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A Week In San Jose, CA, On A $135,000 Salary

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.
Have you felt pressured to return to on-site work soon? How have you reacted? What safety measures is your workplace promising to take? Share your perspective with us here.



Today: a Design Engineer who makes $135,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on granola butter.
Occupation: Design Engineer
Industry: Tech
Age: 25
Location: San Jose, CA
Salary: $135,000
Net Worth: ~$150,000 between my 401(k), Roth IRA, investments, and HYSA
Debt: $0, paid off ~$20,000 in student loans earlier this year
Paycheck Amount (biweekly): $2,880

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,250 for a two-bedroom split with a roommate
Utilities: ~$150
401(k): $1,390
Health Insurance: $100
Car Insurance: $80
Phone: covered by work
Gym: currently not paying
Investments: $1,500

Day One

9 a.m. — Wow, almost ten blissful hours of sleep, I dig it. Start the day with my usual thumb workout (aka scroll through Instagram and Facebook) before rolling out of bed. I must have gotten a Charlie Horse last night since my calf is super tight. I do some stretching and go for a little jog to loosen up. I finish with a core video on the Peleton app (using the three-month free trial). With all my productive energy, I finally do the vacuuming that I’ve been putting off.
11 a.m. — I make sweet (butter and jelly) and savory (avocado and arugula) toast for brunch. I also make that whipped coffee latte from TikTok, it’s honestly very good. I want to clarify though that since I’m not 15, I’m too old for TikTok, but I saw the coffee all over Instagram. I watch the finale of Too Hot to Handle while I eat. I think the show is super trashy and I’m glad that it’s finally over, even though I secretly enjoyed it at the same time.
2 p.m. — Since it’s such a nice day, I go for a bike ride. Everyone else had the same idea since the bike trail is super crowded. I get home, jump in the shower, and do a hair mask as some self-care. After I shower, it’s time for my weekly phone call with my family. Mother’s Day and my dad’s birthday are coming up, so my siblings and I decide that we’ll do a virtual paint night to celebrate. The paint studio sends you all the supplies and then the instructor teaches over Zoom. We’ll let them pick the day and the painting they want to do before booking.
6 p.m. — I have plans for a movie night tonight with C., a guy I have been seeing. We starting hanging out a month or so prior to the shutdown and we’re still not official but have been exclusive throughout the quarantine at least. I want to watch Onward so I start my free Disney+ trial, though I’m not sure if I’ll keep it. (Spoiler: I’m going to keep it, at least for the next few months). We both think the movie was cute, but agree it’s not going to be a classic. I have a bagel for dinner while we watch, then we have some ice cream for dessert.
9 p.m. — I’m still kind of hungry, so I eat a few spoonfuls of this granola butter I tried to make. It’s just granola blended with maple syrup and coconut oil. The texture is not the best, but I blame my blender for that. Since my experiment is a fail, I make a super impulsive order of expensive granola butter online from Kween and Co. I’ve never tried it so I’m hoping it’s as good as I imagine. $29.66
Daily Total: $29.66

Day Two

7 a.m. — Wake up and scroll through my phone for too long. Finally get out of bed and put on workout clothes. I go for a short run and then do a strength circuit with a friend over FaceTime. We catch up for a while afterward before I realize I need to quickly get ready to make it to my first meeting of the day.
9 a.m. — Back to back to back meetings are a rough way to start the week but I make it through. When I have a break, I eat an orange and pour myself a cup of cold brew with Peeps-flavored creamer (not as good as actual Peeps, unfortunately). I get distracted online and place an order for flour from a local bakery. Baking has been my quarantine hobby of choice and after not being able to find flour in the grocery store for the past month, I’m thrilled to find bread flour! I’ll be able to pick it up in a week and I can’t wait. $20
12 p.m. — After not the most productive morning, I go out for a walk around my neighborhood. I get back and make avocado toast (on homemade sourdough) with scrambled eggs and a drizzle of balsamic glaze (gamechanger). I’m still hungry after that so I also make a PB&J.
5:30 p.m. — I take a break from work to call my parents. I’ve been talking to them almost every day, which has been super nice. My roommate left to stay with her family at the beginning of everything, so it’s been lonely during the days. After, I have to jump on another work call.
8 p.m. — Call it a night and make zucchini noodles with a creamy red sauce for dinner. I watch some YouTube videos for a bit and then watch another episode of Married at First Sight. I have two peanut butter chocolate muffins that I made last week for dessert. Then 10 minutes later, I have a bowl (fine, it was two) of chocolate chips because my sweet tooth is out of control.
Daily Total: $20

