A Week In Washington, D.C., On A $78,617 Salary

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Today: an analyst working in the government who makes $78,617 per year and spends some of her money this week on a BluePrint Lemon Reset drink.
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Occupation: Analyst
Industry: Government
Age: 30
Location: Washington, D.C.
Salary: $78,617.50
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,748.56
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $2,565 (I live in a one-bedroom apartment with my boyfriend, A. He pays more, since the den is his office/man cave.)
Car Payment: $297
Student Loans: $0 (College and my first master's were paid for through a combination of scholarships and my parents. I'm paying for my MBA, though, so I will have student loan debt.)
Parking: $250 for two parking spots (one at home and one at work)
Utilities: ~$150 (We split this.)
Internet: $90 (My boyfriend pays.)
Car & Renters Insurance: $107
Medical, Vision & Dental Insurance: $319.76 (through my company, for my boyfriend and myself)
Cell Phone: $99.23 (This includes a monthly payment for my new phone.)
Hulu/Netflix/HBO: $8.99 (I pay for Hulu, my parents pay for Netflix, and boyfriend pays for HBO.)
iTunes Radio: $9.99
Pet Rent: $50
ClassPass: $0 (I'm on the free trial. It will be $50 starting next month)
Savings: ~$250

Day One

8 a.m. — Wake up way past my alarm and quickly run through my morning routine: put my contacts in, brush my teeth, exfoliate, put on toner and moisturizer, and then do an almost full face of makeup. While getting ready, I chat with my boyfriend, A., about his to-do list for the day. He works from home most days and sets his own schedule, which mean he's generally in charge of housework and cooking dinner during the week. I'm in charge of meal prep, grocery shopping, and planning the next week's schedule, and we generally split housework on the weekends. This division of labor seems to work out pretty well for us. Somehow, I manage to get out the door by 8:45 and am at work on time at 9 a.m.
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11 a.m. — My calendar is pretty open today, so I spend some time before my first call searching for a last-minute Halloween costume. Both my work and grad program (I'm in a part-time MBA program) are doing costume parties, and I want to join in. Though it's hard finding a work-appropriate costume the day before Halloween, I decide to make a last minute DIY Disney princess costume with some stuff I found online at Target. I reserve everything and pay online. I'll pick it up on my lunch break. $23.85
12:50 p.m. — My call went way longer than expected, but I'm finally done and have a few hours before my next call, so I run over to Target to pick up the stuff for my costume. When I get there, I'm notified that one item I had reserved is out of stock, so they're refunding me $5. I spend a few minutes looking around Target, and find a replacement item for $10 — costume saved ($5.60)! On my drive back to the office, I swing by Whole Foods to grab lunch and a few random things for the weekend. I'm the maid of honor in a wedding this weekend, so I grab two La Colombe coffees and a BluePrint Lemon Reset, hoping that the caffeine and "healthy" drink will keep me going through the rehearsal/ceremony/reception/etc. I also put together a plate of salad and some things from the hot bar for lunch. Total for everything is $18.12. $23.72
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5 p.m. — I finish up my last call of the day, do a few admin tasks, and then head out for the night. I have a 7:15 FlyBarre class tonight, so I run home, say hi to my boyfriend, walk the dog, change into barre clothes, and head back out. I just joined ClassPass (first month is free) and I'm trying out all the cool (re: expensive) studios in D.C. Since it's after 6:30 p.m., I can park on the street instead of in the garage, which is much cheaper ($4.80). $4.80
8 p.m. — Wow, that was a good class! I'm usually not a barre person, but I'm really enjoying Flywheel's barre classes. I'll give ClassPass another month or so, but I'm going to seriously consider getting a membership at Flywheel. Once class is over, I grab my stuff and head back to my car to drive home. On the way, I call my parents to chat about my plans for the wedding this weekend, since we'll be staying with them. During the drive, A. texts me that he's hungry and doesn't want the chicken/quinoa/spinach combination that we've been eating all week, so I tell him to meet me outside our building and we'll drive over to Whole Foods. He comes down just as I'm finishing up the call with my parents — perfect timing! At Whole Foods, A. grabs sushi and some groceries for himself, while I grab dinner and a Topo Chico water ($11.61). We pay for our own stuff. $11.61
10 p.m. — When we get home, we each spend an hour doing our own thing. For A., that means a video game session with his friends, and for me, it's an hour of flipping between HGTV and Food Network. A. joins me on the couch once his game finishes up, and we watch an episode of Flea Market Flip together (to A.'s displeasure, but I love this show!). Once the episode ends, it's time for bed. I wash/tone/moisturize my face and throw on some PJs, and then A. and I each take a melatonin gummy. We're in bed by 11:30 p.m. and fall asleep pretty quickly.
Daily Total: $63.98

