A Week In Boston, MA, On A $135,000 Salary

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Today: a data scientist working in tech who makes $135,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on cookies with ice cream.
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Occupation: Data Scientist
Industry: Technology
Age: 27
Location: Boston, MA
Salary: $135,000, plus a ~$13,000 annual bonus. (Though not guaranteed — if my performance is poor I could get less, or none.)
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $3,141
Additional Income: ~$40,000 a year in stocks, which are vested and guaranteed. (Our stock price could tank, of course, but so far, so good!
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $2,300 (This includes all utilities except Internet. I live on the first floor of a single family home, which has been converted to its own apartment.)
Car Loan Payment: $500
Student Loan Payment: $0 (I finished paying off my student loans last year!)
Internet: $40.99
Phone Bill: $67
Dog Walker: $280
401(k): $628 per paycheck (My company also contributes 3.5% of my salary.)
Netflix & Hulu: $0 (Thanks to my big brother!)
Health, Vision & Dental Insurance: $0 (Completely covered by work.)
Savings: $2,000 minimum, plus anything extra I haven't spent. I'm saving towards a down payment for a house. I'm hoping to buy in about a year.
Additional Expenses
Amazon Prime: $109/year
Car Insurance: $340, every six months

Day One

5:30 a.m. — Wake up bright and early in my childhood bed to my four legged alarm clock wanting to play. I've been traveling for the last ~36 hours and arrived late last night at my mom's, since she watched my animals while I was away. (She's the best!) I take the pup outside for a business trip, and then bring her back so I can get more sleep.
8:30 a.m. — I wake back up again. My mom has the dogs outside and lets me sleep in because I got home so late. I haven't slept in this much since getting my pup! I get dressed and then my mom, her boyfriend, and I head out to breakfast at the local cafe. I get my usual omelette and an amazing freshly baked croissant. My mom used to work here, so we eat for free, but I tip the waitress. $10
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10 a.m. — Back at my mom's, and it's a beautiful day out. I sit on the porch reading my book and nodding off while the dogs play and my cat hunts field mice (unsuccessfully — he's still young and not a very good hunter yet!).
2 p.m. — We're all finally feeling hungry again after our big breakfast, so we head out for ice cream. I get peanut butter cup, and my mom's boyfriend pays. When we get back home, I pack up my dog and cat and drive the hour back to my place. I bring back fresh eggs from my mom's chickens — she gets about six eggs a day on average, and is always trying to give them away because she can't keep up! On the drive, I stop and fill up on gas. $43.89
4 p.m. — The dog and I head out for a long walk. After playing all weekend with my mom's dogs, she doesn't need it, but it's too nice out to stay inside. When we get home, I feed her and the cat and make eggs for myself.
8 p.m. — Normally I'd be playing with the animals around now, but they're both totally exhausted from their weekend at grandma's. I tidy up my apartment a bit and head to bed with a book. I'm more tired than I thought, and fall asleep really early!
Daily Total: $53.89

Day Two

6 a.m. — Pup wakes me up bright and early as usual. I get dressed for a run, and we head out together. My girl LOVES to run and is a great running buddy. It's raining, but only lightly. We end up doing four miles and the pup is happy when we get home. I shower, get dressed (it's definitely a hoodie and leggings kind of day — it's a very casual workplace), feed the animals, and get them settled for the day.
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8 a.m. — I call a Lyft Line to get to work. I usually bike, but I have a big bag to bring in today. The ride is ideal — we don't pick anyone else up. Since it's part of my commute, work pays for it. I arrive at work in about 15 minutes and get my usual breakfast of Cheerios and fruit. We get served meals at work, but I don't really like any of the hot breakfast options. ($3.46 expensed)
8:30 a.m. — Settle in for the day. I have a couple of meetings today, but nothing critical, so I can keep my head down working most of the day.
12 p.m. — Break for lunch, which today is Asian fusion-themed. Not really my thing, so I stick to the salad bar, plus get a cup of Italian wedding soup, my favorite. I eat with a friend from another team who started at the same time as me. We went through orientation together and she has become my closest work friend. Then it's back to the grind!
6 p.m. — Break for dinner. Usually I go home earlier than 6 and don't eat dinner at work, but on Monday's I go straight from work to hockey. Dinner is BBQ, so I get a tiny serving of pulled pork, a small piece of cornbread, and watermelon. It's delicious and I would get more, but I don't want to play on a totally full stomach. I also grab a Gatorade from the fridge to bring to my game. When I finish eating, I request a Lyft. $10.64
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7 p.m. — Game time! I play hockey once a week. It's a co-ed league, but I'm the only woman on my team, and usually there aren't any on the opposing team, which is true tonight. It's something the guys notice but don't care about. Hockey is a really expensive sport, so most of my gear I bought second hand and have had since high school to keep costs down. The league is expensive too, because ice time costs so much, but my work has a gym reimbursement that we can use for things like this. Tonight we win, and I score a goal!
8 p.m. — Call a Lyft Line home and get lucky again that we don't pick anyone else up. I feel silly taking a Lyft when I have a car, but it's only one day a week, and it's cheaper than parking at my work. When I get home, I feed the animals dinner, take the pooch out for a walk, and crash in bed early. $8.64
Daily Total: $19.28

