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A Week In St. Louis, MO, On A $75,700 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. We're asking real people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.

Today: an auditor who makes $75,700 per year and spends some of her money this week on a pair of mules.
Occupation: Auditor
Industry: Accounting
Age: 25
Location: St. Louis, MO
Salary: $75,700
Net Worth: ~$195,000 (savings: $16,000, investments: ~$118,000, 401(k): $32,000, Roth IRA: $29,000).
Debt: $0, I pay off my credit card every month.
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,550
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $700 (I rent from my roommate, who owns the condo).
Retirement: $1,100
Healthcare & Dental: $160
Utilities: ~$85
Composting: $7 (this is reimbursed through a company subsidy when I remember to submit the expense, but I don't always remember).
Spotify: $10
Apple News+: $10
Gym: $10
Netflix/Prime/Hulu: I use my family's accounts.
Cell Phone: $0 (paid by parents).

Annual Expenses
HBOMax: $99 per year.
Car Insurance: $615 every six months.
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?
Yes, I went to a college prep school from kindergarten to 12th grade and there was pressure not only to attend college but to attend the best college I could. I went that route and I don't necessarily regret it because I met some of my best friends and my boyfriend, but now that I understand how costly it was, I sometimes question my parents' decision to send me to private schools throughout my education. While I paid for everything discretionary, they fully paid for my tuition, room and board, and textbooks. I don't take it for granted that I started with a leg up, graduating debt-free.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
I had an allowance of $10 per week which got split into a checking account, a savings account and a charity account, so I did develop an understanding of basic saving at a young age. I didn't have explicit conversations with my parents about money until I started working and went to my dad for advice on investing. My parents always emphasized living below your means and that definitely rubbed off on me.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I washed dishes at a bakery after my senior year of high school. The hours were early but I got free baked goods and earned my first paycheck, which felt great. I got the job partly to have spending money for college and partly just because I felt like I should.
Did you worry about money growing up?
My dad (who managed the family finances) never worried about money but my mom did. When I was young I didn't worry about money, but as I got into high school, I became more aware that she was anxious about their finances, which I knew was due in part to them putting me through private high school and my sister through a private university. I still didn't worry about money necessarily but I did sometimes feel like a financial burden, which led me to become more spending-conscious.
Do you worry about money now?
I budget and track my spending very diligently so sometimes if my spending is unusually high, I get anxious about that. But after my last raise, I feel like I have more breathing room in my budget. I've been working to let go of the anxiety tied to small purchases and treats that make my life more enjoyable because, big picture, I know I'm in a good spot with my finances.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I moved out of my parents' house when I was 23 and became financially responsible for myself at that point. We still use a family phone plan and share Netflix/HBO/Hulu but I don't consider that to make me financially dependent. They also tend to reimburse me for flights for holidays, but I often lowball how much I paid since my parents have given me so much over my life. Honestly, I worry about my parents' money more than my own even though they're well-off because they're both retired. I could ask for help if I were to have any big financial issues, and I could move home if it came to it, but it would take a lot for me to ask that of them.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
Yes, my grandma passed away in 2019 and she had a sizeable nest egg at the time of her death. My parents gave my sister and me $50,000 each as a result. My parents also set up a small investment account when I was born that they handed to me after I graduated college. I knew about the account growing up but I thought it was set aside for my education, so I assumed the money was all gone until I received a 1099 one year. The value was about $18,000 at the time. Finally, they paid $32,000 towards my car as a graduation present.

