A Week In Raleigh, NC, On A $132,000 Salary

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Today: a corporate account manager who makes $132,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child.
Occupation: Corporate Account Manager
Industry: Tech
Age: 26
Location: Raleigh, NC
Salary: $132,000
Net Worth: $36,240
Debt: $8,726
Paycheck Amount (2x/month, commission 1x/month): $1,895 + commission
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,550 (for a two-bedroom house)
Water/Trash: $59
WiFi: $44.99
Electricity: $140
Credit Card Payment: $800
Netflix: $13
Amazon Prime: $12
401(k): 12% per paycheck, ranges from $600-$1000+ depending on commission
Health Insurance: $120
Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
There was no doubt that I was going to attend university. My father went to college, and my mother got her associate's degree. My brother went to a state school and most of our extended family also attended some type of education post-secondary school. I had even more expectations to go to university due to the fact I attended a college preparatory school (look at that, it's baked into the name) for high school. I earned both an academic scholarship and an athletic scholarship to cover about 30% of college, my parents paid for the rest.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
Money was never discussed.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
Lifeguarding! I got it to get out of the house during the summers when I was home from boarding school and to have some spending money. I never had an allowance. This was not the best decision for me, as I am of Irish descent, so my paycheck basically went towards sunscreen.
Did you worry about money growing up?
I did not worry about money growing up because I didn't know any different. Up until I was 9, my family and I lived in an apartment of a relative's house. My brother and I slept on the mattress, mom was on the couch, dad was on the floor using our mattress as a pillow. When we finally moved into our own house, we didn't have heat! I was never cold, my mom can crochet a blanket with her eyes closed, but I also never knew different. My father finally moved far enough up the ranks of his career by the time I was ever cognizant about money, it didn't seem to be an issue.
Do you worry about money now?
Who doesn't? I worry mostly now because my father passed away a year ago and I make the most of my immediate family so I feel like the financial glue and supporter if anything should happen to anyone.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I became fiscally responsible for myself at 23 when I moved out of my parents' house with no intention of moving back. Before that, I was attending college and home during break and the summer. I do have a financial safety net, I could always move back home with my mother. I'm sure my brother and SIL would also open their house to me if I needed it.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
Nope. My father's assets were left to my mother, but when she passes (let's hope this is 30+ years out), my brother and I will split whatever is leftover. Additionally, we have an aunt and uncle who have made my brother and me the beneficiaries of their estate.

Day One

7:30 a.m. — I am awakened by my two cats S. & R., looking for some breakfast and some playtime. S. is my monster tiger cat who clocks in at 14 pounds and is a total athlete murder machine (vermin beware). R. is a snowshoe cat that was born on a farm and is completely deaf so he doesn't realize how loud he is... I'm actually waking up in Washington D.C. this morning as I'm winging my way northward to visit my mother and hit the slopes for a month or so. By the time I arrive in Western MA, I will have been tested for Covid twice and if even one is positive, it'll be a long drive home. But, I quarantined for 10 days before I left Raleigh so I'm pretty sure I'm clean. I check out of my hotel paying $244.32 for the privilege, tip the valet $10 to bring the luggage rack to my room and load it up, and retrieve my car. $254.32
11 a.m. — Stop to fill up my car and stretch my legs halfway through New Jersey. $32.85
12:30 a.m. — Come to the end of New Jersey and have to pay $18.95 in tolls. And immediately I have to cross the George Washington Bridge into NYC which is $14.94 for my vehicle FOR ONE BRIDGE. Thankfully you only have to pay one direction so on the way home it'll be "free." I use to live in NYC so I love seeing the skyline and thinking about when I can get back. I only moved to Raleigh recently for a job promotion and I'm regretting the move during a global pandemic. Because my plan is to head north for a month or so, I've packed any food that would go bad in my fridge that I couldn't finish as road snacks. I have some rosemary parmesan focaccia, a couple of carrots, and to wash it all down, whole milk which I left in the gallon jug for the trip. I'm sure the other drivers think I'm nuts. $33.89
2 p.m. — I finally pull into my mother's driveway, she's ecstatic to see me and my boys (the cats). They are happy to be here to play with her three cats and dog. They don't get to go outside in Raleigh, but here, they have a lawn and woods to play in.
11 p.m. — I'm finally tucked into bed. Long afternoon of chatting with my mother and playing outside with the animals. I'm much more of a night owl who needs alone time. My mother went to sleep hours ago. Turn on my serial killer audiobook, snuggle up with my cats, and drift to sleep.
Daily Total: $321.06

