A Week In San Francisco, CA, On A $125,000 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 project manager working in real estate who makes $125,000 per year and spends some of her paycheck this week on tacos.
Occupation: Project Manager
Industry: Real Estate
Age: 35
Location: San Francisco
Salary: $125,000
Annual Bonus: 20-25% of my salary
Paycheck (2x/month): $3,100
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,800. (I live alone in a studio apartment.)
Student Loan Payment: $0. (I finally paid them off last year with my annual bonus! I had zero help from my parents.)
Medical, Vision & Dental Insurance: My employer contributes $3,400 every year to an HSA card. I pay everything outright until I reach the $2,000 deductible, and then it mostly works out to everything being covered by my employer.
401(k): 10% of salary, pre-tax. (Company matches 4%.)
Savings: $1,000 ($500 of which goes in Stash.)
Credit Card: $1,200. (I have $6,000 total on a 0% interest-free balance transfer. Once this is paid off, I believe I can remain credit card debt free.)
Cell Phone: $0. (My work pays for my work cell phone and I didn’t want two cell phones, so I only use this one.)
Google Cloud Storage: $1.99
Cable & Internet (Includes HBO): $71
Electric: $20-$25
Spotify Premium: $9.99
Squarespace: $7
MealPal: $84
Netflix & Hulu: $0. (I trade my HBO login for access to a friend's Netflix and Hulu accounts.)

Day One

6 a.m. — I am awake too early thanks to the cacophony of steam hissing from my radiator. If I forget to turn it off at night, it automatically comes on at times set by the building. I listen to a podcast to try to fall back asleep.
8:30 a.m. — I'm up. I'm up! Open the blinds. Make the bed. Get ready while listening to another podcast. I check email and Twitter (my favorite), respond to a Hinge message confirming a wine date tonight, and leave in time to walk to work.
9:55 a.m. — I am running because of my hair, so I request an UberPool to get to work by 10:10. I am the last one picked up but the first one dropped up, so I proclaim it must be my lucky day while exiting the vehicle. Everyone probably hates me. (I get a $1 rebate on Uber rides by using an app called Ibotta. Once you have $20 in your account, you can request payment via Venmo.) $4.65
11:30 a.m. — Take a trip to the work kitchen for snacks. We have free coffee, tea, sodas, LaCroix, other fizzy drinks, small snacks, fruit, and candy at our disposal. Hot cocoa with almond milk sounds good for some reason, though I usually have tea. I also grab a handful of fancy mixed nuts.
12 p.m. — Book a Zipcar for a meeting I have in another city tomorrow night. I live a stone's throw from downtown SF and don't have my own car. Thankfully, our company has a Zipcar account that employees can use for offsite work meetings. ($121.52 expensed)
1:30 p.m. — Lunchtime. I buy a cup of tomato bisque and a side salad from one of the lunch places downstairs. I run into a colleague and we go back to the office to eat in the kitchen. She shares a funny story about one of her little kids. I genuinely enjoy hearing about her kiddos; they sound like real hams. $10.63
4:30 p.m. — In the kitchen again for a pomegranate Hint Water and something sweet. We have Halloween-sized boxes of Nerds in the candy drawer and I can't resist. I still need to power through a few more emails before the day is over, but I remember I have a few items in my Target shopping cart and it's payday, so I purchase them through Ibotta. I get polka dot midi dress ($26.39), a copper soup ladle ($5.09), and four melamine dinner plates ($15.65). Make a note in Todoist of the expected delivery date. $47.13
6:15 p.m. — Leave work a bit late and hop on the bus ($2.50) to meet a friend at my place to brainstorm ideas for a web series or podcast. We are both trying our hands at stand-up comedy but aren't sure that's the lane we want to pursue. Stop by the little grocery store right across the street from my apartment to pick up baked potato fixings for dinner. I don't know if my friend is hungry but I get enough for two just in case. A couple of hours later, my friend leaves and I wolf down my potato and get ready for this date. $11.17
9 p.m. — Meet up with Hinge guy at a wine bar he picked in my neighborhood. Two and a half hours and a bottle of wine later (which he paid for), he walks me home as it starts to rain. We have a great time and he texts immediately to see if I can get dinner soon.
12:22 a.m. — I shower at night to wind down and take off the day before bed.
Daily Total: $73.58

