A Week In Los Angeles, CA, On A $35/Hour 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 portfolio coordinator who makes $35/hour. This week, she spends it on lacrosse goggles and a stick.

Occupation: Portfolio Coordinator
Industry: Banking
Age: 24
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Salary: $35/hour
Paycheck (Weekly): $971

Monthly Expenses
Housing: $2,691 (including utilities) for a one-bedroom apartment in Hollywood. My boyfriend and I split this cost; I usually pay around $1,600 because I make a bit more. Our apartment is expensive, but we have a great location plus an amazing gym and pool, which were important to us when apartment hunting.
Student Loan Payments: ~$800. I graduated in May 2016 with approximately $25,000 in federal loans. I'm now at $18,000.

All Other Monthly Expenses:
Internet: $49.99
Health Insurance: $206. I'm a contractor and therefore have to get insurance on my own.
Hulu: $7.99
Bitcoin & Other Cryptocurrency: ~$100. My boyfriend is big into this right now and we actually began putting money into bitcoin a while back, when the price was much lower. Fingers crossed?

Day One

8:45 a.m. — Woke up on vacation and read some more of my book, The Wonder. I'm ready for this book to be over, but I'm too far in to quit. My boyfriend comes in the room and tells me he's heading to the hotel gym. I begrudgingly change and agree to go as well. We've had a few too many Thanksgiving meals on this trip so far. First with my family and then with his — and leftovers for days. My family lives in Florida, his in Ohio, and we live in California. We were fortunate to be able to plan a trip to see everyone!

3:15 p.m. — Come back from the gym to hear his uncle has ordered pizza and wings. Yum. Head to the hotel pool/bar/game area with my boyfriend and his parents to watch the Ohio State vs. Michigan football game. Throughout the third and fourth quarters, I nervously drink two Miller Lites and my BF drinks a rum and coke. Sweet victory for the Buckeyes. $18

4 p.m. — We're leaving Florida tomorrow to head back to L.A. My boyfriend gets a little anxious when we get back late on Sundays before work, and he really wants to change our flight. We decide to book a 7 a.m. rather than our original 7 p.m. We use points for half (19,000) and I pay for the rest ($156). We like to use my credit card for travel because of the rewards. Everything generally evens out. $156

9:30 p.m. — Later this evening, we have a large family dinner. After, the younger cousins want to go go-karting. I offer to go and play arcade games with them in between their races. They're so cute and fun! Ah, to be a kid again.

Daily Total: $174

Day Two

4:45 a.m. — Up early to get to the airport. I call an Uber. $33.64

6:30 a.m. — Soon, we're at the gate and I spend my time scrolling through Twitter and finishing Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce on Netflix. My boyfriend says I've become more gossipy since binge-watching this show and I'm not very sad that it's over. On the flight, I sleep head down on the tray with my hood up for all but 30 minutes of the five-hour flight.

10:30 a.m. — Once at LAX, we see that an Uber to get home would cost $99; it usually costs around $30. Looks like we're waiting for the bus! After 40 minutes, we're on our way to Hollywood. My boyfriend pays $8 each for the bus ride. I'm very thankful for this cheap transportation option.

5:25 p.m. — Later in the day, after lounging, we decide to head to the grocery store. We take a quick stroll around Trader Joe's for items for the week: baby spinach, sweet potatoes, zucchini, chips, salsa, mini-peppermint ice cream treats, meatless sausage patties, pasta sauce, and parmesan. My boyfriend pays ($70) since I bought the flights.

9:15 p.m. — I lay in bed and finish my book before falling asleep.

Daily Total: $33.64

Day Three

6:45 a.m. — Wake up around 6:45 to shower, pack my lunch, do my hair, and put minimal makeup on for the workday: mascara, eyebrow pencil, under eye concealer. Since I got an IUD and stopped taking the BC pill, my face has had some rough breakouts. I also have a horrible skin-picking problem that I'm trying to overcome. I try to not wear makeup to work so that I can wear my prescribed acne medication. I microwave and eat two meatless sausage patties for breakfast; they're actually very tasty! I head to the metro station across the street and take the short ride — just 15 minutes to work. (#Blessed)

8:40 a.m. — I really enjoy my work and I'm happy to be back at the office and see colleagues. It's a busy day getting back into the swing of things. I've been training someone new at work, which has been an interesting learning experience for me. I really want to be in management someday, but I am seeing some of my weaknesses come out. I need to be more willing to delegate and be patient with the process.

