Assets and Debt Retirement balance:
Savings account balance:
- $18,900 in a 401(k) – 15% of each paycheck goes to the 401(k) w/ a 7% company match. I’ve been working full-time for a little over a year.
- $11,500 in a Roth IRA – I contribute the annual limit in a lump sum from savings every January.
$26,500 Checking account balance:
Credit card debt:
- This is much more than I usually carry. I had my bonus payout in September and need to transfer more into HYSA.
Student loan debt:
- I hate carrying a balance, so I pay it off in chunks throughout the month before the due date.
- I studied journalism and design at a private, out-of-state university. My education was paid for through a combination of parental help, merit scholarship my freshman year, small loans, and graduating early.
Income Main Job Monthly Take Home:
$4,400 after all deductions most months (paid ~$2,200 every 2 weeks)
Any Other Income Here:
- I was promoted in August and received an approximate 40% raise and went from being paid hourly to being salaried. However, I used to work really intense hours to clock overtime pay (think 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. or longer days) so my take home didn't really change. I did gain peace of mind and better work-life balance though!
- I get a bonus payout based on performance and current salary twice a year, so it varies. My first was ~$1,400 after deductions, and my most recent was ~$2,850 after deductions.
- I also have $15,000 in RSUs that vest over a period of time. I just sell these off the moment they vest and reinvest in mutual funds/ETFs.
- I live in a 2B1BA with one roommate on the second floor of an older building. This is considered a steal for SF considering the apartment was recently refurbished and there’s an in-unit washer and dryer (!!!).
~$145 for the year Savings contribution:
$650 from each paycheck to HYSA Investment contribution:
I buy in lump sums sporadically based on performance and my own financial anxiety (Looming recession? Consumer staples fund, here we go!). Chase Sapphire Reserve fee:
$150 for the year
Electric and gas:
- Technically $450 every November, but the $300 travel credit makes it $150 in actuality.
~$30 for my share Wi-Fi:
$22.50 for my share Furniture rental:
$55.88 for my share
- We rent a couch and a big console from Feather. This was financially dumb in retrospect (just get a used couch!), but I don’t know my roommate and we didn’t want to deal with the hassle of moving furniture up and down the steep, narrow set of stairs leading up to our apartment.
- I gave up my personal phone when I got my work phone. Carrying around two phones felt super dumb and I don’t have to pay for a cell plan, but this further locks me into my current job and is terrible for work-life balance.
Spotify Premium, Netflix, HBO:
- I have an annual fitness stipend from work, which subsidizes most months. I’ll have to pay out of pocket for NovembeDecember.
Piggybacked off friends New York Times:
$4 New York Mag:
$5 iCloud Storage:
Actual Money Diary
Day 1: Friday | Daily Total: $19.20 6 a.m.
– Alarm goes off. It’s payday, so one of the first things I do is check my bank account like a psycho. A few minutes later, I drag myself out of bed. My body aches from yesterday’s workout (leg day + 45 minutes of Peloton), so I’m not stoked that today is a ‘get ready from scratch’ day. I do my makeup routine, pleased that the angry red mountain range of hormonal acne on my left cheek is finally receding, and curl my hair. I’m out the door by 7:10 a.m. to catch the free corporate shuttle to work. 8:30 a.m.
– I get to my desk. I work down in Silicon Valley and the commute takes at least an hour each way, which is super soul-sucking. I make myself a latte to prep for my meeting marathon ahead. 12 p.m.
– I head to a cafe in another part of the office to get lunch with two friends who also work here. Food is free, which is typical for big tech. I scarf down pizza, salad, and a brownie (lol balance) before hurrying back to my main building for meetings. 3:30 p.m.
– I get an email that the interest rate for my HYSA is being lowered...AGAIN. Since I signed up about six months ago, they’ve decreased it like three times! I text my boyfriend about it and he’s equally salty as he recently signed up for a savings account with them too. 4:15 p.m.
