A Week In Seattle, WA, On A $68,000 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 writer/editor working in beauty who makes $68,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a popsicle.
Occupation: Writer/Editor
Industry: Beauty
Age: 27
Location: Seattle, WA
Salary: $68,000 with a 10% bonus + approximately $10,00 in freelance income
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,153
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $905
Student Loans: $200
Transit Pass: $0 (I pay $99 monthly for an unlimited pass and it's fully reimbursed by my work.)
401(k): $283 (This is 5% to max out the company match, but I plan to increase it after I pay off more debt.)
Medical, Dental & Vision Insurance: $0 (Paid in full by my work.)
FSA: $111 (I use this for co-pays and to order contacts outside my vision insurance limit.)
Credit Card Debt: $500
Renter's Insurance: $12
Wifi: $60
Utilities: $12 (I only pay for gas for my stove, and everything else is included in my rent.)
Gym Membership: $79 (I pay $119, then $40 is reimbursed by my work.)
Netflix: $9.90
Amazon Prime: $14.30
Spotify/Hulu: $10.99
New York Times Subscription: $12.50
Ritual Vitamins: $30
Savings: $500

Day One

7 a.m. — My alarm goes off, and I'm already tired of this week. I usually double up my pour over coffee to drink one cup at home and take one for the road, but my boyfriend, E., gets the second cup this morning. I take the streetcar to work and pop into the Starbucks across the street for an unsweetened iced coffee with coconut milk in my own tumbler. $3.14
9 a.m. — I grab a couple hard-boiled eggs and a pack of apple slices from the office fridge for breakfast. I'm so hungry, and coffee on an empty stomach isn't helping, but waiting until I'm at work to eat means free breakfast!
12 p.m. — Last week, a friend who works for a travel company asked me pull together some Seattle recommendations. My phone starts buzzing a bunch, and it's the story going live. I did it for free, but it sounds like I can create similar content for other paid projects through the travel company down the line.
12:45 p.m. — We have a long meeting today, and I rush out afterwards to grab the food I brought from home: lentils and roasted sweet potatoes with harissa vinaigrette.
1 p.m. — I meal prepped over the weekend to pack my lunches this week, but I still like breaking up my day with a walk outside. I decide to go out for a small treat and consider a couple nearby bakeries before ending up at the grocery store Uwajimaya. I get sesame balls (my fave!), seaweed salad, and a bottle of unsweetened green tea. $6.47
2:15 p.m. — I email and text back and forth with the creative director from my last job. She's launching a new project and wants my help with copywriting. She Venmos me the $800 we agree on to get started on the brand story, and I transfer it to my bank. I love getting paid in advance, and it's great to have a project with someone I already trust and know how to work well with.
3:30 p.m. — I get hit with afternoon tiredness and a headache, too. After being social most of the weekend, I'm dying to get home and relax, so I cancel the evening strength training class I'd signed up for a little too optimistically. I've been going to a great studio right by my old office for the past year, but now it's inconvenient to get over there. I cancelled my membership and am riding out my last month before getting back on ClassPass to find workouts that are easier to get to.
5:30 p.m. — I get home, and the Sephora order I placed during the 20% off spring sale has arrived. I usually shop in store, but I wanted the new online-only Herbivore Botanicals Emerald Oil with CBD. I went to the launch party for it while I was between jobs and couldn't afford it, so I'm excited to try it now. Plus, I finally got a shade of Fenty concealer that matches my skin tone. Turns out I have no idea what my undertone is, so it took a few tries. Now I can return the wrong shade I bought last week. I'm way more into skincare than makeup, so while I don't wear foundation, I do want to cover up the dark circles under my eyes, and I hope this works well!
6 p.m. — I boil some gnocchi for a quick shot of carbs and heat up soup I made yesterday for a more balanced dinner. It's spring minestrone from Bon Appétit — so good, and so many greens! I watch Knock Down The House on Netflix while I eat.
7:30 p.m. — I decide to take a bath and read. I just got Ruth Reichl's new book, Save Me the Plums, from the library, and I'm already charmed. She's one of my favorite writers. I'd love to do some kind of food writing someday, but for now I keep cooking as a hobby, eating as pleasure, and writing as work.
Daily Total: $9.61

