A Week In Los Angeles, CA, On A $90,000 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: a head of development working in film and TV who makes $90,000 per year and spends some of her paycheck this week at the movies.
Occupation: Head of Development
Industry: Film & Television
Age: 27
Location: Los Angeles
Salary: $90,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,402.38
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,300. (I live in a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment with a roommate. Our rent includes parking.)
Student Loan Payment: $0. (My family paid for my education.)
Car Lease: $219
Car Insurance: $153
Health Insurance: $53, taken out of my paycheck.
Hulu:
$6
Starz: $9
Amazon Prime: $10.99
Squarespace: $12. (I have a membership for my professional website.)
Netflix: $0. (I use my parents' account.)
Spotify Premium: $9.99
Phone Bill: $80
Therapy: $520
Advertisement

Day One

8 a.m. — I grab a granola bar from the store and head to work. This is my second week at my new job. The commute is approximately five minutes, which is mind-blowing for LA. I miss being able to listen to an entire podcast episode on my way to work and find myself absentmindedly listening to classical music instead. $2.40
12:30 p.m. — I'm hungry and forgot to bring food from home. There aren't any restaurants within walking distance, so I order delivery from Shake Shack. I get a cheeseburger, but no fries. (Balance.) I need to spend $10 to get delivery, so I add a lemonade. I'll eat salad this week, I tell myself. $13.99
3 p.m. — A colleague emails me a show idea pitch about ghost sex. This is exactly why I don't tell people what my job is: Bad ideas are everywhere. I need some air, so I walk to the shitty coffee place I've been meaning to try down the block. There's a fountain behind the coffee shop, so I sit there and try to take a Boomerang of my coffee with the fountain. I've now wasted 30 minutes. Back to ghost sex. $4.50
7 p.m. — I stop at the store for a bottle of wine. I end up buying a bunch of booze to restock my bar, plus cheese and vegetables. I get home and make a stir fry of ground turkey, roasted vegetables, quinoa, and honey ginger balsamic. I've earned a real drink, so I make a dirty martini with extra olives. $93.35
Advertisement
Daily Total: $114.24

Day Two

6:30 a.m. — I wake up and realize I'm on my period. I just started using a DivaCup this year, which has been really great but kind of disgusting when I have a heavy flow day. I make avocado toast with Trader Joe's Everything But the Bagel seasoning. I have a Keurig, but I use one of those reusable cups that you pour ground coffee into, so I don't feel guilty about the environment.
11 a.m. — My cramps are giving me a run for my money. I've already taken a couple Advil and don't want to overdo it, so I take one dose of CBD from my weed pen. The second I do it, I feel a moment of pure relief, but minutes later, the cramps are back. I drink La Croix and eat everything bagel-flavored sesame sticks while Googling “how to cure cramps” for the thousandth time in my life.
12:45 p.m. — I heat up my leftover turkey and veggies and eat at my desk while cruising Instagram.
4:30 p.m. — My best friend sent me a video of herself opening her FabFitFun box. She was making fun of people who do this on social media, but I ended up wanting EVERYTHING in the box. She sends me a $10 discount code, and I order the Spring box. #Treatyourself. $43.79
6:30 p.m. — I stop at the store to pick up some period essentials: Advil ($13.94), plus chocolate and pizza dough ($23.04). My roommate appears to be out for the night, so I'm going to do my favorite nighttime routine: Turn on the Nancy Meyers' movie playlist on Spotify, channel my inner Meryl from It's Complicated, and whip up a homemade pizza. My secret ingredient is spicy honey. I drink two glasses of really nice red wine. $36.98
Advertisement
Daily Total: $80.77

Day Three

8 a.m. — I'm craving iced coffee and Pirate's Booty (my favorite shitty breakfast), so I stop at the store before work. $9.94
11:30 a.m. — My Tinder match hasn't texted me for 24 hours, and I'm starting to really question if I should send a double text. I online shop to ease the pain of possible ghosting, and buy a couple cool linen jackets on Etsy from an adorable family in Lithuania. Go small businesses! Goodbye money! $191
1 p.m. — I eat cold leftover pizza for lunch while watching the This Is Us finale in my office. (With the door closed, because I'm definitely going to cry.)
7:30 p.m. — I whip up orzo with caramelized onions and frozen spinach, finish the bottle of red, and take a really hot bath with Epsom salt.
Daily Total: $200.94

