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: an associate communications manager working in technology who makes $100,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Converse.
Occupation: Associate Communications Manager
Location: San Francisco
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,500
Gender Identity: Cis Woman
Rent: $2,150 for a studio
Student Loans: $0 (My parents, 30 hours/week of work, and scholarships covered my undergrad.)
Clipper Card: $0 (This costs $81, but it’s covered by work.)
FSA: $70 (pre-tax)
Health Insurance: $0 (My health-insurance premium is 100% covered by work.)
Netflix/Hulu : $0 (thanks, best friend)
HBO GO: $0 (parents’ cable)
ClassPass Membership: $15
Gas & Electric: $20
Cell Phone: $100 (work covers $60)
Savings: $2,000 (I save $1,000 each paycheck and then move the savings into a CD every 18 months — I have $34,000 saved.)
401(k): $300 (I contribute up to my company’s max match and have $19,000 saved.)
Credit card: $0 (I only use it for flights and large purchases and don’t keep a balance.)
1 a.m. — I unlock my hotel room door in Vancouver, Canada, where I’ve been staying for the weekend. My friend N., from college, ran the Lululemon SeaWheeze Half Marathon earlier Saturday, and after attending the post-run festival featuring amazing sets from Big Wild and Kaskade, we got drunk to celebrate. I take my makeup off with a wipe and fall asleep.
6 a.m. — My alarm goes off, and I fight back tears (me? dramatic? never). I roll out of bed, brush my teeth, and take the elevator to the hotel gym to run four miles on the treadmill. I’m in a fitness challenge with a friend, and I’m training for a race later in the year, so I’m not letting a night out get in the way of my momentum.
7 a.m. — I get back to our hotel room, and N. and I get ready for the day. I hop in the shower, wash my face, and moisturize (I travel with Cetaphil products but use Drunk Elephant at home). I don’t even attempt makeup because nothing can hide how tired I feel.
8 a.m. — We leave our hotel and walk across the street to Starbucks. I get a grande iced soy vanilla latte and madeleine cookies, and N. pays as we order drinks for his mom, sister, and her girlfriend as well. N.’s mom picks us up in her rental car, we get his sister and her girlfriend from a different hotel, and we head to the Capilano Suspension Bridge.
9 a.m. — The bridge is absolutely GORGEOUS and a little expensive for my taste ($42.69). We spend an hour and a half exploring and taking pictures before heading back to the hotel to pack. N. and I manage to pack our bags in 15 minutes, and his mom offers to take me to the airport. Bless this woman! $42.69
11:30 a.m. — I’m in the security line, and I’m starving. I dig through my bag and find half a protein bar. I eat it so fast that I’m surprised I could even taste it. When I get through security, I beeline to a restaurant and order grilled cheese with tomato sauce and a Sprite ($14.61) and call my mom over lunch. We check in pretty constantly but didn’t talk yesterday. Right before my flight boards, I pick up a bag of overpriced Maynards fuzzy peaches ($3.95), because (as you’ll see this week) sugar is my vice. $18.56
4 p.m. — I’m home! I call a Lyft ($28.86) home, because in a shocking turn of events, I’m hungry again. And shared rides from the airport take double the time. $28.86
6:30 p.m. — When I get home, I order a fried-chicken sandwich from Postmates ($19.71, including tip), watch Succession (why am I obsessed with Kieran Culkin?), and fall asleep by 9. $19.71
Daily Total: $109.82
5:20 a.m. — I feel like I should clarify that even with a good night of rest, I am not a morning person. I drag myself out of bed, brush my teeth, throw on a pair of Lululemon leggings (that I bought while in Vancouver, because bless exchange rates), a Victoria’s Secret sports bra, and an Old Navy tank top and walk 15 minutes to Barry’s Bootcamp for 6 a.m. Arms and Abs. I was gifted a class, so it’s at no cost to me. After class I decide to catch the bus, because the walk home will be uphill. I pay using my prepaid monthly pass, which is covered by work.
