A Week In Philadelphia, PA, On A $106,000 Salary

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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 senior program manager who makes $106,000 per year. This week, she spends some of her money on a Cobb salad.

Occupation: Senior Program Manager
Industry: Telecom
Age: 34
Location: Philadelphia
Salary: $106,000 + 15% bonus
Paycheck (2x/month): $3,044.50 after tax


Monthly Expenses
Housing Costs: $1,732/month for mortgage payment. I live alone, so all costs are mine.
Loan Payments: $0 my parents paid off my undergrad loans and are currently paying my grad school loans.

All Other Monthly Expenses
Water, Gas & Electric: $150
Cable, Internet & Home Security: $37.75. I work for a cable company, so I only pay for equipment and taxes, but I have all the bells and whistles.
Lease Payment: $281
House Cleaner: $100
Cell Phone: $137, including payment plan for my iPhone 7
Exterminator: $50
Gym: $30. (Does not include other classes that I buy as needed.)
Savings: $500
Car Insurance: $550 every six months. (I don't factor it into my monthly bills. I just deal with it when the bill comes due.)

Day One

9 a.m. — I live a little more than a mile from my office, so I usually take a bus in the morning and walk home in the evening. However, I am not a morning person and decide to Uber because I am running late. I Uber more often than I care to admit, but the $6.41 price point doesn't make me feel too guilty. I run to Wawa to grab a coffee before going into my office building. I used to make coffee at home everyday, but it started to become too difficult to navigate the travel mug on crowded city buses. I forgot to pack breakfast on my way out the door, so I also get fresh fruit, bringing my breakfast total to $5.53. $11.94

12 p.m. — I have to mail in an $80 payment for a ticket I received, so I run to the post office during lunch. The self-service line is shorter, but the minimum purchase is three stamps. $1.47 is a small price to pay for not waiting in line, though. I was away for the holiday weekend and don't have any food in my house. I'll be eating out until I have a chance to shop for groceries on Saturday. I buy a Cobb salad and sparkling water from my favorite local lunch spot. I also snag a bag of free pretzels from the office kitchenette. $92.24

3 p.m. — I'm coordinating a bridal shower purchase with my friends from college. The shower isn't for a few more weeks, but I like to get something off the registry early. We settle on a big item from the registry, and a small, complementary, off-registry item. I grab free Laffy Taffys and chips from the kitchenette for an afternoon snack. $54.25

6:15 p.m. — Since it is raining out when I leave work, I take the bus home rather than walk. I use a token that I purchased with my monthly pre-tax commuter FSA. I eat takeout leftovers when I get home, and change into workout clothes. I purchased a yoga package a while ago from the studio around the corner, so I opt for a 7:30 class. I am almost deterred by a friend who wants to grab drinks, but I need the exercise. After class, I do some work, shower, and go to bed by 11:30.

Daily Total: $158.43

Day Two

9 a.m. — I work out with my trainer in the morning using a pack of sessions I purchased previously. After my workout, I make a shake with PB2, a banana, and 2% milk. I respond to a few emails from my VP before getting ready, and end up running later than planned. I decide to Uber, but cancel when the driver doesn't look like he knows where he is going. I'm not up to speed on the cancelation policy, and get hit with a $5 fee. It takes two more tries to get a driver who appears more familiar with the area, and sets me back $11.28 for the surcharge and the fare. I still grab a coffee from Wawa before going into the office. Since I pay in cash, I drop the change into the charitable donation box next to the register. $13.28

1 p.m. — Our corporate cafeteria offers a salad bar special on Fridays, so I usually do that for Friday lunch. I also grab a large sparkling water and a cookie for later. $9.88

3 p.m. — I'm texting with my mom and she reminds me that I have to order a bridesmaid dress for a wedding in four weeks. The bride is letting us wear whatever we want, as long as it is black. I peruse Nordstrom and see that the dress I originally wanted is 40% off. It wasn't a purchase I planned to make today, but I have been putting it off. I bite the bullet and order. $160.50

5:30 p.m. — I make my weekly visit to the nail salon. I've been going to the same one every week for five years so everyone is super chatty and friendly. I opt for a gel manicure because I want it to last two weeks, and I also get a pedicure. Including tip (and the ATM surcharge), the services are $75. I stop in our brand new, massive Whole Foods on my walk home to get my favorite local hummus for dinner, and also grab some snacks. $92.68

7:30 p.m. — After debating going out, I pour a glass of wine and veg on the couch. I haven't been home a lot lately, so it feels good to just be here. I finally finish a book I've been trying to get through before turning the lights out at 11:30.