– I’m finally done with all my meetings, so I drive to my company’s on-site gym. I borrowed my parents’ super old minivan (it’s nearing 20 years on this earth) so I could run some errands for them while they’re out of town and drove it down to the office a few days ago so I didn’t have to worry about city parking. I’m not feeling super motivated, so I do a sluggish hour at the gym. I’m trying to be better about working out to feel good instead of treating it as punishment or prioritizing calorie burning. 5:15 p.m.
– I realize I forgot my dry cleaning back at my desk, so I drive back for it. I get dinner while I’m at it: some steak slices, green beans, cauliflower, soup with bread, and—sorry for any Money Diaries PTSD this causes—two squares of dark chocolate. I try to eat as many meals at work as possible to save on food costs. 6:15 p.m.
– Dry cleaning in tow, I head out, first stopping for some gas to carry me through the drive ahead because I’m one of those people who get paranoid once the meter goes under a quarter tank. Gas is always over $4/gallon whenever I have car access for some reason, so I just fill enough to hit half tank again ($19.20). 7:30 p.m.
– Glad I stopped for gas because traffic was straight ass, and nothing shaves years off my lifespan more than stressing about the gas light being on when stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic! I luckily find street parking right in front of my building, which makes hauling a ton of dry cleaning, a package, and my work and gym bags slightly easier. 10:45 p.m.
– I'm exhausted and literally up past my usual bedtime, but I rally to go out tonight. I never go out, but a friend got me on the list for DJ Boring. I call a shared Lyft to the pregame ($0 – ride share costs are covered by a general transit subsidy I get from work, so any mention of UbeLyft in this entry will be covered unless otherwise specified!). The mass exodus to the venue happens around midnight, and I hop into a ride share that someone calls.
Day 2: Saturday | Daily Total: $106.06 2 a.m.
– I've somehow ended up at Halal Guys. Jesus. I don't get anything, but one of my friends offers me some of his bowl. I call a shared Lyft back home around 2:45 a.m., get ready for bed in record speed, and promptly collapse. 7:45 a.m.
– I wake up from paranoia that I've overslept for my 10 a.m. HIIT class ($0 – it's a free trial class for first timers). I feel like ass from the alcohol and my feet are throbbing from hours in heeled boots. I lay in bed for almost an hour. 8:40 a.m.
– I finally get up to pee and the whole building rumbles. I wonder if this is the Bay's long overdue Big Earthquake and if this is how I'll go, sitting on the toilet. 9 a.m.
– I rush to catch the bus to my workout ($0 – also covered by my transit subsidy). I almost step into a pile of congealed vom on the sidewalk. Big mood. My boyfriend calls, and we talk about plane tickets and travel schedules while I wait for the bus. We're going back to his hometown in late December for his friend's wedding. (Context: We've been together for ~1.5 years, long distance for most of our relationship. He'll be in town later this week for work!) 11 a.m.
– Hobble towards home after HIIT. Assault bikes are THE worst. I flake on a free music festival happening this weekend that some friends are going to (Hardly Strictly Bluegrass for any Bay Area folks) since I don't want to drink two days in a row. I need to run errands in the East Bay, anyways. I text a friend who lives in Berkeley and make lunch plans with her. 1:20 p.m.
– Food, finally! My friend and I share kimbap, japchae, and tteokbokki at a Korean restaurant and we both pack leftovers to take home ($16.39). After lunch, we go to Asha Tea House before parting ways. I get a Hong Kong coffee milk tea with grass jelly ($5.50). 4:10 p.m.
– I fill up the tank in Oakland because gas is cheaper than in SF ($46.17). I also squeeze in a gel manicure at my former regular nail salon from when I lived in Oakland and I'm stoked that they remember me ($38). 6:30 p.m.
– Once home I heat up leftover pasta for dinner before catching an Uber Pool to a friend of a friend's house for mahjong night. I'm impressed by the assortment of Asian snacks the hosts acquired: Pocky, rice crackers, longan fruit... We play for three hours straight and things get very tense and rowdy very quickly. 11 p.m.
