A Week In Houston, TX, On A $117,400 Salary

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Today: a commercial analyst working in oil & gas who makes $117,400 per year and spends some of her money this week on a chicken kebab plate.
Occupation: Commercial Analyst
Industry: Oil & Gas
Age: 34
Location: Houston, TX
Salary: $117,400, plus a bonus, which is typically $15,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,700 per pay period from my job and $1,600 from two rental properties
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Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $1,000 contribution to our mortgage. (I live with my girlfriend.)
Grad School Loan Payment: $2,000
Water: $0 (My girlfriend pays.)
Hulu: $0 (I use my friend's account.)
Netflix: $0 (I use my sister's account.)
Health Insurance: $395 for me and my girlfriend
Yoga: $79.99 for unlimited classes
Spotify: $14.99 for family plan
Landline/Cable/Internet: $105 for my parents. My parents are aging and are on a single income, so I am happy to help them and feel lucky that my GF is supportive of this. (My GF and I don't have cable, and she pays for our internet.)
Heat/Electric: $200 on average for my parents
Phones: $220 for five lines (I pay for my parents, my sister, my brother, and myself.)
Auto Insurance: $310 for my car and my parents' cars
Annual Expenses
Costco Membership: $120

Day One

6:30 a.m. — Alarm went off an hour ago — no joke, an hour ago. I briefly consider whether I really need my job to survive. I have no morning meetings so I tell myself it's okay to come in a bit late. I shower and make a coffee (black). Since I'm running late, I'll just grab breakfast at work.
8:15 a.m. — It rained all night, so the entire city of Houston has forgotten all they know about traffic regulations. I finally get in and grab a breakfast taco in the work cafeteria. The food here is…not good, but oddly enough, the salsa is delicious. $1.40
11 a.m. — I have a lunch meeting, which means I will be fed. Today's catering service is from Hungry's; not my favorite, but at least it's better than boxed lunches. I grab lemon chicken with rice and veggies. Since I'm technically working through lunch, I feel less bad about coming in late this morning.
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1 p.m. — Meeting is finally over and there is a ton of dessert left. I am not a big fan of sweets in general, but people are really excited about the carrot cake, so what the hell, I grab a piece. Not worth it, so I toss it. My girlfriend, C., texts to remind me of her dinner plans with her friends, so I will be on my own tonight.
3:15 p.m. — I discover I have earned enough points for a $20 Amazon gift card through Drop, an app that earns you points when you shop at certain places. This is all thanks my H-E-B shopping. I cash out on the points and redeem my gift card on Amazon. I am going to put this towards a Bialetti for when I move abroad next year. (I recently accepted a one-year assignment in Asia.)
5:30 p.m. — I stop by the store to pick up a few things. I am craving lamb for dinner, so I get lamb loins, plus condensed milk for my Vietnamese coffee. $20.51
7 p.m. — I want to make couscous with my lamb, so I check the fridge. I like to have some herbs on hand for quick meals, so I chop up some parsley, cilantro, and tomatoes, which I throw into the couscous with good olive oil. I quickly season the loins and pan sear them. C. is not a huge fan of lamb or couscous, so I tend to make things she doesn't like when I'm on my own. I pair the meal with a nice bottle of Napa cabernet.
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8:30 p.m. — C. comes home and we watch an episode of I'm Sorry on Netflix (I have a little crush on Andrea Savage thanks to Showtime's Episodes) and a couple episodes of Kim's Convenience.
10 p.m. — I convince C. to go to bed early, but she's kind of a night owl. She tells me she thinks one of her friends is a Trump supporter — I tell her to get new friends.
Daily Total: $21.91

