A Week In Los Angeles, CA, On A $46,000 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 coordinator working for a food and beverage brand who makes $46,000 per year and spends some of her paycheck this year on Halo Top Dairy-Free ice cream.
Occupation: Marketing Coordinator
Industry: Food and Beverage
Age: 25
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Salary: $46,000
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $1,430
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $780. (I live in a two-bedroom/one-bathroom apartment with one roommate. I realize this rent is INSANE for L.A.)
Student Loan Payment: $80
Car Lease Payment: $210
Credit Card Debt: $120 (Not proud of this...)
Health Insurance: $0. (My parents cover my health insurance. Thank goodness.)
Hulu Subscription: $8
Spotify: $11
Ipsy Subscription: $10
ClassPass: $40-$115. (Depending on the month. I'll usually go for the $40 plan and then I'll bump it to a bigger plan mid-month if it's financially feasible.)
MoviePass: $10
Savings: ~$300. ($300 is a baseline. I'm trying to save for grad school wherever I can.)

Day One

6 a.m. — Good morning! I'm off to a painfully early WundaBar Reformer class to start the day. Reformer is expensive AF, but I use ClassPass, so it's covered. Pretty much every workout class in LA is $28 (lol wut), which makes a ClassPass subscription a no-brainer.
7 a.m. — There's a Starbucks next door and I *did* wake up at 5:15 a.m. to get to this class on time, so I stop in for a venti blonde latte with coconut milk. I hoard Starbucks gift cards for situations like this, so my latte is covered. I also have a free coffee on my rewards app, but I like to save those for days when I'm feeling especially broke and desperate for a treat. I take my Starbucks home to quickly shower and watch last night's episode of Last Week Tonight while I get dressed.
8:30 a.m. — I stop for gas on the way to work and then call my mom. My mom and I are super close and talk every morning while I drive to work. I'm from the East Coast and don't see my family often, so it's nice to have a set routine to keep in touch. $30
9 a.m. — I make a bowl of oatmeal and hurriedly try to eat it. I'm in a video shoot for most of today, so I'm trying to knock out all of my emails before I'm totally unavailable for four hours.
10 a.m. — Video time! We hired an outside videographer to knock out a few training and marketing videos with our CEO. If I'm being totally candid here, I'm super grateful for this shoot. This guy I've hooked up with a few times is randomly my company's client now. He's coming into the office during the shoot, and I'm glad I have somewhere to hide. (And if you're this dude reading my Money Diary: Hi. Sorry we haven't talked. I miss your dog.)
2 p.m. — PLOT TWIST. The guy sends his business partners to the meeting instead, so he isn't coming in after all. Phew. I feel way less stressed now. We're done with our video shoot, too, so I heat up leftover broccoli/cauliflower casserole for lunch.
5:30 p.m. — I have to go straight to West L.A. for a meeting after work, so I swing by Taco Bell to pick up dinner. I fucking LOVE Taco Bell. It's the most vegan-friendly fast food restaurant (I'm vegan) and I could bathe in their Mild Sauce. I get two spicy potato tacos with added beans and a bean burrito. I order both Fresco-style, which basically just means "vegan with added salsa." $6
6:30 p.m. — Meeting time! I'm on the Associate Board of a nonprofit that serves L.A.'s homeless population and we have monthly meetings to talk about L.A.'s homelessness issues and plan projects. We're in the process of planning new project pitches right now (say that five times fast...), so this meeting is a mix of roundtable discussion and brainstorming in groups. The meeting ends around 9, and then I head home to curl up with a book and go to sleep.
Daily Total: $36

