A Week In Sacramento, CA, On A $55,200 Salary

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.

This week: an analyst who makes $55,200 per year and spends some of it on registration for a volleyball league.

Occupation: Analyst
Industry: Government
Age: 28
Location: Sacramento, CA
Salary: $55,200
Paycheck (Once Per Month): $2,881

Monthly Expenses
Housing Costs: $450. I live on my boyfriend's farm with him, three other people, three dogs, three cats, 120 chickens, 20 sheep, 20 rabbits, 11 geese, and some ducks.
Loan Payments: $0. I just finished paying off the last of my credit card debt!

All Other Monthly Expenses:
Car Insurance: $50
Cell Phone: $80
Gym Membership: $50

5:45 a.m. — I wake up and head into the bathroom, still feeling groggy. We just got some baby goslings and because I think it's hilarious, I named them all Ryan. We're keeping them in our bathroom so that we can regulate their temperature and make sure they are okay, as this is the most fragile time of their lives. We also have a baby duck in there named Waldo whose parents were getting a bit too aggressive with him. I feed them, give them water, and change their bedding before going outside and feeding the older ducks and chickens. I also have a separate flock of chickens who just moved into a pen outside. I feed them and refill their water before taking a quick shower and heading into work.

7:45 a.m. — After scoring a free parking spot about a mile from my office, I walk into work. I don't mind having such a long walk because it gives me time to listen to music or a podcast. This morning I'm finishing up the first season of Serial (I know I'm behind, but it's so good!). I stop in at the discount grocery store by work to buy a weekly round of snacks. I find it's much more cost-effective to buy in bulk than to depend on the snack shack on my floor. I buy popcorn, pita chips, cheese, and Triscuits. $14.12

12:15 p.m. — My boyfriend and I work in the same building, so we usually go to lunch together. We were a little pressed for time this morning, so we didn't pack anything to eat. Instead, we head to a great pizza place around the corner. We each get a slice; I pay this time because we tend to go back and forth. They're slammed and end up forgetting about our order, so they throw in an extra slice when I get the check. I'll take it. $8.50

4:30 p.m. — We head home after a busy day of work and have...more work waiting for us! We're hosting a big event this weekend and need to do a bunch of cleaning and food prep in advance. I collect eggs from the chickens, and lemons and peaches from our fruit trees, and start making batch after batch of fresh lemon bars, as well as a batch of peach-infused bourbon. I like baking and cooking, so I consider it an evening well spent. I end up collapsing around 11 p.m., while my boyfriend keeps working into the early hours of the morning.

Daily Total: $22.62
6:15 a.m. — I sleep in a little bit later because I don't have to feed the animals today. Even on days where I don't feed the adult animals, I take care of my adolescent chickens, Waldo, and the Ryans. However, my boyfriend is staying home to prep for the party, and he tells me not to worry about it. I kiss him goodbye and then head into town for work.

12 p.m. — It's turning out to be a busy day, and I have a lot on my plate. Instead of using my lunch break to go for a walk, I decide to adjust my retirement contributions. I've been paying off credit card debt aggressively for the last year or so, and just finished paying the last one off. I want to keep riding on this momentum and use the extra funds toward retiring early. I start to allocate the same amount I put toward my previous debts, but then I remember that these contributions will be pre-tax. I do the math and raise my contribution amount to $1,700/month. That won't go into effect until the next paycheck.

4:30 p.m. — I pack up my things, lock up my desk, and walk to the car. I usually only do the long walk in the morning. My boyfriend starts 30 minutes before I do and gets off work 30 minutes earlier, so most mornings, I drop him off at the office, and most afternoons, he swings by to pick me up. Because he stayed home today, I get two walks in and a chance to jam out on the way.

5:15 p.m. — Friends are here! Two friends are staying with us until Sunday, and another friend is coming by to help with party prep. We end up making a lot of marinades and sauces: lavender simple syrup, hibiscus simple syrup, black tea concentrate, and more bread and rolls than I have ever seen in one sitting. We marinate some eggplant to grill tomorrow, get the lamb marinating, and score the pork belly with a rub for smoking before the guests arrive.

9:30 p.m. — Once everyone leaves, it's time to socialize the Ryan Goslings and Waldo. Raising geese is a challenge. They need to be socialized enough not to attack people, but not be so socialized that they imprint. If they imprint, they need you all the time. For example, if you are gone for more than a few hours at a time, they get incredibly sad and mourn because they think that you died. So every few days I try to spend time with them for an hour. I put on clothes on that I don't mind getting dirty, sit with them in the bathtub, and read and talk to them so that they get used to my voice. Within minutes three of them fall asleep on me. After I put them away and clean up, I head to sleep.

Daily Total: $0
6:30 a.m. — It's party day! We get up early with the expectation that we'll be go-go-going, but after a few hours, we realize that we're pretty prepared. I feed the Ryans, Waldo, and my chickens (who are all named after my favorite female characters).

