A Week In Kansas City, MO, On A $49,500 Salary

Photo: Getty Images.
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 associate consultant working in health care IT who makes $49,500 per year and spends some of her paycheck this week on a cookie assortment from a local bakery.
Occupation: Associate Consultant
Industry: Healthcare IT
Age: 24
Location: Kansas City, MO
Salary: $49,500
Paycheck (2x/month): $1,405.87
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $655.50, which includes hot water and renter's insurance. (I have one roommate and my portion of the rent is a bit higher because I have the master bedroom.)
Student Loan Payment: $158.33
Internet: $60, split with my roommate
Utilities: $40-$70
Gym: $20
Cell Phone Bill: $114
Car Insurance: $124
Savings: $420. (I have 15% of my check automatically go to my savings account every pay period.)
Netflix, HBO & Starz: $0. (I use my family and friends' accounts.)
Apple iTunes: $4.99
401k: 6%. (My company matches 3%.)
Additional Expenses
Dental, Medical & Vision Insurance: $55 per paycheck

Day One

11:05 a.m. — On the weekends, I like to take my time and ease into the day. I'm finally getting out of bed after scrolling through social media and browsing the web. It's such a bad habit to have in the morning, so I've been brainstorming better ways to start the day. I have plans to shop for groceries, do my hair, try to make D.I.Y. soap, and meal prep for the week.
11:36 a.m. — I receive a call from the Apple Store letting me know that the repair they did on my computer didn't fix the issue it had, so they need to factory reset my laptop to continue! Being naïve and thinking my computer just needed some simple fix, I didn't back it up. Over the last couple of years, I have been uploading all the pictures taken on my phone to my laptop and keeping somewhat of a photo diary. The photos hold such dear memories, especially of my little sister growing up and my amazing college times. I ask the Apple Store to stop what they are doing so that I can go get my laptop and try to salvage my data first. I become pretty emotional at the thought of losing those memories, and I get down on myself about not having backed up my computer first.
11:55 a.m. — I make steel-cut oatmeal and vent to my roommate about my computer situation. She's the best for hearing me out when I'm having these small breakdowns, and gives me a bit of hope that I can recover my data.
12:15 p.m. — My best friend calls to chat for a little while. After, I quickly do my skincare routine and throw on whatever is clean, plus a hat to cover my week-old braid out.
1:30 p.m. — I'm finally out the door but there is ice and snow covering my car, so I have to wait for it to defrost. A few minutes later, I stop by my leasing office to see the property manager about a late fee of $100 on our account, but she's not there. I have no idea what this is about – I always pay my rent on time every month. I leave a note with the staff asking the property manager to reach out so that I don't have to keep popping by the office.
2:14 p.m. — I go to Best Buy to purchase an external hard drive. Should have done this years ago! $60.81
2:50 p.m. — Arrive at the Apple Store where they tell me the bad news in person: Their fix was unsuccessful and my computer is having trouble rebooting. Before bringing it in for support, it took a while to reboot but it would at least turn on. I thought these people were tech geniuses! They suggest other places I can bring it to that might be able to recover my data before sending me on my way. I'm trying not to have a total fit and stay optimistic that someone, somewhere can help a sista out, but I'm infuriated.
3:57 p.m. — I stop by Trader Joe's while I'm downtown because there isn't one close to where I live in North Kansas City. It's super crowded and I'm truly not in the mood to deal with it. It's Sunday afternoon, so I should have known better. I grab onions, kiwis, potatoes, frozen pineapples, and basmati rice. $10.14
5:51 p.m. — I decide to go to the Sprouts because I do need groceries and I hope it'll be way less crowded. I should have come here in the first place – it's way calmer and I know exactly where everything I need is. I grab carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, pears, green and red bell peppers, cabbage, avocados, jalapeño peppers, spinach, bananas, blueberries, plantains (I've never cooked them before, but I'm excited to try), mangos, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, squash, alkaline water, coconut water, Thai curry paste, popcorn, black beans, tomato paste, Daiya vegan cheese, vegan yogurt, almonds, and garlic naan. $62.81
6:15 p.m. — I get home and unload my groceries while snacking on almonds and blueberries. As I unload, I listen to the Black Girl In Om podcast. I love how soothing their voices are and they always discuss amazing topics!
7:10 p.m. — Hop in the shower and wash and condition my hair. When I get out, I put my hair in a few big braids to let it air dry before I straighten it. My hair is naturally very curly and I've put heat on it about once a month, which has resulted in damaged, straight ends. I'm not ready to give up my flat iron — and I may never be because I love the versatility of my hair. I can wear it big and curly or it can be silky-straight!
7:30 p.m. — I try making sweet potato and black bean quesadillas and top them off with avocado and cilantro. I'm not vegan, but I consider myself to be a conscious eater. I've eliminated meat (except seafood) and dairy from my diet, but I don't beat myself up if I slip up. I'm only human — and my body has a harsh way of letting me know I messed up!
10:10 p.m. — Finally get around to blow-drying and straightening my hair. It's going to be a long night. I call one of my friends back who called me earlier, and then listen to the Improper Etiquette podcast. They have crazy ass stories on that show.
12:14 a.m. — Done with my hair and ready for bed! Throughout the process, I burn my hand with the wand curler and break my sink. Today has been a complete fail.
Daily Total: $133.76

