A Week In Chicago, IL, On A $70,000 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.

Today: a financial analyst who makes $70,000 per year. This week, she spends some of her money on new Asics during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

Occupation: Financial Analyst
Industry: Banking
Age: 23
Location: Chicago, IL
Salary: $70,000
Paycheck Amount (Bi-weekly): ~$1,650 per paycheck, after taxes and deductions

Monthly Expenses
Housing: $1,050/month in rent. I live with two roommates.
Utilities: $15 for electricity (all other utilities are included in rent). We do not have air conditioning, which would inflate this bill otherwise.
Student Loan: ~$225 per month, however, I try to pay about $500/month.

All Other Monthly Expenses
Gym Membership: $65 after a $20 discount from work
Spotify: $9.99. I just realized I no longer receive student pricing.
Cell Phone: $0. I'm still on my parents' plan.
Transportation: $100 pre-tax for an unlimited pass
Health Insurance: ~$170/month for HSA savings, dental, and medical, withdrawn pre-tax
Savings: None currently in cash, but I do contribute ~$550/month across my 401(k), Roth 401(k), and Employee Stock Program. My company also matches 5%.
Hair: ~$100/month. I get my hair colored and cut every six weeks.

7:10 a.m. — I finally hop in the shower after laying awake in bed for 40 minutes. Decide to take a cold shower, as I'm quite groggy, and head out around 7:45 a.m. I dash to the bus.

9 a.m. — Still half-asleep, I buy an Iced Doppio Espresso at Starbucks, and retreat to my desk with that and a raspberry Fage yogurt. I pay for the coffee with money I previously loaded onto the app.

12:15 p.m. — A group heads to Chipotle, but I packed a Greek salad in hopes of saving money on lunches this week. Salad leaves me still hungry, so I buy spinach chickpea soup from our cafeteria. $3.50

7:45 p.m. — Home from work a bit later than usual. Make dinner (salmon, broccoli, and sautéed bok choy), and then watch The Bachelorette with my roommate, while sorting this week's mail. Pay the remaining patient portion of a medical bill from last month. Ugh, urgent care is so pricey. I'm trying to grow my HSA balance, so I pay for this expense out of pocket. $38.06

9:05 p.m. — Put on a Mega Greens Mask and browse OpenTable for Saturday dinner inspiration. I end up reserving a table for four at an Asian fusion steakhouse that has a killer cocktail list. Before bed, I also prep my food for tomorrow: a large Greek salad, among other things.

Daily Total: $41.56
5:30 a.m. — Wake up early in an attempt to make it to a 6 a.m. spin class. I have plans after work, so it's now or never for this workout, and I'm in desperate need after my junk food spree this past weekend. I make it to the gym by 5:50 a.m. with a bit of extra time to warm up before class starts.

7:10 a.m. — Worth it. I return home wide awake and ready to go. Put salsa in a small frying pan to warm up, and then toss in egg whites to cook while I quickly rinse off in the shower. I manage to run from my shower to the stove before the eggs crisp, and I fluff them onto two corn tortillas. I rarely eat breakfast at home, so this is a nice start to my morning.

8:30 a.m. — Within a minute of walking into the office, my boss grabs me to discuss a new deal I'm underwriting. I still haven't had my morning coffee, and 15 minutes later, I return to my desk and am greeted with the extensive to-do list I left on my keyboard yesterday. Woof. I walk to the kitchen and concoct a "mocha" using the light roast blend and part of a hot chocolate packet. The coffee here is tolerable. It's some weird pod thing that is not Keurig.

10 a.m. — Bagels, croissants, and donuts, oh my. Someone brings in baked goods for my coworker's birthday, and I can't complain. I snag half of an everything bagel and munch on it while working.

1 p.m. — Sit at my desk and eat a Greek salad I made last night. It's actually pretty filling, so I don't spend any money at lunch. Back to work.

1:45 p.m. — Need an excuse to see the sun, so I Lync/Skype a coworker about taking a quick walk around the Loop. We stop by Starbucks on the way back, and I buy a grande iced black tea with a pump of peach. I think it's one of the 10 new summer drinks? $3.62

6:30 p.m. — I'm supposed to meet a group of friends at Millennium Park for a summer movie viewing. They're airing La La Land, which I don't particularly like. (Sorry, friends. I'm not the musical type.) I end up leaving the office around 7 p.m. and grabbing a drink with a friend instead. He pays for us both, including my two glasses of prosecco, which cost $21.19 before tip.