8:10 a.m. — I get home, hop in the shower, wash my face, moisturize, and do light makeup, because I know I still look tired from my travels (Too Faced primer and concealer, Sephora Collection powder foundation, and Too Faced setting spray). I also use Shea Moisture Jojoba Oil & Ucuuba Butter No-Rinse Foam Cleanser to refresh my braids. I put on jeans, a knit sweater, and black Rothy flats and catch the bus to work. On the way there, I finish the last chapter of Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino. It is probably my favorite book of the year — I feel like Jia is the smart older sister I never had.
9 a.m. — I’m in a weird mood this morning, and my breakfast reflects this. My work has a free cafeteria (yes, I’m a spoiled tech worker), and I end up with a plate of potatoes, cauliflower, and grapes.
12 p.m. — I spend my morning in meetings, before joining my team in the cafeteria for lunch. I have angel-hair pasta and rainbow chard and can’t turn down churros for dessert. Every Sunday night, I lie in bed and think of how healthy I eat and then get to work and make VERY different decisions.
3 p.m. — Eating free SmartPop white cheddar popcorn from the kitchen near my desk, because I’m #basic.
5 p.m. — I leave work and catch the bus home. I listen to the guys at Pod Save America and feel a general sense of dread over 2020. When I get home, I make Trader Joe’s frozen chicken tikka masala (“make” being a reach, as I microwaved it) and bang out a quick load of laundry ($2 to wash and $1.50 to dry), as well as wash my workout clothes, which I don’t put in the dryer. $5.50
6:15 p.m. — In between loads, I walk down the street to Salt and Straw for a kid’s scoop of chocolate gooey brownie ($4 + $1 tip) because #treatyoself and watch a couple episodes of Silicon Valley while folding. I didn’t watch the show when it came out, but now that I work in tech, it’s super funny. $5
8 p.m. — I call my mom, and we talk for about an hour. We’re doing a girls’ trip to Chicago in two weeks and need to start planning our outings. At 10:45 p.m., I take two magnesiums and a cortisol manager and fall asleep.
Daily Total: $10.50
6:45 a.m. — Four-mile run just isn’t happening this morning. Hard no.
7:30 a.m. — After snoozing for 45 shameful minutes, I’m finally up. Wash face. Moisturize. I put on my favorite chunky sweater and finally come to terms with the fact that it has a gnarly stain I can’t get out, and change into another sweater. It’s summer in San Francisco, so of course it’s 60 degrees out. I also pack a matching VS workout set for later. I leave for work just in time to make a 9 a.m. meeting.
9:30 a.m. — After the meeting, I head to the cafeteria for a bagel and nectarine.
11 a.m. — I have a one-on-one meeting with my boss. I found out last week that I’m being passed over for a promotion, but she brings good news this week. I’m getting a $5,000 raise! In celebration of my raise and for the sake of replacing my beloved sweater, I order two delectable chunky knits from Madewell. It’s unlikely I’ll keep them both, but I love options! $129.12
12 p.m. — Lunchtime! I have chicken tantan ramen, because I work at the most delightfully bougie company on earth.
3 p.m. — I walk five minutes from my office to my chiropractor. My chiropractor’s office operates a lot like physical therapy, so I end up doing mobility exercises as well as cupping. I pay my copay ($20) and walk back to the office thinking about how my back likely looks like I fought an octopus. Work isn’t super busy, so I decide to work out before heading to a networking happy hour. Our onsite gym is absolutely ah-maz-ing if you can get past working out with your coworkers (which I can). I run on the treadmill for four miles, before showering and changing back into my work clothes. $20
5 p.m. — I get back to my desk, and everyone who registered for the networking happy hour I’m planning on attending tonight wants to bail. I’m pretty gassed and don’t feel like going alone, so I catch the bus home. On the way home I listen to a throwback episode of Reply All about policing that kind of blows my mind.
7 p.m. — Honey Nut Cheerios for dinner, because being an adult means you can have cereal for dinner. I talk on the phone with my mom and FaceTime with my best friend from college, L., before falling asleep around 10.
