A Week In Wilmington, DE, On A $39,728 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, as part of Your Spending In Your State: a web content coordinator working in e-commerce who makes $39,728 per year and spends some of her paycheck this week on Campbell's tomato soup.
Occupation: Web Content Coordinator
Industry: E-Commerce
Age: 29
Location: Wilmington, DE
Salary: $39,728
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,076
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $1,135, split evenly with my boyfriend. (Includes property tax.)
Student Loan Payment: $227
Plumbing Repair Loan Payment: $350
Health Insurance: $55 per paycheck, deducted before taxes
401k: 3% of my salary. (And my company matches.)
Car Insurance: $50
Trash Pickup: $30
Gas & Electric: $0. (Boyfriend pays!)
Cable: $0. (Boyfriend again!)
Netflix: $0. (I use my boyfriend's account.)
Spotify: $9.99
Hubble Contact Subscription: $30
Gym: $10
Credit Card Payment: I try to pay ~$75-$100. (My balance is hovering around $700.)
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Day One

6 a.m. — I wake up, make a cup of black tea, and watch the local news for about a half hour. I let the dogs out in the backyard to run around. This was one of the main reasons we wanted to move to the suburbs – for the space! I pack Greek yogurt with almond butter, honey, and granola for my breakfast, ground chicken lettuce cups for lunch, and a can of lime seltzer water. Then I do my face routine: wash with plain raw honey, spritz with Caudalie Water to calm my rosacea cheeks, rub a drop of The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid on my forehead, dab on a little Belif eye cream, layer Cetaphil SPF 30 sunscreen on top, and then apply a few dots of Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint on my cheeks, too, because of the rosacea redness. My boyfriend and I carpool into the city together at 7:45. I drop him off at the train and get to work by 8:20.
12 p.m. — I always use my lunch break to take a walk, even in the cold. I really need to stretch my legs and get as far away from my office as possible. Today I call my little sister and we have a nice chat. She and I are going to Myrtle Beach for a long weekend this month. My mom is letting us use her timeshare points, so the resort is free for us. Another friend is joining and agreed to drive, so I'm splitting the cost of gas and tolls with her. When I get back from my walk, I microwave my ground chicken stir-fry in the microwave and spoon it into the lettuce cups I brought – so tasty and satisfying. Most of my coworkers take their lunch breaks around this time, so the office is nearly empty while I eat at my desk.
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3 p.m. — My energy is starting to drag – time for a green tea! Coffee and tea are free at my office.
5 p.m. — I pick up my boyfriend and we leave the city. We have to stop at Autozone to get a new bulb for my headlight, since we noticed it burned out the day before. I also get gas while we're out because I'm a nervous person and don't like driving with less than a quarter tank. I drive a little baby Nissan, so it's only $22 to fill it up. $33
6:15 p.m. — After I drop off the BF at home and change into exercise clothes, I drive to the gym. We have only been in Wilmington about six months, and I'm still getting used to having to drive EVERYWHERE. It takes 15 to 20 minutes to get to the gym from our house. I want to stay for an hour to make the drive worth it, so I do 30 minutes on the elliptical, 25-ish minutes of weights (arms today), a one-minute plank, and then run as fast as I can (not very fast at all in comparison to most people – ha) for five minutes. I hate running! That's why it's last!
7:45 p.m. — BF makes chicken thighs with roasted red potatoes and carrots for dinner. We bought meal stuff over the weekend to last us the whole week. Our grocery bill is typically around $150 for the week, and we split it down the middle.
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Daily Total: $33

Day Two

6 a.m. — We're having a big meeting at work today and I want to look nice, so I take a little longer getting ready and end up running late. Oops! I grab a thinkThin bar for breakfast. It's nearing the first of the month, so I send out my mortgage and trash checks. The taxes in Wilmington are super cheap (which is one of the reasons I like living here), but you end up having to pay for a lot of things yourself, like monthly trash removal.
12 p.m. — I take my usual walk for about 45 minutes before returning to the office and eating more of the ground chicken and lettuce cups that I prepped Sunday.
3 p.m. — I am a creature of habit, so 3 p.m. is typically when I need a pick-me-up. I have my Suja Uber Greens juice and a banana that I brought. This day is DRAGGING.
6 p.m. — BF and I stop at PetSmart on the way home, because my angel baby Pearl is low on dog food ($35). I also pick up cheap Milk-Bone teeth cleaning chews for both our dogs ($4.99 for a box of five). Then I make dinner. We have chorizo tacos with all the fixin's. $34.99
8 p.m. — I decide to unwind by taking an edible. My BF handles all pot-related transactions, so it's free for me. I get too stoned and eat two humongous bowls of granola with almond milk. I feel so sick and go to bed early, only to wake up at 12:30 a.m. and puke. Awesome.
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Daily Total: $34.99

