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A Week In Providence, RI, On A $55,000 Salary

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Today, as part of Your Spending In Your State: a project manager working in policy who makes $55,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on croissants.
Occupation: Project Manager
Industry: Policy
Age: 24
Location: Providence, RI
Salary: $55,000
Paycheck Amount (Monthly): $3,890.55
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Monthly Expenses
Rent: $800 (My half of the rent for a three-bedroom apartment that I live in with my boyfriend.)
Student Loan Payment: $0 (Thank you, Dad and Mom!)
Utilities: ~$50-$125
Internet: $30
Cell Phone: $117 (my half of the plan with my boyfriend)
Car Insurance: $100 for my half
Joint Account with my Boyfriend: $500 (We use this money to pay off our credit card, which we use to pay for our joint expenses.)
Roth IRA: $515
Investment Account: $300
ACLU Donation: $20
Union Of Concerned Scientists: $25
Planned Parenthood: $25
Netflix: $0 (I use my mom's account.)
Savings: ~$1,000-$1,500
Annual Expenses
Amazon Prime: $50 for my half

Day One

7 a.m. — Wake up and scroll social media. Then I shower, put on clothes, and make two eggs and a piece of peanut butter, banana, and cinnamon sugar toast for breakfast. Kiss my boyfriend, N., goodbye and ride my bike to work.
8:30 a.m. — Get to the office. I'm working on a statewide scholarship and research project, so I have to go to a few schools today. I Lyft to one high school ($5.89) and then call an Uber to another one and back ($28.59). ($34.48 expensed)
12 p.m. — Impromptu apple tasting with my coworkers. One of my coworkers has only ever eaten Fuji (!) and I told her Honeycrisp is the best apple variety (don't @ me). Another coworker from Vermont thinks McIntosh is the best. So I brought a Honeycrisp apple and another coworker brought McIntosh, and we're have a tasting with more coworkers. We all agree the McIntosh is too mealy. My coworkers ask me to go to Panera with them, but I decline because I brought a lunch (for once)! I heat up the food I brought from home (sautéed potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts, and braised beef) and watch a Drew Gooden YouTube video at my desk. N. texts me that he just got off the phone with a recruiter, and it went well! Yay! He just quit his job, and he's been on the lookout for a new one.
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2:15 p.m. — Ride my bike to class, which is about half a mile away. As part of my job, I get to take one class per semester for free! I get other student perks at the university, like a free gym membership and free Adobe software, too.
4 p.m. — Ride the two miles home. We had a guest speaker in class today who founded a startup, and I'm feeling super inspired! I spend the next three hours revamping my résumé on Adobe Illustrator instead of writing a paper for class.
7 p.m. — N. wants some attention, and we're getting hungry. I was going to cook, but…Jamaican sounds so tasty right now! We order one small oxtail plate for me and one large oxtail plate for N. I treat because I'm feeling magnanimous, and I'm getting paid tomorrow. We hang out and wait for the delivery. $37.25
7:30 p.m. — The food is here!! We watch an Australian TV show called Rake on Netflix and eat the takeout in bed, saving half for later. After dinner, we heat up a piece of apple pie I made from scratch over the weekend. Pies are the only dessert I bake, and I don't do it very often because they're so much work. This is a delicious pie, and I'm already planning on making another next week. Then I keep editing my résumé while N. works on a coding tutorial.
10 p.m. — Switch to reading a book my mom got me for my birthday last month: Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami. He is my favorite author for sure. I've read all his novels, and I'm trying to savor this book, hehe. I read for 30 minutes and then it's bedtime!
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Daily Total: $37.25

Day Two

6:30 a.m. — Alarm gets me up. I do some scrolling on Reddit before I get up. N. is randomly awake (he's not usually up this early) and wants cuddles, but I tell him I have to workout this morning. I do a kettlebell workout on YouTube. BodyFit by Amy is great! Then I take a shower and get ready. I have a mini skincare routine that includes Paula's Choice RESIST Super Antioxidant Serum, Hada Labo Skin Plumping Cream, and La Roche Posay Sunscreen. I've tried adding more products, but I find I can't stick to a routine that's longer than three steps, haha. Breakfast is two fried eggs and peanut butter, banana, and cinnamon sugar toast. I eat while reading my Murakami book.
8:15 a.m. — I ride my bike 2.5 miles to work. It's a cold morning and even with my gloves, my fingers hurt so bad.
8:30 a.m. — It turns out to be a busy day. Our program grew 20% overnight (probably because the deadline to sign up is today). This is great, because it means we can help more low-income students get into college, but it's also very stressful for me and my team! I also have to work on a discussion paper for my class that's due by 2 p.m. My job allows me to work on homework during work hours as long as I get my other work done (as the class is technically part of my job). This morning, we also have a team meeting.
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11 a.m. — I eat a snack of beef jerky and power through my paper, taking breaks to keep up with work emails and other miscellaneous time-sensitive work tasks.
1 p.m. — I finish my paper! Then I eat my leftover Jamaican food at my desk. I don't really like eating at my desk, but today is busy. I take a short break, though, and watch a Drew Gooden YouTube video about the Olsen twins as I eat.
5 p.m. — Finally done with work! Ride my bike 2.5 miles back home. When I get there, N. is cooking dinner and listening to music. We listen to an EP that our favorite group just put out. We get super excited because we're seeing them next week, so we dance around in our office to their new music to “practice” for the concert.
6:10 p.m. — Eat dinner that N. made: baked chicken, sautéed potatoes, and cauliflower. It's simple, but tasty! We finish with a piece of pie each — the last two pieces :( — and watch an episode of Rake. Cleaver Greene is really an asshole.
8 p.m. — N. wants to get some work done, so I go on my phone and read more Killing Commendatore. I forgot today was payday, and I'm very happy when I realize it. I don't really like getting paid once a month — it's annoying for budgeting — but money is money! I make plans with friends to go dancing on Saturday night.
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9:30 p.m. — Hang out a lil with N. and then go to sleep.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

