A Week In America On A $65,000 Salary

We launched Money Diaries back in January, and since then we've tracked the weekly finances of everyone from an intern earning $14 an hour to a Singapore-based banker raking in six figures. And suddenly, we realized we've reached our 30th money diary.

To mark the occasion, we decided to pull five diarists to track their spending for a week. The catch: They all earn salaries within the range of $65,000 to $70,000, and they all live in different major U.S. cities. A New York woman splits all her bills with her husband via an Excel sheet; a Chicagoan goes bar-hopping with friends, while a Boston accountant considers a career change and buys a new work wardrobe.

Of course, not all diarists had an average week. And as we've noted before, money diaries aren't meant to be examples to emulate. Instead, they're strikingly intimate snippets into women's lives, showcasing how we decide to spend our hard-earned money. Some have loan payments, some have credit card debt, some have shockingly cheap rent. Ahead, five women from New York City, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Boston, and Chicago, all tracking every last dollar.
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1 of 5
A New Yorker in Queens splitting all costs with her husband via Excel spreadsheets and utilizing MealPass for lunch.

Industry: City Government
Age: 28
Location: Astoria, Queens
Salary: $69,000
Paycheck Amount (2x a month): $1,575 (after taxes and other automatic paycheck deductions)
Number of Roommates: 1 (my husband)

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,125 (my half)
Utilities: $75 (internet and electric)
Phone Bill: $80
Gym Membership: $20
Renter's Insurance: $13 (my half)
Dog Insurance: $26 (my half)
Dog Walker/Day Care: $160 (my half)
Money for Main Savings Account: $200
Money for Travel Savings Account: $100 — my husband and I do not share our finances, other than this joint travel savings account.
Monthly MetroCard (taken out of my paycheck automatically): $116.50
Union Dues per Month (taken out of my paycheck automatically): $72
Pension Contributions per Month (taken out of my paycheck automatically): $260
Amazon Prime (yearly): $26.67, I split this with my husband.

Day One
9:45 a.m. — For breakfast I have a mini bagel with cream cheese and later I have a handful of Cranberry with a Vanilla Drizzle Shredded Mini Wheats. I typically buy bags of 12 mini bagels and bring a small tub of whipped cream cheese to keep in the fridge at work so I don't have to buy breakfast at the office.

1:30 p.m. — I have a membership to MealPass, which is a new service in NYC, where you pay for so many lunches in advance and have over 100+ restaurants to pick lunch from. I have the 12 lunch pass, which is $86 after taxes and works out to $7.15/lunch. I take the subway to a sandwich shop in Midtown where I reserved today's lunch, which is chili with a piece of pimento cheese toast. I see that they have grits on the menu and decide to pay for a side of small grits and a seltzer water while there. $13.68 ($7.15 pre-paid to MealPass)

6:30 p.m. — I take a Zumba class every Monday at my local gym. I grab a bottle of water for the class. $1

8 p.m. — My husband orders delivery from a Vietnamese place and I have a summer roll, as my heavy lunch of grits and chili kept me full. Rather than taking turns paying for things, I keep track of charges on our credit cards on an Excel sheet and either attribute charges to him, myself, or as a split cost. We split costs on groceries, utilities, costs for our dog, rental insurance, and when we go out to eat and/or drink together. $3.27

Daily Total: $17.95

Day Two
8:45 a.m. — I get to work extra early today and have the same breakfast as yesterday.

1 p.m. — Lunch today through my MealPass is a chicken sandwich from a German beer hall type restaurant in midtown. It is two steps away from Chick-Fil-A so I grab my sandwich to go and get a small waffle fries and medium diet lemonade to go with my sandwich. $11.81

3 p.m. — I decide that I don't like not having a mouse pad at work and order an awesome unicorn one from Amazon. I could have found a cheaper one but I wanted one made in the U.S.A. $11.95

6:30 p.m. — My husband has been interviewing for new jobs and he had two interviews today and has another tomorrow. To celebrate, I take him to a local bar for dinner and happy hour drinks. I pick up the check, and he covers the tip with cash. $58.75

Daily Total: $82.51

Day Three
9:30 a.m. — My office has a tiny concessionaire that sells food and drinks, and they have a sticky bun that looks too good to resist. $1.55

