A Week In Las Vegas, NV, On A $50,000 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, as part of Your Spending In Your State: a gaming analyst working in entertainment who makes $50,000 per year and spends some of her paycheck this week on a Tequila Sunrise.
Occupation: Gaming Analyst
Industry: Casino/Entertainment
Age: 24
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Salary: $50,000
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $1,495.36
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $0. (I moved back in with my parents post-college and, fortunately, they don't believe in making me pay rent...yet.)
Health Insurance: $0. (I'm on my parents' plan.)
Student Loan Payment: $350
Car Loan Payment: $397.25
Car Insurance: $184.43
Netflix: $10.99
ICloud Storage: $2.99
Gym Membership: $17.95
401(k): ~$57 per paycheck
Roth IRA: $500
Savings: $500-$1,000, based on how much “fun money” I spend per month.

Day One

7:30 a.m. — As much as I want to sleep in, my body is used to waking me up around 7, *especially* on the weekends. I stayed out last night to grab late-night ramen with my friends and got home around 2. I don't feel particularly tired this morning, but I love sleep, so back to snoozeland I go.
9:30 a.m. — Okay, I guess it's time to get up. I make my usual cup of tea while I lounge with my dog and watch a couple episodes of Grace and Frankie on Netflix. I plan on going to the gym soon. I don't eat much before going because I like to run a lot, and running on almost empty makes the run easier for me.
11:15 a.m. — I love Sundays at the gym – there's barely anyone here! I'm on an eight-week running plan: Today is the first day of week two, and the plan calls for 36 minutes total on the treadmill. I spend another 45 minutes weight-lifting. My arms are definitely going to be sore tomorrow!
12:45 p.m. — I get back from working out with a dull headache and make myself a strawberry-banana smoothie with almond milk. I'm basically incapable of moving when I have a headache, so I quickly shower and try to nap for a few hours.
5 p.m. — I wasn't very successful, and my headache is even worse now! I eat something, take Advil, and lay down again.
6 p.m. — Finally feeling a little bit better, probably because the Advil kicked in. I usually grocery shop on Sundays, so I search up recipes online and gather my ingredients list. My niece's birthday is on Thursday, and she asked for a new bean bag chair. I scan Target's website and order one for her. $48.70
8:15 p.m. — I have this bad habit of grocery shopping at Trader Joe's on Sundays. If you're a frequent TJ patron, you'd know that Sunday is *literally* the worst day to be there, especially during the afternoon. Today I get there 30 minutes before closing, and it feels surreally empty. I pick up two weeks' worth of food. (I eat eggs for breakfast every single day, and there's a cafeteria at work where I get free lunch every day, so I only worry about dinner). I have this grocery money tracker spreadsheet where I input item, store, and costs whenever I grocery shop to help me budget easier. Basically, I know how much I should be spending going in. (I also tend to buy the same things every time.) I had a budget of $50 today, but I went under. $42.29
9 p.m. — Dull headache is back. I'm calling it a day and laying in bed until I pass out.
Daily Total: $90.99

Day Two

7:15 a.m. — Snooooooze. It's Monday, and I am not excited. I make my daily cup of tea and two scrambled pesto eggs, and then sit in front of more episodes of Grace and Frankie before I shower and get ready for work.
9:18 a.m. — A new work day! Let's get this going! Positive affirmation and energy! I spend a couple of hours working on a project before going to a meeting.
11:45 a.m. — Today the cafeteria has taco meat and crunchy shells (boo, everyone knows soft tacos are the way to go). I just take taco meat, lettuce, and cheese, and call it a lunch before heading back to work.
3 p.m. — Taking a break and looking at flights to Portland. I'm going for the first time over my birthday weekend in June! My friend and I booked our Airbnb last week – a tiny home! How freaking cute is that? They have a hammock/net thing going on and I'm super excited to stay there. I decided that I'll commit to buying flights tomorrow, since tickets are supposedly cheaper on Tuesdays.
5 p.m. — Today dragged, and I am starving. I leave the office and eat my leftover ground turkey when I get home. Then I succumb to playing an never-ending game of fetch with my dog.
8:45 p.m. — I go to the gym for week two, day two of the running program. This run is rough – just one of those days where I'm out of energy. I beat my numbers from yesterday though! I planned to do legs today, but my hamstrings yell at me to refrain from more activity, so I just stretch and go home.
10 p.m. — Eat sliced mango, meal prep, shower, ~treat myself~ with a face mask, put my hair into braids so that it's wavy in the morning, and get in bed by 11.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

