A Week In Austin, TX, On A $93,000 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 Data Scientist who makes $93,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Benadryl.
Occupation: Data Scientist
Industry: Technology
Age: 23
Location: Austin, TX
Salary: $93,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,043.86 (after taxes, health care, and retirement deductions)
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,650 (I live alone and am paying WAY too much)
Loans: $0
401(k): $1,625.02
HSA: $229.16
Water/Trash/Pet Fee: ~$100
Utilities: ~$50
Internet: $50
Netflix: $0 (paid by my parents)
Phone: $0 (still on my parents' plan)
Spotify: $15 (I pay and share with my parents)
Hulu: $10 (I pay and share with my parents)
Savings: $500 to a high yield savings account
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Day One

6:30 a.m. — Alarm goes off, but the bed is so comfy. My boyfriend, B., is over, so we snuggle and actually get up around 7:30 because I need to be at a volunteer training by 8:30. I put on a Uniqlo grey mock-neck sweater, black Uniqlo leggings pants (the literal best thing in the world), and fringe hoop earrings from Madewell. My makeup is always a bit of foundation and a swipe of an eye shadow pencil, and today I put on a bit of Maybelline lipstick (I know so little about makeup, please help). Surprisingly, letting out the pup, getting ready, and making a quick thermos of coffee doesn't take long, and I'm out the door by 8:10. Breakfast is provided by the organization I volunteer with, so I grab two breakfast tacos before heading in for presentations.
11 a.m. — Finished with training and I'm excited for the rest of the semester! I sign up for the workshop next Saturday before heading downtown for a haircut. I'm a few minutes late but my stylist doesn't mind. I really like him and this salon. I've been trying to view haircuts as more of a relaxing luxury than a chore, and after years of chlorine damage from swimming, it's definitely necessary. $65
12 p.m. — I stop by the Trader Joe's next door to pick up some face wash (Trader Joe's tea tree cleanser), a bottle of turmeric, and an impulse bag of brownie brittle ($11.46). I exit the parking lot, but the validation from the salon doesn't cover it all ($3). I decide to treat myself and try to prevent further impulse buys during grocery shopping later and go to Better Half. I get a burger and coffee and sit outside enjoying the sun ($16.90 with tip). I go to Whole Foods, drop my compost in the bin and get groceries. I grab produce, eggs, salmon, and some cold brew-filled chocolates and an eye mask (so much for no impulse buys). The total is around $71 but after applying all my Prime discounts it's down by $20! ($51.95). $83.31
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3 p.m. — I get home, unload groceries, and walk the pup. I also find out that the new dog bed I ordered was actually under a pile of other boxes in the mailroom, so I grab that. I paid for this last week using Amazon gift cards I got for Christmas.
5 p.m. — Dinner is leftover lamb and veggies from a couple of days ago. I put the cushions in the new dog bed and pup plops down immediately. I start binge-watching The Magicians to catch up before the new season premieres. I also make myself an orange gingerade rum cocktail.
9 p.m. — Pup has been scratching the bed and himself A LOT. I decide to swap it out for the old bed and wash it the next morning, and wipe him down with a wet paper towel.
11 p.m. — Pup still hasn't stop scratching himself, and when I turn on the lights, he's covered in bumps! I rush him into a shower and scrub him down. He's still scratching and the bumps aren't going away, and now he's coughing. I frantically look up the nearest emergency vets and call them asking what to do. They recommend Benadryl, which I don't have, so I look up 24-hour pharmacies.
Daily Total: $148.31

Day Two

1 a.m. — We go to the nearest 24-hour pharmacy and I run in for Benadryl. I give pup one and the emergency vet says to wait 30 minutes and see if he gets better. The hives are all over his face and he's still coughing and eventually, vomiting. I decide to take him to the emergency vet anyway. $1.68
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1:45 a.m. — We're at the emergency vet and he already looks and is acting better, but I can't deal with this by myself anymore. While the vet takes him and checks him out, I call my mom, promptly freaking her out. The vet comes back and says that while he looks better, she still recommends some steroids and anti-nausea meds. At this point, I'll do anything to make sure pup is feeling better. We finally get home at 3:45, I take out everything that I might be contaminated and collapse on the couch. Pup is looking better and we're both exhausted. $231.52
10:30 a.m. — I wake up after fitful sleeping. Even though he was tired, pup still had a hard time settling down last night. The hives are pretty much gone but I think his head is still sensitive from all the scratching. I text with B. because I was sending him messages throughout the night. I FaceTime my mom and she helps me draft a message to the pet bed company. I hear a knock on the door, and B. is here with breakfast bagel sandwiches. I immediately lose it and start sobbing in his arms from being overwhelmed with gratitude and exhaustion. (I don't care if anyone says “it's just a bagel!” This is definitely one of those moments in our relationship for me). B. heads out and I send the message to the manufacturer. Pup and I intermittently nap.
4 p.m. — Finally get up and clean the apartment a bit, trying to erase all the contamination that could still be around. Pup seems a lot better, but the vet says to keep giving him Benadryl for a couple of days. I have leftover cauliflower fried “rice” from a few days ago, and watch TV and read Bon Appetit to try to relax. Bedtime by 10:30.
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Daily Total: $233.20

