A Week In Dallas, TX, On A $42,000 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: a claims representative who makes $42,000 and spends some of her money this week on Mexican Coca-Cola.
Occupation: Claims Representative
Industry: Insurance
Age: 22
Location: Dallas, TX
Salary: $42,000
Net Worth: $0 (my partner and I split everything equally but do not share finances.)
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,240
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $650 (for my share of a one-bedroom apartment, this includes pest control, water, and trash valet (which I think its POINTLESS))
Student Debt: $0
Car Payment: $433
Phone: $100
Car Insurance: $183
Electricity: $46
Renters Insurance: $12
Waxing Subscription: $56
Spotify, Hulu, Showtime (Student): $7
Sling: $30

Day One

6:20 a.m. — This is my first day working from home. Everyone was panicking because there has been a lot of changes recently and people are scared of the next change to come. I recently applied for a higher position within my company in a different state and I just found out I got it. I cannot add this stress to my plate so I ignore everyone sending me messages asking what are my thoughts on the recent change. I wash my face with cold water to wake tf up, add IT eye cream, and Sunday Riley moisturizer, then boil some water for coffee and clock in.
12 p.m. — I am heading to my hometown today. I've had this trip planned since November so I finish packing during lunch to be ready to leave right after I clock out. I am going down there to help my dad become a U.S. citizen. As a requirement, he has been living in my hometown alone since January. My hometown is a border city and he has been in Mexico all his life so moving to the states hasn't been easy on him. When I was little, my dad used to take me to the circus every time they came to town, so when I found out Cirque Du Soleil was stopping in my hometown, I decided to treat him and take him to the show to ease his mind.
5 p.m. — Finally off work! My boyfriend, P., is home, his company hasn't sent any employees to work from home yet and since he works from 10-7:30 he just decided to take today off to not be rushing to the airport like always. We stop at Chick-fil-A since I have not had any food since my coffee in the morning. He buys. We say our goodbyes and I get in the TSA line. A lady behind me asks if I have seen Cheer on Netflix. I meannnnnn, who hasn't?! Turns, out Cheerful Jerry is right in front of me, OMG!!! I kindly ask for a pic and he agrees!!!!!!! I get through TSA, find Starbucks, and buy a tall salted caramel cold brew. $10
6:40 p.m. — Arrive in my hometown. My best friend S., and her husband, K., arrive just in time to pick me up. S. and I have been friends on-and-off since the fourth grade, emphasis on the on-and-off because who isn't a hormonal, mean teen? We go to get tacos. They pay, I leave $10 in cash for the tip. $10
Daily Total: $20

Day Two

10 a.m. — S. is off today, we go to this "unique" spot to have brunch on the west side of town. I get huevos rancheros and some weird alcoholic coffee that is really bad. I call my dad quickly when we're done eating. I also came to my hometown to figure out some child support issues since my dad is still getting asked to pay even though I'm an adult. Before S. and I head to my aunt's house, we stop at a UPS store to print some documents. I buy a pen and pay for printing two pages. I meet my dad at my aunt's house to pick up a copy of his ID. $22.23
1 p.m. — We make a stop at Starbucks, I get a grande berry-berry hibiscus with light ice and extra berries. I pay with the app and use the money left from yesterday. S. then heads to pump gas and off we go to the border. I head to my dad's old workplace to meet the lady in charge of the CS payments. When we arrive they tell us that we need to go to the town hall to close the account and release a check with all the money that has been accumulating since my mom last claimed it. We head to the town hall, but when we arrive there, the office is closed! I feel like I have wasted everyone's time and try not to break down. Things in Mexico are incredibly different than in the U.S. but there is nothing I can do. I'll come back in a few days.
3:30 p.m. — S. and I head to a nearby market to buy some groceries for her mom since everything is so much cheaper here and people are not panic buying like in the states. I buy some goodies for my family back home. I buy seven bags of Fritos for my mom, 10 tiny Mexican Coca-Colas for my stepdad, a box of Mamut cookies, nine Mexican Kinder Delice treats for my siblings, and a variety pack of Mexican cookies for my dad. The total comes out to 306 pesos, which equals $17 USD! While S. buys herself some sunglasses in a little shop in front of the market, I buy a "Chocochinno" from this ice cream place and pay $1.50. $18.50
5 p.m. — We make it back to the states and go to S.'s house after being in line for an hour. My dad calls me and tells me that his coworker told him that Cirque Du Soleil canceled all shows due to COVID-19. I haven't received an email from Ticketmaster so I decide to call them and wait in line for 30 minutes. They confirm the show has been canceled and I am incredibly sad. I wanted my dad to experience this with me! S.'s mom makes some delicious tacos and codito soup. K. heads to the 7-11 to buy LOTS of White Claw. I have never had WC, please don't judge me in the comment section. We watch Elite and drink WC. I drink three and get tipsy — again, don't judge me. I decide to call it quits and head to my room to sleep.
Daily Total: $40.73

