A Week In Washington, D.C., On A $225,000 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.
This week: an attorney who makes $225,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a Tory Burch crossbody bag.
Occupation: Attorney
Industry: Law
Age: 27
Location: Washington, D.C.
Salary: $225,000 ($200,000 base + $25,000 bonus)
Paycheck Amount (1x/month): $10,367
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,500 (about 2/3 of the rent for a one-bedroom I share with my fiancé)
Student Loans: $5,500 (law school debt that I am aggressively paying off — I'm down to just $163,315 at this point!)
Wedding Savings: $1,000 (My fiancé contributes $500, and we put this in a high-interest savings account.)
Health/Dental Insurance: $225 (pre-tax)
Electricity: $50-60 for my half
Personal Phone: $56, paid directly to my parents
Work Phone: $0 (paid for by work)
Internet/Basic Cable: $35 for my half
Gym: $118.54
Wine Club: $37.50 (three bottles a month, split with my fiancé)
Hulu: $6.35 (no-commercial plan split with my fiancé)
Netflix: $0 (We use his mom's account.)
HBO Now: $7.50 (split with my fiancé)
401(k): $333.34 (2% of my pre-tax paycheck)
Savings: $200 (I have an emergency savings account built up already, so I just transfer a tiny bit of my paycheck every month and will start saving more aggressively after the wedding.)
Amazon Prime (annual): $119.95 (My family uses my account.)

Day One

7 a.m. — My first alarm goes off, and I'm absolutely exhausted after working past midnight last night. I snooze through five more alarms, accidentally sleep a bit more, and finally get up at 8. My fiancé, M., is making his breakfast in the kitchen, and I weave around him as I make my typical morning breakfast — low-sugar instant oatmeal and a cup of coffee. I have a lot to do this morning and want to get to the office earlier than normal, so I scarf it down and get in the shower. I put some of last night's leftovers in some Tupperware (MorningStar chicken strips, curry, and cauliflower rice) for my lunch. I'm out the door at 8:55 and decide to catch a bus because it's miserably hot (using my preloaded Metro card). Thanks to the rush-hour traffic, the bus takes longer than it would have taken me to walk! I get in at 9:15 and immediately sit down to start working.
10:30 a.m. — My butt has been glued to my chair this morning, since we're up against some major deadlines in one of my cases, but I take a break to grab a glass of water and chat with one of my coworkers. I'm hungry again, so I eat the banana I packed with my lunch.
12 p.m. — I take another break and check on some flights I'm tracking. I have a wedding in Los Angeles coming up in a few months, and I want to fly out a couple of days early to visit my family in the Bay Area. I missed an Alaska Airlines sale a couple of days ago, but I decide to at least buy my flight to SFO today because there's a decent fare out of Reagan (which is normally prohibitively expensive for cross-country flights). $228.30
2 p.m. — After a couple of hours of research and production prep, I grab my lunch out of the communal fridge and heat up the curry, MorningStar strips, and cauliflower rice. I eat at my desk (like always) and start looking into how to respond to a new motion that opposing counsel filed this week.
5:30 p.m. — Just when I think I can start winding things down at the office, I get an email asking me to do some research for a deposition we're preparing for. I do another couple of hours of work and finally head out at 7:30. I get home a little before 8, change into PJs, and pull my laptop out to get some more work done. I snack on leftovers while I answer emails. I make myself a cocktail with añejo tequila and Trader Joe's low-calorie lemonade. M. is at the gym tonight (which is where I'd honestly rather be!), so I have the apartment to myself for a bit longer. I check Facebook and see that a friend posted a link asking people to donate to an organization that helps families who are detained at the border. I've been meaning to contribute this month! $50
8:45 p.m. —M. finally gets home. We watch the latest episode of MasterChef and the last few minutes of an episode of Big Little Lies we didn't finish earlier in the week. M. goes to bed at 10:30, and I stay up to decompress a bit more. I finish reading a book that I started earlier this week and figure out my game plan for revisions to a document that a partner just got back to me on. I crash at 11:30. My nightly routine consists of simply taking off my makeup, brushing my teeth, and putting on some moisturizer, but it's always a struggle to get myself off the couch to actually start getting ready for bed!
Daily Total: $278.30

