A Week In Cincinnati, OH, On A $85,000 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.

Today: a financial analyst who makes $85,000 a year and spends some of her money this week on Warby Parker glasses.
Occupation: Financial Analyst
Industry: Consumer Goods
Age: 29
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Salary: $85,000
Net Worth: $74,000 (investments, savings, and checking)
Debt: ~$2,200 in student loans (was $29,000) and about $800 left on a car loan (scheduled to be paid off in July!)
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,784 (A note on my pay, health insurance, and taxes — I start a new job during this diary. My gross monthly pay is $7,084. I used a mock-pay tool provided by my company and my net monthly is $5,578 so insurance and taxes are ~$1,506 total each month but I don't know the itemized breakdown yet!)

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $910 (my portion of $1,950 total rent, includes two parking spots, a storage unit, and valet trash we can't opt-out of, I live with my fiancé, D.)
Student Loans: $300
Car Payment: $217 (four more payments left!)
Roth IRA: $200 (Will be increasing to $415 once my car is paid off this summer)
401(k): currently $0 (I become eligible in 30 days - my plan is to contribute ~7% of my gross salary)
Car Insurance: $62
Renters Insurance: $24
Hulu/Netflix: $25 (D. pays for Showtime, HBO, Disney + and CBS All Access)
Gym: $10.99 (currently frozen for COVID)
Amazon Prime: $129 annually
StitchFix Style Pass: $50 annually
Cell Phone: $0 for personal cell, on parents plan. My company pays for company cell.
Grocery Boxes: $258 for my portion (we receive ButcherBox for meat once a month ($149) and Misfit Market box for produce every week ($27/week).

Day One

10 a.m. — I wake up late and join D. out on the couch. He wakes up by 7 a.m. most days no matter if he has work or not. I have some coffee with heavy whipping cream (NSNG!) for breakfast. We head out of the apartment for a walk. We've been trying to walk about three miles at least four times a week since COVID restrictions came into place and our gym closed down. We walk along the Ohio River. We live in downtown Cincinnati and basically have the walking trail to ourselves...we only need to walk out of our way to avoid others twice during our 90-minute walk.
12 p.m. — We walk across the bridge into Kentucky (the deep south!) and get take-out from one of our favorite cafes. They are doing take-out only, but also sell a number of liquors and beers. We each get fried chicken sandwiches, fries, and C. adds a side of pasta salad. We add a few six-packs to our order. They are locally owned and are trying hard not to lay anyone off so we're happy to support. D. pays ($132; $82 total +$50 tip).
3 p.m. — We chat on the walk home about how thankful we are — D. works for a produce company so he has never been busier and I start a new job this week. I'm getting a $25,000 raise with this job and my division supplies grocery stores. We completely lucked out that both of our industries are thriving...hence the $50 tip D. left. It is out of my control, but my guilt over this is real. Living downtown, a ton of our friends work in the restaurant and bar industry and most have lost their jobs or been furloughed. We get back to the apartment, scarf down our lunch, and spend the afternoon catching up on Better Call Saul (there's no one I admire yet fear more than Gustavo Fring, y'all). Leftover sandwiches and pasta salad for dinner — in bed by 10.
Daily Total: $0

