A Week In Prince George’s County, MD, On A $77,000 Salary

·30 min read

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 $77,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Chik fil A.

Occupation: Product Manager
Industry: Financial Tech
Age: 29
Location: Prince George County, MD
Salary: $77,000 with 15% bonus based on company performance plus about $5,000 from my side gig.
Paycheck Amount (biweekly): $2,989, plus about $150-$300 depending on how much I work at my side gig.
Gender Identity: Cis Woman

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,345 (for a one-bedroom apartment. I live alone.)
Student Loans: $400 (the payment amount is less but since I paid off my car, I’ve been paying more)
Cell Phone: $150 (I am still paying off my iPhone but work covers $50)
Gym: $160 (work covers $50)
Electric/Gas: ~$100
Water: ~$60
Cable/Internet: $130
Spotify/Hulu: $10
Netflix: I use my uncle’s account
Nordstrom Card: $50
Amex: $200
Car Insurance: $145
Annual Amazon Prime: $119

Day One

4:50 a.m. — My alarm goes off, waking me from a terrifying dream. In the dream, I had just purchased a brand new Porsche SUV and I left the doors unlocked. I come back to discover it completely vandalized. I then called the dealer and asked to return the car but he said no. Also, I found out that the payment was $4,500 a month. Whew…. I’m glad I woke up from that nightmare.

5 a.m. — I leave my apartment and head to the gym for the 5:30 a.m. CrossFit class. I prefer to work out in the morning since I am an early bird. On Fridays, we always do a partner workout and I usually partner with a guy I briefly hooked up with named B. Today’s partner WOD (workout of the day) is an EMOM (every minute on the minute) of 200 thrusters with 5 burpees at the top of each minute. Essentially, Partner 1 does as many thrusters as possible within the minute, then does 5 burpees at the beginning of the next minute. Then, while Partner 1 is resting, Partner 2 does as many thrusters as possible within the minute and follows with 5 burpees. We keep taking turns until we’ve accumulated 200 total thrusters. This is such a hard workout but I’m glad B. and I were able to push each other to finish.

7 a.m. — I get back home and take a shower then get back in bed for 20 minutes. Getting back in bed after a shower is seriously one of my favorite things ever! Eventually, I get up and get dressed. Today I am wearing green Lululemon leggings, a green shirt, green suede booties, and a mustard-colored long cardigan. I love a good monochrome look! Then I do my full makeup including false lashes. I am a makeup enthusiast and freelance makeup artist so this is fun for me. Then I make myself a breakfast sandwich with an egg, fried salami, and cheese as well as a hash brown and pack my food to go to work.

9:10 a.m. — I make amazing time getting to the office. Every day when I drive to the office from home, I drive on a toll road ($0.90). Since today is Friday, most people tend to work from home, which makes traffic a breeze. I eat my breakfast at my desk while reading an R29 Travel Diary. $0.90

9:40 a.m. — My work bestie, S., and I go to Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee and chit chat. He gets a coffee and I get a free cup of hot water for tea.

10 a.m. — Time to focus and get some work done. I put my AirPods in my ears, turn on Spotify, and start writing a document that I need to deliver today.

12:15 p.m. — I manage to make some solid progress on this document. Time to eat lunch! I have some salmon, Brussels sprouts, and Caesar salad that I was supposed to eat yesterday for lunch. I usually eat lunch with S., but he had to run out. Instead, I sit at my desk and text with some friends about an upcoming trip to Europe. We are trying to finalize our itineraries. I also watch some of the Netflix show Cheer while I solidify plans to go hang out with some friends after work.

1:45 p.m. — S. pops over to distract me. We talk about our post-holiday party that is tomorrow night at a club in DC! We’re pretty excited. We usually have the party in early December but this year the company had some things to deal with in December so the execs decided to have it post-holidays. Whatever… who doesn’t love an excuse to dress up and eat/drink for free?!

