We’re waiting for the FB Marketplace lady’s husband to come drop off this king headboard, and I play with R. in the living room. At 7, C. takes the baby for a bath and I do laundry.

8:45 p.m. — The headboard person still isn’t here. My husband and I debate whether it might be a scam, since I paid her yesterday, but it does eventually come. I spray it down with some disinfectant spray before carting it into the basement, then wash my hands thoroughly. I’m hungry but C. is not, so I make a mushroom pizza using a homemade pizza crust I have stashed in the freezer. While it bakes, I pop back onto my computer to do some more work things.

10 p.m. — Pizza is done. I eat it with Tabasco and keep working. I know I’ll get ripped to shreds in the comments for regularly eating things like pizza instead of sniffing a Sweetgreen salad on my way to SoulCycle before drinking five bottles of wine, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take. After working for another hour, I take a shower with C. and then go to bed.

Daily Total: $50

Day Seven

3 a.m. — R. wakes up. I took night duty because C. is planning to go to work earlier than normal. I give him a few minutes before I go in, seeing if he’ll get himself back to sleep, but he does not. I work on trying to get him back to sleep until C. wakes up at 4 a.m. and I go back to bed.

7:50 a.m. — Wake up on my own. R. is still asleep so I have a cup of coffee and get dressed. He’s awake by the time I finish and I go in to change him for the day and nurse. He falls asleep while nursing, so I put him back in his crib. He naps for about 45 minutes while I eat leftover pizza for breakfast and start working. R. hangs with me while I try to keep working; he’s hitting the teething ring pretty hard today.

10:45 a.m. — I nurse R. then change his diaper before an internal conference call. He falls asleep briefly but not enough for a nap.

2 p.m. — Throw a load of diapers in the wash, then take a quick shower to help refresh me. R. comes along and hangs out on his boppy in the bathroom. After, I nurse him on the couch while watching Sophie’s Choice. He luckily falls asleep immediately. I’m waiting on input to move forward on almost all of my projects and I’ve checked in with everyone, so I feel comfortable not trying to divide my attention until C. gets home.

4 p.m. — C. gets home with more groceries from yesterday’s order, trying to fill in what we received with more produce. They were still out of a lot of stuff, but we’re hoping what we have will mostly keep us stocked for the next month or so. $98.17

5 p.m. — I take a Zoom yoga class from my local power yoga studio — I haven’t been back regularly since becoming pregnant and I miss it terribly. I was very, very sick while pregnant. This is a slower-paced class and it feels great. I take a shower after, get R. ready for bed, then nurse him to sleep. $10

8 p.m. — Zoom hangsies with my girls. I have two beers, hummus, and crackers. It’s so nice to socialize. I’m definitely an extrovert and it’s been stressful mentally not to see people. We wrap up a little after 10, at which point I go to bed.

Daily Total: $108.17

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