A Week In Hoboken, NJ, On A $95,000 Salary

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Today: a senior marketing manager working in media who makes $95,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Blue Diamond salt 'n' vinegar almonds.
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Occupation: Senior Marketing Manager
Industry: Media
Age: 27
Location: Hoboken, NJ
Salary: $95,000 (includes bonus)
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,650
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,350 (split equally with my boyfriend)
Student Loan Payment: $330 (split between myself, my mom, and my dad before it's transferred to me at age 30)
Spotify Premium: $10.65
Hulu: $12.99 (no ads)
Netflix: $0 (I use my stepdad's)
Cell Phone: $0 (I'm on the family plan)
Health/Dental Insurance: $110
Gym: $165
Credit Card: $500-700 (This varies greatly month to month, but I'm trying to pay down the credit card debt I accumulated while I was unemployed.)
401(k): $0 (I don't qualify until I've been at my new job a certain number of weeks, but when I'm able to, I'll contribute 10% with a 3% company match.)

Day One

7 a.m. — Wake up groggy — I couldn't help myself, and stayed up late last night watching Sharp Objects. I drag myself to get ready and take our dog out, so I can get to work on time.
8:30 a.m. — I receive an invoice via email for a partial week of dog-walking last week. Eventually, I'll split this expense with my boyfriend, but for now I let my dog-mom guilt get the best of me and cover it myself. Our dog is lucky he's cute, and I care about his cardio and social life. $63
9:05 a.m. — Use my prepaid “snack” card at work to purchase a Quest Cookies & Cream protein bar and a bottle of Smart Water from the pantry for breakfast ($5.50). I make my own espresso over ice instead of buying coffee today.
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12:10 p.m. — I have a 10% off promo code for Just Salad, so I order a Modern Greek Crunch and celebrate my $0.90 savings. $8.65
12:30 p.m. — Eat lunch with coworkers because I just started this job two weeks ago and, well, #bonding. I have FOMO seeing everyone drink soda, so I use my “pantry” credit to get a ginger ale. Peer pressure? Perhaps, but I enjoy it.
2:21 p.m. — Receive my daily dog walking update. The walking service I signed my pup up for has this fantastic online portal so I can see a GPS timestamp of when his walker arrives and leaves. Once the walk is complete, I receive a “diary entry” (THE CUTEST) of how the visit went along with some photos of my dog around town. It always makes my day! I say “aww” out loud and hope my new coworkers don't think I'm weird.
6:32 p.m. — My boyfriend drops me off at Acme to pick up bulk toilet paper, paper towels, and hummus. Only the essentials. $21.47
7 p.m. — Get home and have a Plated waiting at the door — YES! I forgot I had ordered this last week! I really enjoy cooking but because I'm only cooking for myself, or for myself and my boyfriend, there's always so much waste. I break out the seared steak with fries and miso mayo while my boyfriend is upstairs packing for a week-long business trip. I pour us boxed wine and we enjoy our food while watching Bachelor in Paradise. He's a trooper.
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Daily Total: $93.12

Day Two

7:45 a.m. — Wake up to boyfriend singing in the shower. He's so cute.
9:30 a.m. — Snag a Quest cookie dough bar, a banana, and a water from the snack pantry and make my own espresso ($8.50). I have one of my first big meetings today, and I want to be satiated and sharp.
11:15 a.m. — Call UPS to get the tracking number for a watch I sent back for exchange. The company is claiming to not have received my return, so you can imagine the orgasmic bliss I feel when UPS confirms it was signed for two weeks ago. This is my punishment for falling in love with an Instagram watch brand.
12:15 p.m. — Get invited to a last minute sales meeting in Manhattan. I grab an overpriced kale, Brussels sprout, and butternut squash salad plus a lemon Spindrift with a colleague so we can eat quickly at our desks before venturing out. $13.09
12:42 p.m. — We missed the sales rep and he's gone to the meeting on his own so we're not going to the meeting after all. I feel sad to have paid so much money for a salad that I didn't really get to enjoy. I raid my coworker's candy jar. Loot: Nerds Rope and Push Pop.
5:45 p.m. — Leave work and get text from my boyfriend that before he left he noticed we were out of tissues. I stop at Acme and get a few boxes of tissues, fresh flowers, and two different pre-packaged fruit/veggie snack trays to bring to work with me this week. $24.56
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6:10 p.m. — Arrive to my apartment just in time to greet my best friend, who has come over to watch Bachelor in Paradise. She arrives with two bottles of wine. Such a gem. I take out my second Plated meal of the week — an apricot-glazed salmon with bok choy and brown rice. We cook, drink, and stay up way too late for a work night.
11:02 p.m. — Take the dog out one last time before bed.
Daily Total: $37.65