Day Two

8 a.m. — I sleep in until 8 because I'm working from home today. My office is pretty lax about letting people work remotely, so I work from home at least a few Fridays a month (which plays a huge role in me avoiding burnout). I lie in bed scrolling social media for a bit and then head into the kitchen at 8:30. I make my coffee and oatmeal, plop on the couch, and open up my laptop to start work.
11:30 a.m. — I've been working nonstop this morning on revisions to a document that's going out to the client today — finally time to pull myself away from work and shower! I have lofty goals of taking a “lunch break” and going to the gym sometime this afternoon, but it's not looking like it's going to happen.
12:28 p.m. — My alarm reminding me to get ready to shop the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale goes off. Once 12:30 hits, I move my wish-listed items into my cart. I usually end up getting a couple of fall staple items every year, but this year there are quite a few things on sale that I've been wanting to add to my wardrobe for a while. I order a Tory Burch crossbody, Blondo waterproof booties, Zella leggings, a faux leather moto jacket, a burgundy pencil skirt, and a new pair of cubic zirconia studs. Knowing myself, I'll end up returning at least half of it, but we'll see how it goes ($466.82). I email M. the links to a few things I think he might like, and he settles on a North Face fleece jacket. I chip in $40, and he Venmos me for the remaining $34.09. I put a bag of Trader Joe's cauliflower gnocchi in the oven for lunch and get back to work. $506.82
3 p.m. — I'm waiting for additional edits on the document that's going out to the client, but at this point I can definitely tell the gym isn't happening for me this afternoon. I eat a banana and message M. asking if he wants to head out for happy hour at 5:15 (hopefully, I'll be done with work by then)!
5 p.m. — It's a miracle — I send my last email out, and I'm done for the day! Or at least for now. I walk over to the bar and meet M. We each order two drinks (a cocktail and a glass of rosé for me, a glass of red wine and a beer for him) and split a ricotta-honey montadito, fried chickpeas, and spinach chickpea cazuela. We split the check in half. $24.15
6:45 p.m. — We head out and stop in at a neighborhood wine shop. We just joined their wine club recently, which comes with free weekend tastings! The vendor who was supposed to be hosting the tasting wasn't able to make it, so the shop's owner is pouring some wines from an event he hosted the night before. We taste a couple of Tempranillos, a Cabernet Sauvignon, and a Petite Sirah. They're amazing but way out of our price range, so we don't end up buying anything. The owner tells us to come by again tomorrow to taste a great selection of French wines, and we tell him we'll definitely be back.
7:15 p.m. — We stop by Whole Foods on the way home so M. can get breakfast food for tomorrow, but end up getting things that aren't on our list. Don't grocery shop after a few drinks! We get a six-pack of Hefeweizen, frozen breakfast potatoes, Fage Greek yogurt, vegan cookie dough, chips and hummus, and two pints of Halo Top that are on sale. M. pays, and I'll settle out with him at the end of the month — we each contribute a certain amount to groceries each month, and because he typically does most of the grocery shopping, usually this means I'll Venmo him for my remaining share of our groceries.
7:45 p.m. — We get home and M. makes us some Boca “turkey” burgers and roasted Brussels sprouts. I open up a bottle of rosé I bought earlier this month and pour myself a glass. M. cracks open one of the beers he just bought. We catch up on the next episode of MasterChef while the food cooks. I'm not very hungry after our earlier outing, so I just have a plate of Brussels sprouts. Next, we move to HBO Now and look for a movie to watch. We settle on The Hate U Give and both end up crying through most of it. One of my brother's friends was killed by the police, and this hits way too close to home.
10:30 p.m. — M. goes to bed, and I read a bit on my phone. I have yet another email asking me to donate to my top-choice primary candidate — I've already donated to her this month, but I give another small donation, since I have my information saved in ActBlue. I do my nightly routine and then take an Advil with half a glass of water to stave off any potential hangover. $5
Daily Total: $535.97

