A Week In Washington, D.C., On A $68,036 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: an analyst working in government who makes $68,036 per year and spends some of her money this week on ice cream.
Occupation: Analyst
Industry: Government
Age: 26
Location: Washington, D.C.
Salary: $68,036
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $1,636.35
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,190 (My half of the rent, which my boyfriend and I split evenly for our one-bedroom apartment.)
Student Loans: $0 (Thanks, parents!)
Health Insurance: $153.36, deducted from my paycheck
Car Insurance: $84.70
Metro Card: $0 (free from work)
Electric: $15 for my half
Internet: $35 for my half
YouTube TV: $22 for my half
Spotify Premium: $9.99
Hungry Harvest Subscription: $45
Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime: $0 (We still mooch off of our parent's accounts.)
Cell Phone: $0 (I'm still on my parents' family plan.)
401(k): I contribute 5% of each paycheck to the government's 401(k) program. It's matched up to 5%.
Savings: $100 per paycheck (I use this money mainly for travel, gifts, or other larger expenses throughout the year. I put the remainder into a Fidelity investment account that currently has about $10,000.)
Acorns: - $5/week, plus monthly roundups

Day One

7:15 a.m. — Alarm goes off. The first thing I do every morning is take my temperature using a basal thermometer. I've recently gone off hormonal birth control, and I'm now using an app to track my cycle. In the past, I've had horrible side effects with all the birth control methods I've tried including the pill, IUD, shot, and arm implant. This method may seem a little old school, but it has been working really well for me ever since I started about six months ago. My cycle is very regular, and I feel so much more like myself.
8 a.m. — I'm taking a day trip to New Jersey for work today and have an 8:40 a.m. train. While I get ready, I make coffee and pack lunch and some snacks for the day. My boyfriend and I head out together, and I call an Uber to the train station. He rides with me and hops out where he works, since it's on the way. He's had a very busy/stressful week due to the State of the Union and other things he's working on, so I'm glad to spend some extra (if brief) time with him this morning. ($8.61 expensed)
8:20 a.m. — I buy an oat milk latte from Blue Bottle at the train station. I would usually receive a per diem for food during a work trip, but I won't for this one since it is less than 12 hours. I meet up with my coworkers for the train ride. $5.50
11:30 a.m. — My coworkers all buy lunch on the train, while I eat the avocado toast with a hard-boiled egg that I packed from home. It looks way better than their train turkey sandwiches, and I'm happy I got up 10 minutes early to make it.
2:45 p.m. — After our meetings, I call an UberXL ride back to the train station for us. We're done with our meetings earlier than anticipated, and make it back to the station with enough time to catch an earlier train to D.C. The earlier train is only $18 more, but due to government travel restrictions, we can't make the change, so we kill time reviewing the meetings we had. ($32.80 expensed)
4 p.m. — Back on the train, I eat a curry chicken salad sandwich and some cashew, walnut, and coconut energy balls I made at home while catching up with my mom on the phone. I recently made the energy balls from scratch in an attempt to replicate some that I like from a local smoothie place. I just copied the ingredient list on the package and threw everything in the food processor, and they are just as delicious and way cheaper!
7:15 p.m. — Back in D.C.! My boyfriend and some of his friends from the Hill are at a bar for happy hour. I start walking to meet up with them, but find an electric scooter along the way. It's only about a half mile, but the scooters are so cheap that I hop on and get to the bar about in about three minutes. My boyfriend has already bought a pitcher of beer, so I have a glass. $2.25
8:45 p.m. — We walk to Sweetgreen next door to the bar to get salads to take home. I usually try not to eat out during the week, but we're both tired and it's convenient. I get a seasonal bowl with chicken, veggies, and miso dressing, and he creates his own. He pays for our salads and I get the Uber home. $7.14
9 p.m. — We stop at the Whole Foods located right next door to our apartment building to get a bottle of Chardonnay, since the watery happy hour beer did not quite hit the spot for me after my long travel day. This Whole Foods is new and so convenient, but also makes it a lot easier for impulse buys. I go there more times a week than I would like to admit. Back home, I take a quick shower and then we eat our salads and catch up on our days before heading to bed. $14.32
Daily Total: $26.96

