A Week In Boston, MA, On A $62,000 Salary

Content Warning: This Money Diary discusses specific symptoms depression and anxiety, including alcohol consumption, as well as terminal illness.
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Today: a Digital Content & Design Manager who makes $62,000 per year and spends some of her money on a rose-scented candle.
Occupation: Digital Content & Design Manager
Industry: Public Policy
Age: 26
Location: Boston, MA
Salary: $62,000
Paycheck Amount (bi-weekly): $1,560
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,550 (I live alone in a small studio)
Loans: $750 (I have $100,000 in debt)
TDA Account: $333.84 (pre-tax, auto-deducted from paycheck)
Unlimited Monthly Yoga Membership: $125
Internet: $50
HMO, Dental, & Vision: $112.88 (pre-tax, auto-deducted)
Monthly T Pass: $42.25 (pre-tax, auto-deducted)
Union Dues: $36.70
HBO: $15
Amazon Prime: $13
Supplemental Life Insurance: $7.90 (Post-tax, auto-deducted. I don't know what this does, but I signed up for it?)
Netflix: $0 (I use my brother's; he uses my HBO)
Phone: $0 (My parents pay)

Day One

5:30 a.m. — My alarm isn't set to go off until 6, but I'm awake. I'm tired. A friend asked if he could crash on my couch last night because he has a meeting in Boston today, and he didn't get in until 11:30 last night. He's still asleep, so I lay in bed until my alarm goes off and then try to navigate my morning routine around him (feed the cat, make coffee and a green smoothie, pack a lunch, makeup, hair, meds). He and I dated about five years ago, but things ended amicably, and we're friends enough that we can share a space for a night.
8 a.m. — I have to leave, so he calls an Uber to go downtown to his meeting. We hug goodbye, and I probably won't see him for a few months. I run to catch the 8:10 bus (I use my monthly T pass) and I do the New York Times crossword and catch up on NPR podcasts during the commute.
9:30 a.m. — The smoothie wasn't enough. My center provides cut fruit every morning, so I grab a bowl of pineapple, blueberries, and grapes to eat while I drink a cup of black tea. My phone has been blowing up since I sat down and the constant buzzing is making me anxious. I text my friends that I need some space and will be on Do Not Disturb for the morning. I put headphones on to drown out the rest of the noise while I make some web updates.
12:30 p.m. — I've finished up a big project, so my anxiety goes down a little. I grab the salad I made this morning (kale, roasted chickpeas, quinoa, and edamame) to eat while I briefly catch up with a friend. She has a terminal illness and she told me yesterday that she has maybe three weeks left. It's heartbreaking and I have no clue how to comfort her. She and I make plans to get dinner tomorrow and I scroll instagram while I finish my lunch.
4:50 p.m. — The rest of the afternoon flies by. I spend most of it reviewing the closed captions on some of our new tutorial videos to confirm accuracy. I pack up my things and leave to catch the bus to yoga. Yoga is a huge priority in my life (for physical and mental health), and I try to make it to class at least four times a week. Class doesn't start until 6 today, but the post-work traffic can make the commute almost an hour.
7:15 p.m. — Out of yoga and SWEATY. My hair is drenched — I'll have to wash it tonight. It's another 40 minute commute home from the studio, so I use the time to catch up on the newest episode of The Terri Cole Show (my favorite podcast that I highly recommend).
8:30 p.m. — Finally home. The cat is happy to see me, and she hangs out on my shoulder while I have “tapas” for dinner: pretzels with hummus, a carrot, and apple slices with sunflower seed butter. I shower, follow my nightly skincare routine (Origins face wash, Thayer's toner, Caudalie Vinoperfect Serum, Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Moisturizer, and Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Eye Cream), and I scroll Pinterest for a bit until I fall asleep.
Daily Total: $0

