A Week In Seattle, WA, On A $88,200 Salary

Photo: Courtesy of Playbill.
Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. We're asking real people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.

Today: an executive assistant and Pilates coach who makes $88,200 per year and spends some of her money this week on tickets to SIX The Musical.
Occupation: Executive Assistant
Industry: Tech
Age: 28
Location: Seattle, WA
Salary: $75,000, plus a $6,000 sign-on bonus, paid monthly, and RSUs. I also make $7,200–$14,400 a year coaching Pilates.
Net Worth: -$41,000 ($1,000 in savings plus $27,000 in retirement, minus debt listed below)
Debt: $69,000 ($36,000 for student loans, $30,000 for my car loan, and $3,000 in credit card debt)
EA Paycheck Amount (1x/month): $4,900 (this includes year two of my sign-on bonus, which is $583 a month)
Pilates Coaching Paycheck Amount (1x/month): $600–$1,200
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,100 ($2,200 split evenly with my boyfriend, A.)
Utilities: $100
Internet: $42 (my half)
Phone: $36 (I pay my mom for my portion.)
Private Student Loan: $167 (My other loan is deferred.)
Car Loan: $563
Car Insurance: $117
Yoga: $127
Peloton: $48
Netflix: $9.99
Apple Music: $9.99
Hulu & HBO: $27.99
YouTube TV: $80
Dog Walker: $100

Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
Yes, both my parents went to college on full sports scholarships. They felt so privileged to have done so, and they still speak highly of their time at their respective colleges. It was never a thought or option for me to not go to college. I paid for it with a mix of private and public loans. My dad paid my rent for me when I didn't live in the dorms.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
Until about the age of 13 money was never really discussed. I know we were wealthy and I got pretty much whatever I wanted. When I was about 16, during the 2008 recession, my dad's company (in the housing industry) went under, and everything changed. Our house was foreclosed on, and my parents got divorced. Money became a huge topic of conversation, and we struggled for a while. Looking back, that experience has made me mature, and I am now used to working hard for the things I have instead of just being handed them.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was at a movie theater. I sold and took tickets, cleaned the theater, and sometimes worked the concession. I got the job because some of my friends worked there and I wanted spending money. My dad actually wanted me to wait to get a job ("You will have to work the rest of your life. Why start now?"), but I wanted the freedom to shop when I wanted.

Did you worry about money growing up?
Not until I was 16. After that, I have worried about money almost every day.

Do you worry about money now?
Yes. Working in tech, it's hard not to think about layoffs right now, and I don't have a huge savings account, which stresses me out, but I'm working on it.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I became financially independent after college, around 23. I don't have a huge safety net but I am actively working on it.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
Not anymore. Growing up, I had a credit card my parents paid off, and my dad paid for my housing during college.

Day One

6:30 a.m. — Alarm goes off. I can get up and do the Peloton or stay in bed…We all know the choice I make.
7:15 a.m. — Okay, it's time to get up. It's payday! Getting paid once per month from my corporate job has been an interesting transition but it does make paydays more exciting. I do my skin care, (Youth To The People cleanser, Sephora Collection vitamin C toner, Sephora Collection vitamin C serum, Cetaphil moisturizer), brush my teeth, and get ready before taking my dog, B., out on a walk. Her dog walker comes today, so I just do a short one this morning.
8:24 a.m. — I take the bus to the office. I get a free metrocard from work so I try to take the bus as much as possible. It takes about 20 minutes, and I read my book, Advika and the Hollywood Wives, on the way. I'm not loving this book but I need to finish it at this point.
9 a.m. — I settle into work and grab mini muffins and a coffee from the kitchen. Free food is such a perk of working in tech. As an executive assistant, my days are never the same. It's a lot of emails, planning, meetings, pretty much anything my bosses need. I have been an EA for about six years and love it!
10 a.m. — I take a break to buy plane tickets for me and my BF. We're going to Boston next month. I pay with my travel credit card for points (and a free checked bag). He will pay me back for his portion, so the total for my ticket is $477. $477
12 p.m. — Free lunch is here! I get butter chicken, rice, and pita and eat at my desk. It's so delicious!
3:45 p.m. — And I'm outta here! I trudge uphill to my bus, which never comes, so I end up waiting 20 minutes for the next one. Once I'm home, I take my dog on a quick walk and then it's off to Pilates. I take one class and then coach two. Our Pilates studio got adorable new water bottles, so I buy a hot pink one with my discount for $28. I'm exhausted by the end of all three classes but need to speed home for Vanderpump Rules. Scandavol reunion part 2! $28
9 p.m. — Back in bed, VPR on! A. made me a Caesar salad with Beyond Buffalo nuggets (our favorite quick meal). I finish the reunion, watch a few episodes of XO, Kitty and pass out.
Daily Total: $505

