A Week In Orange County, CA, On A $210,000 Salary

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Today: a senior marketing manager working in the medical industry who makes $210,000 per year and spends some of her paycheck this week on 5-Hour Energy.
Occupation: Senior Marketing Manager
Industry: Medical Industry
Age: 35
Location: Orange County, CA
Salary: $210,000
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $4,221
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage, HOA & Taxes: $3,500 (I make biweekly payments, which is equivalent to an extra payment each year to try to pay down the principal faster.)
Student Loan Payment: $2,500 for grad school (I'm paying as much as possible and trying to pay this off ASAP.)
Health Insurance: $95
Home Owners Insurance: $48.50
Internet: $67.99
Cell Phone $75
Utilities $70
Home Alarm Monitoring: $35
Spotify, Hulu, Netflix, NY Times: $45
401k Pre-Tax Dedication: $1,200
Doggy Daycare & Boarding: ~$600

Day One

6 a.m. — I'm on the East Coast for a conference. I've been working 15 hour days for the past four days, and today is my last full day before flying home tomorrow. I set my alarm an hour early each day to try to squeeze in a workout in my hotel room. Even though I desperately need more sleep, I find I have so much more energy if I can carve out a few minutes for exercise. I peel myself out of bed and pull up a pilates work out on the Beachbody On Demand app on my phone. There's a lot of lying down in pilates, so I tell myself it's almost like staying in bed for an extra 30 minutes. Then I shower, get dressed, and head downstairs for an all-day marketing summit with my team. Breakfast is waiting in the conference room.
12 p.m. — We break for lunch. I find a quiet corner in the lobby to check email and make a couple of calls before heading back to the main meeting room where a lunch buffet of fajitas and various salads is waiting — not too bad. One of the small perks of business travel is skipping meal prep and planning. But after a week on the road I'm eager to get back to healthier food options at home.
6 p.m. — After the meeting wraps up, we head to dinner. We've been with customers for the past four days straight — day and night — but tonight it's a casual low-key dinner with just my team to celebrate a successful meeting. Everyone is pretty tired, so after dinner and a nice bottle of wine we walk back to the hotel together and call it a night. Dinner is expensed, $280 including tip for four the of us.
9 p.m. — The minute I walk into my hotel room, I get a text message from a former colleague who's in town for the conference also. He's out for drinks with a few friends. My bed is calling my name, but this is my last chance to catch up with him before heading home tomorrow. I meet him at a hotel bar, where we order several rounds of cocktails. He gives me great career advice and covers the drinks (his expense policy is more generous than mine). By 1 a.m. I'm thinking about my early morning wakeup call and flight, so I say goodbye and head back to my room. I set my alarm for 5:30 and am asleep the second my head hits the pillow.
Daily Total: $0

Day Two

5:30 a.m. — I hop out of bed with plenty of energy, ecstatic that it's time to go home. No time for a workout this morning. I throw on leggings, a light sweater, and booties — my travel uniform — and am out the door by 6:30. It's about a 40-minute Uber ride to the airport. ($50 expensed)
8 a.m. — Once I'm through security, I search the terminal for the best breakfast option. I find a coffee bar and order a latte, egg sandwich, and large bottle of water for the plane. ($11.50 expensed)
11 a.m. — I have a 90-minute layover in Houston. There are more dining options here than at Dulles this morning. I settle on a sashimi sampler and large mineral water at a cool-looking lounge next to my gate. I pass the time listening to an audiobook until it's time to board. Next stop: HOME!!! ($34 expensed)
2 p.m. — After landing in Orange County, I pick up my suitcase at baggage claim and grab a Lyft. My parents had been trading off dog-sitting my dog (a three-year-old rescued greyhound) at my house, so she's waiting at home when I arrive. I'm so happy to see her. I have the rest of the afternoon off, so we go for a nice long walk around Balboa Island — her favorite. $12
4 p.m. — Back to reality. I head to Trader Joe's to restock groceries. I don't have the energy to make a full meal plan for the week, so I just pick up my go to essentials: boneless skinless chicken breast, ground turkey, a couple of sweet potatoes, organic red bell peppers, organic free range eggs, Greek yogurt, green apples, steel cut oats, and — because I don't want to cook tonight — a frozen pizza. Once I'm back home, I put away my groceries, feed the dog, start laundry, and pop the pizza in the oven. I grab a La Croix from the fridge while I wait for the pizza to cook and vow to take a break from wine for a few days. Business travel always takes a toll on my eating/drinking habits. $44.03
Daily Total: $56.03

