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 Social Media Coordinator who makes $51,450 per year and spends some of her money this week on an Alison Roman cookbook.
Occupation: Social Media Coordinator
Location: Portland, Oregon
Net Worth: $61,450
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,459.48
Rent: $653.52 (My boyfriend and I rent a two-bedroom, two-bathroom house. We split rent in proportion to our incomes (I pay 35%, he pays 65%). However, he is on my health insurance, so that gets subtracted from the total amount I would pay for rent.)
Student Loans: $200
Car: $200 (My boyfriend bought a used SmartCar in cash for me. I pay him back $50 a week.)
Cell Phone: $126 (Covered by work)
Studio/Online Fitness Membership: $0 (Working for a fitness company has the added benefit of free in-studio/online classes)
Savings: $250 (This used to be zero, as I was aggressively paying off my student loans. Since everything has happened with the coronavirus pandemic, I’ve decided to be more cautious and allocate more to savings.)
3:30 a.m. — What a way to get started. After a mix of tossing and turning, snuggling with my boyfriend, and reading in bed, I get up and go to the living room, light my favorite candle (Mar Mar Saint-Martin, purchased from a local shop in Portland), make myself a pour-over, and continue to read The Road Back To You. I’m mostly ignoring the Christian references as they don’t resonate with my belief system, but reading the book has been helpful in understanding why I rely so heavily upon crafting an identity for meaning and why I feel like I have this fundamental lack that everyone else seems to have fulfilled (where my Fours at?).
8 a.m. — I make Oh She Glow’s vegan banana bread (not vegan, I just really like coconut oil + flaxseed meal in baked goods) then eat my standard breakfast of All-Bran, almond milk, and sliced banana. We have an Instagram feed post going out, so I engage a bit with our followers on the platform and post an accompanying story. Jump on a company call for an all-team virtual workout. Definitely needed the community, connection, and sweat this morning.
12 p.m. — After lunch (homemade blueberry muffin from yesterday and vanilla greek yogurt), I garden in the backyard for about an hour and a half. Being forced to stay at home has helped me feel less guilty about the fact that I just love being at home. Most weekends, I clutter my brain with making plans with friends, but I’m learning to be at peace with being a homebody.
3:30 p.m. — While I do some more work, my boyfriend orders a cookbook from a store in Seattle that we love and want to support. My mom and sister’s birthdays are in April, so I buy them each a book. Everyday Is Saturday by Sarah Copeland for my mom and Nothing Fancy by Allison Roman for my sister. I Venmo my boyfriend for my portion of the order. $62.45
4 p.m. — I need some fresh air, so I ride my bike all around NE Portland. I pass several parks and see an alarming amount of groups of 10+ people sitting well within six feet of each other. All of this has been an interesting reflection in coming to terms what I can and cannot control. My boyfriend and I are doing our best by staying at home and have decided to only go out for bike rides, walks, or a trip to the grocery store. I’m learning to release my need to control others.
5:30 p.m. — Make dinner — salmon burgers from fish my boyfriend caught from a trip to Alaska a few weeks ago (we have a ton of fish in our freezer), along with roasted sweet potato wedges and kimchi. We enjoy a glass of green wine on our back porch and smoke a joint. My boyfriend bought the legal limit of marijuana at two different dispensaries right before all of this happened. We’re ready.
7:30 p.m. — Settle in to watch Lost in Translation. No idea how I’ve never seen this before. Beautifully shot, an amazing soundtrack, and Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson’s friendship is lovely. I’ve also felt (many times), in the past few years, a similar feeling of drifting and just existing in the world as her character does. It’s a comfort when you realize that your feelings are shared by others. Sadly, I don’t finish the movie because I pass out at 9. Sleepily brush my teeth, cleanse my face with an aloe-based cleanser from a local PDX shop, moisturize with Everyone lavender face lotion, and pass out.
Daily Total: $62.45
6 a.m. — I slept in! I oil pull with coconut oil for 20 minutes while reading. I usually do this every morning, but I’ve weirdly been inconsistent with my routine as I’m getting anxious about running out of coconut oil (?!?). Drink a large glass of water and make a pour-over and settle in for some more reading.
