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.
Today: a production editor working in tech who makes $67,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a tarot deck.
Occupation: Production Editor
Industry: Tech/Publishing Startup
Location: Detroit, MI
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,853
Gender Identity: Woman — She/Her
Rent: $750 (for a one-bedroom)
Student Loans: $425
Cooking Gas: $13 (all of my other utilities are included in my rent)
Renter's Insurance: $20
Cell Phone: $30
Car Payment: $115
Gym Membership: $49
Health Insurance: $67 (My company covers most of my insurance, but my plan in Michigan is higher than it was in Massachusetts, so I pay the difference; this is already subtracted from my paycheck.)
Netflix: $0 (I use my mom's account.)
Spotify: $0 (My sister's boyfriend pays for our shared “family” plan.)
Monthly Donation to the National Network of Abortion Funds: $6
Weekly Bouquet Service: $60 (I live very close to a wonderful flower farm and treat myself to weekly bouquets in the summer.)
Roth IRA Deposit: $25
401(k) Contribution: $245 (also already subtracted from my paycheck)
Savings: I try to sock away at least $200 a month in savings. I set a goal at the beginning of this year to hit $10,000 — I'm currently at $8,000.
8 a.m. — I wake up to birds chirping loudly outside the Bed-Stuy apartment I'm staying at. I have been in New York for a work conference for the past week and spent the weekend visiting with friends in Brooklyn. It's been a magical few days, but I'm ready to get back to Detroit for some peace and quiet (and cheaper brunch prices). I shower and get ready, and my friends make me cold brew and scrambled eggs.
9 a.m. — I hug my friends goodbye and grab a Lyft to the airport. I choose a Shared Lyft and share my ride with two girls heading to Governors Ball. Rain is threatening, and they are hoping the festival won't be canceled. (I Google later and find out that it was evacuated due to severe weather — hopefully, they managed to see a few acts!) My Lyft driver is kind, plays good music, and drives well, so I make sure to tip. I have a lot of respect for anyone who can navigate NYC traffic and keep a smile on their face. ($25.10 expensed)
9:40 a.m. — I make it to LaGuardia and breeze through security thanks to my TSA Precheck (best purchase I ever made), only to find out that my flight has been delayed by two hours. I also discover that my gate is down a steep flight of stairs that lead into a small, hot waiting room, outside of which is a shuttle bus that will allegedly take us to our plane. I comfort myself with a tall caramel Frappuccino from Starbucks (not as good as I remember it being) and an original Auntie Anne's pretzel (just as good as I remember). $10.76
3:30 p.m. — I finally make it home, and my angelic mom picks me up at the airport. I persuade her to swing by Taco Bell on the way back to her house, where I order my fave combo: two chicken chalupas and a root beer (and plenty of hot-sauce packets). My brother and his girlfriend await us at my mom's house. My dad has early-onset Alzheimer's, and my mom is his full-time caregiver, so my brother has been hanging out with my dad while my mom fetched me from the airport. $9.74
9 p.m. — I'm too tired to drive home, so I spend the night at my mom's house. I browse Depop for a bit before falling asleep. I've made a commitment to myself to shop more ethically and sustainably this year, and because options for cute, ethical fashion start to dry up past a size 12, thrifting/secondhand is generally my move. I'm on the lookout for a swimsuit cover-up right now. Lo and behold, right before I'm about to call it a night, I stumble upon the perfect one (black, sheer-ish, button-down, big enough to be oversize on my size 18 bod, and cheap!). I buy it and drift off into dreams about strawberry daiquiris and beach chairs. $13
Daily Total: $33.50
9 a.m. — I wake up a bit later than usual but cut myself some slack since I'm still wiped out by my trip. My mom brings me coffee with a dash of sugar-free French vanilla Coffee-Mate. I grab my laptop and hop online. I work remotely for a Boston-based company — I moved back to Michigan last year to be near my family as my dad's Alzheimer's worsens. Working remotely is super convenient, particularly since it means I can work from my mom's house whenever I need to. Before getting down to business, I pay a bill to my doctor's office for lab work I had to get done a few weeks ago and read an article on Bon Appétit about what your restaurant tote bag says about you. I'm tempted by several of them (I'm a tote maniac), but I resist. $14.89
11 a.m. — I've been in a work groove, but my stomach is starting to complain, so I take a break to make myself scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese and cherry tomatoes.
