A Week In Salt Lake City On A $50,000 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.
This week: an auditor who makes $50,000 per year and spends it on...a full set of new tires.
Photo: Getty Images.
Occupation: Auditor
Industry: Accounting
Age: 23
Location: Salt Lake City
Salary: $50,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,250
Monthly Expenses
Monthly Housing Costs: $200 for a one-bedroom apartment. I property-manage for the building I live in. Instead of payment, my rent is discounted by $700 a month.
Monthly Loan Payments: $0. (Thanks to my dad and in-state scholarships.)
All Other Monthly Expenses
Car Payment: $300. I bought out my car lease a few days ago!
Car Insurance: $100
Hulu: $8
Pandora: $10
Audible: $15
Cell Phone: $0. My employer pays for this.
Gym Membership: $160. I jumped on the Orangetheory bandwagon, which I simultaneously love and hate when I think about how excessive the monthly cost is.
Health Insurance: I'm on my dad's plan.
Roth 401(k): $600. No match until next year.
Internet: $30. I split the $90 bill three ways with some of the other girls in the building.
Gas and Electric: $20-$50, depending on the season.
Savings: $1,000. My boyfriend and I are saving for a down payment on a house.

Day One

7 a.m. — I wake up to my boyfriend's dog stepping on my face. I love him, but it's too early. I lounge around in bed and my boyfriend brings me coffee. I bought him a MistoBox subscription for Christmas, and this was his last delivery. So sad; so yummy.
8 a.m. — I decide this is a lazy type of morning. I eat a slice or two of banana bread that my boyfriend and I made last night and continue watching documentaries on Netflix.
11 a.m. — We scrounge around in the fridge for leftovers and settle on half a burrito and some pad Thai. It's still good, even if it's the day after. My boyfriend is meeting up with friends for the afternoon, so I run off to my own apartment where my first BootayBag awaits me.
2 p.m. — My BootayBag is a disappointment. I'm not thrilled with the selection that was sent. I make a mental note to cancel, or to try just one more month; it's hard to decide. While I'm home, I note that the ceiling in the hallway is leaking and call a few repairmen to come take a look.
4 p.m. — My friend stops by for the afternoon, and we catch up over coffee and lunch. There's a nice coffee shop around the corner from my house, even if it is a little pricey. I get a coconut milk latte and a turkey avocado sandwich. I tip a dollar. $14
6 p.m. — During coffee, I decide that it is a necessity that I get a pet. Considering my work schedule, it will have to be a very low-maintenance pet...FISH! We head to the pet store, only to be disappointed at the selection. I grab a few toys for my boyfriend's dog and some treats, too. I don't pay for any of the dog's necessities, so I get to be the fun parent who gives presents. $20
8 p.m. — We determine that a marketplace run is in order after the pet store and spend more than two hours going through clearance items before deciding on the perfect candle to fit my house needs. All of this work involves sniffing 20+ candles until I feel slightly high and my nose stops working. I decide on mint basil, which is heavenly. $5
10 p.m. — We part ways, and I make myself a late dinner. Riced cauliflower with diced vegetables and egg. It tastes similar to fried rice and is very healthy. I smile at myself for making good choices and start entertaining the thought of going back over to my boyfriend's to sleep. He doesn't come to my place much because of his big pup and my apartment not allowing dogs. I don't mind and head over for a sleepover.
Daily Total: $39

Day Two

9 a.m. — I sleep in this morning, and it has never felt so good. I eat a cookie for breakfast (because I can) and head back to my apartment for a day's worth of chores.
11 a.m. — I make myself an iced coffee with my Nespresso machine. I stocked up on capsules to get free shipping (it gets me every time), so I try to make coffee at home with very few exceptions. I eat a pre-packed salad from Trader Joe's that is in my fridge and turn on Schitt's Creek while I clean my kitchen.
4 p.m. — I haul myself to the grocery store so I can be an adult this week with real food. I have to go grocery shopping on the weekends, or else I'm stuck going after I get home from work, which is typically between 8 and 9 p.m. I buy carrots, chicken, kale, radishes, blackberries, strawberries, bananas, pork, cucumbers, zucchini, cauliflower, bell peppers, mango, and RXBARS because they're on sale. $48
5 p.m. — I decide to make myself dinner with these new ingredients and continue to listen to my audiobook (paid for with a credit) that I'm really liking so far. I eat a stir fry consisting of bell peppers, onions, mango, and chicken over riced cauliflower. However, I try to make my own cauliflower rice instead of buying the Trader Joe's prepackaged kind, which ends in a huge fail. I've riced that rice to smithereens. Oops. I'm too tired to clean the kitchen a second time today and feel like taking a nap.
9 p.m. — I go for a long walk and come back to snack on a banana with almond butter and some strawberries before heading to bed.
Daily Total: $48

Day Three

6 a.m. — I wake up early to make it into work on time. I have a call at 8 a.m. and my commute is about an hour. I grab a few snacks to hold me over for breakfast: strawberries, an RXBAR, radishes, and carrots. I also leave a key out for the cleaning service because they're stopping by this morning. The property owner pays someone to detail-clean the building every two weeks, and I often pay an additional $25 to convince them to clean a few things in my own apartment as well. $25
12 p.m. — I work at various client sites, which makes for a nice mix. My clients are scattered throughout Utah, and I get to enjoy the perks of the current office space: free lunch! I am sorely disappointed today when I see that it's nachos. I put some rice, beans, and meat on my plate and skip the chips.
9:30 p.m. — I finally get to go home! I drive the hour back and make myself pork zoodles. After the long drive and cooking, I'm exhausted and head to bed.
Daily Total: $25

