A Week In Morris County, NJ, On A $50,000 Salary

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

Today: an account executive who makes $50,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on an Amazon Fire Stick.

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Occupation: Account Executive
Industry: Public Relations
Age: 26
Location: Morris County, NJ
Salary: $50,000 (plus $150-$450 extra a week from weekend job)
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,588.12
Gender: Woman

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $0 (I live at home!)
Student Loans: $1,392.38 (Hence, living at home.)
Phone: $100 (given to my mom each month - bless a family plan)
Gym: $118
Car Payment: $320
Tanning Membership (bad, I know): $18
Car Insurance: $78
Credit Cards: ~$400 (I'm working on paying them all down by the end of 2020!)
Netflix: $0 (My mom started paying this when I went to college and she kept on with it)
Health/Dental/Vision: $111.76 (taken out of paycheck pre-tax)

Day One

7:25 a.m. — I'm working from home today because I have my yearly physical (YAY!). I wake up, walk my dog, and have a cup of coffee. I'm getting bloodwork done at the doctor, so I don't eat breakfast. Black coffee and water only. I log on to work and answer a few emails and start the day. I leave around 12:40 to make it to the doctor.

1 p.m. — Still waiting to be seen, but it's fine. I'm going to a new general practitioner and after an hour of talking, he sends me down for bloodwork. I. Am. Hangry. I don't have a copay because my annual physical is covered by insurance. He tells me I will be due for a tetanus shot my next visit...this will be important later.

2:30 p.m. — Finally out of the doctor. I don't mind bloodwork, but it's late in the day and I'm hungry. I refill my Starbucks app ($15) and mobile order a venti cold brew with skim milk. Then my car *accidentally* takes me through the McDonald's drive-thru ($8.71) where it also orders for me — two crispy snack wraps and a medium fry. I'll do better, tomorrow... $23.71

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6 p.m. — I have had plans on the calendar with two of my friends for weeks, but by the time I'm getting ready, I have no desire to go out (I go anyway). My friend, V., offers to pick me up because she has to take a CPR class bright and early tomorrow (sounds like a fun Saturday activity), so she is limiting herself to one drink. Many cosmos and one espresso martini later and I'm calling my boyfriend, N., for a ride home. My younger brother got me a $100 gift card to the restaurant we're at. I put it towards the bill, then V. and I split the rest. Our other friend, F., recently lost her job so we wanted to do something nice for her to lift her spirits — who doesn't love a girls' night? $43.51

Daily Total: $67.22

Day Two

8:30 a.m. — N. drives me home to get ready for the day. I bought my mom tickets to see Mean Girls on Broadway for Christmas and today's the day! We've been trying to make more memories as opposed to buying each other gifts. Last year I bought tickets to Chicago and this year it's Mean Girls! My mom took me and three friends to see the movie in theaters when it came out for my 10th birthday, so we're really coming full circle here. We get ready and get in the car to drive to the train station.

10:45 a.m. — It's true, I have a Starbucks problem. I am VERY HUNGRY and know I'm not going to make the hour train ride into the city without eating, so I reload my Starbucks app and mobile order for my mom and me on the way to the train. A blueberry scone and grande skim latte for mom and a turkey bacon sandwich and venti skim latte for me. We get on the train (mom pays for tickets) and into the city. Every time we try to do something nice together, it rains. Today is naturally no different. My mom hails a cab and we head over to the theater. She pays. We see a bar across the street, so run in for a drink before the show. She gets a Casamigos on the rocks, and I get a Ketel One with water and a lemon (I. Hate. Carbonation. Vodka waters have been life-changing!). She pays again. $25

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1:30 p.m. — We get into the show and have some time to kill and mom wants M&M's. I get in the bar line, and pay $35 for a double Tito's and water and what seems like the tiniest bag of M&M's. I can't believe I just spent that much... $35