Day Two

7 a.m. — I am awake and not feeling too hot (thank you, wine). I chug a Hint Water and lie awake for a while. I have a presentation at 7:30 tonight at a meeting about one of our projects, so I give my boss a heads up that I'll be working from home this morning to prepare for the late evening; she understands.
10 a.m. — I check the Chase app as I'm going over my budget and see my state tax refund has already hit. I got my taxes prepared last week and my accountant said to expect the refund in about a month, so I'm impressed (for once) with CA government! My goal every year is just to not owe. I email my accountant to see if he received my check for the tax prep fees. I also send him my pay stub; he said he would look at it to determine if I should adjust my withholding due to the new tax legislation.
11:30 a.m. — I am starving and decide to make home fries with the other potato from last night. I put them in the oven while I shower hoping the water and the food will make me feel better. I need to get it together if I want to be ready for tonight.
1:30 p.m. — Get to the office and follow up on a few things before getting ready to leave for another meeting about an hour away. I'm involved in a fundraising breakfast next week, so I am meeting with the executive director to talk about my speech. I drink a warm Coke from the supply closet, hoping it will help settle my stomach and head.
2:30 p.m. — Grab chicken noodle soup from the place downstairs and eat it in the work kitchen while reading Forbes for a few minutes. I learn the CEO of Patreon is 33. $7.33
4:30 p.m. — Arrive at a wine bar for the meeting. I had enough wine last night, so I go for three glasses of mineral water. Yes, keep them coming. We share chips, nuts, and olives. I am finally feeling better. She pays.
6:30 p.m. — Arrive at the next meeting and drink a glass of wine while waiting to present. I thought there were going to be appetizers, but there aren't any. After chatting for an hour longer than I anticipated after the presentation, we finally head out. My colleague pays for the wine.
9:30 p.m. — It's a 45-minute drive back to the city in the rain, but I always book nicer Zipcars when I have to drive at night for work meetings. I usually get a BMW X3 but there were none available, so I picked the 328i. It's zippy and has great handling and visibility. I blast Jessie Ware's new album on the way and decide I can never go back to non-luxury class if I own another car someday. Uber home from the Zipcar garage near work. ($15.83 expensed)
11:30 p.m. — Shower, exfoliate, and catch up on The Daily Show in bed while drinking Nighty Night tea with my doTerra lavender oil wafting out of the diffuser. I am praying for a good night's rest.
Daily Total: $7.33

Day Three

8 a.m. — I think my alarm has been going off for 15 minutes. I snooze it for another 30 but eventually wake up and check email, Twitter, Instagram, and dating apps. Decide I should probably delete Instagram again. It kinda makes me unhappy.
8:30 a.m. — Start getting ready and am out to door to catch the bus to my 10 a.m. dentist appointment. I am picking up my night guard; $500 to prevent teeth grinding. I paid for it on my last visit with my HSA card. $2.50
11 a.m. — At the office for a conference call. One of the higher-ups brings in pastries every Friday. They are usually gone by this hour, but the universe is smiling upon me and I snag half of a cinnamon bun. I make Earl Grey tea with a splash of almond milk and grab a pomegranate Hint Water.
12 p.m. — Head to a monthly lunch with a few coworkers and we have dim sum to celebrate Chinese New Year. On the menu are pork buns, shrimp dumplings, Chinese broccoli, cabbage salad, and green tea. My colleague pays.
2 p.m. — Another conference call about one of our projects. I have a few people to catch up with around the office this afternoon and get the okay from one of my bosses about our new website design.
4 p.m. — Hinge guy texts, asking if I'm still up for something later. He suggests dinner and movie and recommends a restaurant and Call Me By Your Name. I love a man with a plan. Agree to meet at 8 for dinner before the movie at 9:15.
6 p.m. — It's pouring outside, so I catch the bus home to get ready. $2.50
7:40 p.m. — Uber to meet Hinge date at a taco restaurant in the Mission. There's a 30-minute wait so he's at the bar next door. He already drinking a michelada, so I order a margarita. I am ravenous at this stage and trying to hide my hanger (hunger/anger). It's 8:30 and they still don't have a table, so ditch them for counter-service tacos up the street in order to make it to the movie on time. He pays for the drinks and movie tickets so I get the grub. A burrito for him and carne asada taco plate for me. $26
11:30 p.m. — The movie is finally over. It was good but we both agree it was about 30 minutes too long. We go to a bar across the street to escape the theater's long bathroom line. I am ready to go home at this point but nature calls. He buys me a whiskey soda and 90 minutes later we take off. Uber home. $4.52
Daily Total: $35.52

Day Four

9 a.m. — Awake after a rough night of sleep with the new night guard. I woke up in the middle of the night to take the sucker out. Check the socials and Bumble, and catch last night's Daily Show with Trevor Noah. I read his book recently and have since become a stan. Throw on last night's jeans and pop over to my local café for a green smoothie — it's one of my weekend rituals. I run into my neighbor on the way and offer to bring him one back, my treat. $12.66
12 p.m. — I sign up for Le Tote with a link for a free month from Facebook. My wardrobe is 99% black and I've been feeling an intense need to mix it up lately. Catch up with a couple of friends over the phone before I realize it's 2 p.m. and I haven't eaten or done anything productive.
3 p.m. — Leave the house to run a couple of errands but stop at Boudin first for a cup of clam chowder and a Caesar salad ($10.14). It's freezing out. Next up is the frame shop to get a frame for a new painting that just arrived in the mail. I buy the basic 18" x 24" frame ($45.10) for now. (I had a smaller piece custom framed a couple months ago and it wasn't cheap.) Take the bus home ($2.50). $57.74
7 p.m. — Text a few friends to see what they are up to tonight but nothing sounds compelling enough to leave the house. Decide to catch up on Oscar-nominated movies while chatting with my movie crew on Slack. I rent Lady Bird on Prime Video and watch Mudbound on Netflix. $4.99
11 p.m. — Lights out.
Daily Total: $75.39

