A Week In Salt Lake City, UT, On A $40,800 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.
Today: a Study Coordinator working in Academic Research who makes $40,800 per year and spends some of her money this week on Domino's Pizza.
Occupation: Study Coordinator
Industry: Academic Research
Age: 28
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
Salary: $40,800
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,700
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $620 (my half of a two-bedroom apartment shared with a roommate)
Internet: $32 (my half)
Gas and Electric: $25-50 (my half, varies seasonally)
Tithes and Offerings: $380
Phone: $0 (my parents pay for our family plan — thanks Mom and Dad!
Car: $0 (paid off)
Student Loans: $0 (school was paid for by scholarships and my parents, eternally grateful that they were willing and able to give me this boost in life!)
Netflix: $14
Hulu: $0 (I use a friend's account)
Disney+: $0 (one year free with my family's phone plan)
401(k): $102 (deducted from paycheck, my employer also contributes 20% of my salary)
Health and Dental Insurance Premium: $40 (deducted from paycheck)
Employer Disability Insurance: $12.50 (deducted from paycheck)
Annual Expenses
Car Registration: $150
Car Insurance: $890
Amazon Prime: $130
Renter's Insurance: $150
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Day One

10:30 a.m. — Waking up without an alarm after 10 hours of sleep is one of my favorite ways to begin a morning. I stayed up too late to finish reading Northanger Abbey (a lot of build up for a very quick ending), so I'm grateful that my schedule today is: Wake Up Whenever You Want and Do Whatever You Want. Still lounging in bed, I scroll through social media before grabbing my laptop to write up a plan for a volunteer committee at church that I newly co-chair.
12 p.m. — I get out of bed and do my morning skincare routine, which I am trying to be more diligent about: Derma-E Acne Deep Pore Cleansing Wash, a serum from The Ordinary, Neutrogena On-the-Spot Acne Treatment, IT Confidence in an Eye Cream, and Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer with SPF. I also put on light makeup: bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream, Benefit Goof Proof Brow Pencil, and Roller Lash Mascara, Clinique Chubby Stick. I'm having a decent face day, so I try not to feel too awkward about leaving the house without foundation. One of my New Year's goals is to look put together while wearing less makeup and get my skin under control. I put dry shampoo in my hair (okay, it's actually just cornstarch — it's cheap and doesn't make my hair feel all gross) then spritz perfume in my hair. I brush my hair and clip it half-up, then finish getting ready. I make my bed and pray before I leave at 12:35.
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12:40 p.m. — My first stop of the day is Jiffy Lube for an oil change and tire rotation. There's about an hour and a half wait, but I'd rather get it done, so I drop off my car and head next door to Salt Lake Roasting Co. for a bagel and hot chocolate. I eat and sip while reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which I picked up from the library earlier this week. My friend, N. has (finally!) decided to read the series for the first time, so I'm re-reading them alongside her. $7.29
1:30 p.m. — The air is clear, the temperature is above freezing, and I feel awkward sitting in the busy coffee shop reading (not due to the vibe of the coffee shop, but because of who I am as a person), so I walk to a small, quirky sculpture garden that's nearby. There's more people there than I expected, but I walk the flagstone path around one section of the garden with my nose in my book.
2:15 p.m. — The timer I set goes off and I return to Jiffy Lube to see that my car is still being worked on. No one is in the waiting room, so I mute the game on TV and pace around while reading. I'm never anywhere near 10,000 steps per day, but I figure it can't hurt to significantly up my step count today.