8 a.m. — I FaceTime with my best friend in Portland. Today’s her birthday! Sadly, she tells me her boyfriend got laid off on Friday. They had a secondary offer on a house accepted right after which, of course, they had to let go of. My heart goes out to them. I tell her I love her and we sign off.
9 a.m. — I have to do a bit of work. The news of my friend’s boyfriend is settling in and a melancholy air settles over my mood. It’s made worse by my boyfriend coming out and complaining that I’m working. I often have to work on weekends and tell him this to manage his expectations. Working so much stresses me out and it feels like he’s shaming me for doing it, making the feeling that much worse. (For context, he works as a programmer 30 hours/week, spread over four days and still makes ~$120K). I cry for a while and feel a lot of things.
10:30 a.m. — We make Æbleskivers together for breakfast (my boyfriend is Danish, so we make this more often than pancakes). There’s nothing like whipping egg whites to stiff peaks to make me feel better (paired with a long, thoughtful conversation where I express my feelings and he reciprocates with understanding and apologies). We also decide that because we’ll be spending a lot more time together at home for the foreseeable future, communication needs to be prioritized.
12 p.m. — We bike over to a bike shop that we bought a wall mounting rack from. We paid in advance over the phone and they left it hidden behind the shop. I Venmo my boyfriend my percentage of the cost (all of our shared expenses we pay by the ratio of our salaries — I pay 35%). $10.50
1 p.m. — I get back to garden for an hour before jumping on a Zoom call with my dad’s side of the family. We just figured out that my aunt has cancer, so we’re all trying to connect as a family more than usual.
3:30 p.m. — Eat a slice of the banana bread I made with Ground Up PDX nut butter (look up the company — they’re doing amazing things for women facing adversity in the Portland area).
4 p.m. — A little foreplay turns into something sexier. Intimacy is incredibly challenging for me — I was diagnosed with Vulvodynia a few months ago and the thought of having him inside of me honestly terrifies me. Not only have I never been able to use tampons, but we rarely have penetrative sex as a result. It feels terrible, as a woman, to not be able to tap into my sexuality and I feel a lot of shame around it.
5 p.m. — I haven’t been much farther than biking around NE Portland for 10 days, so we take a drive around the east side of the city just to make sure it’s all still there. It’s sad seeing so many of our favorite businesses shuttered and eerie seeing only a few people out.
6:30 p.m. — Dinner is a bowl with leftover sweet potatoes, saffron rice, baba ghanoush we made Friday night, kimchi, and spinach sautéed in coconut oil. Bowls are our solution for getting through our leftovers. We finish Lost in Translation while we eat.
7:30 p.m. — Make my to-do list and check my calendar for tomorrow. I floss, brush my teeth, cleanse my face, then make a mask with coconut oil, turmeric, and lemon juice. I know truly nothing about taking care of my skin, so I have no idea if this is the right order of products or not. I rarely break out, but with the stress of work recently and the complete shift in my routine, I have a lot going on with my face that I want to address. I read, take off my mask, do a 10-minute breathwork exercise, and fall asleep.
Daily Total: $10.50
6 a.m. — Sleeping in again! I know it sounds weird, but two days in a row of sleeping until 6 is major for me. I drink a glass of water then do a 10-minute online workout in my living room through my company’s online platform. I usually go to four or five studio classes a week, but with everything going on, our studios have been closed for about a week. I love doing these short workouts early in the morning as a way to wake up my body.
6:30 a.m. — Breakfast is the usual All-Bran + banana + almond milk combo accompanied by the day’s Money Diary. Mid-twenties Data Scientist in New York and the whole thing is RIDICULOUS. I used to think I wanted my life to be that way — making lots of money, jet-setting everywhere, being busy and important at work — but with the coronavirus outbreak, I’ve felt a pull toward simplicity and feel incredibly grateful for everything I have in my life. The world seems to be on pause for many of us right now, and I’m reframing my anxiety as an opportunity to lean into mystery, possibility, and gratitude.
