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Heaps of Pizza Dumped All Over Highway in Tractor-Trailer Accident

Heaps of Pizza Dumped All Over Highway in Tractor-Trailer Accident


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There were no humans harmed in the spill, but may each pie rest in pizza

ADfoto/shutterstock.com

If there’s one place pizza doesn’t belong, it’s all over a highway. But after a tractor-trailer met an overpass in Little Rock, Arkansas, frozen pies were fired every which-way, covering a stretch of Interstate 30. No injuries were reported in the August 9 accident — other than battered Tombstone and DiGiorno — but traffic suffered while lanes remained closed.

Multiple Twitter accounts documented the incident, including local news reporter Winnie Wright, who answered a very important question that everyone was obviously wondering: “For those asking. The pizzas have been run over and many have diesel fluid on them, so there won’t be pizza for dinner for any of us.”

Cleanup lasted about 45 minutes, according to ABC affiliate KATV, and all lanes were reopened around 5:40 p.m. The Arkansas Department of Transportation noted only minor cosmetic damage to the overpass and cleared it for travel. Ready for a pizza your own pie? Get cooking with these 29 quick and easy pizzas to make right now.


I am 26 years old (she/they), make $33000+, live in the Greater Boston Area and work as a public library assistant and freelance artist.

I’m really enjoying the lower income MDs and wanted to share mine as well! My husband, M, is also a public library assistant ($18,000) and freelance illustrator. I manage both our finances, as well as the business aspects of his freelance work.

Saver vs Spender:

I’m generally a saver, and always on the lookout for cheap / free stuff. Most of our furniture was from yard sales, picked up on the sidewalk (graduation season in Boston is a great time to get some quality free stuff) or hand-me-downs from M’s family. M is a super saver (would rather walk an hour to walk than spend $2 to take the bus).

Short-term: Save enough to fly home once a year to see my family in Asia (about $1,000 for a round trip). $50-60k full-time job within the next 10 years (I’ll evaluate my happiness / stress balance then to decide if I want to push for more.) Maybe get a library degree ($50k)?

Long-term: I would like to have more money to travel, and to make sure my dad can retire comfortably. I plan to move back to my home country eventually (maybe in about 20 years), for better healthcare and public housing and to be closer to family. I seriously considered moving back early on in the pandemic when it became clear that America would not take precautions seriously, but decided I couldn’t handle going back in the closet (it’s a pretty queerphobic country).

Section One: Assets and Debt Use this section to explain your current financial picture at large.

Checking account balance: $14,000

Debt: $1100 (interest free loan, covid emergency fund for small businesses)

Credit card: (I only got it to improve my credit score, and pay off any purchases immediately)

I have a compulsory retirement account in my home country, but can’t check how much is in it until I go back (probably pennies). I’m talking to my dad about putting my savings in his retirement account, which has higher interest (4-7%) and flexible withdrawals.

Safety net: M and I can always ask our parents for money in emergencies. In exchange, there’s expectations for us to take care of them after they retire. They also get first dibs on any non-commissioned art we make.

Student loans: Our parents paid for our undergrad degrees. In October, we finished paying off M’s grad school loans of $40,000. Our strategy for the past couple years was to end each month with $1500 in the checking account, putting any excess towards the loans. This was only possible because we live with his mom and don’t pay rent.

Section Two: Income

Income Progression:

2015-2017: College jobs (TA, tour guide, admin assistant, writing tutor) around $10-11/hour, some unpaid internships. Got my first 'real' art commission two months before graduating - $2000

2017-2018: Barely breaking even by doing contract art + teaching. I decided I needed a more stable career and started looking into salaried work. I absolutely hated corporate art /design culture during the internships I did in college, and public service with a focus in arts administration seemed like a better fit for my skills and interests.

2019: Started working as a part-time library assistant ($18,000), while still taking on freelance commissions.

2020: When the pandemic hit, my studio space shut down and my freelance work dropped dramatically. We both got furloughed for about a month before WFH started. I’ve been job searching since April. I just got a second part-time position at another library ($15,000) and will be starting there this week.

Main Job Monthly Take Home:

$2177 after taxes for me, $1240 for M. No other deductions (I think?)

Side Gig Monthly Take Home

Freelance income varies a lot! Before taxes, we make $700-2,000 in profit per month, with a monthly average of $1,000 over the past year. I plan my budget with the assumption that it’ll be $500/month and treat any extra as a bonus. Happy to talk more about freelance / artist finances in the comments if anyone has specific questions.

Passive Income:

$2400 (we both got stimulus checks, but were unable to get unemployment)

I get a few hundred dollars from relatives every Chinese New Year, which goes straight to my dad.

Section Three: Expenses

Rent: (we’re living with M’s mom and were planning to move out when he graduated in May, but the pandemic happened - we have an apartment lined up in June with another couple that will be $1500/month for the two of us)

Public transportation: $100 (neither of us learned to drive)

Pet expenses: $50 (food and litter for two cats)

Health insurance: $70 for M, $230 for me (can’t get Masshealth because of my immigration status T_T)

Birth control: $20 (my insurance used to cover it, but now it doesn’t?? can’t figure it out)

Luxury food: $50 (fancy tea, specialty baking stuff etc)

Clip Studio for iPad: $2.49 (tax deductible)

Day 1: Monday (Library A) $123.08

6AM - I'm starting a new part-time job later this week with morning shifts, so I'm trying to get back into the habit of waking up early. I also want to get some household / admin tasks done before the new schedule sets in. I spend a couple hours doing inventory for M's online store, and respond to some client emails. Some items need to be restocked so I put in an order that comes to $106.44. I also set up a Google Sheets for our 2021 budget (it's just the free ɺnnual Budget' template that I've added monthly expense/income logs to).

10AM - I do a one hour workout (I've been following a free YouTube workout program), shower, and get ready for a lunch meeting. It's to discuss some programming for an organization I volunteer for, but also an excuse to catch up with my friend. Lunch: yogurt with nuts and berries, and leftover fillings from yesterday's fish taco dinner. By the way, this is probably going to read more like a food diary than a money diary!

2:30 PM - I make steamed pork with salted fish to pack with some frozen vegetables for dinner. I leave it on the stovetop so M will remember to eat when he gets home. I walk to work and it's a typical Monday - a bunch of emails to reply and tasks to finish up. We have a productive discussion about programming for January and February. I’ve been pushing for more household repair / DIY classes to encourage people to buy less stuff. I get half an hour for dinner in between helping patrons, during which I remember to order cat food ($16.64). I need some soap dishes, so I put together a vector file on Inkscape and get it cut on our laser cutter during some downtime.

8:30PM - I get home and put on a Netflix C-drama in the background while I work on a commission (it was technically due months ago but everything got weird because of COVID and the client only followed up recently). I've been trying to stick to a 11pm bedtime so I don't get much done.

Day 2: Tuesday $11.80

6AM - It’s my day off! I do some laundry and reorganize the fridge. I'm still sore from yesterday's exercise, so I don't push myself too hard in today's routine. I have a hard time keeping up the habit unless I do a bit every day, even if that just means lying on the mat in my workout clothes while the videos play. Once the post office opens, I walk over to mail some orders from M's store ($11.80).

11AM - I spend the whole afternoon baking (biscotti, brownies, gingersnaps, mochi bread, meltaways). I know I'll have less energy for baking once the second job starts, so I want to have a good stockpile for the rest of the month. I fill up a medium sized flat-rate box to mail to my dad and stepmother (she has a hard time finding good gluten-free baked goods). I make a Cantonese style roast duck for dinner, using the duck fat to fry up some Brussels sprouts.

1PM - I started growing my hair out during the job hunt, hoping that a more conservative, feminine appearance would help, and this is the longest it’s been in 13 years. I ask in my local Buy Nothing Facebook group to see if anyone has a hairband, bobby pins or clips to spare. I’ll probably get sick of it and cut it again within another year, so I don’t want to spend money on it.

7PM - M and I get together with a couple of friends on Discord to watch anime twice a week. It's really been keeping me sane throughout the pandemic and I'm super thankful we've continued to stay close. We tried going hiking together a couple times, but it was really hard with our masks on (also we're all out of shape). I offer them some baked goods if they can come pick them up from our porch this week.

Day 3: Wednesday (Library A) $96.79 (WARNING: BAKE OFF SPOILER)

6AM - I've been skipping breakfasts in the name of intermittent fasting, but now that I have to wake up early again I don't know if I can keep it up. I get my workout done, then chop up some ingredients so that M can make dinner before I get home tomorrow.

11AM - I make us some grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, using the leftover roast duck, chopped napa cabbage, apple slices, and mayo with some hoisin sauce mixed in. We watch the season finale of Bake Off while eating, and it was so disappointing. Laura should have been eliminated weeks ago, and it would have been a much better episode with Hermine in the final three. I see a post on Facebook about how anyone on Masshealth can get 30% off their National Grid bill?? I immediately text all my friends in MA to check it out.

2PM - I stop by the post office before work to ship the cookies for my dad ($77.50). I feel a little twinge at how expensive international shipping is, but then I remember I saved about $1,000 by not flying home to visit this year. I give my boss a little box of cookies too, as a thank you for being so supportive and helping me get this second job, and preemptive apology in case I slip up while adjusting to the new schedule. Work is pretty chill today, there's just a Zoom class I'm teaching in the evening. Our online numbers have been growing ever since we started offering free take-and-make kits, and about 30 people show up today, some with their kids. Dinner is a random mix of leftovers from the past two days.

8PM - M walks me home from work. I'm a bit nervous about my first day at the new job tomorrow, especially because my green card and work authorization ID are technically expired. (It's been over a year since I submitted a renewal request!) I email my supervisor about it and she says it'll probably be fine. I make plans to meet a friend for lunch on Saturday and order her a cute recipe book as a Christmas present ($19.29). I use a sheet mask before bed and M decides he wants one too.

Day 4: Thursday (Library B) $21.24

6AM - I hit snooze for 15 minutes before getting up to do my workout. I actually really hate exercising but I know it's one of the few things that does help with my seasonal affective disorder so I'm committed to keeping it up. After a quick shower, I make a green bean stir fry to pack for lunch, and leave instructions for M to make tikka masala tonight.

8AM - It's been such a long time since I've taken the bus, it feels a bit scary! Thankfully, it's not crowded at all, but my transfer does take me past my favorite bakery (Flour) and I have to resist the urge to get a lemon ginger scone. I buy all their recipe books in an effort to spend less by making them myself, but it's not the same as being able to get a big box of all different pastries. I get to the library a bit early, so I take a walk around the building. It's huge! My supervisor lets me in and gives me a bunch of paperwork to fill out. She shows me around the department and runs through the basic daily tasks I'll be doing. We're all spread out way more than six feet apart, and everyone has their masks on properly, so I feel really safe.

12PM - Everyone takes their lunch break in different rooms. I text my dad some videos of my new workplace, and he is very impressed. Before I leave, I check out some manga for myself to read on the bus. I consider getting a board game too, but it won't fit in my backpack - I'll bring a bigger bag next time.

7PM - I love how rush hour isn't a thing anymore. The commute I'm doing now would normally take an extra half hour! M has dinner waiting when I get home, along with surprise hot chocolate (Swiss Miss, but we use double the recommended amount per cup). We eat while watching anime with our friends on Discord. One of them wants us to join a D&D campaign with his ex-boyfriend. I'm not sure if I'll have the time / energy, but agree to try it for a couple weeks. I buy Hades on Steam ($21.24) to celebrate the new job, even though I know my laptop will barely be able to run it.

10PM - I do some social media stuff for my volunteer thing, then look around the LUSH online store, in anticipation of their boxing day sale which is when I stock up each year. (I’m still looking for a good affordable moisturizer for dry winter skin, if anyone has recommendations!)

Day 5: Friday (Library A) $10

6AM- I put the leftover duck carcass and some vegetable scraps in a pot to simmer while I do my workout. I'll use the stock in whatever I cook on Sunday. I make some pasta with zucchini, arugula and frozen corn to bring for lunch, and pack yesterday's leftover curry for dinner.

9AM - My glasses have been really bothering me for a while now, and I decide to fix that today. Usually I only buy new glasses frames in Asia, but they broke when someone pushed me into a subway door during rush hour a couple years ago (the lenses survived), and I panicked and got a new pair of frames at the closest shop. I call a nearby optometrist to schedule an appointment - it's short notice but they have a spot open on Christmas eve! I order a home try-on kit from a brand that's supposed to fit Asian noses properly ($10).

11:30AM - My boss hands me an envelope when I walk in, from the library union. It's a holiday card with a $50 note! She says she's spent some of hers at a nearby bakery that's doing curbside pickups, and recommends their eggnog doughnuts. I'll try to swing by this weekend - their other baked goods look great too. It's a busy day at work! Lots of patron requests, and we have a volunteer teaching a Zoom class in the evening who needs a lot of technical help.

8:30PM - I respond to client messages, talk to M about increasing his prices next year, and he helps me fix some issues with my commission. I sit in bed and do some scheduling and journaling in my planner (Hobonichi cousin) with both cats on my lap.

Day 6: Saturday (Library B)

6AM - I decide to make lunch before doing my workout this morning in the hopes that it’ll make me feel less miserable about exercising (it doesn’t). Today I’m having lunch with my friend, and I know she’s bringing Spam fried rice so I make fried Spam vermicelli with eggs and cabbage. I also toss in some arugula that’s starting to wilt, and top it off with some fried shallots. M has just gotten out of bed as I’m heading out and I remind him about today’s commission deadlines.

9AM - A standard day for a library assistant: sorting book returns / deliveries, pulling holds for patrons, withdrawing less circulated items from the system (we get to pick through and keep whatever we want before they get tossed), and putting stuff back on the shelves. While doing this, I’m also brainstorming programming / project ideas I could propose that are specific to my skill set.

1PM - It’s raining, so I walk around with my friend until we find a closed building with an overhang. We sit about 10ft apart to eat and catch up. We talk about her WFH situation and try to think of ways to stay sane / healthy through the winter. She lives nearby so we make plans to keep meeting up for lunch on my days here, even if it gets colder.

3PM - My supervisor reminds us to take our afternoon breaks and stay hydrated! It’s hard to remember to drink enough water when you’re always wearing a mask.

5PM - I encounter my first case of public COVID idiocy on the bus ride home. A passenger is glaring behind me, gesturing angrily. I look over and there’s this asshole in the back with his mask hanging off one ear and vaping. He puts it on because everyone’s turned around and staring at him, I guess. A few stops later, Mr Asshole walks over and starts pacing in front of the guy who told him off and just stares at him like a fucking creep. Then right before getting off, he pulls his mask down and blows a mouthful of smoke at him.

6PM - The incident on the bus has me feeling pessimistic and angry. I chop the ingredients for tonight’s dinner (Japanese curry) with a bit more force than necessary. We watch part of the Bake Off Christmas special, and I start planning a menu for Christmas dinner. I like cooking for large groups of people! There's only four of us here (M's sister came home too) but we'll drop off some for M's other sister who lives close by.

Day 7: Sunday 83.83

8AM - Time for the weekly takeout splurge! I’d been planning to try the bakery my boss recommended, but it’s not open on Sundays. We default to Flour and pick out a mix of our favorite pastries and cakes, I offer to get M's sister some too. It comes to $45.38, and I add a $20 tip for the Grubhub driver. I fill some store orders while waiting - we’re running low of envelopes so I order a 200-pack ($18.45).

10AM - I help M finish up some commissions, and do some tidying and cleaning. We discuss whether a leather jacket (my fave outerwear) would be appropriate for my new office dress code (business casual).

12PM - Leftover Spam vermicelli for lunch. I sit on the couch and finish the 8 volumes of manga I've checked out from the library.

5PM - We watch our Discord friends stream a game while working on our commissions. We make and eat shakshuka (with eggplant and dill) as they finally wrap up the campaign (we started it about two months ago).

9:30PM - I have a shower, then Facetime with my dad. Look through my planner and shift any tasks I didn't get done to the next week. Look through the fridge and pantry to make a meal plan for the upcoming week. Go to bed happy and relaxed.

Expenses for the week:

Business: $136.69 (this should all be tax deductible)

Reflection: Except for the gifting, this is a pretty standard week for me. It comes to about $600 after adding a quarter of the monthly expenses listed at the top.

PSA: Use your local library! Besides physical books, you can also borrow e-books and audiobooks (Hoopla / Overdrive), board games, video games, stream movies (Kanopy), take free Zoom classes (we give out free materials with ours!), get documents scanned / printed, maybe even laser cut or 3D print small projects all for free.


I am 26 years old (she/they), make $33000+, live in the Greater Boston Area and work as a public library assistant and freelance artist.

I’m really enjoying the lower income MDs and wanted to share mine as well! My husband, M, is also a public library assistant ($18,000) and freelance illustrator. I manage both our finances, as well as the business aspects of his freelance work.

Saver vs Spender:

I’m generally a saver, and always on the lookout for cheap / free stuff. Most of our furniture was from yard sales, picked up on the sidewalk (graduation season in Boston is a great time to get some quality free stuff) or hand-me-downs from M’s family. M is a super saver (would rather walk an hour to walk than spend $2 to take the bus).

Short-term: Save enough to fly home once a year to see my family in Asia (about $1,000 for a round trip). $50-60k full-time job within the next 10 years (I’ll evaluate my happiness / stress balance then to decide if I want to push for more.) Maybe get a library degree ($50k)?

Long-term: I would like to have more money to travel, and to make sure my dad can retire comfortably. I plan to move back to my home country eventually (maybe in about 20 years), for better healthcare and public housing and to be closer to family. I seriously considered moving back early on in the pandemic when it became clear that America would not take precautions seriously, but decided I couldn’t handle going back in the closet (it’s a pretty queerphobic country).

Section One: Assets and Debt Use this section to explain your current financial picture at large.

Checking account balance: $14,000

Debt: $1100 (interest free loan, covid emergency fund for small businesses)

Credit card: (I only got it to improve my credit score, and pay off any purchases immediately)

I have a compulsory retirement account in my home country, but can’t check how much is in it until I go back (probably pennies). I’m talking to my dad about putting my savings in his retirement account, which has higher interest (4-7%) and flexible withdrawals.

Safety net: M and I can always ask our parents for money in emergencies. In exchange, there’s expectations for us to take care of them after they retire. They also get first dibs on any non-commissioned art we make.

Student loans: Our parents paid for our undergrad degrees. In October, we finished paying off M’s grad school loans of $40,000. Our strategy for the past couple years was to end each month with $1500 in the checking account, putting any excess towards the loans. This was only possible because we live with his mom and don’t pay rent.

Section Two: Income

Income Progression:

2015-2017: College jobs (TA, tour guide, admin assistant, writing tutor) around $10-11/hour, some unpaid internships. Got my first 'real' art commission two months before graduating - $2000

2017-2018: Barely breaking even by doing contract art + teaching. I decided I needed a more stable career and started looking into salaried work. I absolutely hated corporate art /design culture during the internships I did in college, and public service with a focus in arts administration seemed like a better fit for my skills and interests.

2019: Started working as a part-time library assistant ($18,000), while still taking on freelance commissions.

2020: When the pandemic hit, my studio space shut down and my freelance work dropped dramatically. We both got furloughed for about a month before WFH started. I’ve been job searching since April. I just got a second part-time position at another library ($15,000) and will be starting there this week.

Main Job Monthly Take Home:

$2177 after taxes for me, $1240 for M. No other deductions (I think?)