5 p.m. — The show was SO GOOD!!!!!!!! It was hilarious and the performances were truly amazing. We were planning on doing happy hour in the city, but the weather is still awful. Mom hails a cab to take us back to Penn Station, and we head back to the 'burbs. I realize that the train ticket I already have on my NJ Transit App is from Hoboken (where I work), so I buy a one-way back to our home station ($11.75). We get back to my mom's car and realize she got a parking ticket. Apparently weekend parking is NOT free. I offer to pay it since I told her to park there, but she says its no big deal. We stop home and she pays the $25 ticket online almost instantly. $11.75

7 p.m. — We meet N. at a new restaurant that opened in town. It's busy, but it's a Saturday night so it's expected. We grab a seat at the bar — Tito's and water with lemon for me, a Kane Head High for N., and a Casamigos on the rocks for my mom. She pays. We wait for a VERY long time and just end up ordering at the bar. My friend, B., and her fiancé, S., walk in and sit down next to us. We share a pretzel with bier cheese (my FAVE), and I order a burger. Mom treats and heads home, while N. and I stay and chat for a bit with B. and S.

10 p.m. — We leave the restaurant went over to N.'s cousin's house for another round and game night. After a few more Titos for me and ALMOST winning Cards Against Humanity, we decide it's time to call it a night. After a night of a ton of laughs, we head back to N.'s house and pass out.

Daily Total: $71.75

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Day Three

9:30 a.m. — N. drives me home so I can attempt to be a productive member of society. I work my weekend waitressing job every Sunday (and every Saturday, too, but yesterday I got coverage), so I need to get ready for the week in the morning.

3:15 p.m. — I spend a lot of money on coffee. Stop into Dunkin' for a medium cold brew and a strawberry-frosted donut (with sprinkles) before my shift, and head in. We have a TON of reservations tonight, so I get the room set up and fold some linens. Halfway through the dinner rush, while polishing a glass, I slice my hand open. There is a TON of blood and I probably need stitches. I wrap up my hand and will deal with it after my shift. After bleeding through MANY bandaids, the day is done. We make REALLY good money for a Sunday and chef makes us some Sunday Dinner at the end of the night. Working seven days a week has truly taken a toll on my mental health, but I have a very bad shopping habit and I love having the extra money. I go home, pour myself a glass of wine, change my bandaids, and go to sleep. $5.06

Daily Total: $5.06

Day Four

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5:15 a.m. — I wake up at 5:15 and hit snooze until about 5:45. I get up and notice that the blood went through my bandaids overnight, and I'll need to strip my sheets. Hop in the shower and decide I'll deal with the hand later. Out of the shower, and do my makeup. I worked in beauty PR for a little over three years, and until then, I NEVER wore makeup. My daily makeup consists of Too Faced Hangover Primer, It Cosmetics Oil-Free CC Cream, Benefit Hoola Bronzer, It Cosmetics x Drybar Lash Blowout Mascara, Too Faced Chocolate Brownie Eyebrow Pencil, and Tarte eyeshadow. After I walk my dog and pack my lunch, I hop in the car for my morning commute (about 45 minutes depending on traffic). I get into the office around 7:40 a.m. and remember I'm out of coffee creamer, so walk over to Kings and buy Oat Milk Coffee-Mate. $3.99

4:30 p.m. — It has been as a DAY. Mondays are always about prepping for the week and finishing up whatever I was too lazy to do on Friday. I LOVE working in PR. I've been at my agency for about eight months and I'm so happy here. I let my boss know I'm going to head out so I can make it to orgent care before they close. I think I'm going to need stitches, but really don't want to go to the ER. After some back and forth, they tell me they actually cannot give me stitches, despite me needing them, because it's been 24 hours since the wound was opened. This is where the tetanus shot comes into play.. since I didn't get one on Friday, I'm due for one. I pay my $70 copay for a tetanus shot and a bandaid. I also realized I have a balance of $70 from a specialist I saw in December, so I pay that while I'm there. I leave pissed off that they wouldn't stitch me up but mad at myself for waiting until tonight to go. $140