Day Two

9 a.m. — My last day of funemployment! That is not meant to sound insensitive. I left my previous career at the beginning of the month — seven years of high stress and low pay in the rearview! I planned two weeks off between jobs to reset my mind long before the pandemic occurred....this is the first time I haven't been on someone's payroll since I was 14 years old so I have no regrets. I pour my coffee and cream and order new glasses from Warby Parker — I did the at-home try-on last week and found frames I like (spoiler alert: they are almost identical to my current ones). Normally they cost $95, but they're more expensive for me because I add blue light filtering and have really bad eyes so I have to get special lenses. Despite WP's stores being closed, they are still fulfilling orders and my frames will be here by end of week. $175
12 p.m. — I make D. and myself ground beef tacos with peppers and onions for lunch (we get a Butcher Box every month so I use the beef from that). D. works from home pretty regularly under normal circumstances but has been home full-time for about two weeks. He breaks for lunch to eat with me.
2 p.m — I spend the rest of the afternoon playing our new PS4 (D. bought it for himself, but as I warned him...it's my PS4 now!) and setting up my computer for work tomorrow (they sent it via FedEx so I didn't even have to go to the office — so great). I pour some wine around 3 (3 p.m. is the new 5 p.m. in the Corona Ages, as we all know).
5 p.m. — D. logs off and we watch more Better Call Saul. We have Skyline dip for dinner because we are lazy (that's not meant to be a Cincinnati name drop but it truly is such an easy dinner). Head to bed around 11.

Daily Total: $175

Day Three

8 a.m. — I slept horribly. I had a night of "back-to-school" anxiety dreams about my first day, but I'm excited now that I am awake. I have a phone call with IT to make sure my computer and access are set up correctly. I'm good to go so start chatting with my manager about the onboarding plan and expectations for the next few days, then more broadly for the next few weeks. I was originally supposed to be in a training program for eight weeks, but they aren't really sure what COVID adjustments will do to that timeline. While I'm thankful I'll be easing into this new job (a whole new industry for me, also I have never once worked from home, which I'll be doing full time until at least the end of May), I'm excited to start contributing.
12 p.m. — One thing I learn quickly this morning about working from home....no one gives a damn what they look like. I woke up this morning, curled my hair, put on makeup and nice clothes only to see everyone else in hoodies and ponytails. THANK GOD. I have found my people. Related, I order a few basic tops from Old Navy (Luxe brand, solid neutral colors). They are having a huge sale so I get four tops for $27. Casual work from home for the win! They offer entry into a gift card sweepstakes if you accept delayed shipping...sign me up. They will be here in two or three weeks. I eat leftover Skyline dip while I shop and pay. $27
4 p.m. — I spend the rest of the afternoon having one-on-one connects with the leadership team (I'll have 10 total, but only three this afternoon). These are a little awkward...I don't really know what to ask other than what's been your career path so far and how do our roles interact...so we spend a lot of time just getting to know each other (kids, hometown, etc, all the fun ice breaker stuff).
6 p.m. — After work, D. and I go on a walk (about two and a half miles, a little under an hour) and get take out from another locally owned spot. I get tacos, D. gets a burrito bowl, we get chips, queso, and salsa for splitsies and add a 12-pack of Corona cans to the order. I pay. ($68; $48 bill; $20 tip). Get home, bash dinner, and watch Tom Segura's new special (Ball Hog...crying laughing!) until lights out around 10. $68

Daily Total: $95

Day Four

8 a.m. — I spend the morning sipping coffee in more one-on-one connects with the leadership team (three more to go!). Everyone is incredibly friendly and offering to help at every step. My prior company had less than 10 employees so to now have 40+ coworkers is wild...exciting, but very different. I get an alert that my investment account transfers are (finally!) complete. I moved custodians when I left my old company. I find an unwelcome surprise that old custodian charged me a $50 account transfer fee (aka kick you out the door fee). I was previously an advisor for this company and know with 100% certainty I can get this waived (no unnecessary fees on my watch!!!) But I know I'll be on hold a while given the recent market volatility and high call volume so I make a note to follow-up on that later. $50
3 p.m. — I...do not know where today went. I had a few training calls with teammates and realized I forgot to take lunch. I log out early and have a grapefruit (we get a Misfits Market box every week, grapefruit is my favorite so I was thrilled to get some this week!). I pour some wine and log onto a FaceTime group call with my three best friends from high school. We were supposed to all be together last week for a wedding but unfortunately, the couple had to postpone. We're completely bummed we couldn't be together (we are all together in person once or twice a year), but we're thankful for FaceTime! We spend the fastest three hours ever chatting.
8 p.m. — D. makes chicken thighs, collard greens and sauteed onions (all from our subscription boxes) for dinner. I shop on Amazon for a bit; once the world is back to business as usual, I'll be able to walk to my new office. Related, I get a cute commuter backpack, laptop sleeve for my new computer, shoe bags, odor balls, travel size hairspray, deodorant, dry shampoo, and hand sanitizer; all for that walker lifestyle. The total comes to $88.64 but I have over $200 in gift card balance on my Amazon account so pay nothing. I pick delayed shipping because it comes with a $3 digital credit and I don't need the stuff for a few weeks anyway (at least) so that'll free up Amazon to prioritize essential deliveries.
Daily Total: $50

