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Today: a strategy supervisor working in advertising who makes $67,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a Negroni.
Occupation: Strategy Supervisor
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,783
Rent: $900 (I live alone in a one-bedroom apartment.)
Student Loans: $0 (I paid off my loans last year with a signing bonus from work.)
Credit Card Payment: $100 (I owe $1,000.)
HBO Now: $15
Allure Beauty Box: $15
Gym: $100 (Ending this month to switch to my free workplace gym.)
401(k): $290, out of my paycheck, pre-tax
Roth IRA: $90, out of my paycheck, pre-tax
High-Yield Savings: $500
7:15 a.m. — I wake up a little earlier than usual this morning, as I have an appointment for my annual physical at 8:40. I reheat my dinner from last night (a mix of chicken thighs, oven crisped chickpeas, and rice) on the stove and make myself a cold press. It's minus 5 degrees outside, but not even a #PolarVortex can stop me from my love of iced coffee. It was minus 30 two days ago, so this feels like an improvement! I get bundled up and head out.
8:15 a.m. — My car starts (a miracle with the cold), and I thank god that this apartment comes with a garage. It's not heated, but it's still an incredible perk. Traffic is terrible, and I can tell I am going to be late to my doctor's appointment, so I call to let them know. I assume I will be put on hold, and curse at a car who almost side-swipes me — but turns out, I was directed immediately to a clinic nurse, and she heard the whole thing. I'm embarrassed and apologize profusely — a lesson on why I should not be talking on the phone while driving in the first place!
8:45 a.m. — Another miracle, I am only five minutes late, and it doesn't affect my appointment time. I get checked in and pay the $20 co-pay. I have a little issue with the intake form when I get to the section where you have to give family history. My sister passed away unexpectedly two months ago, and having to circle the “deceased” bubble triggers an unexpected crying jag. I'm a mess when the nurse calls my name, but I manage to suck it up. The crying has spiked my blood pressure, so we have to take it a couple of times, but after the third try, I'm declared healthy. I get two vaccines (tetanus and pneumonia) and instructions to tell my psychiatrist that my ADHD medicine is spiking my heart rate. I pay the $2 parking (validated by my doctor) and head to work! $22
10 a.m. — I have to park downtown but I missed the early-bird deals, so I pay $13 at the lot. I head to my desk and start planning out my day. It's busy, and I'm happy about it. Meetings and work sessions take up most of the morning and afternoon. $13
2 p.m. — I am still full from breakfast and take a late lunch break to get a couple of things from Amazon. I have two upcoming trips, so I buy earplugs, a luggage packing cube, and a two pack of a weird airplane neck pillows that are really well-reviewed. My coworker and I are splitting the two-pack. The order total is $68, but my portion is $41 after my coworker Venmos me for hers. $41
4 p.m. — We leave for a happy hour, where I have two glasses of wine and snack on the appetizers that were ordered for the table. Work pays (score!). I wish I could stay longer, but I need to go to the grocery store to prep for the lunch I'm making for my aunt, uncle, and cousin tomorrow.
6 p.m. — Until this month, I exclusively shopped at an expensive co-op for groceries, but I recently started switching to more affordable stores. I pick up a pork shoulder, lemons, sage, garlic, rosemary, and fennel, along with some take-and-bake ciabatta buns and a bag of salt and vinegar chips. I'm making porchetta sandwiches, and ingredients would have been twice the price at my old co-op. $30
7:30 p.m. — I prep the pork (it needs to marinate overnight), and my boyfriend comes over. We order Chinese food on Bite Squad and split an order of Szechuan dumplings and Kung Pao chicken ($32 with tip, I pay). This was a new restaurant for me, and I don't think I'll order from here again. I make us gin and tonics, and we watch an episode of 90 Day Fiancé. My boyfriend heads home, and I crash around midnight. $32
Daily Total: $138
7:30 a.m. — I get up early and call my parents. They now have custody of my toddler niece and nephews, and early mornings are the best time to get some quality phone time. We don't live in the same state, so it has been difficult to be far away from them, especially during this time. We talk for an hour and catch up while I do the dishes from last night.
