A week of expenses for a biomedical engineer in Minneapolis earning $185,000

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Use: Biomedical engineer for a medical technology company

Age: 50

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Salary: $185,000/year (individual)

Net value : $3,700,000 (individual)

Debt: $0

Amount per paycheque: $7,115 bi-weekly before taxes and deductions; $2,524 after taxes and deductions for benefits/savings

Monthly recurring expenses:

  • Telecommunications: $161
  • Health, dental and life insurance: $320 (deducted from salary)

What was your first job and why did you start working?

From around 9 years old, other kids in the neighborhood and I did landscaping work for the neighbors so we had something to do and started earning some pocket money. .

Do you care about money in your current situation?

No. However, we are concerned about the skyrocketing cost of health care benefits, which is the main reason my wife and I continue to work.

What financial tracking or money management/budgeting tools (if any) do you use? Would you recommend them to others?

I keep a spreadsheet in Google Sheets, accessible from any device, anytime. Since it’s so accessible, it’s easy to update and track expenses. I Kept An Expense Spreadsheet For 22 Years From When A Family Friend Encouraged Me To Read your money or your life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez.

Are there any other financial details readers should be aware of?

My spouse has a similar job and has similar savings and a lack of debt. What is reported here is individual. We split household expenses roughly equally and have kept the separate financial instruments that we all started before we got married many years ago.

Do you have any comments or thoughts on the current state of compensation for people in your position/profession?

The non-wage benefits of working in the industry cannot be underestimated, such as heavily discounted health insurance, bonuses, 401K matches, employee stock purchase plans, communication devices and services free or at a reduced price, etc.

7 day diary

Day 1 (Wednesday)

Total: $21.99

6:50 a.m. — I take my cell phone to check the weather and my work and family schedules for the day, when I see a Camelcamelcamel alert (tracking prices), letting me know that a birthday present for our youngest child had a 25% price drop and could be delivered in time for the anniversary. After I make the online purchase ($21.99), I add those expenses into the cloud-based expense spreadsheet that I keep.

7:04 a.m. – My spouse is using my car to get to work during his day at the office this week as gas mileage is better and I am working from my home office as usual.

7:38 a.m. — I make breakfast and pack lunches and snacks for school. Our meals today are made from whatever groceries we have on hand.

Day 2 (Thursday)

Total: $32.69

5:02 p.m. – I took a quick trip to the nearest grocery store to pick up a few spare items for the weekend and stock up on a few brand name items that we use regularly ($32.69). The store gave me a $5 credit to use on my next grocery trip since I am a member of their grocery rewards program.

6:00 p.m. — The family spent an hour working in the garden and cleaning the house. We choose to do these tasks ourselves, rather than hire workers to do these services for us.

9:24 p.m. – I sit down with the weekly grocery announcements that arrived in the mail today and make lists for stores I want to visit next week. There are three grocery stores all in the same area within 2 miles of us so I plan my first weekly grocery trip based on sales and what we want for the week.

Day 3 (Friday)

Total: $2,872.95

My bi-weekly paycheck is issued:

  • 44% of my gross pay is withheld for state and federal taxes, including health insurance
  • 2% goes towards my share of my medical and dental plans
  • 13% goes into my Roth 401K
  • 6% goes to my Employee Stock Ownership Plan
  • 7% is deposited directly into a savings account
  • The rest (28%) is automatically deposited into my current account

12:00 p.m. — We stop at the clerk’s office and pay our semi-annual property tax bill (my share: $2,853). Then, my wife treats us to lunch at a local restaurant.

5:00 p.m. – Our youngest had a “no presents, please” birthday party with a few close friends. We kept it simple and understated. No decorations. No outdoor entertainment. The children used sports equipment that we already had on hand. We served simple snacks and drinks purchased on last week’s grocery trip. Because our costs were so low, we let our child order a custom cake ($19.95) – the first year we didn’t make or decorate it ourselves.

Day 4 (Saturday)

Total: $41.82

Our eldest needs an extra textbook for school next year. I found a clean, used version online ($12.25).

Our family ordered take-out sandwiches for a family picnic celebrating our child’s birthday ($29.57). We brought our own drinks and sides to have our favorites and save costs.

Day 5 (Sunday)

Total: $95.43

12:25 p.m. – On the way home after dropping a friend off at the local airport, I stopped at another local grocery store to stock up on brand name staples on my shopping list, which are heavily discounted this week ($38.43).

1:34 p.m. – I purchased tickets in advance for a family outing to a local Double A baseball game as a Father’s Day gift, using a promo code that will also give us free food on site ($57).

Day 6 (Monday)

Total: $0

6:58 a.m. — When I reach into the closet for a new deodorant stick, I realize it’s the last one in my closet. I quickly check prices online, then add them to my Target shopping list for my next restocking trip.

5:10 p.m. — Our youngest attends his weekly martial arts class, which we paid for in full at the start of the year to save 15%.

Day 7 (Tuesday)

Total: $0

Like most work/school days, our meals today are made from whatever groceries we have on hand.

Cumulative week: $3,064.88. It’s been a more expensive week than usual for me because of the semi-annual property tax bill. Because I monitor my spending consistently, I know that my typical weekly spending averages $1,228/week. That hasn’t changed much over the past couple of years, with our recent grocery price hikes being offset by less travel as our family is busy with more local kids’ activities this year.

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