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January 12, 2010

What It Costs to Be Me: Women's Average Salaries

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MAURA PACIOTTI, 28, EAGLEVILLE, PENNSYLVANIA
Occupation:
Sales exec for a software firm
Annual income: $65,000, plus commissions
Average income for a woman in the U.S.: $34,996

Home sweet home: "I live in the Philadelphia suburbs, in an absolutely gorgeous, brand-new loft apartment that overlooks the Schuylkill River. I pay $1465 per month for it, which is about $400 more than my last place. It's expensive, but it has a gym and a pool and is in a ritzy area."

Bills, bills, bills: "I lease a Mazda 6, which costs me $323 a month, plus another $60 a month for car insurance. Cable, utilities, and my cell phone cost me another $400 per month. I always pay these bills before they're due. Every single penny I spend is logged in an Excel spreadsheet."

Only in America: "My parents helped me out during my freshman year of college, but after that, I was basically on my own. My student loans set me back $130 a month — which I'll likely be paying over the next 30 years."

Meal plan: "I work from home two days a week, so I do a lot of cooking. Every three weeks or so, I'll spend about $250 on groceries. Sounds like a lot, but I prepare my own lunches and dinners. Who wants to go out and spend $11 on a salad, right?"

The weekender: "On Saturdays, I'll always try to do some yoga or Pilates, maybe get in a load of laundry. Saturday nights are all about bar-hopping — I call it My Night to Shine. I can easily blow $150 on cover charges and picking up a round of drinks for friends."

Jeans Index: "The most expensive jeans I've ever purchased were from William Rast for $189."

Recessionomics: "I never used to look at the price tag on anything — if I wanted it, I'd just buy it. But over the last year, the recession has taken a toll on my commissions. I used to get checks for $14,000 — now they're in the hundreds. I'm cutting back on everything and even using coupons for the first time in my life. I never thought I would be that girl, but now I am."

Checks and balances: "I always pay off my credit card balances and put a chunk of money into my savings. But some things I'll never skimp on, like my hair. Every six weeks, I have a standing appointment at La Vita Bella for a cut and highlights for $210, including tips. I'd sooner starve for a month than skip a hair appointment."


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