5 Money Diaries: A Week Around The World On $30,000+ Salaries

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, we're thinking about how women living on a salary in the $30,000 range spend their money in a given week. The U.S. median for personal income is $30,240. Food often eats up a significant amount of people's weekly or monthly budgets, as can the cost of transportation and healthcare. Let's not forget, either, how much of our incomes is dedicated to housing: According to the 2017 State of the Nation Housing report, more than 11 million renters spent at least half of their income on housing in 2015. And depending on your location, $100 might not get you very far. So depending on your situation, earning $30,000 or so can be doable, or it can feel overwhelming.

Ahead, we look at the spending habits of five women in and outside of the United States, from what they have to spend money on, to what they hope to spend money on in the future.

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. Back-to-School Moms: Are you a mom preparing for the back-to-school hustle? Submit your diary about all that entails here!

2. School Daze: Are you a college undergrad? 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.

First up: a marketing director who makes $35,000 per year. This week, she spends some of her money on La Roche-Posay moisturizer from CVS.

Occupation: Marketing Director
Industry: Tech
Age: 24
Location: Richmond, VA
Salary: $35,000
Paycheck (2x/month): $1,061.91 after taxes and health insurance (paid out on the 15th and last day of the month)

Monthly Expenses
Housing: $750. I rent a two-bed, two-bath apartment with my boyfriend, and we split it evenly. We each also pay $12.50 extra a month to have our cat.
Car Loan: $260. I owe a little over $8,000 still.
Student Loans: $143. I owe $38,560.75

All Other Monthly Expenses
Utilities: $112. I take care of the electric and water bills initially, then my boyfriend pays me back for his half ($56) on Venmo.
Computer Payment: $50. I financed through Apple and am still chipping away at my payments.
Therapy: $50. I see my therapist biweekly for $25 a session.
Medication: $8. My birth control is free, but the medication my therapist has me on costs about $8.
Car Insurance: $107. I started paying for this a few years ago when my dad realized he never signed me up when I bought my car.
Credit Card Payment: $35. I've had a credit card for about a year, and as much as I hate to admit it, it stays maxed out most of the time.
Savings: $25. I have auto draft into my savings from my checking account once a month, but I usually end up pulling it back out for an unexpected expense.

Day One



6:15 a.m. — I wake up for work after a night of not sleeping well. I shuffle to the kitchen to make coffee, feed the cat who is dying for attention, and start making breakfast. I'm so tired and not very hungry, so I heat up the last two turkey sausage links and grab two hardboiled eggs I cooked last weekend. I watch YouTube videos at the coffee table while I sip my coffee, eat breakfast, and pet the cat.

7:50 a.m. — I say goodbye to the cat and my boyfriend who's still asleep. Lucky him. He's a teacher and has the summer off, although he coaches a baseball camp that starts at 9 a.m.

8:30 a.m. — I get to work and make another cup of coffee in the office kitchen. We're running out of K-Cups, and I settle for a French Vanilla one with Salted Chocolate Caramel creamer. It's way too sweet but I'm in dire need of caffeine.

9:15 a.m. — I realize I was supposed to make my computer payment yesterday. I log on and do it now.

9:30 a.m. — Work has been really slow and boring lately, so I peruse the 40% off sale on Anthropologie's website. My total comes to $117, and I contemplate if spending the money is worth it or not. I decide against it and have a snack instead.

11:30 a.m. — I ate a handful of raspberries earlier but am starving now. I start to eat a wrap that my boyfriend made last night, but after I bite into it, I know that I won't like it. I order Panera to pick up and share some of the chicken from my sandwich with a stray cat in the parking lot. $9.21

12:30 p.m. — After lunch, I realize that I need to get gas. I fill up at a nearby Kroger station to get $0.03 off per gallon. $19

3 p.m. — I get a text from my part-time boss about working an upcoming event for her. I manage the social media and events for her skincare brand on the side. She pays me $13 an hour, so I'm always willing to work a longer event on a weekend for her.

4:10 p.m. — The president of the company I work for shows up, foiling my plan to leave early since I have a headache. I help her find an old computer in our supply closet with a CD drive to download files. I dip out once she seems busy.

5:15 p.m. — I get home and chat with my boyfriend for a while about our days. After, I take a nap since my headache hasn't subsided.

7 p.m. — I wake up hungry after my nap. The plan was to go to the gym when I woke up, but I beg my boyfriend to take us somewhere for dinner first. We go to a new Saladworks not far from us and get two salads with dinner rolls and drinks to go. He pays.

8:40 p.m. — I head up to our apartment gym, do 30 minutes on the elliptical and some ab workouts, and head back downstairs to take a shower.

10 p.m. — After my shower I chill on the couch and play with the cat for a little bit while my boyfriend works at the kitchen table. I crawl into bed and watch YouTube videos while I fall asleep.

Daily Total: $28.21

Day Two



6:15 a.m. — Friday! The alarm is going off and the cat wants attention. I slept well last night because my boyfriend fell asleep on the couch and I had the whole bed to myself. I head into the kitchen to grab coffee and a healthy carrot cake cookie I made earlier this week. I slather it in peanut butter, sit in bed, and enjoy my breakfast while looking through Snapchat.

8 a.m. — After a quick selfie session in the mirror because I'm feeling my outfit today, I throw a couple of snacks into my bag and head out the door.

8:30 a.m. — I make a cup of half-caf coffee in the Keurig at work and chat with the HR director for an hour. Our mutual idea to leave at noon is interrupted by the arrival of our boss.

10 a.m. — I'm a little hungry and pretty bored, so I grab my Greek yogurt from the fridge and scroll through Instagram to see how many likes I've gotten on my #OOTD post from this morning.

11 a.m. — I scroll through Airbnb looking for cheap vacation spots for me and boyfriend before he starts teaching again in a couple of weeks. I'm feeling depressed that the summer is almost over.

12 p.m. — It's finally lunch time! On Fridays, that usually means we all pack up for the day. That's not the case today since the president is in the office again. I heat up the baked potato I brought from home with butter, and an everything bagel seasoning from Trader Joe's. It's so good, but I'm still hungry since I only brought enough food for a half-day of work. I eat a piece of leftover birthday cake in the office fridge.

2:15 p.m. — I've run out of things to do but our boss is still here, so I pretend to be super busy on the computer while I shop for booties online. I'm planning my fall work wardrobe.

4:40 p.m. — I've officially worked a full Friday for the first time in months! I sneak out the door while the boss is talking to someone else. I call my boyfriend to tell him I'm finally on my way home and complain about my hunger pains. He offers to take me to dinner as soon as I'm back.

5:20 p.m. — I get home and my boyfriend meets me in the lobby of our building. The girls from the leasing office are handing out ice cream as a surprise treat; nice touches like this make the high price of rent seem worth it. We each grab a cup of chocolate and head back to the car to get dinner at a place that does DIY personal pizzas. I argue that I'll pay, but he says not to worry about it. He normally pays for food when we're out, but sometimes I like to offer to be fair. We eat outside and talk about the possibility of going on vacation — it's not looking promising — and what our plans for tonight should be.

7:30 p.m. — Once we get back home, I change into workout clothes in an effort to convince myself to hit the gym, but I end up taking a nap instead. The rest of the night is spent doing laundry and hanging around the house while my boyfriend plays video games and watches TV. Wild Friday night, huh?

Daily Total: $0

Day Three



6:30 a.m. — I wake up around the regular time to the cat crying. She obviously doesn't understand the difference between weekdays and weekends, and she expects attention at the same time every morning. I feel well rested, so I head into the kitchen and make coffee. While it's brewing, I start cleaning the kitchen and throw more laundry in the wash that I didn't get to last night. I drink coffee and try to read a book, but I have too much energy. I'm already a morning person, but throw coffee in the mix and I'm the Energizer Bunny. I deep clean the rest of the house while my boyfriend is sleeping.

8:30 a.m. — I eat a small bowl of oatmeal and journal about what I hope to accomplish before the summer ends. After, I decide to hit the Yves Saint Laurent exhibition at the arts museum. I've wanted to go for two months and couldn't find the time. Today is the perfect day, since it's raining and the exhibition shuts down in a month.