Day Three

9:05 a.m. — Rush to get ready and get in my car only to remember that tonight after work is a coworker's birthday party in Brooklyn and so I shouldn't drive to the office today. Ordinarily it'd be a hard no from me to make the trek out to Brooklyn on a weeknight — you just never know with public transit if it will take 40 minutes or two hours — but because I'm new, it's a great opportunity for me to get to know my new colleagues. And I don't have a legit excuse because my best friend agreed to watch my dog this evening. I run to the corner to catch an Uber. $13.50
9:20 a.m. — There were so many road closures on my way in! I grab my usual water, protein bar, and espresso from the pantry and head to my desk.
10:54 a.m. — FREE, delicious bagels. Yes. I snag half a whole wheat everything with cream cheese.
12:15 p.m. — Need a phone charger to keep at my desk so I can stop carting them back and forth. Run to the mall to get one. $5
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12:20 p.m. — Pass by Pret and get a half chicken BLT sandwich. $4.15
1 p.m. — Check my credit card balance and scream internally. I schedule a $300 payment immediately. I really need to get a better hold of my credit card debt. My boyfriend and I are discussing sharing a card to improve how we split expenses, because it tends to be really imbalanced. I'm generous and a pushover, so I sometimes don't ask for certain things, whereas he is better about Venmo requesting me. Definitely why he has such better control of his finances!
7 p.m. — Leave work with my coworkers, and it predictably takes us a while to get out to Brooklyn. Despite my hesitancy to trek to Brooklyn, the bar is actually awesome. Wine, beer, and cider are free because we have booked a table and prepaid. There's a food truck on the premises and I order a pulled pork sandwich. It's expensive — about $18 — but you're not allowed to bring outside food in, and my boss has agreed to cover me. ($18)
10 p.m. — Someone else orders an Uber, and we make our way to a live music venue in Brooklyn. One of our designers opens a tab and I have two Tito's lemonades. I'm obsessed with my new coworkers and feel buzzed and happy knowing that I don't have to *try* to fit in.
11:45 p.m. — I order an Uber and get home about 12:30. From Brooklyn to Jersey, my fare comes to $51.20. Yikes. $51.20
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Daily Total: $73.85

