A Week Near Cocoa Beach, FL, On A $53,000 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 event planner who makes $53,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Neutrogena makeup remover.
Occupation: Event Planner
Industry: Aerospace & Defense
Age: 25
Location: Near Cocoa Beach, FL
Salary: $53,000
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $1,488.03
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $550 for my portion of a two-bedroom, two-bathroom beachside condo. My roommate pays $750, since she has the larger master suite. Our water is included in our total rent.
Student Loan Payment: $356.84 for my undergraduate student loans. My company is paying for grad school.
Phone: $40 (I am still on my parent's plan, and I pay them at the end of each month. My mom is awesome and puts this money towards my student loans.)
Disney Pass: $36 per month for my annual pass. I try to go at least once a month, but it varies depending on school. The pass pays for itself after four visits, which I significantly exceed.
Car: $50 per paycheck goes to my parents to repay them for fixing my car's A/C a few months ago.
Health Insurance: $134
Gym Membership: $30
Subscriptions: I use my roommate's ex's HBO account, my parent's Netflix/Hallmark Channel subscriptions, and my older sister's Hulu account.
Spotify: $4.99
401(k): 10% of each paycheck, which my company matches
Long-Term Savings: $300 (I utilize Digit to save for small purchases or trips. I am currently saving up for my friend trip to Phoenix in January and a family trip to Utah in May.)

Day One

7:15 a.m. — I wake up refreshed and comfortably lazy. While this seems like an early morning, I generally wake up around 5 a.m., so those extra two hours are charging me up! Although I did stay up until after 1:30 a.m. last night… Annual office party for young professionals. Just the right amount of rowdy and ~profesh~.
8 a.m. — After scrolling on my phone and watching an episode of Jane the Virgin (obsessed!), I drink a cup of Teavana green tea and sip my morning smoothie (dragonfruit, mixed berries, and almond milk). My roommate returns from her boyfriend's house, and we rehash details from last night. Kind of an uneventful night, now that I look back at it.
9:30 a.m. — I receive a text from my friend A. asking if I'm interested in boating this morning. Um, heck yes! I throw on running shorts, a sports bra, and a t-shirt before heading out the door. I backtrack and decide to bring my quarter-zip, too. It's too cold to go swimming, as it's only in the 60s and the water temperature has dropped to an unenjoyable level. I should know, as I fell off the boat into the water two weeks ago.
11 a.m. — Along with A.'s roommates and some mutual friends, we all pile into the boat and set sail! A lot of beer is passed around, but I decline since I drank last night. After docking at one of the local restaurants, we claim seats at a large table on the beach along the river. Everyone gets mimosas, and I opt for half-sweet tea. I also order a mahi reuben. Somebody orders a plate of calamari and fish dip for the table, too, and I instantly chow down. When it comes time for the check, my friend B. offers to pay for everyone, and we each Venmo him later. $23
12 p.m. — We make our way back. I enjoy half a beer and the beautiful weather, and reflect on how thankful I am to have a friend with a boat.
1 p.m. — Once back on land, we marinate in the hot tub and chat for a few hours. Everyone else is drinking, but I have homework to do later today, so I refrain. I'm having such a good time hanging out with my friends that I don't even notice it's almost dinner time.
4:30 p.m. — The guys are going away for the weekend, so I excuse myself from the hangout and drive back to the mainland to pick up my dog. I left him at my parent's last night before the party because I hate leaving him in his crate if I'm going to be out late. He's so happy to see me! The feeling is mutual.
5 p.m. — Back at home, I fully intend to work on homework, but instead watch more Jane the Virgin and eat scrambled eggs with Nando's Peri Peri sauce.
9 p.m. — Okay, I watched a whole lot of Netflix today and did zero homework. Tomorrow I need to double down. I boil water for my nightly chamomile tea, take the pup for a walk, and fall asleep by 9:30.
Daily Total: $23

