A Week In Milwaukee, WI, On A $115,000 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 Marketing Director who makes $115,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on botox.
Occupation: Marketing Director
Industry: Manufacturing
Age: 30
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Salary: $115,000 (30% potential annual bonus)
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $3,095
Gender Identity: Woman

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,460 (one-bedroom apartment + parking in attached garage)
Studen Loans: $2,000 (paying off the last $12,000 of ~$70,000 in undergrad student loans. Grad school was 90% paid for by my former employer.)
Health Insurance: $113
401(k): $354 (4%, 50% matched by employer)
Utilities: $100 (varies slightly each month)
Internet: $42
Car Lease: $29
Car Insurance: $103
Renter's Insurance: $13
Gym Membership: $40
Yoga Membership: $85
Monthly Donation: $42
Amazon Prime: $13
Netflix: $13

Day One

6:55 a.m. — My boyfriend, F., wakes me up, I stayed at his place last night. I scroll for a few minutes, then hop out of bed and head downstairs. F. is outside shoveling. I did offer to help but he told me to save my enthusiasm for when we move in together in a month since there's not much snow this time. By the time I brush my teeth and pop in my contacts, we're both out the door. I get home about three minutes later and tackle a few things around my apartment before I log into work for the day. I throw in a load of laundry, empty the dishwasher, and get coffee going, then I hop in the shower. I work from home two or three times a week which is new to me as of a few months ago and it is quite amazing to skip the 45-minute commute, wearing fitted pants, and the cubicle farm a few times a week.
10:30 a.m. — Done with conference calls for the morning, so I make some brunch out of leftover Valentine's dinner ingredients: brussels sprouts, rice, goat cheese, and a fried egg. Being able to whip up whatever I'm in the mood for is also one of my fave WFH perks.
12 p.m. — A few times a week, I do try to get away from my computer around lunch to just get some fresh air, so I occasionally run an errand or two. It's so beautiful and sunny out today, so I bundle up to take a stroll down the street to pick out paint chips at the hardware store. F. and I are currently remodeling his (soon to be our) "master" (there's no bathroom attached or anything) bedroom and this was on my list of things to do this week. I'm there and back in about 20 minutes. I blend up a smoothie: vegan chocolate protein powder, half a banana, frozen strawberries, spinach, chia seeds, and almond milk.
3:15 p.m. — I grab a few pretzels and make a cup of tea after my last call of the day. It's my local primary election today and since my polling spot is just down the block, I take a walk to go vote before it gets busier tonight. I've made it a goal to get more educated on candidates, so I vow to myself I'll get more informed before the April election. I also call my mom around this time and chat. We talk on the phone daily as she lives alone and I know sometimes it's the best part of her day (mine too).
4:45 p.m. — I'm pretty caught up on work and my inbox has been quiet this afternoon, so I decide on the 5 p.m. yoga class. The free parking spots are taken, so I pay for a metered spot ($1.03). I used to be an avid gym-goer and really enjoyed lifting weights, but yoga has been my exercise of choice for the past six months. I've debated canceling my gym membership, but haven't quite pulled the trigger because I have hopes of re-incorporating weights a few times a week again soon. $1.03
9 p.m. — It's been a super laid back night and I've spent about the last hour scrolling Old Navy/Gap/BR on my phone. I order two pairs of leggings, a sports bra, a basic black top, and three pairs of jeans ($206.30). I'm really good at minimizing my closet but need to restock on some solid basics, so I don't feel guilty about this purchase. Plus, I'll likely have to return some of the jeans. $206.30
10:15 p.m. — I settle in for bed with the first episode of Next in Fashion (aka Netflix's Project Runway). It's not too bad, but not too good and it makes me miss Tim Gunn. Asleep by 11:15ish.
Daily Total: $207.33

