A Week In Seattle, WA, On An $85,000 Income

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 registered nurse who makes $85,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a baby monstera plant.
Occupation: Registered Nurse — Pediatric Intensive Care (I also have a floral-design side hustle.)
Industry: Healthcare
Age: 28
Location: Seattle, WA
Salary: $78,000 + $7,000 (projected income from floral side hustle)
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,800 (I live alone in an awesome one-bedroom apartment in an older but well-kept building.)
401(k): Contribute 5%, vested by my employer
Medical, Dental & Vision: $0 (hospital benefits!)
Life Insurance: $0 (covered by my employer)
Car Insurance: $190.20
Phone: $238 (paid quarterly to my stepmom as part of the family plan)
Internet: $77
Gas/Electric: About $30-50 in the summer and $50-85 in the winter (charged every other month)
Orca Card: $20 (unlimited uses; work gives a significant discount)
Water/Trash/Sewer: $90
ClassPass: $30
Spotify Premium: $0 (I use my brother's.)
Netflix: $12 (My brother uses mine.)
Hulu: $7.99
HBO GO: $0 (I use my old roommate's aunt's ;). )
New York Times Subscription: $12.50
Amazon Prime: $12.99

Day One

8 a.m. — Wake up feeling mostly rested, but I have a ton of floral prep to do for a wedding tomorrow! I make a latte with my trusty moka pot and milk steamer, toast some waffles, and throw blackberries from my neighborhood farmers' market on top with syrup. I stall by watching an episode of the new Queer Eye season (Antoni, hi, hello) and send my old roommate the pics of my old room she asked for so she can post them on her find a roommate ad! We catch up for a bit, and then I finally get my booty in gear to start my day.
10 a.m. — Finally out the door. I pick up my floral order that I already paid for and add a couple of extra items just in case. This bride has a very specific color palette, so I want to make sure I deliver on her vision! I grab a second baby latte ($3.75) at one of my favorite cafés and get a text from a guy who just moved back into town about a date next week. I'm not 100% sure I want to date him, so I mull it over as I head to Home Depot to grab chicken wire for the wedding, a couple more buckets to store flowers in, and a baby monstera plant ($91.92) that is too cute to pass up! Stop by Costco for gas ($40.20) and fill up my tank so I'm ready for the drive to the wedding tomorrow. $135.87
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1:15 p.m. — I head back to my apartment and get all the flowers and greenery in their buckets. I make a big arugula salad with tuna fish, cucumbers, green peppers, spices, and dressing and finish off my bag of white cheddar popcorn while watching more Queer Eye. I process all of the roses and the rest of the flowers so that I can assemble everything more easily.
4 p.m. — I meet up with my nursing mentee, G., and we go on a quick walk. The hospital encourages each new grad to pick a mentor as a way for them to get connected on a bigger unit and to feel supported during what can be a very challenging first year. We get paid to hang out for two hours each month — easiest work ever! G. is finishing up her first year this month, so we talk about celebrating with karaoke next week. I head home to finally bust out this floral goodness for tomorrow.
4:30 p.m. — I sit down and start on bridesmaids and bridal bouquets, boutonnieres, table vases.
7:45 p.m. — Break for dinner. I have a super fancy meal of a cup of ramen, carrots, and a plum. I text my best friend, B., who is the day-of coordinator for the wedding pictures of my work, and she tells me it looks excellent! I ask her questions about the schedule for tomorrow and get back to work.
11:30 p.m. — All the vases and bridal/groomsmen party things are done! I get everything downsized into buckets and pack up my party clothes for tomorrow. Get in bed and snuggle with my cat before turning off the lights.
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Daily Total: $135.87

Day Two

7:30 a.m. — Awake and out of coffee — oh, noooo! I move my car closer to my apartment so I can load up the flowers, and I see that my coolant light has come on, because life. I immediately text my dad for his opinion (an every-other-day occurrence, tbh) and head to the closest auto-parts store. One bottle of antifreeze later and my car light is still on, but I have been reassured by both my dad and the auto guy I should be good to go. I run home to load up my buckets. $24
8:45 a.m. — Sweaty from loading up my car with floral goodies, I get my breakfast from the café below my apartment — bougie squash bread and a cappuccino to go. $7.30
9:45 a.m. — Showered, hair dried, snacks in hand, I head out for the ferry.
10:15 a.m. — I'm informed I have missed the ferry I was going to get due to the craziness of the summer sailing schedule and decide to drive around instead as the next ferry won't come for another hour and a half. No staring at the city skyline à la McDreamy for me today! I also realize I left the magnet backs to the boutonnieres on my fridge and text B. to tell her I will be getting there a little later than I had planned. I stop by JoAnn's to grab magnets. $2.50
12:45 p.m. — I make it to the venue! The bride loves her bouquet, and I get to work doing the table greenery runners and arbor corners. The boutonnieres magnet replacements semi-fail, but I brought a lot of back-up pins just in case!
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4 p.m. — I change into my jumpsuit with statement earrings and watch the wedding — now it's time for some well-deserved wine! I hang with B. during the celebration and get an Instagram message from a guy I've been talking to who lives out of town, saying my flowers look great. I've been super excited about this guy, but we don't live in the same state, and when I told him I'd be in his city in a couple weeks, he didn't jump on an invite, so I'm trying to rein in my expectations/excitement. I decide not to read the message right now and put my phone away to hit the dance floor.
10 p.m. — I attempt to make the ferry home, but clearly nautical transportation is not my jam today as there is a two-hour wait to get on. I think about staying with B. back at the venue, but decide I would rather wake up in my own bed, so I drive back around, blegh. I pay the toll bridge fee and get home by 12:45 a.m. WHAT A DAY. $5
Daily Total: $38.80

