A Week In Houston, TX, On A $70,000 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: an accountant working in finance who makes $70,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Chick-fil-A.
Occupation: Accountant
Industry: Finance
Age: 25
Location: Houston, TX
Salary: $70,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,916.67
Gender Identity: Woman

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,295 (I live alone in a one-bedroom apartment.)
Student Loans: $350
Car Loan: $350
Personal Loan (for credit card debt): $700
401(k): $290 (My employer matches up to 8%, but I can only afford to contribute 5% of my salary right now.)
Savings/Investment Accounts: $100 (I have a very small savings, but I put in what I can until my loans are paid off.)
Utilities: $150 (water, cable, internet, and electricity)
Cell Phone: $100
Barre Studio Membership: $100
Renter's Insurance: $20
Netflix: $10
Spotify/Hulu: $20

Day One

6:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off. Ugh, I hate Mondays. I'm trying to be more mindful of actually getting up when my alarm goes off instead of snoozing. The idea is to gradually wake up earlier and earlier until I can work out or accomplish other activities before the actual workday. My job is incredibly stressful and I don't often get home before the sun sets, which means my weeks are a blur of just work, and it is HUGELY depressing for me. I hope by waking up earlier, I can carve out more time for myself.
6:45 a.m. — I feed the cat and start the coffee pot. I also try to meditate some, since I'm up a tiny bit earlier than usual, but it doesn't do much for me. I tried.
8 a.m. — After showering, I blowdry my hair and apply makeup. My daily look consists of cream foundation, blush, penciling in my eyebrows, and applying mascara. I mix up a protein smoothie for breakfast and am out the door!
8:20 a.m. — I arrive to work. Mondays are my busiest days, so I sit down and get right to it. There is an important report due to management every Tuesday, so Mondays are dedicated to completing it.
11:45 a.m. — A coworker sends me a message and asks if I want to join her to grab Whole Foods for lunch. She drives. I make a small salad at the salad bar and grab enchiladas from the hot bar. A chilled pomegranate green tea catches my eye at the checkout, so I grab that, too. $10.85
1 p.m. — We join other coworkers in the break room to chat over lunch. It's nice to be able to connect more informally. We all spend so much time together, it only makes sense to be friends as well.
4 p.m. — This day is seriously flying by! I look up from the project I am working on and realize that I am starving. I grab some sugar snap peas and hummus from the break room to snack on.
5:15 p.m. — I reach a stopping point, so I log off and pack to go home. This is my least favorite part of the day – commuting. My apartment is only three miles from the office, but it takes me 45 minutes to drive home. Houston traffic blows.
7 p.m. — I make a skillet pasta from the freezer and curl up with my boyfriend, N., and the cat to watch The Bachelorette. I'm not usually a fan, but this season has caught my attention for some reason. I just want to see Luke P. get sent home.
9 p.m. — Two hours is a long time for one episode! I quickly wash my face and get in bed with the book I'm currently reading, Where the Crawdads Sing. It's so good, but I'm still so tired from yesterday that I can't make it through more than a couple pages before dozing off. Lights out!
Daily Total: $10.85

Day Two

7 a.m. — Oops. I pressed snooze quite a few times this morning. I rush to feed the kitty and start the coffee pot. I quickly shower, skipping my hair. Dry shampoo will have to do today.
8:30 a.m. — I did not prepare for this week very well. This morning I'm scrambling to pack my gym bag, find my heels for work, and cleaning out yesterday's smoothie container for use today. I throw half of a frozen banana, almond milk, a scoop of peanut butter, and chocolate protein powder in my Nutribullet to quickly make this morning's smoothie before heading out the door. I am running so behind!
8:45 a.m. — I arrive at work miraculously quickly. My hours are 8:30–5:30 and while I'm not necessarily in trouble for being late, it still doesn't look good. I grab some coffee and sip it while I read my morning email newsletter. I LOVE theSkimm.
11:30 a.m. — I've been slowly working on a few projects this morning, but only halfheartedly. I'm finding it difficult to get motivated today. A coworker offers to pick up lunch for us at Chick-fil-A while she leaves to run errands during her break. I grab a bag of white cheddar Skinny Pop from the break room to hold me over until she gets back and read news stories on the internet. I Venmo my coworker $9 for the chicken salad. $9
5 p.m. — This afternoon passes by soooo slowwwwwly. I get caught speaking with a manager about some changes around our office, and we ended up talking for two hours!! I can't believe it! I had a pure barre class scheduled for 6, but we blow right through that. I'll get charged for the no show. I'm annoyed at myself.
8 p.m. — When I get home, N. has fed the cat and prepared dinner for the both of us — salmon with Brussels sprouts. I am so grateful! He's staying with me for a bit while he remodels his house, so he's been helping out a bit to compensate. I put my feet up and chat with him about our days while scarfing down dinner.
9 p.m. — I'm exhausted by this whole day, so I start my routine to get ready for bed. I have a skin-care routine that I stick to about 60% of the time. The rest of the time, I wipe the makeup off with a wipe from my nightstand while lying in bed. Tonight I do the long version — cleanser, toner, vitamin C serum, eye cream, and night moisturizer. I also apply lotion to my legs and arms. I scoop up the cat, turn out the lights, and fall asleep before 10. N. doesn't usually come to bed until midnight or so.
Daily Total: $9

