A Week At A University In Ohio That Costs $12,000 A Year

Welcome to Money Diaries - College Edition, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. In partnership with Target, we're asking college students how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.
Today: a marketing major in Ohio who spends some of her money this week on Steve Madden slides.
Major: Marketing/ Business Analytics/ Interdisciplinary Studies
University Size: 45,000
University Location: Ohio
Age: 20
Salary/Allowance: $6,000 (estimated from summer internship and part-time jobs; as for allowances, my parents will often pay for my grocery and gas since I live so close. I will take what I can get.)
Paycheck Amount: Paid $8.55-15 hourly among my jobs
Tuition: $12,000 a year (I receive $10,000 in scholarships and my parents saved some money for my college, but the rest is up to me once that is used up)
Student Loans Total: $0 (I chose this school because it is affordable, but still an amazing school)
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses:
Rent: $543 plus utilities (I use some of the money from my parents’ college savings but I write the checks — I have two roommates who pay the same amount as me)
b $51 (split with roommates)
Gas/Electric: $100 (split with roommates)
Trash: $5 (split with roommates)
b$34 (split with roommates)
Cable: $0 (didn't buy it)
Renter's Insurance: $5
Spotify + Hulu: $4.99 (Student Premium)
Netflix: $0 (parents')
Cell Phone: $0 (parents' plan)
Car Insurance: $125 (I pay my mom)
Apple iCloud Storage: $0.99 (I have A LOT of photos)

Day One

9 a.m. — Happy Saturday! This weekend was much needed after I had a stressful first week of classes. Between tryouts for club soccer, learning a brand new building for classes, and moving into my apartment, I was feeling very overwhelmed. I decided to go home last night because I didn't have other plans and still had stuff I wanted to bring to my apartment. Plus, I wanted free dinner and my dad is an excellent cook. I wake up around 9 today because I want to go to the thrift store with my sister. I eat a green apple with peanut butter and drink black coffee for breakfast.
11 a.m. — We drive to a large thrift store. My sister is 18 and a senior in high school. She is looking for a homecoming dress and I am there to browse. We started selling our old clothes on Poshmark and Depop a year ago. I've been trained to be a thrifty person from my mom. At the first store, I get a pretty floral midi dress, a simple navy blue cotton dress, a striped Brandy Melville t-shirt dress, tan Old Navy flip flops, a zebra skirt, and two shirts to sell ($28.58). We go to another thrift store nearby. I buy two shirts to cut and sell, a black Nike tennis skirt, rubber Steve Madden slides to sell, a red zebra OSU hat to sell, and chunky white sneakers to sell. ($27.62) I love finding gems when thrifting, but between the huge closet I already have and pile of things to sell, sometimes I need to remind myself to let some stuff go. $56.20
1 p.m. — After shopping, I go back to my house and eat lunch. I make myself a grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich and snack on green grapes and Ritz cracker crisps. My dad talks about what he is planning on making for our Labor Day neighborhood golf outing and grill out. I gather some more things (including most of my kitchen utensils and food) and put them in my mom's SUV.
2 p.m. — I drive to my aunt's house to hang by her pool. Unfortunately, it is cloudy so I just chill in my clothes next to the pool. I leave after a few hours to drive back to my apartment by campus. I will be a third-year student majoring in Marketing/ Business Analytics/ Interdisciplinary Studies. Saying I am a triple major is a mouthful and I usually only bring up the third major when I'm trying to impress someone like a job recruiter. My first two majors are in the business college and my third is through the arts and sciences college. I came into college with credit from AP classes and I wanted to pursue classes outside of the business college. My Interdisciplinary Studies major is a “mix and match” major where I have different focus areas. I chose to take classes in psychology, history, and philosophy.
5 p.m. — I am starving as I drive so I snack on cracker crisps (a bad habit to eat and drive). I want to go out tonight so I stop by a shop off-campus to buy soda ($20). Once I get to my apartment, I cut up some peppers and onions to make fajitas and I warm up a quesadilla. I also make a small plate of nachos to pair with my fajitas. I save the rest in a container and watch Workin' Moms on Netflix while I eat. My roommate, K., is a friend from high school, but he is away visiting the college he graduated from because his girlfriend goes there. We were going to live with my other guy friend from high school but he actually got a job with the Biden campaign on the east coast so we had to find a replacement for him. I found a girl to sublease until December from a friend in my business fraternity. $20
10:30 p.m. — My friend, E., comes to my apartment to hang out. We make drinks and watch the Netflix show about glass blowing and eat fruit snacks and then go to my room so I can get ready. We watch Key and Peele and Dave Chappelle videos on my laptop. Our friend invites us to a party at his house on the other side of campus so I order an Uber to go there since it would be a 30-minute walk. I am logged into my dad's account on Uber because he has money on it from a gift card. At the party, I end up getting into a political debate with my friend who invited me over. He is a Trump supporter and I am definitely not, but it's never been brought up between us before. We talk about our upbringings and why we feel how we do, but it doesn't end up being aggressive. I don't feel any negative feelings towards him since I knew his beliefs beforehand from Twitter.
1:45 a.m. — I get tired so I order a Lyft home for my friend and I. I use my own account. Thankfully I did, because my friend throws up about two minutes into the ride. I had no idea he was feeling bad. He gets out and walks to his house, and I move to the front seat and get dropped off at my apartment. Puking in a rideshare is expensive, I get a $100 charge plus the $10 ride. My friend offers to Venmo me for the cleaning fee. I charge him a portion because I feel guilty leaving it all on him. Once I get home, I polish off the cracker chips and text my friend, E., hoping he made it home. I go right to bed. $30
Daily Total: $106.20