Day Two

8 a.m. — I pick up the NYT Sunday Early Edition at the local mart. I have home delivery on Sundays while down in Raleigh but have paused for the time I'm up here. I'm headed to one of the local ski mountains today. $6
8:30 a.m. — I pay for a half-day morning ski at the local ski mountain. This is going to be an expensive week no doubt, but I've done the math and it's going to be cheaper than buying a season pass for the time I'm home. Plus I'll have more flexibility if I want to head to a different mountain. I only do half a day because I haven't skied since last season and I'm sure I'm going to hurt from the exertion faster than I'd like to admit. It's also a good deal because if you buy your ticket online you can scan your QR code when you arrive and the lift pass is printed — no people necessary. $63
1 p.m. — Wicked day, can't wait to go back skiing. I grab a hot coffee from the vending machine on the way out to warm up. $3
2 p.m. — On the way home from the ski mountain, I go grocery shopping as I'd feel bad putting the extra food strain on my mother, plus I like to cook and the most she cooks is toast or cereal. I grab onions, hot sauce, beef stock, tomatoes, french bread, garlic, ciabatta, lettuce, basil, razor clams in brine, cognac, and beer. This is a tedious process because I love going and browsing the grocery story usually, but in avoiding contact, I call my order in and wait until it's picked. Then they bring it out and leave it next to my car. I'm making french onion soup tonight. $98.56
6 p.m. — Three hours and the french onion soup is complete, it's a labor of love. To finish it, you stir in some cognac and put french bread you've broiled on top. Lay Swiss cheese and Parmesan over top and broil until melty delicious goodness. My mother is ecstatic with how it turns out. I watch some TV with her and when she goes to bed I break out my recent reading book, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I manage an hour until S. (the cat) needs attention. Around 10 every night he picks up his favorite wand toy and drags it around meowing very loudly until you play with him. I love it.
Daily Total: $170.56

Day Three

6 a.m. — I wake up early and make myself a thermos of coffee and scrambled eggs and hot sauce in a wrap. I get a week-long pass for half-day morning skiing at the local mountain. I talk them down to $50. I'll be set until Friday when I'll have to figure out my next game plan. I pass the morning away on the ski slopes. $50
12 p.m. — I'm back home and working, I work for a tech company in a pretty specialized space. I've been working for them for two years now, and recently was promoted to a brand new team (hence the move to Raleigh) in October. It is equal parts exhilarating to be such a necessity to the team and also incredibly stressful to ensure the success of our team. I do carry a quota, and I was the only internal hire, so I feel an intense pressure to outperform everyone else on the team even though they're all experienced in the role and I'm green.
7 p.m. — Done for the day. My mother has some miscellaneous produce in the fridge that's starting to look iffy. I pull it all and chop it so it's identically sized. Brussel sprouts, carrots, onion into the oven. I use honey, olive oil, salt, and pepper to make a quick dressing and chop some lettuce. Then I read some while I wait for the vegetables to roast off. Should have set the timer because when I finally realize I smell the vegetables they're what I like to say is "having some good color on them" (almost burnt, but not!). We have dinner, watch an episode of Deep Water on Netflix together and she's off to bed. I watch Malcolm & Marie on Netflix. Being single, I love the movie. If I had been in a relationship and watched the movie, I think it would've made me analyze the relationship too much and start to diagnose issues that probably wouldn't have applied — relationship hypochondria? More reading, playing with the cats, and bed.
Daily Total: $50

Day Four

6 a.m. — Off to ski! I have to finish earlier today because I have an 11 a.m. customer call. Eggs and hot sauce and coffee make my world turn.
11 a.m. — My meeting doesn't turn out how I wanted. My customer has been promising things to me for a month now and I can't seem to get them to commit completely. It's frustrating and I am bearing the brunt. I am on my third cup of coffee and my stomach is a little upset at the lack of nutrition — I reheat some soup and rip off a chunk of bread to dip into it.
2 p.m. — Out of sight, out of mind. I get a reminder to pay my utility bill back in Raleigh. I still pay earlier than I have to. I also pay for WiFi, electric, and my credit card. These are all monthly payments. I get some salt and cracked pepper pretzel chips and snack on those as I call customers and talk people through some technical setup questions they have.
7:30 p.m. — I finish up work, and my mother has put hot dogs and french fries in the oven for us. We sit down and watch Deep Water on Netflix. We go wild and finish the series tonight. It's a very straightforward story, but gripping nonetheless. For those that may check it out TW: sexual assault, adult language, violence.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

