A Week In San Francisco, CA, On An $85,000 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.
Today: a recruiter working in tech who makes $85,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on donuts from Krispy Kreme.
Occupation: Recruiter
Industry: Tech
Age: 25
Location: San Francisco, CA
Salary: $85,000
Paycheck Amount (4x/month): ~$1,250
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,250
Student Loan Payment: $250 (I transferred to a four-year university and came out with only $15,000 in debt.)
Health Insurance: $0 (I'm on my parents' plan until I turn 26 and get kicked off.)
Phone Bill: $140
Credit Card: $50-100
Target Red Card: $30-100
Spotify: $9.99
ICloud Storage: $0.99
Netflix: $7.99
Equinox Membership: $205 with company discount (I know, it's bad.)
Curology: $10

Day One

9:30 a.m. — I awake begrudgingly to the sound of my alarm. I'm heading back to my hometown this weekend to celebrate my sister's 20th birthday and graduation from her medical assisting program, and need to meet my dad at the BART station in Fremont to get a ride home. I pack a small bag and prepare to work from the car for part of the day — never fun, but I don't have much of a choice. My boyfriend is sweet enough to drive me to the station (about an hour south of SF), which is so much better than taking BART there alone with my backpack and duffle bag.
11:45 a.m. — My dad is chronically late and shows up to the Fremont station 40 minutes later than we had agreed on. (Thankfully, I knew that he'd be late and planned accordingly.) I'm starving and need coffee, so we head over to a local Starbucks and grab a coffee for him and a flat white for me, then walk next door to Noah's Bagels and pick up breakfast sandwiches. We crack up over a cat on a leash sitting on a table inside with its family. Kind of gross, but quite a laugh. Everything totally hits the spot. I pay. $18
1:30 p.m. — We're finally home! Traffic on Highway 1 is notoriously awful, even on Friday afternoons. I rarely get to come home for weekend trips, so I really cherish being able to see my family. My two younger sisters still live at home, so it's definitely a full house when I visit. I spend the afternoon sipping iced tea and snacking on Goldfish, paying bills, and working from my laptop. It's a gorgeous day and I wish I were on the beach instead, but alas, work calls.
6:30 p.m. — Phew, finally done with work. I peruse furniture online — I've been hunting for a new bookshelf for my room, since the one I've owned for almost two years is too small and doesn't hold all my books. I find a leaning five-tiered shelf at Urban Outfitters that's perfect, and decide to go for it. I pick up a new clothing rack, too — also something sorely needed (I bought my current one secondhand and it's falling apart). Urban now allows for payment installments, and I leap at the opportunity. Interior design is my downfall, sigh. $74.06
7:15 p.m. — My parents' house has a great little patio overlooking the neighborhood, and I sit out there and chat with with my dad while having a glass of chardonnay.
8:15 p.m. — I have a serious burrito problem, and decide to visit my favorite local taqueria to grab a vegetarian burrito (just beans, cheese, rice, and sour cream). I cruise around to the beach as the sun sets in my old beat up Volkswagen that I drove prior to college. (It's pushing 250,000 miles.) The nostalgia vibes are strong. $7.50
9 p.m. — Home again! My sisters are both out with their boyfriends, so I spend time enjoying more chardonnay and chatting with my parents on the patio. (My parents and I love chardonnay.) It's so nice out, and my dad put up string lights. There's a family of skunks living underneath my parent's deck, and they decide to come out and say hello — we narrowly avoid getting sprayed. We eventually come back inside and enjoy a slice of apricot pie from a local farm — it's, as expected, wonderful. After my parents head to bed, I hang out in the living room and read Money Diaries. I eventually make it to my room and end up watching the new Season of Riverdale until 3 a.m.…Whoops.
Daily Total: $99.56

