A Week In Boston, MA, On A $80,000 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.
Want even more Money Diaries, plus $$$ advice from a kick-ass, all-female team of financial advisors, and tips on how to save more than $500? Pick up our new book: Money Diaries! Order here!
Today: a consultant working in cybersecurity who makes $80,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on coconut water.
Advertisement
Occupation: Consultant
Industry: Cybersecurity
Age: 24
Location: Boston, MA
Salary: $80,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $3,333
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $950 (I live with two roommates and my boyfriend.)
401(k): $800
Gym: $165
Spotify: $10
Electricity: $14 for my share
Internet/Cable: $35
Massachusetts Transit Pass: $84
Health Insurance: $80
HSA Contribution: $260

Day One

5:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off. I'm an early riser, and I like to get a workout in before heading to work. It's a good way to start the day, and it really keeps me happy and positive all day long. Three and a half miles, here I come.
7:30 a.m. — I grab an Rxbar, and I'm out the door. I usually take the bus to work, which is cheap and easy.
8:15 a.m. — I get to the office and immediately start working. I started this new job a few months ago, and the hours are not very flexible. I'm supposed to be in by 8 a.m. every day. I grab a banana from the office kitchen and hunker down for the morning.
10:30 a.m. — I finally have time to get around to that Rxbar. Thank goodness, cause I'm STARVING.
12 p.m. — I go down and eat lunch with my coworkers. The weather is awesome (70 and sunny) so we all decide to sit outside. I made a big Greek salad on Sunday night that I've been bringing to work for lunch every day.
2:30 p.m. — I hit a total wall at work and run out to get a kombucha from the coffee shop across the street. I cut out coffee six months ago because it upset my stomach. Kombucha at this place costs WAY to much ($6) but I suck it up cause I'm already here, and I vow to be better about money for the rest of the week. $6
Advertisement
6 p.m. — I swing by the liquor store with my friend to grab wine for dinner for our other friend's birthday. We get cans of sparkling rosé (so yummy!) and my friend pays. Then we pick up salads at Sweetgreen ($12) and sit out by the water to celebrate. The weather continues to be great, and our picnic is a great way to celebrate my friend's 25th birthday. $12
9:30 p.m. — The celebrations are over, and my roommate and I Uber back to our apartment. She offers to pay, as I would've preferred to take the T, and I don't refuse.
Daily Total: $18

Day Two

5 a.m. — Time to wake up for yoga! I make it just in time for my 5:30 a.m. yoga sculpt class (think heated yoga with dumbbells — it's super hard). I prepaid for a set of classes. It's expensive, but I'm here all the time, and I think my mental health is worth the extra cost.
8 a.m. — I get to the office and put my order in for lunch. The cafeteria downstairs is super cheap, and the salad bar is great. Plus, I'm out of groceries at home. I put my order in to pick up around noon ($5.75). I grab an apple from the office kitchen, wolf down an Rxbar, and hunker down for a busy morning of work. $5.75
12 p.m. — I need to head out of work early today, so I grab my lunch and bring it up to my desk to power through some end-of-day deliverables. I make a huge salad at the salad bar (it's not weight-based, so you can load up), knowing I won't have time for a big dinner.
Advertisement
1:30 p.m. — I need a mental break, so I shop for bus tickets to go visit my friends and little sister in NYC next weekend. I spring for an assigned seat on the way back (foreseeing a hangover) and the total comes out to $65.98 roundtrip. $65.98
430 p.m. — I'm out of work early, so I can catch an early commuter rail train. I work as a consultant and occasionally need to drive my car to client sites. Tomorrow is one of those days, so I need to go pick up my car at my grandparents' house and bring it back into Boston. $10
6 p.m. — I take a taxi from the train to my grandparents' house ($17) and have time to quickly say hello before I start my drive back into Boston. I eat a banana on the way home and manage to grab a free parking spot pretty easily. Once I'm home, I hang out with my roommate for a while and then get in bed early. $17
Daily Total: $98.73

Day Three

3 a.m. — My boyfriend's alarm goes off. He works the early morning shift at the grocery store around the corner. I manage to fall back asleep once he's off.
5:50 a.m. — I'm up and out the door for a morning yoga class, which is a great way to kick off this sunny summer Friday.
7:45 a.m. — I'm running late, so I scramble to get out the door. My boss follow the mantra, "If you're on time, you're late," so I need to arrive at least 30 minutes before my first meeting to appease him. I eat an Rxbar in the car on the way to my client site.
Advertisement
11 a.m. — My client meetings are done, and I'm my way back into Boston. I struggle to find a parking spot and end up looking for an hour and half before I find one. I work from home for the rest of the afternoon.
1:30 p.m. — I'm hungry! I grab an apple and peanut butter and get back to work.
5 p.m. — Cocktail hour has arrived. I'm in charge of dinner tonight. Every once and awhile, my boyfriend and I make surprise dinners for each other. We don't get to learn what's for dinner until it's sitting on the table in front of us. Tonight is my turn, and we're having burrata and sun-dried tomatoes to start, followed by spaghetti carbonara.
8 p.m. — My boyfriend is in bed (because he has another early shift tomorrow), so I hang out with my roommates for a while before retiring to my bed to read. I'm trying to read 30 books by the end of the year, and am already at 22 out of 30! (Wow, I sound like a nerd…)
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