Day Three

6:30 a.m. — I'm up before my alarm (still on East Coast time, perhaps). I pull on yoga pants, a t-shirt, and shoes, and head out the door with the dog for our morning walk. I was nervous when I adopted her that I wouldn't be able to make the time to exercise her daily, but it's the best part of my day and I look forward to the quiet time outside and getting a few steps in before my day starts. Because I didn't do any cooking last night, I don't have anything ready for breakfast or lunch today (fail). I place a Starbucks mobile order on my phone app before heading out the door, and pick it up on my way to work. $7.90
12 p.m. — It's been a busy morning. There are a ton of emails to catch up on after being out of the office for a week, plus there are several new action items to track from our marketing summit on Monday. I call a lunch meeting with my team to work through the details and come up with an action plan. I feel guilty that no one has had any time off after working through the weekend and being away from their families for a week, but the weekend is only a couple of days away, and I try to focus on that. I order lunch to be delivered to the office for our meeting. ($35 expensed)
5 p.m. — I head home, change into workout clothes, take the dog for a walk, and then do a 30-minute workout at home from my Beachbody On Demand app. I cook a chicken breast and sweet potato for dinner and then the ground turkey with bell pepper, black beans, and taco seasoning for my lunches for the rest of the week. I also make a batch of steel cut oats for breakfast for the next few days, which I'll eat with diced green apple, walnuts, and coconut flakes. By 10 p.m. I'm pretty tired, but I spend another 30 minutes snuggling with my dog before going to bed.
Daily Total: $7.90

Day Four

6:30 a.m. — I'm up for my walk with the dog. I notice that a scratch on her face isn't getting better, so I make a quick trip to Petsmart to pick up two different types of solution and a cone collar to try to keep her from scratching ($86.17). When we get back to the house, I wrestle with her for about 20 minutes trying to get the cone on and the ointments on her scratch. She's pretty upset. I wish I could explain that I'm trying to help her. I notice that her kibble is running low, so I place an order on Chewy.com ($47.40). Pet expenses are no joke. After all of this, I'm running late for work. I don't sweat it too much, though, since I've been working nonstop for 10 days. I pack up oatmeal for breakfast and turkey taco meat for lunch and then head out the door. Thank goodness I only have a 10-minute commute. $133.57
4 p.m. — I leave the office early. I'm exhausted, and I have things to get done at my house this afternoon. I'm leaving for a bachelorette party in Vegas tomorrow. The thought of packing up and leaving town again so quickly is daunting, but fortunately it's just for one night. I throw a bathing suit, a couple of dresses, and some other essentials in a small suitcase, and then turn my attention to my regular evening routine: dog walk, 30-minute Beachbody workout, leftovers for dinner, TV, stay up later than I should petting the dog, and then go to bed. I decide that the dog needs a different kind of bed, so I place an order on Chewy.com. I admit that some of this spending could be driven by dog mom guilt for being gone so often. $65.24
Daily Total: $198.81

Day Five

6 a.m. — I'm up a little early to get everything done before my flight to Vegas. I walk the dog and squeeze in a workout. I eat a healthy breakfast of oatmeal, apple slices, walnuts, and egg whites for protein. Then I drop the dog off at a daycare/boarding place down the street, and have a bit of time back at the house to tidy up before ordering an Uber ($6.95) and heading to the airport to catch my flight. It's a short 45-minute flight to Vegas, and as soon as we're airborne, I feel relaxed — I really needed this quick getaway. I booked the flight with airline points, so it feels like even more of a treat. I take a taxi to the hotel ($38.87 including tip) in Vegas. I probably could have saved a lot with a Lyft. $45.82
11 a.m. — I arrive at the hotel and meet up with a few of the girls. We head straight to the pool and order a round of drinks. I pick up the tab for Bloody Marys for myself and the bride. $44 for two drinks — WTF??? I will be savoring every last drop of this overpriced beverage, and I think twice before ordering another. $44
12 p.m. — We secure a couple of day beds at the pool, which come with a food and beverage minimum. I order a turkey sandwich and a cocktail and Venmo the maid of honor $50 for my share of the bill. Later in the afternoon, drinks are free with our wristbands. We make the most of happy hour and down a few cocktails at the pool bar. Eventually we head up to the room to get ready for the evening. $50
5 p.m. — I stop at the convenience store on the lobby level for a bunch of 5-Hour Energy shots and gum. We're not as young as we once were, and partying into the wee hours after drinking at the pool all day is going to take strategic planning and reinforcements. The bride's sister has stocked the rooms with water, booze, and healthy snacks, so we nosh while getting ready. $25.94
10 p.m. — A private party bus comes to pick us up and drive us around the strip. The cost is $99 per person and includes unlimited drinks on the bus (though the drinks aren't great). We dance the night away on the bus and at a handful of clubs. $99
2 a.m. — Toward the end of the night, I'm desperate for a decent drink and buy a round for a myself and a few of the girls ($73.25). It's almost 2 a.m. and we're all ready to head back. The bus drops us off at the hotel and we make a stop at the café downstairs for a late night meal before going back to the room. I order a grilled cheese, which sets me back $17.70. $90.95
Daily Total: $355.71