Day Two

5:15 a.m. — I'm awakened by the dog beginning to stir and eventually jumping off my bed to stand resolutely at my bedroom door and stare at me until I take him out to go potty. Come on, man! I roll out of bed, throw on a jacket, and we take a quick lap around the apartment parking lot before I feed him breakfast. I make a cup of coffee using my roommate's pour-over thingy, and start homework.
7:30 a.m. — Time for a homework break. I watch a cheesy Christmas movie on the Hallmark Channel and eat fried eggs with hot sauce.
9:30 a.m. — My food stock is very low, which means it's time to go grocery shopping. While Publix is closer to my apartment, I like Lucky's Market more because I feel like they have better prices and fresher produce and meat. My apartment is beachside, and the drive to Lucky's is about 20 minutes. I'm low on gas and stop by Wawa to refill. $25
10 a.m. — I wander through the grocery store, picking up shrimp, a small fillet of mahi mahi, cucumber, scallions, a container of spring lettuce mix, garlic, pre-cut carrots, bean sprouts, mushrooms, a package of chocolate chip cookies, eggs, orange juice, guacamole, hummus, bean chips, and two 12-packs of sparkling water. I also refill my 24-ounce kombucha jug at the café. At checkout, I realize I have a $5 coupon and apply it to my total, which is awesome because I try to stay under $70 for food each week. $63
11 a.m. — More homework, but this time with a side of chipotle red pepper hummus!
4 p.m. — I am mentally exhausted and done with school for today, so I once again plop down on the futon for a few hours of Netflix and Chill with my dog. My roommate is out of town for an Iron Man race (yes, she's a badass), which means it's just me and the pup. I'm bitter because I was supposed to go to a friend's Fifthmas Party (just Google it), but no invite has been sent! Instead, I eat ALL THE COOKIES I bought today. I will eventually regret it, as sugar gives me horrible digestion problems.
8:30 p.m. — Seeing as I am slowly becoming one with the futon, I detach myself from the puppy snuggles and start boiling water for my nightly tea. As that gets started, I take a shower, where I deep condition my hair with It's a 10 Miracle Hair Mask. I am a big believer in deep conditioning, and do it at least once a week. Yes, the initial investment is a lot, but good hair is worth it! Then I wash my face with Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser and apply an Ulta sheet mask (I and try to scare my dog with my attractive appearance). He is unfazed. I sneak a Kit Kat from the freezer and sip on my tea as the mask works its magic.
9:30 p.m. — I take the dog out for his last walk of the day, pop open a can of watermelon-flavored sparkling water, and finish the night by reading in bed. I fall asleep quickly.
Daily Total: $88

Day Three

6 a.m. — Praises! I slept in today! After taking the dog for a walk, feeding him breakfast, and making myself eggs and coffee, I shower again and then blow dry my hair, apply makeup (brows and mascara), and leave for church.
9 a.m. — At church, I pour myself a cup of complimentary coffee with a dash of half-and-half and find my parents in the sanctuary balcony just as the service is starting. Unfortunately, I knock over my cup halfway through worship and pretend it didn't happen while pressing thin, useless napkins into the coffee flood.
10:30 a.m. — It's pouring rain as we leave the building. I parked quite far away, and I'm soaked by the time I reach my car. Luckily, I live down the road, and I'm able to change into sweatpants quickly. I drink some kombucha while I work on my homework. My assignment is due tonight, and I honestly have no idea what I'm doing. Regardless, I have such a high grade in this class, it doesn't matter if I receive a low grade on this assignment, because my average won't be that damaged. Not the best way to approach school, but I'm so over this semester!
1 p.m. — I meet my friend at Blaze Pizza for lunch. She has a coupon for BOGO pizzas, and our total comes out to only $8.40! What a steal. I order a custom pizza with white sauce, parmesan cheese, mozzarella blobs (I don't know technical pizza jargon), tomatoes, basil, kalamata olives, and Italian sausage. I am impressed with my pizza-making skillz. Unfortunately, she and I don't see each other much because of our busy schedules, but I always enjoy hanging out with her. She Venmos me for her half of the total $4.20
2:30 p.m. — I spend the afternoon at my parents' house and work on my assignment in my dad's ~Man Cave~, a room where he can watch sports, work out, and take naps, a.k.a. my old bedroom. I must admit: The ambiance is very appealing.
6 p.m. — My mom and I watch yet another Hallmark Christmas movie before dinner, which is spinach salad with boiled eggs, bacon, red onion, and cheese. So simple, yet so yummy. I dip out shortly after dinner so I can finish my homework at home.
10 p.m. — All assignments are turned in and nighttime tea has been consumed! After washing my face, slathering on lotion, and brushing my teeth, the pup performs his duties quickly and we fall asleep.
Daily Total: $4.20