Day Three

9 a.m. — I've gotten a full night's sleep for the first time all week, but I'm still super groggy. I scroll through social media on my phone and finally get up at 10. I make oatmeal and coffee and open up my laptop to start working. I have way too much due this month and will probably end up working most of the weekend. M. plays video games on the couch next to me.
2 p.m. — It's almost 100 degrees outside, but it's time to run errands. I have a bunch of clothes I ordered that need to be returned. With my busy work schedule, I typically end up ordering clothes online and then returning anything that doesn't fit in person. My latest order was mostly workout gear, and only two items fit. I take the free D.C. Circulator up to Old Navy, where the bulk of my order was from, then the Metro downtown to stop by Gap and Banana Republic to return one item each (using my preloaded Metro card). I get about $120 back in returns, which softens the blow of my big Nordstrom purchase a bit.
3:45 p.m. — I walk back home from downtown and am literally melting (or is that just my makeup?). Feels like 111 degrees? Seriously? I crank up the AC, grab a glass of water, and sit down to work. I'm hungry again, so I pull out some of the vegan cookie dough we bought yesterday…and end up eating way too much of it. Definitely have to go to the gym today! I check on my Nordstrom order, since an item has already shipped, and see that a Patagonia fleece vest that was on my wish list is back in stock. Let's see how it is in person! $62.43
5 p.m. — M. finally gets home from the gym (he's training for a competition, so his workouts are on the longer side), and he showers to get ready to go back out in the heat. We head to our neighborhood wine shop for another free tasting. Today they're pouring wines from a few different regions in France. I like some of them, but not enough to purchase any — I've learned at this point that my palate often leans more toward New World reds and whites and Old World rosés and sparkling. We browse around the shop and end up getting a bottle of sparkling rosé from Spain. I pay and M. Venmos me for half. $11.02
6:30 p.m. — I do a bit more work when I get home and then try to talk myself into going to the gym. I finally make it out the door at 7:30. I get a nice 45-minute workout in — legs, core work, and a good stretching session. I make it home by 9 and get in the shower. I peek in our fridge to see what I can prep for dinner and settle on the leftover Boca burgers I didn't eat last night. I top them with some goat cheese (best by a month ago, but at least the package is unopened) and Trader Joe's green dragon sauce. It looks like someone puked on a plate but somehow ends up tasting pretty good! M. and I each have a glass of rosé and watch the next two episodes of Big Little Lies while I answer emails and work on a draft of a filing for next week. He goes to bed at 10:45, and I read a book and scroll through social media until midnight.
Daily Total: $73.45

