A Week In Chicago, IL, On A $137,312 Salary

Content Warning: This OP mentions living with an eating disorder. If you are struggling with an eating disorder and are in need of support, please call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. For a 24-hour crisis line, text “NEDA” to 741741.
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 finance manager who makes $137,312 per year and spends some of her money this week on a lightweight puffer coat.
Occupation: Finance Manager
Industry: Consumer Goods
Age: 32
Location: Chicago, IL
Salary: $137,312 ($122,600 base + 12% bonus)
Paycheck Amount (bi-weekly): $3,087.41
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Monthly Housing Costs: $2,100 for a one-bedroom (I live alone)
Student Loans: $0 (paid off $50,000 undergrad and $30,000 grad school debt by myself)
401(k): $565.84 (6% of pre-tax income + company matches 4%. I have around $27,000 saved and an additional $107,000 in a rollover IRA.)
Health/Dental/Vision Insurance: $128.98
Electric: $20–$40
Internet: $50
Phone: $80 (my part of the unlimited family plan + iPhone installment)
Netflix: $14.16 (my fam uses my account)
Spotify/Hulu: $9.99
Amazon Prime: $0 (I use my dad's account)
HBO Go: $0 (I use my dad's account)
Savings: $0 (I don't actively budget or save, I just try to maintain at least $25,000 on hand in liquid cash.)
Chase Sapphire Reserve (yearly): $450
Roth IRA (yearly): $5,500 (current balance is ~$82,000)
Divvy Bike Share (yearly): $99
Magazine Subscriptions (yearly): $135

Day One

7:30 a.m. — Wake up reluctantly. I turn on kettle to boil water for my instant coffee, an anathema to many Americans, but whatever, I live for it. I check Slack on my work phone while brushing my teeth. Nothing pressing, so I leisurely finish getting ready while listening to NPR's Up First and Marketplace podcasts (and sipping my instant coffee). My morning routine is simple: toner, serum, moisturizer, sunblock. I almost always wear makeup, and today is no exception: BB cream, curl lashes, mascara, eyeliner, cream blush, and lipstick. I then throw on a pair of tight jeans and an off-the-shoulder top, slip on my sneakers (Veja!), spritz on perfume, and I'm out the door.
8:30 a.m. — I grab a bike at the nearest station to my apartment and cycle to the office. I make it there by 8:50, windswept and slightly sweaty.
1:45 p.m. — The morning flew by. Fridays are always crunch time for delivering reports, and I'm usually shackled to my desk for hours. With all my work wrapped up, I leave the office for the weekend. Summer hours are the best! I grab a Divvy near the office and bike to the Loop.
2 p.m. — A sudden intense craving for a lobster roll hits me. I stop by the Chicago French Market on the way home and buy one for take-out. Is this intuitive eating? LOL. The lobster roll is stupid expensive. I try to take little bites, but despite my best efforts, it's gone in three seconds. $17
5:45 p.m. — I wake up from a delicious but unintended nap. I have dinner plans at 7 with an old friend from college, so I hurriedly take a shower, dry my hair in five minutes (thanks, Dyson!!), and throw on makeup. I decide on a black top, high-waisted dark jeans, and black heels. Since I'm running late, I grab a Lyft (not shared) to the restaurant. $6.37
7:30 p.m. — I should have known. He's late! Punctuality is not the cornerstone of our friendship. My friend finally gets here, and we catch up over small plates and drinks at an underground sushi bar. The bill comes out to be $128 (after a 20% tip), and we split it down the middle. $64
9 p.m. — We move on to a cool basement hotel bar (I sense a theme) in the West Loop area. We order two cocktails, and the first round ($37.45) goes on my card. I can't count tonight and somehow ask him to Venmo me only $17. Not a big deal, but I'm supposed to be a math person, LOL. $20.45
10 p.m. — Uber home. To be honest, I'm ditching my friend for a dick appointment. We have known each other for more than a decade, and he will 100% do the same to me with no regrets, so I have his full blessing, LOL. $7.72
10:30 p.m. — B. comes over. From my experience, the best-looking guys aren't always the best in bed, but B. is a bloody unicorn. We're casual and don't share much in common besides a mutual appreciation of each other's face and body, but that's enough. Anyway, you know the rest. Good night!!
Daily Total: $115.54