10:10 a.m. — I've really missed playing sports since post-grad. A few weeks ago, I searched for a women's lacrosse team in L.A. and found one that's pretty active. They have a tournament coming up in February and I've decided to join them. I Venmo my playing costs to reserve my spot. $80

11:50 a.m. — A friend and I eat our lunch together every day. I love L.A. because even in November we can sit outside! I eat my lunch of a 99-cent tuna packet, peanut butter and jelly, and strawberries. After eating, I walk to the library across the street from my office. I drop off two books, one I read and one I did not. I stroll through the "popular" section and pick up two books I've heard great things about.

2:15 p.m. — I eye a few Cyber Monday deals throughout the day and place an order for my sister's Christmas gift, Victoria's Secret workout leggings. I ship it right to her apartment in Columbus so she can get them sooner; she's the best. $71.54

2:20 p.m. — Given my skin problems, I want to add an exfoliator to my beauty regime. After thorough research (I am a junkie for reviews), I order bareMinerals Mix. Exfoliate. Smooth cleanser. bareMinerals is having a 25% off sale and free shipping. Not bad! $17.21

5:55 p.m. — After getting off the subway I get a text from my BF to grab butter. I stop at CVS — is $4.99 a normal cost for butter? I get home and change right into workout clothes. If I let myself sit on the couch, I'll be stuck there until 10 p.m. I call my best friend from home and we catch up on each others' lives for 30 minutes; it warms my heart. Head down to the gym and walk on an incline while starting a new book from the library, Commonwealth. $4.99

9:20 p.m. — Not too hungry after the gym, I eat applesauce with cinnamon and paint my nails. My nails have been a money compromise for me. I love mani-pedis but I couldn't accept the cost. I have been using Sally Hansen Miracle Gel and I love it! (P.S.: Walgreens has sales on the polish every few weeks.) I text my boyfriend's mom and give her ideas for Christmas gifts he wants; she gets a great deal on a new yoga mat and shirt.

Daily Total: $173.74

Day Four

7 a.m. — Wake up and do my morning routine. My boyfriend makes his own cold brew at home which is awesome, super strong, and saves a lot of money. I make a glass and add water and creamer to de-concentrate it a little. Once I get to work, I eat a banana, have a few meetings, and work on deliverables due this afternoon.

11:45 a.m. — Eat a quick lunch outside; it's pretty hot today. I eat leftovers of what my BF made for dinner last night: risotto, mushrooms, and zucchini. I'm so happy he cooks because I used to eat way too much takeout before we lived together.

1:20 p.m. — After lunch, my friend and I take a short walk to Starbucks for a caffeine fix. Grande iced coffee with almond milk and peppermint syrup. Warning! It tastes like toothpaste when it's cold! Not like a hot peppermint mocha! I still drink it anyway. $2.95

3:15 p.m. — My mom recently mentioned I need to start paying my phone bill, and I totally agree. I set up recurring payments to her out of my bank account. $52

5:10 p.m. — When we moved, I got rid of all my lacrosse gear. Since I'll be playing again soon, I need a stick and goggles. I take a look at eBay and order a used stick ($22 + $12.99 shipping) and used goggles ($14.99). Used sticks are better anyways because they're broken in. I'm SO excited to play soon! $49.98

5:35 p.m. — After work, I walk to Target and pick up a few necessities for BF and myself. Trash bags, deodorant for us both, CeraVe face wash, coffee creamer, and a plain t-shirt. $55.65

7 p.m. — I want to get my parents an Echo Dot for Christmas but I share a Prime account with my mom. I log onto my boyfriend's account to buy it so she can't see. It's on sale, and I will get 3% cash back thanks to eBates! $32.98

7:30 p.m. — My boyfriend is cooking sweet potato fries, and I make salad with spinach, corn, and cheese. Eat, read Commonwealth, and bed!

