A Week In Baltimore, MD, On A $44,000 Salary

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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 program associate working in nonprofit who makes $44,000 per year and spends some of her paycheck this week on pain au chocolat.
Occupation: Program Associate
Industry: Nonprofit
Age: 25
Location: Baltimore, MD
Salary: $44,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,241
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $775
Health Insurance: $115.96, taken out of my paycheck
Student Loan Payment: $90
Phone Bill: $0. (I'm still on my parent's plan and sometimes attempt to pay them with a check, but they usually rip it up.)
Utilities, Water & Electricity: $55
Spotify: $9.99
ZipCar: $7
Gym: $60
Planned Parenthood Donation: $10
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Additional Expenses
Amazon Prime: $49/year (I'm a part-time student.)

Day One

6:20 a.m. — I'm up early today, since I'm commuting into D.C. for work. I do my normal morning routine (brush teeth, micellar water on face, toner, serum, sunscreen, moisturizer, and tinted moisturizer with SPF). I make sure I have my Metro card and a full water bottle and am out of the house within 20 minutes. I ride my bike to the train station, buy my ticket ($8) and am told it's delayed 10 more minutes. Blah. I waste my time on the train by listening to Release Radar and Discover Weekly on Spotify. ($8 expensed)
8:30 a.m. — I stop at my favorite French pastry shop to pick up a pain au chocolat. I hop on the Metro (expensed) and it's packed. It's an emergency nightmare scenario. I have nothing to hold onto and accept that I'll bump into those around because there's no space. I finally hop off and walk the few blocks to the office. $3.77
1:30 p.m. — Finally time for lunch. I brought in couscous with mixed veggies and eat at my desk while I work.
5 p.m. — I leave work and stop by the bakery again to pick up three "merveilleux" pastries for my roommates and I to split. (I Venmo request them for their shares.) I hop on the Metro (expensed) and stop by the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms. They're pretty, but don't quite meet the expectations I had of them. I hop back on the Metro and take it back to Union Station, where I catch the train back to Baltimore (again, expensed). $5.50
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6:40 p.m. — I'm finally back in Baltimore. I ride my bike home and pray the sweets don't get squished...20 minutes later, they are but I'm sitting on the couch with my roommates eating them anyway and catching up. We talk about our weekend plans and make dinner together. It's a super grownup meal of mac and cheese and smoothies (avocado, banana, mixed berries, and coconut water).
8 p.m. — I prep my bag for tomorrow, fold old laundry, and finish the night with a cup of tea and an episode of Grace and Frankie with my roommates. I'm asleep by 10:30.
Daily Total: $9.27

Day Two

6:30 a.m. — I'm up early again and not into this routine. I set my alarm back another hour but am awake five minutes later, so I get my act together and go to my barre class. I'm out of the house within 10 minutes and ride my bike to class.
8 a.m. — The hour-long class is over, yay! It was harder than normal because my body was not interested in moving this morning. I take a shower at the gym and get ready for the day, which takes about 20 minutes. Then I ride my bike over to the grocery store to pick up yogurt for breakfast. $3.56
12 p.m. — Free lunch at work today! I love free lunch days.
5 p.m. — I leave work and walk over to a local ice cream shop that's having their opening day of the season. This means a free ice cream cone. I listen to more music on Spotify and feel sad that I don't have a romantic partner. I think I'm great and try to put myself out there, but it just doesn't pan out. I had two abusive ex-boyfriends that destroyed part of me and fueled negative thoughts about how I don't deserve to find love or be worthy of it. The ice cream and walk help to clear my mind of that negative self-destructive train of thought.
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7 p.m. — I make a quick smoothie and run out the door to take a Lyft to meet a friend for drinks in Mount Vernon. $8.93
7:30 p.m. — We chat for three hours and catch up on life since we last saw each other two years ago. I have two cocktails and then we head back to his place to drink a few more beers. We talk a lot about sexuality, sexual norms, dating apps, and other fun stuff I love to openly discuss. I talk about how I'm continually disappointed with dating and still hurting from the last guy I dated. It's a good conversation and I could have stayed all night chatting about my interests and desires for experimentation. $27
11 p.m. — I Lyft home, do my normal bedtime routine, and am asleep within 10 minutes. $9.60
Daily Total: $49.09

