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A Week In Boston, MA, On A $55,000 Salary

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Today: an associate marketing manager working in tech who makes $55,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on men's razors.

Occupation: Associate Marketing Manager
Industry: Tech/Marketing ​
Age: 24
Location: Boston, MA
Salary: $55,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,511
Gender Identity: Woman

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $925 for a cut-through room in a 3-bedroom apartment with two close friends.
Loans: $0 (I took out about $30,000 of loans for school, and I finished paying them off one year post-grad.)
Utilities (Gas, Electric, and Internet): $60-100 (varies seasonally)
ClassPass: $45/month (to supplement my running)
Netflix & Hulu: $0 (I use my parents' accounts.)
Spotify Premium: $30/year (I pay a lump sum at the beginning of the cycle for a shared family plan with friends.)
Savings: I treat my savings kind of weirdly. Every other month or so, I'll try and add between $2,000-$3,000 to my high-interest savings account with Ally. I don't withdraw from there ever, really. On top of that, I replenish my Bank of America savings with between $250-$500 each month. I try and keep it around $2,000 but dip into it for any medical bills, emergency reasons, last-minute trips or events, bigger clothing purchases, etc. I like being able to make spontaneous decisions and not let money deter me, because I grew up with a very frugal mindset.

Day One

8:30 a.m. — I hit snooze a billion times. This is a new habit for me, because I was NEVER one of those people, but everyone at my current job rolls in pretty late. This morning, we woke up to nearly a foot of snow, and my entire team is working from home. I live super close to the office but decide to work from home as well.

10 a.m. — After working from bed for an hour without moving, I finally roll out and start scrounging for food in the kitchen. I tend to keep nothing for breakfast at home, because my office is totally stocked with a full kitchen. I grab my bag of dried cranberries and munch on those in bed until it's an acceptable time for lunch. I also take one more call with a few coworkers.

12:30 p.m. — I cook the remainder of my whole-grain linguine with a very quick homemade sauce (tomato paste, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, butter). It turns out to be more pasta than I realized, so I figure I'll eat it for dinner, too. Being snowed in = me eating too much pasta.

3 p.m. — It's a fairly slow day, and I feel like I've basically gotten all my work done. I start half-watching a show on Netflix called Workin' Moms because someone said it was funny. I'm amused and continue watching while also starting to put on real clothes/light makeup.

6 p.m. — After finishing the rest of my pasta too early around 4 p.m., I also heat up an instant ramen to hold me over for the rest of the night. I'm going to a concert with my best friend, and it won't be over until late — I hate getting hungry in the middle of a show!

7 p.m. — I meet up with my best friend after walking 30 minutes to the venue. I stop at an ATM to grab $20, just because I like to have some cash on me. We putz around some shops near the concert venue and end up sharing a cup of soft-serve from Milk Bar, because it just opened up in the area. We didn't want to buy into the hype, but it's super tasty. I have the cash on me and so does she, so we split the $6 cup. $3

8 p.m. — The show is starting! I get free tickets to this venue sometimes because I used to intern for them in college. We run into a mutual friend and chat with her in between the opener and main acts. We also hit my vape pen discreetly (a gift from my brother that I rarely use) and munch on some chips that I have in my purse. I literally always carry snacks around because I am a big grazer. I tend to mystify my friends with how much I eat.

11:30 p.m. — The show was awesome and we are tired. My best friend is living at home right now, so she has to take the subway back out to the boonies. She's always welcome to stay over, but she didn't bring any of her belongings tonight. I join her for two stops to shorten my walk a bit because it's freezing out. I also pull a shady move and go through the turnstile with her because no one's around and she has a monthly pass, unlike me. I'm starving and heat up the last of my leftover pasta before crashing.

Daily Total: $3

Day Two

8 a.m. — I have the luxury of sleeping in because of how close I live to the office (a 20-minute walk). I throw my hair in the laziest bun and decide to walk in. I almost always bike, but it's so cold this week and the snow has created some slick ice. I grab a cup of Life cereal, almond milk, a banana, clementine, and a plum in the kitchen. At my desk, I refill my water bottle and make a cup of chai with almond milk. I love having food in the office like this — it's a massive perk. I eat the cereal and drink my tea before my 10 a.m. meeting.

