A Week In Chicago, IL, On A $60,000 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, as part of Your Spending In Your State: a supply chain associate working in retail who makes $60,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a Starbucks blended cold brew.
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Occupation: Supply Chain Associate
Industry: Retail
Age: 21
Location: Chicago, IL
Salary: $60,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,862.40
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $925 for my share of the two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment I live in with one roommate
Student Loan Payment: $0 (My parents were able to pay for my college. I went to community college for a year on a full-ride scholarship and then transferred to a university for two and a half years, which they covered.)
Utilities: $60-$70 for gas, electric, and WiFi
401(k): 5% of my salary, matched by my employer
Savings: $1,200-$1,500 (I try to put close to one paycheck into savings every month.)
Car Insurance: $122
Gym: $70
Transit Card: $105 for unlimited rides
Apple Music & iCloud Storage: $6 (I still have my student membership.)
Netflix: $5 (split with my boyfriend)
LOLA Subscription: $18

Day One

6 a.m. — Alarm goes off, and I could not be happier that it's Friday. I turn on The Office and pour myself a cup of coffee and bowl of cereal. I have about 15 minutes of serenity before it's time to get ready. I've learned quickly to lay out my clothes the night before or else I'll be staring at my closet until it's time to go. I put on a maxi dress and jacket, grab my lunch from the fridge, and head out the door. My roommate and I take the same train to work, but she left early this morning so it's just me.
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7 a.m. — I get to the train and miss it by 30 seconds, so now have to wait nine minutes, which feels like an eternity. The train is packed today, but I manage to find a seat. I pull out my phone and read theSkimm. One of my coworkers recommended it, and it's such an easy way to get a synopsis of the daily news without all the BS. We pull up to a stop and the conductor comes over the intercom. I have headphones in so I can't hear anything, but usually they say we will be sitting for a few minutes. The doors remain open for a solid 10 minutes before they come on the intercom again to say that someone is on the tracks at the next stop. Sadly, it is not uncommon for this to happen a few times a month. I've never been this close to it, though, so it's kind of scary. After another 10 minutes or so, they make everyone get off the train so it can turn around. I get off the train panicking because my office is 12 miles outside the city and the highway sucks on Fridays.
7:40 a.m. — After calling all my train-riding coworkers, I make plans to meet one of them a couple stops back so we can try to find others. I request an Uber Pool and a few minutes later, one of my other coworkers walks out of the train station and sees me! I cancel my Uber and accept the $3 fee. We end up finding a few others and riding to work with my boss, who also got stuck on the train. Before we go, we head to a local coffee place. I already had a cup, but this morning sucks, and I don't mind having another. I just want the smallest size, but the cashier convinces me to go one larger. They don't charge me extra for coconut milk though, so woohoo! $5.62
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8:45 a.m. — FINALLY at my desk. I sift through some emails and prep for my 9:30 meeting. The office is empty today so I'm able to get a good amount of work done before then.
10 a.m. — There's a Office-inspired pop-up bar in Chicago right now, and tonight they're hosting a Dundies party. Tickets are $60, but I am an Office fanatic (and you get five drinks included — like what!!) so I look into getting tickets but…they are sold out! Ugh. I vent my sadness to one of my coworkers, who ends up inviting me and my boyfriend out to dinner with her and her husband tonight.
4:15 p.m. — I'm finished for today, so I head out to the gym for a quick workout.
5 p.m. — I rush to the train and make it home and shower. Then I empty the dishwasher, clean the kitchen, which is a mess, and get ready for the night.
6:30 p.m. — Rush out the door to hop on the train to my boyfriend's. I smush myself between people to make it on. Speed walk to my boyfriend's and end up in a pool of sweat (perfect). My coworker says she's close, so I request an Uber to the restaurant. $7.48
7:45 p.m. — We have to wait awhile for a table, but we have a great conversation in the meantime. Once we're seated, I order an arugula pizza. (I'm vegetarian and the menu has limited with options.) My BF picks up the $40 tab — love him!
9 p.m. — Head to an arcade bar down the street. I order a can of rosé while my BF gets us tokens to play games. After numerous games of ski ball and air hockey, we are ready for the next bar. I feel like I'm in college again (which wasn't that long ago). I'm exhausted, so I don't order anything at the bar. $9
12:30 a.m. — I'm officially ready to go home. BF and I decide to walk a little to get away from the crowd before requesting an Uber. We are really close to the train, so he suggests hopping on to get home instead. I don't really care at this point. The wait says five minutes but it turns into more like 20. Once we get home, we immediately put on PJs and get in bed. Fall asleep watching The Office.
Daily Total: $22.10