Day Three

9:30 a.m. — I sleep in because of my midnight barfing incident. BF takes his car to work without me. I pop a pork shoulder in the Crock-Pot before lazily getting ready and getting to work around noon. Once there, I grab a free coffee to put some pep in my step. I'm not ready for real food yet.
5 p.m. — I leave work and go straight home, even though I usually go to the gym on Wednesdays. I pull the pork out of the Crock-Pot and shred it, then make cilantro rice and guacamole for rice bowls. (We eat a lot of spicy food in our house!) We watch Oceans Eleven because there's literally nothing else to watch, and I eat an orange for dessert. (I just canceled Hulu and Sling because I have too many subscriptions and need to save money however I can.)
9 p.m. — I'm a night shower-er because I like feeling clean when I hit the sheets. Tonight I do a Biore nose strip after my shower, followed by a face mask (Glossier Mega Greens Galaxy Pack). It's just okay. I will probably go back to using Kiehl's when I use this stuff up.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

6 a.m. — Start things off with a black tea. Get ready for work and hit the road by 7:45. My BF works from home on Thursdays and Fridays, so I'm on my own. I pack a smoothie for breakfast made of steamed carrots, orange juice, frozen strawberries, ginger, and turmeric. It tastes good and I personally believe it makes me ~glow~ but maybe I'm wrong.
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12 p.m. — It's raining, so I can't go for a walk during my break. Instead, I take a nap in the back seat of my car for 45 minutes. When I wake up, I microwave leftover pork and rice from last night.
3 p.m. — Green tea time! I also brought a hard-boiled egg from home. I don't really like eggs, but people say they're good for you, so I eat it!
5:30 p.m. — I get home from work and my BF has dinner ready. It's roasted brussels sprouts with bacon, blue cheese, and a balsamic glaze (a recipe from Chrissy Teigen's cookbook). We use her recipes all the damn time. Like, so much that the outside of the book is sticky from ingredients getting all over it.
7:30 p.m. — We go to the movies to see Annihilation. We both read the book and were really excited about seeing the film. We have MoviePass, so the tickets don't cost anything. My boyfriend got me a $90 year-long subscription for Christmas. We see movies about once a week, so it's definitely worth it for us.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

7 a.m. — I sleep in a little because we were up late. I grab a thinkThin bar for breakfast. I just remembered it's Lent and I'm not eating meat on Fridays. I can't think of anything meatless to bring for lunch, so I leave empty-handed.
9:30 a.m. — It's PAYDAY. Once I'm settled in at work, I throw $25 at my credit card payment.
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12 p.m. — I take my lunchtime walk for 45 minutes. My sister doesn't answer the phone, so I listen to my cardio playlist on Spotify while I walk. There's not much around my office other than fast food, and since I didn't bring anything to eat, I just have a couple scoops of my almond butter that I keep in the work fridge.
5:30 p.m. — I go straight home after work. BF asks what to make for dinner. We both want something easy, so we drive to Food Lion and pick up two cans of Campbell's tomato soup and a head of broccoli. We make the soup with sautéed broccoli and roasted red potatoes on the side. Voila. Meatless meal. I also eat a handful of white chocolate chips from the pantry, because I want dessert and I'm stoned. Again. $8.12
Daily Total: $8.12

Day Six

9 a.m. — I roll out of bed and let the dogs out. We both have to be up because we're getting our new dryer delivered between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. I make a pot of coffee.
10 a.m. — Dryer delivery dudes call and say they'll actually get here between 2 and 5 p.m. I'm annoyed with anything that takes up time on my Saturday, so I drive to the gym and do 45 minutes of useless cardio and then a bunch of crunches on the mat.
11:30 a.m. — I get home, shower, and am voracious. I eat leftover pork, black bean hummus with carrots (that have been in the fridge for a while), pickle chips, Greek yogurt with honey and almond butter, and a few pieces of salami. Then I get stoned and watch an old ABC Family movie on Netflix. I'm not known for making good choices!
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5 p.m. — We decide to get an early dinner and try out a Mexican restaurant we haven't been to before. I get the shrimp fajitas and my boyfriend pays. Then, we walk to a nearby frozen yogurt place. BF doesn't eat many sweets, so I treat myself to a banana frozen yogurt with coconut, cherries, and whipped cream on top. We swing by the movies to see Game Night, but it's completely sold out, so we just go home. $4.55
Daily Total: $4.55

Day Seven

9 a.m. — It's G-Day, a.k.a. Grocery Store Day, where we do all our shopping for the week. Last weekend, my BF paid for the whole thing because my bank account was on E, so it's my turn, and luckily, I just got paid. I do all our meal-planning and list-making for the week. The only reason he comes with me is to carry it all, honestly. $167.73
11:30 a.m. — I'm hit with the major Sunday scaries, so BF puts the groceries away and I lie in bed for five minutes to calm myself down. (Some people call this "meditating.") I get up, take a puff of our vape, and chop up a head of cauliflower to roast in the oven for our lunch. I coat the cauliflower in buffalo sauce for our meatless version of buffalo "wings" and put on To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! on Netflix to make myself feel better. I pop a load of laundry in the washer to feel extra accomplished.
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2 p.m. — My movie is over, so I start making a big pot of chili. This will be our dinner tonight and lunch for a few days this week. I nap for two hours while the chili simmers and BF plays video games in his home office.
Daily Total: $167.73
Money Diaries are meant to reflect individual women's experiences and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.
The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day. For more money diaries, click here.
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