9:45 a.m. — My cousin and my uncle are returning from a vacation this afternoon, and I offered to make us all lunch. I'm here early to keep my aunt company while we watch my cousin's kid, since her husband is away on a trip. We catch up over coffee, and I prep the sandwich toppings (fennel mayonnaise and marinated onions). Against all odds, I pull out all the Peter, Paul and Mary songs in my arsenal and am successful in rocking the baby to sleep.
12:45 p.m. — My cousin and uncle arrive, and I make sandwiches. They stopped by the liquor store on the way in, so I have two glasses of wine with my lunch. My aunt and uncle leave, and my cousin and I chat and play with the baby before I head to my boyfriend's.
4 p.m. — I make two sandwiches with the leftovers for my boyfriend to eat tomorrow. He's had a stressful couple of days, and requests a "nice, slow drink.” I suggest we head to this new steakhouse that's supposed to have great drinks. We take a Lyft, because parking over there is a nightmare. I pay. $10
5 p.m. — The ambiance is way too fancy for my taste — and the drinks are $14 apiece. They're good, but not worth the price. We split an order of fries and chat about our upcoming vacation. The bill comes to $46 before tip (for an app and two drinks). He pays, and we head out.
6:30 p.m. — I realize we're kind of close to another new restaurant that's supposed to have a phenomenal burger, so we walk two-thirds of a mile to get there. It's now 30 degrees and balmy, and the walk feels incredible after a week of being cooped up. We snag spots at the bar and share the burger, which is as phenomenal as it was rumored to be. (They sear it with miso butter.) Plus we each have another cocktail. We split, and it's $23 each with tip. I call a Lyft back ($12, I pay). $35
8:30 p.m. — Back at my boyfriend's, we pack up one more cocktail and head to the pool — his apartment complex has a big pool and hot tub, and we make use of it often. It's a lot of fun and doubles as a cheap date. However, the third cocktail is a mistake, and we get into a little argument that ends with me crying and him feeling bad. We talk it out and make up pretty quickly, but I still feel bad for how emotional I've been lately. I hate tipsy fights. We end the night watching Russian Doll and tucking in at 11.
Daily Total: $45
8 a.m. — We're up early, and my boyfriend rolls over and gives me a face that can only mean “let's get corned beef hash.” We end up going where we always go — a tiny diner on the northeastern side of town that has the best hash. He drives, and we both order corned beef hash with eggs over hard. My boyfriend is thinking about buying a house soon, and we look over potential listings while we wait for our food. He pays.
9:15 a.m. — My boyfriend drives us back to his place after stopping at a gas station to buy me windshield wiper fluid. I offer to pay, but he insists. We say goodbye for the day (we have plans tonight), and I head to the grocery store for my weekly shop. I pick up a whole chicken, a bag of carrots, celery, chickpeas, yogurt, an eggplant, butter, rice, cherry tomatoes, lemons, limes, and eggs ($35). Buying a whole chicken and breaking it down yourself saves a ton of money. I plan to roast this one later in the week. $35
11 a.m. — My entire driveway is coated in ice, and my car can't make it up the small hill to the garage! And I slip twice (once right on my ass). I park on the street and shoot a note to my landlords — they are coming later to salt. I pick up a few packages left for me at the door, warn my downstairs neighbor about the ice, and go in my apartment.
12:30 p.m. — I meal prep farro, rice, and chickpeas (I roast them with Spanish chorizo, lemons, and olives) so that I can have quick meals throughout the week. I also make a carrot salad (shaved carrots, champagne vinegar, parsley) and a batch of cold brew coffee for the week. I keep it overnight and strain it in my pour-over.
