A Week In Los Angeles, CA, On A $72,000 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.

Today: a Production Finance Coordinator working in Entertainment who makes $72,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Girl Scout Cookies.
TW: This Money Diary mentions disordered eating.
Occupation: Production Finance Coordinator
Industry: Entertainment
Age: 30
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Salary: $72,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,922
Gender Identity: Cis woman (she/her)

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $725 (I split a three-bedroom apartment with two roommates)
Student Loans: $165 (~$17,000 left)
Car Loan: $500 (I pay ~$175 above the min so I can pay this off faster)
Car Insurance: $118
Credit Cards: $0 (I finished paying off my credit card debt in Aug 2019)
Roth IRA: $130
Utilities: ~$80-$150 (my third of cable/water/gas/electricity)
Cell Phone: $42
Renter's Insurance: $5.84
Spotify: $5 (I split a Family account with roommates)
AMC A-List: $23.95
Hulu: $5.99
Netflix, Disney+, Amazon: $0 (roommates have them)
Apple Storage: $.99
Lifestyle Subscription: $59
Book of the Month: $16 (intermittently)
Donations: $10 each to Warren campaign, RAICES, and Fair Fight
Savings: $175 per month for Christmas
Annual/Semiannual:
Wax Pass: $280
Disneyland AP: $699
Broadway in Hollywood Season Ticket: $314 (this gives me seven shows a year)
Car Registration:
$267
Medium: $50
YNAB: $50
401(k): $340 (I max out my company match, pre-tax)
Health/Dental/Vision Insurance: $60 (pre-tax)
HSA: $40 (pre-tax)
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Day One

7:15 a.m. — Up later than usual. I've been recovering from a bad cold/virus and have been working from home for the last several days, but I'm going into the office today since I feel like a human being again. My typical work outfit is jeans, a sweater, and sneakers or flats. Manage to slap on some mascara, but nothing else.
8:30 a.m. — Chat with parents in the car, they're planning a trip to visit me for the first time in almost five years, so we discuss dates and what they want to do while they're here. My mom wants to go to the Getty, dad wants to ride the Millennium Falcon.
9 a.m. — Hit the ground stumbling at work. Despite getting a lot of stuff done from home, I feel like my work exploded while I was sick and I'm overwhelmed by everything that needs to get done. I focus on cleaning up my inbox and making a triage list while taking care of anything that takes less than two minutes to handle.
12:30 p.m. — I eat one of the two small chocolate chip banana muffins I made earlier in the week. This is technically breakfast. I have been working on implementing more intuitive eating practices and chief among them is waiting until I'm actually hungry to eat. I've discovered that I don't typically get hungry until the early afternoon. It makes sense as I've never been a big morning food person. Food too early actually makes me quite nauseous, so I'm glad to be letting go of some of that pressure to eat first thing. I would also like to take this moment to say that I've struggled with binge eating and disordered eating since I was a teenager and it's something I'm actively working on. The program that I'm in has already helped a lot, but I recognize that it's something I'll likely struggle with for a long time, if not the rest of my life. I'm working hard to repair and reconfigure my relationship with food.
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1 p.m. — Since I don't typically take a traditional lunch, I like to go on walks around my office during my lunch hour. I'm taking it easy today since I'm still recovering, but manage a 1.3-mile walk.
2 p.m. — So begins the onslaught of meetings. Three meetings in a row that end up lasting for well over three hours total. With the end of the month, my return from my sickbed, and an unexpected surge of productions starting, there's a lot of ground to cover.
4:30 p.m. — I down a handful of Thai chili & lime cashews from Trader Joe's during one of my meetings. They are spicy and delicious. I get a push notification on my phone that I won the lottery for What The Constitution Means To Me and check with my roommate, E., who also wants to see the show. I snag the lottery tickets for tomorrow night for $15 each. $15
6 p.m. — FREEDOM! I am so tired from a full day back in the office and I head out as quickly as I can manage. Call my grandma on the drive home and we catch up since we haven't talked in a few weeks. We spend most of the call complaining about politics.
7:30 p.m. — I got my last tax document today, so I run my stuff through TurboTax and H&R Block to determine where I get the best deal and H&R Block is the winner. Pausing on tax work, I have a bowl of leftover chicken korma and rice I got delivered a few days ago. Back to taxes. I double-check Rakuten and my credit card to see if I can get cashback from both/either and click through to get the cashback from Rakuten. I also end up getting a discount, so it only costs me $59.48 to file my taxes. $4.76 of which I'll eventually get back. $59.48

