A Week In Los Angeles, CA, On A $57,500 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 women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.

Today: a marketing assistant who makes $57,500 per year and spends some of her money this week on Papa John's.
Occupation: Marketing Assistant
Industry: Law
Age: 25
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Salary: $57,500
Paycheck Amount (biweekly): Roughly $1,800 depending on overtime
Gender: cis woman

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,484 (I live alone in a studio with my two cats. This includes heat, water, gas, trash etc.)
Student Loans: $394 (mix of federal/private, I have about $56,000 in loans as I paid for school myself)
Phone/Health Insurance: $140 (paid to my mom every month as I'm on her plan for both of these)
Credit Card Payment: This varies every month. I took out a personal loan for $13,000 late last year so $398.21 for my personal loan, plus another $300-$400 per month to my two cards that carry a balance.
401(k): 3% contribution, so about $70
Electric: $40
Hulu: $11.99
Spotify: $10
Internet: $60
Savings: I have the Albert app that saves randomly for you every day by taking small amounts out of your account. I have around $1,300 in there and around $2,200 in my actual savings account. I try to save about $100-$200 per month when I can afford to outside of Albert.

Day One

7 a.m. — My alarm goes off. I browse Reddit and try to remember a dream I woke up from. No such luck. One of my cats is walking all over me and rubbing her face on my phone because she's hungry. I have two cats that are small but full of energy and don't let me sleep past a certain time. Get up to feed them and drink a glass of water with apple cider vinegar.
9 a.m. — Log into work. My firm is having the majority of people work remotely until the end of the month. I was very excited to work in my pajamas, but my system is extremely slow since I don't have a work laptop and have to connect on my personal computer through a remote desktop.
12 p.m. — After a conference call and a morning on the phone with IT to figure out why my email isn't opening. Finally, everything is working again, albeit slowly.
2:30 p.m. — Break for lunch, aka watch TV and think about how serious this situation is getting and how fortunate I am to be able to work from home and not be unemployed.
5:30 p.m. — Log off work, make some shrimp and kale tacos for dinner. Smoke some weed and have a beer while watching HGTV (this is pretty much all I watch these days).
8 p.m. — I start getting super sleepy and fall asleep on the phone with my long-distance boyfriend.
Daily Total: $0

Day Two

7 a.m. — My cat wakes me up again by walking onto my chest and meowing directly in my face. Get up and feed them and have some water and apple cider vinegar.
10 a.m. — The cats are being wild and sprinting around chasing each other. One chases the other up to the top of the cat tree and won't leave her alone. I am very amused.
2:15 p.m. — I have a meeting with my team to test some technology for a meeting.

3:30 p.m. — I break for lunch, and make some chickpeas with a little bbq sauce, white vinegar, chili powder, all-purpose seasoning, and hot sauce (it tastes much better than it sounds).

4:30 p.m. — I log back into work and see that my autopay for my personal loan came out of my account (listed in my monthly expenses).

6 p.m. — Make dinner with the last of my shrimp, some leftover chickpeas, and shredded cheese (also better than it sounds).

8 p.m. — Smoke weed and go to sleep.

Daily Total: $0

Day Three

7 a.m. — Wake up, feeling too lazy to do anything other than lay in bed until I have to log on at 9. I talk to my boyfriend all morning and we have a pretty bad argument. We have been together for almost eight months and have spent two months together in person since we've been dating (we met a few years ago and had a ~thing~ but as he lives in Europe it was never practical to date. But, last summer we reconnected and now we're giving it a shot). The distance is really hard but I'm hopefully moving to his country later this year for grad school.
8:40 a.m. — I heat up some leftover chickpeas from yesterday and eat them with a slice of toast before I log into work.
10 a.m. — I join a 40-person conference call (what is the purpose of this???) and half-listen to people talk about things that go completely over my head for about an hour.
2:30 p.m. — I have another call, this time with my direct team. We talk a bit more in detail and check in on each other's mental health and workload.
3:30 p.m. — Break for lunch, take a shower, and leave the house for the first time since Sunday. I go to a bakery and get three tacos for lunch. $6.51
4:30 p.m. — Log back into work and start watching The Year of Spectacular Men on Hulu. I'm not sure how I feel about it. It's very cringy and awkward but also funny? I'm undecided.
5:30 p.m. — Log off work, smoke some weed, and finish the movie. I feel myself becoming a pothead again but we're under self-isolation and I never smoke during work so I think it's fine?
6:15 p.m. — I start another movie, Flower, on Hulu and it's also very cringy but funny. I have to stop halfway through once it gets to a particularly uncomfortable scene. I have a weird thing where I will quite literally give up on a show or movie if it gets too awkward. Not sure what that's about.
8 p.m. — I don't eat dinner because I had a super late lunch and I'm not that hungry. I put on Family Guy to fall asleep and pass out.
12:47 a.m. — I wake up for some reason and I can't fall back asleep. I used to have pretty aggressive insomnia for a while after a ~traumatic~ event. I don't need to go into details, but I found a routine (lavender oil, magnesium spray, lavender pillow mist) that worked for a bit until it didn't. Melatonin doesn't really help either. Smoking weed seems to be the only thing that works but I can't smoke too much once it gets dark out or I start to get anxious.
2 a.m. — I finally start to feel sleepy again after playing on my phone for a bit (I know it's bad to look at your phone when you're trying to fall back asleep but here we are).
Daily Total: $6.51

