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.
Today: an IT analyst working in pharmaceuticals who makes $65,000 per year. This week, she spends some of her paycheck on an asiago bagel with veggie cream cheese.
Occupation: IT Analyst
Location: Somerville, MA
Paycheck (2x/month): $1,506 post deductions and taxes
Rent: $900 for one room in a three-bedroom house
Student Loan Payments: $0. (I received a full academic scholarship for my undergrad and worked to pay for living costs.)
Car Insurance: $117
Gym Membership: $29.99
Gas & Electricity: ~$60-80
401(k) Contribution: $600 pre-tax. (My employer also contributes 5% of my salary.)
Health, Dental & Vision Insurance: $65.34, deducted pre-tax
7:30 a.m. — I get out of bed and wash my face and dry shampoo my hair until I look presentable for work. Quickly cut potatoes and carrots to throw in the crockpot with a roast so I'll have dinner and food for this weekend.
10 a.m. — I've been working out of the office for the past few days, so my morning is spent powering through calls and emails and playing a bit of catch up. I eat my packed breakfast of plain Greek yogurt, blueberries, strawberries, and granola.
12 p.m. — I brought lunch from home today, but the cafeteria has Indian food catered and it smells SO good. I can't resist and end up buying an order of chicken tikka masala. $8.63
2 p.m. — I recently transitioned to a new team at work and none of them come in the office on Fridays, so I leave after a productive morning in the office to finish my day at home. On the way, I stop to get gas ($25.11) and a car wash ($11). $36.11
7 p.m. — After hitting the gym for a much-needed sweat, I eat some of the roast I had been cooking in the crockpot all day, telling myself to prep meals like this more often. It's so nice to come home to supper already cooked and it makes the house smell delicious. While eating, I visit with one of my roomies and her BF who is visiting for the weekend.
10 p.m. — I recently found out that my boyfriend of two years had been cheating on me. Seeing my roommate all happy and in love with her new BF has me feeling a little (okay, a lot) down in the dumps about my current situation. I go to my room and call my parents and finally tell them what happened between me and my now ex. It took a while for me to tell them, which may seem weird, but when it first happened, I was in so much shock and denial about it all. It's an emotionally draining conversation and it feels like I've ripped the Band-Aid off all over again, but I'm relieved my parents know now. They are my support system and I needed to lean on them. After pouring my heart out, my parents invite me on a weekend trip to the Caribbean they have planned and won't take no for an answer. My dad tells me to pick flights and he will the cover the cost ($503.67). Seriously, they are the best parents.
11:59 — After what feels like the world's longest day, I wish I could say I did yoga or meditated before bed. Instead, I ate a giant stack of Double Stuf Oreos, cried a bit, and watched Netflix until I fall asleep. Self-care comes in all different forms, right?
Daily Total: $44.74
7 a.m. — Awake despite desperately wanting to sleep in. I am a dog walker on the Wag! app, so I schedule a walk for 8 a.m. Dog walking gives me my puppy fix and extra cash I don't have to budget for!
9 a.m. — I finish the dog walk and head to the gym for weights and cardio. I'm channeling last night's emotions into today's workout and leave high on endorphins. I come home and down an iced coffee, a banana, and two hard-boiled eggs while deciding what to do with my day.
1:15 p.m. — My alma mater is in the Big Ten Conference and I see there is a Big Ten bar crawl around Fenway today. I text one of my friends in the area and we decide to go together. I grab a Lyft to meet her ($11.57). On the way, I go on my Amazon phone app and order a cozy giant blanket for my college roomie who lives in a different state now. She has been on the receiving end of so many late night emotional calls and texts from me this past month and I want her to know how much I love and appreciate her for that. I use points to cover some of it and only pay $13.57. $25.14
8 p.m. — The bar crawl is ending. My friend and I met some fun girls on the crawl and exchange numbers with them, promising to grab drinks soon. I carried cash to keep my spending on drinks and food to a limit instead of mindlessly putting everything on my card, but I still lost track of what I've had to drink so far. My friend and I Uber back to my neighborhood to meet my roomies and go out. She pays and I promise to buy a round at the next bar. $60
2:30 a.m. — Finally make it back home after spending the rest of the night at a local bar with live music. I spent the night dancing alone and actually loved it. I paid the cover and bought a round of drinks and a basket of fries for my friend and me. $30
Daily Total: $115.14
9 a.m. — I'm up and surprisingly feeling great. I deep clean the apartment before I can change my mind and crawl back into bed.
10:30 a.m. — Ex texts me that he wants to meet for coffee. Despite the shit he did, I still love him, and as much as I wish I could control my feelings with a magical switch that turns on and off, I can't.
12 p.m. — Go to a bagel shop with my roomies for the first meal of the day and I'm starving. I get an asiago bagel with veggie cream cheese. All the dairy is going to make me bloat, but I need it. $4.57
2:30 p.m. — After weighing the pros and cons, I decide to meet my ex for coffee. I order jasmine tea and we chat for an hour about life. It's nice, but he hits me with an "I still love you but I don't know if I'm in love with you." Hearing that someone you care about so much doesn't feel the same way you do is one of the worst feelings ever. I call my mom and sister. I wish more than anything that I could drive home and curl up on the couch with them, but since I'm several states away, a phone call with have to suffice. $2.75
10 p.m. — I realize that the only thing I've eaten today is that bagel so I heat up leftover roast and throw on Netflix.