8 p.m. — I get an e-mail from Freshly letting me know my box has shipped. I thought I had canceled my service, so it's a somewhat nasty surprise that I'd only skipped a bunch of weeks and must have missed the reminder email. $59.99

8:30 p.m. — Roommates and I settle in to watch The Good Place finale. I cry. That wave speech, man. In bed by 10:30, but spend 20 minutes looking at The Good Place tag on Tumblr. What a fantastic finale.

Daily Total: $134.47
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Day Two

7:20 a.m. — Definitely won't be getting back to my normal morning routine until next week. Up and getting ready. Clean up some of my natural curls with my curling iron and put on my regular makeup since I've got the show tonight. My regular routine consists of Naked 2 Basics eyeshadow, Benefit BADGal BANG! mascara, and IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness Sensitive Skin Moisturizer. I'm a simple gal with skin that has expensive taste. My outfit is black jeans, black booties, and a blue flowery top.
10:30 a.m. — I legit do not know what happened the first hour and a half I was at work because I looked up and it was suddenly 10:30. I'll take the day going by quickly, but also damn. I go over to talk to another team and remember that one of them is selling Girl Scout cookies. I shell out $10 to get a box of Thin Mints and Samoas. My co-worker is gonna get a box of the Lemon Ups for me to try this weekend, so I get to hold onto that money until then. $10
10:45 a.m. — There's a car chase in L.A. which means all productivity screeches to a halt while everyone watches the livestream. I chat with some friends on Skype about the chase and weekend plans.
12:45 p.m. — I eat one of my chocolate chip banana muffins. There are a lot of things happening with new productions and we've got some new people on our team that I'm onboarding to different systems. My triage list is what's keeping me going at this point. I break at 1 for my walk and do 1.45 miles today before I head back for a meeting about Canadian payroll fringe rates. Yay, finance!
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3 p.m. — Released from my meeting! The room we were in was exceedingly hot. Not great when you're spending an hour discussing union fringes. I do a quick Google stalk of the guy from our call. He had a British accent so I automatically pictured him as attractive. The result of the search is that the accent did not translate into good looks. Shame.
4:15 p.m. — My brain is sputtering back online after some non-work convos with co-workers and I snack on a Chomps beef stick I had in my purse and some of the peach yogurt I had in the work fridge. I am mentally very done with today, but I still have over an hour left before I can head out.
6 p.m. — I'm out and TGIF! I swing by E.'s office and pick her up on the way to the theater. She ends up covering the $9 parking since I drove.
7:15 p.m. — The closest food that isn't $30+ a plate is several blocks away and neither of us feels like doing that jaunt right now. Instead, we grab overpriced sandwiches by the theater. I get a turkey club on a pretzel bun with some plain chips. As we're sitting down, I experience what I not-so-lovingly refer to as "digestive distress." I have a lot of gastrointestinal issues and never quite know what's going to set it off. I down two Pepto tablets that I always carry and hope that I feel better before the show starts. $17
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8 p.m. — We make it to our seats and (spoiler alert!) my stomach holds out for the whole show! What The Constitution Means to Me is incredible. It makes you think but is also hilarious, plus you get a free pocket Constitution. It is entirely possible that I will try to get lottery tickets again. Part of the end of the show involves two people asking each other questions left by the previous audience. I have no idea if my question will be read, but I leave "If you could add any amendment to the Constitution, what would it be?" I don't know what mine would be, something to think about.
10:40 p.m. — Drop E. off at her car and head home to bed.
Daily Total: $27