Daily Total: $143.99

Day Five

5:45 a.m. — Wake up, same routine. Shower, makeup, dog walk, and to work. Tuesday is always filled with calls, and I feel like I'm rarely at my desk. I have a HUGE snack problem, and find myself at Kings in the afternoon. I buy some snacks (Skinny Pop, Cool Ranch Doritos, and a Joe's Lemon Iced Tea) and tell myself I'll do better tomorrow. $6.18

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3 p.m. — While scrolling through Instagram, I see my friend shared something on her story about participating in Cycle for Survival. Her sister was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and my heart hurts so badly for her family. While I wish it could be more, I donate $50 to the cause. She sends me a super sweet text thanking me for my support, and I wish her luck this weekend. $50

6 p.m. — I leave work and head over to N.'s house. He made tacos for dinner and I'm pumped. We talk about our days and I have a glass of wine. I don't stay too late, go home, and get ready for bed. I remember tomorrow is a hair wash day and look down at my hand, which is STILL bleeding through bandaids. I hate me. Feeling too lazy to wash my hair tomorrow and also not wanting it to bleed in my hair, I book myself a blowout before work. It's definitely an aggressive move, but whatever. I deserve it, right? At least that's what I'll tell myself...

Daily Total: $56.18

Day Six

5:15 a.m. — Get up, same morning routine. I have to run out the door by 6 this morning to make it to my 7 a.m. blowout, so my stepdad walks my dog. When the woman asks what the occasion is, I laugh and say that I am dumb and sliced my hand open and that I was way too lazy to wash my own hair. I LOVE Drybar. My financial goal (other than paying off my credit cards and student loans), is to be able to afford two blowouts a week. THIS is why I work a weekend job. After, I head to work and get on with the day — many hair compliments coming my way! $59

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12:30 p.m. — My coworkers are going to Chipotle for lunch, and even though I have a sad lunch of brown rice, ground turkey, and broccoli in the fridge, I go with them. I can NEVER say no to Chipotle, and treat myself to chips and guac. I promise I'll do better. $4.11

2 p.m. — My mom texts me that the dog needs treats, so I go on Amazon to purchase (she pays for Prime!). While I'm there, I notice the Fire Stick is on sale, so naturally I need one. Add to cart, hit buy, no regrets. $28.77

5 p.m. — I run out the door right at 5. My gas light went on this morning, so I stop at the gas station on the way home and fill up, regular, cash. The best part of living in Jersey isn't the bagels, it's the gas attendants. $36.13

6:30 p.m. — I go to therapy every week. I lost my dad a few years back and we left off on extremely bad terms, so it's something I've been dealing with. Some days are better than others. I went to therapy for about ten years starting at the age of five when I was old enough to realize that my parents were divorced, and I started back up again about 6 months ago. It's been super helpful, and it's just really nice to have an outsider's perspective. We've been making great progress, and at the end of the session, my therapist lets me know that she only wants to see me bi-weekly starting in February! Not only am I happy about that for myself and my mental health, but also for my wallet. She also compliments my hair and laughs when I tell her I got a blowout before work. That's self-care, right? $40

Daily Total: $168.01

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Day Seven

5:45 a.m. — Wake up, makeup, walk dog. My friend texts me about a Super Bowl pool he runs and asks if I want a box. He donates half the money to the Special Olympics, so I can't say no. I buy one box ($20), then realize that work is also doing a pool. Boxes in the work pool are $1, so I buy seven of them. $27

12:30 p.m. — Why do I always find myself at Kings? I honestly don't even remember what I buy, but knowing me, some sort of snack and a Joe's Iced Tea. $4.05

5:30 p.m. — Leave work and head home. Remember that N. and I are going to the Rangers game tomorrow, so I stop at Dick's Sporting Goods on the way home for some clothes, hoping to buy an oversized men's sweatshirt or something. I'm in shock when I notice that they have a bare NHL section, but find a cute black and white NY Rangers beanie. Since they stopped selling NHL attire, the hat is on super sale. I felt like I robbed them and obviously had to tell everybody I know that the hat was so cheap. Head home and have a glass of wine, then fall asleep excited for Friday. $1.70

Daily Total: $32.75

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