Day Two

12:30 p.m. — I somehow manage to sleep in until 1 p.m. and am awoken by my mother frantically urging me to get up and help her prepare for my sister's birthday party. I have a certain penchant for cleaning/organizing, so, after wolfing down a blueberry muffin, I spend the next two hours cleaning up the house, decorating, and putting out snacks. My mom tends to go EXTREMELY over the top when we're entertaining, and has bought enough food for probably 50 people (there are ~25 people coming). Two hours later, the house is spotless, and I hurry to shower and get ready — the party starts at 4, and I haven't had a chance to buy my sister a gift and card yet.
3:30 p.m. — I shower, take my pills (I'm currently on birth control, Wellbutrin, and Zoloft — I struggle with anxiety and depression and they have really helped stabilize my mood), blow-dry my hair, straighten it, and do my makeup. I hop in the car and drive to Ulta to pick up gifts. I initially had planned to go downtown to my favorite boutique, but there's just not enough time. I buy my sister a fun unicorn eyeshadow palette and get my other sister a Philosophy gift set. Her birthday was a few months ago and I never got around to getting her anything, and I figured that she'd most likely be salty about me buying a gift for our other sister and not her, too. Family pettiness, gotta love it. $89.93
4 p.m. — I pick up craft beer, gift bags, and birthday cards from Safeway before heading back home. The party is in full swing and a lot of our extended family has shown up. Family parties are always slightly awkward, but that's what wine is for. (Kidding...sort of.) I down a few beers and gulf down the lasagna and garlic bread my mom prepared. It's fantastic. $34.42
10 p.m. — Everyone's gone home, and I retreat to my room to chill out. I end up letting my 17-year-old cat hang out on my bed for about 20 minutes…HUGE MISTAKE. I'm extremely allergic to cats and immediately regret the decision, as much as I love my old kitty. My nose ends up stuffed up for the entire night, and my eyes itch and water. WHY, GENETICS, WHY? I end up staying up super late again watching Riverdale — I'm so addicted to Season 2. I pass out just after 3 a.m.
Daily Total: $124.35

Day Three

12 p.m. — I end up waking up super late again. As much of a luxury this is, I'm gonna be so screwed for the coming work week. I shower and head to the kitchen, where I graze on toast and leftover party food.
1 p.m. — My sister is talking with my parents about her financial options for buying her first legit car. It sparks a bit of anxiety in me — even though I'm the oldest child, went to a top college, and have a great job, I'm by far the worst with money out of my siblings, and it sometimes makes me feel inferior. On top of that, my sister selfishly opted out of helping with party prep yesterday in lieu of getting a bikini wax, and she gave me grief this morning about her missing makeup brush. I immediately get defensive, since I haven't touched a thing of hers this weekend. It drives me nuts and it's beyond frustrating to me that my sister and I seem to be fundamentally incapable of cohabitation.
2 p.m. — I'm supposed to meet up with a hometown friend this afternoon, but she hasn't texted me back yet. She's notoriously flaky, but given my own flaky habits, I don't trip about it too much. I decide to help clean up the aftermath of last night's party. The house is a disaster zone and my mom is taking a much deserved trip to the movies, so I take the initiative to clean the place up. My parents are so wonderful and have done so much for me, so whenever I come back home, I try to do as much as I can to make their lives easier.
5 p.m. — The house is finally clean! My dad and I tag-teamed (well, he vacuumed) to get everything looking spotless. Can't wait for my mom to see. I'm exhausted, and treat myself to a couple Riverdale episodes and YouTube browsing. I pig out on Chex Mix and chocolate leftover from the party.
8:45 p.m. — My friend ends up getting back to me and we agree to meet up at one of my favorite bars downtown at around 9. We're both chronically late; I show up around 9:20 and she doesn't arrive until 9:40, putting us in somewhat of a time crunch, which in turn sparks my anxiety. My boyfriend has agreed to come pick me up so I don't have to go back to the city on Monday morning with my dad. It's beyond sweet of my him to come all the way from the city to pick me up, and I don't want to make him wait around for me, but I have a gut feeling that it's going to happen. My friend and I each order two cocktails (this place has the best cocktails) and share a plate of truffle fries. She's a single mom and our lives are incredibly different, but we love catching up from time to time. We worked together at a local coffee shop years ago and have remained friends since.
10:45 p.m. — Trying to wrap up at the bar; the service is really subpar tonight and we wait forever for our second round of drinks to arrive and to receive the final check. I pay and then rush home, since I'm running late. My boyfriend is understandably annoyed, but we smooth things over pretty quickly. We spend the drive home chatting about work and life and end up having a heart-to-heart about our relationship. It's rocky at times. He has lingering insecurities from past relationships and fears that I'll leave him. He's somewhat more serious about the relationship than I am and sometimes it scares me, but I'm all about taking one day at a time and not stressing too much about what the future will entail. We finally get back to the city at around 1 a.m. and scarf down leftover lasagna and garlic bread from my sister's party before passing out. My boyfriend has been begging to try my mom's cooking, and I couldn't say no to bringing along leftovers for him. $72
Daily Total: $72