2 p.m. — I do a couple loads of laundry (it's free in my building) while cleaning up. My boyfriend calls and says he will be over in a few hours — it's Super Bowl Sunday, and we have no interest in the game. I make us each a gin and tonic, and we look at more potential houses.
5 p.m. — We are taking advantage of people staying home to watch the game and go to our favorite restaurant, which is usually packed. I feel bad about all the meals out we've had this weekend — way more than usual, and we're supposed to be saving for our trip. We split a radicchio Caesar salad, Korean short ribs, and a jalapeño, pepperoni, and honey pizza. To drink, I have a Negroni and he has an Old Fashioned. The bill comes to $84 with tip, and we split. $42
7:30 p.m. — Back to my boyfriend's place for the pool and hot tub — it's totally empty, and we bring down a portable speaker and blast Phil Collins and Aerosmith and swim until we're prunes. I'm spending the night, as the ice is very bad. We both work downtown, and his car has four-wheel drive and mine...does not. We crash at 10 after another episode of Russian Doll (it's SO good).
Daily Total: $77
7 a.m. — We get up early to get ahead of the traffic — with the ice, it's bound to be horrible. My boyfriend makes me coffee (whoever is hosting makes the other person coffee), and I make myself a sandwich from the porchetta leftovers before we head out.
9 a.m. — Despite the early start, it takes over an hour to get to work. This week has been a lesson in surviving the elements. My boyfriend drops me off, and I slide down the sidewalk to work. It's a slow morning — last week was the busiest week of my year, so I welcome the rare lull, knowing it won't last long. My boyfriend has been driving me to work a lot lately, and I know he has a tough work week ahead, so I Venmo him enough money to buy a sandwich and a cup of soup (including tax) at his favorite lunch spot. $10.41
11 a.m. — It's still dead at work, so I spend a little time researching grief therapists. I don't think I have been processing my sister's death in the best way, and though I don't personally love talk therapy, I want to give it a shot. My insurance just requires a $20 co-pay per appointment, which I am lucky enough to be able to afford, but there aren't many resources for sibling loss locally and I get a little overwhelmed, so I switch to reading articles on The Strategist.
2 p.m. — I have a dentist appointment. I resolved to get my appointments and check-ups scheduled early in the year so that I can get my deductibles out of the way instead of putting them off until October or November. I hate the dentist with a passion and avoid going, which is shameful, as I pay for insurance. My insurance covers the cleaning. I'm told I need a night guard, as I am a tense sleeper, so I schedule a follow-up for a fitting.
5 p.m. — I meet with my coworkers for a quick post-work happy hour — there are a couple changes happening in our company, and we've been dying to discuss. I have a vodka soda ($5.50 with tip) and my coworker and I make plans to head to Sephora afterwards, since I want to get some travel-sized skincare for my trip. We split a Lyft back ($4.50 each) and check out the skincare section, but I hold off on purchasing and decide to order online when they have better deluxe samples to add on. $10
7 p.m. — My coworker ends up coming to my place for dinner. I make us pappardelle with a sauce of the prepped chickpeas, shallots, and more chorizo, topped with breadcrumbs and pine nuts. I develop recipes as a pastime, and this one may go in the arsenal — I love when I can make a full meal out of pantry items. My coworker is a very good friend of mine, and it's been a while since we've really caught up. She ends up staying until 9:30.
1 a.m. — I can't sleep, and spend a couple hours crying and looking at pictures and videos of my sister, then spiral into worrying about finances for these two trips I stupidly booked one right after another. This has been happening about once a week, and I've been trying to ride it out, but the lack of sleep makes me feel like I'm writing checks my body can't cash. I calm down by telling myself that I've already paid for the hotels and flights, which were the big expenses. I finally crash at 3 a.m.
Daily Total: $20.41
7 a.m. — Up for the day — three hours of sleep is definitely not going to be enough. I make myself a bigger than normal cold press and give myself a morning facial using a mix of Sunday Riley Good Genes and their new CEO Glow oil, which came in my Allure Beauty Box last month. I love the oil and will buy it when I'm done with this bottle.