1 p.m. — After calling in to a long work meeting, I eat some strawberries, gather up my stuff, and take advantage of my lunch break to make the quick drive back to my apartment. It's very good to be home — I check my mail (all junk), water my plants (flourishing!), and have lunch: cottage cheese, carrots, and leftover rice. My meals are not usually this depressing, but my fridge is nearly empty after a week away from home. I definitely need to find time to grocery shop this week.
7 p.m. — I'm a member at a space for women and nonbinary writers and artists in Detroit, and the School for Poetic Computation is holding a workshop there tonight. It's fascinating and a lot of fun, and I meet some very cool people. Afterward, I meet up with a few friends for dinner, where we luck out and arrive right in time for the late-night happy-hour menu. I have a burger, fries, and the restaurant's house-made shrub. Lately one drink is enough to give me a hangover, so I've been trying to find interesting non-alcoholic options. Shrub, or drinking vinegar, is a favorite. $17.84
Daily Total: $32.73
8 a.m. — I remembered to turn on my sleep tracker last night (I use the Pillow app — my need for quality sleep has outweighed any worries about companies having my data), so the first thing I do when I wake up is check it. It tells me I got a solid eight hours and 18 minutes of sleep at 75% quality (whatever that means). A victory! I do the bare minimum to look presentable and head out. I need to pick up a prescription at CVS, and I parked too close to a stop sign last night and want to move my car before I get a ticket. It's a beautiful day, and I'm happy to get some sun before I'm glued to my laptop for the day. I pick up my birth control, toilet paper, mouthwash, deodorant, and my holy grail product for misbehaving skin: Peach Slices Acne Spot Dots. $18.61
9 a.m. — I get online and start making breakfast and coffee. I use coffee beans from Astro Coffee (a local shop) and make poached eggs with sourdough toast. I scarf down my meal, turn up Jamila Woods, and get to work.
11:30 a.m. — I receive two pieces of exciting news: Roxane Gay is going to be the keynote speaker for a summit I'm attending in September, and my best friend from college is engaged! I'm thrilled. Her girlfriend (fiancée!!) is amazing, and I know they've been thinking about taking this step for a while. I buy a cute “Congrats on your engagement” card on Etsy. $8
1 p.m. — I take a quick break to walk to the flower farm where I get my weekly bouquet. It's a lovely walk, and the flowers are beautiful. I pick my bunch from the buckets on the farmer's front porch and head back home. A weekly flower service is a bit of an extravagance, but it really brightens both my apartment and my mood to have fresh flowers around. Afterward, I eat a late lunch (a tuna sandwich with celery and a few blueberries) and then head back to my mom's house. She has a doctor's appointment and a haircut scheduled, so I'm hanging with my dad while I finish my work for the day. He's still sleeping, so I settle on the couch and get back to my long to-do list.
4 p.m. — My dad wakes up, so I feed him some clementines and have one myself. I turn on the Rolling Stones, one of his favorites.
6 p.m. — I go offline for the day, leave my mom's, and head to the grocery store. I buy chicken noodle soup, clementines, Häagen-Dazs coffee ice cream, milk, eggs, butter, coffee creamer, a frozen pizza, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, canned corn, frozen broccoli, cucumbers, romaine lettuce, cavatappi pasta, couscous, a loaf of wheat bread, peanut butter, cottage cheese, croutons, and cherries. $63.11
7:30 p.m. — I start preparing dinner while listening to Spotify's “This Is Joni Mitchell” playlist. I make gnocchi from the farmers' market with marinara sauce and Parmesan, along with a salad of Romaine lettuce, cucumbers, croutons, beets, and homemade Italian dressing. To my delight, past-me impulse bought a mini cheesecake last week, so I have that for dessert. After dinner I put on a face mask (Detroit Rose Honey Bunz — locally made and the most delicious-smelling mask on the planet) and read a book ( Pleasure Activism by adrienne maree brown).