Day Two

7 a.m. — I wake up with a sore throat and an earache. Maybe I was especially tired yesterday because I'm getting sick. I take my usual daily Zyrtec for allergy season to see if I just have worse allergies today. I make coffee and eat a couple hard-boiled eggs I snagged from the office fridge while waiting for it to kick in.
8 a.m. — I decide to work from home to fend off this potential sickness. I have no meetings on my calendar for the day and just have to finish some email copy and do research for an article, so it shouldn't be a problem. I drink a mug of Throat Coat tea and read during the hour I'd usually spend getting ready and commuting into the office.
10 a.m. — I get a notification that the earnings from my latest Poshmark sale ($12.80) have posted, and Ebates sent my last month's earnings ($5.52) to my PayPal account. I request transfers for both to my bank account. I sell skincare products I got for free on Poshmark for a tiny bit of extra cash. Why not make a few extra dollars here and there?
11 a.m. — I heat up spicy corn and coconut soup I had in the fridge for lunch. It's not a great sick day soup (not brothy enough), but I love anything with garlic, ginger, and shallots. Plus, I made it last week, so it needs to be eaten before it's too late.
12 p.m. — I get an email from my bank that they're introducing paper checks! Their whole schtick is being super modern and paper-free, but I've been getting money orders from USPS for my rent every month and it's such a hassle. I order a book of checks. $5
12:45 — I decide to walk to the library for fresh air and to move a bit. I throw on leggings and SPF and then listen to an interview with Phoebe Robinson on The Sporkful podcast on the way there. I have What My Mother and I Don't Talk About on hold and grab Trust Exercise by Susan Choi, too. I stop at QFC (Quality Food Center supermarket) on the way back for dish soap and a shower sponge, plus I get a couple boxes of fruit popsicles and two packs of frozen paratha. I eat a peach popsicle as soon as I get home. $18.11
4:30 p.m. — I make vegetarian cauliflower and mushroom bolognese sauce and then boil chickpea and lentil penne to eat with it. I'm definitely not gluten-averse, but I like this pasta because it has tons of protein and fiber. I listen to the latest episode of the Glowing Up podcast while I cook, and their interview with Billie Lee has a lot of Botox and filler talk. I'm curious about injectables because I hear about them all the time working in the beauty industry, but I'm nervous to drop that much cash and then have to keep doing it. I consider calling the doctor's office I've already researched to schedule a consultation for Botox, but I don't.
5:30 p.m. — I buy the latest episode of Killing Eve on Amazon Prime. I don't have cable, and have already done free trials on the other streaming sites that get new episodes every week (all these streaming services give me a headache!), but I love watching Jodie Comer as Villanelle so much that I can't wait until the whole season shows up on Hulu. It's worth it for her outfits alone. $3.29
8 p.m. — I finish the Ruth Reichl book and start Greek to Me by Mary Norris, the copy chief of The New Yorker. It never occurred to me that the word "alphabet" comes from alpha and beta! I'm fascinated by the etymology of words — sometimes it's like "duh!" but it's cool to make connections. I also prepare a pitcher of cold brew before I go to bed so I have coffee ready in the morning.
Daily Total: $26.40