6 a.m. — I wake up and really want to sleep some more because we were up so late watching Deep Water. Alas, I paid for my ski lift ticket already and the outdoors makes me feel good so I convince myself to get out of bed and head to the mountain. (MD readers from the west, don't @ me about east vs. west and what constitutes a "mountain," I'm working with what I've got.) I grab an iced coffee on the way up, I'm truly a New Englander. $3
2 p.m. — I have a lovely time on the mountain, I ski for longer than usual as I have no meetings on my calendar. I check Slack while on the ski lift to make sure I'm not missing anything time-sensitive. Fresh air and no one needs me! I am very thankful I am able to do this.
5 p.m. — I have nothing else really to do for work today, so I decide to sign off early and go outside with my cats. The snow is deep all around the house and in the woods so they can't really exercise as much as they'd like to. I take the snow shovel out and shovel random pathways all around the backyard and under the tree line so they are able to zoom around. They seem grateful, which makes me happy.
7 p.m. — Rest of the roasted vegetables for dinner with a little salad as well. My mother and I start a new Australian TV series on Netflix called Pine Gap. We do enjoy political thrillers. It is entertaining enough, but I do not recommend you search it out unless you've finished your own queue. We will watch the entire series because I have to know how a story ends once I start it. I read some after my mother goes to bed, play with my cats, and drift off to my serial killer audiobook.
Daily Total: $3

Day Six

6 a.m. — Shockingly enough, I start my day on the slopes again!
11 a.m. — I am home earlier than the rest of the week, actually working. Well, kind of. I have Zoom calls all through lunch and this afternoon. My father passed away about a year ago, so I always try to do something nice on the holidays for each member of the family. My credit card debt stems from this. While my father was alive and still feeling relatively healthy, I surprised him, my mother, brother, and SIL with tickets to Portugal for 10 days. My father had mentioned one time he'd like to visit Portugal. Ten years later, I had a career and a great credit score so I pulled the trigger and took us all. It was absolutely amazing. We still talk about the trip to this day. Additionally, the last six months or so of my father's life, I flew my brother and sister-in-law to MA for his birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and his passing. This is where all my debt comes from. It was totally worth it for everyone involved.
2 p.m. — I decide I am going to have Whole Foods deliver to my brother and SIL's home after they finish work. Neither of them cooks really. I put a mixed berry cheesecake, a bottle of Moscato (SIL), a bottle of sake (brother), a box of dog treats, a bag of cat treats, and a pre-made pizza into my cart and schedule delivery for when they get home. I text my brother to warn him of the impending arrival so he doesn't get take away on the way home. Happy Almost-Valentine's Day! $74
Daily Total: $74

Day Seven

7:30 a.m. — Today I sleep in. My ski pass expired yesterday so I'll probably give my body a rest today and head back to the slopes tomorrow on a weekend ticket. Hot sauce and scrambled eggs again for breakfast.
12 p.m. — I am on a call for Zoom but don't have to be an active participant. I'm starting to feel hungry so I open a can of razor clams I picked up earlier this week, they are beyond a doubt my favorite food. I also put together a basic salad of lettuce, honey/olive oil dressing, and shaved Parmesan cheese. I start crunching away. Whoops, not on mute. Back to crunching.
4 p.m. — It's Friday! I'm going to sign off early. I promise I do work hard when there is work to be done, but it seems somewhat slow right now, so might as well take advantage. I got my mid-month paycheck with is my base + commission so I'm headed to the bookstore to pick up three books I've had my eye on. Another copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Juila Child, an Agatha Christie book, and The Soul of an Octopus. Good mix of reading/cooking material. $96.23
8 p.m. — I open a can of beer from a local brewery that I picked up earlier in the week. It is delicious. I will have to stock up before my return trip to Raleigh. My goal before bed tonight is to finish Pride and Prejudice, wish me luck.
Daily Total: $96.23
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