A Week In Pittsburgh, PA, On A $52,000 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: a human resources specialist working in construction who makes $52,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Glossier Play Glitter Gelée.
Occupation: Human Resources Specialist
Industry: Construction
Age: 26
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Salary: $52,000
Paycheck Amount (Weekly): $900
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $850 (I have one roommate and we split the rent evenly for a two-bedroom/two-bathroom apartment.)
Student Loans: $0 (My parents paid for college, and I am so grateful.)
Car Payment: $318.73
Utilities: Around $100
Cable: $80, split with my roommate
Phone Bill: $130.45
Netflix: $0 (Thanks, Mom & Dad.)
Apple Music: $10.59

Day One

7:15 a.m. — Wake up feeling very well-rested — a nice surprise for a Monday morning. Last week was crazy at work, and I'm looking forward to a quieter week ahead. I get ready for the day, make myself a piece of toast with jelly for breakfast, and take a coffee with me to work.
2:15 p.m. — My day is busy. On Mondays I do payroll for the week, which always takes up most of my day. I stop to eat lunch around 12:30. I have grilled chicken, raw red peppers with ranch, a piece of garlic bread, and a cookie. Once my payroll duties are completed, I catch up on emails and other admin work.
3:30 p.m. — Before leaving for the day, I take time to read some of my favorite websites: Into the Gloss, Man Repeller, Byrdie, and Cupcakes & Cashmere. Glossier released a new makeup line today called Glossier Play, and I buy two eyeliners and a glitter cream shadow because I am Glossier-obsessed. $44
4:30 p.m. — I leave work and stop at the mall to get a new phone. I am overdue and desperately need an update. I end up getting the iPhone XS and a case. I keep my same plan — but my contract is up, so I pay $171.46. $171.46
7 p.m. — My roommate and I get dinner ($10) and eat while we watch Parks & Recreation. We end up watching for almost three hours — oops! I quickly pack my lunch for tomorrow and we clean the kitchen. I wash my face, change into my pajamas, and am in bed by 10:30. $10
Daily Total: $225.46

Day Two

6:45 a.m. — Wake up freezing. It's supposed to hit 10 degrees in Pittsburgh today, and I am already dreading going outside. I get ready for the day, grab a coffee and granola bar, and am on the way to work.
12:15 p.m. — My morning absolutely flies by, which I am grateful for. I break for lunch. I packed a spinach salad with cannellini beans, feta cheese, and sunflower seeds. I scroll through Instagram and eat. The afternoon is pretty steady as well, and I continue to work until about 3:30, when I leave for the bank and post office.
4:30 p.m. — I get home and eat some chips and salsa while watching last night's episode of Vanderpump Rules. Team Stassi for life. I'm going to dinner with my family at my Nunnie's (grandmother's) tonight, so I hop in the shower and get ready.
7 p.m. — It's Fat Tuesday today, or Carnivale as my Italian family calls it, so we all gather and eat spaghetti, steaks, and sausage for dinner. For dessert we have paczki (stuffed doughnuts) that are at every Pittsburgh bakery on this day.
10 p.m. — I get home feeling stuffed. Then I wash my face and change into my pajamas. I listened to a beauty podcast today, Fat Mascara, and they said that tapping your face after putting products on is good for your skin, so I begin lightly tapping away, hoping my roommate doesn't hear. I watch a little TV and am in bed around midnight.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

7 a.m. — Wake up and am loving how bright and sunny it is. Daylight Saving is on Sunday, so I know I only have a few more mornings of this sunlight until summer. I get ready and make toast for breakfast. I fill up my coffee cup and am out the door.
12 p.m. — This morning is pretty busy, and I decide it's time to break for lunch. I have tuna salad, an apple, and peanut butter crackers that I bring from home.
3:30 p.m. — It's Ash Wednesday, and for lent I'm going to try to limit my phone time. I downloaded the Moment app to help me, and I'm hoping to actually stick to it!
5 p.m. — After work I grab a snack from home before heading to the tax office. I work at a small firm during tax season to make some extra money. My best friend works there, so it's nice to have mini catch-ups throughout the week with her. I can pop in and out at any time, so it's super convenient, and the people who work there are really nice. I listen to my favorite podcast, Seek Treatment, on the way there and eat some Cheez-Its.
8 p.m. — Finally home!! I get to my apartment, and my roommate made shrimp stir-fry for dinner. What a gem! We eat and catch up on This Is Us. I change into my pajamas, do my skin-care routine, and am in bed by 10:30.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

