A Week In Honolulu, HI, On A $53,394 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.
Today: a seventh-grade teacher who makes $53,394 per year, and spends some of her paycheck this week on gummy bears from Target.
Occupation: Seventh Grade Teacher
Industry: Education
Age: 31
Location: Honolulu, HI
Salary: $53,394
Paycheck (2x/month): $1,356 after taxes, medical, union dues, and retirement are taken out. I also work a side job teaching a class for masters of education students online. I make $6,000 - $10,000 a year, but those paychecks depend on how many hours I work and when. I'm taking this summer off so I don't have any of those paychecks coming in until September. This money I split between savings, extra car payments, and travel fun, so I don't count it in my normal budget.
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Monthly Expenses
Housing: $1,400 for mortgage, taxes, and insurance on my condo. I live with a roommate who contributes $800 for rent, utilities, and other housing costs.
Car Payment: $200 a month, and I try to pay off more when I can
All Other Monthly Expenses
Electricity & Gas: $120 - $190 depending on the time of year, my AC usage, and Hawaii's fluctuating power rates
Cable & Internet: $45
Cell Phone: $40 paid to my father for my contribution to the family plan
Spotify: $10.50
Netflix: None — I share the family account.
Car Insurance: $100
YMCA Gym Membership: $47
Monthly Dog Food Shipment from Amazon: $22
Monthly Donation to Planned Parenthood: $10
Savings: Whatever is left over at the end of the month, plus money from my second job.
1 of 8
5:45 a.m. — My dog Belle wakes me up a few times, minutes before my alarm is supposed to go off. I feed her, take her out, get ready for the day, and am in my car before 6:30 a.m.

6:45 a.m. — I arrive at school. Class doesn't start for an hour, but I like to get work done in relative peace. I usually eat a breakfast that I've prepared at home, but I had an upset stomach last night and don't feel very hungry. Students are in my class by 8 a.m. and ready for the day!

10:30 a.m. — Our eighth graders have a career day today, so I have a free period. I do a little end-of-year inventory work, and eat applesauce and cereal that I packed for breakfast.

11:30 a.m. — Lunch time! Lots of students bring their lunches and hang out in my room during lunch, so it gets a bit loud. Another teacher comes by; we chat about our summer plans while I heat up and eat my vegetable soup.

3 p.m. — I head out from school to Target, where I buy beef broth, kidney beans, tomatoes, onions, chips, salsa, popcorn, two six packs of Zeevia, and gummy bears. I also get a few frozen meals for easy lunches over the next couple of days, since things are crazy with the end of the school year. There's a sale on gluten-free English muffins and I grab some of those to freeze. After, I head over to Safeway to buy ground beef, carrots, celery and apples. $57.70

6 p.m. — After returning to my parents' house and binge watching a few episodes of Parks and Rec, I take Belle for a walk and then feed her. My parents are traveling to California the day after tomorrow and I'll be house sitting until my last day of work, after which I will fly out to join them to visit friends and family. It's dinnertime when I get back. Mom is cleaning out the fridge and makes a concoction of beef, tomatoes, and onion over polenta. After eating, I shower and watch TV while snacking on gummy bears.

Daily Total: $57.70
2 of 8
5:30 a.m. — Belle yowls at me 20 minutes before my alarm. I try to ignore her, but end up getting up anyway. I take her out, feed her, and get ready for work.

6:40 a.m. — I arrive at work and tackle some items on my endless to-do list. I eat cereal as I work and chat with teachers who stop by.

10 a.m. — I'm starving, so I eat the frozen enchiladas I brought for lunch. The rest of my teaching team decided to go out and grab something to eat for our last meeting together.

11:45 a.m. — My team meets and drives over to Wendy's together. Their dining room is closed so we go through the drive through. None of us have enough cash for our meals, and the social studies teacher insists on paying for all of us as a final hurrah. He is the nicest guy, and we stick whatever cash we have in his drink holder anyway. I get chili, fries and a side salad. We go back to school and eat in the air-conditioned conference room. $7

2:20 p.m. — The bell rings and I get out of there. I've finished grading and just need to make it through the last day. I head over to a different Target to get a price adjustment on a purse I bought a few days ago. The Cartwheel app pops up with 10% off all purses, but the lady at the service desk tells me that it doesn't apply to the purse I purchased. I'm pretty sure it will, so I return it and decide to buy it again using Cartwheel. I also buy a can of beans I forgot to pick up the other day. When I ring up my purchase, Cartwheel works (ha!), so after my bean purchase I walk out of Target with $2.50 back on my card.

