ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Money Diaries logo

A Week In Los Angeles, CA, On A $217,920 Salary

Photo: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock.
Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. We're asking real people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.

Today: a project manager who makes $217,920 per year and spends some of her money this week on a fruity drink.
Occupation: Project Manager
Industry: Logistics
Age: 26
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Salary: $217,920
Net Worth: $376,400 ($138,000 in cash across checking and HYSA, $7,400 in an IRA account, $20,800 car value, and about $210,000 in an employer retirement account).
Debt: $0
Paycheck Amount (biweekly): $5,620
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $2,950 (I live alone in a one-bedroom apartment).
Utilities/Parking: included with rent.
Spotify/Hulu: $9.99
Netflix/HBO: I leech this from my parents.
Car Insurance: $160.66
HYSA: $200
Advertisement
ADVERTISEMENT
Annual Expenses
Amazon Prime: $139
Ring: $30
Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
Yes. My parents made sure I knew that I had to attend college. I am very fortunate that they paid for my degree and some allowance during college. I am planning to purse a graduate degree and they have offered to assist me with a portion of those expenses as well.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
We did not talk about finances but I think my parents modeled healthy financial habits and helped me open my first bank account and get my first credit card.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I started working in a coffee shop when I was 16 because my parents wanted me to get a summer job and it was nice to have some extra spending money. I made $7.50/hour plus tips.
Did you worry about money growing up?
Not really. I knew we were decently well-off for the most part. My friends seemed to have more than I did so I did feel some insecurity, but I knew we still didn't have many financial troubles. I remember when my dad was laid off due to the 2008 financial crisis. There was a lot of tension in the family for a while, and that caused some anxiety as a kid.
Advertisement
ADVERTISEMENT
Do you worry about money now?
I worry about my spending sometimes and have made steps to reduce my discretionary spending and subscriptions, but otherwise I don't worry much.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I became financially responsible for myself when I graduated college and moved to Los Angeles. My parents still pay my cell phone bill but I think it's because they feel bad that I'm their only single child. I know that if something were to happen to my job or finances, they would help me out.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
I inherited a car from my grandmother when she passed away, which I eventually sold for $2,000.

Day One

12 a.m. — I get home from a work trip (finally) and am hungry. After a quick shower and changing into comfy clothes, I pull up Uber Eats and order my current guilty pleasure — a Popeyes three-piece chicken with a biscuit — for delivery ($26.07 with fees and tip, ouch). This will be expensed by my employer since it's technically dinner from last night. I've otherwise been trying to minimize my delivery orders since they were getting out of control last year. Once it arrives, I stuff my face while sitting in bed and then lazily do nighttime skincare (salicylic acid wash + retinol + undereye cream + super moisturizing face cream) and brush my teeth before getting back in bed where I lie awake for far too long before passing out ($26.07 expensed).
Advertisement
ADVERTISEMENT
8 a.m. — Up at my normal time, I stumble to my kitchen to take my pills. Then to the bathroom for morning skincare (salicylic acid wash + hyaluronic acid + lighter face lotion + sunscreen) and teeth brushing. I add my usual WFH makeup consisting of Glossier mascara, eyebrows and eyeliner. I head to my desk and begin grinding out work — lots of emails to catch up on following the travel. I work mostly nonstop (new medication has helped with some focus and anxiety issues I have so I hope it keeps working) apart from a few social media and pee breaks.
1 p.m. — Lunch! Trying to keep on the ball with not ordering delivery. I have an eggplant parm in the freezer that I made before my trip so I defrost and heat up a piece to eat for lunch. I also take advantage of my remote day to do some laundry and unpack my toiletries. I'm still hungry before I go back to work so I also snack on a vanilla yogurt cup. Then back to my desk to grind out more work.
6:30 p.m. — My brain was a bit foggy this afternoon so it takes longer than I had hoped to wrap some things up. I finally finish and try to inspire myself to work out by sitting on the couch and doomscrolling for a bit. I've been doing well at keeping up with my running goals for the past few months but after being a bit inconsistent last week, I'm struggling with the motivation. Before heading out to the gym, I finally hear back from T., a guy I've been very casually dating, which makes me both happy and irritated. He was a lot more responsive before my trip but has been slow to text me back and make plans. He asks me to hang out tomorrow night so I think about it while I head out to the gym. I run an easy four miles on the treadmill and then stretch and do some ab workouts and planks and feel okay about it.
Advertisement
ADVERTISEMENT
8:30 p.m. — I get back from the gym and text with T. for a bit as we make some tentative dinner plans for tomorrow night. I take a long shower and wash my hair, then take the time to fully dry and style it with my Airwrap to keep it looking nice for the next few days. My hair used to take forever to dry and style because it's so thick and unruly, so the Airwrap has been a real lifesaver. Trying to avoid more exorbitant delivery fees, I scrounge around my fridge and settle on making a hefty salad from a bunch of stuff that's starting to be less than fresh. I make a mental note to do a big grocery order later and pour a glass of wine. After eating, I spend way too long on the couch, catching up on shows I missed (tonight it's 90 Day Fiancé and Love After Lockup). I do my skincare and brush my teeth, then transfer to my bed where I continue to feed into my insomnia and fall asleep after a few more hours of listening to old sitcoms play on my laptop.
Daily Total: $0

