Welcome to Money Diaries, where we’re tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We’re asking women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we’re tracking every last dollar.
Today: an attorney who makes $190,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a tie-dye shirt.
Industry: Law Firm
Location: Boston, MA
Salary: $190,000 (my husband is in school full time so this is my income only)
Net Worth: ~$60,000 in a CD, savings, 401Ks, mutual funds, and the stock market. My husband, F., and I combined finances when we got married.
Debt: $71,000, from F.’s undergrad and my law school
Rent: $2,760 (includes water and trash)
Loans: $1,200. In deferral due to COVID, but we continue to pay the minimum since we can.
Renter’s Insurance and Personal Articles Policy (for engagement ring): $176 annually
Life Insurance: $21
Health & Dental Insurance: $204 (plus $41/month contributed to a Health Savings Account pre-tax)
401(k): 10% of my salary, with no company match
Transit Pass: $90 (deducted pre-tax from my paycheck (paused during COVID))
Phone: $0 (on a family plan, and work reimburses me $60/month, which I send to my parents)
Internet: $54 (includes renting a router)
Spotify: $0 (on a family plan, even though you’re all supposed to live in the same house, don’t tell)
Netflix & Hulu: $25
Amazon Prime: $59 paid annually (we get student pricing because F. is in grad school)
Google Storage: $1.99
NYT, WaPo, NY Mag, Slate, Boston Globe (yeah, we’ve gone overboard during the pandemic): $47.06
Savings: Whatever is leftover from my paycheck, typically between $3,000 and $5,000
8 a.m. — My alarm goes off. Waking up this early goes against my belief system, but I guess it’s still later than when I had to commute to work. I decide to ignore my inbox until work “starts” at 9, so I listen to an audiobook (Roomies by Christina Lauren) while scrolling Instagram and Twitter. Twenty minutes later, I take a shower and put on real clothes and makeup (concealer, moisturizer, and mascara) because I have a video call this morning.
12:30 p.m. — I should have anticipated this, but we had technical issues, so I didn’t have to be on video after all. I got all pretty (comparatively) for nothing! I feed the cats and make a quesadilla with Trader Joe’s habanero lime tortillas. I grab an orange in an effort to eat more (any) fruit. While I eat, I watch Top Chef, which makes me sad about my lunch.
1:30 p.m. — My husband, F., is in business school and has been doing school online since March. Our apartment is pretty small (especially for how much we pay), so we’re both working in the living room space. He has to give a presentation this afternoon, so I try to keep my typing to a minimum. This obviously leads to me online shopping instead. I buy a new Wet Brush on Amazon. My current one has a lot of build-up and I think it’s making my hair oily. Or maybe that’s from not washing it. Who knows! $9.55
5 p.m. — I have a meeting with other first-year associates from my law firm. We’re supposed to be working on a fundraising drive, but it feels weird to ask for money from people right now, even from people we know have jobs. I miss my coworkers, but miss them less so when they start suggesting Massachusetts should begin opening up like Texas is. I mute my phone so they don’t hear me groan.
7 p.m. — F. made channa masala for dinner, which we eat while we watch two episodes of Middleditch & Schwartz. It makes me laugh-cry, which feels really good right now. I’m normally a night owl, but F. convinces me to get in bed with him and watch Veep at 9:30.
11:30 p.m. — Still lying awake. I end the day like I started — scrolling through Instagram.
Daily Total: $9.55
8 a.m. — I snooze my alarm a couple of times since I had trouble falling asleep. I finally convince myself to roll out of bed and put on a face mask (Elizavecca Milky Piggy) while listening to What A Day. I usually don’t wash my hair two days in a row, but I have a meeting with my practice group chair today, so I shower, blow-dry, and put on mascara.
9 a.m. — I strip the bed to start laundry. Wednesdays have unofficially become laundry day because fewer people use the communal machines then. F. offers to take the laundry down, which he rarely does, so I feel confident this will be a good day. We use a prepaid card, but we’re out of money on it, so he has to reload. $20
1 p.m. — We’re coming to the end of our weekly food supply, so I make another quesadilla and eat an orange while I work.
3 p.m. — I remember the fundraising drive we’re organizing at work, and donate $400. The beneficiary is an organization that provides free legal services to victims of domestic violence, so the donation is equally driven by truly believing in what the foundation does, and obligation because I’m helping organize the drive. $400
6 p.m. — Since work is slow today, I quit early and don’t need to do any work from my couch all night. I reheat some channa masala and watch Veep with F. until he goes to bed.
9:30 p.m. — My high school friends and I have started Zoom chatting with each other while watching old episodes of America’s Next Top Model. We’ve been starting late to accommodate a friend who’s a lawyer in Los Angeles. These people have been my besties for sixteen years, but something about watching Tyra together really makes me feel extra-close to them. Is it uncouth to say this has been a perk of COVID?
Daily Total: $420
8:45 a.m. — Today is one of those days where I roll out of bed and just accept that this is what I look like. My allergies (to my own cats, so I have no one to blame but myself) were bad yesterday, so I go makeup-free.