Day Four

5 a.m. — Wake up, take the dog out for a walk, shower, blow dry my hair, apply makeup, and make a smoothie (acai, pineapple, and orange juice). I have just enough time to pour a cup of coffee in my travel mug before I head to work.
7:15 a.m. — I actually had to get into work early today because we have two major events happening this week. I walk through the rooms and ensure everything looks good before the customers arrive, but there are some last minute changes, and I call the moving team to give them directions. I drink my coffee and refill it before heading to my office.
12 p.m. — Lots of meetings today and lots of work. I'm barely able to set aside time to eat my hummus and bean chips at my desk for lunch.
5:30 p.m. — Time to head home! I'm meeting my parents and sister at the movies tonight, and I want to cook up my mahi mahi before I leave. As I drive over the causeway towards the beach, I jam out to my playlist entitled “Christmas Bangerz.”
5:50 p.m. — After going through my normal post-work routine (take out dog, refill water bowls, turn on Christmas lights), I begin dinner. I season the mahi mahi with paprika, garlic salt, and pepper before sautéing it in a pre-heated pan with crushed garlic. While that cooks, I chop mushrooms, mix with bean sprouts, and cook them up with chili oil and soy sauce. I chow down and quickly wash the dishes, fill up the dishwasher, and rush out the door.
6:55 p.m. — I barely make it into the theater before the previews start! Strangely, we are the only people in the auditorium…I guess Monday isn't a big movie night. Tickets are cheap compared to what I'm used to paying, since I grew up and went to school in another state. I treat myself to a container of Buncha Crunch. I worked in a movie theater the summer after my freshman year of college, and I know that concession stands are a theater's primary source of income, so I try and spend money there each time I see a movie. Today's movie, Ralph Breaks the Internet, was weird. Not sure if I'd recommend. $11
9:15 p.m. — Home. I scroll through my news app before falling asleep and snuggling with the pup.
Daily Total: $11

Day Five

5 a.m. — I need to be at work early again. I make my way through my normal morning routine, and I'm out the door by 6:45. No time for a smoothie this morning, and I don't like waking my roommate up with the blender.
8 a.m. — I walk to the cafeteria and buy eggs, sausage, and breakfast potatoes in addition to a small coffee. Some days, I'm just in the mood for a lot of breakfast food. $5
11 a.m. — I was supposed to get a new driver's license today, since I lost mine a month or two ago, and I've been using my passport as identification ever since. I unfortunately have too much work and end up skipping my break and lunch altogether.
5:30 p.m. — I have a late meeting, but I get free pizza so that's a win! I grab a slice of buffalo chicken. It's a quick meeting, and I'm back at my desk by 6:15. I ping my roommate on Skype, since I see she is also still at work. I had asked her to take out my dog when she got home since I plan on working late, but she's not leaving until 7, and I can't leave the poor guy for that long. I let her know I'll take care of him and sign off.
6:15 p.m. — After a quick walk, I make dinner — shrimp! Using the pound I bought on Saturday, I generously season with Old Bay and begin sautéing garlic on the stove. I spiralize zucchini and flash cook both in the same pan. Then I pour in a can of crushed tomatoes, add some garlic salt and pepper, and voila, dinner. I had my doubts as to whether the Old Bay would work with the tomatoes, but they are instantly gone when I take my first bite.
7:30 p.m. — I hunker down for a long night of reading, since I did no homework yesterday. I crush two bottles of sparkling water and drink peach detox tea.
12 a.m. — No, I am not done with my homework, but I decide to go to bed. If you're thinking about grad school, be prepared for lack of sleep.
Daily Total: $5