8 p.m. — We order two more drinks and I slip my card to the waiter so my friend can't pay. $55

8:50 p.m. — Uber home. A week ago, Uber emailed me a 25%-off ride offer, so this ride is cheaper than usual. $7.13

9:30 p.m. — I order dinner and a salad for lunch tomorrow on Postmates. The delivery fee is almost $10?! Unfortunately, the salad that arrives is not what I ordered, so I don't have lunch for tomorrow after all. Sadly, this is nowhere near my most expensive Tuesday to date. $39.25

Daily Total: $105
4:45 a.m. — Get up at an ungodly hour, slightly hungover but wide awake. I sit in bed for 30 minutes since no one else in the city is awake.

5:15 a.m. — I decide to workout. Run about a mile to the lakefront path and notice that my heel is bleeding once again, so I walk for another 10 minutes or so before looping back home. Note to self: Buy Band-Aids and maybe a new pair of running shoes. Note to reader: I will probably buy neither.

7:40 a.m. — Spot an old acquaintance on my bus this morning and avoid making eye contact the entire 20-minute ride. Honestly, it's quite a feat. Knowing that we'll get off at the same stop, I exit the bus one stop early and buy a banana. $1.35

8:10 a.m. — I'm still starving. How is it only 8:10?

9 a.m. — Run to a nearby coffee shop and buy an RXBar, even though the croissants look scrumptious. $3.25

12 p.m. — Lunch-and-learn, a.k.a. free food.

5:50 p.m. — Leave the office and head to a ramen shop to meet up with a friend for a drink. (Who eats ramen when it's 90 degrees?) I order a beer and we sit and chat. The beer is $7 and I pay with cash I find in my wallet. $7

7 p.m. — We meet up with my roommate at a café, where I order a cucumber gin smash and a farmhouse burger with roasted sweet potatoes. $24.04

8 p.m. — Window shop off Michigan Avenue for a bit, and fortunately talk myself out of spending $100 on face masks at Kiehl's. I take the L home to avoid paying for an Uber.

Daily Total: $35.64
7:30 a.m. — Wake up a bit late as I snoozed all five of my alarms. It's pouring outside, but I talk myself out of ordering an Uber. I throw on my Hunter boots, and walk to the bus stop.

9 a.m. — Longest commute of my life. I swear, Chicago streets shut down when it rains. I sat at the same light for three greens before the intersection cleared and we were able to move. At least I'm warm and dry in my trench coat and rain boots. On the way into the office, I stop by Starbucks for my usual iced doppio with cinnamon. $2.17

12 p.m. — Create my own salad at Just Salad with mesclun, cucumber, tomato, pickled onion, carrots, roasted sweet potato, pumpkin seeds, feta, and a spicy avocado dressing. $13.97

4:15 p.m. — Tropical cocktails are being served in my office lobby. Keep in mind that I work at a financial institution; this is FANTASTIC. It's the little things, really.

6 p.m. — Coworker asks if I want to grab dinner and drinks, but I successfully turn down the offer, as I MUST go to the gym tonight.

7:50 p.m. — Head to the gym to cycle because I missed the 6:30 p.m. class. I ride for 50 minutes! House music always gets me through my workouts, though I admittedly listened to Guetta's “Sexy Bitch” for nearly half the ride. Throwback.

9:30 p.m. — I FaceTime my friend to discuss my trip to Jordan in October. He's crazy jealous, but unfortunately can't join given his work schedule that month.

Daily Total: $16.14
6:50 a.m. — Wake up to the glorious sounds of Marvin Gaye, lie in bed for half an hour, and then finally hopped in the shower. The sun is finally shining (it's been rainy almost all week), so I'm in a good mood. TGIF! I make breakfast tacos with half an avocado, red peppers, onion, and tomato on two corn tortillas. I consider making eggs but I'm not hungry enough. I also craft an iced latte with cold brew, almond milk, cinnamon, and a dash of cocoa.

8:20 a.m. — The office is empty; eight people on my sub-team are on vacation today, meaning I'll have either the most or the least productive day of my life. Stay tuned.

9:20 a.m. — My on-again, off-again hookup (and close friend) S texts me about a staycation in Chicago next weekend. He mentions sushi, wine, massages, and the Four Seasons. Obviously, I'm interested. If only we could end this totally millennial love-game of cat and mouse. Sigh. I don't have time for a boyfriend anyway.

11:16 a.m. — Sean Spicer resigned! Ha. What a day.

1:05 p.m. — Lose track of time listening to Journey's “Any Way You Want It” on loop. I'm an old soul.

