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A Week In Chicago, IL, On A $65,000 Salary

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Today: an Auditor working in Finance who makes $65,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on mouthwash.
Occupation: Auditor
Industry: Finance
Age: 22
Location: Chicago, IL
Salary: $65,000
Net Worth: -$28,000 ($860 in my 401(k), $4,000 in my savings account minus debt. I just started my first full-time job this summer and enrolled in benefits only recently during the open enrolment period.)
Debt: $33,181.03 in private student loans (waiting on forgiveness for my federal loans).
Paycheck Amount (biweekly): $1,765
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $634 (I have two roommates and we share a three-bed/one-bath for $1,900.)
Student Loans: $377.10
Spotify and Hulu: $10
HBO Max: $15
YouTubeTV: $65
iCloud Storage: $0.99
Disney+: $26 (paid annually, split between three roommates)
Utilities: $70-$140
Phone: On my parents' plan
Transportation Pass: $75
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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. Attending college was always expected as my parents went to school in their home country (which could be seen as a luxury for others). They studied hard and eventually moved here to the US and since then have instilled the expectation of attending higher education into me ever since I started school. I stayed in state for school and paid for it through scholarships, my parents for two years (freshman and sophomore years), and federal/private loans.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
I always heard "we can't afford that" or "maybe for your birthday or Christmas" so we were definitely on a budget. Since my parents came from another country they were not truly educated on finances until they made close friends here. Once they were advised properly, they then set up plans to save up money, hence why they could pay for two years of my college tuition. Since then they have told me to save my money or get a financial advisor once I'm older.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was working as a lifeguard at my park district when I turned 16. I then worked at the same pool as a swim instructor. I really wanted a job in high school since my friends always had spending money and I wanted some too. I remember spending my first paycheck on Chipotle and buying it for everyone in my family.

Did you worry about money growing up?
Yes. My brother was born during the recession and my parents had just bought a house so I lived through that when they were cutting spending and budgeting more. We used to go on family vacations every summer but they stopped when I entered high school. That panic about money is still instilled in me today because my dad lost his job during the pandemic and he was the "breadwinner." Watching my mom refinance certain things and watch my dad be unemployed for a while was hard.

Do you worry about money now?
I still worry about money now. My dad got back on his feet last year and now has a new full-time job and still works a part-time job so it worries me to see them do this as a young adult who can't provide for them yet. I just want to make sure they can make ends meet. My parents never had to work multiple jobs like other families I knew growing up, so the fact that he's doing that while I am an adult is a bit worrisome.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I got my first full-time job out of college this year so I hope my time here helps me become more financially stable and responsible (I do work in finance so to hear and talk about figures makes me want to make sure I can save and invest properly). I am not financially responsible right now (but I am working towards it!) and my financial safety net is my parents and grandma should something happen. When I had an unemployment stint for a bit my parents helped me with rent and my grandma gave me some money to spend for the months I was out of a job.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
No.
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Day One

8 a.m. — It's the weekend but I wake up around 8 because I dreamt that my job was sending me back to high school because they couldn't find proof that I completed schooling or my diploma. Very weird. I text a summary of it to my friend and go back to sleep.
11 a.m. — My roommate, B., and I go to Trader Joe's to grab some garb for the week. She wants drinks and chips but I need veggies, frozen fish sticks, salmon, tortilla, and nuts for this week. I'm trying to make my lunch for work since I only go in three times a week. $33.45
3 p.m. — Ah man, Chipotle tells me I have an expiring reward so I can't save it for the week I'm in the office. I'm hungry and don't want to dip into the food that is meant for lunch already so I cave and get a burrito bowl. $19.90
4 p.m. — Stream Loot on AppleTV while we stay in for the rest of day.

7 p.m. — I didn't finish the bowl but I did finish Loot. It's alright, Adam Scott is clearly chasing the AppleTV bag. My roommate and I then decide to startoneWhite Lotus season 1 even though I just want to start at season two for Aubrey Plaza. I'll finish the burrito bowl tomorrow.

Daily Total: $53.35

Day Two

9 a.m. — Wake up and realize I got my period. Gross, but it usually only lasts three days so not the worst. I'm craving chocolate and decide chocolate croissants sound good. I take the bus to a nearby bakery and get two pastries. $9.71
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12 p.m. — It's a cold Sunday and I need to get things for my lunch that I forgot. I contemplate walking to the nearby grocery store, but it's cloudy and chilly. The forecast says it'll be sunny by 3 so I wait before I walk.
3 p.m. — It is sunny so I walk to the store. They only have two of the four things I was looking for (tartar sauce and almond milk). I pay with cash at the self-checkout and walk back while the sun is still out. $7.21

6 p.m. — Make fish tacos and roasted Brussels sprouts for dinner. I also make my lunch for tomorrow which is the same thing.
7 p.m. — Eat and finish White Lotus yay! We can now start season two.
10 p.m. — Knock out by 10 as the work week starts tomorrow.