Day Five

9 a.m. — It is a Do Nothing day – a.k.a. I have no set agenda and will see where the day takes me. I live for me time. I go the market across the street for milk and eggs to make pancakes and also buy orange juice, sparkling water, a can of minestrone soup, and a box of spinach. $20
12 p.m. — Watch a few episodes of Mozart in the Jungle before starting Dan Harris's book, Meditation For Fidgety Skeptics. My mom's been telling me to meditate for years, and it's become a bit of a broken headlight for me. I keep seeing signs pointing to meditation.
3 p.m. — I contemplate going to SFMOMA and the new Everlane store that's opening this weekend, but ultimately decide to avoid the crowds. I rearrange art around my apartment and tidy up instead.
5 p.m. — Book a Zipcar for a work trip tomorrow and chat with a few Bumble matches. I go back and forth about online dating. It feels like such a time suck sometimes. ($85 expensed)
7 p.m. — I'm texting with a friend about the dynamic of our group of close friends and the various issues everyone is struggling with. I prefer not to discuss things this deep over text, but this is her style, so I oblige. I have to get ready for bed soon since I have an abnormally early call time tomorrow. I wash my hair with Obliphica Seaberry shampoo and deep condition it with a Kérastase mask. I do my nails while the mask sits, one of my weekly rituals.
Daily Total: $20

Day Six

6 a.m. — It's still dark out but I'm up and ready for a work field trip to the State Capitol. We are taking a tour, meeting with representatives, and then attending a lunch panel on lobbying. I walk two blocks up SF's famous hills to pick up the Zipcar.
7:35 a.m. — I miss the tour bus because it left promptly at 7:30 a.m. like the email said it would. Bay Area traffic is the worst. Drive up on my own instead and end up arriving before the bus does. All's well that ends well, but I also missed coffee and bagels.
10: 30 a.m. — Our tour of the Capitol begins and we learn fun facts from our guide who clearly enjoys his job. We have a Q&A with our local reps, but I am dying of thirst and only thinking about lunch at this point.
12 p.m. — Lunch! Everyone is served the same dry sandwiches accompanied by a small bowl of fruit. I clean my plate while chugging two glasses of ice water and a cup of coffee; I pray for dessert and chocolate cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and berries arrives; there is a god! The lobbyist panel is interesting and we learn about their work and the pressing bills this legislative cycle — affordable housing, homelessness, transportation, and sexual harassment are on the agenda.
2:30 p.m. — Field trip is over and I text a friend in the area. We meet for a quick catch-up at Starbucks and I get a hazelnut latte with coconut milk. She pays.
6 p.m. — I make surprisingly good time on the drive back to the city. I start laundry, reply to texts I've been neglecting, and catch up on work emails.
8 p.m. — I do not feel like cooking even though I know I should. I keep a few cans of Cuban-style black beans from Trader Joe's on hand. Pair the beans with brown rice and top with sour cream and Tapatío, plus a side of sautéed spinach. It does the trick.
10 p.m. — Shower, pat on La Mer eye cream, and apply The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA and watch a few more episodes of Mozart in the Jungle with my night guard in. It has taken some getting used to. I remember today is the last day for a 10% discount on an eight-week performance class I want to take, so I register online. $350
Daily Total: $350

Day Seven

8 a.m. — I'm awake for an hour before I start getting ready and check email. Look at my MealPal app to see if there's anything appealing for lunch today; there isn't. I am meeting podcast friends for coffee at 1 p.m., which is kind of throwing off my lunch hour today.
9:30 a.m. — Walk to the office and things are busy due to my being offsite yesterday.
12:30 p.m. — Meet my internet friends at a café designed for people who love Instagram and have a lot of expendable income. I order a Cobb salad at the counter and stick with water. We have a good conversation and they ask me to be on a future episode of their podcast. $21
3:15 p.m. — I've been back in the office for a while and am craving something sweet. We have mini-packs of Sour Patch Kids in the kitchen candy drawer, so I grab two and a blackberry Hint Water. Try to figure out how to prioritize everything that needs to get done in the next three hours. A friend is texting about a trip to NYC we are planning in June but I do not have the time to deal with that right now.
6:05 p.m. — I leave work and walk to Rent the Runway at Neiman Marcus in search of a dress to wear to the fundraiser in a couple days. I find an ugly but appropriate-for-the-occasion dress, but decline when they tell me it will be $200 to rent. ("It's Marni," the saleswoman says.) I go to Macy's where I find a Rachel Roy dress on sale and call it a day. It is something I can wear again. $95.11
8 p.m. — I run into my neighbor on the way home and stop at his taco shop for two veggie tacos with chips and salsa. I look at flights for Coachella and hotels for NYC and text my friends the prices. We plan to book everything in the morning. $11
10 p.m. — I'm exhausted. Shower, do my nightly routine and shut my eyes by 10:30 p.m.
Daily Total: $127.11
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