Day Four

4 a.m. — I wake up with the worst cramps imaginable, complete with lower back and abdomen pain, sweating, and nausea. I forgot my Advil at the office. FUCK. I take a CBD gummy and toss and turn all morning. My stomach hurts too much for breakfast.
5 p.m. — I haven't really eaten today and I feel like shit. I have therapy, so I leave the office a little early. We talk about my new job and my fears about other people's expectations of me in the first two weeks. My mom is going through cancer treatment, and my dad has dementia, so we spend a lot of time talking through their symptoms and how they're doing.
Advertisement
8 p.m. — I stop for dinner at a friend's house in the valley. Her toddler watches us intently as we discuss our mental health, careers, and possible side projects (opening a female co-working space! Starting a podcast! Creating members-only period-themed parties!) over a pile of greasy, delicious Chinese food. (She pays.) We watch two episodes of Queer Eye and have a good, cathartic cry.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

7:30 a.m. — My bangs have a superpower – defying gravity. I spend an extra 30 minutes taming my hair this morning and don't make time for breakfast. Grab n' go granola bar time!
12:30 p.m. — I heat up leftover Chinese food from last night and take a La Croix from the office fridge. I eat at my desk while looking at apartments I can't afford to rent.
8:30 p.m. — My boss pushed our big development meeting all day and turned it into drinks tonight instead. We end up downing quite a few Old Fashioneds and hit a taco truck in the parking lot for the best al pastor in town. (He pays.) He loves every show idea I pitch him. I'm taking his enthusiasm with a grain of boozy salt.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

10 a.m. — Oh no. I'm hungover. So hungover. I have a party tonight and no day plans, so I opt for takeout and movie rentals. I order Domino's pizza, garlic knots, and Sprite, and settle in for Real Housewives and Outlander. $16.90
Advertisement
4:30 p.m. — I've napped, watched my shows, and finished off my junk food. I have a big networking party to go to tonight, and I'm dreading getting ready. I pop a couple of Advil and throw on jeans, a blazer, and red lipstick. I stop at the store for a bottle wine and a pack of gum (pizza breath lingers). $26.11
11:30 p.m. — The party is fun, but everyone pitches me show ideas, which can be really draining and awkward. I flirt with a D-list actor but don't get his number because I chicken out and avoid people I'm attracted to.
Daily Total: $43.01

Day Seven

8 a.m. — Hangover two mornings in a row, which is unusual for me. I order a breakfast burrito and an açaí bowl on Postmates ($34.56) – one for now, one for later. The LA Marathon is today, and after waiting around for an hour, they cancel the order on me. NOOOOO!
1 p.m. — End up scarfing down frozen leftover chicken-and-vegetable stir-fry for lunch. My friend and I walk to the Dolby Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard to see The Handmaid's Tale panel at PaleyFest. They screen about 30 minutes of footage from the new season, which is really exciting. $54.42
5 p.m. — I'm catching the new Tomb Raider with friends tonight in Pasadena, so I head over early to do a little shopping. I grab lip balm, highlighter, and face essence at Sephora, plus a pair of white slip-ons at the Vans store. $147.88
Advertisement
7:30 p.m. — iPic Theaters has reclining couches, complimentary popcorn, blankets, and food and drinks that you can order and get delivered to your seat. It's the most luxurious, dreamy experience. My friends put my food and drink on their tab. The bartender hits on me and keeps giving me free drinks. We go back out to the bar after the movie to chat with him, but I get a weird vibe and decide to get the fuck out of there. $36
Daily Total: $238.30
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.
The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day. For more money diaries, click here.
Have a money diary you'd like to share? Right now, in addition to our ongoing diaries, we're looking for potential diarists along the following themes:
1. International Week: We want to run one Money Diary from a different country each day for a week. Want to show what it's like to live outside of the U.S.? Submit here!
2. Your Spending In Your State: We want to run one Money Diary from a different state each week. Rep your state and submit here.
Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here: r29.co/mdfaqs
Advertisement
Keep Track Of Your Vacation Spending: We're looking to get the inside scoop on when, where, and how our peers are using their vacation days. Open to tracking your travel expenses during an upcoming trip? Email us at traveldiary@refinery29.com.
Advertisement

More from Work & Money

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Documentary
Five love stories behind diverse, multicultural marriages.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Life experiments, 5 days at a time.
Watch Now
Fashion
The style of subculture.
Watch Now
Beauty
Viral trends, tried and tested.
Watch Now
Documentary
From vibrators to lipstick, learn how your favorite products are made.
Watch Now
Documentary
Extraordinary, one-of-a-kind individuals
Watch Now
Documentary
The latest stories to watch.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Inside the homes of millennial women — & what they paid for them
Watch Now
Comedy
Let's talk about sex, baby.
Watch Now
Documentary
Female artisans around the world
Watch Now
Politics
Made by and for smart, opinionated women.
Watch Now
Film
We helped 12 female directors claim their power.