A Week In Boston On $44,000

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

Today, a social media manager paying for her dog's vet bills, living on free rent, and celebrating her birthday.
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Industry: Women’s Health Tech
Role: Social Media Manager
Age: 27
Location: Boston, MA
Roommates: 4
Salary: $44,000
Paycheck Amount (Monthly, post-taxes, etc.): $2,800
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $0 (I live with my boyfriend and his friends. The rent itself is dirt-cheap, about $400 per person, but they haven't asked me for rent. It started as me staying over often, then every night, then slowly amassing my things there until it was just like, "You live here." It's very chill.)
Car Loan: $150
Credit Card Payments: $500
Phone Bill: $135
Spotify/Netflix: $19
Gym membership: $100

Day One

8:00 a.m. — My direct deposit hits overnight, and I let myself feel rich for 60 seconds before immediately paying all my bills. My pay is monthly because my CEO somehow thinks this will help us budget better, but it just leaves me feeling very poor in the last eight days of each month.

8:30 a.m. — I mobile-order Starbucks for me and my boyfriend. I’ve paid for his coffee every single morning for nearly a year, out of habit, and am trying to rethink how to break this a.m. tradition without it being awkward. $9

8:45 a.m. — Boyfriend gives me a ride to work in my car. We both use it to commute, dropping off and picking one another up depending on the day. Our schedules are complicated, but we make it work. It’s my turn to fill the tank. At least gas prices are still relatively low. $20

9:30 a.m. —There are free bagels at the office and I try very hard to resist, but there’s one pumpernickel left and it’s SCREAMING my name.

Noon — We get some healthy snacks delivered to the office (start-up perks), so I run out to the grocery store next door to supplement and hopefully create a meal. I pick up an avocado and some greens from the salad bar, then add frozen strawberries and bananas from the office freezer to make a lunch smoothie. $3

3:00 p.m. — Eat the other half of my avocado on a piece of office toast. Trendy.

6:00 p.m. — I attempt a total-body conditioning class at my gym. It’s included in my membership that’s too expensive, but which I justify by calling it a “health tax.”

7:30 p.m. — On the way home, I stop by the drugstore. I am an insane person about using coupons, and I spend far too much time calculating Extra Bucks. It pays off, though: I end up saving somewhere in the $40 range for months’ worth of facial care, body lotion, toothpaste, and tampons. $33

8:00 p.m. — I take the express bus home, even though it costs twice as much as regular transport. $5

8:45 p.m. — A new neighborhood Thai spot has opened and is offering 15% off. My boyfriend and I decide to give it a try. He pays.

Daily Total: $70

Day Two

9:00 a.m. — Get a ride into work. We're running late, so no time for coffee. My wallet thanks me.

10:30 a.m. — We get a Nutribullet in the office, so my co-workers and I try making Bulletproof coffee (hot coffee blended with coconut oil and ghee). It's amazing, and I feel ENERGIZED.

12:30 p.m. — A coworker won an industrial-sized canister of peanut butter pretzels, so this is my lunch.

4:00 p.m. — Grab another avocado and greens from the grocery store for a pre-workout smoothie. $3

6:30 p.m. — Gym. On the way out of the gym, there's a protein-bar rep handing out free samples. Score.

9:00 p.m. — I stockpile Amy's Green Curry frozen meals for nights when I'm too lazy to make, pick up, or even order food. This curry is honestly some of the best I've had, frozen or otherwise.

Daily Total: $3

Day Three

7:00 a.m. — Wake up feeling extremely sick. Slack my coworkers that I'll be out of the office.

1:00 p.m. — Wake up again and feel only slightly better.

6:00 p.m. — Take the dog for a walk and pick up a can of soup at the bodega. $3

9:00 p.m. — Netflix until I fall asleep. Today was a wash.

Daily Total: $3

Day Four

7:00 a.m. — My boss is speaking at a women’s networking event, and I’m here to live-tweet the whole thing. I am miserable to be "networking" so early in the morning, and I still don't feel 100%, but at least breakfast is free.

1:00 p.m. — I see an acre of land on Mars for sale on Groupon and think this will be funny to gift to my boyfriend. Maybe we can also move there if this election continues the way it is. $10

1:30 p.m. — Comparing vegan sandwiches at Pret. $8

6:00 p.m. — Pick up dog food, but forget human food. $20

7:00 p.m. — I refuse to wash my hair at our disgusting apartment, but I can't really complain since they don't ask for rent. The shower is straight out of a horror film, though, so I spend as little time in it as possible. Twice a week, I go to my mother’s house outside the city to have a nice, long shower and give myself a blow-out. Sometimes we have dinner, and tonight is one of those evenings. I bring leftovers back for my boyfriend because I know he wouldn’t feed himself otherwise.

Daily Total: $38


Day Five

9:00 a.m. — Starbucks mobile order. They make this shit too easy. $9

12:45 p.m. — I have a monster cystic acne pimple right between my eyes that has been lingering for a week. I cannot take one more second of it; I go to my derm for a cortisone shot and immediate relief. It’s expensive, but worth it. $40

1:30 p.m. — Thinking of ways to make my bedroom feel more cheery and end up purchasing several succulents from Home Depot. $30

2:30 p.m. — I have a sneaking suspicion something is up with my dog, so I take her to the vet. I’m right: She has hookworm. I’m glad we’ve found out what’s going on, but horrified at the “sick visit” and testing fee. $200

4:00 p.m. — Realize I haven’t eaten anything all day and pick up a bodega egg sandwich. $3

6:00 p.m. — Scoop my boyfriend from work and it’s still light out! We get to take our pup on a long walk together, which is rare, and then grab dinner, my treat. $25

9:00 p.m. — Friends are in town, so I know spending money will be inevitable tonight. We end up going to a bar with a cover, and I buy a round of drinks. It’s fun until we run into drama (in the form of my friend's ex-girlfriend) at the end of the night, which makes me regret having gone out in the first place. $50

Daily Total: $357


Day Six

9:00 a.m. — It’s the weekend, but my boyfriend has work, so I’m up early to give him a ride. Our Starbucks barista hands us our mobile order when we walk in the door. $9

3:00 p.m. — I’m feeling depressed and have been in bed all day. I decide to take the dog for a walk someplace away from our neighborhood in an attempt to feel productive, and I treat myself to my favorite vegan meal because we’re in the area. I feel 5% better. $16

8:00 p.m. — Tonight we’re celebrating my birthday with friends: pizza, pina coladas, and many, many beers. My boyfriend hasn’t gotten paid in two weeks (an HR mistake at his company) so I pay for the two of us. I can tell he feels guilty. $100

Daily Total: $125

Day Seven

12 p.m. —Happy to sleep in late, but sad to wake up another year older. Good morning, 27. The only upside is my free Starbucks drink.

2 p.m. — Our favorite weekend activity is thrifting. We go to Goodwill, and I find a vintage Syracuse Orangeman sweatshirt. Great for March Madness, even though I don’t really even enjoy sports. $5

4 p.m. — Hit up PetSmart for doggy accessories and treats. (We spoil our dog.) $26

7 p.m. — My mom takes me out for dinner for my birthday at my favorite restaurant, and we get nearly one of everything on the menu. It’s an amazing meal, and super generous of her. She also includes $100 in the birthday card — what a saint.

Daily Total: $31
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. For more money diaries, click here.
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