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: an account manager who makes $110,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Birkenstocks.
Occupation: Account Manager
Industry: Health Tech
Location: San Francisco, CA
Salary: $110,000 + $15,000 annual bonus
Net Worth: $84,000 ($11,100 in HYSA, $5,000 in savings, $2,900 in checking, $65,000 in retirement)
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,881.79
Rent: $1,000 (splitting a room with my boyfriend in an apartment with two roommates — this is not normal SF rent!)
Roth 401(k): $250
Roth IRA: $500
Cell Phone: $45 (reimbursed by work)
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?
Yes, I was always expected to go to a four-year school. I was a straight-A student and top of my class. My parents never pushed college, it was just expected that I would go. I attended a top-tier public university. My parents paid for three years of school and I paid for one via federal loans — this totaled to $15,500 with interest by the time I graduated. I hustled to pay this off ASAP and paid my last loan payment in September 2020.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
I remember learning how to write a check in elementary school and coming home and begging my dad to let me write his checks when he paid bills. Otherwise, we didn’t really talk much about money. Most of my financial literacy has come from self-education when I started my first job out of college.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
Besides babysitting under the table, my first job was at an Italian ice shop when I was 15. I LOVED this job — three of my friends worked there as well so it was always fun. I got this job to pay for gas, clothes, concerts, and anything else I needed pocket money for. I loved seeing the money drop in my bank account and felt so rich when I would get my $300 paychecks.
Did you worry about money growing up?
Not really, and I know how privileged I am to have had a childhood where I didn’t need to think much about money. My dad worked his way up at his company and had a very successful career by the time I was in middle school. We moved twice into a nicer house each time, took one or two vacations a year, had multiple Christmas gifts, and I was able to get new clothes and school supplies every year. However, my mom did go back to school to become a nurse to supplement our family income around the time my eldest sibling went to college so I always understood that money wasn’t unlimited and we weren’t “rich.” My parents were open about how we needed the extra money to pay for college, and I realize now how grateful I am for this as it allowed the three of us children to take on much less debt from college.
Do you worry about money now?
No, I feel very good about where I am with my finances. I am on my third job out of college and have doubled my salary in three years by changing careers. I taught myself about investing, HYSA accounts, debt payoff, controlling spending, and salary negotiation. I recently started my current position a few months ago, which was a 40% pay raise. I am working on increasing my savings and 401(k) contributions. I worry about money in the sense that I really don’t want to work my entire life (who does?!), but I’m not sure if that will be possible.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
21, when I graduated college and began my first job in SF. I was making $55,000 and barely saving anything after taxes and expenses in SF, but I was able to fully financially support myself. If anything terrible ever happened, I know my parents would help me out and I could move back in with them at any time. (Again, I feel so lucky and grateful for my parents.)
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
As noted above, my parents paid for three years of college and gifted me $2,000 when I graduated to help me get started (I blew all of my savings in Europe while I was studying abroad… truly no regrets), but that is it.
8 a.m. — Wake up and do my morning routine (brush teeth, put in contacts, wash face, apply moisturizer) and make a breakfast of oatmeal, raspberries, and peanut butter with coffee and oat milk for breakfast. Hop on an 8:30 a.m. call with a colleague. After the call, I browse Amazon for new shampoo and conditioner since I am almost out. I recently dyed my hair for the first time so I am trying to find a shampoo and conditioner that works for my newly bleached/dried out hair. I buy a set with great reviews, so we will see if it makes a difference! $32.52
1 p.m. — I’ve been working for the last few hours straight. My new job is a lot busier than my old job, but I enjoy it and it makes the day fly by! I take a lunch break with my boyfriend, N. We make avocado toast with pesto eggs (the only way to eat fried eggs…game changer). We then walk our roommate’s dog for her lunchtime walk. Our roommate works in healthcare and so since she is gone all day and we WFH, we take care of her dog during the day. It’s the best — we get to hang out with a cute dog that we love but don’t carry the burden of actually owning a dog (yet, one day!). (Another detail, N. and I are moving to Florida in February, hence the cheap rent with roommates. My lease ended and we didn’t want to sign another year lease in SF if we were going to move within the year, so I moved into his current place with his roommates.) Back to work after a bit of playtime with the pup.