6:30 a.m. — Wake up and do some work. The program enrollment period closed last night, and I want to make sure everything went smoothly.
7:30 a.m. — I get ready to go for a run, since I'm going into work late today (I have a laser hair removal appointment at 9), when N. wakes up and asks me if we can do a kettlebell workout together. BodyFit by Amy it is! I use our 25-pound kettlebell, and N. uses the 35-pound one. We take turns taking showers afterwards because our shower isn't very big, and we can't both fit.
8:45 a.m. — N. drives me to my laser hair removal appointment. He drives me to places a lot — I don't really like driving, and he loves it. We split car insurance and gas, and it works for us. If ever he doesn't feel like driving, which isn't too often, I take the bus or ride my bike. Today, I get my upper lip hair and cheek hair done. The upper lip hurts a lot this time. I already prepaid for six sessions with a Groupon for $235, so I don't pay for this session.
9:30 a.m. — Dunkin' Donuts drive-through for breakfast sandwiches! It's $7.54 for two sandwiches (turkey sausage, egg, and cheese on an English muffin for me, and a bacon, egg, and cheese on a croissant and a coffee for N.), but I only pay for my sandwich. We eat the sandwiches on the way to my work. $3.54
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1 p.m. — Eat lunch with coworkers — leftovers from last night.
2:15 p.m. — Walk to class. The subject material is interesting today, but the heat is blasting and the instructor is boring (he isn't our regular one), which means I struggle to pay attention.
3:45 p.m. — Get out of class five minutes early and go to a cafe near campus, where I get a small soy iced chai tea and a piece of vegan banana bread. I tip $1. I do my reading for my discussion section as I eat my snack. $8.29
4:10 p.m. — Walk to the Health Center on campus and get this season's flu shot. It's free for students. Then I walk to my discussion section.
6:10 p.m. — N. picks me up. We quickly grab broccolini we bought from the grocery store last week and head over to N.'s siblings' place (his brother and sister live together) for dinner.
10 p.m. — After a night of yummy food (N.'s sister cooked a Laotian rice dish), fun company, and more than an hour of playing charades, N. and I head home. When we go to bed, I have trouble falling asleep. I'm thankful tomorrow is Friday.
Daily Total: $11.83

Day Four

6:30 a.m. — Alarm wakes me. I'm very tired and try going back to sleep, but no can do. I was going to go for a run but it's still dark outside, so I wait until it gets lighter. I leave for my run at 7:06 a.m., and it turns out to be the worst three miles ever. I felt so bad I had to walk up a hill. Probably because of the lack of sleep and the flu shot? Oh well, I'm happy I did it.
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8:15 a.m. — After showering, getting ready, making a breakfast of leftovers to take to work (potatoes, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and ground beef — I love leftovers for breakfast!), and kissing N. goodbye, I run to the bus stop.
8:19 a.m. — And the bus is late. Classic RIPTA. Luckily I didn't run far — the bus stop is basically on my street. When it arrives, I get on the bus and ride to work. (Bus fare is covered by my university.)
12 p.m. — Free Chinese food for lunch at work today. There's veggie lo mein full of mushrooms, which I'm into. It's a coworker's birthday, too, so there are also donuts! I sit with my coworkers and eat. The "best apple variety" topic of conversation comes up again. Honeycrisp is the clear winner among the office.
5:45 p.m. — Still at work, working on a report that we need to finish before we leave the office tonight. I snack on a donut.
7 p.m. — Finally finish the report (first draft) and send it to the boss. Some coworkers and I leave work to go to bar on campus to celebrate our coworker's birthday. I buy a tequila sour ($4) and some popcorn for the table ($3), and tip $3. $10
8 p.m. — Getting hungry, so I go to a ramen place near campus with two coworkers. I get shio ramen, and it's delicious. $21.50
9 p.m. — I miss my bus home and decide to walk 2.5 miles home and talk to one of my close friends on the phone. It takes me about an hour. When I get home, N. and I get into an argument. We need some space, so I go to bed while he works in the office.
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Daily Total: $31.50