6:30 a.m. — I get up and jump in the shower. It's freezing today, and getting out of the nice warm shower is so hard. I get ready and leave for work. I go through the Dunkin' Donuts drive-through and get a large coffee and an egg-and-cheese English muffin. I pay with a gift card ($5.66).
12:30 p.m. — I took a half day at work today because I have a doctor's appointment in the afternoon. (Ladies, remember to go get a Pap smear!!) For lunch, I eat a turkey-and-salami sandwich with salt-and-vinegar chips from home. I get to my appointment and am planning to treat myself with a Starbucks after. I have so much built-up anxiety before every exam, but it's really not bad! I meet my mom after, and we go to a nearby Starbucks. We both get caramel macchiatos and she pays.
5 p.m. — I kind of lie around for a while watching TV and scrolling through Instagram before starting dinner. I make chicken-noodle soup and a salad with cucumber and cannellini beans.
8 p.m. — I change into my pajamas and wash my face. My typically oilier skin has been so dry lately that it's causing my skin to freak out. I do some research on good moisturizing products and plan to go to Sephora or Ulta tomorrow after work. I put on the season premier of The Real Housewives of New York City. I LIVE FOR THIS SHOW. These women are my favorite out of all the different Housewives franchises.
10:15 p.m. — I get into bed and try to watch an Allegra Shaw vlog on YouTube, but end up passing out about 10 minutes in.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

7 a.m. — Wake up, shower, put on makeup, and get dressed. Rockin' some wild hair because I don't have time to do it, but at least it's Friday!! I eat oatmeal with peanut butter for breakfast, make a coffee to go, and am on my way to work.
12 p.m. — On Fridays our company gets us lunch from a few local restaurants. I wasn't feeling very hungry, so I got a bowl of cream of mushroom soup with some asparagus. The afternoon is dragging for me, so I make a cup of coffee from the office Keurig and count down the minutes until I can leave.
5 p.m. — I finally get back to my apartment. I catch up with my roommate, and then we both start getting ready. We are going out for sushi and then helping our friend with her bridal-shower invitations tonight.
8 p.m. — We have a great time at dinner. I get a tuna roll, a salmon roll, and a gin and tonic. $21.20
12 a.m. — We get home pretty late after doing the invitations and chatting. I eat some Cheez-Its and am off to bed.
Daily Total: $21.20

Day Six

11:15 a.m. — I wake up and cannot believe that I slept in this late. After my late night, I'm not complaining! I get up, make coffee, and eat some yogurt. I don't want to eat too much because I'm going to lunch with some friends SOON. My roommate and I chat and eat.
1 p.m. — I get ready for the day while listening to the Jonas Brothers. Their latest drop, "Sucker," really inspired me to get back in touch with my middle school playlists. We go to a taco place about 10 minutes from my apartment. I get a chicken taco, a carnitas taco, and a spicy mojito. It's soooo good. $24.61
3 p.m. — I run to the mall to get a few things for my trip to Florida next week. I get two pairs of shorts, a top, and a denim jacket from American Eagle ($118.27), a new Drunk Elephant night serum from Sephora ($45), and exfoliating gloves from Ulta ($7.76). $171.03
6 p.m. — My roommate and I decide to go see a movie and then go to BRGR for burgers after. I touch up my makeup and we go! I get my ticket and a small popcorn. (My favorite food in the world might possibly be movie-theater popcorn.) $18.71
9 p.m. — After the movie, I get a burger and a Southern tier IPA and we split fries. $30
10 p.m. — I change into my pajamas, do my skin-care routine, and read until I fall asleep around 11.
Daily Total: $244.35

Day Seven

9 a.m. — Went to bed pretty early last night, so Daylight Saving Time doesn't seem to affect my wake-up time at all. I get out of bed, shower, and then make myself coffee and a bowl of Cheerios for breakfast. I scroll through Instagram while I eat. Then I get ready and clean up the apartment.
12 p.m. — I drive to my Nunnie's house for lunch with my family. We're having spaghetti Bolognese. I gave up sweets for lent, so instead of the chocolate-chip cookies for dessert, I eat some raspberries.
5:30 p.m. — Next up is dinner at my other Nunnie's. We have spaghetti there as well. Every Sunday is an all-day spaghetti feast.
9:30 p.m. — I get home and change into my pajamas. I make a big cup of green tea and watch Top Chef. I get into bed around 11 and catch up on Instagram until I fall asleep.
Daily Total: $0
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