A Week In Phoenix, AZ On A $133,000 Salary

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: an attorney who makes $133,000 per year and spends it on a DSLR camera.
Occupation: Attorney
Industry: Law
Age: 26
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Salary: $133,000
Paycheck (2x/month): $3,490
Monthly Expenses
Housing Costs: $1,150, a steal for our two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo in a great location.
Loan Payments: Over $1,000 for student loan payments. (Law school is pricey.)
All Other Monthly Expenses
Gym Membership: $89 for Orangetheory, plus Pilates, spin, and yoga classes throughout the month.
Utilities: $200
Internet & Cable: $160
Cell Phone: $160 for me and my husband
401(k): $300. (I need to bump this up.)
Health Insurance: $500, covering me and my husband
Parking: $60 for parking at my office
Car Lease Payment: $320
Car Insurance: $180, covering me and my husband
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8:15 a.m. — I couldn't drag myself out of bed this morning. It's Thursday and I've had a long week. I swing through Starbucks on my way to work and get an almond milk latte, a breakfast sandwich, and a banana. I usually try to make breakfast at home, but I end up caving and grabbing something out once a week or so. $11.19

12:30 p.m. — Meet my girlfriend for lunch downtown at one of my favorite restaurants, a place I don't go often because the it's pricey. I order a quinoa bowl and pay a ridiculous $6 to add chicken. I also decide to order a Diet Coke, even though they're stocked for free in my office. After tip, this lunch becomes a costly treat. $27.89

6:45 p.m. — My husband graduated from college this week and some of his family members are still in town and coming to our house for dinner. I'm exhausted, so I decide to pick up pizzas and salads from our favorite neighborhood place. I'll call this day a wash on reasonable food spending and healthy eating. $70.25

Daily Total: $109.33
2 of 8
7:30 a.m. — Friday morning! I manage to get myself out of bed early enough to make my usual breakfast: two eggs with half an avocado and an English muffin. My husband remembered to set the coffee to brew last night, so I drink that at home, too.

9:45 a.m. — I keep forgetting that I broke our toilet paper holder in the master bathroom. It pops into my head while I'm sitting at my desk, and I order a replacement on Amazon Prime. This service is such a lifesaver. $9.45

12:30 p.m. — I remembered to pack my lunch for work, another win! I eat a homemade chicken salad with avocado and Greek yogurt on sprouted crackers, along with a yogurt and grapes. Not the most satisfying, but it's free.

6 p.m. — My husband meets me downtown after work and we grab beers and pizza for dinner; he pays. We head to the park downtown for a free showing of Rogue One. I pop into the drugstore to grab waters and candy for the movie while he finds us a spot on the grass. $12

Daily Total: $21.45
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11 a.m. — Saturday! It's my best friend's birthday tomorrow, so this weekend will be unusually spendy. We start the day with massages at a beautiful local resort spa. I bought a voucher for the massage a couple of weeks ago for $109, but I have to cover the tip today. $30

12:30 p.m. — After our amazing massages, we head to the resort pool with another girlfriend for lounging, drinks, and lunch. We read magazines, gossip, and order drinks until it gets too hot. (Yes, Phoenix in May is already terrible.) The other non-birthday girl and I split the bill, which comes to $200 total. I head home to get a few hours of work in before the festivities continue. $100

8 p.m. — We're on to the birthday dinner. We decide to try out a hot new Italian place in uptown Phoenix, and I call an Uber to get us there. Once we're at dinner, we order a few bottles of wine, appetizers, dessert, and coffee after dinner. The other non-birthday girl and I split the tab again. I'm exhausted after dinner and head home to hang out on the couch with my husband. $150

Daily Total: $280
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9 a.m. — Today is Mother's Day, and my best friend's actual birthday. My mom lives out of state and I pre-ordered a gift box a couple of weeks ago ($65) that will be delivered today. I drag my husband out of bed early so that I can stop at my favorite local flower store and get my bestie some birthday flowers ($38) and a cake ($35) before we head to her birthday brunch with our friends. $73

11 a.m. — Boozy birthday brunch! I don't drink because I know I need to be productive this afternoon. My husband covers the $80 tab for me, him, and the birthday girl.

