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A Week In Massachusetts On A $45,000 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we’re tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We’re asking women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we’re tracking every last dollar.

Today: a Social Media Manager working in Marketing who makes $45,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Everlane jeans.

Occupation: Social Media Manager
Industry: Marketing
Age: 22
Location: Boston, MA (but this diary is generally in Massachusetts)
Salary: $45,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,243
Gender: Woman

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,150 for an apartment with two roommates
Loans: $0 (I am very fortunate to have had my parents pay for my college)
Billie Razor Subscription: $9
Utilities: ~$70
Streaming Services: $0 (I’m on my parent’s account)
Savings: $50 (trying to bump this up soon)
401(k): 6% of my salary and my employer fully matches
Cell Phone: $0 (I am on my family plan)
HelloFresh: $50
















Day One

9 a.m. — I am up and unsure of what to do today. Last night my friend, F., and I made margaritas because we couldn’t go out and get our own so I am feeling a little hungover. In the spirit of social distancing, I won’t be going to the bars to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day today as I had originally planned so I decide to let myself sleep off this hangover a little more.

11:30 a.m. — Ok nooow I am actually awake. I hop in the shower, make myself a breakfast of peanut butter toast and some strawberry yogurt, then read a little of my latest novel, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. My new year’s resolution was to read a book a month and social distancing is definitely helping me finish March’s book.

4 p.m. — Time to get ready and actually look like a human! I blow dry my damp hair, curl it, put on some Fenty Beauty foundation, Maybelline concealer, Glossier setting powder, my Becca X Khloe and Malika blush and bronzer palette, Revlon mascara, and a nude lipstick from Glossier. The whole process takes me about an hour because I struggle to pick out an outfit. I eventually land on some light wash mom jeans, a cropped button-up sweater, and my white Steve Madden sneakers.

5:30 p.m. — I grab my AirPods and run out the door to catch the bus to Z.’s (the guy I am dating) apartment.

6:30 p.m. — Z. and I decide to grab some takeout from one of our favorite spots instead of eating in. I call us an Uber to the restaurant to pick up our tapas (an order of empanadas, potatoes, a spinach dish, an eggplant dish, and some bread) and I call the Uber home. We decide to stop by the liquor store near his apartment and grab a bottle of wine to drink with our dinner. Z. pays for the dinner and wine. $11.82

9 p.m. — Dinner was amazing and we are both feeling a slight buzz from the wine. We want to give into the drunk, so we scour the apartment for some alcohol and come up with half a bottle of Dr. Mcguillicuddys and some beer. Shots it is, I guess. We spend the rest of the night trying to drunkenly finish a jigsaw puzzle with his roommates and it’s honestly the most fun night in I have had in a while.

Daily Total: $11.82

Day Two

8:30 a.m. — I wake up to Z. pulling me closer to cuddle and I happily oblige. Cuddling leads to some kissing which leads to more and after a quick shower we are back in bed by 9:30 and decide to walk to our favorite brunch spot to pick up some food.

10:30 a.m. — We have secured the avocado toast and breakfast sandwiches (Z. pays) and we start to walk back to his apartment. We decide to take the long way and walk through the park because it’s pretty nice out for Boston in March. Z. tells me that he thinks I should probably move all of my stuff out of his apartment when I leave today because he doesn’t know when we will be able to come back. I realize he is right and get a sad, sinking feeling in my stomach. Z. is still a student and we are both going home today given the possibility of a Boston lockdown and don’t know how long we will be home. There’s a chance I won’t be back to his apartment again before the end of the semester and I don’t even know when I will see him next.

11:30 a.m. — We get back to his apartment and I pack up all the stuff I have left there over the last few months and try not to cry. I am trying to be positive and hope this won’t be the last time I am at this apartment and that we will be able to see each other soon. Neither of us is ready to face the reality of this so we keep our goodbye light, but I kiss him goodbye a couple of extra times just in case.

12 p.m. — I get home and the tears just escape me. I call my friend P. and cry to her for a little bit while she commiserates as her and her boyfriend both go home tomorrow. They live in different states and are moving to different cities after their graduation in May. Talking to P. makes me feel a little better, misery loves company, but I have to hang up and finish packing because my dad is coming to pick me up soon.