Day Two

9:30 a.m. — Wake up tired AF. I'm only 21, but being on a work schedule during the week and staying up late over the weekend is not my friend anymore. My BF and I decide on Starbucks for breakfast and walk down the street. They have a new blended cold brew I've been wanting to try. I order that along with a spinach, feta, and egg white wrap. I pick up BF's tab as well. Stupid cold brew was $6, but so worth it. $16.84
10:45 a.m. — End up on the couch watching The Sopranos for a while until we make plans for the day. We decide to meet up with my BF's coworkers to watch the Air & Water Show. We grab some Chipotle to hold us over for most of the day. I get veggies tacos, and my BF picks up the tab.
2:45 p.m. — BF requests an Uber Pool, since I'm not sure where we are going, and it ends up being the longest ride ever. My BF's coworkers have a nice rooftop view, and we play a few card games and cornhole. It's nice to have a chill afternoon. We end up playing Never Have I Ever (the card game version). I do not recommend playing this with your significant other — it gets awkward.
3:30 p.m. — Roommate texts me that our trashcan broke, and food leaked inside. It wasn't that nice, so I don't care. We decide to splurge on a Simple Human. It has a bin for recycling and trash which is nice, because Chicago. We split the cost. $68
7 p.m. — Head home. Uber takes forever again because Pearl Jam is in town tonight. We make it home and are hungry, so we walk around the corner to a local café for their salad bar. They have the best orange glazed tofu. $6.23
10 p.m. — A friend is having a housewarming party that we decide to go to. We Uber Pool, and I offer to split with my BF, but he says no. After a couple hours of hanging out on their balcony, I'm exhausted. Am I old yet? Lol. Everyone is smoking cigs on the balcony, and I'm starting to feel lightheaded. Finally, my BF is ready to go, so I request our Uber home. It says $10 when I request it but my actual charge is only $5! Score! $5.21
1 a.m. — In bed, happy as a clam. Sleep is my BFF.
Daily Total: $96.28

Day Three

10:30 a.m. — I don't think I've slept in this late in a while. We go back and forth on where to get breakfast. I want avocado toast, and my boyfriend wants bagels. I'm too hungry at this point, so we go for bagels. And halfway there, he decides he doesn't want bagels. So we decide to go to my suggestion instead. Avo toast and peach white tea hit the spot. Plus, we pass about three Golden Retrievers on the way, which already makes my day better. BF spoils me again and pays.
11:45 a.m. — I pack up my stuff and head home. I hadn't planned on staying all weekend, but we had a good time together. Get home and unpack. Throw in some laundry and turn on Sopranos. The Air & Water Show is on again today, and I can hear the jets outside. I sit on the patio for almost an hour watching the jets go by. One of my Amazon packages arrives. I'm hosting brunch next weekend for my coworkers, and it's wine-themed, so I ordered some pink cups, plates, and a "Rosé All Day" banner (it's necessary).
2 p.m. — The final air show is starting, so I go out on my balcony to watch. It's so crazy watching these planes twirl and zoom around downtown Chicago. Makes me really want to watch Top Gun. My mom calls — I haven't talked to her all weekend, and we usually talk every day. I give her the rundown of what I did, and she does the same. I'm going home soon to visit. I'm from Michigan, so it feels like another world when I go home (open spaces, fresh air). You don't truly appreciate it until you leave.
3:15 p.m. — Head to Whole Foods. My roommate and I rotate every week who plans and buys our dinner groceries. It's almost impossible to cook for one person, so I'm very thankful we split our groceries. It's her week for dinners, so I stock up on some lunch items (spring mix, fresh veggies, chips, fruit). I also get some of my faves like pepperoncini, pickles, and coconut yogurt. I call my BF to let him know I'm coming over to drop off my car. My street is under construction this week, and he has free street parking. He drives me home and take the car back with him. I unload the groceries and contemplate what I want for dinner. The Sunday Scaries are starting to set in. $42.64
6:30 p.m. — After snacking on chips and salsa, I'm ready to make some dinner. I had some leftover brown rice from earlier in the week, so I decide on stir-fry. I end up making way too much food and set aside the leftovers for lunch. My stomach is kind of upset so I open a can of Vernors (Michigan ginger ale), which seriously cures everything. I hop in the shower and hope the steam will help.
7:45 p.m. — Get out of the shower and put a pore strip on my nose. I start packing my lunch for tomorrow and make a slice of peanut butter toast to help my stomach. Then I pack a salad with some fresh veggies and chickpeas and cut up some extra veggies for the week as well. I get my clothes laid out for tomorrow and my gym bag packed. My mom asked me to call her later, so I give her a call. She misses me a lot since I moved, and I miss her, too.
9:30 p.m. — Started watching To All the Boys I've Loved Before on Netflix, which is such a cute movie. But I'm half asleep, so I decide to turn it off and just go to bed.
Daily Total: $42.64

