How Much $ An Austin Woman Spends On Bachelorette Parties, Vacations & Bills

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We asked a millennial woman how she spends her hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last cent. (Thanks, New York Mag, for the inspiration.)

Today, a tech woman in Austin juggling a bachelorette party, a man, and a cold.
Photo: Steve Cohen/ Getty Images.
Industry: Tech
Location: Austin, TX
Salary: $52,500
Age: 26
Roommates: 2

Monthly Expenses:
Rent, utilities, and internet: $750
Student loans: $318.67
Car insurance and gas: $130
Cell phone: $75

Day One

7 a.m. — Sneak a kombucha out of my gentleman friend’s fridge and head to work, where I have my usual toast, almond butter, and coffee breakfast combo. My job provides free and surprisingly delicious coffee. I have a food hangover from a weekend filled with a potluck, tacos, and a dinner party, so I’m looking to try and keep it healthy today.

8 a.m. — I’m an obsessive budgeter, and the first thing I do when I open up my laptop is log my weekend spending into a Google Doc. I had some gifts to buy for friends’ weddings and I’m looking at coasting on around $60 'til payday, unless I dip into my savings (which I hate doing).

11 a.m. — Remember that I need a new palette for a painting class I’m taking. Begrudgingly place an Amazon Prime order so I can have it by Wednesday. (My roommate and I have a cushy deal: in exchange for giving him a ride to work every day, I have full access to his Amazon Prime/HBO Go/Netflix accounts.) $7.35

12 p.m. — Lunch at my desk: a leftover sausage, potato, and egg taco. (The gentleman friend paid over the weekend.) I top it off with a couple Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s. The whole “keep it healthy” thing is going great. (At least I’m not spending any money?)

4 p.m. — A girl can’t live on tacos alone and my pantry is looking pretty sparse. I run to the grocery store after work and pick up some items: canned fizzy water, sunflower sprouts, sliced turkey, hummus, frozen veggies, beets, rice, sweet potatoes, sprouted grain bread, and maple almond butter. The last one was pricey, but it's a worthwhile treat. Total: $39.27

5 p.m. — I bought two pounds of salmon on sale ($5.95/pound) last week; it’s been sitting in my freezer, waiting for me to return to the world of proper nutrition. I go home and cook some and also roast the beets and sweet potatoes.

Total: $46.62

Day Two

8 a.m. — Toast, almond butter, and coffee. I am nothing if not a creature of habit.

10 a.m. — I usually go to therapy once every two weeks; my copay is $45 and that extra $90/month is feeling a little steep right now. I’m saving to visit Turkey this spring and looking to cut corners wherever I can, so I call my therapist and ask to cancel our appointment. I’ll start going back next month.

12 p.m. — I make a turkey, hummus, and sprout sandwich with some of the ingredients I bought at the grocery store yesterday. Dessert is more Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s. I just can’t quit them. They’re like gazing into the face of God.

5 p.m. — Go on a nice run. I used to belong to a gym, but decided to cut that cost, since I’m one of those weirdos who actually enjoys running — and it’s free. I go home and cook up some salmon and roasted veggies.

7 p.m. — Have a couple of ladies over for Netflix and crafting. Usually, I’ll pick up a $10 bottle of red for craft nights, but someone left one at the potluck I hosted on Saturday, so we demolish that, instead.

Total: $0

Day Three

8 a.m. — Wednesdays I work remotely, typically at a neighborhood coffee shop. Usually, I just order black coffee, but I filled up my punch card so today I get a free frothy latte. $0

9 a.m. — Check my bank account and holy shit: my $2,200 tax return came in. That’s a nice surprise. (The only upside to paying student loans is the yearly tax benefit!). I immediately pay off the balance I owe on my credit card, which I used to purchase my Turkey plane ticket and lodging. (Okay, and some frivolous items from Nordstrom Rack.) I’m left with an extra $530 that I would love to drop on something fun, but I begrudgingly throw $500 of it into savings. Pretty soon, my bank account is back to its paltry self. $1,700

12 p.m. — I’m getting sick and it feels like my face is melting off. All I want is chicken tortilla soup, so I pick up a to-go order from a nearby restaurant before heading home to my couch. $8.66

2 p.m. — I’ve been itching to buy a Stetson hat for my outdoor adventures. My wandering eye and decent tax return take me to eBay, where I find a gorgeous vintage one in my size. I transfer some savings over into my checking account and snatch it up. $58.66

5 p.m. — Still not feeling well, so I just scrounge together whatever is easy for dinner. This means more roasted veggies and a random lemon bar left over from the potluck. Go to sleep early after painting class.

