A Week In New Orleans, LA, On $17 Per Hour

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Today: a nanny working in childcare who makes $17 per hour and spends some of her money this week on Annie's mac and cheese.
Occupation: Nanny
Industry: Childcare
Age: 22
Location: New Orleans, LA
Income: $17/hour for daytime and $10/hour during sleep time
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): Anywhere from $500 to $2,500, depending on how much I work
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $550 for my room in a three-bedroom apartment that I live in with two roommates
Student Loan Payment: $0 for now, but I will start paying off $65,000 in student loans in January
Utilities: $50-$80
Wifi: $24
Spotify & Hulu: $5.99
Adobe Creative Suite: $22 (I'm still on the student membership)
New York Times Subscription: $0 (It's free for affiliates at my former school)
ClassPass: $0 for now, but after my free trial ends next month I will pay $50
Health & Dental Insurance: $0 (covered by my mom and her employer)
Car Insurance: Also covered by my mom, for now. Once I obtain a full-time job with a regular salary, I will assume this expense from her.
Cell Phone: $0 (I'm on my Dad's family plan)
Netflix & HBO: $0 (I'm on my mom's family plan)
The New Yorker Subscription: $6.99 for 12 weeks
Savings: $200-$2,000 taken from every paycheck, depending on its amount. When possible, I have been making large payments to my private high interest loans from the money in my savings.
Annual Expenses
Vanity Fair Subscription: $12.99

Day One

7:45 a.m. — I wake up and make myself a cup of coffee using my French press. While the water boils, I wash my face, brush my teeth, and get dressed for spin. Once my roommates, G. and A., are ready, I pour myself a cup of coffee and grab a banana to eat on the car ride over. We arrive at Cycle Bar, grab our shoes, and get settled on our bikes for Throwback Thursday.
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9:30 a.m. — Wow! What a fun class. Our instructor played movie throwbacks the entire time — there's nothing like waking up to good workout with Michael Jackson and Eminem. Once we're off our bikes, my roommate A. and I head to CVS so she can pick up a few things. My other roommate unfortunately didn't make it through the class, and walked home halfway through. Afterwards, A. and I swing back home to pick up G. so we can grab a coffee at French Truck, one of our favorite neighborhood coffee shops. I order an iced drip and we hang out on the shop's front porch for a bit to discuss the class. $5.15
10:15 a.m. — We head home so A. and I can shower and get ready for work. We both have super curly hair and are Deva Curl fanatics! She recently splurged on their Super Stretch Cream; it seems to be working well, but I probably won't get it for myself. After our hair experiments, we get dressed and are out the door by 10:55 so I can drop A. at her work.
11:15 a.m. — I arrive at the school of the kids I nanny (B. and M.) a little earlier than usual. Once B. is all loaded into my car, we head home for lunch. M. is a little older, so he stays at school for a full day. Once we arrive at their house, I make her a turkey sandwich and put together a salad for myself. I'm really fortunate to have this job because it comes with a lot of perks. While I'm working, all of my food is free and B. and M.'s parents pay for all of the activities that we do together. I also get a lot of down time.
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12:30 p.m. — I unload and load the dishes while B. is in her room. Cleaning isn't a part of my regular day-to-day duties, but I'm treated like family with this job and I like to help out on the days where the housekeeper is away. When I finish, I sit down and do some work on my laptop.
2 p.m. — After her quiet time, I get B. from her room. We spend the next hour playing with sidewalk chalk and doing arts and crafts. Around 3, we start to make dinner together. I usually start a little later, but I have to dip out earlier than usual today to get my car checked out at the mechanic. It's been making some funny noises after a fix I did last week. B. is the perfect kitchen helper and it's really cute to see her excited about cooking. Around 4:15, B.'s mom comes home so I can leave.
5 p.m. — Looks like my car's A/C unit is going to need some work. It will set me back about $500, which is a total bummer because I spent $1,000 on it last week. My mechanic (who I trust) reassures me that it's necessary and will be worth it when I decide to sell. I make a mental plan to get it done next Thursday after payday.
5:30 p.m. — Once I get home, I make myself some dinner while listening to one of my go-to podcasts, The Daily. Tonight, I make myself a veggie burger with an egg, some sautéed spinach with butter and garlic, and roasted onions. After dinner, I do some work on one of my ongoing professional development projects. I was an English major in college, but I'm trying to get into PR. This has been a good assignment to teach myself more Adobe applications and web design, as well strengthen my personal brand while I'm waiting on a job offer from my summer internship. I'm trying not to put all of my eggs in one basket, so if I don't get the job, I'll have been working on something tangible to show potential employers.
8:45 p.m. — Before heading to bed, I brush my teeth and floss, wash my face with Aveeno, moisturize with Clinique, and apply my topical acne medication. I watch a few episodes of I Love Lucy before falling asleep.
Daily Total: $5.15

