A Week In Nashville, TN, On A $61,000 Salary

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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: a Manager working in mental health who makes $61,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a fire extinguisher.
Editor's Note: This OP mentions food shaming and disordered eating. If you are struggling with an eating disorder and are in need of support, please call the National Eating Disorders Association Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. For a 24-hour crisis line, text “NEDA” to 741741.
Occupation: Manager
Industry: Mental Health
Age: 30
Location: Nashville, TN
Salary: $55,000 (full-time job)/About $6,000 (part-time job)
Paycheck Amount (2x/month for my FT job/Biweekly for my PT job): $1,678.52/$220-$320
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $680 (My boyfriend bought us a house and I pay the same flat rate I paid him in our previous apartment. This includes rent, utilities, internet, etc.)
Graduate School Loan: $250
Car Loan: $251
Health, Vision, Dental Insurance: $98.84 (pre-tax, taken out of paycheck)
401(k): $91.67 (pre-tax, taken out of paycheck)
Car/House Insurance: $128
Spotify/Hulu: $9.99 (Hulu got added for free at some point during my Spotify membership)
Credit Card Payment: $400 (I am aggressively trying to pay off the mistake of my mid-20s. I have about eight more payments.)
Cell Phone: $0 (boyfriend currently pays this so I can put more down on my credit card each month)
Netflix, HBO Go, Xfinity streaming services: $0 (Use parent's account...thank mom and dad!)
Dad Loan: $54 (My parents paid for my GI surgery last year and I am paying them back on an eight-year, no-interest loan)

Day One

7:03 a.m. — First alarm goes off. Merp. Mornings. Get up, shower, and attempt to tame my hair into something cute and Instagram-worthy. I have thin hair that gets oily fast, so I try to get three days out of my wash. Day three usually involves a ponytail or bun. I work part-time at a makeup store and I work there tonight after work. On days like today, I do a full face of makeup so I can look like I know what I am talking about. This includes Tatcha water cream moisturizer, Tatcha primer, YSL foundation, Jeffree Star concealer and setting powder, Becca bronzer, Hourglass bronzer, finishing powder, contour, and highlighter, Anastasia eye palette, Stila liner, Maybelline mascara, Loreal eyebrow pencil, Mark Jacobs lip gloss (bury me with this), and Mac setting spray. Can you tell I love makeup? I pack up some strawberries, Special K Red Berries, Enlightened Bada Beans, an Amy's burrito, and a Black Cherry Ice (THE BEST IMO) and am out the door by 8:30.
9 a.m. — Get to work and get settled in. My work has some great perks, one of them being endless coffee options and snacks that we can specially request. I use our Keurig to make some coffee with a splash of Reeses Creamer and Splenda.
12 p.m. — I'm hungry! I struggle daily with food shaming myself and my weight. Its something I have always been self-conscious about and haven't really explored further because when I told my therapist about my struggles, she told me I looked great and shouldn't worry about my weight...I know she meant well and she was trying to help my confidence, but it just made it worse. I either eat everything in sight or starve myself. There is rarely an in between...and it is emotionally exhausting. I could definitely use some cognitive behavioral therapy to help with my disordered eating, but I keep thinking I can overcome this myself (stubborn middle child over here!). Alas, I eat my Amy's burrito and chat with my coworker.
4 p.m. — Off to job #2! I used to work a different part-time job as a host on Broadway downtown, but that job sucked the life out of me. I am such a different person at this new job! I literally shriek in excitement anytime I checkout a customer who buys products I own. It's such a great vibe to work with people who share similar interests and love talking about the beauty world.
9:07 p.m. — Get home from job #2 and eat my usual after-work hummus and pretzels. I catch up with my boyfriend, C., about his day while I get ready for bed. Night routine consists of Clean and Clear makeup wipe, Tatcha cleanser, Thayer's toner, Neutrogena acne spot cream, Caudile serum, and Korres eye cream. I also slather on cuticle oil onto my nail beds and Vaseline on my lips. I used to carry around a tub of Vaseline in high school for my lips (I cannot stand having dry lips) until people made fun of me. That then started my life long journey to find the perfect chapstick, but I have not found anything that compares to the tub of 100% petroleum jelly. Take my Trazodone (only thing that combats my insomnia) and wind down watching ASMR Snapchat videos. Pass out by 10.
Daily Total: $0

