A Week In Chicago, IL, On A $75,000 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.
Ahead of National Twins Day, we present Twin Week, where we’re tracking the spending of five sets of twins. Just because twins share the same DNA, doesn’t mean they share the same money habits, so we thought it’d be a fun experiment to compare and contrast the way millennial twins are saving and spending. Here’s a set of twins living in Chicago, IL.
This diary: an analyst working in marketing who makes $75,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on chocolate chips. Her sister is a social media planner.
Occupation: Analyst
Industry: Marketing
Age: 25
Location: Chicago, IL
Salary: $75,000
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly ): $2,884
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $692.50 for my half. I live with my boyfriend.
Student Loan Payment: $200
Gym Membership: $64
Spotify: $9.99
MoviePass: $9.99
Netflix: $0 (My parents pay)
Electricity: $30-60
CTA Pass: $94
Internet/Cable: $120 but my boyfriend pays since I paid for it last year
Dental Insurance: $16
401(k): $346 (My company matches 50% of the first 6%, and I have $22,000 in my 401(k))
Savings: $1,500-2,000 (I currently have $62,000 in savings)
Additional Expenses
Amazon Prime: $99/year (Split with my boyfriend)

Day One

6:40 a.m. — Wake up. I've been waking up about an hour early for the past few weeks because I recently got a foster dog! He's a Chihuahua mix, and I try to spend as much time with him in the morning as possible. I take him out for a walk and play with him at home before getting ready for work.
9 a.m. — Leave for the office. I love that I don't have to be at my desk at 9 a.m. on the dot. My commute is about 20 minutes faster if I leave later in the morning. Plus I get to spend more time with the pup! I have a protein bar for breakfast and then take the bus and the train to get to my office downtown.
12:15 p.m. — Lunchtime! I almost always bring my lunch and eat at my desk. Today I'm having Gilbert's chicken sausage, apple slices, carrots, hummus, and a cheese stick. I scroll on the web and eat at my desk.
2:30 p.m. — OFFICE SURVIVOR TIME! We've been playing all summer, and I get so nervous that I am going to be voted "off the island" every week! Luckily, I make it through today. Today's challenge is eating, and it's about quantity and speed instead of gross stuff. I make it through the first two rounds (three toffees and a mini can of Pringles), but I can't get through the Slurpee due to brain freeze. Really mad at myself for eating all those calories and not getting Immunity for the next Tribal Council!
4:30 p.m. — Leave work early. My workload has been really light lately since I'm in between projects. I work at a company where you can come and go as you please, as long as your work is done. I take the dog out for a walk when I get home, and we cuddle up on the couch for some TV time.
8 p.m. — Time for dinner! I don't eat out during the week, and I do all my grocery shopping on Sunday mornings. I think this is why I'm able to save so much. I have salmon, sweet potato fries (in the air fryer, which is amazing), and brussels sprouts, and watch season 1 of Glow while I eat with my boyfriend, B. It might sound weird, but we don't eat the same meals even though we live together. It works for us.
11:20 p.m. — Take the dog out before bedtime and give him his PB Kong. My boyfriend and I head to bed with our cat.
Daily Total: $0

