A Week In Buffalo, NY, On A $58,000 Income

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 Business Operations Analyst who makes $58,000 per year spends some of her money on a holiday smoothie.
Occupation: Business Operations Analyst
Industry: Healthcare
Age: 24
Location: Buffalo, NY
Salary: $57,500 + $500/month from my second job
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,211
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $900 (one bedroom, includes all utilities)
Student Loans: $340
Car Loan: $265
WiFi: $83 (I pay for this and my boyfriend pays for the TV package)
Cell Phone: $175 (I pay for my mom and myself)
Car Insurance: $89
Amazon Prime: $15
Spotify: $5
iCloud Storage: $1

Day One

8 a.m. — I wake up a little late this morning and mess around on my phone for a little in bed. I eventually get out of bed and make a couple of eggs and toast for me and my boyfriend, C. I am excited because Christmas season means cookies and baked goods, and days off from work!
9:30 a.m. — My mom calls and informs me that Christmas Eve dinner will be at my apartment on Tuesday. Great! Now I need to super clean...my favorite activity! My best friend, B., got home last night for the holidays from living abroad so I invite her over to bake cookies — our favorite past time. I run to the store to pick up a few things left to make ricotta cookies, as well as a few things to get my new espresso machine (my early Christmas gift from my mom) up and running. I get a gallon of milk, a loaf of Italian bread, pancake syrup, two pounds of ricotta cheese, flour and ground espresso coffee. $16.35
1 p.m. — I notice that my Amazon Prime membership went through my account this morning (included in monthly expenses above). I'm thinking of canceling it for the rest of the year. I really only found it useful for Christmas...anyone have any thoughts on this?
6 p.m. — B. comes over to decorate some cut-out cookies I made yesterday and I pop the ricotta cookies in the oven. She ends up having to leave to go to a family dinner. C. and I decide to go ice skating at an outdoor ice rink we have downtown. It's kinda cold, but we manage to bundle up enough. On the way there, we notice we have barely eaten anything of substance all day, so we grab something small on the way there — a slice of pizza from our favorite place. We both get a slice of cheese, C. pays. After a frigid walk from our parking spot to the rink, we sign a liability waiver and are on our way. C. has his own skates, so we only have to pay admission and rent one pair of skates. We used to work with the girl working the counter, and apparently you get $1 off of admission and rental for being members of a local health insurance company, so we score $3 off. Yes! I pay. $13
8:30 p.m. — After leaving skating a bit earlier than C. would have liked (I have a bad knee and it was hurting!), we are still hungry...is anyone surprised?! We grab some wings to-go from a place around the corner and eat at home. C. pays for the wings. The wings were quite spicy (we got medium) so I needed a side of milk at the end to calm the fire down in my mouth. We watch some TV and then head to bed.
Daily Total: $29.35

Day Two

6:30 a.m. — I wake up and mess around on my phone for a bit. I then get ready and head out. I have been on a solid Starbucks grind recently. I have to top up my card to be able to get my usual. Grande cold brew with a pump of chestnut praline syrup (the best flavor right now! I'm always very sad when it goes away after the holidays. Also, was anyone mad when they discontinued the gingerbread flavor for this year? I wish I would at least have had a warning!). After I do the mobile pickup, I add the smallest splash of half and half and a bunch of cinnamon on top. $25
7:45 a.m. — Unfortunately, I need to fill up the gas tank. Since I got my new (well actually it was used, but it was new to me!) car last year, I only need to fill up the tank about three times per month. $33.53
8 a.m. — I get to work and, as usual, forget to bring something to eat. I go to the bagel place by my office and get a six-pack of day-old bagels (I keep them in my office fridge for the week) and a half-pound of fresh veggie cream cheese. I think their cream cheese is overpriced, but it tastes great while eating it, so who can complain...? $6.79
1 p.m. — I found out this weekend that my mom already has a robot vacuum, the original Christmas gift that I bought her, and had to return the one I bought last week. I decide that she could use a new watch since hers broke a couple years back. I go online and find a 15% off discount code for Daniel Wellington. (After Christmas update: my mom decided she didn't need the watch so I will be returning it next week :(.) $146.98
7 p.m. — I head to my second job (at a grocery store) and have to work until 9. My mom comes to go grocery shopping for Christmas so I drive her home after my shift. On my break we sit and have dinner together — I pay for hers as a nicety. She gets a vegan poke bowl, and I get veggie sushi and a small soup. I find a $1 off coupon for the soup so that makes my night. $18.47
Daily Total: $230.77

Day Three

8 a.m. — I am "working from home" today for the half-day we have for Christmas Eve. I have to go pick up some fish from the grocery store that they were out of last night. One of my good friends is working so I decide to bring her Starbucks. I get her a grande iced caramel macchiato and myself a venti iced caramel macchiato with an extra espresso shot. I use my stars to pay for this drink, so I go all out. My drink would typically cost over $7, but those stars come in handy! $4.62
9 a.m. — I somehow end up spending a ton on this grocery trip. Ugh, I decided I wanted to make a chocolate cream pie for dessert, so I also needed to grab a few things for that. I end up getting: Triscuits, two small boxes of candy for stocking stuffers, a loaf of garlic Tuscan bread (if you can find this anywhere, 200% recommend!), butter, a bouquet of flowers for dinner tonight (also had a $5 off coupon so it was $15), two bags of powdered sugar, heavy cream, fresh calamari, a bar of baking chocolate, tortilla chips, corn starch, and organic salsa. I also got some housewares at the store too: a set of gift boxes, a Christmas-themed table runner, and four placemats for dinner tonight. $84.84
9:30 a.m. — Can't forget the wine for dinner tonight! I grab a bottle of Italian Pinot Grigio from the wine store across the street and then make my way home. After cleaning my apartment and putting together the set of table and chairs I have had in boxes since I moved in September (oops), I am finally able to go pick up my mom from work and bring her to my house so she can start cooking! My first Christmas Eve dinner at my apartment is a success! $15.21
Daily Total: $104.67

