A Week In Pennsylvania On A $70,000 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 marketing content strategist working in tech who makes $70,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a Swiffer WetJet.
Occupation: Marketing Content Strategist
Industry: Tech
Age: 32
Location: Pennsylvania
Salary: $70,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,083.47 (plus $30-40/month depending on how many classes I teach)
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,200 (includes my share of rent, cable, electric, and water; my girlfriend pays the other half)
Car Loan: $275
Gym: $34.99
Spotify/Hulu: $15.99 (shared with my girlfriend)
Netflix: $13.77
Car Insurance: $87.33
Phone: $0 (my company pays for this)
Health/Dental/Vision Insurance: $177.04/month (taken out of my paycheck)
401(K): $116.66 (matched by my company)

Day One

4:26 a.m. — I wake up exactly one second before my alarm goes off, which is sort of cool and sort of freaks me out. I manage to slip out of bed without waking my girlfriend, L., or our very adorable but very bark-prone dog, P. I've always been an early morning exerciser, and luckily L. is a heavy sleeper, so getting out of the apartment in the morning without waking her isn't too difficult. This morning even the cat is still asleep — usually she follows me into the extra bathroom and demands loudly to be loved while I'm sitting on the toilet.
6:30 a.m. — I run to Wegmans after the gym, because I have a condition that prohibits me from going a day without entering a grocery store. I buy a bunch of Luna bars, some nectarines, and a few of L.'s favorite Gatorades. $14.87
7:50 a.m. — Resisting the Wawa siren song on my way into the office feels like a major victory. I walk in with our CMO, which is awkward, but only for me, because she is cool and intimidating and I'm still pretty new (I started this job less than two months ago). I get to work and eat a Luna bar and nectarine, along with two cups of free office coffee, black. I'm trying to teach myself to enjoy the bitterness (because I ran out of creamer and don't feel like buying more), but honestly, it tastes like licking the earth.
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12 p.m. — I can't resist Wawa any longer, plus I'm just incapable of staying in our office for nine straight hours. At my last job I worked from home, which afforded me the ability to run errands, do laundry, walk the dog, watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and generally be as unproductive as I wanted during normal hours, as long as my work was done on time. It also paid me far less than this job, so, you know, suck it up. I buy what is basically a cup of delicious cream flavor with coffee. $1.55
1:15 p.m. — My lunch is a salad with baby bell peppers and a ham-and-provolone cheese sandwich, cut diagonally because I am a child. I also take a low-carb coconut protein bar out of the freezer. My coworker asks me if I'm eating an ice cream sandwich, and I tell her no, but that I'm absolutely bringing them in for the office tomorrow.
3:30 p.m. — Today is busy — lots of last-minute requests that I prioritize ahead of my normal work. I like my new job a lot, but working as a copywriter in an industry I know nothing about means I'm making shit up 90% of the time and just trying to word massage it into sounding good. So far, I've been mildly successful.
5:15 p.m. — I'll be honest, by 4:30 there's no productivity left in me, and I'm basically just waiting around for someone else to leave first. One of my younger coworkers takes that bullet today, and I head out a few minutes after him. My commute isn't horrendous — typically about 30-35 minutes — but it's always stop-and-go the whole way, which is annoying. Today, though, my iTunes shuffles a few Guster songs back to back, reminding me immediately of being in high school (this is a good thing), working at an Italian ice store with my friends, and blasting "Lost and Gone Forever" while scooping water ice and composing our AIM away messages on napkins. I love nostalgia.
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5:45 p.m. — I get home, P. goes crazy (is there a better feeling than a dog who can't wait to see you?), and L. and I sit on the porch for a few minutes discussing dinner options. I take a second to freeze the memory: The weather is perfect — warm and breezy — and I'm at home with my favorite person and a cute dog on my lap. I'm sure the novelty will wear off at some point, but I still remind myself on the regular that this is where I live and this is who I live with. It makes me smile like an idiot and stare at L. until she asks what's wrong with me.
6:30 p.m. — We take P. for a long walk, shower, then decide on frozen pizza and salad for dinner. L. adds extra cheese to the top and also breaks out some sea salt caramel chocolates after dinner, because she's a perfect gem of a human. We see that Netflix has released a new show called Tales of the City and get sucked in immediately.
9:40 p.m. — The viewing party has moved to the bedroom, but I'm fading fast. I fall asleep with the TV on, which happens almost every night.
Daily Total: $16.42