9:30 a.m. — I manage to sleep through my boyfriend getting up and going to work, so I miraculously sleep in. I head out on a long run (nine miles, ah!) to start off the weekend right.
10 a.m. — Asking myself why I thought a nine mile run was a good idea….
10:45 a.m. — My legs successfully carry me the whole way, and I finally get back home. I lay on the ground under my fan and chug some water. I need to start getting ready for the Beer Olympics party my friend is throwing this afternoon. I take a nice long, cold shower to cool down after my run, and by the time I get out, I'm running late. I have to be at my friend's apartment by 12:30 at the latest for Opening Ceremonies. I scramble to finish getting ready, call an Uber, and race out the door. $19
Advertisement
12:45 p.m. — I'm dressed in a t-shirt with a huge Canadian flag on it, and the Opening Ceremonies are about to start! I spend the afternoon playing various drinking games and hanging out with my friends. The weather is really fantastic, so it's really nice to be outside for the entire afternoon.
5 p.m. — My team gets third place in Beer Olympics (we were robbed!) but the day is still really fun. My whole team takes an Uber XL to my friend's apartment to debrief on the day, and we split it the cost. $4
6:30 p.m. — I meet my boyfriend around the corner for dinner and drinks. He very recently moved in with me, so I'm still showing him around Boston and taking him to some of my favorite restaurants. We hit up a Mexican restaurant for dinner, and there's a 45-minute wait for a table. We grab a first round at the bar (their spicy margaritas are my favorite in the city!), plus chips and guac because I'm starving. My treat. $32
7 p.m. — We're seated at a table and get oysters to start, a few more drinks, and three tacos each. The food here is really good, and I'm hungry from all the intense Beer Olympics games. We split the bill. $37
8 p.m. — Our original plan was to hang out at the bar for the night, but we're both so exhausted we decide to head home and grab ice cream. My boyfriend pays for the Uber, and I buy his ice cream ($8). We walk home while enjoying our dessert, which turns out to be the perfect way to round out our Saturday night. $8
Advertisement
9:30 p.m. — I'm hanging out with my roommate (she's recently single, so we're swiping on Bumble to see who's out there), but I feel a hangover coming in hot. I run around the corner to 7-Eleven (in my pajamas! And Birkenstocks! With socks!) to grab coconut water. I know it's super expensive, but it has so much less artificial sugar than Gatorade with all the same hydrating benefits. $7
10:30 p.m. — I climb into bed and read a few pages of the novel I'm reading before calling it a night.
Daily Total: $107

Day Five

8:30 a.m. — My boyfriend and I wake up and decide to make breakfast at home. He really likes cooking (and is better at it than I am), so he whips up eggs and bacon, and we watch Fixer Upper while eating. I spend the rest of the early morning packing, showering, and doing the dishes in preparation for my day trip.
10 a.m. — My mom is visiting my grandparents, and I rarely get to see her, so I get in my car and drive up there so I can spend the day with her and my brother, who is also visiting. I get gas on the way up. $25
12 p.m. — My brother, mom, and I sit down with our grandparents for Sunday brunch, so I'm having round two of scrambled eggs and toast for the day. My grandparents are very happy to have us.
2 p.m. — I open up my laptop to get work done. (I was a little lazy on Friday afternoon when I was working from home and didn't get everything done that I needed to.) My boyfriend shows up, and we all spend the afternoon lounging, reading, and playing cards, because it isn't nice enough out for the beach.
Advertisement
4 p.m. — My team captain from Beer Olympics yesterday sends me a Venmo request for my shirt ($18), as well as $10 for the party supplies. The guys who threw the party bought enough beer, wine, and food for an entire afternoon for about 50 people, so I think it's an appropriate request. $28
6 p.m. — Time for cocktail hour and dinner. My mom asks if my boyfriend and I can cook, so we throw turkey burgers on the grill and I make a salad. As we're grilling, we review our spending for the week and my boyfriend Venmo requests me for groceries he bought as well as some toiletries I needed that he picked up for me at Target ($50). The six of us enjoy dinner with a great view of the ocean. Once my grandparents retire to bed, my mom, brother, and I hang out in the kitchen catching up and making plans to see each other again. $50
9:30 p.m. — Lights out! We have an early morning tomorrow.
Daily Total: $103

