Welcome to Money Diaries , where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.
Today: a 25-year-old woman who is currently getting unemployment benefits. She spends some of her money this week on a slush from Sonic, and a trip to see the Cubs play the Diamondbacks.
Occupation: Unemployed Industry: Higher Education Age: 25 Location: Rancho Cucamonga, CA Salary: $9,325 Unemployment Benefits Paycheck (Weekly): $373
Monthly Expenses Housing: None. I've been living with a sibling to save money. Loan Payments: $179.04
All Other Monthly Expenses Car Insurance: $100 Food: My sibling graciously lets me eat the food in the house, so unless I eat out, I don't pay for groceries. Cell Phone: $100 Netflix: None — I use my sibling's account. Credit Card: $148, varies month to month
7:30 a.m. — I recently informally complained that my work environment was hostile. A week later, I was let go for "lack of fit," after a year on the job. Cue critics who think this millennial should have kept her mouth shut — but I regret nothing. Anyway, I didn't get any unemployment funds for the first week after being let go because there was a waiting period. Today, I receive my first payment for the week, and I have to apply for jobs each week to continue to receive the UI benefits. As far as I can tell, there is no required number of applications to complete, so I have decided to apply for a minimum of 10 jobs a day to fulfill the requirement. I make my monthly student loan payment and make a pot of coffee.
10:45 a.m. — I had an IUD inserted a couple of months ago; I have an appointment to get it checked and make sure that all is well. I need to do that before the insurance from my former job runs out in about a week. I've been having pain for a few months, so it'll be good to discuss that with the doc today. The appointment has a copay. I love eating out and previously went on many trips to Trader Joe's during the work week, but after the appointment, I fight every urge I have to stop for food. I make it all the way home without stopping. Yay me? $15 12 p.m. — At home, I make an underwhelming frozen burrito and immediately start working on applications. While I apply for jobs, I do a Garnier Moisture Bomb sheet mask and a deep conditioning hair mask. I haven't done either in ages, and I got them free after making a previous Ulta purchase. I feeling very refreshed after. 5:30 p.m. — I get an email saying that I was not selected for a position I've been interviewing for. I applied for it before I was let go, and I made it to the final round and reference checks. I cry for a while and have a mini-panic attack that my references aren't trustworthy. I wonder if I need to reconsider who I put on that list, and I feel disappointed that this whole unemployment thing will last longer than I expected. I'm not naive; it's fair to be confident that you'll get the job if you make it to reference checks. I eat a Snickers ice cream bar from the freezer, and spend the rest of the evening watching Netflix. Daily Total: $15
9:45 a.m. — I have a chiropractor appointment today. I go often and pay a copay because I have sciatica and chronic neck pain from a snowboarding accident five years ago. After my chiropractor appointment ($35), I feel much better. I stop by Target to buy Tiger Balm ($6.48) for the inevitable return of the pain in my lower back. I fight the urge to buy food while I'm out, but I grab a venti iced green tea at Starbucks because I have a gift card. After, I head back home and make frozen chicken and pasta, and work on applying for jobs.
$41.48 10:45 p.m. — I've been reading a lot about passive income and e-commerce lately, so on a whim, I start a Shopify account and get to work on a drop-shipping site. It's so fun and easy, and the next thing I know, it's super late and I've got a whole site — a pretty adorable one, I might add — with about 100 items available for purchase. However, I can't go live with any of it unless I pay for Shopify. I decide to do it because, well, why not? The beauty of drop-shipping is that there isn't much of an upfront cost. There's an upfront time investment — but boy, do I have a lot of free time these days. Since I've made it this far, I figure I should also make an Instagram account for the site, too. $19 Daily Total: $60.48
7:25 a.m. — My boyfriend's birthday is coming up and I've been trying to think of something special to do. Since he's a huge Chicago Cubs fan, I decide to get him an early birthday present of tickets to see the Cubs play the Diamondbacks in Phoenix. Thankfully, Southwest has a ton of cheap flights right now, so I book both of our round-trip flights to Phoenix, and make reservations at the Sheraton downtown for the weekend of the game. I've been planning this for a while, so I pay for the trip from savings. I need to find out where he'll want to sit in the stadium, so I'll wait to buy tickets for the game.
$466 11:30 a.m. — The verdict is that my pain is not IUD related, so I have a follow-up appointment this morning. There's no copay for the ultrasound of my ovaries, but this a stressful appointment. My mother passed away from ovarian cancer a couple of years ago, so needless to say, I'm stressed. I talk to my doctor about the fact that my insurance is running out because I lost my job, and explain that expedited results would be fab. Because of the discussion, I remember that since I'm not 26 yet so I'm still eligible for insurance through my dad — which means I'll have insurance until November! I'm not aiming to still be unemployed come November — but this is still a HUGE relief! 2:30 p.m. — I spend the rest of the day searching and applying for jobs online. I heat up more frozen chicken and pasta from the fridge and listen to TED Talks. Daily Total: $466
6:45 a.m. — I've been feeling cooped up, so I decide to spend the day with my dad in my hometown, a small mountain town about 1.5 hours away from Rancho Cucamonga. We go to breakfast at Thelma's to catch up. He recently got a new phone, so I spend all of breakfast helping him figure it out. I'm the baby in the family and the only girl, so breakfast is on him. We have eggs, bacon, hash browns, and biscuits and gravy. Yum!