Day Three

7 a.m. — I'm really not doing so well with waking up earlier. I apply my usual makeup and spray dry shampoo in my hair. It's really limp today, so I pull half of it back to hide the fact that I haven't washed it in two days. C'est la vie. I make my usual smoothie, grab my packed gym bag from yesterday, and head to work.
9 a.m. — There's a lot going on at work right now, but I really just cannot make myself motivated to complete any projects. I think I've been experiencing a bit of burnout. I take medication for anxiety and depression, and it's usually under control pretty well. After a stressful period of crunch time at work, it gets worse, though. I'm not in love with my job, but I wouldn't want to do anything else either. I just get in a state of existential dread, and it takes a few days to pass. I wish I could take more time for myself during these periods, but the show must go on. I used to be in therapy and I probably should still go, but I can't really afford it while paying off all of my college/early-20s debt. I have to just grit my teeth, dig in, and wait for it to pass.
12 p.m. — I drive home for my lunch hour, since I'm feeling pretty blah today. I snack on pita chips and hummus while lying on the couch watching Grey's Anatomy. It's my favorite show. The cat jumps up to cuddle with me five minutes before I need to leave. Oh well, I guess I'll have to be late getting back to work.
1:30 p.m. — I make it back to work and try to occupy myself until it's time to leave. I just can't concentrate on actual work. I read articles online and scroll through Instagram for most of the afternoon.
2 p.m. — Two of my coworkers IM me to ask if I'll join them for happy hour today. I cancel the pure barre class I have scheduled for 6 in favor of margaritas. Priorities.
5 p.m. — We agree to meet at a taco place just a couple of miles from my apartment. I leave work a few minutes early so I have time to change before meeting my coworkers. I want to run to the restaurant, since I canceled my barre class and it's been a few days since I worked out. I barely make it a few steps from my door when I realize that running wouldn't be wise in today's 102-degree weather. I drive instead.
8 p.m. — We have a GREAT time at happy hour! These coworkers and I have become good friends, and we love hanging out together. We always laugh so hard and have the best time! I have a margarita and two tacos ($15). We agree we must get out of the office to do this more often. I roll the windows down and listen to my favorite alternative rock band, Catfish and the Bottlemen, on the drive home. My mood has increased considerably since yesterday! $15
9 p.m. — I get home and the cat is waiting for me alone. N. is still working on his house with a friend. I cuddle with the cat while half watching an episode of Big Brother. I doze off for an hour or so and finally move to the bed around 11.
Daily Total: $15

Day Four

6:30 a.m. — Good morning! Thursdays are my favorite day of the week. I love the anticipation of an upcoming weekend. Since I'm up early, I take time to sip my coffee slowly while journaling for one of the first times. I am always trying to find something to help with my mental illness.
7 a.m. — I shower, apply makeup, and realize I'm out of protein powder. I'll have to make oatmeal when I get to the office.
9 a.m. — I arrive at work and eat oatmeal while reading today's Skimm. I jump into work quickly after. When my mood is fluctuating, I have to take advantage of the highs when I can. I knock out a few projects in the morning.
12 p.m. — I run out to Chick-fil-A again to grab a salad for lunch ($9) and eat it in the break room with some other coworkers. We chat about our upcoming weekends for a few minutes before returning to work. $9
5:30 p.m. — I spend the afternoon intermittently working, online shopping, and listening to podcasts. A friend recommends a new book for me to read, The Farm, so I order it on Amazon ($14). I leave work around 5:30 and head to my pure barre class. I prepaid for a full month a few weeks ago, so I don't have to pay for the classes as I book them. $14
7 p.m. — I don't really feel like cooking once I get home, so I snack a bit on pita chips, cheese, and Halo Top. So nutritious.
9:30 p.m. — I've spent the night picking up, cuddling with my cat, and reading a few chapters of Where the Crawdads Sing. I'm usually pretty busy, so I'm grateful for this slow week. I wash my face and head to bed around 10.
Daily Total: $23