Day Four

6:46 a.m. — I wake up 14 minutes before my alarm. I try to go back to sleep but my cat is walking all over me trying to wake me up because she's hungry (she's very cute but annoying in the morning, well they both are).
8:03 a.m. — After texting back and forth with my boyfriend we talk on the phone for a bit but still haven't settled our argument. We love each other a lot and we are certainly soulmates (corny, I know) but when we get into fights we can get very nasty. This is a work in progress — at the beginning of our relationship, we never got nasty. Then we got into a pretty huge fight and things took a turn, then things were okay for a while/great, and this is our first fight where we have gotten nasty again since then. He has some mental health issues he's dealing with that are pretty serious and I have a few milder ones myself so it can get a bit difficult to navigate (Yes, I'm in therapy, but as I've had to start using my new insurance it's a $90 copay per session so I can't afford to go every week like I was previously).
10 a.m. — Hop on a conference call which is just for people in this branch of our office to check in with each other.
11 a.m. — I make breakfast consisting of a boiled egg, half an avocado, and a bowl of oatmeal. My eating has been super weird during self-isolation because I'm a bit paranoid about cooking things that I can't easily replace at the store down the street. I live about a 30-minute walk (I don't drive and I'm avoiding Uber these days) to the closest full grocery store, so I've been trying to just eat my canned/unhealthy stuff that I can replace at the bodega easily. I used to order all my stuff from Whole Foods but they've stopped delivering.

2:42 p.m. — I am extremely bored and haven't had any work to do all day. My job is certainly a step up from my last one, but I don't feel like I really have a place on the team. I've been here for over a year and still feel like my job isn't exactly necessary, so it's a bit difficult when I want to be helping out but there's nothing for me to do. I moved here for my job and left a very active social life and tons of friends and going out all the time for the complete opposite. I have no friends at work and I have no real friends outside of work. It was a very hard adjustment, but the past few months I've become used to staying in and just doing nothing all the time. That being said, I need more out of life. Before coronavirus, I was planning to move back home next month before (hopefully) attending grad school later this year, but I'm not exactly sure how that's going to play out and if I'm comfortable leaving my well-paying job for uncertainty back home, especially with all my debt.

3:30 p.m. — Break for lunch and make some ramen. I'm feeling a bit depressed due to the fighting with my boyfriend and missing my family. My parents are separated in different states and my sister lives in another state.

4:30 p.m. — Sign back on to work and think about what to make for dinner.

5:30 p.m. — Log off of work, feeling a bit sad. Talk to my mom for a few minutes, then talk to my close friend who moved from LA to San Francisco in January. We catch up for about an hour. My boyfriend calls me while we're speaking, I don't answer. My friend will be back in LA for a while during self-isolation/while everything is shut down.

7:30 p.m. — Get off the phone with my friend and call my boyfriend back. We talk about things for a while until I get really sad.

8:30 p.m. — Smoke some weed and make grilled cheese. I don't feel like talking to my boyfriend anymore so we just go to sleep together on the phone.