Day Two

5:30 a.m. — Alarm goes off and I see my sister texted me late last night. She did not win the lottery. I quickly check, and I also did not win the lottery. Not a good start to my day. I make a coffee, boil a few eggs, and peruse the internet. I really thought I would win the lottery. I pack breakfast for myself and C. (who is still very much sleeping). For lunch, I pack leftovers from last night's dinner. C. def won't want this for her lunch.
7:30 a.m. — I rush into the office for my 8 a.m. call. It's with someone in Asia, who is at the end of their work day, so I don't want to make them wait. The call goes really well. I'm really looking forward to my move next year.
11:45 a.m. — It's finally time for lunch, but I opt to sit at my desk because I'm slightly embarrassed about eating my bougie lamb and couscous in public. I'm also not in the mood to socialize, so I happily eat while reading Money Diaries. My lunch portion is way too big, but I am able to finish most of it. Talent.
3:30 p.m. — I check the yoga studio schedule and I see that my fave yoga instructor's class has been replaced with a substitute. I am so disappointed. She only teaches once a week, and she's the best instructor I've ever had. It also helps that she's hot AF (I call her Yogabae) and I'm hopelessly in love with her. I text C. about the bad news and she consoles me via text.
6 p.m. — I go to a different yoga studio because Yogabae's studio is really out of the way for me. The session is good, but it really highlights how excellent Yogabae is as an instructor.
7:30 p.m. — I meet up with C. at Shake Shack for dinner because there is no In-N-Out in Houston. (I grew up in California, so I'm a diehard fan.) If I hear one more person say Whataburger is better than In-N-Out, I will throw down some shit. We get a double ShackBurger for C., a single ShackBurger for me, and an order of fries. I use a BOGO promo code through the app, and receive a $6 discount. (I usually pay for both of our food expenses, since C. is focusing on paying off her student loans right now.) $11.66
9 p.m. — I catch up with C. while she showers. We are pretty busy during the day, so this has been how we catch up lately. We talk about trying to get me pregnant in 2020 when I come back from my international assignment. We have been talking about getting pregnant for the last nine years, and it's looking less and less likely.
Daily Total: $11.66

Day Three

6 a.m. — I finally get up, take a shower, make coffee, and boil eggs. While I wait for the eggs to boil, I like to sit on the couch cuddled under the blanket with my coffee and read all the important overnight news I missed on Instagram/Facebook.
11 a.m. — My coworker wants to go to Target to pick up a costume for her daughter, so I volunteer to come along. I need to pick up something for a Halloween party I'm going to tonight. I do not understand dressing up as an adult as I really don't care about Halloween, but it's my friend's husband's company party, and we're going in support. I pick up a cute cat dress since I already have cat ears. $16.23
12 p.m. — Coworker and I head to the food court for lunch in the interest of time. The Target is connected to the mall, so we figure we can just grab something quick. We both opt for Chick-fil-A. I get a Spicy Chicken Deluxe. $8
4:30 p.m. — I go to Costco to get gas. I have an executive membership with Costco, and my credit card gets me 4% cash back on Costco gas. $35.56
6:30 p.m. — I arrive at the venue for the Halloween party. C. arrives sans costumes — we aren't really good at this stuff. We mingle and catch up with a few people.
8 p.m. — We're pretty hungry, and the hors d'oeuvres ain't cutting it. We leave with another couple to go down the street to Thai Gourmet. The four of us are fairly obsessed with this place, so we are super excited. Houston is a really awesome food city with lots of diversity, but for some reason we do not have a lot of good Thai options. This is one of the best ones, but it's kind of a trek from where we live. We order a few dishes and share them family-style. $72.37
10 p.m. — We head home and crash.
Daily Total: $132.16

Day Four

7 a.m. — I am off today and cannot sleep in. I'm pretty irritated about it. I get every other Friday off, which is standard in my industry. Usually Friday evenings are our date nights, but we have been eating meals out a lot and I would love nothing more than to stay in (plus I feel like cooking). I suggest we invite C.'s friend over, and C. wants to invite her other BFF too, so now I guess I'm hosting a dinner party.
9 a.m. — I finally roll out of bed and take a quick shower. I make a coffee with condensed milk, because it's the MF weekend! I curl up on the couch with my coffee and look up different recipes.
11 a.m. — I eat leftover noodle soup my mom gave me. I text her to tell her it's delicious. My mom is a great cook!
1 p.m. — I drive across town to pick up fresh fish from an Asian market. Asian markets have the freshest seafood, so I don't mind making the drive. I notice the shrimp looks pretty good too, so I pick up a pound for shrimp cocktails. I then hit up H-E-B for the rest. $97.85
4 p.m. — I start prepping dinner by boiling the shrimp and chopping herbs. I'm making roasted bass with mint sauce, roasted corn and tomato salad, and spaghetti aglio e olio. I learned how to cook when C. and I first started dating. We ate out at restaurants all the time, and since I was in school and had no money, she would pay for everything. I wanted to contribute, so I learned how to cook, and I found the process to be really therapeutic. I basically do all the cooking now even though C. is a much better cook than I am. She's not a fan of cooking, though.
7 p.m. — Everyone arrives and we sit down for dinner. C. and I have been together for a long time, so her friends are my friends too. The fish turns out great — I make a mental note to save this recipe.
11 p.m. — We hang out until late, and they leave at 11. I'm pretty good about cleaning as I cook, so the kitchen isn't so overwhelming at the end of the night.
Daily Total: $97.85

