A Week In Yokohama, Japan, On A $31,915 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: a marketing and communications manager working in education who makes $31,915 per year and spends some of her money this week on a matcha ice cream bar.
Editor's Note: All currency has been converted to USD.
Occupation: Marketing and Communications Manager
Industry: Education
Age: 23
Location: Yokohama, Japan
Salary: $31,915 (Approximately, it depends on the yen to dollar exchange rate)
Paycheck Amount (1x/month): $2659 + $39 for my commuter pass
Gender Identity: Cis Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $687
Utilities: $92 (More or less, depending on the month.)
Internet: $46
Phone: $0 (My husband's parents have a great family plan and let us mooch off of them.)
Netflix: $0 (Again, thank you in-laws!)
Spotify + Hulu: $5 (Student discount babyyy.)
Skype: $6.50 (I needed a Japanese phone number and this was a lot cheaper than getting a Japanese phone plan.)
Gym Membership: $147 for my husband and me
Groceries: $367 (I take care of all the finances right now and I give my husband $92 a week to take care of groceries and his train pass. Whatever is leftover is for him to keep.)

Day One

6:30 a.m. — My alarm wakes me up and I sneak out of bed as smoothly as I can. I like to play a game of trying to get out of bed and sneak downstairs without waking up my husband, J. Today I am unsuccessful though, and J. comes down to pack my lunch while I get ready. I normally wear contact lenses but today I'm going with glasses because my eyes have been feeling so dry.
7:20 a.m. — I head off to work. My commute takes me to downtown Yokohama. I stop by a convenience store (they're everywhere here) grab a steamed chicken rice ball, some seasonal apple juice, and a special edition bottled maple coffee. $3.20
12 p.m. — The morning flies by and it's lunchtime before I know it. My officemate, N., and I pick a staff room to eat our lunches in. J. always packs my lunches for me and today is spicy black bean noodles with a plum and bottled almond milk. It's seriously so spicy. N. gives me some of her extra lunch because I literally feel like I'm burning from the inside! I stop by a convenience store to pick up water and bread because I can't get over the spice. $2.02
3 p.m. — Holy shit, I need Tums the size of my fist for this heartburn. I head back to the convenience store for some antacid tablets but they don't have any so I settle for crackers. $1
5:30 p.m. — J. picks me up from work and we head over to a Western Union to transfer our savings from last month's paycheck, ¥50,000 ($460.05), to my U.S. bank account. The transfer fee costs me ¥1,500 ($13.76) and I cry a little inside at the dismal exchange rate. Afterward, we walk to the gym and I do a 3K on the treadmill. $13.76
8 p.m. — We get walk home from the gym and watch Bob's Burgers. We don't usually eat dinner because we're not hungry after working out and it's kind of become a casual intermittent fasting situation. J. makes me lunch while I shower and then I online window shop.
Daily Total: $19.98

Day Two

6:40 a.m. — Today I win my personal game and J. stays asleep. I get dressed and do my makeup, then decide I don't like my pants so I change my pants and then decide that my makeup doesn't match my pants and change them again.
7:20 a.m. — I grab my lunch and head out the door. My train today is pretty empty and I listen to the My Favorite Murder podcast on the commute. I stop at a convenience store and grab a barley and edamame rice ball. I ended up not drinking the coffee from yesterday so I drink it today. $1.15
12 p.m. — Lunch today is stir-fried rice with tuna, egg, onion, and pepper. The weather is so fantastic today my friend, N., suggests we get ice cream and eat it by the river behind our office. We stop by the convenience store and I grab a chocolate ice cream and N. grabs a matcha-flavored bar. I buy for both of us. She says hers is gross but the weather is so nice neither of us can be bothered to complain about anything. $3.20
3:40 p.m. — Another one of my coworkers stops by my office to let me know about a girls' beach trip happening this weekend. The weather is so perfect (have I mentioned?) that I immediately agree. We talk about protein bars and I remember J. needs some more. After work, I meet J. at the gym.
6:15 p.m. — J. and I walk home from the gym and I peek into a grocery store we don't usually shop at. They have one of my coworker's favorite snacks and I buy it immediately because I know it can be hard to find savory halal snacks in Japan. I also buy a yogurt drink to share with J. $3.16
7 p.m. — We get home, shower, and watch King of the Hill for a bit. At 9, I head upstairs and look at my phone for a bit and laugh by myself at memes on Twitter. I fall asleep talking to J.
Daily Total: $7.51

