A Week In Minneapolis, MN, On A $54,000 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 Senior Digital Media Associate in Advertising who makes $54,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a J. Crew bathing suit.
Occupation: Senior Associate, Digital Media
Industry: Advertising
Age: 25
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Salary: $54,000
Paycheck Amount (1x/week): ~$700
Gender Identity: Woman

Monthly Expenses
Rent $501 (I live with my boyfriend, B., and our total rent is $879. We split based on income and since I make a bit more than him, I pay slightly more.)
Student Loans: $288 (I've been paying this amount for two years and still have about $21,000 left to pay off.)
Energy: $15-$30 (depending on the season)
Internet: $29 for my half (this includes Wi-Fi and the modem)
Phone: $20 (I'm still on my parent's plan so I venmo my Dad every month for data. I got a new phone about a year ago and paid out of pocket for that so it's entirely paid off.)
Spotify Premium: $10.78
Apple iCloud: $2.99
Crime Junkie Patreon: $5
Shipt Delivery: $50
Netflix, Hulu, HBO: Mooch off of B. and B.'s fam
Savings: I set up a Roth IRA savings account six months ago. I put a bulk amount in there when I opened it and contribute $250 per month. As of now, I have about $8,000 in there.
Donations: I don't donate every month, but since I get my birth control through Planned Parenthood, I try to donate some each time I go in to pick it up, which is every three months.
Advertisement

Day One

6 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I snuggle with my kitty for 10 minutes and then hop up. I feed the kitty and then eat a quick breakfast of fruit and oatmeal while I do my daily planner and tarot card — something I'm trying to commit to daily this year! Wash my face with Cetaphil face wash, plus witch hazel toner and CerAve's AM moisturizer. Put on some cover-up, curl my eyelashes, a swipe of eyeshadow, and mascara. Pack my lunch, say goodbye to the kitty and my boyfriend, and run out to the door to the bus.
7:30 a.m. — I had to get up early this morning because my license expires on Friday and I need to apply for a new ID. There's already a line before the DMV even opens, but luckily I'm in and out within the hour. The new ID cost me $32 and they charged me a fee for paying with my card. $32.80
8:30 a.m. — I work fairly close to the DMV so decide to walk. I see a Bruegger's and text some coworkers to see if they want anything. I get two for them and a plain bagel with plain cream cheese (lol) for myself. They only charge me for the bagels so it's super cheap (I venmo the others for theirs). $1.16
8:45 a.m. — Get to work a little early. And the office has bagels. SMH.
9:45 a.m. — Walk to Starbucks with some coworkers. I'm very proud of myself for restraining and not getting anything!
Advertisement
12 p.m. — Lunchtime! I meal prepped yesterday — turkey meatballs and zucchini noodles with red sauce. Yum!
2:30 p.m. — This afternoon is DRAAAAAAAGGING. I have a 1:1 with my manager and we walk to a nearby café to review goals for the upcoming year. Again, I pass on getting coffee — so proud of myself today!
4 p.m. — I check out a few saved links from podcast ads with promo codes. I always write down the URLs I hear during podcast ads to check out later, especially on the podcasts I love (currently obsessed with Sophia Bush's Work in Progress and Directionally Challenged from two actresses from The Vampire Diaries!). I end up trying Wantable, a service that is essentially the same thing as Stitch Fix. Then I spend 20 minutes saying "like" or "dislike" to clothes. What a fun, meaningless thing to do. $20
4:30 p.m. — Eat a leftover bagel from this morning as my dinner.
5 p.m. — Head out! I walk a few extra blocks to a different bus since I'm going to a community education class tonight on astrology! We're going to get our birth charts read. I'm so excited! UNFORTUNATELY, the bus just doesn't come to the stop and the next bus isn't for another 40 minutes. Sometimes I HATE public transportation. I try to tell myself that there are so many worse things that could happen but when it's so cold and you're just standing outside for 40 minutes, it's hard to see the bright side of things. FINALLY, the next one comes and I hop on it. I have a bus pass that comes out of my paycheck pre-tax so I don't pay anything for my ticket.
Advertisement
6:15 p.m. — Stop at a nearby café for a coffee about 10 minutes before the class starts. Before the bus mishap, I had a plan to read and journal here for an hour before the class started, but I was rushed due to missing the bus. $6.42
8 p.m. — Class is over! The class wasn't as great as I was hoping but it was still interesting to learn about my birth chart. I decide to Uber home instead of waiting 30 minutes for the bus. $7.79
8:45 p.m. — Home sweet home. Nighttime face routine: Micellar water to take off my eye makeup, wash my face with Cetaphil, under-eye lotion from Neutrogena, and CerAve's PM moisturizer. Futz around on the computer for a bit, journal, and watch an episode of Veronica Mars with B. In bed by 10:30.
Daily Total: $68.17

