A Week In Nashville, TN, On A $49,000 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 manager working in video production who makes $49,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on green ginger tea.
Occupation: Manager
Industry: Video Production
Age: 30
Location: Nashville, TN
Salary: $49,000 (I also make ~$100 to $200 monthly from side projects.)
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,594
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $625 for my third of a 2,200-square-foot, four-bedroom, three-bathroom house shared with my boyfriend and one roommate.
Student Loans: $268 (I have $27,000 in total.)
Car Payment: $288 (I have $10,000 remaining.)
House Bills/Internet: ~$100
Car Insurance: $81.12
Phone: $0 (I'm on my parents' plan.)
Credit Card Payments: $445 total minimum payments across three cards. Total debt is $15k. Since starting this new job, I've begun to more aggressively repay and usually pay around $500 extra each month.
Health Insurance: Covered by work
Dental/Vision Insurance: $27.50 pretax
FSA: $20 pretax
Spotify: $10.91
Netflix: $14.22
HBO: $0 (Someone once signed into our Roku, and I'm too nervous about messing anything up to check whose it is.)
Hulu: $0
Medium: $5
iCloud: $1.99
Savings: I've paused on savings to focus on repaying debt. I have about $3,000 saved currently.
401(k): $163.34 (My company matches my 4% contribution, which is their max. I will probably increase my contribution once I have some debt paid down.)
Annual Expenses
Amazon Prime: I share a friend's account for $50/yearly

Day One

10:15 a.m. — I wake up with my boyfriend, B. He gets up to make coffee and lets our kitten in so I can snuggle her in bed. It's Sunday and the first day I've slept in all month, so I lounge a bit and submit my hours for yesterday's photo-booth gig (over the past year, I've operated photo booths as a side job). I'll make $100 plus $60 in mileage. Eventually I get up and make an egg scramble with tomato, spinach, and feta. I join B. on the front porch for breakfast and then water the porch flowers and the back vegetable garden.
11:45 a.m. — I wash my face with Pacifica pineapple cleanser (I don't love it, so I'm trying to use it up to justify purchasing something else), spritz on homemade rose toner, apply Milk Cooling Water under my eyes, and roll on Say Yes to Cucumber moisturizer. B. goes to band practice, and I throw on some high-waisted denim shorts, B.'s band's tee, slip on Vans, then head out to run some errands. I return the photo booth and head to TJ Maxx. I never shop there, but we just moved into our new house and I need a few household things that I think I may find cheaper than at Target, where I would normally shop. I pick up a laundry hamper, shower basket, dish-brush holder, and spice rack. I realize at checkout that I forgot my debit card, so I put it on my credit card and immediately transfer the money over. $38.16
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1 p.m. — I head to the farmer's market to get some lemons to make lemonade and a snack to bring to my friend's pool later, and to peruse my favorite plant store, Gardens of Babylon, but after driving around for 20 minutes looking for parking, I get too annoyed and give up.
1:35 p.m. — I get home and make a quick snack-plate lunch of pita, hummus, cherry tomatoes, tabbouleh, rice, and strawberries. I fill up a water bottle, put on my swimsuit, and head to my friend's pool.
5 p.m. — Another friend meets us at the pool and brings corn and watermelon, so after lounging for a few hours, we head up to my friend's loft. Her mom sent her a full salmon filet from California, so we smoke a bowl and cook ourselves a feast! I'm the dick who didn't bring anything.
7:45 p.m. — When I get home, B. and I go to Whole Foods because he wants a vegan pizza. I pick up lemons, jalapeño, guac, tortilla chips, and Traditional Medicinals green tea ginger. He gets some other groceries as well. We always buy our groceries separately but share most staple items. It just works for us. $18.05
8:45 p.m. — At home I unpack the groceries, then take a shower and do my regular skin-care routine (except I use Soap & Glory vitamin C cleanser at night). I make my lunch for tomorrow — strawberry salad with chicken, almonds, feta, avocado, and cilantro dressing. B. and I started BlacKkKlansman a while ago, and we finally get around to watching the end of it tonight. Get in bed at 10:45.
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Daily Total: $56.21