Day Three

8:40 a.m.— S. and K. both work so I get up and get ready to accompany S. to her work. My dad lives close to S.'s work so it is very convenient. We hang out at his apartment and talk about my siblings and how they are coping with him being gone. My siblings were all born in the states so he is making this big change to give them a better future.
12 p.m. — My hometown has changed so much since I left six years ago. I noticed they recently opened a new Mexican restaurant so I decide to take my dad there. I order their enchiladas and a delicious martini. My dad orders the same, minus the martini. I pay and leave tip. We talk about pretty much everything and anything before heading to CVS to buy him some eye drops, cough drops, and chapstick for me. He pays. $50
2 p.m. — My mom calls as my dad and I are heading to Walmart. She tells me how crazy things are getting back home and how my stepdad has been annoying her by talking about the virus nonstop. My mom and dad chat about the past, his legal process, and the virus for about 30 minutes. Finally, we head inside and I follow my dad around while he gets weekly essentials. There is a Sam's Club right next to Walmart so we head there to get detergent, oranges, and bread. Since I have my mom's membership on the app, I scan everything, avoid the line, and pay with my card already on the app. My dad is fascinated by American technology! $22.20
6:45 p.m. — I head to S.'s house and meet her and K. They are hungry so we head to a Mexican restaurant. I know, Mexican food AGAIN?! I order a huge mango margarita with chamoy and a queso fundido since I am not that hungry. I pay for both appetizers and the margarita. I also give S. $20 in cash for gas since she let me use her truck today. $44
8 p.m. — I'm in the mood to drink! We head to a bar to pregame. The bar is empty because it's so early! K. gets me a White Claw.
10 p.m. — We go to a patio bar on the east side. The atmosphere is amazing, they have beer pong, swings, a dog park, and a taco man because who doesn't want tacos after a few drinks?! We all rotate ordering rounds of beer and hard seltzers. I have four Trulys, half a beer, and three watermelon shots. I AM DONE! $17
12 a.m. — We head to a beer tasting bar. I have this amazing pineapple beer from California with tajin powder. I hate beer but this beer tastes like Fanta!!! Then K. dares me to drink a tequila shot, so I do it. There are lots of food trucks outside the beer bar so before heading home K. buys us food. We head home, watch Elite, and eat before heading to bed. $10
Daily Total: $143.20

Day Four

11 a.m. — S., K., and I head to Mexico for some UHHH-MAZING barbacoa tacos. We get there just in time because they run out of meat quickly. That's how you know the tacos are good — when they sell out every Sunday! I order a torta and four tacos with a Coke. I pay with pesos my dad gave me yesterday. We head to my grandma's house. K.'s family is close to my grandma's house so they drop me off and they head their way.
3 p.m. — I spend some time with my family at my grandma's. After, I walk up the hill to my other grandma's house to hang out with my other side of the family.
4 p.m. — Time flies and I have to go back to my other grandma's house for dinner.
6 p.m. — We watch a movie and eat ice cream after dinner. We hang out for a while and then I go to sleep.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