Day Six

5 a.m. — Wake up, feed the dog, and fall back asleep.
7 a.m. — I struggle to roll out of bed and quickly change into my clothes for today. No, I am not taking a shower, and I also am okay with that. I take the dog out to pee and rush out the door.
7:30 a.m. — I stop at Starbucks intending to get a cup of coffee, but seemingly order against my will and hear myself say to the cashier: “Grande caramel macchiato and a cheese danish, plz.” The danish tastes so good. $8.84
7:50 a.m. — I drink my coffee at my desk and respond to emails. I had so much work to do last night, and I really should have come back to the office after I ate dinner. In this scenario, does homework trump work-work? Tough call…
11:30 a.m. — I get a turkey sandwich from the cafeteria. I don't know why they taste so darn good, yet I crave them daily. Turkey on wheat bread with lettuce, onion, tomato, pickles, mayo, and mustard. Also, extra pickle spear. Also, chips. $4
3 p.m. — I get up and walk around the building, checking on the conference downstairs and refilling my water bottle. I try to stay better hydrated during the day, but I'm also kind of lazy and that requires me to walk up a lot of stairs and…nah.
5:15 p.m. — Since I ate at my desk during lunch, I am leaving early. Got homework to do!
5:45 p.m. — I order parmesan garlic wings from Long Doggers and wait patiently until it's time to pick up my order. $11
6:30 p.m. — Yummy in my tummy. I am obsessed with these wings! I chow down and watch Netflix before starting my homework.
12 a.m. — Tonight was a long, stressful stretch of reading, writing, and video discussions. I can't wait until this semester is finished, mostly because I miss going to the gym and exercising. The dog and I run outside quickly for him to go potty and then we fall asleep.
Daily Total: $23.84

Day Seven

6 a.m. — I am so tired. I slowly kick off my sheets, feed the dog, and take him for his morning walk. No chance in hell am I doing my hair. I try to cover up my under-eye bags with concealer, but I look like a puffer fish and no amount of makeup will help.
7:30 a.m. — In the office feeling ready to rock n' roll. Thursdays are my busy days, and I have back-to-back meetings scheduled from 8 until lunch. I am in a sour mood, but I take deep breaths and try to relax. Before my first meeting, I make coffee and pour in a dash of cream. This helps my mood, if only mildly.
12 p.m. — There are puppies and kittens outside! I walk down to meet all the animals at the adoption event. I want them alllll.
5:30 p.m. — Done with meetings. Done with work for the week. So done with my crappy attitude and being tired. I leave exactly on time today and haul ass home.
6 p.m. — I am visiting a friend in D.C. this weekend, and I still need to pack my suitcase. The dog is fully aware of what a suitcase “means,” and he starts getting excited. I pack what I can into my suitcase (L.L. Bean boots, flats, rain coat, heels, winter coat, jeans, a few sweaters, and a jumpsuit for a party on Saturday) and eat some shrimp leftovers. I clean out the refrigerator, grab my laptop, and then we leave!
7 p.m. — I drop the dog off at my parent's house before going to Target, where I buy two sweaters, travel size face wash, Neutrogena makeup wipes, black jeans, and five pairs of underwear. (The dog sneakily chews out the crotches of my underwear — gross.) $112
7:45 p.m. — Back at the parental unit's house, I show my mom what I got. She instantly identifies not only the different sweaters' fabrics but also suggested cleaning methods for each one, and I wonder when I will develop this useful skill. I continue with my homework until I'm too tired to think straight. I know I'll have time to work on homework during my flight tomorrow, which makes me feel more secure about the amount of work I still have to do. I stress eat some pickles, which are weirdly my go-to snack.
10 p.m. — I drink my nightly tea (tonight it's a hibiscus blend), tuck the dog in his crate, and fall asleep, excited to go on a much-needed vacation and to be done with the semester in three short days.
Daily Total: $112
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