1 p.m. — It's a busy day at work and not exactly pleasant outside so I order in Seamless and have a chicken teriyaki box that comes with chicken, rice, avocado sushi, and a drink. So cheap and so good! $11.25

3:30 p.m. — My husband's aunt is hosting us this upcoming Sunday, so I order her a pair of natural shoe deodorizers from Amazon for her running shoes to bring with me as a gift. $10.29

6 p.m. — A coworker organized a happy hour for some people in the agency at a beer garden in the LES. She ends up being out sick and asks me to take the lead. So I am there until 9:30 p.m. and have four drinks (two during happy hour) and a side of Brussels sprouts and a side of spaetzle (German mac and cheese) for dinner. $44

9:55 p.m. — When I get off the subway back in Astoria I know I am not going to make it home to use the bathroom so I run into a frozen yogurt spot right off the train and use their bathroom in exchange for buying fro-yo. $4.50

Daily Total: $71.59

Day Four
9:45 a.m. — Back to my usual mini bagel with cream cheese and snack (handful of unsalted pretzels) for breakfast.

1 p.m. — Today's lunch through MealPass is a Hawaiian pizza from a wood-fired pizza place. I take the subway there, grab the pizza and also a seltzer. Then I go to another place a few storefronts down and grab a salad so I can eat half the pizza and half the salad for lunch today and save the other half for tomorrow. $17.65

6 p.m. — Because I feel so sick I cancel my post-work gym class. Despite feeling crappy, I am so hungry when I get off work and so I grab a chicken gyro for dinner at a Greek place on the walk home from the subway: $7.90

7:30 p.m. — I take my dog for a walk to the pet store since we are out of wet food for him and while I am paying for the four cans of food he somehow breaks into a bag of treats (so fast and sneaky!) that are near the cash register so I buy those, too. Dog costs are a split cost. $9.88

8 p.m. — My husband was home sick today and I start feeling crappy at work. I head to the grocery store to stock up on feel-better foods (soup, orange juice, peppermint tea, eggs, etc). Seltzer water is on sale, so I throw three boxes in my cart, plus a case of beer and some frozen French bread pizzas on sale (four boxes for $10). I decide to pay $1.95 for delivery. I literally live a stone's throwing distance from the grocery store, so I tip the guy $2 when he comes to deliver the groceries. Groceries are a split cost. $39.45

Daily Total: $74.88

Day Five
8 a.m. — I wake up feeling so sick so I take the morning off work and stay in bed with my doggy. I have a piece of toast and a glass of orange juice for breakfast. I grab a seltzer from the fridge for the walk to the subway.

12:45 p.m. — I make my way to work and eat the rest of yesterday's lunch. My coworker is ordering lunch from a BBQ place that has top notch creamed spinach so he gets me a side with his order: $3

5:30 p.m. — I am going to have to get up early tomorrow and since I am still fighting off being sick I grab a Redbox movie from the machine inside Duane Reade as the evening activity. I have a Duane Reade gift card from when I returned something without a receipt so I use it to buy ice cream. $1.63

7 p.m. — I am craving McDonald's, but rather than walking to the closest one, I have a Greek style cheeseburger (they serve it on pita bread) and fries delivered via Seamless. It is pretty good and super affordable: $10

Daily Total: $41.30

Day Six
9 am. — I go into work on a Saturday as a favor for my old supervisor who needs people to work on Saturday mornings. I take the overtime as extra paid vacation. My old supervisor buys breakfast as a thank you.

1:30 p.m. — I go to my Zumba class at the gym and remember to bring a water bottle from home to fill. Free and sustainable!

3:15 p.m. — We have two friends over and drink beers that we already have in the fridge from my grocery trip. They order pizza, and I have a slice and a garlic knot. The husband covers the pizza.