– I catch a shared Lyft back home, get ready for bed, and input the day's expenses into my budget sheet (I manually track everything down to the penny in a custom Google Sheet). I'm wiped—today's been a packed day. I realize I missed the ClassPass 12-hour cancellation deadline, so it looks like I'll have another morning workout tomorrow if I want to save myself $15...
Day 3: Sunday | Daily Total: $14.74 7:25 a.m.
– Up and at it. I wash my towel and sheets so I won't be tempted to lay in bed, but that's the extent of my early morning productivity. I just end up laying on the couch though and eventually migrate back to my bed. 9:40 a.m.
– I walk half an hour to my workout because it's beautiful out. Today's is a Lagree class, which combines pilates-esque moves with strength training. I get a smoothie after class to continue the fitness hoe kick I'm on ($10.45) and catch the bus home. Once home, I shower and then do more chores: making my bed, sweeping, dusting, and cleaning the bathroom. 1:40 p.m.
– I heat up leftover tteokbokki and japchae since, surprise, smoothies aren't sufficient meal replacements. Sadly, the portion of tteokbokki and japchae is more snack-sized than meal-sized. 2:15 p.m.
– After eating, I put on makeup and throw on my one warm weather outfit (a patterned semi-sheer big tee over a mini slip dress and mules) and head to a friend's apartment to do work together. He shows me a shoot he did for a brand he's launching and we discuss a bunch of shit: grad school, career plans, conferences we've been to recently, art and technology and social impact. We basically unpack our quarter-life crises while he works on a deck and I try to teach myself how to make Instagram camera filter effects in Spark AR and eat through his snack stash. 6 p.m.
– I drive to Trader Joe's to buy a lemon chicken and arugula salad for dinner ($4.29). It is SO FRICKIN' GOOD. I swear I can and normally do eat this for almost all my weekend meals and I don't get sick of it. I wish they sold it in bulk so I didn't have to waste plastic. (This is my allotted Money Diaries TJ's product shill.) I eat it once I get home and round it out with some hazelnut wafers and choco pies my friend gave me because my nutrition is fucked. 7:30 p.m.
– I watch the latest episode of Succession
on HBO NOW and whew, it's a tense one. I don't watch a lot of TV, but my boyfriend got me hooked on this show when I last visited him. 10 p.m.
– Exhausted for some reason, so light's out for me.
Day 4: Monday | Daily Total: $0 7 a.m.
– Slept in for a Monday. My schedule is a bit looser than usual since I'm driving down the mom van and I'm not tied down to the company's shuttle schedule. I get ready and then head out, picking up my friend/coworker from her apartment on the way. 9:55 a.m.
– Traffic and a very full office parking lot has me feeling LOW, but I make it in time for my 10 a.m. meeting. I make myself a sad açaí bowl for breakfast (just granola, a scoop of whipped cream, and some matcha powder because the kitchen is out of fruit at this point). 12:15 p.m.
– I get some dumplings for lunch and eat them with sriracha. I also snack on a little slice of espresso banana bread. My boyfriend also lands at SFO! He's in town for an internal engineering summit, and I'll be staying with him in his hotel room this week. 3:40 p.m.
– Ravenous, so I eat a piece of pumpkin cake after I'm done with meetings. 4:10 p.m.
– Obviously snacking is doing nothing to satiate me. I grab some Goldfish crackers to eat on my way to the shuttle. (I'm leaving the van parked at work so I don't have to worry about parking.) I haven't left this early in a while since I normally go to the gym and catch an evening shuttle. Here's to hoping traffic won't be terrible. 5:45 p.m.
– I grab toiletries and a change of clothes from my apartment, and then call a Lyft to my boyfriend's hotel downtown. We head out for dinner pretty much the moment I put my stuff down. We go to a cocktail bar in the Mission called Elda and get a drink each. We share squash and shiitake tacos, chicken sandwiches with perfectly square slices of milk bread, and chicken and mole tostadas. My boyfriend covers since he can expense part of it. 7:40 p.m.
