A Week In Southern New Hampshire On A $60,000 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, as part of Your Spending In Your State: a travel nurse working in healthcare who makes $60,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a Kind Bar.
Occupation: Travel Registered Nurse
Industry: Healthcare
Age: 23
Location: Southern New Hampshire
Salary: $60,000-$85,000, depending on my travel assignment
Paycheck Amount (Weekly): $1500
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $0 (I live with family when I travel.)
Student Loan Payment: $1550
Phone Bill: $63
Car Insurance: $88
Health Insurance: $0 (I'm still on my parents' plan.)
Netflix: I use my brother's account.
Doctor Bill: $20 (I go to a holistic primary care physician, so I pay monthly and get acupuncture, hypnosis, and unlimited sick visits.)
EZ-Pass: ~$40 (I drive through New England frequently and pass a lot of tolls.)
Paycheck Allocation: ~40% into my checking account, which I use for my loans; ~25% into my savings account; ~17.5 % in my personal checking, which I use for everyday spending and monthly payments; ~17.5% into a savings account I have with my fiancé for our wedding and our future.

Day One

5:35 a.m. — Wake up and get ready for work while my fiancé, B., makes coffee. I choose tea instead of coffee this morning (I put a scoop of my vital proteins collagen in), because I have a wicked sore throat and desperately need something to soothe it! Getting ready for work as a registered nurse is easy. I put on scrubs, brush my teeth, and throw my hair in a bun. I'm out the door at 6 a.m. and get to work by 6:30. B. is a nurse as well, and we try to work the same shifts.
7 a.m. — I start my morning by getting a report from the night shift while I sip on my tea and eat an Rxbar. Today shouldn't be too bad — my patients all sound great!
11 a.m. — I eat my yogurt with blackberries and granola. I tried my hand at making granola a few days ago and actually surprised myself with how well it turned out! It consists of rolled oats, honey, almonds, pecans, walnuts, chia seeds, and coconut. I get green tea from the unit pantry.
1:30 p.m. — My unit gets a pleasant surprise from a past patient — a chocolate gift basket! We all act like we've never seen food before and devour it. It's a slow day at work, so I nibble on chocolate while I chat with HR from my past staff hospital. This is my first travel nursing assignment, and while I like it, there's still a lot of uncertainty as to where/when my next job assignment will be. The unit I come from is very high in acuity and fast-paced, and I am always being challenged in a good way. But this unit has much more stable patients and isn't as fast-paced. I'm concerned I'll lose some of my skills. My old hospital offers me a per diem position so I can keep my skills up, and I have a job to fall back on in case travel nursing doesn't work out!
2:30 p.m. — Lunchtime! I'm glad I packed soup for lunch — my throat is so dry and scratchy and I feel like I'm definitely getting a cold. I eat white bean soup that I made last night and have some zinc that I found in my purse. Hopefully it will keep this cold at bay. The soup is made of carrots, celery, zucchini, onion, cannellini beans, and kale — so yummy!
7:30 p.m. — I leave work at 7:30 and chat with my mom on the phone on the ride home. I just moved out of my parents house in Connecticut and in with my fiancé and his parents in New Hampshire. It's not ideal, but I really can't afford rent with my student loans to pay off. My mom is amazing, and I miss her terribly.
8 p.m. — B. and I get home around the same time. His mom made lemon chicken with asparagus for dinner, and we eat with his parents. We shower and then hang out for the rest of the night. I was planning on having an early night, but B. convinces me to crack a few beers and play pool while watching football. We head to bed around 11.
Daily Total: $0

Day Two

4:30 a.m. — I wake up feeling dreadful; my throat is on fire and my head feels like it weighs 100 pounds. I toss and turn for a little but realize it's a loss cause. I go downstairs and raid my in-laws' medicine cabinet. I take decongestant and Tylenol and settle on the couch with tea. I watch trash TV until 6 a.m., and decide to go back to bed and try to get sleep.
9:30 a.m. — Will myself out of bed. I know if I sleep any later, I won't be able to fall asleep tonight. I take more decongestant and plop myself on the couch with tea and warm almond milk with granola. I planned on having a productive Friday, so I hope I can will myself to feel better in a few hours so I can get everything done! In the meantime, I binge This Is Us.
11 a.m. — In the midst of binging, I forgot that today was Beauty Bag day at Whole Foods! I call the store near me and they have a few bags left. I quickly run to my car (amazing how sales on beauty products makes me feel better!) and head to Whole Foods. I've been saving my last $20 this week for this! When I get there, I learn they're all out, but then I decide F it, I saved my last $20 for this, so I'm treating myself to goodies! I get Alaffia Coconut conditioner and shampoo and a pumpkin and honey single-use face mask from Andalou. I've been looking at this shampoo/conditioner for a while, as I've been wanting to try all-natural hair care. My scalp as been SO dry and flaky for the past year, so I'm hoping this helps. The conditioner and shampoo are $11.99 each, but Whole Foods is having a sale — win! $16.57
12 p.m. — I get home and take a long, steamy, hot shower, hoping that it clears out my sinuses. I use my new face mask after and LOVE it! My face actually looks brighter! I will def be buying the full-sized one in the future. I attempt to do a yoga flow, but my head feels too heavy, so I give up and continue to binge This Is Us for about three more hours. I eat more of the soup I had yesterday for lunch and have more tea.
4 p.m. — I make "golden milk" — a.k.a. turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and almond milk. I do laundry and wait for B. to get home from a day of skiing. I was supposed to go, but decided on having a full-fledged sick day instead.
6:30 p.m. — We head to B.'s brother and sister-in-law's house for Friday night pizza and beers. They live a few towns over, and we make it home by 9 p.m. I'm exhausted, so B. graciously finishes the laundry I started earlier and makes my lunch for tomorrow. I take NyQuil and call it night.
Daily Total: $16.57

