A Week In Boston, MA, On A $74,000 Salary


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 project manager who makes $74,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on White Claw.

Occupation: Project Manager
Industry: Software
Age: 28
Location: Boston, MA
Salary: $74,000 base + $13,000 in bonuses and overtime
Paycheck Amount (biweekly): $1,910
Gender Identity: Woman

Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $2,345 for a 3br/2ba condo (includes mortgage, condo fee, escrowed taxes, but I rent my unit out for $3,720 a month so I make money. I recently refinanced the loan at a lower rate, which brought my monthly payments down by $325!)
Rent: $1,300 (for my half a 2br/2ba apartment I share with my boyfriend, we decided that three bedrooms was too much space for just us, and we got a great deal on this apartment, so we live here instead of in my condo)
Car & Condo Insurance: ~$1,350/year (I bundled to lower the cost)
Savings: $500 (I try to transfer this amount every month and when I can, transfer some extra to my investment account. I’m working to replenish my savings and investments after draining them to buy a condo last year.)
401(k) Contributions: I contribute 8% per paycheck pre-tax and my employer matches 75% of my contributions.
Health Insurance: $59.89 per paycheck pre-tax
Gas & Electric: ~$75
Spotify & Netflix: $25
Cable & Internet: Boyfriend pays since he parks in the garage spot for our apartment.
Sweat App: $120 (there is a small gym in my apartment building, but I do pay $120/year for the Sweat app – any other BBG ladies out there?)
Phone: $0 (I fly under the radar on my mom’s company plan)

Day One

7 a.m. — I roll around in bed while my boyfriend, L., gets ready for work. In spirit of the debate tonight, I find a Washington Post online questionnaire that tells you which Democratic presidential candidates you agree with most on key issues. Apparently, I agree most with Pete Buttigieg and Andrew Yang. Hmm. L. leaves before I even kick off the covers.

7:45 a.m. — I finally force myself up, make the bed, and get ready for work. My office is rather casual, so I toss on my Madewell mom jeans, a flannel, and ankle boots. The weather will be cold and rainy today – yuck! It usually doesn’t take me long to get ready as I wear minimal makeup and tend to let my curls fly product-free. I apply a bit of minoxidil to my scalp. Although it’s not too noticeable, I’m battling thinning hair. I’ve spent thousands on scalp treatments, only to find that daily topical minoxidil and oral medication are my best bet. I grab a piece of leftover lasagna and a frozen breakfast burrito I meal prepped on Sunday. Out the door at 8:40.

9:30 a.m. — My commute takes longer than expected. Most of my team is on the west coast, so I can get away with coming into the office a bit later than others. I grab an Americano from the office espresso machine and heat up my burrito. I settle in at my desk and listen to today’s episode of The Daily while I eat and catch up on emails. I have been trying to stay up to date on the news and have found podcasts to be informative and easy to fit into my schedule. I’ve made The Daily a part of my morning routine.

12:30 p.m. — I heat up my lunch and eat at my desk. I’m thankful for quiet, productive mornings like today. I text a friend, M., inviting her on a day trip to Providence on Sunday – and she accepts. My younger brother is a professional hockey player, and he plays in Providence this Sunday. I’m so excited to watch him crush it!

4 p.m. — I emerge from my afternoon meetings to see it is pouring out. Hopefully, it clears up before I leave. I make peppermint tea to boost my spirits. I get an automated text from CVS saying my prescription is ready to pick up, so I plan on stopping by on my way home. I play a random pop-punk playlist on Spotify and finish some more work.