8 a.m. — One of my coworkers picks me up. The ice is still so bad that I almost slip twice! She lives close by and has a much nicer car for Minnesota driving than I do. We don't get to work together much, and it's really nice to start our day by catching up. I Venmo her money for a coffee or lunch every once in a while as a thank you. $5
10 a.m. — After morning meetings, it looks like another slow day until my afternoon client call. I ask around if anyone needs help on projects, and help out a coworker with some spreadsheet work. (My favorite thing ever — I am being completely serious.)
12 p.m. — I head out to grab a quick lunch to-go. Downtown Minneapolis has a complex Skyway system that connects most of the office and commercial buildings via indoor walkways. It's a lifesaver during our brutal winters, and there are dozens of restaurants along the walkways. I go to my favorite Thai place, where I order a two entree combination with rice. Their choices change daily and I'm JAZZED to see they have a tofu and meatball stew (with fermented tofu broth), so I choose that and tofu pad woon sen. It is $11.50 with tip, and it will last for two lunches. $11.50
3 p.m. — My boyfriend texts and lets me know that he won't be able to come by for dinner tonight — he's slammed at work. I look outside and the snow is coming down HARD. My car is still iced out on the street, which will make for a very fun evening when I try to move it. I can feel the crankiness set in, but I have an hour-long meeting now and I have to perk up ASAP. I get a cherry Coke Zero from the vending machine. $1.10
5:30 p.m. — The best part of inclement weather is commiseration camaraderie — a bunch of coworkers and I head downstairs for another happy hour. I have a vodka soda ($5.50 with tip), and I snag a ride with my friend back home. $5.50
7:45 p.m. — My garage door is iced over, so I keep my car parked on the street. I make kimchi and Chinese sausage fried rice for dinner, and settle in with a glass of wine to do my taxes. It's my first time doing them myself, but I use TurboTax, and weirdly it's 100% free to file both my federal and state taxes. I'm excited to find out I'm getting $1,000 back!
9 p.m. — I make a couple of impulse purchases on Amazon — a whetstone for sharpening my knives ($25.90) and the Lynne Rossetto Kasper cookbook, The Splendid Table ($8.08, used). I collect cookbooks, and this is a classic from the early '90s. I watch some 90 Day Fiancé and fall asleep around 11 p.m. $33.98
Daily Total: $57.08
7 a.m. — Up a little early, as I have a big meeting at 9 a.m. I shower, do a little skin prep with my Sunday Riley oil, slam a cold press, and get bundled up for the bus.
8 a.m. — I get on the bus ($2.50), and the snow has really messed with traffic. I realize pretty quickly there is *no* way I'm getting to work on time (despite an hour head start), and I let my boss know I'm going to be late for our meeting. The commute takes an hour and a half (it's normally 15 minutes) and I get to work at 9:35. Luckily, everyone was running late, so the meeting is rescheduled. I grab coffee with a coworker at Starbucks (a flat white — $5 with a gift card) and get to work. $2.50
12 p.m. — At lunchtime, I hit the downtown Target in the Skyway for tampons, condoms, and razors ($17.99) and grab a salad at my favorite salad place. I get a Caprese salad with farro, tomatoes, feta, chicken, and these crazy good pita chips. I always mix their balsamic and pesto vinaigrettes ($10). I know I have leftover Thai food (and I meal prepped), but a salad sounded perfect. $27.99
4:30 p.m. — I leave a little early after getting some disappointing work news. I try and stay positive, but the weather plus the bad news makes me crabby, and I can cover my work via Slack for the rest of the day. I hop on the bus ($2.50) and get home pretty quickly. Time to get my car out of the snow! $2.50
6 p.m. — The car is easy, but the ice on the garage is not. I spend 45 minutes breaking the ice to get my garage free. I can't lie — it felt good as hell to get some frustration out. It's a total workout, which makes me feel a little better about skipping the gym all week. Some millennial could make a killing on a Winter Chore Workout Class. I head in to make dinner.