Day Five

7 a.m. — Happy Friday! I'm excited for this day, even though I woke up late. I feed the cat and get ready quickly. I make oatmeal at the office for breakfast.
12 p.m. — I decide to go home at lunch instead of spending money on food again. I snack on some pita chips and watch Grey's Anatomy. I like the break in my day, but it is tough to make myself go back into work.
4 p.m. — The whole office has early release on Friday, so we get to head out early! On the way home, N. texts to ask if I want to go out to dinner with friends tonight. I agree if it's Mexican.
4:30 p.m. — I never really know what to do with myself on Friday afternoons. Once I'm home, I take a nap, even though I got a good night's sleep, because depression.
6 p.m. — N. wakes me up to go to dinner. We meet our best friends at our favorite Mexican restaurant. They're married and have their first baby, so we have to eat a little earlier than usual to accommodate her bedtime. We all order a queso appetizer to split, and everyone also has a margarita and an entrée. N. pays.
8 p.m. — Our friends ask us to come over after dinner to hang out once the baby is put to bed, but I'm feeling anxious and don't want to be around people, even my best friends. Instead, the guys decide to work on N.'s house for a bit while the girls go to our separate homes. I'm seeing them again tomorrow, so I don't feel too bad.
11 p.m. — Once home, I lie on the couch with the cat and binge watch episodes of Grey's. I get up at some point to throw up. I had a bit of an eating disorder in college, and now if I feel too full, my body can't hold food down. I fall asleep around 11.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

8 a.m. — My alarm goes off for my 8:30 barre class. I get dressed, drink some coffee, and head out to the studio. I really enjoy starting my every weekend with a workout.
10 a.m. — Ugh. I always feel so tired when I work out without eating first. I stop by Smoothie King on the way home to get a veggie and protein smoothie ($6). I have a hair appointment at 1:30, so I spend the morning at home cleaning, playing with the cat, and getting ready. $6
1 p.m. — I stop by Chick-fil-A on the way to my hair appointment for lunch. I order the sandwich meal and eat it in my car, since I'm running a bit behind ($7). I'm obsessed with CFA. $7
5:30 p.m. — The stylist finishes up with my hair color and style. This was the first time I've ever dyed my hair, and it took four hours! I lightened up my auburn hair a bit with a blonde balayage, because I've been wanting a bit of a change. I'm in love! This was my first time with this stylist, and I'm so impressed with her work. She is running a special, so the haircut was free with the color. The total comes to $270, and I tip $80. She also takes pictures for me to update her Instagram. I'm so excited about my hair! $350
7 p.m. — A friend of the friend I had dinner with last night is hosting a Botox party tonight, so I stop on my way home to grab a bottle of wine. $20
7:30 p.m. — I Uber to her house in case I drink too much tonight. $8
8 p.m. — I don't feel I'm in need of Botox yet, but I enjoy spending time with this group of girls, so I come anyway. They're all in their 30s, so I take a few digs about only being 25. All of this skin-care talk reminds me I need to be more proactive with my routine. No more sleeping in my makeup!
11 p.m. — I don't really drink much because I'm not feeling very well. N. picks me up, and I snack on some crackers once I get home before going to bed.
Daily Total: $391

Day Seven

9 a.m. — Sundays are my one day to sleep in, but I don't usually sleep very late. I wake up, make avocado toast with Trader Joe's Everything but the Bagel seasoning, and brew coffee. I curl up on the couch to sip coffee while watching more Grey's. I really value these mornings with some quiet time to myself. I look at apartments in New York City online while the TV plays in the background. I really want to move there, but it just doesn't feel like the right time. I'm so hoping I can make it work next year.
12 p.m. — N. wakes up and asks if I want to go see Young the Giant tonight. They're playing at a new venue near my apartment. I totally forgot they were coming into town! N. buys tickets online, and I Venmo him my half. I'm super excited to have something to look forward to to battle the Sunday scaries. $40
5 p.m. — We spend much of the afternoon doing laundry, watching TV, and preparing for our weeks. I don't feel very hungry, so I skip lunch. The concert is at an outdoor venue, so I don't do much in the way of hair or makeup before going — I'll just sweat it off. On the way to the concert, we stop at a by-the-slice pizza place downtown. I grab a margherita, N. gets a supreme, and we get a veggie slice to share. N. pays. He pays most of the time when we eat out, since he's staying at my apartment rent-free. Still, I usually Venmo him my half unless he turns it down, like today. When we're finished, he calls an Uber to the venue.
10 p.m. — The concert was awesome!! Easily one of the best I've been to. I bought two beers, as well as two for N. He also brought a weed pen that we smoked for the remainder of the concert. Neither one of us usually smokes unless it's a concert. We had a blast! We take the train to a stop closer to home and Uber the rest of the way (N. pays). Once home, I take a quick shower and go to bed quickly. Back to work tomorrow! $40
Daily Total: $80.00
If you are experiencing anxiety or depression and need support, please call the National Depressive/Manic-Depressive Association Hotline at 1-800-826-3632 or the Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.
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