A Week In Ventura, CA, On A $36,000 Salary

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Today: a preschool teacher who makes $36,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a chocolate-chip cookie.
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Occupation: Preschool Teacher
Industry: Education
Age: 25
Location: Ventura, CA
Salary: $36,000
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly ): $1,160
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $800 for my half (My mom and I are both on the deed.)
Student Loans: $400 (This includes both a personal student loan and federal student loans.)
Health Insurance: $144 (My job pays 60% of my insurance.)
Netflix: $13.99
Hulu & Spotify: $12.99 (I got a special promotion for this.)
Amazon Prime: $14 (I'm canceling after this month.)
Credit Cards: $300 (This varies depending on which credit cards have a balance. Currently, only two of four have a balance.)
Disneyland Annual Pass: $39.99
Phone: I'm on a family plan, and my mom refuses to take extra money for it.

Day One

6:40 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I hit snooze. It's 38 degrees outside, which for some is normal, but in southern California, anything below 55 degrees is basically freezing.
7:45 a.m. — My coworker picks me up to head to work. I live less than a mile away from work, so I usually walk, but because of the cold weather, my coworker offers to carpool and I happily accept.
12:30 p.m. — Lunchtime! Today I brought a prepackaged salad, half an avocado, and Doritos.
5 p.m. — Finally off! I head home and zone out on my phone for about an hour before deciding to make dinner. I'm craving eggs for some reason, so I make scrambled eggs and add some turkey for protein. I add avocado and a side of Doritos, too.
8:30 p.m. — I shower and start getting ready for bed. It's super early, but I feel a headache coming on and I'd rather avoid it. I clean my face, brush my teeth, apply toner to my T-zone, and jump in bed. I turn on an episode of Gilmore Girls and am asleep by 10.
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Daily Total: $0

Day Two

6:40 a.m. — I snooze again, but it's Friday, so I don't dread getting up. I browse Instagram and go through my emails before getting out of bed.
10 a.m. — I have a conference for work coming up in a couple weeks, and there's an option for a buffet lunch. We're asked to pay in advance, and I pay for my lunch ($13), as well as my work BFF's ($13), because she's not at work today and it's the final day to reserve a spot. $26
12:30 p.m. — Lunchtime! Since it's payday today, my coworker and I decided last night that we were gonna buy lunch! We decide on The Habit, and I get a Caesar salad, a side of fries, and a drink. $12.64
5 p.m. — Hello, weekend! I am exhausted by my three-year-olds and can only think of taking a nap, but I've made plans for tonight and have to get home and get ready. I change into different jeans and a warmer top, and make a quick quesadilla because I'm already hungry. My coworker picks me up and we head to another coworker's house to meet with all the others.
8 p.m. — After having a glass of wine at my coworker's house, we head to a sushi spot. I'm not big on sushi and have different plans later in the night, so I just get some garlic-chili edamame and a Shirley Temple. My coworker says it's her treat since I didn't order much and refuses my cash, so I tell her it's on me next time!
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9:30 p.m. — My boyfriend, C., picks me up to head to our other plans for the night. One of his friends from his old job got engaged recently, so they invited us out to celebrate. We head to a karaoke bar downtown, and one of his old coworkers insists on buying me a drink, so I ask the bartender for a fruity rum drink. We stay for a couple more hours, and I eventually feel my eyelids closing on me, so we head home.
12:05 a.m. — Finally home. I quickly take off my makeup, brush my teeth, put on some pajamas, and crash into my warm bed.
Daily Total: $38.64

Day Three

8:10 a.m. — I wake up, scroll through Instagram and emails, and play this addictive word game I recently downloaded before getting up to start my day. I make some eggs and turkey for breakfast and watch an episode of Gilmore Girls, probably for the 100th time. I love this show!
10:45 a.m. — I head out to run some errands with my mom. We head to Target, and it's not as busy as I expected it to be. Valentine's Day is this coming week, so I buy some goodies for my coworker, as well as some goodies for my class and a card for C. We're not big on Valentine's Day, so we decided on no gifts this year. I also pick up chicken sausage, frozen mangoes, a birthday card for my dad, two gift cards for colleagues who wrote me a letter of recommendation for grad school, and tampons. $129.82
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12:20 p.m. — We stop by a Vons on the way home because I'm craving Starbucks, but it turns out this is the only Vons that doesn't have one. On the way out, I buy two boxes of Girl Scout cookies because it's that time of year again! $10
2 p.m. — My sister and I head to Olive Garden to have a birthday lunch with my dad. I get the unlimited soup (which ends up not agreeing with me later). My sister and I split the bill evenly. $38.66
3:30 p.m. — There's a Marshalls right across from Olive Garden, so I stop by because I want a new blanket. Surprisingly, I don't find a million other things and only buy a blanket for myself and a blanket for my dog. $38.95
6:30 p.m. — C. picks me up and we head to his house to hang out with his sister and our nieces. I'm starving but don't want to eat much since my stomach is still uneasy from the soup from earlier, so C. makes me oatmeal. We watch some Netflix, and I head home around 11. I barely take my makeup off and then go to sleep.
Daily Total: $217.43