10:45 p.m. — I took a much needed nap and took the dog out for a stroll before meeting up with friends at a bar for a late night dinner and drinks. The place we went to gives you a free beer with your food order after 11 p.m,. so my first drink was free and then I had a glass of Champs. $24

Daily Total: $24

Day Seven
12:50 a.m. — My husband asked me to bring him back a surprise, so I stop at a bodega and pick up a bar of dark chocolate that was on sale. $1.50

12:45 p.m. — I swing by an Italian pork store and get a ball of salted fresh mozzarella to bring with us to the Mother's Day BBQ. Since the store only takes cash and thus I can't split a credit card charge between my husband and myself, I cover the cheese. $14

1:15 p.m. — Before heading out to Long Island, we make a pit stop at a brewery in Astoria to get a 32-ounce growler of beer to bring with us that the hosts asked us to bring. It is also $14 so my husband covers the beer since I got the cheese. I leave a cash tip. $2

2 p.m. — We drive out to Long Island for the BBQ (We don't have a car payment because when my dad was ready to get a new car he gave us his Prius. We pay our insurance six months at a time and use our Travel Savings account to pay for it so it is not a monthly cost.)

Daily Total: $17.50
2 of 5
A non-profit worker in Washington, D.C. getting ready for a big move and attending a bachelorette party.

Industry: Non-profit
Age: 25
Location: Washington, D.C.
Salary: $67,000
Paycheck Amount (2x a month): $1,998.80
Number of roommates: 2

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $875 (I live in Northeast D.C. in a group house, in the smallest room in the house.)
Cable and Internet: $41
Gas: $15/month average
Savings: $660 or more (I'm putting away this money for the moving costs at the beginning of June.)
Student Loans: $576.62 (Don't transfer from a state school to a private school, kids.)
Consolidated Credit Card Loan: $1,017.83 (I was living way beyond my means for quite a few years and relied heavily on credit to keep up with my more well-off friends. I had a come-to-Jesus moment in November last year and had to look at my $20,000 credit card debt.)
Phone Bill: My parents are generously covering my phone payment for me while I pay off my consolidated loans.
Employer Health Insurance: $36/pay period, pre-tax

Day One
9:30 a.m. — Coffee with friends who are staying with me this weekend. We watch Sports Center until I make them change it to Meet the Press.

12:30 p.m. — After saying goodbye to my house guests, I walk over to my best friend's house for brunch with our mutual group of girlfriends. I make a quick stop at an overpriced corner store and pick up a few items to finish the dessert I made the day before, as well as eggs for my friend. $19.60

5 p.m. — I walk to the grocery store to get food for the next week and a half. I don't get tired of eating the same food all the time, so I pick up supplies for a few different big-batch meals that I can mix and match. I'm especially excited by the chicken thighs I purchased. They were on special and I bought close to six pounds for less than $5. $40.11

6:30 p.m. — I eat the rest of my leftovers from the dinner I made on Friday night. Then, I read the paper and watch the first episode of The Wire's fourth season.

Daily Total: $59.71

Day Two
9 a.m. — I purchased renter's insurance for me and my boyfriend last week. We are moving at the end of May and needed a policy before our new building would release our keys to us. I wake up to see that the $70 he Venmo'd me for his half hit my bank account.

11:30 a.m. — On Mondays, I work from home, so I have a bowl of granola on my front porch with coconut milk for breakfast/lunch. I'm trying to get un-addicted to caffeine right now, so I'm only allowing myself coffee on the weekends.

4:45 p.m. — While working, I bake some chicken thighs and sweet potatoes. I snack on one of the tinier chicken thighs to tide me over until dinner.

7 p.m. —After doing some chores, I put on an episode of The Wire and make dinner — braised chickpeas with spinach and roasted red peppers over a sweet potato.

Daily Total: $0


Day Three
8:50 a.m. — I always take the Metro to work. My fare is $2.25, and I notice the balance on my SmarTrip is at $13; it automatically refills when the balance dips below $10. I sit at my desk and fight the urge to drink coffee. Instead, I down a big cup of water.

11:50 a.m. — It's one of those days where I don't make it to noon before I eat my lunch. I have some sweet potato with chickpeas and a tiny chicken thigh. I immediately feel sleepy and drink more water to stave off caffeine cravings. While I'm eating lunch, I see an LED light for sale on Amazon. The apartment my boyfriend and I are moving into doesn't have lighting in the closet, so I purchase it for $17.99. He Venmos me $9. $8.99.

2:15 p.m. — I can't make it without caffeine. A headache comes on and a grande iced coffee with a splash of coconut milk is the only thing that cures it. I worry if I'll be able to sleep tonight. $3.03

5:45 p.m. — It's probably pretty strange that I look forward to the commute home, but it's one of the most relaxing times of the day. I'm usually on the bus for 30 to 45 minutes, but it's above ground, and we go by the White House, which is beautiful in the spring. Plus, I can just play a game or listen to a podcast and zone out and decompress.