Day Two

4:21 a.m. — I wake up before the alarm and try to sneak out of bed, but every bone in my body cracks like I've just poured milk into the biggest bowl of Rice Krispies on the planet. Oops. Sorry L. No whining, love-starved cat this morning, either — I'm simultaneously relieved and offended.
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5 a.m. — No one shows up to open the gym, which is a once-every-two-weeks occurrence. I like the morning crowd here; people are quiet and friendly, and it feels a bit like a strange, sweaty family. On Thursday mornings my best friend teaches a boot camp, so I let her kick my ass for an hour.
7:20 a.m. — I shower, put on makeup, do my hair, get dressed (black jeans, a black sweater tank top, and a black blazer — I look a little like I'm going to cater a graduation party, but it's rainy and cold outside, so I don't really care), grab enough food to ride out the apocalypse, and kiss L. goodbye (she works at a high school, so her year is winding down and she's only working a couple hours a day this week). In the car, I'm in the mood for Guster again. Instead of waiting for shuffle to queue them up, I take control of my own destiny and play them myself.
9:10 a.m. — At the office, I eat a nectarine and a Luna bar (I am the definition of a creature of habit) while half doing some editing, half reading my favorite blog, Running Off the Reeses. I love the author and want to be her friend. L. texts me and says she'd like to take me to NYC in a few weeks, and I immediately agree.
11:52 a.m. — A trip to Wegmans satisfies both of my dumb daily needs: going to the grocery store and getting out of the office. On the way, I talk to my mom about my sister's job hunt, Father's Day, and the classes we both teach. At the store, I buy bananas, Father's Day cards for my dad and grandfather, office ice cream sandwiches, coffee creamer, watermelon, and a granola bar. $22.88
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1:25 p.m. — It's been about 45 minutes since I last ate, so I have lunch: leftover black beans, fajita chicken, and roasted peppers over Romaine lettuce. It's delicious and totally filling, but I'm sure I'll be hungry again in 30 seconds.
3:50 p.m. — L. says she's home watching Black Mirror. I'm THRILLED because I love that show, and it makes me happy when she gets into things I like (see also Bleachers, Samantha Irby, Prosecco). At the same time, my Apple Watch informs me that it's time to stand up. I have a standing desk. I AM standing. Out of spite, I lower the desk and sit.
5:40 p.m. — After helping set up for a client cocktail party, I get to head out a little early. Once home, I eat leftover mashed potatoes, a ham-and-provolone sandwich, an ice cream sandwich, and two marshmallows. L. and I tag-team doing a few loads of laundry, then cuddle on the couch for a while watching Tales of the City.
9:45 p.m. — I love that L. is on board with going to bed on the early side. Sleep is fucking magical, and I have to be up early, so we wind it down before 10.
Daily Total: $22.88

Day Three

4:18 a.m. — I lie awake for a minute or two before getting up and getting ready for the gym (this time with my noisy feline companion). I head to the gym and take a spin class taught by my best friend.
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7:10 a.m. — After my normal morning routine — shower, makeup, clothes, hair, lunch, kiss L. and P. — I head out a little early because I have to leave by 4 today. I stop at Wawa because it's Friday AND payday. I'm happy and coffee will make me happier. I also grab Peanut Chews for L. and gum. A nice woman tells me she likes my outfit (a Bleachers T-shirt tied above a knit navy pencil skirt, which I wasn't entirely sure I was pulling off). and it makes my day. $5.88
9:15 a.m. — My boss hits me with some urgent requests right away. In between handling blogs and emails, I eat the usual Luna bar and nectarine.
11 a.m. — I eat some pineapple, a chocolate Entenmann's doughnut, and a cookie, because I've had too much coffee and I reason that pastries will help to soak it up. They do! I finally take the plunge and get a mini air fryer that's been hanging out in my Amazon cart. I'm trying not to spend money since I know I'll be buying food/drinks this weekend, but I'm excited to try some recipes in it with L. Living with her has helped me get out of my cooking comfort zone, which previously included nuking frozen vegetables and pouring cereal into a bowl. I also buy a bathing suit, but in my defense, most of mine are nearly unwearable because I take terrible care of them. $72.06
12:40 p.m. — A close friend from college texts me out of nowhere, and we catch each other up about our lives. I eat the base salad I brought for lunch topped with miscellaneous party leftovers: kale and squash, short ribs (!!), soba noodles, and cheese.
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3:45 p.m. — I'm leaving work early today since I teach a gym class at 4:45. It's a half-hour HIIT format, it's easy to learn, and I really love the workout. Today my friend, T., is coming to class — she lives about an hour away, but we try to see each other once or twice a month.
5:30 p.m. — After class, L., T., and I head home to shower before heading to a bar across the street. L. and I get strawberry margaritas, and T. orders a coconut mojito that is out of this world. In between a few more drinks and some appetizers, we learn all about T.'s new love interest and end up talking a lot about relationships, masculine/feminine energies, and attachment styles. T. is a walking encyclopedia of relationship psychology knowledge, so I always learn something when I spend time with her.
8:45 p.m. — I pay the bill, which is far lower than I was expecting, since we only really ate a few happy hour appetizers ($84.50, plus a $20 tip). Back at our place, L. says good night to both of us and crashes. T. and I sit out on the porch for a couple more hours, continuing our conversation from the bar. When we realize how late it is, T. heads home. I change and head to bed. $104.50
Daily Total: $182.44

