A Week In Austin, TX, On A $55,000 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 project manager working in education who makes $55,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Dr. Martens.
Occupation: Project Manager
Industry: Education
Age: 27
Location: Austin, TX
Salary: $55,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,804.15
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $950 for my half of the rent. (I live with my boyfriend.)
Car Loan Payment: $185
Student Loan Payment: $40
Health/Dental/401(k): $150
Renters Insurance: $10
Car Insurance: $90
Utilities: $80
Internet: $25
Cell Phone: $60
Dog Daycare: $100
Hulu/Spotify: $13
Therapy: $80
Museum Membership: $5
Sun Basket Subscription: $79
Lash Extensions: $80 with tip
Savings: $500

Day One

8 a.m. — In the mornings, I read news on the BBC News app. My dad always watched BBC, so I learned to love and trust it. And in this moment, I'm just realizing why I'm way more interested in soccer than American football. I go to Cenote for a matcha almond milk latte and two breakfast tacos. $15.41
9 a.m. — I find a dockless bike and attempt to keep my drink from spilling while riding ($0.50). I have a company-wide call soon, so I'm booking it to work. I hear someone call my name as I'm riding — it's my friend from college! I haven't seen him since we graduated, and he's here for a work trip. We catch up for a bit, but then I'm late for this meeting. It's okay. I think my time is better spent with my friend than watching people struggle to set up a video conference call anyway. I spend the rest of the morning with a breakfast taco and a massive spreadsheet. $0.50
2 p.m. — I have a three-hour meeting that takes up the majority of my afternoon. I talk to my manager after the meeting about next job steps, as I'm not fully content with my current role. It's refreshing how supportive she has been. My lunch is the other chorizo breakfast taco.
5 p.m. — Head home on a Lime scooter. The downtown sidewalks are kind of a shit show with all of these dockless scooter and bike companies, but I really love how easy they've made my commute. I take my dog for a short walk around the neighborhood. $2.50
8 p.m. — My boyfriend and I cook a delicious Sun Basket dinner of chicken lettuce cups. We haven't been great at keeping the house clean, even without shoes inside, especially with dog hair that somehow always accumulates in the bathroom. I book a cleaner for us to split and get us reset on a clean house. Then I check on my eBay store (so many watchers, no bids) and we watch Role Models (not a great movie, but I think my boyfriend may be in love with McLovin) until bedtime.
Daily Total: $18.41

Day Two

7 a.m. — I wake up and read the news on my phone for a bit but hear my dog whining. I let him out and get ready for work. My new favorite makeup find is the $2 e.l.f. eyebrow pencil from Target. I also bought this Tatcha sunscreen in the recent Sephora sale, and it is keeping my face glowing but matte. I put the pup in the car to take him to daycare. He gets to go once a week and always comes back happier, so the money is worth it. I pay for street parking near my office. $6.85
9 a.m. — I get to work and buy a ticket to a community event a few weeks from now. My industry is all about meeting new people, so it will be good for me to go, even though I don't love networking. $16.83
11 a.m. — I drink a juice from Trader Joe's but realize I'm going to need more for breakfast. I'm meeting up with my old coworker for lunch at noon, so I'll just suck it up until then. We eat at Cava and I cover our meals. $21.86
3 p.m. — I head out of the office to finish the rest of my work from home, but I can't resist stopping at a nursery on the way. All my plants died when I was on vacation, so I pick up a couple plants and a planter ($72.53). My boyfriend offers to pick my dog up from daycare, so I send him money to cover it ($27.50). $72.53
6 p.m. — I've been eyeing a pair of Dr. Martens for a while and decide to go for it as an early birthday present to myself since they're on sale with free shipping. Free returns just in case! $138.02
9 p.m. — We head out to dinner at a food truck park a few blocks away that has live music. I order Spam fried rice. On the way home, my boyfriend buys a six-pack of beer, and I have one while putting on my makeup and getting ready to go out. I add a pretty Kat Von D eyeshadow called Lolita that I got from the Sephora sale. My boyfriend's coworker is throwing himself a bar mitzvah/quinceañera-themed birthday party, so we walk downtown for that. Mariachi band and bagels do not disappoint! I have two gin and tonics that my boyfriend covers. We head home a few hours later and he covers the Lyft. $14.63
Daily Total: $270.72

Day Three

11 a.m. — I get changed to go meet my friends for brunch at Le Politique. Being new to Austin, I'm really grateful for how surprisingly easy it's been to meet friends here. I'm from a huge city, and I've lived in two other cities as an adult, but Austin is by far the friendliest. I order a salmon crepe, fries, and tea. $30.78
1 p.m. — I get home on a dockless bike, and two people are riding horses down my street — that's Texas, baby. I walk my dog near the river and let him run around. $0.50
4 p.m. — I decide to go to Madewell to return something I bought online. My dog ripped up the packaging, and I don't feel like buying another box to return things at the post office. After getting home, I clean up the house for a while. I'm excited to have friends coming over tonight before we go out, since we rarely host people. My boyfriend and I make another Sun Basket meal of sweet potato taquitos for dinner.
10 p.m. — A big group comes over, and we make gin and tonics and hang out on the patio for a while. Then we head out to East 6th Street to start the night and end up on Red River. I pay the cover for myself and two friends, since they paid for the rides to and between bars. Another friend is feeling generous and buys me a gin and tonic. $15
1 a.m. — After a 30-minute debate over whether or not we should get Taco Bell, we all head to our own places at the end of the night. I order a shared Lyft. When I get home, I heat up leftovers, which are definitely not as satisfying as a Mexican pizza. $4.21
Daily Total: $50.49