Day Two

6:40 a.m. — Up early again to take the dog out. B. leaves at 7 a.m. every morning, and I'm working from home today because we have a half day for Summer Fridays!
7:30 a.m. — Head to the gym! I have a 9 a.m. call and a haircut this afternoon, so I want to get my workout in this morning. I do a mile warm-up, and then an arm circuit. The showers at my gym are so much nicer than the one in our apartment, so I get cleaned up there. I eat a protein bar for breakfast when I get home and browse the online Nordstrom sale a bit. I buy a Topshop dress, an Adidas sweatshirt, and a huge fluffy pullover. $141
1:45 p.m. — I catch the bus to my haircut. My twin sister, M., got hers cut a few weeks ago, and I'm definitely copying her. I go to the same stylist she went to, who looks a bit confused when she sees me. I get about five inches taken off, and she does a great job, though now I'm thinking I went a tad too short. Price includes tip! $85
4 p.m. — I take another bus downtown to meet up with my sister to check out the Nordstrom Anniversary sale and to pick up what I ordered online this morning. We browse for a bit, but the whole store has been picked through, so I don't buy anything else and we head home before dinner.
6:30 p.m. — My twin, her husband, my boyfriend, and I head out to dinner at a local burger place. We bring beer, and after we've opened them find out the restaurant is no longer BYOB. The manager lets us drink the beers, but we're still bummed knowing this will be the last time we can. I order a burger with gouda, onions, and aioli. I also get an order of duck fat fries, because you can't get a burger without fries! $15.45
8:15 p.m. — We all head back to my place to drink and hang out with the pup. My sister and her husband head out early, and my boyfriend and I fall asleep on the couch by accident.
Daily Total: $241.45

Day Three

6:50 a.m. — It's the weekend, but I can't sleep in. I love having slow mornings on Saturdays, so I don't mind getting up. I take the dog out and make coffee for myself and B. before I head to the gym. Daily protein bar for breakfast!
10:20 a.m. — Walk five minutes to my gym. I try to workout four days a week, and today I go for a three mile run while watching Glow. Then I do a few ab exercises and stretch. I leave the gym and go to the library to pick up a new book, then DSW to return some sandals that were too big. (Still searching for the perfect block heel!) $44.95 goes back on my card.
3 p.m. — Take the brown line to Southport to get my brows waxed and tinted at Benefit. This week is very beauty heavy! I typically get my brows done every few months, and the woman who does them is amazing! Last time I was here I had a different foster dog, so I show her pictures of him grown up in his forever home and also my new little guy! She tames and tints my blonde unruly brows and they look amazing. $40
5:15 p.m. — B. and I are having people over for dinner at my place to meet the foster dog that might become a foster fail! We're having tacos, so I pick up onions, tomatoes, ground beef, tequila, triple sec, cheese, and sour cream. The other guests are bringing tortillas, chips, guac, and salsa. $49.11
7 p.m. — Guests arrive! They meet the dog and give him hot dog bits so he realizes strangers = high value treats. We have tacos and margs and play Uno and Heads Up. Everyone heads out around midnight. B. and I stay up and watch more Glow, and then fall asleep on the couch *again*.
Daily Total: $89.11

Day Four

6:55 a.m. — Same routine as yesterday. I have brunch plans for one of my friend's birthdays at noon, so I decide to switch up my gym schedule and go tomorrow instead. I have another protein bar for breakfast.
9:30 a.m. — I head to the grocery store for my Sunday haul and pick up chicken sausage, ground turkey, salmon, tilapia, grapes, yogurt, carrots, hummus, sweet potatoes, onion, and brussels sprouts. Of course it starts pouring while I'm checking out and I didn't bring an umbrella. I walk home with my groceries and get absolutely drenched. $53.09
11:15 a.m. — Birthday girl cancels brunch because the weather sucks and no one feels like leaving their house. We agree to meet up next week with all the pups and celebrate at her place. I now get to spend the rest of the morning snuggling with B., the foster dog, and my cat (who usually likes to keep to himself).
3:30 p.m. — My twin, M., and I decide to spend the rest of this rainy day baking. I pick up M&Ms, chocolate chips, and pretzels for our tasty treats, and head over to her place so we can use her KitchenAid. We also watch an old Jennifer Aniston movie, Rumor Has It, and it's horrible. $10.16
8 p.m. — Leave M.'s and head back home. Final hours of the weekend, so B. and I decide to order pizza and spend the rest of the night hanging out at home watching the last season of Silicon Valley. $19.95
Daily Total: $83.20