Day Two

9 a.m. — I wake up in need of some toothpaste and a shower. I didn't do any personal care before going to sleep but that's typical for a night out. Luckily my skin is not sensitive and I can afford to be a little reckless. I hop in the shower and brush my teeth, feeling refreshed. I go to my kitchen and make two pieces of toast with almond butter and some grapes on the side. I drink water and make an iced coffee with almond milk. I watch some YouTube and listen to music while I clean up my kitchen.
11:30 a.m. — I get back in bed to take a nap before going to a darty (day party) this afternoon. I set an alarm for 12:30. I wake up feeling better after the nap and head upstairs to eat lunch. I scramble eggs and make breakfast tacos with fajitas, salsa, and lettuce. I eat some chips and salsa on the side and another iced coffee with almond milk. The chips are technically my roommate's, so I make a mental note to get some next time I go shopping. I watch more YouTube (I never want to look at how many hours I spend doing this) and then clean up before my friends come over for the darty.
2 p.m. — My sister and my friend, N., come over and we start getting ready. I braid my sister and N.'s hair. More friends come over and we start walking to the frat where the day party is. This event is a yearly tradition where this fraternity puts sand in their yard and everyone comes decked out in Hawaiian shirts and swimsuits. We dance and say hi to people we know. Day parties are great because you don't have to be up all night.
6 p.m. — I order a Lyft to grab some food. I Venmo request my friend for half. ($4.50) We decide to go to a restaurant instead of ordering. I get two chilitos (chili and cheese in a tortilla) with sour cream on the side. I scarf down the oyster crackers they give as an appetizer before my food comes. Water and food were much needed after our wild afternoon. My sister doesn't have her debit card so I pay for both of us. ($13.45) She wants ice cream, so we walk down the street to a local shop called Graeter's and N. and I wait outside. My sister comes back out and says her friend was working the register and she didn't have to pay! We walk back to my apartment and change out of our party clothes. I remember we have white queso in the fridge and heat it up with some tortilla chips. We all end up falling asleep around 8. $17.95
Daily Total: $17.95