Daily Total: $276.34

Day Three

9 a.m. — I can sleep really late, so I set an alarm for 9 and get up to make a small breakfast. I have a spin class at 10:30 at a local spin studio I've gone to for five years. I usually go to the same instructor; it is such a great workout, and I should go more frequently than I do. The class was already paid for, so I drive downtown and pay the $3 for parking, and get an iced coffee from Starbucks as my reward when I am finished. $7.05

12 p.m. — I am in a shore house part-time, and I head to New Jersey to stock up on supplies for my next trip down. I stop at the liquor store for a handle of vodka; NJ liquor store prices are far better than PA, and it sets me back $31.75. Next stop is Target to get essentials for my home in Philly, as well for the shore. I prefer to make my own meals down there rather than go out to eat. The bill is on the larger side — $150 — but I know that I am saving money in the long run. I stop by the grocery store to pick up the few remaining items I can't get from Target — chicken sausage and broccoli ($10.54). I get gas on my way out of NJ, which is another $18.50. My EZ-Pass is on my dad's account so he covers the toll for me. I make lunch at home and spend the rest of the afternoon doing chores around the house and watching SVU reruns. $210.79

7:30 p.m. — I haven't been in Philly on a Saturday night in a while, and I'm looking forward to dinner and drinks with friends. For an unknown but lucky reason, Uber has applied a 50% discount to my account for all my rides this weekend, so I will pick up the Ubers for the night. I Uber to my friend's house for a glass of wine before dinner, then get the Uber to dinner. Dinner is delicious (noodles, corn Rangoon, and asparagus), and a couple of drinks for $53. $60.10

10 p.m. — After dinner, I Uber us back to our local bar for a few more drinks, before Ubering home. $30

Daily Total: $307.94

Day Four

11 a.m. — I don't set an alarm so I wake up pretty late, and make myself coffee and eggs with toast. My throat is sore and I have a cough — my annual summer cold has arrived. Since I did all of my chores yesterday, I can take the day to relax and recharge. I watch Netflix on the couch for most of the afternoon.

4 p.m. — It is beautiful outside and I feel incredibly lazy laying around. A friend texts and asks if I want to go to a new pizza place that just opened in our neighborhood. It has gotten great reviews, and it feels good to get out of the house. The pizza was good, but a little overhyped. Regardless, a good way to kill a few hours. $14

8 p.m. — I finally finish The Keepers and lament to my cat about how hard it is to continue to be a Catholic. I call it at night at 11 p.m.

Daily Total: $14

Day Five

8:30 a.m. — I set my alarm to run this morning, but accidentally set it for p.m. instead of a.m. Probably for the best since I am still not feeling great. I make a breakfast shake, pack my lunch, and am out the door at 8:30 to catch the bus. As always, I stop in Wawa for a coffee before heading to my office. $2

12:30 p.m. — I'm on a group text about an upcoming event at a local concert venue. My friend who originally paid for the tickets needs to be reimbursed, so I Venmo her $35. While I'm at it, I use Venmo to pay back another friend. She gave me cash over the weekend, and I'd rather pay her back this way than use the ATM and get hit with crazy surcharges. $135

2 p.m. — It's a slow day at work and I have a hard time concentrating on the routine tasks I have to do. I eat my lunch and all the snacks I packed, and pick up an espresso and a bag of popcorn from the kitchenette. I resist the urge to go to Starbucks for a cake pop.

