A Week In Louisville, KY, On A $44,000 Salary

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Today, as part of Your Spending In Your State: a social worker working in substance abuse who makes $44,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on the book, Crazy Rich Asians.
Occupation: Social Worker
Industry: Substance Abuse
Age: 25
Location: Louisville, KY
Salary: $44,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,262
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $1,361 (I live with two roommates who collectively pay $850 of the total $1,361)
Student Loan Payment: $0 (My parents graciously paid for undergrad and grad school — I'm forever indebted to them.)
Electric/Gas: $150
Internet: $0 (My roommate pays.)
Yard Upkeep: $50 (My roommate's boyfriend does it and I take the cost out of his rent.)
Water: $75-$100 every three months
Phone: $0 (I'm still on my parents' family plan.)
Health Insurance: $0 (I'm still on parents' plan.)
Car Insurance: $68
Netflix: $0 (My roommate pays.)
Hulu: $0 (My roommate's sister pays.)
Cable: $0 (We have multiple people's cable logins to watch programs on our Apple TV.)
Apple Music: $10.99
Charitable Donations: $252.20 (10% of my monthly take home)
403(b): 4% of my salary, and my company matches that at 4%. I currently have about $15,000 in savings.

Day One

10:30 a.m. — I'm scrolling through Instagram and see an ad for an upcoming Actor's Theater play. It's about a book I read last year that I really enjoyed, and I haven't been to a play in forever, so I take advantage and buy a ticket to take myself on a date at the end of the month. $82.61
1:30 p.m. — I live with two roommates — my best friend and her boyfriend. I just bought a house, and we had lived together for so long before that, so they moved in here and pay me rent! Win, win. We moved in two weeks ago and our lease from our last place is up in a few days. We grab Subway after cleaning our old apartment and turning in our keys. Yay for now being a homeowner! $8.59
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4 p.m. — It's the first home football game of the season! Luckily, my best friend's dad owns a suite at our alma mater football stadium, so my ticket graciously comes for free, along with food and booze. My friend from out of town, M., comes in for the game and to stay the night. We start tailgating at 4 and don't get home until after midnight. I fill up a big Yeti of ice water and head to bed.
Daily Total: $91.20

Day Two

10 a.m. — I wake up before M. and schedule an appointment at the Apple Store for Tuesday morning because my phone is having connectivity issues. I'm within the year warranty and hoping they'll just replace it. Fingers crossed!
10:45 a.m. — Everyone else wakes up hungover and hungry. One thing M. always insists on us doing when she's in town is going to a local brunch spot. We head in and order mimosas and recovery breakfast. I pick up the tab as a token of my appreciation for her driving a long distance to visit me. $55
12:45 p.m. — It's football season, and even though we won't have wifi at the house for another day, we use our stick-in-the-window antenna to watch some NFL. M. and one of my roommates are both in fantasy leagues, so I just root for whoever they want to get points. We drink beer that my roommates picked up last night.
2:15 p.m. — I take out the trash because pick up is tomorrow and realize we are out of trash bags. When I bought this house, I vowed that I would buy a nice step-foot trash can. So I got a Simplehuman trash can that “requires” special bags. I'm not usually that kind of a sucker, but these bags are NICE. No rips, no unused room, and they're compact. I buy a 100-pack from Amazon. The three of us produce more trash than I'm proud of. $26.68
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2:45 p.m. — M. and I go for a short bike ride during halftime and I forget how freeing bike riding is. We come back in and naturally, crack open beers.
3:45 p.m. — M. heads out and I'm happy we had such a great weekend. My roommate talks me into downloading the FanDuel app to play NFL prediction games for money. I put $10 in my account because I get a $20 bonus and enter into a few challenges. $10
4:25 p.m. — We order Five Guys burgers and all share an order of fries. $10
8 p.m. — I finish putting my laundry away for the week and talk to my mom on the phone for 20 minutes. We have a relationship that seems to get better every year; I'm very thankful for that woman. We talk about once or twice a week, but I know we can call any time and will answer one another.
10 p.m. — I take a shower and crawl into bed. Wifi will be installed tomorrow, yay!! I watch an episode of The L Word on DVD and fall asleep around 11:30.
Daily Total: $101.68

