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Site reliability engineer: My budget and planning for the future

How much does a site reliability engineer earn? Is it enough to afford living in an expensive city like San Francisco? Ruth Grace explains her salary and budget. 

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Video transcript

My name is Ruth Grace Wong, and I am a Site Reliability Engineer at Pinterest. My salary is approximately $120,000. I live in the Mission and I specifically picked a place that's close to Noisebridge which is the Makerspace that I frequent, and so I live in a community house and so there's five different floors, five complexes I guess, each complex has its own kitchen, it has its own laundry and there's about 10 people on each one, and so there's 50 people in total. We share buy all our groceries, and I share my room with one person and it costs me $1,350 per month including groceries. When I knew that I was going to be moving here, I joined a couple Facebook groups for people, new grads moving to the Bay Area, housing, and so somebody posted about this community home there and that's how I found it. It's pretty expensive to be living here. When I was in college with my boyfriend, we had a room and we split 550 Canadian dollars for our room and so it's many, many times more expensive here. So I currently share my room with one person and I'm trying to get sort of a cheaper living situation. My boyfriend is still in Toronto and so when he makes his way over here, then we can move out in a place together, but for now I'm kind of trying to save money. Annually I make about $120,000, so my monthly gross income is about $10,000, and so for taxes and medical benefits and all that, I pay about $3,500, and so I take home about $6,500. My rent is $1,350 and this includes groceries. It also includes gas and electricity, internet, and for my phone I have a Canadian plan with a U.S. roaming add-on, and so that's 45 Canadian dollars which is about $30 American dollars. It's unlimited data which is really nice. I often take the bus to work but if I'm running late or something I'll take Lyft and so for Lyft plus public transportation it's about $200 a month. I don't have any student loans and for other monthly expenses, I pay an $80 membership fee for Noisebridge each month. I pay about $60 in sewing lessons, about $185 for Mandarin lessons, and then $15 for Patreon donation, so Patreon is a platform where you can support people who are creating content, so $10 a month I support With Wendy which is a YouTube channel for sewing tutorials, and for five dollars a month I support Nick's Craft which is a Linux help website that I use a lot. And then I also donate 10% of my salary to the Gates Malaria Foundation. And I do that because it was rated as the most effective charity on Give Well. And for other expenses, I spend about $120 on groceries or candy or butter for baking, I really like baking, and I also spend about $100 a month on maker supplies, so that includes fabric, or wood, or tools. One example for something I've been working on lately is this girl bracket project where I'm repurposing plastic buckets that people throw away and adding in lights and a fan and so I've been buying supplies for that. So in the end I'm saving about $3,000 and I do this with an automatic investment into Vanguard. I don't have my own budget so this was a really good experience because it forced me to really look into what I was spending. I try to automate as much as possible so all my credit card payments and my donations, my savings, that's all automated and so I usually know approximately what my bank account balance is and so I know if I have to be saving more or spending less because all my savings are automatic, it gets taken out. I think that I'm kind of generally a cheap person, I love seeing great deals and I try to buy only things that are great deals. I do wanna have a family later so I'm saving for that, but I haven't really done the math on that to see what I need to be doing. To be honest, I didn't expect to be making this much money, so it's been kind of a learning experience where I used to be really cheap and I would wanna walk places to save money but sometimes I feel like now the bottleneck is time and sometimes it is worth it to pay some money to save time.