A Week In Washington, D.C., On An $80,000 Salary

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Today: a financial consultant who makes $80,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on The Screwtape Letters audiobook.
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Occupation: Financial Consultant
Industry: Consulting
Age: 26
Location: Washington DC
Salary: $80,000
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $1,833
Monthly Expenses
Rent: My fiancé, N., pays our rent, while the money I would be paying goes straight into our wedding fund. Our share of rent is $1,125, plus $75 for parking. We live in a two-bedroom apartment with a roommate who pays the same amount as my fiancé does.
Student Loan Payment: $400 (I borrowed money from my parents for college and am paying them back.)
Wedding Fund: $2,000
Netflix: $0 (I mooch off my friends.)
401(k): I contribute 10% of each paycheck.

Day One

6 a.m. — My fiancé's alarm goes off and after letting it ring twice, he snoozes (a favorite pastime of his). I doze until 6:15 and then jump up to shower, as I know he will be snoozing for another half hour. I pack lunches, feed the kittens, make my morning coffee, and then jump back in bed. This may seem like a strange habit, but it's one of our favorite morning rituals and has made us late many a day. Not today though!
7 a.m. — N. heads out to drop off clothes at the tailor and then take the metro to work. I should metro with him, but have a lot to carry today, so I opt to take an Uber and avoid the disgusting humidity that plagues the Washington D.C. metro area. $7.24
10 a.m. — The morning is flying by and I snack on a vanilla yogurt I've brought from home. I have to attend a professional training after work today, so I've loaded up on home snacks. I browse Amazon for a housewarming gift for some friends. The couple recently did an engagement photo shoot for us for free, so we are feeling extra grateful to them and want to give a nice gift. I find a classic cocktail mixing set and throw in a gift card for good measure. $74.95
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2 p.m. — I have a spinach, turkey, and feta salad for lunch and then realize I've forgotten my iPhone charger at home. I decide to pick up an extra to keep in the office and grab a Starbucks latte on the way back from the Target around the corner. $24.96
3:30 p.m. — I Uber to and from a professional training 30 minutes from my office. My company reimburses me for this travel. ($35.45 expensed)
8 p.m. — Feed the kittens and munch on leftover spinach salad while catching up on late afternoon emails I missed during training. Then I walk to meet N. at his parents' place to talk wedding catering. N. and I have both started new jobs in the last six months, so finding time to plan the wedding has been tricky. Late night slots like this have been key, and we hammer out important details! I walk home afterwards and promptly fall asleep even though the kittens are being brats and will NOT stop crying despite being warm, well fed, and very loved.
Daily Total: $107.15

Day Two

6 a.m. — N.'s alarm goes off. I am having none of it today, as I didn't sleep well last night due to overthinking about wedding details (planning does NOT come naturally to me). He gets up around 6:30 to shower, feed the cats, and bring me a coffee in bed. He is the best!
8:15 a.m. — I am finally up, although still dragging my feet. I shower, drink my coffee, and log onto my company laptop to check emails before Ubering into the office once again. I have a banana in the Uber for breakfast. $13.04
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11 a.m. — I have an hour-long meeting with my less-than-pleasant client. Everyone expected a confrontational meeting from two department heads who inherently dislike each other, but it goes much more smoothly than expected. My colleague and I are caught up for an extra half hour getting additional “direction” from our client. We come away from the meeting with what feels like a million to-do items.
12:30 p.m. — Lunch. I have a leftover Chipotle burrito bowl that my future in-laws bought for me last night. (They're awesome!) I pair it with another banana to complete my meal. I browse BBC News while I eat and read about John McCain's life story – he lived a truly incredible life of service. I also preorder Bob Woodward's new book Fear: Trump in the White House on Amazon at my fiancé's request. $19.08
2:45 p.m. — I discover a formula error in something my team submitted last week. After verifying the mistake with several colleagues, we debate on the best way to address the error. Not a great look for the team, but much better for us to catch it before the client does. I grab a coffee with a colleague and friend from the nearby Starbucks to break up the afternoon. $4.96
5:30 p.m. — Have a ton of work left, but decide to call it a day and work from home, as I know it will be a late one. I love lots of things about my new job, but the hours have been long for the last few months and I'd rather be working in pajamas with kittens on my lap and a glass of rosé in my hand! I Uber home and have a light dinner of overnight oats, which had been intended for tomorrow's breakfast. Whoops. $15.82
9:30 p.m. — Fiancé arrives home. He had a late night working on a company proposal, and he's exhausted. He has been killing it at this new job — I'm so proud. He's a perfect combination of thoughtful, intelligent, and hardworking, all wrapped up into one. I make him a cup of tea and we cuddle on the couch until bed around 11 p.m.
Daily Total: $52.90

