Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. We’re asking real people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we’re tracking every last dollar.
Today: a global social media manager working in tech who makes $110,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a Beis Mini Work Tote.
Occupation: Global Social Media Manager
Location: Boston, MA
Net Worth: ~55,000 (around $8,000 in a money market, around $18,000 in a Roth IRA, and around $29,000 in a brokerage account)
Debt: $0 (I was extremely fortunate to have my parents pay for my college.)
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,911
Monthly Expenses–Rent: $1,500 (For my room in a two-bedroom, two-bathroom. I pay a little more than my roommate because I have the ensuite bathroom and two closets.)
Phone: $0 (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)
Nuuly Membership: $88 (I often skip but not this month.)
Peloton Membership: $39
Book of the Month: $16.99
Spotify: $6.50 (My boyfriend, R., and I split a duo account.)
Streaming: $0 (Most major streaming services come free with my parent’s internet plan, so I use their logins)
Roth IRA: $500
Brokerage Account: $300
Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
Absolutely. My parents had me going to a college advisor at the age of 15. They’re both lawyers and have their JDs, so I always knew I was going to college. Although, if I truly didn’t feel college was the right path for me and had a trade I was good at or an entrepreneurial pursuit, I think my parents would’ve been totally fine with it as long as I was working hard and had a game plan. My grandfather passed away when my dad was 13, and he was a successful stockbroker. He left my father a trust, which my dad saved to pay for mine and my siblings’ educations. The money was given with a stipulation that it could be taken away at any time if my parents felt we weren’t trying our best in school, and we would have to start taking out loans. It was okay if we didn’t have the best grades, as long as we were working hard, getting extra help, and making a real effort to do better.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
There were little to no conversations about financial literacy in my home. The closest we got growing up was my parents telling my siblings and I that money doesn’t grow on trees when we were acting a little too spoiled. My mom did always tell me she wanted me to understand the value of a dollar, though, so she made sure I got a job at a young age. I knew she grew up lower-middle-class and that my dad’s family was wealthy until his father passed. Once I graduated college, my dad set me up with his financial advisor to make sure I was saving, but I still don’t feel confident in my financial knowledge and I’m learning every day.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was working as a ride attendant at Six Flags when I turned 16. I absolutely hated it and didn’t want to apply, but my parents forced me to because they knew I’d get the job. I worked there for around two months before quitting because I got a job at a local frozen yogurt shop. As I mentioned, my mom wanted me to understand the value of money, so my parents stopped paying for any fun spending money when I turned 16, and I held jobs ever since and all through college so I could afford gas, shopping, and going to dinner and the movies with my friends.
Did you worry about money growing up?
Rarely ever. I think I always had an idea that my parents were decently well off. I got my first passport when I was 13 and had been to Europe by 14 and not a lot of other kids I knew got to do that stuff. The only time I ever remember stressing about money was in college when my mom got laid off from her job unexpectedly. My parents started cutting back on spending and not going out to eat as much on the weekends. My mom ended up getting lucky and had a lot of money in her company stocks she didn’t even know existed, which allowed her to essentially retire early. She hasn’t worked since, so the worry didn’t last very long.
Do you worry about money now?
Not really, no. I’ve always been able to live within my means fairly well and I know that if anything serious happened, my parents would help me out or let me move home with them. Thankfully, nothing like that has happened yet. I do worry about my future and being able to afford a house in Massachusetts someday as well as having kids. I’d love to be able to provide for my children like my parents did for me.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I became mostly financially independent when I graduated college at 22. I graduated on a Sunday and started my first full-time job on a Wednesday and have paid for the majority of my bills ever since. The only things my parents still pay for me are my phone bill, streaming services, and health insurance until I’m 26. My parents would absolutely support me if I lost my income as long as I was working hard to find a new job.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
Yes, my entire college was paid for by my late grandfather (around $300,000), and my grandmother gave me $10,000 before she passed that started my brokerage account.
