A Week In Los Angeles, CA, On A $26,300 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.
Last month, we looked at several Money Diaries from moms leading up to the beginning of the back-to-school season. One mother had older children who were increasingly independent, another mom was a graduate student on active duty in the military, and another diary featured a stay-at-home mom with twins starting preschool.
This week, we're taking another look at scholastic Money Diaries — this time from college and graduate students. First up: a planning assistant and student who makes $26,300 per year. She spends some of her paycheck this week on natural deodorant.
Occupation: Student, Planning Assistant (Full-Time), and Contract Naturalist
Industry: Parks & Outdoor Education
Age: 26
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Salary: $26,300 before taxes
Paycheck (Biweekly): $821.33 after taxes, plus a minimum of $100/month for contract work.
Monthly Expenses
Housing: $400. I lived on my own for over a year but it got too expensive. I decided to save and convert my parents garage into a teeny, tiny studio. (It's under 200-square-feet.) I still pay them "rent" to help with the bills since my dad has had some health problems over the last year.
Loan Payments: $0. I have $9,000 from my previous school. Currently my loans are in deferment since I decided to go back to school.
All Other Monthly Expenses
Health Insurance: $0; covered by my job
Retirement: $45 per paycheck into a 457 plan. My job matches.
Groceries: $150
Car Insurance: $67
Cell Phone: $88
Spotify: $4.99
Netflix: $0. I use my brother's girlfriend's account.
Amazon Prime: $0. I use my brother's student account.
Savings: About $50 - $100. It varies from month to month. (Not much, I know.)

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