Day Two

6:30 a.m. — Alarm goes off. I'm not skipping the Peloton today! I jump on the bike and do a 30-minute pop ride with Cody and a 10-minute cool down with Leanne (my favorite instructors). I am not sure how much longer I will keep my Peloton, but I love the classes every once in a while.
7:15 a.m. — I get ready (same skin care and makeup everyday). This morning, me and my pup go play at the park. I put on green cargo pants and a black bodysuit, and A. texts me a pic of Kim Possible. Off to the bus I go.
8:45 a.m. — I pass Paramount Theater on the way to work and decide to look up tickets for the upcoming tour of SIX The Musical. I buy cheap ones and have a giftcard so only have to pay $36 for two tickets! I am so excited. $36
10 a.m. — Emails and scheduling. I grab free mini muffins from the kitchen and a free iced white chocolate mocha with oat milk to get me through the morning. It's slow today, so I take time in the morning to restock our office kitchen. I get to do all the Costco ordering for our floor, and it's my favorite work task.
11:30 a.m. — My best friend texts our bridesmaid group about the details for her wedding in two weeks! Makeup is $150 and hair is $85, so I venmo her right away. $235
1 p.m. — Finally time for lunch. I grab a Diet Coke from the kitchen and my lunch from home (Caesar salad with chicken). While I eat, I get a Venmo request from a friend for $63 for my ticket to the Boston Red Sox game while we are visiting. I send it to her. $63
4 p.m. — Headed home! I take the bus and stop by the store by my house for flowers for my grandma. Tonight is her 79th Birthday! I try to spend as much time as possible with my grandparents, especially because they live so close. $19.54
5:45 p.m. — Dinner time! We go to a Chinese restaurant that my family loves. I get a combo plate with chow mein, almond chicken, sweet-and-sour pork, and cream cheese wontons. It's so good! My dad pays.
8 p.m. — Home and time to relax. I watch The Kardashians, walk my dog, and pass out with A.
Daily Total: $353.54