Day Two

7:30 a.m. — Alarm goes off and I take my temperature. Then I get ready quickly because I have an 8 a.m. meeting in the office. I get a prepaid metro card through work and use it to get to work every day. I'm at the office exactly at 8, and I quickly make a coffee using a Keurig pod, since the prospect of sitting through my first meeting on a Friday without coffee sounds like torture.
11 a.m. — After a couple more morning meetings, I eat the banana I brought for breakfast with some peanut butter from the jar I keep at my desk. I eat this exact thing practically every day for breakfast when I'm at work, and I have successfully become immune to people making comments about eating peanut butter out of the jar. I also make another Keurig coffee with vanilla soy creamer I keep in the office fridge. We have to buy our own pods, so I always keep a large stash at my desk.
1 p.m. — I eat my leftover salad from last night while putting in my expenses from my work trip so that I can get reimbursed. I'm leaving a couple hours early today since I worked late last night.
4 p.m. — I arrive home from work and eat two Tate's whole wheat dark chocolate cookies. I also do a Pilates video in the living room and then have a glass of the Chardonnay I bought last night. Life is all about balance, right?
8 p.m. — My boyfriend and I decide to have a date night at one of our favorite restaurants, which also happens to be where we had our first date. It's a hidden gem Italian place in northwest D.C. I spend some time getting ready while he unwinds after work. I order the Uber there. $10.39
9 p.m. — At dinner we share an appetizer and each get a pasta – his has a fennel sausage ragu and mine has a wild mushroom cream sauce. So good. I have two glasses of wine, and he has a few beers. Due the recent government shutdown, I missed two paychecks, so my boyfriend paid for a lot of our meals out and other expenses like Ubers and groceries. He even paid for his own birthday dinner that was supposed to be part of my gift to him. Now that I've received my back pay, I pay for dinner tonight in an attempt to even things back out. We also see Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan sitting at a corner table! $120.10
11:30 p.m. — We aren't ready to head home yet, so walk down the block to a cozy bar. For Christmas, I got two D.C. drink “passports” from my family that give you two-for-one drink specials at specific bars in the city. At this bar, it's two-for-one Old Fashioneds. We take advantage of this deal, and my boyfriend has one more before we head home. He grabs the Uber. When we get there, I quickly wash my face, and we are asleep soon after. $24.20
Daily Total: $154.69

Day Three

11 a.m. — Ouch. I am hungover. Three and a half drinks last night, and I wake up with a splitting headache — is this what it feels like to get old?? I blame it on the Bourbon. My boyfriend brings me two Advil, and I chug some water and lie in bed.
12 p.m. — Time to get up. I eat a Tate's cookie and hope it will help my head. It doesn't. I try for something more substantial and decide to make avocado toast. I use the two pieces of bread that came with our Sweetgreen salads from the other night and also add some arugula, olive oil, and lemon on top. I also make a coffee and take a shower. I am revived.
3 p.m. — Good thing I'm feeling better, because we have a birthday party to go to that will involve more drinking. It's at an indoor beer garden downtown. I do my makeup and get ready for the day and then order the Uber there. I text my friends to ask what they're wearing, and decide on a skirt and sweater. It's pretty cold out, but I hate the thought of wearing pants today. $12.19
3:30 p.m. — My boyfriend buys us each beers when we first arrive and opens a tab. We find the birthday girl and buy her a drink. There happens to be a live band playing today, so it starts to get pretty crowded. Later, I end up at a different part of the bar and can't access the tab, so I open my own. I buy a couple more beers. $15.34
7:30 p.m. — We round up a few people to watch the ESPN College GameDay basketball game at another bar. I get us an UberXL. $9.30
8:45 p.m. — We're losing the game, but it's great to catch up with some of my college friends who are here. I decide to switch from beer to a vodka soda. I also snack on fries someone bought. We play a few drinking games with the group and eventually decide to relocate to another bar. $10.40
11 p.m. — Someone orders an UberXL for the group. The bar we're going to is less than a mile away, but it's freezing outside. When we arrive, my boyfriend buys a round of drinks for everyone, and I have another vodka soda.
12 a.m. — I buy another round for the group — two vodka sodas and two beers, and we head to the dance floor. Eventually our friends trickle out, and we decide it's time to head home. $26
2 a.m. — I pay for the cab home. I am famished upon arrival and contemplate making some Annie's mac and cheese, but I end up having leftover salmon and cauliflower rice instead. I wash my face and quickly fall asleep. $16.87
Daily Total: $90.10

