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 technical writer who makes $93,000 per year. This week, she spends some of her money on an Old Fashioned and car maintenance.
Occupation: Technical Writer
Location: San Jose, CA
Paycheck (2x/month): $2,545 after taxes and deductions
Housing: $1,950 to rent my one bedroom. I have one roommate — my sassy kitten.
Loan Payments: None. I went to school on a full athletic scholarship.
All Other Monthly Expenses
Credit Card: Usually around $1,000 - $1,100. I like to put everything on my credit card (for points!). I definitely try to pay it off every month, even if that means putting less in savings.
Car Payment: $198. I bought a new car in August 2016 and put down $11,000 when I purchased it.
Utilities & Internet: $135
Cell Phone: $89. I'm still paying off a phone that I bought a year ago, on top of my monthly payments.
Gas: $40. My car gets incredibly good mileage.
Savings: $1,500 - $2,000/month. It varies.
Health & Dental Insurance: $68 taken out of my paychecks
401(k): $210 taken out of my paychecks
Masters Swim Team: $40
8:30 a.m. — Slowly but surely waking up. I got back from Beijing (a work trip) this past Friday and jet lag has claimed the best of me. Make two cups of vanilla-flavored coffee at home while watching The Golden Girls. A normal breakfast for me is coffee, black. If I'm feeling "fun," I add a splash of Whole Foods organic coconut milk.
10 a.m. — Arrive at work and realize it's Monday — bagel day. I saunter over and grab an onion bagel with chive cream cheese. I smell amazing, I'm sure. I didn't pack a lunch today, which is totally fine with me because I've been craving Mexican food since the day I left for China.
12 p.m. — Go to our company's café for a team lunch. We have a team lunch almost every day to get away from our computer screens. The soups at our café are to die for. I pick up a large beef chili and two wheat rolls. $4
4:30 p.m. — Quitting time. Proud of myself for not crawling under my desk to nap. Prepare to brave Bay Area traffic and head home.
7:30 p.m. — Meet a friend at a local bar for some much-needed drinks and catch-up time. I have two Old Fashioneds and planned to skip dinner (no appetite) until I saw the brie on the next table. Sold. I order brie with apricot jam and toasted bread, and am one happy camper. We split the bill. $46
1 a.m. — Finally try to sleep after watching reruns of Law & Order: SVU.
Daily Total: $50
8 a.m. — Alarm goes off. My jet lag is worse today than it was yesterday. I drink a cup of black coffee at home before trying to wake myself up with I Love Lucy. (I know, my morning routine sounds like that of an 80-year-old woman.)
10 a.m. — Arrive at work and quickly make another cup of coffee and grab a banana from the kitchen. Our office provides us with fresh fruit every morning.
10:15 a.m. — Open my computer to glance at the news, and find out that my favorite boutique is having a sale. The dress I've been eyeing for about a month is now 25% off. I take it as a sign from the fashion gods and quickly check out. $63
12 p.m. — Scold myself again for not bringing a sandwich for lunch, and go out with the group again to our café. Since I have an addiction to the soups, I grab a small broccoli and cheddar. $3
4:30 p.m. — Rush home from work. I have just enough time to pet my kitten and change into my swimsuit for swim practice. I quickly chug water and head out.
7 p.m. — Driving home from practice and thinking about what I want to make for dinner. I went grocery shopping on Sunday and bought ground turkey, sweet onions, eggs, cheddar cheese, broccoli, tomatoes, brown rice, black beans, wheat bread, sliced turkey, sweet potatoes, salmon, and of course a few bottles of cabernet sauvignon. I make faux-fried rice with scrambled eggs, onions, rice, and beans. Oddly enough, I don't crack open the wine.
8:30 p.m. — At this point, I'm exhausted and convinced that I'm slowly dying from jet lag. Crawl into bed, praying I can sleep tonight. Fingers crossed!
Daily Total: $66
6:30 a.m. — Oh god, why am I awake?
6:50 a.m. — I take this rare opportunity and head to the gym. (My apartment complex has one; it's included in my ridiculously overpriced rent.)
8 a.m. — Make a cup of coffee and hop in the shower to get ready for work.
10 a.m. — Arrive at work and make tea. Our work provides an assortment of different kinds. I swear by Yogi Soothing Rose Hibiscus Skin Detox Tea. I rarely find a tea that I like, and after I found this one, I was hooked. Not only does it make your skin radiant and glow, it tastes like heaven.
12 p.m. — I quickly grab a salad from the café and eat at my desk. $6
6:30 p.m. — Meet up with my boyfriend. He knows about my intense desire for a burrito after returning from China, so we grab them from Whole Foods. Our Whole Foods in San Jose has a brewery attached to it, so we make the burritos and head upstairs to eat them on the outdoor terrace. He pays for the welcome-back burritos. Bae-rrito.
8 p.m. — We head back to my place to Netflix and chill. Ha.
11 p.m. — Sleeping mask on. Dead to the world.
Daily Total: $6
7:30 a.m. — I wake up naturally, to my surprise. Pour myself a cup of coffee and feed my kitten.
