Welcome toMoney 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.
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Today: an engineer working in infrastructure who makes $63,400 per year and spends some of her money this week on a new facial cleanser.
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $1,599
Rent: $750 for my half (I live with my boyfriend, and we split the rent of our one-bedroom down the middle.)
Student Loan Payment: $0 (I got significant financial aid for undergrad, and my incredibly generous grandparents covered the rest.)
Vision Insurance: $4.66, taken out of each paycheck pre-tax
Health Insurance: $67, taken out of each paycheck pre-tax
ASPCA Donation: $19
Renters Insurance: $7.92 for my half
Netflix: $0 (I use my parents’ account.)
HBO Go: $0 (We use my boyfriend’s parents’ account.)
Internet: $0 (My boyfriend pays.)
Electric: $70-$200 (We live in a drafty apartment with electric heat, so this varies wildly from summer to winter.)
Acorns: $216.67 (I invest $50 once a week, which comes out to $216.67 monthly. I currently have around $2,500 invested.)
Savings: $500 (I transfer this into a high-yield savings account at the end of the month. I currently have about $20,000 saved.)
401(k): $244, taken out of each paycheck pre-tax
9 a.m. — I wake up to my boyfriend, R.’s, alarm. We don’t have any plans this morning so we stay in bed until 10, talking and planning our day. Finally, we get out of bed only because we’re both feeling a bit restless. We don’t have a washer or dryer in unit, but fortunately our building has one. I do a couple of loads ($5). While my laundry is going, I fry up some leftover rice and teriyaki chicken we made last night with a couple of eggs. Yum! $5
11 a.m. — I do a little online shopping and research. I desperately need a new purse — mine is literally being held together with a binder clip. I usually buy cheap and trendy bags, but this time I want a high quality and timeless piece that will last a long time. I eventually settle on a Rebecca Minkoff saddle bag. I also do research for a new laptop — I suspect mine is on its way out. I’m sucker for Apple products, so I decide the new MacBook Air with Retina display is the right choice. I don’t purchase these right away, but I add them to the “Wishlist” tab of my budget spreadsheet. I haven’t decided when I’ll buy this stuff, but January has been a spendy month, and it’s going to be tight to make it to the end of the month under budget, so I’m going to have to put it off.
1:45 p.m. — I have an indoor floor hockey game at 2, so I change and head to the gym. It’s a coed rec league and playoffs are today!
3 p.m. — We won! We’re going to the championship! My friend on the team playing after us asks if I can stay to play with them since they’re short on players. I happily say yes. We end up winning in overtime, and I score! I resist the urge to grab a beer with the team afterwards, since I told R. I’d help him grocery shop when I got home. On my walk home, I stop at CVS and pick up a card and tissue paper for a friend’s gift. $6.34
5 p.m. — R. and I decide we want to make chili for dinner and cheesecake bites for dessert, so we head to the grocery store. We buy bacon, ground beef, canned tomatoes, a bell pepper, a jalapeño, an onion, garlic, cilantro, smoked paprika, dried oregano, and plain Greek yogurt for the chili, plus graham cracker crumbs, cream cheese, powdered sugar, and chocolate chips for the cheesecake bites. We also get a six-pack of our favorite sour beer. We have everything else at home. As we’re checking out, I notice R. snuck a box of Trix into the cart — he loves his sugary cereal. $41.87
7 p.m. — R. helps me prep the chili ingredients and then gets started on dessert while I make dinner. I make it in the Instant Pot, which has proven to be my best purchase ever. We also decide to whip up some cornbread. We have all the ingredients, but need to sub almond milk and whole wheat flour. Everything turns out amazing. We eat and drink beer while watching the Patriots versus Chiefs game. Neither of us are Chiefs fans, but we root against the Pats. Afterwards, we clean up. We have enough leftover chili for days, so I pack some up for lunch tomorrow. I shower and head to bed around 11.
Daily Total: $53.21
7 p.m. — Up and ready for work. I load $20 onto my SEPTA card but after checking the weather and seeing it’s in the single digits, I really can’t muster the courage to walk the two blocks to the bus stop. I decide to just take a shared Lyft ($4.59). I’m in my seat at work checking emails with some hot green tea by 8. $24.59
12 p.m. — This morning is flying by! I heat up leftover chili and cornbread for lunch and eat at my desk while working.