5 p.m. — Finished work for the day! Hop on my roommate’s Peloton (another perk of this roommate — she has a Peloton she lets me use for free. I’m addicted now, so I’m going to buy one when we move to FL) for a 30-minute cycle class followed by a 10-minute arm class.
7 p.m. — N. and I head out to hang out with some friends who recently moved back to the Bay Area. We stop at the store to grab some wine as a housewarming and grab some Peet’s coffee grounds as well since we’re out ($17.88) and head over to their new apartment. We get an apartment tour, catch up for a while, and have some wine with cheese and crackers. We walk home around 8:30. $17.88
9 p.m. — I cook a late dinner courtesy of Trader Joe’s — pork dumplings, brown rice, and sautéed kale. I’m a die-hard TJ’s fan since I’m a lazy cook and I love the pre-marinated meats, sausages, and frozen foods that you can supplement with fresh veggies or sides. It’s delicious and we watch a couple of episodes of New Girl because N. has never seen it (!!), then pass out around 11 after watching TikToks.
Daily Total: $50.40
8 a.m. — Yay, it’s Friday! Wake up around 8, laze around with N. for a bit, and get up to do my routine around 8:30. I make us breakfast of toast, peanut butter, raspberries, and coffee (I always make breakfast because it’s my favorite meal of the day, and N. would not eat if I didn’t make him something). Start work around 9.
11:30 a.m. — Hungry already and antsy for the weekend, so I make a quick lunch of brown rice, kale, and Trader Joe’s chicken sausage. Scroll TikTok before getting back to work.
2:30 p.m. — Work is a drag so I make a snack to procrastinate — banana with Oathaus granola butter.
4:30 p.m. — Finally done with work for the week! Somehow short weeks always feel just as long as regular weeks. I hop in the shower after an excessively complicated group text with my old coworkers about where to go for happy hour. We finally pick a spot and it’s conveniently three blocks away from my apartment. I walk over to meet everyone at a cozy outdoor table and have a margarita and two mushroom tacos, and we split chips, bean dip, and salsa. My friend pays, and we Venmo her. I want to note that in San Francisco, you have to show your vaccination card to get into a bar or restaurant. I am fully vaccinated, along with N., our roommates, and friends. Once we show our vaccine cards and are allowed inside, we wear masks when we are not at our table. This applies to all bars/restaurants in this diary. $37
6:30 p.m. — After those tacos, we all agree we are still hungry so we walk down the street to a fun new brewery that also serves empanadas. I get a ham and cheese empanada ($7) and a honey beer ($8). We end up having so much fun that we stay for a second beer ($8). My friend pays the tab so I Venmo him $30 to include tax and tip. $30
8 p.m. — N. is out with some of our friends at the local Irish pub down the street, so we walk over to meet them. N. says hi to my old coworkers and buys me a beer, and we stay for a bit and chat with other friends. We head out around 9:30 since we are going on a run in the morning and want to get some sleep. I’m exhausted from what feels like the first night out in a long time! We get home and realize our nice sheets aren’t dry from the wash so we sleep on our old, not-as-comfy sheets — bummer.
Daily Total: $67
8 a.m. — Wake up and I’m feeling good for having had a few drinks last night. I do my morning routine and make coffee with oat milk, eat a banana with chocolate granola butter, and chug as much water as possible. We are about to go on a six-mile run with our friends (we started a fun running club during quarantine and have kept it up), so I want to fuel up. I haven’t been running as much since I’ve been using the Peloton — I’m a bit nervous.
9:30 a.m. — We meet our friends and head out on our long run through Golden Gate Park, to the beach, and then to our final destination: Devil’s Teeth Baking Company. This place has the best breakfast sandwich in SF and we try to run here every couple of months. The run goes well and its beautiful weather in the city. We get our biscuit sandwiches ($10) and eat them before Ubering back ($5 each, split) because we’re feeling lazy. My friend pays for the sandwiches and the Uber so I Venmo her $15. $15
12 p.m. — We get home and are exhausted. I take a shower and laze around a little bit. I just want to lay around all day after long runs.
1 p.m. — Someone from FB Marketplace comes to my apartment to buy my Wi-Fi extenders from my last apartment. They pay me $120, which is not bad considering I paid $150 for them.