Day One

7 a.m. — I've been half awake for a few minutes so I decide to get out of bed. Check my work phone — we have an inventory count today and the counter is supposed to call before he leaves the site. I get coffee going, then do my morning routine while it brews. I pour myself a cup and plop on the couch to read the news.
8:20 a.m. — I change into gym clothes and fill my water bottle. I have zero food at home after just getting back from vacation, so I'll need to get breakfast somewhere. I get to my car and notice a parking ticket on the window. Darn. I knew I was taking a risk leaving it parked there for two weeks, so I'm not surprised. But this is still cheaper than airport parking.
10:15 a.m. — I do a long warm-up, full body strength, and then treadmill interval training. I mobile order a spinach feta wrap from Starbucks and have to reload my card ($15). Pick up the wrap and eat it in the car on the way home. I take a shower when I get home and use some eucalyptus spray I got for Christmas to make it extra relaxing. $15
10:50 a.m. — I get a call from our inventory counter, all went well! I thank him and tell him to expense breakfast on the way home.
11 a.m. — Now the daunting task of creating a grocery list when I have nothing in the house. Work is about to get very busy so on the plus side I'll be able to expense dinner almost every day for the next two months, but on the downside, I'll need to prep lunches and will have zero motivation to do a weekend grocery shop. I scroll Pinterest for some recipe inspiration. I finish the list and wait for my boyfriend, B., to be done with work so we can shop together. I decide I want to finish a book before work picks up so I start Dele Weds Destiny per a podcast recommendation.
1 p.m. — B. is off work! I finish getting ready, quickly pay the parking ticket ($20), and then head outside where he picks me up. $20
1:30 p.m. — We get to Costco and I get us each a slice of pizza ($5.15) then get to shopping. I buy frozen broccoli, dumplings, yakisoba, Greek yogurt, chicken, tortellini, oranges, and a few other items ($121.26) from Costco. Then we go to Schnucks and I get oat milk, bread, canned veggies, enchilada sauce, and other recipe ingredients ($45.57). $171.98
3:30 p.m. — I put away the groceries and quickly check deals on DSW since I've been eyeing some work shoes but there are no deals. I'll try again tomorrow and just bite the bullet if nothing shows up. My roommate, N., gets home while I'm out so we chat for a bit. Then I walk over to B.'s apartment to hang out. He finishes some work and then we have sex, eat weed gummies, and put on Inglourious Basterds. We order burritos from an Asian fusion restaurant ($37.23). I also renew my DoorDash membership, which I activate when I can expense work dinners ($9.99 expensed). $37.23
6:35 p.m. — We eat while watching the movie. We decide to do a double feature so we head upstairs and put on How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. I pass out around 10 right as the movie finishes.
Daily Total: $244.21

Day Two

7 a.m. — Wake up and cuddle, then do Wordle and Quordle. We decide to get breakfast and I stand up and realize that I did in fact go way too hard at the gym yesterday.
8:15 a.m. — B. and I head over to a restaurant right as it opens to skip the line. I order breakfast tacos and a coffee and B. orders an egg sandwich ($32.21). B. pays.
10:15 a.m. — B. drops me off at home, I do my morning routine, and then plop on the couch to read the news. I text with a college friend/coworker, Y., to make plans to run by his house later. Then I paint my nails baby pink and check DSW for deals. Turns out the work sneakers I had been eyeing were men's and are sold out. Whoops. I was trying to make work sneakers a thing on my team but looks like that's a battle for another day. I order a pair of black flats, black mules, grey mules, and taupe loafers. I have a $30 off coupon which brings the total to $186.37. Then I review my Google calendar for the next few months and make sure I have all my PTO scheduled. I like having things to look forward to to get me through the busy season and I have some good stuff this year. $186.37
11:30 a.m. — I check Mint to go over my 2022 annual spending. I spent $394 less than in 2021! I'm pretty impressed with the consistency especially given my raise, which gave me more permission to treat myself. Looks like in 2023 I'll be able to lower my alcohol and pharmacy budgets but will need to increase my clothes budget. I also only had one negative cash flow month due to some car repairs.
1:30 p.m. — I read a bit more of my book, pick some cookies to bring to Y., and then leave for his house.
4 p.m. — I chat with Y. for longer than anticipated! I come home with a box of chocolate bark. I eat a few pieces on the drive home. Then get home and eat an orange while watching Barry.
6 p.m. — N. cracks open some champagne and we have a glass and chat while I prep my dinner of Greek chicken bowls.
9 p.m. — B. picks me up on his way home from work. We go to his place and watch TV while he drinks a High Noon and I drink a mimosa. I convince him to give me a hamstring massage and then he makes me hot chocolate. We talk about moving in together. We go to sleep at midnight.
Daily Total: $186.37

Day Three

7:30 a.m. — B. and I wake up and lounge. I scroll on my phone for a while.
8:30 a.m. — B. walks me home and I give him a candle from my stash since he wants to burn one and his only one at home is buttered toast, lol. Then I do my morning routine, pour a coffee, and settle in to read the news.
9:30 a.m. — I make cheesy eggs and toast for breakfast while listening to My Favorite Murder. Then I check my investment accounts. I also go ahead and transfer $4,000 into my Roth IRA. I clean the bathroom, vacuum, and mop the floors. I also glue a shoe back together since I had a hard time finding work shoes I like so I want to save this pair.
12:30 p.m. — B. and I go for a walk together in the park near our apartments. When I get back, I eat a Greek chicken bowl and drink a Coke Zero while watching Barry. Then I shower and read.
4:30 p.m. — I put on the movie Prisoners. When it becomes an acceptable dinner time I break to heat up frozen vegetable yakisoba and add edamame, then eat while finishing the movie.
7:20 p.m. — N. has been making a tomato sauce that's making my eyes burn so I retreat back to my room when the movie ends and read, then watch Reels for a bit, and then fall asleep to Bob's Burgers.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

