A Week In Wisconsin On A $114,000 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.
Today: a financial planner working who makes $114,000 per year. This week, she spends some of her money on Cool Whip.
Occupation: Financial Planner
Industry: Financial Services
Age: 29
Location: Wisconsin
Salary: $114,000
Monthly Expenses
Housing Costs: $1,240 mortgage payment, which includes escrow for property taxes. I bought my first home at age 24 and live (mostly) alone with my two dogs. My boyfriend is in the process of officially moving in (he practically already lives with me), but he isn't able to help out with expenses at this time.
Loans: $0. I was very fortunate to have had financial help during college from my parents.
Advertisement
All Other Monthly Expenses
Health, Dental & Vision Insurance: $216; my company covers the rest.
401(k): 10% of my income with a 4% company match. This, along with my taxes and insurance, is automatically withheld from my paycheck.
Auto, Homeowner & Umbrella Liability Insurance: $136
Life Insurance Premium: $40 each quarter
Roth IRA: $458/month
Savings: $833
Electricity: ~$250
Internet: $47
Netflix & HBO: $0. I use my boyfriend's accounts.
Apple Music: $10.50
Lawn Service: $130 each quarter
Cell Phone: $60
Gym Membership: $42
Massage Envy Membership: $60
Dog Grooming: $50
Credit Card Debt: None. Typically, I charge $2,500/month, and I pay that off in full every month. I rarely use cash for anything to try to take advantage of the 1.5% cash back rewards my card offers. This covers groceries, dining out, entertainment, travel-related expenses, and other discretionary spending.

Day One

6:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I snooze it twice until 6:50, which is the absolute latest I can get up and still get to work on time. I let my dogs out, feed them, and then get ready for the day. After showering and spending way too long trying to get the perfect top-knot, I rush out the door and am on my way to the office.
7:50 a.m. — Notice my car is running low on gas and make a mental note to stop at Costco on my way home from work.
8:05 a.m. — Arrive to work only a few minutes late. Someone brought in mini-donuts and I take two to eat with my protein shake for breakfast. I keep a few days' worth of breakfast, lunch, and snacks in the office fridge and replenish that every few days to avoid spending money on takeout. I also fill up my water bottle to sip on throughout the day.
Advertisement
10 a.m. — Morning meetings are finished, and it looks like it's going to be a pretty light day. I'm feeling a bit snacky, so I eat a banana I brought from home and the last handful of Chex Mix that's in my desk drawer.
11 a.m. — My work bestie and I decide to run to the grocery store to pick up a few things she needs. I offer to drive so I can get gas while we're out, and I stop at Costco to fill up my very thirsty car. $32.49
11:20 a.m. — We enjoy our time out of the office, walking around the grocery store. I don't really need any groceries but I do find GIANT kiwis that are on sale and look too good to pass up ($2.59). I also buy a bridal shower card ($4.99) for a friend. $7.58
12 p.m. — Back at the office and feeling pretty hungry. Lunch today is half of a bagel (left over from an office party earlier this week), veggies and hummus, and a snack-size bag of Doritos from my desk drawer.
2 p.m. — I realize I haven't been drinking very much water today and refill my water bottle. When I get back to my office, I text my boyfriend to see how his day is going. He's in medical school and has been on call this whole week, so I haven't seen him very much. He replies that he has been feeling sick all day, but is planning on coming over tonight once he finishes up at the hospital.
Advertisement
4:30 p.m. — Done with work for the day. On my way home, I stop at Walgreens to pick up photos I ordered to be printed. Thanks to an awesome online coupon code, I get them for a steal. $4.99
5 p.m. — I'm finally home and my dogs are so happy to see me! I let them out and walk around my yard for a while. Once we're back inside, I feed them dinner and start hanging up clothes in my bedroom. My closet periodically explodes and after a few days of living in the chaos of clothes, shoes, and handbags everywhere, I'm relieved to finally put everything away.
5:30 p.m. — Boyfriend is home early! He doesn't officially live with me yet but has been slowly moving his stuff here over the last few months since he spends most of his nights here. I give him some kisses and then make us dinner: leftover beef brisket for him and leftover rotisserie chicken for me.
7:45 p.m. — Boyfriend passes TF out in a heap of dogs and blankets, leaving me to fend for myself for the remainder of the evening. I start cleaning the house and then go through a huge pile of mail on my desk. In the process, I decide to peruse Amazon and find anti-tarnish jewelry bags I need. Free next-day shipping? Yes, please! ($4) I also decide to pay off my credit card early this month because the statement balance is giving me anxiety. I transfer $10,000 from savings to checking to pay off the card and replenish my checking account. $4
Advertisement
11:15 p.m. — After watching Netflix, I decide it's time to call it a night and go to bed.
Daily Total: $49.06

