A Week In Marseille, France, On A $19,100 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: a child care assistant who makes $19,100 per year. This week, she spends some of her money on croissants and pain au chocolat. Editor's note: All prices have been converted to U.S. dollars.
Occupation: Child Care Assistant
Industry: Nursery
Age: 30
Location: Marseille
Salary: $19,100 salary plus $4,400 government income
Paycheck (Once A Month): $1,590 salary plus $366 government income
Monthly Expenses
Housing Costs: $366. My rent is really $788 but I receive $422/month from the government. I get a high amount because I'm a single parent. It's a one-bedroom apartment in the city center with a huge living room. I use half of it as my sleeping area.
Loan Payments: $0. I had a small student loan ($12,500) that I finished paying off in 2010.
All Other Monthly Expenses
Netflix: $0. I use my aunt's account.
Television: $4 (through the internet)
Mobile Phone: $30
Internet: $30
Electricity: $85
Gas: $25
Water: $25
Insurance: $20 for my daughter's school insurance and the house insurance
Health Insurance: $20 for my daughter and me. It's $80 but half is paid by my employer; it's the law in France.
Daughter's Dance Class: $37
Daughter's Tennis Class: $42
Childcare: $0. My grandmother takes care of my daughter before and after school.
Savings: $150, split between my daughter's and my own savings account
Holiday Piggy Bank: $100
Bus Card: $26. The monthly cost is $52 but work pays for half of it. (They have to by law.)
Donations: $60 split among The Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, and Greenpeace
My Little Box Subscription: $20
Birchbox Subscription:$16. I'm a beauty junkie.

Day One

8 a.m. — After I drop off my daughter at my grandmother's house (she lives fives minutes away by foot) I take the bus to work using my monthly card. I'm starving and I won't be able to stop for lunch until 1 p.m. today. Because I'm a little early on time, I make a quick stop at a boulangerie and get a croissant ($1.20) and a café crème ($2.45) that I eat on their outside table. I enjoy the rays of sunshine with my breakfast. $3.65
11:45 a.m. — I look after a group of 16 children between the 18 months and three years old. They are adorable — and a lot of work — but right now they're all sound asleep with full tummies and clean diapers. I enjoy the quiet time and make the most of it by ordering my lunch on Deliveroo. That app is my Kryptonite. I usually bring lunch from home but I was away all week end and came home quite late on Sunday. I drool over a million possibilities and end up ordering a quiche with a side salad, an iced coffee, an orange, and olive oil loaf cake slice. I pay using a $6 luncheon voucher; I get 20 of them monthly at work. $12
6 p.m. — Finally, my workday is over! We've had many sick coworkers lately, so work has been tough. I get off the bus and go straight to the supermarket. I really just want to pick up my daughter and go home, but my fridge is empty and that would mean having takeout again, which is unreasonable. I get a bag of oranges, bananas, tangerines, almonds, zucchinis, lemons, mushrooms, olives, potatoes, chestnuts, brussels sprouts, muesli, milk, a jar of arrabiata tomato sauce and a jar of plain tomato sauce, pesto, pasta, semolina, Greek yogurts, goat cheese, rocket salad, a jar of soup, a pack of falafel, chickpeas, lentils, eggs, dark and milk chocolate, brioche, ground coffee, shampoo, and toothpaste. I make a quick stir fry with the zucchinis, mushrooms and the olives and add the spaghetti into it. We also have some chocolate for dessert. $74.10
Daily Total: $89.75

Day Two

9 a.m. — I stop at the ATM on my way to work to get cash for my coworker who bought our new coffee machine. I pay back my share ($12). Today, I ate muesli, Greek yogurt, and bananas from home for breakfast, and I brought yesterday's leftovers and two tangerines for lunch. I walk past my local boulangerie — without going in — with a sense of pride! $12
3 p.m. — My colleague fancies a bubble tea delivery. I join in for an iced coffee, and two other colleagues order iced teas. I pay on Deliveroo ($22) and they pay me back their shares immediately. $5.5
7 p.m. — I stop at the pharmacy to get painkillers ($3) for terrible headaches I've been having lately. While I'm there, I buy a face cream ($18) and almond oil for my daughter's skin. I have a refillable bottle so it's $8 dollars instead of $12. $29
Daily Total: $46.50

Day Three

7 a.m. — I start extra early today as it's my turn to open the nursery and parents start coming at 7.30 a.m. It's too early for me to eat when I leave home to drop off my daughter at 6, so I pack some bananas and almonds to munch on later. I also make myself a nice café crème with our brand new machine while I wait for the parents to arrive.
12 p.m. — Today, I have half the day off. I pick up my daughter from tennis practice and we stop at a local bistro, Café Longchamp, for lunch. We share a baby leak salad (that I end up eating all by myself), and each have an omelet with fries. (The adult portion costs $3.50 more.) For dessert, she also gets a scoop of chocolate ice cream from the kids' menu while I have an espresso ($1.80). $29.30
2 p.m. — We walk past the carousel and my daughter wants to ride it; she does it three times as it's only $6 for three tickets! She loves it; they blast Disney songs and she sings her little heart out when "Let It Go" starts playing. After that, we stop at our favorite bookstore. The owners are three lovely ladies who are super into children's literature. They always give great advice and take the time to flick through so many albums with my daughter. She chooses two books and I pick up a novel and two books I ordered a couple of weeks ago for work on child development. The latter costs $37 but is for our shared bookshelf at work; I'll get a full refund tomorrow. $40
4:30 p.m. — After a stroll around the harbor, my daughter falls asleep in her stroller so I decide to stop at my favorite clothes shop, Des Petits Hauts. I want to buy everything! Sales are on, and I end up buying a brooch shaped like the planet Saturn at 50% off ($15.50); a much-needed pair of brown suede boots, also 50% off ($147) because I go through shoes very quickly and had no decent daywear shoes left; an oversized, white wooly cardigan at 70% off ($82); a pretty, flowery silk scarf at 50% off ($92); a white blouse at 70% off ($64), and a little black dress at 70% off ($59). I pay with the gift card I received for my 30th birthday. I've been saving it for a good sale and that was definitely the right move! I still have some money left on the card. (I've been very spoiled!) We go home and I make spaghetti all'arrabbiata for dinner and put the leftovers in a lunchbox for tomorrow.
Daily Total: $69.30

