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.
This week, we're taking another look at scholastic Money Diaries — this time from college and graduate students. Today: a law student and clerk who makes $24/hour and spends it on Aveda shampoo and a nail file for her pet bird.
Occupation: Law Clerk & Third-Year Law Student Industry: Commercial Real Estate Age: 25 Location: Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN Salary: $24/hour. My husband earns $16/hour. Paycheck (2x/month): $1,300. When I work full-time during the summer, I take home about $1,300 per check. My husband and I share accounts, so his check (2x/month) is $1,100.
Monthly Expenses Housing: $1,500 for a three-bedroom duplex right off the Mississippi. We chose this location when we moved from Wisconsin so I'd be close to school and my husband had easy access to the main highway to get to his job. We rent just the upper unit of a home and have no roommates (unless you count our dog, three cats, and bird). Loan Payments: $83 per month for the husband's. He went to technical college so his loans were approximately $8,000 when he graduated. Once I am done with school, we plan to pay his off as soon as possible because I have approximately $125,000 in loans from undergrad and law school to pay off. Anytime either of us works overtime, we contribute to my loans, which generally works out to $1,000 per year. CarPayment: $165, but we try to pay $200
All Other Monthly Expenses Utilities: Generally $75/month for heating, cooling, and electric. All other utilities are included in our rent. Cell Phone: $50 to my mom and stepdad. We still share a plan. Health Insurance: $122 to cover both of us on the most basic plan ever Savings: $200 to our general account; $500 from my earnings to our “Saving for a Home” account and $190 to my IRA (employer matches). Spotify: $15 for my husband and me Netflix: $10 HBO: $15 Apple Storage: $2.99 Gym: $0. My best friend from law school is an instructor at a local yoga studio and I am her plus one. Metro Pass: I can get a pass for $90 through school. The one I am currently using was bought over a month ago and it's still good; it has already paid for itself.
6:20 a.m. — I do not want to get out of bed this morning but it's Friday, and I force myself to get moving. Plus, today is casual day in the office, so I grab the new Tom Petty tour shirt I bought last week when I saw him at Summerfest, and pair it with jeans and Sanuk sandals. I get dressed, do my makeup, grab my work bag, and head out the door by 6:55 to catch the light rail.
7:30 a.m. — I've been getting into the office early for a few weeks and am loving the quiet. I mix myself a Spark and check my emails before the attorneys start to wander in around 8. One attorney brings in donuts every Friday. I told myself if my favorite kind wasn't there, I would resist, so looks like no donut for me today. Instead, I have fresh cherries for breakfast. 9:30 a.m. — One of the attorneys I work for is insanely busy. She hands me work left and right, which makes the morning go by relatively quickly. But, by noon, there is only one attorney left in the office and I have a feeling the afternoon will drag. 1:30 p.m. — Lunch time! I eat hummus, pretzels, and a yogurt and settle in for an hour of re-reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for the millionth time. 3:30 p.m. — There is literally no one left in the office except support staff but I'll take the pay. 5 p.m. — I quickly email an application for a fellowship at school and leave work for the weekend! Fingers crossed that I get this opportunity; it's paid and in a field I would absolutely love to work in. 7:30 p.m. — Hubby is home. For dinner, we grill kielbasa and I sauté peppers and onions with brown rice and Bragg's Aminos. After dinner, I buy tickets for the X Games on Sunday and the concert after. Atmosphere is playing, so obvs we are going. I almost back out because the fees are $17 per ticket, but we've wanted to go since we found out Minneapolis was hosting the Games. I enter my card information and have the tickets delivered electronically. $110 8 p.m. — We turn on Game of Thrones and sink in for a quiet evening at home. I head to bed early (around 9:30) to get some sleep because I know tomorrow morning will be a little rough. Daily Total: $110
6:30 a.m. — Even though it's a Saturday, I am up early for my favorite yoga class ever — SUP yoga on Lake Nokomis. Seriously the best class ever and such an insane workout! I get my board and our GoPro all loaded up, and drive to the lake, which is five minutes from my house. I paid for the class in advance ($25 instead of $40 because I have my own SUP board) and I'm ready to enjoy the beautiful lake in this 90-degree heat. Gimme some Savasana with my hands resting in the water!