7 p.m. — Dinner time! Spicy taco quinoa bowls and baked sweet potatoes on the side.

Daily Total: $12.02

Day Four
8:50 a.m. — Red line fare to downtown D.C. $2.25, pre-paid.

12 p.m. — I bring a chicken thigh and some of the quinoa from last night. On my way back to my desk, a coworker flags me down and repays me $20 for St. Patrick's Day drinks from a few weeks ago.

5:30 p.m. — Bus ride home and then a quick dinner of sweet potato and chickpeas. I decide to spend the rest of the night figuring out what things I can sell before moving into my new apartment.

Daily Total: $0

Day Five

8:45 a.m. — I scarf down some granola with coconut milk. I've been so hungry the last few days that I take a moment to eat something before leaving for the Metro. When I swipe my card, it finally refills. But I get a notification on my phone that it somehow refilled twice... $40

12:45 p.m. — Instead of eating at 10:30 a.m. like I wanted to, I make myself finish a task for someone and reward myself by scarfing down quinoa and chicken.

5:30 p.m. — There's a dress from H&M in a bag under my desk that I've been meaning to take back for the last week or so. I finally suck it up and take it back. I get $26.43 back and remove myself from the store before I can buy anything else.

6 p.m. — Bus ride home then a quick dinner of chicken and spinach salad before walking to my boyfriend's house. On my way, I stop and pick up some coconut milk ice cream. $4.99

Daily Total: $44.99 ($26.43 back in my pocket, too!)

Day Six
8:45 a.m. — After a GREAT night of sleep, I treat myself to a cup of coffee my boyfriend brews for me before we head to the Metro, which is 10 cents cheaper because I'm two stops closer when I stay at his house. I have some cereal and coconut milk at his house, so I bring it with me to work for breakfast and lunch.

9 a.m. — That cup of coffee earlier made me want another, so I stop into a place next to my office and order a small. $1.98

10 a.m. — I get a notification from my bank that a charge for $1.05 has gone through to Apple. I always forget that I pay for this extra storage. I should really see if I need it or if deleting some photos and podcasts would take care of the problem. $1.05

12:30 p.m. — I have a very boring second bowl of cereal for lunch. I also submit a request to change my address to the USPS. $1

5:30 p.m. — Instead of heading home right away, I meet my boyfriend, roommate, and a few other friends for dinner. I spend $18 on my meal (chicken wings) and $3.71 splitting an Uber back to my place. Total: $21.71

Daily Total: $25.74

Day Seven
6:45 a.m. — I'm chugging coffee. It's the weekend, and this is the earliest I've been up all week.

1 p.m. — Shower time. The bridal party put together the cutest little brunch spread. I purchased the bride-to-be a gift a few weeks ago.

7 p.m. — After a quick dinner the gal I'm staying with whipped up, it's bachelorette party time! I proceed to get WAY too drunk and spend $74.90 on shots for people. This is not a typical move I pull. I'm a big believer that your budget should reflect your priorities, so the next morning I move some money around from my restaurant and grocery categories to cover the bar tab. $74.90

Daily Total: $74.90
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3 of 5
A Chicago woman working in education, constantly going to the gym.

Industry: Higher Education
Age: 26
Location: Lincoln Park, Chicago
Salary: $68,000
Paycheck amount (monthly): $4,066.56
Number of Roommates: 1


Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,050
Utilities: $85
Gym: $199 (I work out at Shred415, five or six times a week — it’s an addiction!)
Netflix: $9.80
Spotify: $9.99
Monthly Ventra Card (taken out of paycheck before taxes): $90
Car insurance: $447.68 (quarterly)

Day One
8:15 a.m. — I hop on the "L" to work. My Ventra card auto loads every other month directly from my paycheck. It stings less than loading it myself.

10:30 a.m. — I have to go to campus today from my office downtown to facilitate a tour of the graduate business school I work for. It’s about a 45-minute bus ride; I use my Ventra card.

11:30 a.m. — I ordered pizza for the students to eat from Medici during the Q&A session with a current business school student before the tour. It costs $126.21, but I get reimbursed.