Day Three

7:40 a.m. — It's Friday! No office today. I am only required to go in three days a week. Fridays are slow for me, so I take my time starting the day. I get Starbucks for me and A: a cold brew for him and egg white bites and a sweet cream vanilla cold brew for me. I add money to my Starbucks card to cover the cost. $15
11:30 a.m. — Time to log off for lunch. I get to go to my favorite yoga sculpt class on Fridays at noon. I am so excited because I haven't been in a few weeks. I always go 15 minutes early so I can read in the hot room — the perks of hot yoga!
1 p.m. — That was incredible but sooooo hard. I need to go grocery shopping. We go to Costco once a month but in between it's Trader Joe's. Today, I get spinach, onions, protein bars, sausage, frozen chicken, goat cheese, strawberries, truffle almonds, paper towels, toilet paper, poppy seed dressing, dog treats, almond milk, cowboy quinoa burgers, an elote corn salad kit, cauliflower rice, taco seasoning, popcorn, olive oil, a wedding card, body wash, and sriracha. I can't live without the Quinoa Cowboy Veggie Burgers. $64
3:30 p.m. — Off to coaching! I have coached xFormer (slow resistance training) for almost two years, and it has made me so much more confident. I love it! I coach the 4:30 and 5:30 classes, which are full of regulars, so I can really challenge them.
7 p.m. — I meet the owner of my Pilates studio, L., at a cute wine bar near my house. We have a great chat, and she tells me I'm getting a raise (an extra $3 per class) so that's exciting! We each get two glasses of wine and split olives and truffle chips. She pays.
8:30 p.m. — Time to relax! I head to the pharmacy to pick up my Lexapro (free and a lifesaver). From there, I head across the street to the dispensary. I get a pack of edibles and a cartridge for our weed pen. I pay this time. A. and I switch off paying at the dispensary. $54
9 p.m. — Whoops, I forgot to eat dinner. I go to a restaurant right next to my house and order a chicken club wrap with tater tots to go. I have a glass of wine and read while I wait for my food. When it's ready, I walk home, get unready, put on Shiny Happy People, the new Duggar family documentary, and eat while smoking. I'm asleep by 11. $31
Daily Total: $164

Day Four

8 a.m. — Ugh, why did I sign up for an early workout? I get up, take my medicine, wash my face, and walk the dog. I grab a banana and head out the door to a yoga sculpt class.
10 a.m. — Class over. I love the Saturday instructor. He is hilarious and always mixes up the workouts to keep things fresh. I stop by the grocery store on the way home for coffee pods. I have a Nespresso machine, which I love, but I can't find the pods at many places, which is frustrating. Safeway sells Starbucks espresso pods, so I grab those. $11
11:30 a.m. — I spend the morning cleaning and getting ready for my mom to come over. Once she is here, I make us salads (spinach, goat cheese, strawberries, truffle almonds, and poppy seed dressing). We head down to our dock to eat and hang out. Our apartment complex has a private dock for residents on the lake, and it's such a perk! My mom heads out after an hour, and I go inside to relax and watch more of the Duggar documentary.
5 p.m. — Well, I napped for a few hours. I guess I needed it! I have to hurry now and get ready. It's date night tonight! I do my makeup, curl my hair, and put on one of my favorite Reformation dresses with fun Barbie-pink heels. We are going to this new upscale Mexican restaurant on the water. I get two glasses of sauv blanc, and A. gets a mezcal cocktail. We split queso, barbacoa tacos, and a ribeye steak. The food is delicious, and the vibes are incredible, but it's expensive. A. wants to pay, but I still venmo him $50, which is not even close to half. $50
8 p.m. — Once home, we cuddle in bed and smoke while watching the new season of I Think You Should Leave. Tim Robinson is our favorite person. Another early night. We love to sleep.
Daily Total: $61

Day Five

8 a.m. — No alarm this morning but still up early. That's what corporate life will do to you. I make coffee and breakfast (hash brown, egg, sriracha, and hot honey) and read Paris Hilton's new memoir. I love her!
10 a.m. — Off to yoga! I do a regular yoga class on Sundays and am obsessed with how strong it has made me. I have to rush home after class to shower and get ready for a full afternoon of plans. I pack my outfit for wine tasting this afternoon, a black Free People dress, and some espadrilles with clear straps from Zara.
12 p.m. — I'm meeting my mom, aunt, and cousin's toddler for a walk. I bring my dog, and she sits in the stroller with the toddler. They are so cute together. I take one million pictures. We walk 1.5 miles, and then I have to hurry back to my mom's place to finish getting ready. I do quick makeup and a middle-parted, slicked-back bun. I change and am off to meet my friends.
3 p.m. — Wine time! Living near wine country (Woodinville) is such a blessing. I meet my two friends, D. and E., at a tasting room. I have two glasses of sauv blanc, and D. offers to pay as a treat because she's a member of the winery and gets a discount. She won't let me pay her back. She's too kind.
5 p.m. — E. has to leave, but D. and I are starving. We go next door to a restaurant and get another glass of wine, and I order a chopped salad and a side of fries. The food takes forever to come out, and they give us free chocolate cake because of the wait. $52
7 p.m. — At home, it's time to cuddle A. and go to bed. We watch old Succession episodes and chat about our days before falling asleep around 10. I used to sleep between 10 and 12 hours a night, but that has gone down slightly since I moved in with A. Still, I prioritize my sleep.
Daily Total: $52

