A Week In Wyoming 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 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: an education program specialist working in education policy who makes $50,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on crab rangoon at a Thai restaurant.
Occupation: Education Program Specialist
Industry: Education Policy
Age: 24
Location: Wyoming
Salary: $50,000
Paycheck Amount (Monthly): $3,000
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $0 (I live with my boyfriend in a house that he owns. He pays the mortgage and I pay all the other bills. For our shared expenses, like food, we have a joint credit card that we use and then we split the bill each month.)
Student Loan Payment: $167
Car Loan Payment: $324
Heating/Electric: $170
Water/Trash: $77
Phone Bill: $117
Car Insurance: $85
Internet & Cable: $176
Dog Poop Cleaner: $17
Netflix: $0 (We use my mom's account. Thanks, Mom!)
Gym Membership: $29
Savings: I try to put in $300 each month (10% of my paycheck), but sometimes things happen...such as my impulse shopping habit. I'm trying to be better about saving money and spending less.

Day One

7 a.m. — I get to the office early today because I have a lot to get done before traveling out of town for work. I bring my own coffee and lunch today — I'm hoping I'll have time for a workout during my lunch break before heading out. I'm really bad about not eating breakfast (bad habit that I need to break), so I don't eat this morning.
11:30 a.m. — The morning is literally gone in the blink of an eye. I have an event to attend for a candidate announcing he's running for governor this year. I love election years; something about campaign season is so exciting to me. But because I almost forgot about this campaign event, I won't be able to go to the gym during my lunch break.
1 p.m. — After the campaign event, I run home to finish packing my bags and eat something before heading to my next event, where I'm teaching fifth graders about the Constitution and our founding fathers (though they could care less). On my way I stop at Sephora, because I've been scraping what's left of my Fenty foundation out of the bottle! I get a new bottle and somehow make it out of the store with just one thing. $57.24
6 p.m. — After a hectic day of running around, I finally get to my out of town work destination. I'm a state employee, so when I travel out of town I get to drive a state car and my hotel room is covered, which is really nice. I meet coworkers at a Thai restaurant for dinner and order crab rangoon for the table (my favorite), green tea, and spicy basil leaves. $22.08
Daily Total: $79.32

Day Two

6:45 a.m. — It's an early morning. Our board meeting starts at 8 a.m. but I like to get there early to get set up. I take advantage of the complimentary breakfast at the hotel and grab yogurt, granola, and coffee before heading out.
6 p.m. — The day has completely flown by! When I get back into town, I meet my boyfriend and all of our friends at Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner and beers for one of our friend's birthdays. $33
8:30 p.m. — After dinner, we take our friend to our favorite dive bar. (The bar is literally like Cheers — everyone knows everyone, all of our parents drank here when they were our age, and the owner coached my boyfriend in basketball when he was little, ha!) When it's your birthday, the bartender and owner always buy the first two rounds, so we took our friend to get his birthday drinks. This bar also has the best jukebox, and I always spend way too much money on it. Tonight I only spend $10, though, which I'm proud of myself for! I have two drinks ($15.50). $25.50
Daily Total: $58.50

Day Three

9 a.m. — I have a late start to my day today, but because I worked so much overtime yesterday at the board meeting, it's okay that I come in a little later than usual. On my way to the office, I stop and get a soy latte and a bagel. I'm feeling slightly hungover from last night — I swear I can't even have three drinks anymore without being hungover. $8.78
1 p.m. — On Fridays I get off early because I work overtime during the week. I usually leave around noon, but today I stay until 1 because I'm feeling a little guilty for coming in later (even though I worked so much yesterday *eye roll*). On my way home, I text my boyfriend (who took the day off because he wasn't "feeling well") and ask if he wants me to grab us lunch on my way home. I stop and get tacos for him and a bean and cheese burrito for me. Tacos and burritos are the cure-all to hangovers! $7.76 for my half. $7.76
5 p.m. — After a solid nap, I wake up feeling like a new person and apparently decide it's a good idea to spend $25.95 on a bandana from Barstool for our dog that says "Saturdays Are For The Good Boys." So there's that. We head over to my boyfriend's dad's house for dinner with his dad, brother, and nephew. $25.95
Daily Total: $42.49

