A Week In Austin, TX, On A $40,000 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: an entrepreneur (tarot reader) working in witchcraft and spiritual work who makes $40,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on rubber Birkenstocks.
Occupation: Entrepreneur (Tarot Reader)
Industry: Witchcraft and Spiritual Work
Age: 31
Location: Austin, TX
Salary: $40,000
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,126
Loans: $96
Renter's Insurance: $15.99
Utilities: $80
Internet: $55
Phone: $55
Spotify: $9.99
Netflix: $0 (use a friend's login)
Hulu Premium (no commercials) & HBO Add-On: $26
Showtime: $5.49
Amazon Prime: $5.99 (discounted due to EBT)
Apple Storage: $2.99
Health Insurance: $214.24
Swell Investing IRA: $50 (I try to put back a little bit each month, but I also think the world is pretty fucked, so I'm more interested in using my money to live now. I also only want to invest in ethical companies.)
NARAL and RAINN Donation: $10

Day One

9 a.m. — I've been waking up earlier than normal. My work is spiritually intense, so it requires me to sleep a lot. Plus, I have depression, so I can't hold down a regular day job. I'm so fortunate that I've found a spiritual practice that actually pays the bills...most of the time.
10:30 a.m. — I decide to text K. and see what his day looks like. I don't have any appointments till the evening, so we can have a daytime rendezvous. He texts back and says he's free for lunch. I almost change my mind because my apartment and my hair badly need cleaning, but I still have a few hours to get all that accomplished, so I swing into action. I listen to my podcasts from the week (Hysteria and My Favorite Murder) and get my cleaning done, as well as finally unpacking from a trip to my home state of Indiana last week. I frame a print of Rihanna smoking a blunt to hang in front of my bed. It's an old print, but the shoddy IKEA frame I had it in fell and broke, so I bought a new one from Amazon last week.
11:45 a.m. — I shower, touch up my toenail polish, and dry my hair. I do a full face of makeup and actually do my hair, which is more than I'd normally do for a Friday afternoon of meetings with clients. K. is 15 years my senior. We met on Seeking Arrangements about a year ago. He's a divorced dad of four teenage kids, and he works a lot. Our relationship has had its ups and downs and has become more of a friends-with-benefits situation than an arrangement these days. He's very handsome, and I actually like him. The last couple months have been pretty slow for me with clients, and I'm behind on some bills. I know I need to ask him for a loan (or maybe a gift, if he offers), but I'm not really looking forward to negotiating it.
1 p.m. — K. comes to my door rather than texts me that he's outside, but my apartment is clean and it feels nice to let him in. He comments on how good it smells, because I have essential oils in the diffuser (witch shit). He sits on the couch and we kiss a bit, but I tell him I'm hungry, so we head to the restaurant. At the restaurant, K. parks on the street to avoid paying for valet. He comments on the bar across the street, and I tell him I met one of the guys I'm fucking there when I said loudly that I only fuck tall guys and he stood up and introduced himself. He is 6’7”. Inside, we order an appetizer of tomato bruschetta, and I tell him the biggest reason I went home last week is because the summer tomatoes are much better there. We both get the fish tacos. I get a cocktail and he gets a house-made soda. K. pays.
2:30 p.m. — K. and I have sex at my apartment. I don't bring up anything about money.
6:30 p.m. — I meet with a group session of four clients and buy the first round of sangrias for the evening. I include the price of the drink in my fees, so I can make sure that we are patronizing the café that I meet my clients at. It's a tax write-off. I order hibiscus iced tea for myself, because drinking doesn't sound good to me right now. I've been meeting clients at this café for a year, so they're cool with me, and usually my clients end up purchasing food or more drinks. $20
9:30 p.m. — My friend T. invites me over to smoke some weed with her. I stop at the CVS across the street from the café to grab a case of Essentia water to take home after we smoke and some snacks to eat now. I pick up some chicken jerky and jalapeño cheddar popcorn. I have a 32% off coupon that extends to the entire purchase. I am obsessed with CVS's Extra Care program and always have discounts and CVS Extra Bucks. Last year I was in the top 1% of savers in Texas. I also applied for EBT last year when I was dead broke, and I still have benefits. I put the purchase on the EBT card and call an Uber to T.'s place. I have a 50% off Uber promotion this week, so I don't mess with a shared ride. $5.15
11 p.m. — T. also asked a few other girls to come over. They're all a bit younger than me, and T. has shared with me that there is some tension among them. I make sure she's okay, but I'm uncomfortable. I finish the Cosmopolitan that T.'s husband made for me and call an Uber home, but not before buying a cartridge for my weed pen off of her. $65.50
Daily Total: $90.65