2 p.m. — Packing is really hard when you don’t know if you’re supposed to be packing for a week or a month. I just pack as much as my suitcase can hold and hope for the best. I’m starting to get hungry so I decide to call in a pizza for my dad, brother, and I to share.

2:30 p.m. — My dad picks me up and we drive to the pizza place so I can grab it and pay. Our next stop is to pick up my brother. He is a junior at a college nearby and all the kids were kicked out of the dorms so he has to clear all of his stuff out today. Luckily, moving him out doesn’t take too long and we eat our pizza in the car before heading for home. $20.17

4 p.m. — The drive takes us about an hour and a half because there is practically no traffic. The first thing I do when I get home is pet my adorable dog. He is the main reason I am glad to be home.

6 p.m. — Usually my family goes out to eat on weekends but we decide to get takeout tonight instead. We are all craving burgers and debate going to our favorite burger place, but it’s a big chain and we want to support a local business during this crazy time. We pick a family-owned Italian place we have been going to for years. My dad drives to grab the food, he pays and says he left a big tip.

7 p.m. — As we are eating, the governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, announces that Boston is now banning gatherings of over 25 people, only allowing restaurants and bars to do takeout, and closing the public schools until April 17th. This honestly feels like an episode of Black Mirror. I think this was a smart move and the right thing to do, but it all feels so surreal.

8 p.m. — My family turns on the democratic debate and I try to watch for a little but I’m feeling exhausted and I have to (virtually) work tomorrow so I head up to my room to get ready for bed early.

10 p.m. — After I wash my face with my Cerave face wash, use a Herbivore toner, and my Neutrogena hydrogel, I brush my teeth and get in bed to watch a couple episodes of Younger and fall asleep around 10.

Daily Total: $20.17

Day Three

7:30 a.m. — I’m going to have to train myself to sleep in later with this whole working from home indefinitely thing. I have no reason to get ready so I lounge in bed and watch some TikToks (my guilty pleasure) until 8:30 when I decide to get up and get some banana bread for breakfast. I don’t have to be online until 9 but I log in a bit early anyway to get a head start on the emails from over the weekend.

10:30 a.m. — I finish my first meeting via Google Hangouts. It feels weird not being with my coworkers but I’m glad we have so much technology to help keep the transition to remote work as easy as possible. Plus, my pup makes a pretty cute work companion.

1 p.m. — Lunch break time! I shut my laptop and decide to get ready for the day. I put on foundation, concealer, mascara, and chapstick and throw on ripped mom jeans and a white sweater. My mom stocked up on non-perishable groceries so today’s lunch is Kraft mac and cheese. Once I’m done eating, my brother and I decide to play music on the Google Home we have in our kitchen and have a dance party to blow off some steam. Day one of quarantine with a family of five, going strong.

3 p.m. — I just heard the news that the Bay Area is calling for a shelter in place. I call my best friend Y. who lives there to see how she is feeling. I just visited her at the beginning of March and the progression of this disease blows my mind. I send her some games she can download on her phone and some at-home workout ideas to keep her sane. This news makes me glad I decided to leave Boston when I did because we are probably next.

5 p.m. — Done with work for the day and it’s time to walk the pup. I bring him around the neighborhood and give him a few treats when we get home. My dad heads to our favorite family-owned Greek restaurant for takeout and I get souvlaki and of course, baklava for dessert. He pays.

8 p.m. — I get a call from V. about our future apartment. I just met her last week via a Facebook group and we are both looking to move out of our current places in September and we have similar budgets/location interests so we’ve been looking together. We found this awesome place, but it’s a three-bed and finding a third person is proving difficult. We both agree to do some more research on two-beds this week.

10 p.m. — All of a sudden it’s 10 and I can barely keep my eyes open. I stop fighting my body and call it an early night.