8 a.m. — I am up and not happy about it. The commuter rail goes right by my apartment, and there must’ve been maintenance on the tracks last night, because I woke up to multiple loud bangs at 3 a.m. and couldn’t fall back asleep for a while. Now I’m exhausted. I scroll through TikTok before I start getting bombarded by Teams messages and decide it’s time to make my bed, grab a quick breakfast of peanut butter toast, and get to work. I work from home 99% of the time, so my team is lucky if I even brush my hair in the mornings. I usually wear the clothes I wore to bed and no makeup during my workdays.
11 a.m. — I’m in the zone working on a slide deck when I get a call from the Peloton delivery service that they’re five minutes away with my bike. They weren’t supposed to come for another hour, so I panic-clean my apartment until it looks somewhat presentable and move my old spin bike out of the way. I’ve been using an Echelon bike with the Peloton app for a little over a year now and I love it. When I saw Peloton was having a $300-off sale on the bike, I pulled the trigger and upgraded. On top of the sale, my parents are giving me $200 toward it as an early birthday gift, and I sold my old bike for $300 on Facebook Marketplace, so it cost around $900 for me instead of its usual $1,700. Still, it’s by far the most expensive thing I’ve ever bought myself. But it’s for my health, so it’s not that bad, right? Once the delivery men get the bike all set up I want to mess around with it or go for a ride, but I have an 11:30 meeting so my Peloton will have to wait until after work.
1 p.m. — No time for a lunch break today so I heat up my leftovers from dinner last night: tortellini in a cream sauce with bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and spinach. I eat while I submit my edits for social graphics our creative team made.
2 p.m. — My phone starts ringing with a call from an unknown number, and I remember I had agreed to meet with a business intelligence company to discuss a potential consulting call. I’ve never done one of these, but the company reached out to me on LinkedIn and offered me $300 for an hour-long call with their client to discuss my experience with my previous industry and employer. I Googled it, and it’s not a scam and not illegal, so I decided why not try it out. I give her my background, and she says she will pass it along to the client and let me know if they’re interested.
5:30 p.m. — Work is winding down for the day, so I change into my workout clothes, grab my tote, and head to Whole Foods to grab green beans, olive oil, and 365-brand Oreo-style cookies for my boyfriend, R. When I get back, I clip in and take my new Peloton for a spin (pun intended). $13.57
7 p.m. — I’m obsessed with the Peloton already. It just feels so much more stable and better quality than my old bike. After my 30-minute spin with Cody, I take a full shower (read: hair wash included) and cook dinner. I do HelloFresh most weeks, so tonight’s meal is a baked chicken with roasted potatoes and green beans. I remember I need to get a new work bag while I’m cooking so I purchase the Beis Mini Work Tote I’ve been eyeing. I work from home most of the time but I like to go into the office once a week. I only started this job a month ago, and my old job was at a tech startup where I used a company-branded backpack as my work bag. This job has more of a dress code for the office so a new bag was definitely needed. $119.81
11 p.m. — After dinner, I read Anxious People, which I just started this weekend. I have been busy today so I call R. to catch up on our days. It turns into a very small argument because he tells me he may not be able to come over tomorrow night after all. It shouldn’t be a big deal because he rarely cancels plans, and we just spent all weekend together doing an NYC trip, but I was in a shitty year-long situationship before R., and the guy never wanted to hang out and always canceled plans, so I still get a little triggered if R. ever changes or cancels anything, which I know isn’t fair. I’m working on it, I swear! We make up quickly, and I go back to reading my book and fall asleep around 11.
Daily Total: $133.38
8 a.m. — Maybe one day I will actually sleep through the night. I had a ton of weird dreams that kept me up last night so I’m feeling extra tired this morning. I have back-to-back-to-back meetings starting at 10 so I make my bed, eat my peanut butter toast breakfast, and get ready for the day.
12:30 p.m. — I have a gap in meetings until 3 and no urgent deadlines so I get changed into my workout clothes and do a quick 30-minute ride on the Peloton. I’m super sweaty after my ride so I rinse off in the shower before heating up my lunch of leftovers from last night’s HelloFresh meal.
3 p.m. — I’ve been anxious all week about my call with my boss today. I’m presenting my 90-day plan for our company’s social media, and it’s my first time presenting anything really at all to her. Thankfully, it goes really well, and she gives me a few minor edits to work on before she’ll be submitting this to our executive leadership. I’m feeling relieved but also slightly overwhelmed at the amount of work I’ll have in the next 90 days. This is my first time as the lead of a big company’s social, and the imposter syndrome is real.