Day Four

7:30 a.m. — L. and I wake up slowly; she's headed to her dad's house at the beach for the weekend. We cuddle for a few minutes before she and P. head out, leaving me in a quiet apartment with a needy cat. I get dressed for the gym, then head out to the bike path by our apartment to run a few miles beforehand. It's a gorgeous morning, and the trail is absolutely beautiful. I run three miles and then drive over to the gym.
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9:30 a.m. — My friend teaches a body pump class on Saturday mornings; I don't make it all the time, but it's always fun when I do. Our friend's other two friends are there as well, and it's as enjoyable as an hour of exercise can possibly be. After class, I run to Target for some necessities and some unnecessary nonsense: a tank top for L. because it makes me think of her, a few gifts for my dad, a Swiffer WetJet, toothpaste, and a small box of chocolate chip Quest bars. $97.33
12:30 p.m. — At home I get some legit cleaning done and then clean myself before putting on a bathing suit and driving over to my friend, N.'s. She lives on a golf course and has a deck that's perfect for hanging out in the sun and day drinking.
5:15 p.m. — We shower and make ourselves presentable and head to our local dive bar. At the bar, I load my TouchTunes with $5 so I can use the jukebox. I pay for dinner (crab fries, shrimp poppers, and sliders that we all share), and my friends cover tip. $40
9:30 p.m. — L. and I FaceTime after I get back to the apartment. It's so good to see her face — being around her dad can be tough for her, and I wish I could hug her through the phone. She shows me the moonlight on the water outside of the bedroom, and we talk for about an hour before we're both ready to call it a night.
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Daily Total: $137.33

Day Five

6:20 a.m. — I set my alarm early because I had delusions of going running this morning. I don't feel hungover at all, but I also sure don't feel like running. I can't fall back asleep, so I get up and start cleaning. I strip the bed, throw the sheets in the washer, and manage to get both bathrooms finished before I have to head to the gym.
8 a.m. — Sunday morning I teach a workout class, and I chat with a few of my regulars before we get started. It's a small group this morning, which I prefer, and everything goes smoothly.
9:30 a.m. — I text L. and tell her I'm going grocery shopping — she lets me know about a few things we need. At the store, I get salad, apples, turkey, cheese, bread, jelly, Diet Pepsi, chicken, burgers, frozen veggie tots that shouldn't be good but are, and a gift bag for my dad's gifts. $65.18
11:15 a.m. — At home I finish cleaning (L.'s essentially working all weekend, and I know she'll appreciate coming back to a clean apartment), shower and get dressed, eat a Quest bar, and drive to my parents' house, which is about 45 minutes away. They still live in the house I grew up in, and I love that they're close enough to visit regularly.
12:30 p.m. — My mom, dad, and I sit on their back porch drinking coffee. My dad is in charge of organizing their upcoming high school reunion (my parents were in the same high school class, at the same high school my sister and I went to), and he chooses to spend Father's Day afternoon berating his classmates on Facebook for not getting back to him about whether or not they're coming. Everything he says makes me laugh. My mom helps him by making a list of attendees, and I help by looking through their senior class yearbook and making judgmental commentary.
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3 p.m. — We meet my sister at a local bar/restaurant for drinks and appetizers. My poor mom has a bad toothache, so she eats soup and dip while the rest of us order nachos and fries. My parents order beers and my sister gets a frozen margarita, but my liver has had quite enough of my shenanigans, so I stick to water. My sister and I try to convince our dad to let us pay, but he's having none of it. After dinner I visit my grandparents, who live a few miles away from my parents. They are in killer shape for being in their late 80s.
6:30 p.m. — On the way home, I pick up sushi, shrimp salad, and some potstickers for dinner. L. and P. are waiting for me, and I couldn't be more excited to see both of them. After dinner, we take P. for a walk, eat some Italian cookies that L. brought home, then get into bed even though it's still basically broad daylight outside. We try to stay up for Big Little Lies, but I fall asleep a few minutes in. $35.07
Daily Total: $100.25