6:30 p.m. — I play on a kickball team Monday nights and we all go in on some beer to drink during the game. $3

8 p.m. — We head to a bar nearby to watch the Blackhawks game. I have three beers. $24

10:30 p.m. — It’s “graupelling” (rain/hail or snow mix — usual spring weather in Chicago) and I’m a little drunk since I didn’t eat dinner, so I take a cab home. $12.84

Daily Total: $39.84

Day Two
7:30 a.m. — On Sunday, I made four servings of my favorite breakfast — banana oatmeal with cinnamon and stevia. I eat one serving of that at home but I know I’ll still be hungry before lunch.

8:30 a.m. — No control when it comes to stopping for morning coffee. I stop at Peet’s for a sugar-free, nonfat, iced vanilla latte. $4.36

12:15 p.m. — As usual I’m starving and can’t resist going to Whole Foods for lunch. I load up on the kale salad, the detox salad, asparagus, and a small side of mashed potatoes from the hot bar. $9.79

2:30 p.m. — I am hungry again (of course!) so I run to Walgreens for a snack. The chocolate-covered peanuts draw me in… $2.19

5:30 p.m. — I head to the gym for a one-hour class. The gym is a little outside of my budget but I go five to six times a week, so it’s worth it for me.

7 p.m. — I eat dinner at home. My stomach kind of hurts, so I cut up some watermelon I bought over the weekend and eat that with a little bit of cheese.

Daily Total: $16.34

Day Three
7:30 a.m. — Banana oatmeal with cinnamon and stevia leftovers for breakfast.

8:30 a.m. — I stop at Peet’s again before work. They convince me to finally sign up for the rewards program. I do it mostly because the barista is wearing a hat with a giant parrot on it, and I can’t say no to him. I load my rewards card up so I can start using it tomorrow. $34.36

12:15 p.m. — Whole Foods again for lunch. I get a kale salad with a side of rosemary roasted potatoes. I also pick up a cheese, turkey, and cracker snack pack (a.k.a. the adult Lunchable) to eat this afternoon. $15.30

4 p.m. — I'm too tired to go to the class I signed up for at the gym. I get a day docked off my membership for cancelling less than 12 hours in advance.

6 p.m. — My roommate and I make the maple-glazed salmon and asparagus we picked up when we went grocery shopping over the weekend. I need to try to cook at home more often!

7:30 p.m. — I head to a concert in Wicker Park with a few friends. My friend gets an Uber and forgets to split it, so she pays for it. We each agree to buy a round of drinks, but by the time it’s my turn the concert is ending and everyone has already had too many. I’ll get the drinks first next time!

11:30 p.m. — I cab over to a guy’s apartment I have been occasionally hooking up with. He only lives a few blocks away but it’s late and cold so I hail a cab. $4.23

Daily Total: $53.89

Day Four

7:15 a.m. — My friend gets me an Uber home so I can change for work. It’s relatively far, and I would have had to transfer train lines, so I’m glad he offered to get it.

8:30 a.m. — Peet’s. Maybe I would go less if it wasn’t on my walk to work from the train? Probably not but I get to use my new rewards card that I loaded yesterday. The barista traded out his parrot hat and is wearing a “Spam” hat today.

10:55 a.m. — Looking at my credit card statement that's at $632.68, and wondering why it’s so high this month. I got in to the Chicago Marathon and the charge came through on my credit card today, along with my quarterly car insurance bill for a car I don’t use. I really should sell it.

12:15 p.m. — I have to take an SDL (sad desk lunch) today to finish up a project. I run to the Walgreens in the building across the street and grab a turkey sandwich and a bag of nuts to keep at my desk. $10

6:45 p.m. — I walk to the gym to meet a friend for a class. I have an unlimited monthly membership and she has Class Pass, so we both pay nothing.

8:15 p.m. — I’m not that hungry and don’t feel like cooking anything so I grab a Lean Cuisine out of the freezer for dinner.

Daily
Total: $0 (monthly charges not included)

Day Five

9 a.m. — I take the day off today because I have a friend coming in town to visit for the weekend arriving early this afternoon. I walk down the block to grab a coffee at Starbucks and use my pre-loaded rewards card. Hoping this gives me the motivation to clean my apartment.

