A Week In Boise, ID, On A $64,000 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: a Specialist working in Grocery who makes $64,000 per year who spends some of her money this week on cabinet primer.
Occupation: Specialist
Industry: Grocery
Age: 30
Location: Boise, Idaho
Salary: $64,000 plus a yearly bonus of roughly $5,000-$6,000
Paycheck Amount (Bi-weekly): $2,454.88 (pre-tax)
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $1,701.32 (This is temporary — I bought a house a few weeks ago and am currently renovating it with my boyfriend. I also own a condo that is fully paid off and once I can move into the house the proceeds from the sale will cut the mortgage in half.)
Loans: $0. (My parents set up a college fund for me when I was born and I went to a state university to keep costs down.)
Health Insurance: $30 (pretax)
HSA Contribution: $96.16 per paycheck (pretax)
401(k): $319.13 per paycheck (pretax)
Roth 401(k): $319.13 per paycheck (post-tax)
Savings: $0 (prior to purchasing my home I put $400 per paycheck in and once I can lower my mortgage I will resume this. I currently have $8,000 set aside for home renovations and $5,000 for emergency savings.)
HOA: $120
Utilities: $0 (My boyfriend, N., pays the electric bills for the house and condo ~$100/month for each. He will also pay the gas and water bills once we begin to receive them.)
Internet: $91.40
Credit Cards: $0 (I recently paid these off)
Gym: $21.29
Dollar Shave Club: $7
Hulu: $26.98
Tanning Membership: $69.59
Pest Control: $50 every other month
Car Insurance: $898.60/year
Credit Card Membership Fees: $138/year
Concepts App: $29.99/year
Yoga Studio App: $19.99/year

Day One

2 a.m. — My boyfriend, N., and I are both currently up, as one of our two dogs (B.) needs to go potty. This stinks (literally and figuratively), but since we have to get up at 2:30 to give her medication anyways, it works out. B. was diagnosed with bone cancer right before Christmas. She had her leg amputated and went through four round of chemo, but we just found out that her cancer is behaving incredibly aggressively and has spread and they are only giving her another month, so we are focused on her palliative care and one of her medications has to be given around 2:30 every morning.
5:30 a.m. — I have a sleeping disorder and have to take medication at least an hour before waking up so that I can actually wake up, so at 4:15, N. woke me up to take it and we fell back asleep until the alarm went off. We pop out of bed ready for the day! Just kidding, we snooze the alarm and fall back asleep until 6.
7:45 a.m. — I wrap up my morning routine, which today consists of a shower and then my usual skin care/makeup. This routine can take me anywhere from between 45 minutes to two hours depending on my motivation. I always do full makeup — I have had acne since I was 12 and every time I breakout they leave hyperpigmentation and I am not comfortable without makeup on. I have been working with a dermatologist for years and my breakouts have stopped and my spots are finally starting to fade! My makeup routine consists of: Jack Black Clean Break Oil-Free Moisturizer, Clinique Pep-Start Eye Cream, Coty Setting Powder (brushing this on pre-foundation will keep you oil free all day), Laura Mercier Flawless Fusion Foundation, Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Mascara, Anastasia Brow Wiz, and some blush. I kiss the puppies goodbye and N. and I leave. He is dropping me off at work today because he is on vacation all week and my car is easier to transport the dogs in. I have a quick commute and am at work before 8.
8:30 a.m. — First snack! I don't really like eating meals so I mostly just graze all day with my food. N. made me a peanut butter and cinnamon sugar English muffin today and it is delicious. I am going to be upfront and say N. does almost all of the cooking. I hate cooking and I am terrible at it, so I rarely do it. It brings me no joy so I Marie Kondo'd it.
10 a.m. — I take a break from the project I am working on to take my second round of medications. I have a couple of mental illnesses I battle with as well as epilepsy, so I take seven different medications a day to manage these. I have always been very open about my mental illness (ADHD, anxiety, PTSD, and OCD), and openly talk about them with anyone who wants to know more. It is so important to me to de-stigmatize these conditions; once you open up about them you will be surprised to find out how many other people are fighting the same battles and how a little conversation can help them to feel less alone and more optimistic.
1:20 p.m. — After a meeting, I log in to my personal email and see that I have an invoice that needs paid for the photographer that is doing a photoshoot with B. tonight. I get that paid and get back to work. $150
4:30 p.m. — I eat some carrots and ranch (ranch dressing is a blessing!) and then head out. I stayed later than usual to wrap up a project, so I can take the day off tomorrow. As soon as I get out the door, I get assigned an immediate priority project and have to start working on it in the car with N. Once home, I grab a parmesan bagel from Costco and some Doritos and get back to work. Around 6, I get a call that B.'s photoshoot is cancelled due to rain and have to reschedule.
8:30 p.m. — Finally wrap up my project and as soon as my laptop closes, N. pours me a margarita to celebrate. He is the best! We sit and talk for an hour, putting together a game plan for the house tomorrow. I finish my margarita and we pack up our stuff, load the dogs into the car, and head back to the condo for the night. Once we get to the condo, I do my nightly skincare routine and read for about 45 minutes before it is lights out at 11:15.
Daily Total: $150

