A Week In Chattanooga, TN, On $9/Hour

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 student and after-school teacher who makes $9/hour. This week, she spends some of her money on lingerie.

Occupation: Student & After-School Teacher
Industry: Education
Age: 19
Location: Chattanooga, TN
Salary: $9/hour

Monthly Expenses
Housing Costs: $350 for a three-bedroom apartment that I share with two roommates. We could be getting be getting a lot more bang for our buck but we live in a great location.

All Other Monthly Expenses
Student Spotify: $4.99 — and includes a Hulu subscription
Wi-Fi: $14.50
Phone Bill: $0. My phone bill is still covered by my parents.
Netflix: $0 — covered by an ex-Tinder guy. Nothing better than ending things and getting to keep the Netflix password.
Roth IRA: $75 every three months

Day One

8 a.m. — Time to wake up! I hit snooze three times because I have had a lot of late nights recently and am still trying to get back into a school and work routine. After finally rolling out of bed, I drag myself to the apartment gym and find out I need a code. Grr. I know I need to work out so I settle for a beginners' yoga tutorial on YouTube.

10 a.m. — Finished working out and checking emails. Breakfast is a bagel with lactose-free cream cheese and it hits the spot. Time to do homework until class.

12:10 p.m. — Late to my noon class ... on the first day. Thankfully, the professor is nice and lets me slide in unnoticed.

2 p.m. — Time for lunch! That two-hour class was awful and I am starving. After talking myself out of coffee, I find a spot in the library to eat and do homework. Lunch today is a quinoa bowl with chia seeds, broccoli, peas, arugula, spinach, and chickpeas.

5:30 p.m. — After being at work all afternoon, I cannot wait to eat dinner, which my roommate informed me she is making. I recently moved and love my new roommates — and the fact that they cook is big reason why. I am even more excited once I find out that she is making soup.

10 p.m. — The only downside of moving in the middle of the school year is that I'm a subletter. The person whose spot I took owned all the furniture in our apartment, so my new roommates and I are shopping for what we need today. My contribution was an insanely cheap coffee table, but once it is set up in our living room, it actually looks great and I am really happy with the purchase. $20.86

12 a.m. — It's bedtime and I am stoked. A quick shower exhausts me even more (or maybe it's the fact that I work with kids) and I fall asleep fast.

Daily Total: $20.86

Day Two

8 a.m. — My goal this semester is to wake up at the same time every weekday. So far I hate it, but today I need to be up because I have class. I do a quick morning routine and make breakfast. Another bagel with cream cheese, and grapes and coffee for the road.

9:10 a.m. — Get to campus and text a friend to save me a spot. I still have plenty of time but I want to get a good spot since it is a full class.

10:40 a.m. — Class is over and I am drained. I did not get enough sleep last night (or this week) and I am really feeling it. I buy a pick-me-up Diet Coke with vanilla, glad I have something to sip while I do homework. On the way back to my car I see a ton of people I haven't seen since before winter break. We do a whole bunch of quick "hellos" and I'm reminded me how loved I feel in this city, even though I am far from home. $2.61

1 p.m. — Break from homework for lunch: an omelet with a variety of veggies and toast, and veggies and hummus on the side. I'm coming home from work pretty late today, and I really don't want to have to buy dinner. While browsing on Amazon, I remember that I need to buy another phone charger. Thank god for Prime and free shipping. $6.54

3 p.m. — I stop and get gas on my way to work. I still have about a quarter tank but the price is good. Also, a cold front is supposed to hit around the time I'll really need to fill up and I want to save myself from suffering. $29.48

5:30 p.m. — Work killed me — the kids were wild today. I had to be stern with them for the first time and I hated it. I'm in a sour mood but am seeing my best friend today to go shopping. Retail therapy, here I come.

8 p.m. — After two hours at the mall fueled by free bagels from work, we walk out happy. I picked up two pieces of lingerie: a bold, red lacy bralette and a beautiful periwinkle teddy. I am obsessed with them, despite how expensive the purchase was. It also works out that my consistent hookup and I are meeting tonight for the first time this semester. $57.27

11:30 p.m. — I have officially blocked my hookup. He isn't great about making plans and has canceled twice in a row and I refuse to put up with that anymore. Being a millennial who is not ready to date, but is also looking for someone consistent, is really hard. I'm glad I never see this guy unless we make plans, although I will miss him. I am also PMSing so I spend the rest of my Thursday crying about a boy I never even had feelings for. Gotta love college. I told all my roommates he was coming over so now I have to do a different walk of shame to the bathroom to take off my makeup; that's probably the worst part — not to mention that I skipped dinner to avoid being too full for a hookup that didn't happen.