Day Three

6:50 a.m. — I hit snooze a bit too many times, so today is a ponytail and jumpsuit day. Makeup is only sunscreen, mascara, and brow gel. There's still more fried rice in the fridge so I quickly put it in a container and run out the door. I stop at a convenience store and grab a sweet potato and sesame rice ball. Thanks to my power walking, I get to work on time. $1.28
8:30 a.m. — N. brings me a bag of potatoes that were grown in her hometown. All produce is expensive here so I'm grateful, but I don't know where to put them so I end up having a literal sack of potatoes on my desk for the day. At 10:30, another coworker stops by with some Turkish Noah's Ark pudding, a delicious mix of sweetened beans, grains, and fruits. I try to save it for lunch but 15 minutes later I find myself eating it. It's amazing, of course. At 10, I find some time to drop off the halal snack at my coworker's desk.
12 p.m. — Stir-fried lunch part two. It's still okay, but definitely I can tell today is probably the last day this will be edible. N. suggests we check out the grocery store across the street from our office and we head over. Incredibly, they have Almond Breeze! And juice box sizes of various flavored almond milk! Japan is more about soy milk than almond milk so it's been hard for me to find a dairy-free alternative that I like. I grab a carton of Almond Breeze and two juice box-sized banana-flavored almond milks. The grocery store also has my favorite double chocolate chip cookies and I can't help myself. At 2, another coworker hands me two very ripe avocados she says she can't eat in time. Today is my lucky day! $9.75
5 p.m. — J. meets me at work but we decide not to work out because of the potatoes and avocados and other groceries I picked up during lunch. We stop by Picard, a French frozen food grocer, and pick up a bag of ratatouille and a bag of “Velouté châtaigne, potimarron, huile de noisette,” which I think is like a squash soup but I guess it'll be a surprise. The two bags cost $10.66, but everything we buy here is delicious and lasts us at least four meals so the cost is worth it. We stop by the grocery store by my house and get salmon and tuna sashimi for lunch tomorrow ($4.90). J. pays for both of these groceries with the weekly grocery money.
7 p.m. — My mom, who lives in downtown Tokyo, texts me and we make plans to get sushi and shop after work on Friday. I start my nightly routine around 8 but I must keep zoning out because by the time I'm done it's almost 9:30.
Daily Total: $11.03

Day Four

6:30 a.m. — J. wakes up with me and makes me a poke bowl with yesterday's sashimi for lunch while I get ready. Today's look is a mid-sleeve black turtleneck with a low bun and my leather loafers ($15 on sale from Nordstrom Rack!!). It's finally starting to cool off, but I know we have one more heatwave this weekend and I can feel it this morning. I leave at 7:20 with a banana almond milk carton for breakfast. I don't stop by any convenience stores so I'm the first one in my three-person office. I put on a Jack Antonoff Spotify playlist until my coworkers arrive. I get free mocha and some cookies during my 9 a.m. meeting, which I down very quickly.
12 p.m. — My poke bowl is so, so good. N. gives me some extra vegetables from her lunch and we talk about our plans for the weekend. J. texts me asking if the lunch was good and I reply letting him know it was amazing and he's the best chef in the world (I mean it).
5 p.m. — J. meets me at work and we walk over to the gym. Today, I run a mile and then have J. help me do squats with the bar. We walk home from the gym and J. buys some meat and peppers for lunch tomorrow. I get some milk tea and J. pays for everything with the grocery money. He cooks while I shower and I smell that he's making fajitas with the frozen tortillas we bought a few weeks ago on sale.
10 p.m. — I scroll through Instagram and Twitter for a while and go to sleep. My last thought is that I should probably read a book or something instead of looking at social media, but even as I think it, I know I won't do it.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

6:30 a.m. — I wake up, but don't get out of bed until 6:50 because it's so gloomy and cold this morning. I just want to melt into my warm blankets. I finally drag myself out of bed and get ready for the day. I try to find an outfit that says “work now” and “sushi later” while still matching a pair shoes that can stand the rain. I settle on a short-sleeved tight black dress with a tan blazer and tan chunky Pumas. I have some nude heels at work I can change into and I know my Pumas can withstand any puddle. I remember I have a necklace I bought for my mom so I put it in my bag.
8 a.m. — I head over to the convenience store for breakfast and buy an egg-tomato-ham sandwich and a bottle of green tea. I should have waited a bit longer because my (very fun) officemate gives me some Noah's Ark pudding and vegan lentil meatballs that his wife made. I store them in the fridge “for later” knowing full well I won't actually wait and I'll eat them in about 30 minutes. $3.93
4:30 p.m. — I get off work 30 minutes early today and J. meets me at Yokohama station to head down to Shibuya in downtown Tokyo. I pull out $183 from an ATM and hand J. $92 for groceries next week. We both need to put more money our train passes so I add money to our cards ($18.34 total for both). While we're waiting for my mom in Shibuya, J. buys me some chestnuts in a paper bag from a street vendor. He's nice and gives me a little extra on top. We meet up with my mom and go to her favorite roundabout sushi place. I hand her the necklace and she seems to like it, which is a huge relief! She has some goodies for us too: instant ramen noodles (my favorite brand), chocolates, and candy bars. She pays for everyone's sushi and we head out. $18.34
8 p.m. — We go to a nearby clothing store and look through all seven floors. J. is such a good sport and holds my bag for me so I can look more freely. I don't really find anything good for him or me, but my mom finds a cute vegan leather jacket that looks just like an Acne Studios leather jacket I've eyed ever since I seriously became interested in fashion. It's on sale for $20.18 so with J.'s blessing I buy it. My mom gets us boba afterward and we go home. I do my face routine and go to bed around 11. $20.18
Daily Total: $42.45