Day Six

7:20 a.m. — Time for another work week! I'm up a little earlier than usual today because my first meeting today is at 8. I make a quick breakfast and iced coffee before opening up my laptop and dealing with all the issues that arose over the weekend. I am the executive assistant to two people, and there is always something to assist with.
10 a.m. — I'm done with my morning one-on-ones. I need to deep clean my apartment, so I start with laundry. We don't have a washer or dryer in our unit, so I add $10 to my laundry card. I also clean the floors and unpack from my trip a few weeks ago. I am lucky to be able to do household chores in between meetings and emails. $10
12 p.m. — Lunch! I am craving a Diet Coke so I run to the market by our house and get a 12 pack, a box of granola bars, and countertop cleaner. ($21.30). Once back, I pour a Diet Coke over nugget ice (I got a nugget ice machine for Christmas and YOU NEED ONE) and mix up half the elote corn salad kit from Trader Joe's with a Cowboy Quinoa Veggie Burger on top. I take my lunch down to the dock to eat and listen to Smartless. $21.30
4:30 p.m. — Done for the day. It's workout time — another yoga sculpt class! Yes, I am addicted. While waiting for the class to start, I order gold sandals on Amazon to wear during the reception of a wedding I'm in next week. $14.20
6 p.m. — After class, I go right home for homemade burrito bowls (ground turkey, rice, corn, refried beans, Greek yogurt), and A. and I start watching the new HBO show, The Idol. We turn it off halfway through because it's not great. We play cards, walk the dog, and head to bed around 10.
Daily Total: $45.50

Day Seven

4:50 a.m. — Time to get up. I coach Pilates early on Tuesdays, which are such long days. I shower first thing, do my skin care and hair, make coffee, and get out the door by 5:15. I coach the 6 and 7:15 classes and I love all my regulars. After the 6 class, I do my makeup and check my email before the next class.
8:05 a.m. — Done coaching! I change into my work outfit (jeans, black bodysuit, black cardigan, and white tennis shoes) and drive to work. I have to pay for parking so I only drive on days when I have to come straight from coaching.
9:15 a.m. — Over an hour later, I am finally at the office. I grab a free coffee and Clif Bar for breakfast and go to my desk for a busy day of meetings and such.
12 p.m. — Time to take a break. Being back in the office, I really try to still take breaks and not work through lunch. I grab my book, lunch (leftover burrito bowl), and a Diet Coke and read for about 40 minutes.
4 p.m. — Another work day done! I pay $23 for parking (my office reimburses me for half) and head home, which only takes about 15 min. I take the pup to the park and then get ready for yoga sculpt. $11.50
4:45 p.m. — Disaster strikes! I come in too hot to a spot in the garage and hit a pole. UGH. The damage isn't too bad, but my headlight is cracked. I bought my car in November and have already had to get new tires because I popped one. I need to get used to having an SUV ASAP. I am pissed and, with all the commotion, I get something in my eye. Class is rough because my eye is bothering me the whole time, and I am in a horrible mood.
6 p.m. — I arrive home to dinner (cauliflower rice, sausage, and veggies) and a Diet Coke waiting for me. A. is the best! I read and watch a few episodes of Barry. I call my dad to discuss my car, and it just makes me more annoyed. I fall asleep around 11.
Daily Total: $11.50
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