A Week In Seattle, WA, On A $85,000 Salary

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Today: a software engineer working in manufacturing who makes $85,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Birkenstocks.
Occupation: Software Engineer
Industry: Manufacturing
Age: 23
Location: Seattle, WA
Salary: $85,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,500
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $920 (I split the $1,840 rent 50/50 with my boyfriend, L.)
Student Loan Payment: $0 (I was fortunate to receive multiple generous scholarships.)
Car Payment: $0 (My parents bought me a used car in high school that I still drive and can hopefully drive for a while longer *fingers crossed*.)
Health Insurance: $0 (My work covers a high deductible plan.)
Health Savings Account: $170
Utilities/Gas/Electricity: $100
Internet: $0 (My boyfriend's work covers this.)
Cell Phone: $50 (I'm on my parents' family plan and reimburse them each month.)
Hulu: $6 (L. and I split the $12/month subscription.)
401(k): $2,000 (I started my job late in the year and want to be able to max out my 401(k) for the year.)
Roth IRA: ~$458 (I contribute the annual maximum amount of $5,500.)
Other Savings Contribution: $2,000
AMC A-List Membership: $20
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Day One

7:15 a.m. — My second alarm goes off and I resist the urge to keep sleeping. I get up, throw on the work outfit that I picked out last night, put in contacts, brush my hair, do my makeup, grab my lunch and smoothie that I packed last night (not a morning person whatsoever), and am out the door by 7:45.
8:15 a.m. — On my way to work, I drink the smoothie I made with frozen berries, almond milk, kale, and liquid Stevia. When I arrive, I make a cup of green tea (my office provides tea and coffee), go through emails, and then get to work on fixing a bug in the code I'm working on.
12:30 p.m. — I've had a productive morning and take a break to heat up my lunch — leftover “taco bowl,” which consist of brown rice, beefless ground beef crumbles from Trader Joe's cooked with taco seasoning, and hot sauce. I top it off with avocado and eat it at my desk while I continue to work.
2:30 p.m. — After working on a frustrating bug all day, I finally have (almost) solved the problem. I celebrate with a cup of white tea and an apple for an afternoon snack.
4 p.m. — The database for one of the applications I work on is down, so one of the other developers and I work with the administrator to get it back up.
4:45 p.m. — The database is back up and all is well. I breathe a sigh of relief, pack up, and head out for the day.
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5:15 p.m. — I arrive at home after my drive. I'm making (semi) homemade pizzas tonight featuring Trader Joe's butternut squash pizza crust (which is similar to their cauliflower crust) topped with another TJ's fall staple: Autumnal Harvest Pasta Sauce. Plus dairy-free mozzarella cheese, garlic sautéed mushrooms (yum), and kale, too. (I try to limit my dairy intake because dairy irritates my chronic sinus condition.)
6:15 p.m. — L. gets home from work and we catch up on each other's days, eat pizza, and then watch Drake & Josh on Hulu (throwback to our childhoods) while L. does the dishes. I also vacuum the apartment since we have friends coming over this weekend for a Halloween get-together.
7 p.m. — I received a text earlier in the day that I had a prescription ready to pick up, so we walk to Target to pick it up. The walk is about 45 minutes round trip, which feels nice in the light rain and gives us a chance to get out of the apartment for a while. My prescription is covered by insurance.
8 p.m. — Back home, I make my smoothie for tomorrow with kale, frozen berries, almond milk, and Stevia. Then I take a shower, relax by reading articles on my phone, and watch more Drake & Josh.
10:30 p.m. — We start to get sleepy, so we head to bed, where we continue to watch TV. We're asleep by 11.
Daily Total: $0