Daily Total: $95.90

Day Three

9 a.m. — Finally roll out of bed, last night was a long night with little sleep but I want to get to the gym before my eyelash appointment.

10 a.m. — Workout done! I biked for 30 minutes and called it a day since I have to be across town by 10:45. When I moved, I was excited to have a gym where I lived but honestly, it isn't that great. I munch on a Clif bar while I get ready — our kitchen light is finicky in the morning and I just can't be bothered with it today.

10:45 a.m. — I have very blond, long, and thick eyelashes so I get them tinted every six to eight weeks. It is what keeps me going in life! It is my favorite thing I do and I get the student discount ($15) but always tip based on the original price — $20. My lady is the best and makes it comfortable for my sensitive eyes. I also pay for street parking ($0.25). $20.25

11 a.m. — Post-eyelash appointment, I realize how hungry I am and swing by a smoothie shop on my way home. It's pricey but good. I have had a long week, and today is my treat yourself day. $9.19

1:30 p.m. — After lying in bed and mindlessly scrolling on the internet, I decide to finally get ready. (I wore pajamas to my eyelash appointment, no shame.) I make myself an egg sandwich with spinach, and arugula with carrots and hummus on the side. I have a work meeting and need to run to the store after work, so I want to make sure I won't be hungry when I finally get home.

5:30 p.m. — It's officially the weekend! The kids were wild today and I am ready to go home. I call my mom to fill her in on my first week and catch up. I love being off on my own but I wish I could see her more.

8 p.m. — Roommate and her BF head to the liquor store for mojito supplies. I take this opportunity to eat. I made a promise to never drink on any empty stomach after some bad freshman year experiences. I eat a cheese quesadilla with my favorite Whole Foods salsa. It's not a lot, but I get the drunchies really bad and want to eat healthier while I'm thinking about it.

9 p.m. — We decide to go to a trashy college bar that won't break the bank. I'm still bummed about being turned down last night and plan on looking hot tonight — with the help of my roommate's more scandalous wardrobe.

2 a.m. — The night was a fail. The bar didn't work out, the party got busted, and we had to pee so we just went home. My roommates and a friend continue drinking while catching up on The Bachelor and that's more than okay with me at this point. My roommate and I each paid for an Uber. $5.75

4 a.m. — Off to bed we go.

Daily Total: $35.19

Day Four

11:45 a.m. — I wake up hangover free and fairly refreshed. My roommate's BF has a friend in town this weekend and due to the crazy cold temps recently, a lake near us has frozen and we are going hiking up to it this afternoon. When I was home in Minnesota for Christmas, it was far too cold to hang out outside so I'm excited for the trip. I make plans to do laundry with a friend and start hydrating.

4 p.m. — After lying in bed and falling asleep on and off, we leave for our hike. It's gorgeous outside but there's no snow or ice. Our group of four turned into seven; I have fun meeting new people and enjoying the company people I already knew. I love hiking and wish I did it more often, especially since I have thousands of miles of trail in my backyard.

5:30 p.m. — We are all hungry and decide on a fun burger place located between the hiking spot and where we live. The service is slow, but the food and company make the trip worth it. I gave up meat in August and order my first falafel burger ($8). I'm in love. My roommate and I split seasoned fries and we all try $1 beers. We split the bill and I pay my roommate $5 for the fries and rum she bought us last night. $13

8 p.m. — Since it's Saturday, we invite friends over for drinks and a small pregame. We stop at Walmart to pick up essentials like oranges, maraschino cherries, beer, and wine. I'm excited to invite my first friend over to my new place because that really makes it feel like your own. I will be reimbursed for the beer ($12) later on since it's for a friend. $23.67

10:30 p.m. — Roommate's boyfriend (who is hosting the party) says it's a good time to come over. She calls an Uber and we take our final shots, shotguns, and drinks. We are ready! The party is being hosted in a house with brothers from one frat but it's not a frat party, so there's an excellent mix of people and a really good guy-to-girl ratio. My friend A. is nervous he won't get in, but my roommate and I know he won't have a problem because we know the hosts well.

