A Week In Washington, D.C., On A $60,000 Salary

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Today: a legal fellow who makes $60,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a Womanizer vibrator.
Occupation: Legal Fellow
Industry: Law
Age: 28
Location: Washington, D.C.
Salary: $60,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,795
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,200
Credit Card Payment: $300 (I have one credit card with a balance of $4,000 that I'm still working to pay off.)
Student Loans: $0 (Just for now. I have about $80,000 in debt from law school, but those loans are in deferment. Undergrad was generously paid for by my dad.)
Health, Dental & Vision Insurance: $0 (covered by my employer)
Metro: $80, pre-tax
Internet, Cable & Gas: $75 for my half
Retirement: $100 to my 403(b)
Hulu, Netflix & Amazon Prime: $0 (My mom and I switch off paying for these things year to year, and this year it's her turn.)
Spotify: $10
Imperfect Produce Subscription: ~$12 to $16 a week (depending on the amount of produce I select each week)
Savings: ~$2,000 (I put away $1,000 from each paycheck. And then I take only rent out and leave the rest in savings, which comes to about ~$800 a month. )
Additional Expenses
Phone: $180 every six months, sent to my mom
Instacart Subscription: $50/year (My roommate and I split the cost of the membership.)

Day One

1:30 p.m. — I wake up with a groan that turns into a gasp. How on earth did I let myself sleep this late?! I give myself a pass because I was up late last night eating pasta and finally watching A Star Is Born with some friends. I didn't turn out the lights until nearly 3. Whoops.
2 p.m. — I finally stumble downstairs to the coffee maker and check my phone. My law-school roommate is in town tonight, so we make plans to meet up with some of our friends in the city. Yay! I haven't seen her since we took the bar exam in July, so I'm looking forward to catching up. I take a cup of coffee and three cookies we made last night up to my bedroom to continue my lazy Sunday and watch Golden Girls.
4 p.m. — I'm lying in bed, trying to sort out our water bill. (We just moved in less than two months ago, but our water company randomly charged us for almost four months.) After an unsuccessful call with the company, a call to my mom to see what I'm doing wrong (any other grown women still call their moms every time they have a problem, or is it just me?), and an attempt to figure it out online, I conclude that this is also a problem for the rental company. I shoot them an email, and then reward myself with another cup of coffee. I consider eating some real food, but decide against it since I don't want to be full when I go out for dinner in a couple hours.
4:30 p.m. — I put on Queer Eye in the background (I've only watched it approximately 100 times at this point) and do a quick face (tinted moisturizer, brows, mascara, and Chapstick). Then I throw on leggings and boots and head over to my friend R.'s house so we can go to the Metro together.
5:30 p.m. — R. and I catch the streetcar to the Metro. Today is the coldest day in D.C. since I moved here, for sure. We meet up with our friend and end up at ChurchKey to thaw out. We grab a couple of beers and a charcuterie board and catch up. My old roomie is working at a firm in Virginia now, so we all make plans to do a winery weekend one of these days. R. picks up the tab.
8 p.m. — We head down the street to find some food and wind up at Le Diplomate. I haven't been here, but R. has and raves about it. R. and my old roomie get the scallops, and I order the sea bass. It's amazing, and they keep stealing all of my fish. We split a bottle of wine and the check. $60.60
9:30 p.m. — It's so stupidly cold out that R. and I decide to Uber back to our neighborhood. My old roomie can't get her app to work, so I call her an Uber to get her to the train station ($8.19). We all hug goodbye, and then R. and I head to a bar to meet up with my roommate. R. pays for the Uber, and I promise to pick up the tab at the next bar. $8.19
9:45 p.m. — We meet up with my roommate at Star & Shamrock, a Jewish/Irish bar in our neighborhood that turns into a bagel shop in the mornings. R. sees friends from law school and goes over while my roomie and I talk about work and keep drinking. Before I know it, we're three beers in and she calls for a round of shots. Ugh, thank God we don't have work tomorrow. I pick up the tab. $88.11
11:45 p.m. — We all stumble back to R.'s and watch Lonely Island videos on YouTube. I eat all of his amazing white-truffle chips from Trader Joe's. I need to get some of these.
12:30 a.m. — My roommate and I wander home and end up lying on the floor of my room talking. We just started living together and are still getting to know each other, but have gotten really close in a short amount of time. I love these late-night talks. She goes to bed and I watch Beat Bobby Flay, decide that I want to get back into baking, and drunkenly order cake-baking supplies with an Amazon gift card ($23.99). God, I will hate myself in the morning.
Daily Total: $156.90

