A Week In Philadelphia, PA, On A $70,000 Salary

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Today, as part of Your Spending In Your State: a scientist working in cell and gene therapy who makes $70,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on chicken empanadas.
Occupation: Scientist
Industry: Cell and Gene Therapy
Age: 25
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Salary: $70,000
Paycheck Amount (2x month): $2,135
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $600 for a bedroom in a three-bedroom house
Student Loan Payment: $0 (My parents paid for my undergrad and I owe them money for my graduate degree, to be paid back ASAP.)
Health Insurance: $0 (Thanks, Mom and Dad.)
Utilities: ~$100 (We split this evenly.)
401(k): $230.77 (8% of my salary, with an employer match of up to 5%)
Spotify: $10.99
Car Payment & Insurance: $338.74
Gym Membership: $35
Netflix/HBOGo: $0, thanks to my sister and parents
Savings: Automatically $500, but about every two months I lump deposit ~$2,000 into my savings.

Day One

8 a.m. — I've been at my parent's house this weekend. My big sister moved back from Paris after six years so she, her boyfriend, my other sister, and my brother-in-law all spent the weekend at home with my parents. I wake up at 8 a.m. for an eight-mile run in the suburbs down the canal and through the neighborhood.
9:45 a.m. — Arrive back home to warm bagel sandwiches from the local bagel place — the best bagels I've ever had. I shower and we all sit around drinking coffee and eating our delish sandwiches. Debate over sausage, egg, and cheese versus bacon, egg, and cheese ensues (sausage forever).
12:15 p.m. — I take a nap on our big comfy couch after trying to read my book with heavy eyelids. When I wake up, I go to the grocery store with my mom, and she buys me a case of La Croix and a cucumber. (Thanks, Mom!)
3 p.m. — We all have lunch at home together before my sister and her husband head home and I drive back to Philly. My mom makes various salads while my dad grills garlic shrimp and spicy sausages. It's all delicious. I'm lucky my parents are such good cooks.
4:30 p.m. — I drive the 40ish minutes back to Philly and stop at Whole Foods around the corner from my house. I pick up scallions, cilantro, salad, salmon, tofu, ground pork, edamame, sesame oil, bananas, carrots, an avocado, and a six-pack of beer ($42). I'm a beer junky and they carry beer from a brewery I really love. $42
5:30 p.m. — I get home and look up flights from Dublin to London. I'm going to visit family and friends in Dublin for a few days before heading to London to visit more family and my best friend who just moved there. One of my other friends will be joining for the London leg of the trip. I book a cheap flight I find that flies into Heathrow ($58). I also pay for my spot in a 10-miler team race next weekend with my running group ($45). I head downstairs to meal prep for the week while drinking a beer. Takes about an hour and a half just to cook up sushi rice, some sauces, and spicy pork. $103
7 p.m. — I'm not terribly hungry due to my big and late lunch, so I make a snack of a buffalo chicken slider sandwich with garlic dressing and eat a leftover brownie. (Thanks, sister.)
8 p.m. — I watch the first episode of the new season of Shameless on Netflix and end up falling asleep relatively early.
Daily Total: $145

Day Two

6:15 a.m. — I wake up after ignoring my 5 a.m. running alarm (good for me) and I'm relieved, since it's super humid. I wash my face, moisturize, fill in my brows, throw on concealer and mascara, and tie my hair up. I grab the cold brew, smoothie, and lunch I made, and head out the door.
7:10 a.m. — I get to work and read emails from peoples' weekend work. Working in science does sometimes requires weekend work, since we're at the mercy of the cells. My team is pretty good about rotating who comes in, so no one has to work every weekend. I go to lab, take a quick sample for analysis, and read documents for the morning.
10:30 a.m. — I head into lab again to do some other lab work and then catch the end of a meeting, but since most of our team is OOO today due to overnight client work, we only catch up for 10 minutes instead of our normal hour long meeting.
12 p.m. — I eat my lunch from home: a salad with chicken, chickpeas, red onion, avocado, peppers, and homemade dressing. The rest of the afternoon is spent updating data and reading assigned docs. We often get required documents assigned to us through our internal system so we can stay up-to-date on important protocols.
3 p.m. — My office has flex hours as long as I get everything done that needs to be done, so I leave for the day and head home. It's 103 degrees in Philly today (WHY!!!!). I go for a six-mile run in the city and come home dripping in large amounts of sweat with my clothes drenched….ahhh summer.
5:30 p.m. — I jump into a cold shower, catch up with my roomie, and then start on dinner. Luckily, I have a leftover burger with balsamic glazed onions and cheese from my mom. I make some tater tots from Whole Foods to go with it.
8 p.m. — I turn up the the glorious A/C and watch The Bachelorette finale. I only watched the first two episodes of this season and I really don't care about the show, but it's something to watch where I can completely zone out. Lights off at 10:30.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