Day Two

8 a.m. — Sleep through my alarm again! I go through my morning routine — contacts, brush teeth, exfoliate/tone/moisturize face — while reading through my emails. I then throw on my Halloween costume, grab my school stuff, and head out the door only a few minutes behind schedule. A. leaves with me to take our dog on a quick walk; the super happy face our dog is sporting erases any stress I've had from waking up late (again). Once I've logged into my computer and checked my inbox, I make my standard breakfast of an English muffin with peanut butter and jelly and grab some free tea. I also take a loop around the floor to see everyone's Halloween costumes.
10:15 a.m. — I get an alert that the balance on my school ID card is running low, so I quickly add $10 to it. I have to use the school garage to park when I go to class, and they only take cash or IDs. Slightly annoying, but adding money takes all of 30 seconds and then I'm good to go for the week. $10
10:45 a.m. — This morning is moving pretty slowly, so I take a few minutes before my next meeting to scroll through ClassPass. I end up selecting a FlyBarre class on Sunday afternoon. I block the time in my calendar and then set a reminder for Saturday night to cancel the class if I don't think we'll be back from the wedding in time.
12:11 p.m. — My meeting runs late, but it's okay because my coworker brought in her baby today! I'm starving, so I quickly run through my food options in my head and nothing sounds too appealing. Normally I meal prep, but between Halloween and the wedding, I failed a bit this week. My office is having a party, so I decide to just munch on whatever I can find instead of buying something. Lunch ends up being a combination of peanut butter pretzels, a banana, and some candy I snagged from the front desk. Random, but it fills me up, and I'm proud of myself for resisting the urge to go to Whole Foods.
3 p.m. — I grab a beer and some snacks and spend some time mingling with my coworkers. Then I migrate back to my desk around 4:30 to wrap up work and head over to school. I'm enrolled in a part-time MBA program, and while I love the material and being in a learning environment, it's a ton of work and takes up a lot of my time. I'm about halfway through, though, and I know it's all going to be worth it in the end when I land my dream job in my dream industry.
5:45 p.m. — I get to school and pay the $5 parking charge using my ID card. I have some time before class, so I head over to the convenience store and grab a sparkling water ($1.58). By the time I make my way back to the classroom, most people are already there, and someone is handing out candy. Not that I need any more chocolate, but it'll definitely help keep me awake during class! $1.58
9:20 p.m. — Class is over! I like this class, but it's pretty heavy. Luckily, I get to sit with my school bestie, and that helps pass the time. I pack up my stuff, say goodbye to my bestie, and head over to chat with some of my team members about an upcoming assignment. We're pretty quick and wrap up our impromptu meeting in under 20 minutes — go us! I head back down to the garage and end up sitting in a ton of traffic. I guess all the trick-or-treaters are causing quite the traffic nightmare.
10:15 p.m. — Finally get home. A. has already eaten, so I quickly make a grilled cheese and tomato soup. I join him on the couch to watch some of the Timbers/Houston game while I eat. I'm not a huge soccer fan, but he loves it and I feel like I owe it to him after all the Halloween Wars he's had to watch with me this past week. I head to bed around 11 p.m. once the Timbers are up 2-0, run through my nighttime routine, pop a melatonin gummy, and pass out by midnight.
Daily Total: $11.58