Day Two

9 a.m. — I wake up very tired. Did I even sleep? B. is still here being a snoring, cuddly beast. I wake him up and we have sex. He then asks if I want to shower together, but my vagina has retired. I make him coffee while he showers. French press because I'm nice.
9:50 a.m. — B.'s still here, now shirtless, lounging like a giant cat on my sofa. Nonchalantly, he reminds me I have something this morning. Uh, yeah, I know, I've been waiting for you to leave!!! He finally leaves my flat, and I scramble to get ready for brunch with some friends. Pull on jeans, throw on a crop top, try to tame my insanely knotted hair, and Uber to the restaurant. $3.49
10:15 a.m. — I order a hearty dish (eggs, toast, hash brown, chicken sausage) and an oat milk latte. My friends order similar things, and we split the bill equally. $23.22
11:05 a.m. — We catch an Uber to head to an art fair/festival in another neighborhood. Someone pays, and it's not me.
11:30 a.m. — Meet up with my boyfriend at the festival. I'm not in a polyamorous relationship. I'm just a cheater.
1:30 p.m. — There's some really neat stuff for sale at the fair. I admire all the vendors' workmanship, but I like living in an empty white space, so I buy nothing.
2 p.m. — My energy is zapped. I'm ready to leave, take a hot shower, and be alone. Kiss my boyfriend bye and round up my friends. Call a Lyft, drop my friends off, and head home. $11.49
6 p.m. — It's raining, so I order pho and spring rolls via Grubhub. The delivery fee is exorbitant for a restaurant three blocks away, and I tip 10% on top of it. The rest of the evening is spent vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, watching Fleabag (Why is Moriarty so hot?!? Disturbing!) and finishing two books (Educated by Tara Westover, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens). I go to bed around midnight after popping melatonin. $34
Daily Total: $72.20

Day Three

10:30 a.m. — Wake up, drink coffee, do 15 minutes of YouTube yoga, and waste time scrolling through Instagram and other social media.
1 p.m. — Bike a few miles to meet up with my boyfriend, D. We're checking out an exhibition today, and I pay for both of our tickets. The exhibition was okay. $81
3 p.m. — Spend the rest of the lovely afternoon with D. We have some wine and enjoy the nice weather out. He's such a nice guy, and I feel so warm and fuzzy when I'm with him. I'm the worst. We head our separate ways after dinner (he covers).
7 p.m. — I take a shared Lyft to Target, and I'm the only rider. Win. $4.83
7:30 p.m. — I walk into Target with the intention of picking up one item for my friend coming into town. Then I have an out-of-body experience and buy a bottle of wine, tampons, pads, panty-liners, cherries, chips, almonds, and ice cream. $73.97
8 p.m. — Grab a Lyft because I can't carry all this home. $6.30
9 p.m. — My favorite friend with benefits, E., comes over. Not B., but a different guy. I know, I know. What's wrong with me? E. and I have been consistent bed partners for a while, and he's just really hot. I can't say no to him. Sex with E. is usually pretty vanilla, but he does a move this time that is disturbingly hot since it's so out of character... Anyway, he leaves after two hours. I shower and change my bedsheets.
11:50 p.m. — My best friend is here!! She's staying with me for two nights. We drink a toast and then pass out in exhaustion because we're old ladies.
Daily Total: $166.10

Day Four

10 a.m. — It's Monday, but I take the day off to spend with my best friend (she's from out of town). She's not a morning person, so I go to the gym for a workout (three-mile run on the treadmill and weights). She's still sleeping when I get back. I take a hot shower and make coffee.
12:00 p.m. — We get poke bowls and two cans of San Pellegrino sparkling fruit beverages for lunch. There's so much sugar in the latter, ugh. I pay for both of us, because she came all the way to visit me! $25.76
1 p.m. — We're taking the train downtown to do touristy things, so I top off my Ventra card. I only go to the Bean and do architecture boat tours under duress. $10
5:30 p.m. — I drag her to SoulCycle. I have three classes left on my plan, so we use two of them up and I pay for our shoe rentals ($3/pair). $6
6:30 p.m. — Dinner at a vegetarian place. We both get plant-based burgers and fries. I pay. $24.70
11:30 p.m. — I put on a sheet mask, pop melatonin, and go to bed while my friend stays up to do work (her normal bedtime is 3 a.m. because she's crazy).
Daily Total: $66.46

