DMT Beauty Transformation: A Week In Tampa, FL, On A $80,000 Salary
featured Khareem Sudlow

A Week In Tampa, FL, On A $80,000 Salary

September 23, 2020BruceDayne

#DMTBeautySpot #beauty

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.

It’s fair to say, 2020 hasn’t been a normal year. Whether you’ve been stuck working from home for months, were laid off, or are an essential worker, COVID has changed the way we spend money. Whether it was a sweatpant splurge or the security deposit on a new apartment, fill out this form to tell us about your biggest pandemic purchase and how COVID has changed your relationship with money.

Today: an IT analyst who makes $80,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on an Everlane bag.

Occupation: IT Analyst
Industry: Tech
Age: 22
Location: Tampa, FL
Salary: $80,000
Net Worth: $20,000 ($30,000 in savings + 401(k) – $10,000 debt)
Debt: $10,000 (student loans)
Paycheck Amount (biweekly): $2,326
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,250 for my half of rent for a two-bedroom downtown (split with my partner)
Water: $20.84
Loans: $200
Netflix/Hulu/Amazon: partner/parents’ accounts
YouTube TV: $36.67
WiFi: $42.50
Electric: $37.03
Car Payment: $0 (car was bought in cash by parents)
Car Insurance: $140
Phone: $90

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 always knew I was going to go to college. My mom got her degree later in life and it was a requirement to have at the very least an undergraduate degree. I’m the only one in the family without a master’s and am already looking into grad programs for the future. Most of my education was paid by my parents, though I did have scholarships.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
My parents divorced when I was young, and my mom always had side hustles on top of her 9-5 corporate job. I never needed anything and some would say I was spoiled, though the second I was allowed to start working after graduating high school, I did. I was told by my parents and grandparents to spend a little, save a little.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was the summer after graduating high school, working at a local pharmacy. I thought I wanted to be a pharmacist and a friend’s mom let me shadow her and get paid for the summer! Sadly, after that job, I learned it was not for me.

Did you worry about money growing up?
I did not, I was very blessed. I may not have gotten every little thing, exactly when I wanted it, but my parents always provided so much. My mom worked two jobs at some points in my life so we could take beautiful vacations and send me and my siblings to private school comfortably. Her hard work has shaped me into the person I am today and I cannot wait to love on my own children the same way my mom loved on her children.

Do you worry about money now?
I don’t really worry about money, I feel so blessed to make the money I do at my age. I think I am more so worried about the future and how I will be able to live the lifestyle I have now with children one day. I know I won’t be having kids any time soon, but I just can’t imagine making what I do currently and having kids. I also know the more money you make, the more stressful life can become.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
The second I graduated college with a job I was basically “cut off,” haha. My mom took me shopping for work clothes and then said I was officially a big girl…. sigh. Jokes aside, I do have a safety net in case of a rainy day.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
No.

Day One

11 a.m. — I slowly open my eyes, take my eye-mask off, and stretch. The sheets are still cold as I turn around and face T. We like to sleep back to back. I put my arm around her and she just grunts at me. After some kisses and cuddles, she’s finally awake and off we go for coffee and pastries.

11:35 a.m. — T. is driving us to our favorite local spot (she always drives) and we’re in the mood for some hot chocolate. We get drinks and croissants. Ugh, the hot chocolate is watery. T. says we’re going somewhere else but doesn’t tell me where. We arrive at a cute shop but they tell us there’s no hot chocolate. Off to another shop we go. $12.18

1 p.m. — After driving around town for about an hour, we finally get good drinks. Yay! T. pays for these and then we head home.

4 p.m. — T.’s birthday is coming up so, I sneak to the bedroom and order one of her presents. I can’t wait for her to see it. $32.40

7:30 p.m. — We’re both feeling Middle Eastern for dinner, so we go to a local restaurant steps from our apartment. Shish kebabs for the win. We save half so that we have lunch for tomorrow. After dinner, we watch old House Hunters reruns (we’re old souled biddies, okay) and have sugar-free popsicles. $34.97

11 p.m. — I shower, get in bed with T., and fall asleep.

