- Daniella Flores and her wife Alexandra live in St. Louis, Missouri, and both work in information technology.
- They save between 40% and 50% of their pretax income every month, in part so they can afford to leave their corporate jobs in the next five years and pursue their side hustles full time.
- For Business Insider’s “Real Money” series, Flores tracked their spending during a typical week.
- During the week, they spent $US347 on groceries, pet care, meals out, and a charitable donation.
- Want to share a week of your spending? Email [email protected].
My wife and I both work in IT and make a combined annual pretax income of about $US160,000. We’re based in St. Ann, Missouri, a municipality in the St. Louis area.
My wife and I have 13 years between us – I just turned 30 and she is 43. We are working towards structuring our life away from the corporate grind, building up passive streams of income and working on our side businesses to become financially free without a reason to need our corporate jobs anymore.
We don’t have any kids but we do have five cats, two dogs, and a couple of tarantulas (OK, we have eight … we aren’t tarantula hoarders, I swear). One of our dogs, Penny, is elderly and going blind, while two of our cats are special needs, so our vet bills end up being a bit higher than most other people’s.
If all goes as planned in the next five years, we’ll be able to leave our corporate jobs. We won’t stop working completely – we’ll just be working on what matters to us. There is one thing we will miss when we leave our jobs, though, and that is the more affordable health insurance and the nice retirement match!
We save almost half of our pretax income in our 401(k)s, IRAs, a taxable investment account, and a high-yield savings account.
Our typical monthly spending comes out to around $US3,000, with our largest expenses being out-of-pocket healthcare costs (our health insurance premium is taken out pretax), our mortgage, and food.
We try to save almost half our pretax income every month (40%-50%) between our 401(k) contributions, IRA contributions, contributions to stocks in a brokerage account, and putting money into our high-yield savings account for some goals, such as an upcoming move and purchase of land.
We have been able to pay off a little more than $US32,000 in debt in the past two years alone since we started to get serious about our finances and what we want out of this life together. In that $US32,000 was my student loan debt, part of our auto loan, credit-card debt, and medical debt.
Currently our only debt remaining is around $US17,000 for our auto loan. We have a mortgage on our house that my wife bought before we met, but we plan on selling soon and relocating to the west coast. When we move we plan on having a hefty down payment, but will also have house payments that will hopefully be around what we pay now.
We didn’t have any bills due this week, but spent $US347 total on everything else.
Even though this week was a little more hectic for us when compared to other weeks, it was still a good one. We didn’t have any bills due this week. Most of our stuff gets taken out on autopay at the beginning of the month and then again in the middle of the month. Because of the running around we did this week, we ended up spending a little more on discretionary items than usual, but life happens.
Our budget and spending aren’t perfect but we do what works for us. Completely depriving ourselves of what we like to do just because it costs money doesn’t work for us, so we spend a little more here and there but always stay mindful of what we are spending.
We are fortunate to be able to save as much as we do and still be able to spend some money on what we enjoy. Finance is something you have to stay on top of and periodically revisit to improve your strategies. It’s all personal.
Here is what we spent the last week of August (the week before I turned 30!):
On Sunday we went to a winery and stopped at Ted Drewes for sundaes.
Today we planned to go to Defiance, Missouri, to check out a winery for my 30th birthday next weekend. I already had a place in mind before I came across this other winery and wanted to see what the hype was about before planning anything.
The morning consisted of homemade breakfast and a run in the rain (the rain part was not planned).
Before we headed out to Defiance, we had to stop by the pharmacy first. My wife gets horrible migraines and her new medicine just came in. The total price for her new med after insurance and a coupon from the doctor was $US19.97. Pro tip: Always ask your doctor if they have any coupons for meds they are recommending. Chances are, they do and those coupons definitely help lower the cost a bit.
After CVS we headed out to Defiance Ridge Winery where we spent $US40.27 on lunch, mimosas, and wine. It was still sort of rainy and oddly cold for August, but it was still beautiful.
We didn’t sit out on the decks but the inside area still was half open where we could view the rolling hills. And we made a new woodland creature friend: a swan. We will take it for a gloomy, rainy Missouri day.
On our way home we stopped at our favourite ice cream place in St. Louis, Ted Drewes, and spent $US12.28. That is a lot for ice cream, but really it’s frozen custard and we got specialty sundaes. It was 100% worth it.
Since our lunch and ice cream date was pretty late in the day, we didn’t get or make any dinner. I still feel full from that meal.
Sunday had much more spending than usual as I wanted to scope out the winery, food, and really wanted ice cream. All in all, it was a good day.
On Monday we stocked up on groceries for the week.
I get the luxury of working from home 50% of my weeks, but I had to go in today. My normal work from home days are Wednesday and Friday.
But my lucky wife got to work from home today. She had a much-anticipated meeting with our lawyer about changing her name and got a sandwich for lunch on the way home.
At my work, they had a potluck scheduled for the employees who participated in the Pride Fest float so I had a delicious free lunch of veggies, even though I forgot to bring a dish.
When I left work, we planned to go up to the hospital to see my grandpa. He fell a couple weeks ago and did a number on his head and broke his back. He is 84 and usually bounces back, but this time is different. My mum texted me as we were on the way that he was getting transferred to an assisted living facility for rehab so she advised we come the next day.