7 p.m. — My boyfriend and our friend come over for dinner. I'm making roast chicken and a crazy good bread salad. I have leftover bacon fat, which I toss the bread in to toast, and then combine with shallots, currants, and arugula. (It's essentially a salad with big croutons.) The chicken had been dry brining for three (!!!) days, and it is SO good. My boyfriend and friend declare it the best of their lives. It's a New York Times recipe that has about 1,000 reviews, and I can't wait to make it again.
9 p.m. — We end the night listening to records (namely Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks and George Harrison's The Concert for Bangladesh — gotta love sitar music) and drinking wine. I am full and happy and fall asleep at 11.
Daily Total: $32.99
7 a.m. — Shower, cold press, Sunday Riley oil. Bundle up. Rinse, repeat.
7:30 a.m. — Head out for work. I'm driving today because I have an afternoon psychiatry appointment in the suburbs. The roads are terrible, and it takes me an hour and a half again to get to work. I am *so* lucky to get to the parking garage ramp at 8:59, which ensures that I will get the $7 early bird rate! $7
11 a.m. — I make some purchases at Sephora online — I pretty much always order the same products, and I'm due for a stock up (Fenty Foundation, Pat McGrath liquid eyeliner, Milk brow gel, and an aloe sleeping mask, $90). I'm VIB Rouge, so I get free shipping. I end up doing two separate orders so I can get two of the deluxe sample products (a shampoo/conditioner set and a sleeping mask I wanted to try). I hate doing this because it causes packing waste, but they refuse to let you use two promo codes. I also order my boyfriend a pair of Outdoor Voices sweatpants for Valentine's Day ($68 with an online coupon). $158
12 p.m. — The snow turns into a winter storm warning and I'm starting to get nervous — my car is a two-door coupe and gets hella stuck. I eat my lunch (leftover chicken and chickpeas — the chicken is still SO good), and Lyft to my boyfriend's house (he's working from home) so that I can borrow his car for the appointment. That means I'll have to pay $$$ tomorrow for my car in the parking garage, but driving in snowstorms has been really difficult for me in the past, and I don't want to risk getting stuck or in an accident. I tip my Lyft driver extra for the ride because he's in this, too! $15
1 p.m. — At my boyfriend's place, I check Twitter and see that Minnesota has been ranked as having the worst winters in the country. I mentally do the Jim from The Office deadpan stare.
2:30 p.m. — My boyfriend's car is super powerful, and I get to my appointment early! I am so glad I took his car — I saw over five cars in the ditch on the way. I am close to a Walgreens, and I pick up some sparkling water (black cherry, natch) and some deodorant for my boyfriend (Old Spice!). $11.99
3:30 p.m. — Appointment went well — we lowered my Adderall to help with my heartbeat. It's annoying — I need to get a physical prescription each month for my Adderall because it's so widely misused, BUT we also use the time to review a new medicine that I have been taking.
5 p.m. — Back at my boyfriend's, who is done for the day. We walk a couple of blocks to a sushi restaurant that has mediocre food but an excellent happy hour. We share a roll and have a couple of drinks ($13 each with tip) and head back to his place for a hot tub and scary movie night. We heat up some Trader Joe's Mandarin chicken for dinner (a classic for a reason!) and pair it with rice and sparkling water. $13
10 p.m. — The new Suspiria is not as good as the original from the '70s, but shout out to Thom Yorke because the score is outstanding. We snuggle up and head to bed.
Daily Total: $204.99
If you are experiencing anxiety and are in need of crisis support, please call the Crisis Call Center ’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.
If you are experiencing depression and need support, please call the National Depressive/Manic-Depressive Association Hotline at 1-800-826-3632 or the Crisis Call Center ’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.
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