A Week In Dallas, TX, On An $81,000 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 marketing manager who makes $81,000 per year. She spends some of her money this week on a Natasha Denona makeup palette.
Occupation: Marketing Manager
Industry: Housewares
Age: 29
Location: Dallas, TX
Salary: $81,000
Husband's Salary: ~$75,000 with an annual bonus that ranges each year. (The most recent one was over $10,000.) He gets paid twice a month, about $2,500 after taxes and insurance, which he covers both of us.
Paycheck (Weekly): $1,259. My husband and I do not share a bank account; we keep our personal expenses separate, so aside from household expenses and travel, we don't really keep tabs on each other. What works for us is for him to auto-pay our bills from his account and for me to pay him twice a month — the first of the month for the mortgage, and around the 15th for electric, cable, internet, water, and groceries. I do all of the grocery shopping and pay for it with an AmEx that is in my name but is his account, that he pays for. As for dining out, he typically pays for the more expensive meals and I pay for the less expensive ones (unless I offer beforehand or it is a special occasion).
Monthly Expenses
Housing Costs: $2,200 split 50/50 with my husband. We own our own home.
Car Payment: $583
Credit Cards: $1,000. I have two credit cards that I am working to pay off: the first has a balance of just over $2,300 and the other, just under $2,900. My goal is to pay off by April/May. I put $500 to each card every month, and when the smaller one is paid off, I will shift that money over and make an even larger payment. So far I am on goal. (And I give myself bonus points for paying for Christmas 100% in cash!)
Furniture Payments: $150
All Other Monthly Expenses
Monthly Subscriptions: $30
Utilities: ~$200
Savings: $500

Day One

6:30 a.m. — Struggle to wake up, like most mornings. I start my usual morning routine: wash my face, skincare, and take care of the dogs and cat while my moisturizer sinks in. I'm a skincare freak. Plus, for the amount I spend on my La Mer cream I want to give it every opportunity to succeed. I start in on my makeup routine, halfway through my process I hear a crash in the kitchen. I run in there to find that the cat has knocked over my crystal vase of flowers, all over my clean kitchen floor; thankfully the vase didn't break. I clean up the water with and vow to re-mop the floor when I get home tonight. Out the door only 15 minutes late, I grab a drive-through sandwich on the way to work from Chick-Fil-A and eat it as I drive. My boss is already at the office when I get in, which is out of the ordinary but she is super chill so I start my day. $6.27
10 a.m. — Get a call from my car dealership valet, who is out front with my car. I go outside and it is way chilly in the not-so-winter dress I decided to wear. Everything looks fine, so we exchange cars and he is off. I will admit I probably pay too much for my car, but it is a luxury car and they have so many perks, like valet service whenever I need something. This time it was only an inspection, which cost me, but usually, everything is covered. $25.50
11:30 a.m. — I get a text from my dealership service manager saying I left my garage door opener in the loaner car. He offers to mail it to me but I have such a busy weekend, I opt to just go get it. Since it is around the time I leave for lunch normally and the dealership is only 15 minutes away, I get going. As I'm driving down the road I notice a weird rattling sound. It wasn't there before, so I turn my music down to keep listening as I drive. I only notice the sound when I accelerate from a stop. I get to the dealership and get my garage door opener, let my service manager know about the sound, and we drive around the block so he can hear it for himself. He agrees that it is not normal, so I swap cars again for a loaner and go back to my office.
2 p.m. — Back at my office and starting to get hungry from my no-lunch adventure, I check my drawer and find a KIND bar I stashed away. I munch on that as I work on finishing a bunch of projects. I am taking a vacation day tomorrow and need to get shit done!
4:45 p.m. — My service manager lets me know my car is ready; it turns out someone didn't snap some clip under my hood, he is super apologetic and offers to bring my car in the morning. I decline since I won't be at my office tomorrow and my house is a good 25 miles or more from the dealership. I mentally prepare myself for traffic and leave a bit early. Forty-five minutes later, I am back at the dealership and back in my car. I can now start going home. My BFF texts me and lets me know she is only about two hours from my house, which make me super happy since I haven't seen her since we went to Paris in May. I call my hubby on my way home, stuck in traffic yet again. We chat about my car and his day and what my BFFs and I have planned for the weekend.
6:45 p.m. — Finally almost home. I call hubby again and ask him if he wants me to grab dinner since I am way too tired to cook tonight, plus the BFF should be here in about an hour. We decide on Chick-Fil-A and even though I already had that for breakfast, I am so tired and hungry at this point that I don't care. I swing by the drive-through to get us sandwiches. I let hubby pay for this one using the credit card I have, and finally get home and eat dinner. Once we are finished I do some last-minute straightening and mopping of the kitchen from the morning accident and wait for the BFF to arrive.
8:15 a.m. — She's here! Once she gets settled we all sit in the living room catching up. I'm so glad my BFF and husband get along and can do things like this, and I don't have to feel like I have to choose who to spend time with. We decide to put on a movie and drink some cocktails. I make them whiskey and Cokes and open a bottle of Moët for myself. I know it sounds so bourgie, but I have been on a serious Moët kick for the past few months (which is weird because I usually only drink whiskey). We finish the bottle and the movie; it's about 1 a.m. at this point so we call it a night. Poor hubby has to work in the morning.
Daily Total: $31.77