3 p.m. — I stop at the Starbucks in Target to get a drink for the road. I've been stockpiling stars on the app and am eligible for several free drinks, but I've also collected about $40 in gift cards over the last few days as presents. (Plus, I won another for Teacher of the Quarter.) I won't be paying for Starbucks for a while, woo hoo! I order a Passion Iced Tea Lemonade and pay using my gift card money. I'm saving the rewards for expensive airport Starbucks in the next few weeks.

6:30 p.m. — After taking Belle out for a walk, I go with my Dad to the local Chipotle rip-off place to help him grab dinner. I order a steak bowl with a side of corn tortillas; he pays. We head back to my parents' house and eat while watching the recorded Survivor finale. I couldn't care less about this show, so after I've eaten, I go to my room and binge watch a few more episodes of Parks and Rec.

Daily Total: $7
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3 of 8
5:30 a.m. — I wake up a bit earlier since today is graduation day, and parking at school will be nutty. I do my morning dog routine and hit the road, stopping at Starbucks to buy a mocha Frappuccino along the way. I got a notification that some of my stars are expiring, so I use a reward to pay the $5.25.

8 a.m. — School starts and I bring my homeroom out to watch the eighth-grade graduation. It's a nice day: clear, not too hot. Last year it absolutely poured during graduation and it was a hot mess. After the ceremony, most of the eighth graders and quite a few seventh graders sign out for the school day. The remaining students help me clean my room and then we play games. I still manage to have a roomful of seventh graders in my room at lunch. I eat applesauce and craisins as I listen to them chat about how they all plan to live in mansions in California when they grow up. Ah, they have no idea what real adulting is like!

2 p.m. — Finish most of my end-of-year tasks with just a couple of things to do next week. I head to a coworker's house to hang out for a bit and pick up something to drink on the way. We watch Moana and play with her dog while we wait for another teacher to come over. $2

3 p.m. — I drive the three of us to Johnny Rockets, which is brand new to Hawaii. I have nostalgic memories of the restaurant from college, but this one isn't a 50s-themed diner like the others I've gone to. The food is still pretty good — and they have gluten-free hamburger buns. I put our bill ($57.65) on my credit card and my coworkers give me cash for their portion. I get a burger, Coke, and a side salad, and we share a loaded tater tot dish. $25.32

4 p.m. — We wander through the mall for a bit and stop in Forever 21 so I can buy a new pair of sunglasses. I am constantly losing or breaking them, so I refuse to spend more than $10 on a pair. I purchase a pair and find a cute pair of socks with goats on them that I'll give one of my best friends when I see her on my trip. We love goats! $8.17

6 p.m. — I get back to my parents' house and take my dog for a long walk even though I'm tired. My parents left this morning, so she's been alone for a bit. I feed her, throw a load of laundry in the machine, and do meal prep for a soup I've wanted to make in the slow cooker. I enjoy a glass of wine as I work. I'm hungry after the meal prep, so I throw a mini pizza I bought at Target into the oven and eat that while watching a few more episodes of Parks and Rec.

Daily Total: $35.49
4 of 8
5:30 a.m. — Belle insists on getting up, even though it is a weekend. I feed her, take her out, and we go back to bed.

8:45 a.m. — I wake up again and put all my ingredients together in the slow cooker. I'm making Pasta e Fagoli, which was my favorite soup when I frequented the Olive Garden in college. After the slow cooker is set, I pack a bag and take Belle down to the beach. My parents live in a popular beach town, so we roam through the waves for a bit, even though Belle doesn't like swimming. After, we head home and rinse off. I check my soup, do another load of laundry, and watch a few episodes of The White Princess. I am kind of obsessed with Tudor history.

1 p.m. — I make noodles to add to my soup and eat some of it while I finish the last few episodes of Parks and Rec. After, I finish my laundry and start packing for my trip. I decide to binge watch seasons 2 and 3 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt next. I don't usually watch this much TV, but it's almost summer break. I deserve it!

6 p.m. — My friend picks me up and we head to Gyu-Kaku, a Japanese barbecue place, for dinner. I order beef, cheesy broccoli, rice, and we split a bottle of wine. I have a $25 credit to the restaurant, which helps pay my bill. My friend gives me cash; I put the $72 bill on my card since I love getting airline miles. He drops me off back at my parents' place, and Belle and I watch SNL reruns. $19

Daily Total: $19
5 of 8
6 a.m. — Belle wakes me up, I feed her, and we go back to bed.

8:45 a.m. — We wake up again. I toast an English muffin for breakfast and get dressed. My friend brings her dog over and we let them run around the front yard. Belle gets super tired.

