A Week In Connecticut On A $52,000 Salary

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 luxury travel manager who makes $52,000 per year. She spends some of her money this week on kombucha.
Occupation: Luxury Travel Manager
Industry: Hospitality
Age: 26
Location: Connecticut
Salary: $52,000
Paycheck (2x/month): $1,425
Monthly Expenses
Housing Costs: $0. My company pays for my housing ($2,000/month), but I am responsible for internet ($70) and the electric bill ($120-$200) each month. I live alone for part of the year, and I have a roommate during the summer.
Student Loan Payments: $300
Car Payment: $387
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All Other Monthly Expenses
Apple Music: $9.99. It's a necessity.
Audible: $22.95. I drive quite a bit and audiobooks helps me enjoy the time.
Netflix: $8.99
The New York Times: $15. After the last election, I felt it was my civic duty to keep myself, and everyone around me, aware.
Dropbox: $9.99
Verizon: $120-$200. My company pays for $150 of my phone bill. I am responsible for any additional costs (mostly international calls on my part).
Car Insurance & Registration: $120. I pay my auto insurance bi-annually, so every month, I have an automatic withdrawal set up.
Savings: $500. I set up an auto-withdrawal on the first of each month to put $500 into savings. Sometimes I'll add more.

Day One

4:45 a.m. — It's a flight day, so I'm up and out of bed far earlier than I would prefer. I showered the night before and quickly put my clothes on today. I live about an hour and 20 minutes from the airport and my goal is to leave the house by 5:15 a.m. I grab my things and hit the road. Twenty minutes into my drive, I see Dunkin' Donuts. My routine on flight days is to always get a large coffee with almond milk and a turkey sausage and egg wrap. I typically skip breakfast, but travel days are long and this may be the only thing I get the chance to eat for a while. $5.25
8:30 a.m. — We finally receive confirmation from the aviation crew that the plane is departing. It was a tougher-than-expected crowd this morning and we had some hiccups with luggage. My boss and I manage a private travel program that flies clients from destinations around North America, and we deal with a very wealthy clientele. Every day is different. We don't have time to dwell, however, because we have another flight leaving from a different airport in two hours. Before getting in my car, I buy a huge bottle of water from the vending machine. I left my bottle at home. $2.30
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2 p.m. — The second flight is delayed due to weather, and everyone is in a particularly sour mood. Once the plane is off the ground, my boss and I pack up our things and decide that a post-work cocktail is needed. We drive around for a while until we find the perfect dive bar that reminds us both of college. We each order a beer and proceed to chat for the next half hour. Upon finishing the first drink, we announce that second one is in order and we spend another 45 minutes talking about work, life, and everything else. We make friends with the bartender, who must have given us a deal. The bill is $12, and we split it equally with both of us leaving a $3 tip. $9
5 p.m. — After dropping my boss off at the train station, I start my long drive home. I stop at a gas station along the way and fill up my car. When I drive to the airport, I can expense the trip, and I get $0.55 per mile. This adds up, especially when we have multiple flight days each month, and I typically put my expense checks into savings. I bought a car new six months ago, and I've already put 10,000 miles on it. ($33.42 expensed)
6:45 p.m. — I get home and immediately let my dog out. On busy work days, I ask one of my seasonal hires (who is 20 and in college) to let my dog out throughout the day. He typically comes to work and everywhere else with me, but we've been crazy busy lately, and it's just not feasible for me to bring him along. I always leave $20 when I ask her to do this, which helps when I ask her for last-minute favors. $20
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Daily Total: $36.55

Day Two

8 a.m. — I wake up to my alarm and lounge in bed for about 45 minutes until I decide it's time to get up. I let my dog out and proceed to hop in the shower. My job offers me a ton of flexibility, and when we are not busy, I can choose my hours. Since I'm a night owl, I prefer to go into work around 10 a.m., but I have no issue working until 8 or 9 at night. I finish getting ready, grab my dog, and get in my car to go to the office. Along the way, I stop at the local coffee shop and order a drip coffee with almond milk. $2.60
12:30 p.m. — I'm an awful cook, and since I travel so much, I typically don't buy a ton of groceries. I've tried meal planning, but my schedule is all over the place and I eat out more often than not. Around 12, I call in an order to a local café. I get a chicken Caesar salad to go, and get in my car to pick it up. While waiting in line, I buy a kombucha as well. It's all ridiculously overpriced. but I'd rather eat something I enjoy versus trying to make something that doesn't taste great. $15.60
6 p.m. — It's time to leave work and I remember that I need to get dog food. I stop by the local ranch supply store to buy a very overpriced bag of grain-free lamb and rice dog food. I'm single and tend to spoil my dog more than is needed. While standing in line, I also get him a bag of dog treats for the fun of it. $44.99
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7:30 p.m. — I'm not quite hungry for dinner, but I know I will get cravings at 10 p.m. if I don't eat something now. I eat minestrone soup from a can because again, I can't cook. Chow down on that while finishing up some work, and I'm ready for bed and watching Netflix by 9:30.
Daily Total: $63.19

