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.
We want to know: Do you keep up with your exes online? Ever accidentally liked your ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend’s tweet from 2011? Sound off here about stalking (i.e. scrolling through years of Instagrams…) your exes, current partners, ex-partners of current partners, and current partners of exes for a chance to be featured on the site.
Today: an Assistant Exhibitions Coordinator who makes $32,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a bar of Hershey’s chocolate.
Occupation: Assistant Exhibitions Coordinator
Industry: Art Museum
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
My Salary: $32,000 (plus a yearly bonus, last year it was $680)
Hubbie’s Salary: $51,000 (we share finances)
My Paycheck (biweekly): $920
Hubbie’s (from here on out referred to as N.) Paycheck: $1,700
Gender: Cis woman
Student Loans: $858 (all mine, N. slid through his undergrad and grad with an athletic scholarship)
Car Payment: $0 (N.’s dad took care of us)
Utilities: $100 (gas + electric)
Cell Phones: $0 (at what age is it no longer acceptable to be on your parentals plan cause I don’t ever wanna get there)
Netflix/Hulu/HBO/ESPN: $0 (moochers, don’t @ me)
My 501(c): $100
N.’s 401(k): $170
Honeymoon Savings: $300 (Amalfi Coast this upcoming May, next trip we’re planning is to Cape Town so the name of this account will change once the honeymoon passes)
House Down Payment Savings: $100
General Savings: $50
Investments: $0 (I know NOTHING. 2020 resolution was to educate myself and begin investing smartly, recommendations/tips in the comments would be greatly appreciated!)
6:30 a.m. — N. has covertly snuck out of bed (v necessary with my barnacle-like cuddling tendencies, physical touch is my love language). Our potato of a dog, T., has taken his place. She smells like actual potatoes so I make a mental note to schedule a groomer’s appointment. Somehow I convince myself to get out of bed and start a pot of coffee. HUGE supporter of grinding your own beans, try it once and you won’t regret it. Cue the Drunk Elephant skincare routine, frantic hair brushing, and outfit search. I settle on a grey chunky knit sweater from Free People tucked into some light wash mom jeans and white Adidas sneakers (casual work dress codes are the shit). Feelin’ extra cute because it’s Valentine’s Day so I attempt the whole barrette trend and a minimal cat-eye look.
7:30 a.m. — I give T. an extra snuggle, kiss N. goodbye, and we part ways. We’re lucky enough to live in the city so we both walk to work which saves us a crazy amount on gas and parking fees. Immediate regret. It’s cold today and I don’t know who I think I am with these exposed ankles during a Pittsburgh February. The walk’s only 15 minutes though, so I distract myself with some Jorja Smith and by posting a lovey pic of N. and me on Instagram. We got married last May and I’ve only posted a couple of our wedding pics. I don’t wanna be that person shoving it into everyone’s faces (I know I’m not the only one who judges mass social media dumps) so I take advantage of the day.
7:45 a.m. — I make it to work! I’m usually one of the first people here. I like coming in a little earlier so I can dip around 4 and still have some of the day to be productive with my personal life. I usually have my first meal at noon, I’ve found it makes me feel my best so I just sip on the Commonplace Coffee I made this morning and go through emails. IYKYK <3.
12 p.m. — Because we live so close, I walk home for lunch most days (N. packs and I made him promise to cue me in if he buys any extra goodies). It cuts back on unnecessary spending and I get to give T. some extra lovin’. Breakfast food is superior to all food so my lunch usually consists of something that falls into that category. Today it’s two dippy eggs over lemon dressed arugula, Ezekiel toast with hummus and sauerkraut, and an orange. Side note: We’re doing an at-home seafood bake tonight for Valentine’s Day and the live lobsters and mussels we’re keeping in the fridge nearly give me a heart attack.
