A Week In Dallas On A $68,000 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. (Thanks, New York mag, for the inspiration.)
This week, a web analyst working in advertising who makes $68,000 per year and saves almost all of it.
Occupation: Web Analyst
Industry: Advertising
Age: 24
Location: Dallas, TX
Salary: $68,000
Paycheck Amount (2x a month): $1,580
Monthly Expenses
Monthly Housing Costs: $910 (I pay ~$200 more than my roommates since I'm in the master suite of a three bed, two bath)
Monthly Loan Payments: $0
Utilities: $80
Phone bill: $40
Car insurance: $77
ClassPass 10 pack: $102
Spotify: $11
Doggie Daycare: ~$120 (depending on how often he goes)
Savings: $500/month into an investment fund on top of maxing out my 401(k)

Day One

5:58 a.m. — Up and at 'em a few minutes before my alarm! Take my dog out to do his business, and then prep my morning hot chocolate coffee, drink a big glass of water, and eat an orange.
7:45 a.m. — At work, grab a cup of water from the kitchen.
8 a.m. — Adjust my 401(k) contribution after putting 50% of my first 2017 paycheck into my 401(k) to see how low I could get my taxes. Super low, but not at all sustainable! This will be my first year maxing out my 401(k), and I couldn't be more excited. I started a new job a few months back, and after getting a 42% increase in pay, I decided to funnel that influx of money into retirement and investment accounts.
11 a.m. — Boss has a newfound obsession with wax sealing letters, so we venture out to Hobby Lobby for wax and a seal. Swing by Target on our way back to the office, and I treat myself to a venti iced coffee with a Starbucks gift card.
12:30 p.m. — Back at the office, we swing by the building cafeteria. They make amazing homemade potato chips. I can't resist. $2.78
1 p.m. — Sad desk lunch of chicken noodle soup after I polish off my chips. I'm trying to eat out less at lunch, so there's a lot of canned soup in my life lately.
4 p.m. — Grocery store run after work. One of my big goals is to host more dinners, so I started weekly Wednesday dinners for my friends. This week's menu is Crock-Pot stuffed bell pepper stew. I buy ground beef, onion, shredded cheese, diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, beef broth, and Hawaiian rolls. The other ingredients I have at home. $32.07
5:40 p.m. — I'm paranoid that I'll be late to a work dinner with visiting execs, but I end up arriving 10 minutes before everyone. We eat at an all-vegan restaurant, and it's AMAZING. "Brisket" tacos, Frito pie, "Salmon" sushi and so much more. The alcohol is equally delicious, and best of all, work covers it.
8 p.m. — Back home, I take my dog to play fetch down a long hallway in my apartment. Once he's worn out, we head back to the apartment so I can prep for dinner tomorrow.
Daily Total: $34.85

Day Two

6 a.m. — Take the pup out to do his business, and then make my hot chocolate coffee and drink my glass of water. I watch Veep as I load up the Crock-Pot with dinner for the night.
7:30 a.m. — Drop the pup off at daycare. He goes once a week to play and socialize with his doggie friends. I love it, because he comes home exhausted at the end of the day. I pay $300 for 20 days of daycare. I won't pay again until the first of March.
8 a.m. — I get to work and am instantly bummed when I realize I forgot to eat my orange this morning.
12:30 p.m. — Chicken noodle soup and Saltines for lunch. Saving myself for the Crock-Pot feast tonight.
1:30 p.m. — I make myself some hot chocolate coffee in my office kitchen for an afternoon pick me up.
4:30 p.m. — Pick the tired pup up from daycare. Unfortunately, it was rainy today, so he was kept in close quarters and smells terrible. We drive home with the windows down and music blasting.
5 p.m. — The entire apartment smells AWESOME. I stir the stew, bask in my domestic glory, then herd my dog into the bathroom so I can give him a shower before friends arrive for dinner.
6:30 p.m. — The 10 RSVPs quickly dwindles to five after rough work days, but the stew is divine! Everyone has seconds, and my roommate makes s'mores pie for dessert.
8:30 p.m. — We end the night eating a second serving of pie (so stuffed!) and collapse on the couches to watch Netflix. All together, a wonderful weekly dinner.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

