A Week In Austin, TX, On A $98,500 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 Global Change Lead working in technology who spends some of her money this week on Popcorners.
Occupation: Global Change Lead
Industry: Technology
Age: 31
Location: Austin, TX
Salary: $98,500
Paycheck Amount (Bi-Weekly + $2,500 Annual Bonus + Stock Options): $2,436
Gender Identity: Cisgender Woman
Monthly Expenses
Monthly Housing Costs: $1,275 (junior one-bedroom)
Student Loans: $370 (for grad school)
401(k): $683 (my employer matches 50% up to 6% of salary)
Car And Renter's Insurance: $127
Cable/Internet: $65
Orange Theory Membership: $109
Spotify/Netflix/Washington Post: $36 (I use a friend's Hulu)
Planned Parenthood Donation: $15
Savings: $300 (this is my minimum transferred per month)

Day One

7 a.m. — I wake up feeling awful. I had a friend, K., visiting from DC this weekend and we drag ourselves out of bed to get her to the airport. Braless and hungover, I drop her at the airport and say goodbye. I head home but stop at McDonald's for a greasy breakfast to make me feel better. I get home, take some Advil, eat said McDs in bed, and fall back asleep. $6.70
10 a.m. — I wake up feeling better, thankfully. I get up and put on this week's Grey's Anatomy episode and clean up the apartment post-drunken wrath. I lounge on the couch for a while, being super lazy.
1 p.m. — I start to get hungry again and decide to order Chinese takeout. I place an order online for crab rangoon, kimchi fries, and General Tso's chicken. I get in the car (put on a bra this time, small wins!) and drive over to pick it up. I contemplate stopping at the grocery store on the way, but that cannot be managed today. I get home with the goods and have a feast. I put the leftovers in the fridge to eat for lunch tomorrow. I decide a shower would be a good idea. $31.62
7 p.m. — After more lounging, my former boyfriend, D., stops by after watching football with some friends. D. and I started dating over four years ago when we both lived in DC. He moved here to go to grad school and I moved to join him after he finished and got a job. We lived together for a year and a half, broke up about six months ago, and I moved out. It's been a really difficult period and we still love each other and want to work on things. We've been taking things slow and are basically dating again. It's been strange, but also fun to feel like we are at the beginning of our relationship.
9 p.m. — We spend some time talking about our status and what we both want. It's still open-ended, but we like where things are going. One thing leads to another and D. ends up staying the night.
Daily Total: $38.32

Day Two

5:30 a.m. — D. wakes me up on the couch to tell me he's leaving and gets me to move to the bed. He is an awful snorer and it was always a pain point in our relationship. Unfortunately, he doesn't fit on my couch hence why I am there. He kisses me goodbye and I fall right back to sleep.
7:30 a.m. — Sleeping on the couch caught up with me and I am going to be very late. I don't have to be at work at any particular time, but I try to get in by 8:30, which is definitely not going to happen today. I go through my morning routine (brush teeth, Caudalie toner, Caudalie radiant serum, Tula eye balm, Korres moisturizer), put on light makeup (Make Up Forever concealer, e.l.f. bronzer, Tarte mascara) and run a straightener through my hair. I dress in a long sleeve tee, boyfriend jeans, and mules (my office is very casual). I dump some marinade on chicken thighs to make tonight. I pack myself the remainder of the iced coffee and leftover Chinese and I'm out the door by 8:30.
9:15 a.m. — Argh, traffic was awful — It usually takes me 20-30 minutes to get to work. I work in change management supporting internal improvement projects at my company. My morning is light so I catch up on my emails, submit some reports, and prepare for my meetings. I eat my leftovers at my desk (I know it's a terrible habit).
3 p.m. — After my meetings are done, I move on to other work. I am attending a certification program course in two weeks and there's pre-work to submit by tomorrow. I shift to working on that and get it sent out by the end of the day. I head out around 5 for an OrangeTheory class. I usually do OT on Mondays and Saturdays, sometimes with an extra day thrown in here and there, I love it!
6:30 p.m. — Welp, that was tough. After class, I take a few minutes to refresh and change out of my sweaty clothes. I have a Brazilian wax appointment. I'm seeing a new girl and it's honestly the least painful wax I've ever had. Mental note to request her from now on. I head home around 7:30. $10.80
8 p.m. — I get home and cook the marinated chicken thighs with roasted veggies and cauliflower rice. I eat that for dinner and put the rest in containers for my lunches this week. I take a shower and do my nightly routine (brush teeth, Differin gel, Face Here Go-To face oil). I also pop half a melatonin (I recently started taking Lexapro, which has changed my life but weirdly makes me jittery and restless at night) and read my book for a bit. I'm out by 9:30.
Daily Total: $10.80