Day Four

5:50 a.m. — Alarm goes off, it must be Monday. I'm going into work early this week so I can leave early. I drag myself out of bed and eat some cereal before getting dressed.
6:30 a.m. — Leave for the train. My roommate is with me today, and we catch up on our weekends. I realize I forgot my transit card at home and have to buy single ride tickets. My monthly pass just renewed last night, so this is really irritating. As I'm waiting for the train, I end up finding my transit card in my bag. Happy Monday. $6
7:15 a.m. — I pull up to my work train stop, and I realize I left my work laptop at home. I don't usually take it home, but after what happened last week with the train, I figured I should. We have loaner laptops at work that I plan to use, but after talking with one of my coworkers when I walk in, I decide just to go home and work from there. It'll take a few hours to get a laptop set up, so it makes more sense to go home. I text my boss and let her know. I'm so thankful for my company and how understanding they are.
8:15 a.m. — Back home, I immediately put comfortable clothes on. I sign on to my laptop and answer emails. Then I make a couple eggs and a piece of toast to hold me over until lunch. While waiting for a conference call with my team to start, I order a soap dish from Amazon. $4.23
11:45 a.m. — I can't wait for lunch any longer. I mix up the salad I made for lunch today and cut up some fruit. I turn on To All the Boys I've Loved Before for a few minutes and then work through lunch. I purposely woke up extra early to get to work early but obviously that didn't happen. Mondays, man.
4:30 p.m. — Slowing down for the afternoon, I decide to make a blueberry, mango, and pineapple smoothie. It gives me the boost I need to finish out the day. Finish up and pack for the gym. Train is packed full, so I have to wait for the next.
6:15 p.m. — Working out makes me feel so much better about my day. I walk across the street to Target (bless) to get a few random things for the week. Probably my most random trip ever: body lotion, dish soap, avocado, almond milk, butter, and hangers for my closet. My roommate is an amazing baker and offered to make cookies and cupcakes for my brunch on Saturday. Unfortunately, the city Target doesn't have everything I need, so I'll have to stop somewhere else later in the week. $21.45
7 p.m. — Get home and unpack from the day. My roomie planned our dinners this week so she is already cooking away in the kitchen. I ask if she needs help, but she's already almost done. Tonight is Mexican quinoa-stuffed peppers — yum!
9:15 p.m. — Showered and packed for tomorrow, I hop into bed to read. We have book club at work and tomorrow is our meeting. We're reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. It's so motivating and inspiring, as I am just starting my career. Lights out at 9:45 p.m. I'm exhausted.
Daily Total: $31.68