Day Three

8 a.m. — Alarm on my Fitbit Alta 2 wakes me up. I really enjoy the silent alarm on this thing and try to use that more than my phone.
9 a.m. — Pilates time! I'm so happy to be going back to Pilates. I started at a new studio this year but had to take time off while I was sick. It's a tough class, but this instructor is good about working with my current limits. Class is prepaid through my free month of ClassPass, but I'm currently saving up to buy a pack of classes when my trial runs out.
10 a.m. — Dash to my eyebrow wax appointment. My wax specialist and I discuss the car chase from yesterday. It ended with him turning into a mall and evading the police and the mall he went into is where I get my eyebrows waxed. They were on lockdown for an hour and it was pretty intense for them. My service is covered by my Wax Pass and I leave $5 as gratuity. $5
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10:20 a.m. — Feeling pretty hungry at this point, so I stop in at Starbucks. I refill my card ($20) and grab egg white bites and a Grande Strawberry Açai Refresher. $20
11 a.m. — I take my time enjoying my breakfast, perhaps too much time since I run out of my parking validation and have to pay $3. Womp womp. $3
12 p.m. — I drop by Cost Plus World Market to return some Rothy's that didn't fit. I make the mistake (?) of wandering around the store for an hour and end up leaving with a bar of fig and pistachio dark chocolate, lemon poppyseed scone mix, and a large glass jar for an art project. This store is dangerous and the next time I come, I'll likely drop a lot more money. $13.44
1 p.m. — I bop around doing random shit at home. I set up this new ring light phone stand that arrived yesterday. I've been toying with the idea of doing some videos for my hobby blog but wanted a better setup than balancing my phone on a bottle of pills against a water bottle. It looks really nice.
3:20 p.m. — I spend much of the afternoon working on wrapping up my planner for January and prepping February. There is a lot of habit tracking and assessment and goal planning involved so it takes a great deal of time.
5:30 p.m. — My roommate, V., is playing Kingdom Hearts, so I semi-watch him play while I work on my budget (I'm a YNAB girl), clean up my email inbox, and make the lemon poppyseed scones. I snack on some raspberries and yogurt while they bake. I learn that I put my Costco card through the wash and it is very broken. After I pull my scones out of the oven, I head over to Costco to replace my card and I do NOT buy a pizza even though I really want to. E., V., and I end up discussing What the Constitution Means to Me and the question I left. We've determined it can be your dream Amendment and have as many parts and clauses as we want. I still don't know what all it would entail, but it would definitely involve term limits for Congress and abolishing the Electoral College.
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6:15 p.m. — Put on the last half of Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse (I watched the first half earlier in the week, and it's not my first time seeing this movie) and start working on my art project. It involves making paper cranes, so I fold and half watch the movie.
8 p.m. — There is something on the TV, but I'm reading The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson. It's the last book of the trilogy and just came out. I'm so excited to get answers!
9:30 p.m. — In bed cause I've got an early day tomorrow.
1 a.m. — JK! I have been tossing and turning since I got in bed. I think I'm too excited and end up playing Word Crossy on my phone. I use it when I have anxiety attacks to wear out my brain. It works and I finally go to sleep.
Daily Total: $41.44

