June 20, 2021


Keep Fit & Healthy

A Week In San Francisco, CA, On A $610,000 Joint Income

18 min read

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.

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Today: a cafe owner who has a joint income of $610,000 and spends some of her money this week on an Aritzia midi skirt.

Occupation: Cafe Owner
Industry: Food & Beverage
Age: 31
Location: San Francisco
My Salary: $80,000
Husband, D.’s, Salary: $530,000 ($185,000 base + $345,000 in stocks)
My Paycheck (1x/week): $1,100
Husband’s Paycheck (2x/month): $4,867.24 (his stocks get paid twice a year)
Rental Income: We own a few properties combined and after mortgage, property management, and property tax, we make about $12,600/year. All of our expenses are shared so this goes into our joint account.
Gender: Woman

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,325 (We live in a tiny 400 sq ft rent-controlled studio, but it’s perfect for us)
Mortgage: $312 (We bought a piece of land in Portland for us to eventually build a home)
Student Loans: $0
Car Loan: $0 (we paid cash)
All Other Monthly Expenses:
Health, Vision, Dental Insurance: $118 for both of us through D.’s work…
Spotify: $5
Netflix: $0 (I use my ex’s. He cheated on me, and I feel no guilt using this)
Phone: $120
D.’s 401(k): His company only matches 5% so that’s what he puts in
Car insurance: $559.88 every six months
Utilities: $35
Internet: $40
Gym: $225 for me, $75 for D. (subsidized by his work). I know these numbers seem obscene, welcome to SF.
Savings: We have about $500,000. Cafe has its own savings of about $80,000.

4:10 a.m. — My morning routine is minimal. I could be out of the house in 15 minutes, if I didn’t spend 15 minutes hitting snooze. I wake up to pee, which is our pup’s signal he can come on the bed and get snuggles. I brush and put on some Elta MD sunscreen. I buy the body version because it’s cheaper and more hydrating. It’s going to be 70 degrees today, so I wear cute Aritzia culottes and a black Missguided tank. It’s freezing in the morning though, so I grab a slouchy one shoulder cashmere sweater and a Patagonia puffer. Kiss D. and the pup before heading out the door.

5 a.m. — We have an insane number of catering orders, so D. comes with to help out before heading home to walk the pup and go to work.

11 a.m. — Today is a blur. When I look at our sales, we are hitting an all-time high day. The cafe is out of strawberries, so I run to Target to pick some up ($3.50, expensed).

1:30 p.m. — I call for an appointment at a fertility center. We’ve been trying for a while. I had an abortion when I was in a toxic relationship with someone who ultimately cheated on me. I know they aren’t correlated, but my mind sometimes goes to the worst and isn’t rational. D.’s insurance covers some infertility treatment. You’d think this is standard, but few states recognize infertility as an illness. My heart goes out to all the women struggling to conceive.

4 p.m. — The cafe has been closed for a while, but folks linger. I want to pass out, but I already planned to meet with friends of friends. We chat for about an hour before I finally head out.

5 p.m. — I haven’t eaten all day. With how crazy my days are, it’s a bit too easy to practice intermittent fasting. I know I should eat something healthy, but instead, I meet D. for ramen where I get a miso tonkatsu ramen and split an order of kakuni ($49.31, expensed because we talk shop).

6 p.m. — We get home and do nothing productive for awhile. I shop online while D. walks the puppy. I’ve had items in my Aritzia bag for months. I try to wait to buy things to make sure I really want them. I can usually eliminate an item or two. I’m trying to kick my fast fashion habit. I get a blush midi skirt, a few quality tees, and a pair of bike shorts for the gym. I’ve been loving monochromatic looks and one shirt matches the shorts perfectly. $266.87

7 p.m. — On to Revolve — I buy five jumpsuits. I have returned every item I’ve ever purchased from Revolve. I always get duped into thinking I’m going to love it. The material always ends up being cheap or the fit is weird. Thank goodness for free returns. $219.70

7:30 p.m. — Lastly, eBay. Buying used has made it a lot more affordable to shop sustainably. I end up with an Adidas hoodie and an orange puffer from Aritzia for a STEAL. $20 and $28 respectively. I used to feel really guilty, D. isn’t really into clothes, gadgets, or anything, so I’m the one who spends more money. His habits have definitely rubbed off on me in a positive way. My online shopping habits are much better than before. Hard to tell, I know. $48