Day Two

5:50 a.m. — The extra early alarm was ambitious of me... not feeling it. Snooze.
6:10 a.m. — Time to get up for real now. I was planning on washing my day-four hair since I'm going into the office today, but it looks decent so I decide to stretch it one more day. Besides, the chances I even talk to someone at work today are slim. After my shower, I dry shampoo and am pleasantly surprised at my first attempt at a high bun. I complete my typical makeup routine while I drink hot water — Truly Doll Skin Face Cream, Covergirl BB Cream, Tarte Shape Tape concealer, Revolution Brow Pencil, Butter Bronzer, E.L.F Blush, and Mary Kay Mascara. I know, I was also shook to learn MK was still in business when I got roped into a sales pitch. The mascara was a free sample and it's actually amazing. I put on a camel-colored turtleneck bodysuit (rookie mistake — should've done this before hair), high-waisted paper bag jeans, and leopard loafers. Turtlenecks = winter work uniform.
6:50 a.m. — I make my coffee, grab my lunch and start listening to Down the Hill: The Delphi Murders on my commute.
7:30 a.m. — Make it to my desk early and ready to start the day. A bit more about my job for the detail-loving MD readers: Most of the people I interact with on a daily basis are based in other states, including my boss. 90% of the time coming to the office is totally pointless as all of my meetings are conference calls and my work can be done remotely. That being said, some tasks are easier with two monitors and I do enjoy a bit of routine, so I don't mind coming into the office when I do. I've been with this company for a little less than a year and while the work itself doesn't exactly fill my love tank, I'm totally content with how this job fits into my personal life — low-stress, flexible, and gets me closer to my financial goals. F. and I have plans to break free of corporate life completely and are working on a concrete plan to get us there in the next five years. I'm definitely interested in the passive income/entrepreneurial life.
9 a.m. — Make it through some emails and calls, and my mind starts to wander and ponder a surprise trip to Nashville for F.'s birthday at the end of March. I check to see if I have any points I can use but it looks like it'd be over $1,000 for the weekend which is steep. Speak of the devil... F. texts me to coordinate our plan to hang out tonight. I fill up my water and grab my breakfast of oats, blueberries, chia/hemp/flax seeds, and almond butter. I log into my bank account and log last night's online purchase into my budget spreadsheet. I'm tracking my spend in more detail to keep myself accountable and achieve my financial goals this year. It may sound like a nightmare for some, but I actually enjoy it and am just so damn excited to be done with student loan debt so I'm dead set on sticking to the plan! I'm going to run to Walmart over lunch, so I start a running list of things I want to grab and scrolling Ibotta for any offers I may want to use.
11:30 a.m. — Work is moving slow, so I take an early lunch to run to Walmart. I return a tumbler I bought ($4.06 back on my card) and buy toilet paper, natural peanut butter, an iPhone USB, Greek yogurt, two granola bars, onion powder, and Minute Rice cups ($20.67 and I'll get $4.40 back on Ibotta). I very seriously consider purchasing other things but don't for the sake of #budgeting. For the first time, I notice there is a Papa Murphy's inside and text F. because I know he'll share in my excitement of bringing it home some night in the near future. I get back to work and I warm up my lunch of a veggie burger, sauteed red onions, rice, and Brussels sprouts and update my mailing address with USPS online ($1.05), request an absentee ballot for the April primary, and read the new MD while I eat. $21.72
3:30 p.m. — Feels like the slowest day in quite a while, but I remind myself to be thankful for a low-stress job (most of the time). I grab my afternoon snack of cottage cheese and cashews and organize my 2020 budget. I also list out a spend outlook for a few things I know are coming up next month: a bachelorette party, dinners, birthdays, etc.
6 p.m. — I make a quick stop at home to change into yoga clothes and grab some dinner to take over to F.'s, and while I'm at it I pack my lunch for tomorrow right away. We both love cooking but usually meal prep in batches to save time during the week vs. making dinner every night. I'm excited for more cooking nights together when we live together.
8 p.m. — Back from yoga, we rinse off and settle in for two episodes of Love is Blind on Netflix while we eat dinner of leftover meatless taco pasta and relax. Yes, the show is completely cringe-worthy and yes, I'm so into it.
10:30 p.m. — I'm home from F.'s and quickly set my coffee pot for 10 minutes before my alarm (I usually hear it brewing which is a much more gentle and pleasant wake-up call — highly recommend) and get to bed with another episode of Next in Fashion. On my phone for too long, so asleep around 11:45 p.m.
Daily Total: $21.72