Daily Total: $89.72
8:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off, but I hit snooze until 9. I drag myself out of bed, wash my face, and open my laptop. Sometimes my most productive hours are first thing in the morning, so I'll work a bit before eating breakfast. I definitely need coffee, though, so I get my Chemex going.
11 a.m. — I've had an incredibly productive morning. I take a break and have scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese, the last of my sourdough toast, and a few of the cherries I bought yesterday.
2 p.m. — I'm still full from breakfast, so I use my lunch hour to go to the gym. I'm obsessed with my gym, which is rare for me — I'm generally fairly anti-gym because of all the body-shaming and weight loss/diet talk that generally comes along with it. This one plays Motown music all day, and everyone is kind, enthusiastic, and just trying to have a good time and move their body. Bonus: There's a steam room and a sauna in the locker room. I get in a quick workout, take a shower, and head home.
3 p.m. — I eat a late lunch at my desk: a peanut butter sandwich, a salad (Romaine, cucumbers, croutons, Italian dressing), and more cherries.
6 p.m. — I sign off for the day and head to the community garden in my neighborhood, where I volunteer every other Wednesday. The rain stops just in time for us to weed and plant a bit. We harvest kale, spinach, lettuce, and radishes to take home. The woman who lives in one of the houses next to the garden lets us snip a few blooms from the giant peony bush in her backyard. I walk home with my haul, making it back right before the next bout of rain comes.
8 p.m. — I wash my veggies and begin dinner. Tonight I'm having an easy version of cacio e pepe: linguine, butter, black pepper, and Parmesan. I sauté my freshly harvested kale with olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and have that alongside the pasta.
9:30 p.m. — I talk with my sister on the phone for a while. She lives in Montreal, and I don't get to see her as often as I'd like, so it's always nice to touch base. She sends me a recipe for cold brew, but it's in French — she always overestimates my language skills. Luckily, the steps are fairly simple, so I puzzle through and prepare it while we talk. After we hang up, I take care of my skin-care biz, read a bit, and then hit the hay.
Daily Total: $0
8:30 a.m. — Today I make scrambled eggs with my garden spinach for breakfast. I have never liked spinach, but I give it another shot. I add saffron salt, pepper, and garlic powder to the eggs. I take one bite with the spinach and end up fully eating around it. At least I tried! I wash my breakfast dishes, prepare my cold brew, and start working.
10:30 a.m. — I've been borrowing a pair of gloves at the garden for the past few weeks, and I think it's time I get my own. I hate using Amazon, but I have some money left on a gift card, so I use it to buy a pair. The remaining balance almost covers the whole purchase. $0.41
12:30 p.m. — I'm feeling lazy, so I have my frozen pizza for lunch. I'm not expecting much, but it's pretty good — it's the Sicilian Recipe Crispy Thin-Crust Pizza from California Pizza Kitchen. I eat about half and put the rest in the fridge. I have two clementines and some cherries for dessert.
1:30 p.m. — I need a change of scenery, so I shower, put on some makeup (Glossier Boy Brow in Brown and A'PIEU Juicy-Pang Water Blusher in Guava), change into something cuter than my work-from-home flannel, and head to my coworking space. It costs $50/month to be a member, but my company reimburses me for it. Working remotely can be isolating and lonely, so I really appreciate being able to get out and work around other people. My office in Boston was super social, and I'm working on finding ways to replace that interaction in my work days. Once I get to the space, I circle the block for a bit looking for free parking, but eventually give up and pay the fee. $2.15
1:45 p.m. — It turns out that there is intense construction happening next door, causing a ruckus that I can't drown out with my headphones. I resign myself to the lost parking cost and head to a coffee shop across town that has free Wi-Fi. I get an iced cardamom chai latte and settle in. $5.25
5 p.m. — I quit working and drive home. I drop my laptop off and then head out again to walk my bike over to the bike/coffee shop in my neighborhood that opened a few months ago. The tires are extremely flat, and the bike itself probably needs some TLC. I know the guy at the shop is upselling me, but I agree to a tune-up and new tires. Detroit roads are full of potholes and occasional debris, so the new tires will hopefully serve me well. He tells me it'll be ready by next week. I walk back to my apartment, making friends with a stray cat on my way. $200
6 p.m. — I'm back out the door, headed to the gym for a 6:30 Zumba class.