Day Two

8 a.m. — I wake up and make myself coffee. While I sip, I peruse some articles on the internet, talk with my sister, listen to today's episode of The Daily, and call to cancel a subscription that I got unexpectedly charged for after a free trial. I would love to keep it, but it's too expensive for me to keep up with.
9:30 a.m. — I make myself a smoothie for breakfast with almond milk, spinach, blueberries, a banana, peanut butter, and some protein powder. After I take a shower, I head to the bank to get an overdraft fee reversed on my account. I'm still trying to figure out how to balance my money effectively between accounts while maximizing the money I'm saving to pay down students loans. I'm a little disappointed in myself, but I chalk it up to a learning curve and move on.
10:15 a.m. — I leave the bank and head to a community center near B.'s school to work on my website and logo. I thought about going to a coffee shop, but this seems like the more responsible option. They have free coffee that's pretty yummy and a really nice, light-filled work space. Once I'm there, I decide that I'm happy with this decision. Today, I'm specifically working on designing a creative brief for my website. The whole process feels a little extravagant, but I think it will be beneficial in the long run.
11:30 a.m. — I arrive at school and pick up both kids to meet their mom, T., at a nearby restaurant for lunch. When we get to lunch, I get a veggie burger and salad. I also finish off B.'s milkshake.
2 p.m. — I load the kiddos into their mom's car so I can stop for gas before heading back to their house. Once we're home, the kids and I play a game of dog bingo. It's such a cute game! Shortly after, M. gets picked up by a friend and B. goes down for her quiet time. While she's in her room, I look up Bloody Mary recipes for a boozy brunch we're having at my apartment tomorrow and chat with the housekeeper. $20
4 p.m. — After B.'s quiet time and an afternoon activity, we start on dinner together. For a three-year-old, she has a pretty good palate and gets really excited to watch the pizza bake in the oven. Soon after dinner's started, M. comes home from his playdate and helps us set the table. Once their parents come home, I tell them about my brunch tomorrow and they give me a bunch of supplies they had leftover from from Bloody Mary party they threw themselves. I leave with Worcestershire, pickled okra, vodka, and some figs that they aren't going to use.
5:30 p.m. — I drive to Whole Foods and pick up the remainder of my brunch supplies. I buy tomato juice, celery salt, limes, horseradish, celery, lemons, and a large carton of eggs. The total comes to $15, but I immediately Venmo request my roommates. They pay me back shortly after. $5
6 p.m. — I come home to my puppy waiting for me at the door. My friend took him to go camping this week and dropped him off while I was at work earlier today! It's super nice that I have a support system that helps me care for him — I don't know what I would do without it. Being a dog mom is challenging! Once I put my groceries away, I change into athletic clothes and take him to Audubon Park for a run. They have a beautiful 1.8 mile jogging path, which is one of my favorite spots in this city.
7:15 p.m. — After we leave the park, I head to another grocery store that's on our way home. It's finally cool enough to leave the dog in the car with the windows down, so I do. I buy orange juice for mimosas and bananas for myself. I could've bought this stuff at Whole Foods, but I wasn't about to get organic orange juice for 15 people. Even better, at this store it's on sale! This time I don't charge my roommates, as they will be contributing some of their own stuff. $9.88
8 p.m. — Once I'm home and everything is put away, I start making dinner — more spinach with butter and garlic and a can of chickpeas with chili flakes and garlic. Glamorous, I know! I also make a quick jam with the figs. After dinner, I spread the jam over cinnamon raisin bread with butter. It's actually quite delicious!
9:30 p.m. — I sit down to watch a TV drama with my roommates. Then I get ready for bed and take my pup outside for his nighttime pee. Shortly after, I head to sleep. What a riveting Friday night!
2 a.m. — Just kidding about the sleep part. I wake up in the middle of the night to my dog's soft whimpers. He has to go outside, so I begrudgingly take him. He's super picky about where he goes and we traipse around the field next to my apartment for 10 minutes. When he finally does his business, a man rides by on his bike and distracts him halfway through. Oh well, at least it was something! I'm not the happiest camper, but getting this over with now means that I will be able to sleep a little longer in the morning.
Daily Total: $34.88