7 a.m. — Post an IG story for work and respond to DMs. I take a break after an hour to make a pour-over and finish the Type 5 chapter of my book. Wow, I feel seen and it’s shifted my idea of who I am in relation to the enneagram. Definitely a 5w4. I take a quick 15-minute walk outside before the workday truly starts.
9 a.m. — Quickly brush teeth and cleanse my face. I rarely wear makeup and the WFH situation is just supporting the cause. Today’s outfit is one of my monochromatic favorites: camel cropped wide-leg vintage pants and a cropped bell sleeve sweater from Hackwith Design House. I put in my ceramic earrings from Side Hustle Designs and settle in for a few hours of content planning, writing social copy, communicating with ambassadors, and meetings.
12 p.m. — I take a 15-minute walk before lunch while listening to NPR’s Up First podcast. I’ve been trying to limit my news consumption to these podcast episodes daily and The New York Times on Sundays. As someone with a history of anxiety and depression, I know that staying informed while also limiting my media exposure is key for my mental health.
12:30 p.m. — Lunch is a slice of banana bread with PB and cool whip. Sounds weird, yes, but tastes exactly like a Fluffernutter and the best parts of my New England childhood.
1 p.m. — Jump into a meeting with the marketing and creative teams to review the week’s deliverables. Spend the rest of the afternoon working on two blog posts and copy for social assets.
3:40 p.m. — Sneak in a quick 15-minute walk before a social review meeting with my boss at 4. Since beginning to work entirely from home last week, I’ve learned that I can very easily get sucked into hours of work without taking a break or standing up, so I’ve started building in these quick movement breaks around meetings.
5 p.m. — Finish the meeting with my boss, send out a feed post and story, get our DMs down to zero. Respond to a few emails and sign off by 6. Last week, I ended most workdays at 9:30. I’ve set the intention of better protecting my time and end the evening with a detailed to-do list of what needs to be addressed and completed the next day.
6 p.m. — Take a 30-minute walk and call my mom. She lives in New England, so it’s late for her, but she lives alone so I try to call her more often now that she’s working from home as well. I get a lot of anxiety about both of my parents’ wellbeing. It sounds like it snowed there today though (which my mom loves), and she had a long, good phone call with a friend. I end the call happy and relieved.
7 p.m. — I roast more sweet potatoes and broccoli to go with leftover salmon cakes for dinner. Pour myself a glass of pinot noir and read through my new issues of Martha Stewart, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens while the veggies roast. I love magazines — every time I open one I feel like my life will change from all the inspiration and potential they hold. Getting them every month feels like a gift from my past self.
8 p.m. — After dinner, I read a really moving article about a man in a nursing home. I brush my teeth and cry myself to sleep.
Daily Total: $0
6 a.m. — 6 again! Sleep has been a dream so far this week. I do a quick 10-minute workout and settle in for my usual All-Bran, banana, and almond milk while reading this week’s New Yorker. After breakfast, I see a feed post go out at 7 and post to our stories, responding to DMs and email for another hour.
8 a.m. — I get dressed, putting on a mid-length, long-sleeved Christy Dawn floral patterned dress with tights and beaded earrings. I tie my hair up in a pale pink silk scarf that I got from a market last summer. I take my usual morning 15-minute walk around my neighborhood while getting caught up on Up First.
9 a.m. — I get onto an all-company Zoom call. We’re told that everyone who is not on the call has been let go, while all of us who are on the call (the rest of the company), are being furloughed. I feel a mixture of initial shock, confusion, and fear. While I had been hearing about layoffs at other companies, somehow I didn’t expect this. I talk to my boyfriend for a while and reflect after the meeting. After having worked crazy hours the past couple of weeks, I have no idea how I’ll get done everything I need to with my new hours. I have a hard time collecting my thoughts and cry for a while, though I can’t exactly identify the specifics of why I’m crying (For myself? For the other employees who have been let go? For the general state of things?).
12 p.m. — Lunch again is banana bread, peanut butter, and whipped cream. I text a few friends in Portland about what happened. They share kind words and are incredibly supportive, but I still don’t feel better.