Day Four

6:45 a.m. — Monday! I'm feeling particularly groggy this morning and want nothing more than to lie in bed all day with my boyfriend. I'm lucky to have pretty flexible work hours, so I sleep in until 9 and eventually make it out of the house. My boyfriend drives me to work and I do my makeup in the car. (I've mastered the art of doing makeup in a moving vehicle.) I have a call at 10 a.m. and arrive at work with just enough time to log into my computer and get things set up for the call. I do 20 to 30 calls with candidates per week, and sometimes yo girl is not in the mood to put on a phone voice. Thankfully, my first two calls go really well and I'm feeling good about the day. I help myself to two cups of coffee with half and half but skip out on breakfast, though my company provides us with all the breakfast essentials, which I'm so thankful for.
12 p.m. — Lunchtime! My company caters lunch every day, and it's so nice for cutting costs. I make myself a salad of mixed greens, quinoa, roasted potatoes, roasted pork loin, cucumbers, and vinaigrette dressing. It hits the spot and I feel pumped to finish out the day strong. After lunch, I head to the kitchen and grab a Dasani sparkling water and a Kind bar to snack on later. I head back to my desk and stubbornly avoid the nearly 30 unanswered emails in my inbox. UGH, Monday's. On the bright side, my calls have been excellent overall today.
7 p.m. — I finally leave work. What. A. Day. I ended up staying half an hour later than I'd planned because one of my colleagues wanted to chat about a position she's applied into. I'm exhausted, but manage to lug myself to the gym. I recently joined Equinox, which is so expensive, but the facilities are great and the proximity couldn't be better. (It's a two-minute walk from my office.) I'm feeling particularly bloated and meh, so my workout is sort of half-assed. Oh well, something is better than nothing at all! By the time I shower and change, it's half past 8. I hop on BART, start the trek home, and jam the new Kanye and Kid Cudi album, Kids See Ghosts. I wasn't the biggest fan of his other recent project, ye, but I am FEELING this record. I've been a huge Kanye fan since 8th grade, but lately I've been so disappointed in not only his music, but his very public (apparent) descent into madness.
9 p.m. — Getting home takes a lot longer than expected due to an error in my bus schedule app that results in me waiting around for a bus that is never going to come. GAH. I end up calling an Uber Pool ($8.86) and head to my favorite neighborhood taqueria. I order my favorite burrito (beans, rice, sour cream, cheese) plus a carne asada taco ($12). $20.86
9:30 p.m. — Back at home once again! I'm finally able to relax and change into comfy clothes. My boyfriend wants to stay over, but I really just want to be alone tonight (a girl needs some alone time, ya know?). I binge-watch a bunch of depressing videos (about poverty in America and education spending cuts) and am feeling not great about the world. I also have to borrow $150 from my boyfriend because I haven't budgeted properly for this week. I'm absolutely terrible with my money and need to make a change, stat. He doesn't mind loaning me money, but I already owe him several hundred dollars and I can't seem to break this habit. What a way to end a Monday. I end up (as feared) staying up until 3 a.m. again and hate that I let myself switch up my sleep schedule. I have to be at the office by 9 a.m. tomorrow for a meeting, and I'm not looking forward to only getting five hours of sleep.
Daily Total: $20.86