Day Two

7:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off, and I snooze until 7:45. I chug a glass of water, put on a kettle for tea, and do my skin-care routine. I step outside to check the weather and notice the rose bush has bloomed! I'm hit with the realization that I'm officially an actual adult, because the presence of the flower excites me more than it should. I go back inside to make a breakfast of Greek yogurt, coconut granola, blackberries, and honey with chocolate chips on top, 'cause I'm an adult now, dang it, and who says I can't? I eat breakfast on the porch and then head back in to put on my work makeup look: Bare Minerals powder (which I'm nearly out of), Glossier Boy Brow, Tarte bronzer, and MAC mascara. It felt a bit cool on the porch this morning (69 degrees = cool for Nashville summer), so I throw on a vintage long-sleeve red silk Japanese blouse and Amo jeans with black oxford Dr. Martens. I still have a few minutes before I need to leave, so I play with my kitten.
9 a.m. — Arrive at work, grab a cup of office coffee, and realize I forgot the lunch that I packed. My coworker brought in some cookies, so I have one as a second breakfast because, like I said, I'm an adult, okay?
12:18 p.m. — My coworker is ordering sushi for lunch, and I'm tempted but don't want to spend that much, so I decide to walk a few blocks down to Jimmy John's instead. I order a Beach Club sandwich with turkey, provolone, and avocado. $7.39
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3:30 p.m. — There's some food at the office, which I snack on. I drink a Blood Orange Sanpellegrino from the office fridge. Today I'm organizing a shoot in the D.C. area, working on a video, and putting together pitch decks for a couple of large production projects for our biggest client.
4:40 p.m. — I use my personal laptop for work and haven't had Microsoft Office since my free college subscription expired. My coworker asks me to purchase Office so that I stop sending him contracts in Pages. I put it on my credit card and submit an expense report for it immediately. ($79.46 expensed)
5:07 p.m. — I head home from work, play with the cat, and then snack on some quinoa crisps and hummus while making spicy cilantro lemonade. For dinner, I eat my forgotten salad from lunch. I walk my bike down to the gas station to air up the tires, then ride back home and spend the rest of the evening hanging up our art in the house with B.
9:13 p.m. — Because of moving and traveling, I've recently fallen off some of my regular routines, namely working out and reading. So I perform a few quick ab and glute exercises so that I at least do SOMETHING and then shower and pick out tomorrow's outfit that I hopefully will still feel like wearing in the morning. I've been reading mostly nonfiction recently and am in the mood for a good story, so I choose Life of Pi from B.'s book collection, as I've never read it or seen the movie.
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Daily Total: $7.39

Day Three

7:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off, and I'm tempted to snooze because I didn't sleep well last night but force myself up anyway. I chug a glass of water, make ginger green tea and a yogurt bowl, and eat on the porch. I water the porch flowers, take the trash to the curb, and go back inside to get ready. Do my skin-care routine, apply makeup, and put on the outfit I picked last night: black Topshop skinnies and a gingham short-sleeve button-down. After six years of working from home/traveling, I don't have any SFW warm-weather tops. Somehow everything I own is cropped! I make a mental note to be on the lookout for summer tops I can wear for work and play (do those exist?). I play with the cat, and I'm out the door by 8:45.
9 a.m. — Arrive at the office and pour a cup of office coffee. I check my bank account and see that I received my refund from two Aritzia dresses I purchased a few weeks ago that didn't fit. I already re-ordered the dresses in a smaller size (and one had gone on sale, score!), so I was refunded $245 for my return.
1 p.m. — For lunch, I eat the other half of my Jimmy John's sandwich from yesterday.
3:40 p.m. — I eat some snacks from the office snack cupboard. Since I used up the rest of my Bare Minerals this morning, I check the price on Bare Minerals' website and Amazon. It's $7 cheaper on Amazon, and although I won't receive it until Thursday even with Prime, I decide to save the extra bucks and a trip to the mall. $23.99
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5:10 p.m. — On my way home from work, I pass by a new farmer's market in my neighborhood, so I decide to check it out. I pick up a dozen eggs and some coconut friendship bread. When I get home, I pour a glass of lemonade and water the vegetable garden. I feel bad for neglecting the plants yesterday, so as an apology I play ukulele for them. I firmly believe showing positivity toward plants helps them grow. $16.09
7:45 p.m. — For dinner, I make ground turkey and bell pepper tacos for me and B., and we watch the Game of Thrones documentary on HBO. We both work in video production, so we're fascinated by the behind-the-scenes insight. I think showing the perspective of the background actor is really unique. I even tear up a few times. B. commits to speaking solely in an Irish accent for the rest of the night. I do my skin-care routine and then get into bed around 10, but we cuddle and chat until 11 or so.
Daily Total: $40.08