Day Three

8 a.m. — It's brunch day! I wake up, make myself coffee, take the dog out for a walk, and start cleaning the apartment with G. In the meantime, A. heads to the store to pick up some last minute supplies. After our apartment is clean, I start on the Bloody Marys. I love doing stuff like this! I put together the mix and make some fun garnishes by skewering olives, pickled okra, and lemon/lime wedges. I also set out some salt for glass rims and celery. Just call me Martha! Once everything is presentable, I hop in the shower and get dressed.
10:30 a.m. — Our friends start to arrive. Since it's a potluck, I help everyone set up their dishes and make sure that everyone has a drink in their hands! Today, we're celebrating my friend who got a job in another state and is leaving us on Monday. We'll all be sad to see him go, but it's nice to have everyone together! Brunch commences and we play a game and reminisce about our favorite memories with him.
1:45 p.m. — Once brunch starts wrapping up, I go into my room to change for a festival that I'm volunteering at today. It's being organized by the same company that I did my summer internship with. Since I'm up for a job with them, I figure that this will be a good way to show my interest and dedication. My friend who was also an intern is coming with. She meets me at my apartment, we pour ourselves some leftover drinks, and then head to the streetcar near my house, which will bring us close to the festival grounds and we won't have to worry about parking downtown. $1.25
2:30 p.m. — Once we're checked in, we head to our station. We end up having a lot of fun and get to chow down on some yummy free food and beer. By coincidence, I'm stationed with one of the company's hiring managers. He checks in with me about the job and lets me know that they will be in touch later this week. It's not a promise, but it's definitely reassuring!
6:30 p.m. — The festival is a success. Once my shift is over, I part ways with my friend and meet up with a group of other friends at the festival. We walk around, they get some stuff to eat, and we all settle in to listen to the live music. It's really nice that they're here. Although it's a large festival, there was other stuff going on in the city and it seems like they made a special effort to come! I'm feeling really grateful.
9:30 p.m. — We leave the festival and head to a bar. It's super cozy and the drinks look good, but I am spent from a long day so I opt for some water. After about an hour, the group decides to call it quits. To save some money, we all streetcar back. Thankfully we all live right off the route. It's $1.25 per person, but my friend offers to pay with the leftover cash that he has.
11:15 p.m. — I come home and immediately take my pooch out. I feel bad that he's been home alone for so long, so I take him on a longer walk. I'm lucky to live in a neighborhood that's well lit and safe at night. Plus, my pup is pretty large and a guard dog by nature. He would most likely be able to defend us if a situation were to arise. After our walk, I snack on a banana, do my night time routine, and PTFO.
Daily Total: $1.25

Day Four

9 a.m. — I wake up and make myself coffee. While the water boils I have an uncomfortable conversation with my roommates about the dishes that were left overflowing in the sink. They're both going to work today and probably would've just left the party cleanup to me. They aren't as neat as I am, and I try to be understanding about our different standards, but a lot of the housework in our apartment falls on me. They are pretty understanding of my concerns and each do a couple dishes before they leave. When my coffee is ready, I take my pup out for a short walk around the block. Afterwards, I make myself a smoothie and finish cleaning up the kitchen.
11 a.m. — I decide to take the dog to Audubon again, this time for a walk instead of a run. We do the short loop and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Once I come home, I take a shower, get dressed, and eat an apple. I spend the rest of the day thrift shopping. After an afternoon at Goodwill and Buffalo Exchange, I don't find anything. It's okay though, I love the hunt that accompanies a good thrift purchase. It makes empty-handed days like these so much more worth it.
4 p.m. — I stop by the grocery store on my way home. I pick up apples, corn, yogurt, sweet potatoes, toothpaste, spinach wraps, tomatoes, an onion, some buffalo chicken breast, and a couple jugs of water. Once I'm home, I put my groceries away, make myself a wrap, and curl up on the couch to watch Under the Tuscan Sun. $22.15
6:45 p.m. — I almost forgot that I was supposed to nanny tonight! Once I'm at T.'s house I get the kids into the bath and dressed for bed. We settle down in S.'s room to read books and sing songs before they go to bed. They're being really sweet tonight, which makes working on a Sunday night so worth it. Once the kids are asleep, I pour myself a glass of T.'s homemade hibiscus iced tea and continue my 90s movie marathon with Sleepless in Seattle. So heartwarming!
10:15 p.m. — Once the parents get home, I swing back home to pick up my roommate to go say goodbye to our friend who is moving. We meet him at his house and help him with some last minute packing. It's a pretty somber evening. I used to date him, and although we broke up a while ago and I no longer have romantic feelings for him, it's going to be difficult to see him off. We've managed to cultivate a pretty good friendship within the last few months. He ends up giving me an old camera and a super swank bag that he no longer has use for. It's a very generous gift, but I don't exactly know how to feel about it, given our history. I try not to think to hard about it.
12:15 a.m. — After a depressing goodbye, we drive home. I take my pup out for his night time pee. Once he's done his business, I do my night time routine. This time, I use a jade roller. It's super relaxing and feels good after an emotional evening. Afterwards, I cuddle my pup in bed and scroll through my Instagram feed. I fall asleep around 1 a.m.
Daily Total: $22.15