Day Two

6 a.m. — Alarm goes off. My disoriented self thinks it's Wednesday so I plan to work out when I get home from work instead of in the morning. Back to sleep I go.
7:30 a.m. — OMG. I wake up, realize it's Tuesday. I don't get home from work and volunteering until 8 on Tuesdays, which is too late for me to work out IMO. Ugh. I decide to workout with B. instead ;)
8 a.m. — I take a shower, get dressed, put on makeup (same as yesterday — concealer, eyelashes curled, eyeshadow, and mascara), and out the door at 8:30. Oops, I'm definitely going to be late.
Advertisement
9:15 a.m. — I make it to the office. I toast half a bagel from yesterday since there are a bunch of leftovers in the office (no judgment on how many bagels I've had this week), along with my overnight oats (I meal prepped these on Sunday) with fruit for breakfast.
12 p.m. — Ugh so bored. At least it's lunchtime. Once again, turkey meatballs and zoodles.
2 p.m. — Someone tells me about a J. Crew sale and I can't say no (even though after all I spent over the holiday season I told myself I was going to take a three-month shopping break…..obviously not going well). I look online and find a few cute swimsuits. The struggle is real when you can't return sale items but don't know your size in that brand. UGH. I'll wait until I can take measurements at home tonight.
4:45 p.m. — Head out for volunteering. I volunteer at the library on Tuesdays for two hours helping teens with different projects they're working on. They have access to instruments, a music studio, computers, the Adobe Creative Suite, a 3D printer, a t-shirt press, and sewing machines. I wish I knew about this when I was a teen. I've been kinda bummed with this volunteer gig, mostly because a lot of them don't need assistance. I've been using this time to job hunt so I apply to a few jobs while I'm here.
6:55 p.m. — Head out a little early to catch the bus home.
Advertisement
8:15 p.m. — I do some dishes, fold laundry that was air drying since Sunday (oops), and put PJs on. I do my nighttime face routine — remove makeup, wash my face, and PM moisturizer. I lie on the bed snuggling with my kitty while scrolling Instagram and reading some travel blogs. I go back to the J. Crew website and buy the swimsuits I was looking at earlier. Here's hoping the bottoms fit me! $46.46
9 p.m. — B. and I watch an episode of Veronica Mars. So obsessed with this show! Halfway through we start eating ice cream. I'm a sucker for a bedtime snack.
10 p.m. — I fill up my humidifier and turn on my white noise. I use the app Headspace every night, mostly for the cabin downpour white noise, but I occasionally use it to mediate as well. That's something I'm trying to improve on this year. My company had a deal about a year ago that was $10 for the entire year and it was the best $10 I've spent! I snuggle next to B. while he plays on his Switch.
Daily Total: $46.46

Day Three

6:15 a.m. — I'm so proud of myself for hopping up and working out this morning! I decide to do a workout on Ring Fit Adventure, which is a game on the Nintendo Switch where you do different exercises and try to beat monsters. Sounds silly but it's actually such a good workout! Afterward, I scoop myself some overnight oats with fruit to eat while writing in my journal and doing my tarot card pull.
Advertisement
7:30 a.m. — Shower, get dressed, makeup (you know, the same), and out the door to the bus by 8:10!
9 a.m. — Catch up on emails and read my daily news subscriptions/newsletters (The Skimm, Morning Brew, The Good Trade, and The Daily Carnage) and play Luminosity games online which are supposed to help with focus and increase skills.
11:45 a.m. — I walk to Whole Foods with a coworker since I didn't meal prep enough lunches for this week. Buy a sandwich, some chips, and strawberries for at home. $16.17
2 p.m. — I walk to Starbucks with a coworker and don't get anything. We rant about work stuff. I'm feeling really down and deflated about my job lately. I don't have much (any) work to do and don't feel very appreciated.
4 p.m. — I have a meeting for a campaign that wrapped back in December so I'm a little rusty but I feel good about how I presented and I think the client thought it was good work. This was our last call with them since we aren't continuing the relationship anymore. I'm excited to move onto something different, but I did enjoy the work.
4:50 p.m. — I run to catch the bus home. I eat the meal prepped lentil soup and then run over to the café across the street. I'm meeting someone from Facebook Marketplace to sell a backpack I got for Christmas that I don't really like. I wanted to sell it for $50 but didn't get many responses and this guy asked for $30. Oh well, at least it's gone.
Advertisement
6:30 p.m. — I watch the last episode of The Morning Show. I really enjoyed this show. Reese and Jennifer were so great. It really made me think about different aspects and areas of workplace sexual assault (and sexual assault in general) that I hadn't thought of before. I would definitely recommend watching it. I quickly remember to cancel my AppleTV subscription so I don't get charged another month. I only bought a month so I could watch this show.
8 p.m. — B. gets home from a happy hour. I put on my PJs, do my face routine (adding in an exfoliator from Sukin, which I usually do twice a week) and then we snuggle in on the couch and watch two episodes of Veronica Mars.
10 p.m. — Time for bed. Feed the kitty, fill up the humidifier, put on my white noise, and fall asleep.
Daily Total: $16.17

