A Week In Minneapolis, MN, On A $55,640 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 data-sciences analyst working in healthcare who makes $55,640 per year and spends some of her money this week on moving boxes.
Occupation: Data Sciences Analyst
Industry: Healthcare
Age: 23
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Salary: $55,640
Paycheck Amount (biweekly): $1,610
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $625 for my share of a two-bedroom garden unit (about to go up to $880; I move next week)
Car Loans: $380
Student Loans: $0 (My parents paid 3/4, and another 1/4 came from a women-in-economics scholarship.)
Utilities: ~$40
Savings: $550 (invested in mutual funds)
401(k): 8% (employer matches 30 cents on the dollar, no cap)
Car Insurance: $0 (still on my parents'; rolling off in 2020)
Life insurance, Short- and Long-Term Disability: $15
Dental/Vision/Health Insurance: $0 for premiums (thanks, awesome company!!)
Phone bill: $0 (on my dad's plan)
Spotify: $16 (family plan: me, my friend, my dad)
HBO & Netflix: $0 (dad's)
Hulu: $0 (roommate's friend's roommate's)
Amazon Prime: $0 (mom's)
Violence Policy Center Donation: $25
Minnesota Public Radio Member: $5
Boutique Fitness Studio: $139
Curology: $40
ClassPass: $15
Farm Share: $139 split with my coworker

Day One

8:45 a.m. — I wake up next to my friend F. after a late night out playing darts. My old work friends from Chicago have been visiting Minneapolis for the past few days, and as a result I have been sharing a bed all weekend. She has been a good bedmate, though, so I wake up pretty rested. I have three missed calls from my roommate and a cryptic text saying her boyfriend was a nightmare last night, so I shoot her a text to check if everything is okay, seeing as she isn't home.
11:30 a.m. — After watching some Stranger Things, cleaning up my apartment a little bit, and packing bags, we all pile into my car and head to the airport. A little over a year ago, I quit my job in Chicago and took a break to figure out what I wanted to do for my career and deal with my depression, and as a result moved away from these three friends. At the time, I felt so alone and sad that I couldn't see or appreciate the resources and support system around me, including these women. We had a lot of heart-to-hearts about it as a group, and I am planning a trip to Chicago for October!
12:15 p.m. — I arrive at my boyfriend, T.'s, apartment and help him fold some laundry. He tells me about the wedding he went to last night with coworkers. He is miserably hungover. We started officially dating a little under two months ago, and I am so madly in love with him. It's kinda crazy, since I only broke up with my ex-boyfriend in February, and we had dated for over three years. I never felt this way about my ex — odd how timing and the heart works like that. We order takeout ramen and walk a couple blocks to pick it up. He pays ($45), and we eat in front of the TV, rewatching Stranger Things since he hasn't finished the season yet.
3 p.m. — We go on a walk around Lake of the Isles, and I talk most of the time about all the dramatic funerals I have been to in my lifetime. We stop at one of our favorite coffee shops on the way back and get jasmine lemonade (we are parched!); he pays since I don't have my wallet with me on the walk ($8.50). Then we walk a block to the grocery store and buy ingredients for dinner, my favorite chorizo burger recipe. We grab bananas for him, and then buns, smoked chorizo, and a pound of grass-fed ground beef ($21).
5 p.m. — I take a Spin scooter ($10) back to my place to clean up and grab some veggies while T. is on a call with his family. I run into my roommate, K., and she recounts her horrific night babysitting her drunk bf. It involved vomiting in an Uber. Yikes. I vacuum and roll up the air mattress in the living room, then grab some of my farm-share veggies out of the fridge for dinner. $10
6 p.m. — I arrive at the bf's and start cooking us dinner. I mash the beef and chorizo together with Pepper Jack cheese and throw onions, zucchini, potatoes, and snap peas in the oven to roast. He is very impressed with the outcome, and I relish his appreciation.
7 p.m. — We walk a block to the local theater and buy tickets to The Lion King. I pay since I have been skirting the bills all day. $20
9:30 p.m. — Back on the couch watching Stranger Things. Naturally, I fall asleep for the whole thing.
Daily Total: $30

