A Week In Seattle, WA On A $50,000 Salary

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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: a multicultural marketing account executive who makes $50,000 a year and spends it on Swedish pancakes.
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Occupation: Multicultural Marketing Account Executive
Industry: Marketing
Age: 27
Location: Seattle, WA
Salary: $50,000
Paycheck (2x/month): $1,652
Monthly Expenses
Housing: $970. My boyfriend and I live together in a condo that I own. He pays me $700/month in rent, and I pay the remainder of the monthly payment, which includes the principle, interest, taxes, and HOA dues.
Loan Payments: $0 (aside from mortgage)
HSA: I contribute $44/month, and my employer contributes $44/month.
Public Transportation: My company provides me with a free unlimited bus pass.
Car Insurance: $60/month. I take public transportation as much as I can, and for work travel I tend to take one of our two company cars. I am also a fan of UberPool when I'm meeting friends around town — to avoid drinking and driving, and since parking can be tough. I don't end up driving much on a regular basis, and I fill up my tank at most twice a month. Filling up is around $25.
All Other Monthly Expenses
Groceries/Utilities/Household: $300. Every month, my boyfriend and I each transfer $300 into our joint checking account. We use this money to pay for groceries, utilities, and household items.
Pets: $300 for a dog sitter that checks in on and walks our four-month-old puppy once a day; we split this evenly. (So my share is $150.) We also have two cats, and we pay for pet food and other supplies using our joint account (~$80/month). My boyfriend has paid all the dog's vet bills so far, and I've paid for all the cat bills earlier this year. The cats' yearly check-ups and vaccines came to around $300 total.
Gym membership: $82 charged to my credit card. This covers both my boyfriend and me.
Savings: $450 from each paycheck, though if other expenses come up, I don't always meet this goal.
Health and Dental Insurance: $0. Work fully covers this for me.
Cell Phone: $30/month. My plan has unlimited texting and data, but only 100 talking minutes per month, so sometimes I end up buying another $10 in prepaid minutes. I make the majority of my work calls from my office phone, and I speak to my parents and siblings in Panama through WhatsApp, an app that allows you to make voice calls through Wi-Fi/data.
Internet: $50/month
Netflix: $10/month. I also use my boyfriend's family's HBO GO account.
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Day One



11 a.m. — Friends are visiting us from out of town for the weekend, and we're spending the day on the Washington coast. I have a fried chicken sandwich with chai tea. We are two couples and split the bill in half. I pay for me and my boyfriend. $31.96

8 p.m. — We spend the day exploring the coastline and the rain forest before heading back to the city for dinner at our favorite BBQ spot. I have brisket, corn bread and beans, and a beer, and we all split a bowl of mac and cheese. My boyfriend pays the $66.44 bill.

10 p.m. — We take an Uber to meet friends at a bar; I hail it from my account. $10.37

10:15 p.m. — We order our first round of beers. My boyfriend and I both get grapefruit IPAs and I pay for them. $10.37

11 p.m. — We head to a second bar and each order a cocktail. My boyfriend picks up the tab for the two of us, which is $52 split three ways.

12:15 a.m. — We're tired from our road trip earlier in the day, so we call it a night relatively early. My boyfriend calls the Uber from his account on the way home.

Daily Total: $52.70
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Day Two



9:30 a.m. — I've had a cold for the past week, and I wake up at 7 a.m. sneezing blood. I'm worried since the cold has lasted longer than usual, so I make an appointment at a nearby clinic. I intend to use my Health Savings Account, but it gets declined. I end up paying with my credit card and leave determined to figure out the issue with the HSA. At least I only have a common cold. $129

11 a.m. — We take our friends to one of our favorite brunch spots in the city. I order Swedish pancakes and a side of bacon. I eat half and box the rest. We split the bill four ways. $22.63

1:25 p.m. — We decide to take our friends wine tasting, about a half-hour drive away. We cross over a toll bridge, and the toll is $2.50. My boyfriend is driving, so the toll is charged to his account.

3 p.m. — After a tour of the winery, we reach the wine-tasting room. Our friends treat us to the tasting. We buy two bottles of wine. My boyfriend pays the $34.44.

4 p.m. — We head to a second winery, where we have coupons for a free tasting. We pick up another two bottles of wine, and this time I pay. $62

6:45 p.m. — My company is flying a candidate in from Florida for an interview, and I invited her to dinner. I pick a Mexican restaurant in a lively neighborhood. It doesn't have many nearby street-parking options, so I take an Uber and expense the $12.37 to my company.

7 p.m. — I enjoy getting to know my potential new coworker and telling her about Seattle. She seems excited to move here! I eat sopitos and drink an horchata. My company treats both of us to dinner, so the $27.56 is expensed.

8:45 p.m. — I take an Uber back home ($11.93) and expense it to my company.

Daily Total: $213.63
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Day Three



8 a.m. — I take the bus to work in the morning. My company provides employees with a free unlimited bus pass, which is a great deal since the office is downtown, where parking is very expensive. I read a book during my 25-minute ride.

8:45 a.m. — I arrive at work and eat my leftover Swedish pancake. I spent a lot of money over the weekend entertaining our visitors, and now it's time to go back to my thrifty ways.

