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The Money Diaries: Day 5

5:47am -- Because I am CRAZY, I wake up at 5:20am every Saturday morning to work a 6am-10am air shift at my radio station. The saving grace in this is that I don't have to get ready. I go to the bathroom, rinse my face with cool water, get dressed, grab some breakfast, and head out the door. I consider a quick Starbucks order, but skip the coffee this morning... sometimes it hypes me up too much and I talk too fast on the air... oops! Today I pack a GF bagel with cream cheese, pear, and apple sauce for breakfast. I have to be careful what time I eat because otherwise I will be starving by the time I get off at 10am.

8:03am -- I have eaten my bagel and apple sauce. I am eyeing my pear, but making myself have restraint. During the election on Tuesday night I needed a distraction... A local news station posted a live Facebook video of puppies at the Oakland Animal Shelter. They showcased a 5 month old blue nose pit bull named Lincoln (my husband's favorite historical figure). Now…

The Money Diaries: Day 4

7:16am -- I woke up at my normal time, 6:30am, and went about my routine, but a bit different. I go to the bathroom and have my shower, but sit in the living room and watch the news for a while because my husband is still in bed since he has the day off. My on-air boss texts me about my shift for Thanksgiving weekend and we negotiate whether I need time off to go down to Oceanside to potentially meet our new niece (if she makes her debut early). We come to an amicable agreement and she compliments me about my presence on-air. It gives me a little validation that I didn't totally know I needed.

8:53am -- I skipped my regular breakfast at home, so I choked down a protein bar at the office. I decide I need coffee so I venture to the kitchen to make an iced mocha to find that someone has used the rest of the creamer I brought in last week... I use powdered cream and just deal with it. As I walk back to my office I catch one of my bosses in the hallway and we start chatting and joking …

The Money Diaries: Day 3

6:23am -- Mornings like today get me a little off track. I get up early and do the regular routine because I have to pause around 7:30am to call in to my radio station for a segment I do every week called "Foodapedia". I chat with the morning show hosts about food and showcase a recipe. This morning I'm asked about bell peppers. I hate bell peppers most ways. So I text my momma for the info on roasting peppers and cooking them down with tomatoes. It makes my mouth water, but I wait until later to have breakfast.

7:41am -- After my call-in, I pour myself some Honey Nut Cheerios and start typing out the recipe for roasted red peppers, and the time gets away from me. I decide I want Starbucks since I found I have money on my gold card. So I stop with the recipe and finish getting ready. I still have to put my makeup on, fix my hair, and get dressed.

8:37am -- I should have ordered my coffee via the Starbucks app before I left the house, but I forgot. So I have to wait in a …

The Money Diaries: Day 2

Day 2

5:47am -- My husband left with out turning off his alarm. Since I'm unfamiliar with the clock he uses, I have to turn the light on and get out of bed to turn it off. After the election results last night, I only got about 5 hours of sleep - and there's no way I'm going back to bed now. I force myself to stay off Facebook. I can't handle the extreme sadness and disappointment, let alone the few gloaters I encountered, right now. Instead, I briefly look on Amazon for Christmas gifts for my nephew before deciding I need to buy myself a present: a "Make America Kind Again" tote bag on Etsy; and in the moment, it makes me feel better... $20.35

7:23am -- Looks like I WAS going back to sleep after the alarm debacle. I slipped off to sleep while watching a feel-good movie (The Way Way Back), and missed my 6:30am alarm. So I scramble around to get ready. Shower, get dressed, and toss some GF raisin bread in the toaster while I'm putting my make up on. I don&…

The Money Diaries: Overview | Day 1

Personal and Spending Overview:
Industry: Graphic Design. 
Position: I work at a radio station and wear a lot of hats, but my title - Creative Services Manager - implies that my primary function is to create artwork and manage marketing materials. I also freelance for 2 different organizations, but the money I make there is pretty minimal, and I only get paid every other month. I also work for the same radio station as a part time radio DJ on weekends. 
Age: 31
Location: San Jose, CA. My husband and I just purchased our first home in July.
Salary: Base at the radio station: Under $50,000 annually - Freelance: $250/month - DJ: $10.30/hour (yup, I only make minimum wage). My husband's salary, however, brings our annual income to over $100k. 
Paycheck Amount (bi-weekly): Under $1,400 less taxes and deductions: flexible spending account allocation, 401K deposit, Roth IRA, and health insurance
# of roommates: 1 (my husband)
Monthly Expenses

Mortgage: A LOT. Since this isn't anonymous, I won…

The Money Diaries: Preface

So, I regularly read a series called "Money Diary" on Refinery29: a digital media company which brings into sharp focus the latest fashion, make-up, hair style, and life style trends for women in my age group.

