A Week In Washington, D.C., On A $56,000 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking millennial women 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.) Today, a PR exec who balances Kraft mac 'n' cheese with broccoli.

Public-relations account executive
Age: 25
Location: Washington, D.C.
Salary: $56,000
Paycheck Amount (2x a month): $1,570.27 after taxes and 401(k) contribution are taken out. I’ve been working with a financial planner since 2013, when I graduated from grad school and started working full-time, and my retirement portfolio currently consists of a Roth IRA, 401(k), and whole-term life insurance policy.
Number of roommates: None
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $862.11 (I’m lucky that my monthly mortgage is low as a result of my parents giving me a large down payment for my studio.)
Condo Fee: $374
Car Insurance: $79.99 (My parents bought me my car in college.)
Loans: $0 (My parents paid for my grad school.)
Birchbox: $10
Comcast (TV/Internet): $104.57
Cell Phone: $89.64
Pre-Tax Metro Card Contribution: $40
Whole-Term Permanent Life Insurance Policy: $220.16 (an investment as part of my retirement portfolio, not just for insurance purposes)
Health Insurance: $0 (I’m on my parents' plan until I turn 26.)

Day 1

9:02 a.m. — For breakfast, I grab a bagel with lox and cream cheese along with an orange. My office provides bagels, doughnuts, and fruit every Friday, which is definitely a nice perk at the end of each workweek. 11:37 a.m. — I make a coffee with my office’s Flavia machine. The coffee isn’t bad and gives me a small pick-me-up. 12:30 p.m. — My company serves some leftovers from the office BBQ-themed happy hour we had yesterday, so it’s a chili hot dog and baked beans for me for lunch. 4:32 p.m. — I go with a coworker to grab iced green tea at Peet’s near our office. $2.81 6:30 p.m. — I meet up with three friends for dinner and get a cocktail and lamb salad. We also share some delicious Afghan veggie appetizers. $29.55 8:02 p.m. — I Uber home from the restaurant. $6.30 8:20 p.m. — I pick up some soda to mix with whiskey, since my boyfriend and I are just having a relaxing movie night at my place with drinks. $2.19 Daily Total: $40.85

Day 2

9:30 a.m. — My boyfriend and I get some coffee at the coffee shop in my neighborhood. I get a chai-tea latte and he pays. 10:10 a.m. — We make one of my Marley Spoon meals that I received days earlier, which is a cook-at-home food-delivery service. We make “Crispy Rice and Vegetables with Shiitakes and Spicy Sesame Sauce." It’s an unusual breakfast, but tasty nonetheless. 2:43 p.m. — We’re heading to my friend’s barbecue, so I pick up some salsa, chips, and a six-pack of beer to bring. $17.42 3:36 p.m. — My boyfriend, friend, and I take a cab over to my friend’s barbecue, which is in a neighborhood pretty far away from me in D.C., and we split three ways. $9.67 4:02 p.m. — I eat ribs, pork belly, fajitas, smoked chicken wings, and some sides at the barbecue. Heavenly. 8:29 p.m. — We split another Uber from the barbecue to a housewarming in a different neighborhood. $7.59 Daily Total: $34.68

Day 3

11:30 a.m. — My boyfriend and I grab drinks as we wait for our brunch table. I pay. $8.60 11:51 a.m. — For brunch, I order an omelet with tomatoes, peppers, and avocado. I also get a side of hash browns, toast, and coffee. Boyfriend pays. 4:25 p.m. — After playing tennis for most of the afternoon, I grab a Powerade. $2.89 7:01 p.m. — I do a load of laundry in the laundry room of my condo building. $1 7:31 p.m. — My boyfriend orders some Thai food — drunken noodles, papaya salad, and Tom Yum soup. I Venmo him for half of the cost. $13 7:55 p.m. — I order a small Moleskine journal online from Amazon. $9.09 Daily Total: $34.58

Day 4

9:25 a.m. — Breakfast is coffee from my work’s Flavia machine. 1:27 p.m. — I get out of a meeting and realize I still haven’t eaten today. I eat leftover Thai drunken noodles from the night before that I brought to work, and I grab a Diet Dr. Pepper from the vending machine. $0.50 1:44 p.m. — I buy a small salad from the café in my office building to supplement my leftovers. $5.80 5:32 p.m. — I decide to sign up for Green Chef, another cook-at-home food-delivery service. For my first week (which will be delivered next week), I receive six meals for the price of only two. $26.98 8:01 p.m. — I make the last meal from the Marley Spoon box I received last week — a tomato-based cod stew over couscous. Daily Total: $33.28

Day 5

9 a.m. — I drove to work rather than Metro, since I’m going to drive to book club right after work. I pay for my office’s garage parking. $12 12:30 p.m. — I finish an already opened bag of wasabi-flavored chips and have some Progresso chicken-tortilla soup I had in my desk for lunch. 1:05 p.m. — During my lunch break, I pick up a birthday card at CVS for my friend’s party this Friday. $2.63 1:18 p.m. — I pick up a bottle of pinot grigio to bring to book club after work. $14.34 1:29 p.m. — I haven’t had caffeine yet today, and I’m starting to get the afternoon sleepies at work, so I make some coffee at the office. 6:40 p.m. — There’s wine and food at book club, so dinner consists of pinot grigio, mac 'n' cheese, salad, chips, and cookies. Daily Total: $28.97

Day 6

11:40 a.m. — Busy morning at work, so I finally grab some coffee from work’s Flavia. 1:50 p.m. — I finally get around to eating after a busy day at work full of meetings — tomato-based cod stew over couscous that I made the other day. 2:14 p.m. — I order So You've Been Publicly Shamed Book by Jon Ronson off Amazon for next month’s book club. $11.48
7:55 p.m. — Taking advantage of the nice weather at a rooftop happy hour with a few girlfriends. I order margaritas, sangria, nachos, and tacos. $35.70 9:01 p.m. — I take a Lyft home instead of Uber, since Lyft is having a 50% off deal. $5.37 Daily Total: $52.55

Day 7

10:40 a.m. — Office coffee again. 1 p.m. — I meet my boyfriend at Nando’s for lunch since he works relatively close to me. We split a half chicken and two sides, which he pays for. I decide I’m still hungry and order fries, which I pay for. $3.03 4:30 p.m. — I make hot green tea with my office’s Flavia machine for an afternoon pick-me-up. 5:59 p.m. — I pick up some dish detergent at CVS. I use a $2 coupon. $0.76 6:20 p.m. — I’m craving mac 'n' cheese, so I pick up some Kraft along with broccoli and make that for dinner. Hoping the broccoli balances out the mac 'n' cheese. $6.08 Daily Total: $9.87
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