Day Two

8 a.m. — Why am I so tired again?!?! I seriously never get coffee this often, but I'm half asleep today. I grab another venti blonde latte with coconut milk from Starbucks on the way to work. I miraculously still have about $10 left on my Starbucks card. Dope.
9 a.m. — In order to have time for Starbucks, I had to forego the usual oatmeal today, instead grabbing an avocado and two pieces of Ezekiel bread on the way out the door this morning. I turn it into avocado toast once I'm at work and top it with leftover Mild sauce packets from last night's Taco Bell. So millennial.
11 a.m. — My best friend and I go to Barry's Bootcamp class almost every Tuesday (butt and leg day!), but she has to bail this week, so we look for a class to take together Thursday. I'm pretty sure I'd snap in half if I did more than one Barry's in a week, so we sign up for a "Drag Ride" at Flywheel West Hollywood. I pray "Drag" means Drag Queen-themed, but I don't get my hopes up. Class is covered by ClassPass.
1 p.m. — One of my favorite coworkers works remotely in the Pacific Northwest, but she's in town this week! We head to a poke place that has tofu and grab poke bowls. Mine is $8 and some change, but I use the Digit app, so all of my purchases are rounded up, with the change heading into my savings account. $9
1:40 p.m. — I almost never take lunch breaks, so I'm giving myself a little bit of extra time today. My coworker and I head to Daiso to look around. I almost buy a bunny-themed yoga mat, but resist the urge. Next, we head to a boba shop that's so ridiculous, it's been featured in those Business Insider videos that are always all over your Facebook newsfeed. We both get colorful boba drinks topped with cotton candy. $6
7 p.m. — After work, I hustle home to get changed into workout clothes and then I head to Barry's Bootcamp. I am obsessed with this place. It's one of the only workout classes where I consistently question if I'm going to make it to the end, and I love feeling like my ass has been kicked. Class today is no exception, and I leave with legs so wobbly, I have trouble using the parking garage's escalator. I used ClassPass for today's class, so it's covered.
8:30 p.m. — Once I'm home, I'm too tired to make anything fancy for dinner, so I heat up a can of black beans and top it with slices of avocado. It's okay, not great. I finish it quickly, take a shower, smoke weed, and then read my book before falling asleep.
Daily Total: $15

Day Three

8 a.m. — I make a protein smoothie with Vega One, spinach, and fruit for breakfast. Vega One is crazy expensive, so I try to stock up whenever Whole Foods or Sprouts is having a sale.
11:30 a.m. — The coworker I went to lunch with yesterday brought treats for our weekly Sales and Marketing meeting. Oh man. She made us paleo-vegan raw brownies (YUM) and also brought vegan Smore's Girl Scout cookies. Score!
1 p.m. — my CEO just gave me a $100 Amazon Gift Card as a thank you gift for working hard. This is very out of the ordinary and a complete surprise. But I'll take it!
2 p.m. — More broccoli and cauliflower casserole. Yay...
5:30 p.m. — Tonight I was supposed to have a meeting for another nonprofit I work with. It's cancelled last minute, though, which means tonight, I'm free! I swing by Sprouts on the way home to pick up gluten-free linguine, pine nuts, and garlic for a pesto pasta recipe I'm making for dinner. I'm seriously craving chocolate, so I grab an Unreal peanut butter cup while I'm in line at checkout. $22
7 p.m. — Dinner is the gluten-free pasta with a spinach-based pesto sauce. I use a Minimalist Baker recipe as a guide, but mostly wing it by adding toasted pine nuts and pomodoro-style cherry tomatoes. Wowwww, it's good. I pack up the other half for lunch tomorrow and totally forget about my peanut butter cup, opting for a few Thin Mints from the freezer instead.
9:30 p.m. — I connect my living room's Roku to an ex-boyfriend's cable info to get MTV (oops) and watch a few episodes of The Challenge before heading to bed with a book.
Daily Total: $22

