A Week In Los Angeles, CA, On A $41,000 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 Producer working in Television who makes $41,000 per year and spends some of her money this week it on Annie's mac and cheese.
Occupation: Production
Industry: Television
Age: 26
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Salary: $41,000
Paycheck Amount (Weekly, but the show I work on is on hiatus about four months of the year): $800
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,000 (My roommate pays $900. I have a bigger room)
Car Payment: $208
Student Loans: $122
Credit Card: $200
Additional Debt Payment: $100 (to a debt collector for an outstanding college bill)
Car Insurance: $89
Nurx: $45 (every three months for birth control — I don't have health insurance)
Billie: $9 (every three months for my razor subscription)
Netflix: $14.16
Amazon Prime: $119 (yearly)
HBO: $15
Water/Power: $95

Day One

5:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I press snooze once before rolling out of bed and hopping in the shower. I throw on some yoga pants, plus a t-shirt, flannel, and Adidas. My office is super casual and I'm expecting some physical labor today so I choose comfort. I put on some Kiehl's moisturizer with SPF and jump in the car.
6:40 a.m. — It's an early day because the show I work on is going to start shooting early next week so we have some crew on set getting things in place. I apply mascara and boy brow at red lights. I stop by a bagel shop to get bagels and coffee for the crew (prepaid for on the company card). While I'm there I grab a breakfast sandwich for me and my coworker, K. ($13.88). The guy taking my order is really cute. I plan our long and happy life together as I wait for my sandwiches. K. Venmos me for her sandwich. $7.88
9 a.m. — I grab a cup of coffee from the office kitchen. It's nasty Keurig coffee, but it's free. We have a new staff member starting, so K. and I get to moving furniture. We move a couch, desk, and some chairs around the building. While carrying a couch to stage we only get one sexist comment from a crew member who thinks he's being charming! A record low! Finally finished and I think this counts as my workout for the day.
10 a.m. — I grab a second cup of coffee from the office kitchen and am thankful my dinner plans canceled for tonight. I've had plans after work every day this week and I have a busy weekend ahead, so it will be nice to relax.
12 p.m. — I bought a crockpot last week and made a white bean and chicken chili for my meal prep. But of course, I forgot it in the fridge this morning. Luckily, my boss said we can put our lunch on production today! Woo! So we get fancy and order from Wood Ranch. I get a Caesar salad with salt and pepper chicken ($17.95 — yikes — on the company card). It's delicious. I also have a garlic roll and La Croix.
2 p.m. — I've reached a lull in my work, so K. and I start taking Buzzfeed personality quizzes. This leads to us taking the Meyers-Briggs test (we both get ENFJ, we are also both Pisces). I read through the description and agree with most of it, but totally disagree when it says we are the most happy when in romantic relationships. I am newly single and thrilled about it.
4 p.m. — Totally forgot it's someone's birthday so I do a quick run to pick up some cupcakes ($35.25 on the company card). I get them at a vegan/gluten free bakery because it's closest to the office and I just don't tell anyone they aren't normal cupcakes. No one notices. The man behind the counter is too hot to look in the eye. This is the struggle of living in LA; I'm surrounded by hot people at all times. Or I just need to get laid. Will report back.
5 p.m. — I send K. home and I stay the late shift. She'll come in early tomorrow and I'll get a little more sleep. Those Wood Ranch garlic rolls have been staring at me all day and I finally succumb and eat another with a La Croix from the office fridge. I read Money Diaries as the day winds down and can't get over how much you people work out. I finally head out around 6:15.
7 p.m. — I heat up the white bean chicken chili I meant to bring to work. I top it with some avocado and a squeeze of lime. So delicious. I then catch up on some TV — Righteous Gemstones, Black Lady Sketch Show, and Catastrophe. I make a bag of popcorn and eat half.
9 p.m. — My period is coming any minute and, like clockwork, so is a break out. I have one gnarly pimple on my chin so I crush up some aspirin, mix it with water, and apply the paste to the blemish for 45 minutes. My sure fire trick for reducing redness and swelling. Then I do the rest of my skin care — Glossier solution, Kiehl's avocado under eye cream, The Ordinary hyaluronic acid, and finish with Kiehl's ultra cream. I pray to the skincare gods this pimple looks better tomorrow and I go to bed.
Daily Total: $7.88

