THE WORKING WOMAN
Location: Midsized east coast city
Occupation: Director of fundraising at a nonprofit
My story: I was born in the U.S., but lived internationally. I got my PhD in the humanities, but didn’t get a full tenure-track job, so I pivoted to the nonprofit world. I’m extremely lucky to have help with a down payment for my house. I feel extremely lucky in many ways, but extremely vulnerable in other ways. Because I was abroad and also did a PhD, I have very little social security that I’ll be able to draw upon.
When I started full time at the nonprofit, I felt like I was rich—I was going to buy diamonds and a pony. Instead, I can barely keep afloat. I put around $15,000 of my salary in my 401(k) pretax (I get an 8% match). I have to pay $600 a month for student debt. My mortgage is $1,815. My utilities have gone from $150 to about $210 a month, and internet is $85. I try to limit myself to $100 a week for groceries and household supplies—it’s now $125. I have three pets and they all have illnesses, which gets expensive. I spend $100 a month on medications for them, and doggie day care is my second biggest expense after my mortgage.
That last line there. I can barely keep afloat even though I’ve also just said that I’m paying more than $600 a month for doggie day care?
These tossers don’t have a clue, do they? She’s spending more a month on Rover not being bored than 700 million people out there have as a yearly income. She can barely keep afloat.
With inflation, doggie day care has gone up from $750 for a 20-day pass to $1050.
Dear God. Also, WTF is doggie day care? Don’t people have yards any more?
Maybe I should drop my 401(k), but I’m almost 40 and I don’t have much in the way of retirement. If you’d told me as a PhD student that I’d be earning this much and barely making it, I would have said, “Give me the woman’s spreadsheet, she’s gotta be doing something wrong!” I read budgeting tips and I feel like I’m doing something wrong, but I don’t go out to eat, I don’t even really go out. Am I not supposed to have pets?
It just gets better and better, doesn’t it?