Day Three

7:30 a.m. — Wake up and go on a short walk with pup, who is still low energy. I make a spinach and mushroom omelet (I've been making this for over a year and probably won't switch it up any time soon). I'll work from home today to keep an eye on the pup, plus I still don't have to much to do since returning from vacation. The pet bed manufacturer replies to me, and I send them the vet report and bill.
12 p.m. — I eat some leftover stew from a couple days ago, then head out to use my lunch hour for the errands I meant to run yesterday. I switch a prescription to a different pharmacy and pick up foundation and lemons from H-E-B. I also return a Ring camera, so that'll be $64.94 back to my account. $9.74
5 p.m. — Shut my laptop and go work out in my apartment gym, today I do 35 minutes on the elliptical and some light arms and abs. More leftover cauliflower fried rice and hummus with cucumber for dinner. I shower, use a questionable face mask, and hot glue my sneaker in an attempt to save it. I eat blueberries and chocolate while painting my nails, texting B., and watching The Magicians. Bed around 10:30.
Daily Total: $9.74

Day Four

7:45 a.m. — I accidentally turned off my alarm instead of snoozing, but honestly, it's not too much later than I usually get up. Quick walk and usual breakfast, while reading the response from the pet bed manufacturer, in which they essentially are trying to pin the blame on me for pup's reaction. ("Are you sure that your dog didn't eat anything or touch anything he should have?" Which, no, everything was normal until he came in contact with the bed). I put on a yellow collared shirt tucked into black skinny jeans, and dangling fringe earrings (all from Madewell).
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9:48 a.m. — Hop on the train to go to work. I bought a 31-day pass at the beginning of the month, and am trying to decide if it's worth continuing, considering how much I work from home (my team is remote so I essentially only go in to be social and to use my external monitor). When I get to my desk, I text with my mom about how to respond to the pet bed manufacturer. I see that there's a Women in Data Science competition starting, and message some friends about participating.
12 p.m. — Lunch with some friends is leftover tofu and veggies, from a couple days ago (I swear I'll start cooking so y'all don't have to keep reading about my leftovers).
1 p.m. — Back at my desk and I ping my manager asking if there's any backlog work I can pick up. He asks me to summarize my projects from last year again, which bums me out because I feel like none of them were that successful so re-summarizing them just makes me anxious for end of year evaluations, and the lack of new work makes me nervous about my security on the team. I try to cheer and wake myself up with one of the cold brew chocolates. I finally respond to the pet bed company, which makes me anxious to check on the pup, so I head out to catch an early train back.
6 p.m. — I finish up my presentations and head to the apartment gym. I do 30 minutes on a stationary bike and then legs and abs. Back in the apartment, I bake salmon and sweet potatoes with dill chimichurri. While making the chimichurri my blender starts making weird noises, and it sounds like something is loose in the machinery. I have a stick blender from B. so I don't feel too bad about getting rid of it. I eat dinner while watching The Magicians, then head to bed.
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Daily Total: $0