Day Three

6 a.m. — Woken up as usual by the animals. I take the pup out for her morning walk.
7 a.m. — Back home, I get dressed in running clothes, feed the animals, get them settled, and hop on my bike to work. After the ten-minute ride, I ditch my stuff at my desk and head out for a run. When I do track workouts, I go by myself, since pacing is not my dog's specialty. I run to a nearby track to do intervals, and get in just over five miles by the time I'm done.
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8:30 a.m. — Back at work, showered, and eating my usual breakfast at my desk. Settle in for the day.
12 p.m. — I have a meeting with project partners from Europe and California. I feel like I didn't do enough prep work for this, so I promise them lots of interesting data by our next talk on Thursday. I leave feeling a little bad, but am perked up by the taco bar at lunch.
3 p.m. — Hear the news about Kate Spade and feel devastated. I loved her as a designer, but she also sounded like an awesome person from the interviews I read of her! As someone who has been suicidal before, I understand in some sense what she must have been feeling, but you can never know what someone is going through. I text my mom and we share our sadness.
5 p.m. — I head home a little bit early today to get a good walk in with the pup. This is the second night in a row I'll be out late, and I hate doing this to her, especially on weekdays. We go to the dog park where she plays with friends, and I run into a girl from my high school who I haven't seen in over nine years. We knew each other but not well, so we awkwardly catch up while my dog tries to play with hers and her dog ignores mine. After a good park session, we head home. I feed the animals and get the settled for the night.
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7 p.m. — Call a Lyft Line and head to the Red Sox game ($4.50)! Again, Lyft is cheaper than driving and parking, but it still annoys me. We pick up two other people, but they're on the way and also headed to the game. It's a great game. Since I'm there with coworkers, I don't have to pay for the ticket. I get a sausage and french fries to eat ($14.50). Red Sox win 6-0, and I take a Lyft line home ($10.80). Take the pooch out for a business trip and pass out. $29.80
Daily Total: $29.80

Day Four

6 a.m. — Usual pup wake up. Realize I left my sneakers at work, so I dig out an old pair from my closet. They're ugly and worn out, but they work! Pooch and I go for an easy three miles. When we get back, we hang outside with the cat for a little bit, and then I shower, get ready for work, feed everyone, and head out on my bike. It's started raining a little, and I'm thankful my ride is short.
8 a.m. — Arrive and head to the kitchen for my usual breakfast of Cheerios — but we're all out! I have fruit and half a bagel with butter instead. I should be eating more protein at breakfast, but I don't like how cafeteria eggs turn out, and I don't like the sausage or bacon options either. Oh well. Get to work.
10:30 a.m. — Grab carrots from the kitchen for a snack break. Wednesdays are my favorite day at work because we have no meetings, so I get a lot done, but it also means a lot of time to take mental breaks, which seem to always end with me in the kitchen.
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12 p.m. — We have a teammate in town from another office, so my team heads out for lunch. We go to an artisan pizza place, which is not something I usually like much, but I get a personal margarita pizza and it is SO good. I take home half in a leftover box. Since it's with coworkers, our CEO pays. On the walk back from the restaurant, I run into the same high school classmate I saw last night. We say hi again; I think we're both equally weirded out.
1:30 p.m. — Back to work! Grab a couple of peanut butter cups from the kitchen for a snack because I can't resist.
5:30 p.m. — Head home on my bike. It's turned into a beautiful day! I stop at CVS on the way home. I get my prescription refill, along with a pill slicer that the pharmacist convinces me I need, and a bottle of contact lens solution. When I get home, I get the dog and we go for a nice long walk around the neighborhood. We get home, play with the cat outside for a while, and I feed them. We do our usual nightly routine of watching Jeopardy! and playing with toys. When the pets get tired, I pull out my laptop to do work. I don't often work outside of regular hours, but I want to get more done tonight. I put on ER in the background, which I've been slowly making my way through. I'm on season 14 out of 15 and finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel — although let's be honest, the show got pretty boring after George Clooney left. I go to bed around 11. $24.75
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Daily Total: $24.75