Day Three

8:30 a.m. — My friend wakes up to leave and my sister wakes up. I make her an over easy egg and toast and I eat some toast and raspberries. It's Labor Day so I don't have class and I will be going home for our annual neighborhood golf outing and cookout. I list some pictures of shirts I thrifted and DIYed on my Depop.
10:30 a.m. — I scramble eggs and drink iced coffee with almond milk. I work on some school work before heading to my parent's house.
12 p.m. — I drive to my parent's house and make a turkey sandwich for lunch when I get there. I eat buffalo popcorn and a piece of chicken my dad makes in the air fryer. I go to return a WiFi router to Best Buy before we leave for golf. Living in an apartment this year has taught me a lot, much to my dismay, about how many things you have to buy to simply live somewhere. I bought the same router on Amazon refurbished so I no longer needed the one I returned. When I get home, I see I have a leftover bill from my old apartment complex, so I pay that. $28.83
2 p.m. — I grab a cola seltzer water and head to the golf course. My dad pays for me and we play a nine-hole scramble. I shoot pretty well for only playing twice a year (Memorial Day and Labor Day). My team ends up winning after going into extra holes.
5 p.m. — We head back home and I warm up my famous buffalo chicken dip (just an internet recipe) but I always make it for events and it is part of my identity now. I snack on that with tortilla chips while my dad grills. My neighbors come over and socialize and I eat grilled chicken and asparagus.
7 p.m. — I drive back to campus because I have club soccer practice. I park on the street and I'm happily surprised to find it's free for the holiday. Score! I try to save money when I can, even if it is a couple of dollars.
10 p.m. — Practice is over and I stop by my friend E.'s house to give him his backpack that he left at my place Saturday night. I go home and finish my homework, then I schedule a newsletter for an organization I am on the executive team for. I shower, moisturize my face with Neutrogena moisturizer, brush my teeth, and go to bed.
Daily Total: $28.83

Day Four

7:15 a.m. — I wake up to my alarm and take some time before getting out of bed. I brush my teeth, brush my hair, put on mascara, and put on casual clothes for class. I scramble eggs and prepare a turkey sandwich and veggie chips to take for lunch. I have a part-time campus job as a peer mentor for first-year students in the college of business. I have a class of 20 and I am required to host one-on-one meetings with them. I have six planned for the day and the first at 8:30.
8 a.m. — I walk five minutes to campus and go to the Starbucks to grab a Nitro Cold Brew with sweet cream in my reusable tumbler. I am big on reducing my plastic usage, so I haven't gotten a plastic cup from Starbucks in months. It's 10 cents off too! I pay with the $10 I loaded on the app for the rewards last week. I have another meeting with a student who worked at a company I am interested in applying for. In business school, I have learned the best way to network is to set up meetings with people who work where you want to, even if you just talk casually with them. After that, I go to my two classes for the day.
12:30 p.m. — I have more meetings with students and since it is my job, I can clock in for it. I eat my sandwich while meeting with them.
2:30 p.m. — I get a break and write down my homework for the week in my planner. I also look up deadlines for summer internships for companies I am interested in. It's crazy to me that I will already know by the end of fall where I will be working in the summer. I also call my internet service and upgrade our speed since it costs the same as what we started with. I have been truly overwhelmed with all the things I have set up in the past month for this apartment.
3:30 p.m. — I have two more meetings and then I walk back to my apartment. I enjoy the one-on-one meetings because I like helping people solve problems, and it's so interesting to learn each student's unique personality and goals. I prepare some more buffalo chicken dip to eat throughout the week and my roommate, K., appears. We catch up on our weekends since he left town. I put away some kitchen stuff I have been putting off since moving. I eat the buffalo dip with carrots and popcorn. I also cut up a watermelon. I love to cook and prepare foods so I am happy to do these tasks. I head to my room and watch some YouTube and decide to do laundry. As I'm doing it, K. informs me he made pasta and garlic bread. I put my clothes in the washer and head upstairs and snag a piece of garlic bread. K. and I didn't know our other roommate, S., before she came to live with us so this is our first night all hanging out together.
6 p.m. — We have a great time watching The Office on Netflix and even plan to host a party at our apartment in the near future. I finish my laundry and head back to my room. I put away clothes and think about what I want to wear for this weekend's football game that I am traveling to. I'm considering some of the pieces I got thrifting this weekend. I change into my pajamas and brush my teeth and take off my mascara with makeup remover on my reusable makeup wipe. I get into bed for more videos and YouTube.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