Day Two

2:30 a.m. — Barely stirred when N. got up to give B. her medication. As soon as he got up our other pup, E., took his spot on the bed and curled up right next to me. Ugh, my heart melted. I love my babies so much!
6:30 a.m. — N. got me up at 5 to take my pill today and our second alarm "snoozes itself" a few times before we can actually get up and out of bed. N. and I have a busy day planned at the house and we want to get out the door as soon as possible. I start to get ready for the day while N. takes the dogs out.
8:40 a.m. — Today is one of those days that my motivation to get ready is low. I turn on Nailed It on Netflix to help motivate me, but all it does is make N. and I crave cake. Being the amazing man that he is, N. says he will run to the store to get cake for us as well as some other groceries. He pays. I eat a piece of cake and a parmesan bagel and finish getting ready. We get up to the house, get all of the groceries unpacked, the girls unloaded, and figure out what we need to tackle for the day.
10:30 a.m. — We decide to go see my brother-in-law at his work, he manages an equipment rental store (they rent tools, machinery, basically anything construction related) and are hoping he can bring home a few things we need to finally be able to make some actual progress on the house. We get there and he is out dropping off equipment and will be back in about an hour so we have to find something to do to fill our time! We decide to go tanning; I know, I know, tanning is awful and terrible for my health, but I love being tan. I have been actively working on cutting back on going though and am down to just once a week now! Progress people!
11:30 a.m. — N. and I run into the Nike outlet to see if we can find a gift for his brother. N. can't find anything he likes for himself or his brother, but I end up finding a pair of shorts and a tank top. I have worked on only buying essential items for the past few months, but it is hard! This girl loves to shop! $32.39
2:30 p.m. — My brother-in-law doesn't have the two main pieces of equipment we need so we head to The Home Depot. N. pays the deposit ($100) for a rental drywall sander and for some sanding screens. I pick up some thin-set mortar, a trowel, a sink faucet, hand towel holder, drop cloths, knee pads, cabinet primer, lots of tape, and a chalk reel. $282.06
3 p.m. — We stop at Baja Fresh for lunch and I get a cheese quesadilla with a side of rice and beans and N. gets two burritos with the BOGO coupon he has. He pays. We go back to the house to eat, split up the rice and beans, and crack open a beer. We are not feeling very productive at all today and talk about how we actually did do a lot so far and that we need to be kinder to ourselves. The home renovation has not been easy. We came into it knowing we had work to do, but the previous owner hid some major issues that weren't discovered until after I closed on the house and trying to deal with them has been taxing on us.
9:15 p.m. — N. has finished sanding three of the rooms (almost a third of the house) and I got all of the cabinets sanded so that I can start priming them tomorrow. We ran out of dog food this morning at the house, so we stop by the store on our way back to the condo and pick up some more groceries. We grab chicken (for the dogs), yogurt, frozen broccoli, strawberries, and gum. N. pays for the groceries. We get back to the condo and I feed the dogs and make dinner for N. and I.
11 p.m. — I start to get ready for bed — my nighttime routine is the exact same every night. I take my third round of medications, turn on Gilmore Girls (I have probably watched it 50 times now, but usually only go to season five because Rory absolutely sucks after that), and go to bed.
Daily Total: $314.45