2 p.m. — Eat an oatmeal raisin cookie that I made over the weekend. I work on social copy and design a few graphics in Photoshop that we’ll be sharing later in the week. I jump into a few meetings, but otherwise don’t feel incredibly productive or connected to anything that I’m doing.
5 p.m. — We order pizza from Red Sauce (the BEST in Portland) to pick up. We get a large pizza split halfway between ricotta with caramelized onions and hot honey and a basil with Canadian bacon and mozzarella. We pour ourselves each a glass of rosé and eat on the couch while watching Ernest and Celestine. I love French children’s animated movies and this one does not disappoint. It’s sweet without being saccharine, and there’s something I love about movies exploring love in the context of friendship. Romance isn’t the only possible expression of love.
7:30 p.m. — Brush teeth, floss, cleanse face. Text a few coworkers who are also close friends and remind ourselves that whatever happens, we’ll get through this together. I’m so grateful to have this kind of love and support at my job.
8 p.m. — Get into bed and do some drawing. On the positive side of things, working less will give me more time for my hobbies. I also like the idea of a set schedule — knowing when I’ll start and when I can end. It makes it easier to organize my life and compartmentalize between work and relaxation. I’ll file always these thoughts for the future and remember them when I think about what I want to prioritize in my life. Asleep by 9.
Daily Total: $0
3 a.m. — Welp, so much for a consistent schedule of sleeping in until 6. I wake up anxious and worried about my job and fling myself out of bed to sit on the couch researching jobs, applying for jobs, writing cover letters, updating my resume, and also wondering if I would actually be happy at any of these jobs I’m applying for. I pause for a moment to reflect and realize that this behavior is coming from a past me — someone who tried to self-soothe by believing that she could control the situation if she was just prepared enough. Around 5, I take a deep breath and shut my computer. I want to commit to leaning into the unknown and allowing all of this to unfold as the universe wants. I can feel a big shift happening in me and I want to be as present as possible as I can for this experience.
6:30 a.m. — After getting back into bed, I wake up again to do a 15-minute yoga flow to loosen up my body. I make a pour-over and settle in on the couch with my book after lighting my candle. I journal about the experience I had this morning. After journaling, I sit down for banana bread and peanut butter (finished the All-Bran yesterday).
7:30 a.m. — Post, IG story, respond to DMs/emails. Somewhere in the midst of that, I make another cup of coffee and go back to the bedroom to snuggle my boyfriend as he wakes up. I love these moments with him. I brush my teeth, cleanse my face, put on a black Everlane jumpsuit that I got from one of my favorite consignment stores in Portland and a Beyond Yoga gray duster paired with the ceramic earrings I wear most days. Also slippers, always slippers. No makeup, per usual and take my 15-minute walk with Up First.
9 a.m. — Settle in for what is beginning to feel like a typical morning of work (writing copy, curating our Instagram feed, planning out stories in our content calendar). My job has always mainly focused on content creation and curation across our various channels, but with working fewer hours, this will be the main bulk of what I do (meaning less ambassador contact + outreach and blog writing). I love writing copy, creating social assets, and finding user-generated content, but it’s sad to think that I’ll be doing less of the other parts of my job that I enjoy as well.
12 p.m. — 15-minute walk and lunch. More banana bread, peanut butter, and whipped cream. I make another cup of coffee and pull an oatmeal raisin cookie from the freezer to dip in my coffee. There’s something about this (and the fact that I’m doing it during the workday) that makes me feel incredibly cozy. I live for cozy experiences and light my candle as I settle in for work just to drive the point home.
6 p.m. — After meetings, buttoning up our last posts of the day and getting our DMs to zero, I sign off for the day. I pour myself a glass of pinot noir ASAP and put a few drops of lavender essential oil into the diffuser (because it’s never too soon to be winding down for bed). My boyfriend has a virtual game of D&D tonight with friends, so I make my favorite comfort food — lots and lots of spinach (I’m talking like ~12 cups here) sautéed in coconut oil, salt and pepper, with two soft-boiled eggs and nutritional yeast sprinkled on top. I eat dinner on the couch while watching an episode of The Hills (because what I need right now is to experience vicarious drama that has never and will never matter). I knit for about 30 minutes after.