The series takes a 7-day diary of a woman's spending habits. Most of them are in their late 20's to early 30's, some have roommates, some live alone, some are married, and they live in varying places, thought most seem to be in New York. Since I have never seen one for the Silicon Valley, and Frank and I just achieved such a coveted goal: home ownership in San Jose, I thought it would be a fun and educational experience to give this a shot.

Starting tomorrow, I will create a simple dialogue based on my spending, eating, and regular activities, which I am able to do based on my salary. These things will include, but are not limited to: Morning Starbucks runs, lunches out with my coworkers, trips to the vending machine, the bottled water I buy at the gas stat…

Don't Leave Me Behind...

Today is October 17th. Yesterday, Frankie celebrated his 32nd birthday.

And 27 years ago, my world view changed slightly, at the ripe old age of 4.

The large majority of people that will read this are folks with whom I am very well acquainted. Ergo, they will likely read this in my ever-present sarcastic tone. If you happen to have stumbled upon this and have no idea who I am, I implore you to use as much dry humor as you can possibly muster while reading this blog post.

I have recently come to terms with the fact that I have an intense and deep seeded need to be included in everything, ever, in life. I don't like being left out of anything, at all, ever. Not when I was a child, not when I was in school, not at work, not with my family, not ever. Like ever. Did I mention, EVER?! Just, don't leave me out, and don't leave me behind...

Tuesday, October 17, 1989, was a day just like any other in the life of Little Lauren. I likely went to preschool at Challenger School, though…

What Good's Love If It Ain't Complicated?

"With both hands on the wheel of a getaway car... From the day we met we were goin' too fast, we were born to run, we were built to last.. All I know is sometimes you love it, sometimes you hate it. But what good's love if it ain't a little complicated? It don't always go just like you hoped it would, but sometimes complicated's pretty damn good..."

In the last 2 months, when someone asks me how things are going with the house, my response is generally something sarcastic like: "Frank's still alive - that's about all I got!"

What I mean is, I haven't strangled or suffocated him in his sleep.

What I really mean is, we're continuing to work as a team while we face the unbelievably difficult and complicated task of preparing a house for our life, and trying to make it our home.

What I really, really mean is, despite the fact that we yell at each other and get frustrated and he acts like a 5 year old and gives me the silent treatment…

You Need To Look Elsewhere...

"It just doesn't seem like a winning endeavor for you to buy something in this area."

"You need to broaden your scope."

"Really, you need to look elsewhere. I mean, people commute all the time."

"Have you thought about looking in the Central Valley? My friend just bought a house in Manteca for under $300K."

"Have you considered Hollister or Los Banos? The commute can't be that bad...?"

Have you considered that you probably need to SHUT. THE. F*CK. UP?!

I can't tell you HOW. MANY. TIMES. people told us how ridiculous it was that we were damn near killing ourselves trying to buy SOMETHING in San Jose.

In the beginning, it didn't matter that we were looking at Townhomes. Then we learned there were a ton of struggles with HOA's not accepting the type of loan for which we were approved. So we asked our AMAZING Real Estate Agent, Mary, to include houses, even if they were small, even if they only had one toilet, even if t…

We Bought A Zoo...

We Bought A Zoo... Well, not really. In reality, we bought a house. But, there is enough land for me to have chickens, and a goat, and a dog, and maybe a turkey. So we may as well have bought a Zoo. Albeit a petting zoo, but a zoo, nonetheless.

Yup. I said it. We. Bought. A. House.

Except that we haven't. YET.

I guess I should say We. Are. Buying. A. House.

Did you know, that in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, home prices are nearly TRIPLE what they are in similar climates across the nation?

Did you know that the average number of days a house in the San Francisco Bay Area stays on the market is LESS THAN 10?

Did you know that this is a SELLERS market? Because crazy ass people like me and Frank are more than willing to "play the game" and offer obscene amounts of money OVER the list price because, we, like most other married couples in their 30's, are crazy, and want to be property owners.

Did you know that Flood Insurance can ONLY be purchased through FEMA…