Day Three

5:30 a.m. — N. wakes me up to take my medication and we go back to sleep. I guess I completely slept through him getting up at 2:30 with B.!
7 a.m. — Finally up. We didn't end up falling asleep until after midnight so getting up today is difficult, but we have a lot to do today and need to get moving. N. runs the girls out to go potty while I throw on some mascara and put my hair up. We are going to be sanding the drywall this morning and since I don't have to go into public, I forgo the rest of my makeup.
8:10 a.m. — We stop on our way to the house to fill up my car with gas. $41.64
12:10 p.m. — I hate this house. I have spent the last three hours doing nothing but taping drop cloths to the floors and N. has been covering all of the light fixtures and vents, and we only have two hours left until we have to return the drywall sander. I contemplate whether or not I could get away with just burning the stupid house down.
2:30 p.m. — N. leaves the house to return the sander and he texts me that they charged us an extra $25 for it because apparently it was not clean enough for them. We cleaned it before he took it back! N. pays for the rental ($92.33) and gets part of the deposit back, which is nice. While he is at the store he picks up some backerboard for the tile and some screws ($88.98). He also rents a texture sprayer so we can try to get the ceilings done. While he is doing this I head back to the condo because I need a shower. I run the dogs out after showering and then I sit down to do my hair and makeup.
3:15 p.m. — N. gets to the condo and he hops in the shower while I finish getting ready. We are both starving so I eat a bagel and once he is ready, N. makes me a grilled cheese sandwich and a PB&J for himself. After drinking copious amounts of water and filling up on food, N. and I cuddle up with the girls and take a tiger snooze before heading back to the house.
7:30 p.m. — My mom calls me to check in and I spend an hour on the phone with her. My mom knows how stressful the renovation has been and how hard N. and I have been working on it. She tells me that she and my dad are very proud of us for taking on almost all of the reno work ourselves, but that she wants to help us out a little and says she will help pay for some of the light fixtures for the house and for a new shower. By the end of the call, I'm crying. N. and I had budgeted for most of the repairs needed, but two days after closing on the house, B.'s heart started having problems and she ended up in the ICU. Between that, her medications, and all of the subsequent vet visits she has needed, we have drained a lot of the money we had set aside. We each grab a Mike's Hard Lemonade after I hang up and get back to work.
10 p.m. — We decide to call it a night as we are tired, hungry, and getting super goofy. We stop by McDonald's on the way to the condo for food because we don't want to make anything. N. gets a meal and an additional McChicken (he is blessed with the fastest metabolism known to man) and I get a large fry since they don't really have anything else I can eat. $13.74
11:15 p.m. — We finish eating and I am washing my face when N. tells me B. pooped on the bed. When her cancer spread she grew a tumor on her spine and it has started to cause her to have some fecal incontinence. We get her cleaned up and change the bedding. She can't control this at all and we make sure to give her tons of extra loves so she doesn't think she is in trouble. We finally get into bed, I do my skincare routine and read, and we are lights out around midnight.
Daily Total: $55.38