Day Three

6:30 a.m. — Slightly earlier wakeup today since I want to try out a new running trail and it’s a little drive to get there. I only started running when my gym closed and I quickly realize I haven’t run any hills as I’m dying up the first hill on this trail. I finish a few very slow miles and then drive home to shower.
9 a.m. — Time to start work for the day. I feel pretty lost at work since I started at this job only a couple of weeks before working from home started. My role is supposed to be very collaborative but I hadn’t even met a lot of the team at the office yet. Obviously, I’m super grateful for the new opportunity, especially since I heard my old company issued pay cuts and I’m making significantly more now, but it’s definitely been challenging in these circumstances.
12:30 p.m. — Walk time. Once I’m back home, I make tuna salad in a lettuce wrap and eat some chips on the side. I watch random YouTube videos while I eat.
7:30 p.m. — Wrap up work and get a text from C. that he’s on his way. I get started on dinner — scallion pancakes made from sourdough starter discard. They are super easy and C. is a fan. I also have two double chocolate muffins for dessert.
9 p.m. — C. and I cuddle and talk through how we’ve been feeling in this time. I open up a little bit about my disordered eating habits in the past and how I’ve been feeling anxious about gaining weight during this time since I can’t go to the gym anymore. It’s nice to have someone to talk to in person while this is all going on. And it makes me think that maybe I should try seeing a therapist. C. heads home and I should go to bed but instead I end up watching too many videos of Fear Pong by Cut on YouTube. Oops, I head to bed around midnight.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

8 a.m. — I sleep in a little today. Short on time, so I do a quick workout circuit with pushups and squats and then do a core strength video from Peleton. I really should wash my hair today, but decide to go for one more day of dry shampoo.
1 p.m. — Break for lunch (a veggie and cheese omelet). I look into buying a stationary bike so I can try the Peleton spin classes but I don’t order one yet. My sister texts me that she signed our parents up for the paint night in a few weeks. I sign myself up and then pay her for my part of the gift. $157
5 p.m. — Throughout the course of the afternoon, I snack on salted peanuts and air-popped popcorn. I take a short break to go outside for a walk. I talk to my parents on the walk and they remind me to stay positive. California is probably going to extend the shelter-in-place order through the end of May and my company is already talking about slowly rolling people back to the office once the order is lifted, so reality is just setting in about how I will likely be at home for another couple of months. Le sigh.
7 p.m. — I find time for a break from work so I roast some veggies, sweet potatoes, and a piece of salmon for dinner. Wrap up my last call of the day at 9 and then finish up a few other tasks before signing off.
9:30 p.m. — I have a bowl of granola and chocolate chips drizzled with chocolate coconut butter for dessert while I watch an episode of Married At First Sight. It’s only like day 10 of the marriages but I already don’t have high hopes that these couples will survive long term. Get in bed around 11ish.
Daily Total: $157