12 p.m. — I meet some friends for lunch downtown where I work. Isn't it funny how when you try for months to get together with old friends, something always seems to come up, but on a random day, at a spur-of-the-moment time, everyone can attend? We have traditional Mexican food. I split the check with them. $26
5 p.m. — Freedom! I'm meeting my boyfriend after work to discuss what we want to do for the evening. I've been trying to build up my bar cart with non-well liquors for when I'm feeling fancy. We stroll to BevMo together, where he suggests a reserve whiskey, and I pick out a botanical gin, too. I'm learning how to make a kickass Old Fashioned, and this whiskey should do the trick. $78
6 p.m. — After we leave BevMo, we realize we need limes and oranges. We walk next door to Safeway to pick up a few pieces of fruit, ice, sugar cubes, and roasted chicken for dinner. I split the cost with him. $15
7:30 p.m. — Cocktail hour officially begins. My boyfriend shows me how to make a basic Old Fashioned, and I choose gin for the night. If you're a gin lover, try this for a delicious, simple recipe: St. George Botanivore gin, Fever-Tree Elderflower tonic water, and fresh lime. Cheers!
8 p.m. — We put on Star Wars. I'm a sucker for vintage movies, especially ones with Harrison Ford. Swoon.
Daily Total: $119
7 a.m. — It's way too early to be up, but I'm taking my car into the dealership for maintenance and an oil change. While driving there, I start dreading the cost. Part of me scolds myself because I knew buying a luxury car would mean I'd have higher maintenance costs, but part of me also hopes I can leave unscathed. A girl can dream, right?
8:15 a.m. — Drop off my car at the dealership. It's my 20,000-mile maintenance service, so it's a rough cost. Ouch. Yes, I will help myself to all the coffee and muffins at this price. $506
9 a.m. — Like a newbie, I assumed the service would take an hour or two. They tell me it'll take three or four hours, and I didn't sign up for a loaner car. My boyfriend offers to pick me up and drive me to work. I drink as much coffee as I can.
9:30 a.m. — Get to work and have one more cup. Happy Friday!
12 p.m. — I've been terrible at packing lunch this week. How many things can I blame on jet lag? I scold myself, again, and go with the team for lunch. I love my team, so I would honestly love to eat with them every day, if it were feasible. Salad bar, here I come. $6
3 p.m. — Friday freedom feels. My manager notices me typing away like a zombie and tells me to head home to rest up, since I've been traveling for the past three weeks. She's the best. This week has left me mentally drained, not to mention sleep-deprived. I drive home and make a turkey sandwich.
5 p.m. — Cue Netflix until I pass out, sleeping for what seems like an eternity.
Daily Total: $512
8:30 a.m. — Alarm goes off. Time to get ready for my day trip to SF to see one of my best friends. I drink a cup of coffee and slowly get ready. Translation: I curl a section of my hair, watch a little bit of Miss Congeniality, and then return to the bathroom to finish my hair and makeup. I repeat this cycle about three times until I'm finally finished.
9:30 a.m. — Start the journey from San Jose to San Francisco (about 35 miles), jamming out to the song I'm currently obsessed with: "Feel It Still" by Portugal. The Man. Karaoke time to wake me up.
10:30 a.m. — Arrive at my friend's apartment in SF and immediately pop open a bottle of rosé before we head to brunch. I bought the wine a while ago, and it has been sitting in my fridge. Small traditions like this make me the happiest.
12:30 p.m. — Catch a Lyft to go to The Tipsy Pig in the Marina District. It's a gorgeous day out so hopefully they have patio seating available. Slim chance, though. We split the Lyft cost. $5
1:30 p.m. — Arrive at the brunch spot and to our surprise, they can seat us right away! I order a Bombay Sapphire and tonic (extra limes are a must), plus the house burger, which is amazing. After eating, we order another round of drinks and head to the patio area to bask in the sunshine. When the bill comes, we split it. $63
2:30 p.m. — We move on to another bar, Stock in Trade. People-watching at this bar is the best. There's usually a flock of "Marina" guys wearing loafers and spewing the dumbest pickup lines to every girl in the bar. We order another round, and I stick to a gin martini this time. (My mom still can't believe gin is my drink of choice. "But it tastes like Pine-Sol." Love her.) $14
4:30 p.m. — We are both oddly tired for a Saturday in the city and decide to pick up another bottle of rosé and head back home, with heads held high that we made it out and were social at all. Sometimes a Saturday with Orange is the New Black, a bottle of your favorite wine, and a best friend is just as fun as bar-hopping. I pick up the tab for the bottle of wine. $30
10 p.m. — We fall asleep on the couch.
Daily Total: $112
9 a.m. — Wake up in SF and start the journey back home in an attempt to be productive on this Sunday.
12 p.m. — My boyfriend comes to pick me up for brunch in Los Gatos, a town near San Jose. I'm obsessed with this little town and like to pretend I live there. Unfortunately, it's one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. Being the independent lady that I am, I offer to split the bill but he politely refuses and pays for brunch.
1 p.m. — We spontaneously decide to take a drive and head to a winery for a tasting in LG. We taste five wines. I'm a spicy cabernet sauvignon person, and they are known for their pinot noirs. My boyfriend suggests we buy a bottle of wine to drink in the future. He pays for the tasting and the bottle. I relish those times when chivalry isn't completely dead.
5 p.m. — We head back to my apartment to crack open the bottle and watch a terrible sci-fi movie we both enjoy. Awful, silly movies are my forte.
10 p.m. — I kiss the boyfriend goodbye, and he heads home. He leaves for Beijing in the morning, and I crawl into bed with my cat. I think I'm finally back in the California time zone, thank god.
Daily Total: $0
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