Day Six

4:23 a.m. — I teach a class again this morning. I'm subbing the 5:30 a.m. class for one of my fellow instructors, and I am over it. I love the workout, but enough is enough. I do the same release I've done for the last two classes (the participants are different, so I don't even feel bad). I need to learn the new release by next Sunday, but that's future me's problem. After class, I run a couple miles on the indoor track, then book it home to get ready for the day.
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7:20 a.m. — I walk P., grab coffee and my lunch, kiss L. goodbye, and drive to work. Schools are letting out for the summer around now, so morning traffic has died down. I listen to Fitz and the Tantrums on the way in, because I'm going to see them this weekend and I'm psyched. I also eat a banana and a Quest bar.
1:03 p.m. — I catch up on emails and eat leftovers for lunch. I read a Money Diary that mentions an engagement ring, so I idly click over to Etsy and start browsing. It's too soon for that, but looking never hurt anybody, and I want to get some ideas about what's out there.
1:45 p.m. — We get a delivery at the office, and my boss calls me over; it's a sample of a video brochure that my friend's company has sent to us. We're considering using them for a direct-mail campaign, and the brochure is AWESOME — beautifully designed with a stunning, high-quality video inside that you can play, stop, rewind, and fast-forward. There's volume control on it, and it even comes with a charger. I'm psyched that it looks so good, and I really hope we end up using their company.
3:10 p.m. — I earn a $10 gift card filling out a long-ass survey about Uber and Lyft and apply the balance to my Amazon account. L. texts me about dinner and talks me out of $5 Papa John's pizzas and into grilled chicken and salad, which she says she'll take care of making. Sometimes I need to be saved from myself. Then I eat a leftover lemon bar, because I can only be so healthy.
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4:42 p.m. — Jane.com is my nemesis. I order a pair of flowy seersucker pants and a striped tank top, but I reason that I do need actual clothes for work since I spent the past year working in gym clothes exclusively. $45.46
5:20 p.m. — On the way home, my sister calls to tell me she got the job she wanted! She has a job, but she hates it, so she's thrilled, and I'm so proud of her for not getting discouraged.
6:30 p.m. — L. makes chicken, white cheddar rice, and salad for dinner while I work on some laundry. We catch up on the first two episodes of The Good Fight, then take P. for a walk. We both shower before getting into bed, but we're up for a while. She wants to check out Euphoria on HBO; it's strange, but I'm kind of hooked.
11 p.m. — L.'s watching Golden Girls when I finally fall asleep, and I swear I wake up laughing halfway through the night at a dream about Blanche and Rose.
Daily Total: $45.46

Day Seven

6:37 a.m. — I don't work out on Tuesdays, sort of because I need the recovery but mostly because I need to look forward to sleeping in at least once a week. The extra two hours are glorious.
9:30 a.m. — The office is quiet this morning, even though everyone is here, which gives me a chance to think about a few different angles for some website pages I'm working on. I eat a leftover doughnut (how do Entenmann's stay fresh for 97 years in an open box?), grab a nectarine from the fridge, and drink a cup of coffee.
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12:45 p.m. — For lunch I eat a salad (and more leftover sushi, which I probably shouldn't be eating at this point), along with a gigantic croissant one of my coworkers brought in.
1:50 p.m. — I'm out of brown eyeliner — the absolute horror — so I run to Wegmans. I also pick up face wash, lotion, a box of Balance bars, and plain chicken for P. While I'm there, L. texts about dinner; we're going to an Elin Hilderbrand reading at a local college tonight, and we decide to go out somewhere after to eat. $31.06
7 p.m. — The reading turns out to be less reading, more Elin pontificating about herself and answering questions from admittedly borderline rabid fans. She's equal parts charming and conceited, so it's an interesting experience. Dinner turns out to be by far the best part of the night; L. and I end up at a sports bar across the street from our place. She has a couple beers, and I opt for my signature Jack and Diet, along with potato skins and a Margherita flatbread. We talk about what's left to be done at her dad's beach house (a lot) and how awesome it'll be when it's finished (very awesome), along with some financial stuff. We haven't lived together for all that long, so joint accounts aren't in our immediate future, but it's nice to have those conversations way ahead of time. I think about how not only happy but peaceful it feels to imagine life with her. I insist on paying ($56.21), and L. leaves the tip in cash ($12). $56.21
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Daily Total: $87.27
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