Day Five

6 a.m. — I wake up before my alarm, go back to sleep, and still snooze way too late. The usual walk and breakfast. I put on an Original Stitch Pokemon Hawaiian shirt and grey Uniqlo leggings pants and do my usual makeup.
8 a.m. — Before logging on, I head to a local farm stand. I usually volunteer here on Saturdays, but because of my other volunteering, I won't be able to for a few weeks. I pick up cauliflower, swiss chard, kale, and spinach. I end up staying later than planned chatting with friends, so I miss my usual train. I work from home for a bit before heading out for the 10:44 train. $21.10
12 p.m. — I snack on an apple before my usual noon team meeting. We go over what everyone has been working on and it's evident I have the least on my plate, so hopefully work will pick up. After my meeting ends, I reheat the last of the cauliflower fried rice and have some chips from the kitchen. I chat with a friend about the data science competition, and then take a quick intro course on blockchain to start my personal learning for the year. Still no work so I head to the train station around 3:30.
6 p.m. — Today's workout is a video from "Yoga with Adrienne" in my apartment. The pup is feeling a lot better, and he climbs all over me during the workout. For dinner, I try making chicken and rice meatballs from Bon Appetit, but they don't keep their shape, which frustrates me as I think I'm normally a good cook. At least it still tastes good. I make half and resolve to try to make the rest tomorrow morning for lunch. I go to pick up a friend, T., because we're heading over to our friend, O.'s house for a wine night. T. had a bunch of Winc credit, so she brings a rosé and O. provides popcorn while we chat and catch up.
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11 p.m. — Leave O.'s and drop T. off. I clean the dishes from dinner and see that the pet bed company is refunding me the cost of the bed. They're essentially dismissing the possibility that they could be liable for the vet bill, but this is the minimum result I wanted and it's another $43.29 back to my Amazon account. Finally in bed at 1 a.m.
Daily Total: $21.10

Day Six

8 a.m. — I wake up later after going to bed later than I normally do. Walk and breakfast, then attempt number two at the meatballs. They fail again, and to make things worse, I find a GIANT COCKROACH in my HVAC closet (yes things are bigger in Texas and I hate it a lot). I run over to the leasing office because pest control comes on Thursdays and I want them to come set more traps. I call my mom and vent out all my frustrations about work, my apartment (this is not the first roach/there are lots of issues that I'm unhappy about, but that's a whole essay in itself), and the stress from this weekend. I also text B. and he promises to come over later after work.
11 a.m. — I decide I'll work from home and ping my manager asking for work. He replies and I'm set to start a new project tomorrow, which helps my anxiety a little. I have some sad chicken meatballs while working on the data science competition and listening to How Did This Get Made. They talk about Fateful Findings which I watched a while back and it reminds me how hilariously bad it was and cheers me up.
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4:30 p.m. — B. comes over and I concede that the leasing office didn't tell pest control to come by. We walk pup and have a long honest talk about our plans to look for new jobs and move out of Austin later this year. I really worried him today while I was freaking out, so we both feel better being on the same page and aligning our goals.
7:30 p.m. — B. leaves and my mom calls again to check on me. While we talk I clean the kitchen, take out the trash, and have leftover salmon and sweet potatoes for dinner. The jumpsuit I ordered from ASOS last week arrives and it fits perfectly! I go to bed around 10:30, grateful for B. and that my day ended on a bit of a high note.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

7:45 a.m. — Up after snoozing and scrolling, but I justify being lazy because it's raining out and pup hates water. Usual walk and breakfast, throw on a striped H&M tee with Madewell black skinny jeans, then log on for more WFH and data science competition.
12:15 p.m. — I quickly eat leftover meatballs, then hop on a meeting. It's another new project, so I'm excited to have another new thing on my plate. Unfortunately it runs long, so I miss the 1:19 train I wanted to take downtown. Luckily there's a bus heading downtown, so I meet T. at the stop (my pass also applies to buses). On the way, we stop for a driver change and my manager calls me asking if I'm offline for the day. I explain that I'm using my lunch hour to run some errands. Apparently, his end of year evaluations are due today, so we need to send in our personal evaluations today. I rant to T. about how evaluations haven't been mentioned before now (she used to also be under this manager and understands my frustrations).
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2 p.m. — We stop at the jewelers to pick up a ring I got resized. My grandmother gave it to me and it's way too nice to wear every day, but it's beautiful and definitely worth the cost to resize it. $129.90
2:15 p.m. — Next we stop at a Capital One cafe and I pick up coffee for the both of us because it's half off on my credit card. I get an horchata oat milk latte and T. gets a vanilla latte. $5.25
2:30 p.m. — Our final stop is to pick up my prescription and panty liners (I hate that name) because my period is starting soon. $1.50
3 p.m. — We go to the library downtown to work the rest of the day. I have a hard time connecting to the WiFi, so I can't meet with my manager about evaluations before he has to be on other calls the rest of the day. I start working on my new project and T. and I pick up some books.
5 p.m. — T. and I head to the bus station and go home. I let out pup and start making dinner, which is turmeric salmon with greens from the farm, also from Bon Appetit. It works out so much better than the meatballs. I finish season four of The Magicians (sobbing) and text with B. for a bit. He's also had a long week, so I plan to stay over at his place this weekend to try to cheer him up. I head to bed at 10 so I can be up early for a workshop tomorrow.
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Daily Total: $136.65
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