The Purse Diaries

What women spend.

Tiffany Scott, 26, New York

  • Job: Attorney
  • Salary: $160,000
  • Purchase you'll never admit the true price of: My beauty products. I'm a complete sucker for the benefits the packaging promises.
  • Do you make more than your man? Yes, currently. He loves being taken out, so my salary doesn't bother him at all.
  • Debt? Law-school loans. About $100,000.
  • Most you've spent on jeans: Over $200, but it nearly killed me.

Shang Chen, 23, Boston

  • Job: Consultant
  • Salary: $60,000+
  • Must-have splurge: High-quality lenses for my camera, $400 each.
  • Do you make more than your man? Yes, but he's a grad student.
  • How you really spent your stimulus check: On a Wii gaming system.
  • Most you've spent on jeans: $50.

Aminah Bhatti, 25, Chicago

  • Job: Nonprofit project manager
  • Salary: $35,000
  • Purchase you'll never admit the true price of: An all-season suit.
  • How you really spent your stimulus check: Car repairs, $593.
  • Debt? $600 in credit cards, $64,000 in grad-school loans.
  • Most you've spent on jeans: So far, $65. If money were no object, I still couldn't justify more than $150. I can't believe I just said that. $150?!

Lydia A. Jenkins, 38, San Francisco

  • Job: Software consultant
  • Salary: $95 - $125/hour
  • Purchase you'll never admit the true price of: My Bottega Veneta bag.
  • Must-have splurge? Biweekly mani-pedis. I will hustle up cash to pay for those.
  • Do you make more than your man? I've always made more than my boyfriends, but I've never discussed actual income or allowed them to see my paychecks.
  • Most you've spent on jeans: $175 on a pair of 7's I haven't worn yet.

Amanda B., 28, Humble, TX

  • Job: High-school English teacher
  • Salary: $42,500
  • Purchase you'll never admit the true price of: My monthly grocery bill. I spend way too much "trying out" new foods that I never eat.
  • How you really spent your stimulus check: On a laptop - it's hard at work gathering dust on my dining-room table.
  • Most expensive recent purchase: LASIK! It cost $3400. One of the best decisions I have ever made, besides college.
  • Most you've spent on jeans: No more than $100.

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