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How a Woman Making $48K Spends Her Money

Budgeting isn’t easy, which is why we’re asking real working women to break down how they distribute their dollars over the course of a month. First up, we have a married 33-year-old mom of two who’s working as a digital initiatives librarian in the Boston area. Read on to learn all the ways she spends her cash.

Annual salary: $48,000
Her hubby’s salary: $90,000
Joint take-home pay each month: $7,860


Mortgage Payment
$1,520. We both chip in to cover the cost of this.

$200. This includes electric, oil and propane gas. It’s actually higher in the winter because of space heaters. We don’t use much air conditioning in the summer anyway.

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$157 on average.

$1,100. We both went to grad school while living in an expensive city and racked up consumer debt on top of our student loans. With two children in daycare, it’s now even harder to pay off debt, but we’re determined and focused on it--my husband even more than me. 

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$420. This covers the cost of the commuter rail for my husband and gas expenses for me. I have about a ten-mile commute between work and day care, which isn’t bad. We have two fairly old cars, and insurance runs us $100 a month.

Hair Care
$60. I get my hair cut once every three to four months and spend about $180 each appointment, which breaks down to about $60 a month. Hair products are pretty scarce these days. Any shampoo we buy is included in grocery costs.

$500. Even though we make nearly all our meals at home, we buy a lot of organic produce and foods. It’s where we choose to “splurge”.

$400 (with a $3,000 deductible). I was able to enroll in a health savings account, which helps since I’m able to put pretax money toward that deductible. It’s incredibly expensive, but the access to good medical care is more important than money at this point.

Child Care
$1,200. This is the cost right now for my 2-year-old, who is in full-time day care. My 5-month-old will be home with my parents through October, which is saving us a ton of cash. Once our baby starts day care, our child-care costs will go up to about $2,000 a month. 

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$100. This includes a combination of impulse buys, special-event duds and outfits for the kids. We have a budget item for clothing, but sometimes we need to go over. Who knew swimsuits were so expensive?

$40. This covers the cost of pizza or something else about twice a month. It’s a lifesaver--and a splurge--when we’re super-exhausted!

Date Night
$50. We don’t have a regular date night right now, but this is a cost that we budget for once a month so that we have “money in the bank” for big date nights or anniversaries. 

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$0. We haven’t been on a vacation in almost four years! 

Cell Phone
$120. This covers the monthly cost of our family plan.

$150. This includes cable and Internet, Netflix and iTunes purchases. You gotta love those spontaneous Apple movie rentals for the kids! 

$40. We’re big fans of Whole Foods’ Three Wishes, which is $3 a bottle. 

Wild-Card Splurge
$200. This month I needed some new work clothes, so I went out and laid down about $200. But trust me that this is rare. We’re way more about Toys "R" Us lawn mowers these days! 

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