Day Five

8 a.m. — Rise and shine! I feel shockingly more well-rested than I had expected to. I didn't drink last night, and I'm sure that helped, but I wake up a little sweaty, which is unpleasant. I force myself to get up — this meeting is important and it's not going to be a good look if I'm late. My commute usually takes ~35 minutes, but this morning it takes 45. Thankfully, I make it on time.
9:30 a.m. — I head to the kitchen and grab coffee, water, a bowl of berries, and avocado toast on wheat bread with a sliced hard-boiled egg and Tapatio sauce on top. I swear this combo cures anything.
12 p.m. — Lunch. It's Mexican food today, which I normally get really excited about, but I've been overloading on Mexican food lately. Still, I ain't mad about it. I grab a cup of tortilla soup, a small burrito bowl (I mixed everything up myself), and an iced tea from the kitchenette on my floor. I head back to my desk and make a mental note to make a new working playlist at some point. I've been listening to the same ambient/classical/jazz playlist forever and it's starting to get old.
5:45 p.m. — Ready to leave work! My close friend who works with me is going out of town this weekend, so we decide to have a lady date. We BART to the Mission district (I use my card that has preloaded money on it) and take a quick look inside Tartine Bakery. It's easily the most famous bakery in the city, and somehow I've never been. I grab a lemon bar for later ($7 including a tip). We decide on Pizzeria Delfina for dinner and order two appetizers, pizza, and a bottle of wine. We split the bill ($71 for my half). Everything is absolutely amazing, and it's worth every penny. She invites me over to her place to hang out for a bit, so we grab another bottle of wine to share at her place and she graciously gives me a bunch of clothes she doesn't want anymore — score! $78
9:30 p.m. — Back home again. My boyfriend comes over and brings with him yet more wine. Oh my. We attempt to watch The Dark Knight (this is night #3 of trying to finish it), but of course I pass out after 10 minutes.
Daily Total: $78

Day Six

6:30 a.m. — I'm awoken by my boyfriend kissing me goodbye. He's leaving early to drive for Lyft. He works so hard and ends up making pretty good money — I'm really proud of him. I set my alarm for 9 a.m. and doze off again.
9:15 a.m. — I begrudgingly wake up with a pounding headache (curse you, wine!). I regret my lack of control last night and take a few Advil to appease the headache. I decide to work from home today, as I don't have any meetings I need to be on camera for today. The day slugs by; I have 10 calls with candidates, and it's just a lot. I take a break to chat with one of my new roommates in the living room (I live in a nine-bedroom place) and order coffee, a hash brown, and two breakfast sandwiches from McDonald's from Uber Eats. $18.50
12 p.m. — I'm having a bad sugar craving and end up ordering donut holes from Krispy Kreme from Uber Eats. $13.86
2:30 p.m. — I get an email telling me that my new clothing rack has been delivered! I'm quite challenged when it comes to putting things together, but I manage to assemble it without too much trouble. It looks amazing in my room, and I gladly recycle my crappy old one. I get other great news — my best friend and I have secured tattoo appointments in L.A. next weekend with an amazing artist. It'll be both of our first tattoos, and I think getting them together by the same artist is going to be so special. We've been friends for nearly 20 years. I'm nervous about the permanence of tattoos due to my mild OCD, but I trust that I'm in a place in my life where I can handle something like this.
4:30 p.m. — I'm done with all my calls for the day — phew! One of my last candidates hit me with really difficult questions about the business, and I'm wiped out. I spill coffee on my sheets and decide to just wash all my bedding. I'm supposed to go to a birthday dinner tonight with some coworkers but I'm really not in the mood to drink and socialize, so I cancel and just hang out at my place.
8 p.m. — I'm getting hungry again, so I order a spicy tuna roll, a deep-fried California roll, and a Diet Coke from a local sushi place on Doordash. I hang out and enjoy the sushi while watching try-on hauls on YouTube. I'm a massive YouTube nerd and spend a not-okay amount of time watching YouTube. $26.10
11 p.m. — My boyfriend asks to come over, and I oblige. He brings over burritos. I'm not hungry, but I'll have dinner for tomorrow night set up! He also brings over wine, but it's Moscato, which I hate (way too sweet for my taste). I end up having a glass anyway, and finally finish The Dark Knight. I'm getting sleepy but I force myself to retreat to the bathroom to do my nightly routine. I remove my makeup with micellar water, spritz rose water toner on my face, and apply pure hyaluronic acid to my face and neck. I finished by slapping on my Olay Regenerist night cream and call it a night.
Daily Total: $58.46