Day Three

6:15 a.m. — Time to get moving because it's hair wash day... for real this time. Normal morning routine plus drying and curling my hair while I watch a mindless grocery haul YouTube video — am I the only one who likes these? Throw on the outfit I wore Sunday (it was only a few hours of brunch, you know you do it too): basic white tank, medium wash high waisted jeans, and a slouchy army green sweater all from Tarjay #notsponsored.
7:05 a.m. — Packing up to head out and realize that my deep and sincere love for coffee has not yet been reflected in my MD, so some details on my current daily cup: basic brewed coffee (I'm a light roast kinda girl), collagen (mainly just for the extra protein because my hair and nails grow plenty without it), Vanilla NutPods and/or almond milk, and topped with whipped cream. It brings me legitimate joy every morning so I understand and support those who feel the same about their daily stop at Sbux.
12:55 p.m. — Long but good meeting and I'm excited about some new processes that we're implementing that will ultimately save everyone time. I warm up my lunch (same as dinner last night), start a grocery list and catch up on some texts with my group of friends from college.
5 p.m. — I'm out the door and stop at Aldi to grab my groceries for the next week or so: champagne (it's only $4.99 and great for the mimosas I will absolutely be drinking this weekend!), frozen raspberries, granola, marinara, garbanzo beans, meatless meatballs, avocado, celery, spinach, zucchini, Italian bread, GF crackers, and eggs ($26.39). Yeah, you read that price right. Get on your Aldi game, budget shoppers. I drive straight to yoga and pay to park ($0.98). $27.37
7:30 p.m. — Home from yoga and HUNGRY, so as soon as I walk in the door I throw a meatless burger on a skillet and assemble a salad for dinner. While the burger cooks, I remove my makeup with the Ulta brand makeup cloth (highly recommend!, and hop in the shower. Afterward, I moisturize with Mario Badescu Caviar Night Cream which I'm not sure if I love yet. Finally, time to eat and I'm pumped to discover that the Whole Foods brand frozen plant-based burgers taste just like Beyond Burgers, but cost less!
9:30 p.m. — I've spent the last few hours catching up on episodes of A Million Little Things (I know I'm behind, but really need Gary and Maggie together, plz) and scrolling mindlessly. I have a few bites of Halo Top and conclude that all of the dairy-free varieties taste like Play-Doh, which is probably why it was on clearance last week. Brush my teeth and back to Next in Fashion to fall asleep by 11:15.
Daily Total: $27.37