Day Three

7:15 a.m. — I'm up before my alarm goes off, so I snuggle under the covers for as long as possible and read through emails. I make a smoothie to drink as I walk and get into the office by 8:30. I spend most of the morning listening to New Music Friday on Spotify, a playlist I look forward to every week, while I work.
2 p.m. — I eat leftover pasta and think about how slowly the day is moving and how badly I want it to be the weekend. Is that sad to say? I'd love to feel more excitement about everything at all times of the day, but I'm tired.
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5 p.m. — I leave work and walk 20 minutes to the nail salon. I had a shitty week because my sort of boyfriend (the fun in-between phase) ended things, so I want to find a small source of joy like getting pretty nails. My manicurist and I talk about food dishes we've been making recently and she infuses me with positive energy. While I'm getting my nails done, I miss two calls from my long distance BFFs. I promise to call them this weekend and walk over to the grocery store to meet my roommates. We're buying ingredients for tacos tonight and walk home together after. $37
7 p.m. — The veggie tacos are delicious! I make us Pimm's Cups and we sit around and talk until midnight. I chug a glass of water before bed, wash my face, brush my teeth, and pass out.
Daily Total: $37

Day Four

8 a.m. — Despite drinking last night, my body wills me awake at this hour and I lay in bed listening to music. I end up cleaning for a few hours, Facetiming with one of my long-distance BFFs, and trying on different clothes in my closet. I should study for class, but I decide not to. (I'm getting my Master's, very slowly and part-time. I get partial tuition-remission, and the remainder of my tuition is paid for with money my parents set aside for me.)
12 p.m. — At drag brunch with friends! I order bottomless mimosas and huevos rancheros. The food is subpar, but the company is great. There's a dance contest halfway through brunch and I'm nominated from our table. I dance to Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" and win! $38
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2 p.m. — We walk to a block party happening a few streets over. They've shut down the street and have a live band, unlimited oysters, and multiple bars, so it's a fun time. It's $10 to enter; my roommate pays and I immediately Venmo her for me. We get inside and a friend buys me an Orange Crush. Other friends and boys buy me drinks until I'm finally ready to leave. $10
7 p.m. — Leave the block party feeling pretty drunk. I walk home with my roommate and we order pizza on GrubHub. We devour it and stay up until midnight talking about life, our expectations, our families, and other normal drunk chat topics. I begrudgingly drunk text my sort of ex. When he responds, I decide to be smart and not reply, even though I want to hook up. $18.08
12 a.m. — I chug water, brush my teeth, wash my face, and head to bed.
Daily Total: $66.08

Day Five

8:30 a.m. — I'm up early again. I clean my room and waste time in bed for a hour watching Sex and the City until I commit to going to barre class. I ride my bike there and arrive in time for the 10:30 class. It's an hour of pure exhaustion, but I love it and feel no hangover after.
11:30 a.m. — I walk over to the grocery store to buy red peppers, green peppers, bananas, cara cara oranges, crumbled goat cheese, rye bread, yogurt, gnocchi, and soup ($29.17). Then I hang out in the seating area of the grocery store and eat my soup while I chat with the other long-distance BFF. I love talking to her and it fills me with such a sense of rejuvenation. $29.17
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12:30 p.m. — I ride my bike from the grocery store to a coffee shop to meet my roommate for tea. We talk about last night, regrettable choices, and how to talk to a mutual friend about potentially dangerous alcoholic tendencies. I ride my bike home. $2
2 p.m. — I roast veggies in the oven and feel gross because I haven't showered yet. Instead of showering, I to go to Target and Michaels with my roommates. I buy jalapeño ranch Ruffles, milk, heavy whipping cream, and eggs ($11), a frame for a painting, laundry detergent, toilet bowl cleaner, and shower scrubber refill ($20), a tennis racket and tennis balls ($20), and two sports bras ($35). I buy the tennis gear because my roommate and I have been wanting to use the courts at the park near our house. We then stop at a hardware store to buy another recycling bin (because our current bin always overflows) and a rosemary plant ($10). $96
4:30 p.m. — I'm back home and make a veggie, goat cheese, and pesto sandwich. I heat it on the stove, and it's delicious. My roommate and I make tiramisu and then head to our rooftop to do gardening, since it's beautiful outside. We come back inside and start rearranging other furniture, and then I put away some of the veggie sandwich supplies to bring into work for lunch tomorrow.
7 p.m. — I take a shower and get in my cozy clothes for the night. My roommate and I agree on watching Girls Trip. We're in bed by 11 and I fall asleep reminding myself that I should always try to look as fabulous as the women in that movie do.
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Daily Total: $127.17