6 p.m. — I see a 20% off coupon for Lulus in my inbox. I add about $400 worth of stuff to my shopping cart but don’t purchase anything just yet. If I’m still thinking about these items next week, I’ll revisit my cart. I can be a very impulsive online shopper and this strategy really helps. It’s still raining heavily so I grab a Lyft to CVS ($17). My mom calls me when I’m about to leave and we catch up. I’m so lucky to have her as my momma… she’s the best. At CVS, I pick up my Rx, two bottles of conditioner, a Diet Coke, and a big bag of Sun Chips ($24.01). When I get home, I eat some of the chips and heat up Crock-Pot beef stew. L. and I relax on the couch and catch up. $41.01

8:30 p.m. — I head down to the gym in my building for some treadmill time. I’ve been traveling a lot lately and that has thrown a wrench into my workout routine. I fully expect a tough run tonight.

9:45 p.m. — That was terrible — I’m so out of breath. I get in the shower frustrated at my level of fitness but practice some positive thinking. I moisturize my body and continue with my easy skincare routine – cleanser, toner, Vitamin C serum, and night cream. L. fell asleep on the couch, and I know better than to try to wake him up! I watch an episode of Gotham in bed and start to get very sleepy, eventually passing out around 11.

Daily Total: $41.01

Day Two

7:45 a.m. — I begrudgingly wake up. I get on with my regular morning routine and put on high waisted jeans, a sheer black button-up, and high heel snakeskin mules. I have after-work drinks and dinner planned with some of my gals, so I want to look cute for once! My office is getting catered lunch today, so I only grab a granola bar and I’m out the door around 8:30.

9:15 a.m. — I arrive at work and make my usual Americano. I munch on my granola bar at my desk and listen to The Daily. My schedule is oddly open, leaving me with lots of time to be productive. I make a to-do list of what I’d like to accomplish by EOD.

12 p.m. — The catering arrives — Greek food today. I grab a little bit of everything: salad, chicken kabob, roasted veggies, fries, and tzatziki. The fries are stale but I DGAF. I wolf it down at my desk while browsing Thanksgiving dessert recipes on Pinterest. I’m spending next week’s holiday with L.’s family and we can never have too many desserts! I pin a few ideas, but it’s likely I’ll go with my signature Pumpkin Gooey Bars. L. texts me that him and a buddy got Bruins tickets for tonight’s game since I’m having a girls night. I’m a little jealous, but we both commit to a date night tomorrow (Friday!).

6 p.m. — I head over to the restaurant early to meet one of my friends, N. I buy her a celebratory glass of wine since she was accepted to her grad school of choice ($27.54)! Two other friends join us for dinner. Many glasses of wine and tacos are consumed. This place is a bit over-priced IMO, but the restaurant gives you a fun free dessert — cotton candy with pop rocks. We split the bill between the four of us ($56.40) We head over to another bar to meet up with another group. Someone buys me a beer, but I can’t finish it. Can’t wait to get out of these high waisted jeans! $83.94

11 p.m. — I’m always amazed at my ability to take the T while inebriated. I make it home and somehow remember to complete my nighttime skincare routine and take my medications. Win! By the time L. gets home from the game, I’m in bed watching The Office. He crawls into bed with me and… hint hint, wink wink. I take a Tylenol PM to help me pass out and avoid a morning headache. We’re out at 12:30 a.m.

Daily Total: $83.94

Day Three

8 a.m. — I’m so dehydrated. I chug a ton of water, pop an Excedrin, and get on with my morning routine. I put on my mom jeans again with a comfy, loose sweater and suede sneakers. Since we are going out for a team lunch today, I just take a granola bar and I’m out the door for work at 8:45.

9:30 a.m. — I get into the office and nibble at my granola bar while listening to The Daily. It’s a double cappuccino day ($5). I check my credit card account to review the damage from last night — yikes. Also, I notice that EZPass charged my card for tolls. $33.20

11:30 a.m. — My coworkers and I head out for our team lunch. I hail an Uber to the restaurant ($7.55) and we all split pizzas, salads, and drinks. My coworker and I pay the bill for lunch ($52.87) and my manager gets the Uber back to the office. We stop at our favorite bakery, and my manager treats us to coffees and desserts! $65.42

5 p.m. — I duck out of the office a bit earlier than usual after a weird and emotional day. I contemplate working out tonight, but all I wanna do is eat a nice dinner and cuddle up with my honey on this cold rainy Friday!

