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 tech consultant who makes $90,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a Nintendo Switch.
Editor’s Note: This diary was written before COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic and current CDC guidelines about social distancing and travel restrictions were put into effect. Go to the CDC website for the latest information on symptoms, prevention, and other resources.
Occupation: Tech Consultant
Location: Kansas City, KS
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,866
Rent: $455 (live in a friend’s parents’ house with three others. $425 for rent + $30 for the garage)
401(k): $1,800 (24% pre-tax, maxing for the year. My company has 2.5% match.)
Roth IRA: $500
Health/Dental/Vision Insurance: $105 (pre-tax)
HSA: $127 (Pre-tax, maxing for the year. My company and health insurance also give $700 total HSA contributions for the year.)
Gym Membership: $25.27
Apple Cloud: $0.99
Netflix: $0 (I just canceled, but my roommate has it on a living room TV. It was $12.99.)
Sling: $0 (See above. It was $32.73)
Phone: $50 (I pay my mom on the family plan. Work reimburses me every month.)
Utilities: ~$100 (Includes electric, water, gas, wifi, and trash)
Car Insurance: ~$466 (every six months)
Amazon Prime: $0 (Mom’s account)
Student Loans: $0 (Scholarships + three jobs!)
Car Loan: $3,546 left
Other Savings/Investments: $500+
10 a.m. — I head out of the house grabbing a couple different kinds of juice, bagels, cream cheese, and sausage. I’m doing homemade brunch with a friend at her place! There’s a toll on the interstate. I have a K-Tag (I’ve had it for years. It’s free, and you go through the tolls faster and cheaper) because I go down the turnpike whenever I visit my parents or go west of KC. It bills my credit card once a month whenever the total is above $10. $2.75
11 a.m. — I get to my friend’s apartment and eat so much breakfast food. She made eggs and hash browns. We haven’t talked in a long minute, so we catch up on everything from boys to work to astrology. (Where are my Capricorns at?!)
7 p.m. — We talk for eight hours!!! We definitely didn’t realize this. I head home back on the toll road and I’m too lazy to cook (again), so I reheat leftover Indian food from Friday night. I’m not a great cook, and I don’t enjoy it much either. Cooking for one is so hard! Any tips? $2.75
10:30 p.m. — I’m laying in bed browsing for new work gear for my hobby/part-time job. I referee basketball and softball in my spare time. Most people think I’m crazy, but I started when I was in middle school at 14 and it’s difficult to imagine life without it now. It helped me pay my way through college and for my car. The gear and clothes are expensive, however, and I haven’t bought anything new in five years. It’s time! I pick out the things I want for now and send in my order (pants, jacket, three shirts, ball bag, and plate and base shoes). I’m ordering through the director to get 10% off and free shipping. I’m not sure when I’ll pay for it or if it gets taken out of my future checks. The sad part is I probably still need over $200 of stuff. I get a little bit of sticker shock, but I know I can make it all back in a weekend. I already have all of this money set aside in my budget, so that makes me feel a little better. $363.72
Daily Total: $369.22
6:30 a.m. — I had aspirations of logging on early to work on some things this morning, but I browse Reddit, Instagram, Fishbowl, and any other form of media on my phone instead. I do this way too frequently.
7:30 a.m. — I have my first call at this time every morning. I kinda hate it, but it is what it is. I do work from home most of the time (when not traveling) and my coworkers in the US and current client live in EST. I typically sign off a bit earlier because of it.
12 p.m. — I am WAY busier than I thought because my coworker who usually does this stuff is out for the week. I feel like I’m getting thrown in the fire to do things I’ve been asking to do for a while. I might drown a little bit, but there is no better way to learn.
1 p.m. — I eat a granola bar (Sunbelt Fresh chocolate chip — my favorite!), and make some ravioli. Spoiler: my meal habits are terrible. I’m not a very good cook and putting in a lot of effort to cook meals isn’t important to me when it’s just a single person. I’m not a picky eater, so I’ll eat whatever is convenient most of the time. I’ve been this way my entire adult life and I’m trying to be better.
7:30 p.m. — I go to the gym. When I get home, I make the soup I’ve been wanting. I love bell peppers and I got a great deal when going to the produce stand in town. I make a huge pot of un-stuffed bell pepper soup (ground beef, bell peppers, onions, rice, diced tomatoes, green chiles, and spices). I save a container for some time this week and freeze a couple more for the future.