11 a.m. — I pick up some groceries at Whole Foods for the weekend before going to the gym (it’s a Prince tribute class today!). I grab wine, cheese, crackers, grapes, and croissants. $33.48

12:30 p.m. — I have a Groupon for a blowout at Dream Dry by my gym, so I figure since I took the day off, I’ll treat myself. Plus, this way I won’t have to wash my hair for days. $30

2:30 p.m. — My friend is here, and we head to Wrigley to watch the Cubs game. We don’t have tickets but it’s too cold anyway. We settle in at a bar with a group of friends and drink beer for a few hours while watching the game. We split some appetizers, too. $53.57

10 p.m. — I head to a bar to meet a few friends for drinks. My friend won a free “happy hour” from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. which means we only pay half-price for drinks. I’m not sure how many I had, but luckily my friend who won the happy hour picks up the tab.

Daily Total: $117.05

Day Six

9:30 a.m. — I’m not sure how I am up but heading to the gym. Rough start to the day.

10:30 a.m. — I didn’t need to go but I couldn’t say no. Bottomless Brunch. $38

3 p.m. — Bottomless brunch is ending but the group I’m with is just getting started. We cab to a different neighborhood to meet up with some other friends and continue drinking.

10:30 p.m. — I ended up stopping at a few bars and splitting a pizza at the last one, but I’m finally heading home after too many hours of drinking. Dinner, $13.65; drinks, $40.74; cabs, $10.37. Total $64.76

Daily Total: $102.76

Day Seven
9 a.m. — I wake up, and it’s clear I cannot leave my bed after yesterday’s events. I late cancel my class at the gym and I get a day knocked off my membership.

10:30 a.m. — I’m so hungry but I don’t want to get up or spend money on delivery, especially after the money I spent on food/drinks yesterday. I eat a croissant that I bought at Whole Foods earlier in the week.

1 p.m. — I am still not ready to go anywhere so I make a box of mac and cheese I’ve had in my pantry for a while. There are lots of leftovers so I can take them for lunch at work tomorrow.

6 p.m. — I finally feel like I can get up and do something so I meet a friend to take a walk around the neighborhood. It’s of course freezing in April, so we don’t walk for too long. Summertime Chi can’t come soon enough.

Daily Total: $0
4 of 5
In Los Angeles, CA, a juice company's project manager, making trips to Costco and playing trivia.

Industry: Food and beverage retail
Age: 24
Location: Los Angeles
Salary: $65,000 (plus $7,500 annual bonus)
Paycheck Amount (every two weeks): $1,700 (after taxes)
Number of roommates: 0

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,350 (one-bedroom in Mid-City)
Utilities: Electricity, $30; Internet, $40; Gas,$15
Transportation: $75 in gas
Phone Bill: $0 — On my parents' family plan!
Health Insurance: $0 — On my parents' insurance until 26!
Savings: $500 automatic transfer from checking to savings/Roth IRA since my company doesn't match 401(k)
Hulu: $8
Pop Physique (gym) membership: $100

Day One
9 a.m. — I just got back from a big business trip to NYC and have NO food in my apartment! I settle for a handful of Cheez-Its for breakfast until I can make it to the grocery store later. Then I go to my Pop Physique barre class.

11 a.m. — Head to Costco to stock up. I always have to remind myself before going to Costco that I’m only one person! I pick up toilet paper, tupperware, and groceries. $42 for home goods, $79 for food. $121

12:30 p.m. — I make myself a grilled cheese sandwich when I get home. It’s my ultimate comfort food that I cannot get enough of. I snack on a handful of blackberries, too.

3 p.m. — Pick up a friend, and we head to Home Goods for housewares and decoration shopping! I make out with new bath mats and measuring cups and spoons: $27

4:30 p.m. — My friend and I go to Abbot Kinney to try on glasses at Warby Parker. I end up not getting any because I don’t have a current eye glass prescription, but I do buy a couple of new shirts on sale at Alternative Apparel: $30

6 p.m. — Frozen pizza for dinner before hitting the bars in Venice with friends.

11 p.m. —A round of drinks for friends at a bar. $40

Daily Total: $218

Day Two
9:45 a.m. — Every Sunday, my best friend and I go to our barre class and then to the farmers' market. I end up buying eggs, broccoli, spinach, lemons, and an onion at the market. $14

12 p.m. — Stop at the gas station on my way home to get quarters for laundry. $20

12:30 p.m. — I make a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich for lunch. Farm fresh eggs from the market taste so much better than store bought!