4 p.m. — Finally finish document writing! I am so glad to get this knocked out. I’ve been procrastinating on it for almost two weeks. I’m the worst. I head out of work. On Fridays, most people start leaving around 4, so it’s completely normal. I am going to hang out with some friends who recently had a baby. I call them to see what I should bring. I stop at a beer and wine store near my job to get a bottle of Pinot Grigio and a large can of beer for the new mom and dad. $20.69

5:30 p.m. — The drive to their town takes 45 minutes and I get so sleepy during the drive. I feel like I have car-induced narcolepsy; I always get so darn sleepy when I’m driving. I know it’s not safe or ideal, but I do. I get to my friend’s condo and the new mom, K., and I crack open the bottle of wine. I hold the sweet baby so K. can have a break and drink her wine. Then, B. gets home and we catch up a bit while we all try to agree on some food options. I am a firm believer that after surviving a work week, we do not deserve to cook. We end up agreeing on sushi and order from Grubhub. B. covers the food cost. B. is a serious bourbon collector and we sample some of his fancy bourbons.

8 p.m. — There was a sushi mishap. The food was taking way too long to arrive so I finally called the restaurant to check the status. Apparently, our food was sitting there prepared for over an hour and the driver never picked it up. It’s not super safe to eat sushi that has been sitting out, so we cancel that order and head out to a nearby sushi spot to order it for carryout (B. covers this). It’s ends up being a good choice! As soon as we get back to the house we all scarf down our food.

11 p.m. — I get home, text my friends that I made it home, and do my skincare routine. My routine consists of oil cleansing my face with the Drunk Elephant Slaii makeup melting butter cleanser, then washing my face with Murad Acne wash, apply toner (I switch the toners up between a hydrating Laneige one and a Ren AHA exfoliating toner), then I apply Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum, followed by the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask (seriously my favorite! I’ve been using it for three years), next I apply the Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinal Eye Sleeping Mask, and finish off with the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask. I know it sounds like a lot and super expensive, but luckily I get a ton of free skincare products from working at my side gig, plus I use my employee discount to buy the stuff I pay for. I have acne-prone skin and since doing my skincare routine consistently, my skin has really been behaving.

Daily Total: $21.59

Day Two

8:15 a.m. — I wake up after a restless night of sleep. I never sleep well after drinking. I contemplate going to CrossFit but the workout doesn’t sound appealing and my body is so sore from yesterday’s workout. I decide to rest my body today since I have a big night ahead! Instead, I stay home, scroll IG, watch more Netflix, and make myself some breakfast. I make bacon, eggs, and toast.

11 a.m. — I get myself together to head to my hair appointment. I’m still on the fence about if I want to get my hair cut into a lob or keep it growing out. I’ve been getting so many compliments on my hair lately that I kind of think I should let it grow out more.

12:30 p.m. — I finish at the salon and I love my hair! I end up getting it cut into the lob. The stylist was a really cool girl and we got to know each other during the service. We follow each other on IG so we might become real friends. The stylist washed, cut, and styled my hair in soft waves for tonight. $32 for the cut plus 20% tip.. $38.40

12:30 p.m. — After I leave the salon I walk up the street to a Caribbean spot and get a spicy beef patty and a pineapple ginger drink. I FaceTime my mom to show her my new haircut while I’m walking and she loves it! My parents live abroad in Panama so we mostly FaceTime each other to feel closer. $7.80

1:00 p.m. — Next I head to Walgreens and quickly pick up some press-on nails to wear to the party. I contemplate getting my nails done but decide against it since it’s so expensive. I barely get my nails done because of CrossFit and lifting weights. The press-ons are the perfect solution! They are affordable, cute, and temporary. I usually do this for any events I go to. While paying I also get $20 in cashback so that I can tip the bartenders tonight. $8.46

1:15 p.m. — I rush home because I have a movie date with my best friend! She lives in Atlanta so it’s a virtual movie date. We both binged the entire Downton Abbey series over the holiday break and now we’re renting the Downton Abbey movie on Prime and watching together so that we can simultaneously text each other! When the movie is over, I am so happy the ending was so amazing! We both loved the movie and had so much fun texting our commentary. My friend says this is how Game of Thrones should have ended! Haha. We have a FaceTime call for a final recap. $5.99

3:30 p.m. — I get in the shower. I shave and wash my hair. I like how the stylist curled my hair but I think that my dress would look better with sleek straight hair with a middle part. After the shower, I sit down, have a snack of chips and guac, and start to hem my dress while watching Cheer on Netflix. I should have done this ahead of time because it takes me so long sew.