Day Three

6:30 a.m. — Up on time today! I spend too long scrolling on my phone and actually get out of bed at 7:30. I do my morning routine and dress in an old but trusty H&M top, black jeans, and Rothy's sneakers. I pack my lunch and I'm out the door by 8. I stop at Starbucks on the way for an iced coffee and it's "free" since I have a ton of star points. I get to work by 8:30.
12:30 p.m. — Meetings, meetings, meetings. This time of year is not supposed to be busy for me but that is not the case lately. I inhale my desk lunch and manage to get away to head to Target for a few things I neglected to pick up this weekend. I successfully avoid spending the normal time and money perusing and just pick up trash bags, canned pumpkin (#fall, I've been dying to make pumpkin muffins), lipsticks, under-eye concealer, and Popcorners ($43.21). I also notice I've been charged for a Plated meal box that will be delivered this Sunday ($70.71). $113.92
4:30 p.m. — I'm out earlyish to make it to a 5 p.m. hair appointment. I have decided to go back to balayage after just dying my roots for a few years. I forgot how long this takes, but it gives me a chance to finish my book (HIGHLY recommend Daisy Jones and the Six). After the first wash, my hair is BLONDE and my stylist and I decide it's too much so she applies another toner. I know it will continue to lighten up anyway so I'd rather start darker. After a marathon appointment ($173 plus $40 tip), I'm finally heading home around 7:45. $213
8:15 p.m. — I get home and text a picture to my BFF, B. I make frozen dumplings, put on Looking for Alaska and start packing for the weekend. I'm headed to DC on Thursday for a wedding, my last one of the year. I'm so excited to be back with my friends. B. is pregnant and due next month, so I can't wait to see her. I go through my list (type A over here, obsessed with the Notes app) and get a good start, I'll finish tomorrow. I do my nightly routine, finish this episode, and call it a night at 10:30.
Daily Total: $326.92

Day Four

7 a.m. — Almost up on time! I manage to get myself out of bed without getting sucked into my phone and start getting ready. I do the usual routine and spend a little more time getting dressed. I have a presentation this morning with our Europe team and I'll be on camera. I wear a flowy top, dark jeans, and sandals. I also throw a load of laundry in the wash. I grab my lunch and head out a little before 8. I stop at Starbucks again and use points.
11 a.m. — Presentation went well, but now I'm exhausted and it's not even lunchtime. I'm logged in to an online training session and not paying attention TBH. I remember that I have my friend L. for Secret Santa and have an idea to get her a custom portrait. I scroll Etsy for the vibe I'm looking for and find one that I love — the artist makes a digital outlined rendering from a photo. I pay (40% off, score!) and send her the picture. $17.99
1 p.m. — I already ate lunch but I'm still hungry and my spirits are low. I head over to my office's café and get an iced oat latte and warm baguette. My group chat with all my college friends is blowing up because our friend is in labor! Her baby girl should be here by late tonight or early tomorrow. Can't wait to see her. $4.50
4:30 p.m. — Headed out! I have an early kickball game tonight and want to stop home to change but I also need to stop for gas. I get home around 5:15 (curse you Austin traffic) and change into our team's t-shirt, leggings, and sneakers. I put my laundry in the dryer, pour a little white wine in a water bottle (classy), and actual water in another bottle. I decide to take a little breather and have some Popcorners before getting in the car again. $30.30
7:30 p.m. — We lose terribly! We head over to a bar close by for a post-game drink. I buy myself a beer and my teammate a cider. The team is made up of orphans ("free agents" who sign up for the league without a specific team) and we are still getting to know each other. When I first moved here, I worked from home and didn't know anyone other than D. I had him and his friends to hang out with but since we broke up, I have a grand total of one local friend (thanks Bumble BFF). I've been pretty homesick and lonely lately especially because I have such a tight friend group in DC. Making friends as an adult is not easy... $16
8:30 p.m. — I head home and I'm hungry so I stop at P.Terrys for a burger and lemonade. Controversial opinion: P.Terrys is the best fast food burger of all time (and we have In-N-Out and Shake Shack). I eat, fold my laundry, and pack the last odds and ends for my trip. I am leaving from work tomorrow and want to have my suitcase ready to go in the morning. I'm knocked out by 9:30. $7.31
Daily Total: $76.10