Day Four

11:30 a.m. — Surprisingly, I wake up with almost no hangover. We lay around in bed for a while before finally getting up. I eat a Tate's cookie. I promise I don't normally eat cookies for breakfast every day.
12 p.m. — I'm going to my friend's bachelorette party in New Orleans next weekend, and the maid of honor has planned a lot of fun activities for us. She Venmo requests me for a ghost tour that she has booked, and I complete the charge. $33
2 p.m. — I need coffee, but we're out of milk, so I head across the street to a coffee shop and get an oat milk latte. Back at home, my boyfriend has heated up some buffalo chicken dip from the Super Bowl party we had last weekend, and I have a bite. $5.50
3:30 p.m. — We decide to head to Georgetown to walk around and do some window shopping. We mainly just need to get out of the apartment and get some fresh air after lazing around all morning. I get us an Uber there. I try on a pair of jeans at the new Reformation store using their fancy touchscreen system. We also browse the Nike store, but don't buy anything. $12.13
4:30 p.m. — We decide to meet up with one of the friends we were out with last night to rehash the events of yesterday. We go to a casual restaurant in Georgetown, and I get a Caesar salad and Diet Coke. We get a side of truffle mac and cheese to share, and I taste some of the brisket that my boyfriend orders. We split the bill evenly three ways. $35.70
6 p.m. — I am having an intense craving for ice cream. We contemplate getting some, but it's getting pretty cold, so we decide to head home. I get us an Uber. $16.53
6:30 p.m. — We stop by Whole Foods when we get home, and I buy a pint of Ben & Jerry's cookie dough ice cream as well as a Graeter's black raspberry chocolate chip (highly recommend). I will admit, I am an ice cream fanatic. The best gift I've ever received was a year-long Jeni's ice cream subscription from my boyfriend. I also get some raw cashew pieces to make more energy balls later this week. $18.42
8 p.m. — The Grammys are on tonight, so we snuggle on the couch to watch. I make some stovetop kettle corn and eat some of the cookie dough ice cream. I get an alert on my phone that the government is on a two-hour delay tomorrow! There's some snow coming down outside. We head to bed around 11, and I take a melatonin because I know I'll have trouble falling asleep after sleeping in so late over the weekend.
Daily Total: $121.28

Day Five

8 a.m. — Alarm goes off, and I take my temperature. I'm so happy to sleep in for an extra hour. The delay is two hours, but I set my alarm for one hour later than usual and take my time getting ready. I wake up my boyfriend as I'm about to leave and kiss him goodbye. Then I take the metro to work.
9:30 a.m. — I arrive at work and make a coffee using a Keurig pod and my vanilla soy creamer. I also make a packet of oatmeal I keep at my desk and add in a banana I brought from home. I add a scoop of peanut butter.
12:30 p.m. — My coworkers and I decide to get lunch at a poke place down the street. I get a poke bowl with spicy tuna, salmon, brown rice, zucchini noodles, edamame, seaweed salad, cucumber, and spicy mayo. I spend the afternoon searching Yelp for a new place to get my eyebrows waxed. I usually go the Benefit Brow Bar at Ulta, but they closed the location closest to me, and I desperately need to get them done. I find a place that looks promising with lots of positive reviews and make an appointment for after work. $12.65
4:30 p.m. — Not sure how I am hungry again after such a large lunch, but I eat a small spoonful of peanut butter to tide me over. I also take a mini Kit Kat from my coworker's desk.
5:30 p.m. — I leave work and take the metro one stop to the waxing salon. I get my eyebrows and upper lip done. It costs $30 and I leave a $6 tip. I'm happy with the results, but the place is in the opposite direction of home. I might try harder to find somewhere in my neighborhood next time. I take the metro home. $36
6:30 p.m. — I arrive home and do a quick pilates workout in the living room. I follow the Boho Beautiful account on YouTube and like to do her workouts when I don't feel like leaving home. After the workout, I head next door to Whole Foods and buy bananas, basil, oat milk (the last carton!), Siggi's yogurt, granola, and pine nuts. $26.70
7:30 p.m. — I already have lots of veggies at home to make dinner and lunches for the week, thanks to my Hungry Harvest subscription that arrived last Sunday. I receive a box of “rescued” produce delivered to my apartment every other week that has been rejected by grocery stores for a variety of reasons (too small, too big, oddly shaped). I absolutely love this service — it is way cheaper than the grocery store for the amount of produce you receive and I feel good about helping to cut down on food waste. For dinner, I roast some spaghetti squash I had from my box along with pesto I make in the food processor with the pine nuts and basil I just bought. I add some meatballs left over from the Super Bowl party and hope they are still good, since I don't want them to go to waste. I also roast a big batch of potatoes and carrots for the week to put in salads to bring to work.
8 p.m. — Time for Monday night Bachelor! I turn it on while I finish cooking. Afterwards, I hop in the shower but don't wash my hair. I've been really trying to be better about not washing it so often, and can finally do this thanks to my discovery of Living Proof dry shampoo, which is the only thing that works on my fine hair. We watch the new episode of I Am the Night and I snack on some granola before heading to bed.
Daily Total: $75.35