Day Five

7 a.m. — My alarm goes off in the middle of a deep dream and I’m startled awake. I get dressed in running clothes and hit the road. My time management is not good and I get back home without enough time to shower before my morning meeting. Oops. I try my best to fix my hair and look less red before turning on my video stream. When the meeting ends, I jump in the shower while I have a chance. After, I have an orange and a TikTok whipped coffee for breakfast.
12 p.m. — I debate taking a nap but decide that a walk is what I really need.
12:30 p.m. — Anddd I take the nap too.
1 p.m. — Feeling refreshed after my power nap. I make tuna salad for lunch and use it as a dip for veggie chips. I get back to work and finally find some productivity today.
5 p.m. — Snack break of popcorn and then a Nutrigrain bar. I call my parents and chat for a bit. Today it’s my mom who’s super frustrated so I do my best to keep her thinking more positively.
7:30 p.m. — I have the same dinner as last night. While the salmon is cooking, I make a batch of double chocolate zucchini muffins (recipe from Sally’s Bake Blog, she’s the best). I eat my dinner and then have two muffins while they’re still warm. I started watching Suite Life on Deck on Disney+, it’s terrible but I love it.
9:30 p.m. — Unfortunately for me, I still have work that needs to be finished tonight. I finish a design I’ve been working on all week and then make some slides to show my manager tomorrow. Finally in bed at 12:30.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

7 a.m. — Intentionally set my alarm late so I could sleep in, but of course, I wake up naturally at my normal time. Now I have time to run and no excuses, so I do a slow 30-minute jog. Back at my apartment, I do some lunges and a quick ab workout.
9 a.m. — I present the slides I finished last night and as soon as I finish talking, the Zoom meeting cuts out. No time for questions I guess, which is fine by me, lol. I make myself a cold brew coffee to try to wake up a little more.
12 p.m. — I’m really starting to understand why dogs get so hyped for walks after being in the house all day. WALK TIME FOR ME!
1 p.m. — ~Gourmet~ smoothie bowl for lunch today. The base is mixed berries and spinach blended with oat milk and a scoop of protein powder. The real stars are always the toppings; today I go for peanut butter, honey pecan coconut butter, and pecan granola *chef’s kiss*.
7 p.m. — It’s the freakin’ weekend. I make some eggs for dinner before heading over to C.’s. On the way over, I realize that my stomach feels awful. I have a glass of rosé but that makes me feel worse. C. and I spend a while trying to agree on a movie. By the time we pick The Princess Bride, I feel truly terrible and end up going home. I take some Tums and Advil and hope I feel better in the morning.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

9 a.m. — I wake up and my stomach feels off still but definitely much better than last night. I use my last quarters to put to a load of laundry that I’ve been putting off for at least two weeks. $4
12 p.m. — I finish folding the laundry and a friend stops by to pick up my standing mixer for her weekend baking project. We say hello from six feet apart. It feels so weird but it’s good to see someone new for a change.

12:30 p.m. — I brave Trader Joe’s for the first time since this whole thing started. I tried to go the first week of quarantine but saw the line and changed my mind. Today, the line doesn’t look as bad.

1:30 p.m. — I was wrong, the line was still almost 45 minutes… at least it’s very empty inside and they are really well stocked so it’s worth it. I buy enough snacks to last a month and restock on a ton of frozen foods. I also get a hard kombucha to try. I’m shocked at the total but I think it’ll last me close to three weeks ($131.72). I also need to stop at Sprouts for some produce and brand name items that Trader Joe’s doesn’t carry. There’s no line here, which is amazing ($49.98). The highlights of my Sprouts haul include mint chip ice cream, avocados, and Hippeas (chickpea Cheetos). $181.70

2 p.m. — Get everything put away at home and then dive into some of my new snacks. The honey mustard and onion pretzel bits from Trader Joe’s are too good. I also eat some cookie butter straight from the jar, it’s that good.

5 p.m. — Force myself to go out for a walk. Talk to my sister and parents while I’m out. C. is coming over tonight, so I quickly take a shower after my walk. I haven’t worn any makeup since I started working from home so I’m really appreciating that my getting ready time has gone from like 30 minutes to 10.

7 p.m. — C. and I make shrimp spring rolls for dinner with a peanut butter dipping sauce. All the rolls fall apart but at least they taste good. We also finally watch The Princess Bride — it’s even funnier than I remembered. We have some ice cream while we watch and afterward head to bed.

Daily Total: $185.70





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from refinery29
A Week In San Jose, CA, On A $135,000 Salary A Week In San Jose, CA, On A $135,000 Salary Reviewed by streakoggi on May 13, 2020 Rating: 5

Work from home 25-35$/H

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