Day Four

6:15 a.m. — I wake up, feed the kitty, and Ring Fit again. I'm out of overnight oats so I scramble an egg and make a piece of toast with peanut butter for breakfast while journaling and pulling a tarot card.
7:30 a.m. — Shower, makeup, get dressed, pack lunch (lentil soup dinner leftovers since I'm out of zoodles).
8:20 a.m. — On the bus. I'm reading Know My Name by Chanel Miller, which is written by the women who was assaulted by Brock Turner on the Stanford campus back in 2015. It's such a wonderfully written book and I almost cry multiple times on the bus. It's such a hard book to read, but so powerful. It makes me angry and sad and upset.
Advertisement
9 a.m. — I get to the office. I read my morning newsletters and then play Luminosity.
10:30 a.m. — The manager of the team that we presented to yesterday afternoon comes up to my desk and says how impressed he was with my insights and presentation yesterday. He thought the client would ask a lot of questions but because of how in-depth I went, they didn't have much of a follow-up. It feels really good to get that recognition and acknowledgment of a job well done, especially since I've been feeling useless and undervalued at work lately.
12 p.m. — Lunch! Eat leftover lentil soup. Not satisfied at all :/
5 p.m. — Wow! It feels like it's been weeks (newsflash: it has) since an afternoon has flown by. I actually had work and meetings. It feels really good.
6:15 p.m. — I meet B. near our apartment for dinner before we go to trivia with some friends. We both got chicken sandwiches and a beer. So tasty! He got a gift card for Christmas so we use that and B. covers the rest.
7 p.m. — Trivia time! We meet some friends at a brewery near our apartment. We actually do pretty well and I'm proud of us! I get two beers during trivia and B. covers them.
9 p.m. — B. and I sneak out a bit before trivia ends since a bus is on the way. I get home, do my usual nighttime face routine, and go to bed a little early so I'm well-rested for my birthday tomorrow!!!
Advertisement
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

7 a.m. — HBD to me!! Shower, get dressed, makeup, and call an Uber to go to an industry event to see my coworker speak. I never Uber to work, but I would have had to take two buses and wake up much earlier if I didn't get a car. Worth it. $13.59
9:30 a.m. — The event was great! My coworker did such a great job talking about paid social media. Everyone was super engaged and I think they all learned a lot. The event has bagels and bacon so I am well fed!
10:30 a.m. — My coworker drives us back to the office so we don't have to walk. I get in and just browse the internet for a few hours. A lot of people stop by to wish me a happy birthday.
11 a.m. — I have a Starbucks reward for a free birthday drink so I walk over with one of my coworkers and get a Mango Dragonfruit Refresher. It's my current fave — so yummy and refreshing (even in cold Minnesota winter).
11:30 a.m. — I get another rewards email from Jimmy John's and decide to order a sandwich for lunch before I head to my company's event. I only have to pay for delivery. $1.39
12 p.m. — The party bus has arrived! We fill the bus up with coolers and head out. I drink a White Claw on the bus — provided by my company!
3 p.m. —We hang out by a lake for a few hours and then it's time for the bar! The party bus takes us to a bar nearby to warm up, drink, and eat. A coworker buys birthday shots for the entire group! Down they go! I also get a beer and split chicken fingers with someone. $11.26
Advertisement
5 p.m. — Time to head back. We dance and drink more on the party bus home and I am definitely tipsy. I share an Uber back to my neighborhood with a girl that lives close by (I venmo her for her half). $8.38
6 p.m. — Back home! Both my Wantable and J. Crew packages arrived. I'm surprised how fast they came! Luckily both of the swimsuits fit — success! I'm not super satisfied with anything in my Wantable Edit but I'll deal with that later.
6:15 p.m. — Hop in the shower super quick to wash the day off of me and get all dressed up for my birthday night out! B. calls an Uber to the restaurant.
7:15 p.m. — Oops, a little late to my own birthday dinner. Luckily, we all get seats together. I order a rosé sangria, two tacos, and queso + chips to split with B. B. treats me! Halfway through dinner, I end up feeling a little ill and head to the bathroom to deal with that. Hopefully, this passes!
8:30 p.m. — Onto the first brewery! My plan is to do a brewery crawl since there are so many breweries within walking distance in the area. My parents and B.'s parents both show up, which is so fun! Some coworkers also join. Literally, all my loved ones are here to help me celebrate and I could not feel more loved and blessed. People keep buying me drinks despite the fact that I'm not drinking very much since I'm still feeling a little ill, but that's not stopping me from enjoying my day!
Advertisement
11 p.m. — Last brewery of the night! A lot of people have fallen off and gone home but we still got some stragglers. I decide I want to end the night dancing at my favorite club/bar so we head there and dance the night away!
Daily Total: $34.62