12 a.m. — The party keeps growing and I'm having a blast. I switched to beers from liquor and I am feeling it. All of the people I know well are passing around drinks for others to try and I'm tasting a little bit of everything. Since there are more guys now, I stick close to A. The crowd is getting really grabby and I want a safety person. He does a great job making sure I am okay, which I am beyond thankful for.

2:30 a.m. — My stomach is mad at me after downing a quarter of a bottle of wine with my roommate's boyfriend. I originally wanted to bring wine with me but we all decided that was a bad idea and now I know why. One second, I am dancing to the piano music with A., my roommate, and her BF, and the next I am dragging A. to the bathroom with me so I can puke. After ordering two Ubers, I make it home.

Daily Total: $36.67

Day Five

12 p.m. — I wake up, shower and confirm a time to do laundry with a friend. We don't have a washer currently, so I am going to campus to do mine for free through the dorms. I am also super hungover.

1:30 p.m. — Finally leave the house and stop at a gas station to buy a lemon-lime Powerade. $2.22

5 p.m. — After doing laundry, I take pics of my friend for her art class and she makes dinner. We eat rice with salad and it is delicious — and almost cures my hangover.

12 a.m. — After getting back from laundry, I spend the rest of the day in my room watching Netflix and finally pass out at midnight.

Daily Total: $2.22

Day Six

11 a.m. — It's MLK Jr. Day, which means no classes or work. I take today to sleep in. When I wake up, I make avocado toast with a fried egg for breakfast. Then I spend the rest of the morning setting up my schedule for the week.

3 p.m. — It's a slow-moving day. I try to start my work for the week but it's not keeping my attention so I watch a few episodes of The Office before getting ready for the day. It's supposed to snow tomorrow, so anything I want to get done needs to be done today. I have been on the lookout for a light winter coat and black jeans. I check out two stores today with zero success.

4 p.m. — Just found out school is canceled tomorrow and I don't have to work. That means the rest of today will consist of Netflix and sleeping.

5 p.m. — I haven't eaten since breakfast. I use the rest of my avocado with a little bit of lemon juice, garlic powder, nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper to make a sauce for my noodles. It's okay. I eat with my roommates while we catch up on The Bachelor.

11 p.m. — Roommates and I are not feeling well and call it a night. One sounds like she has the flu coming on. I am thankful I am probably just tired from the weekend.

Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

10:30 a.m. — It's a snow day — with no snow! It's nice to sleep in, though. Right after I wake up my boss texts about another potential school closure tomorrow. I could get use to this. I spend my lazy morning texting my dad. Last semester was really tough for me and I talked to my parents daily; this semester I have only talked to them twice so far and it's nice to catch up.

11:30 a.m. — While eating breakfast, I do some online shopping and find a cute pair of reasonably priced black jeans and a shirt. The website is having a 20% off sale but that essentially covers shipping. I go through with it anyway because I am struggling to find jeans and have heard good things about the site. I can't believe I paid that much for them. I really wanted to get them secondhand, but also I'm desperate. $40.40

2 p.m. — It's finally snowing! I pull myself out of bed for peanut butter toast and The Bachelor. We spend the rest of the afternoon binge-watching Shameless and helping the dog adjust to the snow that is sticking and praying for another snow day.

6:30 p.m. — K-12 schools got canceled, which means work is canceled for me. Classes are still on but I have high hopes for them to be out, too. We take a break from our Shameless marathon to make dinner: quinoa fried rice with all the veggies in my fridge and frozen spring rolls.

7 p.m. — My only class tomorrow is canceled! I'm pumped because that means I have no classes this week. This calls for a celebration! I pop open a bottle of wine as the Shameless marathon continues.

9 p.m. — Roommate and I realize that the Women's March is this weekend and we make plans to go. We both participated last year and are very excited to participate again. I hang out, thinking about the fact that if the roads really do get icy tomorrow, I will go crazy after being in the house for two days straight.

10:30 p.m. — Roommate and I venture out for fast food and are very disappointed to find out everything is closed. Ice in the South sucks.

Daily Total: $40.40

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