Day Two

6:43 a.m. — I'm traveling to Memphis today for work so I get up a little earlier to pack and pick up my rental car. Today is a no-makeup day, simply a moisturizer and eye cream day. Much like my eating habits, my makeup routine is on an all or nothing track (cognitive distortion #1). I travel a few times a month across the state of Tennessee, so Uber, Enterprise, and I share a very close relationship. ($10.44 expensed)
9:15 a.m. — Get to work and do the usual morning routine. I stay until about 12 and then hit the road for my four-hour road trip. I make a Spotify playlist full of early 2000s one-hit hip-hop wonders and jam all the way through West Tennessee. Hip-hop and rap are life, and it's fair to say I did not move to Nashville because of the music.
4 p.m. — I check into my hotel and am informed I am the guest of the day and they have given me a room upgrade. Woot woot! Thanks, Marriott! I hunker down and work for another hour.
5:20 p.m. — I forgot my workout clothes so I check out a local theater and see the Downton Abbey movie. I get myself a small popcorn (no butter) and a small cherry Icee (which has a slight metallic taste?). I only drink half of it after convincing myself it might be poisoned. It's important to note that my life is ruled by generalized anxiety. It has gotten progressively worse as I have gotten older and have been exposed to different traumatic life experiences. I hate that I am like this and that events have happened in the world that make me think like this, but its something I try to manage as best as I can. $25.40
8 p.m. — I head over to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner and eat al fresco. I eat a slice of brown bread (why do they even bother throwing in the white bread loaf?), a fourth of the BBQ chicken salad (no fried onions), and a fourth of a plain cheesecake. ($31.11 expensed)
10 p.m. — I head back to the hotel and get ready for bed with the usual nighttime routine. I watch an episode of The Beautiful Life of Jeffree Star and think about buying the Blue Blood palette, but have a moment of financial clarity and back out. I sleep with the light on whenever I sleep alone, because, you know, anxiety. If something or someone is going to harm me, I want to have a clear picture of it/them...okay?
Daily Total: $25.40

Day Three

7:30 a.m. — Wake up, shower, and decide my hair can go one more day without washing it. Tight ballerina bun it is! I stop by Starbucks to get a pumpkin spice latte and a turkey bacon sandwich. ($10.38 expensed)
1 p.m. — We finish up our work early and I stop at a gas station halfway home to fill up the tank. I call one of my best friends from grade school, N., and catch up. All my friends live back in Chicago and I miss them every day. They keep me grounded and help normalize some of my anxious tendencies. I then call my other best friend, O., from grad school and catch up. I went through hell and back in grad school and O. was my saving grace. We reminisce about fall, which is our absolute favorite time of the year. I love the cold and she loves all things spooky. I need her to come to Nashville so we can eat cookie dough and watch terrible Halloween Lifetime movies. She is also a therapist and shares the same twisted depressive, anxious humor as me. Our weekly phone calls are a must for my mental health. ($26.54 expensed)
4:30 p.m. — Get back to Nashville and top off the gas tank before returning it to Enterprise. I grab an Uber home from Enterprise. ($21.85 expensed)
5 p.m. — I get home and immediately start cleaning. My sisters and cousins are coming into town this weekend and are coming over for brunch Sunday. They have never seen my house and I want to make a good first impression. My cleaning lady comes tomorrow and I always clean before the cleaning lady, because, again, I am a Type A human who bought a robot vacuum so I could stop stressing about every speck of dirt I see on the hardwood floor. My mom always cleans before her house cleaner comes too, so I definitely got it from my mama. I throw in the laundry, vacuum, fold the blankets on the couch, clean up hair from the tub, and wipe down the windows. The landscaper came today and I inspect his work. I'm not sure what he did because the bushes haven't been trimmed and the weeds are still there. I text him to come back tomorrow and hold off paying him until then.
6 p.m. — I go to the grocery store to buy supplies for brunch Sunday. I buy ingredients to make a quiche, turkey bacon, orange juice, strawberries, raspberries, kiwis, cinnamon rolls, candy corn, and garbage bags. I also take out $105 for the house cleaner tomorrow and therapy Saturday. $51.62
6:30 p.m. — I get home and finish cleaning and putting away the groceries. C.'s love language is acts of service and I have been really failing at that this past year with how much I work. I used to make a homecooked meal every night, but now I make it maybe once every two weeks. I have my second job so I can pay off my grad school loan without completely depleting my paycheck every month from my full-time job. It allows me to still having money to lead a somewhat comfortable lifestyle. The second job also helps pay for things like a housecleaner and landscaper. I need to be better about dinners, but I am wiped and we head to a local Italian place. We both get spaghetti and C. pays.
8 p.m. — C. and I head over to a local spa so I can get my eyebrows waxed. C. doesn't understand why I can't wax them myself and is frustrated because he thinks the appointment will last an hour and a half. Bless his heart. He comes with so he can get a better grip on reality and beauty procedures. The esthetician and I try to convince him to get his ears waxed to no avail. I pay $16 plus $5 tip. $21
9 p.m. — Normal nighttime routine. I have finally gotten C. onto a skincare routine. The deal is, he will wear the moisturizer and eye cream as long as I put it on for him, so I have him lay down on the bed like a facial and apply the products for him. I love him so much. I am beyond grateful to have met him three weeks into moving to Nashville over two years ago. We have our issues, but at the end of the day, he takes care of me and gives me security (which is a heaven send for those with an anxious attachment style like myself) and I am forever grateful for his existence in my life. For that, he gets arm scratches while he falls asleep (physical touch is his other love language).
Daily Total: $72.62