Day Two

9:30 a.m. — My God, I'm never drinking again. I lie in bed drinking water, watching Queer Eye, and texting with friends about how I can't drink like we used to anymore.
11:30 a.m. — I head to my kitchen to throw together some ramen, because I desperately need carbs. I use sesame oil, cream, and Sriracha in the broth and then add mushrooms, scallions, corn, spinach, hot dogs (I know, but it's honestly the best protein for the soup), and kimchi to the noodles. Ramen is a favorite meal of mine, and I probably have it at least once a week. I usually only use half of the noodles because there's so much other stuff in there, but this hangover calls for a whole package. I take it up to my bed, because being upright this long is doing my head in. I eat all of it and promptly fall asleep again.
4:30 p.m. — I wake up and feel way better. I put on Cutthroat Kitchen while I select my produce for my Imperfect box. Imperfect is awesome, because it's produce that was rejected by grocery stores because it's a funny shape or too small but is otherwise fine, and you can customize what produce you want delivered to your door. It's sourced from local farms and helps cut down on food waste. Plus, it's cheaper than grocery-store prices. I choose tomatoes, mandarin oranges, lemons, limes, onions, avocados, and blueberries.
6:30 p.m. — Despite my hangover melancholy, I need to get my rear in gear for work tomorrow. I did most of my meal prep for breakfast and lunch already, but I portion out my pineapple and add some kiwi for breakfasts. I cut up peppers to take with hummus for snacks and grill chicken for salads.
7 p.m. — I decide to make a HelloFresh meal I got on Saturday. I've never used HelloFresh or any meal service before because I love to cook on my own, but there was a great deal for six meals for $30, so I thought I would try it out. I make crispy pork Milanese and accidentally set off our super-sensitive fire alarm when I heat the oil. My poor, equally hungover roommate pokes her head out to make sure the house isn't actually on fire. Sorry! The pork is actually pretty good. I eat half and save the rest for later.
8:30 p.m. — I lay out my clothes for the morning and pop some melatonin because I took such a long nap today and don't want to mess with my sleep schedule too much. I apply Mario Badescu Drying Lotion to my face and take a small bowl of Ben & Jerry's Half Baked to bed with me. I bounce between Cutthroat Kitchen and Golden Girls until I finally fall asleep.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

4 a.m. — And I'm up. I guess that's to be expected when I slept a majority of the day yesterday. I spend some time doing my nails and watching Queer Eye.
6:30 a.m. — I finally pull myself out of bed and start getting ready. We have a comment due next week, so today is going to be a writing day. Since I don't have any meetings or anything today, I do a simple face (tinted moisturizer, brows, and mascara) and pull my hair into a messy bun. I pack my salads for the week, along with cut veggies, pita chips and hummus, several cans of LaCroix, and fruit to keep at the office.
7:30 a.m. — I fight every urge I have to call a Lyft as I stand outside freezing, waiting for the streetcar. I listen to The Daily and NPR News Now. Then I stop at the post office to mail a gift to my friend who is having a baby! $3.50
8:30 a.m. — I get to work and drink free office coffee and eat fruit and a KIND bar. I check emails and realize that I have a meeting on the Hill this afternoon that I totally forgot about. I'm not really dressed appropriately for a Hill meeting, so I'll have to go home and change first. Fab start to the week.
11:30 a.m. — My coworkers ardently assure me that if I put on a blazer, I'll be fine for the meeting. Since Congress is in recess, it'll just be Hill staffers in jeans. I still feel kind of bad, though, so I go to the Nordstrom Rack next door and browse for a few minutes. There's nothing that I like enough to buy for the meeting, so I just plan on taking my coworker's advice. Of course, on the way out, an absolutely gorgeous pair of leather Catherine Malandrino sandals catches my eye from the clearance rack. It seems wrong to buy sandals when it's 10 degrees outside, but I have faith that someday, the sun will come back out. $45.52
12:30 p.m. — I eat the salad that I brought at my desk with a handful of plantain chips. I try and pretend that I'm still doing work while I eat, but really I'm just scrolling through coverage of the SCOTUS cert petitions on Twitter. #lawnerd
2:20 p.m. — I'm dragging hard today, so I eat some of my emergency chocolate I keep stashed in my desk and drink a tangerine LaCroix. I'm trying desperately to quit Diet Coke, and LaCroix is trying its hardest to fill its place.
4:30 p.m. — The meeting was rescheduled, but no one told me until I actually showed up at the building. Irritating, but not much I can do about it. I want to just go home, but my boss invited me in on a call with actual senators back at the office, so I trudge back. I'm still in awe that I get to do this work every day, so no complaints from me even when things go awry. I get a chai latte to perk myself up, using the Starbucks gift card my parents put in my Christmas stocking ($4.90).
5:30 p.m. — After heading back to work, I learn that my boss thought I was on the Hill still, and took the call from her car instead. It's just not my day. I hop the red line home.
6:30 p.m. — I get home and feel like I should do some self-care, so I put a coconut-oil mask in my hair, put my teeth-whitening trays in, and put a charcoal face mask on. I watch my favorite feel-better show, RuPaul's Drag Race, and browse Amazon for new face masks because my skin does not like D.C. as much as I do. I buy three new ones to try. $47.65
8:30 p.m. — I take a shower, washing and conditioning my mane of hair, and also shaving and exfoliating to get ready to self-tan. I self-tan every week with St. Tropez mousse. It gives me a nice, subtle glow.
9 p.m. — I put leave-in conditioner, argan oil, and heat protectant in my hair, then blow it dry and apply my tanner. I let myself dry, heat up my leftovers from last night, and eat before falling into bed. I've been in this day far too long, y'all.
Daily Total: $96.67