10:30 p.m. — I’m back on a call with a team member in India. I’m still pretty new at my job and learning the system and she is so helpful. I do a couple of things for her and try to head to bed about midnight. My roommate is playing video games at an obnoxiously loud volume upstairs, and I can clearly hear him over my earplugs. I go upstairs and tell him to be quiet. He doesn’t have anything to wake up to (online school), but I have early mornings every day. I finally go to sleep at 12:30.
Daily Total: $0
7:20 a.m. — I’m up again. These 7:30 meetings do make me very grateful that I work from home right now, but I get really lonely sitting alone all day with minimal interactions. With the coronavirus coming, I’m not sure this will change much for a while. I think the amount of remote work I’ve had is hurting my development and me mentally. I’ve had conversations with the appropriate people, but I know these things don’t change quickly.
11 a.m. — I scroll through Amazon and Facebook Marketplace. I’ve been thinking about buying a Nintendo Switch for like six months. I see a used one on Amazon for $245 and go for it. I pay $57.03 with a gift card and the remaining $187.96 on my credit card. This comes out of my fun money budget. $187.96
12:30 p.m. — It’s half price bubble tea day! I drive the 15 minutes there and get a regular milk tea with extra boba. I pay with a visa gift card.
6 p.m. — I finish the last meeting for the day. I send some emails and call it a day for now. I’m debating going to the gym, but I talk to my bestie, T., on her way home from work instead. It’s a 30 minutes drive for her, but turns into almost two hours of conversation! Oops! No gym for me. I make some mac and cheese, drink a Pepsi, and turn on last night’s The Bachelor finale part one. Like I said, food is hard (and Peter is crazy).
Daily Total: $187.86
5:30 a.m. — WHY AM I AWAKE? I haven’t been sleeping well. I debate going to the gym this morning, but by 6:15 I give up on that idea. I doze off till 7:45. Thank goodness that 7:30 meeting is at 8 now! 🙂
10 a.m. — I’m working and catching up on training. This new job has so much training. I eat a bowl of Rice Krispies while watching some videos. I don’t really like milk, so I rarely have cereal or any food that requires it. I usually just buy a little to make mac and cheese, so I’m trying to finish it before it goes bad.
2 p.m. — I get up and walk around before my next three hours of calls. I check the stock market and ouch. I’m obsessed with my budget and have hopes of early retirement. I remember I still have 20 years to recover, so I’ll be fine.
6:30 p.m. — Calls are finally done for the day! During all of this, the career coach at my firm has sent me about seven emails signing me up for extracurricular things. He’s actually really great and he’s doing this in response to things I’ve brought up. My coach at my old firm was….absent….to put it nicely, so it’s great to have somebody that actually listens. On the other hand, this is almost overwhelming, and he’s signed me up for three things this week. I’m worried that it’ll be too much down the road.
9:30 p.m. — I make it back from the gym. I stop at Sam’s Club to buy gas. It’s by far the cheapest around. Thanks mom for sharing your membership card! I also stopped at Taco Bell to pick up supper (paid with a gift card, $5). I try the nacho fries. Pretty tasty! I watch The Bachelor finale part two and head to bed. $21.25
Daily Total: $21.25
7 a.m. — I wake up to no alarm. I have an incredible internal clock that rarely fails me. Honestly, I’m amazed at how quickly I fall asleep (<30 seconds when I decide to sleep) and I always seem to wake up when I want. This doesn’t stop that 10 seconds of panic that I overslept every time it happens though.
11 a.m. — I venture out of my room and work from the couch. I normally never do this, but I’m a huge college basketball fan and March Madness is my favorite. I was going to go to the Big 12 Tournament tonight, but they aren’t allowing the public inside anymore. I’m glad I didn’t buy a ticket. I’m not really concerned for myself as a healthy 25-year-old, but I am concerned for those with less of an immune system that I could infect. I’m disappointed, but I know it’s for the public good. I turn on the TV and all games are canceled. I understand, but ugh.
1:45 p.m. — I FaceTime into a career talk from my high school. I didn’t even know my job existed in high school, so I love just informing these students on what else is out there. I’m from a small, rural town, so you can imagine the types of jobs students see every day. All of those jobs are great, but so is expanding your horizons.
2:15 p.m. — I take a break and head to Sonic. It’s happy hour so slushies are half price, and it’s 50 cent corn dog day. I get a medium Peach Mango Slush and two corn dogs. I pay with my visa gift card again. I feel like I use it all the time, but the money never runs out.
