A Week In Boston, MA, On An $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.
Today: a product manager who makes $80,000 per year, and spends some of her money this week on lash glue and mole removal.
Occupation: Product Manager
Industry: E-Commerce
Age: 35
Location: Boston
Salary: $80,000
Paycheck (2x/month): $2,036.56 after deductions for benefits, 401(k), and taxes
Monthly Expenses
Housing: $0. I own a three-bedroom condo and currently have two roommates. Their rent covers the mortgage payment, condo fee, and condo insurance. Most of my friends still balk at the fact that I live with roommates, but 1) my roommates are pretty kickass, so I actually enjoy living with them, and 2) I just finished my MBA a month ago and paying down my student loans is a priority. Boston is the third most-expensive city in the country; I can cut down on my expenses makes living here a lot easier with roommates.
Student Loans: $900. I'm trying to pay down my MBA debt ASAP.
Car Payment: $180/month. (Covered by my tax return.)
All Other Monthly Expenses
Parking Space Rental: $195. On-street parking is brutal in my neighborhood. The hours I've saved not having to drive in circles looking for an open spot are well worth the hefty monthly cost.
Gym Membership: $27 (subsidized by my employer)
Utilities: ~$65 (after being split evenly with roommates)
Cell Phone: $102
Benefits: $80 for health, dental and vision insurance, deducted from paycheck pre-tax
401(k): $153 deducted pre-tax (the minimum I had to contribute for my employer match)
Netflix: $8
1 of 8
9:55 a.m. — Blah. I overslept (again) this morning. This is becoming a regular trend on the weekends. No time to make coffee before I head out the door, but I'm not usually that hungry/thirsty in the morning anyways.

10:15 a.m. — I make it to church on time for the important parts, and afterwards do my weekly ritual of heading to the grocery store to load up for the week. Grocery shopping is tricky because I always have to think about what I've got on my calendar for the next week. (I.e., any dinner dates or team lunches?) Knowing that I have a fairly busy week ahead, I opt for a few staples: almond milk, baby kale, cereal, chicken sausage, and pre-chopped veggies that will keep fairly well if I don't get around to eating them right away. (This month, I'll technically be paying off $2,200 on my credit cards. I'm obsessed with credit card rewards point programs, so instead of using a debit card or cash, I put all my bills and purchases on my credit cards and pay them off in full every month. This way, I earn points or miles for expenses I would have to pay anyways.) $22.03

12:15 p.m. — I'm starting to feel the effects of not having my morning coffee so I stop off at the 7-Eleven down the street from my condo to pick up a Diet Coke. I usually don't get a Big Gulp, as I typically try to watch my caffeine consumption, but they were on sale for only $0.99 — cheaper than my normal 20 ounces! I take one and don't fill up the cup all the way. $1.06

1:30 p.m. — After spending the last hour cleaning the kitchen, it's time to start getting ready for my day-date. Dating in your 30s is … complicated. I'm currently dating four guys. HOWEVER, my long-term goal is to whittle that down to one dude and be exclusive. In the meantime, it's a super time-consuming process. I had zero time to date during grad school, so I'm trying to put myself out there now that I've graduated.

2:30 p.m. — E., my date, picks me up and we head to the local horse racing track. Neither of us gambles, but we've never been to the racetrack before. Plus, they're having a food truck festival today that we want to scope out. We spend the afternoon attempting to decipher the race program and having colorful conversations with the locals. E. buys hot dogs for us from one of the food trucks so I spring for beers. $11

5:45 p.m. — I thank E. for a fun afternoon when he drops me off and we make plans to hang out later in the week. Despite it being the end of the day, I still have a lot on my to-do list and head to my local Home Depot before it closes. I've been holding off on much-needed renovations for my kitchen until I finished school and started working full-time again. I started working at my new job just under a month ago, and I've been slowly moving forward with the kitchen project. Last week, I ordered new countertops, and today I'm putting in the order for the new appliances I've selected. Spending a big chunk of money on a project like this is scary for me (especially since I spent the last two years being sooo poor), but it's also super exciting. Not to mention, I actually saved 15% of my renovation budget by taking advantage of holiday sales and no-interest financing. My inner Joanna Gaines has been waiting a long, long time to fix that kitchen! $810

8:15 p.m. — I've had a craving for something sweet all day. (Aunt Flo? Are you on your way?) I swing by my favorite ice cream spot a pick up a pint of raspberry coconut milk ice cream with almond crumble. This place isn't cheap but they use quality ingredients, and I rarely eat sweets, so a pint will last me a very long time. $9.10