10 a.m. — Boyfriend wakes up and asks if I want to go get donuts. Duh. We hit up a local, made-to-order place that we're obsessed with. We choose two s'mores, two cinnamon with vanilla drizzle, and two maple bacon flavors plus an iced coffee for boyfriend. He takes his wallet out, but I demand to pay since he didn't let me buy dinner last night and I got paid today. After we scarf down the donuts, we look inside a pet store for cat toys and check out a shoe store. Then we decide to head home. I nap for a couple of hours and am rudely awakened by the sound of my boyfriend tinkering with the engine of a machine he uses on the baseball field. $11.16

2:30 p.m. — I get dressed and put on minimal makeup to be presentable for the museum. I've never been before, but it's a popular place to go in our city and I want to blend in with the regulars. That plan fails almost immediately when I try to buy a ticket at the info desk and have to be pointed in the right direction. Upon purchasing my $22 ticket (I wish I could still use my student ID), the attendant informs me that the next entry isn't until 3:30. I kill time pretending to be interested in the trinkets at the gift shop. The exhibition is beautiful, and it's a little surreal to see the different garments and sketches that YSL handcrafted in person. I beg a stranger to text me a picture of the iconic "bow dress" because my phone died, and I'll be damned if I don't have a photograph to remember it. Afterwards, I decide that I'll probably have to come back and take photos another time. $22

5 p.m. — Boyfriend asks if he should order Domino's for dinner, and I'm all in. Pizza is my drug of choice, and Domino's is my faithful supplier. I eat four pieces and play with the kitty for a while before falling asleep for five hours.

11:30 p.m. — I'm wide awake even though my boyfriend is ready for bed. We watch an hour and a half of an SNL rerun before deciding that the skits have severely declined in quality since Kristen Wiig and Andy Samberg left. We decide to head to bed.

Daily Total: $33.16

Day Four



7:30 a.m. — I sleep in today. I've always been an early riser but now even more so due having the cat and an early wake-up call for work. Coffee in hand, I sit on the couch scrolling through Instagram to look for photos from a wedding my friend was a bridesmaid in last night. I also look up some dupes for MAC lipsticks because yesterday was National Lipstick Day, and I feel ill prepared without a signature lip color I truly love.

8:30 a.m. — Boyfriend wakes up to go work on the baseball field. We don't do breakfast this morning, so I eat a piece of leftover pizza while I clean the kitchen. I move on to watching YouTube videos and putting away the laundry that's been waiting for me in the dryer.

9:40 a.m. — My big plan for the day is to lay out by our pool. It doesn't open till 10, so I take my time getting ready and packing snacks. I hit the CVS next to our apartment and pick up a Rimmel Kate Moss nude lipstick, NYX lip liner, and La Roche-Posay moisturizer with 30 SPF for my face because the one I've been using makes me break out. $31.14

3 p.m. — I pack up from my relaxing afternoon at the pool. I prefer to go in the morning before people show up with their children later in the day. When I get back, my boyfriend is looking up recipes for dinner. I went to the grocery store last Sunday, so he says he'll do this week's run while I shower. Isn't he the greatest?

5 p.m. — I help him bring in groceries and put them away while he preps dinner. He's the cook in the house and makes a delicious green bean salad with feta and almonds, roasted baby potatoes, and chicken. I'm so full after that I end up falling asleep on the couch while he catches up on Game of Thrones.

7:30 p.m. — I wake up from my food coma. I play with the cat and clean up the kitchen from dinner. Boyfriend is watching the movie Mascots, so I stay up and watch it before going to bed at 10 p.m. like the grandma I am.

Daily Total: $31.14

Day Five



6 a.m. — My alarm goes off. I. AM. SO. TIRED. I woke up at 4 a.m., and had a tough time going back to sleep. Yes, I do think it has something to do with the fact that I took roughly 10 naps this weekend. My boyfriend is awake early to work on the baseball field again today, and he makes me coffee. I wash my face, make some cereal, and whine about going to work before he leaves.

8:05 a.m. — I'm about 15 minutes behind schedule after stopping to do the dishes we left in the sink from last night's dinner. I'm on coffee number two, and despite the acid reflux it sometimes gives me, I see cup number three on the horizon. On my way to work, I listen to a podcast about saying "no" graciously; I think about the fact that I need to be better at this.

10 a.m. — Today is ridiculously slow. I make a cup of half-caf in the office Keurig and sit down to unsubscribe from all the email lists I'm on. I hope that not seeing sales in my inbox all the time will help me stop impulse shopping so much.

11:17 a.m. — I text back and forth with my mom about planning a vacation for the two of us since my boyfriend bowed out. She's always down for a beach trip, but she has already used up a lot of her vacation time at work this summer. We decide to do a mini-day trip somewhere close instead. I lived on the beach in South Carolina the summer after I graduated from college, and I'm dying to go back. But no one seems to be up for the trip with me.

12 p.m. — I heat up leftovers from last night for lunch. While eating, I place an order for K-Cups and binders on the company Amazon account, and apply for a random writing job on LinkedIn. I like my job but I'm not opposed to other opportunities, so I keep an eye on the suggested job postings.

12:30 p.m. — I'm feeling restless and decide to run a few errands. I head to CVS to exchange the moisturizer I bought yesterday for a more expensive, but seemingly more effective, version of my prior purchase. ($14.73) On my way back, I decide to hit up the new grocery store beside work to pick up lemons to add to my water as a "cleanse." I've gained a few pounds recently and am trying to get back on track. I throw in grapes just because. $19.32

4 p.m. — I dip out early for the day because nothing is going on, and I'm caught up on all my work. Only five people work in the office full-time, so it's always rather quiet, but since two people worked from home today, it's too quiet.

4:40 p.m. — Back at home, I change into my gym clothes while telling my boyfriend how draining my day of doing nothing at work was. He can tell I'm grumpy, so he's extra sweet to me before he leaves to coach a baseball tryout. He also tells me there are two Domino's pizzas left over from his baseball team's work day this morning.

6 p.m. — I eat two pieces of pepperoni pizza and finally work up enough motivation to go to the gym to do cardio and toning exercises. My phone dies after 15 minutes on the elliptical, so I cut it short. What good is a cardio without YouTube videos to watch?

7:30 p.m. — I'm showered and playing with the cat when my boyfriend comes home with ice cream intended to turn my frown upside down. I don't eat it since I'm worried about my weight right now, but I thank him for trying to make me happy. We have a long, emotional discussion about what I could do to feel better about my body and my job. He offers to pay for workout classes I like because he knows I'm on a tight budget. Seriously, he's the best.

9:30 p.m. — After reading The Wellness Project by Phoebe Lapine, I fall asleep early, hoping to feel less grumpy tomorrow.

Daily Total: $19.32

Day Six



6 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I hit snooze a couple of times before waking up for good. I scroll through Instagram in bed and find that a workout guide is 50% off, making it only $7.50. I buy it and make yogurt and granola for breakfast with a coffee to go. $7.50

8:25 a.m. — I'm the first person at work. I love it when this happens because I have some freedom to settle in at my own pace before others arrive. I start looking up social media strategy courses to improve my skills because I don't have a marketing degree, and I'm kind of learning as I go.

10 a.m. — I'm suddenly ravenous, so I pull a cheese stick and carrot cake cookies out of my purse for a snack. I drink lemon water with it.

12:30 p.m. — I take the HR director up on their offer to work from home for the rest of the afternoon. My boyfriend tells me to meet him for lunch at Panera on my way back, and he buys me a salad while we chat about our plans for the rest of the day.

2 p.m. — I head out to the pool to try to nap in the sun and work on my tan. It's full of people so I only last 20 minutes before heading inside to nap with the cat for a little while.

7:30 p.m. — After devouring two delicious carnitas tacos made by my personal chef (a.k.a. my boyfriend), I decide it's time to hit the gym for 35 minutes of cardio. I expected it to be empty since because it's later in the evening, but it is full of very loud guys lifting weights. I opt out of the toning session I planned for after the elliptical. I prefer to lift and stretch with a little more privacy.

9 p.m. — I help my boyfriend send emails to his baseball team and play with the cat before crawling into bed at 9:30. I fall straight to sleep.