5 p.m. — I take the bus home from work after a productive day. It’s so cold out still! I’m starving when I get home, so I make an early dinner. I’m not feeling more leftovers, so I just have some canned tuna and wasabi mayo on an English muffin. As soon as I open the can, my cats come running over, so I give them a little bit. I really love canned tuna, which may make me weird…or a cat, idk.
7 p.m. — R. and I decide to take on the monumental task of cleaning out our giant bookshelves. We’re planning on moving at the end of the spring, and we want to get a head start. We throw out a ton of stuff (mostly R.’s old notes from undergrad), and make two big piles of books — one to donate and one to sell. I have an embarrassingly large collection of John Grisham novels, which end up in the donate pile. R. will handle the book selling, since I took on the task of selling clothes when we cleaned out our closet last week. Afterwards, I have a few cheesecake bites because I worked up quite an appetite.
11 p.m. — I shower and read before falling asleep.
Daily Total: $24.59
7 a.m. — Wake up, feed the cats, get ready, and catch the bus to work. Tea and emails at my desk to start the day.
12 p.m. — I head to the post office to mail a gift to a friend. Then I eat leftover chili at my desk when I get back. $9.45
5 p.m. — I decide to walk the mile home since it’s a little warmer out. I only regularly take the bus in the winter, and try to walk as much as I can the rest of the year. When I get home, I make BBQ chicken in our Instant Pot and roast some asparagus for dinner. I eat on the early side since I have another hockey game tonight. R. will eat later tonight.
8:30 p.m. — I walk the half mile to the gym for hockey. We win! Afterwards, we head to our usual bar for a few drinks. As soon as we sit down, the bartender brings me a draft beer. I swear he has a sixth sense — he always brings me the exact draft I was planning on ordering. We hang out for a couple hours before I walk home around midnight, shower, and pass out. $14
Daily Total: $23.45
7:20 a.m. — Oof. I’m feeling that beer and late bedtime. Getting myself out of bed is a struggle. I manage to quickly get ready and catch the bus. I’m at my desk by 8, but today is a coffee morning, not a tea morning. My body needs the extra caffeine.
12 p.m. — I heat up leftover chicken and asparagus for lunch. I work while I eat at my desk.
5 p.m. — I take the bus home. R. picked up some groceries, so I Venmo him $20. He’s in grad school, so we split pretty much everything down the middle. At home, he makes some turkey burgers. I don’t know what he does to them, but they’re always so good. We decide to eat them over a salad, so I chop some onion and cucumber. Then I turn half the cucumbers into quick pickles and fry up some bacon. The result is an eclectic but delicious salad! $20
8 p.m. — After dinner we watch some Netflix, read, and go to sleep around 11.
Daily Total: $20
7 a.m. — Another morning, same routine. And by routine I mean get ready as quickly as possible and run out to catch the bus.
12 p.m. — For lunch I have the last of the chili and chicken. Finishing the chili feels like an accomplishment. During lunch, R. texts me that we already sold two books! Wooo!
5 p.m. — It’s 50 degrees and feels downright balmy! I walk home and enjoy the reprieve from the cold. When I get home, I listen to an episode of Crime Junkie and do a quick clean of the apartment.
7 p.m. — Heat up a leftover turkey burger and eat it with jalapeños, quick pickles, and leftover cornbread. We have leftovers for days! After R. sees how good my plate looks, he makes his own. I have a cheesecake bite for dessert.
11 p.m. — Lazy night of bingeing The Assassination of Gianni Versace with a few glasses of wine. I need a new facial cleanser, so I do a little research before deciding on the COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser. It only costs $11, but there’s a $6.95 shipping fee for orders under $35 on this site. I check Amazon, and they have it with free shipping. A few of the reviews suggest the product may be fake, though, so I decide to just play it safe and buy it from the original site. R. and I fall asleep to the first episode of the third season of True Detective. $17.95
Daily Total: $17.95
8 a.m. — I arrive at work and settle in with some green tea and a pack of peanut butter crackers I brought from home. I have a dentist appointment this afternoon, so I’m only working a half day.
