A Week In Southern Connecticut On An $87,193 Salary

Photo: Getty Images.

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: a registered nurse who makes $87,193 per year. This week, she spends some of her money on drinks.

Occupation: Registered Nurse
Industry: Healthcare
Age: 25
Location: Southern Connecticut
Salary: $87,193

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $920 for my half of the two-bedroom, two-bath apartment I share with a roommate
Student Loan Payments: $300, but I usually pay $400-$500
Car Payment: $0. I paid off my car last year after three years of owning it.
Health, Dental, & Vision Insurance: $149.84 taken directly from my paychecks
Parking: $51 taken directly from my paychecks
TV & Internet: $123.81. I pay this, and my roommate pays for all other utilities.
Gym Membership: $10
Savings: $1,800 deposited directly to my account, but I usually end up using some of this for bills.
403(b): $900 taken directly from my paychecks pre-tax

Additional Expenses:
Netflix: $66/year (paid in a lump sum to my sister at the beginning of the year)
Cell Phone: $495 paid directly to my parents' in a lump sum at the beginning of the year
Car Insurance (2x a year): $424.30

Day One

4 p.m. — My alarm goes off, and I lay in bed answering texts, perusing Instagram, and checking out my new Hinge matches before I finally, begrudgingly, get up. I worked last night, so I went to bed around 9 a.m. I fill up my electric kettle and make a cup of tea to drink while I relax before another night of work tonight. My sister texts to let me know that she got the Haim concert tickets we've been eying. They're $61 each, and I'm really excited. I love this band and have been dying to see them live! She pays, and I'll send her a check when it gets closer to the concert.

4:45 p.m. — I lay in bed drinking tea, watching Scandal on Netflix, and eating a few chocolates. I hate waking up and having to get ready for work right away, so I usually wake up a little early so I have time for this!

5:15 p.m. — I get dressed for work, do my makeup, and pack my lunch. I'm taking leftover slow-cooked sesame chicken and brown rice that I made earlier in the week. I absolutely love my crockpot and am trying to use it more! I pack a yogurt, clementine, and carrots with veggie dip for snacks. I heat up the rest of the chicken and brown rice leftovers to eat now and boil carrots to eat with it.

6:15 p.m. — I say goodbye to my roommate, leave for work, and drive the 20 minutes there. I work in one of Connecticut's bigger (and more dangerous) cities, and there's a lot that it has to offer. I park and hop on the shuttle that will take me to the hospital. I run into three of my coworker friends on the bus, and we catch up on the ride over.

7 p.m. — My shift starts, and it's a busy one! I have four patients but I soon get a fifth as another person is admitted to the floor.

11:30 p.m. — I quickly eat a yogurt as I try to start some paperwork, unfortunately without much success due to a few pressing emergencies on my floor.

3 a.m. — Time to finally start all the paperwork that comes along with my job! I'm starving, so I heat up my leftover chicken and brown rice and eat it at the front desk while charting. My clementine and carrots will unfortunately go uneaten, but I'll just save them to pack another day.

7:45 a.m. — My shift is finally over, and I'm definitely looking forward to bed! My friend and I wait around for another friend to finish her shift. We chat for a bit and all leave 20 minutes later. We contemplate going out to breakfast before going home, but decide to go another time instead.

8:15 a.m. — I'm feeling hungry on my drive home, and I tell myself that I deserve a bacon, egg, and cheese after the shift that I had. I stop at a small bagel shop down the street from my apartment and buy a BEC on a plain bagel. I shower, devour the delicious breakfast sandwich, and get ready for bed. $4.20

9:30 a.m. — Finally time to sleep! With my blackout shades drawn and my noise machine on, I hop into bed and soon fall into a deep sleep.

Daily Total: $4.20

Day Two

2 p.m. — I wake up to my alarm, and even though I'm tired, I know that I have to get up. I have the next two days off, and then I'm working day shifts, so I have to get my body back to sleeping at night. After finally dragging myself out of bed, I browse Pinterest for recipe ideas, eat a bowl of Special K Red Berries, and make a grocery list.