Day Two

6 a.m. — I wake up gasping for breath when my alarm goes off. I have trouble sleeping and I always jolt awake when I'm in a deep sleep. I'm so sore from yoga, so I lay in bed with the cat a bit, and I get up around 6:15. I feed the cat, boil water for tea, pack a salad for lunch, and follow my normal morning routine of makeup, hair, meds, podcast catch up. I used the last of the chia seeds in my smoothie yesterday, so I make two pieces of Ezekiel toast with sunflower seed butter, banana, and cinnamon for breakfast. I leave to catch the bus at 8:10, and it pulls up just as I get to the stop. I'm not in the mood to read yet, so I scroll Instagram for the entire 50 minute commute.
11 a.m. — I've been putting off buying a new candle for my apartment because I'm trying to spend less money on nonessentials, but candles really do make me so happy. I want a very specific rose-scented one, so I shop around Amazon, Nordstrom, Anthropologie, and Voluspa until I find the lowest price. It's 10% off and free shipping, but I still feel guilty for spending money on myself. Since I'm between work tasks, I take a few minutes to makes calls to a refill of my Prozac and to push my waxing appointment. $24
12:30 p.m. — My friend I was going to get lunch with, B., with hasn't answered my text, so I eat my salad (hummus, edamame, quinoa, and kale) at my desk while I work through the NYT crossword. It's not super satisfying, so I pop into the office snack drawer for a KIND bar, and then I get back to work.
1:30 p.m. — B. asks if I want take a walk to get coffee with her. I forget to bring my wallet, so I sit at a table and wait for her. When she sits down, she starts crying. She tells me that she sobbed in her morning meeting when the other researchers started talking about their summer plans and she had to tell them her doctor wants her to go into palliative care. I feel so bad for her. I don't understand how they can be so unaware of the impact of their words, especially when they know that she's sick. We stay at the coffee shop until she stops crying and then we walk back to the office.
4 p.m. — I'm emotionally exhausted, so I cancel my yoga class for tonight. I'm so tired, I don't even want to walk to pick up my prescription, so I finish up scheduling an events email, and I catch the 4:30 bus home. On the commute, I read a few chapters of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond.
5 p.m. — As soon as I'm home, I take off my work clothes and put on my biggest long-sleeve shirt. The cat and I cuddle for a bit, then I start some freelance work (I've just started freelancing; I'm trying to add maybe $250 to my income per month?). A client asked me to migrate web hosts, and I have no clue how to do it. I spend a few hours trying and googling FTP clients and I finally give up around 8. For dinner, I heat up the rest of the leftover tofu stir fry I made on Monday, and then I shower and am in bed by 8:45.
Daily Total: $24

Day Three

6:15 a.m. — My alarm wakes me up and I follow the morning routine. I get a notification that the busses are delayed this morning. I eat one piece of toast at home and shove the other in my bag so I can run to the 7:55 bus. Once I make it to my stop, I notice that the sunbutter has smeared all over the paper towel I wrapped the toast in, so I throw it away. I hate wasting food. I read more of Evicted will I'm on the bus.
8:45 a.m. — I'm at work and my stomach is growling. I make myself a cup of black tea to calm my stomach until the fruit bowl arrives. Once it does, I snag a bowl of pineapple, blueberries, blackberries, and grapes, along with another cup of tea, to take back to my desk. After eating, I plug in my headphones and hop into developer mode.
11:45 a.m. — Two of our researchers are presenting their work in a lunch seminar today, which means free lunch. Sometimes the food isn't great, but today they have sandwiches, (vegan!) hummus wraps, fruit, and potato chips. I grab a wrap and chips to eat during their talk, but it's not super filling. I'll eat my salad (chickpeas, edamame, hummus, brown rice penne, and kale) when I'm back at my desk.
4 p.m. — The office has already cleared out for the weekend. I'm not going to get anything else done, so I clean up my desk and head out to pick up my prescription ($7). It's raining, but I don't mind walking a few blocks to the pharmacy to grab my meds. After that, I take the bus home and unload my work things. I have a wax appointment at 6:30, so I have a little time to rest. I know I shouldn't drink on my meds, but I have a glass of rosé while I wait. I find it so hard to balance being social without drinking — especially when my depression is in full swing. It's a bad cycle, and I know I need to talk to my therapist about it. $7
6:45 p.m. — That was the fastest wax ever. I give the esthetician $10 (wax + tip) and I walk across the street to grab something for dinner from Trader Joe's. I get a bottle of rosé, a bag of broccoli, hummus, and pretzels ($17.06). I take the T home and I settle in to watch Netflix for the night. I debate having more wine, but I don't think my stomach can handle it. After a few episodes of Scandal, I turn off electronics around 9:30. $27.06
Daily Total: $34.06

Day Four

6:45 a.m. — Awake without an alarm, and I have a 3 a.m. “you up?” message from a guy I've hooked up with before. I message him back to tell him I was sleeping and apparently he's still awake (BIG YIKES) from the night before and wants to come over. I tell him he has to leave now so I can make it to my yoga class in time, but that doesn't stop him from Ubering over. We hook up and then we fall asleep for a bit.
12 p.m. — We sleep through my yoga class…oops. He leaves and I get up, shower, eat some toast, and then immediately get back into bed. I hate when I don't follow my routine. It makes my anxiety really bad, and I will almost always spend the rest of the day sleeping it off. I turn on an episode of The Office and I spend the rest of the afternoon napping. So much for my plans.
7 p.m. — I feel guilty for staying in bed all day. I eat some leftover cold pasta for dinner while I do more freelance work. I've managed to move over the database, but now I can't install the CMS on the new platform. I email the company's IT guy, but I'm expecting a condescending answer. I read through some tutorials for a bit and go to sleep around 10.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