11:30 a.m. — Back at my desk after two meetings, and I'm already so hungry. I grab half my Chipotle burrito bowl from the fridge. It was given to me by a coworker for helping out with a video for the company. It has sofritas, rice, black beans, guac, salsa, and corn. I scarf it down while watching an episode of Hot Ones at my desk. I also realize I desperately need razors and shampoo and run to the mall next door. CVS does the trick. Men's razors for the win. $15

1 p.m. — Settle in to crank out some work. I eat my clementine and a cheese stick from the office fridge while I'm focused for a couple hours.​

4 p.m. — I wrap up my last meeting for the day. I'm signed up for an early workout class, so I quickly change into my clothes and hop on the subway. I have to load my card because I never use this mode of transportation. I eat a banana on my way over. $9

5 p.m. — I love this workout studio. It has nice amenities and a whole setup to use before class. I do a warm-up mile on the treadmill and then head to class, where I log another three-ish miles of sprints and hills with interspersed strength training. After the workout, I roll my calves out a bit because they're tight, and I hit the sauna for 20 minutes. I would do longer, but I have to meet a friend. I wash up in the sink and change into dry clothes.

7 p.m. — I walk over to meet my friend at a brewery. We are catching up and discussing maybe living together in the fall. We also are buying flights for a big trip with eight of our friends in August ($362). We're doing an intense backpacking trip in the Canadian Rockies! We split a soft pretzel and Sriracha fries, and I grab a Belgian beer. It's an expensive meal when you consider those flights ($21 for food/drinks), but the flights are coming out of my savings for the trip (I have $1,000 set aside for it right now). $383

9:30 p.m. — I promised my friend I'd call her to catch up tonight, so on the subway ride home we chat. We talk for longer than I mean to, and I'm still on the phone with her when I get home. She moved to New York in January, and I miss her a ton. I get to talk to her about my friend-group drama since she's not part of it, and it feels great to vent. When we hang up around 11, I am exhausted and head right to bed after scrubbing my face with an Aveeno cleansing pad.

Daily Total: $407

Day Three

8:15 a.m. — I'm working from home this morning because I have a therapy appointment at 1 p.m. I have some chai with oat milk from my fridge and realize I'm breakfast-less again. Sigh. I eat half a Pop-Tart that was left over from some work snacks I brought home a while ago. Super sad. I have a busy morning with some emails, social posts to send out, and a meeting I video into. I also sneak in a quick shower.

11:30 a.m. — I warm up some Trader Joe's frozen gnocchi. Most weeks I cook more than I have this week, but time has been running away from me. I promise myself I'll cook tomorrow. I continue working while getting ready to leave the house. I have a dinner tonight, so I'm dressed head to toe in black and throw a lipstick in my bag to put on later.

12:30 p.m. — I bundle up to bike to therapy, a short seven-minute ride. I pay with my credit card, but my parents are helping me with this expense for a little bit, since they think it's a great habit to get into. I talk about work and some friend/relationship issues that have been plaguing me, and feel better after (even if it doesn't solve anything, it just helps to talk). I'm seriously lucky that my parents are the best.

2:30 p.m. — I bike to work and have a quick meeting before I have a second to decompress. I refill my water and heat up the remainder of the burrito bowl, which I eat while grinding through some mock-ups I have to send in by end of day.​

4:30 p.m. — I'm hungry again. I am pretty active and usually training for some sort of race, but right now I'm super annoyed with how poorly I've been eating this week. That won't be changing in the moment, though, because we have a team dinner tonight and it is going to be decadent. I grab some frosted flakes and almond milk from the kitchen to stave off the hunger.

6:30 p.m. — The team takes two Lyfts to a restaurant that is super cool-looking inside. Dinner begins! We have bread, ricotta, burrata, various salads, charcuterie boards, artichokes, and more for appetizers. I order a Prosecco cocktail to start and decline wine for the moment. I'm intending to work out in the morning. I get a pomodoro spaghetti for the main course and indulge in a mule for my second cocktail. This is a goodbye dinner for my closest friend on my team, and I'm feeling pressured to drink with everyone. It's fun, but I know my morning workout is looking less and less likely.

10 p.m. — The table has ordered more wine and dessert, and it's dwindled down to a group of six. I have a bit of white wine and chocolate cake and enjoy the company. The most senior person on our team puts the bill on her card. We then mosey over to a swanky bar for one more round. I get a pale ale and try to drink as much water as I can. We're all starting to act silly. We aren't expensing these drinks, but the senior team member pays and says she'll Venmo us. I'm not sure if she actually will, as she's going on vacation tomorrow for two weeks, but I hope she does.

12:15 a.m. — I get home after ordering a Lyft ($12, expensed) and throw on pajamas. I only manage to take my contacts out before crashing in bed.

Daily Total: $0

Day Four

8 a.m. — I feel gross. Mostly just a headache, so I chug water and take Advil. I pack my gym clothes for later. I walk to work since my bike was left there last night. When I get in, I have a piece of cinnamon toast with butter and one Pop-Tart. I have healthy food for the rest of the day, and I swear to myself I'm done indulging now. I just need carbs to soak up the alcohol, right?