Day Four

5 a.m. — It's time to get ready to go to Disneyland!!! My roommate E. and I are going to attempt to ride Rise of Resistance this morning so we're out the door by 5:30. We make it to the garage about 10 minutes before it opens, so we're in line with a bunch of other crazy people here for Rise. We also make it to security before they're letting people in. Eventually, we get through security and I pick up a tall coconut milk chai latte from Starbucks paid for with the money I loaded yesterday.
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7:40 a.m. — We've made it through the park gates and have found a place to sit while we wait for official park open to hopefully get a boarding group.
8 a.m. — It's a tense 10 seconds in which we join boarding group 40. Cheers erupt amongst the groups surrounding us as people get their boarding groups. I refresh the app and by 8:01 ALL of the boarding groups for the day are full. It's going to be a bit before our group is called, so we head to Fantasyland and take our time going on some rides and meet Steamboat Mickey.
10:15 a.m. — We take the railroad from Toon Town over to New Orleans Square so that we can get the sour cherry beignets with chocolate sauce. They are out so I end up getting peppermint chocolate beignets as a consolation prize and E. gets a mint julep. $4.79
11 a.m. — They have finally started boarding for the day on Rise, so it'll still be a good deal of time before our group is called. We go on some more rides and wander the park.
1:15 p.m. — After I finally get to be the left pilot on Smuggler's Run, we grab lunch at Red Rose Tavern. I get chicken nuggets and fries. They're stuck at boarding group 28 so we decide to go on the Storybook boats and watch the Mickey's Magical Map show while keeping an eye on the boarding groups. $8.79
2:45 p.m. — E. runs into a friend from work after the show and we find out she and her friend are in boarding group 43. They've gotten up to group 38 so we head back to Galaxy's Edge to wait until our group is called. E. and I are talking about joining the Resistance and while channeling the intensity and aggression of General Hux, I end up shouting "and burn the First Order down!" in the middle of Fantasyland. Because this is Disney, no one notices except E. who cracks up. At least one person thinks I'm funny.
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3 p.m. — We wander the market and end up talking to a guy who's painting the landscape. E. wants a snack, so we go over to Docking Bay and she gets dessert while I play with my datapad on the Play Disney Parks app. I really enjoy playing it, but it's such a battery suck. I end up connecting my phone to my portable charger while I play.
3:40 p.m. — IT'S HAPPENING! Our group is called and we book it over to the ride entrance. The queue is so cool and we're super fortunate that everything goes well. The ride is absolutely incredible. I've never been on anything quite like it. The technology is so impressive, I am in awe, and I need to ride it like a thousand more times.
4:30 p.m. — We start wrapping up our day. E. gets some hot chocolate and I spring for the Toydaria Swirl. I've been really excited to try it and it looks so cool. E. says it looks like it's bleeding and I kind of have to agree. Unfortunately, mine ends up being so salty it tastes like I'm drinking spicy ocean water. I end up tossing most of it, it's super disappointing. $9.47
6:40 p.m. — We get home just in time to watch the last two minutes on the game clock of the Super Bowl. I am not a big football fan and have no skin in this game, but these last few minutes are pretty intense. My roommates and I catch up on some of the trailers and commercials everyone's talking about and we order pizza ($12 for my portion) and then I get sucked into watching The Masked Singer. What a weird show, but I get why people like it. $12
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9:20 p.m. — Time for a rinse to get the Disneyland off me and off to bed to read my book for a bit and then pass the eff out. Or that's the plan at least. When I get in bed, I can tell my mind is running too much again, so I end up playing Word Crossy until my brain wears out.
Daily Total: $35.05

Day Five

5:30 a.m. — Back to normal, alarm goes off and I end up snoozing it once before I roll out of bed. Follow my normal morning routine of bathroom stuff, my everyday makeup/skincare, I work on my planner, check in with my accountability group, update my budget, read some of Radical Candor by Kim Malone Scott, work a bit on the blog, and somehow end up on Facebook. Today's outfit is the usual sweater and jeans, but I also wear my new Rothy's!
8:15 a.m. — Since neither parent picks up (they both work non-traditional schedules), I end up singing for most of my drive to work. My dad calls me at one point and I get to tell him about how awesome Rise of Resistance is. They're getting closer to buying flights and then I can start planning their trip in earnest.
9 a.m. — One of the managers I work with gives me some free lemons from her tree.
11 a.m. — It is somehow 11. I don't know what happened. Beginning of the month means I have a lot of end of month/beginning of month tasks to handle and the morning flies past. My office is freezing this morning and since one of my managers is out sick, I borrow her desk space heater. This thing is amazing.
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12:15 p.m. — Time for a lemon poppyseed scone! These turned out so well. Excellent impulse purchase on my part.
1 p.m. — It is super windy today for my walk, but I still get in 1.9 miles and pick up some free tangerines along my route. There's a house with a tree in their front yard and a box of them with a sign. A lot of people who have fruit trees end up giving a lot of it away because they produce so much.
4:30 p.m. — An exec brings their Girl Scout daughter around selling cookies so I get a box of the Lemon Ups. I know I've got another one coming from my co-worker who's out sick. I just really love lemon things, okay? I get an email 20 minutes later informing me I won't get them until Wednesday. So still no Lemon Ups for me. I was hungry and excited for the cookies, so I eat one of my free tangerines and some blackberry yogurt. Something tastes odd about the yogurt. I've been having some weird issues with how food tastes and smells since I got sick, so I toss most of it. $5
6 p.m. — No calls or passengers on this drive, so I blast music and sing along. It should be no surprise to any of you that my singing playlist on Spotify is 100% Broadway music, though honestly, I need to add some songs from Frozen 2. At some point, I switch over to Jason Mraz.
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6:45 p.m. — My Freshly box has arrived. I quickly unpack it and take the box down to the recycling. If I don't do it right now, the box will still be in my apartment in a month. My dad texts me to let me know they bought their flights! E. and I are going to two different performances while they're in town and I'm able to snag tickets for both events for my parents. One of them is Escape to Margaritaville, and the gods are smiling down on me since the seats next to my season tickets are available. I have my first Girl Scout cookies of the season. Why are Samoas so damn good? I end up eating cauliflower shells with beef bolognese from my Freshly box for dinner and then I settle in to watch Full Frontal and start catching up on Grown-ish with E. $129.50
9 p.m. — I start winding down for the evening and go read more of The Hand on the Wall before lights out around 9:45.
Daily Total: $134.50