Day Seven

8:30 a.m. — Rise and shine! Need to get into the office. I feel like I hardly got anything done yesterday; working from home is nice, but my productivity almost always gets cut in half. I head out the door at 9:10 hop on the bus. I almost always do my makeup on the bus — not sure if that makes me trashy or resourceful. (I love my sleep!) I use Revlon ColorStay foundation, Taste concealer, NYX setting powder, Bobbi Brown lipstick, MAC highlighter, Bare Minerals blush, Maybelline eyebrow gel, L'Oreal Telescopic liquid eyeliner, and Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara. Traffic isn't so bad today, and I get to the office within about 30 minutes, yay! I had planned to come in early today, as I'm taking a short day to get my hair colored later, but I'll just make up the hours over the weekend.
9:45 a.m. — I head to the kitchen and grab coffee, ice water, and a cup of strawberries. Yay for berry season! I have a 10 a.m. meeting that I'm not prepped for and my mentor essentially slaps me on the wrist for it. Ugh. This has been somewhat of an off week for me and I need to shake off this funk. Time to grind.
12:45 p.m. — Lunchtime. I'm getting everything done and it feels good. Lunch isn't looking great today, so I head up to another floor in my building to make a sandwich at our deli bar. I'm obsessed with sandwiches, but some may call my taste boring. I make a turkey and Swiss cheese sandwich on sourdough with mayo, dijon, and lettuce. I grab a sparkling water and a bag of truffle chips back to my desk and chow down.
3:15 p.m. — I leave work early and head to the salon my roommate works at. She's an amazing colorist and will do my hair for free because she's an angel. As sweet as that is, I won't let her work for hours on my extremely thick hair for free. Tomorrow is payday, and I make a mental note to Venmo her at least $150. I do a little work on my laptop while she puts the foil in, and my boyfriend and I start fighting via text about a party I'm going to on Saturday night. Some former roommates are throwing a housewarming and he's offended that I haven't invited him to come with me. I tend to be extremely independent and like my alone time, and he loves to spend as much time together as possible. I'm starting to see how this may end up being a dealbreaker someday. I love him, but he occasionally gets insecure about our relationship and acts out. I'm trying not to let it get to me, but I feel myself getting anxious.
7:45 p.m. — Finally done! My roommate does an incredible job — I'm blonde and she's always trying to get my color brighter. The hair really lifted well this session. I make it to BART and realize that my Clipper Card is nearly empty, so I put $13 on it and ride the train back home. When I arrive at my station, I see that the bus isn't coming for nearly 20 minutes, but since I'm only about a 15-minute walk from home, I decide to skip out on the bus and walk. The fresh air is really nice, but I'm wearing heeled booties and my feet are absolutely killing me by the time I get home. $13
8:30 p.m. — I stop by one of the liquor stores near my apartment building and pick up a bottle of malbec for my lovely roomie, a bottle of chardonnay for myself, a bottle of lemonade, two Kinder bars ,and a bag of gummy worms. $33.67
Daily Total: $46.67
If you are experiencing anxiety or depression and need support, please call the National Depressive/Manic-Depressive Association Hotline at 1-800-826-3632 or the Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.
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