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A Week In San Antonio, TX, On A $24,020 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. We're asking real people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.

Today: a PR intern/beverage cart attendant who makes $24,020 per year and spends some of her money this week on an iced matcha latte.
Occupation: PR Intern & Beverage Cart Attendant
Industry: Public Relations & Service
Age: 23
Location: San Antonio, TX
Salary: $24,020 + cash tips
Net Worth: $6,000 (I have $6,000.81 in savings and no debt).
Debt: $0
Internship Paycheck Amount (biweekly): $586.43
Beverage Cart Attendant Paycheck Amount (biweekly): $300 + $300~ cash tips
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $750 (split with my sister).
Car: $0 (I partially bought it with my dad when I was 17 and he has paid it off since. There is a $1,000 payment left on it that he has just not paid off because he says it's better. I am going to sound like a complete idiot but I don't know what he means by that).
Peacock: $2.50 (I currently have a deal).
Apple Storage: $2.99
Apple Music: $0 (family plan).
Google Storage: $2.99
Netflix/HBO Max/Hulu: $0 (family plan).
Adobe Creative Cloud: $29.99 (got it to $2.14 for the next six months).
Cell Phone: $0 (family plan).
Car/Health Insurance: $0 (family plan).
Savings: $100
Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
Yes, my parents both attended college and graduate school. They believe that having a higher education sets you up better for job success. That is unfortunately true and I also did enjoy being successful at school. I attended college at a private university and received my BA. I received multiple scholarships for my grades and was an RA so I didn't pay for room and board. My grandparents paid for the rest of my tuition.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
I knew my parents had money because they never put an emphasis on needing it. They both grew up not financially stable so when they both made money they put an emphasis on saving. I don't know that we had conversations about it but whenever I asked questions, they'd answer. We didn't sit down to have a money talk until I was 17 and filling out FAFSA.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was as an assistant for an insurance company when I was 16. I answered phones and organized files. Before then, I would pet sit and babysit around the neighborhood. I did both of these jobs just for extra spending money. I also sold livestock as a teenager. I put all of my money into savings, which helped me buy a car.
Did you worry about money growing up?
Not really. I knew we had it and if I ever wanted or needed anything I was allowed to have it. My dad is definitely more money-conscious than my mom. I got my dad's savings gene while my sister got my mom's spending gene. I believe money is to spend but I also get scared to spend it.
Do you worry about money now?
Definitely. I realize that all the luxuries I was afforded growing up are things I want for myself. I have my parents to fall back on if I need anything but there is a certain luxury in paying for everything myself. I am giving myself time to become fully independent. I feel so much pressure to be successful immediately. I try to provide for myself in almost every way but since I don't have a particularly stable income, my parents are more than happy to help.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I would say I haven't yet. My parents have promised to have me on their insurance until I'm 26 and I'm on their phone plan. My parents are definitely my financial safety net. I recognize the privilege of this and my whole upbringing. I am trying my very hardest to be more financially stable every day.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
My parents give me $300 a month to cover some bills. I believe I will receive some money from my grandma's will, but I'm not sure of the details. I hope to literally never receive that money; I'd rather have my grandma alive.

Day One

6:45 a.m. — Wake up to get ready for a shift as a beverage cart attendant at a golf course. I put on Tula sunscreen, Saie bronzer, Rare Beauty blush and a little mascara. I'm out the door to get to work by 8. I arrive, grab my beverage cart, clock in and ice the cart down. I ask the chef inside to make tacos for our members and to put a couple of extra in there for me. He agrees and I am off to grab gas for the cart and start making rounds. We have two courses and I'm the only one working today. Let's make money!
10 a.m. — I have sold a decent amount so I restock the cart quickly then keep making rounds. A member buys me a shot, which is nice. I fake the whiskey shot for some Dr. Pepper and make a face like it was so hard to take. This trick comes in handy more times than you'd think.
12:30 p.m. — I go inside to close up for the day. I do my checkout and I made $82 in cash and $32 on credit cards. Not bad, but not worth being up this early. Don't let that TikTok girl fool you, not every beverage cart job makes bank. I constantly debate quitting this job because it's not my main source of income. My schedule is just so flexible and if I need a shift I can always come and get one. I head home around 1:30.
5 p.m. — I knock out right as I get home. Then I get up, shower, make taquitos and watch two movies on Amazon Prime: Erin Brockovich and Bring It On. I fall asleep at 11.
Daily Total: $0