Day Six

5:30 a.m. — Alarm goes off and I snooze it until 6. I don't know why I'm having such a hard time getting up this morning. I poke around on social media for a few minutes before I remember that today's the day my new 2020-2021 theatre season is getting announced. The shows I'm most excited for are Moulin Rouge, Oklahoma!, and The Lion King. What I'm not excited about is that only two shows next season are at the Pantages and five are at the Dolby. I love the Pantages and am disappointed by how they're splitting things up now. I go online to see my dates for next season and it is the weirdest lineup. There's a five-month gap at the beginning and nothing at the Pantages until July 2021. :( I eventually continue with my morning routine, but I've definitely been thrown off my rhythm with this season announcement. I work on my budget and a self-paced online course I'm in.
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11 a.m. — It is somehow 11 AGAIN. I feel like I've been busy with a bunch of small things this week. Granted, I feel like that's a lot of my job. A thousand tiny tasks that add up to a full-time job. I check my personal email and see that my auto-renewal for Broadway in Hollywood has gone through. E. will Venmo me for her half since this is for both of our seats. Full cost listed above. My co-worker brings me a box of Lemon Ups and I pay her. I eat one, they're really good and I end up sharing some with the people around me. $5
12 p.m. — Ready for my lemon poppyseed scone. It is not as flavorful as the Lemon Up, but likely also has far less sugar. I send in an employee request for tickets to a show taping while my parents are here, we'll see how that goes.
1 p.m. — I head out for my lunchtime walk. I go in a different direction than usual and I'm not a huge fan. However, I stop into the Whole Foods near my office to grab a bag of grapes and some Ellenos yogurt. I text my best friend K. a picture of it; she introduced me to it when I visited her in Seattle a few years ago and I love it. She texts me back a lot of all caps of jealous excitement since she no longer lives in Seattle. This is such a wonderful and dangerous find. I buy four cartons of it. Sadly, they only have the single-serve or I'd throw my whole head in a tub of it. This turns out to be an even more excellent purchase since the yogurt I brought in this morning is missing from the work fridge when I put my bounty away. $11.94
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4 p.m. — The afternoon has been a blur of work tasks and I'm finally hungry enough to have some of my Ellenos yogurt. YUM! It's just as great as I remember it being, how satisfying. Perfectly tart and delicious. I read an MD and a couple of Medium articles while I eat my yogurt and accidentally go down a rabbit hole for 20 minutes. Oops.
5:45 p.m. — My stomach takes a sudden turn for the worse. I'm really hoping the Ellenos isn't causing it. I can't always handle dairy very well, but yogurt isn't typically a major issue for me. I pop a Pepto and hope for the best.
8:20 p.m. — Pepto helps a lot and I feel significantly better by the time I get home. Immediately, I change out of my work clothes and into leggings, a bralette, and a sweatshirt. Is there anything more wonderful than taking your real bra off at the end of the day? I decide to start reposting some of my hobby blog content to Medium to see if I can earn some money and get some more traction. I spend a bunch of time reworking a post and getting it up on Medium. Another Freshly meal for dinner, this one is sausage and peppers. It's delicious.
9 p.m. — I watch the latest episode of Schitt's Creek. While I'm sad this show is ending, I appreciate it when shows end while they're still good and tell the story they want to tell. I take a shower, wind down for bed, and read The Hand on The Wall. Lights out a little after 10. Brain won't shut up, so I fall asleep around 11:30.
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Daily Total: $16.94