7:45 p.m. — I get my ex, K., to order a Lyft for me. My company gave us each a $20 credit to use but each person can only use it once. I have K. order the car for me so that I can use the credit going back home. The ride total from my apartment to DC is $31. So K. pays $11 for the ride. The car comes and I head out.

8:15 p.m. — I get to the party and say hi to some friends and get some food. The food options are amazing! I get some raw oysters, shrimp, and ceviche to start. Then I sample the passed hors d’oeuvres. My best friends arrive and we can finally party! We spend the evening mingling, drinking Tito’s and sodas, and dancing. I tip the bartenders $5. $5

11:45 p.m. — I am nice and drunk and tired by this point. I order my Lyft to head home. After the credit, my ride is $11. When I get home, I strip down and lay down for just a second before I get up to wash my face. $11

Daily Total: $76.65

Day Three

5:30 a.m. — I wake up with my makeup still on. I am disgusted with myself. It is extremely rare for me not to wash my makeup off. Somehow, I only have one false lash on. I wonder what I did with the other one? I get up and run through my entire skincare routine before I drink some water and go back to bed.

9:30 a.m. — I wake up at a more respectable time, lay in bed, and scroll IG for a while. I feel slightly hungover, but mostly just exhausted. Eventually, I transition to the couch to finish watching an episode of 60 Days In.

11 a.m. — I am hungry so I make some fresh-cut french fries in the air fryer. I am so impressed with how they come out! Did I mention that I got an air fryer for Christmas and I am completely obsessed?! After I eat the fries I also air fry some wings that I thawed out on Friday. I make a honey sriracha sauce to toss the wings in. By the time the wings are done, I am not hungry anymore so I just save them for later.

11:30 a.m. — A guy that I went out with twice texts me to say he hopes I’m having a great weekend. I can’t help but roll my eyes. I actually like this guy but he does not seem like he likes me because he has not made more of an effort to hang out again. Why text me that random message instead of asking me out? I want to text him and tell him exactly that but I hate texting and instead I just ignore him.

1 p.m. — Two different friends hit me up about plans for today. I can’t choose which friends to hang with! I’m on the couch watching a Harry Potter marathon so leaving home doesn’t sound that appealing. This is my only off Sunday though so I want to make the most of it. I decide to go hang out with my friend, N. It’s beautiful outside today and he says he’s grilling and I should come over. I asked what to bring and he says wine. I go take a shower then nap for a bit before getting it together.

3:30 p.m. — I’m dressed in black Lululemon leggings, a tie-dye crop top, a mustard-colored long line cardigan, a mustard Corduroy Supreme hat, and white chucks. I head out and stop at Total Wine to get the requested wine. I get a bottle of Cabernet and a bottle of Pinot Grigio. $23.36

4 p.m. — I get to N.’s family’s house and I decide to keep the bottle of Pinot Grigio for myself and take the Cabernet inside. Everyone greets me warmly and I go outside to hang out with N. and his sister while he grills food. It’s mid-January and 67 degrees in Maryland; global warming is so real!

5 p.m. — I spend a few hours hanging out and eating with N., his aunts, dad, stepmom, and sister. They’re all taking shots but I’m feeling rough and tired still so I just have a half baby shot and a glass of wine. At 7, I say my goodbyes and N.’s family encourages me to take a plate of food home with me. I’m grateful to have this food eat tomorrow! It’s all so delicious.

7 p.m. — Instead of going home, I drive down to my ex’s place to hang out and spend the night with him. I know, it’s super dysfunctional and strange but hear me out. We were friends for years before we ever dated. We dated for two years and finally broke up because I was in therapy and came to the conclusion that he wasn’t happy with himself and I couldn’t make him happy. I also caught him lying to me about something so it was the perfect storm to end it. We cut off contact for a while but eventually became friends again and now we’re friends with benefits. Its works for me. I also go on dates with other guys whenever I feel so inclined. K. is just comfort for me. I really care about him even if is being together isn’t the best thing. We spend the evening watching more Harry Potter and the football game before we go to bed around 11:30.