6:15 a.m. — My alarm goes off. I'm not a bad morning person and usually have no problem getting up. I wash my face with a Kiehl's face wash and moisturize. I head downstairs and make a smoothie with vegan chocolate fudge protein powder, peanut butter, turmeric, vanilla yogurt, banana, and other frozen fruits. Then I'm out the door with my lunch, iced coffee, and smoothie.
7:15 a.m. — I get to the office. For once it's a quiet week, which is weird. I just have a few morning meetings and some lab sampling to do.
12 p.m. — I have my usual lunch with coworkers, which always involves a lot of venting about clients and their indecisiveness about their processes and what they want done. I work at a company that does our own internal work but also helps other companies get their products into manufacturing. Every day here is different, which I love. After lunch, it's back to lab for the afternoon.
3:15 p.m. — I leave work for the evening. At home, I change into workout clothes and jog to the gym, but the heat is oppressive and I can barely make the mile there. I do some weight work and then walk home while on the phone with my mom. I take a quick body shower and throw on some mascara and brows before heading out with my bike.
5:30 p.m. — My bike tires are flat, so I walk my bike around the corner to the bike store and pump them up. My sister's boyfriend lives around the corner from me and lets me borrow his bike lock. He watches my bike while I run into the wine store to pick up a bottle of chardonnay ($11.99). I'm biking across the city to my friend's apartment, and my mom always taught me never to show up anywhere empty-handed. $11.99
6 p.m. — I arrive at my friend's apartment completely covered in sweat after only three miles. Then we sit and drink wine and plan our trip to London! I absolutely can't wait for a vacation! I book our tickets to the Tower of London and she Venmos me her half. $25
8:30 p.m. — I'm back at home just before it starts to thunder. I'm sweaty again and take another body shower. No point in washing my hair before my morning run. I eat some carrots and prep my lunch for tomorrow before collapsing into bed at around 10 p.m.
Daily Total: $36.99

Day Four

5 a.m. — Ughhhhh. My alarm goes off and I begrudgingly pull myself out of bed, lace up my sneakers, and go for a five-mile run. It's still just SO humid, even at this hour. I get home, shower, blow dry my hair, and throw on some brow powder, mascara, and cover up. Then I make a smoothie and head out the door with my iced coffee.
7:10 a.m. — I'm get to work early. One of my oldest friends will be in the city tonight, so I'm trying to leave early-ish this afternoon. I draft some experimental worksheets and plans for the next experimental run. There's a showcase around 11 from a provider, and they bring us free donuts. (Score.)
12 p.m. — I have meal prepped food for lunch: tofu noodles (from Whole Foods, and there are so good), spicy pork, green onions, cilantro, radish, and carrot with a chili oil dressing. I head into the lab to check on my experiments and attend a meeting at the end of the day.
3 p.m. — I rush to my car post-meeting and drive home! My friend's train from NYC is getting in around 3:30. This is our last time together before he goes to law school out of state, and I haven't seen him in so long. He walks to my house from the train.
4:30 p.m. — We chat at my house for a bit before walking into center city. Philly has a city wide happy hour on Wednesdays from 5 to 7 with $4 beers. We go to two locations and have a few beers. I buy a round ($15). We then meet up with my other friends at a different bar for some karaoke. My friend gets an Amtrak back to New York and I leave my other friends to walk home, stopping at Wawa for some much needed sustenance ($12). I'm asleep by 11:30. $27
Daily Total: $27