Day Two

5 a.m. — Wake up to boyfriend's alarm and a coughing and congested boyfriend. I'm too sleepy and cozy to get up, so I fall back asleep while he gets ready.
6:30 a.m. — Boyfriend wakes me up to kiss me goodbye and I get up to feed and let the dogs out. While they eat, I turn on some tunes and hop in the shower. I started a new skincare routine recently and look forward to using all my new products each morning. Up until a few weeks ago, I had never used toner before and WOW, what a difference it makes!
7:45 a.m. — I'm running late as usual but decide to make a smoothie with fruit in my fridge that's getting overripe. I have a Vitamix and it's my most-used appliance by far. It's definitely an investment, but I can make everything from almond butter to soup — and of course smoothies. One strawberry-banana-pineapple smoothie later, I say goodbye to my pups for the day and drive to work.
8:30 a.m. — I sip on my smoothie with a side of leftover donut holes as I read through emails. I only have to work until around noon today, but next week is really busy with client meetings. I want to get as much done as possible so I don't feel stressed next week.
Advertisement
10:30 a.m. — Boyfriend and I have been looking at engagement rings recently and found a few options we're considering. I receive a call from the jeweler we're working with and make plans to meet with her after work.
12:30 p.m. — I'm done with work for the day and head over to the jewelry store. Boyfriend and I are forgoing tradition when it comes buying my engagement ring. He has a ton of medical school debt and won't actually be making any money until he begins residency next year. We want to get engaged soon, so while we agreed to split the cost of the ring, I'm actually going to be paying for it in its entirety; he'll pay me his half once he has a job.
1 p.m. — I'm meeting with my awesome jeweler and am able to narrow the options down to two different settings and two different diamonds. I'll be back tomorrow with my boyfriend and he'll make the final decision.
2:30 p.m. — Stop at the grocery store on my way home to pick up dessert to bring to a family party tomorrow night. It's that time of year, so there's pumpkin pie galore! ($8.40) Also notice a Christmas-themed headband with cat ears on it, which seems like a necessary purchase, and add that to my cart as well ($12.49). You never know when you might need to wear a headband with cat ears, and I always like to be prepared. $20.89
6 p.m. — Boyfriend is home, exhausted, and still sick. We usually go out for dinner on Fridays but decide to make do with what we have in the fridge. He eats leftover taco dip and butternut squash ravioli, and I have rotisserie chicken again with French bread.
Advertisement
10:30 p.m. — We end our day after watching a few episodes of American Horror Story and cuddling on the couch with the pups. He's tired, I'm tired, and we turn in earlier than usual.
Daily Total: $20.89