Day Five

7 a.m. — Wake up and make myself a breakfast of two slices of peanut butter, banana, and cinnamon sugar toast. I spend the morning doing dishes and laundry, cleaning the toilet, and reading Killing Commendatore.
12 p.m. — Run three miles and almost die again. I'm not sure what's going on here, but I feel as though I may be getting sick. When I get home, I shower and eat a lunch of leftovers — a chicken thigh, potatoes, and carrots.
2:10 p.m. — Have a long talk with N. about our relationship. It's hard, but I think we're working towards a better place. He's pretty introverted, and I'm pretty extroverted, so sometimes we clash about social things.
5:30 p.m. — N. and I get hungry and decide to order pizza from our local spot. Medium mushroom pizza for me, buffalo chicken calzone for him. We split the cost and watch some more Rake while we munch. $12.81
8:34 p.m. — N. drops me off at my friend's house on his way to visit his mom in Boston. He's going to to stay there overnight. We kiss goodbye!
9 p.m. — My friend and I walk to the liquor store across the street from her house, and I buy one of my favorite beers: Lost Nation Gose. $11.22
9:20 p.m. — Our other friend arrives, and we all hang out and catch up while we get ready. I drink two beers and take two shots over an hour and a half. Then we Lyft to the bar! I pay. When we get to the bar, it's almost empty. We decide to hit up a nearby pizza spot. $7.45
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11:45 p.m. — After spending an inordinate amount of time in Pizza Queen taking pictures, we go back to the bar. The amount of people has quadrupled. We stay until closing, dancing the entire time. I love to dance, and I especially love to dance for free!
1 a.m. — Walk back a mile to my friend's house, and then I Lyft home from there. $7.66
2 a.m. — In bed and missing N.! I had a great time with my friends, though. I think I can feel a sore throat coming on. It's also freezing. I put on another sweater and fall asleep.
Daily Total: $39.14

Day Six

8 a.m. — Wake up. Ugh. I feel terrible, and I'm definitely sick. I have a headache and a sore throat. I need more sleep but I can't go to sleep right now. Oh well, time for a big breakfast. I fry three eggs and make peanut butter, banana, and cinnamon sugar toast. I read Killing Commendatore as I eat and make sure to drink OJ, too!
9:15 a.m. — Feeling sorry for myself, I do some online shopping. After consulting with N. about a coat, I buy almost $175 worth of neutral-toned winter clothes (two sweaters, two pairs of pants, and one coat) from Uniqlo. I need new winter clothes, and what the hell, I just got paid. $174.50
12:15 p.m. — Eat my leftover mushroom pizza for lunch — yum!
12:53 p.m. — My friend comes over, and we walk several blocks from my house to a nearby coffee shop and bakery that has the best croissants. I buy two butter croissants (one for me and one for N.) and a chamomile mint tea for my scratchy throat. My friend gets a butter croissant and a cold apple cider. It's a really nice day, so we walk back to my house and eat our pastries on my balcony. It's so nice to sit in the sun, and I'm feeling a lot better. $9.07
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2:15 p.m. — N. gets back, and all three of us head for a walk in the park. We end up walking for an hour, and it's lovely, barring the fact that I step in dog poop.
4:45 p.m. — We drop my friend off at her house and head to our favorite Jamaican restaurant for, you guessed it, oxtail. It's so much cheaper to pick up than get it delivered like we did earlier this week. My half is $10.30, and we eat at home. We need groceries, so I place an order online for a Peapod delivery ($134.60), including enough Honeycrisp apples to bake an apple pie! I schedule the delivery for two mornings from now. Exhausted, I fall asleep around 7 p.m. $144.90
Daily Total: $328.47

Day Seven

6:20 a.m. — Wake up feeling better, but still stuffy. Decide to lay off the workout I usually do on Monday mornings and take my time getting ready. I make myself breakfast of two slices of peanut butter, banana, and cinnamon sugar toast. (We're out of eggs!) Then I walk to the bus stop and read my book on the bus.
8:26 a.m. — Work, work, work.
10:30 a.m. — Feeling extra hungry, so I heat up a small plate of leftover veggie lo mein from the work fridge and eat it at my desk.
12:30 p.m. — Order a soup and salad on Panera's app and walk with my coworker to go pick it up. She has some interesting girlfriend/friend drama she fills me in on. We eat our food back in the office. $9.69
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4:50 p.m. — N. picks me up from work, and we head home. He tells me he got gas this weekend, so I pay him for half of it ($14.83). He's feeling pretty sick, so he wants to rest. I do a kettlebell workout and then cook rib-eye steak, sautéed potatoes, and broccolini for dinner. We eat and hang out. $14.83
10 p.m. — Go to sleep thinking about the concert we're going to in two days. I'm so excited!!
Daily Total: $24.52
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