Day Five

5:30 a.m. — Pup wakes up a little early today, but I realize it's a good thing, as it gives me more time to get prepped for my meeting later. We head out for our walk.
6:30 a.m. — Back home, I get the animals settled and then hop on my bike to the office. When I arrive, I have a piece of toast with peanut butter to tide me over and get cracking on work.
8:30 a.m. — Head out for a run with coworkers. A group of us have started running lately, and while I usually prefer to go solo, it's been really fun! We do five easy miles. When we get back, I shower and get my usual fruit and Cheerios. Then it's right back to work.
12:30 p.m. — The meeting I was prepping for just finished, and I feel good about how it went! I eat lunch while reading today's Money Diary.
2 p.m. — Take a break to check on the money I spent traveling last week, and I send my mom $40 for tolls. My car used to be hers — I bought it from her when she got a new one. I'm paying it off faster than I need to because I don't like to feel indebted to her — even though it's an interest free loan (thanks, Mom!). Since it was her car, she left the E-ZPass in it and it's still hooked to her credit card. I rarely drive through tolls, but when I do, I make sure to keep track and pay her back. $40
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4:30 p.m. — Every Thursday, we host a happy hour in my office. It's usually pretty casual and everyone just eats and drinks and plays board games, but this week we're celebrating the start of Pride month and have people from another companies visiting. I eat some rainbow cookies and chat with coworkers before biking home. When I arrive, I grab the pup and we head to the park.
7:30 p.m. — Back from the park, I feed the pets, watch Jeopardy!, and then throw on ER while we all play. I'm tired from my late night and early morning, so we all go to bed early. I read my book, which is so riveting at this point that I want to finish it tonight and find out what happens, but I fall asleep almost instantly!
Daily Total: $40

Day Six

6 a.m. — TGIF! Pup wakes me up (she's so consistent that I don't set an actual alarm clock), and we do the normal morning routine — dog walk (she wants to run, but I'm taking an extra rest day today), outside play time with the cat, get the pets settled, and bike to work.
8 a.m. — Arrive at work and treat myself to bagel Friday. I don't have a lot of meetings today, so I can get good work time in.
11:45 a.m. — Head out of work and walk 10 minutes to my therapist's office. I've been dealing with depression (persistent and periods of major depressive disorder, a.k.a. double depression) for the past five years. Right now I'm doing okay, and feeling mostly emotionally stable, but it takes a lot of work to stay there. I'm trying to maintain that with therapy and medication. Usually I see my therapist weekly, but I've had scheduling issues lately and haven't seen her in almost a month! Today is a good session, and while I leave feeling mentally exhausted, I know in the long run it's a net positive. The session costs $180, but my company covers mental healthcare in full, which is something I am extremely grateful for, so I don't have to pay anything.
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1 p.m. — Back at work, I grab lunch and eat at my desk. I chug through work all afternoon and head out a little early! I grab a bag of Cheez-its from the work snack stash to have for dinner on my way out.
5 p.m. — On the way home, I stop to pick up my race number and t-shirt for a local 5k I'm running on Sunday. It's part of a week of celebrations for my neighborhood, and I'm really looking forward to it! The race cost $30, but I paid when I registered and got reimbursed with my work wellness benefit. When I get home, I get the pup out for a nice long walk and playtime in a nearby park.
7:30 p.m. — Home, and I do the usual routine of pet dinner and Jeopardy!. I text each of my parents but realize they're both on movie dates with their respective significant others — they have more exciting Friday nights than I do. I go to bed early, read my book, and cuddle the animals.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

6 a.m. — Up bright and early, as usual. Saturday is our normal long run day, so my dog is excited to run, but we're skipping today so that I'm well-rested for the race tomorrow. Instead, we get in the car and drive to a nearby nature preserve. I take a very leisurely walk on the trails while the pooch zooms her way all around the woods and has a grand old time.
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7:30 a.m. — Back home, I feed everyone breakfast — kibble for the animals, and leftover pizza for me. We all sit outside on the patio for a few hours enjoying the sun and the quickly warming temperature, napping on and off, and I scroll Instagram and finish my book — great ending!
12 p.m. — Pooch and I head out to the Pride parade. On the way there, we wander through a little community market that's part of the neighborhood celebrations. One booth is giving away popsicles, so I grab one to cool off. We get to the parade and it's great fun to watch. My dog has a good time being admired by the crowds — everyone says she is beautiful. While there, I buy a scoop of ice cream with a cookie from a food truck. They give me the wrong cookie, but when I ask to switch for the one I actually ordered, they just give it to me. Score, bonus cookie! $5
3 p.m. — Back home, we sit outside again enjoying the sun even more. It's a beautiful day! Eventually I get hungry, so I make myself scrambled eggs and feed the animals an early dinner. They're both tired from so much sun and outside time.
8 p.m. — In bed early again, I start a new book. It's a quiet weekend for sure, and I'm feeling like I need socialization, so I text friends and make plans for next week. Fall asleep feeling happy that I initiated, since I'm super introverted.
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Daily Total: $5
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.
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