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: an independent consultant who makes $86,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on satsuma mandarins.
Want to hear more about today’s diarist? Check out this week’s episode of Money Diaries: The Podcast!
Occupation: Independent Consultant
Industry: Food & Beverage
Location: Portland, OR
Paycheck Amount (Monthly): Roughly $7,000. I charge $50 per hour and bill between 30 and 35 hours per week. I’m on retainer with one client and get a monthly stipend. For other projects, I invoice monthly.
Rent: $1,000 ($2,000 total split with my fiancé, T.)
Utilities: $75 split with my fiancé
ClassPass Lite: $15
Health Insurance: $285, paid out of pocket.
Savings: T. and I just got engaged a few months ago, so we just opened a joint savings account. I contribute between $1,000-$3,000 per month, depending on my billable hours. We are saving for a wedding and looking to buy a house in the next year.
Amazon Prime: $110
6:38 a.m. — The cat wakes me up by meowing, and I stumble out of bed to feed her and let her out. My fiancé, T., and I open a side door for her in the morning and let her outside for a few hours. She comes in and out as she pleases until her early afternoon nap when T. locks her back in the house. (He works from home full-time.) We like to give her some freedom but also want her safely in the house at night.
7:45 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I am groggy. I slept poorly because I had my wisdom teeth removed last week, and I just finished with the last of the painkillers yesterday. My jaw was sore, and I tossed and turned all night, but I wake up without too much pain. It’s Monday morning, and I am determined to start the week off on a good foot. I read the news in bed and cuddle with T. a bit before putting on a pot of coffee and checking emails in my home office.
9:30 a.m. — I eat a banana with Siggi’s vanilla yogurt and work from my home office. I started managing projects as an independent consultant when T. and I moved to Portland a year and a half ago. I’m from the Bay Area originally and left a higher-paying job in Silicon Valley because I felt like I had an unhealthy relationship with work and money, and the four-hour daily commute was sucking my soul out. Managing concurrent projects is a hustle, but I love the creativity of seeing my impact directly and getting to work with business owners. I get a note from my CSA that I can customize my veggie box for the week, so I order bananas, butternut squash, heirloom carrots, collard greens, globe eggplant, kale (three bunches on special), red onion, potatoes, and satsuma mandarins ($33.24) for delivery on Thursday. $33.24
10 a.m. — I drive to meet a colleague for a product demo across town. I helped start a packaged goods food company this year, and we’re working on growing the brand. This means lots of demos, events, and media interviews. Since the team is so small, we all take turns doing them. It’s a grind, but it really does help us connect to consumers.
12 p.m. — I head to a yoga class I booked via ClassPass for free. Making my own schedule allows me to take advantage of specials like this and lower-priced classes at off peak times. The class leaves me refreshed, and I head home to heat up some leftover butternut squash soup and finish work for the day. The cat is back inside, and we have a good cuddle.
4:15 p.m. — I’ve been head down working for a few hours, but I notice there’s a break in the rain and I want to take advantage before the sun sets. I decide to listen to a podcast and walk around the park and then pop into the grocery store on the way home to pick up eggs and a few boxes of tea that are on sale. $9.45
8 p.m. — Finished working. T. is at bowling tonight, so I put on Say Yes To The Dress in the background and clean the house. I also meal prep baked sweet potatoes with black beans, salsa, avocado, and feta for dinner tonight and lunches for T. and me for the week. T. gets home at 10, and we cuddle on the couch watching TV before calling it an early night.
Daily Total: $42.69
7:45 a.m. — My alarm goes off, and I wake from a dead sleep. Somehow the cat magically did not wake me this morning demanding food. I check social media and the news in bed for a bit before hopping up to make a pot of coffee, check emails, and eat a banana.