Daily Total: $0

Day Four

8 a.m. — I wake up a little bit later today! I consider this an accomplishment. I lounge in bed for a while, shower, and then head downstairs to make my typical peanut butter toast with strawberry yogurt breakfast before logging onto work. No makeup or outfit change for me today I’ve decided.

10 a.m. — After a meeting with my team, I’m feeling in pretty high spirits. Many of my friends are fearful for their jobs with the state of the economy and pandemic but I feel like my company is handling this really well. Shockingly, business is actually increasing?? Hopefully, things don’t change. I feel really fortunate to be in this position because I know millions are not.

1 p.m. — Lunch today is frozen pizza. It’s just like the kind my middle school used to have which makes me pretty nostalgic. Today’s lunch break is spent hanging out with my little sister and playing with the pup. I’ve never really been one to take full advantage of my lunch breaks but working from home is actually helping me to really log off and take my hour.

5 p.m. — Done with work for the day and I decide to take my dog for his walk again. Usually, my siblings and I switch off walking him but it’s so nice out and I’m used to walking a ton every day due to my commute to work, so I want to get outside. After we get back, I make dinner for my family. On the menu tonight is pulled pork sandwiches with a side of green beans.

7 p.m. — Dinner is sooo good. For someone whose main source of food is HelloFresh, I am a surprisingly good cook. I have some free time and my parents are putting on a movie and god knows I have nothing better to do so I watch with them and head right up to bed when it’s over.

Daily Total: $0

Day Five

8 a.m. — I wake up so confused wondering why I’m not in my own apartment. It takes me a while to shake this weird feeling. I have only been home for four days but it’s looking like it’s going to be at least two, maybe three, or maybe even four weeks which makes me extremely anxious. I haven’t been home for this long since I actually lived here before college and I’m already starting to miss my apartment, my friends, and Z. I hop in the shower, put on some light makeup, run a straightener through my hair, and put on jeans in an effort to brighten my mood.

2 p.m. — After back to back to back meetings, I finally have time to take lunch. Thank god because I never ate breakfast this morning and I am very hungry! I decide to get takeout from Chipotle today because I need to stop by the liquor store and pick up provisions for the next few days anyway. If I’m going to be stuck in Western Mass, you better believe I’m going to be drunk doing it. I put the Chipotle and alcohol on my card. $49.86

2:45 p.m. — I eat my Chipotle with a Mike’s Hard while I FaceTime with Z. for a little bit. He says he saw a way for people to watch Netflix together during social distancing so maybe we’ll try to figure that out this weekend. We live within driving distance from one another but he doesn’t have a car so he can’t come visit me and I am no longer on the insurance for the car my siblings and I share because I am rarely ever home so my parents won’t let me take it on long drives. So until I convince them otherwise, we’re going to have to deal with just FaceTime for now.

4 p.m. — Instead of the St. Patrick’s Day happy hour we usually have at a nearby bar, my company is having a “virtual” happy hour. I finish up my work, grab a hard cider, and then log into the Google Hangout.

5:30 p.m. — Virtual happy hour was surprisingly a success! It felt really nice to actually see and talk to people who aren’t my family. Despite the state of the world right now, all of my coworkers are in relatively high spirits and we all agreed this call was much needed. My sister already took the pup for his walk so after I shut my laptop, I go into the kitchen to help my mom cook dinner.

8 p.m. — Dinner is over and I’m feeling rebellious so I convince my sister to break out of quarantine with me to get Shamrock Shakes from the McDonald’s drive-thru. She drives since I’ve had a few drinks. I pay for the shakes but when we get home, I realize we only got four instead of five because we forgot to get one for my mom. Huge facepalm. I offer her mine, but luckily she doesn’t want one so I get to keep it. $17.22

9 p.m. — My siblings and I break out the Risk board game to try to play but apparently this is Risk Plus because we can’t for the life of us figure it out. I even FaceTime Z. and try to have him explain it to us but he has never seen a board like this before. After a solid hour of trying to read the instructions, we give up and vow to play an easier game tomorrow.

10:30 p.m. — I do my skincare routine then climb into bed.