Day Two

7:30 a.m. — My bed is extra comfy this morning and waking up is a bit tougher today. I figure the extra time I stayed at work yesterday while putting out the database fire makes up for me rolling in a little late today (and it is Friday, after all). I do my typical morning routine, grab my lunch and smoothie, and get on the road by just before 8.
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8:30 a.m. — I arrive at work and notice my coworker has invited me to a workshop next Monday. I'm excited to attend, as it will focus on a technical topic that I'm really interested in. I RSVP, email my boss to give him a heads up about where I'll be on Monday, and move some meetings around.
12 p.m. — I heat up the lunch I brought from home: leftover Thai green curry. (The ingredients are so simple and all from Trader Joe's — tofu, Harvest Hodgepodge frozen vegetable blend, green curry sauce, and half white rice/half cauliflower rice to serve it over.) I eat at my desk while working.
1 p.m. — I have a meeting to prepare for an upcoming demo. It goes well and I feel somewhat prepared but we still have some work to do before we present to our customers next week.
3:30 p.m. — I need an afternoon pick-me-up, so I grab a cup of peach white tea to drink at my desk. I get a notification from Poshmark that a pair of new Birkenstock sandals I was eyeing have dropped in price. Since they're such a great price and Birkenstocks are my favorite sandals to wear in summer (which is a while away from now but I like to get deals by buying clothes that are out of season), I decide to buy them. $34.99
4:30 p.m. — Done with work for the day and feeling accomplished. I recently became the lead on one of my projects, so I'm a bit concerned about juggling my project management responsibilities with my software development tasks. Today I proved to myself that I can manage to do both successfully, which feels good. I drive home.
5 p.m. — I change into workout clothes and head down to our apartment building's gym. I run three miles on the treadmill and do some stretches. Afterward, I go back up to my apartment, shower, and get ready to meet up with friends for dinner. L. gets home and we head out.
7 p.m. — We arrive at the restaurant and I order grilled shrimp with steamed broccoli. $18
9 p.m. — We drive to a friend's apartment to play Mario Party. I'm just as bad at it as I remember being, but it's still a fun time. While I'm there, my phone randomly shuts off and won't turn back on. It's an iPhone 8 and I've had it for a little over a year, so this is troubling.
11 p.m. — L. drives us home and I start looking up the phone issue online but don't find much helpful information. I try a few things with no success. I guess a portion of my Saturday is going to be spent at the Apple Store.
12:45 a.m. — After catching up on this week's episodes of Superstore and The Good Place, we head to bed.
Daily Total: $52.99

Day Three

9 a.m. — I wake up and get ready for the day. We leave by 9:30 to get to the Apple Store by 10.
10 a.m. — I arrive at the Apple Store and put my name down for a Genius Bar appointment. They tell me they'll text me in about two hours when they're ready for my appointment.
10:30 a.m. — I'm in need of caffeine, so I stop at Starbucks and grab and Americano with soy milk. $4
11 a.m. — While wandering around the mall, I see that Payless is having a 40% off sale. I stop in looking for flats for work, but leave with slip-ons that look just like Steve Maddens for a killer price. $6.60
12 p.m. — L. gets the text on his phone that it's almost time for my appointment, so we head back to the Apple Store. An Apple associate diagnoses it as a software problem. I'm so thankful it's not a hardware problem, since I'm 10 days out of the one-year warranty period. After he does another hard restart, it seems to be working fine. I leave happy and hope that my phone keeps working. We drive back to Seattle.
1:30 p.m. — We stop by Trader Joe's for groceries for the week. We pick up kale, avocados, a cucumber, spicy hummus, coconut aminos, tofu, jackfruit yellow curry, veggie burgers, stir-fry veggies, riced cauliflower, marinara sauce, spiralized zucchini, sweet potato crackers, plantain chips, frozen mango, almond milk, lemonade, sparkling water, and ghost pepper chips. We split the $46 total evenly. L. and I make similar incomes, so we split expenses 50/50. $23
2:30 p.m. — We arrive back at home, put away the groceries, and clean up a little more in preparation for our get-together tonight. I clean the bathroom while L. takes out the trash and sweeps the kitchen.
3:30 p.m. — L. and I leave to walk to a volunteer event we're doing. It's a walk to raise money for blood cancer research and awareness near the Space Needle.
4 p.m. — I get my volunteer assignment and end up working with the sweetest people. Hearing the stories of how blood cancer has taken the lives of so many people's loved ones breaks my heart, but it's so fulfilling to be donating my time to such a great cause.
6:30 p.m. — We're done volunteering and we grab boba teas from a place in the Seattle Center Armory. I get a Thai tea with tapioca pearls ($6). Before we leave, we place mobile orders for Veggie Grill to pick up on the way home. L. and I both order their seasonal Luxe Burgers and fries. I have a $9 reward on the app that I use, so it comes to $5. $11
6:45 p.m. — We pick up our food from Veggie Grill, then resume our walk home in the pouring rain. Once we get home, we change out of our soaked clothes and eat our food. Then I take a shower and get ready for our friends to come over.
8:45 p.m. — People start to arrive and we have pumpkin cider, vodka lemonades, Coronas, and chips.
10:30 p.m. — We're having fun hanging out at our place, but we decide to head out to a bar. L. calls an UberXL and we all Venmo him for our shares. $6
11 p.m. — We arrive in Capitol Hill and find a bar that a friend says is fun, plus it doesn't have a line down the block. The cover charge is $10. L. and I each get a Long Island once we're inside and they're $12 with tip. $22
1:30 a.m. — We've been having an amazing time dancing but L. and I are super tired, so we decide to walk home.
1:30 a.m. — We arrive at home, drink water, and are in bed by 2.
Daily Total: $72.60