9:30 p.m. — After a dinner of cereal followed by ice cream, I head out for one last errand, which involves dropping off a ladder I borrowed months ago at my buddy's house that. I keep forgetting to return it. Not putting it off any longer! On my way, I realize I'm still super hungry and stop at 7-Eleven for a mini-Babybel cheese. $1.06

Daily Total: $854.25
2 of 8
8:25 a.m. — I spend way too much money at Starbucks, which is ridiculous considering I own an espresso machine. I've been trying to be better about waking up early enough to make a latte at home, but I received an email saying that all Starbucks purchases made today will earn double bonus stars. Since I'm obsessed with collecting points, and the more stars I earn will qualify me for more free drinks, I decided to not pass that up. I order a coffee and make a green smoothie for breakfast with baby kale, almond milk, frozen organic fruit, and vanilla protein powder. However, in my rush to get out the door, I accidentally drop my smoothie cup and it spills EVERYWHERE. Rage — I hate wasting food! I guess, I'll be adding an order of Bagel Bites to my Starbucks mobile order this a.m. ... $5.57

8:45 a.m. — Although I have a car, rush hour traffic is no fun and parking downtown is crazy expensive, so my primary mode of transportation in the summer is my moped, "Lola." In addition to being the most fun way to get around Boston, hands down, you can also legally park mopeds on the sidewalk and it only costs me about $2 to fill up the tank. Now that I'm working full-time again, my plan is to commute to work on Lola until it gets too cold to ride her, and then take the T into work during the winter. I can get a monthly T pass for $85 pre-tax once I decide to start regularly commuting on the subway. In the meantime, every little bit I can save helps right now. I chain Lola up to a street sign on the sidewalk in front of my office and head over to Starbucks to pick up my mobile order.

10:30 a.m. — I know my next meeting is a long one and that the conference room's AC works a little too well, so I make myself a decaf coffee with milk and a little flavored creamer from the office kitchen.

11:30 a.m. — I'm pretty sure me being so hungry today has something to do with my period arriving soon. I grab a bag of onion ring snacks from the Neverending Pantry of Snacks and fill up my water bottle. My company believes in providing a ridiculous amount of free snacks for employees to munch on during the day. These particular snacks aren't my favorite, but they're healthier. I make a note not to breathe on anyone until after I brush my teeth.

12 p.m. — Despite all my snacking this morning, I'm still super hungry once lunch rolls around. I brought a Trader Joe's frozen salmon meal with me today and scarf the thing down in short order while I finish up work at my desk.

2 p.m. — I make myself another decaf coffee, refill water, and eat an orange.

3:30 p.m. — Today, I have quick dermatology appointment to get some benign moles removed from my back. I had the same procedure done about five years ago and the results were good. A few more moles have grown since then, and I decided to pony up to have them removed after I started worked again. Unfortunately, it's an elective procedure and isn't covered by insurance. Considering that most of the moles are located under my bra straps and they itch and rub constantly, I doubt I'll regret this one-time expense. $200

5 p.m. — One of our engineer's birthdays is today, so the team is surprising her with a card and a cake! This isn't a company-wide practice, and I love that our team makes time for stuff like this. After we're done singing happy birthday, I indulge in a piece of Boston cream pie. I also get a text from D., whom I have a first date with tonight. He's stuck at work and was hoping we could push our date back 15 mins. I tell him no problem and to keep me posted if anything else comes up.

6:36 p.m. — I arrive home to drop off my moped before I head out again for my date. I knew I'd be crunched for time today so I did my hair this morning before I left for work. Fortunately, my makeup touch-up is pretty minor. I decide I have just enough time for a quick dinner, so I chop up a chicken sausage and throw it in a skillet along with chopped veggies and a few dollops of bourbon mustard. I was going to take the T to the bar where I'm meeting D., but I'm worried about being late and opt for an Uber Pool instead. Luckily, I bought a flat-rate fare package this month so this trip won't cost much more than riding the T would. $3.99

7:45 p.m. — I'm on time and get to the bar before D. does. Unfortunately for us, the bar is closed! Neither of us bothered to check the hours of operation for this new spot, and it turns out they're closed on Mondays. Fortunately, there are a ton of great bars on Newbury Street, so I text D. about the situation and suggest we meet at the tequila bar next door. I get us seats at the bar and D. shows up a few minutes later. He's really adorable. Over the course of the next two hours, we each have two cocktails and swap stories about online dating shenanigans and living far away from our families. I return from the ladies room to find he has taken care of the bill! He walks me to the T and we finish the night with a solid goodnight kiss and make plans to hang out the following week.