Day Two

7:30 a.m. — Hubby is being so damn loud getting ready for work I have no choice but to be awake this early. I decide to not fight it and get up and take care of the dogs and cat. BFF is awake too by this point; we chat a little and decide what to do for the day. Shopping, mani-pedis, and drinks are the game plan. We go our separate ways and get ready for the day, then make our way to the mall.
10:30 a.m. — FOOD is all we can think about! We walk the mall until we get to a cute little brunch café, but they have a weird note in the window saying they are closed all day and maybe tomorrow. Back on the move, we decide to go to the other side of the mall to La Madeleine. We order a salad and half sandwich each — not the brunch we hoped for but we are so hungry we don't even care. $9.94
11 a.m. — Now we are ready to shop! We hit Anthropologie since it is closest. We see a sign that all home stuff is on sale and proceed to smell every candle in the place. I decide on my favorite, "Volcano," and check out. She buys a cute ring tray and candle. We walk around the mall stopping and looking in stores and end up at Sephora. Sephora is having a sale and I have a list of things I want. We go through the entire store grabbing what we want. I grab a Natasha Denona pallet that I have been eyeing but couldn't justify paying full price for, primer, hair oil, a clay mask, and a bronzer kit. We pay and go to Lush so my BFF can grab some things. I decide to get stocking stuffers for my sister since we are there: bath bombs are some of her favorite things. Next is Aerie for undies; they are having a sale too, so I buy a few pairs. BFF gets some too, and with sore feet, we head to our next adventure. $451.74
3 p.m. — We drive next to the nail salon, basically a tradition for us. My dip is still looking fresh so I opt for a nice pedicure; BFF gets a mani and a pedi. Mine is a six-step pearl pedi that smells amazing! However, the old man next to me literally won't stop farting, and it's seriously so nasty! The BFF and I catch up on her boyfriend, life, and everything else that has happened in the six months since we saw each other last. $70
4 p.m. — By the time we are done at the nail salon we realize we are hungry again. We walk to a taco shop that is having happy hour. The place is totally empty and only one lady is working aside from the kitchen staff. We sit at the bar and it takes a while for her to get to us, but when she finally does I get a skinny margarita and chicken taco; BFF gets a house margarita and a taco, and we order chips to split. We sit and talk for a while, long enough for her to order another marg and me another taco. I don't know what it is, but I am starving! Hubby calls and says he is leaving work early so we agree to meet him back at home soon. $18.14
6 p.m. — We get home and hubby has already eaten leftovers for dinner. BFF and I don't want food so we decide to see what's on Netflix and relax. (We share an account with my parents and don't pay anything for it.) We put on Bachelorette, which is surprisingly funny, make some drinks, and partially through the movie, Hubby and BFF decide to raid the fridge and pantry and share cheese and Oreos. I'm still so full from tacos so I pass.
11:45 p.m. — I'm falling asleep on the sofa as we all watch episodes of Family Guy. I decide to go to bed and Hubby and BFF stay up talking. I pass out to the soothing sounds of waves from my sleep songs app.
Daily Total: $549.82