10 a.m. — F. and I got our stimulus check deposited into our bank account today. We’d previously decided to donate it all because we got it on a technicality — our income is currently over the threshold, but it wasn’t last year when I was still in law school. We split the funds evenly between Cradles to Crayons, Feeding America, the CDC Foundation, and Fair Fight, all in honor of “F*ck you Trump.” I swear we’re not normally this virtuous, but in this case it felt wrong to keep the money. $2,400
6 p.m. — I can’t fathom eating chickpeas again tonight, so F. and I order Cheesecake Factory. This is my ultimate guilty pleasure and will feed me for multiple meals. $63.20
7 p.m. — I video chat with some of my friends from law school, but it leaves me feeling lonelier. Within forty-five minutes, they’ve all gotten work phone calls or emails, so we hang up early. Sometimes being friends with lawyers sucks. I turn on Never Have I Ever on Netflix to lighten the mood. F. reminds me we need more cat litter. Of course that means I browse Target’s website, and discover I can get a six-roll pack of our brand of toilet paper, HALLELUJAH. I also order body wash, blank cards, a tie-dye t-shirt, and Reese’s Puffs because I’m eating my feelings. $43.28
Daily Total: $2,506.48
8 a.m. — I actually get up with my alarm, so I decide to go for a short jog before work. F. and I don’t pay for gym memberships because our building has a gym that works for us, but it’s been closed because of the pandemic, and I’ve been struggling to self-motivate to at least be slightly active. It’s drizzling, which is actually nice because I have the road mostly to myself. When I get back, I shower and put on moisturizer and mascara.
1 p.m. — The high point of my day so far is that I get to have leftover chicken and pasta from the Cheesecake Factory for lunch. We take our wins where we can get them!
4 p.m. — F. and I make our weekly trek to Trader Joe’s for groceries. We have a small fridge so we can’t stock up too much, and we can’t get a grocery delivery no matter how hard we try, so we’re still venturing out. We buy tortillas, cheese, almond milk, hummus, trail mix, chickpeas, swordfish, pork loin, salad kits, green beans, peppers, onions, sweet potatoes, bananas, oranges, and mangoes. And cookies. Lest you think we’re too healthy. $115.55
7 p.m. — F. made a sort of hash with potatoes, onions, peppers, and kielbasa for dinner. While we eat, we catch up on Bon Appetit videos on YouTube.
1 a.m. — F. goes to bed around 10 and I watch Never Have I Ever again. I end up getting sucked in and watching the rest of the episodes. At least it’s a Friday so I don’t have to wake up early tomorrow.
Daily Total: $115.55
6:45 a.m. — JUST KIDDING. I’m unceremoniously awoken by F. telling me that the pipe connecting to the sprinkler system in our apartment is leaking. Luckily there’s no carpet in our apartment, or it would have been a much bigger issue. We call emergency maintenance until someone picks up. Sorry for waking you up, kind sir!
2 p.m. — I sit on my couch reading The Yellow House all afternoon while the sprinkler guy and the fire department come in and out of the apartment. Once they leave, I eat for the first time today. I reheat the channa masala —the two-day break is apparently enough that I’ll eat the leftovers again.
7 p.m. — F. and I make fish, sweet potatoes, and green beans for dinner. We rent Mission Impossible from Amazon ($2.99), inspired by an episode of Middleditch & Schwartz (watch it and you’ll see why). While we watch, we browse Target for a new hair/beard trimmer for F. ($62.45). One time I accidentally shaved his head bald while attempting to trim his hair, so I question him trusting me with clippers again, but desperate times. $65.44
10 p.m. — F. heads to bed, but I stay up and watch a couple of episodes of Normal People. I don’t want to discount how excellent the show is (and it is, I highly recommend), but honestly, the biggest attraction is that it’s hella horny.
Daily Total: $65.44
11 a.m. — I wake up at 8, but lie in bed watching Normal People for a few hours. I cry repeatedly.
3 p.m. — I think the show put me in a weird mood. I’m feeling super cooped up and wish that we had outdoor space so I could enjoy the beautiful weather. Instead, I go for a three-mile walk, but it’s hard to stay socially distanced from people because everyone had the same idea I did. On my way home, I stop at a coffee shop and buy an iced tea and a Diet Coke. I shower as soon as I get home since I sat on a public bench at one point. This is a dystopian universe I guess. $6.34
6 p.m. — F. and I make homemade pizza, then log on to Zoom for our weekly video chat with my family. We’ve been doing this every Sunday with my mom, dad, brother, sister, and brother-in-law since we all started self-isolating in early March. Sometimes we play Jackbox games, sometimes we all cook the same recipe and eat together. In a few weeks, we’re planning a PowerPoint party. Tonight we just chat, which makes me equally happy and homesick.
Daily Total: $6.34
7:30 a.m. — F. leaving for a run wakes me up an hour before I need to be. Him being healthy is really getting in the way of my laziness. I go for a short walk since I’m awake anyway.
1 p.m. — After a busy morning at work, I reheat a couple of pieces of pizza and log on to a bankruptcy litigation training. This is basically my worst nightmare, but my firm anticipates getting a lot of this kind of work in the wake of COVID, and I want to make myself useful in case they start considering layoffs.
6 p.m. — F. and I make soup using whatever vegetables we have in the fridge. After we eat, we call F.’s parents and talk for an hour or so. J’s mom still has to go in to work, so we like to check in with them often. We decide to play Mario Kart on the Nintendo Switch, which we bought our second day of self-isolation and which has paid for itself in pure entertainment value. It’s been a lot more successful than the half-finished puzzle we have to hide under our rug so the cats don’t destroy it.
Daily Total: $0
COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic. Go to the CDC website for the latest information on symptoms, prevention, and other resources.
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.
Do you have a Money Diary you’d like to share? Submit it with us here.
Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here: r29.co/mdfaqs
Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?