7 a.m. — Awake. I'm debating going to the 9:30 yoga class today. I don't like to skip four days in a row, but I made tentative plans with a friend. I decide against it, so I get up, feed the cat, make some toast, and then settle back into bed to try to finish my freelance work.
2 p.m. — I fell back asleep, but my friend, T., has invited me to hers. I have a glass of rosé as I fix my makeup, hair, and get dressed. I think about going grocery shopping, but I don't think there's enough time. It takes over an hour to get to T.'s apartment if I take the T and I'm feeling anxious about it, so I call an UberPool instead. I listen to podcasts on the ride over. $14.73
4 p.m. — T.'s building is offering free margaritas, so we take some up to her common room to meet with our other friends. While catching up, I drink two margs and have another glass of rosé. We decide to walk to T.'s boyfriend's house to grab shots and Juuls and then go to the bar from there. At her boyfriend's house, we do tequila shots, and I'm officially drunk. I message the guy from before, but he's not going out today. T.'s boyfriend calls us an UberXL, but on the ride, he is obnoxiously drunk. I feel so bad for the driver that I apologize and give him a $20 when I'm getting out. I'm remembering why I don't like drinking. $20
6 p.m. — We've had multiple champagne buckets among the six of us and I can hardly stand. I ate someone else's leftover pizza on the table (I try to stay vegan; this cheese will get me tomorrow), and I've drunk-texted another guy who I really like. Ugh. I need to go home. I call an Uber and end up drunk crying in the car. $21.27
9 p.m. — Still sitting on the floor, still sobbing. I make a vegan grilled cheese, eat half, and pass out on my bed by 10.
Daily Total: $56

Day Six

6:15 a.m. — Holy hangover. I can't go to work like this. I feel like I got hit by a bus. I text my boss to tell him that I'm having stomach issues and I won't be in. I chug some water and fall back asleep.
11 a.m. — I'm awake again and I make some toast with sunbutter and half a banana. I consider getting up, but I fall back asleep.
3:00 p.m. — I sit in bed and cry for a bit. Hangovers and depression are the worst mix. I don't have any food in the house, so I throw on leggings and a hoodie and I walk down the street to Chipotle to get a burrito bowl (brown rice, black beans, pinto beans, mild, medium, and hot sauces, sofritas, and guacamole). I eat half of it while sitting on my couch. My friend H. knows that I've been having a rough time mentally lately, and she texts me to ask if I'll walk around Back Bay with her. I don't know if I have the capacity to handle this, but I don't want her to be mad so I tell her okay. I shower, put on leggings and a tank, and I take the T to meet her. $12.09
8 p.m. — The walk with H. is nice. We do a big loop around Back Bay and we sit on the docks along the Charles and catch up. It's her birthday this upcoming weekend, and I make a mental note that I need to order something ASAP. I take the T home, and I'm back around 9. I eat the other half of my burrito bowl, shower, wash my hair, and go to bed.
Daily Total: $12.09

Day Seven

6 a.m. — Alarm goes off. How am I tired if I slept all day yesterday? I follow my morning routine, eat an apple for breakfast, and I catch the 7:45 bus.
11:30 a.m. — I'm starving and the salad I brought for lunch looks so unappetizing. I have a banana on my desk from last week, so I eat that while I browse the NYT. I have plans to meet a woman who wants me to cat-sit. As I think through my after-work schedule (yoga 5:45-7:15, meet her at 7:30, hour commute home), I realize I should skip my workout so I can buy groceries for the week (cue the guilt). I write my grocery list and check Instagram while I eat my salad, taking a quick pause to cry because a friend posts that she got engaged, and I'm going to die alone.
4 p.m. — My boss left over an hour ago, so I pack up and leave early, too. I take the bus home and listen to the new episode of This American Life. As soon as I'm home, I change into leggings and a tank, grab my grocery bags, and leave the house without sitting down. I take the T to Trader Joe's and grab a bigger grocery haul: chia seeds, granola, pretzels, sprouted wheat bread, a baguette, honey, sunbutter, red pepper flakes, salt, black beans, quinoa, chickpeas, three avocados, two containers of hummus, kale, spinach, bananas, and frozen mango. $65.40
6 p.m. — Home from the grocery store, and it has started to storm outside. I wash dishes and eat some of the baguette with hummus for dinner. It's going to take me an hour to get to the cat lady's house, so I leave to catch the T again at 6:30. While I'm waiting, I call my mom and grandma to check in.
9 p.m. — Home finally and I'm hungry again. I alternate eating a baguette with hummus and vegan butter while I try to finish the freelance work. After an hour or so I shower, scroll through Instagram, and I'm asleep by 10:45.
Daily Total: $65.40
If you are experiencing anxiety or depression and need support, please call the National Depressive/Manic-Depressive Association Hotline at 1-800-826-3632 or the Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.

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