Day Three

6:30 a.m. — Up a little bit earlier today because I need to shower and am thinking about walking into work. The weather's nice, and it honestly takes the same amount of time because the streetcar's so slow. I just don't like doing it if I'm short on time, because then I get sweaty trying to book it into the office and hate starting the day frazzled. I eat a few bites of lentils and sweet potatoes straight from the container to get going.
7:30 a.m. — I spent the last couple months working on a big skincare branding project through an agency, and I'm trying to figure out the status on that since I haven't heard from the project managers in a couple weeks. I emailed last week asking if I could go ahead and invoice them if my part is considered done. But, of course, the moment I ask about getting paid, they go silent. I considered freelancing full-time before I started my current job last month, but I'm so not down with chasing payments like this. I send a follow-up message with a couple more people cc'd so there's more visibility. Fingers crossed...
8:30 a.m. — Ugh, I'm coughing and still not feeling great even after coffee, allergy meds, and getting completely ready. I message my team that I'm working from home again. The last cold I had a few months ago turned into walking pneumonia, and I was sick for weeks, so I'm not taking any chances when I can take it easy and still get work done at home.
11 a.m. — Back to chickpea and lentil pasta with the veggie bolognese sauce for lunch. I've also been pounding the cold brew because the whole pitcher is just there in the fridge. I usually only have two to three cups of coffee a day, but I'm already on four.
2 p.m. — I eat a strawberry popsicle and drink a mug of tea before calling in for a team meeting. I'm grateful to not have as hectic of a workload as some of my coworkers, but I also learn that the strategy behind what I'm working on is about to change, so I'll soon have to go back and make a ton of edits across everything. Not going to worry about that until it's happening, though. I've been stressed lately just about life being too busy with all the usual things (day job, freelance projects, socializing, relationship, appointments, working out, chores) because I have low energy and need a lot of alone time to recharge. Everyone's hyped on being a #girlboss, but I thought we already learned it's exhausting trying to "have it all." I feel more empowered by a nap. So for now I'm not going to invite in any additional worry and just get work done as it needs to be done.
4 p.m. — I mix roasted peanuts with banana chips for an afternoon snack. More coffee, too. Whoops. I've started diluting it with almond milk, though. I do some exercises with my dumbbells and kettlebell throughout the day whenever I move around the apartment or stand up from the computer to think for a sec.
5:45 p.m. — I regularly go to trivia with my main group of friends from college on Wednesdays. It's at a bar close to my apartment, and the gift card prizes we often win keep us coming back. There's a patio, so I walk over early to make happy hour and sit outside to read (and eavesdrop on awkward Tinder dates). I get sweet potato tacos and a Rainier beer. I have a theory that you can track how much Seattle has changed over the past several years through the rising price of Rainier and what tall boys cost at different bars. This $2 happy hour one is practically unheard of now, but it used to be the norm! I avoid bars that charge more than $4 — especially if it turns out to be a short can.
10:30 p.m. — We get second place at trivia after thinking we were doing horribly all night, so we win a $10 gift card to spend next week. We've saved up a couple gift cards, so we should be able to cover at least one drink for everyone next week. After a few more Rainiers and a tipsy order of bread and butter, my tab's at $24.33, and I tip $5. $29.33
12:30 a.m. — E. ended up in the area for a work outing and was going to come spend the night, but within the 15 minutes of us agreeing to that plan and him showing up at my apartment, I pass out and sleep through him trying to buzz in! I'm the worst! I wake up an hour later to pee, realize what happened, and call to apologize. Thankfully he just thinks it's funny, and we know we'll see each other tomorrow. Ugh.
Daily Total: $29.33

