A Week In Chicago, IL, On A $180,000 Salary

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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 law associate who makes $180,000 per year and spends some of her paycheck this week on lacy black underwear.
Occupation: Associate
Industry: Law
Age: 30
Location: Chicago, IL
Salary: $180,000
Paycheck (2x/month): $5,130
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,395. (I live alone in a small brownstone.)
Student Loan Payments: $0. (I got a full-ride scholarship to law school.)
Utilities: ~$100. (Varies, depending on how cold it is.)
Internet: $45
Cell Phone: $80. (Work reimburses about half of this.)
Gym: $0. (Paid for by my work.)
Spotify: $10
Netflix: $0. (I use my boyfriend's account.)
Investments: $2,000. (I set up a monthly transfer to a brokerage account that's invested in index funds. I'm not eligible for a 401(k) at my job yet.)

Day One

8 a.m. — I wake up late, skip breakfast, and take the L to work. $2.50
8:35 a.m. — Grab a latte on my way to the office. $4.35
12:15 p.m. — It's a slow day, but I just wrapped up a big jury trial and am slowly getting up to speed on a new case. I walk to a salad bar near the office for lunch. $13.32
7:25 p.m. — My slow day gets busier, and I end up staying later than usual to wrap a project. I take the L home. $2.50
7:50 p.m. — On my walk home, I swing by a CVS to buy a six-pack of beer, bacon, and yogurt. My boyfriend is staying over this weekend and I want to stock up on the essentials. $19.54
8:20 p.m. — My friend's new beau is in a band and I promised her I'd drop by to watch him play. By the time I get home, change out of my work clothes, and do my hair, it's late! I grab an Uber to save time. $7.17
8:30 p.m. — I get to the bar and pay the cover charge ($5). The band is surprisingly good and I have a great time catching up with my friend. I meet her guy between sets; he is her exact opposite and they are adorable together. I drink a couple of beers during the show ($12). $17
10:30 p.m. — After the concert, people are still hanging out, but my boyfriend texts me that he's already at my apartment. I don't want him to hang out without me for too long, so I hug my friend goodbye and catch an Uber Pool home. $4.31
Daily Total: $70.69

Day Two

12 p.m. — Lazy Saturday in bed with the boyfriend. I make coffee, bacon, and toast (for him) and coffee and yogurt (for me). We stay in bed cuddling, listening to NPR, and chatting past noon.
1:30 p.m. — We decide to see Game Night and walk to a movie theater about a mile away. My boyfriend buys tickets online and I pay him back with cash. The movie is hilarious! We laugh the whole way through it. $14
4:45 p.m. — As soon as it's over, I realize I'm starving. We go to a nearby Nando's Peri-Peri, where we share chicken wings and a wrap and each have a glass of sangria. We split the bill. $22
5:45 p.m. — It's cold and rainy out, so we catch a bus back to my place. The weather is too crummy to leave the house again and we spend the evening reading, chatting, and drinking beers from my fridge. $2.25
Daily Total: $38.25

Day Three

10 a.m. — I hoped for another lazy Sunday, but instead, my boyfriend drops a bombshell over breakfast: "Where do I see this relationship going?" because it turns out he doesn't see it going anywhere. My boyfriend of three years is breaking up with me. We spend an awful morning talking, crying, and sitting in stony, awkward silence. Finally, he suggests going outside to get some sun.
1 p.m. — We walk on the path along Lake Michigan and fall into our easy chatter. We're so comfortable and warm together; it feels like a normal Sunday for an hour or so.
2:15 p.m. — As we're walking back to my place, we pass by a grocery store. I need to stock up for the week and my boyfriend offers to help me carry the groceries. I buy LaCroix, cucumbers, yogurt, eggs, hummus, grapefruit, green onions, paper towels, and cleaning spray. $30.58
3 p.m. — As soon as we get back to my place, the awkwardness returns. He tells me he's holding me back from living my best life. I thought my best life included dating my best friend. I guess I was wrong.
5:30 p.m. — My boyfriend leaves. I tell myself I'm going to be fine but a few minutes later, I notice that he's removed all of his stuff from my bathroom cabinet and I start crying. I moved to Chicago a few months ago for work and haven't made any close friends yet. I feel very alone.
6 p.m. — I spend the evening in and finish reading a book on my Kindle (Tomorrow Will Be Different). Once I wrap up that book, I buy another one (How to Turn Down a Billion Dollars: The Snapchat Story). I can't bring myself to tell anyone what happened; I feel embarrassed that I got dumped. $12.99
Daily Total: $43.57