10:15 p.m. — Why am I STILL hungry?! I decide to give up trying to answer that question. Usually, I try not to eat late at night, but once I get home, I go straight for the pint of coconut milk ice cream I bought the other day. Maybe it's not going to last as long as I thought.

Daily Total: $209.56
3 of 8
8:30 a.m. — Today almost got off to a better start than yesterday. I made an iced latte to take with me to work and managed to get out the door without spilling my green smoothie this time! Unfortunately, in my rush to leave home, I didn't bother to check the weather report (an amateur move for a moped owner). Halfway through my commute, it starts pouring! I walked into the office soaking wet, but thankfully my outfit quickly dries out.

1:45 p.m. — Considering I've been a bottomless pit the last two days, I have almost no appetite today. Lunchtime rolled around but I wasn't hungry, so I didn't crack open my lunch until now. Today, I remembered to bring the leftovers from my friend's dinner party on Saturday. She sent me home with four huge, fresh, shrimp spring rolls, roasted chicken drumsticks with bok choy, and homemade peanut sauce. I eat two of the enormo spring rolls with a dollop of peanut sauce and decide to save the rest for tomorrow's lunch. I also eat half of a thinkThin bar I brought from home.

4 p.m. — There's fresh fruit in the office today, so I grab a banana and a mini bag of baked chips to last me until dinner. We're having a team outing this evening (work perks!) so I need a little energy for the whiffle ball game my team will be playing on the Boston Commons in a couple of hours! My company pays for each work group to do monthly team outings, and this is my first outing since I started the job.

7:30 p.m. — I love my new job and my team! It turns out playing whiffle ball as an adult is just as much fun as it was when we were five years old. (Perhaps even more so with a group of goofy software engineers.) I love that my new company encourages team bonding like this by funding fun activities outside of the office. After two hours of running around the bases, I work up a serious appetite and am thankful for the free pizza we devour afterwards.

8 p.m. — After pizza, I say my goodbyes and walk to a local tequila bar where I plan to meet up with a couple of girlfriends. My best friend is visiting this week from San Francisco! I miss her like crazy since she moved to the other side of the country, so whenever we're on the same coast, I try to get in as much quality time with her as possible. This place is one of our favorite cocktail bars, and it was our tradition to come here whenever we needed to vent or celebrate. My bestie and I buy each other a round, and I fill her and the other girls in on the details of last night's date. $25.68

11 p.m. — Once I return home from drinks with the girls, I have a lovely phone call catching up with my parents. They're a time zone behind me, so I wanted to make sure I caught them before they went to bed. I update them on my kitchen reno progress, and realize today is Prime Day on Amazon. We're almost out of toilet paper, so I take advantage of a special Prime Day rate and buy a case for the apartment before I crash. $27.45

Daily Total: $53.13
4 of 8
8:40 a.m. — Learning from my mistakes the last two days, I manage to make it out the door with homemade iced latte and smoothie intact, and I remembered to check the weather report! Since it's supposed to thunderstorm later this afternoon, driving the moped to work this morning isn't an option. I don't want to be late, so I opt for an Uber Pool ride downtown and listen to my driver and another rider have an interesting conversation about the current political environment in Turkey. $3.99

12:15 p.m. — No appetite again today, and I make it through the entire morning with only a break for a decaf coffee. My company offers free fitness classes four days a week from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. I've signed up for today's barre class, which I've been dying to try. Since none of the floors in our office have a shower room, I was told the lunchtime classes are lower intensity so no one is a sweaty mess at their desk afterwards. Not sure what "lower intensity" qualifies for around here, but I hope it won't be boring. I have a date with B. tonight to go a drive-in movie, and since I can't sit through a movie without eating a big tub of popcorn, I'm glad I have the chance to fit in a workout today.

1:45 p.m. — "Lower intensity" my ass! I def wasn't bored during that barre class. It was a combination of difficult moves that left you sore but not sweating puddles. Perfect for what I needed today and I'll most certainly be taking that class regularly. After changing back into my business casual attire, I heat up the other leftovers from the Saturday dinner party — roasted chicken drumsticks and garlicky bok choy. I already wolfed down the protein-veggie combo working at my desk and ate the other half of the thinkThin bar I had leftover.

