#4: a behavioral intervention specialist and graduate student who makes $480 per week. This week, she spends some of her money on a tattoo update.
Occupation: Behavioral Intervention Specialist/Graduate Student
Industry: Mental Health
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Salary: $480/week for the school year. I also babysit whenever I can and do Instacart shifts. I switched careers about a year ago and started making considerably less money. I recently lost my most recent job when they decided they didn't want someone who had to leave early for class twice a week — even though they hired me knowing that! I'm very lucky that my parents help me out a lot while I'm school and am making so little.
Housing: $1,397.96. I pay a $2.96 stabilization fee each month so my landlord can't raise my rent.
Loan Payments: $0. My undergrad loans are in deferment since I'm in grad school.
Private Loan: $80/month. I took it out for graduate school.
All Other Monthly Expenses:
Health Insurance: $221.89
Dog Walker: $400
Utilities: $200 for electricity, hot water, and heat
Cable & Internet: $190 (I'd love to part with cable, but I can't do it)
Phone, Car & Gas: Parents pay
Car & Renters Insurance: $170
6:30 a.m. — I had so much trouble waking up this morning but I finally get out of bed and walk my dog. I didn't leave myself a lot of time to get ready but I quickly feed my dog, make some toast and run out of the door. Today is the last day of training for my new job. Since I've been unemployed for the last two months, I've had so much trouble getting up this week. I've been buying coffee on my way to work each morning — a habit I need to get away from — but I still stop and get a large, iced hazelnut coffee from Coffee Bean. $3.45
1:30 p.m. — Training is over much earlier than I thought! Today, we had crisis prevention training and basically learned what to do if a kid bites, chokes, grabs, or pulls our hair... Not sure if this job is for me! I eat lunch in my car before my long commute home, which I break with a stop for a Thai tea boba. Since I get out so early, I decide to stop at the bank to try and apply for a personal graduate school loan. Apparently, no banks do that anymore, but Wells Fargo tells me to do it over the phone, which I do when I get home. I'm going to be paying back loans forever. $5.40
9:30 p.m. — I take a long nap when I get home. I wake up and walk and feed my dog before making some health insurance payments. It's getting late and I start to get hungry so I make some pasta with tomatoes, garbanzo beans, garlic, broccoli, and spinach! I eat while re-watching some episodes of You're the Worst season 3. After doing a clay mask and taking my dog out for her last walk of the night, I finally get in bed.
Daily Total: $8.85
7:45 a.m. — My dog wakes me up earlier than I wanted to get up this morning. I walk her and relax on the couch for a while. I have stomach issues and am not feeling well today.
10 a.m. — Maybe I'm hungry? I make a smoothie with spinach, kale, frozen mango, bananas, matcha, ginger, almond butter, almond milk, and oatmeal. I feel better for a while but then my stomach starts bothering me again. Since training is over, I have the day free. I get back in bed and nap on and off for most of the afternoon.
3:30 p.m. — I wake up feeling a little better. I have a tattoo appointment to update a tattoo I got 10 years ago that I really don't love. My brother meets me and sits with me during the appointment. It ends up looking so much better! I already put $100 down two weeks ago, so I only owe $20 more plus $40 tip. After my appointment, I pick up a steak salad from Tender Greens (which doesn't end up being that great), and then walk home to pick up my dog and go to my babysitting job. $78
Daily Total: $78
7:45 a.m. — Up early! I have a therapy appointment this morning, so after walking my dog, I make a smoothie and toast before I head out. I recently started therapy again about a month ago. Since I'm in school for clinical psychology, these appointments are even more important to me. After my appointment, I drop off clothes at the dry cleaners and then go home to walk my dog. $175
10:15 a.m. — I'm meeting a friend from work training for a hike and another friend is coming with me. I stop at Coffee Bean to pick up a hazelnut iced coffee for me and an iced tea for him, before picking him up for our drive. My friend from training isn't there when we arrive. When I text her, I realize I've only just woken her up. My other friend and I decide to get started and she'll meet up with us later. It's a really nice hike in Malibu that would lead to a waterfall if we weren't in a drought. We run into my training friend on our way back out, and she joins us for lunch. We go to a seafood place across from the beach and my hiking pal and I split grilled mahi-mahi and fried squid. So good! $24.02
4:15 p.m. — Back home from Malibu. I take my dog out and promptly fall asleep for a couple of hours. After, I shower and decide to make dinner with what I have at home. I start out with a beer while finding something to watch. Why is it so hard to find something? I'm hungry but don't want to spend money on food, so I snack on what I have: cantaloupe with prosciutto, baby carrots, a nectarine, a piece of toast, and pumpkin seeds. Finally settle on watching The Incredible Jessica James on Netflix.
Daily Total: $199.02
7:45 a.m. — Up early! I really had to pee, but I stayed in bed as long as I could before I had to get up. I take my dog out and chill on the couch while watching Girl, Interrupted and having my usual smoothie.