Day Four

5:45 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I struggle to get up, but then remember I'm up this early on a Sunday because I'm going to Disneyland! C. and I spontaneously decided last week to take a trip today. We have annual passes, so we try to go at least once a month.
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6:45 a.m. — C. picks me up and we head out. We hit no traffic and arrive by the time the park opens. C. offers to pay for parking but doesn't have change, so I give him $5. $5
9:30 a.m. — We head to our favorite breakfast spot and get a loaded breakfast sandwich and a breakfast burrito. I pay. $17.92
11 a.m. — It's raining today, which means the park isn't as busy. Yes! I love rain, so it makes the trip even more fun. We go on a few rides and then stop for some snacks. Because of Valentine's Day, they have some special foods, including a mango-pineapple slushie I want to try. I buy it while C. buys mango to snack on. $5.81
3 p.m. — We head to California Adventure Park to have lunch, and I get chicken tenders and fries while C. opts for a buffalo-chicken sandwich. I pay. While we're sitting outside, the rain really starts to pour, but since we are covered we decide to just hang out until the rain calms down. $25.67
5 p.m. — We go on one last ride and then stop for an almond-milk iced tea and a giant chocolate-chip cookie ($11.33). We also stop by the Sephora in Downtown Disney because I need a new Beauty Blender ASAP. I pick up some new hair product to help with my frizz, too. I use store credit to pay, and C. generously offers to cover the rest. $11.33
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8:20 p.m. — We're finally back home, and all I can think of is taking my shoes off. I definitely wore the wrong shoes, and I already know I'm gonna feel it tomorrow. I chat with my mom for a while and then take a shower. I have work tomorrow, so I get some stuff ready. Then I get in bed, put on an episode of Gilmore Girls, and am asleep by 10:30.
Daily Total: $65.73

Day Five

6:45 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I am dreading today already. I get ready and head out. Since it's not raining like it has been for the past couple weeks, I decide to walk to work but quickly regret it once I remember how tired my feet are from yesterday.
10 a.m. — Is it 5 yet? I'm struggling to keep up with my three-year-olds today! Some days these kids drive me nuts, but some days I remember why I love working with kids.
1 p.m. — Since I was too tired to make anything for lunch last night, I go to Subway to grab a turkey sub with chips and a soda. $8.13
5 p.m. — Finally off! I walk home, and even though I'm tired, the walk feels nice. When I get home, I make a quesadilla and eat half of an avocado while watching an episode of Gilmore Girls. When C. gets off work, he calls me on his drive home. He does this every day, and I love catching up on how our days were.
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9:30 p.m. — I'm freezing, so after watching an episode of Chopped with my mom, I head to bed to warm up. I call C. and we talk for about 20 minutes until we both decide it's time to sleep.
Daily Total: $8.13

Day Six

6:40 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I snooze a couple times. Then I get up, make a sandwich for lunch, get ready, and head out.
10:05 a.m. — During my morning break, I check my emails and see that a recruiter from a job I applied to has reached out and wants to schedule a phone interview! Yes! This job is more within the field that I eventually want to work in, so getting this job would be a good step in the right direction.
1:30 p.m. — I'm not very hungry, so I munch on some edamame and mangoes. I work in a child-development center, and one of my best friends has a baby who is enrolled here, so I spend the last half hour of my lunch playing with her. Between her and my niece, I have my baby fix fulfilled and have no desire to have my own just yet.
4 p.m. — Today I'm off an hour early because C. and I have a concert to attend later tonight. I head home and change my clothes, and then C. picks me up to grab food before the concert. We decide on The Habit, and I get a Caesar salad and fries. C. pays ($17.86).
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9:30 p.m. — The main group that we're here to see hasn't even gone on stage, and I'm already starting to yawn. I don't know when I turned into a grandma. I buy an overpriced water bottle and bag of chips to help me stay awake. $5
11:20 p.m. — The show was fun, but this girl is tired! C. drives us home and drops me off. I quickly take my makeup off, brush my teeth, and get in bed. Then I play an episode of Gilmore Girls, and off to sleep I go.
Daily Total: $5

Day Seven

7:20 a.m. — I am taking the morning off, but my body still wakes up somewhat in time for work. I try to go back to sleep only to wake up again an hour later with a massive headache. It's raining and I decide I'm not in the mood to work today, so I text my boss that I won't be coming in. Playing hooky once in a while is okay, right?
10:30 a.m. — I have a bowl of Fruity Pebbles with Lactaid milk and catch up on the last episode of This Is Us. I love this show!
12:30 p.m. — I took a Tylenol after breakfast and I still have a headache, so I take a shower to see if that helps. Then I put some chicken in cold water to defrost for dinner later and get back to watching, you guessed it, Gilmore Girls.
3 p.m. — I decide I'm going to make roasted chicken with potatoes and carrots, so I start prepping everything. After the chicken is in the oven, I see that we have one avocado left, so I make some guacamole to tide me over until dinner, and I save half for my mom.
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5 p.m. — My mom gets home from work and we have dinner together. It's nice that I am able to cook dinner for her after she's had a long day. I wish I could do this more often, but work always leaves me feeling too exhausted.
7 p.m. — Since tomorrow is Valentine's Day, I start making goodie bags for some of my coworkers and my kiddos while watching The Notebook on TV. I finish up and grab a blanket to watch TV with my mom. Next, Big is on and I haven't seen it in a while, so I watch. Even though I'm not very sleepy, I start getting ready for bed around 9 because otherwise I'll regret it in the morning. I brush my teeth, apply some toner, and jump in bed. I play an episode of Gilmore Girls once again and call C. to say good night before I fall asleep.
Daily Total: $0
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