8:15 p.m. — I have a kiwi green smoothie, blueberries, and nacho cheese Doritos. I respond to work emails and then bite the bullet and buy a Blendtec blender. In the cafe, I’ve decided I want to stop ordering non-dairy milks. Barista non-dairy milks come in tiny 32 oz containers and we go through dozens a day. I’ve finally perfected a hazelnut milk that I’m really happy with. Oat milk is next on the list, but it’s been hard to make one that doesn’t get slimy or separate when steamed ($228.82 expensed for the cafe).

10 p.m. — We review cafe numbers before washing up. Skincare routine for me is SK-II FTE, NIOD copper serum, and an IOPE cream. We take quite a few vitamins — astaxanthin, Vitamin D gummies, Omega-3 gummies, ashwagandha, prenatals for me, and D-Aspartic Acid for D. It seems like a lot, and it is. D. also takes glucosamine, maca, and creatine every morning.

Daily Total: $534.57

Day Two

7 a.m. — Wish I could sleep in, but we’re up. Sex, and then hang out in bed just enjoying being next to each other. I feed our puppy, D. eats an old donut I brought home yesterday, and then walks the pup at the park around the corner. I wash puppy’s feet when they get back. The streets of SF are disgusting, and pup sleeps with us, so this is a must. We change to go to the gym — a work t-shirt and Lululemons for D., old Forever 21 sports bra, shorts, and cropped tee for me. My body cooperates with me, so I take advantage and go for a longer than usual run. Stretch, put conditioner in my hair, and then head home.

12:45 p.m. — We get home, and I throw a load of laundry in right before we shower ($2.50). I change into a band tee that my friend fronts, black Lululemon leggings, and Patagonia puffer. I hang dry our laundry and head out. We drive 25 minutes to a restaurant to meet some friends. It’s $20 all you can eat Korean bbq, and for the five of us, it comes to $134 including tax and tip. We treat. $136.50

2 p.m. — We grab coffee after our massive lunch at a shop around the corner to chat some more. D. and I split a double latte, and our friends treat.

3:30 p.m. — We head home, and I suddenly feel super motivated. I respond to dozens of emails, follow up on work invoices, do some payroll, clean the shower and bathroom, empty the compost and recycling, and vacuum. D. gets started on our tax returns and making some updates to our shop website.

6:00 p.m. — I nibble on some bits and bobs — oatmeal, blueberries, Doritos, crackers with greek yogurt spinach dip, and Omega-3 gummies. These gummies taste better than candy and sometimes I wish I could eat the entire container.

8:45 p.m. — We uber to our friend’s going away with a spare bottle of rosé. We always buy extra rosé and wine from Bevmo for occasions like this. Stay for exactly an hour before we find an excuse to leave. It’s way past our bedtime. Uber home. $27.67

10 p.m. — Come home, take our vitamins, and I am painfully reminded that I already took my omega 3 gummies. I constantly contemplate what would happen if I just ate more. Wash up, skincare, bed.

Daily Total: $164.17

Day Three

7 a.m. — Same as yesterday morning. We set an Alexa reminder that we have to try and get reservations at the French Laundry. I play a bit of Stardew Valley on my laptop. Switch to playing Stardew co-op with D.

9:55 a.m. — Alexa goes off. I set another Alexa alarm for 9:58 because I can get distracted within 5 minutes. Reservations for May come out today and typically are booked within the first hour.

10:01 a.m. — We celebrate. Reservations for two are $700. It’ll actually come out to more because we want the special supplements (e.g. caviar, wagyu), but we don’t pay for those until the day of. The French Laundry is definitely a huge splurge for us, but this will be a big day for us. We don’t celebrate most holidays but just the accomplishments in our life. On this day, we’ll be celebrating my husband’s recent work promotion, our two year wedding anniversary, and a massive milestone we hit in the cafe. I’m insanely proud of D.’s accomplishments at work. We talk extensively about his work, so I feel extra invested in his success. It was also one of our goals for 2020, and he hit it like one month into the year. And then of course for our anniversary; we try not to take our happiness for granted by working at it every day. $700

10:10 a.m. — I change into a Uniqlo crewneck sweatshirt and old Forever 21 shorts. We head to the gym for a quick workout. I do upper body while D. rows and deadlifts.