2:40 p.m. — My car is done and I am free. I decline the additional recommendations and pay (I'm on their email list, so I have $25 off in coupons!). On my drive to the grocery store I call my dad to discuss the recommendations. He suggests that I DO look into having the radiator serviced, spark plugs changed, cabin air filter replaced, rear rotors replaced, and two broken tire lug studs replaced. We agree that as a first step, I will call the tire company to ask about the cost of replacing the lug studs, which I proceed to not do. I'm not sure how I'm going to budget for all of these car expenses. Maybe I need a savings account specifically for car maintenance? $102.11
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2:50 p.m. — After my phone call I head into Smith's grocery store. They're having some pretty good sales and I get instant oatmeal, bananas, and yogurt for breakfast at work, bread, cream cheese, English cucumber, baby spinach, and red onion for work lunch sandwiches, and apples, a big bag of Mexican blend shredded cheese, two boxes of Annie's Mac and Cheese, two bars of dark chocolate with salted caramel, Crescent rolls, phyllo dough, two frozen pie crusts, microwave popcorn, and Cheerios for dinners and around the house. This, along with things I already have a home, should last me for a couple weeks. $48.72
3:30 p.m. — I return home, drop my grocery bags on the counter, walk into my room to put my purse down, and fall into my bed. I would very much like to nap (never mind that I already slept in this morning), but I have more on my Saturday to-do list. After scrolling through social media for a bit, I drag myself up, put my groceries away, and start on laundry. I put a load in the washer, get some dingy white clothes soaking in a pre-treatment, and hand wash some delicates.
5 p.m. — I want to start making good on my New Year's goal of exercising more and I assume I can do a quick workout before getting ready for tonight. I pull up Disney+ on my laptop, turn on Frozen, put on leggings and loose t-shirt, and start on a dumbbell arm and a body weight thigh workout in my room. I'd rather do this in the living room, where there is more space, but my roommate is home and I feel very self-conscious about people seeing me exercise, or even knowing that I exercise.
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5:45 p.m. — My quick workout takes a while because I'm out of shape. I switch my laundry, and decide that I should take a bath instead of showering so I can keep watching Frozen and eat something for dinner while I get ready. I set a plate of leftover cheese and crackers with jam and honey from a charcuterie board I made for New Year's Eve and my laptop on top of the toilet seat and munch and watch while I soak in the tub. After I've finished all my crackers, I shave, wash up, and get out of the tub. I get ready, adding a little foundation, blush, and eyeshadow (bareMinerals Original Foundation, The Balm Hot Mama Blush, and ELF Eyeshadow Palette) to what I put on this morning. Luckily my hair air dries nicely so I rarely blow dry. I fast forward a few minutes in the movie so I can see the ending before I leave. After rinsing my plate, putting away the extra cheese, and pulling out my laundry, I am only ten minutes late getting out the door.
7:10 p.m. — I pick up my friend, N., for a movie downtown. Finding parking is a struggle, but we barely miss any of the previews. We are going to see Frozen 2 before it leaves theaters, and it's free because N. won a gift card at her gym. The movie is deeper than I expected, with as many wise one-liners as the original Frozen had hilarious one-liners. After the show, we drive to Crumbl, my third-favorite late-night cookie place in town (yes, there's that many), and pick up a few giant cookies also paid for by N.'s gift card prize. We take them back to my place, fill up glasses with milk, and eat cookies while chatting. We got three different cookie flavors, and I eat a quarter of each one, but I'm not impressed with any of them. While we eat and chat, I put the whites that have been soaking all day into the washer.
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11 p.m. — I drive N. home and then return to do my night routine — brushing teeth, washing my face, and putting on acne cream, eye cream, and moisturizer (Differin Gel and Derma-E Hydrating Night Cream) before reading from scripture, writing a brief entry in my gratitude journal (another New Year's goal), and praying. Before I fall into bed around 11:45, I rinse our dishes from tonight and put my load of laundry into the dryer.
Daily Total: $158.12

Day Two

7 a.m. — My alarm isn't set until 9, but the neighbor's music turns on at 7 and wakes me up. I moved into this apartment six months ago after a place I lived in for four years was sold, and I don't think I will renew my lease here — the walls are thin and it's much darker than I expected. As rent prices increase in the city, I regularly worry about finding a place that will fit both my budget and my current standard of living. I'm grumpy with my awakening, as I was really hoping to get nine hours of sleep. I commit to staying in bed until I've fallen back asleep and my alarm goes off. When it does, I'm still not fully asleep and in my frustration I end up half-sleeping until 11:30. Oops.
11:30 a.m. — I get out of bed, make it, and get ready, putting on a dress and full makeup, adding eyeliner to my makeup look from last night (Benefit Roller Liner Eyeliner). I say a prayer then head out. Church is only a mile away, but it's cold and I'm late (and wearing stiletto booties). I drive and make it there with five minutes to spare. I sit by myself up front, instead of with my roommate (who is more punctual than I am), because I focus better when I'm not seeing other people in the pews.
