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How a Chicago Food Scientist Supports Her Husband on a $65K Salary

One of the hardest things in the world to do is keep track of every single dollar you earn. That’s why we’re asking real women around the country to spill the details of their spending habits over the course of a month. This time, we followed a 26-year-old food scientist (cool job alert) who works in the Chicago area and supports her husband full-time while he's getting his MBA. Here, a look at how she spends her hard-earned cash.

Her Annual Salary: $65,000
Her Average Monthly Take-Home Pay: $3,200 (after HSA and 401(k) deductions)
His Annual Salary: $0

$1,735. We rent a one-bedroom apartment.

$25. This covers electricity. All of our other utilities are actually included in the rent.

Home Decor
$15. I don’t buy something every month, but I recently framed some art and bought a candle. I’m also a sucker for Anthropologie plates, but I always wait until they’re on sale.

$100. This covers the cost of an unlimited train and bus pass.

$0. We don’t have student loans yet.

$0. Right now, since we live off my salary, we can’t afford to put any money aside. Before school, we lived off my husband’s salary, and I put all of mine into savings.

Hair Care
$15. I get a $60 haircut once every four months.

$750. I set aside 15 percent of my paycheck. I’m a big believer in putting a lot into my 401(k) early on in my career so we can have a comfortable retirement.

$300 to $350. I love to cook! I usually don’t limit myself too much in this area because food is my passion—and career.

$25. I made it a goal this year to limit my spending on clothing. I’ve only spent $100 so far this year and that was for new bras and work shirts.

$40. I usually spend about $500 a year on gifts (Christmas, birthdays, etc.) so that averages out to about $40 a month.

$10. Sometimes my husband will grab a bagel on campus or I’ll get something from a bakery around town, but that’s it.

Date Night
$200. I love to explore restaurants around Chicago, but we try and limit this part of our budget right now and eat out only once a week.

Going Out with Friends
$40. I’ll go out for lunch once a month with coworkers and meet up with friends one or two times a month for drinks or lunch.

$400. This fluctuates, but it’s probably where I spend most of my money after food. I love taking trips, but try and keep it under $5,000 for the year.

Charitable Giving
It varies. We donate mostly to our church.

Cell Phone
$30. My husband is still on his parents’ plan, which helps a lot.

$8. This covers the cost of our Hulu account. We use our family’s Netflix password, and they use our Hulu password.

Wild-Card Splurge
$650 each. My guilty pleasure is travel, so we decided to take a trip to Europe at the end of the summer and just booked flights. Considering it’s a round-trip flight, the cost actually wasn’t too bad.

RELATED: How a Boston Woman Making $65K Really Lives

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