– We call a Lyft to Tofino, a natural wine bar that I've been wanting to take my boyfriend to, but I am also a dumbass who didn't check beforehand if it'd be open on a Monday night. We walk a few blocks to another wine bar in the area, checking Google Maps beforehand to see if it'd be open, only to find that Google Maps has lied and it's also closed!! It was not meant to be. My boyfriend calls us an Uber back to the hotel, and we go to the hotel's rooftop bar instead for a drink each (he puts it on his room tab). We sit by the fire pits and enjoy the view and each other's IRL company. 10 p.m.
– Early bedtime.
Day 5: Tuesday | Daily Total: $0 6:10 a.m.
– I wake up before my alarm because my boyfriend reached out and pulled me closer to him in his sleep. This is a welcome waking though since I was having a stressful dream. The only part I can remember is walking down a very dark street and passing a strange man who makes some creepy comment about me looking "delicious." I start walking faster in my dream, wondering whether I should turn around to check if I'm being followed, when I'm pulled awake. 6:30 a.m.
– We wake up and get ready very, very slowly. My morning meeting got cancelled so I don't have to be physically in the office until 11:30 a.m. now! My boyfriend orders a pot of coffee to be delivered to the room, which is put on his room tab. I shower and slather myself with Aesop body wash and lotion from the hotel and feel very expensive. I'm too lazy to put on makeup yet, so I sit in bed in my robe and work a bit from bed. 8 a.m.
– Off to the shuttle. 9:50 a.m.
– Creature of habit. I make another mini açaí bowl and eat it at my desk. 11:10 a.m.
– I transfer the remainder of my bonus from early September into my HYSA. I need to start investing more instead of sitting on a pile of cash like some fairy tale dragon, but whispers of a looming recession make me nervous. 1:15 p.m.
– I get lunch (meatballs and steamed zucchini) with a new hire who recently graduated from university. I was in a similar boat last year when I joined, so we talk through her experience so far and I give her advice on raising career conversations with her manager. 4:30 p.m.
– Off to the gym at my usual time. My boyfriend and our friend/coworker are joining later, but I get there early. I do a half-hour disco ride on the Peloton and some half-assed mat workouts while I wait for them. Then it's squats and hip thrusters. 7:10 p.m.
– My boyfriend and I drive to Redwood City to eat at Crouching Tiger, his old go-to Sichuan spot from when he lived in the Bay Area. We inhale Chongqing dry-cooked chicken and green beans in record speed. He covers since he can once again expense it as part of his travel per diem. 8:30 p.m.
– Driving on the freeway is so peaceful when there's no traffic. We swing by my apartment in SF so I can grab a change of clothes and two beers from my fridge, and then head to the hotel. I leave my mom van parked by my apartment and set an alarm for tomorrow morning to remind me to move it before street cleaning. We spend the rest of the night in the hotel lounging and switching off playing cringe-y throwback pop punk tunes from middle school and high school. 11 p.m.
– Shower, shower beer, lights off.
Day 6: Wednesday | Daily Total: $5.62 6:30 a.m.
– Awake, but at what cost. I'm generally working from home today so there isn't a rush to catch a shuttle, but I do have to move my car before 9 a.m. street cleaning. 8:25 a.m.
– I need to move the car so I have ride requests running on both Lyft and Uber, but for some reason I'm not getting matched with any drivers. This is taking years off my life, and I have panic visions of getting a ticket or towed. I finally get into an Uber closer to 8:45 a.m. 9 a.m.
– I make it in the nick of time, there is a God!! I'm the last car parked on the street, lol. I drive to The Mill, a coffee shop nearby, to meet a coworkefriend. I order a cappuccino with oat milk ($5.62, yikes Bay Area COL). We do some work before our planned HIIT class together. 12 p.m.
– I am a sweaty, tomato-faced mess. I quickly drive home to shower and get my life together and repark, and then call an Uber to the SF office location to try and score free lunch from work. Similarly to this morning, for some reason it takes forever to get matched with a driver, and the shared route involves a zillion pickups and drop-offs. It takes me almost an hour to travel 3 miles across town and I simmer in hangriness. I definitely played myself and should have just bought lunch and worked from home instead of being a cheapskate. I technically get to the office after the lunch window closed, but I manage to secure a bowl of noodles. 5:30 p.m.