Day Five

7:30 a.m. — I wake up and get ready for work. I shake my best friend awake and hug her extra hard when I'm leaving, since she's catching a morning flight today and I probably won't see her for a few months. I'm used to it after many years, but it's still hard living in a city with no close friends and family. Chi-town isn't my first city away from home and probably won't be my last. I have no roots.
8:45 a.m. — I walk a few blocks away to catch the free shuttle to the office. I'm there by 9:15.
7:30 p.m. — Work was long today, with many meetings and no breaks. I skipped lunch and just drank copious cups of drip coffee (free at the office) to survive. I take the building shuttle and walk the rest of the way home. My brother calls me for advice on two job offers. I'm just annoyed he's making more money than me again. We have a healthy sibling rivalry...
8:15 p.m. — I order $42 worth of sushi via Grubhub. I don't know why. I eat it all and then I throw up. I've struggled with bulimia for years, and it never really goes away. I'm mostly recovered, but I still have relapses some days, like today. $42
10 p.m. — I go to bed after taking a long, hot shower. I feel sad and emotionally drained.
Daily Total: $42

Day Six

8 a.m. — I wake up later than usual and make myself a cup of coffee. I eat a little bit of Greek yogurt with blueberries to ease back into healthier eating habits.
8:50 a.m. — I Uber to work. I have no energy to bike or walk. Thank God for makeup hiding all my sins. My driver is a talker and compliments me on how pretty I look in real life/how I look the same in my picture...wut? He proceeds to ramble ad nauseam about how so many other riders catfish in their photos. I don't have energy for this, sir. $3.71
12 p.m. — I've been staring at spreadsheets all day and need a break. I pick up salads at Sweetgreen for one of my best coworker friends and myself. She Venmos me $14 for her share. $14
3 p.m. — I take a social media break to order a lightweight waterproof puffer coat on Amazon Prime, because I'm going somewhere wet and cold for an upcoming weekend trip. $50.75
6 p.m. — After work, I head to a spa with two friends. We've already prepaid (and tipped), so nothing out of pocket today. We get massages and relax in the thermal pools. Well, I try to relax. My body may be pliant, but my mind is not at peace. I should see a therapist, but I don't like talking to people.
9 p.m. — I Uber home, but not before dropping off one of my friends. I pay. $16.15
11 p.m. — I read a little (Becoming by Michelle Obama), pop melatonin, and go to sleep.
Daily Total: $84.61

Day Seven

7:30 a.m. — I wake up to my alarm, but I stay under the covers for 20 minutes. It's Thursday. I can do this. Commence morning routine.
9 a.m. — Uber to work again. Oops. $4.15
9:30 a.m. — I treat myself to a cup of matcha latte with oat milk. I tip 15%. The coffee is cheap because it's subsidized by work. $1.90
6:45 p.m. — After work, I get my nails done at this mediocre salon, but it's convenient. I get my usual: a gel manicure. The manicure is an absurd $45, and I tip $9. $54
8:30 p.m. — A friend is back in town and wants to hang out. He swings by to pick me up, and we go to a rooftop restaurant. We each have a few drinks and share some appetizers — super light, fresh, and delicious. He pays. You must be wondering if I've slept with him before. Of course I have. He comes home with me, but I tell him I'm tired and not today. He cuddles me and falls asleep while I again lie in the arms of someone who is not my boyfriend, wondering when I became the Samantha in my friend group and what I'm doing with my life when so many of my friends are married with children. A few months ago, I read something from a blogger (Nicolette Mason) that really hit home: "Your relationship status doesn't have to define you. It's not a determination of your worth, your value, or your desirability. Period." And it's true. I just need to believe it.
Daily Total: $60.05
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