5:30 p.m. — R. ends up coming over (yay!), and we have a beer while we wait for the girl from Facebook Marketplace to come pick up my old spin bike. She Venmo’s me the $300 we agreed on when she grabs it and then R. and I get started on dinner. Tonight’s HelloFresh meal is pecan-crusted chicken with a mixed green salad, one of our favorites. We eat while catching up with my roommate/ best friend, N., about our days.
8 p.m. — My little sister, who goes to college in the city, stops by to pick up packages. Dorm mail takes a long time to process, so she mails her packages here. She tries on two dresses for her sorority formal on Saturday, and we help her decide on the blue satin dress with cutouts. Gotta love a good fashion show. Once she leaves, R. and I put on an episode of Breaking Bad and make dinner reservations for a date night on Saturday.
11 p.m. — R. goes home around 9:30 because he feels bad leaving his cat alone for another night so soon after our weekend trip. I do my skincare routine of CeraVe face wash, Curology serum (highly recommend Curology), and First Aid Beauty cream before getting into bed and reading. I fall asleep around 11 with the help of my good friend melatonin.
Daily Total: $0
7 a.m. — Nothing like a dark, rainy morning to make getting out of bed impossible! I let myself scroll on TikTok for a few minutes before forcing myself out of bed. I’m going to the office today with a couple of my coworkers so I have to do the full hair and makeup routine. I add Dyson Airwrap curls to my hair, put on Zara jeans, a mock-neck black sweater, and Sam Edelman booties. My makeup routine consists of concealer, blush, mascara, and eyebrow gel most days if I wear it. My coworkers text that they’re packing lunch, but I have nothing prepared so I throw together a peanut butter and jelly and grapes for a snack, eat a quick granola bar as my breakfast, and leave at 8:15.
9 a.m. — I immediately regret everything. It’s pouring rain, and I didn’t bring my umbrella. The T is taking forever (as per usual for the green line). It finally comes at 8:30, and I swipe on using my prepaid card. I show up at the office looking like a wet dog, which is very unfortunate because it turns out the whole executive team is in the office today.
12:30 p.m. — After a busy morning of copywriting, I eat my very sad lunch and grab salt and vinegar chips from the kitchen at work as a snack.
5 p.m. — My coworkers and I check out around 4:30 and as soon as the clock hits 5, we walk to a bar for beers. We each get a 20-ounce Stella and split the bill evenly. My coworkers tell me all about their relationship histories, and I feel like I’m being invited into the friend group. After, we go to an Italian restaurant nearby for restaurant week (prix fixe menus for $46 at really expensive restaurants). We get to choose three courses, and I get a Caesar salad, carbonara, and a bone-in pork chop with polenta and veggies as well as two glasses of wine. The food is amazing. We get the bill around 9, and I get it. My coworkers Venmo me for their portions. After, I hug them goodbye and take an Uber back to my apartment because it’s raining, and I don’t want to deal with the T. $103.69
10 p.m. — I FaceTime R. right when I get home to tell him about my night. I’m happy I’m starting to make friends at my new job. We end up talking about our trip to Italy coming up in two weeks and what we’re going to do for dinner tomorrow night and hang up around 10:30. I take a quick shower, do my skin-care routine, brush my teeth, and go to bed at my usual time of 11.
Daily Total: $103.69
8 a.m. — The second I open my eyes, I can tell this is not going to be my most productive workday. I’m feeling tired from the week and can’t wait to have this weekend to just relax. I check my emails from my bed but have to get up around 8:45 because someone scheduled an hour-long 9 a.m. meeting on a Friday, which truly should be illegal. I make my bed, make peanut butter toast, and get set up at my desk for the meeting.
2 p.m. — Remember when I said I wasn’t going to have a productive day? I was wrong. Today ends up being one of those days where I work through lunch and don’t even realize it for a little. I haven’t done a full grocery shop since last week so I don’t have much to work with. I settle on boxed mac ‘n’ cheese and eat while I work on edits for my 90-day plan.