– A different friend/coworker is feeling low and wants to go to Happy Hour, so we decide on a speakeasy called The Pawn Shop. It's kitschy and you have to 'pawn' something to be let in. My boyfriend meets us there and we share a pitcher of sangria and some appetizers. He steals the check to expense. 7 p.m.
– My friend and boyfriend are still peckish, so we head to the hotel restaurant and catch up some more. I'm not hungry, but I sit with them as they eat. 11 p.m.
Day 7: Thursday | Daily Total: $74.20 7 a.m.
– I wake up. Soreness from this week's workouts has finally crept in. 8:30 a.m.
– My boyfriend and I catch an Uber to where I parked the van, and we start the long trek down to Silicon Valley. Traffic is awful as usual, but I'm feeling especially low today. I have a lot of career-related conversations scheduled this week with my manager and my mentor, and I'm honestly feeling super stuck in my job. I feel a lot of guilt for hating my job and dreading coming to work because of the high pay and plentiful benefits, but that's the reality of the situation. Golden handcuffs are real. 10:10 a.m.
– We get to the office. I make myself a latte since breakfast has already closed, but it makes me feel sick. 11 a.m.
– I'm in a meeting that's completely crippled by IT issues, and it's not helping morale. 12:30 p.m.
– I'm supposed to meet two new hires for lunch, but when I get there I realize they're already eating with other people from orientation. The conversation revolves around orientation shenanigans and I feel like I've inserted myself and like an awkward fifth wheel. Social anxiety wins and I excuse myself a few minutes early under the (false) pretense of needing to go to a meeting in another part of the office. 1:45 p.m.
– Two expense reports I submitted last week have been paid out! I transfer them into savings before I forget. 4:10 p.m.
– I get out of a meeting with my manager. We discuss feedback from the most recent feedback cycle and how I'm tracking toward goals I set for myself. The feedback is all extremely positive, but I feel like I haven't been doing much of what I want to be doing and I don't know where to find or create such opportunities in my current team. It's nice to talk things through, but I still feel deflated and a bit hollow despite the good feedback. 6:30 p.m.
– My boyfriend and I get to a coworkefriend's apartment (the same one I did a workout class with yesterday). She and I are hosting a casual board game night for new hires. I pick up a bottle of red wine ($15.18) and two large pizzas ($59.09) on the way there. This isn't an official work event so I'm not sure if I can expense it, but oh well, treating people doesn't hurt! 8:30 p.m.
– Game night is in full swing. Someone brought a french bulldog, so the night is pretty perfect: dog, wine, pizza, Souvla salad and fries. We're playing a game called The Resistance, which is similar to Mafia and Secret Hitler. There's a bit of a learning curve, but after a trial run, we all get pretty into it. It's very good for bonding. 10 p.m.
– It's getting late, and we all still have work tomorrow! We call it a night, and I call an Uber back to the hotel with my boyfriend.
Weekly Total: $219.89
- Food & Drink: $116.52
- Fun/Entertainment: $0
- Health: $0
- Clothes & Beauty: $38
- Transport: $65.37
- Other: $0
This was definitely an atypical, higher-spend week for me! I normally don't have a car or a boyfriend in the same physical location. My boyfriend and I typically take turns covering meals when we're traveling on personal dime, too.
Most weeks are pretty boring (zero spend during weekdays; wake up, work, gym, sleep, repeat), and I intentionally chose this time frame to do a diary because I knew I'd be out and about more. As the week progressed, I got busier and the quality of the entries definitely declined, ha.
Writing this definitely made me realize how much shit in my life is covered by my job. I'm grateful for those benefits despite being super salty about my job in this diary. A little work update if anyone cares: Friday (the day after this diary ends) helped me feel a bit more positive and optimistic. I had a longer conversation with my manager about my career trajectory, strengths, goals and more. I got clearance to work more from San Francisco to help with commute woes and I felt like I have a clearer idea of next career steps, both immediate and in the longer term!