Day Two

6:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off, but I hit snooze three times and don't get out of bed until 7:15. I think I'm groggy because my upstairs neighbors decided to have a screaming match around 3 a.m. I make a green smoothie for breakfast (spinach, celery, pineapples, lemons, coconut water, and blueberries) and grab a yogurt before leaving the house.
8:45 a.m. — On my way to work, a man came out of nowhere and sprinted across the highway! Thankfully, the road wasn't busy but he could have been seriously hurt. I settle into work and reply to a few emails, drink my smoothie, and have some Kite Hill Almond Milk Yogurt; it's only okay. I bought two different flavors, though, so maybe this peach one just isn't my jam.
11:04 a.m. — I snack on roasted and salted almonds and pumpkin seeds from home, but I'm really craving fries.
12:37 p.m. — I fulfill my desire and get a side of fries from the cafeteria at work to go with the sweet potato and black bean quesadillas from last night. They're soggy now but get the job done. I eat in front of my computer, like I do on most days. A few coworkers and. I occasionally walk to the café together and chat but there are often meetings right after lunch that we need to prep for. $2.06
1:38 p.m. — My leasing office calls to say they removed the $100 fee from my account. Apparently, they thought we underpaid rent by $5, but it was a mistake on their part. Damn right.
2:11 p.m. — I take a mental break from work to check social media and read a Money Diary. I also take my daily supplement cocktail: iron (I recently got blood work done, and my iron levels are below normal), B12, primrose oil, and Vitex berry. I started taking the berries to help balance my hormones. I've been suffering from some pretty bad hormonal acne and PMS, so I'm hoping this helps over time. I have acne-prone skin in general, but around my period it seems to get out of control. I have a dermatologist appointment coming up and am crossing my fingers.
5:35 p.m. — I get home and spend the next hour on social media, watching YouTube videos, and snacking on popcorn and blueberries. I'm in one of those lazy moods where I don't feel like cooking dinner but I need to eat. I still have some of the sweet potato and black bean mixture for quesadillas left, but I really don't want it. Until I decide, I turn on Grace and Frankie and try to troubleshoot my computer with Apple Support over the phone.
8:38 p.m. — After an hour and a half on the phone with Apple, there's still no fix. I schedule another call for Wednesday to do more troubleshooting and remain hopeful.
10:35 p.m. — Whenever I sit in my papasan chair, I have a hard time finding the energy to get out of it. It's so comfy! I get up to take a shower, do my skincare routine, do the dishes, and find something to eat. I settle on ramen noodles and throw together more quesadillas for tomorrow's lunch. I get in bed shortly after and fall asleep to Grey's Anatomy. (Yes, I've watched all 14 seasons.)
Daily Total: $2.06