Day Two

7:30 a.m. — Wake up at the bf's and feel very tired, even though I slept a ton yesterday. I check Instagram and Words with Friends and then roll out of bed and kiss him goodbye. He is already showered and dressed for the day. He heads to work way earlier than I do, so this is our usual tango.
7:40 a.m. — I drive back to my apartment and shower and shave. I throw on my Curology serum since I didn't last night and then layer my GinZing Gel moisturizer from Origins over it (my favorite summer product!). I also rub my Burt's Bees sensitive eye cream over my dark circles. I throw on Madewell jeans and a lightweight cotton striped shirt. Work dress code is very casual. Then I do my makeup: Smashbox Photo Finish primer, Naked Urban Decay concealer under the eyes, Nars spot-corrector concealer on my dark marks, and my Tarte bronzer and blush duo. Then just some mascara. I am simple in the summer.
8:30 a.m. — I leave my apartment and stop to get gas ($40.36), and go to my local co-op and grab some things for breakfast and lunch the next couple days. I get coconut yogurt, organic strawberries (free as a co-op owner!), a hot-bar lunch of barbecue pork and rice, and I build a Greek salad at the salad bar ($29.80). $70.16
9 a.m. — Arrive at work and prepare my breakfast (I usually don't eat until I get in). I grab the coconut-flake granola from my file cabinet and put it over my strawberries and yogurt.
10:15 a.m. — In a very boring status meeting, and I read the Money Diaries about the woman who is cheating with multiple men. Everyone has their demons. I send it to my roommate, K., over Slack (she also works at the same company as me), and we concur that it is a good read.
1 p.m. — In between a couple meetings, I eat my lunch in our courtyard. I opt for the barbecue pork and sip on a La Croix (free from the work fridge).
3:40 p.m. — I leave work early to go to my second job. My team knows that I leave early on Mondays, so it's fine. Monday nights I usually close, so I will be here until 10 p.m. easily. I prepare myself for that reality. To have some extra money for savings and my car payment, I work 16-ish hours a week at a fancy restaurant in Minneapolis. I have a lot of former experience in hospitality, particularly working at a concierge dining club in New York back in the day, so when I decided to look for a part-time hosting position, I only wanted to work at the best in the cities. Unfortunately, as I have found over the past couple months working here, this place is pretty much smoke and mirrors, with the management and owners relying on media hype to draw the crowds in. On the whole, I don't think they know how to treat the customer, and the FOH staff, aside from the bartenders and hosts, are super bitter. TBH, I wouldn't be here for much longer, except for the fact that I need the money.
5:50 p.m. — Getting hungry and do my usual sweep of the kitchen to see if there is leftover pizza scraps to munch on. No luck.
10:15 p.m. — Closing time!! I take my shift meal home, a pepperoni pizza, and eat it in my bed with chicken nuggets. It is all about BALANCE, my friends. I text my boyfriend for a bit in bed and then hit the hay.
Daily Total: $70.16

Day Three

7 a.m. — I am too lazy to roll out of bed in time to catch my 7 a.m. gym class, so I go for a walk around Lake of the Isles instead. I listen to a podcast about financial responsibility along my route. I see a muskrat playing in a puddle and watch it frolic for an extended period of time.
8:15 a.m. — Back at home I quick-shower and dress, opting for Madewell shorts and a tunic from Coolibar, a sun-protection clothing company. Do my usual skin-care routine and makeup.
9 a.m. — Arrive at my coworker's house. He recently got his bike stolen, so I have been providing him a lot of rides to work. I am sure people in the office think we are dating because of it.
11:30 a.m. — I have a one-on-one meeting with my new manager, my first one since he started a couple weeks ago. He is a nice guy and seems intelligent, but his habits just irk me. I feel somewhat discouraged in the meeting, because he comments on one of my annual goals, improving my coding skills, saying that my skills are “fine” enough. Meh. He then continues to share that my coworker is being promoted, meaning that I am the last traditional project-based data analyst on the team.
12:15 p.m. — Today my dad is getting his colonoscopy. I pick him up from our designated meeting spot and drive him to his appointment (glamorous, I know). I work from the waiting room.
3:30 p.m. — The procedure went well! I drive my dad back to my parents' place and work from their deck for the remainder of the afternoon, cuddling with my dog.
5:15 p.m. — I strategically call it a day before my mom can get home (we have not spoken since last week; we are on a “break” of sorts) and hop in my car to drive a few towns over, where my cousin lives. She and I are doing a breakfast-for-dinner night (she chose the menu, as she is eight months pregnant), and I am in charge of dessert. I stop at the small grocery store in town and buy doughnuts to stick with the breakfast theme. $3
5:45 p.m. — I arrive at my cousin's and play with her cat for a bit (we are friends; I babysat him in March for a week). She asks me to scoop the kitty litter since her partner is out of town, and technically, as a pregnant person, she shouldn't be exposing herself to that. I oblige.
7 p.m. — My cousin brings up that she has spoken to my mom about our fight, which started over the fact that I didn't want my mom's help moving. Her rebuttal to that was to say that I was no longer welcome at my childhood house. Really nice. (I am moving to a new apartment next week, and historically my mom has a way of making me feel worthless and like I owe her for everything, especially big things, like help moving or paying for my car insurance, etc.). My cousin says that she has never seen my mom so sad, and that makes me feel sad, but I know that in order for her to adjust her behaviors and become respectful, she needs to know how upset I am with her. My cousin just asks that I reach out relatively soon, so that the silence doesn't go on forever. It is REALLY nice getting her opinion on it, simply because I don't really have anyone else who can empathize with me — my dad refuses to talk about it, and I have no siblings.
8 p.m. — I leave my cousins and go to T.'s place to Netflix and chill. He turns on Taxi Driver (why?), and I fall asleep within a few minutes. At some point I find my way to his bed.
Daily Total: $3