11:30 a.m. — We take the dogs to a nearby burger place that has outdoor seating. Both dogs get a little crazy when other dogs walk by, but we manage to enjoy our lunch. I get a lettuce wrapped blue cheese burger, fries, and a Coke. $15.55

1:30 p.m. — I stop for gas on the way to the mall. I usually fill up about once a week. $25.05

2 p.m. — I go to a spa at the mall to get waxed. It's a little expensive, but there's a technician there that I really like, and it's worth it. $37.51

2:30 p.m. — I shop around for a lightweight jacket to bring on my trip. I find two, including one that's a bit big but is on clearance, so I can make it work. I also find a dress that I might wear to a wedding this summer. Their clearance is buy one, get one free, so I grab a tank top as well. I also have two shirts to return, so after that and the BOGO deal, I spend less than 25 bucks. $21.12

3:15 p.m. — I stop at Hallmark to get a card for my dad since I will be traveling on Father's Day. $4.17

4 p.m. — I swing by Target and buy a few apples, some nail polish, a bottle of wine, and a birthday card for my brother. Then, for my trip, I get buy travel-sized toothpaste and shaving cream, Band-Aids, hair ties, and snacks. $39.99

5 p.m. — I eat chips and salsa and watch the news. My parents call and I talk to them for a bit. Afterwards, I heat up some of my soup and pop open my bottle of wine. The dog and I curl up on the couch and continue to watch Kimmy Schmidt.

Daily Total: $143.39
6 of 8
5:45 a.m. — Same dog routine. You think she'd get the picture that we can sleep in now.

10 a.m. — I take Belle on another beach walk. Trying to get some quality time in since she'll be in the kennel for a week.

12 p.m. — I drive around to another side of the island to meet up with my friend. We go to a restaurant called BYO Bowls where you can build your own noodle, rice, or salad bowl. My friend makes a poke bowl and I pick a noodle bowl with rice noodles, lots of veggies, and beef. They have gluten-free teriyaki sauce, which is awesome. I pay for my bowl and a drink. $14.42

1:30 p.m. — My friend and I go to see Baywatch. Yes, it is going to be terrible, but Zac Efron is so good looking! My friend and I share a large popcorn and each get a soda. $19

3:30 p.m. — Baywatch isn't high art, but it had some laughs. Zac Efron is definitely beautiful — but way too built for a supposed Olympic swimmer. I head home and continue packing for my trip. I'm going to be gone for three weeks and in a variety of climates. Since I moved back to Hawaii, I've gotten really wussy about temperature. Anything lower than 65 is cold! I'll be on the Washington coast and in the California desert, so I'll be experiencing a wide range of temperatures.

7 p.m. — I have the last of my soup and a glass of wine for dinner. I continue my Kimmy Schmidt marathon.

Daily Total: $33.42
7 of 8
5:45 a.m. — Good morning, Belle! After dealing with her, however, I can only crawl into bed for another hour.

7:20 a.m. — I drive to school. Today is a teacher workday, meaning we have to sign in at school, finish up in our classrooms, and turn in our keys. I have it down to a science and can finish quickly, but it's still frustrating that we have to come in on a Tuesday after Memorial Day weekend.

8:30 a.m. — I finish everything, turn in my key, and officially sign out for the summer! I go to my friend's classroom where she is still finishing up. Her Nintendo Wii is set up on her Smart Board, so the two of us play and another teacher joins in.

11:30 a.m. — After my friends are all finished with their classrooms, we decide to get hot pot at an all-you-can-eat place. It's a bit pricey, but it comes with unlimited soft drinks and tea, and you can pick exactly what you want. I order several plates of their more expensive cuts of meat to make it worth my money. $32.46

3 p.m. — I stop at Target one more time (I'm addicted) to pick up a prescription. They wouldn't refill it until today because I needed it early for my trip. $15

4 p.m. — I decide that I probably don't need to spend more money on eating out tonight. I don't usually eat out so often, but it has just been a little easier to do with the end of the year and house-sitting. I go to Whole Foods and buy sausage for dinner tonight and breakfast tomorrow. I hoped they'd have the turkey sausage I like, but they don't carry it anymore and I end up having to buy their normal Italian. $6.48

5 p.m. — I finally finish packing my suitcase! I take my dog out on one last beach walk to celebrate. When I return home, I cook up the sausage I bought and mix it with pasta, sauce, and frozen spinach. I finish Kimmy Schmidt and decide to download the second season of Master of None for my trip.

Daily Total: $53.94
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