3 p.m. — I head to Stop & Shop where I stock up on groceries for the week. I buy bananas, string beans, salmon, milk, cheese, yogurt, ingredients for chili, and ingredients to make the ground turkey sweet potato skillet recipe I found on Pinterest. I also grab a bag of mints for my grandpa (he's trying to quit smoking and has been eating mints when he wants a cigarette) and a bag of black licorice for my grandma. I'm visiting my grandparents tomorrow, and they'll appreciate the little surprise. My groceries come to $60.08. I have a dollar scratch-off ticket in my wallet that I decide to cash on my way out of the store, and I get a whole $2! I use the $2 as a credit I can apply to my grocery bill and leave the store feeling bizarrely happy to have cut down on the bill. $58.08

4 p.m. — I unpack my groceries, throw a load of laundry in the wash, and head to the gym. I spend over an hour on the elliptical, using the weights, and running on the treadmill. I have always hated running, but I'm trying to get into it this year! Even though I run super slow and tire easily, I'm proud of myself for trying.

5:30 p.m. — Back at my apartment, my roommate is getting ready for work. She's also a nurse and works nights. Our schedules are usually pretty similar, but this week they're practically opposite so I won't see much of her until the weekend. I clean my bathroom and do another load of laundry before lounging on the couch for a little bit.

6:30 p.m. — I cook dinner — balsamic string beans and salmon. It's so delicious (and healthy) that I end up eating it all.

8 p.m. — I settle on the couch for a night of watching The Bachelor. My roommate is at work tonight so I'm watching solo. I wasn't a fan of this season in the beginning, but I'm hooked now. Despite being forever single, I'm a hopeless romantic, and I get addicted to this show every time I watch it, as corny as it can be sometimes.

11:45 p.m. — Bedtime. After only sleeping for a few hours after work, I'm pretty tired and in need of a full night's sleep!

Daily Total: $58.08

Day Three

8:30 a.m. — I wake up naturally before my alarm goes off, something that rarely happens. I'm still lying in bed when I get a call from my grandparents. I was supposed to visit them today and take them to lunch, but it's snowing a little and they're worried about me driving the 45 minutes to their house. They suggest that I visit another day in the next few weeks, and although I'm bummed I won't be seeing them today, I don't want them to worry and agree to reschedule.

9:45 a.m. — I make scrambled eggs and a whole grain English muffin for breakfast and pour myself a glass of orange juice. When I'm done, I settle on the couch with a giant mug of Irish breakfast tea with a dash of milk in it. I alternate between watching more of Scandal and reading a book my mom recommended. I've only read a few chapters so far, so I'm not super invested in it yet. I love reading though, and I try to always have a book going. I usually either read books that my mom, also an avid reader (and a librarian), loans me or that I borrow from the local library. I take a brief break from my lazy morning to clean the kitchen before relaxing once again.

12:45 p.m. — I eat a clementine and Special K while reading my book and perusing the internet.

1:30 p.m. — I decide to go see a movie since my plans with my grandparents got cancelled. I see Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which I'm excited about since it got nominated for a lot of Oscars. Since it's so last minute, I end up seeing the movie alone. It feels strange, but I actually really enjoy the experience and consider doing it more often. The movie is really good, and it's discount Tuesday, so the ticket is cheap. $6.10

3:45 p.m. — I leave the movie theater and go to the gym. I spend over an hour there using the weights and jogging on the treadmill.

6 p.m. — I eat a Quaker Oats breakfast square and make chili using one of my mom's recipes. I let it simmer for an hour before eating dinner.

8 p.m. — I call my mom and we chat for 20 minutes. Then I relax with my book, more Scandal, and a cup of hot chocolate that I hope will satisfy my craving for sweets.

10:30 p.m. — I get in bed much earlier than I usually would because I'm working a day shift tomorrow and have to be up bright and early.

Daily Total: $6.10

Day Four

5:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off hours earlier than I ever want it to. I slept surprisingly well last night, so I'm not as tired as I usually am when I have to wake up this early. I put on my scrubs and eat breakfast — a whole grain English muffin with all-natural peanut butter on it and a glass of orange juice. I pack my lunch with leftover chili and snacks I have on hand and leave for work at 6:20.

7 a.m. — My workday starts. I'm the charge nurse today, which basically means I'm in charge of the whole unit and any major decisions or problems that come up throughout the shift. I see my three patients, do their assessments, and pass out their medications.