Side Gig Monthly Take Home

Freelance income varies a lot! Before taxes, we make $700-2,000 in profit per month, with a monthly average of $1,000 over the past year. I plan my budget with the assumption that it’ll be $500/month and treat any extra as a bonus. Happy to talk more about freelance / artist finances in the comments if anyone has specific questions.

Passive Income:

$2400 (we both got stimulus checks, but were unable to get unemployment)

I get a few hundred dollars from relatives every Chinese New Year, which goes straight to my dad.

Section Three: Expenses

Rent: (we’re living with M’s mom and were planning to move out when he graduated in May, but the pandemic happened - we have an apartment lined up in June with another couple that will be $1500/month for the two of us)

Public transportation: $100 (neither of us learned to drive)

Pet expenses: $50 (food and litter for two cats)

Health insurance: $70 for M, $230 for me (can’t get Masshealth because of my immigration status T_T)

Birth control: $20 (my insurance used to cover it, but now it doesn’t?? can’t figure it out)

Luxury food: $50 (fancy tea, specialty baking stuff etc)

Clip Studio for iPad: $2.49 (tax deductible)

Day 1: Monday (Library A) $123.08

6AM - I'm starting a new part-time job later this week with morning shifts, so I'm trying to get back into the habit of waking up early. I also want to get some household / admin tasks done before the new schedule sets in. I spend a couple hours doing inventory for M's online store, and respond to some client emails. Some items need to be restocked so I put in an order that comes to $106.44. I also set up a Google Sheets for our 2021 budget (it's just the free ɺnnual Budget' template that I've added monthly expense/income logs to).

10AM - I do a one hour workout (I've been following a free YouTube workout program), shower, and get ready for a lunch meeting. It's to discuss some programming for an organization I volunteer for, but also an excuse to catch up with my friend. Lunch: yogurt with nuts and berries, and leftover fillings from yesterday's fish taco dinner. By the way, this is probably going to read more like a food diary than a money diary!

2:30 PM - I make steamed pork with salted fish to pack with some frozen vegetables for dinner. I leave it on the stovetop so M will remember to eat when he gets home. I walk to work and it's a typical Monday - a bunch of emails to reply and tasks to finish up. We have a productive discussion about programming for January and February. I’ve been pushing for more household repair / DIY classes to encourage people to buy less stuff. I get half an hour for dinner in between helping patrons, during which I remember to order cat food ($16.64). I need some soap dishes, so I put together a vector file on Inkscape and get it cut on our laser cutter during some downtime.

8:30PM - I get home and put on a Netflix C-drama in the background while I work on a commission (it was technically due months ago but everything got weird because of COVID and the client only followed up recently). I've been trying to stick to a 11pm bedtime so I don't get much done.

Day 2: Tuesday $11.80

6AM - It’s my day off! I do some laundry and reorganize the fridge. I'm still sore from yesterday's exercise, so I don't push myself too hard in today's routine. I have a hard time keeping up the habit unless I do a bit every day, even if that just means lying on the mat in my workout clothes while the videos play. Once the post office opens, I walk over to mail some orders from M's store ($11.80).

11AM - I spend the whole afternoon baking (biscotti, brownies, gingersnaps, mochi bread, meltaways). I know I'll have less energy for baking once the second job starts, so I want to have a good stockpile for the rest of the month. I fill up a medium sized flat-rate box to mail to my dad and stepmother (she has a hard time finding good gluten-free baked goods). I make a Cantonese style roast duck for dinner, using the duck fat to fry up some Brussels sprouts.

1PM - I started growing my hair out during the job hunt, hoping that a more conservative, feminine appearance would help, and this is the longest it’s been in 13 years. I ask in my local Buy Nothing Facebook group to see if anyone has a hairband, bobby pins or clips to spare. I’ll probably get sick of it and cut it again within another year, so I don’t want to spend money on it.

7PM - M and I get together with a couple of friends on Discord to watch anime twice a week. It's really been keeping me sane throughout the pandemic and I'm super thankful we've continued to stay close. We tried going hiking together a couple times, but it was really hard with our masks on (also we're all out of shape). I offer them some baked goods if they can come pick them up from our porch this week.

Day 3: Wednesday (Library A) $96.79 (WARNING: BAKE OFF SPOILER)

6AM - I've been skipping breakfasts in the name of intermittent fasting, but now that I have to wake up early again I don't know if I can keep it up. I get my workout done, then chop up some ingredients so that M can make dinner before I get home tomorrow.

11AM - I make us some grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, using the leftover roast duck, chopped napa cabbage, apple slices, and mayo with some hoisin sauce mixed in. We watch the season finale of Bake Off while eating, and it was so disappointing. Laura should have been eliminated weeks ago, and it would have been a much better episode with Hermine in the final three. I see a post on Facebook about how anyone on Masshealth can get 30% off their National Grid bill?? I immediately text all my friends in MA to check it out.

2PM - I stop by the post office before work to ship the cookies for my dad ($77.50). I feel a little twinge at how expensive international shipping is, but then I remember I saved about $1,000 by not flying home to visit this year. I give my boss a little box of cookies too, as a thank you for being so supportive and helping me get this second job, and preemptive apology in case I slip up while adjusting to the new schedule. Work is pretty chill today, there's just a Zoom class I'm teaching in the evening. Our online numbers have been growing ever since we started offering free take-and-make kits, and about 30 people show up today, some with their kids. Dinner is a random mix of leftovers from the past two days.

8PM - M walks me home from work. I'm a bit nervous about my first day at the new job tomorrow, especially because my green card and work authorization ID are technically expired. (It's been over a year since I submitted a renewal request!) I email my supervisor about it and she says it'll probably be fine. I make plans to meet a friend for lunch on Saturday and order her a cute recipe book as a Christmas present ($19.29). I use a sheet mask before bed and M decides he wants one too.

Day 4: Thursday (Library B) $21.24

6AM - I hit snooze for 15 minutes before getting up to do my workout. I actually really hate exercising but I know it's one of the few things that does help with my seasonal affective disorder so I'm committed to keeping it up. After a quick shower, I make a green bean stir fry to pack for lunch, and leave instructions for M to make tikka masala tonight.

8AM - It's been such a long time since I've taken the bus, it feels a bit scary! Thankfully, it's not crowded at all, but my transfer does take me past my favorite bakery (Flour) and I have to resist the urge to get a lemon ginger scone. I buy all their recipe books in an effort to spend less by making them myself, but it's not the same as being able to get a big box of all different pastries. I get to the library a bit early, so I take a walk around the building. It's huge! My supervisor lets me in and gives me a bunch of paperwork to fill out. She shows me around the department and runs through the basic daily tasks I'll be doing. We're all spread out way more than six feet apart, and everyone has their masks on properly, so I feel really safe.

12PM - Everyone takes their lunch break in different rooms. I text my dad some videos of my new workplace, and he is very impressed. Before I leave, I check out some manga for myself to read on the bus. I consider getting a board game too, but it won't fit in my backpack - I'll bring a bigger bag next time.

7PM - I love how rush hour isn't a thing anymore. The commute I'm doing now would normally take an extra half hour! M has dinner waiting when I get home, along with surprise hot chocolate (Swiss Miss, but we use double the recommended amount per cup). We eat while watching anime with our friends on Discord. One of them wants us to join a D&D campaign with his ex-boyfriend. I'm not sure if I'll have the time / energy, but agree to try it for a couple weeks. I buy Hades on Steam ($21.24) to celebrate the new job, even though I know my laptop will barely be able to run it.

10PM - I do some social media stuff for my volunteer thing, then look around the LUSH online store, in anticipation of their boxing day sale which is when I stock up each year. (I’m still looking for a good affordable moisturizer for dry winter skin, if anyone has recommendations!)

Day 5: Friday (Library A) $10

6AM- I put the leftover duck carcass and some vegetable scraps in a pot to simmer while I do my workout. I'll use the stock in whatever I cook on Sunday. I make some pasta with zucchini, arugula and frozen corn to bring for lunch, and pack yesterday's leftover curry for dinner.

9AM - My glasses have been really bothering me for a while now, and I decide to fix that today. Usually I only buy new glasses frames in Asia, but they broke when someone pushed me into a subway door during rush hour a couple years ago (the lenses survived), and I panicked and got a new pair of frames at the closest shop. I call a nearby optometrist to schedule an appointment - it's short notice but they have a spot open on Christmas eve! I order a home try-on kit from a brand that's supposed to fit Asian noses properly ($10).

11:30AM - My boss hands me an envelope when I walk in, from the library union. It's a holiday card with a $50 note! She says she's spent some of hers at a nearby bakery that's doing curbside pickups, and recommends their eggnog doughnuts. I'll try to swing by this weekend - their other baked goods look great too. It's a busy day at work! Lots of patron requests, and we have a volunteer teaching a Zoom class in the evening who needs a lot of technical help.

8:30PM - I respond to client messages, talk to M about increasing his prices next year, and he helps me fix some issues with my commission. I sit in bed and do some scheduling and journaling in my planner (Hobonichi cousin) with both cats on my lap.

Day 6: Saturday (Library B)

6AM - I decide to make lunch before doing my workout this morning in the hopes that it’ll make me feel less miserable about exercising (it doesn’t). Today I’m having lunch with my friend, and I know she’s bringing Spam fried rice so I make fried Spam vermicelli with eggs and cabbage. I also toss in some arugula that’s starting to wilt, and top it off with some fried shallots. M has just gotten out of bed as I’m heading out and I remind him about today’s commission deadlines.

9AM - A standard day for a library assistant: sorting book returns / deliveries, pulling holds for patrons, withdrawing less circulated items from the system (we get to pick through and keep whatever we want before they get tossed), and putting stuff back on the shelves. While doing this, I’m also brainstorming programming / project ideas I could propose that are specific to my skill set.

1PM - It’s raining, so I walk around with my friend until we find a closed building with an overhang. We sit about 10ft apart to eat and catch up. We talk about her WFH situation and try to think of ways to stay sane / healthy through the winter. She lives nearby so we make plans to keep meeting up for lunch on my days here, even if it gets colder.

3PM - My supervisor reminds us to take our afternoon breaks and stay hydrated! It’s hard to remember to drink enough water when you’re always wearing a mask.

5PM - I encounter my first case of public COVID idiocy on the bus ride home. A passenger is glaring behind me, gesturing angrily. I look over and there’s this asshole in the back with his mask hanging off one ear and vaping. He puts it on because everyone’s turned around and staring at him, I guess. A few stops later, Mr Asshole walks over and starts pacing in front of the guy who told him off and just stares at him like a fucking creep. Then right before getting off, he pulls his mask down and blows a mouthful of smoke at him.

6PM - The incident on the bus has me feeling pessimistic and angry. I chop the ingredients for tonight’s dinner (Japanese curry) with a bit more force than necessary. We watch part of the Bake Off Christmas special, and I start planning a menu for Christmas dinner. I like cooking for large groups of people! There's only four of us here (M's sister came home too) but we'll drop off some for M's other sister who lives close by.

Day 7: Sunday 83.83

8AM - Time for the weekly takeout splurge! I’d been planning to try the bakery my boss recommended, but it’s not open on Sundays. We default to Flour and pick out a mix of our favorite pastries and cakes, I offer to get M's sister some too. It comes to $45.38, and I add a $20 tip for the Grubhub driver. I fill some store orders while waiting - we’re running low of envelopes so I order a 200-pack ($18.45).

10AM - I help M finish up some commissions, and do some tidying and cleaning. We discuss whether a leather jacket (my fave outerwear) would be appropriate for my new office dress code (business casual).

12PM - Leftover Spam vermicelli for lunch. I sit on the couch and finish the 8 volumes of manga I've checked out from the library.

5PM - We watch our Discord friends stream a game while working on our commissions. We make and eat shakshuka (with eggplant and dill) as they finally wrap up the campaign (we started it about two months ago).

9:30PM - I have a shower, then Facetime with my dad. Look through my planner and shift any tasks I didn't get done to the next week. Look through the fridge and pantry to make a meal plan for the upcoming week. Go to bed happy and relaxed.

Expenses for the week:

Business: $136.69 (this should all be tax deductible)

Reflection: Except for the gifting, this is a pretty standard week for me. It comes to about $600 after adding a quarter of the monthly expenses listed at the top.

PSA: Use your local library! Besides physical books, you can also borrow e-books and audiobooks (Hoopla / Overdrive), board games, video games, stream movies (Kanopy), take free Zoom classes (we give out free materials with ours!), get documents scanned / printed, maybe even laser cut or 3D print small projects all for free.


I am 26 years old (she/they), make $33000+, live in the Greater Boston Area and work as a public library assistant and freelance artist.

I’m really enjoying the lower income MDs and wanted to share mine as well! My husband, M, is also a public library assistant ($18,000) and freelance illustrator. I manage both our finances, as well as the business aspects of his freelance work.

Saver vs Spender:

I’m generally a saver, and always on the lookout for cheap / free stuff. Most of our furniture was from yard sales, picked up on the sidewalk (graduation season in Boston is a great time to get some quality free stuff) or hand-me-downs from M’s family. M is a super saver (would rather walk an hour to walk than spend $2 to take the bus).

Short-term: Save enough to fly home once a year to see my family in Asia (about $1,000 for a round trip). $50-60k full-time job within the next 10 years (I’ll evaluate my happiness / stress balance then to decide if I want to push for more.) Maybe get a library degree ($50k)?

Long-term: I would like to have more money to travel, and to make sure my dad can retire comfortably. I plan to move back to my home country eventually (maybe in about 20 years), for better healthcare and public housing and to be closer to family. I seriously considered moving back early on in the pandemic when it became clear that America would not take precautions seriously, but decided I couldn’t handle going back in the closet (it’s a pretty queerphobic country).

Section One: Assets and Debt Use this section to explain your current financial picture at large.

Checking account balance: $14,000

Debt: $1100 (interest free loan, covid emergency fund for small businesses)

Credit card: (I only got it to improve my credit score, and pay off any purchases immediately)

I have a compulsory retirement account in my home country, but can’t check how much is in it until I go back (probably pennies). I’m talking to my dad about putting my savings in his retirement account, which has higher interest (4-7%) and flexible withdrawals.

Safety net: M and I can always ask our parents for money in emergencies. In exchange, there’s expectations for us to take care of them after they retire. They also get first dibs on any non-commissioned art we make.

Student loans: Our parents paid for our undergrad degrees. In October, we finished paying off M’s grad school loans of $40,000. Our strategy for the past couple years was to end each month with $1500 in the checking account, putting any excess towards the loans. This was only possible because we live with his mom and don’t pay rent.

Section Two: Income

Income Progression:

2015-2017: College jobs (TA, tour guide, admin assistant, writing tutor) around $10-11/hour, some unpaid internships. Got my first 'real' art commission two months before graduating - $2000

2017-2018: Barely breaking even by doing contract art + teaching. I decided I needed a more stable career and started looking into salaried work. I absolutely hated corporate art /design culture during the internships I did in college, and public service with a focus in arts administration seemed like a better fit for my skills and interests.

2019: Started working as a part-time library assistant ($18,000), while still taking on freelance commissions.

2020: When the pandemic hit, my studio space shut down and my freelance work dropped dramatically. We both got furloughed for about a month before WFH started. I’ve been job searching since April. I just got a second part-time position at another library ($15,000) and will be starting there this week.

Main Job Monthly Take Home:

$2177 after taxes for me, $1240 for M. No other deductions (I think?)

Side Gig Monthly Take Home

Freelance income varies a lot! Before taxes, we make $700-2,000 in profit per month, with a monthly average of $1,000 over the past year. I plan my budget with the assumption that it’ll be $500/month and treat any extra as a bonus. Happy to talk more about freelance / artist finances in the comments if anyone has specific questions.

Passive Income:

$2400 (we both got stimulus checks, but were unable to get unemployment)

I get a few hundred dollars from relatives every Chinese New Year, which goes straight to my dad.

Section Three: Expenses

Rent: (we’re living with M’s mom and were planning to move out when he graduated in May, but the pandemic happened - we have an apartment lined up in June with another couple that will be $1500/month for the two of us)

Public transportation: $100 (neither of us learned to drive)

Pet expenses: $50 (food and litter for two cats)

Health insurance: $70 for M, $230 for me (can’t get Masshealth because of my immigration status T_T)

Birth control: $20 (my insurance used to cover it, but now it doesn’t?? can’t figure it out)

Luxury food: $50 (fancy tea, specialty baking stuff etc)

Clip Studio for iPad: $2.49 (tax deductible)

Day 1: Monday (Library A) $123.08

6AM - I'm starting a new part-time job later this week with morning shifts, so I'm trying to get back into the habit of waking up early. I also want to get some household / admin tasks done before the new schedule sets in. I spend a couple hours doing inventory for M's online store, and respond to some client emails. Some items need to be restocked so I put in an order that comes to $106.44. I also set up a Google Sheets for our 2021 budget (it's just the free ɺnnual Budget' template that I've added monthly expense/income logs to).

10AM - I do a one hour workout (I've been following a free YouTube workout program), shower, and get ready for a lunch meeting. It's to discuss some programming for an organization I volunteer for, but also an excuse to catch up with my friend. Lunch: yogurt with nuts and berries, and leftover fillings from yesterday's fish taco dinner. By the way, this is probably going to read more like a food diary than a money diary!

2:30 PM - I make steamed pork with salted fish to pack with some frozen vegetables for dinner. I leave it on the stovetop so M will remember to eat when he gets home. I walk to work and it's a typical Monday - a bunch of emails to reply and tasks to finish up. We have a productive discussion about programming for January and February. I’ve been pushing for more household repair / DIY classes to encourage people to buy less stuff. I get half an hour for dinner in between helping patrons, during which I remember to order cat food ($16.64). I need some soap dishes, so I put together a vector file on Inkscape and get it cut on our laser cutter during some downtime.

8:30PM - I get home and put on a Netflix C-drama in the background while I work on a commission (it was technically due months ago but everything got weird because of COVID and the client only followed up recently). I've been trying to stick to a 11pm bedtime so I don't get much done.

Day 2: Tuesday $11.80

6AM - It’s my day off! I do some laundry and reorganize the fridge. I'm still sore from yesterday's exercise, so I don't push myself too hard in today's routine. I have a hard time keeping up the habit unless I do a bit every day, even if that just means lying on the mat in my workout clothes while the videos play. Once the post office opens, I walk over to mail some orders from M's store ($11.80).

11AM - I spend the whole afternoon baking (biscotti, brownies, gingersnaps, mochi bread, meltaways). I know I'll have less energy for baking once the second job starts, so I want to have a good stockpile for the rest of the month. I fill up a medium sized flat-rate box to mail to my dad and stepmother (she has a hard time finding good gluten-free baked goods). I make a Cantonese style roast duck for dinner, using the duck fat to fry up some Brussels sprouts.

1PM - I started growing my hair out during the job hunt, hoping that a more conservative, feminine appearance would help, and this is the longest it’s been in 13 years. I ask in my local Buy Nothing Facebook group to see if anyone has a hairband, bobby pins or clips to spare. I’ll probably get sick of it and cut it again within another year, so I don’t want to spend money on it.

7PM - M and I get together with a couple of friends on Discord to watch anime twice a week. It's really been keeping me sane throughout the pandemic and I'm super thankful we've continued to stay close. We tried going hiking together a couple times, but it was really hard with our masks on (also we're all out of shape). I offer them some baked goods if they can come pick them up from our porch this week.