Daily Total: $23.36

Day Four

6 a.m. — I wake up, check my phone for the time, and go back to sleep. I work from home on Mondays so I just need to be home by around 9:30 to log in and check email and all.

8:30 a.m. — K. and I have some morning sex then I head out. On my way home, I listen to an episode of the Endless Thread podcast. I make it home and log in to start my workday. Then I take a quick shower and make some eggs and salami to eat for breakfast.

12 p.m. — I work and have calls all morning until 12. I’m so tired so I take a nap for my “lunch break” until 1. At 1, I have another conference call. While I’m on the call, I heat up the honey sriracha wings I made the other day and eat them for lunch. I do some more work while the Harry Potter marathon is on in the background. I text K. to remind him that Neville Longbottom is the trillest, most underrated character. K. is annoyed because I say that to him literally every time we watch Harry Potter.

5 p.m. — I wrap up work and head to the gym for the 5:30 CrossFit class. Today we are trying to hit a 1 rep heavy max in front squats. I’m happy because I lift my 1rep max of 165 even though we haven’t heavy front squatted in a long time. The WOD is five 2-minute rounds of 150m row, 6 goblet squats, and double unders.

7 p.m. — I get home from the gym and clean up my apartment before hopping in the shower. After my shower, I heat up my leftovers from N.’s house. They are absolutely delicious. A guy from Hinge texts me to make plans for tomorrow night. I haven’t met him but he seems cool so I’m down. We are going to meet in DC tomorrow after work.

8:30 p.m. — I braid my hair in two cornrows so that tomorrow when I take the braids out I will have cute wavy hair. This is one of my favorite easy hairstyles that doesn’t require heat. I also do my skincare routine and take my BC. I watch an episode of Below Deck before getting in bed. In bed by 10, I read some of my book Ask Again, Yes.

11:20 p.m. — I get out of bed to get socks for my cold feet and I see a small bug crawling up my bed. I go get a piece of paper to get and smush it and accidentally smush it on my bed. Now I’m super disturbed and I have to change the bedsheets. I’m having a hard time breathing so I take a few puffs from an inhaler. After that, I read a bit more I turn lights out and try to sleep after all that drama.

11:59 p.m. — I can’t sleep. I already know I’m skipping the gym tomorrow. I can’t not sleep and then get up at 4:50 and be productive all day tomorrow. I change my alarm to go off at 6:30 and turn Spotify on to play Jhenè Aiko. She’s good at lulling me to sleep.

Daily Total: $0

Day Five

6:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off. It’s so cold in the apartment I don’t want to leave my warm bed. The heat isn’t on because it hasn’t been so cold that I can’t be warm in sweats. I try to save a few bucks by keeping the heat off as much as possible. It’s been working since my electric bill has been coming in around $50. I stay in bed until 6:45 then get up to wash my face and brush my teeth. I have trouble picking an outfit so I lay back down to read for a bit. I read until 7:30 then quickly pick an outfit for work/my date; skinny jeans, a black textured top, my mustard long line cardigan, and black suede heeled boots.

7:30 a.m. — I sit down to do my makeup. This is my favorite part of the day. I turn on Netflix and take my sweet time doing a full face of makeup minus false lashes. The show I’m watching, Medical Police, is truly horrible — one twenty-two-minute episode is more than enough.

8:30 a.m. — I pack my lunch — pesto chicken sandwich and a bowl of tomato soup — then grab a Banana Premier protein shake for breakfast and head out the door. I call my dad on my way to work to verify that I still need to pick him tonight. I get to work by 9:30 because of the shitty rainy day traffic. Immediately, S. and I go to Dunkin Donuts for coffee. I get a small black iced coffee, but I use the gift card S. gave me for Christmas. I paid the toll road again today. $0.90

11:30 a.m. — While I am on a conference call, I Gchat S. to ask what we should do for lunch. We don’t have any on-site lunch options besides a brewery. S. decides to get food there and I will heat my lunch up and bring it with me. We have a toaster oven that will make my sandwich all toasty and melty. While at lunch, I get a message that the system I manage is experiencing issues. I reach out to the dev team to loop them in, then I go back to my desk to dive deeper into the issue.