Day Four

9 a.m. — I'm up before my alarm goes off and am ready to start working again. I make my typical breakfast, pull out my laptop, and sit on the couch to start working. At 10:30 our door buzzes — I'd forgotten that we were getting our chimney cleaned today! We've literally never used our fireplace, but our landlord is having all of the chimneys in our building cleaned this week before fall starts. I head into the bedroom with my laptop since I have bedhead, a greasy face, and tiny little pajama shorts on. M. stays in the living room to help the chimney servicer out.
12 p.m. — After a work emergency, I finally get in the shower. I'm just relieved I didn't have any major plans today, because I'm going to be glued to my computer for a while. M. takes out the trash and cleans the kitchen while I continue working. He runs out to get groceries at Trader Joe's (he pays and I'll Venmo him at the end of the month) and comes back drenched in sweat. The heat wave shows no signs of dying down, but I ask if he wants to go out to happy hour later this afternoon, just to make sure I get some fresh air today.
3:15 p.m. — We head to an Italian restaurant nearby for drinks and a snack. I get a glass of Prosecco, he gets a beer, and we split their funghi pizza. I pay, and he Venmos me for half ($14.75). On the way home, we stop by Whole Foods again since Trader Joe's didn't have some of the items M. wanted to make for dinner tonight. We get Gardein sweet and sour porkless bites and some hummus (M.'s guilty pleasure). He puts it on his card. We also get paper towels from CVS, and he pays again. $14.75
4:30 p.m. — We get home, and I sit back down to start working again. I take a quick break to update my finances for the month. I track my budgets and expenditures in a Google spreadsheet, and I try to update it weekly, but it often ends up being just once or twice a month. I send M. a Venmo request for an Airbnb I'd booked for our upcoming trip to visit one of my best friends in Portland. We usually try to split the costs when we travel, but because of our salary difference, I'll sometimes end up picking up a bit more of our lodging or flight costs to ease his financial burden. I eat a bit more cookie dough as a snack. M. plays video games on the couch next to me and then does a deep clean of our bathroom. He's seriously too good to me.
6:30 p.m. — M. starts making dinner, and I try to wind down my work so that I can take a break to go to the gym. He makes us the porkless bites, cauliflower rice, and broccoli, plus some fried rice for him. He puts mine in Tupperware, since I'll eat after the gym — I'll also bring the leftovers to work for lunch tomorrow.
7:30 p.m. — I'm out the door and off to the gym. Today I bench and finish with rows, lat pull-downs, and core work. A guy comes up to me while I'm resting between planks and asks if I want to grab coffee sometime. “Sorry, no thank you,” I tell him brusquely. I'm low-key annoyed — the gym is my “me” time. I come here to unwind and to burn off some extra calories. I don't come here to pick up men. I cut my last plank short because I keep thinking he's going to come back over. On the walk home, I second-guess myself — should I have turned him down more nicely?
8:45 p.m. — I get home and vent to M., and then get in the shower. Afterward, I put away a load of laundry and then heat up some of the porkless bites, cauliflower rice, and broccoli for dinner. M. and I each get a small glass of rosé to finish our open bottle. I grab my laptop to resume working, and we turn on Avatar: The Last Airbender. This was my favorite show growing up, and I talked M. into watching the whole series with me this summer (he'd never seen it). M. makes me a tequila lemonade and pours himself some bourbon. Once the show is finished, we agree that THIS is how to end a great series (take note, Game of Thrones) and that we need to move to The Legend of Korra next. M. goes to bed at 10:45. I try to wrap up what I'm doing with work so that I can go to bed at a reasonable hour.
11:45 p.m. — I'm finally in bed, but I can't turn off my brain. I toss and turn for more than an hour. The next time I check the clock, it's 4 a.m. I have to have fallen asleep at some point in the past four hours, right?
Daily Total: $14.75

Day Five

7 a.m. — My first two alarms go off. My head is throbbing. I feel like death. I bump the rest of my alarms back by 15 minutes so that I can try to get a little more sleep. M. gets up at 7:30 to shower, and I finally drag myself out of bed at 8. M. leaves for work at 8:30, and I get in the shower. I'm out the door a little after 9:30 and make it to work by 9:50. I'm not entirely drenched in sweat today, so I'll count that as a win.
2 p.m. — I've been super productive today but have put off eating. I'm starting to feel lightheaded. I take a quick break to heat up my lunch. The cauliflower rice and porkless bites taste fantastic, but the leftover broccoli and Brussels sprouts from the weekend are a soggy mess, so I only end up eating a few bites. I wish I had a sad desk salad instead. I eat while I work, as per usual.
6:30 p.m. — I leave the office, stopping by the library on the way home to pick up a copy of the novel I need to read for next month's book club. When I get back to the apartment, M. is at the gym and I'm too tired to cook. I heat up some leftover fried rice and snack on some of that vegan cookie dough again. At 8, I turn on The Bachelorette (which is the only show I ever watch live). M. comes home partway through the episode, and I pause the TV so that I can catch him up on what's happened. I make myself a tequila lemonade, and we watch the rest of the show together. I keep an eye on my inbox but am hoping I won't have to work tonight.
10:30 p.m. — A couple of items from the Nordstrom sale have arrived, but the rest are in “getting ready” purgatory. I try on the pencil skirt I ordered, which looks super awkward in person and will be going back. M.'s North Face jacket fits him great, thankfully, so at least we know one item we ordered wasn't a bust.
11 p.m. — I'm dead tired and start getting ready for bed. I check my work phone and see that I've missed a few emails from the past hour (I forgot to monitor it after the show ended). It's all stuff that can wait until tomorrow morning, though. For once, I get into bed before M., but then toss and turn for the next two hours while he happily passes out at 11:30.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