Day Two

7:10 a.m. — I wake up twenty minutes before my alarm, which is not unusual because of my deeply engrained anxiety of oversleeping. I snooze a few times and eventually scroll through social media until I finally get up.
8 a.m. — I roll out of bed and brush my teeth, spray in some dry shampoo, and put on SPF moisturizer. I then throw on Madewell jeans, a t-shirt, and black booties. I'm out the door in ten minutes. Mascara and boy brow applied at red lights on my way to work.
8:25 a.m. — I get to work and make some wheat toast with peanut butter and coffee. All provided by the office.
9:30 a.m. — My period finally came. It's always late or abnormal, usually lasting about seven full days. It's really frustrating because I put up with both of those things because my specific kind of birth control (Tri-Lo) really keeps my skin clear. I struggled with acne all through high school and college and I was thrilled to find a birth control that actually worked. However, now that I don't have health insurance, I don't have a doctor to ask why I'm breaking out so badly again or what to do about it.
12:30 p.m. — I brought the last of my meal prep for lunch today, but I've been eating it since Monday and when I find out the office is ordering from a dumpling place I immediately give in. Veggie dumplings and soup dumplings with a La Croix from the fridge. $9.90
3:30 p.m. — Things are really starting to drag at work so I walk around the office saying hi to coworkers and grabbing snacks along the way. Mini snickers, snack pack of Cheez-Its, and a La Croix.
6:30 p.m. — Still at work... most people have left, but one executive has stayed behind so that means I stay behind too. My coworker, T., stops by my office at the end of the day. We went on a date over the summer when the show was on hiatus. It went well, but then he did some traveling and in that time I rekindled things with a former flame. We've had awkward small talk since we all came back to work. Before he leaves for the day he takes out a Koozie he had gotten me in his travels from a restaurant I had recommended to him. Ugh. He's very sweet.
6:45 p.m. — I am OUT! I rush home, take my pants off immediately, and do another aspirin mask on the pimple from last night and another terrible one that popped up this morning. I'm feeling emo about it. I knew I was going to age out of my parents' health insurance at the beginning of the year, so I applied for Medicaid and was denied. I can't afford the payments on any plans so I'll regroup next open enrollment. My job pays me well enough, but we'll go several months out of the year where the show is on hiatus and I don't have work. Unemployment and temp jobs can't cover it all. I rack up debt during those times and I spend the time I do have a steady job paying it off. Listen. If something terrible happens, I figure I'll just send the bill to one of the millionaires I work for and explain I can't afford them because I work on their TV show.
8 p.m. — My friend, D., gets to my place and we walk to a restaurant. I have two bao buns, a beer, and we split fries and edamame ($21.26). We decide to head to a bar next door for another drink. We both have a Thai beer that was recommended by the bartender. The bartender also gives us complementary shots of ya dong, which is like a Thai moonshine. D. pays. It's really nice catching up with her. $21.26
10:30 p.m. — I get back home, take a shower, and do my full skin care routine. I am ready to pass out!
11:45 p.m. — Oh, got a booty call text from a guy I haven't spoken to in awhile. Eh, fine. I throw some clothes and mascara on and walk to a bar down the street. I get a shot and a beer while I wait for him. He gets there and orders us very strong cocktails. Karaoke happens, another beer, and we walk back to my place. I paid for the drinks ($43.60 + $11 tip) and he Venmos me for his drinks. $29.60
Daily Total: $60.76