Day Two

10:30 a.m. — I walk to the café and arrive a bit before my first client appointment of this busy day. I order my usual, a hibiscus iced tea and an egg soufflé dish that I've always been curious about but have never tried because it's only available before 11 a.m. My last scheduled appointment of the day will wrap up around 9 p.m. Aside from Ubering back and forth, I'll have basically no breaks. Here we go. $16
12:40 p.m. — That soufflé apparently takes a lot longer to make than I anticipated, so I had to wait till my readings were over to eat. I pound it down while I wait for my Uber to the bachelorette party I'm working at an Airbnb nearby. Austin's public transit is miserable, but I don't drive anymore because my monthly Uber and Lyft bills are much less than a car payment, gas, and insurance. $5.46
3:45 p.m. — The bachelorette offers me a White Claw that I sip on. They want to pay $50 for an extra half hour, and I have the time, so I oblige. I Uber back to the café afterward for my next two groups of clients. The song “The Hustle” plays, and I realize this is the second time I've heard it this weekend, as it was also playing at T.'s house. I love the synchronicity, and it's apropos, as I am doing my hustle all day long. $7.64
4 p.m. — My next group is another bachelorette party of four people. The bride doesn't drink, and I'm not really feeling like it either, so she and I have CBD sodas while the rest of the group sips sangria. The next group of four clients definitely wants sangria as well, and I order myself Mexican Sprite in a glass bottle. $48
9:30 p.m. — I'm spent from the day, but I also have too much energy to go home. My work requires a lot of rest in my downtime but also leaves me very wired at the end of sessions. I try to hit my vape pen and realize that it's not working, so I order a new battery on Amazon. I also order some natural bug spray (the mosquitoes in Texas are real) and a pair of rubber Birkenstocks that were already in my cart. $70.18
10 p.m. — I get a Facebook notification that Paris Is Burning, one of my favorite documentaries about drag ball culture in NYC in the '80s, is screening at a theater across town in 30 minutes. I make a split-second decision to go. I need to eat, so I pull up the theater's Yelp page in the Uber while en route and see they have food — but when I get there, I see the menu has changed to just popcorn and candy. I begrudgingly order popcorn and Sour Patch Kids. I prefer to sneak my own candy into movies, but I was under a time constraint and their candy is actually reasonably priced. I also order a vodka cocktail, because I'm thirsty and it's only a dollar more than a soda, which I've already had my share of today. $44
11:30 p.m. — I need to eat something of substance, so when I order my Uber home, I put in a stop at Whataburger. There is a long line for the drive-thru, so I go in and recognize the only other patrons as a group of teens who were at the movie. More synchronicity, which I view as a sign from the universe that I am doing what I am supposed to be. I am also thrilled that kids are interested in seeing such an important piece of queer cinema. I order a bacon-and-cheese Whataburger, small fries, and spicy ketchup. My driver is so kind and patient with me, so I gift her a large order of fries and tip her generously. $27.03
Daily Total: $218.31