Day Three

8 a.m. — Cat and I are both in corpse pose, but I get myself out of bed, do a couple of yoga stretches, and make some peppermint tea. I agreed to help work the welcome table at church earlier in the week, so I'm out the door by 9:15 in dire need of coffee.
9:30 a.m. — I bring a bunch of the leftover flowers from the wedding with me, so I can make little baby bouquets and hand them out! I get to hang out with some of my friends, and I let them know I will see them later tonight for a BBQ. I look at the message from out-of-town boy complimenting my flowers. I respond and roll my eyes at myself for crushing on a dude who isn't even here.
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12:30 p.m. — I poke around a couple stores in my neighborhood but am good and don't buy anything. I grab an açai bowl and sit in the sun to eat. I get a phone call from my good friend, so we catch up and start planning our trip to New Zealand! $10.46
2 p.m. — Back home and need some serious down time. I sit on my balcony with a book, peanut butter, and celery. I start making some sun-tea that reminds me of my mom.
3:45 p.m. — I head out and grab a fancy bag of coffee for my friend's birthday, which comes with a free bevvie, so I get a little caffeine for the road and head to the athletic club to celebrate his birthday. I finally text back the guy who asked me out and decide one date won't hurt anything. I agree to meet up with him this coming week. Please tell me I'm not the only one who really is not a fan of dating…. $17.20
6 p.m. — I head to another birthday bash barbecue much closer to my apartment and catch up with those friends!
9 p.m. — I hit up the grocery store across the street from my apartment and grab Ben & Jerry's, coffee beans, and two plums. Finally home and exhausted and want to hermit so hard. Curl up with ice cream for my very nutritious after-dinner snack and watch the Big Little Lies finale with my fluffy nugget. I go to bed around 11. $16.42
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Daily Total: $44.08

Day Four

8:15 a.m. — I hit snooze and rally enough to check ClassPass and see the yoga studio by me has a 75-minute class at 9:30. I sign up, eat a banana with peanut butter, email back the therapist I had reached out to, feed my cat his treats, and watch him zoom around the apartment before heading out to the studio. I post an Instagram to my floral business account and see that the bride has tagged me in some pictures, and I'm very excited about how everything turned out! Yay!
11 a.m. —Yoga was HARD today. I head across the street to one of my fave bakeries and get a tasty chocolate croissant as part of the recovery process. I go home and make French press coffee. I drink my coffee while doing the NYT crossword and reading part of my book, The Devil in the White City, in the sunshine on my balcony. I'm trying to make sure I carve time out to do more reading. $4.75
1 p.m. — While cleaning out my emails, I got suckered into Madewell's 40% off sale. I buy a shirt and a pair of earrings. $70.13
2 p.m. — I clean my apartment and organize from this crazy weekend while listening to the iCritical Care podcast. I grab my trusty detergent and tackle my massive laundry pile. I do three loads of laundry that all require quarters, one of the few downsides of my building! $9
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3:30 p.m. — I go to two different grocery stores after actually meal planning. I find it super hard to plan meals for myself, especially with work. All together I buy Parmesan crisps, two different types of cheese, dates, yams, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, ice cream, fresh and dried mango, cod fillets, kombuchas for work, chili oil, kale, crackers, tuna fish, chickpeas, avocados, salsa, peanut butter cups, tomato paste, capers, jalapeño slices. I move my laundry along and head out to pick up my friend. $91.85
5 p.m. — We go to a cute wine bar for our last date before she moves out of town! We bond over travel nursing and the pros and cons of being staff. We split a charcuterie board. I have two glasses of rosé, because ’tis the season to be a basic patio girl. $31.08
8:30 p.m. — Once home, I make dinner — stuffed zucchinis with pine-nut salsa — and grab my finished laundry piles. I lie with my cat, and he tolerates my snuggles for approximately one minute. I go to bed around 10:15 but can't fall asleep until 11 or so.
Daily Total: $206.81