5:50 a.m. — Wake up way before my alarm and am so upset. I angrily try to catch one last hour of sleep.
7:15 a.m. — I'm definitely feeling grumpy, but I figure food will help. I have my daily tea and eggs, and then watch Netflix. My mornings are sacred, and I like to follow the same daily ritual to maintain a sort of organized zen.
9:10 a.m. — The weather outside is moody, and it's affecting me. I get to work and mindlessly check emails and search for flight deals to Portland. Tickets are a little bit cheaper today! I commit and book a roundtrip ticket. I immediately text my friend to let her know Portland is *happening for real*! $154
10 a.m. — I use my bad mood from this morning to fuel my productivity and finish up my project before sending it off for review. Let's hope for the best!
5:30 p.m. — I leave a little later today after finishing up an email, and then get a text from a friend asking if I want to see a preview of Love, Simon. Heck, yes!
6 p.m. — We meet at the Whole Foods bar and get a cute little cheese and charcuterie board. I lo0o0oo0ve cheese and meats and bread, so this really hits the spot. Since my friend made me a wonderful dinner last week (creamy shrimp risotto, shout out to Bon Appétit), I pick up the tab on this one. $14.07
8:30 p.m. — Wow! Love, Simon was a beautiful movie! I definitely teared up a bunch of times. We walk out in awe, feeling those warm, feel-good flutters. I thank her for inviting me to tag along and we part ways.
9 p.m. — My dog tackles me as soon as I get home! We play fetch for a bit. I was going to go to the gym, but decide against it, as I am pretty tired. I'm in bed by 10:30.
Daily Total: $168.07

Day Four

6:50 a.m. — Wake up before my alarm again, to no surprise. I'm going through a breakup, so I've been having a hard time sleeping lately. I wake up this morning feeling really sad. (It's week two since the breakup, and I've been a mess. One second I'll be okay, and then suddenly I am not okay.) I do my usual slow morning with my tea and eggs. I hug my dog for a while until he cries for me to get off of him.
9:10 a.m. — I get to my office's parking garage and receive a text from my ex. I have something of his that he needs back and he wants to know if he can get it today. Somehow, this small exchange leads to a 20-minute sob session in my car. I'm already dreading seeing him.
9:30 a.m. — I finally find enough strength to get out of the car and walk into the office. I'm feeling a whirlwind of emotions and still tearing up at my desk. To calm my mind, I start browsing online for poetry books. I recently discovered this writer on Twitter, R. H. Sin. I might order his new book on Amazon, but first – I dive into work.
1:30 p.m. — My ex meets me at my work parking lot. I am so anxious for this meeting, but he has a calming effect on me, so I guess it goes well. We catch up for a bit and share a long hug before he leaves. I wonder if this is the last time I'll ever see him. He broke it off, and I think it's for the best for both of us, but it still sucks.
4:15 p.m. — I'm pretty much over today emotionally, so I'm leaving work early to meet with a friend. I offered to drive to a new boba spot 15 minutes away, and we stay there chatting until they close at 10. I tell her what's been going on and tear up multiple times. She gives really good advice and affirmation about the whole situation, and I'm reminded that I have an amazing friend who looks out for me. I pay for our drinks because I think she got mine last time. $12.77
10:30 p.m. — The minute I step foot inside the house, I realize that I skipped dinner and am starving. Thankfully my parents left grilled chicken salad in the fridge, which I inhale. I'm in bed by 11:30 but don't really sleep until 1. There's a lot on my mind.
Daily Total: $12.77

Day Five

7:30 a.m. — Awake again at 6:30, but not having it today, so I snooze for an hour. Kiss my dog good morning and make my usual eggs and cup of tea. I feel a little better today.
9:30 a.m. — Get to work a little later than usual, but I listen to a really good set of songs in the car on my way there and feel like today is going to be a good day. My friend is celebrating his birthday tonight and we're supposed to have dinner and head downtown after, so I'm excited to get my mind off of things and have fun.
5:45 p.m. — I finally get to leave work! I was pretty productive today, but at the end I had to sit through a loooong meeting from 3 to 5 p.m., which made me SO tired. It was in a stuffy boardroom with zero circulation and a seemingly endless conversation about table games. I excused myself to take a small lap just to get my blood flowing.
6:10 p.m. — I've spent the past two and a half weeks trying to grow out my eyebrows, and I've finally had enough of looking at my bushy brows. Plus, I'm going out tonight and want to look cute, so I go to my friendly neighborhood threading lady to get my brows and upper lip done. I tip $2. $15
7:45 p.m. — I finish getting ready and leave for dinner. We're meeting at this vegan Chinese restaurant (which is a thing, and it's so good) called Veggie House in Chinatown. We all grub, and my friends are surprised at how good it is. We each pay for our share. $20
10 p.m. — Two of my friends and I carpool downtown and as soon as we walk out of the parking garage, random men on the street start bothering us. One even gives my friend a piece of paper that says, “Do you like me? Yes or No." Why are guys so strange and weird? Anyway, experiencing this makes me think about how whenever I'd go downtown with my ex, he always protected me from this kind of thing. But I promise myself I won't get sad and cry tonight (!), so I try to push it away by drinking a Tequila Sunrise at the bar inside the Fremont Hotel while we wait for others to come. $8
11 p.m. — My friends love this small bar called Vanguard, so we head over and spend the rest of the night there. Usually this place has really good music to dance to, but for some reason the DJ tonight keeps playing the same songs over again (like "Get Low" by Lil Jon, THREE times).
12:45 a.m. — To my surprise, the birthday boy is very inebriated and decides he's gonna go home, so we all leave. One of the girls wants tacos, so we stop by Tacos El Gordo for late-night eats. I'm not really feeling tacos, so I try the campechana fries (mix of adobada and carne asada meat on top of fries, with guac, cheese, sour cream, and some other sauce they have) and I'm glad I ordered it. So good, but I can't have it again for a while! $7.57
2 a.m. — I make sure all my friends got home safely, then wash my face and quickly fall asleep.
Daily Total: $50.57