Day Five

5:45 a.m. — Up and at 'em early today! And my friend had a happy and healthy baby girl last night — baby and mama are doing great. I take a quick shower and dress in a simple outfit for my flight this afternoon (white t-shirt, boyfriend jeans, light jacket, sneakers). Grab my lunch (I'm really sick of these chicken thighs...), load up the car and head out around 7.
8 a.m. — I get to work around 7:30, grab a bagel and cold brew from the café, and do some organizing before logging in to stream the Texas Women's Conference. $2.50
9 a.m. — I realize I'm flying United this afternoon and I purchased a Basic ticket so I can't carry on, ugh. I cough up the $30 to check my bag and remind myself to make better decisions next time. I'll have to pay the same $30 on the way back! $30
12 p.m. — Apparently all I do is go to meetings. I take a break at lunchtime to do some research on egg freezing. I had a consultation with a fertility center last month to start the process and was planning on completing the procedure at the beginning of the year. However, I recently was part of an email discussion on this very topic and read some warnings about how much insurance will or won't cover, including experiences with a lot of misinformation. I make a mental note to reach out to our employee assistance program for help with navigating the details.
3 p.m. — I head to the airport! My flight is at 4:45 and I need to park. I pre-paid for parking via The Parking Spot so that expense won't be noted. I get my spot, jump on the shuttle, and get through security with no problems (Pre-Check is truly the best thing that's ever happened to me).
4 p.m. — I grab two overpriced tacos to bring on the flight for dinner. I have a direct flight, which is a true miracle, but I won't be landing in DC until 9. $9.74
9:15 p.m. — Finally land in DC (technically Virginia) at Dulles unfortunately (if you know you know) and Uber over to my friend, B.'s, house in Arlington, where I'm staying. We catch up, I get some time with her belly (she's pregnant, remember?), and pass out hard around 10:30. $28.54
Daily Total: $70.78

Day Six

7:30 a.m. — I wake up at B.'s house feeling refreshed. B. and her husband, Q., are going to World Series Game Three tonight and I am going to drinks with my old DC coworkers so I won't see them until late tonight. I am working from their house today and set up shop at their kitchen table. B. graciously buys me a nitro cold brew to start my day. I reload my WMATA metro card online to use later today. $10
11:30 a.m. — I finish up my morning work, pack up my computer/purse, and change into a cuter outfit. I jump on a scooter to get to the metro so I can head into the city to meet one of my friends, L., for lunch at a sushi restaurant. Her office is near where I used to work back in the day and the city has completely changed! We get four rolls to split and gab for an hour — it's the best. $25
1:30 p.m. — I walk up north to my old neighborhood to meet another friend, K., at a coffee shop. We are going to work from here for the rest of the day until we meet the rest of our group for happy hour this afternoon. I get an iced oat latte. $5.77
4:15 p.m. — K. and I Uber over to the bar to meet up with our friends, she covers the cost. Some of our group are going to a concert in a few hours. It's sold out, but I make a last-minute decision to search StubHub for a ticket. I find one that's listed for $23 + fees, a few dollars less than box office price. I pull the trigger and complete the purchase. $29
4:30 p.m. — I have a couple of beers at our first location. Then we move to another bar and I get a beer and a BLT. $35
7 p.m. — We head over the show and I order a glass of wine. This was a mistake, it's awful. We listen to the band and I do a lot of people watching. It's a pretty short set. $12
8:30 p.m. — We leave the concert and think about going to another bar, but we aren't feeling that great and no one has the motivation. I say goodbye to my friends and get an Uber back to B.'s house in Arlington. $18.26
9 p.m. — I get home and greet B. and Q.'s dog. They are still at the game so I stay up for a bit to watch the Nationals lose (unfortunately), take a shower, and head to bed. I can't sleep so I try reading for a bit before eventually drifting off at 11:30.
Daily Total: $135.03

Day Seven

7:30 p.m. — Good morning! I'm up fairly early despite going to sleep late (I forgot to take my melatonin). Everyone else is sleeping in, so I read in bed for a bit before getting up and greeting B. and Q. B. and I take the dog for a walk to get cold brews. I buy to make up for the one she bought me yesterday. $7.15
8:45 a.m. — I check in to my flight for tomorrow and pay another checked bag fee, ugh. $30
11 a.m. — B. and I are going to visit our other friend to spend time with her little girl. I order a few bagel sandwiches for pick-up to bring over for brunch. $25.26
2 p.m. — B. and I head back to her house to start getting ready for the wedding. I curl my hair (my new highlights are looking great) and do my "special event" make-up. We are looking pretty good! I write a check as a gift for the new couple and seal the card. $125
3:45 p.m. — I order an Uber for B., Q., and I to head to DC for the wedding. The venue is outside and overlooks the National Mall and the monuments. It's so picturesque and I'm glad it's not too cold. $10.67
5 p.m. — The ceremony's over, it's time to party! We make our way through cocktail hour and I get to catch up with a ton of my college friends, some of whom I haven't seen in years. We dance and drink the night away.
10 p.m. — B. and Q. go home, but I go to the hotel with the wedding party. I decide to stick to water for my last drink.
11:55 p.m. — I call it a night and order another Uber to go back to B. and Q.'s. I get there a bit after midnight and eat an extra bagel from this morning. I chug tons of water and go to sleep. I'll be ready to go home tomorrow! $18.66
Daily Total: $216.74
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