A Week In Charlotte, NC, On A $68,250 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, as part of Your Spending In Your State: a marketing associate who makes $68,250 per year and spends some of her paycheck this week on sunscreen.
Occupation: Associate Marketer
Industry: Marketing
Age: 25
Location: Charlotte, NC
Salary: $68,250
Paycheck (2x/month): $2,028
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,181, which includes pet rent, hot water, and valet trash pick-up
Student Loan Payment: $200
Cell Phone: ~$80. (I’m still on the family plan, so I Venmo my dad each month.)
401k: I contribute 4% pre-tax and my company matches up to 3%.
Savings: Anything I don’t spend goes to savings, so I try to put in between $500 and $1,000 each month.
Health Insurance: $0. (I’m still on my mother’s plan for now! I will have to get my own this year though.)
Internet: $70
Netflix: $11.76
Hulu: $12.81
Spotify: $15.99. (I have a family plan and pay for my sister's account.)
Electricity: $40
The New York Times Subscription: $15

Day One

7 a.m. — I roll out of bed and jump in the shower. I try to get ready for the day as quickly as possible, though I have the tendency to waste time when I'm still drowsy in the morning. Despite the fact that it takes me only 15 minutes to shower and then force mascara onto my eyelashes, my morning routine is often slowed down by my feeding the cat, drinking water, staring into space, etc. I glance at the clock and rush to gather my things for work.
10 a.m. — I grab a coffee ($1) and pretend to work for two hours while waiting for Firefly Festival tickets to become available. Then I quickly work my way through the site to buy two tickets for my best friend and me ($299 each) and a tent for four ($290 per person). My friends and I decided to splurge on glamping so that we can get the festival experience but still be able to shower. My friends pay me back right away on Venmo for the festival ticket and most of the tent cost, but it feels weird to spend so much money on a concert happening five months from now! $590
12 p.m. — I order lunch for the team today and put the catering on my card (triple points!), but will be reimbursed for the total. ($305 expensed)
3 p.m. — We have a call with our partner to discuss what my team has been working on over the past few weeks. I work in digital marketing, and my company partners with larger firms to handle their search and on-site strategy. I always appreciate the opportunity to give my team members credit in front of the partners.
6 p.m. — I finally leave the office and rush home to reunite with my couch. My sister invites me out with some of her friends, but I don't have the energy. I don't think I'm in the mood to spend time with Trump supporters, which I know is probably petty and immature.
Daily Total: $590

Day Two

9:30 a.m. — I sleep in later than usual for a Saturday and play with my cat for a while. He's almost two but very much acts like a kitten with his clumsy pouncing. I never thought I would be a cat person but he's pretty perfect.
10:30 a.m. — I head to a workout with my sister. My mother recently got us a package of training session; we could never afford a personal trainer on our own, so I'll be sad when the training is over! We grab Starbucks after the workout to reward ourselves for being active. $3.19
12:30 p.m. — I realize I haven't deep-cleaned my apartment in a while. The bathroom could use work, and since I'm already dirty from my workout, I dive into the tub with tile cleaner in hand.
2 p.m. — After I finish cleaning, I bath in my newly sparkling bathroom. I wander into the kitchen to make coffee and decide to be ambitious and make crepes. I've always enjoyed cooking and baking but I rarely have time for either. I stuff the crepes full of chocolate chips along with almond butter and jam.
6 p.m. — All my spending yesterday coupled with my lack of motivation to be social tonight results in another weekend night on the couch. It was a stressful week at work, and I look forward to spending quality time with Netflix.
Daily Total: $3.19

Day Three

9 a.m. — I wake up to a slew of emails and chat notifications from my team and realize I have to work today. Working weekends is never fun, but it happens more often than not.
11 a.m. — I drink coffee and snack on paleo tea cookies while I work. I'm definitely not going paleo, but when I bake any kind of treat I try to make sure it has some nutritional value.
2 p.m. — I take a break from working to run to the grocery store. (I only have supplies for cookies right now, and those won't exactly get me through the week.) I stock up on frozen fruit, vegetables, plantain chips, coconut yogurt, ground chicken, and miscellaneous other items. I'm thinking I'll make buffalo chicken meatballs for dinner this week. $111.48
3 p.m. — I keep working while I begin prepping my food for the week. I'm excited to start cooking again! I whip up black bean brownies (not good), chicken meatballs (good), and protein donuts for breakfast (healthy and delicious). Feeling like a productive health goddess, I polish off my tea cookies in celebration.
8 p.m. — I'm essentially done working for the remainder of the evening, so I peruse Amazon for any items I might need. Although I know I have the tendency to shop online out of boredom, I stock up on a few things for my upcoming trip to South America. I purchase a few necessities along with my SPF 110 facial sunscreen. I'm a firm believer in sunscreen and I take it a bit overboard when it comes to my face and neck. $33.21
10 p.m. — I go to bed feeling relaxed and prepared for the week ahead. Then I remember that our performance reviews are this week, and I toss and turn all night.
Daily Total: $144.69