Day Six

6:30 a.m. — It really is such a bummer for me when my eyes open in the morning before my alarm. I just want to stop being heartbroken so I can have better dreams and sleep. I snooze a little bit more before getting up and going about my morning routine. My body feels tired, which makes me want to skip a party tonight just to go to sleep earlier, but that's a decision I'll make later.
9:20 a.m. — I have a project due Monday, and I want to finish 95% of it today. I have only one 30-minute meeting before lunch, so I should be able to focus on my project all day.
1 p.m. — For a while I've been thinking of dyeing my hair grey/lavender (as an ombré or balayage), but I've been holding off because 1. it's expensive, 2. I work at a pretty traditional corporate office (ugh) and I'm pretty sure they have a policy against unnatural hair color, and 3. the necessary maintenance would suck. But since I'm going through a breakup, I'm thinking, why the hell not just go for it? I asked the analytics office admin if I would be breaking any HR rules, and she says to ask my VP if he's okay with it.
1:30 p.m. — I show my VP a picture of what I want my hair to look like. He is super laidback and says he has no problems with it. Yay! Operation Paint Me Lavender is a go!
5:30 p.m. — I get home and realize I forgot my laptop on my desk. Ugh. You know when you prepare yourself to do the thing you said you would do, but still end up forgetting to do it? Maybe I'll stop by this weekend to grab it. Highly unlikely, but I like thinking about it. I eat dinner with my parents. Dad got pizza! My kryptonite! My body is still tired, so I go upstairs to take a nap.
8 p.m. — My alarm goes off and I decide not to go to the party. I'm tired, and I feel like I need to take time for myself. I stalk my ex's Instagram and see that he deleted a lot of photos of us (though not everything). As much as I knew this was going to happen, I am still hurt. I'm not emotionally in a place to be around a bunch of people trying to have fun right now.
2 a.m. — After hours of overthinking, I let go of my thoughts and sleep.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

8 a.m. — Wow, I'm surprised I wake up at this time. I'm starving. I'm meeting with a friend for brunch in a couple of hours, so I just have my daily tea with fruit while watching Netflix.
11 a.m. — I pick up my friend and drive us across town to a new brunch spot called Neighbors Cafe. It is so cute and there are lots of plants. I order a lavender latte and shakshuka. We catch up on each other's lives for a while and I'm surprisingly calm when I explain the breakup. I'm progressing! Closer to acceptance! Maybe! $15.71
1:30 p.m. — My gas light goes on when I start my car, so I stop by the nearest gas station. $29.87
2 p.m. — My friend needs to return a romper and I want to window shop to gather ideas for Coachella outfits, so we spend a little bit of time at the mall. By a little bit, I mean 30 minutes, because we both hate shopping and we're lazy.
2:15 p.m. — I drop off my friend at her house. There are yellow flowers that look like spiky dahlias in her yard, and when I mention how pretty they are, she hops out of the car and snips off three stems to give to me! So sweet. I need to replace my dying (read: dead) white lilies, and these happy-colored flowers will help brighten up my room.
5:45 p.m. — I go to my sister's for dinner and then take her browned bananas with me to make banana bread tomorrow!
7:30 p.m. — I'm bored and I don't want to go home just yet (more like: I'm starting to feel sad again and can't be home alone), so I give shopping another try. I go to a different mall this time and walk out with chokers from H&M and a cute moto jacket from Old Navy, which is on sale. $31.38
9:30 p.m. — Still don't wanna go home, so I go over to my friend's apartment to hang out. We both love nature photography and traveling in general, so we decide to go to Bryce Canyon next weekend for new shots and to get away from the city for a bit. He has to be at a work meeting at an ungodly hour tomorrow morning, so I go home.
11:15 p.m. — In bed, I spend time reaffirming myself. The universe has been kind to me the past two weeks, and I'm humbled. I am grateful for all of my friends who have reached out and taken the time to hear me out (some over and over). Emotionally, times are tough, but I am tougher. This sucks now, but it won't be forever. It's for the better.
Daily Total: $76.96
If you are experiencing 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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