Daily Total: $7.50

Day Seven



7 a.m. — I'm up late! I scramble to prep a small breakfast of coffee, two hardboiled eggs, and peanut butter toast before I do my hair and makeup.

8:35 a.m. — I somehow get to work relatively on time! Luckily, my job is relaxed on the hours we work as long as we hit 40 by the end of the week. Unfortunately, though, the president of the company is back in the office, so it could be a long day.

12:30 p.m. — I eat two cold pieces of leftover pizza and grapes for lunch while listening to a free webinar on social media hacks.

2 p.m. — I have a two-hour meeting with my boss that ends up being surprisingly productive. We discuss upcoming events, promotional items, and social media. I'm excited to hear what projects she has in mind for me to work on so that I'll have something to do. I'm really hungry after and eat an apple I found on my desk during the drive home.

5 p.m. — I hit up an ice cream place across from my apartment because I saw on Instagram that it's National Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich Day, and of course I have to participate. The chocolate chip cookie with dark chocolate decadence ice cream calls my name. I decide this will be my dinner because my boyfriend isn't home to cook (and part of being an adult is choosing when you want to eat ice cream for dinner). $5.22

6:30 p.m. — I do a quick HIIT workout in the living room since my boyfriend is out of town and I have the house to myself. The cat watches as I work on my lunge form.

8 p.m. — I turn on the TV for background noise while I journal and play with the cat. The Real Housewives of New York (my favorite of them all) is on, and Bethenny is fighting with Ramona. I'm hooked and watch until 10 p.m. while eating two pieces of leftover pizza. After, I go to bed and take up as much space as I want tonight, just because I can.

Daily Total: $5.22
Second: an editorial assistant who makes $33,580 per year. This week, she spends some of her money on cards and surprise electric bills.

Occupation: Editorial Assistant
Industry: Publishing
Age: 24
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Salary: $33,580
Paycheck (2x/month): $970

Monthly Expenses
Housing: $900. I live with two roommates I met in college. We split rent based on the size of our rooms, and I have the smallest.
Student Loan Payments: $310. Aggressive, but I'll be finished faster!

All Other Monthly Expenses
401(k): $45 — matched by work
Metro Card: $121 taken out pre-tax
Savings: $75. This is lower than I want, but that's based on the reality of my paycheck and living in NYC.
Gym Membership: $80. Also more than I want, but this is a great price for NYC gyms with classes, and I have a corporate discount. I need to take classes to stay motivated. I shower there most days, so it tends to work out.
Wi-Fi: $20
Netflix: $10. I share this with my mom and grandmother. I use my roommate's Hulu account on an Apple TV I got for a free (a gift from work), and also use my roommate's HBO account.
Gas: $25
Renter's Insurance: $13
Electric: $15
Pup Fund: $25. This is my flexible savings account. I set it up so I'll be able to afford dog adoption fees and care after I pay off my student loans in three years. By then, I'll be used to setting aside $310, and will be able to have a dog walker if I need.

Day One



6 a.m. — Wake up for an early yoga class I signed up for yesterday. I was feeling gross from a weekend of eating poorly and drinking more than I should have. I wish it weren't too late to cancel and sleep more, but I grab the lunch I made yesterday (two slices of bread) and head into Manhattan. I get a jumpstart on reading a manuscript for my boss on the train.

8:20 a.m. — I didn't really like the instructor, but I clearly need to work on my balance. I stop at the farmers' market on my walk to work and buy strawberries for a snack this week. They're more expensive than I planned, but hey, supporting local farms! $5

8:45 a.m. — I keep peanut butter in my desk, so I toast my bread I brought and grab coffee from the office kitchen. Then, I settle in for a rough Monday back after our short week last week.

10 a.m. — I get an email from Society6 for 25% off and free shipping! I scan through my wish list and decide to get two prints for our kitchen. My roommates and I have been decorating verrrrry slowly and these will look great here and wherever I live next. $30

12:30 p.m. — My coworker wants to go for a walk to discuss a job opportunity she's fielding, so I go with her to the drug store. I usually eat at my desk, and it's nice to get outside! I grab razor cartridges while I'm there and then head back to the office to heat up the chana saag I made yesterday. I eat my lunch and organize my book club meeting with my friends this weekend. $13.46

12:50 p.m. — I'm starting to fade already and decide to make myself a green tea. (I keep a box in my desk.) One of my best friends texts me to say that she's looking at the other apartment in my building tomorrow! I have a birthday happy hour to go to, but we make tentative plans to make dinner at my apartment afterwards. We both love to cook, so we do this a lot; it's a fun way to save money and share a nice meal together.

2 p.m. — Strawberry time! They are amazing, and I worry that I've opened a dangerous door to expensive strawberry land. I pour another cup of green tea. I'm supposed to go on a first date after work so I need more energy!

3 p.m. — Hitting the 3 p.m. hump. A Gchat conversation with a coworker leads me to decide to cancel tonight's date in favor of a night in — if he ever texts me back about the time. The Age of Ghosting may be in my favor tonight. I text my roommates about having a girls' movie night!

3:45 p.m. — Sneak two more strawberries because this Monday is DRAGGING.

5:20 p.m. — I'm starting a cold brew experiment. I brought my personal-sized French press from home and mix coffee grounds in it before leaving work. I'll see if it works tomorrow!

6:30 p.m. — Stop to pick up almond milk and eggs (my roommates will split with me). I planned to make a polenta chickpea masala, but I don't feel like eating anything heavy and, for once, I don't have any wine to cook with! I throw together a grain bowl of quinoa, mushrooms with cayenne and cumin, and a poached egg. While I watch The Office and eat, my roommates and I figure out that our landlord has not being paying for our electric like we thought we all agreed on. In fact, it turns out that we owe five months of electric! We decide to dip into our savings and get rid of the whole bill at once, rather than sit with it over our heads and risk having the lights turned off. This hurts. $146.26

9 p.m. — My book is kind of intense and I need a break. I make popcorn on the stove top with parmesan cheese and settle in for more of The Office. My roommates are both with their boyfriends tonight, so it's kind of nice to have the apartment to myself — and not share the popcorn. I make a simple syrup on the stove that I'll keep in the fridge for iced coffee and cocktails. Then I try my hand at overnight oats for the morning.

Daily Total: $194.72

Day Two



6:30 a.m. — Alarm goes off for the gym and my body is NOT up for it this morning. I roll over and go back to sleep for a bit.

7:30 a.m. — Wake up and get ready for work before having some of my overnight oats. This will definitely be an acquired taste. I pack my lunch (chana saag again), and pull out a frozen burrito bowl I made a few weeks ago for dinner. I'll be in Manhattan late tonight for my friend's happy hour and I don't want to spend any money there. At the last moment, I decide to bring my gym clothes to kill time in between work and happy hour.

9 a.m. — The cold brew was a success! Happily chat with coworkers about my momentous experiment and complain about our commutes before settling in for the day.

10:45 a.m. — Strawberries again. They're already starting to get a little mushy, so I think my love affair with the farmers' market is dying. I'll take my cheaper, chemical pumped ones next time.

12:15 p.m. — Head over to Flying Tiger to get a cup for my office now that I can make cold brew there! I also grab a mini set of cards for my friend's birthday tonight and a tiny bottle to keep my simple syrup in. $6

12:30 p.m. — Heat up my chana saag and apply for more babysitting opportunities online. The family I babysit the most is having a new baby in the fall (eek!), so I'll probably have less work from them. I'm going to visit my best friend in London, so I need more cash. I also apply to work at my favorite brunch spot since they're opening a location on my block.

1 p.m. — Green tea time.

4:30 p.m. — I heat up my burrito bowl for the earliest dinner ever. I don't want to get sick at the gym after work, so I guess I'm doing the early bird special. One of the cookbook editors/known office foodie walks by and tells me it smells incredible. My self-esteem shoots through the roof and suddenly I think I am Gordon Ramsay. He doesn't have to know I made it in a crockpot over a month ago.

5:30 p.m. — Hop on the subway to the gym. I LOVE this instructor! She plays straight early '00s bangers, and my sixth-grade soul is soaring to the sounds of Fall Out Boy. I jump in the shower and then get on the subway to head to my friend's happy hour.