Day Three

6:30 a.m. — Alarm goes off but I snooze until 7:15 again. My eye is slightly swollen from sleeping so hard on this side of my face! I brush my teeth with a charcoal and turmeric mixture I got from Marshalls a few weeks ago and get ready for the day. Because of my acne and scarring, I have to throw on a layer of makeup every day. I hate feeling like I need to wear it, but until I get my situation together, I need the confidence boost.
8:45 a.m. — At work! While going through my emails, I eat my entire pint of blueberries. To think I use to hate these things growing up! I listen to the newest episode of the Gettin' Grown podcast as I start working on spreadsheets for my client.
10:57 a.m. — Walk down to the vending machine to buy a mid-morning snack with my coworker and we chat for a while. She's freaking out about Valentine's Day and how the guy she's currently dating is super flaky. I'm single as a dollar bill, so tomorrow is just another day. I grab a KIND bar! $2.76
12:53 p.m. — Get around to eating lunch while finishing up spreadsheets.
4:27 p.m. — We have a team happy hour tonight downtown and I rush to finish up the day's work to meet everyone at a pub. We get a round of beers on the manager's dime and I get a Boulevard on tap. I make small talk with my team (my biggest pet peeve is small talk, but I realize it's just one of those things you have to do) and contemplate leaving early.
5:36 p.m. — I end up staying awhile at the happy hour and walk over to another bar with arcade games. My manager buys a load of tokens, so I play skee-ball. One of my coworkersz usually pretty collected and it's funny to see how he really gets down. Another coworker wants to buy me a drink to reach the tab limit of $10, so I get another Boulevard and hang around for more team bonding.
8:20 p.m. — I'm home and starving! I've been craving vegetable curry with basmati rice lately. I throw together curry with broccoli, golden potatoes, peas, coconut milk, vegetable broth, turmeric, cumin, and a bunch of other seasonings for dinner. It comes out delicious even though I'm slightly tipsy and throwing things together. I'm proud!
Daily Total: $2.76

Day Four

6:30 a.m. — Alarm goes off and I cancel it instead of hitting snooze. I fall back asleep but wake up around 7:30, thankfully!
8:45 a.m. — I'm settling into work, catching up on emails, and eating a banana and almonds for breakfast. A guy I used to date in college texts me: "Have a good day." It dawns on me that it's Valentine's Day, and I'm not sure if this is some sort of encrypted message! I don't overthink it and just send a quick reply.
9:30 a.m. — I have a meeting with my manager and I'm anxious: I intend to ask if I can work remotely and I'm nervous about getting pushback. This idea has been brewing for a while and my lease is up in a few months, so now is the perfect time to bring it up. Honestly, I've been unhappy living in Kansas City for months now. Moving to the Midwest was a huge adjustment, and I have no family and very few friends here. There is a growing community of young Black professionals here, but there aren't a lot spaces for us to get together without discrimination or even sometimes violence. Plus, the winters here? No thanks!
10:15 a.m. — Meeting went well! My manager will let me know in the upcoming weeks if I can officially go remote. We have a potluck at my job today to celebrate the holiday, so I go to a local bakery between meetings to buy an assortment of cookies. $19.06
12 p.m. — I brought my lunch today just in case there was nothing at the potluck to fit my diet. I decide to leave my lunch in the fridge for tomorrow and eat the Greek salad, veggies, spinach dip, and pasta salad that I brought and I grab one of the cookies, too. I sit and eat with my teammates until my 1 p.m. call.
5:35 p.m. — I grab a brownie before leaving work and make it home in 20 minutes. I have another call with Apple, but after five minutes of troubleshooting on the phone, they just tell me they need to schedule another Genius Bar appointment.
6:15 p.m. — I FaceTime my mom to vent about my computer drama and to see how her day is going. She tells me she used the facial and massage package I bought her for Christmas and that she's literally glowing. Jealous; I'm glad someone is doing self-care today! We end up talking for about two hours, which is the usual for us.
8:47 p.m. — Hop in the shower, do my skincare routine, and heat up some curry and garlic naan. While eating, I buy a one-way ticket for a weekend trip I'm taking soon for one of my best friend's birthdays. Being miles away from friends and family gives me major FOMO sometimes, but I try to make the big events. I'll buy the return trip using airline points. $111.27
10:35 p.m. — In bed, I binge watch season 4 of Broad City and Google ways to fix my poor laptop. I'm trying not to give up hope but I'm beyond frustrated. I make an appointment with Geek Squad to see what they can do.
Daily Total: $130.33

Day Five

6:30 a.m. — I'm awake on time today and read a chapter of I Am Malala before getting out of bed. While getting dressed, I listen to one of my favorite podcasts, The Friend Zone. In my head, Fran is my spirit animal, Dustin is my best friend, and Asante is my cousin.
8:30 a.m. — I check emails at work while eating my banana and drinking my green smoothie. Today's smoothie has spinach, pears, chia seeds, flax seeds, pineapple, and coconut water.
10:52 a.m. — I listen to Amanda Seales' podcast Small Doses. If you want to laugh out loud, please get into this show. I love her! A coworker shares a cookie with me and I take my daily supplements. I have been forgetting them for the last few days!
12:10 p.m. — Heat up vegetable curry for lunch and find a little nook in the office where I can hang out. I spend time watching Sophia Roe's Instagram Live Stories because this girl is goals. She gives great skincare and diet advice.
2:56 p.m. — I'm getting sleepy and snack on almonds, pumpkin seeds, and another half of a cookie. Eating will help me stay awake, right?
6:40 p.m. — I go to my appointment with Geek Squad and they do a data recovery on my laptop! I transfer cash from my savings to my checking account to cover the charge. $100
7:30 p.m. — Home and exhausted. I eat the last bit of curry left and sink into my papasan chair for a few hours. I peruse Instagram and YouTube and am in the bed by 10.
Daily Total: $100