Day Six

1:30 a.m. — I'm ready to call it a night. I didn't even drink that much so I'm proud of myself for staying out so late (I'm notoriously an early bird when it comes to nights out). B. calls an Uber home.
2 p.m. — Finally home. What a long day. I eat some pizza rolls and head to bed. B. is already passed the eff out.
3 a.m. — Oh man, I do not feel good. Unfortunately, I spend the remainder of the night switching off from being in front of and on the toilet. What a shitty way to end my birthday night :( At least it hit later in the night and not in the middle of the fun festivities!
9 a.m. — B. and I watch five (FIVE!) episodes of Veronica Mars and then switch to Succession. B. goes to the café across the street to get lunch and I get tomato soup which goes down pretty well.
1 p.m. — At some point during the day, I order groceries through Shipt for the week. Since neither of us has a car, we think it's worth it to pay to get our groceries delivered. It cost $99 for a yearly subscription, so only $50 for each of us which we think is more than worth it to not have to navigate public transportation with bags of groceries. We get strawberries, blueberries, Kashi breakfast bars, a red and a white onion, cherry tomatoes, dairy-free vanilla yogurt, tomato sauce, coconut milk, tofu, chickpeas, bell peppers, two zucchinis, oat milk, naan, and ingredients for a spinach artichoke dip we're bringing to a Super Bowl party tomorrow (artichoke hearts, sour cream, cream cheese, and crackers). B. and I split groceries so my half comes out to $17.36. $17.36
Advertisement
7 p.m. — Wow, the sun is already down, where did the day go?? I'm feeling a little better so B. and I decide to go to my birthday dinner, which we made reservations for last week. I'm super excited to try out this new restaurant.
8:15 p.m. — We take an Uber ($9.33) to the restaurant and get seated right away. I order a glass of Pinot and B. gets an EVOO cocktail. Both delicious. We also order bread with ricotta goat cheese which was to die for. I get a red pasta and B. gets a seafood pasta. At some point, I start feeling ill again. B. gets tiramisu, which I nibble on. By the end of dinner, I feel like crap and am so beyond tired, I need to get home. Call another Uber ($8.10). $17.43
10:30 p.m. — Finally home. I don't even bother washing my face (which I ALWAYS do! The horror!) and just plop down in bed and pass out.
Daily Total: $34.79

Day Seven

10 a.m. — Wow. I slept for 11 hours last night. So needed.
11 a.m. — Up and at 'em! I put a tofu cauliflower curry in the crockpot to cook for the day and B. and I head out to a café for breakfast/lunch and some reading. Can you believe it's February and 40 degrees outside???
2 p.m. — Since B.'s been so generous to me this weekend, I treat us to coffee and pastries. I have cash (for the first time in forever, seriously, who carries cash anymore?!) and give them a $10, including tip. I finally finish Know My Name. Such a powerful read. Everyone needs to read this memoir. Seriously. Everyone. $10
Advertisement
3 p.m. — Home and make a spinach artichoke dip for the Super Bowl party we're going to. B.'s friend picks us up.
5 p.m. — I don't know anyone at this party LOL. I eat a lot of snacks and play Carcassonne.
6:15 p.m. — B. and I head out to another party. We end up having to Uber home first because we left the crockpot out, but off, and I worry about the food going bad after sitting out for six hours. Kind of a bummer because our apartment is so out of the way and it makes for an expensive ride. I venmo B. for his half right away. I run inside quickly to put it on warm and then hop back in the Uber to go to the other party. $17.89
7 p.m. — We made it! Chill with friends, eat some snacks and pizza, and mostly just watch the commercials and the halftime show. I could literally not care less about football but still enjoy spending time with friends — and they have a dog so that's worth it on its own.
9:30 p.m. — Our friends drop us off at home and I clean up a little before getting ready for bed. Still super sleepy from being sick so I'm trying to get a lot of sleep tonight. B. plays Switch in bed next to me while I fall asleep. All I can think about is how grateful and lucky I am to have so many loving and caring people in my life who all came together to help me celebrate my birthday. 25 is going to be a good year :)
Advertisement
Daily Total: $27.89
Money Diaries are meant to reflect individual women's experiences and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.

The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day. For more money diaries, click here.

Do you have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Submit it with us here.

Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here: r29.co/mdfaqs
Advertisement

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series