7 p.m. — The birthday girl and a bunch of our friends are ordering food and beers but I just stick with water. I stay for about an hour and meet her friends from high school before bowing out. My boss wants me to read two manuscripts tonight, so it's a good excuse for an early night! I jump back on the subway and head home to BK.

10 p.m. — I knocked out a decent chunk of reading on the subway, so I catch up with my roommates and one of their boyfriends while snacking on homemade granola. I always keep a pint-sized mason jar of this stuff. It's so easy and fun to make — plus, so much cheaper. I make seltzer in our SodaStream (I bought it with a gift card a few months ago) and settle into bed for another hour of reading before going to sleep.

Daily Total: $6

Day Three



6 a.m. — Ugh. Roll out of bed and grab my Kindle. I didn't get through as much as I wanted last night, so I head to the gym and read while walking uphill on the treadmill. Head home to eat the rest of the overnight oats from yesterday and chat with my roommate's boyfriend, who's up early too. I fill up my new mini bottle with simple syrup and head into work a little early to read more.

8:30 a.m. — Cold brew. Loving this!

9:15 a.m. — Finish up the rest of the strawberries. We have a two-hour meeting on Wednesday mornings that I need to snack before, otherwise my stomach growls really loudly and embarrasses me.

12 p.m. — Heat up my chana saag and head to my friend's office to eat together. She agrees that my lunch is as amazing as I think it is. One more day of it! I usually prep four meals for lunch and figure something out for Friday. We get out at 12:30 during the summer, so I've been making lunch at home lately.

2:30 p.m. — I need a snack so I spread peanut butter on a rice cake, both of which I keep in my desk.

4 p.m. — My mom's health insurance is changing and I need to sign up for my own insurance through my company. I'll now have $42 a month taken out of my paycheck for medical and dental. Womp, womp.

6:30 p.m. — Jump on the subway to meet a guy for a second date at a cocktail bar. I get there first, order a drink, and pay with cash. I tend to do this for dates so that I don't feel awkward about money later. We chat for a while and each get a second drink. I'm not feeling a spark but I decide to go out with him again if he asks. I just read Aziz Ansari's book and it totally changed the way I approach dating — waiting for a “magic moment.” He unconvincingly offers to pay for my drink, so I do it. I usually get uncomfortable when guys pay for my drinks but I'll cave if they're adamant. This is kind of steep though. $22

8:30 p.m. — Get home and chat with my roommates while I throw together dinner. Quinoa from Monday with garlic sautéed mushrooms and another poached egg. I top it with soy sauce and watch my roommates struggle to put up two framed pictures of Kenan Thompson and Margaret Wells from Harlots. (We have a weird love for them and thought it would be hilarious.) The three of us are rarely all here at the same time, so we celebrate by watching Frozen and catching up. I have some of the mango sorbet I'm keeping in the freezer.

10:30 p.m. — Head to bed! I'm exhausted and don't even attempt to read before passing out.

Daily Total: $22

Day Four



6 a.m. — Wake up and head to spin at the gym in my neighborhood. Realize halfway through that I forgot to put on deodorant. Thank my lucky stars that morning gym classes aren't as popular and there's no one next to me. Head back to my apartment where I make peanut butter toast, shower, grab the last of my chana saag, and head to work.

8:30 a.m. — Cold brew! I chat with my boss for a bit because we're both here early. Then get started on my day.

10:20 a.m. — Take a little break on Goodreads and request The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane from the library. I very rarely buy books. Mine was a library family, so I only buy books when I know I want to read them again — although, I do still have a full bookshelf in my room that needs clearing out...

12:15 p.m. — Heat up the last of my chana saag. It's kept really well and I'll definitely make it again. I doodle around on Pinterest to come up with ideas for what to cook for next week, and make a grocery list. I also Gchat with my friends, something I do all day anyway.

1 p.m. — Tea time — the gross office version. I need something that has more caffeine than green tea does.

3 p.m. — More tea. Desperate times.

5 p.m. — My company is co-hosting an industry party tonight, so we all head to a bar nearby beforehand. My boss buys me a drink there and then we hop on the subway to the event. I score a few free drink tickets and a sweet cheese plate before hovering awkwardly for most of the event.

8 p.m. — I'm late to two friends' combined birthday drinks because of my work thing, so I run the 10 blocks there. I sit and talk with my friends for a little, and then tell the birthday girls to pick a day next week, when I'll come make them dinner as their present.

10 p.m. — I'm still a bit tipsy and didn't have a real dinner, so I make stovetop popcorn and watch The Office with my roommate and her boyfriend.

Daily Total: $0

Day Five



7:30 a.m. — Rough wakeup. I have buttered toast and head to work.

8:45 a.m. — I didn't have time to make cold brew last night, so I have hot coffee and browse L.L. Bean coats online. I don't have a transitional coat for spring and fall, and really wish I'd had one back in April. I figured I'd wait until the summer sales to see what is available. I put a few options on my wish list and plan to buy one later when my paycheck comes in.

10:30 a.m. — More coffee. Kill me. My roommate and I make plans to go to a literary-themed comedy show near our apartment tonight. I Venmo her. $10

12:30 p.m. — Summer Friday! My coworker and I head to Trader Joe's to buy ingredients to make guacamole for lunch. I also grab frozen tilapia, spinach, tomatoes, avocados, cheese, bread, and limes. I pay because we're going to use her alcohol for margaritas; I usually spend about $200 on groceries each month. $37

1:30 p.m. — My grandma calls me with family drama. My friend makes us more margaritas. It is great.

4 p.m. — We decide to go for happy hour drinks, after hours of hanging out on the couch and dancing in my friend's apartment. We check out a few places that are too expensive before heading to a Mexican place for one more margarita. $8

6 p.m. — Get home and make pasta with pesto and parmesan cheese. More family members call me with drama. Between that, and all the sugar I had today in the margs, my stomach is really upset — so when my roommate asks if I want to skip the comedy show, I gladly accept the offer. I don't like to spend money on things and not go, but $10 in the grand scheme of things is worth it for my mental and physical health today. I get in my bed with seltzer and watch The Office.

9 p.m. — Pass the F out.

Daily Total: $55

Day Six



8:30 a.m. — I usually go to a gym class on Saturday mornings, but I need a bit more downtime. I make tea and climb back in bed with my book.

10 a.m. — Make a smoothie with frozen fruit, almond milk, and protein powder. I watch The Office while I drink my smoothie.

11:30 a.m. — I shower and clean my apartment, grateful that I took solid time for myself. I tend to run myself ragged because I'm lucky enough to live so close to all my friends. I take a little more me time and walk to the library to pick up a book.

1 p.m. — My sister and our best friends from childhood arrive! We head out for a day in Brooklyn and immediately stop at Ample Hills for ice cream. $4

1:45 p.m. — My mom gave my sister $50 for the day, which is so nice! We head to a beer garden and the first round is on mom. We play board games and drink a few beers (on us) in the sunshine. $15

3:30 p.m. — On the way to the beer garden, we see a Mexican place with a hilarious name. There's a happy hour deal, so we each order a margarita and a very stupid shot; one of us gets a taco. My sister and I fill the others in on our family. These girls are essentially sisters to us, so it's nice that they know everything. $15

6 p.m. — We head to the bar/restaurant next to my apartment that has amazing burgers and a sweet backyard. Everyone orders a drink and a burger. $30

9 p.m. — We send the youngest to go get more wine but don't end up drinking any of it, since we all fall asleep watching Moana. It was an awesome day.

Daily Total: $64

Day Seven



9 a.m. — Wake up and take a group field trip to get bagels. We use the rest of the money mom sent.

11:30 a.m. — I'm re-watching Game of Thrones with my roommate and decide to cancel a date I was supposed to go to this afternoon. I'm not in the mood to make small talk right now, and I'm exhausted from yesterday. I hang out with my roommate and eat popcorn most of the afternoon.