Day Two

8 a.m. — Up as usual and do my normal morning routine. I have back-to-back meetings all morning and my brain feels like it's on fire and my voice hurts from talking so much. I try to push through, albeit distractedly.
11:30 a.m. — Meetings are done for now and I need to do something other than work. I reload my Starbucks card and order a tall mocha (no whip) and a brownie ($15) and take a walk around the neighborhood for a break. I also text a bit with T. and he wants to push our date back to Saturday (hmm...), which is actually probably a good thing because I'm not really in the mood for a date tonight. Then I get back to work for the rest of the afternoon, mainly digging around in Excel. $15
Advertisement
ADVERTISEMENT
4:45 p.m. — A coworker texts and says she's heading to a happy hour with some other people who live in the area later and invites me to tag along. I'm so over work right now and want to be a bit social so I squeeze in a quick jog then take a shower, put on actual makeup, then head out to meet my coworkers at a bar. I drink one hard cider ($12 with tip) and have a good time chatting and listening to others vent about their projects, plus we fill each other in on some org changes. $12
9 p.m. — I get home and change into comfy clothes, and then defrost and reheat the last of my eggplant parm. I also make myself do something sort of productive and get a good clean of my kitchen done and fold some laundry. I remove my makeup and do my nighttime routine, then I lie down in bed and alternate between watching trashy reality TV and scrolling on my phone before going to sleep.
Daily Total: $27

Day Three

5:45 a.m. — I set my alarm for 5:45 since I want to go into the office today. Once I turn off my alarm, I promptly curl back up and go to sleep for another hour.
6:45 a.m. — Okay, actually awake and up now. Shower, spend a bit of time fixing my hair and makeup, and then head into the office for the day. I usually try to work in the office a few times a month to catch up with folks who work in the office more frequently than I do. Before getting to work, I stop for gas and fill up my tank. $60.12
Advertisement
ADVERTISEMENT
8:30 a.m. — I work for most of the morning apart from walking around and saying hi to some people I haven't seen recently. At some point, I pop over to the cafeteria and pick up a water bottle (left mine at home, sadly) and a snack (salted almonds) to eat at my desk while I shuffle through meetings and emails and inquiries and project timelines. I also text with J., who I met about a month ago. We haven't actually hung out in person yet outside of the few minutes where he asked me for my number at a bar, although we discovered we only live a few blocks away from each other. He asks if I'm free this weekend to grab dinner and catch up and we make a plan to meet on Sunday. $3.25
1 p.m. — During my lunch break I leave to go get my car washed ($12), and then sit in my car for a bit and make some tentative meal plans for next week, adding a few things to my Whole Foods cart. I also browse Bloomingdales since I have a bunch of store credit after returning some Christmas gifts this year. I have a trip coming up in a couple of months so I'm looking for some updated vacation clothes. I hold back on actually making any purchases for now. $12
4:30 p.m. — I'm done for the day after a long afternoon of reviewing some of my employees' work. I mostly like managing but sometimes giving feedback can be difficult, like it was today. I listen to music loudly while I sit in SoCal freeway traffic for an hour, and then change into workout clothes. I head to the gym and manage a cool seven miles, then stretch, plank, abs, etc. I shower and then rummage through the fridge for carbs. I end up making some spaghetti with a light buttery, lemony sauce and plenty of cheese on top plus sautéed garlic and Brussels sprouts that I rescue from the crisper. Amazing.
Advertisement
ADVERTISEMENT
9 p.m. — I'm feeling weirdly invigorated and adventurous and decide to explore the city tonight. I put on makeup, do my hair, put on some cute clothes and head out to a rooftop bar I've been meaning to check out for years. I snag a seat at the bar and order a fruity, boozy, spritzy drink (which soon becomes two, for a total of $55.09 with tip). A group of guys sits next to me and we end up chatting for a bit; they're from out of town and are visiting for the weekend and I end up sharing some restaurant and bar recs. I also talk to the bartender for a bit since it's not too busy, and he mentions that he lives in the neighborhood as well. We complain about the lack of cheap parking and the awful Whole Foods layout, and he pours me another on the house. $55.09
11:30 p.m. — Home earlier than expected! I'm still feeling a bit social so I end up FaceTiming with a good friend from college. We complain about work and life and boys for a bit. I finally take off my makeup, do my nighttime routine, and scroll on my phone while cocooning under my duvet for a couple of hours before passing out.
Daily Total: $130.46