Day Six

7 a.m. — Alarm goes off and I take my temperature. I snooze a few times before struggling to get out of bed. I hate waking up! My boyfriend goes to work later than me and is still in bed when I leave, which makes it even harder. I head to work on the metro.
8:30 a.m. — I arrive at work and make a coffee before getting some work done. I eat my banana with peanut butter about an hour later.
12:30 p.m. — For lunch, I have the salad I brought from home that has arugula, dried cherries, pecans, and a hard-boiled egg in it. I heat up some of the carrots and potatoes I roasted last night and add them in as well. I like to do this most days with whatever veggies I have on hand so my desk salad isn't as sad. I make my own salad dressing with oil, vinegar, mustard, and salt and pepper, which I keep at my desk.
1:30 p.m. — It's my coworker's birthday, so someone brings cake to celebrate. I have a small piece of a homemade strawberry cake (which is delicious) and also snack on some granola to get me through the afternoon.
5:45 p.m. — My coworker and I leave work together to head to a spin class at Flywheel. Neither of us has been before, and the first class is free. The studio is only a few blocks from our office, so we walk over. Last year I caved and went to my first SoulCycle class, and I must admit I have been sucked in. I usually go once or twice a week, but I'm excited to mix it up and try Flywheel this afternoon.
6:45 p.m. — That was hard! It was a great workout, but I think I am still a SoulCycle fan at heart. Flywheel would be great if you are a really competitive person or more interested in tracking your metrics, since they show your individual output throughout the ride and also track you on a leader board. I walk to the metro station to head home and book a SoulCycle class for Friday with my favorite instructor. I use a credit I already have in my account that I have from a gift card my mom gave me for my birthday this year.
7:30 p.m. — Back at home, I take a shower and try on some clothes I ordered online last week. I've been in the market for a new jacket and an overall dress, and I really like both of them! I keep the receipt to give myself a couple more days to decide, but I'll probably keep both. I snack on some carrots with pesto while deciding what to make for dinner. I heat up the spaghetti squash from yesterday with vodka sauce we have in the fridge and top it with pesto, arugula, olive oil, and lemon.
10:30 p.m. — I get ready for bed and try to stay awake by watching TV and browsing Instagram so that I can see my boyfriend when he gets home from work. I hate when he works late, but at least I know what he's doing is important. I fall asleep around 11 and hear him crawl into bed sometime around midnight.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

7 a.m. — Alarm goes off. I roll over and take my temperature. Then I get ready for the day and pack my lunch and workout clothes for later. My boyfriend is getting up right as I leave, and I head out and take the metro to work.
8:30 a.m. — I arrive at work and make a cup of coffee. If I'm not too busy in the morning, I read the Politico Playbook at my desk while having my coffee. It looks like there might be a late vote tomorrow to fund the government. I hope it passes so that we don't go into another shutdown, and selfishly hope that the vote isn't too late so my boyfriend and I can spend time together tomorrow before I leave for the weekend. I eat my banana and peanut butter before heading to a couple of meetings.
12:30 p.m. — For lunch, I eat the salad I brought from home.
2 p.m. — Time for an afternoon snack. I eat a Siggi's yogurt I brought from home with some granola. Then I snack on an apple and peanut butter.
5 p.m. — I leave work right at 5 to make it to a CorePower Yoga sculpt class. I really like this instructor because her class is challenging, but not too hard that I dread going. I walk to the studio since it's just a few blocks from work. I pay for one drop-in class. $28.55
6:20 p.m. — I head home on the metro and stop by a CVS near my apartment, where I buy toothpaste, shaving cream, Q-tips, dishwasher detergent, and a card for my boyfriend since Valentine's Day is tomorrow. We always say we aren't going to do anything for Valentine's Day, but I know he's going to surprise me with something small. I am pretty excited about the card I find that has a picture of the Eiffel Tower on it. We're planning a trip to France this summer, and I know he'll love it. $35.72
7 p.m. — I quickly stop by Whole Foods before going home to buy shrimp and an avocado. $13.98
7:30 p.m. — I shower, shave, and use St. Tropez tanning mousse so I don't look so pale this weekend. I talk to my mom on the phone while making dinner. I have Brussels sprouts from my produce box that I need to use, so I use them to make a salad. I shred them with the food processor and make a dressing with lemon, garlic, onion, mustard, and olive oil. I cook some of the shrimp and add them and some roasted pine nuts on top.
9 p.m. — My boyfriend gets home and eats the rest of the salad that I made. We catch up on his crazy last few days at work since he is home before I'm asleep today! I text my friends about what they're planning to wear for the bachelorette party this weekend since I have to pack tomorrow. Then I head to bed around 11.
Daily Total: $78.25
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