Day Four

5:45 a.m. — I wake up much earlier than normal and decide to hit the gym for a spin class. This is not something I would normally do but now seems like a good time to start building good habits. I'm feeling good through most of spin class until a song comes on that reminds me of my now ex-boyfriend, and I tear up. I try to cover it up by burying my face in my sweat towel. After class, I shower and change at the gym.
7:30 a.m. — I start to feel a little faint as I leave the gym. I forgot to bring a water bottle to class, so I buy one from the gym's juice bar on my way out. $2.73
7:35 a.m. — Catch a bus to work. $2.25
8:10 a.m. — I buy a latte on my way into the office. Once I settle in at my desk, I realize I have no work to do and fret at the prospect of being alone with my thoughts. I read somewhere that if you feel like you're about to cry, taking a drink will stop the impulse. I carry a bottle of water around all day, just in case. Fortunately, several senior associates come in to ask for help on my new case. I spend the morning jumping between conference calls and working on a brief. $4.51
12:15 p.m. — A few new attorneys started this week, so our office catered lunch for everyone to get to know them. I grab a salad, grilled chicken, and a cookie.
2:30 p.m. — My busy afternoon hits a lull and I pull out my cell phone to check my messages. Big mistake: My ex sent me a text asking if I'm okay. He sounds genuinely concerned and I immediately start tearing up.
3:30 p.m. — An hour after the first text, my ex sends another saying yesterday didn't go the way he planned — then he calls. I ignore the call, feeling like I might burst into tears at any moment. I walk to a coffee shop a few blocks away, order a cappuccino, and leave my phone at the office. $4.45
5:30 p.m. — I still have a fair amount of work to do and decide to grab tacos from Chipotle for dinner before diving back into work. $8.21
7:15 p.m. — I leave work and take the L home. $2.50
8 p.m. — There's a bar near my apartment that hosts swing dancing on Monday nights. I wouldn't normally go dancing but I'm trying to do all the things I put on hold while dating this guy. I pay the cover charge ($7), dance for a few hours, and buy a beer ($6 including tip). Things are going well until a really handsome guy asks me to dance. I get nervous and lose track of my steps. $13
10 p.m. — While walking home, I pass by a Chipotle. I buy chips and salsa, my comfort food of choice. $2.21
10:15 p.m. — At home, I try something else I wouldn't normally do: watching The Bachelor on my laptop since I'm too proud to watch anything on my ex's Netflix account. I've never seen this show but I figure now is a good time to start. Arie is kind of cute but seems really fake. I judge him for kicking a perfectly nice girl off the show.
Daily Total: $39.86