7 p.m. — I have another FaceTime date with my best friend. We talk a bit about the furlough and how I’m feeling afterward. I’m incredibly grateful for this friendship — we’ve established a really healthy balance between sharing and listening that allows both of us to feel heard and valued. I end the call beaming and thankful for the beautiful people I have in my life.
8 p.m. — Cleanse and moisturize my face, brush and floss teeth, and finish my book in bed. I’m asleep by 8:45.
Daily Total: $0
6 a.m. — Slept in! I know I mentioned it before, but this has been a great week sleep-wise. Oftentimes, I’ll wake up several times throughout the night and my wake-up time can range from anywhere between 3 and 6. I’m grateful to be able to enjoy a little more shut-eye than usual.
6:15 a.m. — I do a quick, 10-minute workout, and respond to DMs. As much as I’m seeing people complaining about others sharing their workouts at home during this time, I’m grateful for the sense community it’s generating among many of our clients. A lot of these people are studio clients, so I know it’s been an adjustment for them to work out from home. I’m happy that they feel seen and connected. Breakfast is a slice of banana bread and peanut butter with a pour-over while I start my new book, Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity. I found this book in our street’s lending library a month ago and have been looking forward to starting it. Tell me more about why all I want to do is knit, bake, and garden, please.
7:30 a.m. — I take my 15-minute walk around the neighborhood with Up First. Trump’s response to this crisis hasn’t been unexpected but is nonetheless shocking. Sending out the message that we can get people to pack into churches for Easter Sunday (????) is truly irresponsible.
8 a.m. — Morning routine — brush and floss teeth, cleanse, and moisturize. Today’s outfit is an olive green jumpsuit from Everlane, my Beyond Yoga duster, and (once again) slippers. I run a brush through my hair, tie it up with a scarf, and put in my ceramic earrings. At least I’ll look good on Zoom.
8:30 a.m. — Dive into the day. Emails, content planning, and finishing some copyediting on a blog post before sending it live. Again, it feels weird to attempt to proceed with work as usual when so much is being dismantled and turned upside down in the world around me. In times like this, I feel like the work I do is irrelevant and not contributing much to society (and as a result, I feel guilty for not doing more for the good of people around me). But then I remind myself that taking care of your physical and mental health is SUPER IMPORTANT and I’m grateful to empower people to connect with themselves in this way through my work. At some point during the morning, I take a break to make myself a golden milk latte (a mix of turmeric, cinnamon, and cardamom) topped with honey. This always makes me feel cozy and better.
12 p.m. — I take a break to go on another walk, listening to the MindBodyGreen podcast.
12:20 p.m. — Lunch is a sweet potato miso soup I defrost from the freezer and a slice of naan (also from the freezer). We freeze a lot of our food, usually dividing it in half and storing a bit in the freezer. We haven’t gone grocery shopping in two weeks and this has helped us be able to continue to eat fresh food. Honestly, though, I’m getting a bit nervous to go to the grocery store, both because that’s the only place we’ll go if we go out and because I’m nervous to spend money right now. I’ll see how long I can hold out. Dessert is an oatmeal raisin cookie.
1 p.m. — I’m feeling really unfocused, so I light a candle and take a break to do a 10-minute breathwork exercise. I’m grateful that my company provides resources like this for both its clients and employees. I’ve built up a regular breathwork practice over the course of a year and have found it immensely helpful in reducing my anxiety.
5 p.m. — Email to zero. DMs to zero. Engage a bit as our last scheduled post of the day sends out at 4:45. My boyfriend is doing a virtual happy hour with his coworkers tonight and I have a phone call date with my grandpa, so I set out for a long walk to chat with him. We end up talking for over an hour. He’s my last living grandparent and our relationship has improved tremendously over the past few years. Talking to him never fails to lift my mood.
6:30 p.m. — I text my mom to tell her how much I love her dad. For dinner, I make congee for my boyfriend and me (because comfort food is what I need right now). I top our bowls with soft-boiled eggs and sautéed mushrooms. We each have a glass of rosé to go with it and eat out on the back porch to watch the sunset.