Day Five

5:25 a.m. — Less than thrilled about my alarm going off. I wake up and quickly make French press coffee and feed the cat.
6:25 a.m. — On the bus to work! I use my ORCA card from work, because we get a pay incentive anytime we commute to work in any other form than driving ourselves. I make a cool $4.25 with that transportation bonus and listen to a Bachelorette recap podcast, because I don't want to think this early in the morning. I have plans to go on a date with the guy from earlier tonight after work and text B. to see if she can drive me home after, since the date will be right by her place.
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7 a.m. — I start my shift. It. Is. Insane. I have two patients, and one is very active for being very sick. My other patient is very chill, and I am so grateful for it! Lots of timing of antibiotics with limited IV access, so a good portion of my day is staggering and re-timing meds. I like to be busy at work, but today is busy in the ways that I don't love. I eat my quick oatmeal and Parm chips, leftover stuffed zucchini, and more peanut butter pretzels throughout the day. I make a K-cup at work to be able to keep up with my little nugget patients.
7:50 p.m. — I finish my shift, shove some more pretzels in my mouth so I don't show up hangry to this date. I throw concealer on my post-shift dark circles and text my date that I am on my way!
8:10 p.m. — My date buys fancy non-alcoholic ginger beer bevvies for us. I'm always a little nervous on a first date!
10:10 p.m. — The date ends with him walking me to B.'s house (no kiss). We have a great conversation about all of his life changes and mine, but I leave feeling like this is still a lot to handle and that friendship may be a more realistic option. I discuss it with B., because that is what happens when dates end!!! We talk about a lot of things, and I feel so grateful that my best friend and I live in the same place again. She drives me home. I eat a plum and then get in bed with peppermint tea.
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Daily Total: $0

Day Six

8:30 a.m. — I wake up and browse Instagram while I snuggle my sleepy kitty, who is much more prone to snuggling while dozing. I dance around my kitchen to The Killers and make a bomb breakfast of fresh mango, avocado toast, and French press coffee. I watch some more Queer Eye, do the crossword, and text my friends back whom I didn't have time to text back while at work yesterday.
11 a.m. — I meet up with one of my oldest friends at a local coffee shop, who is in town for a quick visit! I buy a cortado, and we catch up in the sunshine. $4.25
1 p.m. — Back home, I make a lunch of frozen pea and potato samosas, carrots, and celery. I drink my iced tea that I made the other day and fold my laundry (two days later, because the joys of living by yourself are real).
3:30 p.m. — I walk to the lake with my friend! It's a beautiful day, and it feels so good to be outside and also to people-watch to my heart's content. Usually, I get a coffee to have on the walk, but I already bought one today and am trying to keep my coffee-buying habit in check.
5 p.m. — I make burrata toast with cherry tomatoes and balsamic glaze from Trader Joe's. I feed my cat and play with him for a little bit before heading out to meet a floral client.
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7 p.m. — I meet up with my floral client and her two planners. Everyone is on the same page with the design plan, and we work out some logistical things. I have been doing this side hustle for about a year and a half, and each meeting makes me realize how much I have grown. Charging people is my least favorite part, but it's a lot of work and this is a big wedding, so we talk about what her budget looks like.
8:30 p.m. — I head out from the meeting to go karaoke with G. for her residency graduation! We meet up with about eight of my coworkers, and we sing a lot of Fergie, Lizzo, and Moana because we are pediatric nurses (lol). I have a glass of wine and split some of the apps with people. It's a blast, and I get back to my place around 11 p.m., waaaaay later than I had planned! I'm supposed to work at 7 a.m. tomorrow, but sign up for four hours off in the morning because I wanna sleep in. Not even hungover, just 28 and love my bed. $21.05
Daily Total: $25.30

Day Seven

5:15 a.m. — I wake up to work calling, saying I can stay home for now! I roll over, say a quick thank-you to the karaoke gods, and go back to sleep.
8 a.m. — I make toast and coffee, and work calls to say they need me to come in at 11, which was fine since I was already planning on it. I get ready while listening to the NPR Politics Podcast, play with the cat, and pack my lunch.
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10:30 a.m. — I use my trusty ORCA card and take the bus to work. I text the guy from the other night, saying friendship would be a better option, and he takes it well.
11 a.m. — Clock in to work and a couple of hours in, have my lunch of a yogurt, dried mango, peanut butter cups, celery, and Parm chips. I brought a K-cup from home, so I am not tempted by the coffee shop in my building. Today's assignment is much smoother, another paired assignment (meaning their illness acuity is a little less than a patient who needs one-on-one attention), but my families are angels and so are my patients, and I get one kid out of a pain crisis, which is a very satisfying conclusion to my day.
7:45 p.m. — Outta the hospy! I read my book on the bus home and grab my cleats, as one of my coworkers talked me into picking up an indoor soccer game tonight. Feed the fluffy nugget and head over to the field.
9:10 p.m. — Indoor game ready! My quads, however, are not after a few months off from playing. I die a slow death as I run around the field. During the last five minutes of the game, a woman on the other team crashes HARD into the wall, and my coworker and I check her out, but she appears to be mostly okay. I head home, eat a quick salad, and pack the same thing for lunch tomorrow. Shower and am in bed by 10:45, lights out, and ready to work again tomorrow.
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Daily Total: $0
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