10:30 p.m. — Eating Sun Chips on the sofa while watching Iliza: Unveiled counts as date night, right? L. falls asleep on the couch AGAIN. He has a habit of passing out on the couch and joining me in bed sometime between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m., often waking me up. It is a point of contention in our relationship, but hey, I love the man! I crawl into bed after my shower and skin routine.

Daily Total: $93.62

Day Four

9 a.m. — After a good night’s sleep and some morning fun with L., I spend the morning cleaning, folding laundry, and doing the dishes. I eat the last little piece of leftover lasagna. Who doesn’t like pasta and cheese for breakfast? L. and I discuss the holiday party we are planning. I advocate for the theme to be Harry Potter, but I don’t think he’s buying it! I get on Pinterest and start pinning holiday party decorations, drinks, and food.

1 p.m. — I need coffee desperately. I hike over to my favorite local coffee shop and get a large black coffee. I walk with L. to pick up food he ordered — pizza and wings! My 29-year-old boyfriend has the palate of a teenager. I end up eating a few wings and two slices of pizza while watching more Gotham. I’m not a huge Batman fan, so I don’t know why I got hooked on this show. It may have something to do with Ryan from The OC being the lead. $2.77

6 p.m. — I head down to the gym. I hit the treadmill for a while and then complete a leg workout from the Sweat app. I love this app and the BBG program is great — I highly recommend!

8 p.m. — After my post-workout shower and skincare routine, I plan on going to grab a drink with a friend. She lives outside the city now, so I don’t get to see her often. But, we end up staying home and making brownie sundaes. L. puts on some random dog show from a few years ago and we both find it endlessly hilarious and entertaining. We end up watching Avengers: End Game, then make our way over to bed eventually and fall asleep at some point — not sure what time since my memories of this evening are hazy!

Daily Total: $2.77

Day Five

9 a.m. — I wake up to L. packing his duffle bag for the week. He is going to see his family about 45 minutes away for a party. He’ll stay up at his parents’ house until I join them for Thanksgiving in four days. I do wish I was joining him, but it’s going to be so cold and rainy today and I’m too excited to see my brother! I kiss him goodbye and get ready for Providence.

12 p.m. — I pick up my friend M. and we head down to Providence. It’s pouring rain and I can hardly see. I’m already an anxious driver and the weather is not helping! We hit some Patriots game-day traffic on the way down and make it there just in time to grab food before the game. We sit at a brewery nearby and order nachos and buffalo wings. I also get a cider and M. gets an IPA. We split the bill. $24.90

3 p.m. — We run over to the arena in time for the game. My brother got us free tickets that we pick up at will call. On our way to our seats, I buy us a couple of White Claws. They are definitely not worth 14 bucks each — what a rip off! After the first period, M. buys another round of White Claws, but I don’t finish it since I must drive us home. $28

6 p.m. — Sadly, my brother’s team lost, but he did score a great goal which was super exciting! I’m so, so proud of him. We get to see him for a few minutes before his long bus ride home. M. and I make our way back to the car and I pay for $15 garage parking. It’s still raining heavily. I feel a migraine developing while driving and start to feel terrible. I drop M. off and am so exhausted when I get home. I end up skipping my typical Sunday grocery store run so that I can shower and crawl into bed early. I need complete silence and darkness to survive this migraine. $15

8 p.m. — L. FaceTimes me and I chat a bit with him and his parents. I take some Tylenol PM to pass out and help with my sore legs from last night’s workout. I use a cleansing wipe on my face but can’t even bear to finish my skincare routine.