Day Four

7:10 a.m. — After a couple snoozes, I pull myself out of bed and stretch out. I do a quick rinse to get the tanner off me and lotion up. I have a full day of meetings, so I go all out today. I straighten my hair and put on a full face (Murad primer, Make Up For Ever foundation, Tarte bronzer, Benefit brows, Urban Decay eyeshadow and eyeliner, Better Than Sex mascara, and Urban Decay setting spray). Then I putz around trying to decide what to wear, wanting to look cute but also to be warm in this cold we're having. I have a slight crush on one of the guys who works at another organization who I'll be seeing today, so cute wins out over warmth.
9:30 a.m. — I roll into work after a stuffed Metro ride, promptly trip on the rug in the lobby, realize my favorite office coffee is gone, and drop my phone in the toilet. (It's fine after a thorough cleaning, thankfully.) I bury myself in work before anything else can go awry.
11:30 a.m. — I break to eat my salad early today, since I skipped breakfast. I eat while reading through the awful new Title IX proposed rule.
2:30 p.m. — I break out the chocolate again. After several hours of meetings, emails, and putting out fires, I take a minute. I was one of the lucky ones who landed my dream job immediately after graduation. Dream job, dream organization, dream city, all at once. I can't believe it happened, and I'm working the hardest I can to earn my place here. Days like today, when everyone seems to need something from me, I try and remind myself that this means I'm doing my job correctly and that people trust me, even if it's overwhelming. The chocolate helps.
2:45 p.m. — I head out to meet up for coffee with a new work friend. Afterward, I have two more meetings with our partner organizations, so the caffeine boost is more than welcome.
3 p.m. — Be still my heart. My new friend brought my work crush, G., with him. G. buys us all coffee and we all talk about life and work.
6 p.m. — I head home after the rest of the meetings, super excited to pull my hair up and get into sweats.
8 p.m. — I don't want to cook tonight, but I still have two HelloFresh meals for the week and don't want to waste them, so I pour myself a Scotch and start cooking. I make chicken with chimichurri sauce and rice and beans. It's awesome. I was definitely skeptical about this meal service, but for the price I paid, I think it's actually a great thing.
9 p.m. — My best friend from home calls and we talk for a while about politics. After I hang up, my roommate comes in and we chat about our days. And then as she's leaving, one of my best friends from law school calls and we talk for two hours. I rarely have so much phone traffic, but it reminds me that even when I feel lonely in a new city, I have plenty of love and support coming at me, and for that I'm very grateful.
12:30 a.m. — I pack a bottle of wine in my bag for our office party tomorrow so I don't forget it in the morning, and then turn my light out.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

7 a.m. — Alarm. Snooze. Not today, Satan.
8:15 a.m. — Finally roll out of bed and stretch. Another office day of writing, so I do a simple face (tinted moisturizer, brows, mascara), pull my hair back, and head out.
9:30 a.m. — Still dragging from my late-night gossip session, I stop at Dunkin' for a giant hazelnut coffee. I have a reward on my app, so the coffee is free!
10 a.m. — Finally get to the office and immediately get pulled into an unexpected conference call.
12 p.m. — My coworkers talk me into pizza for lunch instead of my desk salad. I can't resist! My coworker pays and I Venmo her for my portion. $6
4:30 p.m. — My boss asks me to present on one of her cases tomorrow at a meeting, and I've spent the afternoon bouncing between getting up to speed on that and working on my own project. I eat a clementine to keep me awake. Is it Friday yet?
7 p.m. — The streetcar isn't running tonight, so I talk to my mom while I walk home. Then I pour a Scotch and catch up with my roomie for a while.
9 p.m. — I finally get into the shower and wash my hair. Then I sit and text with a friend who is having a rough time. I consider taking a spontaneous jaunt out to see her. I check how much rental cars are, but decide to wait until tomorrow to see how she's doing.
10:30 p.m. — I throw some product in my hair but am too tired to blowdry it. I heat up some mac 'n' cheese, bring it to bed with me, eat, and pass out.
Daily Total: $6