Day Three

4 a.m. — And I'm up. Just about every night for the past month or so I've found myself waking up around 4 a.m. Besides stress, I'm not sure what's causing it. I've talked about it with my doctor, and we're trying a few different things in hopes of fixing it, but until we figure it out, I'm stuck with a pretty icky sleep schedule. I lie in bed for about 30 minutes before I realize I won't be falling back asleep anytime soon, so I get up, grab some water, and take a few laps around the apartment to clear my head a little before sliding back into bed between the dog and A. I try to meditate for a few minutes and feel myself getting tired...until the cat starts screaming because he wants attention. He eventually calms down, and I (finally) fall back asleep around 5:30 a.m.
7:40 a.m. — Today is going to be rough. I'm really feeling the lack of sleep/effects of such a wonky sleep schedule, but today is my last day in the office this week, and I have a ton of work/meetings, so I force myself to get up. I throw on some dark jeans and a nice sweater, do my morning routine sans exfoliating, get a quick pep talk from A. (have I mentioned that I love this guy?), say goodbye to the cat and the dog, and somehow get out the door on time.
9 a.m. — Once I log in and go through emails I received overnight, I make my breakfast (English muffin with peanut butter and jelly) and grab one of the La Colombe coffees I bought for this weekend. I make a mental note to run to Whole Foods on my lunch break to buy a replacement.
10:45 a.m. — I take a quick work break and scroll through Instagram and Facebook to see everyone's costumes from last night. A few posts in, I see that one of my favorite charities is running a fundraiser, so I donate $20. They work to pull animals from high kill shelters and have them fostered/adopted. I think it's a pretty great mission, and I'm always willing to donate to support their work. $20
11:45 a.m. — I run over to Whole Foods before the lunch rush. It's a gorgeous day, so the walk over is a great break from work. I grab a La Colombe coffee as well as another BluePrint drink, since they're on sale, and I get 10% off for being a Prime member. I text A. as well to see if he'd like one, but no response. Then I head over to the hot bar to grab lunch — a slice of pizza, another sparkling water (I'm trying to kick a lifelong diet soda addiction!), and a kale/blueberry/spinach salad to balance out the pizza ($16.61). On my walk back to the office, A. texts asking for two BluePrints, so I make a mental note to grab them on my way home from work. I eat my lunch at my desk before my next round of meetings. $16.61
4:53 p.m. — Meetings over! I'm in the middle of two large projects, so my days consist primarily of going from meeting to meeting. I spend a few minutes confirming a few details with my boss and then pack up. Since I'll be working remotely tomorrow, I make sure to grab everything I might need before heading out.
6 p.m. — Pick up my boyfriend and head out to run last minute errands. We first go to Brooks Brothers to pick up some new shirts for him for this wedding and another one we have a few weeks from now. Then we head to Georgetown so A. can go to Ralph Lauren, since they're having a sale. I find parking spots pretty close to the stores ($1.69). $1.69
8 p.m. — After our evening of shopping, we debate going home to cook, but I still have a ton of packing to do, and I'm too hungry to wait. We head back to Whole Foods for dinner and pick up BluePrints for A. as well ($16.61). We're nothing if not predictable! On our drive back, I remember that I have a prescription waiting for me at CVS, so A. checks the store hours and luckily, I have a few minutes before the pharmacy closes. I run over to grab my prescription ($0.87) and then walk to the library to pick up some books that I have on hold. $17.48
10:30 p.m. — After two hours of packing, I decide to call it a night. I've gotten all of my stuff, A.'s stuff, and the pets' stuff ready to go for tomorrow morning. I go through my evening skincare routine, but this time I add in a moisturizing mask, pop some melatonin, and get to sleep around 11:30 p.m.
Daily Total: $55.78