Day Four

8:30 a.m. — I don't need to be at work today until 10 a.m., so I make toast with butter and jam and freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast and I take my daughter to school. Thursdays are the only days I can do this so I enjoy every minute of it. After I drop her off, I go and grab a coffee and a croissant at a local café with a mother I've been friends with since my daughter and her son were in nursery school together. It's nice catching up on the school gossip — and she knows it all. My treat. $5
1 p.m. — I've only been at work for a few hours when my daughter's school calls to inform me that she has a fever and isn't feeling well at all. I call my gran so she can pick up my daughter while I make my way back. She is sleeping when I get home. I wait for her to wake up and heat up soup from the fridge for lunch with a little salad and a yogurt. I call the pediatrician who accepts to see her after hours. The consultation is $39 and I'll have $20 paid back in a couple of days by social security. She has a case of angina and gets prescribed painkillers and throat soothers. I go the pharmacy get the medication; it's $7.50 and will be paid back in full on my account in a few days by social security. Back at home, I make her soup; she hardly eats anythings and sleeps a lot. I call my manager to let her know I won't be working tomorrow either. I snack for dinner and binge-watch The Crown on Netflix. $19
Daily Total: $24

Day Five

11:30 a.m. — My daughter isn't feeling great and we stayed in all morning. We order in with Deliveroo. I get cream of tomato soup, avocado and cream cheese bagels, and cupcakes from an American bakery. Everything costs $25 but I put two $6 luncheon vouchers towards it. My daughter loves it, especially the pretty red velvet cupcakes. $13
3 p.m. — I decide some fresh air would do us good and bundle her up in her stroller to go for a walk around the beach. She even comes down to throw pebbles. We get crepes and hot chocolates from a cart ($12) and eat while watching the peaceful sea, enjoying the winter sun. We meet up with my mum and on our way back home, we stop at a vintage toy shop and my mum decides to buy a treat. My daughter chooses a tiny wooden doll house ($25) and a tea set ($15). $12
7 p.m. — Our walk tired her out. She nibbles on breadsticks and cheese, takes her medication, and goes to sleep. I buy our train tickets online for our trip to Paris in the spring ($122). (We live 500 miles away from Paris.) I also buy tickets to go up the Eiffel Tower ($46) since I hear they sell out very quickly. I catch up on reading, eat snacks for dinner again, and fall asleep very quickly. $168
Daily Total: $193

Day Six

11 a.m. — Today my daughter wakes up super early and is determined to go to her morning dance class. I hesitate and give in; if she gets too tired, I won't be far so I can pick her up. I take her to her class with the bus (free until the age of six, and my daughter is four). I go to a nearby shop and pick up things we need for the house while I wait — light bulbs, a small beginner's toolbox, a bath rug, some bowls, and a salad bowl. $47
12 p.m. — Her dance class is finished, she is fine, and she is up for her playdate with my friend's child. On our way over to their house, we stop at a boulangerie to get pastries to bring with us ($18). My friend treats us with delicious paninis for lunch. The kids have a great time and so do the grownups. $18
6:30 p.m. — My mum comes to pick up my daughter for the night, I have a date, well, a double-date really; it's my friend's boyfriend's neighbor/friend. When they leave, I rush through the door; there's not a decent pair of tights to wear. I pick up three pairs ($29) at my local shop, along with bobby pins ($3.50) and concealer ($8) $40.50
8 p.m. — We meet for drinks at a winery. We each buy rounds ($34) and share tapas ($20 but my date pays). It's a lovely, cozy place; everyone is very friendly and the wine is excellent. We leave to catch a late movie showing. $34
9:45 p.m. — We just make it on time to see Molly's Game. I insist on paying for my own ticket but the guys are sneaky and beat us to it. So, I pay for the popcorn ($17) and my friend pays for the drinks. We all enjoy the movie a lot; Jessica Chastain never disappoints. It's long past midnight when we come out and I'm very tired. I call an Uber and my date waits for it with me. It was a lovely evening. I don't have dates or even nights out very often. $17
Daily Total: $156.50

Day Seven

9 a.m. — It's Sunday! My favorite day of the week. I love how everything slows down on a Sunday; lazy days are the best. I ask my neighbor to watch my daughter, who is still asleep, while I get breakfast. It's an agreement we have: I get croissants, pains au chocolat, and baguettes ($6.50) and I give a couple to my neighbor as a thank you. I also get a small bouquet of wild flowers from a stall by the shop ($6). I also buy ingredients for lasagna at the small grocery store next to the bakery ($17) $29.50
1 p.m. — We eat the vegetable lasagna I made earlier and watch My Neighbor Totoro on pay-per-view ($6.20). How good is Studio Ghibli! $6.20
2:30 p.m. — The whole family goes to my grandmother's house for coffee and cake. This is what good Sundays are made of! I pay my cousin for my share of my grandmother's birthday present. My daughter has a blast playing with her cousins and it's hard to get her home. $40
Daily Total: $75.70
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