1:40 p.m. — I go to the bathroom and accidentally drop my thumb ring into the toilet. I am NOT reaching my hand into a communal toilet so I’ll just have to take this as a loss.

2:30 p.m. — While re-reading this Money Diary I decide to finally reply to the guy that texted me on Day Three. I say: “Why do you send messages like that instead of asking me to hang out? Are you trying to be long-distance friends? lol” I wish I didn’t add the lol because it diminishes the effect of my meaning what I am saying.

4 p.m. — S. messages me asking if I’m down for afternoon coffee. I meet him downstairs to walk next door to Dunkin Donuts. He gets a coffee refill and a double chocolate donut. I don’t get anything. I pay for his items, $2.67, with the gift card he got me.

4:30 p.m. — The guy I was supposed to meet up with tonight cancels. I’m a little annoyed because I reached out to him and not the other way around. Wasn’t he planning on telling me? I’m actually relieved because I didn’t really feel like going and I have to pick my dad up at Union Station tonight. My dad was in Georgia visiting my younger brother who is being deployed tomorrow. I leave work at 4:45 to try to beat traffic and chill at home for a bit before leaving out again.

5:30 p.m. — During the drive home I contemplate what to have for dinner. I’m starving and don’t feel like going home and cooking anything. I settle on getting Chik-Fil-A since I have rewards that are going to expire. I use my rewards to get nuggets, a kale salad, and a small fries because balance. $1.90

6 p.m. — I get home and immediately change into comfy clothes. I sit at home and read more of my book while I wait to go get my dad. My cousin ends up calling me to catch up so I talk to her instead. We chat up until I arrive at Union Station to get my dad.

8:45 p.m. — My gas light comes on during the ride home. My dad previously offered to fill my tank up for me as a thank you for taking him to and picking him up from Union Station. I’ll do that tomorrow. My dad wants to stop at Sardis (delicious Peruvian charbroiled chicken) to get some food. We go and he gets a bunch of food so that I can have leftovers to take to work. My parents take really good care of me when they can! He gets a whole chicken, Peruvian fried rice, Brussels sprouts, and sweet plantains. He pays.

9 p.m. — When we get home, I carry my dad’s bags up to my apartment then I help him climb the stairs. My dad has a lot of health issues, which means he can’t really do anything remotely strenuous. I prepare a plate for him and then serve myself a little bit of rice and Brussels sprouts because they’re my favorite. While my dad FaceTimes my mom, I settle in to watch Vanderpump Rules and text my best friends about how ridiculous Jax and Scheana are.

10 p.m. — I do my nighttime skincare routine and brush my teeth then wash the dishes before making the couch up for myself to sleep on. I have a one-bedroom apartment, so when my parents visit they stay in my room while I sleep on the couch. I don’t mind. I would never make my parents stay in a hotel to come visit me. I read some more of my book; it’s getting really good! Lights out at 11:15. I put on Jhenè Aiko to sing me to sleep again.

Daily Total: $2.80

Day Six

2:30 a.m. — I wake up when my dad gets up to use the restroom. I am a super light sleeper so this is not unusual. I spend the next couple of hours trying to go back to sleep.

4:50 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I finally give up on sleep. I get ready to leave the house and make the 5:30 CrossFit class. The workout goes well; deadlifts and box jump overs. I tell my friend about my poor sleep and she suggests acupuncture. I decide to make an appointment.

7 a.m. — After leaving the gym, I go straight to Sam’s Club for gas. I get nervous about making it there even though my car says 35miles until empty. My dad gave me his credit card for this so the $44.88 full tank of gas is on him. I’m so thankful! When I get home, I shower then lay back down to try and get some sleep.