11:40 a.m. — Home! Feed our puppy and head to the beach. A 15-minute drive, and we’re rewarded with gorgeous views of the Golden Gate Bridge and surprisingly no Karl, a name the city of SF has ascribed to the local fog. The second we take the pup off-leash, he’s doing zoomies and sniffing everything in sight. This is one of our favorite activities. Our jobs require a lot from us. It’s sometimes hard to chat and be engaged when we’re so mentally drained. We take the time to check in with each other and talk about anything and everything that’s on our minds. Lately, it’s a lot about certain memories/interactions with our parents when we were kids and how it has shaped us. Sometimes, we discuss how and what we’d like to practically incorporate from the parenting books we are reading. And other times, it’s just us quietly taking in the moment.

1:30 p.m. — We head back and grab burgers from our usual spot. We EACH get a double American cheeseburger with twice-fried French fries ($42.36). I can’t finish mine, and D. happily helps out. I pull out our journal for us to plan March goals. Expensed as we talk work.

3:30 p.m. — We head to Whole Foods. I’ve been following the news about coronavirus, but seeing completely empty shelves is terrifying. We discuss whether or not we think it’s necessary and make a note to discuss an emergency plan. We end up with a hunk of Parmigiano Reggiano, La Brea garlic bread, a bag of gluten-free flour for me to experiment with, several containers of tomato bisque, a potted ranunculus, and some new energy bars we haven’t tried. I hate 90% of energy bars, but I keep looking for that impossibly delicious and healthy combination that doesn’t seem to exist. We pay with our Amazon card and get 5% cashback. $37.90

4:10 p.m. — Next to Trader Joe’s. Same thing, no pasta or bottled water on the shelves. It’s scary and the lines are insane. We pick up baby spinach, potatoes, corned beef, sauerkraut, red onion, cheese blintzes, granola, eggs, Calabrian chili, and ginger shots. 5% cash back on groceries. We used to import our Calabrian chili, very bougie, I know, but now Trader Joe’s has one for a fourth of the cost. I’m so excited to try this. $70.62

4:50 p.m. — Head to the cafe where we drop off our new blender. Drive around forever looking for long-term parking. It’s scary worrying about getting towed and possible break-ins when you park on the street, but the garage near our house is $450/month with a waitlist.

5:30 p.m. — Finally home. We’re still stuffed from lunch, so I snack on banana chips and Doritos as I try to enjoy the last of my weekend by being a full-on sloth. I feed the pup and D. goes to walk him. He’s still pooped from the beach earlier.

7:30 p.m. — Start to wash up, normal night routine.

Daily Total: $808.52

Day Four

5 a.m. — I snooze four times. D. turns on the light which helps me actually wake up. I ask myself all the time why someone who hates waking up early decided to open a cafe. The usual sunscreen is it for me. Kiss D. and the pup goodbye.

7 a.m. — Mondays are our slowest days. I use today to get caught up on prep. I opened the cafe a few months ago after leaving a career in tech. I’m so grateful I have this opportunity. D. is so encouraging and willing to make sacrifices for my dream. We have savings, so we didn’t have to take out a business loan. I have the support of my friends, mentorship from other entrepreneurs, and all the talents I’m blessed with. I see so many people trying to get into tech and I just walked away from it. I often have doubts about whether or not I made the right decision. It’s so easy to encourage people to pursue their passions, but it’s also hard to leave so much money on the table. I was literally making double what I make now. It helps that it was a decision that D. and I made together and that he is successful in his career.

11 a.m. — I see some of my favorite customers today and catch up talking about their weekends, work, lives, and everything under the sun. I’m very open, so I’ll talk to anyone about anything. The cafe makes me feel so connected with the community. It’s cheesy, but I love walking out and about and being able to say hi to so many familiar faces. I meet someone who is starting a company to provide resources to people in the van community. D., my best friend, and I stayed in a camper van in Iceland two years ago and had the best time.

4 p.m. — I stay late to do some prep. I should’ve made better use of my time, but I had some friends pop by to say hi and got distracted.