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12:30 p.m. — The church service begins. Today is the one Sunday a month when members of the congregation are invited to share their testimony in an “open-pulpit” format, after we take sacrament (the Lord's Supper). Nothing shared today is particularly striking to me, but I appreciate that several speakers talk about God using trials to teach us and help us grow, while always offering His Son, Jesus Christ, to us for comfort, solace, and healing.
1:30 p.m. — After the service, it is time for my first meeting as co-chair for the new member committee. My congregation is for 18-30-year-olds who are unmarried — designed to maximize social opportunities, give younger adults more leadership opportunities, and allow us to learn from peers. Because of the youthfulness of the congregation we have many people leaving and joining regularly, so the new member committee welcomes newbies and helps them integrate into our congregation. A new college semester starts next week, so we have seven new members. My committee and I meet with them and briefly get to know each other. They fill out informational sheets before we all go into Sunday School a few minutes late. The teacher uses the first lesson of the new year to discuss effective study methods and we spend a large portion of the class annotating and cross referencing one verse each and sharing/discussing how we can make connections to other verses and to our lives.
2:30 p.m. — Church ends and I spend half an hour chatting with a few people before heading home. I've only been in this congregation for a couple of months, having recently moved from one in my old neighborhood, so I'm trying to make friends. It's a large congregation and I haven't had much success in connecting beyond shallow “where are you from?” and “what do you do for school or work?” questions, and today is no different. I drive back home and forgo my plan for a walk as it has started to snow. Settling down on my bed, I work on some new things for my committee — we're turning the informational sheets into a Google Form and I want to make a handout with key contacts and activity schedules for our newcomers.
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6:15 p.m. — I work on that for longer than anticipated, and I forget to make dinner before my 6:15 FaceTime date with R., a college friend. I think about just eating cereal, but decide to be good and make food with nutrients. While we talk, I throw together a quiche using a premade pie crust, eggs, half and half, spinach, frozen broccoli, leftover White Stilton cheese from my NYE cheeseboard (why didn't these people eat more cheese?!), a little bit of cream cheese, and the remainder of a Mexican cheese blend package, and seasonings. R. and I talk about her move, her new job, and her October destination wedding in South Africa's wine country. I have been putting a lot of money toward my travel fund to be able to go and I am elated when she asks me to be a bridesmaid! My turn to share involves a lot of discussion about how life is sometimes just okay and how we can still be content and growing in that. My quiche is done about an hour before we finish chatting. I wait to eat until we're done.
9 p.m. — By the time R. and I get off our video chat, it's 9. OOPS! I pray, drink a bunch of water, then eat a couple slices of quiche. R. suggested that I drizzle it with balsamic vinegar (I have a great bottle I got at a Napa winery when I was home for Christmas) and it changes my life. I eat a quarter of the balsamic-drizzled quiche and realize how hungry I was. I was fasting today — a religious practice I observe once a month by abstaining from food and drink for two meals, giving an offering to help the poor, and praying. Today I fast and pray for some personal help and for Australia as it experiences devastating bushfires. I always give my offering (included in monthly expenses) on paydays, but I also plan to donate to the fire relief efforts tomorrow. I try not to spend money on Sundays to escape consumerism one day a week and to help me Keep the Sabbath Day Holy. While I have no real qualms with making an online donation on this day, it feels better to take care of it tomorrow.
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9:30 p.m. — I respond to friends who have been texting me for the past three hours, while eating a couple pieces of chocolate. I rinse the dishes from dinner then I do my nightly routine (which will hopefully stick this year) before falling asleep about 11.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

6:35 a.m. — I turn off my alarm and get out of bed to use the bathroom and drink some water. I decide that I won't wash my hair today and, still half asleep, crawl back into bed. My next alarm is at 7, and I get out of bed at 7:15. Waking up is always difficult for me. I check my email and find that my next package of razor blades from Billie has shipped and been charged. I get ready with a sponge bath and my light makeup routine — CC cream, eyebrows, mascara, and tinted lip balm. I make by bed and pray before making a sandwich with cream cheese, spinach, cucumbers, red onion. I grab yogurt, an apple, and a banana before leaving the house at 8. $9.70
8:10 a.m. — I make it to the office by 8:10. The office is quiet and my teammates, with whom I share a sectioned-off row of cubicles that we call The Cave, aren't in yet. I appreciate having time to warm up to being a functional human being before I have to interact with anyone. I prepare a testing folder for our part-time coworker who is coming in to do a participant visit today. Our appointments with participants consist of health questionnaires and tests of memory and other thinking abilities, done by my team, and brain imaging, done by our research partners.