1 p.m. — Weekend life maintenance: Laundry, cleaning, paying bills, etc. and take a nap before meeting my friend for dinner.

5 p.m. — Every Sunday, my favorite bread bakery hosts a pizza night, and it’s become a tradition for my best friend and me. We split two pizzas and drink a bottle of wine I brought from home. $18

Daily Total: $52

Day Three
8 a.m. — I take some chicken chili from my freezer that I made a few weeks ago for lunch and make a smoothie to take with me in the car for breakfast.

10 a.m. — My friend and I walk over to the local coffee shop. We go every morning and bring juices from our office in exchange for free drinks. I’m not a coffee drinker but I always get a green tea.

1 p.m. — Heat up my chili and enjoy it on our office deck while catching up with coworkers.

5:45 p.m. — I head to my barre class, and afterward cook up a big batch of spinach-tomato tortellini using my farmers' market buys and some tortellini I had in the freezer. I segment my leftovers into Tupperware for lunches for the week.

Daily Total: $0

Day Four
8 a.m. — Smoothie for breakfast to take in the car to work.

10 a.m. — We are testing new foods to carry in our Hawaii stores, so we have had samples of snacks and pastries in the kitchen all month. I have a piece of pineapple cake for a morning snack.

10:30 a.m. — Head to the coffee shop for the daily juice/coffee and tea exchange with my work bestie.

1 p.m. — Leftover tortellini for lunch.

3 p.m. — I buy tickets to Hall and Oates at the Hollywood Bowl in September for all my friends. They are $80 each. I buy them all on my credit card and my friends Venmo me. $80

5:45 p.m. — Barre class.

7 p.m. — I make cashew chicken from the Pioneer Woman’s blog for dinner. I am obsessed with food blogs and have a bookmark folder on my computer with recipes I want to make. I just happen to have all the ingredients for this one. Score!

Total: $80

Day Five
7 a.m. — I have a date tonight so I make sure to go to my barre class in the morning.

8:30 a.m. — I’m starving by the time I get to work so buy a protein bar and yogurt at the neighborhood co-op. $4

2 p.m. — Meetings all morning. I end up eating lunch (tortellini leftovers) way later than usual but at least it makes the afternoon go by faster!

4 p.m. — I get an email about a sale happening at one of my favorite stores so I order two pairs of yoga pants, a tank top, and a basic white T-shirt online. $86

7:30 p.m. — First date at an amazing taco place in West Hollywood. We have three margaritas each and share tacos and tamales. He pays.

Total: $90

Day Six
8:00 a.m. — Morning smoothie for breakfast. I am touring real estate with brokers all day to look for new store locations for my company. We are meeting in Orange County so I have a much longer drive to work than usual.

12:30 p.m. — Lunch at a Thai restaurant. Broker pays.

7 p.m. — I make it to barre class.

8:30 p.m. — My friends and I go to trivia at our favorite bar in Culver City. We are terrible at trivia but always end up having a blast. We take turns buying rounds of drinks. $40

Total: $40

Day Seven
8 a.m. — Eggs and toast for breakfast at home. By Friday, I’m usually sick of my morning smoothie and need to change it up.

12 p.m. — Our COO usually barbecues for lunch on Fridays. I help him make chicken and steak kabobs with peppers, onions, tomato, and squash. Enjoy a nice office lunch with coworkers in the sunshine.

4 p.m. — Take off from work a little early, because, Friday! Fill up the gas tank on my way home: $30

5 p.m. — Quick nap at home before meeting my date for burgers and beer. I pay since he picked up the check earlier in the week. $56

9 p.m. — Head to my place after dinner to watch a movie. We drink a bottle of wine that I bought at Costco earlier in the week.

Total: $56
5 of 5
A Boston woman studying for the CPA and buying a new office wardrobe.

Industry: Accounting
Age: 26
Location: Boston
Salary: $70,000
Number of roommates: 1

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,350 for my share of rent
Loan payments: $0 (Just finished paying off my $30K in student debt about a month ago!)
Utilities: $30 (electricity); $50 (cable/internet)
Phone Bill: $70
Spotify: $9.99 per month
Health Insurance: Free from work
Savings: $430 a month to 401(k) and $400 a month invested with financial planner
Transport: $0 — my MBTA pass is paid for by work.