Daily Total: $193.56

Day Five

6 a.m. — Wake up at 6. Take a small sliver of pre-workout, and do a leg workout in the gym.

7:50 a.m. — Get ready and head to work. I eat a banana and drink cold brew from home while on the subway.

9:45 a.m. — It's a slow day at work. I don't have meetings until 1, but I work on a few odds and ends. I'm planning a crucial conversation with my boss: I want more responsibilities and to be more involved with our business partners. I really hope I can grab time with him this week.

11:30 a.m. — I remember my grandma mentioning that she wanted a new robe. Since I don't know exactly what she likes, I order four from Macy's via eBates (6% cash back) so she can take her pick. I feel like it will be hilarious opening four different robes on Christmas morning. $150.22

12 p.m. — Same lunch as yesterday! Finish the workday with three meetings, and take the metro home.

6:15 p.m. — I'm growing a pretty large pile of clothes I no longer wear, so I've been trying hard to stay away from fast fashion. I downloaded the Poshmark app this morning, and I take photos of the clothes that I want to sell. Fingers crossed I can get rid of some of this. BF makes pasta with artichoke and spicy Alfredo sauce for dinner. I catch up on This is Us before bed.

Daily Total: $150.22

Day Six

6:15 a.m. — Wake up and do a quick arms and shoulders work out at the apartment gym. I'm grumpy this morning and make an iced coffee to jumpstart my mood. At least it's already Thursday. I eat peanut butter toast with honey and head to work. I know it will be a fairly busy day since it's the end of the month.

1:10 p.m. — Today is so meh. My period is absolutely coming soon. For lunch, I eat leftover pasta and watermelon from the cafeteria. Post lunch, I read a few Money Diaries. I notice I'm antsy and have bitten my cuticle to a point of pain. I decide to make a deal with myself that I can't buy any new makeup (I asked my mom for an Ulta gift card for Christmas) until I make positive progress on this issue; help wanted!

2:45 p.m. — My work friend and I decided to take a break and walk to a bakery for a pick-me-up. She picks out a few different pieces of bread and I get something called Chocolate-Cookie-Bread. It's obviously delicious. $1.90

5:45 p.m. — On my way home from work, I finally hit purchase on items in my Amazon cart: a phone case with a ring holder and a facial hair remover. Sometimes I let items sit in the cart to ensure that I really want/need them. Once home, I do the dishes and begin watching Schitt's Creek on Netflix. I haven't laughed this hard at a show in a long time. 10/10. $21.79

7:35 — I take a bath while listening to Beyoncé and Ed Sheeran's new song on repeat, scrub the tub clean, and shower. That was strangely therapeutic. Head to bed shortly after reading Commonwealth.

Daily Total: $23.69

Day Seven

7:55 a.m. — I wake up after snoozing my alarm for almost an hour (?!) and get ready for work. I make a PB & J for lunch and take a tuna packet. I notice the cold brew is gone, so I head to Dunkin' Donuts before the train for an almond milk latte with ~pumpkin swirl~. Listen to the Death, Sex & Money podcast on the commute. $2.88

12:15 p.m. — At lunch, I walk around downtown listening to the same podcast. I've already eaten my sandwich at my desk. I begin thinking about what BF and I should do tonight and start searching comedy shows near us. I suggest an improv show at UCB and buy tickets before they sell out. ($12 each with $1.50 fee) $27

5:45 p.m. — Instead of going out to dinner, I stop at Trader Joe's for cheese and crackers, which I've oddly been craving. I also pick up a bottle of pinot grigio to pregame the comedy show. $14.59

10 p.m. — After the comedy show, we head to a few bars within walking distance of our apartment. My boyfriend and I rotate on who picks up the tab on the vodka waters and Budweisers. Goodnight had by all. $21.87

Daily Total: $66.34

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