Day Three

7:45 a.m. — SO TIRED! But we're going to our college's football game and it's basically the whole reason my BFF is in town. We have a tradition in which we always go to this particular game together. We both rush to get ready and pack up the car with tailgate essentials. On the way to the stadium, we stop at Chick-Fil-A for a quick breakfast. $4.97
9:30 a.m. — We arrive at the stadium, find our tailgating spot, set up our chairs, and pop a bottle of Moët for mimosas. It is pretty cold out, so we just sit and talk and drink. Once it gets closer to game time, we decide to find our seats. The game is going great, we score in the first 15 seconds of the game; by halftime, we're still winning. We decide to beat the halftime concession stand rush and split a few minutes early. Pizza is calling our names. It's highway robbery, how much you have to pay for food at sporting events, but what are you gonna do? $17
3 p.m. — We go home after the game is over. Hubby is working on a project for work and BFF and I sit around talking. Hubby joins us and asks what our plans are for the night. Apparently, when we were drunk-watching Bachelorette last night, we decided that going to a strip club would be a good idea. Since my brother-in-law is now old enough to go to one, I had the bright idea of saying we should take him. We do some research to decide on a place and make plans. BFF and I change outfits and I throw on a more daring lipstick for the night.
7:30 p.m. — We go out for hibachi (one of my favorites!) at dinnertime! Brother-in-law (BIL) is meeting us at dinner, so we sit at the bar and have drinks until he arrives. Since it is still happy hour, BFF and I get a martini each and hubby gets his usual. The bartender is cool and gives us alcohol-soaked gummy bears that are surprisingly good. We grab a table when BIL arrives I am due for another drink. I am totally feeling the first one, especially because of all the gummy bears I ate. Everyone orders food and more drinks, and we have a great time — and end up very full. Hubby pays the tab for all of us and we go back home so that BIL can drop off his car at our house before our adventure.
9:30 p.m. — We get to the strip club, and Hubby again pays for everyone. We go inside and a waitress leads us to a table and brings us some pitchers of Coke since it is BYOB and we have almost a full bottle of whiskey. Hubby gives us some singles and we enjoy the show. Since it is still somewhat early we are getting a lot of attention. BIL is in total shock since this is his first time. We get a couple of girls to come over to him and it is honestly the highlight of the night. We enjoy the drinks and the show when BIL notices a girl that is more his type. Hubby asks her to come over and pays for BIL to get two private dances; you can tell he is nervous but he follows her to the back room. The three of us proceed to watch some seriously talented girls: one is basically G.I. Jane and can climb that pole! BIL comes back and we keep at it; at this point the place is packed and we are all close to hitting our limit; plus, it is after 1 a.m. at this point. We pay our waitress and leave.
2 a.m. — There is a wreck on the way home so traffic is terrible and it takes us forever! Once we are back, BIL goes back home and the three of us talk about the night then go to bed. It has been such a long day for me and BFF.
Daily Total: $21.97

Day Four

10 a.m. — We all finally wake up and chat a little about last night before going out to brunch to one of our favorite spots. I am super dehydrated from all the booze last night and order a Pellegrino; Hubby and BFF get mimosas. I want brunch food, but I opt for a chicken sandwich since I feel like I need protein and I don't care for eggs. BFF follows suit while Hubby gets a breakfast burrito. Brunch is so good, and exactly what I needed. I offer to pay since Hubby paid for everything last night. Our favorite waiter reminds us that we get $10 off for signing up for their points card. I end up giving him $10 tip just for that. $47.89
12:30 p.m. — It is time for BFF to leave. We help her load up her car and say our goodbyes. I'm sad to see her go, but happy for a little quiet time. Kitty is low on food and litter so I run down the road to the pet store. I get talked into buying a different food that is the same price, but half the size. I give it a try because I want my babies to be well taken care of. I grab some kitty litter and remember we are out of paper towels; I run into the store next door and get those. $37.87
1:30 p.m. — The rest of the day is about house chores: laundry, dishes, etc., followed by a two-hour nap.
6 p.m. — I don't feel so great after we wake up from our naps. The lack of sleep and alcohol are taking their toll on me. Hubby and I decide to snuggle on the sofa and watch TV. My stomach doesn't feel great, so I munch on a few things but don't have much of an appetite. I decide to call it a night early and go to bed.
Daily Total: $85.76

Day Five

6:30 a.m. — Ugh, Monday already? I wake up and go through my typical routine, feeling like crap. I am either getting a cold or my allergies are bad today. I can't stop sneezing or blowing my nose. Normally I would take off work but I just had Friday off so I suck it up, take some meds, and get on my way. I drink a protein shake during the commute and decide to hide in my office until my first meeting.
10:30 a.m. — First two meetings are out of the way, but I feel even worse. I answer some emails and attempt to work on projects but I am just not into it. I'm starting to get hungry so I search my office fridge and grab a cheese and pretzel pack, which turns out to be very good. I make a mental note to buy more of these next time I am at the store.
2 p.m. — I take a call with my boss and finish up work. My dad texts asking to meet for dinner; my sister broke her phone and they want to borrow an old iPhone I have. We make plans to meet at an Indian restaurant on our side of town. I shoot my mom and mother-in-law and email about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, explaining what dishes everyone should bring.
5:45 p.m. — I get home and usher Hubby into the shower. He is all sweaty from a run, and we have to meet my parents soon. Once he is ready and we go to dinner, my dad and sister are stuck in traffic. Hubby, mom, and I order apps and wait for them, chatting about the upcoming holiday. My dad and sister finally arrive and we order family style, digging in as soon as the food hits our table. We catch up on all the drama with my sister and her roommate and what everyone has been up to. My dad treats us to dinner. I give my sister the phone and we part ways.
8:30 p.m. — Once Hubby and I get home we chat a bit and I go to bed, I am still feeling sick and just tired in general.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