Day Four

7:15 a.m. — I wake up all groggy and lie in bed for a while, playing Words with Friends. I finally get up, and T. tasks me with making us coffee with his pour-over contraption (very annoying, would not recommend). We leave with our to-go mugs in hand.
7:45 a.m. — Run home quick and change. My hair isn't really dirty, so I decide to skip the shower. Today is Madewell shorts (again) and a Yale T-shirt that I bought while visiting my friend in med school there last winter.
8:45 a.m. — I arrive at the office, make my usual coconut yogurt breakfast, and send out a Slack update to the whole company reminding them of the wellness talk over lunch today. As one of the three employees in charge of our company's wellness program, in my down hours at work, I help set up guest speakers or fitness-forward activities for the whole company. Today's talk is on mindfulness meditation.
12:15 p.m. — After I introduce the speaker, I heat up leftover pizza from Monday night in our pizza oven (why there is one in the kitchen, I have no clue) and throw some Romaine and carrots on the plate for some nutrition.
2:30 p.m. — I have a meeting already on the calendar with my manager's manager from a while back — good timing given all the transitions lately, and my weird convo with my new manager yesterday. I express my concern about my role with the company — how do I even fit into this team anymore? And thankfully he says exactly what I hoped: I will continue to split my time between analytical prospective projects and scrum master type activities. He even shows me a presentation he will be showing to the leadership team about our team, and I am featured heavily in it for my work on a recent initiative. I feel very relieved and leave motivated.
3 p.m. — Walk with my roommate, K., around the office park. We stop to play giant water pong, which has been set up in the courtyard in preparation for the management company's monthly office park happy hour. We are horrible at it. I grab some chips at the happy hour for sustenance.
4:30 p.m. — I partition out my farm-share box with my coworker — potatoes, dill, pickling cucumbers, green beans, beets (yuck, give those to my coworker), green cabbage, white onions, green onions, and green garlic. I am very excited about the Thai basil this week!! Smells amazing.
5:45 p.m. — I leave work for the day and head to the co-op to pick up some ingredients for dinner. I plan on making Asian meatballs and slaw for dinner. I get a lime, bell pepper, red onion, 3/4 lb. of ground turkey breast, coconut aminos (I am mildly allergic to soy), rice vinegar, chili paste, a mixed berry coconut yogurt, more coconut flake granola for tomorrow's breakfast, a couple of ball jars, mustard seed, and peppercorns (I am going to pickle those cucumbers!). $41.12
6:25 p.m. — Drop my groceries off at home and head to the gym for a HIIT class. There is a major merch sale going on at the gym — all their apparel is done by Lululemon, and it's all 60% off. I don't need anything, plus the lady's stuff is super picked over, but bae asked me to get some things for him. I get two pairs of black shorts and three T-shirts for him. One of the T-shirts says “Legend” on it, and I know his ego will like that. He will Venmo me later. $203
8:15 p.m. — Bae meets me at my place, and I cook us the Asian meatballs (my own creation — ground turkey, garlic, green garlic, red onion, coconut aminos, black pepper, some leftover stir-fry sauce in the fridge, and sriracha) with some rice and whip together the slaw salad. He is thoroughly impressed.
9 p.m. — My mom texts me, asking if I want to meet up for a drink since she is in my neighborhood. I politely decline, but tell her she can swing by if she wants.
10:30 p.m. — Bae leaves, and I put my cucumbers in the ball jars to pickle and then do ALL the dishes by hand. I didn't see my mom's follow-up text asking for my address, and now I feel kinda bad and sad.
Daily Total: $244.12

Day Five

8:45 a.m. — I arrive at work. Make some oatmeal that I keep stocked in my drawer and casually work on a blog post for our team.
12 p.m. — Lunch with my two coworkers in our courtyard. I have leftover rice and meatballs from yesterday.
12:30 p.m. — I realize that I had missed a project request in our backlog that is technically due tomorrow. PANIC! I message the stakeholder, and he says the farthest he could push out the deadline is Wednesday. Given I am moving Tuesday, that means I have to get this project done by Monday, which is four days away. I get to work sorting things out. I am genuinely nervous that I won't get this project done on time, especially considering I have three shifts at the restaurant coming up and friend obligations each night this weekend.
6 p.m. — I finish my exploratory data work for the day and then depart to make a stop at Home Depot for some packing materials for the move. I get ten boxes, a tape gun, a lightbulb (ours in the kitchen is currently out), and bubble wrap.
7 p.m. — At home I make some quick pasta and watch my favorite YouTuber, Ashley Brooke, for a little bit. I have been watching her for YEARS, and I still never miss a single vlog.
8 p.m. — I start packing up some living room and kitchen items. It is very, very hot in our apartment (no AC), and I ask T. if I can sleep over at his place. Are we attached at the hip? Yes.
10:30 p.m. — Arrive at T.'s, and we hit the hay almost immediately.
Daily Total: $59.44