3 p.m. — Head to book club in Manhattan! We alternate between doing this at people's apartments and public locations in Midtown so that it's easy for everyone. This time it's at a coffee shop, so I get an iced tea while we catch up on our lives and talk about the book. This was a particularly good one. We picked The Picture of Dorian Gray because most of us hadn't read it in years and we wanted to do a classic. It's great catching up with everyone, too — especially because my friend got approved for the apartment in my building! My roommate is part of the book club and we jump on the subway home together. $4

6 p.m. — Make dinner and lunches for the week with my groceries from Friday. On the menu: quinoa grain bowls with spinach, tomatoes, mozzarella balls, and an avocado nut dressing I made from scratch. It is delicious! I read my book and hang out with my roommates.

9 p.m. — It's GoT time! My roommates and I combine our cheeses for a nice plate. I pop more popcorn and pour the wine my sister-friends didn't drink yesterday. Thrones, thrones, thrones!

10:30 a.m. — Bedtime. I read for about half an hour before I pass out.

Daily Total: $4
Third: a broadcast associate who makes $33,000 per year. This week, she spends some of her money on tuna sashimi.

Occupation: Broadcast Associate
Industry: Journalism
Age: 24
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $33,000 post tax
Paycheck (2x/month): $1,375

Monthly Expenses
Housing: $1,400 rent
Loan Payments: $0

All Other Monthly Expenses
MetroCard: $121 for a monthly pass
Utilities & Household Supplies: $20. We pay for gas, electric, and internet.
Savings: $100/month
Spotify: $9.99/month
Phone: $0. My parents still cover this.

Day One



7 a.m. — I wake up and make myself a coffee. I'm heading out to Bridgehampton from the city and my roommate and I are taking an 8:30 a.m. Hampton Jitney. We stop at Starbucks, where I get a large latte. $5.15

10:30 a.m. — Finally make it to Bridgehampton. I get a Venmo notification from my boyfriend for last night's Indian food takeout. (Wild Friday night!) I cash out the $30 into my bank account.

12 p.m. — My friend and I prepare a pasta salad with grilled vegetables to take to the beach, along with a couple of beers. The weather keeps alternating between bright and sunny, and cloudy and cold, so we only last three hours or so before heading back.

5 p.m. — We meet up with two friends and drive to a roadside wine stand run by the Wölffer Estate Vineyard that's based in the Hamptons. We buy a bottle of wine to split; I pay for the rosé and my friends Venmo me back. $45.62

8 p.m. — My roomie and I have a delicious steak dinner at home with my parents and our family friends. We decide to go out afterwards, so we meet up with our other friends and Uber to The Stephen Talkhouse. Someone picks up the Uber tab.

11 p.m. — I buy a bunch of beers for my friends and strangers. I wish I could say this was a rarity, but I love buying people drinks for some reason. $30

1:30 a.m. — We call it a night and hop in a cab; we split the fare. $15

Daily Total: $95.77

Day Two



8 a.m. — I wake up brutally hungover and start chugging water and Gatorade. I see an email from my boss saying we have to come into work today, so I hop on a 9 a.m. train.

11 a.m. — As my train pulls into Penn Station, I see another email from my boss saying that we can work from home, and don't need to be in the office after all. Would have been nice to know approximately two and a half hours ago. Oh, well. I hop on the subway and angrily head to my apartment.

2 p.m. — I take a break from work to pick up Sugarfish sushi. The wait to dine in at Sugarfish is always absurd, like at least two hours, so I prefer to order takeout. It's pricey, but the sushi is delicious and I didn't really spend money on food yesterday. I cough up $29.12 for the lobster cut roll and tuna sashimi. $29.12

4;30 p.m. — I finish up work and think about errands I've been meaning to run. I look down at my toenails and notice how gross they look, so I walk to the nail salon near me and get a manicure and pedicure. $52.50

6 p.m. — I finish up and meet my boyfriend at The Mermaid Inn in the East Village. They have a $1 oyster happy hour until 7, and he was smart and got there early enough to make the most of the happy hour menu. The oysters don't fill us up, so we order more food and drinks, including the shrimp and avocado sliders, the kale salad, and the fish tacos. $42.50

8:30 p.m. — We walk back to his apartment and read before turning on Game of Thrones. We usually watch it every Sunday with his brother and his brother's girlfriend. We also grab spoons and dig into a pint of Van Leeuwen's mint chip ice cream.

Daily Total: $124.12

Day Three



7 a.m. — I call a Via from my boyfriend's place back to mine. I shower, make a cup of coffee, and get ready for work. $5.44

8:30 a.m. — I hop on the subway to make my Ob/Gyn appointment that's all the way uptown.

9:30 a.m. — I grab another Via to work. My insurance covers my Ob/Gyn appointments in full, which is great. When I get to work, I make coffee in our office kitchen and grab a handful of pretzels from the snack bar. $5.44

12:30 p.m. — I'm starving; my breakfast consisted of pretzel crumbs after all. I head down to Made Nice, a fast-casual restaurant from the people behind Eleven Madison Park, and get the braised chicken thigh and basmati rice bowl. I devour it in about five minutes. $15.11

2 p.m. — I run out to CVS to pick up my new birth control prescription. While I'm there, I also pick up La Roche-Posay sunscreen. It's expensive, but I have sensitive skin and I think it's the best brand out there. Plus, staying sun-safe is very important to me. $35.99

7 p.m. — I speed out of work because I just remembered I booked a SoulCycle class at 7:30. My mom bought me a pack of five classes and I'm trying to use them before they expire. I usually remember to bring my own water, but I had to pay $3 for the shoe rental. $3

8:30 p.m. — I hop on the subway after SoulCycle and call an order for pickup from Westville. I get the arugula and parmesan salad and add grilled chicken and avocado. Because I was away for part of the weekend, I forgot to go grocery shopping. I usually make this salad for myself with half an avocado, arugula, parmesan and just a little oil and vinegar for dressing. I eat my salad and watch The Bachelorette. Rachel's down to the final three! (But, honestly I don't like any of these guys.) My boyfriend comes over after The Bachelorette because he can't stand that show. $15

Daily Total: $79.98

Day Four



8 a.m. — I wake up from an extremely deep sleep and have no time to shower. I'm exhausted and a bit sore from my spinning class yesterday, so I grab a latte from Bluestone Lane before jumping on the subway to work. $4.90

1 p.m. — This afternoon is shaping up to be busy. I sprint to Sweetgreen and get the kale caesar with extra dressing — the key is extra dressing. $10.65

7:30 p.m. — I'm exhausted and starving leaving work. I really don't want to take the subway and I opt to take a Via downtown. I love Via. You can ride for $5 anywhere in the city. $5.44

8:30 p.m. — Two of my friends come over and we cook dinner together. They bring over the ingredients, and we throw together a rice-based salad with grilled halloumi cheese, chopped scallions, mint, peppers and avocado with an oil and lemon dressing. The most important part of the meal? The rosé we split.

Daily Total: $20.99

Day Five



8 a.m. — After a long and restful sleep, I hop on the subway to go to work. I stop by a coffee shop across from my office and get an iced latte and a blueberry muffin. $7.75

12:30 p.m. — I swing by Whole Foods to buy because, unfortunately, there weren't any leftovers from dinner last night. I grab a turkey burger, zucchini and sweet potatoes, and a seltzer. I also buy a bag of grapes to snack on at work and at home. $15.58

8:30 p.m. — I finally start walking to meet my friend for dinner in SoHo, and of course I'm running at least 15 minutes late. We go to The Sosta, a new fast-casual Italian place from the by Chloe team. Everything is millennial pink and cute. I get pesto pasta with zucchini noodles as a substitute, and a side of chicken meatballs, plus a Pellegrino. $24.48

10 p.m. — My boyfriend texts to say that he had a rough day at work, so on the way to his place, I walk to Little Cupcake Bakeshop and get him a cupcake as a surprise. He's surprised and happy, and devours it in two minutes. $4

Daily Total: $51.81

Day Six



7 a.m. — I walk home from my boyfriend's apartment, jump in the shower, and then take the subway to work. I stop by Maison Kaiser to get a large café au lait. $4.08

10:30 a.m. — I regret skipping breakfast — enormously. My coworker has peanut butter pretzels that are dangerous and I help myself to a few of those.