Day Four

12 p.m. — My boyfriend suggests we go check out the new central library. On the walk over, I stop to try this LA-based coffee bar called Alfred that just opened. I get up a matcha latte and a savory scone ($12.01). Honestly, I'm not very impressed, but knowing L.A., I know there are eateries that get hype because of branding but aren't very good. I rent a couple of mysteries at the library and check out the different floors. On the way home, we pass Thundercloud Subs and I order a small NY sub on wheat ($4.99). $17
4 p.m. — The TaskRabbit cleaner comes by, and we chat while he works. This is the first time I've used a cleaner, so I wasn't sure if I should leave the house or stay, but he's very friendly and wants to talk. He tells me really interesting stories about different houses he's cleaned, like hoarders and crazy cat men. I pay, tip, and leave a review for him on the way out. I charge my boyfriend for half of the cost. $52
8 p.m. — My boyfriend cooks a box of his specialty, Annie's Shells & White Cheddar, for us to split. I browse online for a dress for a friend's wedding that's in a couple weeks. I order one that's expensive, but I can get away with wearing it multiple times and I already have shoes to match. We turn on Ugly Delicious and relax for the rest of the evening. $109
Daily Total: $178

Day Five

8 a.m. — I wake up to cotton fluff all over the living room floor. The pup tore up his bed for the third time. I'm having a hard time understanding how to manage his anxiety and destructive behavior, which has increased only over the last few months. He has a vet appointment next week, so I'll address it then. I chat with my sweet neighbor for a bit, and we agree that I'll go over for tea on her porch this weekend. Then I ride a dockless bike to the office ($0.50). My boyfriend and I plan to have lunch together at Whole Foods since he already has a meeting in the area later. $0.50
1 p.m. — My boyfriend picks me up for Whole Foods, and I get food from the hot bar: BBQ chicken, mac and cheese, and green beans ($11.75). I buy groceries, too: mushrooms, chard, sushi, raspberries, Greek yogurt, bread, avocado, and granola ($27.78). $39.53
6 p.m. — I ride a dockless scooter home and relax before I go to my friend's house for our monthly friend dinner to catch up about work and life. We have grilled steak and taco salads. My friends give me a gift card to Uchi for my birthday, and I immediately make a birthday dinner reservation. $2.50
Daily Total: $42.53

Day Six

8 a.m. — Birthdays are like New Year's celebrations for me, so I make a mental note to do 30 minutes of self reflection tomorrow. I make Tofurky sausage and eggs for breakfast and ride a dockless scooter to work. I call my mom on the way, and she's appalled that I haven't asked for a present yet. Normally I ask for something like a flight home, but I don't want her to give me anything this year. Maybe it's a late-20s guilt thing. I feel like I'm too old to ask for stuff. $2.80
12 p.m. — I eat Whole Foods crab sushi for lunch and settle in for another three-hour meeting. One of my best friends is visiting during Halloween, and we buy tickets to a concert for when she's here. $17.58
6 p.m. — I ride home on a dockless scooter. My Sun Basket order for the week arrives. This is our last order from them since we decided it's really not worth the price anymore. Plus, I actually enjoy grocery shopping! We cook a spicy beef broccoli dish and watch season three of Insecure for a while. I truly feel that I am Issa sometimes?? Like her logic makes so much sense to me, but it's cringe-y looking from the outside. $2.80
Daily Total: $23.18

Day Seven

11 a.m. — I treat myself to birthday nails at Cute Nail Studio! My only consistent beauty regimen is lash extensions, which I've been getting for the last five years. I was warned that they'd be addictive, but I thought I wouldn't succumb. If it were up to me, I'd be getting a manicure, massage, facial, and microblading every month. But then I think to myself, "Would you like to eat anything besides carrots this month?" and I remember how much I love food. My parents call me after my appointment to wish me a happy birthday and offer to have the lash extensions be my present, so they cover the $96.
2 p.m. — I'm working from home today, so I cook myself mushrooms for lunch. Afterwards, I have a work meeting at a cafe downtown and buy myself a matcha latte there. I know, another damn matcha latte. I have a problem. But it keeps me from wanting to smoke. $5
4 p.m. — A friend messages me about a trippy documentary playing this weekend that we've been wanting to see for a while, so I buy a ticket. $6.39
6 p.m. — I've been contemplating getting a new ear piercing for a while, so why not today. Before I go to the shop, I discover I can still put an earring through an old hole, so I decide to buy an earring for that piercing instead. I splurge on a gold one since I have a metal sensitivity. $142
8 p.m. — My boyfriend and I head to Uchi for my birthday dinner. It's the first time for us both, so we order too many dishes and each is better than the last. I pay for my half after the gift card balance. What a great end to my mid-20s! $25.31
Daily Total: $178.70
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