Day Four

2:30 a.m. — B. wakes us up and her toots let us know she needs to go potty. N. runs her out and does her medication.
6 a.m. — I wake up and take my medication. N. needs his sleep and I was able to wake up on my own today to take it. Small accomplishments!
7:30 a.m. — We sleep in a little as we have not been getting much sleep lately and we have another packed day ahead of us. We get up and I start my morning routine. I turn on some funny YouTube videos to get me pumped for the day. I love watching the r/ videos. R/insanepeopleoffacebook, r/anti-mlm, r/quityourbullshit, and r/vaxxhappened are some of my favorites and are guaranteed to crack you up! N. offers to make me breakfast and I happily accept. He makes me a bagel sandwich with eggs and cheese along with an entire bag of broccoli. Veggie power! After we finish we head to the house to start spraying the ceilings.
9:30 a.m. — We go to spray the ceilings, and it leads to a fight between N. and I. Our tensions have been running a little high today and I am irritated that he didn't do everything he said he would and now we are behind, and he is feeling like I don't appreciate him and is stressed. TV shows never talk about the insane stress that comes with renovations.. The financial strain, the never-ending issues, and the toll it takes on you physically, mentally, and emotionally can sometimes be too much. We end up working in different rooms in silence for the next couple hours.
1 p.m. — N. runs to the gas station and picks up some more Mike's, cinnamon rolls, candy, and potato chips (I pay). I wait at the house as our friend, P., is coming over to see the house and help us for the afternoon. After giving P. the grand tour, N. and I each crack open a Mike's, P. takes some shots of the whiskey he brought with him, and we get to work. Nothing like some day drinking to get into that work flow! $25.78
5:15 p.m. — Teamwork makes the damn dream work and together we get all but one room done. We have to stop though because the machine is due back by 6 and we have to clean it. N. heads out to return the machine and P. takes off. I clean everything up, take out the trash, and reorganize the tools while N. is gone.
6:30 p.m. — N. gets back and helps me finish cleaning the last few things, we feed the pups, let them outside, and decide to call it a day. We get the girls loaded up and on the way to the condo decide to order pizza from our favorite pizza place. I call in the pizza when we get home and N. leaves a little after 7 to pick it up. We always do pick up because the pizza place has a salad bar and there is seriously nothing better than a salad bar at a pizza place. I pay. $24.62
9 p.m. — I change over the laundry, hop in the shower, and then get ready for bed. I read my book and realize I am almost done with it! I have always been a reader, but a few years ago I started to read less and less until I was barely reading at all. A year ago, I set a 30 day goal to read 20 minutes a day and since then I have only skipped reading three days. I set a new goal in January to read 52 books this year and I am right on track to hit that goal. We aim for lights out by 11.
Daily Total: $50.40

Day Five

4 a.m. — We ran out of B.'s pills yesterday so no 2:30 wakeup. N. gives me my pill and we head back to sleep, but I am not feeling well. I have nocturnal epilepsy, which means I have seizures at night when I am sleeping or shortly after waking. I was diagnosed less than two years ago and it has been a lot to deal with. When I wakeup feeling "off" like this I try to stay in bed and sleep and sometimes the "aura" will go away and I will be okay. My seizures were well controlled until January this year when I suffered a bad concussion and since then they have flared up again so it is a constant battle. I am able to get out of bed around 6:30 today.
7 a.m. — I take a break in getting ready to go over finances with N. I keep track of everything, but make sure N. is actively involved. N. and I don't have any formal arrangement for money, he usually covers groceries, power, and his personal bills. I pay my credit cards, any other bills, and now the mortgage. The rentals over the weekend cost more than we had planned and I need to make sure N. has enough money to cover the bills he was going to pay, and he does not, I tell him I will sit down at work and figure out how to adjust payments so we can cover everything. I leave for work at 8.
8:15 a.m. — I eat my peanut butter cinnamon muffin at my desk while I go over bills. N. was going to pay his storage unit, credit card, the power bill, and part of the septic repair bill. Since he can't cover everything, I cover the septic repairs, which is almost half of what he was going to pay. We always try to keep things fair and make sure we are both doing well financially. I try to track bills a month ahead so when situations like this come up I can figure out what money I can move around to cover everything. I make almost twice as much as N. does so I try to take on the bulk of the finances. $450
11 a.m. — I take a break and walk over to our construction department. One of the managers is a contractor outside of work and has been helping talk me through some of the renovation issues. I go over some possible structural concerns I have and he doesn't think they are anything to worry about, but gives me the number for someone who can take a better look at them. I thank him and after joking with the guys for a few minutes, I head back to my desk and eat my leftover pizza, ranch dressing, and a bunch of carrots.
3:30 p.m. — I am wearing out quickly today. I take a quick break and eat some apple slices.
4:30 p.m. — I leave work and head to the condo. I still have work to do, but I am going to do it from home since I am starting to get a migraine. I stop at the gas station and pick up two ice cream cups for N. and I, a bag of chips, and some (seriously overpriced) migraine medicine. $16.02
7:15 p.m. — N. gets home from work and finds me laying in the dark on the couch. I have yet to start work, but have a midnight deadline on this project and need to tough it through this migraine and get it done. N. makes himself and the girls dinner, but I'm not hungry and pass on eating anything. He helps me get my laptop set up and I start working.
11 p.m. — I am just finishing up work and am feeling really frustrated. I had to redo my work multiple times because I kept making stupid mistakes. I hate trying to get things done when I don't feel well. I am frustrated and stressed now. I start my nighttime routine, finish my book, and finally get in bed to sleep at 12:15.
Daily Total: $466.02