Day Three

10 a.m. — Yesterday was a lot, so I'm taking the day off. Working for myself means taking days off with intention is an act of discipline. I do my nails in bed while watching old episodes of Sex and the City on Amazon Prime. People look at my hands all day, so I've gotten really good at doing them myself to save money. If I do it right, the manicure will last at least a week.
2 p.m. — I walk to meet a friend at a brewery up the street that's having a flea market. She buys our first round of ciders. She brought along her roommate, who is cuter and more fun than I remember him being. We find a sweet older lady selling amazing vintage jewelry at really reasonable prices. I buy a ring from the discount table. $5
3 p.m. — I buy our next round of ciders, and my friend's roommate and I split a wagyu ground-beef pizza. He might be flirting with me, but it's hard to tell. I don't know if I'm interested, but I'm not really shutting it down either. $30
4:20 p.m. — The three of us go walk to my place to smoke before heading to an anniversary party at my local dive bar. I opt to Uber to the party, because it's too hot to walk and the driver surprisingly offers me a little bottle of chilled Sutter Homes Sauvignon Blanc. I tip him 100% of the fare. $8.17
5 p.m. — I have a voucher for a complimentary free drink, so I only have to tip for my first drink here. There are free tacos, but I'm still full. The bar has a tequila shot and Mexican beer combo for $7, and I decide that I'm going to get a bit tipsy today. I buy two rounds for myself and my friend's roommate. He gives me $10 toward it. $24
7 p.m. — My friend V. texts to ask if I want to go night swimming at a hotel rooftop pool. My friends head home, and I walk over to the café, where I meet clients and return a call from my mom. We chat while I wait for V., and I know she can tell I'm kind of drunk. I buy a $2 can of Modelo from their Sunday Funday happy hour and tip 100% of the bill. $4
8:30 p.m. — I'm listening to an old man play music on the patio of the café when V. arrives. We call an Uber to my apartment for us to change into our swimsuits real quick, and then another one to the hotel. Our driver is nice enough to take us to the bodega free of charge to get a White Claw to drink in his car on the way there. We buy him Gatorade and Hot Cheetos for his kindness. V. pays.
9 p.m. — We expect to have to pay $7 each to have access to the hotel's rooftop pool, but the guy at the front desk lets us up for free. V. buys a round of beers for us. I never drink beer, but I sure have today. We take thirsty Instagram stories of ourselves in the pool and in the cabanas.
10:30 p.m. — V. calls us an Uber back to my place. We order a pizza/quesadilla fusion and chips and queso from a nearby food truck on Uber Eats. I pay, and she hits me in Venmo for her share. I tell her I can't wait to start tonight's episode of Big Little Lies, and she heads home because she's not caught up. $27.08
Daily Total: $98.25

Day Four

2:30 p.m. — After spending the morning getting caught up on email and social media for the business, I meet with a friend who runs a successful food Instagram at a spot in my neighborhood that has an early happy hour, so we can discuss my hiring her to help with my social media outreach for my brand. I order a turkey Reuben that's not available at any other time. It's kinda spendy for a late lunch, but it's a huge sandwich, so I'll have the rest for dinner. She shares some of her brisket nachos. I'm taking the day off drinking after yesterday's shenanigans, so I stick with iced tea. $23
4 p.m. — I meet with a client at the café. I buy her sangria, but I stick to my iced tea. Between clients, I buy a muffin to snack on. I acknowledge to the bartender that it's weird to eat a muffin in the evening. I was tipsy in here last night, and he never sees that side of me, so he laughs genuinely at my absurdity. I order sangria for my next two clients, and one spills hers. I buy her another, even though I don't have to. Feeling generous today, I guess. $18
7 p.m. — I'm not up for much tonight, so I walk home to smoke a bowl and watch Desus & Mero on my Showtime subscription. I adore them so much that I started paying for Showtime just to watch their talk show, using a promo code to discount the service for six months. I finish my Reuben and call it an early night.
Daily Total: $41