Day Three

7:30 a.m. — It's the weekend! I sleep in and spend time browsing Instagram and getting all of the puppy snuggles. Boyfriend already left for the hospital for the day but will hopefully be back early this afternoon.
8:30 a.m. — I finally get out of bed to let the dogs out and feed them, before making an egg sandwich for breakfast. Aside from my Vitamix, my egg sandwich maker is my second most-used appliance.
12:30 p.m. — The house is clean, the laundry is done, and I'm hungry. I text boyfriend to see when he will be home and make lunch in the meantime. We're going to a family party tonight where there will be plenty of unhealthy food choices, so I make a salad with random ingredients I have in the fridge. I watch YouTube videos while I munch.
1:30 p.m. — Boyfriend is finished at the hospital. We decide to meet at the jewelry store to finalize the engagement ring purchase since it's on his way home and we're short on time.
3 p.m. — We found the ring! Boyfriend and I both ended up liking the same diamond and setting, and I'm so excited to take the next step with him. He's the best. I have tiny, infant-like fingers so my ring has to be specially ordered and won't be ready for six to eight weeks. Twenty percent down is due today, and I plan to pay the remaining balance off over the next few weeks. We ask the jeweler to call my boyfriend when it's ready so he can pick it up and still have some element of surprise for the engagement. $2,800
Advertisement
4:30 p.m. — Boyfriend and I are rushing to get to the party on time, and I realize I forgot Cool Whip for the pie. We stop at the grocery store on the way so I can get some, along with my favorite frozen Red's burritos that are on sale. $7.45
8 p.m. — Thoroughly enjoying ourselves with my family, eating good food, laughing, and talking. We eat our weight in pizza and snacks my parents bought and enjoy the dessert I brought. Boyfriend has one too many glasses of wine and ends up spilling red wine on himself and my cousin's nice, fluffy rug. We will likely not be invited back anytime soon.
11 p.m. — We're home and snuggle in bed with the pups and watch Netflix before falling asleep.
Daily Total: $2,807.45

Day Four

9 a.m. — I wake up to the soft cries of my dogs who desperately have to pee, so I get up to let them both out. If they could talk, I'm sure they'd be cursing me because I slept in so late. Boyfriend got up around 5 and has already been at the hospital for a few hours. I take out turkey chili from the freezer to thaw for dinner tonight. I usually make a crockpot full every few months, portion it out, and freeze it.
9:30 a.m. — I make scrambled eggs and turkey bacon for breakfast and watch YouTube videos on my phone while I eat. I receive a text from my parents reminding me to book my flight for our upcoming family vacation to Florida. When confirming the dates with them, I realize we're leaving on my boyfriend's birthday. Worst. Girlfriend. Ever.
Advertisement
10:30 a.m. — Why is air travel so expensive?! I book a Southwest flight to Florida and call my parents to let them know. After I get off the phone, I schedule boarding for my dogs. When I travel, my parents are usually the ones who watch my pups, but since we will all be gone it's off to the kennel they go. I'm quoted nearly $600 (yikes!), but I don't have to pay until the day I drop them off. $393.95
11:30 a.m. — Decide to start decluttering my bathroom cabinets. It's amazing how many products one girl can accumulate, and even more amazing how few are actually used on a daily basis. I fill a couple of bags: one to donate, one to throw out. I also clear an entire shelf and drawer for boyfriend's things so he doesn't have to keep shoving his stuff in a small travel bag.
1 p.m. — I heat up one of the frozen burritos I bought yesterday for lunch and sit down to watch Netflix. I've recently become hooked on Grey's Anatomy and I plan to spend a couple of hours vegging out and relaxing.
4:30 p.m. — After wasting much more of the day than I should have, I decide to get some exercise and take my dogs for a walk. It's so cold outside; winter is coming! My dogs weigh about 25 pounds combined, but when we walk, they manage to pull me along like a 100-pound Labrador.
5:15 p.m. — I'm back from our walk and start meal prepping for the week. I make overnight oats for breakfast, egg sandwiches for lunch, and cut up peppers and sugar snap peas for snacks. I also pack extra protein shakes, apples, and oranges, and a few pieces of chocolate for when 3 o'clock rolls around and I need my sugar fix.
Advertisement
6:30 p.m. — Boyfriend is home from the hospital and looks exhausted. I heat up the chili from the freezer for us and pack lunch for him for tomorrow. He's getting homemade zucchini bread, Greek yogurt, chili, and a banana. Once the chili is ready, we eat together and catch up on our days.
8 p.m. — After cleaning up the kitchen, we settle on the couch with the pups and watch Home Alone. We both pass out about 30 minutes into the movie and decide to give up and go to bed early.
Daily Total: $393.95

