A Week In Los Angeles, CA, On A $80,000 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.

Today: an analyst who makes $80,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on toilet paper.
Occupation: Analyst
Industry: Airline
Age: 28
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Salary: $80,000
Net Worth: I have around $45,000 in a savings account, around $10,000 in various 401(k)s, and $10,000 in a Roth IRA
Debt: $4,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,904

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,400
Student Loans: $200 (I took out an interest-free student loan from a nonprofit for grad school, I have $4,000 left)
Phone Bill: $35 ($20 on a legacy family plan, $15 for an older iPhone)
Online Yoga Membership: $3.99
Netflix: Use parents' account
Hulu: Use brother's account
Amazon Prime: $14.17
Car Insurance: $600 every six months
Health Insurance: $62/paycheck
HSA: $270
401(k): $625 (pre-tax)
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Day One

5:30 a.m. — My foster kittens wake me up by crazily running in circles around my room. I got three 10-week old kittens a couple days ago and it's nice to see them coming out of there shells, but would have been nicer at a later hour. I cuddle back up with my boyfriend, Y., for a couple more hours of sleep.
8 a.m. — We're up and both scrolling on our phones for a little while before he packs up and heads back to his place. We're self-isolating together for the most part, but he has virtual classes a couple of days a week that are easier to do from his place. He lives alone, so we figure we aren't putting anyone else at risk by him heading back to his place for a couple nights. I log in to work and catch up with my team.
11:30 a.m. — Lunch and kitten socialization time. I heat up Trader Joe's gyoza and have some stuffed grape leaves with them, along with a cup of tea. The kittens were feral and are still kind of scared of humans, so I take advantage of one laying on its bed to get some pets in. They're all pretty scared when I approach, but as soon as I start petting, they can't get enough of it. She even lets me lift her onto my bed with me, which she hasn't let me do before!
1 p.m. — All hands call with the VP of my org. I've been pretty nervous about layoffs because I only started this job a couple of months ago and it's highly affected by coronavirus. I'm really grateful that there has been constant communication from management about where things stand, but the way they say they haven't discussed layoffs yet makes me think they could be coming. I decide to spend some time this afternoon starting to job hunt preemptively.
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5 p.m. — I put the finishing touches on my dashboard and sign off for the day. I do a short online yoga class and go for a walk, then come back and eat some leftover Mongolian chicken for dinner.
9 p.m. — I watch the kittens play for a while. I seriously don't know how I'd get through quarantine without them for entertainment! The toys I ordered for them came today so I toss a bunch around for them, they're in heaven. I send kitten videos to everyone I know, then turn on some office reruns and fall asleep around 11.
Daily Total: $0

Day Two

12:30 a.m. — Kittens again…I google how to get kittens to sleep through the night, give up, and put in headphones with a sleep soundtrack. I could leave them in my bathroom at night, but it's small and I'm pretty sure they would destroy it.

6:30 a.m. — I wake up to a kitten sniffing at my face. Hey, I'll take it if it means they're coming close to me by choice! Fall back asleep until 8, then heat up a leftover cinnamon roll for breakfast and make tea.
12 p.m. — I'm trying to work but feeling pretty uninspired today. Most of my projects have been postponed until we know how long coronavirus will last, and the one I do have left is pretty vague and not urgent. This is another reason why I'm nervous about layoffs. Besides being new, my team used to only be four people and they don't always have enough work for six. I heat up lunch (gyoza and stuffed grape leaves again) and take a short break.
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3 p.m. — More kitten petting time, this time with the most timid little girl. She always hisses as I approach, but loves being pet once I start. Another kitten comes up to beg for pets while I'm loving on her. I can't take this much cuteness!
5 p.m. — I shut the computer for the day, do an online yoga class, and clean all the litter off my bathroom floor. The desk I ordered arrived today (I moved last month, but the room's much bigger than my old one and I'd been putting off ordering stuff) and I go to put it together, but when I open the box there's a ton of pieces and the instructions say it will take two people and an hour and a half to put together — no thanks! Will try again when Y. is here this weekend.
7 p.m. — I heat up the last of the Mongolian chicken and watch some How I Met Your Mother. While I'm watching, two kittens jump up on my bed, it's the first time they've done that on their own! I try to act like its no big deal so they don't get scared away, but inside I'm smiling. One kitten starts crying after a while and I realize I don't know where her sisters are! After a momentary freak out, I find them on the windowsill.
8:30 p.m. — I watch this week's Top Chef remotely with my mom, then we FaceTime and she watches the kittens play for a bit. Then I shower, watch The Office, read Harry Potter (for the millionth time), and try to go to bed around 11. I'm still up at 12:30. I could blame it on the kittens but I think it is really from anxiety. I read some more Harry Potter and order an extra-large pet enclosure on Amazon ($35.03). I'm not convinced I'll actually be able to catch them to get them in it but might help cut down on their noise at night. I fall back at some point. $35.03
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Daily Total: $35.03