Day Four

6:45 a.m. — It's so much easier to wake up when I know I'm working from home. Also, FRIDAY! I'm here for it. I pop up pretty quickly and warm up some water and coffee right away because my day is packed with meetings. I throw in a small load of laundry and try on one of the pairs of Gap jeans I ordered a few days ago. They fit like a glove (in a comfortable way) and I love them. I catch up on my MD entries and take an Aldi survey on my shopping experience yesterday for a chance to win a $100 gift card because why not.
10:15 a.m. — Made it through an in-depth call I hosted and now my stomach is grumbling majorly. I throw together egg whites, spinach, cherry tomatoes, and goat cheese. I work on meeting notes to distribute and F. texts me about a pot stock he's gone all-in on. I check my Ameritrade account and it looks like a good time to buy into a company that has been on my watch list. I transfer $500 from savings and buy 10 shares for $260. I'll wait to use the remainder of the money on additional shares or something else when the time is right. By NO means am I an expert when it comes to the stock market, but buying small into a few positions that are easy and fun for me to follow has been educational and profitable: I'm up 32% in less than a year!. F. is VERY smart in this department (sexy) and it's fun to talk about together.
12 p.m. — Finally make it through the morning of conference calls, so I log into my bank account and grab my planner (where my paper planner fam at?!) to pay some bills before I transfer money around accordingly. F. sends me snapchats of the work he's doing on our bedroom today and I'm excited to tackle some projects this weekend together! I'm hungry again so I make a smoothie bowl with the granola I bought last night and wowwww it's damn good. While I'm in the kitchen I throw a spaghetti squash in the oven to have on hand this weekend. The more food I have ready to go at home, the less tempted I am to eat out on weekends... in a perfect world.
6 p.m. — Weekend!!! I arrive at F.'s before we meet up with some friends for dinner. We decide to take the streetcar to their neighborhood a bit early for a glass of wine while we wait for them. We land on a small wine bar in the area where we end up chatting with a sweet bartender who gives us an impromtu mini tasting. We each decide on a cabernet and F. pays, I leave the tip in cash. $5
8 p.m. — We meet up with our friends, C. and Z. for dinner at a nearby Mexican restaurant. We order a pitcher of margaritas and a few appetizers to share. C. and I have been friends for almost 10 years and it makes me so happy to see F. and Z. are forming an awesome friendship (not just "we can stand to go on double date" kinda guy friends, you know?). As the night goes on we add a pitcher of palomas and entrees. C. and I both have gift cards ($150 worth) and we split the tip. $15
10:30 p.m. — We head to a nearby bar where I buy the first round of drinks ($24). Z. buys a second round and shortly after we realize how tired we are. I call and Uber for F. and I to go back to his place ($8.10). $32.10
Daily Total: $52.10

Day Five

7:30 a.m. — I wake to F. quietly getting out of bed, but I'm not ready. Why do I have a headache? I didn't feel very drunk last night. I mentally tally up the drinks I had: one glass of wine, one margarita, one paloma, two hard seltzers. Back to sleep.
8:30 a.m. — I can hear F. "quietly" tinkering in the next room, so I guess it's time to get up. I head downstairs to down some water and Ibuprofen. I see F. has made coffee in the french press so I pour a cup of coffee, too. He meets me downstairs and we make breakfast before we get to work: avocado toast (Italian bread, tomatoes, red onion, goat cheese, and Everything but the Bagel seasoning) and eggs over easy. While we eat we discuss how much better avo toast is made at home than ordered at a restaurant and go over our plan of attack for the day before we head upstairs to get to work.
2 p.m. — The day has been FLYING by and we're making so much progress on our room! F. has been working on the ceilings while I've pulled most of the staples from the flooring (we ripped up the carpet). We're both getting hungry, so we warm up two buffalo chicken pasta meals he prepped earlier in the week.
3 p.m. — We head to the hardware store to buy ceiling, wall, and floor paint and stock up on more roller pads and trays ($68 for my half). I pay, but we're splitting the cost of the total project, so we will settle the difference when we're finished. We head back to F.'s where we get things cleaned up a bit. $68
5:30 p.m. — F. decides to meet up with some friends to watch the game and our friend, K., texts asking if I want to grab dinner before meeting up with the guys later. I wasn't hating the idea of a chill night in, but it's so warm out and after being inside all day I do want to take advantage of the weather so I agree to meet her.
7 p.m. — K. and I decide on a new pizza place and find a cozy spot at the bar. We order drinks and an appetizer to share and discuss her upcoming wedding, among other things. Their cat recently had to have emergency surgery and as much as I want one, this reaffirms my decision to be petless... for now. We decide to share a small pizza and she orders another cocktail while I nurse my dirty martini and wonder what compelled me to order a drink I hate. All of the food is soo good and we agree to bring the guys sometime soon. We split the bill evenly. $41
9 p.m. — We walk to meet the guys at a local bar where they're watching the game. It appears F. has indulged in a liquid dinner which just means an even more lovey-dovey version of himself for the night so I can't complain. I open a tab to order a hard seltzer and the guys throw a few pitchers on and Venmo me since the bar has a $10 card minimum. They're playing the BEST music: hip hop and rap circa 2005 and we're loving it. We stay for a few more drinks, but all disperse around 11. F. calls us an Uber and we stop at a pizza place for him to finally eat and I can't let the poor man eat alone so I get a slice, too. He pays. $17
Daily Total: $126