Day Four

7 a.m. — I am working from home today because a new cleaning lady is coming today and my cousin has an early flight so I told her she could hang at my house until she can check into the Airbnb. I make the bed and do some additional cleaning before jumping onto my computer around 8.
9:15 a.m. — The cleaning lady comes and gets to it. She is very friendly and personable and tells me mid-cleaning that I have one of the cleanest houses she has ever cleaned. THIS IS THE NICEST COMPLIMENT EVER!!! At least to me. I thank the house cleaner and pay her ($85 plus $15 tip). $100
12 p.m. — I make a last-minute blowout appointment because I do not want to dirty the newly cleaned shower and get hair everywhere. I leave my cousin to hang out while the housecleaner finishes up to get my blowout ($25 plus $7 tip). $32
12:45 p.m. — The landscaper is there when I get back and I walk him through the yard, pointing out what maintenance needs to be done. He finishes up and after doing a final walkthrough, I Venmo him his payment. My boss told me that while money cannot buy you happiness, he read a study that reported money could buy services that caused homeowners to report elevated levels of happiness. Those two services were a housecleaner and a lawn care company. After utilizing both of those services today, I can concur. $70
3 p.m. — My cousin heads out to the Airbnb and I work until 4. I get ready for the evening and head out to pick up my other cousins from the airport. We all head over to the Airbnb where I meet up with my sisters and baby nephew. It is so nice to have family in town. Being an introvert, it is hard making friends as an adult. I love my job in Nashville and C., but friends are the only thing missing in my Nashville equation. I tried Bumble BFF and Facebook groups to make friends, but I don't drink which has really hindered my ability to make friends. If I were to write an accurate Bumble BFF bio, it would read, "Chicago native introvert, looking for someone to wear a full face of makeup while wearing sweats, eating pizza, and watching Summer Heights High. Enjoys shopping, sober living, manicures, and depressive meme culture." I really just need someone who understands that Ja'mie King and Mr. G are the greatest television characters of all time.
7 p.m. — My cousins orders pizza for all of us from a new wood-fire pizza place in town. I Venmo her my share and one of my sisters and I go to pick it up. I stay to eat and chat a little bit, and before I leave my sisters give me a (very unexpected) housewarming gift. I receive a pottery barn blanket and letterboard! I love letterboards. I leave pretty early because its been a long travel week and I need sleep. I get home around 9 and set up my letterboard. I put it next to my coffee stattion and it reads, "Drink some coffee, put on some gangsta rap, and handle it." Life motto for sure. I catch up with C., nighttime routine, and pass out. $14
Daily Total: $216

Day Five

7 a.m. — I wake up early because I have therapy at 9. I need to get ready for the day and pack to change for dinner tonight. I shower and do half a face of makeup (which just means I swap foundation for tinted moisturizer). I pack a change of clothes and stop by Walgreens to get gum. I then stop at Starbucks and get egg white bites and my pumpkin latte with coconut milk. $19.83
9 a.m. — I see my therapist about once a month. Fun fact: I have a Masters in therapy and used to see clients, but transitioned to an administrative role in mental health as I could not make a living relying on others to come to sessions to get paid. I miss my clients, but I love a salary and benefits more. Despite being a therapist, I have a very hard time opening up to mine. I actually walked out on my last session because I wasn't ready to talk about a fight I had with C. I would rather be anxious and angry than vulnerable any day of the week. I explain this to her and tell her my goal is to try and be more open. I succeed in that goal today! I feel a little icky leaving (damn vulnerability), but it's not overpowering. I pay my copay in cash. $20
11 a.m. — I meet everyone back at the Airbnb and have cuddle time with my nephew. My sister leads a short yoga class and then we head out to explore Nashville. We do some shopping and I buy a Cheetah print cardigan. My sister and cousin are also wearing cheetah print and I round out the cheetah print trio. $32.97
1 p.m. — We head over to a restaurant to get some sustenance for those who partied a little harder than others last night. I get a hot dog and fries, but only eat a couple of fries. I am very particular about my fries and won't eat them if they are not up to my standards. We finish up and Uber to Broadway (sister pays), then explore the bar I used to work at. My sisters cannot believe I used to venture down onto this manic, sensory overload street every night with my anxiety, and they are right. I have no idea how I did it either. $13.90
3 p.m. — My sisters (and baby) and I break off from the group and start to walk towards a tattoo parlor. I choose the parlor because of the reviews and (bonus) it is female-owned (women power!). We get off Broadway and realize we cannot endure the rest of the 40 minute walk and I call an Uber. $11.11
4 p.m. — We get to the tattoo parlor and the apprentice is able to take the three of us right away. My nephew passed away from cancer at the age of two. He loved Lighting McQueen and I have been wanting to get a small lighting bolt tattoo to commemorate him. Today is the six-month anniversary of his passing and is as good a time as any to get it. My sister is unable to get it today since she is still breastfeeding, but my other sister and I go on ahead. We come out and show my sister the tattoos and we all break down crying. We love the tattoos, but its such a tough day to endure. $96
4:45 p.m. — I order an Uber to take us home. Our driver noted the humor is seeing three girls in cheetah print and a baby being picked up from a tattoo parlor and his observation really lightens our mood! He likened us to the female Hangover and its pretty spot on! $17.87
7 p.m. — My cousins and one sister head out to dinner, but I stay back with my other sister who requested we order BBQ and stay in. Its been a tough day and the baby is exhausted and needs to sleep. Bars and tattoos can do that to you! We talk about my nephew's anniversary and I talk to her about how my life has changed since he passed away. On one hand, because I know life can be taken away at any moment, I have become even more emotional (if that was even a possibility) because I cherish my relationships and continually text people that I love them. On the other hand, my anxiety has shot through the roof because I am in a constant state of fear that people are going to die. It is an exhausting cycle. I try to choose joy everyday and pray to my nephew to help me see it in the world. We order Postmates (sister pays) and they fail to bring half our order. Whomp whomp. We get a refund for the items that were missing.
9 p.m. — Head back home and meet up with C. who has been out at a friend's chili cook off. Between work and my family visit this weekend, we haven't had any quality time together and I am looking forward to spending time together tomorrow. Nighttime routine and pass out.
Daily Total: $211.68