Daily Total: $149.12
7:30 a.m. — I wake up EXHAUSTED after a perfectly good night of sleep. I brush my teeth and do my skin care, but decide on no makeup because I’m working out after work and don’t want to pack makeup wipes. My outfit is an Outside Lands T-shirt, jeans, a cardigan, and sneakers.
8 a.m. — On my bus ride to work, I listen to Keep It, and they talk about the new Normani video for “Motivation.” I’m glad I’m not the only person whose entire quality of life has improved after seeing her do the basketball trick — the most breathtaking homage to the early 2000s.
9 a.m. — At my desk, eating a bagel and a plum, and I see an adorable red dress from American Eagle that feels like it should be from Reformation but is half the price ($54.20). I literally NEVER pay full price for AE, but there’s no sale, I can’t find a coupon, and I want to wear it to a party this weekend. I got ShopRunner for free through a credit card, so it should be here by Friday. $54.20
12 p.m. — The cafeteria is serving chicken curry with green beans and naan, and I am a very happy camper.
4 p.m. — Having a late bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch at my desk to fend off a late-afternoon sugar crash.
5 p.m. — Can I just say how lucky I feel to leave work at 5 p.m. most days? I head out and take the bus to SoulCycle. As I’m crossing the street to the studio, I run into a guy I used to date and the girl he’s currently dating. He was extremely emotionally manipulative, so I call K. and fight back tears before class. (I don’t have to pay for the class because I teach a fitness class at a studio that has a partnership with SoulCycle.)
7:15 p.m. — Let she who hasn’t cried in SoulCycle cast the first stone. Post-class I take MUNI to the mall for reasonable retail therapy, which means replacing the Converse I wore to Outside Lands ($54.25) that got destroyed by dirt and grass. $54.25
7:30 p.m. — I then head to Target for laundry detergent, frozen vegetables, Reese’s peanut butter cups for my desk, and a pint of AmeriCone Dream, because I’m emotionally charged post running into the trash, scum bag, asshat guy I used to date. $31.37
8:30 p.m. — I Uber Pool home using my commuter benefit ($6.61 + $1 tip, but at no cost to me), shower, and watch this week’s Are You the One? with an Amy’s frozen meal that consists of noodles, broccoli, carrots, tofu, red bell peppers (picked out because I don’t mess with red bell peppers), and cheeeeeeeeese (emotional eating for the win here, folks). Post AYTO, I’m asleep at around 10. ($7.61 expensed)
Daily Total: $139.82
6 a.m. — Good morning, world! I teach a fitness class on Sundays, but traded with another instructor so I could go to Vancouver last weekend, which means I’m on the hook for her 6:50 a.m. class this morning. I brush my teeth, put on workout clothes, and head out the door to catch the bus.
7:30 a.m. — I have a post-class instructor’s high to last a lifetime. This instructor didn’t mention that she has a group of badass regulars willing to sweat it out before the sun is fully up. My playlist consisted of Beyoncé, Lizzo, SZA, Diplo, and Daddy Yankee, and the class felt like a party. I hop back on the bus to head home and get ready for work.
9 a.m. — After showering, throwing on a black cotton dress, a denim jacket, and my new Converse, I catch the bus to work while creating a playlist for Sunday’s class. When I get there, I head to the cafeteria for a broccoli omelet and a croissant, and then have a couple of meetings.
11:30 a.m. — Someone posts in a Slack channel that today is Black Women’s Equal Pay Day — the approximate day a Black woman must work into the new year to make what a white man made by the end of the previous year due to the pay gap. My heart feels heavy for women who are undervalued and underpaid in the workforce. This is the first job I’ve had since college where I’ve had pay transparency and know that I’m being paid as much as my (white) male colleagues.
12 p.m. — Our team has lunch together per usual, and I have a chicken sandwich on ciabatta with pesto and cheddar cheese, while discussing Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth’s breakup and our favorite moments from the original seasons of The Hills. What can we say? We’re intellectuals.
3:30 p.m. — I find a huge bag of Goldfish and pour myself at least three servings. I have the palate of a 12-year-old boy.