6 p.m. — Head home to have dinner with D. While D. walks the pup, I make turkey sandwiches with Calabrian chili, mayo, baby spinach, red onion, and roasted sweet potatoes. Before we eat, we feed the pup, so he won’t beg. We eat the sandwiches with Trader Joe’s white truffle chips for that cronch.

8 p.m. — Didn’t make it to the gym today, so I do weights at home. I finish the night by heating up the blintzes. They’re mealy and altogether unappetizing. One of the few items from Trader Joe’s that’s a miss for me alongside the freeze-dried okra, black truffle Alfredo, and chocolate hummus. Please don’t come for me.

8:30 p.m. — Play fetch with the pup until he’s worn out, ignore the laundry that needs to be folded, and chat with D. about our days before washing up for bed.

Daily Total: $0

Day Five

5 a.m. — I’M UP. Usual morning routine and out the door. It’s cold, so I bundle up with a Reformation sweater and Lululemon leggings.

11 a.m. — I pick up three orders of braised pork belly Szechuan noodles from a food truck for D., me, and our friend, F., visiting from Portland. I’m annoyed because their payment system is card-only. SF banned businesses from not taking cash because it discriminates against demographics with low card usage rates. As a business, taking cash sucks because you have to have change, deposit cash, and fear getting robbed (someone tried to rob us last week), but I 100% support the city’s initiative. When we were a pop-up, we didn’t have change for a little boy trying to buy something on his way home from school. I ended up just giving it to him for free. $40.18

12:20 p.m. — D. and F. arrive. I’m glad I picked up food earlier because the lines now would’ve been nuts.

1 p.m. — We finish eating and they head out. The rest of the day just drags.

3:45 p.m. — I head to my friend’s work around the corner. His coworker helped take some amazing photos of our shop and I want to bring some donuts as a small thank you. They give me a tour of their gorgeous top floor office.

4 p.m. — I accidentally make too big of an afternoon batch, so I drop off some treats to market to nearby businesses.

5 p.m. — I was going to meet with my trainer, but he calls to reschedule. I hate flaking, but I really wanted to bail to get an actual workout in. This works out perfectly! Lately, I look forward to the gym more than I ever thought possible.

5:50 p.m. — Dash home, quick rinse, and try to take a nap. I feel super nauseated and take a ginger shot, The elusive power nap escapes me. I’m envious of those who can fall asleep quickly.

7:20 p.m. — I call an Uber to dinner. My friend from Florence recommended this adorable salumeria. We all appreciate her orchestrating our group order. Servers bring out fresh baked focaccia and ciabatta, house-made mortadella and buffalo mozzarella, several orders of cacio e pepe bucatini, rigatoni amatriciana, and roasted chicken. It’s all amazing. My friends insist on treating me as a thank you for hosting last time we got together. $13.56

9:45 p.m. — Uber home. I bring back half of my cacio back for D. who went to dinner with F. and brought me home leftover Korean fried chicken and budaejiggae (no charge from D. for dinner because F. expensed). We briefly chat about our days before washing up and passing out. $12.50

Daily Total: $66.24

Day Six

5 a.m. — Getting up gets easier for me as the week progresses. I quickly brush my teeth, sunscreen, and put on a bit of RMS Beauty un-cover up. I made the decision a while ago to switch to clean beauty, but it takes me forever to use up products. I get weirdly excited when I finish anything. The weather in the bay vacillates on a daily basis. It’s supposed to be 70 today, so I wear a white Aritzia dress with an old Madewell chambray shirt loosely tied up.

5:30 a.m. — I start teaching our new bakers more recipes. We prep morning orders before I open up shop.

9 a.m. — I run out to make a delivery to a regular. She had previously ordered directly through us, but this time she ordered us through a platform. Depending on the platform, we have to pay anywhere from 15-25% fees, so this stings. I’m hoping to casually ask what sparked the change with the emphasis on not making anyone feel uncomfortable.

9:30 a.m. — Finished delivery, but our customer was out of town. I’ll have to chat with her about it next week.