Day Six

2:30 a.m. — The vet has still not been able to fill B.'s medication which is stressing me out, but both dogs need to go outside and potty. This ends up taking forever and we don't get back in bed until 3. We try to get a few more hours of sleep before N. wakes me at 5 to take my pill.
5:30 a.m. — I have a seizure. It is a short seizure, about 30 seconds, but it wipes me out. I have partial tonic clonic seizures and the postictal phase of the seizure (after it ends) can be one of the hardest parts of having a seizure. There are dozens of types of epilepsy and they can take so many different forms! N. checks to make sure I am conscious and can speak and then tucks me back in (he is a seasoned pro). I fall back asleep happy that I went to the bathroom when I got up at 5 and didn't pee myself during the seizure. #smallwins.
9:20 a.m. — I wake up to drink water and and take my morning pills. No skipping doses! I send my boss an email letting him know I had a seizure and won't be in. Recovering from a seizure is not easy — it is basically a massive electrical surge throughout your brain and once it's done you are completely wiped out. I usually spend half the day sleeping and it takes almost an entire day to be 100% again, so I usually am not able to work on the days when I have them. After emailing my boss I fall back asleep.
11:45 a.m. — I am recovered enough now that I can get out of bed and stay awake for longer periods of time. My cognitive function is still not great, but at least I can eat something and I start to get myself dressed for the day. N. is off work today and has been cleaning and running errands. It is rare for him to be off when I have a seizure, so having him be able to help me is really nice. He makes me an egg and cheese bagel sandwich.
2:15 p.m. — N. runs the dogs over to the house to drop them off and comes back to get me. We are going to try to spend the night at the house for the first time but we have to run a few errands before we can. We leave the condo and our first stop is the vet to pick up B.'s medicine ($49.79). Next we run to the local electrical/plumbing supply store to pick up a light for one of the bedrooms. We find a simple, cheap light that will work and split the cost in cash ($5). $54.79
3:30 p.m. — We get up to the house and I need to rest again. I doze off while N. goes to his storage unit to get our spare bed.
4:30 p.m. — N. gets back and we snack on some Twizzlers and talk about the house. Things are definitely not going as planned and we have made some hurried decisions that have cost us a lot of time and money. I make a list of what we need to focus on and figure out what we are realistically capable of doing and what we need a pro for. I also contemplate starting a blog about the process because there are so many different things that go into it that documenting our successes and failures may help someone else or at least make people laugh because N. and I are hilariously incompetent sometimes.
5:35 p.m. — Crap, we are running late on getting B. to her photoshoot. I wish I could say being late is a rare thing, but for me even when I can be on time, somehow I still end up being late. My brain just does not like punctuality. N. and I have very mixed feelings about the photoshoot, we are both so excited to get pictures done of B., but knowing that these are likely some of the last ones we will ever take is breaking our hearts.
7:15 p.m. — Wrapped up the photoshoot and B. did amazing! They got so many great shots and really were able to bring out her personality. I cried a little during it, but I am glad we did it. We head to the condo to shower and pack. We stop at a local fast-ish food restaurant. N. gets two chicken sandwiches and a massive fry, I get a grilled cheese and tater tots, and B. gets a pup treat. $27.85
10:30 p.m. — We eat, get the bed set up, and get ready for sleepy time. E. is mad at us for leaving her when we took B. and is now ignoring us. No amount of food bribery seems to work to win her over, and she decides she wants to sleep in another room. N. and I are cracking up over how mad she is at us. We set the bed up in the living room since we still need to put the bedroom light up and I start to feel really anxious. My condo is the only place I have ever lived since moving out of my parents and I have been there for almost 11 years. The reality of moving hits me hard and N. stays up and rubs my back until I can fall asleep.
Daily Total: $82.64