Day 3: Wednesday (Library A) $96.79 (WARNING: BAKE OFF SPOILER)

6AM - I've been skipping breakfasts in the name of intermittent fasting, but now that I have to wake up early again I don't know if I can keep it up. I get my workout done, then chop up some ingredients so that M can make dinner before I get home tomorrow.

11AM - I make us some grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, using the leftover roast duck, chopped napa cabbage, apple slices, and mayo with some hoisin sauce mixed in. We watch the season finale of Bake Off while eating, and it was so disappointing. Laura should have been eliminated weeks ago, and it would have been a much better episode with Hermine in the final three. I see a post on Facebook about how anyone on Masshealth can get 30% off their National Grid bill?? I immediately text all my friends in MA to check it out.

2PM - I stop by the post office before work to ship the cookies for my dad ($77.50). I feel a little twinge at how expensive international shipping is, but then I remember I saved about $1,000 by not flying home to visit this year. I give my boss a little box of cookies too, as a thank you for being so supportive and helping me get this second job, and preemptive apology in case I slip up while adjusting to the new schedule. Work is pretty chill today, there's just a Zoom class I'm teaching in the evening. Our online numbers have been growing ever since we started offering free take-and-make kits, and about 30 people show up today, some with their kids. Dinner is a random mix of leftovers from the past two days.

8PM - M walks me home from work. I'm a bit nervous about my first day at the new job tomorrow, especially because my green card and work authorization ID are technically expired. (It's been over a year since I submitted a renewal request!) I email my supervisor about it and she says it'll probably be fine. I make plans to meet a friend for lunch on Saturday and order her a cute recipe book as a Christmas present ($19.29). I use a sheet mask before bed and M decides he wants one too.

Day 4: Thursday (Library B) $21.24

6AM - I hit snooze for 15 minutes before getting up to do my workout. I actually really hate exercising but I know it's one of the few things that does help with my seasonal affective disorder so I'm committed to keeping it up. After a quick shower, I make a green bean stir fry to pack for lunch, and leave instructions for M to make tikka masala tonight.

8AM - It's been such a long time since I've taken the bus, it feels a bit scary! Thankfully, it's not crowded at all, but my transfer does take me past my favorite bakery (Flour) and I have to resist the urge to get a lemon ginger scone. I buy all their recipe books in an effort to spend less by making them myself, but it's not the same as being able to get a big box of all different pastries. I get to the library a bit early, so I take a walk around the building. It's huge! My supervisor lets me in and gives me a bunch of paperwork to fill out. She shows me around the department and runs through the basic daily tasks I'll be doing. We're all spread out way more than six feet apart, and everyone has their masks on properly, so I feel really safe.

12PM - Everyone takes their lunch break in different rooms. I text my dad some videos of my new workplace, and he is very impressed. Before I leave, I check out some manga for myself to read on the bus. I consider getting a board game too, but it won't fit in my backpack - I'll bring a bigger bag next time.

7PM - I love how rush hour isn't a thing anymore. The commute I'm doing now would normally take an extra half hour! M has dinner waiting when I get home, along with surprise hot chocolate (Swiss Miss, but we use double the recommended amount per cup). We eat while watching anime with our friends on Discord. One of them wants us to join a D&D campaign with his ex-boyfriend. I'm not sure if I'll have the time / energy, but agree to try it for a couple weeks. I buy Hades on Steam ($21.24) to celebrate the new job, even though I know my laptop will barely be able to run it.

10PM - I do some social media stuff for my volunteer thing, then look around the LUSH online store, in anticipation of their boxing day sale which is when I stock up each year. (I’m still looking for a good affordable moisturizer for dry winter skin, if anyone has recommendations!)

Day 5: Friday (Library A) $10

6AM- I put the leftover duck carcass and some vegetable scraps in a pot to simmer while I do my workout. I'll use the stock in whatever I cook on Sunday. I make some pasta with zucchini, arugula and frozen corn to bring for lunch, and pack yesterday's leftover curry for dinner.

9AM - My glasses have been really bothering me for a while now, and I decide to fix that today. Usually I only buy new glasses frames in Asia, but they broke when someone pushed me into a subway door during rush hour a couple years ago (the lenses survived), and I panicked and got a new pair of frames at the closest shop. I call a nearby optometrist to schedule an appointment - it's short notice but they have a spot open on Christmas eve! I order a home try-on kit from a brand that's supposed to fit Asian noses properly ($10).

11:30AM - My boss hands me an envelope when I walk in, from the library union. It's a holiday card with a $50 note! She says she's spent some of hers at a nearby bakery that's doing curbside pickups, and recommends their eggnog doughnuts. I'll try to swing by this weekend - their other baked goods look great too. It's a busy day at work! Lots of patron requests, and we have a volunteer teaching a Zoom class in the evening who needs a lot of technical help.

8:30PM - I respond to client messages, talk to M about increasing his prices next year, and he helps me fix some issues with my commission. I sit in bed and do some scheduling and journaling in my planner (Hobonichi cousin) with both cats on my lap.

Day 6: Saturday (Library B)

6AM - I decide to make lunch before doing my workout this morning in the hopes that it’ll make me feel less miserable about exercising (it doesn’t). Today I’m having lunch with my friend, and I know she’s bringing Spam fried rice so I make fried Spam vermicelli with eggs and cabbage. I also toss in some arugula that’s starting to wilt, and top it off with some fried shallots. M has just gotten out of bed as I’m heading out and I remind him about today’s commission deadlines.

9AM - A standard day for a library assistant: sorting book returns / deliveries, pulling holds for patrons, withdrawing less circulated items from the system (we get to pick through and keep whatever we want before they get tossed), and putting stuff back on the shelves. While doing this, I’m also brainstorming programming / project ideas I could propose that are specific to my skill set.

1PM - It’s raining, so I walk around with my friend until we find a closed building with an overhang. We sit about 10ft apart to eat and catch up. We talk about her WFH situation and try to think of ways to stay sane / healthy through the winter. She lives nearby so we make plans to keep meeting up for lunch on my days here, even if it gets colder.

3PM - My supervisor reminds us to take our afternoon breaks and stay hydrated! It’s hard to remember to drink enough water when you’re always wearing a mask.

5PM - I encounter my first case of public COVID idiocy on the bus ride home. A passenger is glaring behind me, gesturing angrily. I look over and there’s this asshole in the back with his mask hanging off one ear and vaping. He puts it on because everyone’s turned around and staring at him, I guess. A few stops later, Mr Asshole walks over and starts pacing in front of the guy who told him off and just stares at him like a fucking creep. Then right before getting off, he pulls his mask down and blows a mouthful of smoke at him.

6PM - The incident on the bus has me feeling pessimistic and angry. I chop the ingredients for tonight’s dinner (Japanese curry) with a bit more force than necessary. We watch part of the Bake Off Christmas special, and I start planning a menu for Christmas dinner. I like cooking for large groups of people! There's only four of us here (M's sister came home too) but we'll drop off some for M's other sister who lives close by.

Day 7: Sunday 83.83

8AM - Time for the weekly takeout splurge! I’d been planning to try the bakery my boss recommended, but it’s not open on Sundays. We default to Flour and pick out a mix of our favorite pastries and cakes, I offer to get M's sister some too. It comes to $45.38, and I add a $20 tip for the Grubhub driver. I fill some store orders while waiting - we’re running low of envelopes so I order a 200-pack ($18.45).

10AM - I help M finish up some commissions, and do some tidying and cleaning. We discuss whether a leather jacket (my fave outerwear) would be appropriate for my new office dress code (business casual).

12PM - Leftover Spam vermicelli for lunch. I sit on the couch and finish the 8 volumes of manga I've checked out from the library.

5PM - We watch our Discord friends stream a game while working on our commissions. We make and eat shakshuka (with eggplant and dill) as they finally wrap up the campaign (we started it about two months ago).

9:30PM - I have a shower, then Facetime with my dad. Look through my planner and shift any tasks I didn't get done to the next week. Look through the fridge and pantry to make a meal plan for the upcoming week. Go to bed happy and relaxed.

Expenses for the week:

Business: $136.69 (this should all be tax deductible)

Reflection: Except for the gifting, this is a pretty standard week for me. It comes to about $600 after adding a quarter of the monthly expenses listed at the top.

PSA: Use your local library! Besides physical books, you can also borrow e-books and audiobooks (Hoopla / Overdrive), board games, video games, stream movies (Kanopy), take free Zoom classes (we give out free materials with ours!), get documents scanned / printed, maybe even laser cut or 3D print small projects all for free.


I am 26 years old (she/they), make $33000+, live in the Greater Boston Area and work as a public library assistant and freelance artist.

I’m really enjoying the lower income MDs and wanted to share mine as well! My husband, M, is also a public library assistant ($18,000) and freelance illustrator. I manage both our finances, as well as the business aspects of his freelance work.

Saver vs Spender:

I’m generally a saver, and always on the lookout for cheap / free stuff. Most of our furniture was from yard sales, picked up on the sidewalk (graduation season in Boston is a great time to get some quality free stuff) or hand-me-downs from M’s family. M is a super saver (would rather walk an hour to walk than spend $2 to take the bus).

Short-term: Save enough to fly home once a year to see my family in Asia (about $1,000 for a round trip). $50-60k full-time job within the next 10 years (I’ll evaluate my happiness / stress balance then to decide if I want to push for more.) Maybe get a library degree ($50k)?

Long-term: I would like to have more money to travel, and to make sure my dad can retire comfortably. I plan to move back to my home country eventually (maybe in about 20 years), for better healthcare and public housing and to be closer to family. I seriously considered moving back early on in the pandemic when it became clear that America would not take precautions seriously, but decided I couldn’t handle going back in the closet (it’s a pretty queerphobic country).

Section One: Assets and Debt Use this section to explain your current financial picture at large.

Checking account balance: $14,000

Debt: $1100 (interest free loan, covid emergency fund for small businesses)

Credit card: (I only got it to improve my credit score, and pay off any purchases immediately)

I have a compulsory retirement account in my home country, but can’t check how much is in it until I go back (probably pennies). I’m talking to my dad about putting my savings in his retirement account, which has higher interest (4-7%) and flexible withdrawals.

Safety net: M and I can always ask our parents for money in emergencies. In exchange, there’s expectations for us to take care of them after they retire. They also get first dibs on any non-commissioned art we make.

Student loans: Our parents paid for our undergrad degrees. In October, we finished paying off M’s grad school loans of $40,000. Our strategy for the past couple years was to end each month with $1500 in the checking account, putting any excess towards the loans. This was only possible because we live with his mom and don’t pay rent.

Section Two: Income

Income Progression:

2015-2017: College jobs (TA, tour guide, admin assistant, writing tutor) around $10-11/hour, some unpaid internships. Got my first 'real' art commission two months before graduating - $2000

2017-2018: Barely breaking even by doing contract art + teaching. I decided I needed a more stable career and started looking into salaried work. I absolutely hated corporate art /design culture during the internships I did in college, and public service with a focus in arts administration seemed like a better fit for my skills and interests.

2019: Started working as a part-time library assistant ($18,000), while still taking on freelance commissions.

2020: When the pandemic hit, my studio space shut down and my freelance work dropped dramatically. We both got furloughed for about a month before WFH started. I’ve been job searching since April. I just got a second part-time position at another library ($15,000) and will be starting there this week.

Main Job Monthly Take Home:

$2177 after taxes for me, $1240 for M. No other deductions (I think?)

Side Gig Monthly Take Home

Freelance income varies a lot! Before taxes, we make $700-2,000 in profit per month, with a monthly average of $1,000 over the past year. I plan my budget with the assumption that it’ll be $500/month and treat any extra as a bonus. Happy to talk more about freelance / artist finances in the comments if anyone has specific questions.

Passive Income:

$2400 (we both got stimulus checks, but were unable to get unemployment)

I get a few hundred dollars from relatives every Chinese New Year, which goes straight to my dad.

Section Three: Expenses

Rent: (we’re living with M’s mom and were planning to move out when he graduated in May, but the pandemic happened - we have an apartment lined up in June with another couple that will be $1500/month for the two of us)

Public transportation: $100 (neither of us learned to drive)

Pet expenses: $50 (food and litter for two cats)

Health insurance: $70 for M, $230 for me (can’t get Masshealth because of my immigration status T_T)

Birth control: $20 (my insurance used to cover it, but now it doesn’t?? can’t figure it out)

Luxury food: $50 (fancy tea, specialty baking stuff etc)

Clip Studio for iPad: $2.49 (tax deductible)

Day 1: Monday (Library A) $123.08

6AM - I'm starting a new part-time job later this week with morning shifts, so I'm trying to get back into the habit of waking up early. I also want to get some household / admin tasks done before the new schedule sets in. I spend a couple hours doing inventory for M's online store, and respond to some client emails. Some items need to be restocked so I put in an order that comes to $106.44. I also set up a Google Sheets for our 2021 budget (it's just the free ɺnnual Budget' template that I've added monthly expense/income logs to).

10AM - I do a one hour workout (I've been following a free YouTube workout program), shower, and get ready for a lunch meeting. It's to discuss some programming for an organization I volunteer for, but also an excuse to catch up with my friend. Lunch: yogurt with nuts and berries, and leftover fillings from yesterday's fish taco dinner. By the way, this is probably going to read more like a food diary than a money diary!

2:30 PM - I make steamed pork with salted fish to pack with some frozen vegetables for dinner. I leave it on the stovetop so M will remember to eat when he gets home. I walk to work and it's a typical Monday - a bunch of emails to reply and tasks to finish up. We have a productive discussion about programming for January and February. I’ve been pushing for more household repair / DIY classes to encourage people to buy less stuff. I get half an hour for dinner in between helping patrons, during which I remember to order cat food ($16.64). I need some soap dishes, so I put together a vector file on Inkscape and get it cut on our laser cutter during some downtime.

8:30PM - I get home and put on a Netflix C-drama in the background while I work on a commission (it was technically due months ago but everything got weird because of COVID and the client only followed up recently). I've been trying to stick to a 11pm bedtime so I don't get much done.

Day 2: Tuesday $11.80

6AM - It’s my day off! I do some laundry and reorganize the fridge. I'm still sore from yesterday's exercise, so I don't push myself too hard in today's routine. I have a hard time keeping up the habit unless I do a bit every day, even if that just means lying on the mat in my workout clothes while the videos play. Once the post office opens, I walk over to mail some orders from M's store ($11.80).

11AM - I spend the whole afternoon baking (biscotti, brownies, gingersnaps, mochi bread, meltaways). I know I'll have less energy for baking once the second job starts, so I want to have a good stockpile for the rest of the month. I fill up a medium sized flat-rate box to mail to my dad and stepmother (she has a hard time finding good gluten-free baked goods). I make a Cantonese style roast duck for dinner, using the duck fat to fry up some Brussels sprouts.

1PM - I started growing my hair out during the job hunt, hoping that a more conservative, feminine appearance would help, and this is the longest it’s been in 13 years. I ask in my local Buy Nothing Facebook group to see if anyone has a hairband, bobby pins or clips to spare. I’ll probably get sick of it and cut it again within another year, so I don’t want to spend money on it.

7PM - M and I get together with a couple of friends on Discord to watch anime twice a week. It's really been keeping me sane throughout the pandemic and I'm super thankful we've continued to stay close. We tried going hiking together a couple times, but it was really hard with our masks on (also we're all out of shape). I offer them some baked goods if they can come pick them up from our porch this week.

Day 3: Wednesday (Library A) $96.79 (WARNING: BAKE OFF SPOILER)

6AM - I've been skipping breakfasts in the name of intermittent fasting, but now that I have to wake up early again I don't know if I can keep it up. I get my workout done, then chop up some ingredients so that M can make dinner before I get home tomorrow.

11AM - I make us some grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, using the leftover roast duck, chopped napa cabbage, apple slices, and mayo with some hoisin sauce mixed in. We watch the season finale of Bake Off while eating, and it was so disappointing. Laura should have been eliminated weeks ago, and it would have been a much better episode with Hermine in the final three. I see a post on Facebook about how anyone on Masshealth can get 30% off their National Grid bill?? I immediately text all my friends in MA to check it out.

2PM - I stop by the post office before work to ship the cookies for my dad ($77.50). I feel a little twinge at how expensive international shipping is, but then I remember I saved about $1,000 by not flying home to visit this year. I give my boss a little box of cookies too, as a thank you for being so supportive and helping me get this second job, and preemptive apology in case I slip up while adjusting to the new schedule. Work is pretty chill today, there's just a Zoom class I'm teaching in the evening. Our online numbers have been growing ever since we started offering free take-and-make kits, and about 30 people show up today, some with their kids. Dinner is a random mix of leftovers from the past two days.

8PM - M walks me home from work. I'm a bit nervous about my first day at the new job tomorrow, especially because my green card and work authorization ID are technically expired. (It's been over a year since I submitted a renewal request!) I email my supervisor about it and she says it'll probably be fine. I make plans to meet a friend for lunch on Saturday and order her a cute recipe book as a Christmas present ($19.29). I use a sheet mask before bed and M decides he wants one too.

Day 4: Thursday (Library B) $21.24

6AM - I hit snooze for 15 minutes before getting up to do my workout. I actually really hate exercising but I know it's one of the few things that does help with my seasonal affective disorder so I'm committed to keeping it up. After a quick shower, I make a green bean stir fry to pack for lunch, and leave instructions for M to make tikka masala tonight.

8AM - It's been such a long time since I've taken the bus, it feels a bit scary! Thankfully, it's not crowded at all, but my transfer does take me past my favorite bakery (Flour) and I have to resist the urge to get a lemon ginger scone. I buy all their recipe books in an effort to spend less by making them myself, but it's not the same as being able to get a big box of all different pastries. I get to the library a bit early, so I take a walk around the building. It's huge! My supervisor lets me in and gives me a bunch of paperwork to fill out. She shows me around the department and runs through the basic daily tasks I'll be doing. We're all spread out way more than six feet apart, and everyone has their masks on properly, so I feel really safe.

12PM - Everyone takes their lunch break in different rooms. I text my dad some videos of my new workplace, and he is very impressed. Before I leave, I check out some manga for myself to read on the bus. I consider getting a board game too, but it won't fit in my backpack - I'll bring a bigger bag next time.

7PM - I love how rush hour isn't a thing anymore. The commute I'm doing now would normally take an extra half hour! M has dinner waiting when I get home, along with surprise hot chocolate (Swiss Miss, but we use double the recommended amount per cup). We eat while watching anime with our friends on Discord. One of them wants us to join a D&D campaign with his ex-boyfriend. I'm not sure if I'll have the time / energy, but agree to try it for a couple weeks. I buy Hades on Steam ($21.24) to celebrate the new job, even though I know my laptop will barely be able to run it.

10PM - I do some social media stuff for my volunteer thing, then look around the LUSH online store, in anticipation of their boxing day sale which is when I stock up each year. (I’m still looking for a good affordable moisturizer for dry winter skin, if anyone has recommendations!)

Day 5: Friday (Library A) $10

6AM- I put the leftover duck carcass and some vegetable scraps in a pot to simmer while I do my workout. I'll use the stock in whatever I cook on Sunday. I make some pasta with zucchini, arugula and frozen corn to bring for lunch, and pack yesterday's leftover curry for dinner.