Day Two

8 a.m. —I wake up, shower, do the same makeup as yesterday, make a coffee and am at the office by 9:30.
12:00 p.m. — My day consists of calendar listings and editing a behind-the-scenes Instagram Reel/TikTok for our creative team. I eat my beautiful chicken strip leftover lunch.
4:30 p.m. — My coworker started an animal shelter and is taking donations. Since I have nothing to donate I offer to Zelle her something. She gladly accepts and I send $20. Then I leave the office and head home. I eat a banana s'mores ice cream and watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians on Peacock. $20
11 p.m. — I don't typically smoke but my neighbors rolled me a pink joint as a late birthday present and it is the cutest thing on the planet. I smoke with them while watching Bluey on Disney+. Every time I watch Bluey I want to cry. I miss being a kid. I live with my sister and we head back to our place after and go to sleep at midnight.
Daily Total: $20

Day Three

8 a.m. — I wake up more tired than ever and I'm guessing it's from smoking. I shower, make my lunch of taquitos, make a coffee and drive in.
10 a.m. — One of our employees is out sick so I'm put in charge of taking headshots for a few new employees. I send the headshots over to my boss and she gives me edits. I felt like they were good, but whatever.
12 p.m. — I do some calendar listings. I eat my lunch and it's my day to pay off my credit card. How fun. I have a ton of gift cards to Amazon from my birthday last week and have been wanting some stuff. I order a cargo skirt, a burgundy long-sleeve Skims dupe, matcha, Nespresso pods and black soft headbands. All $462 is covered by gift cards.
4:30 p.m. — As I leave work I remember my dad's birthday is on Friday and want to get him a gift. I stop at a sticker shop and get him some Ted Lasso and Texas-themed stickers. I also get him a glass Topo Chico cup and a Seinfeld card, which I know he'll love ($35.46). I need an afternoon pick-me-up even though I'm going home. I get a matcha and an almond croissant from a bakery close by ($11.64). I then pick up a curbside order my sister placed for groceries (she pays) and then stop for gas ($28.18). $75.28
10 p.m. — I make French fries and grilled chicken strips in the air fryer and watch a bunch of Brittany Broski YouTube videos before falling asleep.
Daily Total: $75.28

Day Four

8 a.m. — I wake up and do my normal routine of makeup and a slicked-back bun. I air fry some of the French fries and grilled chicken and pack a Diet Dr. Pepper with ranch and carrots and head out for work.
12 p.m. — I have my lunch and check the calendar listings. I check my phone and open Snapchat to see if this guy I work with at the beverage cart job that I went on a date with/hooked up with a year ago is still in Miami. He completely ghosted me after we hooked up, except for the occasional Snapchat. He's from Miami and the last time we talked he told me he was moving back. So when he posted that he left, I thought it was for good, but he's back in town. I hate that I'm happy about it but I didn't want him to leave.
2:30 p.m. — For some reason, this day at work is really long and dragging. I look at my budget and end up paying off a cancellation fee for my Adobe subscription. $35.82
4:30 p.m. — I leave the office and go to Sephora to get a cologne for my dad from my mom. They don't have it so I go to Ulta and use a gift card to get sunscreen and an exfoliator. I use my mom's card to get the cologne. My parents live in a small town so I do a lot of the shopping for my mom and use her card or she pays me back. I then decide I'm gonna return the camera I got as a gift for my birthday. I thought there was a feature where the photos dropped directly to your phone but apparently not. It costs $3.24 to ship it back. $3.24
10 p.m. — I get my schedule for my beverage cart job for this weekend and I have my dad's birthday off, woo! I really want to quit this job but I know I need a sort of safety net. I air fry some veggie egg rolls and eat some ice cream and go to bed.
Daily Total: $39.06