Day Four

7 a.m. — I wake up with a bit of a headache but have to get it together to actually go into work today. I drink the last bit of cold brew with almond milk and fry two eggs for breakfast.
8:30 a.m. — Before hopping on the streetcar, I pop into Starbucks for an unsweetened iced coffee with coconut milk, knowing I'll need the extra caffeine today. $3.14
11:30 a.m. — Work is flying by, but I pause to find lunch. I brought soup, but I'm way hungrier than that. I walk over to the International District and get panang curry with tofu from Thai Curry Simple ($11.85 after tip). I also stop at Bartell's drugstore for a two-pack of eye drops and flaxseed oil ($37.41) because my eyes have been so dry and itchy lately I can barely wear contacts. I try to use my FSA card, but it doesn't work. I'll see if I can get reimbursed later. $49.26
2 p.m. — I eat a grapefruit cup from the office and pour the extra juice into a grapefruit La Croix. Game-changer.
4:15 p.m. — I get an email from an editor at the magazine I've been freelance copyediting for about doing some proofing for the new issue. It's time-consuming to go through a whole magazine, and I'm not sure when I'll fit it in, but I say yes. I also got an email this afternoon following up on an article I pitched for a skincare brand's blog. I'll have to work on that soon. It can be challenging to make time for more work outside my day job when my salary there meets my needs, and extra projects become more about trading in personal time, but I think of it as making connections and fostering opportunities for future me.
5 p.m. — I'm meeting E. downtown for a 7 p.m. movie, so I leave work and take the light rail that way. There's no use going home between now and then. I go to Sephora and exchange the mismatched concealer for Kate Somerville SPF setting spray. I wanted the one from Supergoop!, but it wasn't in store and I asked a sales associate for a recommendation. It's $13.21 for the difference. Then, I go kill time reading at Anchorhead Coffee with an IPA for $5.50 + $1 tip. $19.71
6:30 p.m. — E. got us free advanced screening tickets for Booksmart. I'm excited to see more of Beanie Feldstein after Lady Bird, and we've been finding the new What We Do in the Shadows show with her hilarious. I get us a Diet Coke to share — a bad habit reserved for the movies. $7.02
9 p.m. — The movie is so good! We go to Din Tai Fung for dinner afterwards. We share bok choy, vegetarian rice cakes, and vegetarian dumplings. My treat, because I feel bad for bailing on E. last night. It's $37.98 and I tip $8. $45.98
10:30 p.m. — We walk to my apartment and then watch an episode of Tuca & Bertie before bed. It's pretty heavy after the lighter earlier episodes and leaves me a little uneasy. This show and Bojack Horseman so perfectly balance cheeky humor and trauma.
Daily Total: $125.11

Day Five

6:40 a.m. — I wake up and run across the street to spin class. The studio's an expensive SoulCycle knock-off, but they emailed earlier in the week offering a free class credit. This is exactly what I mean by needing a studio closer to home. Working out makes such a huge difference in my mood and energy, and I need to get back into it!
9:30 a.m. — I take my time showering and getting ready while E. does some work before we both head out. I take the streetcar and pick up my becoming-the-usual iced coffee from Starbucks ($3.14). I prefer other coffee shops, but there's a Starbucks at both of the streetcar stops I use, and it's cheaper than $5 cold brew somewhere else. Once I'm in the office, I grab a couple hard-boiled eggs and a pack of apple slices. I see that Girlfriend Collective is doing a $20 off deal this weekend, and, high on my spin class vibes, I decide to order a bra and leggings set ($94.69). Maybe it'll motivate me to go more. $97.83
11:30 a.m. — Snack time at the office. I chill on a different floor of the office by a window.
1 p.m. — I meet up with a couple friends who work nearby for lunch at Il Corvo. I order paccheri with mustard greens and lemon butter, as well as kale salad, focaccia, and a wine pitcher to share with one friend. I pay the full tab ($49 + $10 tip), including his pasta dish, and then he Venmos me for half. Everything is delicious, and I'm glad the afternoon at work will fly by after a nice long lunch. (Wine helps.) $29.50
4:30 p.m. — I head out of work a little early and take the streetcar to Whole Foods on my way home for a six-pack of beer and sparkling water ($16.49). I'm feeling adventurous, so it's a guava blonde ale and ginger sparkling water. I lounge at home with a beer and a quick nap to try to work up energy to meet a bunch of friends at a dock on Lake Washington, but it seems like a lot and I already had social time today with lunch. $16.49
9 p.m. — I'm exhausted, and E. ends up working past 8, so we have separate nights in, both rewatching the beginning of Game of Thrones. I never watched the show until this season, but my friends host people every Sunday for it and I enjoy yelling at the TV and speculating too. I'm surprised to see how much of what happened in the first couple episodes is connected to what's going on now at the end.
Daily Total: $143.82