Day Five

5:50 a.m. — Alarm goes off, and I hit snooze. I'm up by 6 and do my normal routine. Off to the train at 6:30. Laptop and transit card in tow today.
7:15 a.m. — Walk into work and get situated for the day. Answer some emails and prep for my 9:30 meeting. I hate getting up early, but it's nice to have a quiet office for a little. I wash a peach to eat at my desk.
12 p.m. — We have our book club meeting during lunch to save time. I assemble my chickpea salad and read through my notes. We always have a great conversation, and today is no exception.
2:45 p.m. — I think I just hit a brick wall. I ask one of my coworkers if she wants to walk to Starbucks with me, and she agrees. I used up the balance on my Starbucks card over the weekend, so I reload it and tell myself it needs to get me through the week. $15
4 p.m. — Run downstairs to our mailroom so I can mail some cards to friends. I have a really strong friend group from various parts of life that I miss a lot. I buy a couple stamps to mail the cards. $2
5:15 p.m. — On the train and head to the gym. The gym is packed today so I plug through and finish as fast as possible.
6:30 p.m. — Really don't feel like cooking tonight. My roommate is working late, so she sends me the recipe she planned for tonight. Thankfully it's simple: roasted veggies with quinoa and tahini sauce. I start the quinoa and chop up the veggies. While it's baking, I unpack from the day and turn on The Office.
8:45 p.m. — BF comes over for the night. I've been feeling very anxious this week. I think forgetting my laptop on Monday really threw me off. He always comforts me whenever I feel like this. I'm very thankful to have a supportive significant other in my life. He brought ice cream with him ,too! In bed by 9:30, earlier than usual tonight.
Daily Total: $17

Day Six

6:15 a.m. — Waking up a little later today, and I'm not mad about it. Normal routine but today I make waffles. Out the door by 7 a.m., forgetting my coffee.
9 a.m. — How am I already hungry? I walk to the kitchen to wash my peach and catch up with a coworker on the way.
11:15 a.m. — Can't wait for lunch any longer, so a couple of my coworkers come to the caf with me to eat. I didn't pack enough food today so I leave hungry still — ugh.
12:45 p.m. — The brick wall hit me early today. I make a run to Starbucks before I get stuck in meetings for the rest of the day. I get my usual iced black tea and pay with my Starbucks card ($2.62).
3:30 p.m. — Got out of my last meeting early, and I'm starving. I walk downstairs to our convenience store and get a bag of dill pickle chips, my fave. $1.34
5 p.m. — Had enough for today, so I head to the gym. My legs are so sore from earlier in the week, and I can't fathom another leg day. But, after doing the stair stepper for 15 minutes, I'm feeling better and ready to slay this workout.
7 p.m. — Zoodles with pesto and asparagus tonight, so delicious! My roommate and I watch a little bit of Orange Is the New Black before I shower and get ready for tomorrow.
9 p.m. — Lunch packed and clothes laid out. I'm ready to chill. I think it's a Sopranos kind of night, so I get in bed and watch until my eyes can't stay open any longer.
Daily Total: $1.34

Day Seven

5:50 a.m. — I am officially ready for this week to be over. Eat a quick breakfast, get dressed, and I'm out the door by 6:30.
7:15 a.m. — Arrive at the office and prep for the day. I have quite a few meetings today, so I plan out my schedule and get to work.
9:30 a.m. — I feel like I need a snack every hour. I go to the kitchen to wash off the peach I brought and grab my coconut milk yogurt.
12:15 p.m. — Eat lunch super fast today and then a few coworkers and I walk over to Starbucks. I get my usual black iced tea ($2.62) and use the rest of the balance on my card.
1:45 p.m. — Am I seriously already hungry? I think with working out so much during the week, I get hungry so much faster. I run down to our convenience store and get a bag of Skinny Pop. $1.32
4:30 p.m. — My afternoon is really slow, so I leave work a little early. I hop on the train and eat a Kind bar on the way to the gym.
6 p.m. — I've been craving ramen all day today. It doesn't help that it's 65 degrees out and really feels like fall in Chicago. There's a really popular place by my BF's house, so I decide to pick some up and stay there tonight. I ordered vegetable ramen with tofu and a side of spicy cucumbers. So satisfying! $16.31
6:45 p.m. — Stop by normal Target to pick up some items for Saturday's brunch. I get some cute plates and napkins, a couple different kinds of LaCroix, and some decorations we need for baking tomorrow night. $19.36
8:15 p.m. — My BF and I are both pretty tired, so we decide to watch a movie. We pick This Is 40. I forgot how much I love this movie — Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann are some of my favorite people ever. BF is snoring away within 30 minutes, so I turn off the movie and pass out myself. Are we a boring married couple yet?
Daily Total: $36.99
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