A Week In Los Angeles On A $75,000 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking millennial women 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, an Angeleno celebrating a friend's birthday and going on a promising first date.

Industry: Media
Age: 28
Location: Los Angeles
Salary: $75,000 a year
Paycheck (every 2 weeks): ~$2,266
Number of roommates: 2

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,025/month
Loan payments: $435/month
Utilities: $100/month
Transportation: $60/month (gas), $50/month (Ubers)
Car payment: $300/month
Phone bill: $145/month
Health insurance: $120/month
Website hosting: $10/month
Adobe Creative Cloud subscription: $29/month

Day 1

10 a.m. — Coffee: $3.27

2:30 p.m. — Go to lunch in Pasadena with my friend (and ex-boyfriend). Poké bowl and coconut water cost $11.50; his treat.

3:30 p.m. — Fill up the tank for a 2015 Honda Fit. $22.34

Daily Total: $25.61

Day 2

10 a.m. — I'm planning to write at my favorite coffee shop, but I hate their food and I'm hungry. I stop by Starbucks first to eat — a sausage breakfast sandwich and a new bagel hole thing — a French toast Bantam. $5.20

10:15 a.m. — Cold brew from Found Coffee in Eagle Rock: $4

6:30 p.m. — Eat a Trader Joe’s pizza for dinner from my freezer.

8:30 p.m. — Meet up for a first date at a wine-and-beer bar. Sierra Nevada, $6, but he pays.

9:30 p.m. — We go to another bar close by, Little Joy, for a stand-up show. I buy two whiskey gingers, my treat. Then we run into friends and have another round, his treat. $16

11:20 p.m. — Go to another bar, down the road, The Lost Knight. We have another round (it's fuzzy). He pays.

12:30 a.m. — Tipsy, and riding down Sunset Boulevard to my house in an Uber: $5.55

Daily Total: $30.75

Day 3

11 a.m. — I go to a doctor's appointment and pay for parking. $6. Co-pay: $15. Total: $21

12 p.m. — Party City for some balloons for my roommate's birthday party. $9.99 each for two huge Mylar "8" balloons, because he was born in 1988. Get it? Yeah, no one did either, but it looked cute. $21.78

1:15 p.m. — Lunch. Big Mac and French fries from McDonald’s: $5.48

1:30 p.m. — I buy a special introductory package at Pop Physique, five classes for $45. I book my first class for Sunday at 11 a.m. (Note: I slept through it.) $45

8:30 p.m. — Cupcake mix and frosting (on sale). I make these at home and crush up some near stale Oreos that I had in the pantry to put on top. It's really good, promise. $3.62

9 p.m. — Roommate orders Thai food, $16.58, his treat. We both haven't eaten and people are coming over, and I am still baking cupcakes, so we get a chicken pad Thai to split and an appetizer.

Daily Total: $96.88

Day 4

11 a.m. — $4 cold brew from Vita, my friend Riley's treat.

4 p.m. — Groceries for the week from Trader Joe's: one cucumber, Sriracha chips, unsalted butter, coconut water, cold-brew concentrate, organic spaghetti, seafood mussels in white wine, roasted wasabi seaweed strips, a bell pepper, two Minneolas, pesto, organic ketchup, four avocados, three bananas, a bag of russet potatoes, penguin gummies, a bag of arugula, one chicken pot pie, a pack of three bell peppers, breakfast latkes, boneless chicken thighs, smoked salmon with capers dip, cut cheddar Irish Porter cheese, a pre-made salad with chicken, strawberries, and a garden bouquet. $73.89

6 p.m. — Eat the pre-made salad for dinner and shove Sriracha chips into my mouth.

9 p.m. — I go to the screening of Punch-Drunk Love at the Ace Hotel with my friend Peter. He buys drinks; I have white wine, and I think he has vodka. It's about $20. I tip $10 cash kind of on accident because it is connected to other bills. I'm not even drunk at this point. $10

11 p.m. — One beef dip, one lamb dip, and fries from Cole's. Peter has never had a Cole's beef dip before, so I buy him one and try a lamb one myself. $29.06

11:30 p.m. — Terrible time to take an Uber, but I accept a 2.8x surge. #regret $19.50

Daily Total: $132.45


Day 5

11 a.m. — Eat a banana and yogurt.

11:30 a.m. — I left my computer charger at a coffee shop, so I have to go pick it up. I don't really need the coffee, but I feel awkward and I'm just really happy to get my computer charger back. $4

6 p.m. — Make dinner for myself and my roommate: rosemary chicken with roasted potatoes.

Daily Total: $4

Day 6

1 p.m. — My sister is in town from Chicago, so I take the next two days off work. It's not going to be a great example of my everyday life, but here it is. We go to lunch at Guisados, my treat. Yummy tacos. $22.35

2 p.m. — Student-loan payment, $150 (counted above in monthly expenses).

3:30 p.m. — We go to a Korean spa, but I won't say which one because it's a steal. We grab some mochi first: $5

4 p.m. — Reflexology massage, my sister's treat: $50.

8 p.m. — Uber to Bootleg Theater for a free comedy show. $8.11

9 p.m. — Two drinks for us, my treat. $13

10 p.m. — We Uber to another bar to meet up with that cute boy who I went on a date with on Thursday and his squad. $5.15

11:30 p.m. — Pick up Uber back to my neighborhood, $9.15. Drinks for myself, my sister, and cute boy, who my sister delightfully points out looks like her ex-roommate who trained his pit bull to attack people. No chill, no chill. $32. Total: $41.15

1:20 a.m. — Go home and drunkenly cook latkes.

Daily Total: $94.76

Day 7

11 a.m. — Yogurt and banana.

11:30 a.m. — Get a coffee, bottled water, and Danish from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf: $6.30

11:45 a.m. — Go golfing with my sister at the cheapest course we could find; her treat. $5.50

2:30 p.m. — HomeState Tex-Mex restaurant — we have amazing tacos and loaded queso. $17.15

8 p.m. — We make stuffed peppers for dinner.

Daily Total: $23.45

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.

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