Day Four

7:30 a.m. — Same morning routine of green tea ginger and yogurt on the porch and then watering the flowers. I put on my makeup, and because I'm out of Bare Minerals I use an old Milk mini Blur Stick that I purchased a while ago but don't really care for. Get dressed in AA gray skinnies with a light blue vintage short-sleeved sweater. It's cropped but only shows a sliver of my stomach when I lift my arms, so I think that's fine, right? I slide into pony-hair mules. I don't have a full-length mirror yet, so I just roll with the outfit and hope it's not too wack.
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8:45 a.m. — I decide to try an episode of TED Talks Daily on my commute. At work, I volunteer myself to make the office coffee, and it turns out horribly watery.
11 a.m. — My doctor's office calls, saying my new IUD has arrived. I've had my current one for just over five years, so it's time to replace it. I have Mirena now but will replace it with Kyleena. I make an appointment for next Tuesday to give myself time to mentally prepare. I'm terrified, because although the insertion process the first time around was brief, it was excruciating. However, the ease and convenience are worth it to me. My insurance will cover the cost 100%.
1:20 p.m. — I brought lunch from home today — grilled chicken, pita and hummus, tabbouleh, and cherry tomatoes. I eat at my desk while making phone calls to hire crew for a shoot next week.
5:15 p.m. — I leave work to scoop B. from home, and we go pick up a bookcase we're buying off of Craigslist. He pays cash, and I Venmo him for half ($12.50). We unload the bookcase at home and start filling it with books. B. makes a vegan pizza and adds chicken sausage (he's lactose- intolerant, not vegan), and I eat a slice. I finish up the waistband on a skirt I'm upcycling from a prairie dress, but when I try it on, I decide it's still too long and I'll need to hem it before wearing. $12.50
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7:50 p.m. — I was planning on going to a free hot yoga class tonight, but instead I'm going to see a psych-rock band I like at Soft Junk, a BYOB DIY-type venue. Because YOLO. I shower and reapply my makeup, adding a thick black winged line of MAC Fluidline eyeliner. I put on a red and gold vintage cropped top, high-waisted shorts, and Docs. B. doesn't feel like going, but I spoke to a friend earlier who wants to come, and it's a small East Nashville rock 'n' roll scene — I always see people I know at shows. I should eat something else before heading out, but I'm lazy and don't feel like making anything. I grab two beers from the fridge and put them in my purse to drink at the show. The cover is $10, but I only see the last band, so they take my $5 in cash. $5
11:15 p.m. — The show ends, and I go to Taco Bell for a crunch taco and a soft taco. Wash face, brush teeth, and am in bed by 11:50. $3.04
Daily Total: $20.54

Day Five

7:30 a.m. — I wake up, drink a glass of water, make green tea, and fry two eggs. On Thursdays my coworkers and I have a fancy appetizer lunch, and I'll need to pick up something to bring on my way to work, so I skip my usual breakfast on the porch and eat in the bathroom while getting ready. I tie up a black band tee over a black Aritzia dress paired with red Western booties. I wake B. up to ask him a question, and he pulls me in for a snuggle I don't have time for, but he's the sweetest man in the world and watering the flowers can wait.
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8:45 a.m. — I stop by Kroger and spend too long trying to pick out cheeses. I settle on a gouda and a cheddar, which is probably overboard. $13.79
12:30 p.m. — My coworkers and I break for our fancy lunch — assorted meats, cheeses, crackers, fruit, seafood salad, veggies, two desserts, and lemonade.
5:30 p.m. — I get home from work and snack on chips and guacamole in between doing chores (laundry, litter box, dishwasher). Dinner is grilled chicken, rice, sautéed peppers, and onions. A friend comes over and brings the biggest, juiciest strawberries and a six-pack of Diskin Cider as a housewarming gift. She, B., our roommate, and I hang on the patio eating strawberries and drinking cider until my roommate leaves and B. goes to band rehearsal. My friend and I continue hanging on the patio while I sand and paint my nightstand. It used to be a shabby-chic yellow and is now a slick, shiny navy.
9 p.m. — My friend takes off to meet a date, and I decide to take a bath using a Lush bath bomb and Lush face mask. As usual, I only last about 15 minutes until I get too hot and get out. I crawl into bed with my kitten and read until I fall asleep.
Daily Total: $13.79