Daily Total: $79.55

Day Two

8:15 a.m. — Nope. Alarm gets rejected and T. groans back to sleep.

8:30 a.m. — Roll over and try waking T. up at the next alarm. Mondays and Fridays we go out for coffee, but Mondays are harder to get out of bed. We decide it’s best to keep the schedule and drag ourselves into sweats.

8:45 a.m. — God bless iced lattes with a little extra sweetener. $10.61

10:15 a.m. — After going through emails to start the day, T. finishes a work call and makes us breakfast. Did I mention I’m blessed? Eggs and bacon devoured, I get pinged to join a group call with my team.

1 p.m. — Lunchtime! I love that we always try to have leftovers for lunch, so shish kebabs come through again. We bake some frozen naan in the oven to have with it as our “pita” and watch some TV while talking about our days thus far.

6 p.m. — After work, we go for a grocery run. I’m the kind of person to go in and come out quickly, especially since the pandemic. But T. likes to go down every single aisle. It’s a lot, but we have fun together and buy ONLY the things we need with me keeping her on task. We split the cost 50-50. $26.55

7:15 p.m. — Dinner tonight consists of salmon with garlic butter, roasted broccoli, sweet potato, and onion. Of course, T. is the chef and I just help with the chopping. Food comes out just as the kitchen is finished being cleaned and its time to watch 90 Day FiancĂ©!!

11 p.m. — Tucked into bed after a long shower, I catch up on my blogs and websites and then quick cuddle before knocking out.

Daily Total: $37.16

Day Three

8:15 a.m. — It’s our anniversary!! We wake up to smooches and whisper words I never thought I’d say. This is my first real relationship, let alone with a woman, and we both laugh about how far we have grown in a year. T. is the first person to take care of me the way I need to be loved. I have never been happier and I want everyone to feel what we feel for each other. Okay, I’m done with the mush.

8:45 a.m. — Quickly pick up some coffee from Dunkin’ and get home to log on. $5.42

11 a.m. — Today is the first time I’m going out to eat inside of a restaurant since COVID and am NERVOUS. Being in Florida especially, I know that if it is crowded, I will be begging to just get takeout. I take a break from working to scroll Instagram for outfit advice. I haven’t worn anything except bike shorts and leggings since March.

1 p.m. — Pop leftover salmon and veggies into the microwave for a quick lunch.

6:45 p.m — Dinner is beautiful. Our first date was at an Italian restaurant so it is fitting to do that again a year later. It was reservation-only and not crowded but I looked at the door any chance I could to see if people were coming inside. I really enjoyed my love and the food. Honestly, quarantine was supposed to make us less obsessed with each other but I never get tired of being with this one. We moved in together as the quarantine was starting and so many of our friends were worried about how we would be living together. We both talk about how we are so so blessed. T. pays for dinner.

10:30 p.m — Between the wine at the restaurant and the nightcap at home it is definitely shut-eye early tonight with smiles on our faces.

Daily Total: $5.42

Day Four

10 a.m — I decide to take a sick day and sleep in. T. joins me and we stay in bed.

11:30 a.m. — We go to a bakery that we hear has GREAT reviews and o.m.g. Like the best croissants of all my life. I would have hugged the owner if we were not in a pandemic. We sit outside and finish our coffee and pick up a slice of cake to take home. $14.50

2 p.m. — We take a cat nap after all that delish food we ate then snuggle in bed as we watch TV. Best decision ever to not log in today.

5:45 p.m. — Heat up leftovers from yesterday so we can head to our favorite public tennis courts by our house. I bet Friday’s coffee that I’ll beat T. Let’s hope I am right!

8 p.m. — I won!! I’m not even competitive but I enjoy beating T. when I can. Time to shower before we watch some Food Network.