2 p.m. — I've been tracking the healthcare legislative changes all morning, so I forget to eat until later. I usually don't wait until 2. I run out to the local sandwich store and pick up a mozzarella, chicken, and pesto panini. I rarely get sandwiches, but I'm starving, and today is too busy to think much about what I'm going to eat. $8

7:30 p.m. — I remember that I made plans with a friend to get drinks, but I also told myself I'd go for a run. I compromise with a text saying that I'll meet her later. I hustle and go for a quick run before jumping in the shower.

9 p.m. — I take a Via to The Blond where I'm meeting her. $5.44

11:30 p.m. — After a couple of tequila sodas, I call it a night. My friend is kind enough to cover the tab. I hate drinking on work nights because I'm such a baby about hangovers, so I try to not have more than a glass of wine or a beer Monday through Thursday. I clearly broke that rule. When I get home, I realize I forgot to eat dinner and that may cause more pain in the morning. I make two slices of toast and put goat cheese and honey on one, and just butter on the other. I think I've only had carbohydrates, caffeine, and alcohol in my system today. But at least I went for a run!

Daily Total: $17.52

Day Seven



7 a.m. — I feel fine when I wake up! It's a miracle. I'm so happy. I go for a run to clear my head a little bit and get focused before work. I swing by O Café after my run and grab a latte. $4.50

12:30 p.m. — I've been incredibly busy all morning but I decide I need a walk, so I walk to Sweetgreen. I get an arugula and grain salad with goat cheese, corn and peppers, sunflower seeds, and shredded cabbage. I also reflect on the fact that I have done zero meal prep this week. I'll confess: I'm not a great chef and I don't love making meals for myself, but I do realize how much money I waste buying lunch almost every day. I put a Post-It in my planner to go grocery shopping Sunday night and meal prep. $11.05

7 p.m. — I leave work and realize I've double-booked my night. I'm supposed to meet a friend for a drink, but my boyfriend made a dinner reservation for us at Peter Luger, a biannual tradition we have. I text him and find out our reservation isn't until 9:30, so I have time. I take a Via down to the West Village to meet my friend for drinks. $5.44

9 p.m. — I finish up with drinks at Dante, one of my favorite spots in the West Village. Before I hop on the subway and head to Brooklyn, I stop in a wine store and buy a bottle of red. I'm staying at my friend's house on Fire Island this weekend, and I wanted to pick out a bottle her parents might like. I think $35 is appropriate to spend, but this means that it's not even 9 p.m. and I've already spent a decent amount on booze — though not all for myself. $65

11:30 p.m. — We finish up a wonderful steak dinner. I'm red wine tipsy and pleasantly full. Could not have asked for a better date night. My boyfriend pays for dinner, which is sweet of him. We head back to my apartment and I attempt to pack for my weekend away but I get tired and decide to leave it to the morning.

Daily Total: $85.99
Fourth: a talent acquisition coordinator who makes $32,400 per year. This week, she spends some of her money on protein balls and Snax potato chips.

Editor's Note: All prices have been converted to the U.S. dollar using conversion figures at the time her diary was submitted. Some text has been adapted to U.S./American English.

Occupation: Talent Acquisition Coordinator
Industry: Tech
Age: 25
Location: Cork, Ireland
Salary: $32,400
Paycheck (Weekly): $530

Monthly Expenses
Housing: I moved back in with my family at the start of this year to save money, but I still pay them "rent" of $140 per month to help cover my portion of the food and bills.
Car Payments: $280/month for one year. It was a pretty small loan.

All Other Monthly Expenses
College Loans: $0, thanks to my parents — although college in Ireland is MUCH cheaper than in the U.S. Our average yearly cost of college is $3,500.
Traveling: I spent a year traveling, and my parents gave me a loan when I ran out of money towards the end. I am still paying them back as much as I can, as often as I can.
Netflix: $0. My dad pays for the account for the family.
Phone: $0. I'm on the family plan.
Car Insurance: $115
Health Insurance: $0. We have public health insurance in Ireland, which I am covered by. Hopefully in the future when I have a better income I will get private health insurance (which would provide better coverage).
Savings: $0. I am the WORST saver in the world. I can only save if I have something specific to save for, like a holiday! I hope to save more regularly after the summer, as I want to go traveling again next year.

Day One



10 a.m. — I don't start work until 11:30, since I work with the American market; my hours are later to suit the American time zones. I get up, shower, and have breakfast of eggs, bacon, and half a bagel. I live in the same town as my office, so I get to work in less than 10 minutes. I drive even though I could walk, as driving is much easier and we have free parking at work.

2 p.m. — Mondays usually go slowly, but this afternoon has gone quickly so far. I brought some ham with me to work, and I run to the shop to buy a small bread roll to make a sandwich for my lunch later. While I am there I can't resist picking up Snax — cheese and onion flavored potato chips. I eat these at my desk and save the sandwich for later. $1.60

5 p.m. — After my EMEA colleagues leave work at the end of their day, the others on the U.S. team and I have our lunch. I eat my ham sandwich, and then we go outside to stretch our legs and get a bit of vitamin D before the last three hours of our working day.

8 p.m. — Time to go home. My mum has lasagna ready for me, which I eat in front of the TV. I lived away from home for a year and half. After I returned, I offered to do my own food shopping and cooking, but my mum insists on cooking as it makes it easier for her to keep track of the food we have. We'll also avoid getting in each other's way if we cook dinner at the same time. I head to bed around 11 and fall asleep with Netflix playing in the background. I can't fall asleep in silence, and my laptop will eventually turn itself off.

Daily Total: $1.60

Day Two



8:30 a.m. — This is early for me but I get up and get ready. I bought some items of clothing for my holiday that I never wore, and I want to return them today before it is too late. I bring eggs and bacon with me for breakfast at work later. I lost the receipt for one of the items and only have the option of exchanging, so I swap the denim shorts for a pair of stripy culottes and pay the difference ($11.81). I also pick up another small baguette for today's lunch. Outside of the shopping center, there is a farmers' market. One of the stands is a protein bakery. I decide to buy protein balls and a protein brownie. I hope they taste as good as they look. $19.03

11:30 a.m. — I arrive at work and prepare my breakfast. Everything is cooked but I need to reheat the bacon in the microwave. The kitchen at work has free bread, so I have a slice of bread and make a bacon and egg sandwich. I haven't been eating very healthily since I came home from holidays. I am trying to cut down on carbs but am not doing very well!

1 p.m. — My direct debit for my car insurance bounced this month for some reason, and I'm charged a late penalty fee. The money was in my account so I am not sure why it happened. It hurts me to pay online myself. When the money comes out automatically, you can pretend it's not happening, but physically typing in your card details and clicking the pay button is very upsetting. $8

5 p.m. — I have another ham sandwich for lunch. There are only four of us on the U.S. team and two are smokers, so when they go out for their post lunch cigarette break, the other non-smoker and I join them outside and continue our chat from lunch.

7 p.m. — I start to crave fajitas and I text my mam to see if we have chicken at home. We don't, so I walk down to the shop to get chicken filets. While I am there, I also pick up almond milk and crisps. $12

8 p.m. — I used to go personal training on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but since I came back from my holidays two weeks ago, I haven't returned. Also, the trainer I used to go to has left the gym. Now, I am looking into joining a new, cheaper gym. I get straight into my PJs when I get home from work and I sit in front of the TV watching reality shows. My mam cooked pasta for dinner and I decide to save the fajitas for lunch. I take a bottle of Heineken that's in the fridge to go with it. I think it might be my brother's, but I'm sure he won't notice one missing!

Daily Total: $39.03

Day Three



9 a.m. — I planned to get up early this morning and try a YouTube workout video, but I get lazy and end up scrolling through Instagram instead. When I eventually get up, I have a shower and get ready for work. I cook the chicken I bought yesterday for my lunch. I also pack a whole-meal wrap, salsa, and cheese for the fajita. I almost always bring a packed lunch to work, as it saves money and it's healthier than any of the options that are available in the supermarkets or local cafés. I eat a fried egg with bacon on half a bagel for breakfast.

1:30 p.m. — I eat the crisps I bought yesterday, which I stored in my desk drawer. I bought a six pack and they can be used for emergency snack breaks if I'm a bit hungry during the day. There's a long time to wait between my 10 a.m. breakfast and 5 p.m. lunch break.