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8:40 a.m. — I settle in to my desk, dig into my yogurt, and get to work processing completed participant visit paperwork, scoring tests, and inputting the data. I am behind on this and I need to finish so I can extract a completed dataset for a study we just finished. As the office begins to populate throughout the morning, I overhear (thin walls) three separate people stop in to chat with my boss, a Boston native, about the NFL playoffs, “Is this what it feels like for other people during the playoffs?”, and Tom Brady's future. I don't care too much about sports, but I hope the 49ers continue to win! Interspersed with work, I work a few personal tasks like putting together a habit tracking spreadsheet for many of my New Year's goals, and making that donation toward Australian fire relief efforts that I planned yesterday. $20
2 p.m. — I get my sandwich from the office fridge and eat lunch at my desk. I want to be better about taking lunches away from my desk this year, but my boss allows us to use flex hours and I'll be coming in late tomorrow so I want the extra time. The taste of red onion from my sandwich lingers, so I eat a square from my chocolate bar — and worry that I'll sound like the “one square of dark chocolate” money diarist from Minneapolis. I continue working on processing paperwork while intermittently fielding emails, working on participant scheduling with my teammate, calling a few research participants, and helping our part-time coworker with some scoring. I leave the office at 5:10 and drive home.
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5:25 p.m. — I arrive home, wash dishes from this weekend, then heat up a couple pieces of leftover quiche. I drizzle them with balsamic vinegar and eat while watching an episode of The 100 on Netflix. I debate with myself about whether or not I will go to our Monday night church activity. They are playing broom hockey, and I don't feel like socializing, but I know I should go to attempt to make friends. Ultimately, I decide to stay home. I'm tired and I don't know that I can put myself out there to try to meet people tonight. I rinse my plate and fork then head to my happy place.
6:30 p.m. — Which means I run a bath! I throw in a bath bomb given to me as a Christmas present and read Harry Potter in the tub while savoring a few pieces of chocolate.
9 p.m. — I wash my face before getting out of the tub, then quickly do the rest of my nighttime routine. I text with a few friends before getting into bed and doing some more thorough reading and studying of scripture before closing my eyes around 10:45.
Daily Total: $29.70

Day Four

6:45 a.m. — Waking up is a struggle and I turn off my 6:45 alarm. I snooze my next alarm, but make it out of bed by 7:15, which is not awful. I intend to shower, but I'm still half asleep and don't feel like standing so I get into a bath. Before I wash up, I use my phone to delete promotional emails and look up the menu for a cafe I'm going to this morning. After I bathe and get ready, I make my bed, pray, make my same Greek-inspired sandwich, and am out of the house at 8:25.
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8:45 a.m. — I meet my college friend and former coworker, C. for breakfast at a cafe across from our offices. She works on the clinical side of our department now, and we like to catch up about once a month. C. and I both order the same breakfast panini, hers without green onion and mine without bacon, and she Venmos me for her half. $6.59
9:45 a.m. — After dropping C. off, I get to my office and get down to business. Today is payday, so I take some time to transfer money to savings and pay bills. With each paycheck, I put $100 into my travel fund, $60 into my emergency fund, $60 into long-term savings, $60 to mid-term savings, $60 into my annual bills fund, and $40 in my upcoming expenses fund. Having multiple accounts works much better for me than having one account and doing my own tracking of what money is for what purpose. I pay my rent, utilities, and internet from my end-of-the-month paycheck and this paycheck mainly goes toward my credit card. I pay for everything with my card to accrue miles and then pay off the statement in full each month. I overdid it this past month with the holidays, so I pull a couple hundred dollars from my upcoming expenses account in order to get to a zero balance. I also give tithes and offerings to my church with each paycheck, so I pull out the money for that.
