A Week In Seattle, WA, On $24/Hour

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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.

Occupation: Project Management Coordinator
Industry: Technology
Age: 25
Location: Seattle, WA
Salary: $24/hour
Paycheck (Weekly): $778.51

Monthly Expenses
Housing: $1,833. My boyfriend and I split this evenly each month, each paying $916.50.
Car Payment: $239.80

All Other Monthly Expenses
Parking: $150
Wi-Fi: $73.90 split evenly with my boyfriend ($36.95 each)
Phone Payment: $70
Hulu: $12.92
Health Insurance: I'm on my parents' insurance for three more months
Credit Card Debt: $400-$600. I have a total of $3,000 in credit card debt ($1,500 for each of my two credit cards).
Savings: No monthly savings, but this month I started to put $100 into retirement every month.

Day One

8:45 a.m. — I get to sleep in today because it's New Year's Day! I stumble out of bed after lying there for about an hour to get coffee at Starbucks, but I forgot that most places are closed on New Year's Day. I go to three different Starbucks until I found one that is open and get my coffee. $3.80

10:30 a.m. — Back at home. Time to take down the Christmas tree (the saddest time of the year) and clean of the apartment. Rent is due, so I do some math to figure out what it comes out to after utilities. It seems lower than normal — $968.20 — but I later learn that my boyfriend accidentally paid for my share of the parking. I will pay the difference next month.

12:15 p.m. — I wanted to use my Target gift card from Christmas to get a lamp we badly need for our dining area. I forgot my eyebrow liner at my parents' house when I visited over the holidays, so I get that, too. I still have about $6 on my gift card after checking out.

1:30 p.m. — I want Panera bread for lunch, but it's closed. My boyfriend and I go to Met Market and I get fried chicken and fries with aioli sauce, feeling a little guilty for continuing my holiday indulgences. I also pick up a pre-made baked potato because we are having steak for dinner and I forgot to buy potatoes at the store the other day. I find pine nut hummus for the week's lunches to go with mini-cucumbers I got at Costco. $22.59

2:10 p.m. — We go back home to eat and watch the Harry Potter marathon that's on. Then, we watch the new season of Black Mirror. Later, I remember that I need to make a few edits to a deck for work, which takes about an hour. After, I take some time to make my monthly budget. My credit card bill is adding up and it hurts!

6:45 p.m. — My BF makes steak. I'm still super full from the chicken and fries, and wind up not eating dinner. We finish our day going back and forth between Harry Potter and Black Mirror. I'm scheduled to work from home tomorrow, but feel like I should go in.

Daily Total: $26.39

Day Two

5:45 a.m. — I finally wake up after hitting snooze for an hour. I wanted an extra day to take it easy and work for home, but I still get up early to freshen up and get coffee at Starbucks. The sunrise today is beyond words. I rush to get ready so I can catch it and take a cool picture. I'm short a few cents to get a venti Americano with a pump of toasted white mocha, so I add $10 to my Starbucks app. (My coffee is $3.80.) I need to hurry if I want to catch this sunrise, so I head over to Kerry Park to take a few pics of the Seattle skyline. Bonus: the mountain is visible! In early December, I decided to create a new Pacific Northwest travel and food Instagram account. I need to make sure I'm adding content. $10

8:20 a.m. — Back at home, I make myself toast, eggs, and eat an applesauce packets before getting back to work.

1:30 p.m. — I'm still full from breakfast so I don't eat anything for lunch. Instead, I catch up on what Anna Faris is doing via her new book, Unqualified. Two hours later, I go for a workout in the apartment gym and watch the last episode of The Handmaid's Tale.

4:30 p.m. — Back at the apartment, I check on emails for work until it's time for dinner and a shower because I'm a sweaty mess. For dinner, I make turkey taco meat for my BF. There is leftover steak in the fridge and I decide to eat that with nachos (just tortilla chips and cheese) and a side of guac. It's delicious. We watch more Black Mirror and I grab an ice cream sandwich from the freezer.

8 p.m. — Black Mirror has sucked enough of my soul. I need a coffee maker to help save money (hopefully), so I buy a Keurig with the Amazon gift card I have ($36.97). I also add a holder for the K-cups ($11.20) and the 52 Lists for Happiness book I want ($18.71). "STOP SPENDING MONEY!" I tell myself — but it is Christmas money.