4 p.m. — I have a Greek style vanilla yogurt, and my colleague who sits next to me asks if I want to come to the shop with her. I intentionally don't bring any money with me so I don't get tempted to buy anything.

5 p.m. — It's finally time for my fajita, and it is as good as I expected it to be. I made enough for two servings and will have one again tomorrow. We turn to a game show on the TV in our staff kitchen and are glued to it the whole time we are there. I love game shows!

8 p.m. — Tonight, my mam has cooked potatoes for me and my dad for dinner. I take a chicken Kiev out of the freezer to go with it, and watch more reality TV before heading to bed. Some of the YouTubers I watch have uploaded new content this week, and I watch that on my laptop in bed.

Daily Total: $0

Day Four



9 a.m. — I get up and get ready faster than usual because I have a doctor's appointment before work. I recently turned 25, and in Ireland, women are eligible for a free cervical smear test every three years from the age of 25 to 60. I'm not nervous, and it is done really quickly and efficiently. I have time to go home again before work to eat scrambled eggs, bacon, and half a bagel for breakfast. I chat with my mam a bit before leaving for work. On the way, I get petrol for my car as I am running low and I hate when the red light is on. $34.51

2 p.m. — We take a quick tea break; I have cereal with almond milk. I am a strong believer in having breakfast at any time of the day, as it's even better during the day than it is at breakfast time!

5 p.m. — I have my second fajita for lunch and we watch more game shows as we eat.

6:30 p.m. — One of my colleagues suggests ice cream. Even though it isn't sunny or particularly warm, ice cream is my biggest weakness — I can never say no. We walk the five minutes to the shop for our ice cream; it's the best decision we've made all day! $1.33

8 p.m. — I go home and change into workout gear. I'm only taking the dog for a quick walk but wearing workout gear makes me feel like I am doing something more substantial! It's pouring rain but I don't mind. I've been needing a good walk in the fresh air for a while. I come home and have leftover pasta from the other night for dinner. Writing this Money Diary has made me realize how repetitive my life is. I should really do more during the week.

11 p.m. — I go to bed and watch To the Bone on Netflix. It's really good, but the ending could have been better. I fall asleep right after.

Daily Total: $35.84

Day Five



9 a.m. — I get up and shower, feeling thankful it's Friday and pay day! I have a boiled egg and whole-meal toast for breakfast with a vitamin C drink.

10:30 a.m. — I still have loads of time before I have to leave for work. I see that a really good Irish band called Picture This have added an extra date to their tour. Two of my friends have interest in seeing them as well, so I buy three tickets. The concert is in Killarney in November. Killarney is about an hour and 20 minutes from where I live, so we could easily drive home afterwards, but we agree to treat ourselves to a hotel as well. I book a really nice hotel on Booking.com that won't ask us to pay until we check in! $117.54

2 p.m. — I like to treat myself to a bought lunch on Fridays. I go to the sandwich counter at the nearby supermarket and get a panini with pesto, cheese, and tomato — my favorite. I save this for later and also do the EuroMilions lotto, which I always do on Fridays ($2.95). I have the winnings mentally spent in my head already. Hello, world travel. Goodbye, job! This week's jackpot is €35 million. Spoiler alert: I don't win. $7.74

7 p.m. — We finish early on Fridays, and I go to meet a friend at Starbucks. I haven't seen her in over a month as I was away, and then she was in Barcelona. It's good to catch up and tell each other about our holidays. She orders a tea and I get a mango and passion fruit juice; we pay separately. $5.30

9 p.m. — We leave Starbucks as they start to close. Another friend texts me because she is getting ready for a wedding coming up and wants me to put fake tan on her back. I stop at the shop on the way and pick up two cans of cider for myself. I have one at my friend's house and save the other for when I get home. $5.45

11:30 p.m. — I remember I haven't had any dinner and decide to get pizza on my way home. I order a €10 meal deal, which is one small pizza, one side (I choose garlic bread), and a Sprite. I collect this and eat it at home while catching up with my family. I go to bed late, around 1 a.m. $11.65

Daily Total: $147.68

Day Six



11 a.m. — I generally try spend as little as possible during the week so I don't feel guilty about my unjustified spending at the weekend. However, this weekend will be pretty quiet I think, so hopefully I can keep my spending to a minimum. After having fried eggs, bacon and toast for breakfast, I go for a walk with my dog and my little brother. During our walk, we stop for ice cream and drinks at a small shop. $1.40

3 p.m. — There's a big hurling match on TV that I watch with my mam. Hurling is an Irish sport that is played with a stick, called a hurl, and a small leather ball, called a sliotar. It is considered one of the fastest and most skillful sports in the world, and it's so exciting to watch! The team I am shouting for loses, but it's not my local team and I am not too upset. My team, Cork, are not playing again until August. That's the All Ireland semifinal, which I'll be going to see in person — not just on TV!

5 p.m. — I spend the rest of the evening cleaning and tidying my bedroom; it is well overdue. I also put clothes that I don't wear into bags to donate at the charity shop the next time I'm there.

8 p.m. — When I finally finish cleaning, I go to the shop and get a frozen pizza, I think I deserve it after all the cleaning I have just done. I find another can of cider in the fridge that I drink. My entire family are away tonight, so it's great to have the house to myself and watch TV in peace. $2.33

Daily Total: $3.73

Day Seven



10 a.m. — I get up, shower, and get ready. I have more fried eggs, bacon, and toast for breakfast. There's another hurling match today — Waterford and Wexford — and I will be shouting for Waterford as that's where my nana comes from. I'm meeting friends for food and drinks before the match. My dad kindly offers to drop me there so I don't have to worry about parking and I can have a few drinks, too.

12:30 p.m. — We meet at a pub close to the stadium before the match. I am not that hungry so I only order a plate of fries. I also drink three pints of Orchard Thieves cider; it's lovely, very sweet. We all pay our own tabs as it's easier. It's a sunny day and really warm as well. Sitting out in the sun is so nice. There's such a good atmosphere from people going to the match, wearing their respective jerseys all around us. One of our friends owns a horse that is racing today and we all put a €5 bet on him to win. The odds are 9-4 and he wins! This is my first time betting on a horse, so I am very excited. We only get back €16 each but I am still happy with my winnings. This will cover the cost of the rest of my day out. I don't plan on drinking much more, as I have work tomorrow. $24.46

3:30 p.m. — The match is at 4 p.m. and I have one more cider before we get our seats. When I finish and we sit down, we realize we have really good seats right in the middle of the pitch and not too high up either! This stadium only opened last week in Cork and it is so cool to see it after two years in the making. $6.41

6 p.m. — The team I'm supporting wins! I am delighted although one of my friends is from Wexford and they lost, so she is a bit upset. We go to another pub after the match and all have one more drink. $6.41

7 p.m. — Two of my friends live in Dublin, and they say their goodbyes. Dublin is a 2.5-hour drive away from Cork. Hopefully, there will be no traffic and they will get home quick. My friend, her new boyfriend, and I go to a burger place for dinner. I am still not that hungry after all the cider I drank today, and I only order a burger, no fries. The burgers at this place are too nice to say no! $8.68

9:30 p.m. — When I get home, I tell my parents how cool the new stadium is. They couldn't get tickets unfortunately, so they just watched it on TV. I give my mam the weekly rent money before I go to bed and watch Okja on my laptop. I fall sleep 20 minutes into the movie.

3:30 p.m. — My friend bought my match ticket so I pay her back. $34.90

Daily Total: $80.86
Lastly: a development coordinator and graduate student who makes $32,500 per year. This week, she spends some of her money on coconut ash ice cream.

Occupation: Development Coordinator & Graduate Student
Industry: Higher Education
Age: 23
Location: Tucson, AZ
Salary: $32,500
Paycheck (2x/month): $854.75

Monthly Expenses
Housing: $605/month. This is the third year in my spacious one bedroom. The rent is a little higher now than I'd like, but it's still cheaper than moving.
Loan Payments: $0. I am working on a second MA, so no payments yet. (I'm about $100,00 in debt despite working throughout school.)