10 a.m. — Since everything is under control at the house and we have a few hours until guests are expected to arrive, I head to a local shop get a smog inspection on my car. There's no wait, and the guy has me in and out in about 15 minutes. $55

1 p.m. — The first of the guests start to arrive. A heat wave is kicking off, so we move most of the food and beverage tables indoors. We know the best people; everyone has brought a dish or beverage to share. We're also open to the public today so that our CSA members can see where their eggs and veggies come from, how they're grown, and how the animals are raised. I start giving tours and catching up with people.

3 p.m. — In addition to catching up with friends, family, and neighbors, there are still chores to be done. I change all of the animals' water and give ice blocks to the rabbits so that they don't overheat in the 104-degree weather. I cool off with some homemade sangria made with fresh fruit. It's delicious, and I thank my mom's boyfriend for making it.

11 p.m. — The last of the guests have finally left. We do very minimal cleanup, and I indulge in a rare cigarette outside with one of the people staying over. At this point, I am mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted. Over 60 people came today! I signed up to work overtime tomorrow and curse my poor planning.

Daily Total: $55
9:30 a.m. — My boyfriend drops me off before heading to a Father's Day brunch with his dad and sister. I stop by the grocery store and buy some ginger ale. I didn't sleep well, and I don't feel well this morning. The ginger ale helps a bit. $2.50

3 p.m. — My boyfriend swings by and picks me up from the office. We drop our visiting friends off at the airport with hugs and promises to see each other soon.

6 p.m. — After getting back home, I get a text from a friend about a volleyball league opening up. I used to play in a rec league but took about a year off due to an injury. I'm all healed up now, so I sign up and pay the registration fee. $77

8 p.m. — My dad loves Heineken, so my boyfriend and I pick up a twelve pack to bring to him. We go over to my dad's place and end up staying pretty late catching up and playing with his dogs. I go to sleep right when we get home. $16

Daily Total: $95.50
5:45 a.m. — Another Monday! I get up early and feed animals and shower. My boyfriend assembles leftovers for lunch and makes our coffees, and we're out the door in time to get free parking.

12 p.m. — My boyfriend and I meet in the park and enjoy our leftovers. We talk about all of the political stuff going on in California regarding universal healthcare and what that could mean for the state, our jobs, and everyone's health. Then we look at cat videos before heading back in.

4:30 p.m. — Heading home. The heat is unbearable. We take care of feeding the animals and collecting eggs. I do a little bit of cleanup and a little bit of reading, but ultimately devote myself to a video game on the computer until it is time for bed.

Daily Total: $0
5:45 a.m. — Take care of the animals, shower, and head to the office. Free parking again! I'm excited to meet up with some friends after work. We try to do a weekly hang, but all of us have been busy for the last few weeks, so we all text to confirm that we are, in fact, on for the night.

5 p.m. — I end up staying a little bit later at work because there is a project with a tight deadline and there are technical difficulties with our system. (Staying late is pretty rare due to strict rules about time worked.) Afterward, I walk to Tank House BBQ to meet my friends. I order a frozen shandy (Hamm's with a lemon and elderberry Popsicle), and we split a couple of appetizers. Everything is really good, but it's so hot inside because of the heat wave and the grilling that we decide to head elsewhere. $12

6:30 p.m. — We head to LowBrau Bierhalle, grab a seat inside, and immediately order a round of cocktails to help cool down while we catch up and joke about our weekends and lives. I've been friends with them since pre-school and junior high, and we all get along really well. I cover the tab and they Venmo their portions later. $28.98

7:30 p.m. — After drinks, I head to the gym. I end up lifting some weights and running on the treadmill at varying inclines for half an hour. My boyfriend picks me up afterward and, as a surprise, he brings our Husky. I spend the whole ride home telling my dog how pretty he is.

Daily Total: $40.98
6:15 a.m. — I only have to feed the chickens, the Ryans, and Waldo this morning! I take a long, refreshing shower and head into work (free parking!) to start my day.

10 a.m. — YIKES. I forgot to pay my car's registration on time. I incur a small late fee, but at least it's handled. I kick myself for the unnecessary expense, and then quickly move on to a morning meeting. $158

12 p.m. — My boyfriend and I are a little tired of leftovers, so we end up getting curry from a Thai place down the street and take refuge in the air conditioning. I get green curry with eggplant, he gets green curry fried rice, and we each pay for our own lunches. $10.52

4:30 p.m. — My boyfriend picks me up, and we head out to look at a property just inside city limits. It's five acres and has a giant barn, but it's pretty rundown and there's no house. Our current land is about half the size, but there's a lot of infrastructure in place. We decide that it isn't the right fit, but send the info to a friend of ours who is looking for land too.

7:30 p.m. — We go home to take care of the animals and then head out again to meet with my boyfriend's sister at Jackrabbit Brewing. Tonight is her last night in town and we always try to hang out when she's around. We end up going to Vince's and sharing a fabulous baked pesto gnocchi. I cover drinks, and my boyfriend covers food. $13

9 p.m. — I read for a while after we get home and lose track of time. Tomorrow's going to be another early day. The weather station we set up to monitor temperatures says it's 102 degrees. I fall asleep to the whir of indoor fans.

Daily Total: $181.52
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