A Week In Lawrence, KS, On A $12.65 Per 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.
Today, as part of Your Spending In Your State: an assistant managing editor working in publishing who makes $24,288 per year and spends some of her money this week on pumpkins.
Occupation: Assistant Managing Editor
Industry: Publishing
Age: 22
Location: Lawrence, KS
Income: $12.65/hour ($24,288 annually)
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $807
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $689
Utilities: $130
Health/Dental Insurance: $0 (I'm on my parents' plan.)
Cell Phone: $0 (I'm on my parents' plan.)
401(k): $33 (about 4% of my paycheck)
Hulu/Spotify: $12.99
Internet: $30

Day One

9:30 a.m. — It's Sunday, so I wake up a little later than usual and enjoy the chance to sleep in. My boyfriend and I think about where we'd like to get brunch, and decide on our favorite go-to sandwich shop/bakery. I love it because it's never crowded during the Sunday brunch craze, and they serve huge sandwiches on freshly made bread, plus their prices never budge. I live in a college town and the usual go-to spots are pretty crowded this time of day. I get a chicken salad sandwich. $7.30
12 p.m. — I suggest a spontaneous trip to the pumpkin patch on the edge of town. It's a beautiful day for the end of October. I pick out two pumpkins but end up putting one of the large ones back because it's too expensive. I get two small ones. $4.30
3 p.m. — After setting out the pumpkins on my front porch and relaxing at home with my cats for a bit, I head to the grocery store for my weekly shopping trip. I like where I live because it's in close proximity to everything, and I'm within walking distance of the grocery store. I get a pound of ground beef, half a pound of lunch meat from the deli counter, baked beans, cheese, bagels, pita chips, pasta, an onion, eggs, sandwich spread, and cat litter for $43.51. My goal is usually around $30 for the week, but $43.51 isn't too bad. $43.51
5 p.m. — My boyfriend comes over, and I make meatloaf. It's one of my favorite things to make because it's so easy, and it's my mom's recipe. It turns out great, and I serve it with baked beans and buttered white bread. A Midwesterner's dream!
Daily Total: $55.11

Day Two

7:15 a.m. — I hit the snooze button an appropriate number of times for a Monday and finally roll out of bed. I take a shower and throw on some clothes. I'm running late but I packed my lunch (a sandwich) last night. I grab it out of the fridge along with a bagel and head out the door.
8 a.m. — I get to work and spend the first half hour eating my bagel with cream cheese and responding to emails. Usually there's a slew that come in over the weekend. I work in publishing and help authors through the peer review process as well as oversee production.
10 a.m. — I do some light editing on papers that have just come in. Part of my job is making sure the papers adhere to our specific journal style.
12 p.m. — Lunchtime! I usually bring a turkey sandwich or turkey wrap. Today I brought a wrap with some new chipotle spread on it.
1 p.m. — I spend most of the afternoon working on various journals and sending emails to authors to turn in their corrected papers. I also remind reviewers when they need to send in their reviews of papers and spend time looking over proofs that have come back from typesetting to see if there are any errors.
4 p.m. — I'm out the door! I head to Walgreens to pick up a prescription. $8
4:30 p.m. — I get home, and I'm starving. I pretty much immediately start to prepare dinner. Tonight I make linguine in a butter and garlic sauce with peas. I put freshly shredded cheese on top.
6:30 p.m. — I do some laundry and watch a few episodes of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which I've just started watching. I love that my new place has a washer and dryer. My old place was only $500 but didn't have a washer, dryer, or dishwasher, and I've learned not to take those things for granted in my new place.
Daily Total: $8

Day Three

8 a.m. — Work is pretty slow today. I take my time doing things, but I wish the time would pass faster. I forgot to bring a bagel, so I have to shell out $3.04 for a protein bar from the vending machine. $3.04
5 p.m. — It's my boyfriend's birthday, so we go to dinner at a great Thai place with our friends. I pay for our dinners, pad Thai, spring rolls, and a bowl of tom yum soup. $33.52
8 p.m. — We get drinks with friends at our favorite local pub. I ask for a warm cider but the bartender runs out of cider halfway through pouring the drink, so he gives it to me for free. Half a drink for free? I'll take it! Our friends brought their dogs, so we sit outside.
Daily Total: $36.56

Day Four

12 p.m. — One of my friends is moving out of town, so I get lunch with her at a popular burger place. It's nice to get out of the office for a little bit and catch up with a friend, since I usually just eat at my desk. The $10.36 is most definitely worth it. $10.36
1 p.m. — Work is slow again today, but I send out more emails to authors and edit more proofs. Since I took lunch out of the office, I have to stay later to make up for my lunch hour.
5 p.m. — After work I go the store to buy candy for trick-or-treaters. Have I mentioned that today is Halloween? I really hope I get trick-or-treaters this year. I grew up in the country and never got a chance to hand out candy growing up, and in college I always went out on Halloween. $5
6 p.m. — There is a glorious thing called “50 Cent Corn Dog Day” that happens occasionally at Sonic Drive-Ins, and Halloween just happens to coincide with it today. My boyfriend and I head to Sonic and get an undisclosed number of corn dogs along with mozzarella sticks. He pays.
7 p.m. — I actually get some trick-or-treaters! I'm pretty excited. By the end of the night, about half my candy is gone.
Daily Total: $15.36

Day Five

12 p.m. — I have leftover pad Thai for lunch. I'm of the belief that two-day-old cold noodles are just as good as fresh noodles, and they're a lot better than my usual turkey sandwich.
5 p.m. — My boyfriend makes spaghetti and garlic bread for dinner. We watch Mad Men, which I've seen about seven times through, but he is watching for the first time. It's kind of bizarre seeing Kiernan Shipka as a young Sally Draper because I've been watching Sabrina, but I manage to get past the massive age leap.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

5 p.m. — Dinner at my favorite Greek restaurant! The prices are so amazingly cheap, and they have something called a Greek grilled cheese, which is about as good as it sounds (very). $9.99
8 p.m. — My friend is having a birthday party, and I decide to get her a bottle of Prosecco. It's $14.03. The party is laid back, and we all write down topics to talk about and put them in a bowl to pass around. I've never done this at a party before, but it leads to some great conversations. People really liked my question — “What were you like in high school?” (I was quiet, but obsessed with music.) I get home around 1 a.m. $14.03
Daily Total: $24.02

Day Seven

9 a.m. — I wake up and spend a couple hours relaxing since it's Saturday. Usually I'd get breakfast with the BF, but he's working today.
11 a.m. — I decide I need a massive breakfast burrito and head to the local burrito stand. I didn't account for the fact that it today is a game day. I live close to downtown, and the burrito place is super close to the stadium, so it takes me eons to get my burrito because of the extra traffic. It's worth it, though. It's filled with chorizo, eggs, veggies, and salsa, and I definitely get the meat sweats afterwards. $5.68
1 p.m. — I shower and give the house a quick vacuum. Saturdays are my cleaning days, but I usually do mini clean ups throughout the week, so my apartment really isn't that messy. Then I sit down to watch the last episode of Sabrina, which I will not spoil, but I'm dying to talk about!
5 p.m. — My boyfriend and I go to our favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner. I get two cheese and onion enchiladas with rice and beans, which also happens to be my favorite meal of all time. $10.82
8:30 p.m. — We hang out with some friends. We originally had plans to go out, but it starts raining heavily, so we stay at their apartment for a few drinks.
Daily Total: $16.50
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