Day Three

6 a.m. — N.'s alarm goes off. We lounge, feed the kittens, and force them to cuddle until 7:30. I accompany N. to the metro, and we take the train to work together. He buys me a Starbucks latte on the way to the station, which helps as I sulk through the humidity and early morning crowd. My fiancé knows how much I hate morning commutes and using public transit, and makes jokes to lighten the mood. I really hope we move to the country someday. Maybe a cute little cottage with some land. We kiss goodbye before I get off at my stop.
11:30 a.m. — Walk with a colleague to grab a Guacamole Greens salad from Sweetgreen — love that place! $11.59
12 p.m. — I sign up for a six-week Intro to Yoga series at a studio near my apartment that is offering a discount. I used to run almost every day, but I got injured this year and have been wanting to get into yoga for a while now. This seems like a great opportunity to learn the basics and become one of the many yoga mat-toting young professionals I constantly spot around the city. $91.75
2:15 p.m. — Even though it's busy today, I take a break from work to update my LinkedIn profile. As I mentioned, I like my new job, but my fiancé and I think I should try to make the jump to a bigger company with more name recognition and better benefits (like his company). This can do a lot in our field and will make me more marketable to reenter the workforce should I decide to take time off within the next few years to raise kids we hope to have. I've always wanted to take time off when my children are young, but want to position myself well so I have the optimal range of options in front of me as I make these decisions.
7:30 p.m. — Leave the office for home — what a day. I'm very glad to be off tomorrow for wedding dress shopping with my mom and sister. Yayyyy! I Uber home to snack, pack, and continue working. $8.08
8 p.m. — Once I arrive home, I purchase The Screwtape Letters by C.S Lewis on audiobook in preparation for my four-hour drive to meet my family members tomorrow. He's one of my favorite authors, and I'm hoping it will make the drive go by faster. $9.80
11:45 p.m. — I finally finish working! Solid 13-hour day in the books (and I forgot to eat dinner, so the two glasses of wine are hitting hard) but at least I focused for 85% of it! I love having flexible time off at my company so I can work extra hours for a few days to take a Friday off for something like wedding dress shopping and family time. I try to watch the Eagles game with our roommate, but the kittens have somehow knocked out our cable. Little lurkers. My roommate sulks, as he is an avid Eagles fan and now has to do work tonight instead of watching football. We will have to look into getting it fixed later on. N. arrives home from work very late.
Daily Total: $121.22

Day Four

6 a.m. — I get up to shower, finish packing, kiss N. goodbye, and hit the road. On the way, I stop at Dunkin' Donuts for a sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich and a coffee. The four-hour drive goes by fast as I listen to The Screwtape Letters audiobook. $5.45
11 a.m. — Meet my mother and sister at the bridal boutique. We spend the better part of the afternoon trying on a variety of wedding dresses. We don't end up finding the perfect one, and decide not to buy one in spite of the saleswoman's pushiness. The whole process is a lot of fun, and my mom treats us to dinner at a local Italian place afterwards. I order the chicken parm and a local IPA. It's so great to see them!!!
5:30 p.m. — We make the one hour drive to my grandmother's place, where we are spending the night. My grandmother is excited to see us. She's in her nineties and doesn't get out of the house much anymore, so she loves company. My uncle stops by to chat for a bit and asks lots of wedding questions that I don't have the answers to. After a short walk and catch-up on the phone with my fiancé, I head to bed as well.
Daily Total: $5.45