We spend a few hours running errands for him around town, and inevitably run into family friends I haven't seen since I graduated from high school. I get a million questions. Apparently, everyone expects you to be employed and super successful when they know you attended not one, but two super-prestigious universities. LOL — that's cute. 2:30 p.m. — I have a phone interview for a job today at 2:30, but I got a late start heading back down the mountain. I start to worry that I won't have any cell service for the call, so I start rushing. Luckily, I make it down just in time and end up pulling over to conduct the interview. Heaven knows I don't need a ticket! I think it goes really well — fingers crossed. 3 p.m. — A good friend of mine is pregnant and texts me to ask if I can pick up saltine crackers for her. I stop at Target on my way home ($1.88); I also buy Halo Top ice cream ($4.95) and salt and vinegar chips ($1.49). I take great care not to stray from the food section because, let's face it, we all know what happens at Target. I do, however, pop over to the Marshalls next door to browse; I'm not ready to go home just yet. I buy Ole Henriksen Moisturizer ($3.99) and wireless headphones ($8.99). $21.30 4:45 p.m. — Back at home, I purchase a newborn-sized onesie for my pregnant friend from a cute little shop online that I found on Instagram. My sibling's partner makes a pizza for dinner. I go for a walk around the neighborhood, and I later do some searching on Pinterest for things to do in Phoenix. $11.99 Daily Total: $33.29
7:30 a.m. — In the past, I always ordered a venti iced Americano on Fridays on my way to work. Today, I fight the urge to leave my house just to buy coffee, and I make it at home instead. Starbucks or not, a coffee addict still needs her fix. I drink the whole pot throughout the morning and work on job applications. I didn't complete any of them yesterday, so I have to make up for that today.
4 p.m. — My boyfriend recently moved from Colorado to L.A. for work, so now we see each other every weekend. He lives alone, meaning I usually spend weekends with him at his place. It's 110 degrees and it's happy hour at Sonic, so I grab a watermelon slush for the traffic-heavy drive ahead of me. Sonic appears to be hiring. Maybe I should apply? $3.38 6:30 p.m. — I haven't eaten anything other than salt and vinegar chips today, so I'm starving. My boyfriend and I make orange chicken and rice with ingredients he has at his place for dinner. We spend the evening discussing a camping trip with my family that's coming up in a few weeks. Daily Total: $3.38
8:30 a.m. — The boyfriend and I make egg burritos and French press coffee at his place for breakfast. We enjoy our food while watching
Fixer Upper all morning. 1:45 p.m. — My loving BF surprises me with a day-cation for our anniversary. It consists of a couple's massage and a eucalyptus mist sauna at Spa Del Ray. Both are AMAZING. After, we enjoy refreshing glasses of frosé poolside at the Ritz-Carlton Marina Del Ray. Best day ever! 6:45 p.m. — We are both too euphoric and relaxed (i.e. lazy) from the day to cook, so we grab PizzaRev for dinner and two Redbox films. Today was an expensive day for the BF, so dinner is on me. We spend the rest of our evening watching movies, drinking wine, and playing with Alexa on the Echo he ordered on Prime Day. $20.81 Daily Total: $20.81
9 a.m. — I slept like a baby last night from being so relaxed. My boyfriend and I make eggs, bacon, and French press coffee again today, and we marathon watch
Man in the High Castle
until I decide to head home. I stop for gas on the way. Lucky for me, my car is great on gas so I only have to fill up once a week during "normal" weeks.
3:30 p.m. — There's a lot of posting on Facebook about this
loan forgiveness as a result of lost paperwork
thing that's been happening. Of course, I read through the article as soon as I see it, but alas, I'm not eligible because I don't have private loans. I doubt the Fed will lose my proof of ownership paperwork any time soon. Ugh — one should be so lucky... I spend the rest of the evening binge-watching
One Tree Hill
, eating salt and vinegar chips, and making a frozen chicken and pasta dish. Apparently, I eat a lot of it.
Daily Total: $32
Money Diaries are meant to reflect individual women's experiences and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior. The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day. For more money diaries, click here. Have a money diary you'd like to share? Right now, in addition to our ongoing diaries, we're looking for potential diarists along the following themes: 1. Singletons: Whether you're currently dating, are happily solo, living it up with your best friends, or still figuring things out, we want to know how you spend without a romantic ride-or-die. Submit it to us here. 2. Back-to-School Moms: Are you a mom preparing for the back-to-school hustle? Submit your diary about all that entails here! 3. School Daze: Are you a college student? We want to hear from you. We'd love to read entries from women paying their own way, who are working full-time or part-time, have work-study programs, or simply want to share what it's like to be an undergrad today. Submit it to us here.