Daily Total: $10

Day Three

6 a.m. — I snooze for an hour until I actually have to wake up. (I question why I even set such an early alarm if I don't wake up for it.) Because I showered the night before, I only need to dry shampoo, wash my face, and put on makeup. I grab oatmeal and raspberries for breakfast and throw together leftover ground turkey and fat-free refried pinto beans in a Pyrex with a pre-packed cup of guac and an applesauce pouch for lunch.

6:50 a.m. — I'm out the door and off to work. I tell myself I don't need to go to Starbucks because there is a coffee machine at work; I need to stick to the budget I made for myself! Work is about 20 minutes away, east of Seattle, and I try to get there early enough to beat traffic. I settle into work, get a coffee, and eat breakfast.

8 a.m. — The day is still going and I grab another cup of coffee.

9 a.m. — Need…more…coffee. I usually stick to one cup so this is not normal for me. I am seriously struggling to get back into a work routine.

10:30 a.m. — My group of gal friends are blowing up my group text about going to Disneyland in March. We finally set on a date and plane tickets. Luckily for me, I got a gift card to Alaska Air for Christmas and can use it toward this trip! The plane ticket is $166.60 and I still have $133.40 to put toward a trip later this year!

12:55 p.m. — I finally am hungry for lunch. It's boring because the taco/bean/guac combo is my go-to when I'm in a hurry, but it gets boring. I think beans hurt my stomach, so I don't know why I keep putting that pain on myself. I am scheduled to be at work until 5 p.m. rather than my normal 3 p.m. today, so I need to talk a little walk. That turns into me grabbing a small mocha at the café. $4.95

3:20 p.m. — My BF texted to say he's going to the gym after work and won't be home for dinner. I text my best friend to see if she wants dinner. We decide on a pasta restaurant at 6 p.m. It's a date!

5:30 p.m. — My meeting ran half an hour late, so I call the restaurant and my friend to change the time to 6:30. Leaving at this time usually means I'll hit the worst traffic ever, but I think people are still on vacation because I get to the restaurant way earlier than anticipated. I pay to park ($6) and, since I'm early, decide to get a drink at the bar. It's still happy hour! I get the house amaro and it's my first time having it; it's sweet but bitter and smoky. Interesting. For dinner, I order the pappardelle. We split a bruschetta with smoked salmon for an app. NOMS. We split the bill and I pay with Christmas cash — $45 even. $51

8:15 p.m. — Back at home, I wash my face and get into my sweat suit. My apartment is cold and I don't want to spend money on any more heat than we need. I cozy up and dig into more of Anna Faris' life. I should hopefully be done with this book soon!

Daily Total: $55.95

Day Four

5:45 a.m. — I need to be at work on time because I have to leave promptly at 3 p.m. I grab my oatmeal and raspberries and find more leftover steak from Monday, three mini-cucumbers, a scoop of hummus, and another applesauce pouch. (This one has banana in it!) At work, I head straight to the coffee machine and then to my desk to do more work (and maybe some Instagram and Facebook scrolling).

8:15 a.m. — Last cup of coffee ... maybe. While I wait for my coffee to brew, I realize I need to pay off some of my credit cards. I put $200 to each credit card. I need to get these paid off soon. I cringe every time I look at the balance I owe. $400

9:45 a.m. — My oatmeal with raspberries is staring at me. It's time to eat.

1:15 p.m. — I have my lunch. The steak is actually pretty good and not too dried out from the microwave which is a win in my book!

3 p.m. — I leave work for a dermatologist appointment. I have a $15 copay and luckily don't need any meds or anything else. I go home after and veg out, watching TV until dinner (the baked potato I bought from Met Market on Monday). It was alright but I might be hungry later. $15

7 p.m. — I take a shower because tomorrow is Friday and I know I will probably sleep in. After, I do some scrolling on Instagram and get back to Anna Faris. My boyfriend returns from a workout and I internally shame myself for not doing the same. (Maybe I'll go TOMORROW! Or Saturday. Or Sunday?) Anyway, time for bed. We go to bed super early, around 9 or 9:30 p.m.