Day Five

5:30 a.m. — I set an early alarm last night to go to the gym, but I wake up with an upset stomach and decide not to go; it was probably the late night chips and salsa. I stay in bed for an hour, browsing on my phone and cuddling with my cat.
7 a.m. — I clean up around the house, eat a grapefruit for breakfast, and spend half an hour trying on different outfits. Nothing seems right. All of my clothes seem too colorful or too baggy or just plain ugly. I start piling things up to donate to Goodwill.
7:30 a.m. — I take the L to work. $2.50
8:15 a.m. — I pick up a cappuccino on the way into the office. $4.45
1 p.m. — After a busy morning, I realize I still haven't had lunch. I go to a salad bar near my work and get my usual giant salad. I Google "how to get over a breakup" while I pick at my salad. I'm feeling bold and delete my texts with my ex on my phone. Then I go to Facebook to unfriend him and tear up seeing his profile photo. I took it a month ago — he looks so happy! Unfriend-ing him is a big emotional moment for me. I don't have my usual appetite, and end up tossing most of the salad. $13.89
5:45 p.m. — It's a fairly unproductive day at work. I'm tired and it's hard to focus on anything. I decide to leave even though I haven't made as much progress on my case as I'd hoped I would.
6 p.m. — I swing by the gym near my office for quality time on the StairMaster. The workout distracts me from my ex (like magic!) and I feel much better afterward. I shower and change at the gym.
7:15 p.m. — I stop at Target and buy three new workout shirts in different colors, a pair of socks, and a padlock to use at the gym. $45.28
8:15 p.m. — I get back to my apartment and cook tacos for dinner. I watch The Good Wife on my laptop. Alicia Florrick is so cool; she wouldn't let a breakup slow her down!
Daily Total: $66.12

Day Six

5:30 a.m. — I set an early alarm in the hopes of making it to an early yoga class, but I sleep in instead.
8 a.m. — I skip breakfast and take the L to work. $2.50
8:45 a.m. — I buy a latte on my way into the office. Work is better today; I feel like I can focus again! I play Taylor Swift on Spotify all morning. I bet she's the one who does the breaking up, not the one who gets dumped. $4.51
1 p.m. — After wrapping up a big court filing, I eat a yogurt that I brought from home and grab a sandwich left over from a deposition. I Google: "how to win at a breakup."
5:30 p.m. — I have more work ahead and pick up a burrito bowl from Chipotle before getting back to work. Lots to catch up on since I spent the first couple days of the week zoning out! $7.71
7:35 p.m. — I swing by the gym and watch more of The Good Wife while I work out on the elliptical.
8:50 p.m. — I swing by Target (again) to buy a few pairs of underwear (racy, all black). $35.04
9:10 p.m. — I catch a bus home. $2.25
9:40 p.m. — A box of HelloFresh is waiting on my doorstep, for which I'm charged today. I started ordering these intermittently after my boyfriend complained about my cooking and I'll probably stop getting them now. I cook pesto sausage pasta and split it into containers for lunch later this week. $60
9:45 p.m. — The IRS sent me a letter – they reviewed my taxes from last year and I still owe them money. I don't think it's worth disputing, so I write a check and drop it in the mail. $63.05
Daily Total: $175.06

Day Seven

5:30 a.m. — I set an early alarm to go to the gym – and actually go this time! I work through a power yoga class that was everything I needed. It's been so long since I've gone to yoga! Why did I stop? After class, I shower and change at the gym before I take the bus to work. $2.25
8:40 a.m. — Buy a cappuccino on my way into the office. $4.45
11:30 a.m. — I heat up leftover pasta for lunch, and realize that I still have a bunch of photos with my ex on my Facebook. I don't want to go through and delete them one by one and decide it's easier to just deactivate my account.
1 p.m. — I'm feeling much better today and decide to casually mention to a friend at work that my boyfriend and I broke up over the weekend. She is super supportive and reminds me this is my chance to meet up with a guy I had serious chemistry with a few months ago. She Facebook stalks him for me and learns that he is a CrossFit trainer who is fluent in a Romantic language and is very attractive. Unfortunately, he lives across the country, but I'm happily distracted thinking about how great it would be to take him up on his offer for drinks sometime.
6 p.m. — I leave work and catch the L home. I cook another HelloFresh recipe for dinner (veggie quesadillas) and watch more of The Bachelor. I still don't fancy Arie, but I'm starting to get into the drama between the ladies. $2.50
Daily Total: $9.20
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