Daily Total: $67.90

Day Six

7:30 a.m. — I wake up with the same headache… and it’s Monday. Not a great combo. I take an Excedrin and chug water. I woke up several times during the night and did not sleep well. I didn’t really eat dinner but somewhat remember getting out of bed for an apple as a midnight snack (thanks to that edible I had!). I throw on loose-fitting jeans, a mustard-colored sweater, and loafers. I grab a granola bar and I’m out the door.

9 a.m. — I make it to the office in time for my 9 a.m. meeting. I have a busy, productive morning and notice that my headache is starting to wane a bit. I make sure my mortgage online payment is set for the first of the month, and I write checks for my condo fee and my rent. L. usually pays me his half of rent via PayPal. I want to send the checks out today but can’t find my stamps. I drink an Americano and munch on my granola bar while I listen to The Daily.

12:30 p.m. — I need to consume some vegetables. Since I didn’t get around to the grocery store last night, I didn’t bring lunch today, so I order delivery via Caviar. I get a stir-fry dish with chicken, broccoli, bell peppers, red onion, cashews, sesame, and spicy garlic dressing. I feel guilty since I’ve already spent so much on booze and food over the past week. I start my grocery list and get lost in impeachment news while eating my delicious lunch. $17.59

6 p.m. — I finish up some meetings and work while listening to Office Ladies. I recommend this podcast if you are a fan of The Office. It’s so fun to listen to Angela and Jenna. Before I leave, I find scratch-off charts online that will make perfect Christmas gifts for the men in my life. I buy the Pro Football Stadium one for L., and the NHL Hockey Arenas ones for my two brothers and my dad. They are $25 each, but I get 10% off and free shipping. $90

7:30 p.m. — I stop by my place to pick up grocery bags and check my inventory on a few items. I also find stamps and drop off my two checks in the outgoing mailbox. Then I head to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for pumpkin bars and crockpot chicken and dumplings, and I pick up a few other miscellaneous items. When I return home, I get the chicken and dumplings started. This will take about four hours to cook, so in the meantime, I make a turkey bacon and veggie sandwich and eat it with tortilla chips. I’m still not feeling 100% and my legs are super tight from my Saturday night workout. I decide to do some stretching and watch a few episodes of Explained. The episode about cults totally fascinates and terrifies me at the same time! $45.39

11:30 p.m. — My chicken and dumplings are done. I end up just putting them in the fridge to eat for the next couple days. I shower, do my nighttime routine, and get in bed. Since L. is already at his parents’ house, I have the bed all to myself, which is bittersweet.

Daily Total: $152.98

Day Seven

7:45 a.m. — I get up and ready for work. My headache is finally gone. I wear a lavender sweater, loafers, and a new pair of Madewell demi-boot jeans. The jeans are so cute and fun — they have little stars printed on them! I grab a frozen breakfast burrito and some chicken and dumplings and I’m on my way.

9:30 a.m. — Despite the holiday coming up, I have a couple of busy days ahead. I hunker down at my desk, eat my breakfast burrito, and get my day started.

12:30 p.m. — I heat up my chicken and dumplings and eat while listening to Office Ladies. The dumplings turned out a bit doughy. Sadly, I’m not a Crock-Pot expert yet. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed today with all the different projects on my plate. I think my coworker senses this and asks if I want to go for a walk, which really helps. It’s a rare warm fall day in Boston — almost 60 degrees!

6:15 p.m. — I head home and think about the Ben & Jerry’s in my freezer the entire time. I guess it’s going to be one of those dessert first days! When I get back, I do the dishes and eat some ice cream. I make eggs and turkey bacon and slice up an avocado. I eat while watching Gotham and then I water all my plants.

10 p.m. — I get back from the gym downstairs and shower. I am happy I squeezed in a quick upper body workout even when I didn’t feel like it! Plus, lots of stretching as a cool down. After my nighttime routine, I crawl into bed missing my man. Only one more workday until Thanksgiving break! I jot down some things on my to-do lists so that I can rest my anxious mind. Lights out and eyes shut at 11.

Daily Total: $0

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