Day Four

8 a.m. — I worked through last weekend, so I have today and tomorrow off! Yay, long weekends! I take advantage of a rare weekday morning off and go to yoga with my best friend. My roommate actually teaches at a nearby studio, and she hooks us up with a free class.
9:30 a.m. — We shower at the studio and head next door to a new coffee shop with my roommate. One of our friends just went on a date from hell with a guy who pretended to dine-and-dash on their date (WTF?!), so we talk shit about LA's dating climate while sipping on Americanos. $5
10:30 a.m. — I swing by my house and make cinnamon-sugar toast for breakfast. (Two pieces of toast with Follow Your Heart "butter" and a sprinkling of raw cane sugar and cinnamon.) I'm heading to my best friend's house for a bit to hang before my spin class later, so I grab workout clothes, too.
1 p.m. — I head to my best friend's house with my Tupperware of pasta from last night. I have keys to her place, too, so I let myself in and find her fully focused on Fallout 4 in the living room. She lives with her husband, and there are like six of us who are there often enough to have our own keys. We joke that their guest bedroom is where we all live. She's been wanting to get me into Fallout 4, so she sets up a profile for me before taking her cats to their vet appointment. By the time she comes home, I'm obsessed with this game, so we play for a few more hours before I have spin.
6:30 p.m. — I get to spin class and it's in one of the areas of WeHo where parking is either nonexistent or a million dollars, but this studio has free parking. THANK GOD. As a child, I never understood why the Free Parking space on a Monopoly board was a big deal. As an adult in L.A., it makes total sense. I walk into the studio and my suspicions were correct! It's a Drag Queen spin class led by a Flywheel instructor and a drag queen in full drag. I'm so excited. We pedal to remixes of Whitney Houston and the entire RuPaul musical anthology, and by the end of class, I'm totally wiped. Flywheel is competitive, so your power and RPM give you points. At the end of the class, I'm in second place for the women's side, which isn't bad considering this is my first Flywheel class ever and second workout of the day!
8 p.m. — I try to resist going to Taco Bell again...but I just can't. I get a veganized Crunch wrap, pinto beans, and a potato taco. It's raining out, so I eat my TB all snuggled up on my couch. $8
Daily Total: $13

Day Five

8:45 a.m. — I'm starting a doctoral program next year and I'm currently deciding between two schools. Today is an admitted student event at one of them, so I head to the campus bright and early. At the parking kiosk where I'm supposed to pick up my parking pass for the day, I accidentally tell the parking attendant that I'm here for the other school's admitted student's day. So's going well...
9 a.m. — Oh, thank god. They have coffee and bagels at this event. I'm fully booked for a day of class visits, panels, and more, so I'm going to need all the help I can get.
1 p.m. — After a morning full of info, we head to a faculty luncheon. It's been gross and rainy in L.A. for the past few days, but the sun is back! I kind of wish we could stay outside for a bit, but we head into a super nice building where I have a veggie wrap, salad, and fruit. We spend lunch asking our table's faculty member and current student a million questions about the school and the doctoral program.
4 p.m. — I leave the campus and can't stop thinking about ice cream. Traffic on the way home is unbearable, but when I get off the freeway, I swing by the Ralph's near my house and grab two pints of Halo Top's new Dairy-Free ice cream. Why is Halo Top so expensive?! $11
6 p.m. — A bunch of us were supposed to go see a movie tonight, but the group chat is getting crazy and nobody is taking the lead on planning. Eventually, we all give up on movie night and decide to go out in Los Feliz instead. My best friend who did yoga with me yesterday can't come out, but my other best friend is still down! We make plans to meet up at a guy friend's house in a few hours. I order a burger and fries from Veggie Grill for dinner and start spraying a thousand pounds of dry shampoo in my hair so I can avoid taking a shower. $14
9 p.m. — I get to my friend's house and he doesn't have any alcohol. My best friend and I decide to split a bottle of tequila, so we swing by Gelson's and pick up a bottle of Jose Cuervo (bleh), a six-pack of San Pellegrino, and a pack of gum. We go halfsies. $14
11 p.m. — Our group for the night is seven people, so I grab a group and call a Lyft to head to a tiki bar in Los Feliz. $6
11:15 p.m. — Drinks at this bar come in kitschy tiki mugs and I can't resist one. I order for the group so we don't have to wait in line at the bar for too long, and people promptly Venmo me back, which is surprising. My portion of the bill is $13. I had two drinks at my friend's house, and I'm somehow already pretty buzzed, so this is likely going to be my one and only drink. Why am I such a lightweight? $13
1 a.m. — One of my friends gets half of us an Uber back to his place and a freaking Tesla comes to pick us up. This is really dope, I'm not going to lie. We all head back to his place, where I fall asleep in his room. Everybody else hangs out in the living room playing NFL Blitz.
Daily Total: $58