Day Five

8 a.m. — OMG the most frustrating morning. I get a call from our apartments call box at 7:30 a.m. from a delivery man — ugh what a wake-up call. Happily, it's my company phone. It takes a few hours to get set up, but eventually, I get it working.
4 p.m. — My final three one-on-one connects this afternoon then a team virtual happy hour! I was very pessimistic about this (how can 40 people pull this off without talking over each other?!), but it turns out great. We play some fun games, and I get to put faces to names of all the non-leadership team colleagues. I have two White Claws (watermelon till I die) during the call, then immediately join some of my high school friends (some overlap with the ones from earlier this week) on an impromptu happy hour call. We end up talking for two hours. One of my friends had to postpone her wedding. She is rightfully bummed but is feeling less stressed now that the call is made (or maybe it's the alcohol, who knows).
8 p.m. — Lazy dinner! Leftover chips, queso, and salsa and I heat up frozen chicken nuggets. D. and I snuggle on the couch and officially catch up on Better Call Saul (I actually squeal when Hank and Gomey appear!). Lights out around midnight.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

8 a.m. — New glasses who dis!?! My new frames come and I love them! A little blurry since I updated my prescription, but they say that's normal and my eyes will adjust in a few days. I spend the morning in a virtual meeting with just my team. I'm the youngest by 12 years and the only female, which isn't particularly surprising in finance but I'm still bummed. Nonetheless, they are all super friendly and helpful so I'm happy.
4 p.m. — I spend the afternoon reading company policies (fun) and catching up on podcasts (I regularly listen to Stuff You Should Know, Adam Carolla, 2 Bears 1 Cave, Office Ladies, Jordan Harbinger Show, and Call Her Daddy (where ya at Daddy Gang!?)). After work wraps for the day, D. and I head to the corner market on our block. They are still open since they are primarily grocery. We've gotten to know the owner well after living here for three years so we have been trying to support him; he's had to lay off everyone but one employee. We order hot subs for dinner and stock up on White Claws, boxed wine, and Oreos while we are there. I pay ($80 with tip). $80
8 p.m. — We spend the rest of the evening eating and watching tv. We start Marrying Millions on Hulu and my god. I'm addicted. I don't get into trash/reality tv too often but this show delivers in a hilarious, expected, still entertaining way. Recommend. Bed around midnight.
Daily Total: $80

Day Seven

10 a.m. — I sleep in! I pour coffee into our to-go mugs and take a four-mile walk around the park with D. Once we're back we watch more Marrying Millions (can't stop, won't stop) and make eggs and goetta for brunch.
4 p.m. — We spend the rest of the afternoon watching movies (Molly's Game and Uncorked, both on Netflix, both fantastic) before starting a marathon of Zoom meetings. We spend the entire rest of the night enjoying our fine boxed wine and Zooming with D.'s parents, sister, and brother-in-law then D.'s high school friends (everyone's a couple so we're all friends now!), then my parents and brother, and finally our bar friends (yes, all people we met through bar trivia!). We play a virtual version on Bluejeans and proceed to get our asses whooped. Go to bed around 1:30 fully drunk on boxed wine.
Daily Total: $0
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