7:30 a.m. — I wake up to my alarm and play on my phone. I get up and brush my teeth, brush my hair, put on mascara, and fill in my eyebrows. I have a recruitment event for a company I am interested in this afternoon, so I put business casual clothes in my backpack. I scramble eggs and eat watermelon for breakfast while I prepare a salad to go with my buffalo chicken dip to take for lunch. I make black coffee in my tumbler and walk to campus. I bounce between meetings and class, including a meeting with my academic advisor to talk about studying abroad for this spring semester. I'm hoping to go to either Italy or Chile, and I'm working on seeing what classes I can take in those places.
11:30 a.m. — I eat lunch between my meetings and do a little bit of work. I change into my business casual clothes at a changing station in the building.
1:30 p.m. — I go to class and come out super hungry. I run to a shop on campus and buy veggie straws with money I have left on my student ID. This is much-needed energy to get me through the rest of the day. I do one more meeting and then go to the recruitment event for the company. I speak to some of the representatives, and they tell me to reach out if I get past a certain stage, so that is reassuring.
6:45 p.m. — I walk home and chat with my K., his brother, and another friend from high school who just started at my school. I eat grapes and a piece of toast. I decide to go to Target because I have a gift card from my coworkers at my internship this past summer. I love browsing, so I shop around and eventually have to upgrade from my basket to a cart. I get two tank tops to craft with, earrings, Command Strips, a notebook, mixed nuts, Cheez-It Snapped chips, tortilla chips, Teddy Grams, skim milk (requested by K.), salsa, carrots, apples (Honeycrisp, of course), and frozen cooked chicken strips ($70, paid with the gift card).
9 p.m. — I drive to Michael's craft store to buy something to put on the tank tops. I get fabric paint and iron on letters. I eat the mixed nuts and chips on my drive home, so much for healthy dinners. I do some work in my room and watch more videos before taking a shower and brushing my teeth. I'm in bed around 10. $8.54
Daily Total: $8.54

Day Six

7:30 a.m. — I wake up to my alarm and play on my phone before getting ready for the day like usual. I make eggs, toast, and black coffee and eat some watermelon. I am up early so I have time to watch Netflix before walking to class.
12:30 p.m. — I am done with class and meet with two more first years. I talk to a campus recruiter because I see they are giving out LaCroix (even though my major isn't relevant to their company hah) and get a reusable straw with it too. Awesome!
1:30 p.m. — I walk back to my apartment and eat buffalo chicken dip on salad again. I relax and then motivate myself to run two miles. I do a little bit of work when I get back and eat buffalo chicken dip, carrots, and chips and salsa for my dinner. I change into business casual and head to another recruitment event.
6:30 p.m. — The event goes well and I make good connections with the people there. I then go to a different room for my chapter meeting for my business fraternity. Business fraternities are unique because they're more casual, coed, and have more professional aspects. I Venmo my semester dues during the meeting ($90.) After the meeting, I catch up with my friends. $90
8:30 p.m. — I get back home and my friend comes to pick me up because I want to borrow her iron. I am crafting with the tank tops I bought at Target to wear to the tailgate I am going to this weekend. I successfully iron some letters on tank tops without ruining anything.
10 p.m. — She drives me back home and I say hi to my roommates who have friends over. I grab mixed nuts from the kitchen and neatly finish the bag. I shower and pack for my weekend trip because tomorrow will be a busy day. My mom texts me that my dog isn't doing well so I plan to drive home to check in before leaving for the weekend. It stresses me out that he is struggling but I try to keep my mind off it. I get ready as usual and go right to bed.
Daily Total: $90

Day Seven

8 a.m. — I wake up and eat eggs with coffee for breakfast — no surprises there. I pack myself a turkey sandwich and I head to my classes.
11 a.m. — I sit down to eat between my classes and get work done in the computer lab. I know I have a busy weekend so I try to minimize the work I will have to do Sunday. I get work done for my online class and other homework.
2:30 p.m. — I walk home from campus, get into my car, and drive to my parents' house. I want to visit my dog since he isn't feeling well. My parents tell me the vet said there are still treatments we can try before things get really serious, but it still makes me sad. My parents offer to take me grocery shopping and that is something I am definitely not passing up. I get pineapple, bread, lettuce, cream cheese, sour cream, iced coffee, and eggs. We bring the groceries home and I drive to my cousin's house to pick up a love seat he offered to give me for my apartment. I go back to my parent's house and eat a quick dinner of rice and chicken in barbecue sauce before driving back to campus.
7:30 p.m. — When I get to my apartment, I rush to put my groceries in the fridge right as my friend, D., pulls up to get me to drive to the away game. We run into some traffic on our two-hour drive, but we still have fun listening to music and driving by other fans from our school. We drop D.'s boyfriend off at his parents' house and then get to her parents' house and crash for the night. We have an early morning planned to tailgate for the football game.
Daily Total: $0
Money Diaries are meant to reflect individual women's experiences and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.
The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day. For more money diaries, click here.
Do you have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Submit it with us here.

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series