We took a trip to the grocery store instead and spent $US59.47 for a week – maybe even a week and a half – worth of food, including dinner for that night.
Since we became vegetarians in March 2019, our grocery bills have actually gone down. Instead of meat, we buy FieldRoast vegan meat and eat a lot of beans and high-protein veggies. We are also super obsessed with Kodiak Power Waffles.
And the grocery store had cotton candy grapes! They only pop up in St. Louis stores around this time of year and it is an exciting occurrence when these are actually in stock.
After dinner it was vegging out in front of “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix and a four-mile run before we completely wound down for bed.
The only purchase we made on Tuesday was filling up the car with gas.
I worked from home today due to a number of early morning meetings that just kind of bled into the day.
My wife came home for lunch and we had spinach wraps – and then again for dinner.
After work I went for a run since the weather we have been getting in St. Louis this late in August has been so beautiful.
Then we went to go see my grandpa at the assisted living facility. He was tired so we didn’t stay long after hanging with my mum there for a bit. Then we went by the hospital to see my friend who just had surgery. I can’t wait until everyone is healthy again!
The only spending we did today was for gas in the RAV4, which was $US28.77.
We bought dog food on Wednesday, and ate all of our own meals at home.
The meals were all at home again today. Breakfast was power waffles and sunflower butter, spinach wraps for lunch again, and FieldRoast burgers and caesar salad for dinner.
I worked from home so it was another day of cuddling with our cats.
After work we had to get crickets for the tarantulas (yes, you read that right) and dog food. Crickets were $US1.98 and dog food (weight control for our elderly dog) was $US38.99.
Luckily we are spending less on pet care this month thanks to no vet bills and already having stocked up on flea meds. Our pet costs vary from month to month, but if there’s ever a large unexpected expense, like emergency trips to the vet, we have money set aside especially for that.
Our lab Penny is 14 and has a bad hip and leg. She is also going blind, so some days she is her old chipper self and others she just gets really tired, but she’s hanging in there.
After we got home we played with the dogs outside, I worked on a post on my blog, and we wound down for bed.
Thursday was an unplanned no-spend day.
Today we both brought our lunches to work. It was kind of a jam-packed day.
I had back-to-back meetings most of the day along with an evening training I had to lead once I got home. My wife made nachos for dinner – yum!
Afterwards, we were going to check out a live reading for a podcast called Adult Bed Time Stories. My wife’s gynecologist was reading for it. When we got to the comic book shop for the event, there was no parking … for blocks. After driving around and wasting about 15 minutes, we gave up.
It was a bummer since we had already paid for the event prior to today but oh well – $US15 for each person is hardly losing money. Plus, we at least supported her in some way with buying the tickets even though we did not end up going.
At least we ended up having a no-spend day without even planning one!
Friday was our highest spending day of the week and included dinner and a charitable donation.
Today is the last day of work for the both of us for the next 10 days! We took the entire next week off and the following Monday for FinCon and other things. Plus, it’s my birthday in two days so a lot of excitement is going on in my head (but a lot of anxiety too).
Work was rough today as I rushed to get everything done before being out for 10 days. I also finished a request form to the legal team to approve for some projects I want to do with my blog.
I haven’t thought about what my next steps will be with those possible new projects if the company I work for doesn’t end up approving my proposal … but I will figure it out.
After work we went to visit my grandpa with my family and then grabbed some dinner on the way home. We ate shrimp and grouper at a restaurant called Gulf Shores. After margaritas and tip, the bill came out to $US60.
I also sent $US50 to Kara at BravelyGo for her #savetheamazon fundraiser. We try to budget $US50 (but end up spending more sometimes) for giving each month. What is happening in the Amazon rainforest right now is just devastating.
There are many charities out there that we could have given to, but Kara at BravelyGo found a local Bolivian woman who is on the ground helping provide equipment, food, and water to the firefighters and was taking donations. She shares on her Instagram how exactly those donations are used and we thought that was exactly who needed this money.
On Saturday we made time for a favourite ritual — brunch.
We woke up this morning and went to our normal Saturday breakfast spot. The last few weeks were hectic with my grandpa’s accident and other things going on that we didn’t have the time or energy last night or this morning to eat at home (plus, we didn’t have any good breakfast food left). We spent $US28.11 on two coffees and two omelets, plus tax, which isn’t too bad.
Breakfast is a big deal to us and we love The Shack in Creve Coeur. It is our Saturday ritual and we are very grateful that we are able to fit that into our budget.
After breakfast we picked up a newspaper to bring to my grandpa ($US4.33). He is doing much better today and it was such a relief to see him progressing. We all sat outside and chilled, taking in the good weather and conversation.
A couple of hours later we went home, went on our runs, and I did more work for the blog and got some more stuff together for FinCon.
Tonight’s dinner was baked potatoes filled with broccoli. We did an evening hike afterwards and came back to cuddle with our fur babies before bed.
What a randomly perfect Saturday.
- Read more from our Real Money series:
- I’m a money coach and mum of 2 who’s paying off $US179,000 of debt by 40. Here’s what my family spends during a typical week.
- I’m a dad and a business owner in my 30s with a 6-figure income – here’s how I spent my money during a recent week
- My husband and I live in Seattle and save almost half our income so we don’t have to work by 40. Here’s what we spend in a typical week.
- I retired at 52 with a $US3 million net worth – here’s what a week of my spending looks like
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