1:20 p.m. — Buy a Greek salad with grilled chicken from Vapiano. Their salads are so overpriced, but everything else on the menu is really heavy. Feeling angsty, I grab a handful of gummy bears for the walk back to the office. $15.55

2:02 p.m. — How am I only now realizing that the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is on?! Given recent circumstances, I decide to buy a new pair of running shoes. I get a coral-colored pair of Asics and a pair of black mules — two obviously necessary purchases. $233.57

4 p.m. — Leave the office early and walk from my office to the river since I've been deprived of fresh air all day. It's nice to enjoy a leisurely commute home for once. I head to the gym for a quick HIIT workout on the bike, followed by the treadmill. After 30 minutes, I am DEAD.

6 p.m. — Get caught in a downpour on my way home. Chicago summers are very unpredictable. After showering, I eat a spinach omelet, cashews, and a mango. The rain and my indulgent spending this week have officially convinced me to stay in tonight.

8 p.m. — Continue to clean out my closet (a project I started weeks ago); I throw out 10 pairs of old shoes. I also gather a pile of shoes to donate, including but not limited to: two pairs of never-worn Ugg boots, and two pairs of once-worn Jeffrey Campbell platforms. I'm not sure which brand I'm more embarrassed about. Feeling good about my cleaning efforts, I pour a glass of pinot noir, and fall asleep listening to Norah Jones.

Daily Total: $249.12
9 a.m. — Wake up, go to the gym in my building to lift weights, and then shower quickly.

10 a.m. — Split a bottle of prosecco with my roommate before heading to my friend's apartment in the Loop. My friend is hosting a pregame for a trolley party with my analyst class. Of course, that means aggressive drinking plus interacting with people I'd prefer not to see outside of the office. Alas.

1:15 p.m. — We stop at McDonald's. I order a McFlurry and fries for my friends. $8.82

2 p.m. — Dip from the trolley and Uber back to my apartment to hang with S. $5.98

5 p.m. — Friend adjusted our dinner plans, so we're getting sushi at 7 instead. S leaves and I hop in the shower to wash my hair. After, I retouch my makeup and try to find something to wear that won't make me melt in this 90-degree heat. The restaurant is BYOB, so I stop by a liquor store, buy a bottle of La Marca, and Uber to the restaurant. $23.97

7 p.m. — After many, many sushi rolls, we ask for the bill. My friend split her bottle of sake with me, so I offer to pay for part of her bill. We call an Uber and one of my friends pays. $76, including tax and tip

9 p.m. — My friend has been living on the 85th floor of The Hancock for the past month since her lease hasn't started yet, so we decide to pregame there. (The unit is her grandparents' vacation condo.) I pop open the La Marca I purchased earlier and we all split a few bottles of wine and prosecco. We Uber to a friend's house for another pregame, where we meet up with a bigger group of about 10 other people. We all walk over to a house party a few blocks away. I haven't been to a house party in months, but one our friends is DJing and I have to support. $5.12

4:45 a.m. — Convince my friend to leave with me so I can sleep at The Hancock. I take an Uber there and fall asleep on the living room couch. She graciously closes the blinds so I don't wake up at the crack of dawn. $10.18

Daily Total: $130.07
12:30 p.m. — Wake up sleep-deprived and feeling like death. I open the blinds to see the sun blazing over Lake Michigan, before closing them again and going back to bed once I realize my friends are still asleep. I sleep for another hour or so.

1:15 p.m. — My friends decide to walk and get food. I feel faint, so I decide not to accompany them. After an hour of indecision, they call me from Shake Shack to ask if I want anything. I'm not really in the mood for a burger and I know the chicken sandwich won't be the same by the time they return, so I go back to sleep.

2:20 p.m. — They finally return and still haven't eaten, so I snag a few French fries and decide to order food from Postmates. There's a Cheesecake Factory in the lower level of the building and I figure delivery would be quick. I order a side salad and “Cajun chicken littles,” a.k.a. chicken strips. My friend puts on The Dark Knight.

4:20 p.m. — My food still hasn't arrived. I could scream. Around the two-hour mark, the doorman calls to say that the delivery guy is here, thank God. He rings the doorbell 10 or 15 minutes later as if he got lost on the way upstairs. My food is cold but I am content. $38.85

5:50 p.m. — Next, we watch The Dark Knight Rises. I'm such a fan of Bruce Wayne; what a hunk.

8 p.m. — I'm hit with the unpleasant reality that I have work tomorrow, and I wake up my roommate (who has been napping since he came over at 3 p.m.). We Uber home and I pop two Benadryl in the hopes that I'll fall asleep before 5 a.m. I lie in bed thinking about my nightmarishly busy week ahead. $6.81

Daily Total: $45.66
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