Day Five

6:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off and luckily, there is no hangover in sight! Thank god for Wawa. I bring the second half of my hoagie for lunch, make a smoothie, grab some coffee, and head out the door. Magically, I'm still at the office by 7:15. I feel a post-work nap today.
12 p.m. — Leftover Wawa sandwich and mac and cheese for lunch with some coworkers in our break room. There's also leftover food from another department's potluck, so we all snag some brownies and donuts as well. I spend the afternoon in the lab and enter data before leaving for the day around 3:15.
4 p.m. — Once home, I change into my running clothes and walk down to Whole Foods, whee I pick up two packs of tofu noodles, kimchi, two little chicken empanadas, and an espresso canned coffee ($16). I stop at the ATM on my way home to get some cash. At home, I eat the empanadas while prepping my lunch for tomorrow and chatting with my two roommates. $16
6:30 p.m. — I run with a beer running group most Thursdays. We meet at city hall and run to a bar where we meet up with other runners who start at other locations across the city. The basis for the group is a scientific paper that states drinking a beer after running is better for recovery. I run to the starting point and then we do the group run. Luckily there's another girl there who's my exact pace, and we run together the entire time. By the time I get to the bar, I've done 5.5 miles.
7:40 p.m. — At the bar, I have two beers and tip on each using the cash I took out ($10) while chatting with other runners. Then my sister calls me and invites me over to hang and eat leftover grilled pizza. I stay for the nightly toast the group does, pick up a build your own six-pack ($11), and call an Uber to my sister's boyfriend's place ($10.50). $31.50
9 p.m. — We sit and watch Parks and Recreation while I munch on two delicious slices of pizza. Two beers later, I pick up my stuff and walk home, where I shower and collapse into bed. I'm asleep by 11.
Daily Total: $47.50

Day Six

6:35 a.m. — FRIDAY! I slept like a log last night, so it's really hard to get up this morning. I pull myself out of bed, throw on a little more makeup than usual, make a smoothie and coffee, and head out. I'm at my desk by 7:10 a.m.
12 p.m. — My morning is spent in the lab finishing a long experiment. Miraculously, my entire team shows up to help. I am the youngest on my team and also the only woman, and this recent experiment was all mine, so I enjoy bossing the boys around all morning. We break for lunch and I eat the cold pork Asian noodle salad I made, again with those AMAZING tofu noodles.
2:30 p.m. — I'm done with all my work for the day, so I duck out a little early. I get home, change, and meet my sister for happy hour at a nearby bar. One of my roommates joins us when she gets home and I buy us a round. $17
7 p.m. — My roommate and I head home. I eat a big dinner of a homemade sushi bowl and drink lots of water. I have to be up early for a race tomorrow, so I head up to bed and lay out my running gear for the morning. I'm asleep by 9:30.
Daily Total: $17

Day Seven

6 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I jump up, wash my face, brush my teeth, and braid my hair. Then I eat a banana and fill my water bottle before heading out the door at 6:30. The race location is about three miles from my house and parking is limited, so I decide to run to the start!
7 a.m. — Three sweaty miles later and I'm at the tent of my running group. It starts to rain and there's a short downpour just as my race starts. It's a welcome storm, as it is so humid today. But it also means I'm drenched in water and sweat for the entire race.
9 a.m. — I finish my 10 miles and go back to our tent, talking to the other runners. The sun has come out and we have two kegs for our post race tailgate/barbecue. I end up staying for a few hours, drinking beers and champagne with the others and celebrating having raised over $10,000 for the American Cancer Society! I Uber home at around noon. $10.12
12:15 p.m. — At home, I take a quick body shower and throw on a dress to meet my sister and her boyfriend for lunch in my neighborhood. We get wings, mac and cheese, beers, and nachos. We split the bill ($39) and I head home for a much deserved nap. $39
4 p.m. — After my nap, my roommate and I head to meet my friend and his boyfriend. We have a few beers and my roommate has food. I Venmo her for my beers ($25). It's dark by the time we're heading home. $25
10 p.m. — I decide to meet the boys out after dinner, and I grab an Uber to a go-go bar ($8.50). Once there, I buy a beer ($6) and run into a guy I dated casually about a year ago. I head home far too late in an Uber my friend pays for. I'm glad I finally made it out, as I don't tend to go out much past 10 p.m. these days. I collapse into my wonderfully comfy bed in the A/C and fall straight to sleep. $14.50
Daily Total: $88.62
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