10:15 a.m. — I get a call from another customer that they never received their order. I frantically call our courier to see what happened. Turns out they tried delivering an hour early and left it at the front desk. The problem is, it was delivered to the wrong address. I sprint over and find that it was delivered to an office across the street and do the redelivery. I apologize profusely and ask if there’s anything we can do to make it up to them. The office manager says it’s no problem but takes my card, and says she’ll email me if anything.

11 a.m. — For once D.’s day isn’t insane, so I meet him at his office for lunch. I fill up a plate of stewed beef ribs, cornbread, and a green salad for color. We split a glass of guava lemonade. Oh how I miss free lunches.

12:10 p.m. — Head back and it’s pretty slow. I do more prep making ganache and a burnt caramel glaze. The day continues to drag on.

3 p.m. — The office manager from earlier asks for a refund. She didn’t specify how much of a refund, but I curse to myself hoping she doesn’t want her entire $300 order refunded. I really want to scream at our couriers, but I know that wouldn’t be productive. Instead, I forward the email to our courier letting them know, not to make them feel guilty, but so we can put together a better process. They’re fairly new and we’re learning together. They call to discuss, ultimately deciding to add a note into our account instructing couriers not to deliver more than 15 minutes early. If they can’t get the customer on the phone, they should call us, and attach a photo to the order in their system. We’ll see how this goes going forward.

5 p.m. — I’m still upset about the misdelivery. Decide to head to the gym and sweat it out.

6:45 p.m. — As I leave the gym, I get a call from the office manager. She changed her mind, and instead of a refund, she wants us to do another delivery. This is better, but I’m bothered by how she said, “we’ll give you guys another try.” I hope this means her office liked the food but wanted to see if we could deliver promptly.

7 p.m. — I meet D. at home just as he finishes washing the pup’s paws. Dinner for me is D..’s leftover Korean and his is my leftover Italian. I make some green smoothies for balance.

8:30 p.m. — After relaxing for a bit, we start washing up for bed, talking about the news, and sharing funny Reddit posts before calling it. I love going to sleep earlier than your grandma.

Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

4 a.m. — Snooze. Wash up. Head to the cafe all bundled up in an old Niner’s sweatshirt and Lululemon leggings. Sports bra underneath in case I have to run off and fix any misdeliveries again. Our kitchen looks insane. I back prep everything we will need threefold! Today is going to be a busy one, but tomorrow will be our biggest day ever just from preorders alone. I don’t have the time or energy to relish in that win because I just have to prime us to succeed.

10 a.m. — Everyone in the shop is using any slow moment to help prep for tomorrow, but there aren’t that many slow moments! I put together a spreadsheet of all of our orders to get organized.

12 p.m. — I completely forgot my friends K. and V. wanted to have lunch today. They messaged me earlier asking what I wanted from an onigiri shop around the corner, but I didn’t see their messages. They show up with food, and I feel awful about my earlier radio silence. I’m super stressed but remind myself to be present and be a good friend to these super supportive friends of mine.

1 p.m. — Our coffee order is delivered. A local roaster delivers coffee to us weekly ($140 expensed).

4:30 p.m. — I call Costco wondering where our business order is, but it turns out I actually scheduled it for tomorrow. I’m annoyed by my own mistake, but I rationalize that, since I have to go to the restaurant supply store for coffee travelers, I can just pick up the items I need there as well. It’ll be slightly more expensive, but no sense in beating myself up over this. Walk to our car and head to the store.

5:15 p.m. — Finally arrive, quickly grab my items (coffee travelers, pecans, and some takeaway containers), and I’m out the door in 20 minutes. The second I get back into the car, I feel a huge weight lifted knowing this is one less thing to stress about. The travelers are expensive, but I take solace in knowing I’ll be prepared for future big catering orders ($272.09 expensed).

6:15 p.m. — D. meets me at the cafe after feeding and walking the pup. We start prepping for tomorrow. I know I should sleep, but I also know I won’t be able to sleep if there is more I could’ve done.

9 p.m. — We’re finally done and drive home. I find an incredibly close parking spot on our first pass. Friends from SF, you know how awesome this feels.

9:35 p.m. — I heat up the budaejiggae that never ends, wash up, and settle into bed. Set an alarm for midnight and kiss D. goodnight. He tells me we’re going to crush it tomorrow, and that he’s so proud of me. Wish me luck tomorrow MD fam!

Daily Total: $0

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