Daily Total: $67.08

Day Six

8:30 a.m. — Wow a late wake-up today! Much needed after the restless night of sleep I’ve had. I kept having stress dreams about my apartment hunt. Hopefully, I can get it figured out before I go back to Boston. I skip the shower this morning since I woke up late and throw on some leggings and a sweater. Breakfast is the regular toast and yogurt situation. I decide to work on the couch in the living room today instead of our office, a much-needed change of scenery.

10 a.m. — I’m scrolling through Facebook and I get a targeted ad letting me know that all Everlane denim is now $50 with free shipping. How could I possibly say no to that?? I’ve been wanting a pair of Everlane jeans for a while but haven’t wanted to pay $70 for them so I jump on this opportunity and get a pair of the Cheeky Straight Jeans. I’m not sure whether to send them to my apartment or my parent’s house but shipping says six days and I’ll probably be here for at least that long so I pick my parent’s home. $50

1 p.m. — Lunch today is chicken noodle soup with cucumbers and hummus. I’m still feeling pretty tired from my horrible night’s sleep so after I eat, I run upstairs to take a 20-minute nap. I wake up feeling a little better and get ready to get on some video calls.

5 p.m. — Just as I’m logging off work for the day, my dad tells me he heard from his work that a Massachusetts shelter in place is coming. The news almost makes me want to cry because that means any chance I had of getting to see Z. or my friends for the next few weeks is gone. Z. leaves for an internship in Los Angeles for the entire summer in May and I really want to see him before he goes. I try to remind myself that my problems are so small compared to the millions that are being left jobless, sick, or losing loved ones due to this disease, but it definitely messes up my mood for a few hours.

8 p.m. — After a dinner of chicken pot pie, I rally my siblings for a game of pool to take my mind off of things. My brother absolutely destroys my sister and me, which is no surprise but it is a really fun distraction.

10:30 p.m. — I don’t feel as tired as I have the past few nights so I take a melatonin gummy and FaceTime my friend for a while before I fall asleep around 11.

Daily Total: $50

Day Seven

8:30 a.m. — Good morning! This feels like the least Friday Friday to have ever existed. I’m feeling okay this morning, definitely not as anxious as last night, but not my usual Friday mood. I feel like Facebook and Twitter are bombarded with heavy news so I head over to TikTok to do my morning scroll there instead.

9 a.m. — Shower is done, breakfast is made, I change from sweatpants to leggings (not much of an improvement, I know), and am ready to log onto work for the day! No video calls today so there’s no need for me to make sure my hair or makeup is done.

1 p.m. — I think everyone has had a wild week this week, but my motivation is especially dragging today. I get pretty much nothing done this morning which means I’m really going to have to get focused this afternoon. For lunch, I decide to get my second Chipotle bowl of the week. Usually, I only allow myself one but the roads could be closed any day now and I need my fix. I pick up my order to go, of course, and come back home to eat while watching a few episodes of Younger on Hulu. $11.66

5 p.m. — It’s officially the weekend! I may not be going to any dinners or bars this weekend but it’s still nice to get a few days off of work. It was supposed to thunder today but the sky is actually looking nice and clear so I take my dog on an extra-long walk around the neighborhood and FaceTime Z. for a while before dinner.

8:30 p.m. — My goals for the weekend are as follows: read 100 pages of my book, watch at least two Mary-Kate and Ashley movies (for scientific purposes, of course), and learn a Tik Tok dance (also very scientific). I’ve got a packed schedule!!! I intend to get started on my reading after dinner but my friends start sending around those “who knows me best” quizzes where you ask a bunch of questions about yourself and see who your true friends are. Obviously I must return the favor so I spend the next few hours making a really hard quiz and seeing if my friends and family pay enough attention to me.

10 p.m. — I’m no longer in the mood to read so instead I turn on a classic, the Mary-Kate and Ashley movie Our Lips are Sealed. The Olsen twins may not be as good at acting as I remembered but I am thoroughly entertained nonetheless. Once the movie ends it’s almost midnight and I’m still not feeling tired so I pop a melatonin gummy and call it a night.

Daily Total: $11.66

COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic. Go to the CDC website for the latest information on symptoms, prevention, and other resources.

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