A Week In Nashville On A $32,000 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. (Thanks, New York mag, for the inspiration.)

Today, a young journalist in Nashville going to the Cheesecake Factory after yoga.
Industry: arts and entertainment journalism
Age: 22
Location: Nashville, TN
Paycheck Amount (every two weeks): $872, after taxes
# of Roommates: 1

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $592.50
Loan Payments: $0. My parents are the absolute best and took on paying for my college to give me a clean financial slate once I hit the real world.
Utilities: $0. Parents pay the cable/Wi-Fi, roommate pays electricity, and our apartment complex takes care of water and gas.
Transportation: $0. Maybe I’m not a real adult yet, as my parents also help me out with gas money.
Phone Bill: $0 (parents’ plan)
Health Insurance: $0 for medical (parents’ plan), $3.69 for dental, and $2.45 for vision twice a month
401k Plan: $21.71
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Day 1

7 a.m. — I try to wake up early every morning to head out for a run while the temperature is low. As usual, I get ready and make a quick bowl of cereal at home before heading to work.

9:30 a.m. — An artist we cover frequently sent over some breakfast to say thanks for our work. All about those work perks.

12:30 p.m. — Doughnuts and bacon and sausage, oh my! Breakfast for lunch has never tasted so good. The best things in life truly are free.

5:30 p.m. — Leaving work and picking up a bagel from Panera as a Monday treat. I’ve got a MyPanera reward that gives me free bagels for the month of September.

7 p.m. — Movie night with one of my closest friends means wine and peanut M&Ms are needed. I stop by Kroger for snacks and a quick fuel fill-up. $29.36

Daily Total: $29.36
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Day 2

7 a.m. — Once again, running and cereal. The usual.

1 p.m. — We have a busy day filled with artists coming into our office studio, so my boss decided to order us all lunch from Jason’s Deli. My budget (and my stomach) loves work days like this.

3:45 p.m. — They poured the candy bowl all over my desk. I'm eating all the mini-chocolates, with no hesitation.

6 p.m. — It’s one of the greatest days of the year: free slice night at my favorite Nashville pizza place, Five Points Pizza. I met up with one of my close friends and her boyfriend for a giant piece. (Insert praise-hands emoji.)

7 p.m. — Okay, we’re still hungry. We head to the next pizza joint for their Tuesday two-for-one night (beer and slices are double for the price of one). $10.72

Daily Total: $10.72
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Day 3

7 a.m. — Run. Cereal. What’s new?

12 p.m. — More artists filming means more free lunch. Pizza is on the menu for today, oops. Oh well; at least it’s good.

6 p.m. — After a long, crazy day at work, I swiftly prep for yoga by eating a Greek yogurt and picking up my friend for carpool.

7:15 p.m. — The studio I go to has "community class" on Wednesday nights, meaning it’s cheap. Namaste. $5

8:30 p.m. — After hot yoga, I go to the Cheesecake Factory for appetizers and dessert. Good thing I have a gift card to get us all a bit of a discount. We split the cost of the leftover tab. $8.67

11 p.m. — Time to sleep.

Daily Total: $13.67
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Day 4

7 a.m. — Same as every other day.

12:45 p.m. — I’ve had Chipotle leftovers in the work fridge for a couple days, so I just heat that up for my lunch break. You can never go wrong with Chipotle.

5:30 p.m. — After leaving work, I decide to have a chill night at home so I can enjoy time alone.

7:45 p.m. — I really need some fresh groceries, so I head off to the Kroger around the corner and pick up some essentials: milk, cereal, vegetables, fruit, the works. This also gives me the energy to make a small bite to eat once I get home. The total is $24.47, but is covered by my parents’ credit card. (My parents gave me a credit card when I went to college; they pay for the bill every month in order to help me build up a good credit score. I use that card to pay for my groceries, so in the end, they pay off the total amount. They tell me to keep the allowance under $200 per month, and I typically only get to around $130 or so.)

11:30 p.m. — Okay, I’ve spent a little too much time binge-watching The Office and using the Marco Polo walkie-talkie app on my phone to talk to my friends in different states/countries. Time to sleep.

Daily Total: $0
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Day 5

7 a.m. — Should I even mention this at this point? Run, cereal, get to work.

9 a.m. — Ordered myself a free Panera whole wheat bagel to make a sandwich for lunch. I brought peanut butter and yogurt, too.

12:45 p.m. — Time to make that peanut butter bagel sandwich, because I’m starving and tired. So happy I get to leave a little early today.

3:30 p.m. — Done with work for the week.

5:30 p.m. — Meet up with a new good friend of mine for happy hour margaritas and Mexican food at a place I’ve never been to in East Nashville. We catch up with each other’s weeks over queso and chips. $22.60

8:30 p.m. — End up at my friend’s apartment as usual, and we treat ourselves with Cookout milkshakes. Because she needed to get gas for her car anyways, I pay for our shakes in lieu of her driving. $6.10

12 a.m. — Alright, I fell asleep on their couch. Time to drive home and go to bed.

Daily Total: $28.70
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Day 6

7 a.m. — I know it’s the weekend, and I should let myself sleep, but I decide to wake up bright and early for a run and a binge-watch of The Office. Worth it.

9 a.m. — Since I’m feeling productive, I head down to the laundry facility at my apartment complex and do a load of wash. While I do have to pay for the washer and dryer, it’s not too much of an expense because I usually only have enough dirty clothes for one go-round. $3.80

4 p.m. — Haven’t moved from my living room all day. Thankfully, my friend calls me up and wants to do something tonight. I head over to hers to make plans.

7:30 p.m. — After being mega-indecisive over where to go to dinner and what outfit my friend wants to wear, we finally head to the 12 South area and grab a bite. All about that buffalo chicken and fries, especially paired with a grapefruit IPA. $22.61

9 p.m. — Instead of going out on the town by ourselves, we choose to grab a six-pack at the grocery store and enjoy a night on the porch. My friend is nice enough to pay for the beer since I paid for her shake the other night.

12 a.m. — Back home again.

Daily Total: $26.41
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Day 7

8:30 a.m. — I take my time getting out of bed, but still head out for a morning jog. I’m starting to enjoy this early-exercising thing.

4 p.m. — I’ve fallen into the trap of binge-watching again for today, so I finish the rest of season one of American Crime before I clean the entire apartment. I don’t really spend much time at my own apartment during the week, so I guess that’s why I veg out so much there on the weekends.

7 p.m. — A friend and I make plans to go see a movie, so I go pick her up from her place and head to the theater. My mom gave me a Regal gift card when she came to visit, which means my ticket and snacks are paid for. Once again, I love free stuff.

11:30 p.m. — I send my friends that live all across the country/world a couple video messages via the Marco Polo app, which then turns into an hour-long social media check. Finally, I throw my phone to the side in order to get some sleep before work tomorrow.

Daily Total: $0
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