5 a.m. — Wake up to the sound of a sick dog, a.k.a. the worst wake-up ever. Clean up the mess and then take him outside.
6 a.m. — After a failed attempt to fall back asleep, I have a hot chocolate coffee and a cuddle sesh with the sick pup. He's normally an independent dude but is especially clingy when he's not feeling well. I email work and let them know I'm working from home so I can keep an eye on him.
8:30 a.m. — I wrap up two reports I've been procrastinating on. I celebrate with an orange, toast with peanut butter and jelly, and another cup of coffee. The dog's finally drinking water and eating ice cubes (his favorite treat), so it looks like we're in the clear.
11:30 a.m. — Grocery store run to restock on the basics for next week. Oranges, apples, peanut butter, strawberry jelly, pretzels, pasta, mac n cheese. Bummed, because they don't have the bread that I want. You win some, you lose some. $28.85
12:30 p.m. — Leftover stew from last night for lunch. Not nearly as good the second time around, but still tasty.
2 p.m. — Finally submit a rebate for the pup's flea medicine. $25 back on a year supply's (over $200!). I'll take what I can get.
3:30 p.m. — Short run with my newly-energized dog. We're psyching ourselves up for marathon training, which kicks off in two weeks. It'll be my third marathon. My dog went up to 10 miles with me last year, and the goal is for him to run his first half marathon this year.
4:15 p.m. — Back from our run. More pb&j toast.
5 p.m. — Shower. I debate shaving (it's been a few weeks...), but I'm single AF and it's winter. No thanks.
5:30 p.m. — More leftover stew. Remember how I said it wasn't as good? I lied, it's still amazing. I also snack on a handful of pretzels and a few frozen mint M&Ms.
6:30 p.m. — D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) at a friend's apartment. We're starting a new season tonight, so it's going to be a late night.
10:45 p.m. — Back home and hungry but opt to pass out instead of eat.
Daily Total: $28.85

Day Four

6:30 a.m. — I sleep in after a late night. The pup and I take a quick walk, then I make coffee, unload the dishwasher, and chat with my roommate's boyfriend while he makes breakfast.
7:45 a.m. — At work, I fill up two cups of water, because hydration.
9:30 a.m. — The rest of my team gets to work. We debate what restaurant we should go to for lunch and a drink.
10:45 a.m. — Off to lunch. I proceed to eat waaaay too many chips and chicken tacos. Also the house margarita was pricey, but I treat myself. $27.29
12:30 p.m. — On our way back to the car, we swing by a specialty cake shop. I treat myself there as well. $4.87
1:30 p.m. — Back at work, all productivity is down the drain after that margarita, so I make hot chocolate coffee in the work kitchen to help me out.
4 p.m. — Off to a sports massage. I purchased a three pack in December during Christmas specials, so I only have to cover tip today. $25
6:30 p.m. — Back home, I cook mac n cheese for my friend/neighbor. I add breadcrumbs to the boxed mac n cheese since I'm a classy lady.
7:30 p.m. — We walk to CVS, and I buy coffee ice cream to go with my chocolate cake slice I bought after lunch. $3.34
8:30 p.m. — We watch Sherlock, and I eat my cake with ice cream. It's the best piece of cake I've ever tasted.
Daily Total: $60.50