Day Five

8 a.m. — C. is up and moving about, so I get up too. She's meeting up with contractors at Home Depot this morning, since she does home renovation on the side, and tells me she will be busy all day. I try to go back to sleep, but no such luck.
10 a.m. — I cuddle on the couch with my coffee while researching local candidates for the election.
1 p.m. — Yoga was great and I am starving! I've only consumed coffee and water so far today and I need sustenance. I drive by my polling place and decide to vote early. The parking lot is packed! I guess I could complain about a lot of things, but people spending their beautiful Saturday to vote would not be one of them.
2 p.m. — I make it home and am now famished. We have a dinner reservation at 7 with a friend, so I don't want to eat anything too heavy now. I open a can of tuna and season it with mayo, mustard, garlic salt, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper, and throw it in with some romaine. I put on Slow Burn and listen as I eat. Then I clean up the rest of the kitchen and unload the dishwasher.
7 p.m. — We meet our friend at Backstreet Cafe. It's 75 degrees out (a unicorn day in Houston), so we take advantage of the gorgeous weather and sit on the patio. We share an appetizer of grilled octopus, I order lamb chops, C. gets the braised beef, and our friend gets the seared scallops. We finish it off with creme brûlée and a few drinks. Our friend pays.
9 p.m. — We follow our friend to her house so I can help her set up her Apple TV, since she's not very tech savvy. We hang out there until 11 p.m. and then call it a night.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

9 a.m. — I get up and take a shower. C. is complaining about how she might be coming down with something, so I make her some hot tea. I feel her head and she doesn't feel sick. I think she's just exhausted from work. She likes to be spoiled sometimes, so I humor her.
12 p.m. — After much debate, we head to a Tex-Mex place for brunch since we have a gift card. We share fajitas for two and desserts, and I get a Bloody Mary. We then head to Highland Village so C. can pick up a few clothing items for work.
2:30 p.m. — We had plans to get pedicures, but now we're lazy. I still need to grocery shop for some basic stuff. I usually grocery shop per meal, since we dine out so often. I used to try to shop once a week, but would end up wasting half the groceries. This means I visit the store two to four times a week, depending on how often we cook. C. wants something comforting tonight, so I suggest roasting a chicken to pair with Caesar salad. $25.39
5:30 p.m. — I chop and wash some romaine as C. does laundry. Then I spatchcock the chicken so it will be easier to carve later. I'm not very good with carving. We watch Jane the Virgin while we wait for the chicken. I love Jane's dad!
8 p.m. — We finish dinner and clean up the kitchen. There's half of the chicken left, so I save it for tomorrow. We watch a few more episodes of Jane the Virgin and fold laundry.
Daily Total: $25.39

Day Seven

6 a.m. — I get up and do the same morning routine. C. is sleeping heavily (my baby is not a morning person), so I kiss her goodbye and am out the door by 7:20.
10:40 a.m. — I have had back-to-back meetings since 8 a.m. Monday mornings are rough.
11:30 a.m. — I'm not very hungry, but it's time for lunch. I message a coworker to see if she wants to eat together. We agree to go offsite to a Mediterranean restaurant. I get the chicken kebab with rice and tabbouleh, and save half for lunch tomorrow. $15.69
3:30 p.m. — Finally back at my desk after back-to-back meetings all afternoon. I literally haven't done any work today, but I'm too mentally exhausted to start something new.
6 p.m. — I get home and start dinner. We have half the chicken from last night, so I decide to make tostadas. I wash and chop romaine, tomato, onion, jalapeños, and cilantro, pull the chicken, and make the guacamole. (This is a great recipe to clean out your fridge!) C. comes home by 6:45, which is early for her, but I'm not complaining.
9:30 p.m. — We finish a few more episodes of Jane the Virgin and head straight to bed.
Daily Total: $15.69
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