4:30 p.m. — R. surprises me by showing up early! I officially check out of work for the day, and we have a beer. We get hungry around 6:30 and order Cava for pickup, our absolute favorite. R. drives us to the restaurant, and I run in and grab it and pay. Up until I got my new job, R. and I had similar salaries. Now, I make over $20,000 a year more than him. I’ve been trying to pay for more now that I know I can afford it and I like treating him more often. Plus, he drives us everywhere and has never asked me to pay for gas. My new salary is sometimes a sore subject, though, because I know he wishes he made more at his job and he is a couple of years older than me so I don’t like bringing up money too much because I don’t want to feel like I’m bragging. I’ve been having a hard time accepting that I am making six figures at the age of 24 without feeling like it’s a fluke or that I don’t deserve it. $21.23
11 p.m. — We spend the night watching Breaking Bad and having a few beers with R. We go to bed around 11.
Daily Total: $21.23
9 a.m. — I slowly wake up and roll over to cuddle with R. We have a very lazy morning and don’t even get out of bed until 10:30. Once we’re up, I make my breakfast, and we put on one more episode of Breaking Bad before taking showers. We haven’t been home for the past two weekends, so this will definitely be much-needed chill time.
12 p.m. — We make reservations for our Italy trip that’s coming up in two weeks and end up buying tickets to see the Duomo in Milan and go to the rooftop. While we’re at it with travel planning, I buy a new travel neck pillow, European plug adapters, and a cheap dual-voltage blowdryer that I’ll use on the trip. I also remember it’s N.’s birthday next week, and I’m going to decorate the apartment for the party, so I add decorations to my Amazon cart as well. R. Venmo’s me $28 for his Duomo ticket and his share of the adapters. We also each pay $35 to be able to select seats next to each other on our flight home from Milan. $153.46
2 p.m. — After a quick lunch of pasta with spinach, tomatoes, and onion, I get ready for the night. We are having a little date night so I do a slightly more complicated makeup routine than usual: Maybelline concealer, Charlotte Tilbury powder, Kosas eyebrow gel, Rare Beauty mascara, Glossier lipstick, as well as Charlotte Tilbury Glowgasam face palette for bronzer and blush. I curl my hair with my Airwrap and throw on Zara jeans, a white H&M sweater, and my favorite Steve Madden booties. Then, R. drives us back to his place. We play with his kitty for a while and then turn on Is It Cake on Netflix and are thoroughly entertained for the next few hours.
7 p.m. — It’s finally time to eat. I’ve been stalking the menu, Yelp, and the restaurant’s Instagram for hours so I already know what I want. We chose a cool, newish restaurant near R.’s place that neither of us have been to. I get a banana bread martini, and it’s actually the best thing I’ve ever tasted. We split spinach dip as an app, and I get chicken Milanese with pesto pasta. R. gets a salmon dish. Everything is amazing, there’s live music, and the vibes are top-notch. I still have half my food left when I’m done eating so I take my leftovers to go and we split the bill. Next, we go to a brewery around the corner that also has live music going on. I get a pilsner, R. gets a stout, and he pays. I never used to be a beer girl but I’ve gotten into it ever since R. and I started dating. Now we love trying new breweries together. R. drives us home, and we get into bed and snuggle with the kitty and are asleep by midnight. $61.73
Daily Total: $215.19
7 a.m. — I love my boyfriend’s cat 99% of the time, except when he wakes us up by meowing in our faces for half an hour. R. gets up and puts him on his cat tree in the living room so we can go back to bed.
9:30 a.m. — Up for real this time and feeling good. It’s sunny out, which is much appreciated because it’s been so dreary recently. R. and I cuddle and hang out in bed for a while before making pancakes for breakfast. While we eat, R. looks up more activities for our Italy trip. We realize we need to get train tickets to the Milan airport because it’s almost an hour drive, so I buy them and Venmo request R. for his half. $18
1 p.m. — R.’s sister and grandparents are in town, so he drives us to his parents for an early dinner. We have burgers, salad, and ice cream cake for dessert. His mom recently got a new cat, so we spend time playing with her. She is so cute! I’m more of a dog person than a cat person but dating R., whose family are cat lovers, has definitely warmed me up to cats. After dinner, we leave to go back to Boston around 6. R. drops me off at my apartment, and we kiss goodbye. I always feel sad leaving him after a weekend together. I could stay over tonight, but then I’d have to Uber back to my place tomorrow morning, and I hate spending money on Ubers. I immediately change when I get home, then read my book.