10:15 a.m. — I get into work — participant phone calls followed by pulling a new dataset then cleaning it up for analysis. I pull up Chopped on Hulu while I do this to break up the monotony. I also remember that over breakfast C. convinced me to sign up for a series of employee fitness classes with her and I do so. We've done them in the past and I've never loved them, but it's a good deal ($2 per class) and it will help me to exercise more regularly and effectively. The classes are mostly populated with middle-aged adults and I don't feel quite so awkward working out amongst them. Around noon I snack on an apple. $50
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1:45 p.m. — I eat my sandwich at my desk while preparing a testing folder for my participant visit tomorrow. This afternoon we have our team meeting and I prepare for that beforehand. I ask my boss to allow me to take a larger role in writing up the study we've just finished and he agrees.
4:45 p.m. — I leave work and drive in commuter traffic to a nearby suburb, though I call my mom and chat with her, so it's not too bad. Tonight I am going to the temple and the one closest to me is closed for a renovation. In my church, temples are modernized versions of Biblical temples where church members participate in religious worship in addition to our regular Sunday services. Church members are encouraged to attend as often as they can, which frequently depends on how far a temple is from them. I have a goal to go to the temple weekly for one year, and I'm almost there! I like the temple a lot, so I will likely continue my weekly trips beyond the year mark.
5:45 p.m. — I arrive at the temple and go inside. In the temple, church members worship God and Jesus Christ by participating in ordinances (religious ceremonies) where we learn more about God's plan for us and make covenants (sacred promises) with God. We are also able to bless our deceased loved ones who did not have the opportunity to attend the temple by completing these ordinances for them, by proxy, with the understanding that they are able to accept or reject these actions in the afterlife. In addition to these lofty aims, I love going to the temple because I feel God's spirit, peace, and love more strongly there than anywhere else.
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8:00 p.m. — I am finished at the temple and I drive home feeling more peaceful than I have all week. My first task when I get home at 8:30 is FOOD! I'm kind of over quiche, but I still have half of it left and the only things I really want to eat are chocolate and/or a handful of shredded cheese. I resist these urges and heat up a couple of slices of quiche, drizzle them with balsamic vinegar, and eat while watching an episode of Chopped and scrolling through social media. I contemplate downloading a dating app and decide to re-evaluate next month. The most serious relationship I've ever been in ended a year ago, and I've only been on one date since then. The idea of dating again is daunting, but I really miss being in a partnership. I stay on the couch for too long, eventually dragging myself up to get ready for bed. I manage to do my nightly routine in full before crashing hard at 10:30.
Daily Total: $56.59

Day Five

6:30 a.m. — My first alarm sounds at 6:30, but I snooze until 7:30. I stumble out of bed and into the bathroom, but then I go back to bed, knowing I will regret it. My next alarm sounds at 8 and I get out of bed for good at 8:15. I do regret it. My nails are in desperate need of a trim, so I do that before getting ready and putting on regular makeup. I make my bed and pray, but there's no time to make a sandwich, so I grab an apple, a Trader Joe's frozen meal that I picked up last week, and yogurt.
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8:55 a.m. — I'm out the door and at the office at 9:05. I quickly eat my yogurt, scan over my email, and email my boss about an update from an issue we discussed yesterday. Then I head to the building across the street where we see research participants for my 9:30 appointment.
1:05 p.m. — The appointment is finished and outside is covered in a layer of snow, with a light flurry still coming down. I walk back to the office in slush, scrolling through social media on the way. A giraffe at the local zoo has unexpectedly died and I'm sad about this, I love our little zoo. I see an ad for some fancy pimple patches designed for under-the-surface acne, and with the zit that grew under my skin yesterday, I consider buying them. I've spent a lot of money recently, so I save the link to reconsider them later. Back at the office, I do some time-sensitive post-visit paperwork, make a couple of phone calls, and send information about next week's brain imaging for the study to my colleagues.
3:15 p.m. — I realize I'm hungry, so I heat up my Trader Joe's Reduced Guilt Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Shells and eat at my desk while working. My boss has reviewed some referrals to our research project and now I'm working on the follow-up — logging the decisions about if they are good candidates for the research and the rationale in our database, informing those who made the referrals about the outcome, and arranging for my team to contact eligible individuals. I also send off a birthday text to R. and my cousin.