Day Four

7:20 a.m. — I snooze my alarm for no less than 45 minutes and wake up feeling groggy and annoyed at myself for oversleeping. I try to rush through my morning routine, but my cat wants snuggles and I'm in a giving mood.
8:30 a.m. — The drive to work takes about 45 minutes because my office is in South Carolina and I'm not a very aggressive driver. I hurry into the office to buy a coffee ($1) and check my schedule for the day. $1
10 a.m. — I prepare for a team meeting regarding the week's priorities and think through my to do-list. It's shaping up to be a busy week, so it's important that I have a tangible task idea of how to keep my priorities in order.
11:30 a.m. — I walk out of a meeting with my manager feeling frustrated, so I try to focus my attention on the other meetings I have later this afternoon. I'm trying to be a more positive person at the office.
12:30 p.m. — A coworker and I grab lunch in the café and work on our personal reviews. The review cycle is an awkward and stressful process, and I've never been comfortable with the idea of anonymous feedback. $2.50
7 p.m. — The remainder of the day flies by, and I walk out with a few friends from work. They invite me out to dinner but since I just spent a ton of money on groceries, we decide to eat in. They join me at my place and we eat and work on our annual reviews. I struggle through my self-assessment and realize I need to keep a list of what I accomplish throughout the year.
10 p.m. — I lovingly kick everyone out of my apartment and put on Bob's Burgers before bed. It's my favorite show to fall asleep to and lulls me to sleep.
Daily Total: $3.50

Day Five

7:20 a.m. — Wake up relatively late again and rush to work. I have a lot to get done today and probably should have gotten to the office earlier than usual. Once I'm in, I grab my coffee from the café and get to work. $1
10:45 a.m. — It's my coworker's birthday, so I pregame lunch with a donut. I'm not hungry yet, but after a packed morning of meetings and a slew of demanding emails, the donut really hits the spot.
12:30 p.m. — I head upstairs to grab lunch at the café before my afternoon block of meetings. I decide to treat myself to sushi and a bag of popcorn ($4.50). The sushi is fairly hit or miss – and today's is a miss. I toss half of it and run to my next meeting. $4.50
4 p.m. — Because of all my meetings today, I have trouble fitting in any time to do real work. My longer-term projects need attention, and I put off a few requests from my manager. I grab a banana with peanut butter and a seltzer and get to work. $1.50
7 p.m. — I stop for gas on my way home from work ($25.41) and swing by CVS to pick up hair dye ($10.71). I had horrible luck at a salon last month, and the root area of my hair is becoming weirdly orange. I grab an ash brown color and hope for the best. $36.12
8:30 p.m. — The dye essentially makes no difference except that I think my roots look even lighter. I don't have the energy to care enough to fix it tonight, so I trim the ends and deep condition to feel marginally better about the unnecessary damage I just caused.
Daily Total: $43.12

Day Six

7:30 a.m. — SNOW DAY! Charlotte rarely gets snow and the city is not prepared with enough salt trucks or snow plows. The roads get pretty icy and three inches of snow can actually debilitate the city. With that in mind, I decide to work from home.
9 a.m. — I make a big pot of coffee and eat a leftover crepe with almond butter and jam from the weekend. I feel full but continue to eat whatever snacks I can find throughout the morning.
12 p.m. — Work was insane this morning since most people either didn't show up to the office or are leaving early. Most of the problem-solving is up to me, so this snow day is shaping up to be very busy.
6 p.m. — My training session is canceled due to the weather tonight, which is a bummer because I missed the last session too. Feeling lethargic and lazy, I head downstairs to the gym for a quick run. I'm not much of a runner, but I have pipe dreams of becoming someone who wakes up to run before work each morning. An evening on the elliptical for 30 minutes is close enough for now.
7 p.m. — I throw a load of laundry into the washer while I heat up dinner and open a bottle of wine. One of the perks of living in Charlotte is that almost all apartment complexes come with an in-unit washer and dryer. This is definitely something I could have used when I worked in New York, and I'm sure I will miss it whenever I leave Charlotte.
8:30 p.m. — I need to purchase my flights for my brother's fiancée's bachelorette party. I'm really excited to visit New Orleans for the first time. Party, here I come! $316
9:30 p.m. — Exhausted from sitting on the couch all day, I drag my lazy body to bed. The few inches of snow really make the courtyard outside my window look beautiful.
Daily Total: $316

Day Seven

6:45 a.m. — I wake up easily thanks to my early bedtime, and jump in the shower. I pack my protein donut and the remains of my chicken meatballs in my bag before I leave.
8 a.m. — I grab a coffee from the café and finish up some of the reports I didn't get around to yesterday. My day is pretty light on meetings and I'm excited to spend some time doing legitimate work. $1
12 p.m. — Since I packed my lunch today, I have no real need to go to the café, but I can use the walk and a seltzer. I grab two and take my time getting back to my desk. I expected a more dramatic day today after the snow day, but it's shaping up to be pretty calm. $1
3 p.m. — I present the progress my team has made this month to the broader marketing team, and everyone seems excited about what we have in the works. We have lofty goals but I feel confident that we can hit and exceed them. I walk back to my desk, proud of my team and eager to get to work.
6 p.m. — I'm dog-sitting this weekend and tonight is the first night! I'm staying at the owner's house, so I head straight there after work to let the dogs outside. I've always wanted to own a dog but they're high maintenance and expensive to board. With all the traveling I do, it just doesn't make sense for me to adopt one right now. Luckily, I have my very low-maintenance cat.
Daily Total: $2
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