6:30 a.m. — I didn't get as much sleep as I hoped for last night. I was wide awake at 1:30 a.m. with a very runny nose, and I tossed and turned for the remainder of the night, meaning waking up was extra hard today. I struggle through my morning routine and leave for work with a protein shake in hand. I am almost out of gas and decide to stop on my way. It is freezing out while I wait for my gas, which seems to be taking longer than usual. $35.22
9 a.m. — Once I get to the office I check my monthly budget and pay some bills. My credit card payment and furniture payment are due in a few days so I pay $500 and $150; that's more than the minimum, but I have a goal to get pay them off in the next six months. I browse online trying to figure out Christmas ideas for everyone. I load up a few carts but don't purchase anything just yet. Then it's time to be productive and start to do actual work. $650
12 p.m. — I grab a sandwich down the street from my office, and eat it at my desk. I can successfully avoid everyone at the office until after lunch; it's the one perk of working in such a small office. I prep for a few big meetings I have this week for most of the day. After, I break for a quick meeting with my boss, followed by an extremely uncomfortable meeting with our creative team. They totally bombed on a project — like, didn't remotely do what was asked — and my boss is pissed. We chat for a few minutes before I go back to my office. I can hear her and our lead designer yelling and I attempt to eavesdrop, but I can't hear much. I decide to finish my project and mind my own business for the rest of the day. $8.87
5:15 p.m. — Leave a little later than usual after I find a good stopping point. I call Hubby on the way home and we chat about the day and try to figure out what to do for dinner. Traffic is extra terrible today. I get home a little after 6 and immediately start cooking dinner. I'm hungry and tired, and the last thing I want to do is drag out the dinner process. I make burrito bowls with rice, beans, corn, chicken, cheese, and salsa — basically an at-home version of Chipotle. They turn out better than usual! We eat on the sofa and watch Law & Order.
7:30 p.m. — When we finish eating I clean up the kitchen and Hubby does the dishes. I watch YouTube videos until he is done, then we watch more TV and talk about the week so far and our Thanksgiving plans. Around 9:30, I decide to hit the hay, only to browse some more on my phone until I can barely keep my eyes open.
Daily Total: $694.09

Day Seven

6:30 a.m. — Wake up and do the usual routine. I decide that the expensive eyeshadow pallet I bought over the weekend is going back. I don't like the colors and it makes my eyes itch. I remind myself to do some online shopping when I get to work since today is the last day of the Sephora sale. I leave for work with my protein shake.
9 a.m. — No one is really at work yet, so I hide in my office and surf the Sephora site. I end up rationalizing a few more purchases since they are 20% off and I need to buy gifts for Christmas. (I am attempting to get all my Christmas shopping done early this year.) I buy concealer, a skincare set, eyelashes, and setting spray for me; and perfume for mom and sister, plus cologne for Hubby. $256.33
12:30 p.m. — Just finished a meeting with a vendor and my boss, and I run out to a local Chinese place for lunch. I hate where my office is because there is a small selection of food; usually this makes me bring my lunch, but no such luck this week. Hubby and I text while I eat my orange chicken. $9.74
1:30 p.m. — While texting my husband, the topic of Christmas gifts come up and somehow the subject turns to cologne. He informs me that he no longer likes the cologne which, unbeknownst to him, I just purchased. I hit the Sephora site again and buy the one he likes; looks like I have two returns to make now. I check my bank account and see that an order I placed last month finally got billed; I totally forgot about that purchase. $126.02
3 p.m. — My meetings are done for the day; all I need to do is finish one project for a meeting tomorrow and I am good! My boss usually leaves early on Wednesdays so I sneak out a little early too. I get home with slightly less traffic than usual and try to figure out what to make for dinner. Hubby opts for leftover burrito bowls and I heat up soup. The only thing I like about winter is the weather being chilly enough for soup. Other than that, I HATE the cold!
9 p.m. — Soup is starting to wear off so I munch on Goldfish while we watch a little TV and unwind from the day. Hubby is working on his side project and I'm starting to fall asleep. I decide to call it a night.
Daily Total: $392.09
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