Day Four

6 a.m. — I wake up and head to an Orangetheory class. I've been sick the past two weeks and have not been utilizing my unlimited membership. My legs are going to feel it tomorrow; I can already tell.
8 a.m. — I make a smoothie for breakfast with frozen berries, Macro green powder, orange juice, and spinach, and am in love with my creation. I pack snacks for the day (tomatoes and strawberries) and head to work.
12 p.m. — The client isn't bringing in food today, so my team and I have to fend for ourselves. We have a "team lunch" and go to a pizzeria where I get a small calzone and salad. I feel stuffed full of dough and happy because work is covering the cost.
3 p.m. — I'm really feeling my lack of coffee since I opted for a smoothie this morning. I make myself a drip coffee using the client's machines and put some honey in it. It hits the spot, and I gear up to work for the next few hours.
6 p.m. — It's getting late, and I'm hungry again, I'm not leaving work quite yet, so I grab a Fiber One bar from the client's kitchen (they provide a full supply of snackage) and start gearing up for the drive home.
8 p.m. — I pick up my birth control on my way home from work (100% of which is covered by insurance, woot woot!) and head to my boyfriend's house. I sent him a free subscription to Blue Apron, and he received it yesterday, so we decide to make cod stew, which is surprisingly good! I put the leftovers in a container to take home the next day, since the boyfriend is a baby about leftovers. I drink some wine that's already in the fridge and chat with my boyfriend and his roommates before we go to sleep.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

5:45 a.m. — My alarm goes off for an Orangetheory class, and I go back and forth about whether it's worth getting up for. Orangetheory charges a $12 fee for unlimited members who are no-shows, making me realize more and more what a high-maintenance gym I've signed up for.
6 a.m. — I get a flat tire during my drive to class and cannot be more bummed. I call AAA and am informed that they will arrive in about 45 minutes. I feel sad for my car — and for the $12 I now have to pay to Orangetheory. I wait in my car until help comes. As embarrassing as this is to admit, I have no idea how to change a tire. I feel very "damsel in distress" and hate being a cliché. $12
7 a.m. — With the spare now on my car, I text my boss and tell him the bad news. Since I work so far away, I have to go get this thing sorted out now; I can't drive around on a doughnut. The tire shop is nice but takes forever. Then it turns out that the damaged tire can't be patched — and that I need to purchase four brand new tires, not just two, because of my all-wheel drive. Why me?
8 a.m. — I am starving, and there is a grocery store next door. I get a coconut latte from the Starbucks inside and buy a chocolate cake doughnut because I am an emotional eater. $7
9 a.m. — My car is finished. I get an alignment done in addition to my new tires, and the bill comes to...$911. I whimper on the inside and put it on my credit card, which is APR-free for another three months. I start making a plan to pay that off over those three months, only to leave the shop and realize that my car is out of gas. I spend an additional $40 on gas, making this the most expensive morning of my life, by far. I feel sad and hate how much adulting sucks sometimes. I go home to get dressed for work. $951
12 p.m. — The client is bringing in food today, so although I have only been working since 10:30, I go upstairs to eat. It's a meat-and-rice number with a side salad.
6:30 p.m. — I'm still at work and feel bad leaving after having arrived so late, but my brother is playing at a little venue tonight and I promised that I would go. I leave work and head to the venue, which is right by my house, and then decide to head home after his set. I contemplate going to my boyfriend's house, but I feel too worn out and moody for company.
Daily Total: $970

Day Six

8 a.m. — I make it to the gym and back in one piece. These tires make me feel like I'm driving on clouds, or at least that's what I tell myself to rationalize the expense. I make myself another smoothie and put in way too much green powder, so I add a banana. I pack cucumbers, carrots, and an RXBAR and head to get a soy latte. $3
12 p.m. — No catered lunch today, so we head to lunch as a team. My boss pays, and I almost die from choking on a stem of cilantro. I excuse myself and am not really in the mood to eat this salad when I get back to the table. I decide to save it for dinner; hopefully it will keep.
6 p.m. — I eat my salad and it tastes so much better now that my airways are clear! I head into a meeting with my boss, who asks that I stay a little later tonight.
9 p.m. — I leave work and have to decide which house to go to — mine or my boyfriend's. I haven't seen him in a few days, but I'm so tired after the long workday, and I'd like to go to my workout tomorrow. He's not happy about it, but I'm trying to get better at standing my ground with things like this. I eat my chicken-bell pepper creation and take a bath.
Daily Total: $3

Day Seven

5:45 a.m. — My body wakes up on its own today, and I feel revived and happy. Sleeping in my own bed was such a good choice! Feeling stoked, I get ready to go work out.
8 a.m. — Before I head out, I make another smoothie. I'm out of orange juice, so I put coconut milk in it and go with peaches. This smoothie isn't an epic fail, but it sure doesn't taste as good as the others. I might need to look up some recipes since I'm new to the smoothie game. I grab a banana, almond butter, and an RXBAR.
9 a.m. — I'm on time to work, and today is payday! I quickly distribute my paycheck to rent, car insurance, internet, savings, and my credit card bill. Then I message my friend to see if we're still on for yoga tomorrow. I'm excited for weekend plans, but make a mental note to set aside time to work. If I don't make a plan, then I typically won't follow through. (I get too stoked with all the freedom!)
12 p.m. — The company orders catering today: pasta and Caesar salads — eh. I'm not a huge pasta fan (it doesn't make me feel great), but I eat it anyhow, because it is free.
5 p.m. — Work has dragged today, but luckily, since it's Friday, we get to leave by 5. I opt for this and regret it almost instantly when I end up sitting in traffic for two hours. My boyfriend and I go to dinner with two of his friends. I get a mango margarita, three tacos, and guacamole because I am starved. My boyfriend is feeling generous and pays for the food, so I grab our drinks. $20 (including tip)
Daily Total: $20
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