All Other Monthly Expenses
Gym Membership: $50 for a membership at a local boxing gym
Utilities: $100 for electric and gas
Internet: $84
Cell Phone: $0. I'm still on my parents' plan until I'm officially out of school, thank goodness.
401(k): $86
Health Insurance: Covered by my parents until I turn 26.
Parking: $66 for parking at my work and on campus. It's automatically deducted from my paycheck.
Car Insurance: $80. (No car payments because I own my car.)
Savings: $225
Charitable Donations: $170

Day One



7:30 a.m. — I'm getting a later start than I usually do, but I decide to take it easy this Thursday and stop at a new coffee shop in town that markets vegan, GF, and clean-eating options. I have green tea latte ($2.80) and a clean-eating muffin ($1.60). $4.40

12:30 p.m. — I work on campus full-time as a development coordinator, which means I get an amazing discount on my tuition. I'm still kind of poor though, so I usually opt to eat at my desk with a lunch I packed, rather than go out. It also helps me make healthier choices.

4:30 p.m. — I'm off work and heading to Trader Joe's to pick up groceries. I shop weekly and focus on fresh produce. This week's list is: one pack of Portobello mushroom caps (two caps/package), a green bell pepper, one container of jicama, one container of pomegranate arils, one bag of Power Greens, one navel orange, two beefsteak tomato, three bananas, one sweet potato, one small bag of rainbow potatoes, two avocados, a yellow onion, one package of grape tomatoes, a small watermelon, a mango, one 16-ounce plain whole Greek yogurt, one individual vanilla Greek yogurt, a dozen eggs, one jar of pasta sauce, a jar of organic olive oil mayo, a can tuna, and a three-pack of mini 72% dark chocolate bars. I have a preset menu for clean eating that I follow for about a month before I switch to a new one. This is my second week on my latest menu. $49.08

6:30 p.m. — One of my favorite parts of my day is going to kickboxing! I forgot my water bottle though and fountains gross me out so I shrug over some change to buy a bottle. $1

Daily Total: $54.48

Day Two



4:45 a.m. — Today is Friday, and also orientation day for my new master's program that begins Monday. I'm nervous. I was the youngest person in my first master's program at 21, and was a bit of a pariah. I'm really hoping to have a different experience this go. To calm my nerves, I go on a longer run than usual and pick up some honey sticks (a weakness of mine) from one of the farmer's carts that lines the running trail during the weekends. $0.50

10:20 a.m. — Orientation is just getting started. I have a tea I bought from the cute little local shop just around the corner to give myself something to hold onto, instead of fiddling nervously with my hair. Now I worry that I look pretentious for being one of those “I only shop local” types; everyone else has free coffee from the student offices. To be fair, I don't drink coffee, but still... $3.40

12 p.m. — Lunch is provided by the program. It's all pretty junky, so I opt for the fruit and pita bread. I'm not a fan of junk food but I am a fan of free food. #BrokeCollegeKidForLife

2 p.m. — Orientation is over and I head back to work. I'm grateful that my job allows me attend school and work — even if it can get exhausting sometimes. I take the streetcar to save time; it costs me $1.25 as a member of staff. $1.25

4:30 p.m. — After being “on” and extra social all day, I'm a bit emotionally exhausted. I make myself a quesadilla, feed my cat, order a new lint roller off Amazon, eat some chocolate, and crash. Not a super exciting Friday night, but hey, I like sleep. Once the semester is in full swing, there won't be much more of it. $5.47

Daily Total: $10.62

Day Three



7 a.m. — Today, I fry up eggs and smoked herring for breakfast with a side of sliced tomatoes. I wake up early to eat on Saturdays so that I can get a full meal in before my 11 a.m. kickboxing class. Kickboxing on an empty stomach is one the worst things you can do.

12:15 p.m. — After kickboxing, I stop by the local farmers' market to pick up as many strawberries as I can. It's hot out — 105 degrees Fahrenheit — but the produce is still looking good, and I prefer freezing my own produce for smoothies. The lady I buy from cuts me a good deal so I get three cases of strawberries for $12 at $6 a case. (I'm basically getting one free.) I also grab a giant heirloom tomato ($1), a loaf of GF bread ($5), and a delicious looking peach ($0.50). $18.50

3:30 p.m. — It's my godmother's birthday today. She's my main family in Tucson, so I'm really excited to celebrate with her. I go by the store to get supplies for her present (date night in a card) and hurry to put everything together before dinner at her house tonight. $20

Daily Total: $38.50

Day Four



10:20 a.m. — I have a soiree at 11 today, and I'm running a few minutes late. I don't have much time for breakfast and know there will be tons of food there, so I hurry up, slip on my shoes, and head out to pick up my +1. I get gas for my car on the way. $20

2 p.m. — Cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, and a pool — a.k.a., the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon in Tucson. My friend and I spend most of the afternoon lounging and chatting.

6:30 p.m. — After returning home around 4, I take a shower and head to a pop-up gallery opening downtown with a friend. I pay for both of us, and he buys us raspados afterwards from one of the food trucks. $8

Daily Total: $28

Day Five



9:45 a.m. — It's the first day of school! Even though I don't have class until after work, I'm really jittery and decide to go for a walk and grab a crème Frappuccino from Starbucks. My drink costs $4.18 but I pay with a pre-loaded card. I'm sure excess sugar is not the way to calm my nerves but I was going a little crazy sitting in the office.

4 p.m. — First class of the semester is a weekly seminar about migrant workers in the Middle East. It will be a lot of work; most seminars have 80-150 pages of reading per week with a two- to four- page reaction paper. At least it seems like an interesting topic! I forgot to bring a snack and I'll be here until 6:30, so I cross my fingers hoping that my stomach doesn't growl too loud.

6:30 p.m. — After being at work and in class all day (and forgetting my snack), I'm starving and too tired to cook. I stop by Trader Joe's and pick up a frozen vegan tikka masala dish to heat up quickly at home. $3.49

Daily Total: $3.49

Day Six



9:20 a.m. — Day Two of class. This one is a mandatory colloquium for all students coming into the program. I'm only taking two classes per semester rather than the typical three or so to balance work and school. However, I'm not quite in my groove yet and I still feel out of it. Probably a combination of stress, poor sleep, and adjusting when I eat. It may seem silly, but keeping a strict schedule through the week is the only way I stay sane during the semester.

4:15 p.m. — I'm off work and stop by another local tea shop and pick up a bag of green tea ($8.05). I'm hoping it will help up my energy. I also stop by the co-op downtown and buy the iron pills I take. I'm anemic but also iron intolerant, and the co-op has a special formulation of iron that doesn't upset my stomach or make me nauseous ($13.42). I've been out of pills for a few days and the lack of iron in my system might be negatively impacting my energy levels. $21.47

6:30 p.m. — Kickboxing time! It's my favorite part of my day and the best stress relief there is. Afterwards, I go home, shower, lay out my running clothes for the morning, fix up my lunch for tomorrow, and get a bit of my homework done for class. Most of it will have to wait until the weekend but I have some stuff I need to finish before my colloquium on Thursday.

Daily Total: $21.47

Day Seven



4 p.m. — As soon as I got off work, I head across campus to attend a Q&A session with a conservator who has worked primarily in antiquities. My research focus involves minorities and cultural heritage rights, so this session has the potential to be instrumental to my research. Overall, it was informative and mostly empty since school is barely back in session. I got to ask a lot of questions and even exchange cards with the presenter. Networking is essential for any student — but especially in grad research.

6:30 p.m. — I have plans with a few friends downtown tonight, so I hop on the streetcar. It's a short ride and I'm excited to meet up with everyone. We have no set itinerary; we just wander and stop at whatever catches our eye. $1.25

8:30 p.m. — Tonight on our wanderings, we find a shop that sells coconut ash ice cream ($5). It's the perfect treat while we hunt down new street art. Before heading home, I stop by the bookstore and pick up a few new notebooks ($15.37). Riding the streetcar back to my car, I flip through the crisp pages and began to feel excited for the new year. School can be stressful, especially when working full-time, and it definitely kills your social life. (At least that saves you money.) I genuinely believe though, that education is the way to change the world, so the young idealist in me carries on. $20.37

Daily Total: $21.62

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