12 p.m. — I wake super late to a silent home. I walk to the kitchen and my aunt has made breakfast for both of us. My grandma got up early to go to her neighbor's house and get a shot for her allergies. Her neighbor is a nurse and these "procedures" are very common in Mexico.
3 p.m. — It's a festive Monday in Mexico, so my aunt is off today. After cleaning the house, we head downtown to buy some goodies for one of my coworkers who asked me to get her some candy and herbs. I love downtown — my people are so humble and it reminds me of where I come from. I buy a pound of hibiscus flower, half a pound of moringa herb, a jar of tamarindo, spicy Japanese peanuts, sweet garampinados, pumpkin seeds, and mangos for my grandma. I pay $25 in US dollars. My aunt and I head home to drop everything off. $25
6 p.m. — My aunt and I drive to a famous flauta restaurant downtown. We buy five orders of flautas to go and head home. My aunt pays even though I try to get my card in first.
8 p.m. — My uncle gets home from work with guess what? MORE goodies for the fam back home. I am the Math Lady meme, thinking and calculating how I will fit all of this stuff in my tiny luggage. I decide not to stress about it until tomorrow and watch a movie with my grandma. I fall asleep on her lap. She wakes me up and I head to bed.
Daily Total: $25

Day Six

7:50 a.m. — My uncle picks me up from my grandma's house. We head to town hall to meet figure out this child support ordeal. After four hours of paperwork and waiting, we finally close the case.
11:50 a.m. — My uncle and aunt want to treat me to lunch so we go to a nice restaurant in Mexico. I order chipotle shrimp and scallops. I offer to pay for everyone since they helped me out today, but my uncle laughs and pays.
3 p.m. — Back at my grandma's house, she is cooking sopa de fideo and tacos de picadillo. YUMMY! We hang out while I wait for my aunt to come home from work so she can drive me back to the states.
6 p.m. — My aunt arrives home and before saying goodbye to my Grandma I give her $80 in cash just because. I say goodbye and hug her tight. My aunt and I head to the border and wait in line for about an hour. We talk about my boyfriend and how he felt coming to Mexico for the first time back in February. She drops me off at S.'s work. I try to give her money for gas and for all the food she bought me this weekend, but she refuses. We hug goodbye and I am lowkey crying because I love her like an older sister. Before she notices I am crying, I head inside. $80
8 p.m. — S. and I head back to her house. My mom calls while we are driving back and asks how my trip has been so far. She proceeds to tell me I can't go visit them until I quarantine for 14 days because of where I have been. I'm lowkey sad but I understand. There are no cases in my hometown or in Mexico yet, but I know I will be traveling through airports and we just never know who may be sick. We arrive at S.'s home and I sort all my luggage out. S.'s mom made cheesecake so we eat that before heading to bed.
Daily Total: $80

Day Seven

8:50 a.m. — I wake up, take a shower, and put on my daily creams. As always, I thank S.'s family for letting me stay here before we go to S's work. When we arrive, I ask to use her truck to go say bye to my dad. I bite my lip to forget about the sadness and tell him that I love him and I am just a call away. I tell him to keep me updated on the legal process, and he thanks me for finally closing the child support case.
10 a.m. — I text S. and ask if she wants anything from McDonald's. She sends me her order. I order a sausage McMuffin, a medium coffee, and a hash brown — I pay for both orders. I arrive at her job, we eat, and then head to the airport. I thank S. for everything she constantly does for me and she assures me she will come visit me when I am settled in my new job. While waiting at the airport, I send S. $30 for gas. She immediately texts me and asks why I did this. I pretend to ignore her text and tell her how much I appreciate her friendship! $45
6 p.m. — My boyfriend, P., arrives just in time to pick me up. He is so happy to see me, he has been texting me nonstop since I left. We head to my favorite Dallas taco joint. We get takeout since the restaurant is to-go only because of the virus — my boyfriend pays. We arrive home, eat our tacos, and watch a movie. I unpack, text S., my aunt, and my dad to tell them that I am home as well as call my mom. I log into my work computer and notice EVERYONE and their mom has been asking where I have been. I answer a few emails and then head to bed with my boyfriend.
Daily Total: $45
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