12 p.m. — Today, the job candidate is in the office for a long day of meeting my coworkers. My boss and I take her to lunch at an Irish pub, where I eat corned beef over potato dumplings. My boss and I are very excited about the candidate, and it sounds like she is excited about our company, too. My boss picks up the check and expenses it to the company.

5:30 p.m. — My boyfriend took the day off to take our friends to the airport. Afterwards, he goes grocery shopping, and when I return home, he has a meal going in the slow cooker. He spent $60 from our joint checking account on groceries.

7 p.m. — We eat leftovers from our BBQ dinner a couple of days ago. I hear from my boss that she offered the job to the candidate, and that the candidate accepted!

Daily Total: $0
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Day Four



8 a.m. — I arrive at the office and eat my usual breakfast: a cup of yogurt. We always buy five cups of yogurt for each of us to last the week. My favorite flavor is Greek yogurt with strawberry chunks at the bottom.

12 p.m. — I eat one serving of the meal my boyfriend has been making in the slow cooker: pulled pork, with a side of asparagus and baked potatoes. Our colleagues from the field team are in the office, so I eat lunch with them.

7 p.m. — I love making pulled meats in the slow cooker because they can be repurposed to make my favorite meal, nachos. But we're missing a key ingredient: sour cream! My boyfriend and I walk the dog around the block and stop at the corner store to buy sour cream. I stay outside with the dog, and my boyfriend comes out with sour cream and a bag of gummy worms. He spends $5.03 for both.

8 p.m. — I prep the nachos for dinner. First, I spread a base of my favorite chips on a plate. (The chips are made fresh at our grocery store.) Next, I layer pork and cheese on top and pop them in the microwave. Lastly, I scoop on some sour cream. These are simpler than previous nachos I've made, but they're still tasty. We joke that someday we will open our own restaurant: a DIY nacho bar.

Daily Total: $0
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Day Five



8 a.m. — Another day, another cup of yogurt for breakfast at the office. My boyfriend mixes things up and buys a cup of yogurt with crunchy toppings for each of us instead of my usual.

12 p.m. — A high school student is in the office for job-shadowing today. My team of four takes her to lunch at a nearby Thai place, where we answer some of her surprisingly intense questions. ("Do you find your job fulfilling?" was a bit of a surprise.) I eat chicken rama and my boss pays for the meal and expenses it to the company.

7:30 p.m. — I once again make myself nachos with the pulled pork.

8 p.m. — We meet a friend for drinks after dinner. I have two beers, and we each pay for our own drinks. $14.06

Daily Total: $14.06
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Day Six



7:45 a.m. — I'm heading to a career fair at a high school. I am excited because it focuses on bilingual students and how valuable their language and cultural skills are in the workplace. I eat my yogurt at home before driving directly to the career fair.

12:30 p.m. — I'm back in the office after the career fair. I'm disappointed that I was one of the few bilingual people at the fair. It seems disingenuous to tell students that language skills are valuable in the workplace and then miss the opportunity for them to meet bilingual professionals. I ponder this while I eat another serving of pulled pork, potatoes, and asparagus.

1:30 p.m. — I take a coworker to coffee so we can brainstorm about an issue I've been having at the office. She gives me some good advice as we take a nice walk around downtown Seattle. I expense the $10.07.

6 p.m. — More pork for dinner. I love the slow cooker!

7 p.m. — It's a beautiful sunny day, and in Seattle we don't waste beautiful, sunny days. My boyfriend and I take our dog for a walk to a nearby ice cream shop, where I order a split scoop of chocolate and hazelnut ice cream on a waffle cone. He orders a malted milk shake. I pay for our ice creams, and we continue on our walk. $16.07

Daily Total: $16.07
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Day Seven



9 a.m. — I have the day off since I'm working Saturday and Sunday at a leadership training. I walk a couple blocks to a coffee shop to buy myself my favorite day-off breakfast: a scone and a chai latte. I bring them back to my apartment to lounge with my dog. $7.78

2 p.m. — After eating my breakfast, I meet a friend at the park so our dogs can play together. We have a long, fun walk and I'm home around lunchtime. I'm terrible at eating a proper lunch when I'm home by myself, so I snack on a cinnamon roll instead. I use my day off as an opportunity to sort out my HSA situation, and I'm able to transfer the $129 I spent on the doctor's appointment from the HSA account to my checking account. I also see my tax return has arrived! It is $373, and I'm happy that I paid just about the right amount of taxes during the year. I don't owe money, but I also don't have a huge refund.

5:30 p.m. — It's another beautiful sunny day, so after my boyfriend gets back from work, we meet friends at nearby brewery with a great outdoor area. We're even able to bring our dog! Everyone in the neighborhood had the same idea, and it's packed with people and dogs when we arrive. I buy us our first round of drinks — an oatmeal stout and a summer ale — and we all squeeze our way into a long picnic table as others leave. My boyfriend gets us our second round of drinks, and I switch to cider. $12

8 p.m. — After drinks, a few friends come over to our apartment. We order two large pizzas: one pepperoni and one chicken with Alfredo sauce. My boyfriend pays for our share. When the food arrives, we all agree the pizza sauce and toppings are good, but the crust could be crispier. We eat our food, play board games, and hang out for a couple hours.

Daily Total: $19.78
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