Day Six

6:30 a.m. — Ugh, I hate waking up. I get up and stretch out. My hair is wild, so I feel like I have to wear it curly today. I shape it up with my curling wand, do my makeup, and get dressed. I throw a nice bottle of wine in my bag because I'm heading to a friend's birthday right after work.
8 a.m. — I hop on the Metro. Then I stop at a coffee shop to gather my thoughts for a bit before I have to present today. I reload my card on the app and order my usual: a gigantic black coffee. $15
11 a.m. — I head back from the meeting feeling very accomplished. A few attorneys asked some questions after the meeting and I felt comfortable answering them. My imposter syndrome is real, but it's getting better. And to top it off, G. and I realized we live in the same neighborhood and decided to get a drink next week. All in all, an excellent end to the week.
12:30 p.m. — After a minor office crisis, my coworker and I go to Jimmy John's for lunch and I get my favorite, the Italian Night Club. I'm such a sucker for going out to buy lunch, and I feel like it breaks up my day nicely. $10.18
1:30 p.m. — My coworker and I break out the bottle of wine from yesterday that we forgot about to soothe us while we watch Trump talk about the tentative deal to reopen the government for a few weeks. All the wine in the world couldn't make it any easier to listen to him talk, but my coworker and I bond over it.
5:45 p.m. — R. swings by after work and we head out to a friend's birthday in Bethesda. I get a $5 bourbon drink. Our check gets lumped in with theirs, so I just throw in $10 to cover my drink, R.'s seltzer, and a tip. $10
6:30 p.m. — We head back to our friend's place to see his dog and get a Scotch. I feel like one of his friends might be into me, but I can't quite figure it out. My friend's pup is so adorable. R. decides to head back to the city, but I stick around. We head to another bar and get wings and beer. I Venmo for my portion. $20
10:45 p.m. — We head to yet another bar. This guy is definitely vibing. We've been talking most of the night, but I'm not sure that I'm interested. I buy a couple drinks, including one for the birthday boy. $52.32
12 a.m. — As we're heading out the door, the guy I've been talking to hangs back and asks if I want to go home with him. My eye-roll instincts are too deeply entrenched in me. He immediately backs off, and then asks if we can get another drink. I do think he's cute, so I say yes, and we get another round. He pays.
2 a.m. — I'm yawning and ready to go home. I call a Lyft and head out to wait for it. The guy kisses me before I get in, and says that he'll text. On the way home, I decide that he was nice, but I'm not really interested. Sometimes I think I've been single for so long that I'm just a creature of habit. I get home and promptly fall into bed and sleep. $27
Daily Total: $134.50

Day Seven

8:30 a.m. — I wake up early and am irritated that I didn't sleep in later. Stupid adult work schedule. I call my mom and we talk for an hour. I tell her that I feel like I should open myself up more to the idea of a relationship, and she tells me not to rush it. We discuss her upcoming trip to D.C. and I eventually hang up. Need. Coffee. Now.
10 a.m. — The guy from last night texts and asks me out. I tell him thanks but no thanks.
12 p.m. — After a long chat with my roomie, we kick it into gear and clean up the apartment. I cook my last HelloFresh meal, griddled cheese with roasted vegetables. I eat half and save half for later. I dither around with an Instacart order but can't decide what I want to eat this week.
4:30 p.m. — My late night/early morning came back to bite me, and I take a nap.
6:30 p.m. — I wake up slowly and browse Amazon. Somehow, my honing steel got lost in our move, and my knives are getting dull, so I buy a new one. I also buy hazelnut Dunkin' K-cups and toilet paper. $88.38
7:30 p.m. — My roommate and I get distracted and start talking about criminal-justice reform and LGBT rights (our respective career focuses), and somehow we get on the subject of the Womanizer vibrator, which she raves about for so long that I have to get one. I immediately find it on Amazon, and she applauds my choice. $55
10 p.m. — I watch last night's episode of RuPaul's Drag Race while repainting my nails. I get my nails done about once a month and save money by repainting them myself until they get too long.
11:30 p.m. — Thrown off by my late lunch and nap, I make pasta and also prep some food for the upcoming week. I have some work to do tomorrow, so I try and take care of what I can tonight.
1 a.m. — I take some melatonin, turn on Queer Eye, and let the Fab Five take me to dreamland.
Daily Total: $143.38
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