7:45 p.m. — I get home, shower, and eat the rest of my pizza and a salad for dinner.
10:45 p.m. — I get ready for bed and then scroll through Instagram. Before the targeted ads can persuade me to buy an antibacterial pillowcase, I close the app. Unfortunately, I get sucked back into Depop instead and end up buying an old tarot deck (oops). $5
Daily Total: $212.81
8 a.m. — I meet with my therapist on Friday mornings. I wake up, shower/get ready, and head out. On my way there, I listen to the audiobook I just borrowed from the library: If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin. As I approach the office, I get a text from my therapist letting me know she'll be 10 minutes late, so I stop at Starbucks to kill some time and get a grande Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew. $4.19
10:30 a.m. — On my way home, I pick up a loaf of sourdough from a local organic grocery store ($7.99) and a bagel sandwich from the wonderful bagel shop nearby as a reward for a hard, but fruitful, therapy session. My go-to order: bacon, egg, cheese, and tomato on a rosemary, olive oil, and sea salt bagel, toasted ($7.50). $15.49
2 p.m. — After working for a while, I break for lunch: chicken noodle soup and a salad. I know it seems like I'm obsessed with salads, but living alone makes it hard to get through produce before it goes bad, and I want to make sure I get to enjoy all of my lettuce from the garden.
5:30 p.m. — I stop working and head to my mom's. I want to pick up my yoga mat from her house and also buy her dinner. She isn't currently working, which means she's on a very limited income. My brother and I used to give her $300 each a month, but her finances are a bit more stable these days. Now that I'm living close to home, I still like to be able to treat her when I can. Her favorite restaurant is a Mexican place down the road, where we always order the same thing: bean-and-cheese enchiladas for her, the same for my dad, ground-beef-and-cheese tacos for me, and chips and salsa. $31
8 p.m. — I leave for home before it gets dark. I always sleep better in my own bed. Before calling it a night, I turn on Netflix for a bit (I'm rewatching Salt Fat Acid Heat — I have a huge crush on Samin Nosrat).
Daily Total: $50.68
8 a.m. — I make myself breakfast tacos and have some cold brew. My grandpa's 90th birthday party is this afternoon, so I hurry to get ready and leave for my mom's. My sister and her boyfriend are visiting, and we're all going to drive over to my grandpa's house together.
10:30 a.m. — Everyone's running around frantically getting ready, so I go grab us coffee to avoid the chaos. Tall soy latte for my sister, grande cold brew for my sister's boyfriend, tall Pike Place Roast for my mom, grande Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew for me. $13.89
1 p.m. — We make it out the door and drive to my grandpa's house. When we arrive, we help set up for the party, and guests start to roll in around 1:30. I grab a lemonade and eat some veggies and dip while trying to avoid interactions with weird second cousins.
2:30 p.m. — We eat a huge lunch: fried chicken, antipasto salad, coleslaw, pickles, buttered rolls, watermelon. We toast my grandpa, a few people give speeches, someone plays the bagpipes (this is truly baffling — my family is Irish, not Scottish), and we have vanilla cake and homemade baklava for dessert. I continue to gracefully avoid the second cousins while scarfing baklava.
8 p.m. — My fam heads back home. We hang out and chat for the rest of the evening, and I eat some leftover fried chicken before driving back to my apartment.
Daily Total: $13.89
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