9AM - My glasses have been really bothering me for a while now, and I decide to fix that today. Usually I only buy new glasses frames in Asia, but they broke when someone pushed me into a subway door during rush hour a couple years ago (the lenses survived), and I panicked and got a new pair of frames at the closest shop. I call a nearby optometrist to schedule an appointment - it's short notice but they have a spot open on Christmas eve! I order a home try-on kit from a brand that's supposed to fit Asian noses properly ($10).

11:30AM - My boss hands me an envelope when I walk in, from the library union. It's a holiday card with a $50 note! She says she's spent some of hers at a nearby bakery that's doing curbside pickups, and recommends their eggnog doughnuts. I'll try to swing by this weekend - their other baked goods look great too. It's a busy day at work! Lots of patron requests, and we have a volunteer teaching a Zoom class in the evening who needs a lot of technical help.

8:30PM - I respond to client messages, talk to M about increasing his prices next year, and he helps me fix some issues with my commission. I sit in bed and do some scheduling and journaling in my planner (Hobonichi cousin) with both cats on my lap.

Day 6: Saturday (Library B)

6AM - I decide to make lunch before doing my workout this morning in the hopes that it’ll make me feel less miserable about exercising (it doesn’t). Today I’m having lunch with my friend, and I know she’s bringing Spam fried rice so I make fried Spam vermicelli with eggs and cabbage. I also toss in some arugula that’s starting to wilt, and top it off with some fried shallots. M has just gotten out of bed as I’m heading out and I remind him about today’s commission deadlines.

9AM - A standard day for a library assistant: sorting book returns / deliveries, pulling holds for patrons, withdrawing less circulated items from the system (we get to pick through and keep whatever we want before they get tossed), and putting stuff back on the shelves. While doing this, I’m also brainstorming programming / project ideas I could propose that are specific to my skill set.

1PM - It’s raining, so I walk around with my friend until we find a closed building with an overhang. We sit about 10ft apart to eat and catch up. We talk about her WFH situation and try to think of ways to stay sane / healthy through the winter. She lives nearby so we make plans to keep meeting up for lunch on my days here, even if it gets colder.

3PM - My supervisor reminds us to take our afternoon breaks and stay hydrated! It’s hard to remember to drink enough water when you’re always wearing a mask.

5PM - I encounter my first case of public COVID idiocy on the bus ride home. A passenger is glaring behind me, gesturing angrily. I look over and there’s this asshole in the back with his mask hanging off one ear and vaping. He puts it on because everyone’s turned around and staring at him, I guess. A few stops later, Mr Asshole walks over and starts pacing in front of the guy who told him off and just stares at him like a fucking creep. Then right before getting off, he pulls his mask down and blows a mouthful of smoke at him.

6PM - The incident on the bus has me feeling pessimistic and angry. I chop the ingredients for tonight’s dinner (Japanese curry) with a bit more force than necessary. We watch part of the Bake Off Christmas special, and I start planning a menu for Christmas dinner. I like cooking for large groups of people! There's only four of us here (M's sister came home too) but we'll drop off some for M's other sister who lives close by.

Day 7: Sunday 83.83

8AM - Time for the weekly takeout splurge! I’d been planning to try the bakery my boss recommended, but it’s not open on Sundays. We default to Flour and pick out a mix of our favorite pastries and cakes, I offer to get M's sister some too. It comes to $45.38, and I add a $20 tip for the Grubhub driver. I fill some store orders while waiting - we’re running low of envelopes so I order a 200-pack ($18.45).

10AM - I help M finish up some commissions, and do some tidying and cleaning. We discuss whether a leather jacket (my fave outerwear) would be appropriate for my new office dress code (business casual).

12PM - Leftover Spam vermicelli for lunch. I sit on the couch and finish the 8 volumes of manga I've checked out from the library.

5PM - We watch our Discord friends stream a game while working on our commissions. We make and eat shakshuka (with eggplant and dill) as they finally wrap up the campaign (we started it about two months ago).

9:30PM - I have a shower, then Facetime with my dad. Look through my planner and shift any tasks I didn't get done to the next week. Look through the fridge and pantry to make a meal plan for the upcoming week. Go to bed happy and relaxed.

Expenses for the week:

Business: $136.69 (this should all be tax deductible)

Reflection: Except for the gifting, this is a pretty standard week for me. It comes to about $600 after adding a quarter of the monthly expenses listed at the top.

PSA: Use your local library! Besides physical books, you can also borrow e-books and audiobooks (Hoopla / Overdrive), board games, video games, stream movies (Kanopy), take free Zoom classes (we give out free materials with ours!), get documents scanned / printed, maybe even laser cut or 3D print small projects all for free.


I am 26 years old (she/they), make $33000+, live in the Greater Boston Area and work as a public library assistant and freelance artist.

I’m really enjoying the lower income MDs and wanted to share mine as well! My husband, M, is also a public library assistant ($18,000) and freelance illustrator. I manage both our finances, as well as the business aspects of his freelance work.

Saver vs Spender:

I’m generally a saver, and always on the lookout for cheap / free stuff. Most of our furniture was from yard sales, picked up on the sidewalk (graduation season in Boston is a great time to get some quality free stuff) or hand-me-downs from M’s family. M is a super saver (would rather walk an hour to walk than spend $2 to take the bus).

Short-term: Save enough to fly home once a year to see my family in Asia (about $1,000 for a round trip). $50-60k full-time job within the next 10 years (I’ll evaluate my happiness / stress balance then to decide if I want to push for more.) Maybe get a library degree ($50k)?

Long-term: I would like to have more money to travel, and to make sure my dad can retire comfortably. I plan to move back to my home country eventually (maybe in about 20 years), for better healthcare and public housing and to be closer to family. I seriously considered moving back early on in the pandemic when it became clear that America would not take precautions seriously, but decided I couldn’t handle going back in the closet (it’s a pretty queerphobic country).

Section One: Assets and Debt Use this section to explain your current financial picture at large.

Checking account balance: $14,000

Debt: $1100 (interest free loan, covid emergency fund for small businesses)

Credit card: (I only got it to improve my credit score, and pay off any purchases immediately)

I have a compulsory retirement account in my home country, but can’t check how much is in it until I go back (probably pennies). I’m talking to my dad about putting my savings in his retirement account, which has higher interest (4-7%) and flexible withdrawals.

Safety net: M and I can always ask our parents for money in emergencies. In exchange, there’s expectations for us to take care of them after they retire. They also get first dibs on any non-commissioned art we make.

Student loans: Our parents paid for our undergrad degrees. In October, we finished paying off M’s grad school loans of $40,000. Our strategy for the past couple years was to end each month with $1500 in the checking account, putting any excess towards the loans. This was only possible because we live with his mom and don’t pay rent.

Section Two: Income

Income Progression:

2015-2017: College jobs (TA, tour guide, admin assistant, writing tutor) around $10-11/hour, some unpaid internships. Got my first 'real' art commission two months before graduating - $2000

2017-2018: Barely breaking even by doing contract art + teaching. I decided I needed a more stable career and started looking into salaried work. I absolutely hated corporate art /design culture during the internships I did in college, and public service with a focus in arts administration seemed like a better fit for my skills and interests.

2019: Started working as a part-time library assistant ($18,000), while still taking on freelance commissions.

2020: When the pandemic hit, my studio space shut down and my freelance work dropped dramatically. We both got furloughed for about a month before WFH started. I’ve been job searching since April. I just got a second part-time position at another library ($15,000) and will be starting there this week.

Main Job Monthly Take Home:

$2177 after taxes for me, $1240 for M. No other deductions (I think?)

Side Gig Monthly Take Home

Freelance income varies a lot! Before taxes, we make $700-2,000 in profit per month, with a monthly average of $1,000 over the past year. I plan my budget with the assumption that it’ll be $500/month and treat any extra as a bonus. Happy to talk more about freelance / artist finances in the comments if anyone has specific questions.

Passive Income:

$2400 (we both got stimulus checks, but were unable to get unemployment)

I get a few hundred dollars from relatives every Chinese New Year, which goes straight to my dad.

Section Three: Expenses

Rent: (we’re living with M’s mom and were planning to move out when he graduated in May, but the pandemic happened - we have an apartment lined up in June with another couple that will be $1500/month for the two of us)

Public transportation: $100 (neither of us learned to drive)

Pet expenses: $50 (food and litter for two cats)

Health insurance: $70 for M, $230 for me (can’t get Masshealth because of my immigration status T_T)

Birth control: $20 (my insurance used to cover it, but now it doesn’t?? can’t figure it out)

Luxury food: $50 (fancy tea, specialty baking stuff etc)

Clip Studio for iPad: $2.49 (tax deductible)

Day 1: Monday (Library A) $123.08

6AM - I'm starting a new part-time job later this week with morning shifts, so I'm trying to get back into the habit of waking up early. I also want to get some household / admin tasks done before the new schedule sets in. I spend a couple hours doing inventory for M's online store, and respond to some client emails. Some items need to be restocked so I put in an order that comes to $106.44. I also set up a Google Sheets for our 2021 budget (it's just the free ɺnnual Budget' template that I've added monthly expense/income logs to).

10AM - I do a one hour workout (I've been following a free YouTube workout program), shower, and get ready for a lunch meeting. It's to discuss some programming for an organization I volunteer for, but also an excuse to catch up with my friend. Lunch: yogurt with nuts and berries, and leftover fillings from yesterday's fish taco dinner. By the way, this is probably going to read more like a food diary than a money diary!

2:30 PM - I make steamed pork with salted fish to pack with some frozen vegetables for dinner. I leave it on the stovetop so M will remember to eat when he gets home. I walk to work and it's a typical Monday - a bunch of emails to reply and tasks to finish up. We have a productive discussion about programming for January and February. I’ve been pushing for more household repair / DIY classes to encourage people to buy less stuff. I get half an hour for dinner in between helping patrons, during which I remember to order cat food ($16.64). I need some soap dishes, so I put together a vector file on Inkscape and get it cut on our laser cutter during some downtime.

8:30PM - I get home and put on a Netflix C-drama in the background while I work on a commission (it was technically due months ago but everything got weird because of COVID and the client only followed up recently). I've been trying to stick to a 11pm bedtime so I don't get much done.

Day 2: Tuesday $11.80

6AM - It’s my day off! I do some laundry and reorganize the fridge. I'm still sore from yesterday's exercise, so I don't push myself too hard in today's routine. I have a hard time keeping up the habit unless I do a bit every day, even if that just means lying on the mat in my workout clothes while the videos play. Once the post office opens, I walk over to mail some orders from M's store ($11.80).

11AM - I spend the whole afternoon baking (biscotti, brownies, gingersnaps, mochi bread, meltaways). I know I'll have less energy for baking once the second job starts, so I want to have a good stockpile for the rest of the month. I fill up a medium sized flat-rate box to mail to my dad and stepmother (she has a hard time finding good gluten-free baked goods). I make a Cantonese style roast duck for dinner, using the duck fat to fry up some Brussels sprouts.

1PM - I started growing my hair out during the job hunt, hoping that a more conservative, feminine appearance would help, and this is the longest it’s been in 13 years. I ask in my local Buy Nothing Facebook group to see if anyone has a hairband, bobby pins or clips to spare. I’ll probably get sick of it and cut it again within another year, so I don’t want to spend money on it.

7PM - M and I get together with a couple of friends on Discord to watch anime twice a week. It's really been keeping me sane throughout the pandemic and I'm super thankful we've continued to stay close. We tried going hiking together a couple times, but it was really hard with our masks on (also we're all out of shape). I offer them some baked goods if they can come pick them up from our porch this week.

Day 3: Wednesday (Library A) $96.79 (WARNING: BAKE OFF SPOILER)

6AM - I've been skipping breakfasts in the name of intermittent fasting, but now that I have to wake up early again I don't know if I can keep it up. I get my workout done, then chop up some ingredients so that M can make dinner before I get home tomorrow.

11AM - I make us some grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, using the leftover roast duck, chopped napa cabbage, apple slices, and mayo with some hoisin sauce mixed in. We watch the season finale of Bake Off while eating, and it was so disappointing. Laura should have been eliminated weeks ago, and it would have been a much better episode with Hermine in the final three. I see a post on Facebook about how anyone on Masshealth can get 30% off their National Grid bill?? I immediately text all my friends in MA to check it out.

2PM - I stop by the post office before work to ship the cookies for my dad ($77.50). I feel a little twinge at how expensive international shipping is, but then I remember I saved about $1,000 by not flying home to visit this year. I give my boss a little box of cookies too, as a thank you for being so supportive and helping me get this second job, and preemptive apology in case I slip up while adjusting to the new schedule. Work is pretty chill today, there's just a Zoom class I'm teaching in the evening. Our online numbers have been growing ever since we started offering free take-and-make kits, and about 30 people show up today, some with their kids. Dinner is a random mix of leftovers from the past two days.

8PM - M walks me home from work. I'm a bit nervous about my first day at the new job tomorrow, especially because my green card and work authorization ID are technically expired. (It's been over a year since I submitted a renewal request!) I email my supervisor about it and she says it'll probably be fine. I make plans to meet a friend for lunch on Saturday and order her a cute recipe book as a Christmas present ($19.29). I use a sheet mask before bed and M decides he wants one too.

Day 4: Thursday (Library B) $21.24

6AM - I hit snooze for 15 minutes before getting up to do my workout. I actually really hate exercising but I know it's one of the few things that does help with my seasonal affective disorder so I'm committed to keeping it up. After a quick shower, I make a green bean stir fry to pack for lunch, and leave instructions for M to make tikka masala tonight.

8AM - It's been such a long time since I've taken the bus, it feels a bit scary! Thankfully, it's not crowded at all, but my transfer does take me past my favorite bakery (Flour) and I have to resist the urge to get a lemon ginger scone. I buy all their recipe books in an effort to spend less by making them myself, but it's not the same as being able to get a big box of all different pastries. I get to the library a bit early, so I take a walk around the building. It's huge! My supervisor lets me in and gives me a bunch of paperwork to fill out. She shows me around the department and runs through the basic daily tasks I'll be doing. We're all spread out way more than six feet apart, and everyone has their masks on properly, so I feel really safe.

12PM - Everyone takes their lunch break in different rooms. I text my dad some videos of my new workplace, and he is very impressed. Before I leave, I check out some manga for myself to read on the bus. I consider getting a board game too, but it won't fit in my backpack - I'll bring a bigger bag next time.

7PM - I love how rush hour isn't a thing anymore. The commute I'm doing now would normally take an extra half hour! M has dinner waiting when I get home, along with surprise hot chocolate (Swiss Miss, but we use double the recommended amount per cup). We eat while watching anime with our friends on Discord. One of them wants us to join a D&D campaign with his ex-boyfriend. I'm not sure if I'll have the time / energy, but agree to try it for a couple weeks. I buy Hades on Steam ($21.24) to celebrate the new job, even though I know my laptop will barely be able to run it.

10PM - I do some social media stuff for my volunteer thing, then look around the LUSH online store, in anticipation of their boxing day sale which is when I stock up each year. (I’m still looking for a good affordable moisturizer for dry winter skin, if anyone has recommendations!)

Day 5: Friday (Library A) $10

6AM- I put the leftover duck carcass and some vegetable scraps in a pot to simmer while I do my workout. I'll use the stock in whatever I cook on Sunday. I make some pasta with zucchini, arugula and frozen corn to bring for lunch, and pack yesterday's leftover curry for dinner.

9AM - My glasses have been really bothering me for a while now, and I decide to fix that today. Usually I only buy new glasses frames in Asia, but they broke when someone pushed me into a subway door during rush hour a couple years ago (the lenses survived), and I panicked and got a new pair of frames at the closest shop. I call a nearby optometrist to schedule an appointment - it's short notice but they have a spot open on Christmas eve! I order a home try-on kit from a brand that's supposed to fit Asian noses properly ($10).

11:30AM - My boss hands me an envelope when I walk in, from the library union. It's a holiday card with a $50 note! She says she's spent some of hers at a nearby bakery that's doing curbside pickups, and recommends their eggnog doughnuts. I'll try to swing by this weekend - their other baked goods look great too. It's a busy day at work! Lots of patron requests, and we have a volunteer teaching a Zoom class in the evening who needs a lot of technical help.

8:30PM - I respond to client messages, talk to M about increasing his prices next year, and he helps me fix some issues with my commission. I sit in bed and do some scheduling and journaling in my planner (Hobonichi cousin) with both cats on my lap.

Day 6: Saturday (Library B)

6AM - I decide to make lunch before doing my workout this morning in the hopes that it’ll make me feel less miserable about exercising (it doesn’t). Today I’m having lunch with my friend, and I know she’s bringing Spam fried rice so I make fried Spam vermicelli with eggs and cabbage. I also toss in some arugula that’s starting to wilt, and top it off with some fried shallots. M has just gotten out of bed as I’m heading out and I remind him about today’s commission deadlines.

9AM - A standard day for a library assistant: sorting book returns / deliveries, pulling holds for patrons, withdrawing less circulated items from the system (we get to pick through and keep whatever we want before they get tossed), and putting stuff back on the shelves. While doing this, I’m also brainstorming programming / project ideas I could propose that are specific to my skill set.

1PM - It’s raining, so I walk around with my friend until we find a closed building with an overhang. We sit about 10ft apart to eat and catch up. We talk about her WFH situation and try to think of ways to stay sane / healthy through the winter. She lives nearby so we make plans to keep meeting up for lunch on my days here, even if it gets colder.

3PM - My supervisor reminds us to take our afternoon breaks and stay hydrated! It’s hard to remember to drink enough water when you’re always wearing a mask.

5PM - I encounter my first case of public COVID idiocy on the bus ride home. A passenger is glaring behind me, gesturing angrily. I look over and there’s this asshole in the back with his mask hanging off one ear and vaping. He puts it on because everyone’s turned around and staring at him, I guess. A few stops later, Mr Asshole walks over and starts pacing in front of the guy who told him off and just stares at him like a fucking creep. Then right before getting off, he pulls his mask down and blows a mouthful of smoke at him.

6PM - The incident on the bus has me feeling pessimistic and angry. I chop the ingredients for tonight’s dinner (Japanese curry) with a bit more force than necessary. We watch part of the Bake Off Christmas special, and I start planning a menu for Christmas dinner. I like cooking for large groups of people! There's only four of us here (M's sister came home too) but we'll drop off some for M's other sister who lives close by.

Day 7: Sunday 83.83

8AM - Time for the weekly takeout splurge! I’d been planning to try the bakery my boss recommended, but it’s not open on Sundays. We default to Flour and pick out a mix of our favorite pastries and cakes, I offer to get M's sister some too. It comes to $45.38, and I add a $20 tip for the Grubhub driver. I fill some store orders while waiting - we’re running low of envelopes so I order a 200-pack ($18.45).

10AM - I help M finish up some commissions, and do some tidying and cleaning. We discuss whether a leather jacket (my fave outerwear) would be appropriate for my new office dress code (business casual).

12PM - Leftover Spam vermicelli for lunch. I sit on the couch and finish the 8 volumes of manga I've checked out from the library.

5PM - We watch our Discord friends stream a game while working on our commissions. We make and eat shakshuka (with eggplant and dill) as they finally wrap up the campaign (we started it about two months ago).

9:30PM - I have a shower, then Facetime with my dad. Look through my planner and shift any tasks I didn't get done to the next week. Look through the fridge and pantry to make a meal plan for the upcoming week. Go to bed happy and relaxed.