8 a.m. — Wake up and get out of bed. I'm still a bit groggy from the melatonin I took last night but I got almost nine hours of sleep so worth it. Do my morning routine, then pour myself coffee and settle in to read the news. N.'s cat is absolutely fiending for attention and immediately jumps on my lap.
9 a.m. — I make a breakfast of yogurt with cherries, vanilla, and granola while listening to Wicked Words. Then I get a load of laundry going. I then get online to clear my inbox and knock out some work so hopefully tomorrow doesn't hit me like a train.
11:15 a.m. — I switch the laundry, eat a Greek chicken bowl for lunch, and then B. and I go for a walk.
2 p.m. — I get back and fold laundry while listening to Wicked Words, then I decide to go through my shoes. I clean a couple of pairs and throw out another pair. I take an Advil 'cause I feel a headache coming on, and eat a couple of cookies. Then I read for a bit.
6 p.m. — I get a pasta sauce going on the stove and let it simmer. Then I cook some tortellini and eat it with the sauce while watching Barry.
8:15 p.m. — I fill my essential oil diffuser with water and a few drops of orange and lemongrass oils and hop into bed, do a quick stretching and meditation routine, and then scroll. I pass out around 10.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

5:30 a.m. — I wake up to the sound of the washing machine but decide to lie in bed a bit longer. Why N. does laundry at 5:30 a.m., I'll never know. I finally get up at 6:10, do my morning routine, pour myself a coffee, and run a straightener through my hair to knock out some of the frizz from all the humidity. Then I make oatmeal with chia seeds, flax, cherries, almond milk, vanilla, and agave and eat while packing a Greek chicken bowl for lunch. Head to work around 6:50.
7:20 a.m. — Get to the office, fill my water cup, and get to work. It's mostly administrative tasks since we've all been away for a while and have a lot of prep to do to be ready for the busy season.
12 p.m. — My team takes our lunch break to catch up about weekends, then back to work at 12:30. It's mostly more admin work.
5:15 p.m. — I head out for dinner with a coworker, V., and our coach, L. We have quarterly check-ins and always use the opportunity to get a free dinner and drinks. I order a lychee martini and we get crab rangoon, spring rolls, tempura veggies, and dumplings to split. Then I get a yum yum roll for dinner ($151 for the three of us, L. pays and expenses).
7:40 p.m. — Get home from dinner and my treat yo self electric blanket is here! Also two pairs of my work shoes. I take a quick body shower then try the shoes. I like one pair and I love the other, so I'll keep both. I make a mental note to buy no-show socks to go with the flats.
8 p.m. — I hop on the couch and read the news. My mom texts me that she finalized her dates to visit and I make a note to buy hockey tickets for us. I check my email and see my dad sent me some financial information since I just took over their financial power of attorney. I fold the few clothes I left to air dry and then hop into bed to watch some Reels. I fall asleep to Bob's Burgers around 10.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

6:25 a.m. — Wake up and get out of bed. I do my morning routine then eat toast and an orange for breakfast, pack a Greek chicken bowl for lunch, and am out the door at 7.
7:30 a.m. — I get to the office and get to work. I'm heads down all day.
7:40 p.m. — Finally heading home from the office, but got everything done!
8:05 p.m. — Get home and immediately change into comfy clothes. I heat up leftover tortellini while I unload my lunch dishes and get Bob's Burgers going. I watch a couple of episodes and then head back to my room to pick an outfit for our work party tomorrow. I get the new heated blanket going and watch Reels for a bit, then fall asleep to Bob's Burgers around 10.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

5:45 a.m. — I wake up to N.'s alarm but lounge for a bit. I break my rule of no phone until I've gotten out of bed 'cause it's cold and I don't want to get out from under the covers yet. I read the news until 6:30. Then I get out of bed and get ready for the day. I do a quick shoe change as I'm heading out the door — I wanted to wear one of my new pairs but they feel stiff when I put them on, which is risky for a long day.
7:30 a.m. — I usually work from my client's office but I came to our office today for a meeting. I pay for parking as I get to the office ($8), then settle in and get to work.
9 a.m. — Time for my meeting. It's a real talk with some managers and I'm honest and tell them if they want to retain workers once our retention bonus expires in June, they either need to pay more or work us less. I don't know if that'll make its way to our office partners or what they would even do about it, but it feels good to have said it. I eat a cinnamon sugar bagel with cream cheese and bring a fruit cup back to my desk.
12:15 p.m. — Quick 15-minute tortellini lunch with V., then get back to work.
5 p.m. —V. and I leave for the work party. It's about a 25-minute drive. I get a Moscow Mule and eat some of the bacon-wrapped figs, as well as some of the cheese and fruit plate while mingling with coworkers and their S/Os. Unfortunately B. had work so I'm going stag tonight.
6:30 p.m. — We sit down for a delicious three-course dinner and cap it with espresso martinis while we all chat. I head out around 10:30 when the party is dying down. I get home around 11 and head straight to bed. It makes me happy that we all had a nice night together before we start getting busy.
Daily Total: $0
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