Day Six

8:15 a.m. — I get ready pretty fast and head into the office to get working on that project again.
12 p.m. — I have lunch in the courtyard with my usual duo. I developed a rule during my crazy-busy job in Chicago that I will never skip my lunch break or eat at my desk unless there is a cataclysmic reason why. Self-care and balance, people. I eat a leftover salad from the fridge with tuna. We then walk over to Caribou Coffee for a pick-me-up. K. pays for my iced latte ($4.50), since I bought her moving boxes yesterday.
4 p.m. — I continue chugging away on the project. I make a bag of popcorn (free from the kitchen) and stress eat. I have developed a headache; it may be the early onset of a migraine.
5:30 p.m. — The office is completely dead, so I finally leave for the day and head directly to my fitness studio for a workout with T. It involves a lot of box jumps, and I am pooped by the end.
7 p.m. — T. and I meet my friend from work at a beach on Cedar Lake for a cool-down swim. It is very refreshing and calms me down a bit. I have learned that a lot of the keys to keeping my anxiety at bay while stressed involve exercise and eating properly. I try not to let these things slip even while I'm under a lot of pressure, like I am right now, between work projects, moving, and my second job.
8:30 p.m. — I head back to my apartment, make some quick pasta, shower, and put on a “going out” look, which includes black heeled sandals and an American Apparel body-con dress.
10 p.m. — My best friend's boyfriend is playing his first show on home turf in a while (he is an electronic artist), so T. and I head over to a bar for a drink beforehand via Uber. We order gin gimlets ($26), and T. picks up the tab. I'll get the next round. $9.10
11 p.m. — We head into the venue, and the woman bouncer really pats us down, literally feels up under my boobs. I feel somewhat violated. We get in for free since we are “on the list,” and I pour myself a Maker's on the rocks in the green room.
12:30 a.m. — Show is on! He is amazing live, although I think my friends and I may be the only people not rolling at the event. At some point, I order my friend and me a round of drinks. $25
1 a.m. — My friend and I take an Uber back to our neck of the woods; she pays. I stay with her at a bar with her boyfriend and his friends for a few minutes, but then decide to trudge back home for sleeps — I am feeling moody after the past couple of days. I am too cheap and emo to pay for an Uber, so I walk a mile back to our place.
Daily Total: $34.10

Day Seven

9 a.m. — I wake up with a major headache and lie in bed catching up on Ashley Brooke. I am unsure if this is the migraine that I felt coming on yesterday or a headache just from staying up too late. I pop my migraine medication nonetheless and attempt to eat a fried egg so the medicine isn't on my empty stomach. Then I chug water.
10 a.m. — I throw clothes on. My makeup from last night still looks flawless, so I roll with it and head to grab a cold brew and a scone before job two starts. $8.50
2:30 p.m. — It has been a surprisingly busy day for a Saturday in the summer (we only have indoor seating). At the very least I haven't been bored. My coworker from job one comes into the restaurant with her godmother, who reminds me of my kooky granny (RIP). I send them over a complimentary burrata.
5 p.m. — I am out!! I quickly eat some free shift pizza and extra salad ($8.64) and head to get coffee. I order another cold brew and set to work on my project again for job one. It is really starting to come together. Toward the end, I take a break and start writing a letter to my mom with all my qualms listed out. I may revisit it later and send it to her next week. $13.39
8 p.m. — After stopping home quickly to freshen up, I meet my boyfriend at his place. I really wish I could stay in and veg tonight. I haven't had more than an hour or two for me in weeks. But we are heading to a going-away party for one of his friends who is moving to New York. Maybe I should learn how to just say no? I don't know.
10 p.m. — I don't know many people here, but I am mingling all right. It is interesting to me that his friends are actually interested in what I have to say — I feel like with a lot of the guys I have dated in the past, their friends are not very welcoming; yet with this crowd I feel like they want to engage out of genuine interest, not just politeness. We watch the Minneapolis Aquatennial fireworks from the balcony. T. is being very cuddly while drunk, it's sweet. At some point he tells me he wants to marry me, but that we “have a lot of work to do before we get to that point." Okay, you weirdo. He loses all filter while drinking.
12 a.m. — I am two White Claws deep, and that is enough for me. I have to work job two at 9 a.m. again tomorrow. I say goodbye to T. and his friends. I head out via Uber and call it a night. $8.87
Daily Total: $30.76
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