7 p.m. — I wrap up work for the day. Everybody thinks work from home is great, but I find I work longer and take very few breaks compared to an office. If I had to go to the office every day, I’m sure I would love it. I guess you always want what you don’t have. I debate the gym but opt for a walk outside instead. My neighborhood isn’t the best, but it’s so nice outside today. I come home and make the beef stroganoff that I’ve been thinking about for a week. It’s not great, but not bad either. I’ll eat the leftovers at some point.
9:30 p.m. — I prep for some calls I have for tomorrow (the ones my career coach signed me up for). I don’t normally work this much, so please don’t think this is normal. I watch the news and learn of every sporting event being canceled, and Kansas City declares a state of emergency. This is getting very real very quickly. My roommate is at a conference out of state and I know I’ll be disinfecting everything and quarantining myself upon his return.
Daily Total: $0
6:30 a.m. — I wake up and go through the same social media routine. I also got paid today. Woo! I was planning on paying off my car today, but given the turmoil of the markets, I might wait for my next payday and keep this in cash for now. I don’t feel like I’d lose my job, but you never know and cash is king. I cancel my Netflix and Sling account. I hardly watch my Netflix account and I kept Sling for ESPN. With no sports for a month, I don’t want to pay for it. It will save me about $50/month.
10 a.m. — It’s a slow morning. I work on my budget in YNAB. It’s a great tool to plan your spending and saving. I save 35-40% of my salary, and I like seeing my plan to pay for everything. The coronavirus is going to bring a lot of uncertain times, so I’m trying to make my budget go as far as possible. I’m a bit obsessive about it, but I’ve worked hard along the way and have future goals that I’m trying to meet. I get an email that my softball games this weekend are canceled. It was our first tournament of the season, so I’m disappointed. This also means I won’t earn any money for it. I don’t rely on this income anymore, but it’s helped me achieve some financial goals over the past year.
1 p.m. — One of my roommate texts us that’s he’s going to be working from home for the foreseeable future. He wants to set up all of his monitors at our dining room table. I’m now the jerk who said no because our house has thin walls and I don’t want to hear him on his calls all day when I’m in my room working. We compromise and he says he’ll take his calls from his bedroom. I think that’s fair, but it’s irritating that people get angry when you answer questions, but don’t give them the answer they want.
7 p.m. — I go and freeze my gym membership. I just don’t think working out there is the smartest decision right now. I won’t get charged for three months unless I come back sooner. I go to the grocery store across the street and buy a few things on sale. Besides the toilet paper and a few basics being gone, it’s pretty tame. I grab Pepsi, bagels, and apple juice ($12.48). I drive to Aldi for a few other things AND THE STORE IS SO EMPTY. No eggs, no potatoes of any kind, almost no produce, almost no beans, no cleaning supplies. Wow. I get hummus, two cans of diced tomatoes with green chiles, pinto beans, chili beans, and paper plates ($8.65). Last stop is a Hawaiian restaurant I like down this way. I get a large chicken with an extra scoop of macaroni salad and a dole whip ($17.46). This might be my last meal out for a while, and I plan for it to last at least two meals. $38.59
Daily Total: $38.59
7:10 a.m. — I wake up thinking I have a call this morning. It takes me five minutes to realize it’s Saturday.
10 a.m. — I head out for brunch at my friend’s place. I go to the much larger, nicer grocery store by her apartment. They have all the sale things I want at least, but it is crazy busy for a Saturday morning. I buy potatoes, tortilla chips, bananas, eggs, hash browns, cottage cheese, and donuts. $17.32
11 a.m. — I eat brunch with my friend and her husband. She makes eggs and hash browns for us while I drink apple juice and snack on a donut. We had plans to go out for brunch, but she didn’t feel comfortable with the coronavirus cases picking up around us. I totally get it and this is a great compromise. We spend a few hours talking and catching up. I head home knowing this will be the last time I’ll be out in public for a while.
8 p.m. — I warm up my leftover soup from earlier this week and plan some quarantine tasks. I think about some recipes I can cook tomorrow and this week and some projects I’ve been wanting to tackle — like completing my taxes (multiple states and 1099 income — gross!), cleaning out the closet, putting items in my scrapbook, and playing my new Switch. I think social distancing is the push I need to get these things done!
10:30 p.m. — I’m supposed to have a friend coming to stay for a month on a clinical rotation in KC. I move my bed around my room trying to figure out the best way to accommodate her. I decide I really don’t like it, but I’m too tired to move it back. That will be a tomorrow task. I change and pass out wondering what the coronavirus update will be tomorrow.
Daily Total: $17.32
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