A Week In Silicon Valley On A $160k Salary

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 woman with two mortgages who works for a tech company that gives her free food.

Industry:
Tech
Location: Lives in San Jose, CA, works in Mountain View, CA
Salary: $80,000 base + $60,000-80,000 commission
Age: 27
Roommates: 2 (I’m the "landlord")

Monthly Revenue In Addition to Salary:

Rent From Tenant of Mortgage 1:
$1,875
Rent From Tenant of Mortgage 2:
$2,500
Advertisement
Monthly Expenses:
Mortgage 1: $1722.09
Mortgage 2: $1574.21
Internet/Cable: $41.42
Utilities: $20
Housing Association: $309
Water & Garbage: $103.89
Gym Membership: $29.99


Day One


7 a.m. — We don’t get free meals at work but there’s always basic snacks like nuts, bread, a weekly fruit delivery, and some beverages. Plus, we have a coffee machine that brews Philz and Peet’s coffee, and I take my coffee black. I have a slice of whole grain toast with Justin’s Almond Butter and a cup of Philz coffee.

Noon — Chipotle sent out coupons for free burritos a few weeks ago. I just remembered mine probably expires soon, so I check and it indeed expires in two days. I opt for a chicken burrito bowl. Got charged for the guac because I asked for it on the side instead of inside the bowl (even though it should be covered by the coupon no matter where it’s placed). I will definitely be sending feedback about this inconsistency. $2.28

5 p.m. — Grabbed a large box of mixed greens from Safeway because the plan is to make smoothies with my boyfriend for dinner while we watch some basketball (go Warriors!), and I can use the greens for other meals later in the week. No need to get fruit because there’s some at work that’s ripe that I can salvage. $5

8 p.m. — The game ends and my BF insists on getting a “real” dinner instead. We go to Ramen Halu and get some Tsukemen (dipping ramen). He pays, since it was his idea.

Total: $7.28

Day Two


7 a.m. — Fruit delivery arrives at work! There’s avocado, so I make avocado toast sprinkled with black pepper and drizzled with honey, plus a cup of Philz Coffee.

Noon — I have half of my Chipotle bowl left from yesterday’s lunch. To spruce it up, I add half an avocado from this morning’s breakfast to the bowl. I also have an apple from the fruit delivery.

2 p.m. — My roommate texts me to remind me that the fridge water filter needs to be changed soon. It’s $24.25 for one, but we will split it three ways at the end of the month along with the other utilities. $8.09

6 p.m. — My BF and I make a trip to Costco after the gym so we can prepare lunches for the rest of the week. We buy chicken breasts (12-pack), red bell peppers, Freekeh (it’s a grain with tons of protein and fiber, and the consistency is somewhere between quinoa and rice), and Himalayan sea salt. We prep three lunches for each of us for the remaining workweek, and still have six chicken breasts and three bell peppers left for future meals. $41

8 p.m. — Dinner. My boyfriend picked up sandwiches from our favorite sandwich place, Freshly Baked Eatery in San Jose, earlier, and we make healthy smoothies (finally) with the greens and fruits from yesterday.

10 p.m. — I remember that Bloomingdale’s texted me a unique coupon code in the morning that is only valid for today, for 20% off almost everything. I do need new jeans and bras (haven’t bought new ones in 2+ years). I buy a couple of different options, so hopefully I’ll be returning at least half my order. My order comes out to $416, but I have $425 in Bloomingdale’s rewards cards from my Christmas splurge when they did an amazing promotion. $0

Total: $49.09

Day Three


7 a.m. — There’s one avocado left that hasn’t been claimed, so I must take advantage of it! Disclaimer: I love avocados; 99.99% of girls do. Breakfast is avocado toast with Philz Coffee again, plus half a Fuji apple.

Noon — Grilled chicken with roasted bell peppers, steamed broccoli, side of Freekeh.

3 p.m. — Usually at this time, I would be heading to the gym while thinking of what cost-efficient and semi-healthy food I want for dinner — but not today. My friend had a rough weekend involving a boy, so she needs emotional support. We meet for beers and play Connect Four at Freewheel Brewing Company in Redwood City. $6

5 p.m. — Pit stop at Martin’s West Gastropub in downtown Redwood City for the best quail Scotch eggs, because we’re never in Redwood City together. No shame in not ordering drinks and just splitting one order of eggs, though I’m not sure our waitress felt the same. $6.50 each

6 p.m. — We continue our journey in downtown for braised pork shoulder, polenta cakes, and the infamous spicy Sausage & Honey pizza at Vesta, plus a glass of wine. $35 each

8 p.m. — We aren’t too far of a drive away from my favorite dessert ever, a dark-chocolate soufflé with an Earl Grey crème anglaise at The Village Pub in Woodside. My friend hasn’t experienced its deliciousness before, and this is already turning into a "treat yo'self" kind of night, so might as well go all out. Besides, we figure this might be the cheaper option compared to our alternative, which was to peruse Nordstrom Rack in Palo Alto. We share a rich, fluffy dark-chocolate soufflé and a small pot of coffee. We’re both happy with the decision we made. $12.50 each

Total: $60

Day Four


7 a.m. — I have half an avocado from yesterday’s avocado-toast breakfast, and it’s not going to stay green for much longer, so avocado toast it is again. Plus, Philz Coffee.