Day Six

9:30 a.m. — I get up to get ready for the beach trip with my coworkers and realize that the rendezvous point has been changed to a station even farther from my house than I planned for. J. is also invited last-minute so I wake him up to extend the invitation. He's down to go and we rush to get ready in 20 minutes. We get on our train by 10 and ride to the meeting point station. We arrive at 10:30, a bit late, but no one else is here yet so I get a pumpkin danish at the in-station convenience store. J. pays with the grocery money and we share it.
11 a.m — We meet up with everyone and head off to the beach! It takes us three train lines and J. and I each only have around 50 cents left on our passes by the time we tap out of the station. We explore the beachy shops and visit a famous shrine. Part of the island we're exploring costs money to get into so we each buy an access ticket (I pay $18.34 for J. and me). My coworker suggests we go to a well-reviewed (aka pricey) cafe in the special-access part of the island that specializes in french toast. The weather is lovely and we get a table on the terrace with a view of the ocean. J. gets caramel cinnamon swirl french toast dish with iced coffee and I get a pumpkin cream french toast with vanilla ice cream and a side of cherry tea. My coworkers share a cinnamon chocolate dish that smells amazing. The check can't be paid separately so my friend pays the whole bill and I pay her $27.52 for our portion. $45.86
2 p.m. — We explore more of the island and climb to the top of a huge lighthouse-lookout-type tower. The view of the ocean is breathtaking and we can even see Mt. Fuji in the distance. We all decide we're still hungry so we head out of the paid part of the island back towards the beach. J. buys me some Thai tea on our way. We decide to get Hawaiian BBQ at L&L and J. buys a “Hawaiian Bento Set” for both of us with the grocery money. We all sit at the beach for a few hours and soak up the sun.
6 p.m. — It starts to get dark so we walk back to the station. J. loads up both of our train cards and we start the journey home. My coworkers invite us to join them at the movies around 9, but I'm tired (both from the long day and also from the drain of money) so I tell them we'll join next time.
7:30 p.m. — J. and I decide to walk home from Yokohama station and we're still hungry so we stop at our local Indian curry shop and get their $4.59 takeout special. J. pays again with our grocery money — looks like we'll be using a lot of our frozen foods next week. We get home and watch a random conspiracy theory show on Netflix while eating our curry and naan. I get ready for bed and take extra time with my skincare routine because I know I can sleep deep tonight.
Daily Total: $45.86

Day Seven

10:10 a.m. — I finally get to sleep in! It feels so amazing and I just lay in bed until 11. J. goes to the bagel shop down the street from our house to get our regular Sunday order: two macadamia pepper bagels and two chocolate chip cookie bagels. They're a little pricey but they are so fresh it's worth it. They're still warm when he gets back home. J. makes coffee for both of us with our Keurig. We watch Parks and Rec and eat our bagels while catching up with social media on our phones. We nibble on the chocolates my mom gave us too.
4 p.m. — I've been laying on my couch since noon and I decide I need to do something. I get up and wash my face and start cleaning up around the house. J. is so good to me and makes me the instant ramen my mom gave us with a boiled egg and extra green onion on top. Fortunately, our apartment is tiny so 30 minutes of concentrated clean up can pretty much reset our whole living space. We sit down around 5:30 and eat the ramen while watching a Noel Miller Youtube video. We talk about our family's future and cuddle for a while. (Maybe baby? Thanks to Japan's great social programs we could have a baby for under $1,000, easy.)
7 p.m. — J. and I go out to buy some chicken at our local grocery store with the grocery money. He makes cheesy pasta with chicken for lunch tomorrow and look into some travel plans for fall break.
Daily Total: $0
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