5:30 p.m. — It's a nice night so I walk home. I take the longer route past all the neighborhood bars to see if I know anyone sitting outside. I used the last of the butter when I made eggs yesterday, so I stop in CVS to pick up more. I debate between yoga and a run. Since I am still coughing, I decide to run because I could be disruptive in a yoga class. It is really hot, but I listen to a podcast and push through. $4.49

8:30 p.m. — For dinner, I reheat a turkey burger and fry an egg. I fold laundry and drink a few glasses of wine while watching the Southern Charm and Teen Mom OG reunions. I shower before bed and am asleep before 11:30.

Daily Total: $141.49

Day Six

9 a.m. — I work out with my trainer at 7 a.m., and make a shake when I get home. I quickly pack lunch and finish getting ready. I am moving slowly, so I decide to Uber to avoid being late for work. The Uber is $6.49 and my coffee is another $2. I am already over this week, but knowing I only have two days of work left before going to the shore for a long weekend gets me through. $8.49

2 p.m. — Work is going pretty quickly today, and I cross a bunch of things off my to-do list. A bonus: My dress for the wedding arrives! I ordered two different sizes and they sent the wrong dress in one of the sizes. Womp, womp. I call Nordstrom and they overnight me the correct dress for delivery the next day.

5:30 p.m. — It's hot and I have to carry the dress box home, so I opt for the bus. I try them on when I get home, and neither works. I'm grateful that Nordstrom has a free returns policy so I can send them back without penalty.

7 p.m. — My friend hosts Quizzo at a local bar and I'm tempted to go, but I still feel under the weather, and I haven't packed for the weekend. I make the responsible choice to stay home, do laundry, and pack. I also cook up some turkey sausage for my next few meals, and make turkey burgers to take with me this weekend.

9 p.m. — Laundry and packing almost done, I eat the turkey sausage I cooked earlier and finish the bottle of wine I opened Friday. I get in bed around 10:30, but my cough from the weekend isn't going away, and it keeps me from falling asleep at a reasonable time. I think I finally pass out around midnight.

Daily Total: $8.49

Day Seven

7:30 a.m. — I wake up feeling terrible: sore throat, cough, headache. I contemplate working from home but there is a meeting I should attend in-person, and I will also be out for the rest of the week. I move slowly, but still make a shake and grab my lunch on the way out. I opt to take the bus, even though I end up waiting almost 15 minutes for it. I stop in Wawa for coffee and to get cash for the next few days. I hate that my bank charges me a service fee, but I gladly pay for the convenience. $4

12 p.m. — My boss texts me and asks if I want to go to lunch. Even though I brought my lunch, it is good to get in face time with her, and also good to get out of the office. We go to a vegetarian takeout place, and I get a faux-fried chicken sandwich. It is delicious, but we both agree that it is definitely not healthy. I also grab a “box” of water and we eat lunch in the park around the corner. $11.99

3 p.m. — My lunch was so salty that I end up chugging water for most of the afternoon. I am starting to feel better, which is good news because I have a concert tonight. I finish the last few things I have for the week, put my out-of-office message on, and head out at 5.

6:30 p.m. — I meet my friends at a local bar before the concert. I have a beer, and my friend picks up the tab. I get the Uber to the venue. It's over in NJ, so I am not surprised it is almost $20. I add a tip since the driver will have to pay the toll on the way back. $23

7:30 p.m. — For some reason, my friend picks up the tab for the entire night. It is odd, but I get tired of trying to pay or give her money and just go with it. We drink vodka lemonades, but I probably should have opted for water. It is ridiculously hot and I can feel myself becoming dehydrated.

10:30 p.m. — After the concert is over, we walk to a nearby bar to wait out traffic. I chug a few club sodas and sip a vodka soda. My friend picks up the tab and the Uber home. Once we are back in the neighborhood, we stop in a local bar to catch up with friends. I stay much later than I intended to, but it's a good time. Drinks plus tip are $25. We stop at Wawa on the way home because I never ate dinner. Better late than never, I guess. I pick up a sandwich, chips, and a giant bottle of water. My friend picks up the last Uber home; I can't wait to eat and go to sleep! $35.66

Daily Total: $74.65

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