Expenses for the week:

Business: $136.69 (this should all be tax deductible)

Reflection: Except for the gifting, this is a pretty standard week for me. It comes to about $600 after adding a quarter of the monthly expenses listed at the top.

PSA: Use your local library! Besides physical books, you can also borrow e-books and audiobooks (Hoopla / Overdrive), board games, video games, stream movies (Kanopy), take free Zoom classes (we give out free materials with ours!), get documents scanned / printed, maybe even laser cut or 3D print small projects all for free.


I am 26 years old (she/they), make $33000+, live in the Greater Boston Area and work as a public library assistant and freelance artist.

I’m really enjoying the lower income MDs and wanted to share mine as well! My husband, M, is also a public library assistant ($18,000) and freelance illustrator. I manage both our finances, as well as the business aspects of his freelance work.

Saver vs Spender:

I’m generally a saver, and always on the lookout for cheap / free stuff. Most of our furniture was from yard sales, picked up on the sidewalk (graduation season in Boston is a great time to get some quality free stuff) or hand-me-downs from M’s family. M is a super saver (would rather walk an hour to walk than spend $2 to take the bus).

Short-term: Save enough to fly home once a year to see my family in Asia (about $1,000 for a round trip). $50-60k full-time job within the next 10 years (I’ll evaluate my happiness / stress balance then to decide if I want to push for more.) Maybe get a library degree ($50k)?

Long-term: I would like to have more money to travel, and to make sure my dad can retire comfortably. I plan to move back to my home country eventually (maybe in about 20 years), for better healthcare and public housing and to be closer to family. I seriously considered moving back early on in the pandemic when it became clear that America would not take precautions seriously, but decided I couldn’t handle going back in the closet (it’s a pretty queerphobic country).

Section One: Assets and Debt Use this section to explain your current financial picture at large.

Checking account balance: $14,000

Debt: $1100 (interest free loan, covid emergency fund for small businesses)

Credit card: (I only got it to improve my credit score, and pay off any purchases immediately)

I have a compulsory retirement account in my home country, but can’t check how much is in it until I go back (probably pennies). I’m talking to my dad about putting my savings in his retirement account, which has higher interest (4-7%) and flexible withdrawals.

Safety net: M and I can always ask our parents for money in emergencies. In exchange, there’s expectations for us to take care of them after they retire. They also get first dibs on any non-commissioned art we make.

Student loans: Our parents paid for our undergrad degrees. In October, we finished paying off M’s grad school loans of $40,000. Our strategy for the past couple years was to end each month with $1500 in the checking account, putting any excess towards the loans. This was only possible because we live with his mom and don’t pay rent.

Section Two: Income

Income Progression:

2015-2017: College jobs (TA, tour guide, admin assistant, writing tutor) around $10-11/hour, some unpaid internships. Got my first 'real' art commission two months before graduating - $2000

2017-2018: Barely breaking even by doing contract art + teaching. I decided I needed a more stable career and started looking into salaried work. I absolutely hated corporate art /design culture during the internships I did in college, and public service with a focus in arts administration seemed like a better fit for my skills and interests.

2019: Started working as a part-time library assistant ($18,000), while still taking on freelance commissions.

2020: When the pandemic hit, my studio space shut down and my freelance work dropped dramatically. We both got furloughed for about a month before WFH started. I’ve been job searching since April. I just got a second part-time position at another library ($15,000) and will be starting there this week.

Main Job Monthly Take Home:

$2177 after taxes for me, $1240 for M. No other deductions (I think?)

Side Gig Monthly Take Home

Freelance income varies a lot! Before taxes, we make $700-2,000 in profit per month, with a monthly average of $1,000 over the past year. I plan my budget with the assumption that it’ll be $500/month and treat any extra as a bonus. Happy to talk more about freelance / artist finances in the comments if anyone has specific questions.

Passive Income:

$2400 (we both got stimulus checks, but were unable to get unemployment)

I get a few hundred dollars from relatives every Chinese New Year, which goes straight to my dad.

Section Three: Expenses

Rent: (we’re living with M’s mom and were planning to move out when he graduated in May, but the pandemic happened - we have an apartment lined up in June with another couple that will be $1500/month for the two of us)

Public transportation: $100 (neither of us learned to drive)

Pet expenses: $50 (food and litter for two cats)

Health insurance: $70 for M, $230 for me (can’t get Masshealth because of my immigration status T_T)

Birth control: $20 (my insurance used to cover it, but now it doesn’t?? can’t figure it out)

Luxury food: $50 (fancy tea, specialty baking stuff etc)

Clip Studio for iPad: $2.49 (tax deductible)

Day 1: Monday (Library A) $123.08

6AM - I'm starting a new part-time job later this week with morning shifts, so I'm trying to get back into the habit of waking up early. I also want to get some household / admin tasks done before the new schedule sets in. I spend a couple hours doing inventory for M's online store, and respond to some client emails. Some items need to be restocked so I put in an order that comes to $106.44. I also set up a Google Sheets for our 2021 budget (it's just the free ɺnnual Budget' template that I've added monthly expense/income logs to).

10AM - I do a one hour workout (I've been following a free YouTube workout program), shower, and get ready for a lunch meeting. It's to discuss some programming for an organization I volunteer for, but also an excuse to catch up with my friend. Lunch: yogurt with nuts and berries, and leftover fillings from yesterday's fish taco dinner. By the way, this is probably going to read more like a food diary than a money diary!

2:30 PM - I make steamed pork with salted fish to pack with some frozen vegetables for dinner. I leave it on the stovetop so M will remember to eat when he gets home. I walk to work and it's a typical Monday - a bunch of emails to reply and tasks to finish up. We have a productive discussion about programming for January and February. I’ve been pushing for more household repair / DIY classes to encourage people to buy less stuff. I get half an hour for dinner in between helping patrons, during which I remember to order cat food ($16.64). I need some soap dishes, so I put together a vector file on Inkscape and get it cut on our laser cutter during some downtime.

8:30PM - I get home and put on a Netflix C-drama in the background while I work on a commission (it was technically due months ago but everything got weird because of COVID and the client only followed up recently). I've been trying to stick to a 11pm bedtime so I don't get much done.

Day 2: Tuesday $11.80

6AM - It’s my day off! I do some laundry and reorganize the fridge. I'm still sore from yesterday's exercise, so I don't push myself too hard in today's routine. I have a hard time keeping up the habit unless I do a bit every day, even if that just means lying on the mat in my workout clothes while the videos play. Once the post office opens, I walk over to mail some orders from M's store ($11.80).

11AM - I spend the whole afternoon baking (biscotti, brownies, gingersnaps, mochi bread, meltaways). I know I'll have less energy for baking once the second job starts, so I want to have a good stockpile for the rest of the month. I fill up a medium sized flat-rate box to mail to my dad and stepmother (she has a hard time finding good gluten-free baked goods). I make a Cantonese style roast duck for dinner, using the duck fat to fry up some Brussels sprouts.

1PM - I started growing my hair out during the job hunt, hoping that a more conservative, feminine appearance would help, and this is the longest it’s been in 13 years. I ask in my local Buy Nothing Facebook group to see if anyone has a hairband, bobby pins or clips to spare. I’ll probably get sick of it and cut it again within another year, so I don’t want to spend money on it.

7PM - M and I get together with a couple of friends on Discord to watch anime twice a week. It's really been keeping me sane throughout the pandemic and I'm super thankful we've continued to stay close. We tried going hiking together a couple times, but it was really hard with our masks on (also we're all out of shape). I offer them some baked goods if they can come pick them up from our porch this week.

Day 3: Wednesday (Library A) $96.79 (WARNING: BAKE OFF SPOILER)

6AM - I've been skipping breakfasts in the name of intermittent fasting, but now that I have to wake up early again I don't know if I can keep it up. I get my workout done, then chop up some ingredients so that M can make dinner before I get home tomorrow.

11AM - I make us some grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, using the leftover roast duck, chopped napa cabbage, apple slices, and mayo with some hoisin sauce mixed in. We watch the season finale of Bake Off while eating, and it was so disappointing. Laura should have been eliminated weeks ago, and it would have been a much better episode with Hermine in the final three. I see a post on Facebook about how anyone on Masshealth can get 30% off their National Grid bill?? I immediately text all my friends in MA to check it out.

2PM - I stop by the post office before work to ship the cookies for my dad ($77.50). I feel a little twinge at how expensive international shipping is, but then I remember I saved about $1,000 by not flying home to visit this year. I give my boss a little box of cookies too, as a thank you for being so supportive and helping me get this second job, and preemptive apology in case I slip up while adjusting to the new schedule. Work is pretty chill today, there's just a Zoom class I'm teaching in the evening. Our online numbers have been growing ever since we started offering free take-and-make kits, and about 30 people show up today, some with their kids. Dinner is a random mix of leftovers from the past two days.

8PM - M walks me home from work. I'm a bit nervous about my first day at the new job tomorrow, especially because my green card and work authorization ID are technically expired. (It's been over a year since I submitted a renewal request!) I email my supervisor about it and she says it'll probably be fine. I make plans to meet a friend for lunch on Saturday and order her a cute recipe book as a Christmas present ($19.29). I use a sheet mask before bed and M decides he wants one too.

Day 4: Thursday (Library B) $21.24

6AM - I hit snooze for 15 minutes before getting up to do my workout. I actually really hate exercising but I know it's one of the few things that does help with my seasonal affective disorder so I'm committed to keeping it up. After a quick shower, I make a green bean stir fry to pack for lunch, and leave instructions for M to make tikka masala tonight.

8AM - It's been such a long time since I've taken the bus, it feels a bit scary! Thankfully, it's not crowded at all, but my transfer does take me past my favorite bakery (Flour) and I have to resist the urge to get a lemon ginger scone. I buy all their recipe books in an effort to spend less by making them myself, but it's not the same as being able to get a big box of all different pastries. I get to the library a bit early, so I take a walk around the building. It's huge! My supervisor lets me in and gives me a bunch of paperwork to fill out. She shows me around the department and runs through the basic daily tasks I'll be doing. We're all spread out way more than six feet apart, and everyone has their masks on properly, so I feel really safe.

12PM - Everyone takes their lunch break in different rooms. I text my dad some videos of my new workplace, and he is very impressed. Before I leave, I check out some manga for myself to read on the bus. I consider getting a board game too, but it won't fit in my backpack - I'll bring a bigger bag next time.

7PM - I love how rush hour isn't a thing anymore. The commute I'm doing now would normally take an extra half hour! M has dinner waiting when I get home, along with surprise hot chocolate (Swiss Miss, but we use double the recommended amount per cup). We eat while watching anime with our friends on Discord. One of them wants us to join a D&D campaign with his ex-boyfriend. I'm not sure if I'll have the time / energy, but agree to try it for a couple weeks. I buy Hades on Steam ($21.24) to celebrate the new job, even though I know my laptop will barely be able to run it.

10PM - I do some social media stuff for my volunteer thing, then look around the LUSH online store, in anticipation of their boxing day sale which is when I stock up each year. (I’m still looking for a good affordable moisturizer for dry winter skin, if anyone has recommendations!)

Day 5: Friday (Library A) $10

6AM- I put the leftover duck carcass and some vegetable scraps in a pot to simmer while I do my workout. I'll use the stock in whatever I cook on Sunday. I make some pasta with zucchini, arugula and frozen corn to bring for lunch, and pack yesterday's leftover curry for dinner.

9AM - My glasses have been really bothering me for a while now, and I decide to fix that today. Usually I only buy new glasses frames in Asia, but they broke when someone pushed me into a subway door during rush hour a couple years ago (the lenses survived), and I panicked and got a new pair of frames at the closest shop. I call a nearby optometrist to schedule an appointment - it's short notice but they have a spot open on Christmas eve! I order a home try-on kit from a brand that's supposed to fit Asian noses properly ($10).

11:30AM - My boss hands me an envelope when I walk in, from the library union. It's a holiday card with a $50 note! She says she's spent some of hers at a nearby bakery that's doing curbside pickups, and recommends their eggnog doughnuts. I'll try to swing by this weekend - their other baked goods look great too. It's a busy day at work! Lots of patron requests, and we have a volunteer teaching a Zoom class in the evening who needs a lot of technical help.

8:30PM - I respond to client messages, talk to M about increasing his prices next year, and he helps me fix some issues with my commission. I sit in bed and do some scheduling and journaling in my planner (Hobonichi cousin) with both cats on my lap.

Day 6: Saturday (Library B)

6AM - I decide to make lunch before doing my workout this morning in the hopes that it’ll make me feel less miserable about exercising (it doesn’t). Today I’m having lunch with my friend, and I know she’s bringing Spam fried rice so I make fried Spam vermicelli with eggs and cabbage. I also toss in some arugula that’s starting to wilt, and top it off with some fried shallots. M has just gotten out of bed as I’m heading out and I remind him about today’s commission deadlines.

9AM - A standard day for a library assistant: sorting book returns / deliveries, pulling holds for patrons, withdrawing less circulated items from the system (we get to pick through and keep whatever we want before they get tossed), and putting stuff back on the shelves. While doing this, I’m also brainstorming programming / project ideas I could propose that are specific to my skill set.

1PM - It’s raining, so I walk around with my friend until we find a closed building with an overhang. We sit about 10ft apart to eat and catch up. We talk about her WFH situation and try to think of ways to stay sane / healthy through the winter. She lives nearby so we make plans to keep meeting up for lunch on my days here, even if it gets colder.

3PM - My supervisor reminds us to take our afternoon breaks and stay hydrated! It’s hard to remember to drink enough water when you’re always wearing a mask.

5PM - I encounter my first case of public COVID idiocy on the bus ride home. A passenger is glaring behind me, gesturing angrily. I look over and there’s this asshole in the back with his mask hanging off one ear and vaping. He puts it on because everyone’s turned around and staring at him, I guess. A few stops later, Mr Asshole walks over and starts pacing in front of the guy who told him off and just stares at him like a fucking creep. Then right before getting off, he pulls his mask down and blows a mouthful of smoke at him.

6PM - The incident on the bus has me feeling pessimistic and angry. I chop the ingredients for tonight’s dinner (Japanese curry) with a bit more force than necessary. We watch part of the Bake Off Christmas special, and I start planning a menu for Christmas dinner. I like cooking for large groups of people! There's only four of us here (M's sister came home too) but we'll drop off some for M's other sister who lives close by.

Day 7: Sunday 83.83

8AM - Time for the weekly takeout splurge! I’d been planning to try the bakery my boss recommended, but it’s not open on Sundays. We default to Flour and pick out a mix of our favorite pastries and cakes, I offer to get M's sister some too. It comes to $45.38, and I add a $20 tip for the Grubhub driver. I fill some store orders while waiting - we’re running low of envelopes so I order a 200-pack ($18.45).

10AM - I help M finish up some commissions, and do some tidying and cleaning. We discuss whether a leather jacket (my fave outerwear) would be appropriate for my new office dress code (business casual).

12PM - Leftover Spam vermicelli for lunch. I sit on the couch and finish the 8 volumes of manga I've checked out from the library.

5PM - We watch our Discord friends stream a game while working on our commissions. We make and eat shakshuka (with eggplant and dill) as they finally wrap up the campaign (we started it about two months ago).

9:30PM - I have a shower, then Facetime with my dad. Look through my planner and shift any tasks I didn't get done to the next week. Look through the fridge and pantry to make a meal plan for the upcoming week. Go to bed happy and relaxed.

Expenses for the week:

Business: $136.69 (this should all be tax deductible)

Reflection: Except for the gifting, this is a pretty standard week for me. It comes to about $600 after adding a quarter of the monthly expenses listed at the top.

PSA: Use your local library! Besides physical books, you can also borrow e-books and audiobooks (Hoopla / Overdrive), board games, video games, stream movies (Kanopy), take free Zoom classes (we give out free materials with ours!), get documents scanned / printed, maybe even laser cut or 3D print small projects all for free.


I am 26 years old (she/they), make $33000+, live in the Greater Boston Area and work as a public library assistant and freelance artist.

I’m really enjoying the lower income MDs and wanted to share mine as well! My husband, M, is also a public library assistant ($18,000) and freelance illustrator. I manage both our finances, as well as the business aspects of his freelance work.

Saver vs Spender:

I’m generally a saver, and always on the lookout for cheap / free stuff. Most of our furniture was from yard sales, picked up on the sidewalk (graduation season in Boston is a great time to get some quality free stuff) or hand-me-downs from M’s family. M is a super saver (would rather walk an hour to walk than spend $2 to take the bus).

Short-term: Save enough to fly home once a year to see my family in Asia (about $1,000 for a round trip). $50-60k full-time job within the next 10 years (I’ll evaluate my happiness / stress balance then to decide if I want to push for more.) Maybe get a library degree ($50k)?

Long-term: I would like to have more money to travel, and to make sure my dad can retire comfortably. I plan to move back to my home country eventually (maybe in about 20 years), for better healthcare and public housing and to be closer to family. I seriously considered moving back early on in the pandemic when it became clear that America would not take precautions seriously, but decided I couldn’t handle going back in the closet (it’s a pretty queerphobic country).

Section One: Assets and Debt Use this section to explain your current financial picture at large.

Checking account balance: $14,000

Debt: $1100 (interest free loan, covid emergency fund for small businesses)

Credit card: (I only got it to improve my credit score, and pay off any purchases immediately)

I have a compulsory retirement account in my home country, but can’t check how much is in it until I go back (probably pennies). I’m talking to my dad about putting my savings in his retirement account, which has higher interest (4-7%) and flexible withdrawals.

Safety net: M and I can always ask our parents for money in emergencies. In exchange, there’s expectations for us to take care of them after they retire. They also get first dibs on any non-commissioned art we make.

Student loans: Our parents paid for our undergrad degrees. In October, we finished paying off M’s grad school loans of $40,000. Our strategy for the past couple years was to end each month with $1500 in the checking account, putting any excess towards the loans. This was only possible because we live with his mom and don’t pay rent.

Section Two: Income

Income Progression:

2015-2017: College jobs (TA, tour guide, admin assistant, writing tutor) around $10-11/hour, some unpaid internships. Got my first 'real' art commission two months before graduating - $2000

2017-2018: Barely breaking even by doing contract art + teaching. I decided I needed a more stable career and started looking into salaried work. I absolutely hated corporate art /design culture during the internships I did in college, and public service with a focus in arts administration seemed like a better fit for my skills and interests.

2019: Started working as a part-time library assistant ($18,000), while still taking on freelance commissions.

2020: When the pandemic hit, my studio space shut down and my freelance work dropped dramatically. We both got furloughed for about a month before WFH started. I’ve been job searching since April. I just got a second part-time position at another library ($15,000) and will be starting there this week.

Main Job Monthly Take Home:

$2177 after taxes for me, $1240 for M. No other deductions (I think?)

Side Gig Monthly Take Home

Freelance income varies a lot! Before taxes, we make $700-2,000 in profit per month, with a monthly average of $1,000 over the past year. I plan my budget with the assumption that it’ll be $500/month and treat any extra as a bonus. Happy to talk more about freelance / artist finances in the comments if anyone has specific questions.

Passive Income:

$2400 (we both got stimulus checks, but were unable to get unemployment)

I get a few hundred dollars from relatives every Chinese New Year, which goes straight to my dad.