Day Five

9 a.m. — Today is a full moon and a lunar eclipse, which usually makes me tired as hell, but I slept well and am up easily for me. I respond to a text rather coldly from K. asking how I am. I haven't asked about the loan yet. I am waiting for the best astrological weather to do it. I usually spend the day of a full moon doing spell work, but that is unadvisable during an eclipse, so I spend the morning doing more backend business work.
11 a.m. — I haven't left bed. I'm making sure that all the things I need to submit to a local organization for grant money being offered to female and nonbinary folks with small businesses are in order.
12 p.m. — V. sends me a link to book my spot for her birthday party tomorrow. We're building terrariums at a local lady-owned plant shop. As a lady business owner, I love to support my peers. $38
2 p.m. — My best friend M. and I have both been traveling, so we haven't spent any solid hangout time together in a few weeks. She's off today, so I ask her if I could bring my laundry over and if we can have a pool day. She agrees and tells me that she's met someone special that she can't wait to tell me about. I call an Uber and stop at the bodega to pick up a case of White Claw to bring over. $24.19
4 p.m. — We chat about her new man while I start a load of laundry. I have laundry machines in my building, but they're kind of pricey, plus this gives us an excuse to hang out and drink. We decide to go to happy hour for food and margs. We wait around 30 minutes, though, for me to change my laundry and also to make sure I have no client bookings for the day, so I can get high before we go. I don't like to work stoned.
4:20 p.m. — No work today, so I take a big spoonful of M.'s special homemade simple syrup and mix it into my White Claw. M. calls a car to take us to happy hour. She also does not drive. We have a few rounds of frozen margaritas, and we each do a tequila shot. I order loaded queso for the table. I also get a shrimp cocktail, and she orders taquitos. We split the bill, but I cover the tip for both of us. M. is getting too hot on the patio, so I ask the server for a to-go cup “for our leftover queso,” but instead I pour her entire frozen marg into it. She calls us an Uber back to her place. $57
9:30 p.m. — We crush the case of White Claws in the pool. I take off the vintage ring I purchased two days prior and forget where I leave it. Mercury is in retrograde, after all. We decide to walk to a wine store up the street to buy wine to bring to the BYOB plant party tomorrow. We see that the pizza place next door is still open. We order garlic knots and half a pie. I get a watermelon mimosa, which is on a special for $3, and she has a beer before we walk back to her place. $33.78
11 p.m. — We walk back to M.'s, and I pour a glass of wine while she calls her new boo to say good night. They talk for an hour, and I fall asleep in her bed before I even finish my wine.
Daily Total: $152.97

Day Six

10 a.m. — V. texts me to say she's also really hungover and will probably be late to her own party. I Uber myself home and get ready for the day. These half-price Uber rides are saving my life this week. $3.86
12:30 p.m. — I'm the first to arrive for the plant party, but the lady who runs the shop is very friendly. It's a great environment, with lots to look at. I pour myself a glass of my bottle of Champagne. V. and another of her friends eventually show with Gatorade, Topo Chico, a banana, and her little Shih Tzu in tow. I wish I could offer her a hit of my vape, but the battery is still in transit.
1 p.m. — We get to work making our terrariums. The owner of the shop upgrades our package for free, so we have full access to the gem bar. I'm surprised and pleased with how mine turns out. I purchase a white candle that smells amazing for my healing and prayer rituals. I haven't had a chance to do much spell work with this eclipse-season madness, so I'm very excited for the new moon at the end of the month. $10.27
3:30 p.m. — V. and I are hungry and head to one of our favorite happy-hour spots — and it is closed for an event. Mercury is TF in retrograde. We pop into a French bistro instead and order two glasses wine, a cheese board, and two sandwiches. I cover the bill for her birthday, and she leaves the tip. $38
4:30 p.m. — We stop into a vintage store next door. I pick up two crystals and one loose herbal cigarette for $2. I like the cigarette so much I buy a whole pack. $22
6 p.m. — I head to the cafe to meet a client who booked through a new booking system that doesn't yet require clients to pay in advance. She is an existing client, but she no shows. I mentally decide to require a deposit going forward while I enjoy a glass of happy hour wine, a shot of espresso, and an herbal cigarette. I feel very European. $12
7:30 p.m. — I call an Uber to M.'s place so we can go to V.'s birthday dinner together, and we meet up with V. and some friends for her birthday dinner at an upscale Italian place. The kitchen is sending out amazing dishes and wine is flowing. V. works in the service industry so we're getting hooked up. I don't even see the menu. It soon becomes clear that we are not going to make our 9:15 private karaoke room reservation, so I step up to call the place and push our reservation back as far a they will allow. $5.15
10:30 p.m. — After the meal, I am doing my best to get V. off to her karaoke party. M. puts my portion of the bill on her card and we both throw $20s in for the tip. M. and I have a very healthy relationship in general, and our money habits reflect as much. We treat it as an energy that flows between us and we both get our needs met. M. heads off to her bartending gig and V. and I hop in someone's car to get to karaoke. Someone orders a bunch of drinks and margaritas get poured down my throat. I throw another $20 into the kitty. $40
12 a.m. — After the karaoke place closes down, the entire party heads to M.'s bar for the weekly funk show that happens there. She gives our whole party shots of tequila. A bit later, I am ordering another shot for me and V. when my ex, C., walks in with a strange girl. It's clear he's in desperate need of attention and I have actively not been answering his texts. I offer to buy them their first and LAST round, emphasis on LAST. I give M. a look that lets her know I'm not happy and she makes it clear to him that he is unwelcome. $14
1 a.m. — I go to the bar next door, and ask the bartender for her recommendation for an anti-fuckboy drink. She gives me an Aperol something, but before I can finish, C. and his friend make their way into this bar. I go back to home base and M. starts pouring tequila shots on the house. We stay long past close drinking, talking, and chainsmoking at the bar. These herbal cigarettes might become a habit real fast. She calls us an Uber to her place. I stay over for the second night in a row. $9
Daily Total: $154.28