Day Three

10:15 a.m. — Booty call finally leaves and I have a killer headache. I shower, take a couple Excedrin, and grab a dark chocolate chip peanut butter Perfect Bar from the fridge. I lounge around and watch a few episodes of Dressing Funny on Youtube while I do another aspirin mask. I try FaceTiming my mom but she doesn't pick up. Rude.
11:30 a.m. — I'm finally out the door and I head to a local shoe repair shop to get the soles of my Steve Madden booties replaced. I wear them so much I have worn literal holes through the bottom of them. I love this spot — it's really small, family owned, and has amazing prices. I drop my shoes off and they say to be back in an hour and a half.
12 p.m. — I sit in my car and FaceTime my parents. I tell my mom about some issues I've been having at my weekly volunteer commitment. She suggests I call my little brother for advice because he has worked in a similar area before. I hang up with them and give my brother a call. Sure enough, he had amazing advice on how to structure my time and make the most out of the experience.
2 p.m. — After grabbing cash to pay for the shoes and a quick coffee at Starbucks ($2.95 — paid for with a gift card), I return to pick up my shoes. They look great and it only costs $20. I head home, but stop by a deli first to grab a sandwich ($5.25). Fun celeb sighting at the deli — Gillian Jacobs! She seems really nice and obviously gorgeous in person. $25.25
3 p.m. — I eat my sandwich at home and text with my friend, S. We are making plans to get dinner tonight and possibly meet up with some friends at a bar if we're feeling up to it. We find a spot in the middle of us with a killer happy hour menu. Happy hour ends at 7 so we plan to meet a little sooner than I had planned to. I put on mascara and boy brow. I very rarely put on a full face of makeup. When my acne was bad I felt like I HAD to wear makeup to go outside, so when my skin cleared up it felt so freeing to not need it.
6 p.m. — I meet up with S. for dinner and drinks. I have a glass of wine and we split a couple apps. Kimchi Brussels sprouts and a kale salad. I am still pretty full from my sandwich so that is enough for me. We catch up on boys, politics, society, health, and friend drama. She's a great friend and I love when we get together. She gets one more glass of wine and pays with her card. I Venmo her my portion ($17). We decide we'll meet up with our friends for a pregame at a bar downtown. On our way to drop our cars off and change I stop to pick up a six pack of beer, pretzels, and hummus ($19.53). I need more in my stomach if I'm drinking tonight. $36.53
8:30 p.m. — We Uber to our friends place (we split the Uber, but my receipt on the app says the ride cost $0. Weird, but I'll take it.) and I have a couple beers and a shot at the pregame. We then split an Uber to Clifton's downtown ($6.63). I don't love this bar, but everyone else likes it so whatever. $6.63
10:p.m. — We get to the bar and S. knows one of the bartenders so we get to skip the line. The bar was actually pretty fun and S.'s friend gave us drink tickets so I pay for one drink and get one for free ($15 + $3 tip). $18
1 a.m. — I'm pretty exhausted and over it at this point, so I order an Uber pool. The driver doesn't start getting creepy until the end of the trip. Score! $9.17
Daily Total: $95.58

Day Four

10:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I can't believe I actually slept in. I lay in bed for a little longer before getting up and ready for brunch with my friend, C. I throw on some denim shorts, a crop top, sandals, and sunscreen and I'm out the door.
11:30 a.m. — We meet at a restaurant and I order an iced coffee, breakfast sandwich, and side of fruit. I catch C. up on life and my recent break up. We decide to order a side of tots to really round out our meal. We split the bill. $28.54
1 p.m. — I have a lazy afternoon at home watching TV. At some point, I walk to the Korean market by my place and get some blueberries and cheese sticks ($9.48). I get back home and make some ramen I had in the cabinet, throw in some pepperoncini, and eat my blueberries. I get a Venmo request from my friend, L., for a movie ticket. I'm seeing Hustlers with him and a couple of his friends tonight ($17). $26.48
6:45 p.m. — I meet L. at the Hollywood Arclight and we catch up because he's been out of town for the last month. His friends get there and we head into the movie.
9 p.m. — The movie was cute! I enjoyed it. I drop L. off at his place and drive home. I know I have a rough couple of days coming up so I get ready for bed right away. I contemplate texting my ex, but decide against it. Growth. I do my skin care routine and climb into bed.
Daily Total: $55.02

Day Five

4:39 a.m. — I wake up a minute before my alarm because anxiety. Why do I even have an alarm? I stay in bed for ten more minutes, then finally roll off the bed and get dressed. Yoga pants, t-shirt, denim jacket, and my newly fixed booties.
5:10 a.m. — I drive to work and blast some Taylor Swift to wake myself up. It kind of works.
5:30 a.m. — I get to work and immediately get to it. C. is here and she already has a few requests — need more water, missing a trash can, etc. It's just a rehearsal day, but we have a full crew coming so it's going to be a hectic day. I grab a coffee and Luna Bar from the kitchen.
10 a.m. — I do a run to Burbank to pick up a case of walkies. I get way too excited for the opportunity to leave the office for a bit. We get $0.58 for every mile, so I make a mental note to log my mileage.
12:30 p.m. — It's finally lunchtime and K. brought a slaw salad with crispy noodles and peanut dressing from Trader Joe's. It's really yummy, but the chicken grosses me out so I eat around it. I Venmo her for the salad. $5
4:45 p.m. — I'm finally out and I have some time to kill before volunteering. I can feel myself crashing, so I grab a sugar free Red Bull and snack pack of Cheez-Its on my way out the door. I head to Target to pick up socks, face wash, tampons, and Annie's mac and cheese. I then drive to the homeless shelter and hang in my car scrolling through Instagram for a bit. $27.13
6 p.m. — Every Monday, I go to the same shelter with a couple other volunteers and I tutor the kids living there. It's always a little hectic and overwhelming. I try to start this week with some stretching to help them focus, but it doesn't go over very well. We split into two rooms and I switch off between three kids helping them with homework. It's difficult for them to focus and I don't blame them. The hour flies by and I leave feeling useless and sad for the kids. I cry in my car.
7:30 p.m. — I'm home and exhausted. I make a depressing meal of Annie's mac and cheese with peas and watch Succession. God, I love this show. I finally do my nighttime routine and pass out around 9:30.
Daily Total: $32.13