6:15 p.m. — One of our software tools broke down right after lunch, so the rest of this afternoon has been nuts. I finally wrap things up and call B. while I walk to the T to discuss our movie plans for this evening. B. is concerned that it's supposed to thunderstorm any minute (and it starts raining just as I make it inside the station), which would make it a bad night for the drive-in. I agree, and since we're spending the day together on Sunday, we decide to raincheck the drive-in and have a quiet night at my place instead.

7:30 p.m. — Trader Joe's is on my way home on the T, but there's a monsoon outside now and I don't feel like lugging groceries home in that weather. Instead, I drop off my commuting bag at home, change into my rain boots, and drive my car to TJs. Have ingredients for white sangria at home, so I quickly grab enough meat, cheese, and crackers to put together a charcuterie board— the grown-up equivalent of a Lunchable — for dinner. $28.71

8:40 p.m. — I'm still cleaning my room like mad when B. arrives, but he's just laughs and helps me relocate my still-unfolded, clean laundry back to the laundry room so we can spread out on my bed. I've been dating B. for about three months now, so we're pretty comfortable with each other. He's one of the most supportive guys I've ever dated, wicked smart, and totally laid back. Unfortunately, right around the time I accepted my offer at this new job, he got a call out of the blue and was offered his dream job on the other side of the country. As much as I enjoy his company, I don't want to be in a bicoastal relationship. He's moving to the Bay Area very soon, so we're trying to get in as much quality time as possible until then. We catch up on several episodes of Last Week Tonight and have a great night sipping sangria, eating cured meat, and cuddling. I started my period late last night and I'm not in the mood for overnight company, so he kisses me goodnight around 11:30 p.m. and heads home.

Daily Total: $32.70
5 of 8
8:45 a.m. — I'm running so late today. It's still raining this morning so I can't take the moped. I opt for an UberX in hopes of getting to the office ASAP, but traffic is awful and taking the T would have probably taken just as long. Not sure if taking the extra time to make my latte and smoothie were worth it. $7.99

12 p.m. — Another morning with no appetite, although I did make myself decaf coffee because it feels extra chilly in the office. My best guy friend works a few blocks away and we're meeting up for lunch today. We were looking forward to meeting at one of our favorite food trucks, but the rain makes that option way less appealing. Instead, we decide on an upscale, fast-casual burger place. I order a kid's meal with a burger, mustard, pickles, tater tots, and a Diet Coke, and he catches me up on his recent trip to Colorado. Ordering a kid's meal is my go-to at any fast-casual place. It's the perfect amount of food most of the time, and it's super cheap. (I haven't exited my poor grad student mindset yet.) $6.35

3:47 p.m. — I'm craving something cheesy, so I grab a 100-calorie pack of cheese puffs and fill up my water bottle to wash 'em down. I take the stairs to a kitchen two floors down from me to have an excuse to stretch my legs. I am definitely feeling that barre class from yesterday.

5:40 p.m. — I leave work a little early, feeling super guilty since I was a little late this morning, but I plan on coming in early tomorrow to make it up. I have a massage scheduled tonight, and after that barre class yesterday, I really need it. There's a massage school in the South End that offers hour-long massages for $30 from students. Can't beat that deal! The clinic is only a 16-minute walk from the office so I decide to save the bus fare and walk since it has stopped raining for the moment. $30

7 p.m. — The hour flew by but I had a great masseuse who got all the right spots. Probably the best $30 I'll spend all week. Now that that's out of the way, I have to head up to Cambridge to meet one of my girlfriends in Harvard Square. Tonight, there's a Mad Max-themed burlesque show being held at a one of the clubs and my friend knows I'm always up for random fun. I hop on the T ($2.50) and make good time up to Harvard Square. Since my friend doesn't have Venmo, I stop off and grab $25 in cash to pay her back for the ticket before I walk over to the club. The show is FANTASTIC and we spend the next two hours laughing and cheering on the performers. I drink several glasses of water throughout the evening (necessary after any massage), but I also buy a single glass of wine ($9 including tip) to sip on because, let's be real, a post-apocalyptic burlesque show is the type of thing that requires drinking. $36.50

9:50 p.m. — After the show, I check the bus schedule. The next one going to my neighborhood isn't coming for another 30 minutes. It's pretty chilly out and I don't feel like waiting for the bus, so I opt for another Uber Pool home. My girlfriend and I spend several minutes hugging goodbye and make plans to hang out next week since her husband will be away on a business trip. $3.99

Daily Total: $84.83
6 of 8
7:45 a.m. — The weather forecast calls for the rain, but it's holding off until late tonight so I commute in on Lola this morning. I really want to get into the office earlier than usual, so I skip making my latte and smoothie and call in my usual mobile order to the Starbucks near my office. $5.57

9:15 a.m. — Considering how busy this week has been, I've REALLY been looking forward to having a quiet night at home all to myself. The universe apparently has other plans, because I receive a text from a snowboarding buddy of mine a little after 9 a.m. He moved to San Francisco last fall and I completely forgot he was back in town this weekend. I begrudgingly agree to meet him and a couple of friends for drinks tonight. I'm exhausted but I know I'd regret not getting quality time with this guy while he's in town.