1:30 p.m. — I head to my parents' house with my dog to hang out for the day. My mom and I pick up tacos for lunch before heading to the mall with my brother. I make a return at Zara and after the mall, we drop off my brother and run more errands. First, we stop at Target where I get body wash, Band-Aids, makeup remover wipes, and moisturizer ($44.70). We then head to a farm stand where my mom buys tomatoes and corn, and then we go to a grocery store where she gets a couple more things. After a stop at OSH, where I hope to find a gold, over-the-door hook, but am unsuccessful. We make a quick stop at the drive-through car wash ($5) since my car is disgusting, and then finally go to the local Chinese grocery store, where I load up on several weeks' worth of sheet masks ($49.34). $99.04
8 p.m. — My mom makes a delicious dinner of skirt steak with shishito pepper salsa, sliced tomatoes, and grilled corn; it's so good! We all eat and drink wine, and then we watch Difficult People on Hulu before the pup and I head home for Sleepytime Tea and House Hunters.
Daily Total: $99.04
8:30 a.m. — I'm up later than I planned but it's my last day of unemployment so this is my last chance to do so. After the usual dog walk and feeding session, I watch last night's episode of Claws while I have my usual smoothie and toast.
10:45 a.m. — It's pretty nice outside today, so I take my dog with me on a hike and listen to the latest episode of We're No Doctors. I'm a big fan of Feral Audio podcasts. We get back tired and sweaty, and I take a quick bath so I'm not too disgusting. I plan on showering and washing my hair tonight. For lunch, I make tuna with craisins and kale on saltine crackers.
4 p.m. — One of my best friends had a baby today and she invites me to come visit! On my way, I stop for lavender almond milk boba and drop off a package at the UPS store. The baby is adorable and both she and my friend are doing great. I even get to hold her. She's so, so tiny! My first act as aunt was successful. $6.45
6:30 p.m. — On my way home from the hospital, I stop at two grocery stores to get everything I need for the week. At the first store, I get scallops, radicchio, and avocado ($34.38). At Trader Joe's, I get peaches, kale, spinach, bananas, potatoes, endive, ginger, ground turkey, bread, couscous, basil, snap peas, jam, bubbly water, frozen shrimp, and a couple of other things ($77.83). Once I get home and chill for a bit with my dog, I get to making dinner and prepping some food. For dinner, I make seared scallops over a radicchio, endive, olive and snap pea salad with red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing. I also freeze all the bananas for smoothies and boil eggs for breakfast. I eat while watching last night's Game of Thrones. $112.21
9 p.m. — After cleaning up the kitchen and getting my lunch ready for tomorrow (leftover scallops and radicchio salad), I shower, put on a face mask, and get into bed for what I hope will be a good night's sleep.
Daily Total: $118.66
6:15 a.m. — It's my first day of work! I showered last night, so all I have to do this morning is fix my hair, put on makeup, finish dog duty, and grab something to eat. After looking up how to get to the elementary school I'm working at, I realize I gave myself way more time than needed. Now that I have extra time, I stop at Coffee Bean for a hazelnut iced coffee. This is a habit I really need to break! $3.45
1:40 p.m. — My first day is done. Since it was the first day of school, the kids get to leave early, which means I do too! It went pretty well today but I think it's going to be a really tough job and school year. I hired a dog walker for today; since I don't have to rush home, I stop by my parents' house to tell my mom about my day.
4 p.m. — I stopped by Staples on my home to get supplies to use with my student, but they don't have what I need. I leave and end up ordering the stuff I need for school, socks, a large water bottle, two books on pre-order by authors I love, and an over-the-door hook on Amazon. I have a credit card with them and it's dangerous. I lay on the couch with my dog, prep dinner for tonight (raw tomato sauce with pasta), apply for a few part-time jobs, and then take the dog for a long walk. $94
9:30 p.m. — My dinner was delicious! I used some of the tomatoes my mom bought at the farm stand the other day and rough chopped them with garlic, basil, olive oil, salt, and red chili flakes. I refrigerated that for a couple of hours and then put pasta over it. I end the night by indulging my inner 14-year-old girl and watching The Fosters and The Bold Type on Freeform with bedtime tea and a shower between shows. I'm ready for day two of my job.
Daily Total: $97.45
6:15 a.m. — Up nice and early again! I do my morning routine and then take my dog for a walk and feed her. Luckily, I've been planning my outfits in my head for the week, so getting dressed doesn't take too long. I make a homemade matcha latte with water, almond milk, matcha, and honey. It's pretty good. I eat a hard-boiled egg at home and bring half of a cinnamon raisin roll and grapes with me in the car.
1 p.m. — Second day of work is over and I feel like I've already been working with my student for about five months. Working with a kid who has autism is really challenging. I am starving, so I head home to eat leftover pasta with raw tomato sauce, before napping on the couch with my dog for a while.
5:30 p.m. — I go back and forth for a while before ultimately deciding to go to a spin class. I bought a package of classes a couple of weeks ago, so I don't have to pay anything today. It was really hard — and I honestly feel like after four months of going to spin classes, it's getting harder! There is a Trader Joe's in the same plaza and I need an onion for my dinner, so I stop to get one. I end up also leaving with agave, cold brew concentrate, and coconut creamer. $15.55
8 p.m. — I make turkey meatballs with tomato sauce over greens. It's one of my usual dinners and is so, so good. After dinner, I catch up on a few things on my computer before walking my dog and showering. I get in bed on the early side to try and fall asleep early, too.
Daily Total: $15.55