1 p.m. — I end up driving back to work, I need to pick up some packing materials. My job is pretty unconventional. To give a little background, I help coordinate exhibitions for an art museum in Pittsburgh. Some days, we’re swamped, and others, I could sit for eight hours with nothing to do, which drives me absolutely insane. Growing up in the area, this museum was always something I aspired to be a part of. Having that fresh out of college idealism, I was geeked to be given this opportunity, but I’m learning that the Pittsburgh art scene has a lot of growing to do in regard to racial diversity and inclusion. Being a brown girl, it sucks to have that particular bubble popped. I pick up the supplies and the total comes to $38.52, which goes on my company card. After dropping them off at the museum, I head to the nearest parking garage. I only have to pay for a partial day because I’ll be leaving at 4. $5
4:30 p.m. — I end up scooping N. on my ride home. He runs out to buy the last couple of things we need for our special dinner tonight: skewer sticks, graham crackers, marshmallows, Hershey’s chocolate (making s’mores in the fireplace), rubbing alcohol, and Chardonnay (for the mussels, we’re a Merlot household). While he’s running those errands, I make a cheese and meat board that would make you wanna smack yo mamma. $22
9:30 p.m. — Lobsters and mussels destroyed. Cheese plate annihilated. Bye bye s’mores. Roasted asparagus was an afterthought, but that’s gone too. After eating enough food for five people and drinking an entire bottle of champagne we clean up, throw on The Mindy Project, and promise that we’ll get down to business (wink wink) when we no longer have raging food babies. Plot twist: it doesn’t happen and we promptly pass out on the couch with T. snuggled up between us.
Daily Total: $27
8 a.m. — Way too early, in my opinion, to be starting a Saturday morning but N.’s an early riser and if my personal heater is gone, what’s the point ya know? After the usual skincare and frantic hair brushing, we fill our travel mugs with coffee and take T. for a walk around our local dog park.
10:30 a.m. — After taking care of T., cleaning up the apartment, and making up for lost sexy time from the night before, I have N. drop me off at my mom’s salon to try out a new treatment. This mixed girl’s hair has just enough frizz to be personally offensive so I’m never one to turn down hair care in exchange for being a test dummy. I pick up two açai bowls (one for me and one for her) in exchange for the comped treatment. $18.50
3 p.m. — That took forever, but my hair looks sleek af. I will forever acknowledge and be grateful for the privilege of having a mother who owns a salon. N. scoops me and we head to one of our local breweries in the Strip District to meet up with friends. Success! I finally find a beer that doesn’t make me want to gag. I’m a red wine and Tito’s girl at heart. After many brews, some tabletop pong, and gossip about an upcoming friend’s wedding, we head back home. $48.75
3:02 p.m. — LOL we walk back to the car to find a parking ticket. No more spending this weekend. $50
6 p.m. — After a late afternoon nap and cuddle session with T., we start making dinner. I usually cook all of our meals, but Saturdays we always cook together. It’s one of my favorite weekend traditions. We make Buddha bowls with homemade spinach/feta patties, quinoa, salmon, cherry tomatoes, arugula, chickpea mash, Persian cucumbers, and tahini dressing (shout out to Cookie and Kate’s food blog). I’m a pescetarian and he’s a straight-up carnivore, so it’s taken us a minute to perfect meals that satisfy us both.
8 p.m. — Didn’t make it to the gym today so I pair a Yoga with Adrienne session along with a random Pilates video I found online. I try to workout 3-4 times per week, running and hot yoga are my two favorite ways to sweat. After showering, N., T., and I cuddle up on the couch and watch Mad Men.
10:30 p.m. — Early bedtime for us, we have a long day with N.’s family tomorrow. I fight for big spoon and win.
Daily Total: $117.25
8 a.m. — Another day of unnecessary early rising for a non-morning person. We’ve lived together for two years now and I’ve made peace with the fact that it will never come naturally to me. You won’t catch me admitting it to N., but despite the fact that it initially sucks, I always appreciate being able to enjoy the slow mornings together that our early wake-up hour allots.
8:30 a.m. — Cue the usual morning routine and doggy walk. I throw on some grey joggers, a grey fitted turtleneck, and a grey beanie (monochromatic outfits make me wet). We’re having Sunday Dinner with our family today and in usual Italian fashion, we’ll be there for the majority of the day. Before I start making our contribution to the soiree, I make us green smoothies for breakfast (spinach, frozen mango, banana, ginger, chia seeds, and coconut water). N. does the laundry while I make our food for the fam; a greek salad with the works, as well as a cheese and meat plate. I really really appreciate the division of household tasks we’ve established. I genuinely enjoy cooking, while he loves a good static spray. It works for us.