2 p.m. — N. and I head over to our friends house to hang out in the sunshine (rare in SF) before watching college football tonight. We stop and get a turkey avocado cheddar sandwich to share, from a local spot on the way. I also get a carrot beet juice ($17.50) because health. I pay. We get to our friends’ patio and we eat and have a few hard seltzers. $17.50
4:30 p.m. — We take an Uber to a bar and get a table near the TV screens to watch the game. We order a few pitchers of beer and nachos and camp out for a while. N. and I eventually each get one taco each — they’re huge and delicious. We have a ton of fun catching up with friends, watching the game, and feeling a bit normal again. Someone else pays and I assume I send a $30 Venmo. N. checks Uber and I check Lyft — Lyft is cheaper so I grab one to take us home ($11). $41
8 p.m. — Get home, make some popcorn, and watch a few hours of Ted Lasso and New Girl before passing out.
Daily Total: $73.50
9 a.m. — I wake up and make a piece of toast with butter and raspberries for breakfast, and coffee with oat milk, which I enjoy while scrolling my phone. I drink a lot of water since I’m feeling a little groggy from drinking yesterday and I’m about to go to a workout class.
10:30 a.m. — I leave to meet a friend and walk over to a yoga studio for a cardio yoga class, which includes a combination of vinyasa and cardio moves. This class ended up being free for me — I had to book via ClassPass and they gave me two weeks free for reactivating my old account — and I’m feeling pretty great about that. (I’ll cancel again after this.) It’s a beautiful day and it’s nice to walk the mile there in the sunshine.
12 p.m. — The class is so much fun, I’m dripping sweat. We did some traditional yoga flows and then some cardio variations. I’m definitely going to be sore tomorrow. We had to wear a mask in the class, which wasn’t terrible, but now it’s dripping sweat and it’s the only one I brought! Gross. We are both feeling depleted and go to a cafe next door for some food. I get shakshuka and an oat milk latte ($23.57). We walk home after and I’m exhausted. $23.57
2 p.m. — I shower and laze around, and then get up and clean up our room. I finally unpack my suitcase from our Labor Day trip last weekend, so that’s a win. I’m cleaning out my closet and decide to pull the trigger and make two purchases I’ve been putting off — new jeans and new Birkenstocks. I’ve had the same Birks for seven years but it’s time to admit I need a new pair. I end up ordering the white platforms, which I’m really excited about ($108). They won’t be good for more active things or the beach since they’re a bit nicer, so I make a note to look for some cheap slides for that. I also buy two pairs of jeans from American Eagle, with the anticipation of returning one. I throw in a white t-shirt since I’m a huge simple t-shirt person and I could use another ($128). $236
5 p.m. — I’m feeling spending anxiety about both of these purchases from this afternoon, but I tell myself I deserve to buy myself things sometimes. What is the point of earning money if you can’t spend some of it? N. and I are couch potatoes and spend the rest of the evening on the couch after taking a weed gummy, watching The White Lotus and Explained episodes. The White Lotus is so awkward and the satire is on point. I’m already obsessed. We get up only to make some pasta with broccoli for dinner. We head to bed around 10 with the Sunday scaries.
Daily Total: $259.57
8 a.m. — N. has an early call, so we’re up and out of bed by 8. I make a breakfast of meal-prepped overnight oats, raspberries, and coffee with oat milk while I scroll my personal and work emails and TikTok. Sorry not sorry, TikTok is such a great pastime. I start work.
10:45 a.m. — I’ve been working for the past few hours and have a light day, so I take a break to do a workout. I hop on the Peloton for a 30-minute ride followed by 10 minutes of arms. I am way sorer from that crazy yoga class yesterday than I expected but I’m glad to have gotten my workout out of the way.
12 p.m. — Shower and make lunch of avocado toast with a pesto egg before getting back to work and hopping on a few calls. Not a terrible Monday, but feeling really lazy today and having a hard time getting things done.
3:30 p.m. — N. and I head out on a walk to the grocery store for a few things to hold us over between last week’s big Trader Joe’s Haul and our trip next week. We get a few bags of kale, broccoli, chicken sausage, oat milk, peanut butter, pasta, pasta sauce, and raspberries. N. pays since I paid last week. We just switch off paying for things and don’t really track this unless it’s for a huge purchase like a flight or hotel. N. makes more than me and often pays for more things because he wants to, which I appreciate.