Section Three: Expenses

Rent: (we’re living with M’s mom and were planning to move out when he graduated in May, but the pandemic happened - we have an apartment lined up in June with another couple that will be $1500/month for the two of us)

Public transportation: $100 (neither of us learned to drive)

Pet expenses: $50 (food and litter for two cats)

Health insurance: $70 for M, $230 for me (can’t get Masshealth because of my immigration status T_T)

Birth control: $20 (my insurance used to cover it, but now it doesn’t?? can’t figure it out)

Luxury food: $50 (fancy tea, specialty baking stuff etc)

Clip Studio for iPad: $2.49 (tax deductible)

Day 1: Monday (Library A) $123.08

6AM - I'm starting a new part-time job later this week with morning shifts, so I'm trying to get back into the habit of waking up early. I also want to get some household / admin tasks done before the new schedule sets in. I spend a couple hours doing inventory for M's online store, and respond to some client emails. Some items need to be restocked so I put in an order that comes to $106.44. I also set up a Google Sheets for our 2021 budget (it's just the free ɺnnual Budget' template that I've added monthly expense/income logs to).

10AM - I do a one hour workout (I've been following a free YouTube workout program), shower, and get ready for a lunch meeting. It's to discuss some programming for an organization I volunteer for, but also an excuse to catch up with my friend. Lunch: yogurt with nuts and berries, and leftover fillings from yesterday's fish taco dinner. By the way, this is probably going to read more like a food diary than a money diary!

2:30 PM - I make steamed pork with salted fish to pack with some frozen vegetables for dinner. I leave it on the stovetop so M will remember to eat when he gets home. I walk to work and it's a typical Monday - a bunch of emails to reply and tasks to finish up. We have a productive discussion about programming for January and February. I’ve been pushing for more household repair / DIY classes to encourage people to buy less stuff. I get half an hour for dinner in between helping patrons, during which I remember to order cat food ($16.64). I need some soap dishes, so I put together a vector file on Inkscape and get it cut on our laser cutter during some downtime.

8:30PM - I get home and put on a Netflix C-drama in the background while I work on a commission (it was technically due months ago but everything got weird because of COVID and the client only followed up recently). I've been trying to stick to a 11pm bedtime so I don't get much done.

Day 2: Tuesday $11.80

6AM - It’s my day off! I do some laundry and reorganize the fridge. I'm still sore from yesterday's exercise, so I don't push myself too hard in today's routine. I have a hard time keeping up the habit unless I do a bit every day, even if that just means lying on the mat in my workout clothes while the videos play. Once the post office opens, I walk over to mail some orders from M's store ($11.80).

11AM - I spend the whole afternoon baking (biscotti, brownies, gingersnaps, mochi bread, meltaways). I know I'll have less energy for baking once the second job starts, so I want to have a good stockpile for the rest of the month. I fill up a medium sized flat-rate box to mail to my dad and stepmother (she has a hard time finding good gluten-free baked goods). I make a Cantonese style roast duck for dinner, using the duck fat to fry up some Brussels sprouts.

1PM - I started growing my hair out during the job hunt, hoping that a more conservative, feminine appearance would help, and this is the longest it’s been in 13 years. I ask in my local Buy Nothing Facebook group to see if anyone has a hairband, bobby pins or clips to spare. I’ll probably get sick of it and cut it again within another year, so I don’t want to spend money on it.

7PM - M and I get together with a couple of friends on Discord to watch anime twice a week. It's really been keeping me sane throughout the pandemic and I'm super thankful we've continued to stay close. We tried going hiking together a couple times, but it was really hard with our masks on (also we're all out of shape). I offer them some baked goods if they can come pick them up from our porch this week.

Day 3: Wednesday (Library A) $96.79 (WARNING: BAKE OFF SPOILER)

6AM - I've been skipping breakfasts in the name of intermittent fasting, but now that I have to wake up early again I don't know if I can keep it up. I get my workout done, then chop up some ingredients so that M can make dinner before I get home tomorrow.

11AM - I make us some grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, using the leftover roast duck, chopped napa cabbage, apple slices, and mayo with some hoisin sauce mixed in. We watch the season finale of Bake Off while eating, and it was so disappointing. Laura should have been eliminated weeks ago, and it would have been a much better episode with Hermine in the final three. I see a post on Facebook about how anyone on Masshealth can get 30% off their National Grid bill?? I immediately text all my friends in MA to check it out.

2PM - I stop by the post office before work to ship the cookies for my dad ($77.50). I feel a little twinge at how expensive international shipping is, but then I remember I saved about $1,000 by not flying home to visit this year. I give my boss a little box of cookies too, as a thank you for being so supportive and helping me get this second job, and preemptive apology in case I slip up while adjusting to the new schedule. Work is pretty chill today, there's just a Zoom class I'm teaching in the evening. Our online numbers have been growing ever since we started offering free take-and-make kits, and about 30 people show up today, some with their kids. Dinner is a random mix of leftovers from the past two days.

8PM - M walks me home from work. I'm a bit nervous about my first day at the new job tomorrow, especially because my green card and work authorization ID are technically expired. (It's been over a year since I submitted a renewal request!) I email my supervisor about it and she says it'll probably be fine. I make plans to meet a friend for lunch on Saturday and order her a cute recipe book as a Christmas present ($19.29). I use a sheet mask before bed and M decides he wants one too.

Day 4: Thursday (Library B) $21.24

6AM - I hit snooze for 15 minutes before getting up to do my workout. I actually really hate exercising but I know it's one of the few things that does help with my seasonal affective disorder so I'm committed to keeping it up. After a quick shower, I make a green bean stir fry to pack for lunch, and leave instructions for M to make tikka masala tonight.

8AM - It's been such a long time since I've taken the bus, it feels a bit scary! Thankfully, it's not crowded at all, but my transfer does take me past my favorite bakery (Flour) and I have to resist the urge to get a lemon ginger scone. I buy all their recipe books in an effort to spend less by making them myself, but it's not the same as being able to get a big box of all different pastries. I get to the library a bit early, so I take a walk around the building. It's huge! My supervisor lets me in and gives me a bunch of paperwork to fill out. She shows me around the department and runs through the basic daily tasks I'll be doing. We're all spread out way more than six feet apart, and everyone has their masks on properly, so I feel really safe.

12PM - Everyone takes their lunch break in different rooms. I text my dad some videos of my new workplace, and he is very impressed. Before I leave, I check out some manga for myself to read on the bus. I consider getting a board game too, but it won't fit in my backpack - I'll bring a bigger bag next time.

7PM - I love how rush hour isn't a thing anymore. The commute I'm doing now would normally take an extra half hour! M has dinner waiting when I get home, along with surprise hot chocolate (Swiss Miss, but we use double the recommended amount per cup). We eat while watching anime with our friends on Discord. One of them wants us to join a D&D campaign with his ex-boyfriend. I'm not sure if I'll have the time / energy, but agree to try it for a couple weeks. I buy Hades on Steam ($21.24) to celebrate the new job, even though I know my laptop will barely be able to run it.

10PM - I do some social media stuff for my volunteer thing, then look around the LUSH online store, in anticipation of their boxing day sale which is when I stock up each year. (I’m still looking for a good affordable moisturizer for dry winter skin, if anyone has recommendations!)

Day 5: Friday (Library A) $10

6AM- I put the leftover duck carcass and some vegetable scraps in a pot to simmer while I do my workout. I'll use the stock in whatever I cook on Sunday. I make some pasta with zucchini, arugula and frozen corn to bring for lunch, and pack yesterday's leftover curry for dinner.

9AM - My glasses have been really bothering me for a while now, and I decide to fix that today. Usually I only buy new glasses frames in Asia, but they broke when someone pushed me into a subway door during rush hour a couple years ago (the lenses survived), and I panicked and got a new pair of frames at the closest shop. I call a nearby optometrist to schedule an appointment - it's short notice but they have a spot open on Christmas eve! I order a home try-on kit from a brand that's supposed to fit Asian noses properly ($10).

11:30AM - My boss hands me an envelope when I walk in, from the library union. It's a holiday card with a $50 note! She says she's spent some of hers at a nearby bakery that's doing curbside pickups, and recommends their eggnog doughnuts. I'll try to swing by this weekend - their other baked goods look great too. It's a busy day at work! Lots of patron requests, and we have a volunteer teaching a Zoom class in the evening who needs a lot of technical help.

8:30PM - I respond to client messages, talk to M about increasing his prices next year, and he helps me fix some issues with my commission. I sit in bed and do some scheduling and journaling in my planner (Hobonichi cousin) with both cats on my lap.

Day 6: Saturday (Library B)

6AM - I decide to make lunch before doing my workout this morning in the hopes that it’ll make me feel less miserable about exercising (it doesn’t). Today I’m having lunch with my friend, and I know she’s bringing Spam fried rice so I make fried Spam vermicelli with eggs and cabbage. I also toss in some arugula that’s starting to wilt, and top it off with some fried shallots. M has just gotten out of bed as I’m heading out and I remind him about today’s commission deadlines.

9AM - A standard day for a library assistant: sorting book returns / deliveries, pulling holds for patrons, withdrawing less circulated items from the system (we get to pick through and keep whatever we want before they get tossed), and putting stuff back on the shelves. While doing this, I’m also brainstorming programming / project ideas I could propose that are specific to my skill set.

1PM - It’s raining, so I walk around with my friend until we find a closed building with an overhang. We sit about 10ft apart to eat and catch up. We talk about her WFH situation and try to think of ways to stay sane / healthy through the winter. She lives nearby so we make plans to keep meeting up for lunch on my days here, even if it gets colder.

3PM - My supervisor reminds us to take our afternoon breaks and stay hydrated! It’s hard to remember to drink enough water when you’re always wearing a mask.

5PM - I encounter my first case of public COVID idiocy on the bus ride home. A passenger is glaring behind me, gesturing angrily. I look over and there’s this asshole in the back with his mask hanging off one ear and vaping. He puts it on because everyone’s turned around and staring at him, I guess. A few stops later, Mr Asshole walks over and starts pacing in front of the guy who told him off and just stares at him like a fucking creep. Then right before getting off, he pulls his mask down and blows a mouthful of smoke at him.

6PM - The incident on the bus has me feeling pessimistic and angry. I chop the ingredients for tonight’s dinner (Japanese curry) with a bit more force than necessary. We watch part of the Bake Off Christmas special, and I start planning a menu for Christmas dinner. I like cooking for large groups of people! There's only four of us here (M's sister came home too) but we'll drop off some for M's other sister who lives close by.

Day 7: Sunday 83.83

8AM - Time for the weekly takeout splurge! I’d been planning to try the bakery my boss recommended, but it’s not open on Sundays. We default to Flour and pick out a mix of our favorite pastries and cakes, I offer to get M's sister some too. It comes to $45.38, and I add a $20 tip for the Grubhub driver. I fill some store orders while waiting - we’re running low of envelopes so I order a 200-pack ($18.45).

10AM - I help M finish up some commissions, and do some tidying and cleaning. We discuss whether a leather jacket (my fave outerwear) would be appropriate for my new office dress code (business casual).

12PM - Leftover Spam vermicelli for lunch. I sit on the couch and finish the 8 volumes of manga I've checked out from the library.

5PM - We watch our Discord friends stream a game while working on our commissions. We make and eat shakshuka (with eggplant and dill) as they finally wrap up the campaign (we started it about two months ago).

9:30PM - I have a shower, then Facetime with my dad. Look through my planner and shift any tasks I didn't get done to the next week. Look through the fridge and pantry to make a meal plan for the upcoming week. Go to bed happy and relaxed.

Expenses for the week:

Business: $136.69 (this should all be tax deductible)

Reflection: Except for the gifting, this is a pretty standard week for me. It comes to about $600 after adding a quarter of the monthly expenses listed at the top.

PSA: Use your local library! Besides physical books, you can also borrow e-books and audiobooks (Hoopla / Overdrive), board games, video games, stream movies (Kanopy), take free Zoom classes (we give out free materials with ours!), get documents scanned / printed, maybe even laser cut or 3D print small projects all for free.


I am 26 years old (she/they), make $33000+, live in the Greater Boston Area and work as a public library assistant and freelance artist.

I’m really enjoying the lower income MDs and wanted to share mine as well! My husband, M, is also a public library assistant ($18,000) and freelance illustrator. I manage both our finances, as well as the business aspects of his freelance work.

Saver vs Spender:

I’m generally a saver, and always on the lookout for cheap / free stuff. Most of our furniture was from yard sales, picked up on the sidewalk (graduation season in Boston is a great time to get some quality free stuff) or hand-me-downs from M’s family. M is a super saver (would rather walk an hour to walk than spend $2 to take the bus).

Short-term: Save enough to fly home once a year to see my family in Asia (about $1,000 for a round trip). $50-60k full-time job within the next 10 years (I’ll evaluate my happiness / stress balance then to decide if I want to push for more.) Maybe get a library degree ($50k)?

Long-term: I would like to have more money to travel, and to make sure my dad can retire comfortably. I plan to move back to my home country eventually (maybe in about 20 years), for better healthcare and public housing and to be closer to family. I seriously considered moving back early on in the pandemic when it became clear that America would not take precautions seriously, but decided I couldn’t handle going back in the closet (it’s a pretty queerphobic country).

Section One: Assets and Debt Use this section to explain your current financial picture at large.

Checking account balance: $14,000

Debt: $1100 (interest free loan, covid emergency fund for small businesses)

Credit card: (I only got it to improve my credit score, and pay off any purchases immediately)

I have a compulsory retirement account in my home country, but can’t check how much is in it until I go back (probably pennies). I’m talking to my dad about putting my savings in his retirement account, which has higher interest (4-7%) and flexible withdrawals.

Safety net: M and I can always ask our parents for money in emergencies. In exchange, there’s expectations for us to take care of them after they retire. They also get first dibs on any non-commissioned art we make.

Student loans: Our parents paid for our undergrad degrees. In October, we finished paying off M’s grad school loans of $40,000. Our strategy for the past couple years was to end each month with $1500 in the checking account, putting any excess towards the loans. This was only possible because we live with his mom and don’t pay rent.

Section Two: Income

Income Progression:

2015-2017: College jobs (TA, tour guide, admin assistant, writing tutor) around $10-11/hour, some unpaid internships. Got my first 'real' art commission two months before graduating - $2000

2017-2018: Barely breaking even by doing contract art + teaching. I decided I needed a more stable career and started looking into salaried work. I absolutely hated corporate art /design culture during the internships I did in college, and public service with a focus in arts administration seemed like a better fit for my skills and interests.

2019: Started working as a part-time library assistant ($18,000), while still taking on freelance commissions.

2020: When the pandemic hit, my studio space shut down and my freelance work dropped dramatically. We both got furloughed for about a month before WFH started. I’ve been job searching since April. I just got a second part-time position at another library ($15,000) and will be starting there this week.

Main Job Monthly Take Home:

$2177 after taxes for me, $1240 for M. No other deductions (I think?)

Side Gig Monthly Take Home

Freelance income varies a lot! Before taxes, we make $700-2,000 in profit per month, with a monthly average of $1,000 over the past year. I plan my budget with the assumption that it’ll be $500/month and treat any extra as a bonus. Happy to talk more about freelance / artist finances in the comments if anyone has specific questions.

Passive Income:

$2400 (we both got stimulus checks, but were unable to get unemployment)

I get a few hundred dollars from relatives every Chinese New Year, which goes straight to my dad.

Section Three: Expenses

Rent: (we’re living with M’s mom and were planning to move out when he graduated in May, but the pandemic happened - we have an apartment lined up in June with another couple that will be $1500/month for the two of us)

Public transportation: $100 (neither of us learned to drive)

Pet expenses: $50 (food and litter for two cats)

Health insurance: $70 for M, $230 for me (can’t get Masshealth because of my immigration status T_T)

Birth control: $20 (my insurance used to cover it, but now it doesn’t?? can’t figure it out)

Luxury food: $50 (fancy tea, specialty baking stuff etc)

Clip Studio for iPad: $2.49 (tax deductible)

Day 1: Monday (Library A) $123.08

6AM - I'm starting a new part-time job later this week with morning shifts, so I'm trying to get back into the habit of waking up early. I also want to get some household / admin tasks done before the new schedule sets in. I spend a couple hours doing inventory for M's online store, and respond to some client emails. Some items need to be restocked so I put in an order that comes to $106.44. I also set up a Google Sheets for our 2021 budget (it's just the free ɺnnual Budget' template that I've added monthly expense/income logs to).

10AM - I do a one hour workout (I've been following a free YouTube workout program), shower, and get ready for a lunch meeting. It's to discuss some programming for an organization I volunteer for, but also an excuse to catch up with my friend. Lunch: yogurt with nuts and berries, and leftover fillings from yesterday's fish taco dinner. By the way, this is probably going to read more like a food diary than a money diary!

2:30 PM - I make steamed pork with salted fish to pack with some frozen vegetables for dinner. I leave it on the stovetop so M will remember to eat when he gets home. I walk to work and it's a typical Monday - a bunch of emails to reply and tasks to finish up. We have a productive discussion about programming for January and February. I’ve been pushing for more household repair / DIY classes to encourage people to buy less stuff. I get half an hour for dinner in between helping patrons, during which I remember to order cat food ($16.64). I need some soap dishes, so I put together a vector file on Inkscape and get it cut on our laser cutter during some downtime.

8:30PM - I get home and put on a Netflix C-drama in the background while I work on a commission (it was technically due months ago but everything got weird because of COVID and the client only followed up recently). I've been trying to stick to a 11pm bedtime so I don't get much done.

Day 2: Tuesday $11.80

6AM - It’s my day off! I do some laundry and reorganize the fridge. I'm still sore from yesterday's exercise, so I don't push myself too hard in today's routine. I have a hard time keeping up the habit unless I do a bit every day, even if that just means lying on the mat in my workout clothes while the videos play. Once the post office opens, I walk over to mail some orders from M's store ($11.80).

11AM - I spend the whole afternoon baking (biscotti, brownies, gingersnaps, mochi bread, meltaways). I know I'll have less energy for baking once the second job starts, so I want to have a good stockpile for the rest of the month. I fill up a medium sized flat-rate box to mail to my dad and stepmother (she has a hard time finding good gluten-free baked goods). I make a Cantonese style roast duck for dinner, using the duck fat to fry up some Brussels sprouts.

1PM - I started growing my hair out during the job hunt, hoping that a more conservative, feminine appearance would help, and this is the longest it’s been in 13 years. I ask in my local Buy Nothing Facebook group to see if anyone has a hairband, bobby pins or clips to spare. I’ll probably get sick of it and cut it again within another year, so I don’t want to spend money on it.

7PM - M and I get together with a couple of friends on Discord to watch anime twice a week. It's really been keeping me sane throughout the pandemic and I'm super thankful we've continued to stay close. We tried going hiking together a couple times, but it was really hard with our masks on (also we're all out of shape). I offer them some baked goods if they can come pick them up from our porch this week.

Day 3: Wednesday (Library A) $96.79 (WARNING: BAKE OFF SPOILER)

6AM - I've been skipping breakfasts in the name of intermittent fasting, but now that I have to wake up early again I don't know if I can keep it up. I get my workout done, then chop up some ingredients so that M can make dinner before I get home tomorrow.

11AM - I make us some grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, using the leftover roast duck, chopped napa cabbage, apple slices, and mayo with some hoisin sauce mixed in. We watch the season finale of Bake Off while eating, and it was so disappointing. Laura should have been eliminated weeks ago, and it would have been a much better episode with Hermine in the final three. I see a post on Facebook about how anyone on Masshealth can get 30% off their National Grid bill?? I immediately text all my friends in MA to check it out.