Day Six

8:30 a.m. — Ahh, feels so good to sleep in. I make coffee and we relax on the couch before I quickly get ready for yoga. We walk to his place so he can change and just narrowly make it to the 9:30 class.
10:45 a.m. — Yoga was amazing! We rinse off at F.'s and make the same breakfast as yesterday because it was that good. When we're finished we get started on painting day — hooray! F. disappears downstairs for a bit while I get started on the trim and he emerges with mimosas because he knows how to motivate me.
1:30 p.m. — F. finishes painting the ceiling and moves onto the walls where he realizes we need a thicker roller for this particular wall texture. It's another beautiful day, so we decide to take a walk back to the hardware store. F. pays and again, the total project will be split so I'll pay my half later. We also stop at a local convenience store and F. gets a six-pack of beer and I grab a small bag of pretzels to snack on. F. pays. When we get back he makes us Bloody Marys to sip while we keep painting.
5:15 p.m. — We're losing daylight, so it's time to call it a day and clean up. Almost all of the painting is done with the exception of some trim and we both feel great about our progress this weekend. Earlier in the day, F. tried hanging our new ceiling light and we somehow ended up with no functioning bedroom OR kitchen lights. This is very off-brand for him as he's very handy, but he decides not to take the risk and will call an electrician to come this week. We've decided that any home maintenance like this will be paid for by him alone, since he owns the house. We decide to swing by a local diner for food and order vegan deep-fried "ribs," a cubano, and a roast beef sandwich. Too. Much. Food. We end up packing up half of it to take home. F. pays.
7:30 p.m. — We get cozy and watch a few episodes of Love is Blind and eventually warm up the food we brought home even though we're not really hungry. At some point, I pack up food for work tomorrow. It's been a busy weekend so we crash around 10.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

6:05 a.m. — That was a weird night of sleep. Despite the heat being off, my apartment is 72 degrees and F. and I woke up several times in the night because we were so hot... in February?! I think this is the first time in my MD I don't snooze. I hop in the shower, say goodbye to F., and get ready for the day.
7:20 a.m. — Out the door a little later than usual and realize I need to fill up on gas. I guess I'll be calling into my morning meeting from the car. Whoops. $33.86
10 a.m. — In between calls I order knobs for the dresser we're redoing for the bedroom on Amazon ($12.86). This reminds me to update our project budget tracking with the purchases we made at the hardware store this weekend. I've finished my coffee, but am still dragging so I refill with the free stuff at work because desperate times call for desperate measures. $12.86
12 p.m. — I warm up my lunch of spaghetti squash, meatless meatballs, broccoli, and marinara. I read an MD while I eat.
3:30 p.m. — I. Am. Dragging. I grab a bag of Smartpop popcorn from the vending machines because snacks totally help drowsiness, right? $0.96
4:50 p.m. — I'm outta here and off to my botox appointment. It never feels like the right time to spend the money, but "my girl" is running a promo at her new spa, so I'm going to take advantage. I have a "FUNds" account that I contribute to every month that is basically a savings account for spending... does that make sense? A purchase like this comes from that pool of money. This is only my second time getting it, but I have to admit I really do love the results. I also just now realize and wonder why I've never seen a cosmetic procedure mentioned in an MD before? Don't be ashamed, ladies! I get 34 units total at $9/each. $306
6:20 p.m. — I stop at the UPS store to return two tops I ordered on Amazon for $36 back on my card. Next, I swing by a local grocery store to grab a few things: coffee, cashew milk, creamer, a sweet potato, and frozen broccoli. I get home and go crazy on some overdue chores/prep for the week. I throw in a load of laundry, empty the dishwasher, meal prep, take out recycling and garbage, and clean up the kitchen. At some point, I eat another veggie burger salad and finish off some hummus in my fridge. $15.23
9:30 p.m. — Ready for bed earlier than usual, I turn on reruns of The Office and am asleep by 10 for an exhilarating end to my MD week.
Daily Total: $368.91
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