11 a.m. — I eat a banana in the hope it will save my poor head. I take one more Advil and keep chugging water. This morning is so much harder than I was anticipating. I swear hangovers have gotten so much worse.

12 p.m. — I'm participating in a group lunch with my team to review some applications to speak at our conference. Lunch is catered — this has been a great week for free office food, admittedly. I have whole-wheat noodles with tofu, corn, and avocado and a La Colombe coffee. I don't drink coffee often (only black tea usually), so it has me very, very energized.

2:30 p.m. — The jitters are real! Today I have two final-round interviews at work. I'm considering making an internal move to another team. It's a fairly common thing at my company since we're so big, but it has me nervous nonetheless. Interview number one goes okay — I was expecting it to be the hardest one, and it was, but I think I did fairly well. I have some Smartfood popcorn between interviews and brush my teeth in the bathroom. Interview two is pretty smooth. I should find out one way or another next week.

4:30 p.m. — I eat an apple I was saving at my desk all day and change into my workout clothes. I'm feeling slightly less hungover and still jittery as hell. It works in my favor, because I have energy to run five miles on the treadmill. Treadmills are so boring, I can't stand it. I do some PT exercises after (hip strengthening means less knee injuries) and bundle back up to bike home.

6:30 p.m. — I throw on water for rice and open a frozen medley of greens I have from Trader Joe's. That plus their chicken-less mandarin nuggets makes for a decent stir-fry. I scarf it down while doing some schedule planning for my workouts. I like to plan them way in advance, so they are blocked off on my calendar ahead of time. It gives me a plan to follow, but also flexibility to move things around last minute into open windows of time. Then I tidy my room, eat a Hershey's Kiss, and clean a bunch of dishes. I have a bag of laundry that needs doing, but I'm so tired, I think I'll do it tomorrow. I throw on a pot of water to hard-boil some eggs and hop in the shower after that.​

8 p.m. — Candles are lit, moisturizer is applied, robe is on, I'm rehydrating my body, and I am slowly starting to feel like myself again. I browse Reddit before reading the Dave Eggers book I've been trying to finish for two months.

9:00 p.m. — My roommate comes home, and we decide to watch old episodes of Girls for a little while. I eat one more Hershey's Kiss. I fall asleep around 11:30 after a few episodes and head to bed after putting on some face cream.​

Daily Total: $0

Day Five

8 a.m. — Finally Friday! Ninety percent of my team works from home on Fridays, but I want to go in today to get a bunch of stuff done and get a run in. I answer some emails from bed and listen to the new music that came out today on Spotify. I put on a really lazy outfit, so I can go for a run at lunch without changing too many clothes. I bundle up, pack a can of lentil soup and the eggs I hard-boiled, and bike in. Still freezing out.

10 a.m. — Quick meeting at work, before which I grab some Cheerios and almond milk, along with a smoothie from our smoothie bar (yes, we have a free smoothie bar — they aren't that good, but I really shouldn't complain).

11:30 a.m. — Change into shorts, head to the gym. I run a few slow miles while jamming to some uplifting tunes. After, I wipe down and change, head to the kitchen, grab two cheese sticks, and return to my desk to warm up my lentil soup. I eat at my desk and work on a marketing email that needs to go out on Monday.​

2 p.m. — Some of the work I wanted to do this afternoon can't be done because a platform we use is down. Oh, well. I get hit with an ad for a body scrubber that's antimicrobial, and there's a promo code. I buy one because I think loofahs are kind of gross, and it's only $10. After, I grab myself a sparkling water and pour in Emergen-C, because someone on my team is sick and I'm convinced this stuff will keep me well. $10

3:30 p.m. — I eat half the plum that's been sitting at my desk, and it's still not ripe. Boo. I head to the kitchen and grab veggie straws, some plain hummus, and some cottage cheese. I eat it all and think about heading home soon. I'm still hungry a short while after. Maybe I'm just bored? I swear I never fill up. I grab a hard-boiled egg and throw on some salt, pepper, and Sriracha for a quick snack. Thirty minutes later and I'm packing up to bike on home (after grabbing a couple snacks from the kitchen — peanut butter crackers, Pop-Tarts, and a banana). I'm a little bummed that I don't have Friday plans, but also feeling like I could veg out.