12 p.m. — After lounging around for the rest of the morning, we head out. I make sure to swarm T. with kisses and apologies for having to leave her behind. Those big eyes and overbite get me every time dammit. I’ll have my mom stop by sometime during the day to give her some attention and take her to the bathroom.
8 p.m. — Finally make it back home and I’m drunk off of the Merlot and family lovin’. One of the many qualities about N. that initially attracted me to him was his similar dedication to keeping family close. And I must say, though his family and I have some differences in opinions — something I was prepared for marrying inter-racially (don’t side-eye me, we don’t live in a Utopia) — I got very lucky. I’ve never felt anything but love and inclusion from them.
10 p.m. — After some very sluggish, unsexy food baby sex, we head to bed all the while moaning about tomorrow being Monday.
Daily Total: $0
6 a.m. — UGHHHH why are adult responsibilities a thing? I need to make it big on the YouTube account that I don’t have.
6:30 a.m. — I waste some time scrolling through IG, reading my daily NY Times recap, and cuddling T. before I get up. N. and I chat while going through our usual morning routine. We’re worrying about an article I read about Italy being one of the non-Asiatic countries with the highest cases of the coronavirus. It’s selfish, but I really hope this doesn’t affect our honeymoon. We’ve saved and planned for so long. I throw on some moto zip leggings, a black turtleneck from Zara, and Chelsea boots. I attempt to style my hair but inevitably end up calling it and throwing it in a low bun. Does anyone have any tips on blowing out your hair for the uncoordinated?
7:45 a.m. — I make it to work, coffee in hand. After catching up on missed weekend emails, I begin a few tasks I’ve been putting off. Our rotating in-house exhibition will be closing soon and installation for the next will begin. Because of this, there’s a lot of coordinating with construction contractors and curators at the next showcasing venue that needs to be done.
12 p.m. — One blink later and it’s lunchtime. Back home I go. Sometimes I feel bad for not interacting with my coworkers more, but they don’t make it easy. I’m the youngest on staff, I’m newer having only been hired six months ago, and there’s also a lot of tension between departments. It’s not the comfiest place to work, to be honest, but if that’s the biggest stressor in my life I have no room to complain. T. shows she’s happy to see me by her vigorous booty shaking. I whip up some drippy eggs over kale with hummus, Ezekiel bread, and olives. What can I say, I’m a creature of habit.
4:30 p.m. — I leave work and go to my parents’ to grab a delivery I’ve been waiting on. Packages in our neighborhood get stolen pretty often and they live up the hill from us, so it’s convenient. For curiosity’s sake, its a purse from Cleobella I ordered for a wedding we’re going to in Miami in a couple of weeks. I hang with my little sister for a bit before heading home to make N. and me an early dinner. Two of my friends are coming over to watch The Bachelor tonight and his friend offered to smoke him out. Yay for the ability to have both independent and communal social lives. I’ve had past relationships where this was a BIG issue. To me, it’s very important that we have a happy existence together but can also maintain our individual identities. I fill up the tank on the way home. Because we don’t drive often, we only have to grab gas once a week, if that. $40
5:30 p.m. — After giving N. my standard five-minute-long after work hug, I start dinner. Today it’s lentil pasta loaded with veggies (kale, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, shallots), baked chicken for N., a big green salad, and more olives.
8 p.m. — The girls are here! We drink half a bottle of red and finish off the leftover champagne from Valentine’s Day while snacking on kale chips because #balance. Peter’s a cutie and all, but Mike should’ve been the Bachelor. I don’t think this dude was emotionally ready after the whole Hannah B. debacle. Half of the two-hour episode is spent making catty comments while the other is spent catching up. We’ve gone from hanging out daily to only having once a week girl’s nights which is a little hard to adjust to for us all. Once again, adulting can suck it.
10:30 p.m. — The girls leave and N. comes home. He tells me that he bought a chicken sandwich while he was gone. SURPRISE he also brings a nug back for us which will be smoked by the end of the week. It’s really the little things. We shower and hop into bed. Is there anything better than having your hair washed by someone else? Successfully win big spoon again! $8.80
Daily Total: $48.80
6 a.m. — Out of bed a little early today, my calves are tight and I want to get in a quick Yoga by Adrienne morning session. I know she has a cult following, but I’d like a little less talking and a little more yoga. Any free online sessions you guys recommend?