4:30 p.m. — On our way home, we pick up the roommate’s pup, who was at her friend’s house all weekend while our roommate was out of town. She is SO excited to see us and vice versa. We walk the excited pup back home, make some tea, and settle in to finish work for the day.
5:30 p.m. — N. goes for a run and I stay home and scroll TikTok and start a new book, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. I just finished American Dirt and as beautiful and well done as it was, it was very heavy emotionally and I wanted something more romantic/fictional to follow. I’m instantly hooked.
6:30 p.m. — N. and I make Trader Joe’s chicken shawarma, roasted potatoes, and sautéed kale for dinner — it’s delicious. We settle in to watch Bachelor in Paradise and realize it’s not on Mondays anymore! Sad. We spend the night cuddling with the pup and watching The White Lotus and New Girl, and head to bed around 10.
Daily Total: $0
8 a.m. — Wake up, morning routine, and walk the pup since our roommate is still out of town. I didn’t sleep too well because somehow this 14-pound dog took up half the bed. Good thing she’s cute. September is the sunniest month in San Francisco, so I’m grateful for the excuse to be outside in the morning! Come home, make meal-prepped overnight oats with peanut butter, raspberries, and banana, pour out coffee with oat milk, and get to work.
12 p.m. — I have been working for the last few hours and catching up on episodes of The Daily and take a break for lunch. Lunch is leftover pasta and some sautéed kale. Back to work.
2:30 p.m. — N. and I take a break from work and walk to CVS for flu shots — we both got texts that they were offering them so we decided to go today before life just gets busier this fall.
3 p.m. — Back to work for the afternoon and then get up to take a shower and get ready for dinner. It’s our roommate’s birthday so we are going out to dinner tonight!
6:30 p.m. — We head out in search of an Italian meal in our neighborhood. We try one place that’s really popular to see if we can get a table without a reservation and sadly no luck. We cross the street and head to another favorite spot that’s a bit bigger and they have a table for us! We order a round of cocktails, I get a mezcal grapefruit drink that is so good, and then a bunch of plates to share: focaccia, burrata, arancini, burrata pizza, lasagna, risotto, and a kale salad. It’s delicious and we order another round of cocktails for dessert. N., me, and our other roommate treat our roommate for her birthday and split the check three ways ($82). We walk home and resist stopping for ice cream since we are painfully full. $82
8:30 p.m. — We get home and finish our roommate’s bottle of red by having a small glass each. We watch Ted Lasso and the combination of the food and drinks makes me so sleepy. I fall asleep on the couch before 10 and get up around 11 to pass out in bed after brushing my teeth.
Daily Total: $82
8:30 a.m. — I wake up and have a hard time getting out of bed — probably due to the drinks last night. Eventually, I make peanut butter toast with raspberries and coffee with oat milk. I get to work and listen to The Daily.
11 a.m. — I take a break from work to get some exercise. I do a 40-minute cycle workout and five-minute ab class on Peloton. I take a shower, laze around with N. a bit, and get back to a few meetings.
1 p.m. — Take another break from work to walk the pup, make lunch of leftover chicken shawarma, potatoes, and kale, and throw in the laundry.
2 p.m. — I get back to work for the afternoon after making tea. I put on Schitt’s Creek for background noise — I would give anything to watch Schitt’s Creek for the first time again! At some point, I make a snack of blueberry granola butter and crackers. I also realize it’s payday! Yay! I send $500 to my Roth IRA, $1,000 to savings, and pay off my $300 credit card bill. The rest will sit in checking for now.
6 p.m. — Done with work for the day! I’m babysitting tonight, so I make pasta with chicken sausage and broccoli to bring to eat while I’m there. I used to babysit when I first moved to SF and really needed the cash for spending money, but I still do it every now and again to help out the families and earn a bit of extra fun money even though I don’t need to. I give major props to these full-time work-from-home parents with kids that have barely had any alone time since the pandemic, so I’m happy to help out.
7:30 p.m. — I arrive, say hello to the parents, and sit down on their couch for some binging of Modern Love. I’m a sucker for love and drama in TV shows/movies, and N. is not, so I try to watch these shows when we’re not together. The baby is already asleep, so I’m getting paid to chill. The parents get home around 10, pay me $50, and I take the bus home.
10:30 p.m. — Home sweet home! Brush my teeth, wash my face, and pass out in bed.
Daily Total: $0
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