11 a.m. — I eat a Siggi's yogurt to curb my mid-morning hunger. Good thing I did since we soon discover that the door to our break room is broken and we can't get in to eat our lunches!

1 p.m. — I attend a meeting with some of the doctors, social workers, physical therapists, and other staff that work on our floor. When it finishes, I'm luckily able to get into the break room for lunch! I eat my leftover chili, clementine, and carrots with veggie dip.

5 p.m. — One of my coworkers gets upsetting news, and I'm reminded of how great the people I work with are. We hug and support our coworker and, still all in disbelief, get back to caring for our patients.

8 p.m. — I leave work and drive home. I'm starving, but I take a quick shower before eating dinner (Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Mac & Cheese, a granola bar, and honey-wheat pretzels) in my pajamas in front of Netflix.

10:30 p.m. — I climb in bed, exhausted. Time to do it all again tomorrow.

Daily Total: $0

Day Five

5:30 a.m. — Get up, get dressed, eat breakfast before I leave for work.

7 a.m. — I get a report and then attend the staff meeting my manager and assistant manager are holding about updates on our floor.

8:30 a.m. — I attend a brief meeting about patients who will be discharged today and then see my own patients and pass out their medications. The floor is really busy, so I'm trying to help everyone as much as possible, especially since I'm the charge nurse again. I discharge one of my coworker's patients for him.

12:30 p.m. — I drink a Siggi's drinkable strawberry yogurt to help get me through my 1 p.m. meeting without getting hangry. I attend my meeting (similar to the one I went to yesterday) and collaborate with other hospital coworkers to help coordinate more of our patient discharges.

1:30 p.m. — I take a break from the busy floor to eat my lunch. It's more leftover chili that I packed from home, a string cheese, and a granola bar. I usually pack my lunch to save money and to avoid having to spend the time going downstairs to the cafeteria. My coworker's steak and mushroom quesadilla does look tempting though!

3 p.m. — New patients keep arriving on the floor, and I try to help everyone out as much as possible while keeping my sanity.

8 p.m. — It's finally time to leave! After finishing up some paperwork, I head home, where my best friend is waiting for me. She lives in Manhattan but has a work event in Connecticut tomorrow, so she's staying with me tonight. She took the train from the city and is waiting for me when I get home.

9 p.m. — After showering and changing out of my scrubs, I head downtown to a local bar with my best friend and my roommate. The three of us decide to grab drinks and apps. I get a beer and they both get cocktails. We split boneless BBQ wings, Asian calamari, nachos, and the most delicious brussels sprouts I have ever had! We catch up, talk about relationships (we're all single and having no luck in the dating scene), and reminisce about some of our favorite memories. We devour most of our food, split the check, and head back to the apartment sleepy and quite full. $29.76

11 p.m. — My best friend and I are exhausted since we were both up early for work. We get in bed and chat for a few minutes before turning out the lights at 11:15.

Daily Total: $29.76

Day Six

8:30 a.m. — We wake up, and my friend quickly gets out of bed to finish last-minute preparations before work. I stay in bed for a while browsing Instagram and avoiding leaving the warmth of my down comforter.

9 a.m. — I join my friend in the living room and we split a banana as she finishes up her work. We get ready and then head to my favorite bagel shop to get breakfast sandwiches and orange juice. We pay separately. $6.33

10:30 a.m. — We find out that my friend's coworkers are running late traveling from the city, so we decide to find a Starbucks to hang out at and get our caffeine fix. Neither of us drinks coffee, so we each get a black tea. My friend tells me more about her new job. We're both so thankful for this short and unexpected visit. $2.39

11:30 a.m. — I drop off my best friend where she's meeting her coworkers and say goodbye with a big hug. We don't know when we'll see each other next, but we both agree it has to be soon! I stop at a few boutiques on my drive home to look for a birthday present for my roommate, but nothing catches my eye. I decide to swing by the mall, and I stop for gas on the way there. I use my Stop & Shop gas points to get a $0.20/gallon discount, which is good since my tank is practically empty. $24.01

12:30 p.m. — There's nothing great at the mall, but I still grab gummy bears and lip gloss my roommate likes to add to her present. I also buy chocolate for myself because I have no willpower. $12.82

1 p.m. — I then head to the local liquor store and buy two bottles of cabernet sauvignon, one for me and one for my roomie. I know absolutely nothing about wine, so I always end up picking bottles at random. Here's to them being good! $24.42

2 p.m. — I'm finally hungry for lunch and eat a bowl of chili and slice up Havarti cheese. (I absolutely love cheese; it's a weakness of mine and a staple in my diet.) I watch Scandal, eat a banana, and call my grandma and grandpa to reschedule our lunch date. I then browse Money Diaries, and feeling inspired by one I just read, I decide to download the Duolingo app.