2PM - I stop by the post office before work to ship the cookies for my dad ($77.50). I feel a little twinge at how expensive international shipping is, but then I remember I saved about $1,000 by not flying home to visit this year. I give my boss a little box of cookies too, as a thank you for being so supportive and helping me get this second job, and preemptive apology in case I slip up while adjusting to the new schedule. Work is pretty chill today, there's just a Zoom class I'm teaching in the evening. Our online numbers have been growing ever since we started offering free take-and-make kits, and about 30 people show up today, some with their kids. Dinner is a random mix of leftovers from the past two days.

8PM - M walks me home from work. I'm a bit nervous about my first day at the new job tomorrow, especially because my green card and work authorization ID are technically expired. (It's been over a year since I submitted a renewal request!) I email my supervisor about it and she says it'll probably be fine. I make plans to meet a friend for lunch on Saturday and order her a cute recipe book as a Christmas present ($19.29). I use a sheet mask before bed and M decides he wants one too.

Day 4: Thursday (Library B) $21.24

6AM - I hit snooze for 15 minutes before getting up to do my workout. I actually really hate exercising but I know it's one of the few things that does help with my seasonal affective disorder so I'm committed to keeping it up. After a quick shower, I make a green bean stir fry to pack for lunch, and leave instructions for M to make tikka masala tonight.

8AM - It's been such a long time since I've taken the bus, it feels a bit scary! Thankfully, it's not crowded at all, but my transfer does take me past my favorite bakery (Flour) and I have to resist the urge to get a lemon ginger scone. I buy all their recipe books in an effort to spend less by making them myself, but it's not the same as being able to get a big box of all different pastries. I get to the library a bit early, so I take a walk around the building. It's huge! My supervisor lets me in and gives me a bunch of paperwork to fill out. She shows me around the department and runs through the basic daily tasks I'll be doing. We're all spread out way more than six feet apart, and everyone has their masks on properly, so I feel really safe.

12PM - Everyone takes their lunch break in different rooms. I text my dad some videos of my new workplace, and he is very impressed. Before I leave, I check out some manga for myself to read on the bus. I consider getting a board game too, but it won't fit in my backpack - I'll bring a bigger bag next time.

7PM - I love how rush hour isn't a thing anymore. The commute I'm doing now would normally take an extra half hour! M has dinner waiting when I get home, along with surprise hot chocolate (Swiss Miss, but we use double the recommended amount per cup). We eat while watching anime with our friends on Discord. One of them wants us to join a D&D campaign with his ex-boyfriend. I'm not sure if I'll have the time / energy, but agree to try it for a couple weeks. I buy Hades on Steam ($21.24) to celebrate the new job, even though I know my laptop will barely be able to run it.

10PM - I do some social media stuff for my volunteer thing, then look around the LUSH online store, in anticipation of their boxing day sale which is when I stock up each year. (I’m still looking for a good affordable moisturizer for dry winter skin, if anyone has recommendations!)

Day 5: Friday (Library A) $10

6AM- I put the leftover duck carcass and some vegetable scraps in a pot to simmer while I do my workout. I'll use the stock in whatever I cook on Sunday. I make some pasta with zucchini, arugula and frozen corn to bring for lunch, and pack yesterday's leftover curry for dinner.

9AM - My glasses have been really bothering me for a while now, and I decide to fix that today. Usually I only buy new glasses frames in Asia, but they broke when someone pushed me into a subway door during rush hour a couple years ago (the lenses survived), and I panicked and got a new pair of frames at the closest shop. I call a nearby optometrist to schedule an appointment - it's short notice but they have a spot open on Christmas eve! I order a home try-on kit from a brand that's supposed to fit Asian noses properly ($10).

11:30AM - My boss hands me an envelope when I walk in, from the library union. It's a holiday card with a $50 note! She says she's spent some of hers at a nearby bakery that's doing curbside pickups, and recommends their eggnog doughnuts. I'll try to swing by this weekend - their other baked goods look great too. It's a busy day at work! Lots of patron requests, and we have a volunteer teaching a Zoom class in the evening who needs a lot of technical help.

8:30PM - I respond to client messages, talk to M about increasing his prices next year, and he helps me fix some issues with my commission. I sit in bed and do some scheduling and journaling in my planner (Hobonichi cousin) with both cats on my lap.

Day 6: Saturday (Library B)

6AM - I decide to make lunch before doing my workout this morning in the hopes that it’ll make me feel less miserable about exercising (it doesn’t). Today I’m having lunch with my friend, and I know she’s bringing Spam fried rice so I make fried Spam vermicelli with eggs and cabbage. I also toss in some arugula that’s starting to wilt, and top it off with some fried shallots. M has just gotten out of bed as I’m heading out and I remind him about today’s commission deadlines.

9AM - A standard day for a library assistant: sorting book returns / deliveries, pulling holds for patrons, withdrawing less circulated items from the system (we get to pick through and keep whatever we want before they get tossed), and putting stuff back on the shelves. While doing this, I’m also brainstorming programming / project ideas I could propose that are specific to my skill set.

1PM - It’s raining, so I walk around with my friend until we find a closed building with an overhang. We sit about 10ft apart to eat and catch up. We talk about her WFH situation and try to think of ways to stay sane / healthy through the winter. She lives nearby so we make plans to keep meeting up for lunch on my days here, even if it gets colder.

3PM - My supervisor reminds us to take our afternoon breaks and stay hydrated! It’s hard to remember to drink enough water when you’re always wearing a mask.

5PM - I encounter my first case of public COVID idiocy on the bus ride home. A passenger is glaring behind me, gesturing angrily. I look over and there’s this asshole in the back with his mask hanging off one ear and vaping. He puts it on because everyone’s turned around and staring at him, I guess. A few stops later, Mr Asshole walks over and starts pacing in front of the guy who told him off and just stares at him like a fucking creep. Then right before getting off, he pulls his mask down and blows a mouthful of smoke at him.

6PM - The incident on the bus has me feeling pessimistic and angry. I chop the ingredients for tonight’s dinner (Japanese curry) with a bit more force than necessary. We watch part of the Bake Off Christmas special, and I start planning a menu for Christmas dinner. I like cooking for large groups of people! There's only four of us here (M's sister came home too) but we'll drop off some for M's other sister who lives close by.

Day 7: Sunday 83.83

8AM - Time for the weekly takeout splurge! I’d been planning to try the bakery my boss recommended, but it’s not open on Sundays. We default to Flour and pick out a mix of our favorite pastries and cakes, I offer to get M's sister some too. It comes to $45.38, and I add a $20 tip for the Grubhub driver. I fill some store orders while waiting - we’re running low of envelopes so I order a 200-pack ($18.45).

10AM - I help M finish up some commissions, and do some tidying and cleaning. We discuss whether a leather jacket (my fave outerwear) would be appropriate for my new office dress code (business casual).

12PM - Leftover Spam vermicelli for lunch. I sit on the couch and finish the 8 volumes of manga I've checked out from the library.

5PM - We watch our Discord friends stream a game while working on our commissions. We make and eat shakshuka (with eggplant and dill) as they finally wrap up the campaign (we started it about two months ago).

9:30PM - I have a shower, then Facetime with my dad. Look through my planner and shift any tasks I didn't get done to the next week. Look through the fridge and pantry to make a meal plan for the upcoming week. Go to bed happy and relaxed.

Expenses for the week:

Business: $136.69 (this should all be tax deductible)

Reflection: Except for the gifting, this is a pretty standard week for me. It comes to about $600 after adding a quarter of the monthly expenses listed at the top.

PSA: Use your local library! Besides physical books, you can also borrow e-books and audiobooks (Hoopla / Overdrive), board games, video games, stream movies (Kanopy), take free Zoom classes (we give out free materials with ours!), get documents scanned / printed, maybe even laser cut or 3D print small projects all for free.


I am 26 years old (she/they), make $33000+, live in the Greater Boston Area and work as a public library assistant and freelance artist.

I’m really enjoying the lower income MDs and wanted to share mine as well! My husband, M, is also a public library assistant ($18,000) and freelance illustrator. I manage both our finances, as well as the business aspects of his freelance work.

Saver vs Spender:

I’m generally a saver, and always on the lookout for cheap / free stuff. Most of our furniture was from yard sales, picked up on the sidewalk (graduation season in Boston is a great time to get some quality free stuff) or hand-me-downs from M’s family. M is a super saver (would rather walk an hour to walk than spend $2 to take the bus).

Short-term: Save enough to fly home once a year to see my family in Asia (about $1,000 for a round trip). $50-60k full-time job within the next 10 years (I’ll evaluate my happiness / stress balance then to decide if I want to push for more.) Maybe get a library degree ($50k)?

Long-term: I would like to have more money to travel, and to make sure my dad can retire comfortably. I plan to move back to my home country eventually (maybe in about 20 years), for better healthcare and public housing and to be closer to family. I seriously considered moving back early on in the pandemic when it became clear that America would not take precautions seriously, but decided I couldn’t handle going back in the closet (it’s a pretty queerphobic country).

Section One: Assets and Debt Use this section to explain your current financial picture at large.

Checking account balance: $14,000

Debt: $1100 (interest free loan, covid emergency fund for small businesses)

Credit card: (I only got it to improve my credit score, and pay off any purchases immediately)

I have a compulsory retirement account in my home country, but can’t check how much is in it until I go back (probably pennies). I’m talking to my dad about putting my savings in his retirement account, which has higher interest (4-7%) and flexible withdrawals.

Safety net: M and I can always ask our parents for money in emergencies. In exchange, there’s expectations for us to take care of them after they retire. They also get first dibs on any non-commissioned art we make.

Student loans: Our parents paid for our undergrad degrees. In October, we finished paying off M’s grad school loans of $40,000. Our strategy for the past couple years was to end each month with $1500 in the checking account, putting any excess towards the loans. This was only possible because we live with his mom and don’t pay rent.

Section Two: Income

Income Progression:

2015-2017: College jobs (TA, tour guide, admin assistant, writing tutor) around $10-11/hour, some unpaid internships. Got my first 'real' art commission two months before graduating - $2000

2017-2018: Barely breaking even by doing contract art + teaching. I decided I needed a more stable career and started looking into salaried work. I absolutely hated corporate art /design culture during the internships I did in college, and public service with a focus in arts administration seemed like a better fit for my skills and interests.

2019: Started working as a part-time library assistant ($18,000), while still taking on freelance commissions.

2020: When the pandemic hit, my studio space shut down and my freelance work dropped dramatically. We both got furloughed for about a month before WFH started. I’ve been job searching since April. I just got a second part-time position at another library ($15,000) and will be starting there this week.

Main Job Monthly Take Home:

$2177 after taxes for me, $1240 for M. No other deductions (I think?)

Side Gig Monthly Take Home

Freelance income varies a lot! Before taxes, we make $700-2,000 in profit per month, with a monthly average of $1,000 over the past year. I plan my budget with the assumption that it’ll be $500/month and treat any extra as a bonus. Happy to talk more about freelance / artist finances in the comments if anyone has specific questions.

Passive Income:

$2400 (we both got stimulus checks, but were unable to get unemployment)

I get a few hundred dollars from relatives every Chinese New Year, which goes straight to my dad.

Section Three: Expenses

Rent: (we’re living with M’s mom and were planning to move out when he graduated in May, but the pandemic happened - we have an apartment lined up in June with another couple that will be $1500/month for the two of us)

Public transportation: $100 (neither of us learned to drive)

Pet expenses: $50 (food and litter for two cats)

Health insurance: $70 for M, $230 for me (can’t get Masshealth because of my immigration status T_T)

Birth control: $20 (my insurance used to cover it, but now it doesn’t?? can’t figure it out)

Luxury food: $50 (fancy tea, specialty baking stuff etc)

Clip Studio for iPad: $2.49 (tax deductible)

Day 1: Monday (Library A) $123.08

6AM - I'm starting a new part-time job later this week with morning shifts, so I'm trying to get back into the habit of waking up early. I also want to get some household / admin tasks done before the new schedule sets in. I spend a couple hours doing inventory for M's online store, and respond to some client emails. Some items need to be restocked so I put in an order that comes to $106.44. I also set up a Google Sheets for our 2021 budget (it's just the free ɺnnual Budget' template that I've added monthly expense/income logs to).

10AM - I do a one hour workout (I've been following a free YouTube workout program), shower, and get ready for a lunch meeting. It's to discuss some programming for an organization I volunteer for, but also an excuse to catch up with my friend. Lunch: yogurt with nuts and berries, and leftover fillings from yesterday's fish taco dinner. By the way, this is probably going to read more like a food diary than a money diary!

2:30 PM - I make steamed pork with salted fish to pack with some frozen vegetables for dinner. I leave it on the stovetop so M will remember to eat when he gets home. I walk to work and it's a typical Monday - a bunch of emails to reply and tasks to finish up. We have a productive discussion about programming for January and February. I’ve been pushing for more household repair / DIY classes to encourage people to buy less stuff. I get half an hour for dinner in between helping patrons, during which I remember to order cat food ($16.64). I need some soap dishes, so I put together a vector file on Inkscape and get it cut on our laser cutter during some downtime.

8:30PM - I get home and put on a Netflix C-drama in the background while I work on a commission (it was technically due months ago but everything got weird because of COVID and the client only followed up recently). I've been trying to stick to a 11pm bedtime so I don't get much done.

Day 2: Tuesday $11.80

6AM - It’s my day off! I do some laundry and reorganize the fridge. I'm still sore from yesterday's exercise, so I don't push myself too hard in today's routine. I have a hard time keeping up the habit unless I do a bit every day, even if that just means lying on the mat in my workout clothes while the videos play. Once the post office opens, I walk over to mail some orders from M's store ($11.80).

11AM - I spend the whole afternoon baking (biscotti, brownies, gingersnaps, mochi bread, meltaways). I know I'll have less energy for baking once the second job starts, so I want to have a good stockpile for the rest of the month. I fill up a medium sized flat-rate box to mail to my dad and stepmother (she has a hard time finding good gluten-free baked goods). I make a Cantonese style roast duck for dinner, using the duck fat to fry up some Brussels sprouts.

1PM - I started growing my hair out during the job hunt, hoping that a more conservative, feminine appearance would help, and this is the longest it’s been in 13 years. I ask in my local Buy Nothing Facebook group to see if anyone has a hairband, bobby pins or clips to spare. I’ll probably get sick of it and cut it again within another year, so I don’t want to spend money on it.

7PM - M and I get together with a couple of friends on Discord to watch anime twice a week. It's really been keeping me sane throughout the pandemic and I'm super thankful we've continued to stay close. We tried going hiking together a couple times, but it was really hard with our masks on (also we're all out of shape). I offer them some baked goods if they can come pick them up from our porch this week.

Day 3: Wednesday (Library A) $96.79 (WARNING: BAKE OFF SPOILER)

6AM - I've been skipping breakfasts in the name of intermittent fasting, but now that I have to wake up early again I don't know if I can keep it up. I get my workout done, then chop up some ingredients so that M can make dinner before I get home tomorrow.

11AM - I make us some grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, using the leftover roast duck, chopped napa cabbage, apple slices, and mayo with some hoisin sauce mixed in. We watch the season finale of Bake Off while eating, and it was so disappointing. Laura should have been eliminated weeks ago, and it would have been a much better episode with Hermine in the final three. I see a post on Facebook about how anyone on Masshealth can get 30% off their National Grid bill?? I immediately text all my friends in MA to check it out.

2PM - I stop by the post office before work to ship the cookies for my dad ($77.50). I feel a little twinge at how expensive international shipping is, but then I remember I saved about $1,000 by not flying home to visit this year. I give my boss a little box of cookies too, as a thank you for being so supportive and helping me get this second job, and preemptive apology in case I slip up while adjusting to the new schedule. Work is pretty chill today, there's just a Zoom class I'm teaching in the evening. Our online numbers have been growing ever since we started offering free take-and-make kits, and about 30 people show up today, some with their kids. Dinner is a random mix of leftovers from the past two days.

8PM - M walks me home from work. I'm a bit nervous about my first day at the new job tomorrow, especially because my green card and work authorization ID are technically expired. (It's been over a year since I submitted a renewal request!) I email my supervisor about it and she says it'll probably be fine. I make plans to meet a friend for lunch on Saturday and order her a cute recipe book as a Christmas present ($19.29). I use a sheet mask before bed and M decides he wants one too.

Day 4: Thursday (Library B) $21.24

6AM - I hit snooze for 15 minutes before getting up to do my workout. I actually really hate exercising but I know it's one of the few things that does help with my seasonal affective disorder so I'm committed to keeping it up. After a quick shower, I make a green bean stir fry to pack for lunch, and leave instructions for M to make tikka masala tonight.

8AM - It's been such a long time since I've taken the bus, it feels a bit scary! Thankfully, it's not crowded at all, but my transfer does take me past my favorite bakery (Flour) and I have to resist the urge to get a lemon ginger scone. I buy all their recipe books in an effort to spend less by making them myself, but it's not the same as being able to get a big box of all different pastries. I get to the library a bit early, so I take a walk around the building. It's huge! My supervisor lets me in and gives me a bunch of paperwork to fill out. She shows me around the department and runs through the basic daily tasks I'll be doing. We're all spread out way more than six feet apart, and everyone has their masks on properly, so I feel really safe.

12PM - Everyone takes their lunch break in different rooms. I text my dad some videos of my new workplace, and he is very impressed. Before I leave, I check out some manga for myself to read on the bus. I consider getting a board game too, but it won't fit in my backpack - I'll bring a bigger bag next time.

7PM - I love how rush hour isn't a thing anymore. The commute I'm doing now would normally take an extra half hour! M has dinner waiting when I get home, along with surprise hot chocolate (Swiss Miss, but we use double the recommended amount per cup). We eat while watching anime with our friends on Discord. One of them wants us to join a D&D campaign with his ex-boyfriend. I'm not sure if I'll have the time / energy, but agree to try it for a couple weeks. I buy Hades on Steam ($21.24) to celebrate the new job, even though I know my laptop will barely be able to run it.

10PM - I do some social media stuff for my volunteer thing, then look around the LUSH online store, in anticipation of their boxing day sale which is when I stock up each year. (I’m still looking for a good affordable moisturizer for dry winter skin, if anyone has recommendations!)

Day 5: Friday (Library A) $10

6AM- I put the leftover duck carcass and some vegetable scraps in a pot to simmer while I do my workout. I'll use the stock in whatever I cook on Sunday. I make some pasta with zucchini, arugula and frozen corn to bring for lunch, and pack yesterday's leftover curry for dinner.

9AM - My glasses have been really bothering me for a while now, and I decide to fix that today. Usually I only buy new glasses frames in Asia, but they broke when someone pushed me into a subway door during rush hour a couple years ago (the lenses survived), and I panicked and got a new pair of frames at the closest shop. I call a nearby optometrist to schedule an appointment - it's short notice but they have a spot open on Christmas eve! I order a home try-on kit from a brand that's supposed to fit Asian noses properly ($10).

11:30AM - My boss hands me an envelope when I walk in, from the library union. It's a holiday card with a $50 note! She says she's spent some of hers at a nearby bakery that's doing curbside pickups, and recommends their eggnog doughnuts. I'll try to swing by this weekend - their other baked goods look great too. It's a busy day at work! Lots of patron requests, and we have a volunteer teaching a Zoom class in the evening who needs a lot of technical help.