Day Four

10 a.m. — I wake up in my apartment and make a french toast bake to bring to my mom's later. Then, I get ready for the day.
12 p.m. — I get to my mom's with the french toast and gifts. We exchange presents, take a nap, and watch A Christmas Story — one of my favorites — on repeat on TBS. We end up going to a family friend's for dinner. Merry Christmas! I don't spend any money today since it's a holiday.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

8 a.m. — Back to work I go! My boyfriend got me a Keurig for Christmas, which means that my mom and boyfriend got me coffee machines. This is definitely proof that I go to Starbucks too often. Spoiler alert: This won't prevent me from going again, especially since my boss got me a Starbucks gift card for the holidays! I make an iced mocha coffee with my Keurig to bring into work this morning. I also have one of the bagels that I left here and the cream cheese for breakfast. You can never go wrong with a slightly toasted bagel with cream cheese!
12 p.m. — I brought leftovers from Christmas Eve for lunch today so I am able to sit in my office and eat that. Almost no one is in the office today.
4 p.m. — I leave about 10 minutes early so I can grab something to eat before my second job tonight. I get a holiday smoothie with cranberries and blueberries. It's delicious and a good pick me up before my shift! $7.99
7 p.m. — I decide that I am still hungry and get a small soup and a bag of chips. I end up only eating the chips and decide to bring the soup to work tomorrow for lunch since they cost more than I want to spend. Does this count as saving money?! $5.39
9:30 p.m. — I am craving tacos. I convince C. to come meet me at my favorite taco place after I get out of work. He is reluctant but agrees. I always get two tacos, but he also decides that he wants a fountain drink and one of these massive chocolate chip cookies that they sell. The cookie alone is $6.50! I pay for us both ($16.26). As we finish eating, C. decides he also wants a taco and I kinda want another one, so I go up and order two more tacos. C. pays for this part ($5.98). $16.26
Daily Total: $29.64

Day Six

8:45 a.m. — I get to work and notice that I forgot my bagel at home. I head downstairs to get a fresh everything bagel. I toast it in my office and have the rest of the veggie cream cheese. No complaints here! $1.30
12 p.m. — I decide that I need my eyebrows done, it's been too long! And I notice that European Wax Center offers your first service free, and there is one about five minutes away from my office. I make an appointment during the day for 3 p.m. I have never been here but it is definitely fancy. No wonder they charge $21 for an eyebrow wax! I give my waxer a $4 tip. $4.
4 p.m. — As I browse the web at work — still a slow week! — I see that Lululemon is having a sale. I decide that this is my chance to treat myself. I hear that their pants are amazing so I find a pair in my favorite pattern that are marked down to $79 from $100...this is still a deal, right? I purchase them and do in-store pick up from the local mall. I head over there right after work. There is such a long line from returns and exchanges from the holidays and I really should have thought this through. The girl helping me looks a little confused when she puts it through the computer. (I later come to find out that she never put my order through correctly and they didn't think I picked them up. I got an email on Monday that my order wasn't picked up in time and it was canceled and refunded. Wow, this is great! (Shhh don't tell Lulu about their mistake!)
4:30 p.m. — I am rushing around the mall because I have dinner plans tonight with my best friend's family, but there are so many good sales, I can't not look. I end up at Anthropologie and find a pretty navy blue and white patterned ruffled dress. It is marked down from originally $150 to $100 and then an extra 40% off that. I'm bad at saying no... $62.82
7 p.m. — We go out with my best friend's family and head to a restaurant we usually like to go to for special days. My best friend and I get a cocktail and split a squash salad, an order of mushrooms, and the halibut entree. It is all amazing! Her mom insists on paying, which I try not to let her but she, again, insists.
Daily Total: $68.12

Day Seven

9: 45 a.m. — My friend wants to go to the mall to look for some new shoes, so I quickly get ready and meet her. We end up browsing a lot and she doesn't find any shoes. We pop into Lululemon and Anthropologie again just to see if anything new was put out. Sadly nothing really catches my eye more than it did yesterday. We really love those mall pretzels and I didn't eat any breakfast, so we grab some pretzel bites from Auntie Anne's on the way out — I pay. Why are these so expensive!! $5.62
11:30 a.m. — We end up going to a local juice/organic cafe for lunch. I get a veggie breakfast scramble that is pretty good and decently priced. My friend gets a chicken rice wrap and a "zingy" juice. $6
1:10 p.m. — We end up meeting another friend for coffee to catch up after our lunch. I get a chai tea that is actually kinda horrible and tastes like warm milk...no fun. My friend gets a maple latte which is amazing so I take a few sips to make up for my horrible chai. As you can see my chai is also horribly overpriced! Why is it that my chai is almost as expensive as my entire brunch! $5.17
5 p.m. — I end up dropping my friend off to say bye to her relatives before they head back home. C. and I decide we don't want to cook that much so we go to a local food hall and get dinner. Perk of this place is that they have about seven different stalls to chose from! My boyfriend ends up getting a Puerto Rican meal and I get Japanese spicy chicken ramen from one stall ($12.49 with tip) and a pork bun ($4.81 with tip) from another stall. After dinner, we head out and hang out at my place until bedtime. $17.30
Daily Total: $34.09
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