10 a.m. — Done with class and loading up my SUP board before grabbing coffee with a friend who also takes this class. I gracefully fell in to the lake this morning while attempting a revolved high lunge, so I deserve a treat, right? We head to Caribou and I get an iced Campfire Mocha. We sit outside and chat about yoga, law school, and more for an hour or so. We say our goodbyes and head home. $6.24 11:45 a.m. — I unload the SUP board, pack it away in the garage, and shower. My sore muscles are already setting in, so I use a Lush shower jelly that supposedly helps with muscle soreness. It does the trick ... for now. After I rinse the lake water off and wash my hair, I throw on leggings and a tank and begin to make lunch. I have Annie's Mac and Cheese (the bunny shapes, this time) with sharp cheddar pretzels and black cherry sparkling water. The hubby and I have dinner plans tonight to celebrate our wedding anniversary so I want to eat and take a quick nap before getting ready. 3:30 p.m. — The dog and I wake up slightly later than we had planned to. I check our reservations and realize that my husband won't be home in time from working on his car, so I cancel and make new reservations at a different place closer to home. He gets home around 4:30 and we leave the house around 5:30 to make our 5:45 reservation. We are secretly grandparents and enjoy eating early at times. 5:45 p.m. — We sit down at a quaint Italian place near the lake in South Minneapolis and order two drinks each and an appetizer of prosciutto and burrata. For dinner, I have the mushroom cappelletti, and it is hands down some of the best pasta I have ever had. The hubby gets the squid ink fettuccine and he agrees we will be back. After dinner, we share panna cotta for dessert and pay our bill. We pay cash since we set this money aside for this particular reason. I was expecting dinner to be closer to $175. $154 7:30 p.m. — Seeing as we are already in the area, we stop by my cousin's place to talk and aimlessly watch Gilmore Girls. We bring beer and liquor that we picked up after dinner. We also let her know that the unit our landlord currently occupies may be available for rent at the end of August, since it just so happens that her lease will be up. Fingers crossed! $34 9:30 p.m. — Home from our night and we settle in to watch Game of Thrones in preparation for Sunday. 12:30 a.m. – In bed and ready for our Sunday. Daily Total: $194.24
8:30 a.m. — Of course, when I can sleep in, I don't. I get up, mix myself a Spark, and check out the Athleta semi-annual sale online. I don't see anything that is a must-have so I meander back into bed to snuggle with the hubby and the pup. Our kitties join in, too. At this point, I am extremely thankful for our king-size bed and wonder how our little family ever fit in a full!
9:30 a.m. — We finally emerge from our snuggle and get dressed. I make breakfast: waffles and sausages for both of us, and eggs for the hubby. (I'm allergic.) We eat and watch more Game of Thrones. 11:30 a.m. — We finish getting the critters ready and make our way downtown for the X Games. Once we arrive, we walk around the grounds a bit to see what is going on, and then make our way inside to watch the BMX Dirt finals. On our way to our seats, we each grab a beer. Stupid U.S. Bank stadium and their awful event pricing. $18.50 1:30 p.m. — Breakfast is starting to wear off and our beers are empty, so I grab another round and nachos for us to share. The prices may be high, but U.S. Bank Stadium has great eats. Once we're finished eating, we move seats so we can watch the Skateboard Park final. $25 3:30 p.m. — Moving seats again, this time to watch the BMX Park Best Trick and the Moto X High Air final. The hubby gets another beer and brings me a Sprite. He pays using cash he has on hand. I tell him how glad I am we came, mainly so I can relive my middle school skater days. "Sk8er Boi," anyone? 5 p.m. — We leave the stadium a little early to get good spots for Atmosphere. It's close to 90 degrees and we don't have any shade, so the hubby gets us a water to share, again, using cash. 5:45 p.m. — Atmosphere finally goes on and they're well worth the wait. We dance for an hour or so and sing at the top of our lungs (poorly, I might add). The show is starting to wind down, so we begin to make our way to the light rail to beat the crowd. 7:30 p.m. — We're home, hot, and tired. I just make dinner out of whatever is in the freezer. Looks like it's chicken tenders, French fries, and mini-tacos. Welp, back to healthy eating on Monday. We settle in for Game of Thrones. 9:30 p.m. — I'm tucked in bed and read a few chapters from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I fall asleep around 10:30. Daily Total: $43.50
6:20 a.m. — I wake up a few minutes before my alarm and curse whichever cat is scratching at our door. Turns out, it is our pretty girl and she is complaining that the water dish is empty. I fill it up right away and head to my closet to determine which dress to wear on another 90-degree day. I pack my lunch, do my makeup, and am out the door by 6:50.