Daily Total: $0

Day Five

6:46 a.m. — I wake up feeling sad, cry a bit, and talk to my mom.
8:03 a.m. — My boyfriend and I smoke a cigarette together on video chat. Once I get back inside, I feed my cats and make some steel-cut oatmeal for breakfast.
9 a.m. — Log into work and hang up with my boyfriend. I tell him I need space. I put on Arrested Development in the background. I have an email from someone asking me to discuss a project I've been "volunteered" for. My friend texts me that her flight got canceled so she isn't going to be back in town until Sunday.
9:30 a.m. — Get on a call to discuss this project, which is just monitoring some emails. Very fun and exciting. We end up talking for half an hour to go through some stuff she has to draft for the website portion of this project.
10 a.m. — I have another call that's just checking in with IT to make sure everything is running smoothly, and a discussion about something I don't remember to just keep everyone social.
10:45 a.m. — My mom calls me again and I snap at her. She says she will talk to me later because she isn't going to let me ruin her day. I feel a bit guilty but she knows how I'm feeling and was telling me what specific brand of vitamins to buy when I go to the store, which is super irrelevant to my life right now.
10:55 a.m. — I text my mom to apologize and she says I need to go to the gyno because my birth control is making me depressed. Although I get her concern, my boyfriend and lack of socialization are making me depressed. I can't tell her about the fight we had as she would probably never forgive him. My mom just started to like my boyfriend/be supportive of our relationship again after a few months hating him, so I'm not going to do anything to change that.
11:30 a.m. — I'm supposed to have a call right now with my team, but it gets rescheduled so we can proofread some stuff for our boss. I send my edits back pretty quickly. I used to feel weird about suggesting edits because I'm pretty low on the totem pole, but I don't care anymore so I review the document aggressively.
12:18 p.m. — Twiddling my thumbs waiting for this call that has now been rescheduled to 12:30.
12:50 p.m. — My boss doesn't make it to the call so she says she will call us individually at some point….why.
1 p.m. — I make a hotdog and add shredded cheese and diced red onion. My kitty comes over to snuggle next to me while I sit at my computer.
3:15 p.m. — I take my lunch break and deep clean the kitchen and the bathroom. Once I'm done, I start reading my book, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. When I started it I was skeptical but it's pretty good and I'm almost done.
4:30 p.m. — Come back from lunch and have a video meeting with the head of my office and some other people to test technology.
5:30 p.m. — Log off work and cook dinner. I make a ribeye steak with sweet potatoes, carrots, and corn on the cob. It's awesome and I've been looking forward to this steak all week!
6:30 p.m. — I finish reading my book, smoke some weed, and start watching the rest of Paradise PD on Netflix. I somehow pass out at some point and don't remember falling asleep.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

6:45 a.m. — Wake up of course. Make some oatmeal for breakfast and talk to my boyfriend for a while.
8:30 a.m. — I put on my laundry ($1.75 to wash, $1.50 to dry) and start deep cleaning my apartment. $13
11:30 a.m. — Finally finish my laundry and cleaning. I call my mom talk about how everyone is ordering pizza these days, so now I have the craving and can't think about anything else.
12:30 p.m. — I am stoned as hell and pizza is on the way. I know this price is insane, I tried to order Dominos' but the app wasn't working so I ordered Papa John's and spent an arm and leg on pizza and wings. Never again. $36.40
4 p.m. — After eating too much food and smoking too much weed, I pass out.
8 p.m. — I wake up confused and talk to my boyfriend a bit before falling back asleep.
12:47 a.m. — I wake up again and text with my sister while talking to my boyfriend. My sister calls me so I talk to her for about an hour. She recently moved to another state with her boyfriend. She is concerned with the direction her life is going in as she's almost 30 and not where she wants to be.
3 a.m. — I can't sleep, so keep talking to my boyfriend throughout the night.
Daily Total: $49.40

Day Seven

7 a.m. — My boyfriend and I discover Netflix Party and watch Love is Blind. Absolute trash reality TV and I cannot understand how people are saying I love you after a few days of talking to someone through a screen...but to each their own and these people seem desperate as hell.
9:14 a.m. — Take a much-needed nap after not sleeping.
11 a.m. — Wake up from my nap. My boyfriend is still sleeping so I call my mom and talk to her for a while. Eat some leftover pizza for breakfast.
2 p.m. — I order from a dessert shop called Milk. I get a brownie, a blondie, and a banana pudding thing that is amazing. $16.48
5 p.m. — As you can probably tell I was a potato all day. Eat the rest of my pizza for dinner and smoke some more weed.
Daily Total: $16.48
COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic. Go to the CDC website for the latest information on symptoms, prevention, and other resources.
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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