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4:30 p.m. — There is some unexpected construction in our part of the building, so my boss tells us to leave early. I oblige. C. and I meet up, change for our circuit training class, and drive over. We park at a nearby church and walk to class. B. mentions that I need to meet her new coworker, who is attractive and a little nerdy, so just my type. We are early, so we chat for a while before class starts. The instructor is new and has planned an ambitious circuit for us. We only have time to do two of the three planned sets, but I still hate that I couldn't manage all the reps. The class is actually mostly people my age, so I feel a little uncomfortable. Particularly because two of my ex's coworkers (former coworkers? I don't know at this point) are in the class and I hope they don't recognize me. I keep my head down.
6:15 p.m. — After 50 minutes, we are free! C. heads out and I stick around to let the instructor know that I have back issues. She tells me I can modify whatever I need to and she'll plan with that in mind. In the bathroom, I wipe down, change back into my work clothes, refresh my makeup and brush my hair out. I still feel gross, but this is as good as it's getting. I walk to the church where my car is parked while chatting with N. on the phone — she has some juicy drama to spill about her ex trying to reconnect with her. When I get to the church, I sit in the lobby to finish up my conversation with N. I've signed up for a scripture study class for 18-30-year-olds on Wednesday nights this year with a really great teacher. I get a seat early, and a girl from my new church congregation sees me and sits by me. She's very kind.
8:30 p.m. — Class is great and ends at 8:30. I go home with lots of ideas to ponder and a rumbling tummy. I can't keep doing this to my stomach! With this new schedule, I need to bring a dinner or snack for before the temple and in between circuit training and scripture class on Wednesdays! I finally finish off my last piece of quiche with balsamic while also finishing an episode of Chopped. I'm exhausted, but I still manage to complete my night skin routine. While I'm working on that, my friend, E., from my previous church congregation texts me to catch up, so I stay up to chat with her for a bit but I still go to bed about 10.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

6:15 a.m. — My first alarm goes off and I actually get out of bed, but my roommate is in the bathroom so I get back into bed, setting a 6:45 alarm. I drag myself out of bed at 7, then get into the shower. I spend too long in there, and after getting ready (regular makeup), making my bed, praying, and making a sandwich, I head out at 8:25.
8:40 a.m. — I arrive at work and realize I've forgotten to bring a yogurt. I make microwave oatmeal and eat it, along with a banana, before settling into work. This morning I work on more paperwork along with making a few phone calls to participants. I also get started on trying to make an order with a supplier that is notoriously difficult to work with… and continues to be so. At 12:15, I eat lunch and prepare for my afternoon participant appointment.
12:45 p.m. — I walk over to conduct my participant appointment.
3:50 p.m. — The appointment has taken longer than anticipated, but it is finished and I head back to the office. I very quickly score up some tests and then chat with my boss — the pattern is a little weird and I want to make sure the participant is still a good candidate for the study. We decide that she fits all of our criteria, so I email our imaging team to let them know about her before leaving the office at 4:40.
5 p.m. — On my way home, I stop in at a boutique called The Children's Hour to pick up a baby gift. My pseudo-little sister just had her first child and moved an hour south of me, and I am visiting this weekend. She didn't register or have a shower, and since I don't know what she needs, I decide to pick up something cute. I take a look at baby clothes, then stop when the first thing that catches my eye is a $93 cotton dress for a 9-month-old. I pick out a pretty soft floral swaddle blanket then browse the rest of the store. It's expensive, so I don't look too closely, but I pull out my phone and follow the shop on Instagram — maybe I'll stop in the next time they have a sale. I check out and they offer complimentary gift wrapping, which I really appreciate! $20.47
5:30 p.m. — I leave the shop and cross the street to my favorite gelato shop in town. It's been a while since I've been in, and they've redecorated so it's funkier and more eclectic than ever. After sampling some flavors, I get a cup of Blood Orange and Madagascar Vanilla. I still have a gift card from my birthday, so it's free! Instead of returning to my car to eat while I drive, I cozy up in a red leather armchair and enjoy relaxing, eating, and looking at the decor. I wish I had a book with me, but I don't so I leave shortly after I finish savoring my gelato.