Day Four

8:30 a.m. — I just have to say, it's so nice to wake up without an alarm. I meet one of my friends for yoga at our gym and then we go to brunch, get bottomless mimosas (obvi), and share a flight of avocado toast and a scrambler. SO GOOD! $27.35
12:30 p.m. — After brunch, we head to Target because I need to get new sheets and a comforter for our bed. Our dog ripped a little hole in our sheets, and then my BF put his foot through said hole getting into bed the other night — so now the hole is huge. We bought a king-sized bed last year and still use a queen comforter, so the time is now for new bedding. In my typical fashion, I can't leave Target without getting at least one other thing that I don't need, and end up getting new tea towels that say "Everyday I'm Brusselin" with brussels sprouts on them. $58.88
3 p.m. — After Target, I drop my friend off at her car and head to the grocery store to get stuff for dinner. We're having some of our couple friends over for dinner to watch the NCAA tournament (Go Duke!). I'm making the jalapeño tuna casserole from Chrissy Teigen's cookbook, Cravings. The total comes to $10.80 for my half (after splitting with my boyfriend). $10.80
Daily Total: $97.03

Day Five

8 a.m. — I wake up before my boyfriend, make myself coffee, and start breakfast for us. We already have everything I need, so I don't have to go to the store, which is always nice. I make us strawberry pancakes and bacon with fresh fruit, and then eat without him because I'm not letting these pancakes get cold!
12:30 p.m. — I head to the grocery store to get stuff for dinner and for game snacks. One of our friends is coming over for more NCAA tournament, and I'm making buffalo chicken dip, guacamole, salad, and potatoes for dinner. It's my boyfriend's turn to cook dinner, and he's grilling steaks and potatoes. $20.82
9 p.m. — I try to dedicate Sundays to self-care to get ready for the week ahead. Sometimes that means eating my body weight in buffalo chicken dip and dark chocolate, and other times it means an expensive face mask and bubble bath. Today is a mixture of both. I'm in bed by 9 p.m. with a clean house and a full belly, reading my book (An American Marriage — AMAZING, btw) until I fell asleep.
Daily Total: $20.82

Day Six

8 a.m. — I'm trying really hard to tell myself to "think positive thoughts, live a positive life" — but Mondays suck. I make my coffee at home and pack whatever I can find for lunch because I'll make lunches for the week tonight after work.
1 p.m. — I usually pack lunch and eat in my office because I like to use my lunch hour to go to the gym. It's less crowded then, and the classes I like are usually during my lunch hour. Today I go to Body Pump, which kills me. When I get back to the office, I drink the soy protein drink I brought and eat a granola bar and veggie chips. My gym shoes are starting to wear out on the bottom, which is making the traction super slippery, so I order a new pair of Nikes. $54.97
5:30 p.m. — When I get home from work, I wait for my BF to finish working out and then we head to the grocery store together to get stuff for dinner. We're making a turkey white bean chili tonight in the Instant Pot. We pretty much have everything we need except for beans, green chilis, and onion. $2.36
7 p.m. — After we eat dinner, I make lunch for the week with stuff I already have at home. I try not to eat a lot of meat, so I make brown rice pasta with pesto and cherry tomatoes. I also download an app called You Need a Budget, which my brother-in-law and sister-in-law swear by. The first 34 days are free and after that it's $83 annually, which is about $7 a month. I'd like to get my yoga teaching certificate this fall, and it's super expensive to do that (about $3,000), so I'm trying to be more mindful and save up!
Daily Total: $57.33

Day Seven

7 a.m. — Back to the grind of my flex schedule, which means getting to work at 7 a.m. I surprisingly don't have too hard of a time waking up this morning! I grab my gym bag, pesto pasta bowl, and granola bar, and head out the door. When I get to the office this early, I'm usually the only one here, which I really enjoy because I can get a lot accomplished. I make coffee and get going on my to-do list.
12 p.m. — The workout class I want to go today isn't until 5 p.m., so I eat my lunch in my office and read articles during my lunch hour. I'm getting paid this Friday (thank goodness!), so I'm trying not to spend any money between now and then. But today our cable and internet bill automatically comes out of my account so there goes $176. Oh, and our poop guy payment (yes, we have a guy that comes and picks up the dog poop out of our backyard) was charged to our card today for the month.
6 p.m. — After my workout class, I head home and eat leftovers for dinner. We didn't plan on making anything for dinner tonight because we knew we'd be getting home a little later than usual. I enjoy alone time cleaning up the house, getting my gym bag ready for tomorrow, and reading before my BF gets home and we watch TV and get ready for bed.
Daily Total: $0
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