9 a.m. — Nothing is on fire with any of my clients, so I block off the morning to work on my business back end. When I started consulting, I didn’t realize how much effort and time goes into billing, finding clients, and tracking expenses. I have to block time to make sure this gets done. I check QuickBooks Self-Employed (this app is a lifesaver) and categorize some transactions and milage. Last month’s billable hours were high, so I move $2,500 from my personal checking account into the high interest joint savings account. I have an interview with a potential new client tomorrow, so I look over my résumé and client project list and spend some time looking into the company.
10:30 a.m. — Another day, another demo. This one goes really well, and I make a lot of sales. On a high, I head to the gym and run on the treadmill.
4 p.m. — I realize I never ate my lunch, so I eat my sweet potato in the smoothie shop in front of the gym and catch up on emails from my phone. The drive back to Portland is long due to an accident, and I know I’ll have more work to do when I get home, so I’m a little grumpy. I listen to a podcast and call my mom to pass the time. I get gas on the way home. $14.69
7:45 p.m. — I make cauliflower puree with some leftover creamy mashed potatoes from the weekend and bacon-y Brussels sprouts.
9 p.m. — T. and I go to a friend’s housewarming party and bring some beer from our bar cart stash. We stay later than we mean to, but it’s great to see these friends. I am hyper from late night ice cream and read in bed while T. sleeps next to me. I pass out around 1:30.
Daily Total: $14.69
7:45 a.m. — Alarm goes off. I make coffee and check emails. I am a creature of habit.
9:30 a.m. — I walk a few blocks to a seriously discounted Crossfit class (thank you, ClassPass!) and then go home to shower, make a smoothie, and get ready for the day ahead.
11:30 a.m. — I have a coffee interview with a potential client that goes better than expected. (She pays.) I leave energized and excited about next year’s possibilities!
1 p.m. — I head to the warehouse/coworking space where I have a desk (free through one of my clients). I eat my sweet potato and walk around the block with a friend/coworker while enjoying the sun. There’s a baking competition, and we agree to combine efforts and submit a spruce tip cheesecake with wild berry compote. I prep for a client meeting this afternoon.
2:30 p.m. — I drive across the river for a client meeting, and I’m able to nab free parking in downtown Portland (unheard of!).
5 p.m. — I have a holiday trade show in the suburbs tonight for the new product (free parking again). I am parched from talking to people for three straight hours and kick myself for forgetting my water bottle. I buy a large sparkling water. $1.99
8:30 p.m. — Finally home and T. has made dinner! I feel so grateful as we dig into TJ’s cauliflower gnocchi, spinach, peas, mushrooms, and pesto sauce. We eat in the dining room and chat about our days.
9:30 p.m. — T. and I like to take evening walks to decompress and help limit our screen time. We walk to the grocery store to pick up some odds and ends. We get the ingredients for my cheesecake as well as some things for the house (cream cheese, sugar, cream, graham crackers, Formula 409, toilet paper, shampoo, hand soap, and beer). We get home, watch The Great British Bake Off, and call it a night around midnight. $47.59
Daily Total: $49.58
6:25 a.m. — I groggily let the cat out and cuddle back in bed.
7:45 a.m. — Alarm goes off, and I snooze and read socials and news in bed. I drag myself out of bed around 8:30 to make coffee and check emails. I have a morning of back-to-back conference calls that I will take from my home office.
11:30 a.m. — My last call of the morning wraps up a bit early, so I have time to go for a quick 5K run, shower, and get ready for a networking lunch for women in sustainable food at my coworking office space. I eat the last of my meal prepped sweet potatoes for lunch.
1:30 p.m. — I usually don’t spend money on coffee during the week, but I’m zonked after this morning. I have a $5 discount at the fancy spot down the street from my office, so I stop in. I order a dirty chai. $1.75
7 p.m. — I get home from work and T. and I make an Ottolenghi recipe of meatballs with pine nuts, roasted eggplant, cherry tomatoes, and tahini.
8:15 p.m. — My friend/coworker gets to my house, and we drink wine, catch up, and make the cheesecake for the baking contest tomorrow. I’ve been watching so much Great British Bake Off that I am overly confident about my nonexistent baking skills and get whipped cream all over the kitchen. We crack up and listen to records as I clean up my huge mess. I hope the cheesecake sets correctly in the fridge overnight!