Noon — Grilled chicken with roasted bell peppers, steamed broccoli, and a grapefruit from the work kitchen.

2 p.m. — My friend bought two season tickets for the San Francisco Giants, and he’s selling off roughly half of the games. He has pretty good seats, so I decide to buy his tickets for a game against the Rockies in June. He’s selling them for face value to friends, and these were only $49 each (for lower-level seats along the first-base line!). Earlier in the year, I had referred another friend to his company, from which he was able to reap referral benefits, so he insists on letting me have these tickets for free. $0

6 p.m. — Oops, BF and I forgot that we can’t have meat tomorrow because of Lent, so we end up having our prepped chicken-and-veggies lunches as dinner tonight instead of lunch tomorrow.

Total: $0

Day Five

7 a.m. — No more avocado toast for me, so I won’t get tired of it. Back to Justin’s Almond Butter, toast, and French-pressed Kona coffee.

Noon — I’m working from home today, so I can access ingredients in my fridge. Healthy smoothie of mixed greens, blueberries, half a banana, chia seeds, and almond milk; all ingredients I usually have in my house.

2 p.m. — My friend makes me go to Target with him because he needs help picking out gifts for his 1-year-old nephew. I decide to pick up toilet paper for the house (I divide the cost by three) and some condoms because safe sex is good sex. I save $10 because Curbside offered $10 off to celebrate Leap Year. $9.65

3 p.m. — Friend wasn’t able to complete his grocery purchases at Target, so we walk over to Trader Joe’s. I didn’t even really need any groceries, but made the mistake of walking through the frozen aisle and got self-coerced into buying an arugula burrata prosciutto flatbread. Also convinced myself to try the pineapple version of Ballast Point Sculpin IPA because I love Sculpin and I love pineapple, so can’t go wrong. $19.24

6 p.m. — It’s Lent and Fridays are meatless, but seafood is fair game. BF and I venture to Go Fish Poke Bar in Cupertino for poke bowls. $22.40

Total: $51.29

Day Six


9 a.m. — My BF and I make breakfast at home after a nice morning workout. Eggs, mushrooms, sautéed peppers; all ingredients left over in the fridge.

Noon — Since I’m going to be heading up to San Francisco, I stop to fill up on gas just in case. $38

1 p.m. — I meet my friend in the Richmond for pho at Turtle Tower before her hair appointment. We see each other just once every two to three months at the most, so whenever I have plans to come up to S.F., I also try to make time to see her. She insists on treating because I made the drive from San Jose to S.F. $0

2 p.m. — Since my friend treated me to lunch, I treat her to dessert and coffee. We find an unassumingly cute and hipster coffee shop in the Richmond called fifty/fifty and get lavender Earl Grey lattes (super-good!). $8

4 p.m. — I didn’t make it to my friend’s birthday celebration last weekend (because I’m so over clubbing in S.F. now). I figure I owe him a hangout/drink. The original plan was to go to Biergarten in Hayes Valley and drink beers while playing Settlers of Catan, but since the line to get in was so long, we settle for Blue Bottle Coffee and Settlers on the grass at the nearby park. $5

7 p.m. — One of my college girlfriends is in town for work from Hawaii, so a bunch of us meet up for dinner at La Nebbia in Noe Valley. We order two appetizers, four pizzas, and two bottles of wine for the 10 of us. I love offering up my credit card to foot the bill and having everyone send me money on Venmo later, so I can get the points (hehe). $25 each

10 p.m. — One of my friends from dinner catches a ride from me to head back down to San Pedro Square in San Jose for a coworker's going-away celebration. My BF and I decide to tag along to hang out and grab drinks, but we only stay for an hour. We try to leave a $20 bill for the table to cover our drinks before we leave, but my friend’s coworker shoves the money back to us and tells us not to worry about it. $0

Total: $76

Day Seven


8 a.m. — Finally using up the last of those breakfast ingredients from yesterday morning. I discover that eggs can actually last for quite a while beyond the printed expiration date. (Look up the egg-freshness water test.)

12 p.m. — I meet up with my BF and our friend after church. We decide to get lunch at Layang Layang in Cupertino because the food and portions are good, and we all haven’t been in a while. We order one appetizer and two noodle dishes, and share it family-style. $10 each

2 p.m. — It’s almost the last day of February, and BF and I still haven’t gotten Smitten’s Earl Grey Chocolate Chip ice cream (its February flavor). We’ve been meaning to try it since February 2014, but somehow manage to miss it every year. Spoiler alert: It’s delicious. He pays. $0

7 p.m. — Dinner plans with my friend who I don’t see very often anymore now that she’s a grad student. We go to Dan Izakaya and share a sashimi salad and a seared-salmon rice bowl. $18 each

Total: $28
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.

Have a money diary you'd like to share? Email moneydiary@refinery29.com.
Advertisement