Day Seven

9 a.m. — I wake up on M.'s couch and she hasn't been to sleep yet. I don't remember falling asleep, but she's been more or less crafting a political Facebook post the whole time and she wants me to weigh in on it. We blast Curtis Mayfield and yell about how we hate everything. I realize that I've lost my newish sunglasses. THIS RETROGRADE. I call an Uber and the driver tells me that he hopes everything “works out” for me when he drops me off at home. Well, damn. $5.50
3 p.m. — I mess around listening to music and posting on Instagram in a hungover stupor until it's time walk to the cafe and meet my new tarot apprentice. It's our first lesson and I'm in rare form. It's an irregularly slow day at the cafe and everything feels like it's in slow motion. I buy her a sangria and the bartender gives me a free glass of champagne. $6
4:30 p.m. — After our teaching session, I let one of the other cafe regulars, a much older guy, rub my shoulders and kiss my head. It kind of feels nice in a weird way. One of the girls who works there warned me that he would try to kiss me one day, so I buy another glass of happy hour wine and find her outside in the employee break area. We complain to each other about men for like an hour. It's a fun conversation. $6
5:30 p.m. — I take about twenty minutes to decide what to eat for dinner as I haven't eaten yet today. I decide to get Thai carryout from the place next door to the cafe. I order Pad Kee Mao and spring rolls and I even spring for their very overpriced, but very delicious iced tea. They're playing disco music in the waiting area and it makes me want to go out to my favorite local dance night, which is happening this evening. $31
9 p.m. — I wake up from a nap to my friend, D., calling to say that she's down to dance the night away. I put on a mini skirt, toss my hair, hit my vape pen that was finally delivered, and call my car to D.'s place. $5.56
9:30 p.m. — I arrive at her house and D. is ready to drink. We immediately do a few tequila shots. While she gets dressed, we lament about our respective relationships. She and I are exes, and maintain a loving, healthy friendship. We know what it's like to date each other, so we can give each other honest love advice. She's an attorney, like K., so she gives me advice on how to negotiate with him on the money stuff. I call us a car to the party with my discount. $3.38
10:30 p.m. — It's ladies' night, so we get in free, and get a free shot. C. buys a round of Topo Chico, and our next round of tequila shots. I know the bartender and she sends out another round on her.
12 a.m. — It's so hot in the party so I dig my paper fan out of my purse and fan us while we dance to a few disco songs. I eventually buy another two rounds of tequila shots before I call a car back to D.'s house. We make steak and eggs. I drink a bit more tequila with her, and call Uber home. $22
Daily Total: $79.44
Money Diaries are meant to reflect individual women's experiences and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.
Want more Money Diaries? Well, you’re in luck — Refinery29 Canada is launching its own Canadian Money Diaries three times a week. (Which means once you’re done with catching up on all our diaries during your lunch break, you can head on over to R29 CA for even more.) You can now experience Money Diaries IRL at 29Rooms Toronto September 26th through October 6th. Buy tickets here.
The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day. For more money diaries, click here.
Do you have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Submit it with us here.
Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here: r29.co/mdfaqs

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series