Daily Total: $16.92

Day Three

5 a.m. — I learned that some people have a 5-9 before their 9-5 so since starting my job I have adapted one as well. I start work at 8 a.m. but I like to wake up around 5 a.m. to give myself an hour before I get out of bed. My last alarm is 5:53 a.m. so I get up, do my skincare routine (Murad facial cleanser, essence, vitamin C serum, Kiehl's moisturizer, and sunscreen), change into an H&M brown sweater and Uniqlo slacks, eat a breakfast sandwich (egg and turkey bacon on multigrain), and wait to catch the bus around 6:50.
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7 a.m. — I take the bus to the train station and my ride is about 35-45 minutes in total. Sometimes I arrive in the city early and sometimes late because of delays. Today I arrive early (like a whole hour before work early). I could go into the office and leave a bit earlier at night but I also like to get some sort of walk in during my days. I choose to walk to Target to get mouthwash. I find the mouthwash, pay, turn around and go to work. $9.91
8 a.m. — I've made it to work. I have a meeting later today that should only last an hour. My work has a free cafe and cereal station so I get an iced Americano and head up to my desk.
2 p.m. — That meeting did NOT last an hour. I scarf down my fish tacos and go back to the cafe to get some Goldfish in the snack area.
3 p.m. — I get the notification for my gas bill. I pay it and let my roommates know. They'll either pay me their share or the difference since we all manage one of the utilities (in monthly expenses).

6 p.m. — I leave work at 5 and take the train back to my place.
7 p.m. — For dinner, I have another round of fish tacos and a bunch of broccoli and cauliflower. I prepare my lunch for tomorrow and chill on the couch with my roommate as we watch YouTube and New Girl.

Daily Total: $9.91
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Day Four

5 a.m. — Same morning routine as yesterday. It's much colder today but the heat in my office is always cranked up. I don't want to be sweaty when I get to my desk so I settle for a lighter Rag & Bone sweater. I catch the bus to the train around 7 a.m. this time.
7:40 a.m. — I kid you not, right as I walk into the office my mother calls frantically to tell me to take her bank account off the monthly installments for my private loan and start it on my account. I've been meaning to do this but she says I have to do it exactly right now because it charged her for the updated amount that started this month. I haven't had my coffee yet and I'm already getting lectured! Yes, I'll do it but there goes another line item added to my monthly payments now. Tear. $377.10
1 p.m. — My stomach hurts today and I don't want to eat my fish tacos in case something worse follows along later in the day. If I skip lunch I'll be even hungrier, so I walk outside to get a cup of soup nearby. I get lobster bisque and chips and add a tip. $6.14
6 p.m. — I am feeling better after work but I'm also very hungry. I eat the fish tacos and then stir fry some noodles and eat more veggies to complete dinner.
7.30 p.m. — I FaceTime my brother because he's coming to stay with me this weekend. We have a list of places we want to hit to shop and more importantly, eat. It'll be good to see him for a few days because I won't be home for a while.
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9.30 p.m. — Fall asleep watching The Crown.

Daily Total: $383.24

Day Five

5 a.m. — Same morning routine. Same cold weather. Winter is here but I'm wearing khakis and a red sweater/poncho thing I got off of Depop as this evening I'm going to see Wicked with my roommate, B. We bought the tickets a long time ago so I was just reminded of our show earlier this week. Consume my breakfast sandwich and head for the bus by 6:40.
12 p.m. — Lunchtime with my coworker. We walk to an Asian grocery store nearby to get some of their hot foods to go as our lunch. It starts snowing while we're walking. My boss was supposed to join us but got pulled into last-minute errands. I get him something from the food stand as well as I know he wanted to join us. $17.07
5 p.m. — I get off work and walk to an Italian restaurant near the theater to eat with B. I get there before her so I wait at the table while she's en route. I wasn't really full from my lunch so I know I want to get a bit of everything from here. In the end, we both got burgers. It's pretty good but the next time I come here I'll definitely try some pasta. I also get a spritz (inspired by White Lotus) and tiramisu for dessert. I pay as I know B. will either pay me her share or make it up with rideshare after the show. $89
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10:30 p.m. — The show is good. I'm actually only wanted to see Wicked because I want to prepare myself for the movie. I'm a big Ariana Grande fan and I just wanted to get my additional studying in. We're out of the theater and going back to our place by 10:30 p.m. B gets the rideshare. I'm fine with sleeping late because I'm working from home tomorrow.
Daily Total: $106.07

Day Six

7 a.m. — I sleep in this morning as I'm WFH. I do the same skin-care routine and then head to make breakfast. I wake up craving ramen and egg so I make just that. Today is going to be slow and mostly spent in my room. I log in at 8 to start work and read the news.
12 p.m. — Lunch is fish sticks and tartar sauce while watching some YouTube. Work is slow today.
4 p.m. — I have an Uber Eats promo code and free delivery so I take it. I order shrimp tempura and udon from a place nearby. It's going to be in the 20s this weekend so obviously, it is soup season. $26.81
7 p.m. —I watch some New Girl with B. and get ready for bed and talk to my brother. I'm almost done with The Crown but it's making me sleepy! I'll finish it in the morning.

Daily Total: $26.81

Day Seven

5 a.m. — I wake up before any of my alarms go off for some reason, oh well. I start the day with the same morning routine before going to the office. I didn't finish my udon from last night so I have that as a small breakfast. I also finish The Crown episode I fell asleep to. I have one more episode left. Dominic West is too good-looking to play Charles.
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7:20 a.m. — Arrive to work early. I'm a bit hungry so I get some cereal at the snack bar and order an iced americano while I'm at it. Head to my desk and read some news.
12 p.m. — My work has one of those outposts for food delivery orders so I order a salad for lunch and pay the delivery fee with the salad. It's good I'm ordering this salad because I need more veggies and this order counts towards a reward I've reached so my next bowl will be half off. $11.88
12:30 p.m. — I need to buy my brother a three-day CTA pass for our weekend adventures which starts tonight after work. I buy it on my card and he'll pay me back in cash. $15
4:40 p.m. — Leave work early and head down to pick up my brother! We're gonna have a fun time together so I'm glad this Money Diary is ending before the weekend starts because I do NOT want to see those expenses written down.
Daily Total: $26.88
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