Day Five

1:30 a.m. — Roommate and her boyfriend get home from a night out, and my dog decides it's a great time to get up. I curse him as we venture outside, and he does his business.
6:30 a.m. — Unfortunately, up before my alarm. Coffee, orange and a glass of water.
7:30 a.m. — Stop to buy gas and fill my tire up with air before a workout class. Need to go get my tire inspected, because there's definitely a leak, but I've been putting it off for a few weeks. $28.34
7:45 a.m. — HIIT workout class before work.
9 a.m. — Panera Bread rewards program is running a promotion for a free bagel every day this month. There's a store right next to the workout class, so I swing by to get a cinnamon raisin bagel.
9:30 a.m. — Back home, hit up the shower and clean up my room. Clothes always seem to get thrown all over the place during the work week, so I make sure everything is straightened up on the weekend.
10 a.m. — Toast my bagel and spread peanut butter on it. Also make hot chocolate coffee, because I am an addict.
10:30 a.m. — The pup and I are off to meet my dad for lunch at a Sonic halfway between Dallas and Houston, our respective homes.
12 p.m. — At Sonic! I let my dad cover my decadent Sonic kid's meal. We transfer about five pounds of produce (bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes) into my car. My uncle works in produce in Mexico, and my dad brought back a ton of veggies when he drove home from visiting Arizona this past week.
2:45 p.m. — Back in Dallas. It's my roommate's birthday tomorrow, so she's having people over for day drinking and games before they go to the bars tonight.
4:30 p.m. — I cut up three bell peppers and eat them with hummus during a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity.
6 p.m. — I bid the birthday roomie adieu to go to dinner at an Irish pub downtown with a friend and her roommate before a comedy show. We take a Lyft to the pub, and my friend and I split a burger. We also split four pretzels that came with the most amazing Guinness beer cheese. $23.57
8 p.m. — We walk over to the theater for the show.
10 p.m. — The show was great, and we're all in good spirits as we grab a Lyft back home. $2.25
10:10 p.m. — Home to my roommate's pregame. I catch up with old friends before they stumble out into their Ubers to go to the bars.
10:30 p.m. — Peace and quiet has returned! I told my roommate my birthday present to her would be cleaning up the apartment. With Veep playing in the background, I take out four bags of trash, load up the dishwasher, start a load of laundry and scrub down all the surfaces. I am happy.
Daily Total: $54.16

Day Six

1 a.m. — The roommate and friends make their drunk presence known, but my dog is too tired to want to go socialize. We semi-sleep through it, but there will likely be a nap in our futures.
7:45 a.m. — Up and at 'em. There are passed out people strewn about the living room, so I navigate around them to feed my dog and take him outside.
8 a.m. — Swing by the grocery store to see if they have my bread. I buy milk, hummus and my beloved bread. $12.92
8:25 a.m. — I nearly get my car smashed in by a woman in an Escalade. She ran a stop sign and was on her phone. I semi-regret my quick reflexes, because she could have paid for my upgrade from an eight-year-old SUV, but I lay on my horn and rage at her, so that makes me feel better!
8:30 a.m. — Back home, the friends haven't moved. I make myself toast and hot chocolate coffee as I unload the dishwasher. I disappear into my room where I watch more Veep.
10 a.m. — After mindlessly scrolling through the internet, the pup and I head out for a walk and a lively squirrel hunt.
11:30 a.m. — The party animals are alive! They're heading out for tacos, so I tag along. I order a brisket breakfast taco and a chicken fajita taco then steal some chips and queso from my roommate. $7.42
2 p.m. — Nap time!
3:30 p.m. — After sleeping longer than intended, I debate coffee but settle on polishing off my coffee ice cream.
5 p.m. — Apply for the Amazon Visa credit card. 5% back on Amazon purchases (where I buy the pup's food and almost all of my toiletries) and a $70 Amazon gift card upon approval. I'm planning on canceling my travel credit card soon, because I don't use it enough, and this card will be more useful. I'm approved.
7 p.m. — Roommate makes spaghetti with homemade sauce and garlic bread for dinner. It's delicious, and we have plenty of leftovers for future meals. I cut up peppers for easy snacking throughout the week as she cooks.
Daily Total: $20.34

Day Seven

6 a.m. — Monday morning blues. The dog and I venture outside. I have coffee and water once he's done his business.
6:30 a.m. — I order an HDMI dongle for my MacBook on Amazon using my new gift card.
7:45 a.m. — Work time.
11:45 a.m. — I grab a fun-size dark chocolate bar from the work kitchen. Breakfast of champions.
1 p.m. — Off to the grocery store with my teammates. I resist temptations and instead settle for eating a variety of free samples.
2:30 p.m. — Polish off my last serving of stuffed bell pepper stew for lunch. Already planning on making it again within the next week.
4 p.m. — Off to a HIIT class. Still sore from my last class, so this will be interesting...
5:45 p.m. — Reunited with my number one dog. We play fetch. I then have leftover spaghetti for dinner.
7:20 p.m. — Walk across the street to deep stretch yoga. Gotta get my zen on.
8:45 p.m. — Back home, I snack on a few pretzels before taking a shower. I once again don't shave, because I'm a rebel!
Daily Total: $0

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