Day Four

8:10 a.m. — This was definitely a snooze kind of morning. I take my time getting ready, feeling confident that all of my coworkers will too.
9:00 a.m. — Arrive to work before my team. Killin' it. Thinking about food when I have no damn business thinking about food.
12:45 p.m. — Just got out of one of my first big creative brainstorms, and I'm on a high. I've been craving chicken parm, so I go to a deli that I haven't yet tried around the corner and get some plus a diet ginger ale, Blue Diamond salt 'n' vinegar almonds (YUM), and wasabi peas to keep at my desk. $22.34
2 p.m. — Get hungry, snack on the salt 'n' vinegar almonds, and share some with the people who sit around me. Campaigning to earn “snack queen” title.
4:15 p.m. — Get a text from my lash extension lady asking if I can come in for my 7 p.m. appointment early. I say I'll try!
5:45 p.m. — Oh shit, my boyfriend's car is making a funny noise when I start it and I'm about to drive it for a kajillion hours this weekend to visit my family. Better get it looked at, *le sigh.*
6:15 p.m. — Get home, rush to take our dog out to pee, and then beeline it to my lash appointment. I don't usually get lash extensions, but I love the way they look and how all I need is BB cream and blush in the morning to feel good. I got them before a bachelorette party a few weeks back and told myself I'd fill them until the wedding next month before giving my lashes a break. I ask her to adjust the length of the lashes on my inner corner to be shorter and the lashes on the outer corner to be longer. I wrote a Yelp review, so I get 20% off, plus a discount for paying in cash, and because it's a fill and not a new set. So I don't feel like I'm totally breaking the bank. $105
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7:45 p.m. — Get home, and I look really f'ing good. #WorthIt. I pour a glass of wine, and even though I'm not really hungry, I cook my last Plated meal: spinach turkey burgers over quinoa and blistered tomato. I end up saving most of it for my boyfriend to eat when he's back this weekend.
10:15 p.m. — How is it 10 and what am I doing awake? I position my hands underneath my cheek so as to not risk my new lashes touching the pillow. G'night.
Daily Total: $127.34

Day Five

7:30 a.m. — Wake up early so that I can take the car to our dealership auto mechanic (about a 40-minute drive). I'm visiting family in Pennsylvania this weekend so I want to make sure I make it there alive. Ugh.
9:00 a.m. — They can't find anything wrong with it, and I'm pretty sure they all think I'm crazy. Am I insane to think I shouldn't feel my seat vibrating when I'm sitting in my car? Oh well! I got the "good to go," so I'm not going to worry about it. Also, score, because $0.
10:00 a.m. — Hustle to my desk and scarf down a bag of salt 'n' vinegar chips at my desk so I don't have to get up to get breakfast. Can you tell I like salt and vinegar?
1:15 p.m. — Reheat half of my chicken parm from yesterday in the microwave.
3:30 p.m. — Need. Caffeine. Make. Espresso.
5:45 p.m. — My teammates are the last in the office, , but my colleagues knows I have to drive to PA and tell me to leave.
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6 p.m. — I'm anal about running out of gas, so even though my tank is three-quarters full, I stop to fill it up. Curse my boyfriend and his insistence on premium. $34
6:15 p.m. — Arrive home and give my dog anti-nausea medication. Bless his heart, he gets such motion sickness and it takes about 30 minutes to an hour for it to kick in. Pack my bag, throw away the perishables, get rid of the garbage, etc.
7:30 p.m. — Hit the open road!
8:45 p.m. — Arrive to Pennsylvania earlier than expected. My grandma is a badass, and I find her crushing Coors Lights and working on pictogram puzzles while watching Investigative Discovery. She makes me a roast beef sandwich with salt and vinegars and a dill pickle on the side. Life. Is. Good.
Daily Total: $34