Day Four

11 a.m. — We sleep in and it feels great. After I get up, I preheat the oven to make pumpkin rolls and heat up meatless breakfast sausages.
11:30 a.m. — The rolls are out of the oven and we eat. Then we lounge on the couch in our pajamas while watching Drake & Josh.
1 p.m. — We decide to finally get ready for the day. This is shaping up to be a true lazy Sunday and I'm not mad about it.
2:30 p.m. — We decide to go to a showing of Hocus Pocus at a movie theater in a nearby mall, because L. has never seen it and I love it. We are both AMC Stubs A-List members, so the tickets have no additional cost. I have a $5 reward, so I use it towards an order of mozzarella sticks ($2.10).
4:15 p.m. — Hocus Pocus was awesome as usual, and afterward we walk around the mall. I wander into Payless again because they have a great deal on no-show socks. I buy three pairs. $4
6 p.m. — We get back home, FaceTime L.'s family, and then start thinking about where to eat for dinner. Our laziness is making us want to get something delivered, but we want poke bowls from a place that doesn't deliver, so we make the 30-minute trek there.
7:15 p.m. — We're back home with our poke bowls. They're delicious as always. $12
8:30 p.m. — I'm working from home tomorrow morning and the workshop in the afternoon provides lunch, so I enjoy the fact that I do not have to pack a lunch or make a smoothie for tomorrow. I shower and change into pajamas.
10 p.m. — After watching more Drake & Josh, we get tired and head to bed. We're asleep by 11.
Daily Total: $16

Day Five

7:45 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I roll out of bed. I make a cup of chai, make a bowl of cereal with almond milk, turn on my computer, and get to work.
10:45 a.m. — After a couple of meetings and getting work done, I leave for my workshop. It takes me much longer than anticipated to find a spot in the company's parking lot, but I manage to make it into the building right before the workshop starts.
12 p.m. — Lunch is catered. I have half a turkey sandwich, arugula salad, and a sparkling water.
5 p.m. — The workshop was super informative and I learned a lot. I walk back to my car and start my drive home. Traffic isn't too bad, thankfully. I get home, check my email, and then watch a YouTube video. When L. gets home, we start dinner: Trader Joe's cauliflower gnocchi with Autumnal Harvest Pasta Sauce. It's delicious, easy, and filling.
7 p.m. — L. wants to see if GameStop has a new game that came out. We walk to the mall downtown, which takes us about 25 minutes. The GameStop ends up not having the game, so we decide to walk around Barnes & Noble since we're already at the mall. They don't have anything that catches our eye, though, so we leave.
7:30 p.m. — We get back home and watch an episode of 90 Day Fiancé.
8:30 p.m. — I'm going to be starting my day again from home and we have a team lunch at a restaurant, so I don't need to pack a lunch or breakfast again. I shower and relax on the couch with L. while watching, you guessed it, Drake & Josh. (We are seriously blowing right through the episodes on Hulu and loving every minute of reliving our childhoods.)
10:30 p.m. — Sleepiness sets in, so we head to bed.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