Daily Total: $1.75
7:45 a.m. — It’s Friday! Woo! I make coffee to go, grab a banana, go straight into the office, and work on a few different projects all morning.
12:30 p.m. — I go to a spin class at my gym (included in membership). The class isn’t great, but I get in a good sweat. Afterwards, I go home to shower, and T. and I walk across the street to get Whole Bowl for lunch. He pays.
2 p.m. — Back in my home office, I’m daydreaming about the new client I met with on Tuesday. I’ve been in business for myself for a year, and I’m feeling very reflective these days about what some of my goals and plan for growth will be in the next year. I snap back to reality and wrap things up for the week. On Friday afternoons, I make sure my billables are logged correctly, and I send all clients a progress report on work completed this week and focus for next week.
5 p.m. — T. and I Lyft over to my client’s holiday party. (I pay.) There’s a full open bar, so we each have a few delicious bourbon and honey drinks and nibble on charcuterie. I am meeting tons of people and having a great time. The bake-off has a lot of really professional looking entries, and my cheesecake doesn’t win (no surprise there). It’s still fun to be involved and everything tastes great! $6.95
9 p.m. — Party ends, and T. and I walk over to visit a friend who is bartending at a restaurant nearby. He hooks us up with wine for me and beer for T., and we sit at the bar and chat with him.
10:30 p.m. — T. and I walk over to another bar and meet up with some other friends. I drink two vodka sodas (T. pays), and realize I am STARVING around 1 a.m.
1:45 a.m. — We head to a Mexican restaurant next door, and I buy a burrito for T. and two tacos for me. We get a ride home with our friend who just got off work and lives nearby. When we get home T. drinks another whiskey, I make a huge cup of tea, and we watch TV. Once in bed I am spinning a little, but glad I drank water and stopped before I could get too drunk. I pass out by 3. $19.50
Daily Total: $26.45
10:30 a.m. — Wake up groggy but not too hungover. I make us a leisurely brunch of coffee and avocado toast with poached eggs and spinach, and we watch Netflix and doze off on the couch.
1:30 p.m. — I walk a few miles to the Portland nursery for a wreath-making class with a friend. The walk takes me an hour and a half because I’m poking around and checking out houses in the area. I see some great streets and get excited. I’m not working out today, so I think the long urban hike will do me good. It’s great to catch up with this friend, and the wreath-making class is super fun. We drink apple cider while we crack up and feel crafty. $30
5:30 p.m. — T. picks me up from the class, and we go get pho for an early dinner. He pays since I got dinner last night.
7 p.m. — I take a shower, do a face mask, and paint my nails. I’m glad we are keeping it low-key tonight.
9:30 p.m. — We walk over to the independent theater by our house to see the new Grinch movie. It’s not very good, but it gets us into the Christmas spirit, and we have a good time. We get popcorn and sodas at the theater. Once at home, we’re asleep by midnight. $32.50
Daily Total: $62.50
9:30 a.m. — I wake up refreshed, read the news, and start some laundry
10 a.m. — I go to a hot power yoga class that I pre-paid for. I drive, since parking is free on Sundays. When I get home, T. has made brunch. We dig into a scramble with chicken apple sausage, kale, potatoes, eggs, and hot sauce. It hits the spot.
1 p.m. — T. and I talk about our plans for the week and what we want to cook for lunches and dinner. We trade off shopping for the week, and it’s T.’s turn. He heads to the market, and I stay home and work on my new client proposal and some bugs with my website. I continue to work all afternoon and spend some time online looking at Christmas presents for my family. I buy T. a pair of slippers he has been eyeing. T. watches football. $70
7 p.m. — We make roasted pork loin and veggies for dinner.
9 p.m. — I’m feeling lazy, but we go to a going-away party for a friend who is moving out of town. I nurse a couple of cocktails and call it a night by midnight $12
Daily Total: $82
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