Day Three

4:45 a.m. — It's another flight day and I really did not want to get out of bed. We're only working out of one private airport today, so I bring my dog because he's allowed in our office. We leave the house later than normal at 5:30 a.m., and I can tell that I didn't eat enough yesterday because I can feel a headache coming on. By the time I hit the Dunkin' Donuts, I'm already thinking about food that I normally would never eat. I order my typical coffee with almond milk plus the turkey sausage wrap, but I order a side of hashbrowns as well. I immediately regret it because the potatoes are disgusting and weren't worth the extra $1.50. $7.40
11 a.m. — The plane takes off without any issues, which is a great relief. I'm still tired from the morning drive and have had three cups of free coffee from the airport café. The breakfast I ate earlier did nothing for my headache, so my boss and I order something from Seamless. We choose a local deli, and we both get a cobb salad with extra avocado. It takes nearly two hours for the order to arrive, and once we get it, we are both disappointed. I've never been a big fan of delivery services outside of NYC, and this experience reminds me why. $27
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1 p.m. — After our sad lunch, my boss and I leave for the day. We both think a Bloody Mary would be good before we go on our separate ways, and we find a local tavern close to the train station. We sip on those for about 30 minutes while chatting about our personal lives and our plans for after the holidays. My boss offers to buy this round, and I say that I'm long overdue to get the next one. Once we finish, I drop her off at the train station and make my way home.
5 p.m. — Before I get home, I stop at the local market in my little town for a few essentials. I love shopping locally but the prices are definitely stiffer than normal grocery stores. I get two avocados, a bag of quinoa, cherry tomatoes, brie, crackers, mini corn tortillas, turkey burger, black bean hummus, and a bottle of my favorite sauvignon blanc. The price seems ridiculous for the amount of items I purchased, and I remind myself to eat all of this before ordering out. Back at home, I open the wine and proceed to cook the turkey burger and make tacos with the hummus, tortillas, and avocados. It's not the worst thing I've ever made, and I definitely have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I'm quite proud of myself! $57.60
7 p.m. — I clean up after dinner and continue making my way through the bottle of wine. I've been mulling over what to get my boss for Christmas, and I think a spa gift card would be the best, given how stressful her job can be sometimes. I online to find a nice spa near where my boss lives and go down a rabbit hole of a thousand options. I'm not from the East Coast and still feel intimidated trying to figure out where things are in New York City and how far places are from one another. I settle on a spa that I think will work, and they have a discount on gift cards where you get $20 off a $200 purchase. I go for it and check one holiday gift off my list. $180
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Daily Total: $272

Day Four

9 a.m. — The bottle of wine from the night before got to me and I wake up late. I was already going to take the day off, given how many things I had to do. I get out of bed and take my dog for a walk before showering. We take a 45-minute trip around our little town and chat with a few neighbors along the way. I get back to my house and proceed to take a long, hot shower that changes everything. I blow dry my hair and then start making a to-do list of everything I need to accomplish. I start my first load of laundry and realize that I'm out of detergent. I run to the local store and grab Tide Pods and a kombucha, before speeding back to my house. $12.85
12 p.m. — I spend most of the morning doing laundry and other household cleaning tasks, and eat the leftover tacos for lunch while writing work emails. I need a midday caffeine pick me up and drive to the local café for my drip coffee with almond milk. I'm traveling tomorrow, so I spend the rest of my afternoon packing and cleaning. $3.40
6 p.m. — I promised one of my friends we'd have dinner this evening and she reminds me at 3 p.m. We pick a nicer local restaurant we both love, figuring that an early dinner would suit us well. I order the chicken parmesan and a glass of white and she orders the fish of the day special with a glass of red. We chat about her recent breakup, which has been a rough one, and each get another glass of wine. Two and half hours later, we move to another location and I offer to buy dinner as part of her Christmas present. We proceed to have another drink at a local wine bar, and I realize that I need to chill for a little bit before driving. We stay for another hour or so, and I drink water while my friend has another glass of wine. We split this bill, and I give her a ride home. $62
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Daily Total: $78.25