6:30 p.m. — I heat up the rest of my stir-fry. It's boring AF, but it fills me up. My roommate comes home and we decide to watch a movie. She picks Personal Shopper (I'm afraid because I'm a baby), and we run to the convenience store for ice cream. I get mint chocolate chip ($4), throw in a load of laundry after walking home, and get comfy for the movie. $4

10 p.m. — After two bowls of ice cream and a lot of movie pausing for laundry needs, we throw on Girls and watch a couple episodes. I'm fading fast and we have brunch plans for the morning, so I call it a night around 11:30. I fall asleep after taking out my contacts. Almost every night I fall asleep with my glasses on and laptop open...such a bad habit!

Daily Total: $14

Day Six

8:30 a.m. — My alarm is a rude awakening. I snooze once and then start moving slowly. I try to get a long run in on Saturday mornings (or Sunday, depending on drinking plans). I eat a few peanut butter crackers and throw on layers, wireless headphones, gloves, and I'm out the door at 9:30 a.m. My nine-mile loop is pretty nice today, since it's not totally freezing out.

11 a.m. — Get home, chug water, hop in the shower. We want to leave at 11:30, which is a bit rushed but doable. I throw on tights and a casual black dress, hair in a clip, and tinted ChapStick. We walk to this adorable spot near our apartment that we've been dying to try. After waiting about 30 minutes inside, we are seated. They pay their staff living wages, so it's a no-tip restaurant! I get an oat-milk latte and an omelet with Gruyère and tomato — it comes with potato salad, greens, and a delicious piece of toast. It's a lovely breakfast, and the place is so aesthetically pleasing. $18

1 p.m. — We stroll around the neighborhood and stop by a winter farmer's market. I get two sweet potatoes ($2), and then we go to the more commercial grocery store. I just want to grab a couple things for the week. I pick up a big container of spring mix, asparagus, one lemon, crumbled goat cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, tomato paste, a box of mac 'n' cheese, and a package of spaghetti.​ $19

3:30 p.m. — I've gotten in so many steps today, it's insane. My feet hurt! I drink a bunch of water at home and realize I still feel a little jittery from the caffeine. I decompress in my room for a little while, watch Workin' Moms, and eventually put away all my laundry. Then I make an entire box of mac 'n' cheese (Annie's or BUST) because I am starving. This is what happens when I run on the weekend — my hunger knows no bounds.​

6:30 p.m. — Eat two peanut butter crackers, jam to some music, and start putting on a bit of makeup. I also paint my nails dark red. I'm meeting a smorgasbord of friends at a local beer hall tonight. Around 8, I crack open a beer from my fridge to start getting a little buzzed. I'm such a lightweight.​

10 p.m. — Three beers later, my roommate and other friend K. and I walk to the bar. K. opens a tab — I get a saison and feel quite tipsy. He owed me a beer for walking his dog the other weekend, so he buys. We mingle with the group already at the bar; everyone is standing around, chatting, celebrating a friend who got into law school. I don't know her very well, but I'm happy to see some faces I haven't seen in a while. My best friend also comes by, and we share one more beer (a strong tripel — thank goodness we're sharing). She pays.

1:30 a.m. — I get in bed after a silly walk home holding hands with all my friends.

Daily Total: $37

Day Seven

9 a.m. — More hungover than I'd like to admit, and Daylight Saving has me feeling all wonky. Water, Advil, and a cup of herbal tea help. It's gross outside (sleet/snow/rain), so I'm going to stay in the apartment for the day. After I get myself a bagel from the café, that is. I walk over in the gross weather, grab an everything bagel with chive cream cheese ($4), and snuggle into the couch with my roommate. We are going to finish season three of True Detective. I doze off for a little bit during the three-hour-long episodes. $4

1 p.m. — The couch is amazing, and I literally intend to be here all day, eating my heart out. We put on Annihilation after True Detective is finished, and the movie piques my interest much more than True Detective did. I eat penne arrabiata from a frozen TJ's bag. This is my best life.

4 p.m. — Pause, run to the convenience store, and grab aluminum foil and a box of mac 'n' cheese. I am really going all in on the carbs today. We start watching some rom-com, and I don't pay much attention. My roommate is eating chicken nuggets, and we realize we are five years old. $3

7 p.m. — All movied out, we take a break. I cut up my sweet potato and asparagus and coat them in olive oil and salt to roast in the oven. I'm so psyched for my salads this week (spring mix, roasted veggies, dried cranberries, goat cheese, candied pecans, farro, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar for the week!). My roomie and I grab bowls of ice cream after she's done cooking, too, and we finish the evening with a few episodes of Girls. I'm sick of the couch at this point, but ready for work after a long, relaxing day.

11:30 p.m. — Face wipe, tooth brush, deep floss, bed.​

Daily Total: $7

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