8:30 a.m. — I wake up and feel much better after an hour of sleep. I reply to some emails then rush to get dressed and do my makeup. I make breakfast — eggs, bacon, and a hash brown — before I head out for work. Of course, I pay that good ol’ toll with my EZPass. $0.90

12:30 p.m. — I’ve been fighting fires at work since before I got here. S. messages me about lunch plans. I brought leftovers from yesterday so we go down to the brewery to eat. He orders a beef and barley stew while I eat my food. While there, my little brother FaceTimes me to chat. He doesn’t seem nervous about his deployment, but I am. When I get back to my desk, I book myself an acupuncture appointment for Monday. I’m excited.

2 p.m. — A friend from the gym asks me to order some stuff with my employee discount. The total before the discount is $58.35. After 30% off, the total is $41.55. She Venmos me immediately. Also, I find out that the huge work-related wildfires I’ve been in the thick of are due to network issues and not product issues. Don’t you love a false alarm? In the midst of all this stress, I start Amazon shopping. I have $182 worth of clothes and accessories in my cart: a black off-the-shoulder dress, a cute white leather purse, a chic black backpack, a gorgeous white ruffled off-the-shoulder top, a regular black bodysuit, a tan wrap shirt, and a black turtleneck dickie collar. I want these things for my trip to Europe but I’ll wait to see what I still want tomorrow.

5 p.m. — My dad meets me at work and we leave his car there and head to dinner in DC. It is DC restaurant week so we are going to dinner with two of my friends, S. and T.

8 p.m. — Dinner is so much fun! I have a pear and apple salad to start, filet mignon with mashed sweet potatoes and carrots as my entrée, and raspberry sorbet for dessert. The filet comes out well done when I ordered it medium rare but the server brings me a new one. My dad ordered the same salad as me, the sea bass entrée with mushrooms and fingerling potatoes, and crème brulee for desert. I also get a cucumber vodka cocktail and my dad has a Modelo beer. I pay for both of us $76.60 and tip $15. It feels good to be able to treat my dad. I know he had a great time. $91.60

9 p.m. — When we get home, I spend the night reading more of my book, Ask Again, Yes. This book is so crazy but also so good! When I am into a book, I am obsessed and I read really quickly so that I can know what happens in the end. I turn off the lights at 11 for another night on the couch.

Daily Total: $92.50

Day Seven

2:30 a.m. — I wake up in the middle of the night again. I can’t go back to sleep so I just read for a while. I know the gym isn’t going to happen in the morning because of this. I’m so disappointed. I need to try melatonin or something.

9:30 a.m. — I get to work and eat some pineapples that my dad bought yesterday and drink a Premier Protein shake I brought from home. $0.90

12 p.m. — S. and I head out to DC to meet up with T. S. accidentally scratched T.’s rental car last night. We go to DC so that he can try to buff the scratches out. We take the Metro since it is faster than driving. I put $4 on my SmartTrip card. Before coming back to work, I grab some poke at Union Station ($12.44). It’s a nice treat since we don’t have this option near the office. $16.44

4 p.m. — My dad went to Philly today (where I am from) and he will be away for a few days. Before he goes, he calls to tell me he fixed a lamp I had that wouldn’t turn on. I am sooo happy! I would have had to throw it out otherwise. I ask K. to go see the new Bad Boys movie but we decide that we don’t actually feel like going to the movies. We decide to hang out and go get a drink instead. I leave work to beat the traffic to Virginia.

6:30 p.m. — K. works from home, so he keeps working while I start watching The Circle on Netflix. I am a huge proponent of Yelp and it doesn’t let me down tonight! I find a cool-looking craft pizza and beer place walking distance from K.’s place. We make friends with the bartenders while we sample beers and eat a delicious burrata margherita pizza. The bartenders hook us up with some free beers, including a delicious sweet potato-tasting one, so we end up only being charged $44.52. I decide to pay the bill since K. usually pays when we go out. I tip $13 in cash that I have on me and K. throws in $2. $57.52

9 p.m. — When we get back to K.’s place, we chill. He watches ESPN while I cuddle up with him and watch The Circle on my phone. Of course, I end up falling asleep and snoring. K. always complains about my snoring but he keeps inviting me over.

11 p.m. — K. wakes me up to come to bed so I wash my face with his man face wash, brush my teeth, and go to bed.

Daily Total: $74.86

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