10 a.m. — Work isn't too terrible today but you can definitely tell it is a Monday in the office. Quiet, quiet, quiet. I grab a water and cherries from the kitchen, and turn on my music to make the day a little more bearable while browsing one-pot recipes. 12:45 a.m. — Lunch time! I have a yogurt with berries, hummus, and pretzels, and a Diet Coke. I sit in my office and read Harry Potter for the next hour. 2:30 p.m. — Work is extremely slow today and the attorneys I work for understand what being a student is like, so they are alright with me doing homework. I pull out my summer course materials and get busy drafting a client memorandum. 5 p.m. — I sneak out of work a couple of minutes early and attempt to catch an earlier train. But of course, the train is delayed, so I'm stuck waiting for the usual one. Once home, I am greeted by the kitties and give each of them pets. Then, I take the pupper out for a little walk and once we're back inside, I fold and put away laundry while the critters relax on our bed. After tidying up around the house a bit, I do a quick home workout and get in the shower. 6:30 p.m. — After getting out of the shower and getting dressed I go and get the mail. I'm happy to see that the sandals I forgot at my Mom's house a couple of weekends ago have arrived. I'll reimburse her later for the shipping costs. Also: the stickers I ordered from Alt National Parks Service have arrived! #resist. 7:30 p.m. — The hubby and I sit down to a dinner of whole wheat spaghetti and homemade bolognese and homemade bruschetta on the side. It's too hot to go for a walk tonight, so we settle in and watch more Game of Thrones. 10 p.m. — I'm ready for bed so I grab my book and read a few chapters before dozing off. It starts raining outside so I fall asleep to the sound of rain and thunder — perfect sleeping weather. Daily Total: $0
6:30 a.m. — I roll out of bed 10 minutes later than usual. Oh, well. I toss oatmeal, cheese, and almonds into my work bag and head out the door by my usual time. I get in my car and remember that I need gas, so I stop at the station right by my house to fill up. A full tank will last me two or three weeks.
$40 9 a.m. — It's a dreary day outside and the office feels the same. Its chilly, too, so I am thankful that I brought oatmeal today. I heat it up, add honey, and eat while listening to Radiolab. I also snack on the cheese and almonds to tide me over until lunch. 1 p.m. — Some of the attorneys had a practice meeting and there are leftovers! I make a salad with turkey and grab two breadsticks. I live for free office food. 3 p.m. — I finished work early today and head home to take a nap with the pooch. I nap for a little over an hour and then get ready to leave for my hair appointment. I snack on a few cookies to tide me over until dinner. 5:30 p.m. — Twin Cities traffic is abysmal, so even though the salon I go to is four miles away, it takes me 20 minutes or so to drive there. I arrive too early, so I stop at Marshalls. I leave with two skirts, a dress, and new yoga leggings. $65.96 8:15 p.m. — Hair appointment is done and my stylist does it again! I knew this appointment would be expensive so I put aside money from my last few checks. I buy bottles of Aveda shampoo and conditioner, and I always get the large sizes (33.8 oz.). They'll last me nearly six months, but seeing the price on the screen hurts. I pay $117 for a color, cut, and style, $35 tip, $138 for the shampoo and conditioner, and tax. $320 8:30 p.m. — The husband and I get home at the same time. He gets in the shower and I get dinner ready. We eat homemade chicken and rice soup that I made a few days ago and I swear, it gets better with time. I heat up two bowls and we add our favorite jalapeño tabasco sauce to give it some heat. We continue with our GoT viewing. I love re-watching shows from the beginning. 10 p.m. — I read a few chapters of my book and nestle in for bed. Daily Total: $425.96
6:15 a.m. — I wake up to the husband mumbling in his sleep. I figure I might as well get up now, rather than lay in bed for another 10 minutes. I get dressed and grab a few slices of bread from the freezer to make peanut butter toast at work. I also make a mental note to get groceries, which I desperately need. As I'm leaving the house, I download a podcast to listen to on the train.