Day Five

8 a.m. — Wake up, shower and wash my hair. I get dressed, grab a little strawberry yogurt pouch and decide not to make coffee this morning. I then head to work.
10 a.m. — I don't have much to do today and my boss is working from home so I mostly just check emails and calendar listings.
12:30 p.m. — I eat my lunch of grilled chicken strips and baby carrots and ranch. My friends are texting about all these trips and prices. Do they not know I'm on a FIXED INCOME? Anyway, I politely refuse the request to go to Colorado to ski because I have to spend money on a flight to visit family soon and I don't even know how to ski. I watch as the group chat gets into a fight and then do some research on nonprofits that we could work with in the upcoming year.
2 p.m. — I have to deliver some flyers for an event happening at a hotel downtown. This event is actually pretty cool so I'm excited I get to attend. I come back and look at flights for the trip I have coming up. I don't purchase anything because I am unsure of the dates.
4:30 p.m. — I grab my Diet Dr. Pepper out of the fridge and head to Chick-fil-A. I get an eight-count nugget and my birthday reward of a cookie and cream milkshake. Both are paid for by my rewards. I eat that in my car then head to my friend's place to go on a walk with her and her dog.

8 p.m. — We go tour a friend's casita that I'm thinking about renting out. A casita is basically a tiny guest house in the back of a larger house. The rent is cheaper by about $100 than what I'm paying now and in a way better location. The place looks nice but I live with my sister now and don't particularly want to leave, even though this is probably a better option for me. We head back to my friend's apartment and I crash there for the night.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

9 a.m. — Wake up at my friend's place and move to her couch to play with her dog. We are both off work today and she has to do laundry so I take her to her friend's apartment. We stop to get bagels and coffee on the way. $22.74
12 p.m. — I drive my friend to her friend's place, hang out for a bit and then head out to my parents' place around 2.
5 p.m. — I get to my parents' house and play with the dogs, straighten my hair and pluck my eyebrows/shave my mustache in my mom's good mirror. I start watching The Sopranos but honestly, I find it kind of boring.
7:30 p.m. — We head to a local diner to have dinner with my dad. My sister meets us there. We enjoy fried chicken and baked potatoes and their salad bar. Typically we would go somewhere fancier but my dad didn't want to drive anywhere and this is about the nicest it gets in my hometown. We head home and enjoy apple pie and ice cream. He opens his presents. He requested a ton of stickers for his coffee mugs that he likes to take to work and the nice cologne was just a bonus. We sit around and talk before going to bed. I have to be up super early for a beverage cart shift tomorrow.
Daily Total: $22.74

Day Seven

6:45 a.m. — Wake up early to take a shower and do a little makeup. My mom is up with me, which is nice, and she sits with me while I get ready. I head out a little early because I want to get a coffee and food. My mom gives me $40 in cash because she says I need gas money. I say thanks and head out the door.
8 a.m. — I stop about halfway to get Starbucks. I get my regular order of an iced matcha with one pump of chai and cold foam and it's the best ($7.90). As I continue to drive, my phone has no service and I can only listen to old podcasts I have downloaded. I get closer to work and stop at a Chick-fil-A for breakfast. I get an egg white grill and yogurt parfait to have later ($11.01). I keep driving and get to work at 9. My phone finally has service and I have many missed calls from my parents. I guess they were tracking my phone and it just stopped halfway when I didn't have service. I call them and reassure them that I'm okay. I love that they worry about me but I really freaked them out. $18.91
9 a.m. — I am using the makeshift cart today because one of ours is broken. I get tacos and head out to the course.
10 a.m. — I help the other cart girl on her side for half a round then go to mine. I sell some Bloody Marys and Transfusions. A Transfusion is vodka with a mix of grape juice and ginger ale. They're so good and I make like eight of them. I take little breaks in between and see this man that I "dated". I say hey and feel so awkward around him it makes me want to bury myself in a hole.
12:30 p.m. — I restock and go inside to do my checkout. I made $89 in cash and no one tipped on their credit card. I see the guy again and he blows a blow torch at me. He flirts like a middle school boy and I like it. I know I mentioned earlier that I wanted to quit this job because it's not making me the most money and I'm not sure it's worth it, but it's also because of this guy.
2 p.m. — I head home and get gas ($24). I get home and start watching YouTube. I order Postmates from my favorite salad place ($33.23). $57.23
10:30 p.m. — I scroll TikTok. I check on some refunds I'm expecting from a clothing store and Amazon. Then I go downstairs to clean my car a little. Since I drive so much, it ends up becoming my second home so I try to keep it clean. I also pick up a few packages out of the mailbox. The matcha and headbands came in. I have another shift in the afternoon tomorrow. I do a face mask, watch a few episodes of Euphoria and put away laundry that's been on my bed forever.
Daily Total: $76.14
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