9:15 p.m. — I have some time, so I do my full nighttime skincare. I first cleanse with SkinCeuticals cleanser, then I tone with Mario Badescu, then I put on my Maya Chia antioxidant oil, then my Kiehls Midnight Recovery Concentrate, then finally finish with my Belif Aqua Bomb cream. I love that I look nice and glowy.

11:30 p.m. — I text my best friend this Vogue “Beauty Secrets” video and we talk back and forth as T. scrolls through TikTok. Few kisses and off to bed.

Daily Total: $14.50

Day Five

9 a.m. — I accidentally sleep through all of my alarms and drag myself to my desk to log in. I immediately see there’s a work emergency so I hop on a call.

5 p.m. — What a day, I am completed drained. I finally get a breather and eat some apples and grapes. I buy my mom a bag from Everlane that she said she wants for her birthday coming up and get some more masks for T. and me while I’m at it. $132.86

6:45 p.m. — Make tacos tonight to recover from the sh*t day I had. Back to loving life again, T. and I decide to get some fresh air and go play some tennis.

10:30 p.m. — We pop a bag of popcorn and pretend we’re at the movies watching the new Tom Hanks movie Greyhound… It’s not really my favorite genre of movie but T. loves seeing historical war stuff like this and I just happily munch away. How many episodes of the Housewives have I put her through? It’s all about compromise in this house.

Daily Total: $132.86

Day Six

8:45 a.m. — My dad calls me and doesn’t pick up at all that he woke me up. Gotta love him. He received the birthday package I sent him and he’s SO excited I can’t help but wake up to the sound of his laugh. I love my dad. We talk as I login to work and catch up on emails and then I have to let him go because he will go on and on until noon if I let him.

10 a.m. — It’s Friday! I almost didn’t realize it. T. walks in with coffees as she took her team call on the drive to the coffee shop. Did I mention how loved I am? She treats and we dance around our kitchen island.

2 p.m. — Late lunch consists of taco salad quickly before a Zoom meeting with my mentor. I am really trying to have other women in the tech industry teach me the ins and outs of how to get ahead and how to have a career in this field. My team is predominantly men and I really am inspired by the women in senior roles.

4:30 p.m. — I walk to get pizza crust at the grocery store, Today is pizza and red wine night! $6.79

6 p.m. — We make a date night by cooking dinner together with dimmed lights. We turn some Netlfix on and cheers to the weekend.

10 p.m. — We decide we want to take an excursion and go a few minutes away to get some late-night CBD cookies. $9.80

12 a.m. — Tucked in bed, we cuddle and have late-night convos about the future. We really are like 30 in our minds.

Daily Total: $16.59

Day Seven

10 a.m. — Love sleeping in on the weekend! I roll over to a sleeping T. and let her snore away. We’ve been trying to find reasonably priced bikes for weeks, so I do some research. I end up scrolling through overpriced bikes for a while before giving up.

10:40 a.m. — T. wakes up and we head to Target to see if there are any affordable bikes. Of course, there are not. We get the Starbucks from inside and go for a drive through our favorite neighborhood. $12.18

12 p.m. — After our drive, we head home since my mom is coming over. My mom and T. are trying to get closer and I appreciate them both making an effort. We tidy up for my mom and then hang out and learn all the new tea going on with her. There’s never a dull moment with my mom. She treats us to some wings.

5:35 p.m. — After my mom leaves, T. and I go get some energy out with a few rounds of tennis. We really are creatures of habit, if you can’t tell.

8 p.m. — Once back home, we order Chinese food and realize we haven’t gotten delivery since the pandemic started. We scurry around the apartment to find cash for the driver and mmmm and ahhh at the yummy goodness of General Tso’s chicken. Sorry, we’re those basic biddies.

11 p.m. — We watch YouTube videos and cuddle in bed while laughing at all the content we have from old searches. We eventually get sleepy and tuck in for the night.

Daily Total: $12.18

Money Diaries are meant to reflect an individual’s experience 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.

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Refinery29, Khareem Sudlow

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