Day Four

6:25 a.m. — Time to get up! I start my morning skincare routine while A. jumps into the shower. I check the weather, and it's a good thing I do — it's supposed to be 70 degrees and humid! I waste 15 minutes searching my closet for something appropriate to wear to the rehearsal. Once A. is ready, we grab the pets, our stuff, and some coffee, and head out by 7:15. A. offers to drive, since I need to do some work. (He's the best!) On our way out of town, we stop for gas and fill up my tank. A. pumps the gas, but I pay. $38.26
12 p.m. — Wedding rehearsal goes great! The coordinator knows her stuff and gets us in and out pretty quickly. Once we finish, the bride and groom take us on a quick tour of the reception venue right next door. Everyone piles into their cars to go to lunch, but I need to head home for an afternoon of conference calls and work, so we say goodbye to everyone, confirm plans for the rehearsal dinner, and then head out. On our way back to my parents' house, we swing by Buffalo Wild Wings to pick up some lunch. A. pays.
1:30 p.m. — Back at my parents' house, and I immediately jump on a conference call. Once it wraps up, I spend some time going through reports and sending out meeting invites for next week. I close my laptop at around 4 p.m. to take a quick nap and then get ready for the rehearsal dinner. A. wants to stop by the mall on our way, so we leave a little early.
5 p.m. — A. heads straight to Nordstrom, but after a quick look, doesn't see anything he likes. We stop at Sephora since they're having a sale this weekend, but the line is pretty long and there's nothing I really need, so I walk out empty-handed. We have over an hour until the dinner, so we head into Macy's and discover that they have a huge Barbour and Ralph Lauren section — A.'s two favorites! He tries on a few things and walks away with an awesome sweater.
6:15 p.m. — Somehow we hit zero traffic and get to the restaurant early. We head to the bar and I buy drinks — a Victory Sour Monkey for me and a Chimay for A. ($15.50 plus $2 tip). One of the other bridesmaids and her husband arrive a few minutes later, so we get seated and chat with them while the rest of the party arrives. A. orders another drink when the server comes around, and we decide to split two entrées for dinner — short ribs and chili. (The groom's father pays for everyone.) All in all, it's a great dinner and a great opportunity to get to know everyone a little bit better! Dinners wraps up around 8:30 and we head out. $17.50
9:30 p.m. — We get back to my parents' and are surprised to find my two young cousins are sleeping over. This is not normal, so my mom quickly explains the backstory, and I guess all I can say is that I'm really lucky to have such amazing parents who are willing to provide help and support to the rest of our family. A. and I say hi to the kids and help them get ready for bed before heading up ourselves. We have to be up pretty early tomorrow morning, and we've already done a ton of driving today.
Daily Total: $55.76

Day Five

6:30 a.m. — And I'm up. One of the kids got up because she was afraid and didn't know where she was, which made our dogs start barking because they thought it was time to go outside. She started crying, the dogs barked louder, and now we're all up. I debate going back to sleep, as I don't need to be up for another hour, but I doubt I'll get much sleep with how much noise is coming from downstairs, so I decide to bite the bullet and get up. I jump into the shower, put in a hair mask, go through my morning routine (exfoliate, toner, oil, moisturizer), and then blow out my hair. I head downstairs around 7:15 a.m. to help my parents with the kids. My mom makes pancakes, we turn on Paw Patrol, and everyone chills on the couch for a little.
8 a.m. — I go to make sure A. is awake, walk him through today's schedule, and remind him of where his suit is. He grabs breakfast and then drops me off at the bride's parents' house at around 9:45, where I immediately jump in the makeup chair. After makeup is done, I go to curl/pin my hair and then am free for a few hours. The other bridesmaids and I spend the afternoon talking and playing games. At around 2, the photographer arrives, we get dressed, take some photos, and then head out for the venue.
3 p.m. — Time for more photos! It's freezing outside, but the photographer and venue staff are awesome and get us in and out pretty quickly. We wrap up at around 4:30, and then everyone heads to the bridal suite to hang out. This is a rather calm wedding day with a lot of downtime, which makes for a rather long, but not stressful, day. I quickly run out to say hi to A. when he arrives, and then it's time for us to line up.
5:30 p.m. — Wedding time!!!
6:15 p.m. — Beautiful wedding. Bride and groom are super happy, and I'm happy because I get to go to the cocktail hour instead of taking more photos. I'm impressed with this venue — the staff is super knowledgeable, everything is on schedule, and the food is amazing! They have several stations set up for cocktail hour along with an open bar, and I try a little bit of everything. The bride and groom arrive at the end of cocktail hour, and we line up for our entrance to the reception.
7:30 p.m. — Introductions + first dance + maid of honor speech are done, and it's time to enjoy the party! The rest of the night goes by pretty quickly — dinner, dancing, hanging out with the bridal party, and then dessert. A. and I head out around 10:30 p.m., make a quick stop for gas ($20), and then head back to my parents' house. I change out of my bridesmaid dress and immediately fall asleep. It's been one long, amazing day! $20
Daily Total: $20