Day Three

5:30 a.m. — B. and I both wake up for work, and he makes coffee and tea while I get ready. I feel so much better than I did yesterday! I still opt for tea this morning. I leave at 6 a.m. and get to work by 6:30.
7 a.m. — I'm walking to get my Rxbar to munch on when I see a coworker walking in with donuts...and obviously opt for a donut instead.
10:30 a.m. — Holy smokes, this day is DRAGGING. We are primarily a surgical floor, and they don't schedule any surgeries on the weekends, so the patient movement is slower today. I snag a coffee from the pantry and have my yogurt, blackberries, and granola.
1:30 p.m. — I FINALLY got to the end of my big soup batch from this week, so eating it for lunch today isn't as bad, since I know I'm all done with it after this! I eat lunch while scrolling through social media.
7:30 p.m. — I munch on a blood orange on my way home from work. We eat chicken, broccoli, and white rice B.'s mom made for dinner. We all try to eat dinner together most nights. B. puts together our lunches for tomorrow with leftovers from dinner while I shower. I do my usual nighttime skin routine: wash my face with Neutrogena cleanser, swipe on Thayers Lavender Witch Hazel, and moisturize with Neutrogena Hydro Boost face lotion. B. and I hang on the couch until we head to bed at 9:45.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

5:40 a.m. — Same routine this morning, except B. leaves before I wake up. Make tea with collagen and head out the door. I get to work by 6:30 and eat an Rxbar during last night's report. But then I start to say something and realize I have no voice! Apparently my cold isn't completely gone yet.
8 a.m. — My coworkers brought in donuts AND bagels today, so I eat a cinnamon bagel with cream cheese and decide to go all in and have a coconut donut too.
12 p.m. — I eat my lunch of leftovers from last night's dinner. My voice is starting to come back — thank goodness.
5 p.m. — Holy smokes, this afternoon is crazy! It may sound weird, but I almost get a high from emergency situations at work. I get such fulfillment from being able to use my knowledge and skills in critical situations to help save patients. There haven't been many situations like this at my new job, so I appreciate this in terms of keeping my skills up!
8 p.m. — I get home from work and hop in the shower. I use my new shampoo and conditioner and am, sadly, disappointed. I wanted to love them so much! I have thick, dry hair, so conditioner is my best friend. This conditioner did not tame the beast. I exfoliate my face with Neutrogena exfoliator, and then put some of Cocokind's turmeric stick on my T-zone. I let that sit while B. and I eat veggie soup his mom made for dinner. We chat about our days and then I finish up my face routine by wiping off the turmeric with my toner and putting on moisturizer. B. and I head to sleep at 10 p.m.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