Day Five

8 a.m. — I wake up, make myself coffee, do some leftover dishes, and fold some laundry. Around 9, I take the dog out for a 30-minute walk and listen to today's episode of The Daily. When I get back, I shower and get ready for the day. For breakfast, I make myself a smoothie with blueberries, spinach, maple yogurt, protein powder, peanut butter, and almond milk. Afterwards, I tally up all of my upcoming expenses for the week. I'm getting my wisdom teeth out this week and will need to pay for my car to get fixed. I will also have to pay rent this week. It's definitely going to be a tight month. This is also my first pay period where I won't have worked at least 90 hours. I'm trying to maintain some financial independence, but I might have to ask my parents to help me this month.
10:30 a.m. — My roommate and I get into my car to go register to vote at one of the universities in our neighborhood. We're both Democrats and are pretty politically active. Although we live in a red state, we still feel that it's important to vote in the midterms. It's really cool that there are so many voter registration stations throughout the city. I would like to think that we have a chance to make a significant impact this year! After we register, we head to another one of our favorite coffee shops, Cherry Coffee. I get a drip coffee and we sit and chat for a while. $3.18
12:15 p.m. — When I get to work, B. isn't back from school yet, so I do some work on my laptop. I also book a class on ClassPass for tonight and look into classes for my roommates and I to go to tomorrow morning.
1:15 p.m. — B. comes home and goes down for her quiet time. I continue working on my laptop. After 45 minutes I get her from her room and we spend the rest of the afternoon having a tea party, jumping on the trampoline, and reading a bunch of books. Her mom comes home with M. around 4:30. I leave around 5.
5:15 p.m. — I come home and make myself a buffalo chicken wrap and get my pup ready to go to the dog park. When we're there, he rolls around in the mud and makes a ton of friends. In the meantime, I chat with the other dog owners, most of them are regulars at this park. When we're about to leave, we come across a dog who we think is one of his siblings! They're really cute together and I let him play for a few more minutes. Although he's a mix and looks pretty unique, I've been seeing a lot of dogs that look like him lately. I think that someone is breeding his kind in Northern Louisiana. It's slightly disheartening. From what I've gathered, most of these dogs are being adopted out of shelters and have been subjected to trauma. Whoever is breeding them isn't being very responsible.
6:45 p.m. — Once we're home, I hose the dog off and get ready for hot yoga. I also enlist my roommate to come along. When we're about to leave, I realize I haven't drank nearly enough water for this class. I promptly chug two glasses. It's probably too late, but at least it's something. I'm hoping for the best!
7:30 p.m. — We get to the studio and I realize that I forgot my mat on my kitchen table. Fortunately, I can rent one at the studio. $2
8:30 p.m. — What a wonderful class! We both really loved it. It wasn't too challenging or too easy, and our instructor was really nice. Plus, they had cool lavender eucalyptus towels for us at the end. We're both on a post-class high! Once we get home, we take my pup out on a walk.
9:30 p.m. — After a quick shower I settle in for the night. I'm pretty tired after that class and I think I'm getting my period, so I go right to bed.
Daily Total: $5.18