Day Six

8:15 a.m. — Wake up well-rested and enjoy at least four cups of coffee with my grandma on her patio while she chain smokes, and we throw the ball for my dog. She purchased a set of new tennis balls and larger bouncy balls for him. She has always had dogs, but now that my grandpa has passed and she lives alone, it would be too much for her to handle, so she loves when I bring our dog to visit.
9:50 a.m. — Grammy breaks out a fruit tray for breakfast. Yum.
12:15 p.m. — My grandmother insists on making me a half roast beef sandwich to hold me over until dinner. She rocks. We talk about my new job.
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2 p.m. — Finally make my way upstairs to shower and get ready to go visit my other grandparents for dinner. I take my time getting ready and chat about the latest family drama on my dad's side with my gram.
4:15 p.m. — Drive to the next town over to visit my grandparents, but stop at the Hallmark I worked at through high school to pick up a birthday card for my mom's birthday this weekend. I get a card that has a butt blowing a birthday horn, a little sign that says “Does this look like the help desk?” for her to take to work, a coffee mug with a silly saying, candy, and a Philadelphia Eagles beer cozy. She lent me money she really didn't have for me to be able to pay my back taxes when I became unemployed a few months ago, so my priority this birthday is paying her back, not getting her the coolest gift. I've already paid her back $500, which felt really good. I'm sure she won't mind the lame gifts. $42
6 p.m. — Leave for dinner with my other grandparents. We go to one of our favorite restaurants that has this beautiful water wheel out front where we used to come when I was a kid for “fancy" meals. My grandma and I order the filet mignon with roasted Brussels sprouts and fingerling potatoes with wine. My grandpa has the Caribbean pork with jasmine rice. I excuse myself to go to the restroom to give my card to the waitress to pay for dinner — my grandparents have treated me to so much in life, and I feel like this is a small way to show my gratitude. They're upset that I did it, but I can tell that they're proud and appreciative. $163
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8 p.m. — We get home earlier than we thought, so I suggest that they come with me to my other grandma's house for a Coors Light happy hour. My parents broke up when I was about two, so it's been at least a decade since our families have been together willingly. Shockingly, they agree!
9 p.m. — It is THE BEST feeling to be sitting here to witness my two sets of grandparents catching up. My heart is filled with joy and my belly is filled with Coors Light. I snap a photo and send to my mom. My mom replies “awww,” and let's me know that they're home from their trip and she's going to bring my little brother and sister to meet me for breakfast tomorrow.
10:45 p.m. — Go to bed very, very happy.
Daily Total: $205

Day Seven

8:30 a.m. — Wake up and have three cups of coffee with my gram. We talk about how much fun it was to have our mini reunion last night.
10:30 a.m. — Meet my mom, brother, and sister at the diner I waitressed at in high school. (I worked three jobs simultaneously through high school, which has given me such a great work ethic and is probably why I've been spending so much now that I have my first “real money” job.) I give my mom her gifts and she loves them. My siblings are much younger than me, so I really enjoy getting to have quality time with them given our age gap. They want to go shopping with me at a store that's going out of business nearby so that they can spend their birthday money. My mom won't let me pay for breakfast, but I leave the tip. $10
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12 p.m. — Arrive at the store and browse for an hour. My brother finds an indoor basketball hoop marked down to $10 and also gets a set of Nautica socks for $2.88. My sister and I each get an Ugg Cleaning Kit marked down to $4.50 each. I also get a giant metal wall clock for my living room, originally $100 marked down to $18, plus three pairs of shoes for $62. It pays to have size five feet. $84.50
2:30 p.m. — Drop the kids off back at my mom's. Give everyone huge hugs.
2:45 p.m. — Get back to my grammy's. I give my dog his anti-nausea medication. I want to hit the road to beat shore traffic. My grandma packs me a huge container of cream chipped beef, six cans of Coors Light, a container of veggies she cooked on the grill, and a box of Nutty Buddies for my boyfriend because she knows he loves them.
3:15 p.m. — Begrudgingly say goodbye and head home. So sad!!!!
4 p.m. — I only have a half tank left, so I stop to get gas again. $63
4:45 p.m. — Arrive home and quickly unpack so I can get some cleaning done before my boyfriend gets home. I wash the sheets, Swiffer the floor, and light a candle. I also help myself to a Coors Light — happy to have a bit of home with me.
6:15 p.m. — My boyfriend is home! Yay! We reheat some of my grandma's chipped beef for dinner and share a Nutty Buddy for dessert while we snuggle and watch The Sinner. He shares stories from his business and bachelor party trip this week — he's grateful that I wasn't bothering him all weekend like some of his buddies' girlfriends and wives were. I trust him totally, and I know how lucky we are to have each other.
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9:15 p.m. — Take the dog out one last time, put the sheets back on the bed, and feel super grateful for the wonderful week I've lived.
Daily Total: $157.50
Edit note: We have made some small edits to this diary to protect the identity of the diarist.
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