6:30 a.m. — I snooze my alarm four times (I'm allowed — it's Monday) before finally getting out of bed. I don't have to be at work until 8 a.m. today because I just have class for a new computer system the hospital is getting. I actually get to put real people clothes on today — yay! I throw on leggings, a tank top, a cardigan, sneakers, and makeup. I'm running a tad late and still need to get gas, so I don't have time to make tea or pack a lunch this morning.
7:15 a.m. — Of course the first pump I pull up at isn't working. I contemplate just driving to work and getting gas on the way home, but it's way too risky. I like to try to get at least 400 miles to a tank, so I occasionally (okay, very often) let my tank get wicked low in order to hit that. I go to the next pump and realize it's my credit card that isn't working! I pay with my debit card ($45.32). If this is any indicator of how today is going to be, I'm definitely going to need a coffee. I swing by the Dunkin' drive-through at the gas station for a medium iced coffee ($2.82) and get to work right on time at 8! $48.14
11:30 a.m. — This class is awful! We break for lunch and I go to the café. I get a turkey sandwich with potato chips. $4
12 p.m. — I run to the ATM at work and take out $100. Every Monday, I take out this amount and use it for groceries and anything else I want to do during the week. And then once I'm out, I'm out. If I have cash left over at the end of a week, I just keep in my rainy day (margarita) fund. I usually put gas, monthly payments, and online purchases on my credit card. I don't like making purchases on my debit, so I'm bummed about the gas. I buy a Kind bar at the gift shop in case I need a snack for the afternoon training session. $2.50
4:40 p.m. — I'm out of class early! I realize I forgot to fax my timesheet to my travel nursing agency, so I do that quickly before heading home. It is SO nice out today, so I roll the windows down on the way home and jam to Dispatch. I get home by 5:30.
6 p.m. — I do my and B.'s laundry that I was supposed to do this morning and clean up a little around the house. B.'s sister, brother, and sister-in-law come over for a birthday dinner for B.'s sister. Steak tips and veggies! B. is stuck at work and can't make it.
8 p.m. — I meet B. and his coworkers at a Mexican restaurant in Manchester for Monday night margs. There's a fundraiser tonight and the profits go to the Boston Marathon victims. B. and I buy $20 worth (we split the cost), and I end up winning a couple weeks of unlimited barre classes! B. gets the drink bill. $10
9:30 p.m. — We get home and have a few gin and seltzers with B.'s parents and sister. In bed by 12:30.
Daily Total: $64.64

Day Six

7 a.m. — B. wakes up to spend the day skiing with his mom. I'm meeting a friend from college for lunch outside of Boston this afternoon, so I pass on the ski day and instead watch This Is Us and fold laundry. I have an English muffin and water for breakfast.
9 a.m. — My friend cancels our plans today because she's sick. It's probably a good thing, because I'm feeling very anxious this morning. I've had anxiety and panic disorder since high school. I haven't had a panic attack in a few years, and my anxiety has been showing itself in new ways lately, but today my anxiety is in it's old school form. I haven't taken my medication in over a month, and I hope I can get past my anxiety today without medication. I take a very hot, steamy shower in hopes of opening up the tightness in my chest. I then do yoga for about an hour to try to recenter my breathing. Yoga with wet hair hanging loose is so cathartic for me. My anxiety used to manifest itself in breath; I would feel like my throat is closing, or that I couldn't breathe. Yoga has been a huge help for me, and today it's doesn't disappoint.
11:30 a.m. — I jinxed myself — I have a panic attack. I call my mom and she helps me breathe through it. God I miss her.
12 p.m. — I decide to venture out of the house to try to keep my mind from straying to anxious thoughts. I go to Trader Joe's and pick up yogurt, sweet potato fries, rolled oats, limes, lemons, hot sauce, broccoli, kombucha, chocolate, and flowers for myself ($30.70). Then I stop by Market Basket to grab chicken breasts, panko breadcrumbs, buttermilk, and wine ($22.42). $53.12
2 p.m. — I feel like an elephant of anxiety is sitting on my chest, and it takes all of my self-control to not have another panic attack. I blare music so I don't hear my anxious thoughts and make dinner. I'm making oven-"fried" baked chicken with veggies and sweet potato fries. I marinate the chicken and clean the kitchen.
3 p.m. — I pour myself wine, because dammit, I need it. I watch the infamous episode of This Is Us on DVR and sob like a baby. B. and his mom gets home from skiing and I immediately feel a sense of calmness when I see him. I find that I rely on things other than myself when it comes to my anxiety: my mom, Xanax, B. It makes me sad. But after today, I'm okay with relying on B. We go for a bike ride and the fresh air feels amazing in my lungs.
6 p.m. — B.'s parents are out running errands, so I throw the rest of dinner together for B. and me. We drink wine and talk and just laugh until I don't feel anxious anymore. Then we call it an early night and head to bed around 8:30, chatting until we fall asleep.
Daily Total: $53.12

Day Seven

5:40 a.m. — B. and I do the usual morning routine. I opt for tea and collagen again this morning. We're out the door by 6 a.m.
10 a.m. — I eat an Rxbar and drink more tea for a mid-morning snack. Today we have a lot of post-ops at the hospital, so it's very fast-paced — just the way I like it!
2 p.m. — I eat leftover chicken and veggies for lunch. B. gets out of work early and swings by work to surprise me. He brings me more tea, kombucha, and smiles. He sits with me for a little while I eat, but then the floor gets crazy, so I have to cut my lunch break short.
8 p.m. — The rest of the day FLIES by! I get home and eat quinoa-stuffed peppers that B. has waiting for me. I shower, then pack for the weekend. After work tomorrow night, B. and I are heading down to CT to visit my family. I am SO excited!! B. plays guitar while I finish getting last minute things in order. We're asleep by 10:30.
Daily Total: $0
If you are experiencing anxiety or depression and need support, please call the National Depressive/Manic-Depressive Association Hotline at 1-800-826-3632 or the Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.
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