7 a.m. — I’m done getting ready for the day obscenely early. I go to make a pot only to realize we’re out of beans, today is not about to be a caffeine-free morning for me. I make plans to leave a little early to snag an oat milk cortado from Commonplace Coffee on my way to work.
7:30 a.m. — My drink is $3.50 and I add a $2 tip because it’s my favorite barista working. I make it to work with time to spare and immediately dive into the black hole that is my email inbox. $5.50
12 p.m. — Many meetings later and I’m on my way home for lunch. My stomach’s a little wonky from all of the alcohol last night, so I make a little plate of rando things in lieu of an actual meal: blood orange slices, Persian cucumbers with hummus, sesame almonds, and olives. Before I dip to go back to work, I grab a hard-boiled egg for later. I’m planning on going for a run.
4:15 p.m. — Gym time. All cardio for me today, my gym is filled with meatheads and I always feel self-conscious when lifting during peak hours if I’m being honest. I put on my Sword and Scale crime podcast and do sprint intervals for 40 minutes.
5:30 p.m. — Pre-shower five-minute after-work hug for my love as he tries to pry himself away from my stinking, damp body.
6:15 p.m. — Dinner is in the works. Today it’s burrito bowls with quinoa, pickled red onions, arugula, chipotle shrimp, avocado, black beans, tomatoes, and plain yogurt (tastes just like sour cream but a tad healthier). T. sits under my feet and begs for scraps, but her potato ass is on a diet.
8 p.m. — Dessert is my homemade margs (fresh lime juice, fresh orange juice, tequila, agave) followed by some Mad Men. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to drink less, but who am I kidding? We love our alcohol.
10:30 p.m. — We fool around for a bit before attempting to go to bed. The addition of toys in our sex life has made it SOOOO much easier to finish. It’s not a him thing, it’s a me thing which was a bit difficult to explain at first. I felt self-conscious because I didn’t want to make him self-conscious. I’m a classic overthinker. N. was super receptive to the toys though and fucking loves to use them now. Tonight seems like one of my insomnia-fueled nights so I throw on ASMR by itsblitzzz and pray I’ll pass out soon. Pretty inevitable with her voice in my ears.
Daily Total: $5.50
6:45 a.m. — Super late wake up time for me. I didn’t even feel N. sneak out of bed, but T. has dutifully taken his spot. She smells so bad, it’s all the wrinkles. Second mental note to schedule a groomer’s appointment.
7:45 a.m. — N. and I take a little too long in the shower this morning so I only have time to chug some water before I’m running out the door. It’s raining and my hair immediately expands from the humidity.
8 a.m. — A little later than usual, but still one of the first here. I can already tell today’s going to be frustrating when I have four voicemails from an exhibitions manager who can’t seem to grasp the fact that we’re in different time zones.
11 a.m. — FedEx is really screwing me today with their customs policy. Some exhibition materials I sent to a museum in London were detained a full week ago with no notification sent out. It’s my fault that I automatically assumed they got there without following up. I have to apologize my ass off, the museum’s installation team is surprisingly forgiving despite the fact that their schedule was pushed back an entire week. Despite that, I can feel myself slipping into a nasty mood. I take a breather and send some texts to N. and a couple of friends who are going to Miami with us to shake myself out of it.
12:10 p.m. — For lunch, I’m feeling some juice. N.’s mom got us a cold-pressed juicer for a wedding gift, which I LOVE but is a trip to clean once used. I throw some oranges, carrots, and ginger into it, which is a killer combination. I pair the juice with a salad (kale, Persian cucumbers, tomatoes, sauerkraut, leftover quinoa, tahini) and call it a day. T. must be in a rainy weather mood because she barely lifts her head when I walk in the door. Very out of character.
4 p.m. — Fast forward through the workday and I’m on my way home. I pass the gym and somehow convince myself to walk in. A 40-minute sprint interval workout later and I’m on my way home for real this time. Lately, I’ve been dreaming about the Peloton Treadmill. I’d love to be able to do my runs at home and only spend money on the occasional group class, but I can’t justify that price tag, even with the payment plan.