Day Five

7 a.m. — It's another flight day, but at least this one doesn't start as early. The plane is landing at 11, so I don't need to be there until 10:30 a.m. I get up early to finish packing. My dog sitter has confirmed that she can stay at my house for the next few days, so I write her a thank you note and leave her a few details about my house. I also leave $150 (expensed) for her help.
9 a.m. — I give my dog a hug and get on the road. My car is at the quarter mark so I might as well fill up now instead of waiting until I land in a few days. My dad always taught me to never let my gas gauge get below half a tank during the winter, and it's something that stuck with me. I stop at the gas station to fill up, and grab a sugar-free Red Bull for the hell of it. ($28.72 expensed)
11 a.m. — The plane has landed and I'm waiting for the crew to finish the reset before boarding. My good friend and I used to work at my company's property in the Caribbean together, and she's flying down with me for a work reunion. We're having lunch on the plane but I'm starving and get a protein bar from the vending machine at the airport. This holds me over until we're able to take off. $1.60
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2:30 p.m. — We land but we have to wait an hour for the next boat to take us to our final destination. We go to a local bar and each order a rum punch. The prices here are ridiculous, but they don't scrimp on the rum, so we're happy. We tip the bartender $3 each. $15
5 p.m. — We arrive and are greeted by old friends; I knew this was going to be a fun trip. We eat dinner at the bar on the dock; I order a grilled chicken wrap with a side salad and we have a few drinks. $55
Daily Total: $71.60

Day Six

9 a.m. — We wake up with hangovers and my friend suggests that a Bloody Mary (or two) is desperately needed. We head to our preferred local sand bar around 10 a.m. and find our favorite bartender working. We have a great time catching up, and he keeps the drinks flowing. We leave around 1 p.m. and when we ask for the bill, our bartender shrugs us off. We each leave $20 cash as a tip, and promise to come back later with everyone else. $20
2 p.m. — We call one of our friends to pick us up so we can go rent our golf cart. Because of inflation, the cost per day to rent an electric golf cart is $60 plus tax, which comes out to almost $65 exactly. We're going to have this cart for the next three days, so we split it evenly. $97.50
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4 p.m. — We get our golf cart and then take a nap to reserve our energy. After waking up, our old roommate shows up to the house with fishing rods and tells us to go to the market for bait. We get in our cart, drive to the store, and get a box of squid for $10. On the way back, we stop by the liquor store to get a few bottles of wine. Again, prices are far higher here, so we ended up getting two bottles of rose for $29 each. $34.61
8 p.m. — We end up fishing into the dark, which is something my friend and I both love doing. Nothing is better than watching the sun set over the ocean. We end up having a beach bonfire with most of our good friends, and by 8, everyone is in a good mood. We pack up around 8:30 and tell everyone to meet us at the sand bar for dinner. We order enough food for a crowd: three pizzas, three dozen wings, two quesadillas, two orders of fish fingers, and three baskets of fries. C'est la vie, I suppose. Someone in the group pays for all the food without us noticing, but my friend and I grab the bartender so at least we can pay for our drinks. Again, he gives us a major discount, and the total was only $12. We each give him a $20 and proceed to go home to bed. $20
Daily Total: $172.11
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Day Seven

8 a.m. — Wake up with an even greater hangover than the day before — but no Bloody Marys today. I need to get some work done in the morning before enjoying the rest of the afternoon. I take a walk on the beach in the morning to put my feet in the ocean before going back to the house to shower. When I get out of the shower, I feel 10 times better. My friend wakes up and we get breakfast ingredients from the local store. We buy eggs, ham, grits, and coffee, which turn into the ultimate breakfast of champions. We split the bill and I sit in the kitchen on my computer for a few hours while my friend makes breakfast. I chug a few glasses of water before grabbing coffee, and after breakfast I'm feeling almost back to normal. We sip on coffee throughout the morning while listening to NPR, and I wrap up my work for the day. $13
12 p.m. — Around noon, we change into our bathing suits and make our way to the dock. We're taking a boat trip around the area and we know it's going to be a good day. We each grab a vodka-grapefruit juice from the bar before getting on the boat. $10
2 p.m. — The boat trip itself was paid for by my company, but all of us tip our captain $30 each. We spend most of the day snorkeling, swimming, and fishing, and it is magical. $30
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4 p.m. — Later in the afternoon, we stop at a inn and restaurant about 30 minutes from the one we're staying on. We order apps for everyone and one of our coworkers takes the bill. The inn has a very cute boutique, and all of us girls spent about 30 minutes shopping. I find a life-changing ring and happily to pay almost $90 for it. It's one of those statement pieces that one cannot live without. $86
Daily Total: $139
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