11:40 a.m. — After I get out of a meeting, I decide to grab lunch early to avoid the rush crowd. This salad place is stupid expensive but they use local ingredients and lots of organic produce. You get what you pay for, and right now my body is craving something clean. I pick up a kale Caesar salad with roasted chicken and I'm back at my desk by noon to eat. $10.33

2 p.m. — I use my lunch break for a quick dentist appointment and teeth cleaning. I've been holding off on having X-rays done for a while because I didn't have dental insurance when I was in grad school. I'm thankful that these procedures are covered at no out-of-pocket cost to me!

8 p.m. — After getting through the rest of my work day, I'm pretty beat when I get home and almost consider bailing on my snowboarding friend. My FOMO is stronger than my desire for a quiet night at home, and I finally make it to the speakeasy-themed bar around 8 p.m. via another $3.99 Uber pool. Immediately, I'm glad I came out, and I proceed to have a great evening with my friends, sipping craft cocktails and discussing details for a Tahoe snowboarding trip next spring. $29.78

10 p.m. — My snowboarding buddy is fairly jet-lagged, so we decide to call it an early night. As I walk back to the subway, I run into another friend of mine on the street. He and his buddy are just starting their evening and are on their way to a bar where a mutual friend of ours is bartending. I change my mind about calling it an early night and tag along with them. This is one of the things I love about Boston: it's such a small, big city that you frequently run into your favorite people! The three of us have a great time at the next bar, swapping recent dating stories and being guinea pigs for our bartender friend who is experimenting with new drink recipes. I say my goodbyes and head to the T around midnight so I don't miss the last train home. $2.50

Daily Total: $48.18
7 of 8
9 a.m. — Finally the weekend. I think over the week I've had and realize I've had a drink every night. Yikes. I usually nurse my drinks, and even though I didn't get drunk or hungover at any point this week, I typically only drink on the weekends, and this is way above average for me. Since my friend's wedding is later this afternoon, there will be at least a couple more drinks in my future — sorry, liver. Fortunately, I'm DD to this event and won't be overdoing it.

1 p.m. — I spent the whole morning cleaning my condo and catching up with my roommates. I'm driving three other friends to the wedding later today, so I wanted to make sure the place was presentable before they came over. I realize I'm out of eyelash glue and that I haven't had any coffee yet today, so I walk down the block to CVS ($5.23) and Starbucks ($2.41) to remedy the situation before I start getting ready. $7.64

3:30 p.m. — My friends arrive at my place and relax while I finish doing my hair. It's 90 degrees today and the wedding is outdoors, so none of us are in a hurry to leave the air conditioning. I remember to spritz my face with makeup setting spray so my hard work doesn't melt off outside. We're out the door 10 minutes later and head to the wedding, which is located at a museum about an hour west of Boston.

5:10 p.m. — Something goes terribly wrong with my GPS en route to the venue! By the time we figure out what the problem is, I have to backtrack quite a bit. We're a few minutes late to the wedding ceremony but so are several other guests. Maybe we weren't the only ones who had GPS issues?

10:30 p.m. — The wedding was a great success! It was a scorching hot afternoon, but the food was terrific, the drinks were cold, and the dance floor was on fire. My crew and I took lots of ridiculous photos and had a great time celebrating the bride and groom. I enjoyed a French 75 during cocktail hour and had a glass of champagne during toasts, but otherwise stick to water and let my friends take advantage of the open bar.

11:45 p.m. — The four of us had so much fun tonight, we decide we're not quite ready to call it quits. We all live fairly close to each other, and as we head back to Boston we learn that some of our other friends are currently out a great local pub. We stop off at one friend's apartment so us girls can borrow flip flops to ease our aching feet, then we join our friends at the pub. My crazy week draws to a close, accentuated by proclamations of "Cheers!" and the clink of my friends' pint glasses.

Daily Total: $7.64
8 of 8
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