Daily Total: $415

Day Five

6:15 a.m. — My alarm didn't go off. Awesome. I jump out of bed and get ready. My morning routine with hair styling and no shower is almost down to 15 minutes. I pat myself on the back for showering the night before and declare dry shampooing a big win. I get to work at a decent time and realize I have a free coffee on my punch card for the café at work! I opt for a large Americano with one pump of white mocha and cream. I didn't pack anything this morning for breakfast or lunch, so I also get a scone. $2.75

11:45 a.m. — Hungry, I go to our common area to get lunch. I need to get away from my desk. It's been very slow this entire week. (I'm complaining even though I've only been in the office for three days.) There are so many changes happening in our organization so it's been a waiting game these day. Our common area has everything from pizza to burgers, sushi, ramen, buffet food. The world is our oyster! (IDK if they have oysters though.) I'm in the mood for sushi so I get a combo with an eel roll, salmon nigiri, and a cup of edamame. Luckily, the line is short today. I get my food quick and find a spot to sit and scroll online until I go back to my desk to work until my day is done. $12.50

3 p.m. — I leave work at normal time and head over to Bellevue for happy hour with my boyfriend's flag football team to celebrate the end of their season. I filled in a few games so I'm invited. His company is paying for the happy hour! I'm a little early to the party. The happy hour is connected to the Bellevue Square Mall, so I decide to do some window shopping. I repeat in my head, Look but don't touch. Look but don't touch... Fortunately, I follow my silent commands. I get to happy hour and order a Moscow Mule and pretzel. The rest of the table orders beers, nachos, fried pickles, and chicken wraps.

8:15 p.m. — The happy hour is over and I go to the store. In anticipation of my Keurig, I get creamer, K-cups, and breakfast stuff ($26.92). After that, I go to Molly Moon's; their January flavors are out so I get a pint for the week ($9.50). Delicious. $36.42

9 p.m. — Back at the apartment and my Keurig is here! I set it up and then get a scoop of ice cream and settle in for the rest of the night.

Daily Total: $51.67

Day Six

8:45 a.m. — Wow, I really slept in. I have nowhere to be so I lay in bed for a bit. It's a rainy day here in Seattle and also a perfect time to use my new Keurig. I go for the Donut Shop brand K-cup and add vanilla-caramel creamer. I'm pretty happy. I go online and work for about an hour because I wasn't very productive this week and I forgot to do something important. Oops.

10:45 a.m. — While thinking about my upcoming trip to Disneyland, I notice we'll have to take a shuttle from LAX to Anaheim. I look up shuttles and book the cheapest one for our group at $172 roundtrip. Since people will pay me back, that will be $34.40 out of pocket per person — not too shabby. $34.40

11:30 a.m. — I go get ready for the day because my boyfriend's parents and brother are in town. His brother is going back to school so we all meet up for a going-away lunch at Duke's Chowder House. I order the blackened salmon Caesar with an iced tea. We say our goodbyes and go back to the apartment.

3:30 p.m. — For Christmas, my boyfriend got me a punch card to go rock climbing, so we go get our climb on. It's been a little over a month since I've last climbed and I am rusty. I am not an avid climber and stick to the 5.7s the whole time. I am not great with holds — and not nearly as strong as I used to be. I used to be really into weightlifting but I've taken a hiatus for the last seven months or so. I'm noticing a theme, and it's that I need to get back to the gym.

5:15 p.m. — We finish rock climbing and go back to the apartment to shower. We decide on a BBQ spot for dinner to get food to-go and my boyfriend pays. I get a chicken sandwich and jo jo potatoes. It's Netflix and chill for the rest of the night.

Daily Total: $34.40

Day Seven

8 a.m. — I finally get out of bed and make coffee with my new Keurig. Only two days in and it is already a great investment! Some friends are coming over today to watch the Golden Globes and our apartment is a mess, so I do a deep clean. It's much more stressful thinking about it than doing it.

10:45 a.m. — Finished cleaning! I make myself a breakfast sandwich with bacon and eggs on seven-grain bread, then get ready so we can go to the grocery store. I allot for $50 for my portion but I'm hoping I can just use the cash in my wallet ($46). We split the bill and it's only $15.06. Big win — not only am I under budget but I have money to spare for pizza tonight! $15.06

12:05 p.m. — Back at home, I finish the rest of Anna Faris' book. Finally! My stomach starts to grumble so I eat a snack of apples and peanut butter.

4:15 p.m. — My friends are here and I order a large pizza and a side of cinnamon sticks. I pay with a coupon deal and tip. Since my friends brought other snacks, we don't split the bill. There is leftover pizza too, so there's lunch for me tomorrow! (And I'm still technically under-budget for my $50 grocery allotment.) $32.37

5 p.m. — We sit back with our pizza and cringe at all the awkwardness coming our way for three hours. From Tommy Wiseau to Frances McDormand, everything is straight up confusing. We do, however, get to watch the glorious goddess that is Oprah do her thing.

8:30 p.m. — My friends leave for the night and I clean up and get ready for bed. I'm exhausted and my throat is feeling scratchy. I better not be getting sick... I get to sleep by 9:30 and all is well in the world.

Daily Total: $47.43

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