1 p.m. — I walk the mile to the dentist while listening to an episode of Crime Junkie. I have to wait an hour to be seen, but fortunately my dentist is quick, and I’m in and out of the chair in less than 45 minutes. I don’t have dental insurance, so I just pay for the cleaning out of pocket. Then I walk home. $100
3 p.m. — I’m starving, so I heat up a leftover turkey burger and asparagus. R. and I consider going to the movies tonight, but it’s cold and staying in sounds much better. We queue up True Detective and settle in for a relaxing evening on the couch with the cats.
7:15 p.m. — We’re both getting a little hungry, but we are fresh out of food for a proper meal. After a week of leftovers I’m craving some Mexican food, so I order a steak quesadilla with a side of guacamole from my favorite Mexican place on Grubhub. R.’s not feeling Mexican food, so he orders a chicken sandwich and salad from another place. Our food ends up arriving at the same time, so R. runs out to get it. We each have a glass of wine and eat on the couch. $16.77
10 p.m. — My friend group chat is blowing up about The Ordinary — they’re all obsessed with it! I’ve been looking for a vitamin C serum, and this one is reasonably priced. I decide to order it — $12.90 plus $4.99 for shipping. These shipping costs are killing me! But it’s cheaper to just pay for shipping than get my cart up to the minimum for free shipping. I’m hoping that this will be the solution to my dry and dull winter skin. As of now, my skincare routine just consists of micellar water, moisturizer, and whatever drugstore cleanser is on sale. I’ve been addicted to browsing the skincare Subreddit, which has been bad for my wallet but hopefully good for my skin! $17.89
Daily Total: $134.66
8:30 a.m. — Saturday! We wake up and R. immediately makes some coffee. He gets started on the dirty dishes while I go out to meet a buyer for a mirror I’m selling. I make $10 and put it into a jar for moving funds. So far we have about $70 in there from selling a blender and a window A/C unit. Selling stuff has been slow going, but we’re hoping an extra few hundred bucks will soften the blow. Moving is expensive! When I get home, I do a sheet mask and drink some coffee.
10 a.m. — R. heads to the gym, and I decide I’ve been stagnant for too many days, so I do a cardio ab workout on a yoga mat in the apartment. I got rid of my gym membership about a year ago because I’d rather just play hockey two or three times a week and supplement with at-home workouts. Afterwards, I vacuum. Having two cats means that hair accumulates in every single nook and cranny, and vacuuming feels futile. I deserve a hearty breakfast after taking on this task. Bacon and a buttered English muffin will do.
5 p.m. — We hang around the apartment for most of the afternoon. R. runs out to grab a few six-packs for tonight. Then our friend comes over, and we have a few beers before R. calls a Lyft to head to a brewery to meet some more friends.
6:30 p.m. — It’s an hour wait for a table, and we’re starving. My friend suggests going to her place nearby for more beer and pizza instead. I buy a six-pack to bring to a friend’s housewarming party later tonight, and my friend calls us an Uber. $10.99
9 p.m. — We hang at my friend’s for a few hours. I have a slice a pizza and another beer before splitting off from the group and taking a shared Lyft to the housewarming party ($3.25). This party is for one of my friends that R. doesn’t know very well, and he decides to stay behind. It’s been a while since he’s been able to hang out with these friends, and he wants to catch up. I’ll meet up with R. and company later in the night. I Venmo my friend $15 to cover the Uber and pizza. $18.25
11:30 p.m. — A few rounds of Flip Cup later, and I’m definitely buzzed, but having a great time! I really don’t have nights like this very often. R. calls to tell me they’re en route to a bar a block away from the party, so I say my goodbyes and leave to meet them. I pay the cover at the bar ($5), and I’m so excited to see there’s a crazy packed dance floor. Dancing is my favorite, and we spend the rest of the night right in the middle of the madness. $5
2:30 a.m. — The night is over! I’m sweaty and exhausted, so the night was a success. R. calls us an Uber home. I somehow manage to take my makeup off and brush my teeth before falling into bed. Tomorrow me will definitely thank drunk me!
Daily Total: $34.24
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