Day Six

4 a.m. — Alarm goes off. Ugh. I know I need to get up now or I'll fall back asleep. I throw on some jeans, a t-shirt, sneakers, moisturizer, and I'm out the door. I try playing some pump up songs during my drive, but it's not working. I put on mascara and boy brow at red lights.
6 a.m. — My production assistants arrive. We have some new people this season, which stresses me out a bit because this will already be a difficult show day and I don't have my regular crew of people.
10:30 a.m. — It's been hectic. Lots of last minute runs and mini fires to put out. Nothing too major. I send everyone to lunch and I go on a run for paint. I get back and quickly eat catering food before audience starts arriving. I give everyone their positions and we're off.
1:30 p.m. — We finish taping, everyone loads out, and I assign everyone to clean up duties. Everything went smoothly! For the most part. As the action dies down, I start to crash.
3:30 p.m. — I'm finally leaving and while I still have the momentum I head to the grocery store so I can meal prep tonight. Rotisserie chicken, powdered ginger, peanut butter, carrots, purple cabbage, red bell pepper, non-fat greek yogurt, lime, and peanuts. $27.28
4:30 p.m. — I get home and start making a Thai peanut chicken salad. I hate cooking more than anything, but I can't eat out every day so I force myself to do it. I totally cut corners and try to make it as easy as possible and then it never tastes good and I force myself to eat it all week anyways. This week is no different.
5:30 p.m. — I settle down in front of the TV with the chicken salad. I forgot to get bread or crackers to put the chicken salad on, so I just eat it with a fork. It has no flavor so I try adding hot sauce. Still bland. I watch a few episodes of Catastrophe and the latest Righteous Gemstones. Definitely not sold on that show yet, but I will continue to give it a chance.
9:30 p.m. — I'm exhausted. This job is tough, but I really enjoy it. I was in corporate for a few years and it just sucked the life out of me. I love being right in the thick of things, working hard, and seeing the show I worked on on TV that night. Luckily I get to go to work at a normal time tomorrow, so I do my nightly routine and jump in bed.
Daily Total: $27.28

Day Seven

7:40 a.m. — I wake up a few minutes before my alarm. It's so nice to wake up at a normal time today. I snooze a few times before I remember I have a reward on my Starbucks card and I want to make sure I have time to stop on my way to work. I put on some jeans, a t-shirt, sneakers, and SPF moisturizer.
8:15 a.m. — I made it! I order a venti almond milk chai latte with two shots of espresso. I only order this when I have a reward on my card because it is so expensive, but so delicious. It's free!
10 a.m. — I'm getting hungry, so I grab a clementine and pack of almonds from the kitchen. My hunger reminds me that I left my lunch in the fridge at home. Of course. I need to go on a run anyways for cupcakes, so I stop by my place on the way.
12:30 p.m. — Lunch time! I toast a few slices of wheat bread and put my chicken salad on it. More hot sauce. It's so bland. I'm ready for this day to be over.
3 p.m. — A few friends start texting in a group chat about seeing Ad Astra next week. We all plan to meet up after work next Wednesday for dinner and the movie. I look online to buy a ticket and it's $23?!? AND they want to go to Tocaya beforehand? Listen ladies, I don't know if you have a "savings account" or get "paid appropriately for your job," but I cannot relate. I hold off on buying the ticket.
5:30 p.m. — I'm out! I'm going to my friends' house to watch the Bachelor in Paradise finale, so I stop at Trader Joe's and pick up their organic veggie pizza and a bottle of wine. We all catch up and laugh and have some wine. The finale makes me cry. They're all so cute! I blame my exhaustion and the wine. $18.71
11 p.m. — I'm finally home and ready for bed. I do my nighttime routine — the aspirin has done wonders by the way — and climb under my covers.
Daily Total: $18.71
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