A Week In Boston, MA, On A $65,000 Salary

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 marketing specialist working in the food and beverage industry who makes $65,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Quip toothbrush refills.

Occupation: Marketing Specialist
Industry: Food & Beverage
Age: 24
Location: Boston, MA
Salary: $65,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,847

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $850 (I am renting an amazingly cheap (for Boston) two-bedroom apartment with one roommate.)
Student Loan Payment: $0 (I feel incredibly lucky to have had all of my undergrad paid for by my parents and grandparents.)
Car Insurance: $78
Gas & Electric: This varies from $30-$150 for my half. (Old house + Boston winters = expensive heating.)
Internet: $15 for my half
Health Insurance: $0 (I’m still on my dad’s.)
Phone: $52 (I Venmo my mom for my share.)
ClassPass: $45
Spotify: $8.25 (Thanks to a $99/year special.)
Netflix & HBO Go: $0 (Thanks, Mom!)
Unlimited Transportation Pass: $25.35 (My employer pays the other 75%.)
401(k): $162.50 (My employer matches 6%.)
Savings: I save an average of $1,000 a month, which I transfer into a high-interest savings account in a different bank.

Additional Expenses
Credit Card: $450 annually to get amazing cash back/rewards, plus a $300 travel credit every year
Pottery Class: $562.50/semester

Day One

7:45 a.m. — My alarm goes off, and I feel unusually fantastic. Maybe something to do with Mercury coming out of retrograde? I make a shot of espresso with the Nespresso machine that my mom bought me a few years ago, brush my teeth, get dressed, and leave for work ($2.25 T ride covered by my pass).

2 p.m. — I have a productive morning at work — so productive that I blow through my lunchtime! I heat up leftovers from dinner last night: ground pork, noodles, and broccoli in a spicy peanut sauce. I also make a cup of green tea.

5 p.m. — Leave work and take the T home. I quickly change and run out the door to my 6 p.m. yoga class that I booked earlier on ClassPass. This is my first month doing ClassPass, and I’m so glad I tried it. It has gotten me back into yoga, and I’ve found a studio I like so much that I’m going to cancel my ClassPass and give my money directly to the (locally owned and operated) yoga studio instead.

7 p.m. — Get home and make dinner, which is kind of a hodgepodge — leftover ground pork from my noodle dish heated up on some corn tortillas that I snagged from work last week. I slice up the last of an incredible rosemary goat cheese from Trader Joe’s and put it on top. Doesn’t sound like it should taste good, but it somehow does!

9 p.m. — I watch a few episodes of Gilmore Girls. (I’ve been rewatching it this time of year for the past three years — something about the show just feels so cozy and relaxing, so I binge-watch for a few weeks until I’m sick of it.) Then I fall asleep. I love going to bed early.

Daily Total: $0

Day Two

7:45 a.m. — Alarm goes off again, but at least it’s Friday! I make my espresso, do my morning routine, and head to work.

12 p.m. — Lunchtime again. I’ve heard about an Italian market/sandwich shop nearby that I haven’t tried yet, so I head over and get a chicken parm sub. I resist buying fancy cheese and Italian imported goods. $10.65

5:30 p.m. — A few coworkers head to a nearby bar to hang out after work. I order a cider and have a few chips. I Venmo my coworker $10 to cover my share. $10

8 p.m. — Leave the bar and take the T home. I stop in 7-Eleven on my way to buy a pint of mint cookies and cream ice cream, my favorite flavor, since I don’t have anything sweet at home and need a lil’ something. I immediately regret not going to the fancy local ice cream place to get a pint instead. It would’ve cost me double, but it would taste a billion times better. $3.99

Daily Total: $24.64

Day Three

9 a.m. — I wake up for the pottery class that I go to every Saturday morning. It’s my second “semester” at this studio, which is expensive, but having a creative outlet is so important to me. My car isn’t drivable right now, so I try to take the bus, not realizing that it only runs once every hour on the weekends. I end up walking almost all of the two miles in 20 degree weather! Once I’m at the studio, I sign up for next semester to make sure I get a spot in the class I want ($562.50).

1 p.m. — I have plans to go holiday shopping with my best friend today, and the studio is having its annual holiday sale, so I invite her to come take a look at all of the incredible handmade pottery as our first stop. We spend a while looking around, and I buy four more pieces to add to my collection. I try really hard to only purchase things that are functional as well as beautiful, because I hate clutter! I get a cup, a bowl, and a butter keeper. I also pay for my friend’s three items so she gets my 10% member discount. $140.53

3 p.m. — We walk to a nearby brewery that also has great food. I get a sour beer, Korean Brussels sprouts, and mac and cheese. My friend gets the same beer and a chicken quesadilla. She covers the bill, since it equals exactly what she owes me for her pottery purchases!

4 p.m. — We take the T to a really cool holiday market that’s popping up in an unused storefront in Harvard Square. I browse but don’t get anything. My friend buys a trinket, and we decide to go to a different holiday market — ’tis the season, I guess! We take a bus that goes almost door to door.