8 a.m. — At work, I make a Spark and start listening to the podcast on my desktop, which has now gotten to the topic of healthcare. This whole healthcare situation is making my skin crawl. 12 p.m. — Lunch time! One of the perks of working downtown is the amazing assortment of food trucks. Today, I opt for an old standby and get hibachi shrimp with fried rice and veggies with yum yum sauce. The portion is large enough that I'll get two lunches out of it. After getting my food, I head back into the office and settle in with my book and read while eating for the next hour. $12 3:30 p.m. — A little afternoon pick-me-up is required. I grab a La Croix from the office fridge and munch on pretzels and hummus. The sky is growing super dark, so I start mentally preparing myself for the commute home. 5 p.m. — The rain held off! I put my earbuds in and listen to the newest Yoga Girl podcast while sitting on the train home. As I get off the train, I call my mom to catch up. At home, I practice yoga for 45 minutes or so and hope that my schedule relaxes a bit so I can make it to the studio for a class this weekend. 7:30 p.m. — My husband is getting a haircut tonight (he pays with cash) and we plan to get dinner after. I make a quick stop at Ulta and pick up the new Anastasia highlighter palette, makeup remover wipes, and a nail file for our birdie's nails. I swear he sharpens those little talons. $50 and I make Platinum status with this purchase! $50 9 p.m. — Dinner at a local brewery. We share spinach and artichoke dip, I get the French onion soup, and husband gets a burger. We each have two mules and call it a night. $90 (including tip) 10 p.m. – At home and all snuggled up for bed. I've got my book and the pooch, and I'm asleep within minutes. Daily Total: $152
6:15 a.m. — I wake up to kitty scratches on the door and little nibbles at my feet — the little monsters are hungry. I get up and feed them and get ready for work.
8 a.m. — Same as yesterday, I make a Spark and peanut butter toast. 11 a.m. — I take a quick break and walk to the farmers' market at the government center across from my building. I buy green beans for dinner and a couple of sweet onions. I also pass a Wisconsin cheese stand and eat all the samples they'll give me. I end up breaking down and buying a block of sharp white cheddar that the hubby will love! You know what they say — you can take the girl out of Wisconsin, but you can't take the Wisconsin out of the girl. (We literally have six different kinds of cheese in our fridge — all Wisconsin made!) As I am heading back to the office, I notice a stand with free Honest Tea! The gimmick is you write an honest message and grab a tea. I confess to eating cookies in bed in order to snag a pomegranate blue herbal tea. Farmer's Market Damage: $13 1:45 p.m. — I heat up the hibachi bowl from yesterday for lunch and again, settle in with my book. 5:30 p.m. — Home from work! I take the pooch out and then snuggle with him on the couch while watching the newest episode of Suits (if I could be anyone for a day, it would be Donna Paulsen #girlboss). I was planning on testing out my new Instant Pot tonight that I bought on Prime Day, but I look at the recipe I have planned and realize I might need to do a little more research before venturing in. I put off cooking tonight and save the recipe for tomorrow. 6:45 p.m. — The husband is home and had a rough day and doesn't want to cook. I quickly scrape up some salads with rotisserie chicken from the fridge. We catch up on some TV, and I am ready for bed by 9:15. 9:15 p.m. — I finish the Goblet of Fire and attempt to start on The Order of the Phoenix, but fall asleep before I can even read a word. Daily Total: $13
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