Day Six

8 a.m. — Fun fact: I physically cannot sleep in. I wake up in my friend's room and there are a ton of us sleeping in this bed. Why did nobody just go home? I don't want to wake up my best friend, who's next to me, so I head into my friend's living room and pick up his copy of Ready Player One. After a while, everybody wakes up. My guy friend says I can borrow his copy, which is a major score because it's been sitting in my Amazon shopping cart for weeks.
9 a.m. — My best friend and I walk to a vegetarian restaurant down the street and get breakfast sandwiches. I get a kombucha, too. She doesn't have plans until 2 or so, and I'm free all day, so we plan to head back to her place to lay out by the pool. $14
10 a.m. — We get to my friend's house, and she makes me a piece of toast with peanut butter because apparently I kept saying I wanted that last night? How was I so drunk after drinking so little over the course of three hours? I eat my toast while we hike around her neighborhood. She lives in the hills near the Hollywood sign, so the views near her house are insane.
11 a.m. — I get a notification from Postmates that they're waiving delivery fees, so I order a vegan buffalo chicken pizza from a pizzeria nearby before throwing on a bikini and heading to my friend's pool to lay out. $24
12:10 p.m. — PIZZA'S HERE. PIZZA'S HERE. PIZZA'S HERE. My friend and I split the pizza while watching The Pagemaster. Like the 90s movie about libraries. Talk about a throwback.
12:30 p.m. — As we're watching the movie, I remember my phone charger is on its last leg. I hop on the Amazon app and order the charger, a vegan cookbook I've been wanting, and a $5 prop I need for a costume party next weekend. It's not until after I've checked out that I remember I have a $100 gift card at home. Dammit. $31
2 p.m. — I get home and put the gift card to use. I hop on Prime Now and order $72 worth of groceries, all covered by the card. I usually would just go to Sprouts or Trader Joe's, but this is free money and if I can save cash on groceries, I'm going to do that. Amazon won't let you use a gift card for tip, so I pay the suggested $7. I get cauliflower, spinach, tomatoes, grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, two onions, olive oil, cashews, raisins, peanut butter, a few cartons of almond milk, a six-pack of La Croix, and a few other items. I grocery shop based on meal and snack plans, so this is enough for the meals I've planned this week. $7
4:30 p.m. — My groceries arrive and I toss the sweet potatoes in the oven to make a couscous salad with Israeli couscous, sweet potato, dried cranberries, slivered almonds, and a lime and olive oil dressing. Every time I make this salad, I eat the whole thing in one sitting, but this time I manage to save some for later. I watch a little TV and then head to bed.
Daily Total: $76

Day Seven

9 a.m. — I forgot I signed myself up for Pop Physique this morning. It is a struggle getting ready and to the studio on time. I pop bread in the oven and make cinnamon-sugar toast to snack on while I get dressed.
9:45 a.m. — Lucky for me, the Pop studio is just down the street, so my slow-moving butt still makes it with minutes to spare. Honestly, my heart's just not in it today, but I used valuable ClassPass credits on this, so I'll be damned if I miss a class.
6 p.m. — I like to use Sundays to cook more labor-intensive meals. Tonight, I'm making a curry that has at least 14 different ingredients. It takes me over an hour, but it's one of my favorites and totally worth it. I pack up most of it to use for lunches throughout the week.
7:40 p.m. — As I was cooking dinner, I got a text from friends asking if I wanted to see a movie at 8:15. I'm always down for movies, as they're free with my MoviePass. I budget a little extra time to swing by a gas station on the way, but I hate feeling like I'm running late, so I just get $15 worth before continuing on my way. $15
8:15 p.m. — I was the first to the theater by a long shot, but we all make it inside in time. Our entire friend group has MoviePass, so we try to get in at the same time to individually buy assigned seats next to one another.
8:20 p.m. — Cannot. Resist. Popcorn. I buy a Kid's Combo from the concession stand and choose Red Vines for my candy. Such a deal. $8
10:45 p.m. — Back home and heading to bed. Tomorrow's my first day back at work in days and the thought of my inbox is terrifying me. I flip through Bumble and Hinge a bit before falling asleep.
Daily Total: $23
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