Day Six

6:45 a.m. — I wake up, boil water, get dressed, take my pup out, and pour myself a small cup of coffee. I don't have that much time this morning, so I drink my coffee on the go. My roommates and I are going to a barre class at 7:15. It's my first barre class ever and I'm a little apprehensive. Once we get there, the instructor shows us around the studio and asks us if we have any concerns. She's beautiful and seems really nice, which definitely calms me down.
8:15 a.m. — That wasn't too bad! But the class definitely reminded me how uncoordinated I am! My hips are hurting already, but I take it as a good sign. My roommates and I all agree that it was a great class, we'll just have to get used to it! We head back to French Truck for coffees. This time I opt for a cheaper drink. $3.27
9 a.m. — After we finish, we head to Whole Foods to grab some groceries. Not going to lie, at this point it is pretty challenging to walk. But I must persist. I'm getting my wisdom teeth out tomorrow and I definitely need smoothie supplies. Once we're there, I pick up whole milk, whole milk yogurt, baby spinach, smoothie mix, eggs, kale, orange ginger cashew soup, a box of Annie's mac and cheese (if you know, you know), penne pasta, avocados, and two meal replacement smoothie packs. Once I get home, I take a shower and make myself some eggs and chickpeas with avocado on the side. I leave around 11:15 to pick up B. from school. $41.44
12:30 p.m. — We get home and I make her a lunch of mac and cheese and broccoli. She goes down for her quiet time. In the meantime, I work on my laptop. When she gets up, we watch a few episodes of Masha and the Bear and complete a bunch of sticker book activities.
5:15 p.m. — I'm not cooking tonight, so I leave a little earlier than usual. Before I do, however, I grab a few Daily Harvest smoothie cups that T. said that I could have. Again, so generous! When I get home, I take the dog for a longer walk and hang out with my roommates.
6:30 p.m. — I order a pizza from Ancora. It's my last meal before my procedure tomorrow, so I decide to treat myself. I get a white pie with garlic, basil, olives, and capers. After I pick it up, I promptly consume the entire pie. It's delicious and I can't help myself! And they do say that pizza is the healthiest junk food! My roommates and I spend the rest of the night swiping on dating apps together! We joke that we really need boyfriends. I also really need to work on my pick-up line game. $15.45
8 p.m. — I do my nighttime routine before heading into my room to watch a couple episode of I Love Lucy. I end up falling asleep around 10.
Daily Total: $60.16

Day Seven

6:30 a.m. — I wake up, get dressed, and take my dog out for his morning walk. Unfortunately I can't eat or drink anything, so I forgo the coffee. After I return, I take a shower and head to the dentist's office with my roommate. She's an angel and will be helping me today. Once I'm there, I check myself in. It's $200, but my dad graciously offered to pay.
8:30 a.m. — Once I'm in the chair, everything goes smoothly. My doctor jokes at how low my blood pressure is. He says it's probably lower than than his and confirms that I'm really not that nervous! It's true, I try not to get too worked up about these types of things! Soon after, he sedates me and I pass out.
9:30 a.m. — I'm suddenly awake and blabbing about yoga to the tech who aided my doctor in surgery! Go figure. She tells me everything went smoothly and wheels me to my car. My roommate drives me to the pharmacy to pick up my prescriptions. I'd like to think that I'm tougher than I am, so I offer to go inside with her. I manage to pick out ice cream and and water before I decide that I'm too woozy to stand up. I ask for my keys and shuffle to my car while my roommate fills my prescriptions. When we get home I get right to bed, text my friends and family that I'm okay and pass out. $26.24
2 p.m. — I wake up to a very bloody mouth. I change my gauze while my roommate makes me a smoothie. At my request, she combines peanut butter, a chocolate meal replacement pack, yogurt, half a banana, and half an avocado. I'm still too woozy to sit up, so I drink my smoothie in bed and watch Friends.
6 p.m. — I'm starting to feel a lot better. I text with my mom and chat with my brother before taking my pup out for a walk. It starts to rain and he gets poop-shy. I can tell that he has to go though because he has poopy butt! After a frustrating 30 minutes, he finally does his business. Fortunately, I don't feel too bad and this wasn't too difficult a task for me! When we get inside, I use a towel to dry him off and make myself some Annie's mac and cheese.
9 p.m. — I wash my face and gently brush my teeth. I'm still a little numb, so I'm very careful to not go near the back of my mouth. Soon after, I crawl into bed take my medications and a half dose of Oxycodone. I studied public health in college, so I'm really wary of addiction and the side effects of painkillers. Fortunately, this seems to be enough and I have a restful full night of sleep!
Daily Total: $26.24
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