Day Six

7 a.m. — I get up and start cooking brunch. I send C. out for donuts and he comes back with donuts and Starbucks. He is such an angel prince sometimes. My family comes over and they love the house! We eat and I get my final baby cuddles in before they head back to Chicago. C. does the dishes and I head out for some errands.
11:30 a.m. — Even though I am off today, I stop by job #2 because employees get 35% off this weekend (usual employee discount is 25%). I conveniently ran out of foundation and am low on tinted moisturizer, so now is as good of a time as any to stock up. I switch to my winter foundation (Lancôme) and replace my Nars tinted moisturizer. I also get a travel size Urban Decay eye primer and Mac Fix Plus Spray. $83.53
1:15 p.m. — The one self-care thing I allow myself twice a month is getting a manicure. I found this little boutique nail salon a little over a year ago and I found the most amazing human/nail artist here. I have my appointments booked six months out, which seems crazy but they tend to book two months in advance. My nail artist has completely transformed my nails and they are in the most amazing, healthy space because of her. I pick an electric royal blue nail color to offset my typical all-black ensemble and pay $45 plus $10 tip. $55
4 p.m. — I am finally home and can have quality time with C. He has been waiting for me to get home to eat and we head out to a pizza place (obviously, because pizza is life). It has been 95 degrees in Nashville since about April of last year and is finally starting to cool off. We enjoy sitting outside in the 70 degree weather and each enjoy a person pizza. I bring half of mine home and C. pays.
5:30 p.m. — We get home and partake in both of our love languages (physical touch). Its honestly been a minute since we have and out of everything in our relationship, intimacy is our biggest struggle and causes all other areas to implode. I start bawling afterward out of happiness and validation and I know I look like a psychotic mess, but anyone who has struggled with intimacy can relate to how emotionally validating it can be when things are just right. C. isn't phased by my mood (thankfully) and I give him foot scratches as we chill on the couch.
7 p.m. — We settle on watching Funny Games and stop halfway through because it's creepy as shit and I know I will have nightmares if I keep watching. We switch over to Mad Men. I do my nighttime routine, talk to God and thank him for everything in my life, and enjoy and nightmare free slumber.
Daily Total: $138.53

Day Seven

7 a.m. — New work morning, same morning routine. Fresh blowout and full face for job #2 tonight.
2 p.m. — Its been a pretty steady workday. I am trying to not spend any money after this weekend, but I realized last night that we don't have a fire extinguisher in our house, and my anxiety can't have that. I order one off of Amazon and order a laundry cup holder as well so it stops dripping on my floor. Ahhh, the little things. $21.84
4:30 p.m. — Head to job #2. They are low on staff and ask me to stay an extra hour tonight. Extra hours mean extra money so I stay. I refrain from buying all the makeup and head home around 9:30.
9:45 p.m. — Get home and do the nighttime routine. 9 is my usual bedtime so I hurry into bed, enjoy some cuddles and pass out.
Daily Total: $21.84
If you are experiencing anxiety or depression and need support, please call the National Depressive/Manic-Depressive Association Hotline at 1-800-826-3632 or the Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.
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