Day Six

7:20 a.m. — I'm up before my alarm again so I read the news in bed and write down my dreams. Anytime I remember my dream I create a note to remember how ridiculous it was. I am out of the house by 8 after following my normal morning routine and eating a yogurt. I listen to the new Cardi B album while walking to work.
1 p.m. — Work goes by quickly today because I'm distraction-free. While I eat my grilled veggie sandwich for lunch, I research stocks to invest in. I'm trying to educate myself, since this seems like something I should start knowing about for my future savings.
5 p.m. — Leave work and walk to the gym for a barre class. The class is 45 minutes and exhausting, but the teacher thanks us for coming and doing this instead of happy hour. After reading a recent Money Diary, I'm inspired to make miso soup with veggie dumplings. So I buy miso soup packets, zucchini, onion, red pepper, green pepper, edamame, and frozen broccoli. The food will last me multiple meals, since I'll make pasta primavera with the remaining veggies. $19.17
7 p.m. — Miso soup is delish! I found two recipes online, so I combined them to be a bit more spicy, with fried dumplings for the crunch. I made a smoothie to go along with it since I haven't had enough fruit today. I call my dad and we catch up while I eat.
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9 p.m. — One of the roommates is going away for a long weekend, so we insist on her giving us a fashion show. It ends up being a lot longer than expected, but it's a funnier way to waste a night with friends. I pack my bag for tomorrow, shower, watch the most recent episode of The Royals, and try to fall asleep by 11 p.m. I stay up for another half hour feeling sad and lonely. I contemplate re-downloading dating apps, but decide against it. I realized that I meet plenty of people in person and have not successfully dated anyone from an app.
Daily Total: $19.17

Day Seven

6:30 a.m. — I'm awake before my alarm goes off. I pre-packed my bag to go to the gym but can't force myself out of bed knowing how cold it is outside. I lay in bed and half-sleep through weird dreams until it's 7:30 a.m. I finally resign myself to leave bed and shower. Since I planned to go to the gym today, I didn't wash my hair last night and as a result, it's a frizzy mess. I shower quickly and am out the door by 8. My roommate drops me off on her way to work, so I'm in the office by 8:15. I eat my yogurt and banana once I'm in the office.
12 p.m. — I had meetings all morning, so I savor this time to catch up on all my favorite websites while I eat lunch. I make another grilled veggie panini with the goat cheese and pesto. People in the kitchen tell me it smells delicious and I smile knowing I will devour it.
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5 p.m. — I leave work and walk over to meet one of my roommates at work. She drives us about 20 minutes outside of the city for my first Yelp Elite Event. It's an escape room with pizza! It's a fun and frustrating night that I wouldn't do again with strangers. I've done an escape room before and loved it, but this time it was frustrating because I knew the code and wasn't being listened to. Roommate and I stop at HomeGoods on the way home. She picks up a few things for herself and I buy a beach towel for the summer. $7.97
10 p.m. — I'm exhausted, but can't resist having more of the tiramisu. I have a bit, do my normal nighttime routine, and watch an episode of Sex and the City before going to sleep at 11.
Daily Total: $7.97
If you are experiencing anxiety or depression and need support, please call the National Depressive/Manic-Depressive Association Hotline at 1-800-826-3632 or the Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.
Money Diaries are meant to reflect individual women's experiences and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.
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