A Week In Honolulu, HI, On A $186,000 Joint Income

Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. We’re asking real people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we’re tracking every last dollar.

Today: a quality manager who has a joint income of $186,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Cantonese dumplings.

Occupation: Quality Manager

Industry: Medical Cannabis

Age: 29

Location: Honolulu, HI

My Salary: $75,000

My Husband’s Salary: $111,000 (before bonuses)

Net Worth: ~$340,000 joint (includes assets shared with my husband, R., such as our condo (appraised at $525,000, owe $344,000), retirement (401(k)s & IRAs around $79,000 combined), taxable brokerage account ($33,000), crypto ($10,000), savings ($41,000), and a car that’s been paid off. My husband and I share all our finances. Since he is a software engineer, he’s the breadwinner in our relationship. We pay our mortgage and monthly expenses with my paycheck and save the majority of his paycheck. We are planning to move to the mainland in a few months for his new job so we are aggressively saving for a future down payment. My husband is pretty hands-off with finances; I am the nerd who handles all of our budgets and retirement contributions. I create a monthly budget for us that we both agree on and I update him monthly on our progress. We also check in with each other on any purchases over $100.)

Debt: Mortgage: $344,000

My Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,050

My Husband’s Paycheck Amount (1x/month): $9,250 gross

Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses

Mortgage: $2,080 (I own a condo with my husband.)

Phone: $80 (pay for a group plan with in-laws)

Internet: $100

Electricity: $150

HBO: $10

Netflix: $20

YouTube: $24 (we watch a lot of YouTube, lol)

iCloud: $3

Gym: $40

Hulu: $13

Amazon Prime: $15

Car Insurance: $340 every six months

Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?

Definitely YES. Ever since I was young, my parents instilled in me the importance of education and how that can help open doors for me. I am a first-generation American — I came to the US for college. I knew no one and had to learn everything by myself. I was lucky enough to have gone to an American curriculum high school, which made things easier. I am very fortunate to have received a full ride to college, which included my room and board as well as tuition for four years. I worked as a research assistant to pay for my master’s degree.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?

My parents didn’t really share a lot of their finances with me growing up. I did have a very privileged childhood and remember us being quite comfortable back home. I still don’t know how much my parents made (they are both retired).

What was your first job and why did you get it?

My first official job was as a scientist in a quality control lab right after I finished grad school.

Did you worry about money growing up?

I did not. Like I mentioned, my family was comfortable and I got most things I wanted.

Do you worry about money now?

I do from time to time. However, my worry is more about being able to achieve our financial goals rather than being able to afford basic living expenses. I worry about the current economy, retirement, and being able to afford a second home.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?

I became financially responsible when I went to college at 18. During summer and winter breaks, I had to budget for rent/groceries and find paid internships. My husband and I are our own safety net.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.

Yes, my parents gifted me $100,000 to pay for college tuition. Since I received a full ride, I used it as a safety net to set myself up in a new country. I am very grateful that my parents were able to give me a sense of security for my big move to the US.

Day One

2:30 a.m. — I wake up and scroll through my emails and Reddit while I drink my pre-workout. I stare out my balcony at the ocean and enjoy the quiet time to myself. My husband, R., wakes up around 3 a.m., takes his pre-workout, and we both leave for the gym.

5:30 a.m. — We get back from the gym. I had a great run and now I am so hungry. R. gets ready for work (he works remotely on PST time) while I make omelets for both of us.

6 a.m. — I scroll through social media and check our bank/investment accounts. Monday is usually my check-everything day to make sure nothing is out of order. I also look at the market to see how things are going. I see that it’s a red day and I debate buying some more shares in our joint Vanguard account.

8:15 a.m. — I park and arrive at the lab, where I make some chai tea and settle down to check my emails. Since this Friday is payday, I decide to transfer $1,000 from our checking to Vanguard to buy some shares (accounted for in net worth). Mondays are generally pretty chill at work so today drags. I eat lunch I brought from home around noon.

2 p.m. — I get an email from an interested buyer on FB Marketplace for some furniture I’ve listed since we are moving states for R.’s new job. I schedule to meet the buyer Saturday morning.

5:15 p.m. — I get back home and R. is also done with his work. We hang out and watch Westworld while drinking some wine. I am honestly getting a bit bored of the show but I am determined to finish all of the seasons! After we watch, I shower and R. goes into his office to play games with his online friends. I get ready for bed and read in bed. R. comes in to give me a massage and then we cuddle and catch up before I go to sleep around 8.

Daily Total: $0

Day Two

2:20 a.m. — My internal clock wakes me up earlier than my alarm. I drink my pre-workout and scroll through my phone. I reply to my best friend who is on East Coast time. We schedule to talk sometime over the weekend. R. has a hard time waking up since he lost track of time playing Call of Duty last night. We head out to the gym once he’s up.

5:45 a.m. — We get back from the gym and I make protein smoothies for both of us. R. also eats an omelet and gets ready for work. I reply to an email from a property management company since we are looking to have them manage our place after we move. I contact Allstate for a quote on landlord insurance and browse rental listings on Zillow.

12 p.m. — All of my coworkers decide to go get burgers from our local place. I can’t resist and end up getting fries to eat on top of my packed lunch. $3.54

2:30 p.m. — I see that our local movie theater is doing a special for $3 tickets and $3 popcorn/soda combos this Saturday. I text R. and buy tickets for two movies (four tickets total). We both get excited to spend half the day at the theaters and grab lunch at the nearby mall. $12

5:20 p.m. — There’s a ton of traffic so I arrive home later than usual. R. greets me with a glass of wine and we watch the Netflix documentary on AND1. I start feeling sleepy, so I shower and finish reading my book in bed. R. comes in to give me my massages and cuddles before I fall asleep fast.