Day Seven

2:15 a.m. — B. nudges N. awake with her head to let him know she need to go out. He lets her out into the yard and when she is done he gives her her pill and we go back to sleep.
6:30 a.m. — We go through my normal pill routine and start to get ready. We didn't plan out what we needed to stay overnight very well and N. ends up having to run to the store to grab himself some coffee and lunch ingredients. Being split between two homes has caused our grocery costs to almost triple, we never know what house we will be at so neither usually has enough food and we end up going to the store almost daily. N. gets some apples, carrots, bread, peanut butter, doughnuts, toothbrushes, and toothpaste for us while I finish getting ready.
8:05 a.m. — Running later than I want to be for work, I rush out the door and am there by 8:15. I touch base with my manager. We have a decent relationship, he was my closest work friend before he got promoted about a year ago and navigating that new dynamic has been difficult. He is still one of the people I am closest with at work though and he does his best to make me feel supported.
1:50 p.m. — I take a quick break to eat some apple slices and cheese at my desk before diving back into work.
3:45 p.m. — Snack on some Doritos quickly before going into a meeting with my boss, hopefully it goes quickly so I can get out on time today!
5:30 p.m. — Well, it did not go quickly and I am now leaving work an hour late. This stinks because I was hoping to be able to run by the condo and rewash the load of laundry I left sitting overnight, but I have to get to the house to let the dogs out first. I stop by the gas station on the way and pick up a case of beer that will hopefully help me entice some friends to want to come over and help paint! $19.99
6:30 p.m. — I let the girls out at the house and run to the condo. I pull all of the wet, slightly moldy-smelling clothes out of the washing machine, throw some detergent in, and pile them back in to be washed. Again. I text N. that I am not leaving the condo until I am at least able to get the load in the dryer, preferably get it folded and that he should just meet me at the condo when he is done at work. While I wait for him to get here, I open a Mike's Hard (I am in love with these right now), and start to pick up around the condo, go through the mail, and pick out my clothes for work tomorrow.
7:30 p.m. — N. comes home, makes a dinner, and then takes a shower while I check my bank account and see that our gym charged its annual "maintenance fee." I audibly groan and tell N. to check his account to make sure he is still good on money for the rest of the week. We need to cancel our memberships, but never remember to when we are running errands. N. and I first met at the gym and used to go all the time, but after having multiple surgeries I don't enjoy going anymore. $41.54
9:30 p.m. — We get the load of laundry folded and have enough time to throw another load in the wash and get it in the dryer before we leave. N. is leaving his car at the condo and I will drop him off in the morning so he can get the laundry folded and do some other cleaning. We get back to the house, feed the girls and let them out, and start to get ready for bed. N. got the light installed this morning (yay!) so our internet is back up and running and I turn on Netflix so I can fall asleep to GG. I do my skincare routine, read, and fall asleep at 11.
Daily Total: $61.53
Money Diaries are meant to reflect individual women's experiences and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.
Want more Money Diaries? Well, you’re in luck — Refinery29 Canada is launching its own Canadian Money Diaries three times a week. (Which means once you’re done with catching up on all our diaries during your lunch break, you can head on over to R29 CA for even more.) You can now experience Money Diaries IRL at 29Rooms Toronto September 26th through October 6th. Buy tickets here.
The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day. For more money diaries, click here.
Do you have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Submit it with us here.
Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here: r29.co/mdfaqs

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series