Day Five

5 a.m. — Did I mention how much I hate my boyfriend's alarm clock? It's so loud, and it goes off so. Early.
6:30 a.m. — Time to get up! I reluctantly crawl out of bed to let the pups out. After they do their doggie business and I feed them, I hop in the shower to get ready for work. Boyfriend is still home and offers to make me breakfast since we have some very ripe bananas we need to use up. Banana pancakes for the win!
8:11 a.m. — Arrive to work an put my meals for the week away in the fridge. I read through emails from the weekend and chat with some of my coworkers. Today is a busy day with five client meetings back to back and a client event tonight.
1:15 p.m. — My office ordered lunch from Panera and I have time in between meetings to chow down. I usually get a ton of free food at work; someone always seems to bring something in or buy lunch for everyone. I ordered a chicken Caesar salad with a ton of toppings and it is so delicious!
Advertisement
1:30 p.m. — While eating lunch, I peruse the Nordstrom website and notice that a Michele watch I've been eyeing for over a year is deeply discounted. I know I probably shouldn't do it, but I can't pass it up and add it to my cart ($1,678.43). I also place a large Amazon order of Christmas presents for my boyfriend. I go a bit overboard this year, but the guy needs everything! I buy him new Asics running shoes, Bogs winter boots, work ties, and new shirts ($285.18). $1,963.61
4:30 p.m. — I wrap up at the office for the day and head to the venue for the client event tonight. It's at a nice bar, but since I don't drink I'm going to socialize and make sure everyone else has a good time.
6 p.m. — Enjoying my guilty pleasure, Diet Coke. There's a bunch of yummy hors-d'oeuvres for me to munch on, too. I eat enough for a respectable dinner.
9:15 p.m. — Finally home. My parents are watching my dogs for me, and my boyfriend is working overnight at the hospital so I'm all alone. It's eerily quiet in my house so I turn on the TV for background noise while I clean up around the house.
10:45 p.m. — In bed and browsing Facebook, and notice my local movie theater is offering $5 Christmas movies for the next month. My boyfriend and I love Elf and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation so I buy tickets for us for two different weekends. $20
Advertisement
11:15 p.m. — I can't keep my eyes open anymore; bedtime.
Daily Total: $1,983.61

Day Six

5:15 a.m. — I have to be to the office for an early meeting. I get up, shower, and get ready. It's going to be another busy day and I plan to do some Christmas shopping for my family after work.
8 a.m. — I finish my first client meeting of the day and eat the overnight oats I brought from home. They're SO good. I text my boyfriend good morning and read through emails.
12:15 p.m. — A few client meetings later and it's time for lunch. I'm not in the mood for the egg sandwiches I made so I eat a frozen microwaveable meal I've had at the office for a month too long. It tastes pretty bad and I end up throwing half of it out and snacking on other things in my office drawer — a combination of pistachios and turkey jerky. I also eat one of the oranges I brought from home.
4 p.m. — I finish my last meeting of the day a little early and head out to go Christmas shopping. I go to TJ Maxx to find things for my parents. I get my mom a bracelet, a pair of dressy winter gloves, chocolates she likes, and a candle ($55.35). There is literally nothing here for my dad. I also buy a few home decor items and ornaments. $117.85
6:15 p.m. — On my way home, I stop at the pet supply store to buy dog food. I have a buy one, get one free coupon that expires today and want to make sure it doesn't go to waste. I resist the urge to buy the dogs more squeaky toys that they absolutely do not need. $35.43
Advertisement
6:30 p.m. — I'm home! After unloading my car, I preheat the oven and get out the ingredients to make garlic bread. Once that's baking, I heat up some turkey meat sauce I had in the freezer. Boyfriend has been home for a while and is functioning surprisingly well on very little sleep. We eat together and then play with the dogs.
7:45 p.m. — After cleaning up the kitchen, I do laundry while boyfriend packs. He is leaving tomorrow for a residency program interview, literally across the country. It's crazy to think that this time next year, we could potentially be living in an entirely different state, with new jobs and a new home. We're really hoping to stay in the Midwest but don't have complete control over the situation; it's unnerving not knowing.
9 p.m. — Boyfriend and I relax on the couch and watch some episodes of Grey's Anatomy. We end most of our evenings this way and I'm sure going to miss him over the next week.
11 p.m. — Snoozin' time.
Daily Total: $153.28