Day Six

8:15 a.m. — Wake up. At first I'm frustrated that it's so early, but then I realize it's Daylight Saving Time, so I actually slept for nine hours. Yes! I get up and take some extra time washing my face, since I didn't take my makeup off last night. I always wash my face before bed, but last night I almost fell asleep in my dress. I get changed, pack up, and head downstairs to spend the morning with my parents. A. comes down a few minutes later.
12 p.m. — We decide it's time to head back to D.C., so we grab all of our bags, pets, and pets' stuff, and head out. We have so much stuff you'd think we were a family of 10 instead of two people and two animals. Thank goodness A. drives, because I fall asleep as soon as we hit the highway.
5 p.m. — We get back to D.C. and I immediately take a nap. I guess this wedding took a lot more out of me than I realized...I wake up at around 5 p.m. and see that A. has unloaded the car and made dinner (chicken parm). I jump in the shower to wake up and then walk to Safeway to pick up some food for school/work this week — English muffins, pizza sauce, yogurt, a bag of sour cream and onion chips, and peanut butter crackers ($22.90). When I get back to the apartment, I'm not super hungry, so I make a quick grilled cheese and put the rest of the chicken parm in the fridge for A. to eat tomorrow. $22.90
7 p.m. — A. and I do our own things for a little bit — video games with friends for him, and curling up on the couch for a Flea Market Flip marathon with a library book for me. About halfway through the book, I decide I don't really like it, but I want to finish it anyways. At around 9, A. joins me in the living room to watch some Mad Men. Not my favorite show, but given how much driving he's done this weekend, letting him watch whatever he wants is the least I can do. Around 11 p.m., we head to bed. I throw on some PJs, slap on moisturizer, take two melatonins, and pass out by midnight.
Daily Total: $22.90

Day Seven

7:30 a.m. — Alarm goes off, but I'm definitely not ready to wake up. I end up sleeping for another 30 minutes before I coax myself out of bed. Luckily, I packed up my stuff for school and work last night, so I just have to get myself out the door on time! I go through my normal morning routine, curl my hair/throw on makeup, put on a nice work outfit since I have a ton of meetings today, and then head out the door.
9:15 a.m. — Get into work and immediately realize that I left all my food for the week on the kitchen counter. Oh well! I call A. to ask him to put it in the fridge and then set a reminder for tomorrow morning so I don't forget it again. Pros of forgetting my food: I get to buy tater tots and coffee at a cafe. Cons: Everything is triple the price and the quality is meh. I also grab a sparkling water to drink throughout the day before heading back to my desk for a morning of meetings. $9.46
2 p.m. — Two of three meetings are done, so I run out to Whole Foods. I pick up some soup for lunch, a bag of chips to replace the ones that I left at home since A. has probably eaten them by now, a BluePrint because it's still on sale (I normally never buy these because they're so expensive), and some clementines, and then make a plate of salad and some random things from the hot bar to eat for dinner during class. $23.30
4:30 p.m. — Meetings are done for the day — woot! I grab a clementine from the fridge and head back to my desk. I get an email saying that it's time for healthcare annual enrollment, so I decide to take care of that now before I forget. I quickly go through the updates to the insurance plans and at first am frustrated to see the largish increase in price, but quickly realize how lucky we are to have health insurance through my company. Both A. and I have pre-existing conditions, and I know that what we're paying is significantly lower than what we'd pay elsewhere. I say a quick prayer of gratitude to have health insurance and work at such a great company, enroll in health insurance for next year, and then set a reminder to go vote tomorrow. Living in D.C., it can sometimes feel like your vote is meaningless, but it's important to get out there and let your voice be heard. No one should lose their health insurance over a pre-existing condition!
6 p.m. — I wrap up work a little later than usual, head over to school by 6 p.m., and pay the $5 parking fee. With all the meetings I've had and the wedding this past weekend, I've fallen a bit behind. Luckily, I like this class, and the case is an easy read.
9:20 p.m. — After class, I head over to chat with my group about an assignment we have due this week. When I get home, I grab some peanut butter crackers and cuddle on the couch with A. while we watch a few episodes of Mad Men. My class schedule makes it hard for us to spend quality time together, so I'm always grateful for nights like these when I get home early. Around 11, we head to bed. I'm too tired to go through my full nighttime skincare routine, so I just use a makeup removing wipe to take off my makeup and throw on moisturizer before taking some melatonin and passing out at 11:30.
Daily Total: $32.76
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