Day Five

9 a.m. — I wake up with no alarm. Sleeping in is a MAJOR luxury these days, and I fully enjoy it. I slept for over 10 hours, so I really must have needed the rest. I go downstairs and discover that my mother has been up for hours and has already made a coffee run and prepared a breakfast of oatmeal and fresh fruit. What a life! I enjoy a lazy morning and have breakfast with my grandmother before my mother, sisters, and I head out to another bridal salon.
3:30 p.m. — I found a wedding dress! This salon ends up being fantastic and the owner is very friendly and helpful without pressuring me to buy. I even somehow enjoy the cheesy “say yes to the dress” cheering. It's just the perfect fit for me, and my mother and I decide to split the cost, since it came in a little over our budget. I pay my half up front. Totally worth it and nice to check something off the to-do list. We also find lovely bridesmaid dresses, but will purchase those later. This is the fun part of wedding planning! $1,380.71
6:45 p.m. — My sister, mother, and I head out to pick up sandwiches and smoothies for a light dinner. My mom pays, and we bring the food home to my grandmother's so we can all eat together. We contemplate heading over to my cousin's house to play with her new baby, but decide on a quiet night in instead. I finalize the wedding guest list and send it to my parents and in-laws for final review. Woohoo — another item checked off of the list!
12 a.m. — I call my fiancé and chat with him briefly. He has been watching a lot of cricket in my absence, which makes me laugh, as this is exactly what I predicted he would do. I finally go to bed after a super productive and fun day with family.
Daily Total: $1,380.71

Day Six

7:30 a.m. — I'm awake and ready (not at all) for the drive back to D.C. I grab a banana and coffee before beginning the drive. Weather is terrible with lots of rain and foggy conditions. I stop once at a rest stop to fill up on gas, browse Instagram, and stretch my legs. I hit traffic and put on some Taylor Swift tunes to jam to while I'm stuck there. I definitely get some weird looks from passing cars, but the mini dance party is totally worth it. $37.98
12 p.m. — I arrive back in D.C. with a bit of a headache from the gross drive and head straight to my fiancé's parents' house where I get some work done, add some items to our online wedding registry, and walk their adorable dog. I order some sample invitations and outfits for my bridesmaids online for our India wedding. $201.54
3:30 p.m. — My fiancé and I are getting married in both Christian and Hindu ceremonies, which means two times the planning. I suddenly feel a little overwhelmed with the whole planning aspect and have a short cry (in the bathroom so no one sees). This helps with both my stress and headache (thank goodness). I hope no one notices my eyes are red when I come out of the bathroom feeling a bit better. Sometimes you just need a good cry.
8 p.m. — My fiancé, his family, and I enjoy a delicious homemade Indian dinner of potatoes, meat, and vegetables over rice while watching Sunday night football. My fiancé is a huge football fan and very excited for the season to start back up again.
10:30 p.m. — We return home to discover the kittens have now knocked out the internet, and we still don't have cable as no one reached out to the company to put in a service request this weekend. I am immensely irritated, so it's a good thing they are so darn cute. We decided that this will be tomorrow's problem, as we are too tired to deal with it tonight. I read a chapter of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, sip on a glass of red wine, and pass out (trying to ignore the “Sunday scaries” as I think about my insanely busy upcoming week!)
Daily Total: $239.52

Day Seven

6 a.m. — My fiancé's alarm goes off and we both doze per usual. I eventually get up, feed the cats, and Uber to work. $8.06
11:30 a.m. — Purchase some bottled water, chips, and fruit snacks from the café in our office building. The water in the fountains at my client site is disgusting, which means I have to buy water once or twice a week. Lunch is leftovers from dinner last night. $6.11
1:30 p.m. — So much work today! Thankfully there are only a few meetings, so I put my head down and try to be as productive as possible. An afternoon Starbucks run with my colleague helps break up the day. $5.04
5:30 p.m. — I Uber home from work and make a stop to pick up my fiancé's pants from the tailor. $9.13
8 p.m. — Leave home for my 8:30 soccer game. The team is sponsored through work, and I'm the co-captain, so I have to go even though I'm injured and would rather rest. We're short on girls, so I play defense the entire game and definitely don't run as much as I should, in a feeble attempt to prevent further stress to my heel. We play in a competitive league though, and I come home sore and sleepy. Thankfully, parking is free because the game is so late today.
10:30 p.m. — I'm too tired to work more tonight, so I simply shower and hit the pillow, leaving my fiancé working on the couch with the kittens.
Daily Total: $28.34
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