Home » Food Diary: How a 30-Year-Old Nurse and Mother of Two Toddlers Eats on $3K/Week in Yakima, Washington

Food Diary: How a 30-Year-Old Nurse and Mother of Two Toddlers Eats on $3K/Week in Yakima, Washington

by TopBusinessView

Welcome to The Receipt, a series documenting how Bon Appétit readers eat and what they spend doing it. Each food diary follows one anonymous reader’s week of expenses related to groceries, restaurant meals, coffee runs, and every bite in between. In this time of rising food costs, The Receipt reveals how folks—from different cities, with different incomes, on different schedules—are figuring out their food budgets.

In today’s Receipt, a 30-year-old nurse works 12-hour shifts at her local hospital, feeds her two toddlers, and tries to treat herself in between. Keep reading for her receipts.

Jump ahead:

The finances

What are your pronouns? She/her

What is your occupation? I am a travel nurse, mother of two toddlers, and wife. For my diary week, I’m between work contracts, so I pick up two days of work at my hospital per diem. 

How old are you? 30

What city and state do you live in? Yakima, Washington

What is your annual salary, if you have one? I make about $3,000 a week as a travel nurse. My contracts typically last 13 weeks and the time between them can last a couple days to a couple weeks. During that time, I work per diem at the local hospital. Before travel nursing, I worked full-time as a staff nurse at the hospital, but I’m now traveling while my husband is finishing his master’s in nursing so that he doesn’t have to work while he does his clinical rotations. I made $58,000 last year as a staff nurse; my husband was travel nursing last year, and he and I together made about $200,000. Now it’s my turn to bring in the money!

How much is one paycheck, after taxes? My current contract issues a weekly paycheck of about $3,000 after taxes.

How often are you paid? (e.g., weekly) Weekly

How much money do you have in savings? We’ve got nothing in savings right now. (We just bought a car.)

What are your approximate fixed monthly expenses beyond food? (i.e., rent, subscriptions, bills) 

  • Total: $3,943.46
  • Mortgage: $1,800
  • Cell phone bill: $200
  • Utilities: $700
  • Car payment: $640
  • Montessori school tuition: $500
  • Amazon Prime: $14.99
  • HBO Max: $15.99

The diet

Do you follow a certain diet or have dietary restrictions? We do not follow a specific diet, but I do try to buy as many organic products as possible.

What are the grocery staples you always buy, if any? Most of the staples are for the toddlers, but items I always have on hand include: bananas, raspberries, strawberries, Dave’s Killer Bread, Annie’s macaroni & cheese, Greek yogurt, string cheese, deli turkey, frozen salmon, and assorted frozen vegetables.

How often in a week do you dine out versus cook at home? We dine out once a week—especially when I’m working until 7:30 p.m. I’m usually cooking; my husband never cooks. In fact, he has probably made me a meal three times over the course of our twelve-year relationship and it is his take on migas—scrambled eggs with ripped-up tortillas. Though cooking isn’t his strong suit, housework and yard work is, so I am very happy about that.

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