Day Six

6:15 a.m. — I set my alarm for 15 minutes earlier than usual because we have a huge meeting today and I don't want to be late. I try to look semi-professional and slick my hair back into a neat ponytail. I grab a banana and I'm out the door by 7:45.
8:35 a.m. — I'm low on gas, so I stop at a station near my office. I fill up and grab a water from inside. $34.56
11:30 a.m. — The meeting lasts for two hours, so I take an early lunch and grab something from the cafeteria. They don't have too many yummy options, so I get the chef special salad. It comes with green apples, strawberries, chickpeas, red onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, and a fruity vinaigrette. I'm not thrilled with the salad, but I get my greens in. I grab a bag of popcorn to snack on afterwards. $7.69
12:15 p.m. — I'm having lunch with my coworker who is going to St. Louis this weekend. I tell her that I heard there's construction on the highway on the way there that could cause a delay, and she is so thankful for the information that she buys me sweet potato tots, lol!
1:37 p.m. — I decide to head home to finish up work, and listen to my all-time favorite podcast, The Read, during the car ride. Podcasts definitely help me get through the day.
5:06 p.m. — I'm still working when my roommate gets home. She's been out of town this whole week so we catch up on work and our personal lives for the next few hours. I'm too lazy to make dinner or order take out, so I whip up guacamole and call it a night.
10:07 p.m. — I'm all bundled up like a baby in bed, watching the last few episodes of Grown-ish. Yara Shahidi is just goals…and she's only 18.
Daily Total: $42.25

Day Seven

6:12 a.m. — Of course, my body actually wakes up on time when I don't have to go to work. I lay in bed for a while and read my book. Malala Yousafzai's story is one I will never forget. She has faced so much adversity and still stands up for her rights despite constant threats. I'm almost brought to tears by the stories she shares in this book.
8:30 a.m. — I'm out of bed and decide to go to a fitness class at a local gym, grabbing almonds on my way out. I'm the only one that shows up to the class, so I get my ass kicked. I should have eaten more before coming because I have zero energy and I'm so out of shape. My body is not happy with me and I realize I need to get back on track. My trainer has a yoga class tomorrow and invites me to come for free at her other gym! $7
11:05 a.m. — I'm back home and starving. I eat a mango while making another green smoothie. Knowing that I'll still be hungry after, I make a mushroom-and-roasted potato hash with zucchini, onions, and bell peppers.
12:30 p.m. — I spend the afternoon cleaning and listening to Soulection radio! I mentally start throwing together an outfit to wear to see Black Panther tonight. I'm so excited to see it – everybody has been talking about it!
5:37 p.m. — My roommate and I decide to go a crab boil restaurant that just opened a few months ago. As I walk in, everyone's plates look so good, and I decide to get the large plate with two crab clusters, shrimp, potatoes, and corn with Cajun seasoning. This was probably the best decision I've made all week – it's so delicious. The owner is super friendly and even gives use both a free serving of shrimp for trying out the restaurant. They have won me over! $29.87
6:43 p.m. — The movie theater is only 10 minutes away from the restaurant but parking is so bad in the city today – apparently because a cheer competition is in town. We find a decent parking spot about three blocks away. My friend buys popcorn and I sneak a few handfuls throughout the movie. I give her the money for my movie ticket, since she bought them online a few weeks ago. $13
9:18 p.m. — WAKANDA!!! OMG. Black Panther is a must-see. So many awesome themes, and the action scenes are fantastic. An all-Black superhero movie that has already broken multiple records brings me so much joy. I don't want to include any spoilers, but there is nice eye candy in the movie as well. Geek Squad calls and leaves a voicemail while I am in the movie to tell me that the data on my hard drive is unreadable. I officially give up on this mission to recover my data.
9:45 p.m. — My roommate and I walk over to Insomnia Cookies and the line is absurd. We wait anyway and I treat my roommate to cookies. $7.69
11:12 p.m. — My roommate and I always joke about being grandmas, but going out is so exhausting. I'm so happy to be in my warm and cozy bed.
Daily Total: $57.56
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.
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