Daily Total: $7.32
5 a.m. — I'm up an hour before my gym alarm because I'm restless. I decide to get up and get there extra early, knowing I'll feel better after a solid sweat.
8:30 a.m. — Arrive at work and settle into my desk for morning meetings with a giant water and peanut butter banana protein shake.
12 p.m. — I have no appetite so I make green tea to sip on while browsing the internet during my lunch break. My roomies and I are planning a Galentine's Day party so I search Pinterest for decoration inspiration.
1 p.m. — Still no appetite but I know I need to put something in my stomach. I mosey to the cafeteria and buy buffalo popcorn chicken to munch on. $3.62
6 p.m. — Warm up the last of the leftover roast for dinner and wait for my roomies to come home. I have been sequestered away at my desk all day and feel like I've barely spoken to another human, so I'm excited for them to get home.
8 p.m. — My roomies and I catch up on our days and I feel so grateful for them, especially this last month. They have been so supportive of me through the breakup with my ex. I am hungry and feeling a little under the weather so I make a PB & J, chug a glass of Emergen-C, and go to bed early.
Daily Total: $3.62
5:15 a.m. — My alarm is set for 7:30 but my internal clock wakes me up. I consider going to the gym but I know sleep would be best to fight this head cold so force myself back to bed.
7:15 a.m. — Up for real this time. I check my sleep-tracking app and see that I slept nine and a half hours last night. Go me! I shower, drink a cup of coffee, and pack Greek yogurt with blueberries and strawberries to eat at my desk later for breakfast. I also pack clothes to work out in after work. One of the main reasons I chose to live in Massachusetts was to be near my (now ex) BF, and not having him as part of my daily routine anymore is so effing hard. Working out helps to keep my mind off of things, so I don't usually miss a day.
11:20 a.m. — Literally can't wait to eat so I warm up the lunch I brought from home — tilapia and broccoli — and eat at my desk (so that no one can see me eating lunch so early!).
1 p.m. — Meet a coworker for a break at the coffee bar in our office. She gets a grande black coffee and I get a hot tea to soothe my throat. I buy both. $3
4 p.m. — Snack on a Honeycrisp apple while working on my budget spreadsheet. I usually check my budget one or two times a week. When I first started working, I saved almost no money, so in November I created a budget for myself and made a goal to put $10,000 in savings by the end of 2018! It keeps me motivated to not spend as much.
7 p.m. — Home after the gym. I preheat the oven to make more tilapia and broccoli for dinner. While my tilapia bakes, I put chicken in the fridge to defrost for dinner tomorrow and prep overnight oats for tomorrow's breakfast. I've never made them before but I throw in oats, almond milk, a little maple syrup, nutmeg, and strawberries and hope for the best!
Daily Total: $3
6:50 a.m. — Sleep in again since I am determined to beat this head cold. Since I'm usually up at 5:30 a.m. for the gym most mornings, sleeping in for the past two days has felt luxurious. I roll out of bed and make coffee and then shower and get ready for the day.
8:30 a.m. — At my desk I eat the overnight oats, which are surprisingly good. I've got a knot in my stomach, though, because my ex and I work in the same building. He's been traveling most of the month but I know he gets back today so there's a possibility of running into him. We haven't spoken since our coffee and I am hoping to avoid him. Breaking up with someone you love and care for is one thing but then adding in the possibility of running into them every day is a whole new level of emotional torture. I take a deep breath (realize my head cold is better, yay!) and remind myself that there are problems in the world so much larger than mine and that I will be fine.
11 a.m. — I've spent all morning creating flow charts so I take a quick break to eat a banana, fill up my water bottle, and stretch my legs.
12:30 p.m. — Eat lunch with my coworkers. I have leftover tilapia and broccoli. Inevitably, I see my ex. Try not to make eye contact but feel my face flush bright red. Ughhh.
4 p.m. — I have a phone interview with my alma mater. They are writing a story on me and I don't feel like I did enough in college for this honor but I'm flattered nonetheless. After, I head home and chat with my roomie and her BF. I snack on a rice cake and strawberries before going to the gym.
7 p.m. — After the gym, I call my dad and he gives me a quick pep talk. He can make me feel better no matter what. I swing by Trader Joe's on my way home and pick up a few things to make curry for supper. I grab riced cauliflower, bell peppers, butternut squash soup, and red curry sauce. I can't keep away from the snacks so I also grab Joe-Joe's cookies, peanut butter-filled pretzels, and granola bars. $17.81
9 p.m. — The curry ends up being delicious. I eat two bowls while hanging out with my roomies and watching the Celtics game.
Daily Total: $17.81
5:20 a.m. — I get dressed for the gym. I check my sleep-tracking app and see I only got about five hours of sleep, so I make coffee before leaving.
7:30 a.m. — I'm at work super early so I treat myself to a second coffee to go with the peanut butter protein shake I brought from home. The coffee bar at my work is subsidized so I don't feel bad buying a venti cold brew for less than $2. $1.93
10 a.m. — I'm powering through a bunch of documentation for a new project I'm on and realize my stomach is grumbling. I have no snacks at my desk and it would be embarrassing to heat up my lunch this early so I go to the cafeteria and get a sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich on a bagel. $2.50
12 p.m. — I eat lunch with coworkers again and also buy a warm chocolate chip cookie because I have no willpower against warm, chocolatey goodness. $2
7 p.m. — I meet my roomie and one of our friends for beers after work. I get two Gruits plus buffalo popcorn chicken and fried calamari for the table to share. $42
Daily Total: $48.43
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