8:30PM - I respond to client messages, talk to M about increasing his prices next year, and he helps me fix some issues with my commission. I sit in bed and do some scheduling and journaling in my planner (Hobonichi cousin) with both cats on my lap.

Day 6: Saturday (Library B)

6AM - I decide to make lunch before doing my workout this morning in the hopes that it’ll make me feel less miserable about exercising (it doesn’t). Today I’m having lunch with my friend, and I know she’s bringing Spam fried rice so I make fried Spam vermicelli with eggs and cabbage. I also toss in some arugula that’s starting to wilt, and top it off with some fried shallots. M has just gotten out of bed as I’m heading out and I remind him about today’s commission deadlines.

9AM - A standard day for a library assistant: sorting book returns / deliveries, pulling holds for patrons, withdrawing less circulated items from the system (we get to pick through and keep whatever we want before they get tossed), and putting stuff back on the shelves. While doing this, I’m also brainstorming programming / project ideas I could propose that are specific to my skill set.

1PM - It’s raining, so I walk around with my friend until we find a closed building with an overhang. We sit about 10ft apart to eat and catch up. We talk about her WFH situation and try to think of ways to stay sane / healthy through the winter. She lives nearby so we make plans to keep meeting up for lunch on my days here, even if it gets colder.

3PM - My supervisor reminds us to take our afternoon breaks and stay hydrated! It’s hard to remember to drink enough water when you’re always wearing a mask.

5PM - I encounter my first case of public COVID idiocy on the bus ride home. A passenger is glaring behind me, gesturing angrily. I look over and there’s this asshole in the back with his mask hanging off one ear and vaping. He puts it on because everyone’s turned around and staring at him, I guess. A few stops later, Mr Asshole walks over and starts pacing in front of the guy who told him off and just stares at him like a fucking creep. Then right before getting off, he pulls his mask down and blows a mouthful of smoke at him.

6PM - The incident on the bus has me feeling pessimistic and angry. I chop the ingredients for tonight’s dinner (Japanese curry) with a bit more force than necessary. We watch part of the Bake Off Christmas special, and I start planning a menu for Christmas dinner. I like cooking for large groups of people! There's only four of us here (M's sister came home too) but we'll drop off some for M's other sister who lives close by.

Day 7: Sunday 83.83

8AM - Time for the weekly takeout splurge! I’d been planning to try the bakery my boss recommended, but it’s not open on Sundays. We default to Flour and pick out a mix of our favorite pastries and cakes, I offer to get M's sister some too. It comes to $45.38, and I add a $20 tip for the Grubhub driver. I fill some store orders while waiting - we’re running low of envelopes so I order a 200-pack ($18.45).

10AM - I help M finish up some commissions, and do some tidying and cleaning. We discuss whether a leather jacket (my fave outerwear) would be appropriate for my new office dress code (business casual).

12PM - Leftover Spam vermicelli for lunch. I sit on the couch and finish the 8 volumes of manga I've checked out from the library.

5PM - We watch our Discord friends stream a game while working on our commissions. We make and eat shakshuka (with eggplant and dill) as they finally wrap up the campaign (we started it about two months ago).

9:30PM - I have a shower, then Facetime with my dad. Look through my planner and shift any tasks I didn't get done to the next week. Look through the fridge and pantry to make a meal plan for the upcoming week. Go to bed happy and relaxed.

Expenses for the week:

Business: $136.69 (this should all be tax deductible)

Reflection: Except for the gifting, this is a pretty standard week for me. It comes to about $600 after adding a quarter of the monthly expenses listed at the top.

PSA: Use your local library! Besides physical books, you can also borrow e-books and audiobooks (Hoopla / Overdrive), board games, video games, stream movies (Kanopy), take free Zoom classes (we give out free materials with ours!), get documents scanned / printed, maybe even laser cut or 3D print small projects all for free.


I am 26 years old (she/they), make $33000+, live in the Greater Boston Area and work as a public library assistant and freelance artist.

I’m really enjoying the lower income MDs and wanted to share mine as well! My husband, M, is also a public library assistant ($18,000) and freelance illustrator. I manage both our finances, as well as the business aspects of his freelance work.

Saver vs Spender:

I’m generally a saver, and always on the lookout for cheap / free stuff. Most of our furniture was from yard sales, picked up on the sidewalk (graduation season in Boston is a great time to get some quality free stuff) or hand-me-downs from M’s family. M is a super saver (would rather walk an hour to walk than spend $2 to take the bus).

Short-term: Save enough to fly home once a year to see my family in Asia (about $1,000 for a round trip). $50-60k full-time job within the next 10 years (I’ll evaluate my happiness / stress balance then to decide if I want to push for more.) Maybe get a library degree ($50k)?

Long-term: I would like to have more money to travel, and to make sure my dad can retire comfortably. I plan to move back to my home country eventually (maybe in about 20 years), for better healthcare and public housing and to be closer to family. I seriously considered moving back early on in the pandemic when it became clear that America would not take precautions seriously, but decided I couldn’t handle going back in the closet (it’s a pretty queerphobic country).

Section One: Assets and Debt Use this section to explain your current financial picture at large.

Checking account balance: $14,000

Debt: $1100 (interest free loan, covid emergency fund for small businesses)

Credit card: (I only got it to improve my credit score, and pay off any purchases immediately)

I have a compulsory retirement account in my home country, but can’t check how much is in it until I go back (probably pennies). I’m talking to my dad about putting my savings in his retirement account, which has higher interest (4-7%) and flexible withdrawals.

Safety net: M and I can always ask our parents for money in emergencies. In exchange, there’s expectations for us to take care of them after they retire. They also get first dibs on any non-commissioned art we make.

Student loans: Our parents paid for our undergrad degrees. In October, we finished paying off M’s grad school loans of $40,000. Our strategy for the past couple years was to end each month with $1500 in the checking account, putting any excess towards the loans. This was only possible because we live with his mom and don’t pay rent.

Section Two: Income

Income Progression:

2015-2017: College jobs (TA, tour guide, admin assistant, writing tutor) around $10-11/hour, some unpaid internships. Got my first 'real' art commission two months before graduating - $2000

2017-2018: Barely breaking even by doing contract art + teaching. I decided I needed a more stable career and started looking into salaried work. I absolutely hated corporate art /design culture during the internships I did in college, and public service with a focus in arts administration seemed like a better fit for my skills and interests.

2019: Started working as a part-time library assistant ($18,000), while still taking on freelance commissions.

2020: When the pandemic hit, my studio space shut down and my freelance work dropped dramatically. We both got furloughed for about a month before WFH started. I’ve been job searching since April. I just got a second part-time position at another library ($15,000) and will be starting there this week.

Main Job Monthly Take Home:

$2177 after taxes for me, $1240 for M. No other deductions (I think?)

Side Gig Monthly Take Home

Freelance income varies a lot! Before taxes, we make $700-2,000 in profit per month, with a monthly average of $1,000 over the past year. I plan my budget with the assumption that it’ll be $500/month and treat any extra as a bonus. Happy to talk more about freelance / artist finances in the comments if anyone has specific questions.

Passive Income:

$2400 (we both got stimulus checks, but were unable to get unemployment)

I get a few hundred dollars from relatives every Chinese New Year, which goes straight to my dad.

Section Three: Expenses

Rent: (we’re living with M’s mom and were planning to move out when he graduated in May, but the pandemic happened - we have an apartment lined up in June with another couple that will be $1500/month for the two of us)

Public transportation: $100 (neither of us learned to drive)

Pet expenses: $50 (food and litter for two cats)

Health insurance: $70 for M, $230 for me (can’t get Masshealth because of my immigration status T_T)

Birth control: $20 (my insurance used to cover it, but now it doesn’t?? can’t figure it out)

Luxury food: $50 (fancy tea, specialty baking stuff etc)

Clip Studio for iPad: $2.49 (tax deductible)

Day 1: Monday (Library A) $123.08

6AM - I'm starting a new part-time job later this week with morning shifts, so I'm trying to get back into the habit of waking up early. I also want to get some household / admin tasks done before the new schedule sets in. I spend a couple hours doing inventory for M's online store, and respond to some client emails. Some items need to be restocked so I put in an order that comes to $106.44. I also set up a Google Sheets for our 2021 budget (it's just the free ɺnnual Budget' template that I've added monthly expense/income logs to).

10AM - I do a one hour workout (I've been following a free YouTube workout program), shower, and get ready for a lunch meeting. It's to discuss some programming for an organization I volunteer for, but also an excuse to catch up with my friend. Lunch: yogurt with nuts and berries, and leftover fillings from yesterday's fish taco dinner. By the way, this is probably going to read more like a food diary than a money diary!

2:30 PM - I make steamed pork with salted fish to pack with some frozen vegetables for dinner. I leave it on the stovetop so M will remember to eat when he gets home. I walk to work and it's a typical Monday - a bunch of emails to reply and tasks to finish up. We have a productive discussion about programming for January and February. I’ve been pushing for more household repair / DIY classes to encourage people to buy less stuff. I get half an hour for dinner in between helping patrons, during which I remember to order cat food ($16.64). I need some soap dishes, so I put together a vector file on Inkscape and get it cut on our laser cutter during some downtime.

8:30PM - I get home and put on a Netflix C-drama in the background while I work on a commission (it was technically due months ago but everything got weird because of COVID and the client only followed up recently). I've been trying to stick to a 11pm bedtime so I don't get much done.

Day 2: Tuesday $11.80

6AM - It’s my day off! I do some laundry and reorganize the fridge. I'm still sore from yesterday's exercise, so I don't push myself too hard in today's routine. I have a hard time keeping up the habit unless I do a bit every day, even if that just means lying on the mat in my workout clothes while the videos play. Once the post office opens, I walk over to mail some orders from M's store ($11.80).

11AM - I spend the whole afternoon baking (biscotti, brownies, gingersnaps, mochi bread, meltaways). I know I'll have less energy for baking once the second job starts, so I want to have a good stockpile for the rest of the month. I fill up a medium sized flat-rate box to mail to my dad and stepmother (she has a hard time finding good gluten-free baked goods). I make a Cantonese style roast duck for dinner, using the duck fat to fry up some Brussels sprouts.

1PM - I started growing my hair out during the job hunt, hoping that a more conservative, feminine appearance would help, and this is the longest it’s been in 13 years. I ask in my local Buy Nothing Facebook group to see if anyone has a hairband, bobby pins or clips to spare. I’ll probably get sick of it and cut it again within another year, so I don’t want to spend money on it.

7PM - M and I get together with a couple of friends on Discord to watch anime twice a week. It's really been keeping me sane throughout the pandemic and I'm super thankful we've continued to stay close. We tried going hiking together a couple times, but it was really hard with our masks on (also we're all out of shape). I offer them some baked goods if they can come pick them up from our porch this week.

Day 3: Wednesday (Library A) $96.79 (WARNING: BAKE OFF SPOILER)

6AM - I've been skipping breakfasts in the name of intermittent fasting, but now that I have to wake up early again I don't know if I can keep it up. I get my workout done, then chop up some ingredients so that M can make dinner before I get home tomorrow.

11AM - I make us some grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, using the leftover roast duck, chopped napa cabbage, apple slices, and mayo with some hoisin sauce mixed in. We watch the season finale of Bake Off while eating, and it was so disappointing. Laura should have been eliminated weeks ago, and it would have been a much better episode with Hermine in the final three. I see a post on Facebook about how anyone on Masshealth can get 30% off their National Grid bill?? I immediately text all my friends in MA to check it out.

2PM - I stop by the post office before work to ship the cookies for my dad ($77.50). I feel a little twinge at how expensive international shipping is, but then I remember I saved about $1,000 by not flying home to visit this year. I give my boss a little box of cookies too, as a thank you for being so supportive and helping me get this second job, and preemptive apology in case I slip up while adjusting to the new schedule. Work is pretty chill today, there's just a Zoom class I'm teaching in the evening. Our online numbers have been growing ever since we started offering free take-and-make kits, and about 30 people show up today, some with their kids. Dinner is a random mix of leftovers from the past two days.

8PM - M walks me home from work. I'm a bit nervous about my first day at the new job tomorrow, especially because my green card and work authorization ID are technically expired. (It's been over a year since I submitted a renewal request!) I email my supervisor about it and she says it'll probably be fine. I make plans to meet a friend for lunch on Saturday and order her a cute recipe book as a Christmas present ($19.29). I use a sheet mask before bed and M decides he wants one too.

Day 4: Thursday (Library B) $21.24

6AM - I hit snooze for 15 minutes before getting up to do my workout. I actually really hate exercising but I know it's one of the few things that does help with my seasonal affective disorder so I'm committed to keeping it up. After a quick shower, I make a green bean stir fry to pack for lunch, and leave instructions for M to make tikka masala tonight.

8AM - It's been such a long time since I've taken the bus, it feels a bit scary! Thankfully, it's not crowded at all, but my transfer does take me past my favorite bakery (Flour) and I have to resist the urge to get a lemon ginger scone. I buy all their recipe books in an effort to spend less by making them myself, but it's not the same as being able to get a big box of all different pastries. I get to the library a bit early, so I take a walk around the building. It's huge! My supervisor lets me in and gives me a bunch of paperwork to fill out. She shows me around the department and runs through the basic daily tasks I'll be doing. We're all spread out way more than six feet apart, and everyone has their masks on properly, so I feel really safe.

12PM - Everyone takes their lunch break in different rooms. I text my dad some videos of my new workplace, and he is very impressed. Before I leave, I check out some manga for myself to read on the bus. I consider getting a board game too, but it won't fit in my backpack - I'll bring a bigger bag next time.

7PM - I love how rush hour isn't a thing anymore. The commute I'm doing now would normally take an extra half hour! M has dinner waiting when I get home, along with surprise hot chocolate (Swiss Miss, but we use double the recommended amount per cup). We eat while watching anime with our friends on Discord. One of them wants us to join a D&D campaign with his ex-boyfriend. I'm not sure if I'll have the time / energy, but agree to try it for a couple weeks. I buy Hades on Steam ($21.24) to celebrate the new job, even though I know my laptop will barely be able to run it.

10PM - I do some social media stuff for my volunteer thing, then look around the LUSH online store, in anticipation of their boxing day sale which is when I stock up each year. (I’m still looking for a good affordable moisturizer for dry winter skin, if anyone has recommendations!)

Day 5: Friday (Library A) $10

6AM- I put the leftover duck carcass and some vegetable scraps in a pot to simmer while I do my workout. I'll use the stock in whatever I cook on Sunday. I make some pasta with zucchini, arugula and frozen corn to bring for lunch, and pack yesterday's leftover curry for dinner.

9AM - My glasses have been really bothering me for a while now, and I decide to fix that today. Usually I only buy new glasses frames in Asia, but they broke when someone pushed me into a subway door during rush hour a couple years ago (the lenses survived), and I panicked and got a new pair of frames at the closest shop. I call a nearby optometrist to schedule an appointment - it's short notice but they have a spot open on Christmas eve! I order a home try-on kit from a brand that's supposed to fit Asian noses properly ($10).

11:30AM - My boss hands me an envelope when I walk in, from the library union. It's a holiday card with a $50 note! She says she's spent some of hers at a nearby bakery that's doing curbside pickups, and recommends their eggnog doughnuts. I'll try to swing by this weekend - their other baked goods look great too. It's a busy day at work! Lots of patron requests, and we have a volunteer teaching a Zoom class in the evening who needs a lot of technical help.

8:30PM - I respond to client messages, talk to M about increasing his prices next year, and he helps me fix some issues with my commission. I sit in bed and do some scheduling and journaling in my planner (Hobonichi cousin) with both cats on my lap.

Day 6: Saturday (Library B)

6AM - I decide to make lunch before doing my workout this morning in the hopes that it’ll make me feel less miserable about exercising (it doesn’t). Today I’m having lunch with my friend, and I know she’s bringing Spam fried rice so I make fried Spam vermicelli with eggs and cabbage. I also toss in some arugula that’s starting to wilt, and top it off with some fried shallots. M has just gotten out of bed as I’m heading out and I remind him about today’s commission deadlines.

9AM - A standard day for a library assistant: sorting book returns / deliveries, pulling holds for patrons, withdrawing less circulated items from the system (we get to pick through and keep whatever we want before they get tossed), and putting stuff back on the shelves. While doing this, I’m also brainstorming programming / project ideas I could propose that are specific to my skill set.

1PM - It’s raining, so I walk around with my friend until we find a closed building with an overhang. We sit about 10ft apart to eat and catch up. We talk about her WFH situation and try to think of ways to stay sane / healthy through the winter. She lives nearby so we make plans to keep meeting up for lunch on my days here, even if it gets colder.

3PM - My supervisor reminds us to take our afternoon breaks and stay hydrated! It’s hard to remember to drink enough water when you’re always wearing a mask.

5PM - I encounter my first case of public COVID idiocy on the bus ride home. A passenger is glaring behind me, gesturing angrily. I look over and there’s this asshole in the back with his mask hanging off one ear and vaping. He puts it on because everyone’s turned around and staring at him, I guess. A few stops later, Mr Asshole walks over and starts pacing in front of the guy who told him off and just stares at him like a fucking creep. Then right before getting off, he pulls his mask down and blows a mouthful of smoke at him.

6PM - The incident on the bus has me feeling pessimistic and angry. I chop the ingredients for tonight’s dinner (Japanese curry) with a bit more force than necessary. We watch part of the Bake Off Christmas special, and I start planning a menu for Christmas dinner. I like cooking for large groups of people! There's only four of us here (M's sister came home too) but we'll drop off some for M's other sister who lives close by.

Day 7: Sunday 83.83

8AM - Time for the weekly takeout splurge! I’d been planning to try the bakery my boss recommended, but it’s not open on Sundays. We default to Flour and pick out a mix of our favorite pastries and cakes, I offer to get M's sister some too. It comes to $45.38, and I add a $20 tip for the Grubhub driver. I fill some store orders while waiting - we’re running low of envelopes so I order a 200-pack ($18.45).

10AM - I help M finish up some commissions, and do some tidying and cleaning. We discuss whether a leather jacket (my fave outerwear) would be appropriate for my new office dress code (business casual).

12PM - Leftover Spam vermicelli for lunch. I sit on the couch and finish the 8 volumes of manga I've checked out from the library.

5PM - We watch our Discord friends stream a game while working on our commissions. We make and eat shakshuka (with eggplant and dill) as they finally wrap up the campaign (we started it about two months ago).

9:30PM - I have a shower, then Facetime with my dad. Look through my planner and shift any tasks I didn't get done to the next week. Look through the fridge and pantry to make a meal plan for the upcoming week. Go to bed happy and relaxed.

Expenses for the week:

Business: $136.69 (this should all be tax deductible)

Reflection: Except for the gifting, this is a pretty standard week for me. It comes to about $600 after adding a quarter of the monthly expenses listed at the top.

PSA: Use your local library! Besides physical books, you can also borrow e-books and audiobooks (Hoopla / Overdrive), board games, video games, stream movies (Kanopy), take free Zoom classes (we give out free materials with ours!), get documents scanned / printed, maybe even laser cut or 3D print small projects all for free.


Watch the video: Video shows tractor-trailer overturn in alleged road rage crash


Comments:

  1. Eibhear

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  2. Linddun

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  3. Loe

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