Day Seven

5:30 a.m. — NOPE.
6:30 a.m. — It is 39 degrees here right now. I'm from the Midwest so I recognize that it's not truly cold, it's not even below freezing, but I live in a city that doesn't appear to have insulation, so getting out of bed when it's below 50 outside is unpleasant at best. I start my morning routine — makeup, planner, and accountability group. Today's uniform is jeans, a cozy teal sweater, and grey sneakers. I have an email from Medium letting me know the article I published last night has been curated. I also have a private message from a Medium publication letting me know they love my piece and want me to submit it for publication with them. Wow! I take care of that, read some of Radical Candor, and before I know it, it's time to leave.
8:45 a.m. — On my drive to work, my dad and I discuss hotel/Airbnb/VRBO options for their trip. Midway through, I realize I left my food at home. I'd hoped to make this a no-spend-day, oh well. Once I get to the office, I debate if I should go to Starbucks or Whole Foods. If I go to Starbucks now, I will be hungry at lunchtime, so I pop over to Whole Foods and grab more food than I really need. I get an orange cranberry muffin, an egg and cheese breakfast biscuit from the hot bar, and a bottle of Rebbl Maca Mocha Balancing Elixir. I rarely get the maca mocha because it's so expensive, but my impulse purchase heart just can't say no this morning. $10.49
9:30 a.m. — I recognize that I'm dehydrated and that's likely why I'm hungry this morning, but I have 1/4 of my maca mocha and half of my breakfast sandwich while I read today's MD and commit to drinking my normal 88 ounces of water after a few days of slacking.
11 a.m. — A coworker, M., messages me about the Super Bowl Half Time show which I have not watched, but have seen a lot about. She's on the fence about the show. We've had a couple of contentious discussions about how I think J. Lo is underrated and the inherent sexism and racism in her complete overlook at the Oscars. I maintain that Hustlers is a Scorsese-esque film except that it's about women of color and if it had been about white men, it would have had like eight nominations.
12 p.m. — My friend, I., messages me that she wants to try a Reformer Pilates class with me. We make a plan to go next weekend together! I haven't bought my class package yet, so I buy a five-class package to hold me over while I save up for a 20-class package. $100
1:10 p.m. — I take a break from the project I've been working on most of the morning to go on my lunch walk. I get in 1.75 miles today while listening to a podcast and get the breaking news alert from NYT when Trump's acquitted. Not surprising, but no less disappointing.
5:15 p.m. — I'm hungry so I eat some grapes and maybe two ounces of another Ellenos passionfruit yogurt. I get pulled into a lengthy discussion with one of my managers and then it's time to leave.
6 p.m. — Chat with my grandma on my drive home. She and I weren't especially close when I was growing up, but especially now that I live halfway across the country, I feel the distance between us. I wanted to have a better relationship with her since I regret pulling away from my maternal grandparents in the years leading up to their passing. Several months ago, I decided I would make it a regular thing to call her on my way home from work so that we could get closer and it's helped a lot. I really appreciate these talks and while we usually talk about her life or what's going on in mine, most of tonight's discussion is about Trump's acquittal and how annoyed we are about the current state of politics.
7:15 p.m. — It's leftover pizza for dinner and I have a Lemon Up and a Samoa.
8:20 p.m. — I rework another post from my blog for Medium. My roommates and I discuss catching up on some of the shows we all watch that we're currently behind on which consist of Doctor Who, Legion, and His Dark Materials. Not working on any of it tonight. E. puts on Kids Baking Championship and I work on wrapping up my MD. I get in the last of my 88 ounces of water! Success!
9:15 p.m. — TV off and getting ready for bed. Read more of The Hand on the Wall, lights out around 10.
Daily Total: $110.49
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