5:30 p.m. — I give N. a quick kiss and T. a quick pet when I walk in before jumping in the shower. I’m starving and want to make dinner asap. Tonight it’s roasted cauliflower and eggplant curry (adding chicken for N.) over brown rice with roasted asparagus. 99.9% of my recipes I get either from the Cookie and Kate blog or Bonberi. I love cooking, but I’m not inventive enough to create recipes on my own.
7 p.m. — After eating, I try to do a little closet minimalizing before I snuggle up with N. on the couch for the night. I got in the bad habit of buying a lot of cheaper clothes I sort of, kinda like instead of shelling out for individual quality pieces. Trying to practice the whole quality over quantity thing, there’ll just be a really shitty down period where I have nothing to wear.
8:30 p.m. — We cuddle up with our respective drinks (Merlot for me, old fashioned for him) plus the doggo, and put on some Mad Men. We’re late on starting this show, and though the rampant racism and sexism irks me, I really like it.
11:30 p.m. — After passing out on the couch, we wake up and move to the bed. He wins big spoon tonight, I can already feel myself beginning to sweat. Dude is a furnace.
Daily Total: $0
6:20 a.m. — While doing my morning social media scroll I realize HOLY POOP, this is my last MD logging day. I’d like to formally state that although I’m not where I want to be in life professionally or financially, I’m working on it. I know there are a lot of points where it could be easy as an outsider to judge my life, whether that be my food or alcohol habits, unnecessary spending, or the fact that I’m 23 and married. I just ask that you be gentle with me, MD fam.
6:40 a.m. — Okay, starting the day now. I’m meeting with some upper management today about funding for furthering my education so I have to dress a little more professionally. If I’m being 100 right now, I’m gonna get it. They’re too worried about keeping one of their only brown staff members happy. I choose black fitted slacks, a fitted black turtleneck, and low black bootie heels. Can’t believe this is my first time mentioning my hoop obsession, but those get thrown on too. In my opinion, the bigger the better but I go with a more modest size today. Pop an addy that I’m TOTALLY prescribed, N. gives me a kiss, and I head out.
7:45 a.m. — I get to work and choke down the free, office coffee. It’s Donut Shop i.e. unpalatable, but I still haven’t bought another bag of our favorite beans. I answer emails and go over what I’m going to say during this funding meeting.
10:30 a.m. — Meeting over. If all goes well, this upcoming fall I’ll be enrolled at a local university for a graduate certificate in Project Management. Ultimately, I’d like to get my MBA but there’s no way I can take out any more loans with the hefty amount I already have.
12:10 p.m. — Home for lunch. I take T. out and she prances up to some dude who is unphased by her cuteness. He promptly tells me she’s the ugliest thing he’s ever seen (rude) and I have to hold myself back from cussing out the man who’s ballsy enough to insult my baby to her face. Lunch today is a Caprese salad (tomato, fresh basil, sub avocado for mozzarella, olive oil, and balsamic) with blood oranges and stuffed grape leaves from Trader Joe’s. Can’t remember if I’ve already said this, but I’m a big fan of random stuff thrown together to form a sort of snack plate.
4 p.m. — Work’s over and N. has decided he wants to pick up some cigars from his favorite place in the Strip District. I run home to grab the car and scoop him from work. While he’s purchasing his cigars ($23), I go into a high-end home decor store across the street because that’s always a good idea, right? I fall in love with a full-body mirror and immediately put a down payment ($160) on it. The total is $670 and they give you two months to pay it off. To be fair, it’s one of a kind and made from old ceramic roof tiles from a boutique in Brooklyn AND it’s large enough that N. can see his full body in it so…whatever treat yo’self. $183
6 p.m. — Home again, N. takes T. for a walk while I get dinner ready. Tonight it’s Trader Joe’s cauliflower pizza crust with whole garlic cloves, olives, artichoke hearts, goat cheese, and arugula. Put a salad with it and BAM issa meal. He cleans dishes, we shower, and then do our couch potato thing for the rest of the night.
11 p.m. — Bedtime, no sexy stuff tonight because a girl is tired. N. takes it upon himself to try to convince me we should try butt stuff. It’s not the pain I’m worried about, it’s the poop. Something to talk about later I guess. Anywho, it’s been real Money Diaries!
Daily Total: $183
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