Day Three

9 a.m. — I wake up before my alarm and make a grocery list. I'm the second shift supervisor at work, so I can run errands in the morning and not have to worry about getting to work late. I plan to get items to bring to work, since I typically eat both lunch and dinner there. I try to get enough for five meals and I'll mix and match with what we have leftover from food we make at home this week.
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11 a.m. — I get to the grocery store and realize I left my wallet at home, which is very unlike me. Discouraged, I head to the bank and see if a new feature they told me about is working yet. I pull up to the ATM and sure enough, there is an option for withdrawal without card. I go on my app, get a code to use at the ATM, type in my pin and voila, $60!
11:30 a.m. — It's already 11:30 and I don't have any time left to go to the grocery store. I end up getting some honey sesame chicken and chow mein to eat before heading to work. $7.26
12:30 p.m. — Work is slow. I begin cleaning up digital processes to reflect some recent changes in our share drive on the computer. My office is somewhat of a “hub” at work because it houses the fridge and microwave, and since I'm second shift, I get interrupted a lot. During interruptions, I inevitably get distracted, so I buy the book version of Crazy Rich Asians on Amazon (on sale!) and get excited because of all the hype I've heard about it! $10.59
1:30 p.m. — I grab an apple ($0.50) and decide to close my door to get some work done. I work in an assessment center at a substance abuse facility, so I see clients as they are ready to be assessed. I'm a social worker and am taking my test next week for my full licensure! I'm excited, but very nervous. $0.50
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4:50 p.m. — My Apple Watch alerts me I need to get up and walk around. I use this opportunity to walk around and decide where I want to eat for dinner, since the grocery run didn't happen today. I want something a little spicy, so I Doordash J. Gumbo's for some jambalaya. ($18 with tip). Working downtown, I have limited lunch options without needing delivery, which is why I try to brown bag as much as possible. Also, the jambalaya is huge, so it feeds me for at least two meals. $18
8:30 p.m. — I'm off work and headed home. My roommate made pork chops tonight so I have meals for the coming days (yay!). I'm planning on studying for my upcoming test and heading to bed.
Daily Total: $36.35

Day Four

9:30 a.m. — I'm so sleepy, but I have to get ready to head to the Apple Store before work. I do my morning routine, including grabbing my Yeti of ice water, and head to the mall.
10:40 a.m. — I get to the store right on time, but I have to wait 15 minutes before they see me. Then an Apple guru walks me through some network resets and says I'm good to go. I guess I'll have to trust him. I love having an Apple Store in my city.
11:20 a.m. — I peruse through Old Navy to no avail before realizing I have to leave to get to work on time. I do find enough time for a pretzel and Diet Coke from Auntie Anne's, though. I brought my lunch and dinner from home today, so I splurge. $6.87
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11:50 a.m. — I'm early to work, and begin to work on a project that my coworker and I have been assigned. She meets me in my office and we focus for about an hour before our stomachs tell us it's lunchtime. I pull out pork chops, cheese grits, and brussels sprouts and eat while I work. I hate taking lunch breaks, so I just eat at my desk and work, which allows me to flex my time and leave early most nights.
2 p.m. — I remember I have a yogurt in the fridge I brought in the other day, and enjoy a Greek yogurt treat.
2:45 p.m. — Crap! I forgot to call and get my electric bill switched. I call and get it all set up and catch up on iMessage games while I'm on hold. (My Cup Pong game is strong.) The call doesn't take as long as I thought it would. Yay for now only having one electric/gas bill!
6 p.m. — I heat up my dinner of the same meal I had for lunch and scroll through Buzzfeed for a bit. Work is slow, so I decide to study for my test next week. I bite the bullet and upgrade so I can take a longer test with newer questions. $26
8:30 p.m. — Off work and headed home! I've slept so well the last two nights, so I'm feeling energized. I take a mile walk around my neighborhood with my roommate's dog while listening to new music I downloaded. I close my exercise ring on my Apple Watch and walk back inside smiling.
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9:55 p.m. — I decide to shower and then spend the rest of the night playing Sims until I fall asleep watching The Andy Griffith Show. I'm obsessed with this show — I used to watch it all the time with my parents as a kid. It really helps me feel connected to my family, and it's wholesome, making it such an easy show to fall asleep to.
Daily Total: $32.87