Day Seven

6:50 a.m. — We sleep in too much today! My boyfriend lets the dogs out and feeds them while I rush around to get ready for work. It's going to be a messy bun, minimal makeup kind of day.
8:10 a.m. — Get to work and eat some overnight oats while I check emails. One of my coworkers comes in and asks me to chip in for Christmas gifts for my boss. $20
Advertisement
8:15 a.m. — One of the emails I receive lets me know a professional designation I hold needs to be renewed. I pay the renewal fee with my personal credit card but will be reimbursed later by my employer. ($99 expensed)
11 a.m. — I'm already hungry and it's not even noon. That's what I get for not drinking my protein shake. I snack on pistachios and an apple to try to tide myself over for the next few hours. Only a few more meetings to go.
2 p.m. — I heat up an egg sandwich and take it back to my desk for lunch. While I'm eating, I text my boyfriend as he waits at the airport for his flight to leave. I also sign up to volunteer tomorrow night after work. I tend to volunteer a lot more when he's not around to keep myself busy and distracted in the evening. Coming home to an empty house when you're not used to it isn't fun!
4 p.m. — I finish my last meeting of the day. I want to stop at a few stores for Christmas presents before I go to my personal training session, so I leave work a bit early.
4:30 p.m. — I'm at a different TJ Maxx and they have a ton of good stuff! I pick up a few more things for my boyfriend and mom. The find of the evening? A mug with a cat wearing a sweater that says "Meowy Christmas" on it! I still am not able to find anything for my dad, and it looks like I'll have to order his presents online. I also find some more home decor items for Christmas. $171.82
Advertisement
5:30 p.m. — Make a quick stop at Target to look around, vowing to not get sucked into the Target vortex. (The one where you leave with $200 worth of stuff after only coming in for one thing.) I successfully walk out of the store having spent nothing!
6 p.m. — Time for a session with a personal trainer I've been working with the past couple of months. I pre-pay for four sessions at a time and then schedule them as needed. We've been working on improving my flexibility. I don't get to the gym as often as I should, so a lot of my body parts make intense cracking noises as I work with her.
6:45 p.m. — Finally home for the evening! I don't know what to eat for dinner so I preheat the oven and throw in a frozen pizza. While it's cooking, I play with my pups. They're pretty wound up tonight even though my boyfriend was home with them for the better part of the day. One of my dogs uses me as a trampoline and launches herself off of me onto the couch. I think she may be half baby goat.
7:05 p.m. — My pizza is done and I'm comfortably settled into my usual spot on the couch surrounded by dogs. I'm not in the mood to watch Grey's tonight, so I opt for the movie Four Christmases. (Reese Witherspoon is goals.)
10:30 p.m. — It's perfectly acceptable to eat Pumpkin Spice Cheerios this late at night, right? After a snack, I lay in bed browsing Instagram until sleepiness overtakes me and I pass out.
Advertisement
Daily Total: $191.82
Money Diaries are meant to reflect individual women's experiences and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.
The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day. For more money diaries, click here.
Have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Right now, in addition to our ongoing diaries, we're looking for potential diarists along the following themes:
1. Your Spending In Your State: We want to run at least one Money Diary from a different state each week. Want to rep your state? Submit here!
2. New Year, New Job: Many people start reassessing their professional goals in January — and that can include looking for a new profession. Submit your job search Money Diary here.
Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here: r29.co/mdfaqs
Advertisement

More from Work & Money

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Fashion
A look at the subcultures around the world that color what we wear — and why.
Watch Now
Travel
Explore the world's most most vibrant cultural and culinary centers—in 60 seconds, of course.
Watch Now
Beauty
The craziest trends, most unique treatments, and strangest subcultures in the beauty world.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Millennial survivor-woman Lucie Fink dives headfirst into social experiments, 5 days at a time.