Day Six

7:45 a.m. — It's Friday and raining outside, so I sleep in for an extra 15 minutes. Water, tea, skin care, and makeup, and then I get dressed in a vintage cream silk blouse and wide-leg black and white polka dot pants. For breakfast I have a slice of coconut bread with jam. I have a few extra minutes to journal and play with the cat. I scoop her up to kiss her goodbye, and she bites me on the nose.
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12:30 p.m. — Free lunch today! We order Indian food, and I get a chicken tandoori coconut curry bowl.
12:45 p.m. — I spill neon yellow curry down my shirt.
3:15 p.m. — It's been a slow day at work, but I finally get a fun project: scout a voiceover actor to narrate a video. I spend the afternoon listening to voice-actor reels. I receive an email confirming $172.50 was deposited in my account for the photo-booth event last weekend. I ended up staying a bit later at the event, so I guess they paid me for the extra time!
5:30 p.m. — CMA Fest is taking place in downtown Nashville, so traffic is wild and my commute home takes a bit longer. B. and I are shooting our friends' live show tonight. When I get home, I eat my leftover Indian food and then get the cameras ready. We pack up the car and head to the venue.
9:45 p.m. — The first band was killer! It's a live recording as well, so they provide free beers and BBQ chicken for the crowd. I have a couple beers while shooting and eat some drumsticks between sets. After the show, we head to our favorite beer and burger dive, Dino's, with the band and some friends. My cut for the shoot is $100, and the band pays us in cash. I don't eat, and our friend buys us a round of beers. After the bar we head to a friend's house for no reason.
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Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

9:30 a.m. — I wake up and remember that I need to send some work emails. I'd love to sleep in, but I know I'll just have anxious thoughts or dreams until I get up and do my work. I send the emails and then crawl back in bed with B. to snuggle. We get up, and I make us egg scrambles with spinach, cherry tomatoes, avocado, and salsa and slice some coconut bread. B. pours us some cold brew he made earlier in the week and squeezes fresh grapefruit juice into two Topo Chicos. We eat our breakfast on the porch, and then I weed the garden and sing and play ukulele for the plants. My Roma tomatoes have fruited! Surely it's due to my singing and not the 24 hours of rain we've just had.
11:50 a.m. — B. goes to return the camera lens he rented for last night, and I jump in the shower. His band is playing a one-day mini arts and music festival today, and some friends also invited us to come play wiffle ball and camp out on their property in the country. I want to do both things because FOMO. B. gets home and runs through his set. I take my time getting ready while listening to Crime Junkie. I dress in a white vintage Mexican embroidered top, white high-waisted shorts, and Swedish Hasbeens wood platform sandals. While I wait for B. to finish up, I drink lemonade and read on the porch.
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3:30 p.m. — We head over to the festival, and as soon as we arrive, we order some tacos from the Thai truck — BBQ pork and spicy guacamole folded into roti. I also order a Thai tea ($16.81). The tacos are huge and come in twos, so I eat one and give the other to a friend. We watch some incredible bands, hang with all of our buds, window-shop the vintage booths, and have our portrait drawn Picasso-style by an eight-year-old brilliant entrepreneur. We don't have any cash, but the festival set up Venmo for him, so I send $5. I get a free drink ticket from B.'s band but end up purchasing too many more throughout the day. $42.81
10.45 p.m. — The fest ends and we're exhausted, so we skip the camp-out at our friends' property and head home to watch the Miley episode of Black Mirror. We're in bed by midnight.
Daily Total: $42.81
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