Day Five

8 a.m. — I fell asleep at 11 last night and I feel well rested. I wake up with nothing really planned, so I shower and get ready, hoping that will make me productive for the day. I decide to do a load of laundry. I usually do laundry on weekends, but my basket is already getting full and it's just Wednesday. I pop a load in the machine and let the dog out back. My roommates are going to pick up a bed for one of the guest rooms from my roommate's brother. She asks if I have extra sheets for it, and I decide to just buy some Amazon sheets for $19.99. I swipe on “Buy Now,” and they'll be here in two days. Sometimes things are too easy to buy. $21.19
11:30 a.m. — I pack up leftover chicken tortellini my roommate made last night to eat at work and head out the door. Then I stop at Subway and eat a chicken wrap before getting on the road for work. I round up my total to the next even number to donate the change to a charity they are raising funds for. $8
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12 p.m. — Walk to work from the parking garage while listening to an episode of Dax Shepard's podcast, Armchair Expert, featuring Jason Bateman, who I love. Having earbuds in prevents me from having to acknowledge panhandlers. I work with individuals who struggle with the disease of addiction, and I never want to be responsible for giving someone money that possibly ends their life. I prefer handing out bags of necessities, and try to keep them in my car as much as possible.
6:45 p.m. — Work has been steady all day, so I'm just now heating up dinner and taking a quick break to scroll through social media, but I get distracted by a client. This place gets crazy in the nighttime! I buy a Diet Pepsi because I'm crashing ($1.50). Waking up at 8 a.m. is not something I do often.
9 p.m. — My roommates and I watch an episode of a show on the Apple TV and they head to bed. I end up watching Crazy, Stupid, Love on iTunes, as it's one of the $0.99 rentals. I realize two things afterwards: 1) I think we have this movie on DVD, and 2) I bought it under my roommate's Apple ID and not mine, so I Venmo her $0.99. $0.99
Daily Total: $30.18

Day Six

9:30 a.m. — I wake up feeling very lazy. I decide to get on my computer and do some studying for my test next week. I get a big Yeti of ice water and study for about 30 minutes before getting bored and deciding to read for a bit. I'm almost at the end of It's Kind of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini, which I'm thoroughly enjoying, however, reading in the mornings is hard for me. I only make it through a few pages before feeling like it'll put me back to sleep, so I get up and take a shower.
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10:30 a.m. — I start to get ready for work because I don't have much else to do this morning, and decide to get in the office early and work on a few projects before I have to officially be “working.” I stop and get gas on the way in ($53.19). I drive a car that requires premium gas, which is the bane of my existence, but I also really love how my car drives, so it's a catch-22. $53.19
12:15 p.m. — I heat up the leftovers of the jambalaya from a few days ago and enjoy a spicy, delicious lunch while I go over some reports and send out billing requests to my colleagues.
4:30 p.m. — I look at the clock and realize I've been working for about six hours straight. My coworker and I have been compiling data from the last five months, so we've been going through past records and putting them in an Excel spreadsheet that organizes data by week and month. It's a lot of numbers, but really rewarding when we get close to finishing three months. She leaves after we finish up the third month, and I Venmo her $1 for a dumb bet we made. $1
6:30 p.m. — A client has a seizure in my waiting area, so I have to manage that crisis until EMS gets here. She ends up having six before they arrive, and I'm really worried about her, hours after she's taken to the hospital. For dinner, I Doordash a chicken wrap because I've failed at packing meals this week. I inhale it and drink a Diet Pepsi from the vending machine while I fill out an incident report. $19.50
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8 p.m. — Off a little early because of the medical event. I go home and end up watching Andy Griffith and drinking two beers to end the night. I fall asleep by 11:30 p.m.
Daily Total: $73.69

Day Seven

9:05 a.m. — I'm up before my alarm and lounge in bed scrolling through social media. This is my normal morning routine, but I really want to switch it up so I can read informative news instead of watching every IG story in the morning. I vow to get my virtual subscription to the Courier-Journal back.
11 a.m. — I stop by the grocery store to buy a premade salad for lunch and head into work early to make progress on some projects. I get engrossed in work and eat my salad around 1. $9.47
2:30 p.m. — My coworker and I go for a walk around the block a few times to catch up on work gossip and get some steps in. When we come back, work gets busy, so we start to see clients for assessments. In between clients, I order some new no-show socks because mine are starting to get wear and tear and I can feel them slipping inside my shoe. $6.30
5:30 p.m. — My tummy starts talking and I get on Doordash with a $5 promo code off delivery. I order from a café I used to go to with my parents, and order pork dijonnaise with skillet potatoes because today has been rough. $23.45
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9 p.m. — I get home and my roommates and I watch an episode of The Challenge: Final Reckoning, which is one of our favorites.
10 p.m. — I'm scrolling through Twitter and see a Buzzfeed article about Tupperware. When we moved, we got rid of all our overused and stained Tupperware, so as a brown bagger packing leftovers most days, I desperately need new ones for my meals. I buy a pack of 14 for only $23! Amazon Prime will have them here in two days. We discuss how our mailman is probably not our biggest fan. $23.84
Daily Total: $63.06
If you are struggling with substance abuse, please call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for free and confidential information.
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