Daily Total: $15.54

Day Three

3 a.m. — I wake up later than usual, feeling sleepy and tired. I drink my pre-workout and try to wake myself up because today is leg day!

6 a.m. — We get back from the gym. R. tells me my birthday gift is arriving sooner than expected and I get excited to open it before my birthday.

12 p.m. — Once again, I go out with my coworkers because they want to get some snacks. I don’t buy anything so yay!

4 p.m. — I have some downtime before the day ends so I apply to some more jobs in the state we will be moving to. Since we are moving to a low-cost-of-living area, R.’s new job is more than enough to sustain us but I still want to work and we also really want to buy another home after we move. When I arrive home, I see a Taste of Chicago shipment in front. I find out that R. has ordered deep dish pizzas all the way from Chicago for my birthday! I instantly heat one up and we eat it while watching TV.

8 p.m. — I finish reading my book and quickly fall asleep after massages and cuddles.

Daily Total: $0

Day Four

5:45 a.m. — Today is a rest day for both of us so we sleep in until R.’s alarm at 5:30 am. R. gets ready for his work while I do some laundry and make breakfast (omelets again!).

9 a.m. — My best friend, N., calls me at work and we talk until lunch. She’s been considering leaving her job so I help compile a list of jobs and e-mail them to her.

5:15 p.m. — I text my parents to schedule a weekly FaceTime with them. We schedule it for 4:30 a.m. on Saturday (time differences are hard!). R. and I plan our long weekend which will consist of movies, city hikes, and touristy things. With all the business of moving states, I am definitely looking forward to some downtime with R. Before my bedtime, R. gives me a massage and cuddles and I knock out pretty early.

Daily Total: $0

Day Five

3:05 a.m. — I wake up and check to make sure our paychecks are deposited into our joint account. Then, I drink my pre-workout and get ready for the gym with R.

5:30 a.m. — R. works four days a week so he is off today. We hang out after the gym, looking at a few more rentals in our new state. We create a spreadsheet with pros and cons to narrow down our choices. After, I deep clean the bathroom and then go to work.

9:30 a.m. — I see that the stock market is down over 1% again. I buy some more shares for both of our Roth IRAs to reach the max contribution limit. I also buy some stocks in our joint brokerage account ($1,300 accounted for in our net worth).

2 p.m. — My work treats us all to pizza, so I save my packed lunch. After lunch, I browse through pet shelters in our new state so R. and I can adopt a dog once we are settled. I send all the links of the cute dogs to R. We daydream briefly about finally getting a chunky pitbull.

5:30 p.m. — I come back home and see that the house is super clean! R. prepares a glass of wine for me. We discuss the timeline for our move. After the discussion, we relax with more wine. R. and I watch Netflix’s Untold documentary series. It’s a great series and I’d highly recommend it to everyone!

Daily Total: $0

Day Six

4 a.m. — I get up, make pre-workout, and get ready to Skype my parents. R. wakes up as I am talking to them. After, R. and I go for our weekend run. R. is still taking it slow since he just started running again so he walks halfway while I do my laps around the park. We then both walk back.

9 a.m. — We carefully and successfully maneuver our big office desk down the cargo elevator to meet our buyer. He comes right on time and is happy with the condition of the desk so we get our asking price for it ($200)! After he leaves, I take a nap.

12:30 p.m. — Whoops! Guess my little nap lasted longer than I expected. I find R. napping in bed as well so I wake up him. We debate skipping the movies since we’re feeling lazy but $3 movies happen once a year so we get ready instead.

1:20 p.m. — We arrive at the theater and IT IS PACKED! We were lucky to find a parking spot right away but the line for popcorn is out the door since they’re also having $3 popcorn and soda deals. R. and I get in line for our snacks. We are FINALLY in at 2:10 even though our movie, Bullet Train, started at 1:50! We missed a bit of the movie, but we are just happy we got our popcorn! $10

4 p.m. — R. and I go to a bar for some food and drinks while we wait for our last movie at 6. R. orders a burger and I order veggie nachos. $44.75

5:30 p.m. — Since we have some time, we grab iced coffees and walk around the neighborhood. Then we pop back to the theater for our second movie. $14.65

9 p.m. — By the time we arrive back home, I’m exhausted. I do my nightly bedtime routine and crash hard!

Daily Total: $69.40

Day Seven

8 a.m. — We have a lazy morning and make breakfast of omelets and home fries. It’s a nice sunny day so we decide to visit the Iolani Palace.

11:30 a.m. — We walk to the palace. With our move in a few months, we’re already feeling quite nostalgic about leaving Hawaii so we are trying as much as we can to play tourist in our city. At the palace, we buy our entry tickets. $19.55

1 p.m. — R. ends up tearing up learning about Hawaii’s royal history and I think that’s so sweet! After our tour, we visit the gift shop and R. buys a keychain of the palace. $7.28

2 p.m. — We walk to a famous Cantonese dumpling restaurant that I’ve been wanting to try. R. and I are both impressed with the service and the dumplings. $47.25

4 p.m. — On our walk back, we stop for ice cream. I get mango and vanilla while R. chooses chocolate and coffee. $22.15

5 p.m. — By the time we arrive back, our legs are ridiculously sore due to nine miles of walking! We are both very happy with our weekend but also extremely exhausted. We decide to shower and go to sleep super early.

Daily Total: $96.23

food, amazon, a week in honolulu, hi, on a $186,000 joint income

A Week In Honolulu, HI, On A $186,000 Joint Income

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