7:30 p.m. — The cookbooks I got for my mom and my sister arrived today! I know I won’t be going to the post office anytime soon, so I pour another glass of wine and plop on the couch to flip through both of them.
8 p.m. — I mix up the dough for Bon Appétit’s No-Knead Focaccia. I’m going to let it rise overnight and bake it tomorrow. Nighttime routine (which now I’m realizing is just spending three minutes on my teeth and 30 seconds on my face), put on some pajamas, and get into bed with my book. It’s a rare occurrence that I’m able to read for more than 10 minutes in bed without passing out, and that’s exactly what I do tonight.
Daily Total: $0
6 a.m. — 6 again! This diary is wrapping up well. Apologies for the likely insufferable enthusiasm for waking up at this time, but I’ve justified the excitement already. I do a 10-minute workout, then pull out the focaccia dough to shape in the pan, cover, and let rise for another four hours.
6:30 a.m. — Breakfast is two slices of Dave’s Killer Bread with a little butter and raspberry preserves on top. I make a pour-over, put lavender essential oil in the diffuser and flip through an old Martha Stewart magazine. I jump on our Instagram, do the usual, and then head out for a walk around 7:15. This morning’s walk is a little longer because it’s Friday and I want to treat myself to leisure.
8 a.m. — Morning routine and get dressed. Today’s outfit is black linen Everlane pants and a dark gray J. Crew ballet sweater. I clip my hair into a bun and put on my earrings. I’m feeling fancy today, so after cleansing and moisturizing my face, I put on Rose Glow serum from Living Libations. Slippers, forever and always. I read my book a little more before starting the workday.
9 a.m. — Jump into a meeting with the marketing team to review how we’ll be proceeding with work and our projects list given everyone’s shifting schedule. I know some things will need to be given greater priority, but there’s still an anxious voice in my mind wondering how I’m going to get everything done with reduced hours.
11 a.m. — I take a break from work to put the bread in the oven. I dimple the dough and pour over some olive oil and Maldon sea salt. 30 minutes later, the lovely scent of freshly-baked bread is wafting through the air and signals from my stomach and nose communicate that it’s time for lunch. I write a little more copy and then take a break.
12 p.m. — I pulled a pea, pesto, and spinach soup from the freezer last night to defrost, so lunch is a bowl of that with a soft-boiled egg and nutritional yeast sprinkled on top with my focaccia. I also pour myself a small glass of pinot noir to have with lunch because taking a pause, leaning into the beauty of food and reaping pleasure when and where I can are key components of my contentment. Dessert is a square of Tony’s Chocolonely dark almond sea salt.
1 p.m. — Back to work. This afternoon feels like a rush to wrap up a few things whose deadlines aren’t for a bit but I know won’t be given precedence in the upcoming weeks. I text a bit with a coworker to see how she’s doing, and we chat a bit about the changes and how it feels weird for all of this to happen without any of us having face-to-face contact for a couple of weeks. Times are strange.
5 p.m. — I wrap up the day and head outside for 30 minutes of weeding. My boyfriend and I decide to take a long bike ride after and reflect upon the week as we’re riding. There’s a lot to be figured out, but he reminds me that we don’t have to do it right now. I definitely want more bike rides, more baking, and more reading. I will also never take the opportunity to get together with friends and loved ones for granted.
6:30 p.m. — We get back home, and I roast some sweet potatoes to go with another batch of veggie burgers I froze last week (a mix of quinoa, red beans, and boiled sweet potatoes). I top our burgers with a soft-boiled egg and kimchi and we eat on the couch while watching Brother Bear (my boyfriend just got a free trial of Disney+, we’ll see where this goes).
8 p.m. — We take a break from the movie to make brownies and eat them immediately after they come out of the oven (might have burned my tongue, but worth it). I always slightly underbake my brownies because gooey is 10000x better than crispy. I’m grateful to end the week on such a cozy note and I’m looking forward to another restful weekend.
Daily Total: $0
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.
Do you have a Money Diary you’d like to share? Submit it with us here.
Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here: r29.co/mdfaqs
Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?