5 p.m. — Goodbye, office! I take the bus home and stop by a local bookstore to find a new book to read. I’ve been trying to save money by going to the library, but I won’t have time this week and I want to keep this young brain spry. I leave with a paperback copy of The Mother of All Questions: Further Feminisms by Rebecca Solnit. $16.22
8 p.m. — Eating Honey Nut Cheerios for dinner, because it turns out three servings of Goldfish aren’t quite filling. I fall asleep around 9, way earlier than I intended.
Daily Total: $16.22
6:30 a.m. — Up early to clean my apartment. My younger brother, T., is visiting me this weekend, and I don’t want him to think his big sister lives in squalor. I put away a bunch of clean laundry, take out the trash and recycling, wash a few dishes, vacuum, and dust. After I finish cleaning, I put on black denim overalls, a striped T-shirt from the Gap, and Vans and leave to catch the bus.
9:30 a.m. — I get in a little late because it’s Friday. I stop by the cafeteria for a bagel and grapes before getting through a marathon of morning meetings.
11 a.m. — I get an email from American Eagle that my dress isn’t coming until Monday. It is also now on sale for $38. Cue perpetual eye roll.
12 p.m. — I meet my team for lunch in the cafeteria and have pizza with a side salad, because #selfcare. After lunch, I head back to my desk to write an exec Q&A and finish up an award submission.
4 p.m. — My brain is officially turned off for the weekend, and I end up passing the time eating mini Reese’s peanut butter cups until happy hour. My younger brother texts me that his flight landed, and I Venmo him the difference between an Uber X and an Uber Pool, so I don’t have to stay at the office later. $8
8 p.m. — We go to my work’s happy hour and get our fill of delicious (and unexpected) pop-up barbecue. I call us an Uber Pool home using my commuter benefits ($10.06 + $1 tip). We end up watching half an episode of Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj before falling asleep. ($11.06 expensed)
Daily Total: $8
8:30 a.m. — Holy crap, I forgot what it felt like to sleep in! We’re up and I make toaster waffles and scrambled eggs to kick off the day. After breakfast, we walk a few blocks to drop off bags of Goodwill donations I’ve been too lazy to carry on my own.
10 a.m. — I get ready for our day of adventures, adding a BITE lip crayon, Clinique eyeliner, and Benefit mascara to my makeup look. They’re all samples from my recently canceled Sephora Play! subscription, but I will eventually have to buy full-size versions of all three. I put on a navy and red-striped American Eagle shirt and light denim overall shorts, and we walk to catch the bus to the mall.
11:30 a.m. — We’re heading to a housewarming party in Oakland, so we buy gifts for the hosts. I got them a print a while back, so I grab a frame at Target. We also stop by Trader Joe’s for flowers and wine. T. pays. $4.33
1 p.m. — We’re hungry, so I treat us to Super Duper Burger. I get a chicken sandwich combo, and T. gets a burger combo. We head over to SF MOMA, and I get us in using my corporate membership. I’m even a spoiled techie on the weekends! We’ve both been several times, so we spend most of our visit on the Andy Warhol exhibit. $30.74
2:30 p.m. — We finish up at SF MOMA and head to BART. We make a quick pit stop at Lululemon for me to return a pair of leggings. I paid using the instructor discount, but I’m still happy to be getting $80 back. When we get to BART, I load on a one-way trip. $3.80
3:40 p.m. — Hello, house party! My friends love the print, which makes me happy. About an hour in, someone shows up with their dog, a super friendly cavalier-poodle mix, and I spend most of the party doting over the pupper. As we get ready to leave, I stop at a liquor store to get a kombucha and a cookie for T. $7.98
8:30 p.m. — We take an Uber Pool back into the city. The ride misses its estimated drop-off time, so I get a $5 credit. I take it as a sign and tip the driver $5 ($16.43 + $5 tip). $21.43
9:30 p.m. — I decide to make rice in my rice cooker, so I can make fried rice tomorrow night and not eat Honey Nut Cheerios for dinner next week. I fall asleep as it’s cooking, but remember to set a timer.
11 p.m. — Rice is put away, and I fall asleep thinking about firing up my culinary chops tomorrow.
Daily Total: $68.28
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