8 p.m. — N. gets home from work (she’s a nurse), and we recap our weekends while watching the first episode of the new season of Bridgerton. I’m starting to feel hungry again because we ate dinner at 4:30 so I air-pop popcorn. Once Bridgerton is over, I go to my room around 10 and scroll through TikTok before falling asleep.
Daily Total: $18
8 a.m. — Happy Monday! I slept pretty well last night so I’m in a good mood today. The thought of work is a bit overwhelming because I have to plan an influencer marketing program, which I’ve never done before. Thank God for Google. I do my usual morning routine and make my bed, eat my breakfast, and get started on my workday.
12:30 p.m. — Motivation is seriously lacking today, and I’m not making a ton of progress. I keep getting distracted, probably because I have no idea what I’m doing. I break for lunch hoping that will rejuvenate me. I heat up my leftovers from Saturday’s dinner and eat those while checking social media.
2 p.m. — My phone rings, and I remember I have a call with my financial planner today. Actually, he’s my dad’s financial planner, but they’ve started working with me as well. We are working to roll over my 401(k) from my previous company into a Roth IRA, build out my new 401(k) investments, and go over tax information for this year. It turns out to be a very not fun call because I learn I owe $1,500 to the government for IRA contributions. I know it’s a smart financial move to have money in an IRA for later in life but, not to be morbid, I can’t stop thinking about how crazy it is we do all this planning and pay all of this money in the hope that we live long enough to retire and actually be able to use it. Oh well, starting my next paycheck, I’ll be contributing 8% to my 401(k), and my employer will match 4%. We also discuss upping my brokerage savings, and I’ll likely do that in a couple of months once I get used to my new paycheck.
4 p.m. — I’m texting my friend, L., about her upcoming trip (also to Italy), and she tells me she ordered at-home COVID tests online that she is going to use to get back into the US. Sounds like a way better idea to me than wandering through Milan looking for a test. I order some from the same website, and it costs $150 but I submit a claim to get them reimbursed with my insurance so I only have to pay for the shipping. R. will Venmo me for half since I got the tests for both of us. $9
5:30 p.m. — I finish up work, do a quick Peloton core strength workout, shower, and try on every single thing in my closet until I finally settle on faux-leather pants, a white corset top, and black booties. I blow dry my hair with my Dyson and do a little extra makeup for tonight. My friend P. and I are going out for a celebratory dinner because we both recently got new jobs with big raises. I already know we’re going to spend A LOT. We’re going to a pretty new place on Newbury Street that has an enclosed rooftop. It took us so long to get these reservations, and we’ve been really excited about this. I drink a glass of wine while I’m getting ready, we split a two-stop Uber, and she picks me up around 7:15. $5.17
10 p.m. — I have never balled out so hard at a dinner in my life. We both get an espresso martini, an Aperol spritz, and the calamari to share. For dinner, I get a filet, and P. gets a lobster pasta dish. I have had a lot of steaks and this was truly one of the best. Finally, for dessert, we share a Boston cream–style custard, which is also to die for. I front the bill because my credit limit is higher than P.’s, and she Venmo’s me for her part. This is definitely the most I’ve ever spent on dinner, but it was such an amazing experience so I’m not mad about it. You have to walk through a hotel lobby to get in and out of the restaurant, and the lobby smells insanely good. So good, in fact, that we go to the concierge and ask him what the scent is. He tells us people ask him that every day, and it’s a custom scent, but they’re working on coming out with a candle soon. P. Ubers us home. $154.07
11 p.m. — The second I get home, I change into pajamas, take off my makeup, and get into bed. I FaceTime R. to tell him about our night, then watch a couple of TikToks before going to sleep.
Daily Total: $168.24
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