Day Six

8 a.m. — I'm up before everyone else, because I have to catch an early flight back to Orange County to make it back for another friend's wedding later today. Two of my closest friends are getting married less than a month apart, and it has been impacting my spending. Fortunately, neither of the girls had a traditional wedding party, so I'm spared the burden of buying a dress and matching shoes that I'll never wear again. This time I use Uber to get to the airport, and it's about half the cost of a cab. $19.95
10 a.m. — At the airport, I grab an egg bagel sandwich along with a coffee and large water. It's everything I need to stave off the hint of a hangover that's creeping in. $11.67
11:30 a.m. — Back in Orange County, I pay $28 for airport parking and head to doggy daycare to pick up my pup. I pay $66 for her stay, plus teeth cleaning. She's very happy to see me. We make a stop on our way home to take a leisurely walk on the bluff. When I get home, I have leftover taco meat and sweet potato for lunch. I need a nap if I'm going to survive the wedding tonight. $94
2 p.m. — I realize that I didn't give myself enough time to get ready, so I decide to seriously lower my expectations for the level of glamming up I'm going to do. I manage to shower, wash and dry my hair, and finish getting ready in under an hour. I order a Uber and I'm off to the wedding ($10.55). At the ceremony, I locate a handful of friends from business school that I haven't seen in a while. We're seated at the same table for the reception and we have a great time catching up all evening. The wedding is gorgeous, with a view overlooking the harbor. We dine, drink, and dance the night away while the DJ keeps the party going. $10.55
11 p.m. — As the reception winds down, we make plans to meet up at a bar close by. I hop in an Uber with some friends, but when we get to the bar I realize how tired I am and decide to call it a night. I order another Uber to take me home. I feel guilty for leaving my dog alone all night, so I cuddle with her for about an hour before going to bed. $12.99
Daily Total: $149.16

Day Seven

8 a.m. — No alarm needed today. It's the first time in a long time that I don't have something to do first thing in the morning. I take the dog for a walk and feed her, and then prepare eggs, sweet potato, and black beans for breakfast. I take my time eating and drinking coffee while flipping through a magazine. I haven't had a full day at home in weeks, and my to-do list is a mile long, but I'm not in a hurry to get started. I jot down a couple ideas for meals and a make a grocery list. Eventually I head to Sprouts to pick up chicken breasts, ground turkey, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, bell pepper, mushrooms, apples, coffee, yogurt, prosciutto, cheese, and La Croix. $45.03
5 p.m. — Despite the fact that I've got a freshly stocked fridge and pantry, I have an intense craving for pizza. I cave and order a mushroom pizza from my favorite place nearby. I pick it up and enjoy half of it when I get home, saving the rest for later. Then I prep some meals. I really need to get back on track with cooking for myself more and eating out less. As the evening winds down, I glance at my work email and think about my upcoming week. The weekend flew by way too fast. I set a couple of goals for things I'd like to get done during the week, both at work and personally. Then I listen to a podcast for about 30 minutes before dozing off to sleep. This was a wild week between work travel, the wedding, bachelorette events, dog duty, and the standard daily grind. I like the variety, but at some point I wouldn't mind a more “normal” pace and schedule…whatever that means. $13.99
Daily Total: $59.02
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