4:45 p.m. — I go to the gym for a quick workout and spend most of my time jogging on the treadmill. Even though I go slow and walk at times, I notice that this run seems easier than others, and I'm proud of my progress.

6 p.m. — I planning on having a quiet night at home but my roommate invites me to dinner with her work friends. I shower, curl my hair, and get dressed up. I basically live in scrubs, workout clothes, and pajamas, so this is a treat!

7:30 p.m. — My roommate, our friend, and I arrive at the Mexican restaurant where we're meeting a large group of their friends. They won't seat us until everyone has arrived, so we grab a drink the bar. I order a sangria, and my roommate pays the tab, but I give her $10. Once we're seated, we order chips and guacamole and all get steak tacos. They're delicious. We keep ordering rounds of drinks (three margaritas for me), and we spend four hours there. I'm proud of myself for going out even though I didn't know most of the group, and we end up having a great time. We get separate checks, and mine is $61.91 before tip. $71.91

11:30 p.m. — We leave the restaurant to go to a nearby bar for beers and hang out at a table in back; one of my friends pays. After we leave, we go to a tequila bar and get a round of margaritas. My friend and I pay for my roommate's drink. We hang out there until the bar closes. $23.27

2:30 a.m. — We get home and I eat a few honey wheat pretzels and drink a glass of water. I'm in my pajamas and about to go to bed when my roommate suggests going to McDonald's. We make a quick trip to the drive-through (my roommate insists on paying even though I offer) and munch on burgers, fries, and chicken nuggets before finally going to bed at 3 a.m.

Daily Total: $165.15

Day Seven

10:45 a.m. — No alarm today! I sleep in after getting to bed much later than I wanted to last night. Feeling dehydrated and hoping I'm not super hungover, I decide to stay in bed and finish the last episode of Scandal that's on Netflix. Olivia Pope has been annoying me for the last few seasons, but I feel determined to finish the show anyway. I drink some water, finish Scandal, and then switch to watching Atonement, which I haven't seen in a while.

12:15 p.m. — I finally crawl out of bed to eat a banana and a bowl of cereal. I then decide to embrace the laziness of today and lay in bed to watch more Atonement while working up the energy to go to the gym.

3 p.m. — I do a load of laundry, drink some of my Naked smoothie, eat a handful of almonds, and head to the gym. I'm not feeling 100%, so all I manage is a walk on the treadmill. I listen to a few different podcasts while working out. I try to drop off my rent payment on the way back to my apartment, but no one is in the leasing office so I head home instead and remind myself to come back soon.

6 p.m. — My roommate and I drive to our friend's apartment. We pick up a pepperoni pizza on the way, which our friend has already paid for. We eat and drink vodka sodas, and I give our friend $10 for the pizza and alcohol she is providing. After pre-gaming and having some much-needed girl talk, we head out to a local bar. $10

11 p.m. — My friend buys the first round of drinks — Jameson and gingers for us and a vodka soda with cranberry for my roommate. We enjoy people-watching and can't help commenting on how many guys with man buns there are in the bar. Who knew that those were still a thing?! I buy the next round of drinks, and we decide to dance for a while; the DJ is playing great songs, including a lot of throwbacks! My friend and my roommate each get a beer but I refrain because I'm the DD and I don't want to be too buzzed. $40

1:30 a.m. — We leave the bar and stop at a food truck for hot dogs and fries before walking back to our friend's apartment. My roommate pays since I drove tonight.

2:30 a.m. — We get home, drink water, and get ready for bed. I rarely stay out late at bars anymore, so after two nights of going out, I'm ready for my bed and a relaxing day tomorrow!

Daily Total: $50

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