7:15 a.m. — I snooze through seven different alarms again but get up at 7:45. I empty the dishwasher, make breakfast, and then pull out my laptop to start making a dent in last night's requests. I work for about 30 minutes, and M. heats up a couple of Boca turkey burgers in the oven — I'll take those for lunch with our leftover cauliflower rice. I shower and get ready for work, then spend a few minutes tidying up the living room before I leave.
9:50 a.m. — I arrive at the office and sit down to start working. I'm basically looking for a needle in a haystack, but eventually I find the documents I'm looking for. I snack on some dry multigrain Cheerios that I brought to tide me over until lunch.
2 p.m. — I can't ignore my growling stomach any longer, so I heat up my lunch. I shoot off a quick text to a friend to confirm that we're still on for brunch this weekend. This job makes it hard to make new friends, so I'm just glad that there are a few people I know from law school in my current city.
7 p.m. — My inbox has been quiet for the past 15 minutes, so I think I'm safe to head out. I walk home and enjoy the gorgeous, non-sweltering weather. At home, I load the dishwasher and toast a pretzel bagel for myself as a snack. I answer a few more emails and try to psych myself up to hit the gym. M. is at a work event tonight, but texts to ask if I want anything from Chipotle — he's been craving it and wants to get it on his way home. I send him my burrito order and snack on some more multigrain Cheerios while I get dressed for the gym.
9:30 p.m. — I get home from a light cardio and ab workout. M. just got back as well with burritos, chips, and guac. I Venmo him for my share ($10). I shower and realize that I'm almost out of my Neutrogena face wipes, so I order a three-pack on Amazon ($18.98, but I pay with my Discover cash-back balance). M. and I dig into our Chipotle while we watch the finale of Big Little Lies. I eat half of my sofritas burrito and put the rest in the fridge, but polish off my share of the chips and guac. I receive comments back on one of the documents I'd been working on, implement the changes while watching the show, and then send it out for another round of approval. M. goes to bed at 10:45, and I stay up for another 45 minutes to wrap up my final work tasks. $10
Daily Total: $10

Day Seven

7:30 a.m. — I set my alarm for a little later today to see if I can actually get up once the first one goes off, but of course I stay in bed for the next 20 minutes. M. is sleeping in, since he's working from home today. I head into the kitchen, put a couple of Boca burgers in the oven (spicy “chicken” today), unload the dishwasher, and make my breakfast. M. comes in while I'm eating and makes me a side of peas to bring with my lunch. I shower, pack my lunch and gym clothes, and leave for the office a little before 9:30.
9:45 a.m. — I sit down to work, but it's a relatively slow morning. I start reviewing a new production that just came in and snack on some Cheerios. I take a break to refill my water and run into one of my work friends, who's just gotten back from a trip. We chat for a while and then reluctantly head back to our desks.
1:30 p.m. — I take a break to heat up my chik'n patties and peas, and scroll through social media while I eat. My inbox is pretty quiet, since a few of our partners and senior associates are traveling for work today, so I try to get ahead on some of the tasks I have due next week. I take another break around 5 to snack on some Greek yogurt I had in the fridge, topped with honey that I keep at my desk in a makeshift pantry.
7:30 p.m. — I head to the gym and have a killer workout. I bench and then move to dumbbells for some arm and shoulder exercises.
9:00 p.m. — I get home and M. isn't back from the gym yet. I shower and then put on a face mask to try to diminish some of my period breakouts. M. gets home just as I sit down on the couch to answer a few emails. He showers and starts a load of laundry. I eat the other half of last night's Chipotle burrito and a few bites of Halo Top while we watch the first two episodes of The Legend of Korra. M. heads to bed at 10:30. I stay up a bit longer to read and take some of our more wrinkle-prone clothes out of the dryer once the cycle finishes. I'm in bed at 11:45 and mercifully fall asleep without too much tossing and turning.
Daily Total: $0
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