Annual Expenses
Financial Planning Fee: $400 per year

Day One
10:30 a.m. — I grab a banana from my kitchen and head to barre class. Normally $25 a class, but I bought a 10 pack on Gilt City for $160 a few weeks ago.

11:45 a.m. — I buy a new pair of barre socks on my way out. $14

12 p.m. — Head to Nordstrom Rack to browse for some spring work clothes. I end up buying two dresses. I don't normally spend this much on work clothes, but I'm in need of some wardrobe staples. $249.92

1 p.m. — I had some time to kill between shopping and an appointment. I head to Starbucks, but decide to pass on buying anything after the Nordstrom Rack splurge. Instead, I sit outside and people-watch on Newbury Street.

2:30 p.m. — I spend the rest of the day studying for the CPA. I heat up leftover soup for lunch.

6 p.m. — Dinner at home. Penne pasta with sauce from the jar. I usually try do make something healthier but I decide to use what I had on hand.

Daily Total: $263.92

Day Two
10 a.m. — Breakfast at home: a Greek yogurt with granola from Trader Joe's and a cup of black tea.

12:30 p.m. — My friend Lauren meets me at my apartment. She sends me an invite to Lyft, and I use the free credit to order a ride to brunch. The only thing I had to pay for was tip. $2

1 p.m. — At brunch, we both get seats at the bar and ordered mimosas with our omelets. $19.53

2 p.m. — Lauren also earned a credit for referring me to Lyft. She uses it to order us a ride to the Museum of Fine Arts. Lauren's ticket to the museum is free because she is a grad student; I pay. $25

4 p.m. — Tea for an afternoon pick-me-up. Lauren pays.

6 p.m. — I take the T back to my apartment and make dinner at home. Penne pasta with sauce from the jar again.

Daily Total: $46.53

Day Three

8 a.m. — Tea and Greek yogurt at home again. I had the day off from work for Patriots Day/Marathon Monday.

1 p.m. — After meeting with a recruiter to strategize the possibility of a career change, I run into T.J. Maxx and pick up two work tops, sandals, and a candle. I think I may return one of the shirts. $75.58

2:00 p.m. — I run to Whole Foods to pick up food for the week. I have been eating lunch out way too often lately, so I buy extra salad ingredients so I can bring lunch this week and also get an organic frozen enchilada for today's lunch, too. $34.30

4:30 p.m. — Banana Republic has a good sale, so I pick up three cardigans and a blouse to finish off my spring wardrobe refresh. $117.86

7:30 p.m. — Homemade dinner. Chicken and salad from my earlier Whole foods haul.

Daily Total: $227.74

Day Four
6:15 a.m. — Barre class again.

8:15 a.m. — For breakfast I have a Luna Bar. I keep a stash at work.

8:30 a.m. — Online license renewal. $50

7 p.m. — I eat leftover salad with chicken for dinner.

Daily Total: $50

Day Five
11:30 a.m. — Doctor's appointment, free because I have double coverage until I turn 26...in two weeks.

12 p.m. — On the way back to work, I grab a turkey sandwich; so much for bringing lunch. $8.98

6:45 p.m. — Grab dinner and drinks with a friend after work. He pays for the pizza, and I get the drinks at the bar. $16.90

Daily Total: $25.88

Day Six

12:45 p.m. — It’s finally getting warm outside in Boston. I go out for a walk at lunch and buy a Starbucks Hibiscus Refresher. $3.70

6 p.m. — I stop at Whole Foods on the way home and pick up two more marinated chicken breasts for weekend lunches. $13.30

Daily Total: $17

Day Seven
8:45 a.m. — Luna bar for breakfast.

1 p.m. — I book a flight and Amtrak train ticket for a trip to Seattle and Vancouver in August. $521.93 and $39.90, respectively.

6:30 p.m. — I decide to stay in tonight and study for the CPA exam that I’m taking in about a month. I make dinner at home: zucchini noodles with diced tomatoes and cannellini beans. I have everything in my kitchen from my trip to Whole Foods earlier this week.

Daily Total: $561.83

Editor's note: Without travel, this diarist spent $631.07 in a week.
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