Day Six

5:30 a.m. — Happy Monday!! Our alarm goes off and we try to get in the car by 6 a.m. to make the drive back into Boston. I want to be at work early, and we really don't want to fight rush hour traffic going into the city. We make it back in time to grab coffee and food at Dunkin', and I buy my boyfriend's meal because he drove me in at the crack of dawn. $8
Advertisement
7:30 a.m. — Because I didn't have time to grocery shop or meal prep over the weekend, I order a salad from the cafeteria downstairs ($5.75). I find a banana and peanut butter in the kitchen at the office and snack on it while I get through the morning's work. $5.75
12 p.m. — I head downstairs to eat lunch with my coworkers. At my last job, I didn't have much in the way of coworker camaraderie (I worked almost exclusively remotely), so I am thankful for the friendships I'm beginning to build with my coworkers. My salad is extra good today.
2:30 p.m. — I head into my boss's office for what is supposed to be an hour-long meeting. It runs long and at the end, my boss asks if we can sync up again around 5. I was planning to leave early (because I got in so early), but I guess that plan just went out the window.
4:45 p.m. — My boyfriend is currently training to become a pilot, and because of bad weather, he has a completely free day. I sent him a shopping list this morning, and he sends me a Venmo request for my groceries for the week ($15). Perk of having a boyfriend who works at a grocery store. I haven't grocery shopped since he moved in almost two months ago. $15
5:45 p.m. — My boss still hasn't come to grab me to debrief on our next project. I head into his office, tell him I need to get home, and we agree to talk later in the week. I want to get home in time for a 6:30 yoga class, so I splurge on an Uber so I can make it ($13). Of course my Uber driver makes every wrong turn, but I manage to make it there in time. $13
Advertisement
7:30 p.m. — I walk in the door super sweaty from yoga, and my boyfriend is making me dinner. We enjoy the grilled chicken and veggies he whips up while hanging out with our roommates and watching The Bachelorette. I put salads together for tomorrow's and Wednesday's lunches and then take a quick shower.
9:30 p.m. — I can't make it through the entire two hours of reality television, so I head to bed. I read while my boyfriend watches The Office, and we finally turn off the light at around 10:30.
Daily Total: $41.75

Day Seven

5:30 a.m. — Nope. Not happening today.
6:15 a.m. — I stop snoozing and manage to get out of bed. I find it's even harder to wake up when my boyfriend gets to keep sleeping, but such is life. I shower, get ready, grab the salad I made last night and a protein bar, and get on the 7 a.m. bus.
7:45 a.m. — I arrive at work and am feeling unmotivated, so I check out flight prices for Thanksgiving. This is the first year I have to try and squeeze in seeing two families for the holidays (my boyfriend's and my own). This makes flights so much more expensive, and I'm already regretting not buying them earlier.
10 a.m. — I'm in the thick of it at work. I grab the Rxbar I brought and start counting down the minutes until lunch.
12 p.m. — FINALLY. I head downstairs to the cafeteria with coworkers with the salad I made at home last night, and we eat outside.
Advertisement
2 p.m. — I bite the bullet and sign up for a spin class this evening ($13) with my 50% discount. $13
5 p.m. — Work has been so crazy recently, so I feel bad sneaking out early. But I'm exhausted and need to make sure I make the spin class. Inevitably, the T is slow, and I end up running to the spin studio.
7 p.m. — I'm sweaty and happy after class, and I coordinate with my friend who I have dinner plans with. I pick up Sweetgreen for us ($12, she Venmos me for hers), she picks up a bottle of wine ($6, I Venmo her for my half), and we meet on the Esplanade to eat, drink, and hang. It turns out to be so much fun. We sit for a couple hours, enjoying the water and the sunset and our conversation. $18
9:30 p.m. — Because no night is ever complete without dessert, we grab ice cream on our way home ($6). I walk the 20 minutes to my apartment and by the time I'm home, my boyfriend is already asleep. I quickly shower and get ready for bed, finish my novel, and turn off the light. $6
Daily Total: $37
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.
The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day. For more money diaries, click here.
Advertisement
Have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Right now, in addition to our ongoing diaries, we're looking for potential diarists along the following themes:
Your Spending In Your State: We want to run one Money Diary from a different state each week. Want to rep your state? Submit here!
Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here: r29.co/mdfaqs
In addition to our regular Money Diaries, we're looking for Money Diaries from teachers! If you are a teacher (especially in Arizona, Colorado, West Virginia, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Mississippi, South Dakota, or Kentucky), we want to hear from you! Submit here.
Advertisement

More from Work & Money

Watch

R29 Original Series