Day Three

8 a.m. — Wake up super tired, snooze until 8:30 which is super rare for me.
12:30 p.m. — I wind up being super busy the whole morning. I go to make the same lunch I have the past few days and tea then get back to work. I'm on a really annoying project pretty much just coordinating with like 50 different account managers to schedule a meeting. I'm really thankful to still have my job, but I'm afraid as this crisis goes on, I'll start getting more projects like this and less involving the analytics I was hired to do. It's actually really stressful for me to work on this type of project as it's external-facing and involves a VP, so everything needs to be perfect yet I have no experience in this type of thing. I'm asking a lot of questions and hoping I don't screw it up.
3 p.m. — Kitten cuddle break. I start petting the two sleeping on the bed and they love it, then the third comes for some love and I feel bad because I only have two hands! I wind up petting two with one hand, I should add this to my résumé. I get a text that the kittens already have adopters! This is much sooner than expected, but I'm really happy for them and honestly a little relieved. They're adorable, but younger kittens are much easier to keep up with. They probably won't go to their new homes until next week so I still get a little more time with them, which is good because I think Y. is in love with the tabby.
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5 p.m. — I bring my laundry down to the laundry room, but I realize I don't have detergent. I walk all the way back up with the laundry, borrow some from my roommate, and get it started ($3 for washer/dryer). I go for a walk while I wait for it and see a take one leave one library that is also stocking emergency toilet paper for people to take a roll as needed. It makes me happy to see the community helping each other out in hard times. $3
7 p.m.— Make some frozen TJ's pesto pasta for dinner and talk to my roommate a bit. We're still in that awkward new roommate phase since for the first month and a half we were rarely home at the same time, but quarantine has brought us together, lol. I find out we have very similar political views (left but not into Bernie, liked Yang at first but now will settle for Biden), who knew?
9 p.m. — I shower then get in bed and watch reruns of The Office and catch up on the job search. Read some Harry Potter then go to bed around 11.
Daily Total: $3

Day Four

8 a.m. — Wake up and scroll on my phone for a few, then grab a yogurt for breakfast. I put it down to take a call and realize a kitten has started nibbling it…guess that's done for now!
12 p.m. — Make some avocado toast for lunch and get some kitten cuddles in.
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4 p.m. — Kitten break. I text Y. to see what time he's going to head over. He's great, but time management isn't his strong suit.
7 p.m. — Y. still hasn't left so I make myself an Amy's frozen enchilada and watch Shameless.
9:30 p.m. — Y. finally gets here. I choose not to be mad that it's so late since at least he didn't bail. We watch The Office and play with kittens until bed.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

8 a.m. — It's Friday!! We sleep in a bit since the cats kept us up. I log onto a call and Y. goes for a walk and comes back with a chai latte for me.
12 p.m. — The bailout passed! I'm going to keep looking for jobs, but hopefully, this means my job will be safe through September if the company opts in. We make eggs with cheese, chicken sausage, and avocado for lunch and cuddle some kittens. I check LinkedIn and my mood instantly drops when I see my former employer had a massive layoff. I saw it coming because the industry was highly affected by coronavirus, but it's still a shock. Almost all my friends there were laid off and the entire team I was supposed to transfer to before I left was let go. It's very surreal realizing if I hadn't applied to my current job on a whim I would have lost my job today.
5:30 p.m. — The kitten enclosure comes, it's a day early! Hallelujah for sleep tonight!! We walk to pick up take out from a fish place we've been wanting to try. We split poke and a tuna burger. The poke is great but the tuna burger is a bit dry. $32.76
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8 p.m. — We watch a silly Adam Sandler movie, then put the kittens' food in the enclosure to try to lure them in for the night. It works like a charm and they are soon zipped in and settled. We read for a bit then go to sleep around 11.
Daily Total: $32.76

Day Six

9 a.m. — We get to sleep in this morning! The kittens woke us up around 6:30 but we let them out then went back to sleep, definitely an improvement. We scroll through Reddit for a bit then walk to coffee (Y. pays). We stop to drink it on a bench by my apartment and soak in the sun.
1 p.m. — I make some avocado toast for lunch. Y. FaceTimes a friend on the east coast. We try to get a game going but the technology doesn't work, so we decide to try again next time. We both read and cuddle kittens for the afternoon. I do some online yoga and Y. goes for a run.
6 p.m. — We make some TJ's ravioli for dinner, then finish up the last couple episodes of The 100 on Netflix. We liked it overall, but certain seasons were a little too out there for my taste.
10 p.m. — Try to get the kittens back into the enclosure, but they're onto us tonight. First, we try luring them in with food but it doesn't work and they decide to nap under the bed instead. We decide to move back the bed, grab the two smart ones…in theory, it's a good idea, but the cats start freaking out then we start freaking out and everyone ends up annoyed. We decide to give up for the night, cats: 2 us: 1.
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Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

9 a.m. — Wake up to kitten sounds. Of course they were extra loud last night to get back at us. We get up and walk to coffee again (Y. pays, it's our weekend thing. I usually chip in more but I've been covering more groceries lately). We then go to Target for some necessities (floss, band-aids, cat food — and they have toilet paper! $11.44) and Trader Joe's for food for the week ($40.82). $52.26
1 p.m. — I make some TJ's shrimp gyoza for lunch and eat some chips with it, very healthy. I realize I'm going to have a ton of laundry to do when the kittens leave so I order laundry detergent from Amazon ($5.96). Y. decides it's the right time to build the desk and cracks a beer and gets to work. I offer to help but he's enjoying the challenge. I read The Power (good, but I've been having trouble getting into it) while he fights with the desk. Two and a half hours later and I have a beautiful new desk. I shower him with appreciation and promise a delicious dinner soon. $5.96
6 p.m. — I try a new garlic chicken recipe in the instant pot. It's really tasty and easy, and I'll send Y. home with most of the leftovers so he has some food for midterms week.
8 p.m. — We watch the last episode of Sex Education (which is great), and then start Tiger King, which is….interesting? We're definitely entertained though and decide to finish it the next weekend. We try to lure the kittens into their enclosure again but give up after the food doesn't work…they're leaving tomorrow, what's one more bad night of sleep? I read a little Harry Potter while Y. reads on his phone and am out by 11:30.
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Daily Total: $58.22
COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic. Go to the CDC website for the latest information on symptoms, prevention, and other resources.
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