6:15 p.m. — I arrive home and call my dad. We chat for a few minutes and then I head to the kitchen to get something other than sugar in my stomach. I come across a new pilot, Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, on Hulu and turn that on while I prepare a package of Spanish rice, sauté half a bell pepper, and throw these together with a can of black beans. I put some of this mixture on a tortilla with a bunch of Mexican cheese blend then eat my sort-of-burrito. As I switch from my laptop to the TV, I see that one of the Jeopardy Greatest of All Time episodes is on, so I watch that while eating.
7:30 p.m. — After I eat, I text a couple of friends to check in — N. has had a tough time at work recently and D., a friend from high school, had surgery today and I want to let her know I'm thinking about her and see how she's doing. I also take down my Christmas tree and take it to the curb. This is the first week the trash company was collecting trees for compost and my trash day is tomorrow, so I kept the tree up for longer than I normally would. While I'm moving things around the living room to their pre-Christmas configuration, a friend stops by to see my roommate. I chat with them for a while, but I know they want to spend time together so I head to my room. I should pick things up and fold the clean laundry that's been on my chair for almost a week, but I curl up with Harry Potter instead.
9:30 p.m. — I'm getting tired, so I close the book and get ready for bed. I am asleep by 10.
Daily Total: $20.47

Day Seven

6:30 a.m. — My first alarm goes off at 6:30, but between snoozing and falling back asleep, I'm not out of bed until 8:10. I get ready (regular makeup) then make my bed, pray, and make a sandwich. I realize I can use half cream cheese and half goat cheese leftover from my NYE cheeseboard, and I also add bell pepper. At 8:55 a.m., I head out. A lot of snow has fallen overnight, and I am grateful that this is my month to use the one covered parking spot that comes with our apartment.
9:15 a.m. — I arrive at work and eat my yogurt while fielding texts from my little brother, who is trying to do a no-fee transfer from Venmo. He only has his debit card connected, and I tell him that no-fee transfers only work for bank accounts, so he'll have to connect his. He declines to do so, and I feel like he's wasting money. I get started on the many phone calls I need to make this morning, mostly inviting people to participate in the study. I also have to prepare some information about study recruitment for a collaborator. Around 11, I snack on a banana, and I prepare for my afternoon appointment.
1 p.m. — I eat lunch at my desk, so I can get my hours in without staying later. I'm expected to work 40 hours per week and my boss discourages us from working any more (and I'm exempt, so no overtime pay), but I'm the only one who keeps track of my hours. My boss also allows us to flex time to some extent, so I carefully log my hours to make sure I'm not taking advantage of this freedom.
1:45 p.m. — My teammate and I both have participant appointments at 2, so we walk over together.
3:40 p.m. — We finish our appointments and arrive back at the office earlier than expected. I spend the afternoon working on paperwork from my appointments this week. Before I leave I prepare testing materials for my part-time co-worker to use on Monday morning. I leave the office at 5:45.
6 p.m. — I'm home at 6, and I take some time to reflect on this week and plan for the next. I've done a pretty good job with my New Year's goals, but I want to exercise more and be more intentional/meaningful with my prayers and scripture reading. I need to get gas soon, put laundry away, clean the bathroom, and I want to go ice skating and see the special exhibit at The Leonardo, the science museum in town. I snack on trail mix and order pizza from Dominos with an online coupon. I'm not very impressed with Salt Lake's local pizza places, so Dominos suffices, but it always makes me miss Mountain Mike's and Round Table — regional chains in my home state. I read until my friend, V., arrives to pick me up. We pick up the two medium pizzas and garlic bread bites I ordered, then head to N.'s apartment. $18.47
7:10 p.m. — We arrive at N.'s apartment, eat pizza, and watch Spider-Man: Far From Home on V.'s Plex account. The three of us have been getting together for a movie night every week or two for the past few months. We alternate who gets the pizzas and tonight was my turn. We talk for a while after the movie. During our conversation, another friend messages me with the Instagram profile of a guy she wants me to meet.
11 p.m. — Our conversation winds down around 11, and V. and I leave. He drops me off, then I get ready and do my night routines as fast as I can. I drop into bed at 11:30.
Daily Total: $18.47
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