5 p.m. — We walk around the holiday market, and I consider a few soaps and (more) handmade pottery, but ultimately end up spending $20 on a bottle of rosemary-infused maple syrup because it is INCREDIBLE! Can’t wait to drench pancakes and sausage in it. $20

7 p.m. — We make our way over to a new market that opened recently. It’s a bunch of tiny shops and food stalls around an open courtyard. I try on some vintage jeans in a secondhand store and find a pair that (mostly) fits me. Did no one in the ’80s have a butt as big as mine or something?! They’re $38, which I consider a steal. $38

7:30 p.m. — We hit up the natural wine bar in the market and each get a glass of Beaujolais, then split a plate of cheese, baguette, and cornichon. We decide we also want oysters. The best part of this market is you can get food from any of the stalls and bring it elsewhere. I run over and get us six Wellfleet oysters, which are delicious. I pay for the oysters and my friend covers the wine. $12

8:30 p.m. — We make one more stop in the market at the brewery. We each get a beer, which I cover. We then decide to close out the night with a pizza, which I also grab. It’s amazing South Shore bar pizza, which is a very specific variety that has the perfect thin but chewy (and somehow cheesy??) crust. $27.29

9:30 p.m. — We’re both yawning, so we head out. My friend grabs us a Lyft, which manages to get a flat tire during our 10-minute ride! We switch Lyfts and hope that our first driver gets home okay. I watch half an episode of Gilmore Girls and pass out. Sleeping is the best.

Daily Total: $237.82

Day Four

9 a.m. — Wake up, make vanilla chai tea, and waste some time on Reddit and YouTube. Then I get dressed and walk to yoga. It’s inversions month, so we’re working on a lot of arm balances. I love the strength I’m building. I go home and eat leftover Brussels sprouts, mac and cheese, and pizza from yesterday.

3 p.m. — I like to give myself Sundays off to be lazy and completely unproductive because I’m an introvert and even leaving my house can sometimes be exhausting. I get a surge of energy today, though, and decide to head back to the pottery studio. I take the bus and spend a few hours listening to the Hamilton soundtrack (which has been randomly stuck in my head for a week even though I saw the show over two years ago!?) and throwing some decent ceramic wine glasses, then take the bus back home. I stop to marvel at some of the Christmas lights in my neighborhood, but can’t help but think of all the electricity they must be using up.

7 p.m. — Dinner is a random assortment of things again — two kinds of pasta, caramelized onions, roasted butternut squash, and a sauce made out of butter, lemon, and parmesan cheese. I love seeing what I can make out of random things in my pantry. Sometimes it goes horribly wrong, but not tonight!

9 p.m. — More Gilmore Girls and sleep.

Daily Total: $0

Day Five

7:45 a.m. — Up and at ’em. Happy Monday. Espresso, morning routine, and then I hit the road.

12 p.m. — I have leftover pasta for lunch and get a $5 charge for my Quip toothbrush refill. I have a semi-productive day. Maybe it’s a mental thing, but I never feel fantastic on Mondays. $5

5 p.m. — I head out of work and stop at the grocery store for almond milk, eggs, unsalted butter for this week’s cookie bake-off, flaky salt, fancy Irish butter, apples, and a loaf of sourdough. Dinner consists of me standing at the counter and slicing off pieces of bread, slathering them in butter, and sprinkling them with salt. How do normal people eat fresh bread?!

9 p.m. — Dessert is more mint cookies and cream ice cream. I watch the newest episode of The Good Place and can’t believe how funny and well-written this show is. Pass out and sleep well for the first night in a while!

Daily Total: $5

Day Six

7:45 a.m. — Wake up, have an espresso, and go to work. Thrilling, I know.

9 a.m. — Someone brought coffee, fruit, and trays of muffins and breakfast pastries. I load up on fruit and have a pecan roll.

4 p.m. — We go to a bar/restaurant for our holiday party. I start with a sour beer and a slider. Dinner is a buffet of spinach salad, roasted Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, steak, mushroom ravioli, and fried chicken. I have a little of everything, along with two amazing matcha gin cocktails. Gin is my favorite liquor, which I’m convinced is because I never drank it in college, so it hasn’t been ruined for me yet :).

9 p.m. — I take a Lyft home and share it with a coworker who lives nearby. He sends me his half on Venmo. I eat some more bread and butter when I get home and then try to chug some water. Sleep comes quickly, thanks gin! $7.50

Daily Total: $7.50

Day Seven

7:45 a.m. — Wake up and don’t feel terrible. Espresso, go to work. Some of my older coworkers who stayed out longer than I did are definitely struggling. I’m weirdly proud of myself for not getting too drunk — the first time I went to an open bar was my cousin’s wedding in college, and I ended up puking on the side of the tent. Clearly I’ve matured since then!

10 a.m. — I get an email about a bill from Planned Parenthood, where I go for lady health problems, since I don’t have a gyno in Boston. My insurance covered almost everything last time, but there’s a little leftover balance from lab tests. Good news is that I’m completely healthy now! $13.36

12 p.m. — I order a salad on the Sweetgreen app and run over to pick it up before a meeting. I get the Dan Barber special squash one, and it’s good! I think that generally their salads are just okay, but I was in desperate need of some leafy greens today. $11.72

5 p.m. — Hammer out some work before I run off to make it to yoga. The yoga teacher acknowledges me by name in class, which feels really nice!

7 p.m. — I make dinner: frozen Trader Joe’s paneer tikka masala (I’m obsessed), frozen broccoli, and a little more bread and butter. I also bake my cookies for the bake-off. I make that Instagram-famous salted dark chocolate shortbread, which I’ve made once before. I forget to grease the cookie sheet, though, and break a few trying to scrape them off :'(. The recipe only makes 20, so I eat the scraps and save all of the actual cookies for tomorrow.

10:30 p.m. — The cookies took a while, so this is past my normal bedtime! I watch some of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel(highly recommend) and knock out.

Daily Total: $25.08

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