1 p.m. — After brunch, my husband I head to Trader Joe's to buy groceries. We don't usually shop here, so it's always fun to look around at all the products. We grab bananas, protein bars, milk, eggs, coffee and creamer, broccolini, salmon, steak, jalapeños, apples, frozen riced cauliflower, frozen corn, a giant bucket of crispy cookies, and dog treats. $112.50

2 p.m. — We drop our groceries off at home and then swing by Costco to pick up a photo order. I've put off getting our wedding photos printed for MONTHS (we got married seven months ago), and I finally place the order today. $27.50

3:30 p.m. — We head to the mall to make some returns. My husband and I recently ordered a ton of stuff online to spruce up our summer wardrobes, but I loathe sending things back and would rather do returns in person. While we're walking through Nordstrom, I remember that I could use some new underwear, so I pick up a few pairs. $41.50

6 p.m. — After our busy day, all my husband and I want to do is lounge on the couch and watch TV before the start of a new week. We pick up burgers and fries for dinner and watch Netflix until it's time for bed. $26.89

Daily Total: $281.39
5 of 8
7 a.m. — Even after my hectic weekend, I still manage to wake up early enough to make an egg scramble at home with eggs, chicken sausage, and jalapeños. I slice open a grapefruit and enjoy a cup of coffee that my husband remembered to set last night. I need a spending detox after an expensive weekend, and breakfast at home is a good start.

11:30 a.m. — So much for that spending detox: I forgot to pack a lunch today, despite getting groceries yesterday. I'm super busy at work, so I run downstairs and grab a sandwich from the deli in my building. $7

6:45 p.m. — My husband and I hit up an Orangetheory workout class and then stop at a health food place for takeout. I order a kale salad and he gets a chicken wrap; his treat.

Daily Total: $7
6 of 8
7:30 a.m. — I manage to wake up for breakfast (eggs and an English muffin) and coffee at home.

8:15 a.m. — On my way to work, I drop off the enormous pile of dry cleaning that has started to take over my closet. I use a discount place that is super convenient, so the cost is pretty reasonable despite my huge pile. They charge an extra dollar if you don't pay with cash, but I rarely carry cash and have gotten used to the annoying fee. $42

10 a.m. — I recently moved into a larger office at work, and since I finally got those photos printed, I decide to order some frames so I can display some photos in my office. I hop onto the Target website and order a variety of cheap ones. I'll see what works and return whatever doesn't. $65

6 p.m. — Leave work and head to a spin class with some girlfriends. I pre-purchase classes when the studio has a sale, so I have a bunch on my account and use one. I'm annoyed about having left my refillable water bottle at home, but there is no way I can make it through a 55-minute spin class without water, so I grab a bottle at the studio. $2

7:30 p.m. — Head home from spin, shower, and make a stir fry for dinner with the steak and broccolini I bought over the weekend, plus rice, soy sauce, and sesame oil that I already had. I melt into the couch with my husband and watch an episode of The Americans before heading to bed.

Daily Total: $109
7 of 8
7:15 a.m. — Breakfast at home again! I'm on a roll this week. Today, I branch out from my usual and make oatmeal with peanut butter, banana, almond milk, and grain-free granola on top. I tend to spend a lot of money on groceries because I like having several different food options at home.

11:30 a.m. — Some colleagues ask if I want to go to lunch, and since I almost always say no (I usually work through lunch), I say yes this time. They decide on a Thai place downtown, and I get pad thai. It's not good at all, and I only eat a little bit. $11

1:30 p.m. — My husband and I noticed a great deal on a DSLR camera when we were at Costco last weekend. We've been wanting one for a while but have been hesitant to pull the trigger, so I talked to a girlfriend who is super knowledgeable about cameras first. She affirmed that the deal we saw was great and that the camera would be a good fit for us. I pull the trigger and order it online. $485

6:45 p.m. — My husband and I both work later than we planned to and are too tired to cook dinner. After we get home, we walk the dog and grab sandwiches from a new place in the neighborhood. $25

Daily Total: $521
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