Total: $1,767.32

Day Four

7 a.m. — PAYDAY, HELL YEAH! Still feeling sickly, but this helps. Have my toast and coffee. Divvy up my paycheck into its usual portions: 50% for bills, 20% for savings, and 30% for discretionary spending. I immediately pay my monthly bills [Ed note: listed above], plus $21.28 for medical expenses. Phew. At least I’m not paying off my credit card anymore. $21.28

11 a.m. — I have friends coming to town for a bachelorette party this weekend and it would be really awesome to not be a sniffling mess while they’re here. Buy a fancy, nutrient-packed smoothie that I can only hope revives me. $6.44

1:30 p.m. — Head home to work from my couch. Frozen rice and veggies for lunch.

4 p.m. — Feeling better. The first of my visiting friends arrives and we walk to a coffee shop to work. With beer. I pick up her drink. $8.99

5 p.m. — Still working. I’m usually sleepy by 9, so I order a coffee in the hopes of staying awake for the arrival of my other pals later tonight. $2.85

6:30 p.m. — Dinner at my favorite food trailer, which serves delicious heaps of pasta. I typically try to eat out only once or twice a week, but I have a feeling this bachelorette weekend is going to feature a lot of food stops. I’m okay with that. $8.05

7 p.m. — And what’s an Italian dinner without a glass of wine? $6

9 p.m. — Despite my coffee prep, the wine knocks me out early and I miss out on my friends’ arrival. In my heart, I’m actually 85 years old.

Total: $53.61


Day Five

8 a.m. — Toast! Almond butter! Coffee!

12 p.m. — The weather is gorgeous, so my boss wrangles our team to go work on a patio at a coffee shop. She picks up my coffee and panini. $0

7 p.m. — Head out to a bar for Bachelorette Party: Part One. I order dinner, along with drinks for myself and others throughout the night. I don’t go out much anymore, so I don’t feel too bad about my tab. $45

12 a.m. — Grab a Lyft home. Fall asleep cuddling my cat and watching Master of None. $8.59

Total: $53.59

Day Six

11 a.m. — Head to brunch with the bachelorette party. Can’t beat mimosas and a taco buffet. $25.59

1 p.m. — We trek over to Anthropologie and I get sucked into its 40% off sale. Buy a dress, even though I should know better. $58.42

2 p.m. — Brunch brain is making me sleepy. Time for a coffee. $3

4 p.m. — We wander around South Congress for a bit and the ladies decide they want to head to a happy hour. I’m tired and want to save money, so I go over to the gentleman friend’s to lounge around, instead.

7 p.m. — I bought tickets to Mortified last month, so we head to that. The guy buys us dinner and I pick up the drinks. $17.32

9 p.m. — We meet up with the bachelorette party and the night starts to take off. We barhop around town and I remember why I don’t barhop anymore: It’s expensive! But we have a great time and I’m thrilled to be hanging with my out-of-state pals. $26.75

12 a.m. — I really need to stay away from photo booths when I drink. The friends and I hop in four separate times. THIS IS SHAMEFUL. $20

Total: $151.08

Day Seven

9 a.m. — Unsurprisingly, wake up with a nasty hangover. The guy and I gather some eggs from his chicken coop and he cooks up a wonderful breakfast that makes me feel better.

1 p.m. — The bachelorette party has left town, so it’s back to regular meals. Even though it was a special occasion, thinking about the amount of money I spent this weekend sends me into a regret spiral. Planning on keeping things real quiet next week.

Lunch is some ravioli I have in the freezer. I spend most of the day on the couch watching HBO and reading through my old LiveJournal. True entertainment!

4 p.m. — Head to the grocery store. I’m going to make this Mexican chicken quinoa recipe and have it for dinner throughout the week. I pick up lime fizzy waters, frozen rice, veggies, chicken broth, a bell pepper, salsa, quinoa, corn, chicken breasts, pinto beans, one onion, and chocolate ($24.07). Also, some hair mousse, dry shampoo, mascara, a toothbrush, and face primer ($32.80). $56.87

7 p.m. — The guy and I head to watch TV with a friend, so I pick up a frozen pizza and chocolate-covered strawberries. I also get him a little bamboo plant, since he has a bit of a green thumb. We watch a couple episodes of X-Files and I fall asleep on the couch. A nice low-key end to a busy weekend. $18.46

Total: $75.33

Photo: Steve Cohen/ Getty Images.
Note: Without the bills, this diarist spends $426.27.

The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day.

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