7 a.m. — My alarm goes off, I snooze for about 10 minutes, and then get up because I need to get work done before I head to a demo for the morning. I make a cup of chai to drink while I work.
8:15 a.m. — After doing an hour of work, I get ready (put in contacts, brush hair, do makeup, change my clothes) and grab a protein bar for the road. I head out to an office in another city where the demo is. En route, I can't find my protein bar and I convince myself I left it at home (though it was in my pocket the whole time, and I don't realize this until it's already a melted mess that I don't want to risk eating while wearing a white sweater, ugh), so I skip breakfast.
9:30 a.m. — Parking around this place is truly a nightmare and takes half an hour. I park so far away that it takes me forever to find the building I'm supposed to meet my colleagues at. Like yesterday's workshop, I manage to slip in just as the demo is starting, and I breathe a sigh of relief that I got here in time.
10:30 a.m. — The demo was awesome, and I need to head back to the area where my office is for a team lunch. I get on the road and make the 45-minute drive to the restaurant we're meeting at.
11:30 a.m. — The team lunch is a great time to bond with my boss and coworkers while celebrating a coworker's retirement. We go to a Thai place and I order the pad Thai with tofu and a Thai iced tea to drink. It's delicious and I leave with leftovers.
12:45 p.m. — On the way back to the office, I notice that my car is almost down to a quarter of a tank of gas, so I fill up my gas tank. $33
1 p.m. — I'm back in the office after lunch and determined to have a super productive afternoon. I get to work on checking things off my to-do list.
4:30 p.m. — I wrap up for the day, pack up, walk to my car, realize I left my leftovers in the fridge, run back to grab them, and am on the road by 4:40.
5:15 p.m. — I'm home and so hungry. The Thai iced tea filled me up during lunch, so I didn't eat much of my entrée. I eat a small portion of my pad Thai as a snack, and still have enough left over for lunch for the next two days. (It was seriously a huge portion.)
6 p.m. — L. gets home and I make dinner: half spiralized zucchini, half quinoa spaghetti with Trader Joe's Autumnal Harvest Pasta Sauce and Ikea vegetable balls.
7 p.m. — We're almost out of toilet paper and I need more lip balm, so we walk to the nearby drug store. We also see that Haribo Halloween sour bats are on sale for $1, so we grab a bag. $13
8 p.m. — We're back home and I make my smoothie for breakfast tomorrow with kale, frozen mango, a small honeycrisp apple that's about to go bad, and half an avocado. Then I take a shower while L. does the dishes. (In case you were wondering, our system is that I cook and L. does the dishes because I love to cook, especially because the dinners I make are super easy, but I hate doing dishes.)
9 p.m. — While lounging on the couch watching Drake & Josh, I eat Caramel Oatmeal Cookie Crunch Enlightened ice cream.
10 p.m. — We get tired, head to bed, and are asleep by 11.
Daily Total: $46

Day Seven

7:20 a.m. — Today is actually a normal day spent in the office, and although the last two days were exciting, I'm grateful to be back in my routine. I get ready, grab my lunch and smoothie, and head out the door.
8 a.m. — I arrive at my desk and get started for the day. I drink a cup of green tea that I make in our office's kitchen.
12 p.m. — I take a pause from one of the projects I'm working work on to heat up my leftover pad Thai, which I eat at my desk while working.
2 p.m. — Afternoon tea time: I grab a cup of peach white tea and sip it at my desk while working through some bug fixes.
4:15 p.m. — I'm done with work for the day, so I pack up and head out. Once I get home, I change into workout clothes and head down to our apartment gym.
5:30 p.m. — I'm done with my elliptical workout and a few strength exercises and I head back up to my apartment to take a shower.
6:15 p.m. — I make a very simple dinner: rice with mashed up avocado, some garlic powder, and hot sauce. It sounds weird, but I swear it's delicious, creamy, and comforting.
6:30 p.m. — L. and I eat dinner while watching Boo 2! A Madea Halloween on Hulu. I also enjoy some of the sour gummy bats we bought yesterday.
8 p.m. — The movie's over so we watch more Drake & Josh. My phone continues to act up and I am so not amused.
9 p.m. — For a snack, I eat some more of the Enlightened ice cream. Then, I make my smoothie for breakfast tomorrow (with kale, avocado, cucumber, frozen mango, almond milk, and liquid Stevia) and my lunch (more leftover pad Thai with sliced cucumbers and hummus on the side).
10:30 — We get tired and head to bed. It's warm in our apartment, so we open the window only to hear people yelling outside (since it's Halloween, and we live above a bar). I put in some ear plugs and fall asleep by 11.
Daily Total: $0
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