Day Five

6:45 a.m. — Same dog routine as all other days, and then I leave home around 9 a.m. to go to the office. I have to take a bus and a train, but this morning I'm listening to an old episode of Sword and Scale (a true crime podcast), so the commute goes fast. I eat a protein bar at my desk.
11:15 a.m. — A case of the Mondays calls for some online shopping. I've been wanting a necklace with my name on it for awhile, so I buy one. M. has one and I think it'll be fun to wear them together so people can tell us apart! I'm a creature of habit, so I have the same lunch as last week: chicken sausage, cheese stick, apple, and carrots. $26.50
5 p.m. — Leave work and head to the gym. I do three rounds of Spartacus, and I know I'll be feeling it tomorrow. I walk home from the gym and spend time playing with the dog. My cat is almost out of food, so I order another bag from Amazon. Amazon has been a life saver for pet supplies since I don't have a car in the city. I have salmon and a sweet potato for dinner, and spend the rest of the night hanging with my boys (B., dog, and cat). $21.40
Daily Total: $47.90

Day Six

9:15 a.m. — Leave for work. Commuting so much this summer has been rough. I typically work from home one or two days a week, but I'm managing an intern this summer, so I need to be in the office almost every day. Since I'm still in between projects, I'm helping some other people with their final presentations. I'm so happy that my lull in project work happened over the summer!
12:40 p.m. — Lunchtime! Same lunch I've had all week. I realized this morning that I lost one of my tiny hoop earrings that I wear every day, so I hop on Amazon and order a replacement pair. $16.57
2:30 p.m. — Time for Office Survivor! I make it through Tribal Council again, and this week's challenge is a version of "The Newlywed Game" with your office BFF. I only manage to get 6/10 right (they had to be exact answers), so I come in second place, and miss out on the Immunity Idol again! I think it's time to start making alliances if I want to get to the final round!
5 p.m. — Head out of the office right at 5 p.m. and walk the dog when I get home. I clean up the apartment a bit and make dinner. TACO TUESDAY! Except I make tostadas because I prefer the crunch to soft shell tacos. My boyfriend and I watch Shark Week with the pets.
11:20 p.m. — Time for bed!
Daily Total: $16.57

Day Seven

6:50 a.m. — Wake up early again and take care of the dog and cat. They've found their groove together this week, and spend the morning taking turns chasing each other around the apartment (no growls, hisses, hits, or bites). I head out around 9 and make it to the office in a record 20 minutes!
1:15 p.m. — Eating my regular lunch at my desk when my manager comes over and asks to talk to me for a few minutes. I assume I am in trouble, and I have no idea why. Instead of trouble, it turns out I won an award for all the extra help I've given this past quarter, and it comes with a $2,000 bonus — score! Totally wasn't expecting it, and I think I'll use the bonus to treat myself to a Dyson animal vacuum that B. and I have been eyeing. Yay, adulting!
3:30 p.m. — Our good friends are getting married this fall, so I check out ASOS to see if I can find any dresses for their black tie optional wedding. I find two navy blue dresses that might work, so I order both and will return whichever one doesn't work (which will likely be both). $121.50
6 p.m. — B. and I have been putting off booking our hotel rooms for our friends' wedding. We find out most of the groomsman are staying at Airbnbs instead of the hotel, so we follow suit and I book a cute loft for the weekend. B. will Venmo me for half later. $204.50
7:30 p.m. — Take the dog on a walk with B. so he can pick up his dinner. We get back home and I make my dinner of tilapia, rice, mango, and avocado.
11:20 p.m. — Watch TV before bed (Younger, Teachers, and Glow). Wash my face, brush my teeth, and take the dog out one more time. Bed time for all of us!
Daily Total: $326
Read my twin's diary, here.
Money Diaries are meant to reflect individual women's experiences and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.
The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day. For more money diaries, click here.
Have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Right now, in addition to our ongoing diaries, we're looking for potential diarists along the following theme:
Your Spending In Your State: We want to run one Money Diary from a different state each week. Want to rep your state? Submit here!
Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here:

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series