Day Six

7:30 a.m. — I wake up and go straight to QFC. My neighborhood gets really busy on the weekends because there's a ton of restaurants and bars. It can be annoying to navigate through brunch groups blocking the sidewalk while just trying to run errands. I buy toilet paper, olive oil, and coffee beans — the basic essentials. $22.08
11:30 a.m. — I have a meeting for the project I'm working on with my old creative director. She picks me up and we go to Mighty-O for coffee and donuts before meeting another old coworker around the corner at No Bones Beach Club, a vegan tiki bar that's one of my faves. I have a buffalo tempeh salad and a drink with tequila, mezcal, turmeric, and pineapple. The project we discuss is super exciting and I'm happy to be on board and working with these ladies again. The creative director covers the food and drinks as a business expense for her.
2:30 p.m. — I texted some friends about going to the beach at Golden Gardens earlier because I knew I'd be on that side of town. Two biked over, so I'm meeting them there. I go to Ballard Beer Company to pick up a six-pack of Reuben's beer to share ($12) and then call a Lyft ($12.56) to the beach. It's packed because this is the first hot weekend of the summer. We hang out for a couple hours and then decide to meet another friend at a brewery in Ballard. $24.56
4:30 p.m. — We try to go to Reuben's, but it's really busy, and instead end up at Stoup. I first get a hefeweizen and then a sour. My friend buys me one since I brought the beach beer ($6). We're sun-drunk and drunk-drunk enough to be unable to resist the food truck at the brewery. It's latke sandwiches, and I get the vegetarian one with brie and apple slices ($11.50). $17.50
7:30 p.m. — I catch a ride in my friend's Uber and then walk home from her place. I pass by one of my favorite Thai restaurants on the way and pick up pad thai and another tofu and veggie dish to share with E. when I get home and he comes over. Definite case of the drunchies.
9:30 p.m. — We watch The Wandering Earth on Netflix, but I get really sleepy two-thirds of the way in and go to bed while he finishes it.
Daily Total: $94.01

Day Seven

9 a.m. — It's a lazy Sunday, and we lounge around with a whole lot of coffee. I eat the last bits of pad thai for breakfast.
12 p.m. — I boil chickpea and lentil pasta, and heat up the veggie bolognese sauce for both of us for lunch. Then I lay down and nap for an hour.
2:30 p.m. — We take the bus and go to La Marzocco to kill some time and perk up with coffee. I order an iced Americano for me and a nitro cold brew for E. I pay for both and tip $2. $11.50
3:15 p.m. — We walk over to SIFF Uptown for an afternoon showing of Her Smell. The ticket is $9, and E. gets us a popcorn and a Diet Coke to share. $9
6 p.m. — We get out of the movie feeling all on edge because it was so intense. Incredibly well-done and well-acted, but it got under my skin. Our Game of Thrones viewing party isn't until later, so we hop on the bus to go find some food and somewhere to chill for a bit.
6:30 p.m. — We decide on Nacho Borracho. I order two nopales and mushroom tacos from the food window in the back ($9.91 after tip). E. orders me a margarita from the bar. Then we go to QFC for La Croix and a bottle of Grüner Veltliner to share at GoT night ($13.74). $23.65
7:30 p.m. — It's a full house for the Game of Thrones viewing tonight, plus the episode is intense so there's a lot of joking, groaning, gasping, and shushing. It's the second to last episode, and finally there's some action that lives up to my expectations from hearing everyone else talk about this show for years.
10 p.m. — E. and I walk back to my apartment and watch the last two episodes of Tuca & Bertie before falling asleep.
Daily Total: $44.15
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