Day Four

8 a.m. — I hate that I can't sleep in anymore. I think this started happening around my 23rd or 24th birthday. I'm not going to let this stop me from lying in bed all morning, though, so I scroll on my phone for a bit, and then T. calls me to set up our dinner plans for tonight. At some point I get up to pee, grab a yogurt cup and do my morning pills and skincare, but mostly stay cozy in bed all morning.
Advertisement
ADVERTISEMENT
12 p.m. — I finally get up, throw on some actual clothes and finish the rest of my morning routine. I look through the fridge and cupboards before making my grocery order. I settle on being able to use up the bag of kale in my fridge, but I otherwise need a pretty extensive restock of everything else. I place an order from Whole Foods for delivery, including produce, cheese, pasta, yogurt, some other food and snacks, plus some top sirloin for a recipe I want to try next week. I'm attempting to be more adventurous with my cooking as I try to cut back on delivery. Everything comes out to $195.30 including the service fee and tip (ouch!), but should mostly last for a while. Then I try to keep up my productivity streak by deep cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming and mopping the floors, and washing my bedsheets. $195.30
4 p.m. — My grocery order arrives so I spend some time cleaning my fridge while putting stuff away and snacking on strawberries. Afterward, I want to take advantage of the nice weather and remaining sunlight to run outside since I need to get my outdoor endurance back up. I do an honestly grueling five-mile run, although I feel great when I get back. I get home and have an ice cream sandwich and then take a long, hot shower.
7 p.m. — I start getting ready for my date with T. and spend far too long fussing with my hair, makeup and clothes. He calls and lets me know that he wrapped up work earlier than expected and asks if it's alright to come meet me at my place earlier than planned. Eek! I agree and then rush like a madwoman to finish getting ready in addition to doing a quick run-through of my place to make sure it's clean enough for a guest.
Advertisement
ADVERTISEMENT
8 p.m. — He meets me outside my apartment and we walk over to the restaurant together. It's a cute, trendy rooftop place and it's somehow nice and quiet on a Saturday night, which is great. We each order a cocktail and a bunch of tapas-style dishes to share. The food is delicious and I'm happy I'm here with him. He's so cute and seems to really care about what I say. We end up ordering a bottle of wine and a dessert to split, and we take our time finishing our drinks and food. He pays.
11 p.m. — We walk back to my place and decide to watch a crappy movie while drinking a few glasses of amaretto. After, we have pretty good sex. I neglect to do my skincare because I'm too tipsy and tired (sorry), and we fall asleep cuddling and talking about our past sex lives.
Daily Total: $195.30

Day Five

7:30 a.m. — Not sure why we're both up so early but we are, so we have sex and then take our turns in the bathroom to freshen up for the morning. I offer to make us some breakfast but after realizing that the only breakfast food I have is fruit and eggs, we decide to order food since we're both in desperate need of something more substantial. I get a bagel with lox, cream cheese and tomato, and T. gets a breakfast sandwich. I also get a Diet Coke because I need the carbonation. T. pays and after getting our food, we chill out on the couch, eating and talking about the upcoming week.
Advertisement
ADVERTISEMENT
10:30 a.m. — T. heads out. We text for a bit after he gets home and make some tentative plans to hang out later in the week. I then take a short nap.
12:30 p.m. — Alright, I need to get up and be productive. I take some time to check my work computer to see what my schedule looks like for the upcoming week, and am pleasantly reminded that I already took tomorrow off as a mental health day. Sweet. Not too much to otherwise prepare for this week, so I just make a quick to-do list for Tuesday and set up my out-of-office auto-reply. Then I do a recovery workout since I went a bit hard earlier this week. I do a slow, easy jog for a mile on the treadmill, then decide to just walk for an hour at a decent speed and low incline to keep my legs moving.
2:30 p.m. — I swing by Starbucks for a tall mocha, no whip (already covered by my card refill earlier this week), then get on a bit of an organizational and cleaning kick once I'm home. I order a shoe organizer for my entryway closet since the amount of shoes in front of the door is getting untenable, as well as more garbage bags, face razors for dermaplaning, and a new scrubbing tool for my shower and tub. J. texts me and we set up some specifics about our date for tonight, then I finally hop in the shower and it feels amazing. $53.14
Advertisement
ADVERTISEMENT
6:30 p.m. — I start getting ready for my date. I spend some time drying and styling my hair, and as usual feel totally unable to do my makeup correctly or pick out a cute outfit. I switch between a few different little black dresses and it's stressing me out for some reason. After finally settling on my look, I do a quick sweep of the apartment (...just in case) and discover last night's and this morning's condoms still stuck to the ground next to my bed. Nice. I gag while throwing them out and quickly clean the floor.
8 p.m. — J. meets me in front of my apartment and we walk to dinner. Neither of us is feeling super hungry so we decide to just order a few small bites at a hotel bar and a cocktail each. While I was feeling ambivalent about the date before this, I am actually really enjoying getting to know J. We have a fair amount in common as far as our music, travel and nightlife interests go. J. pays and we decide to hit up another bar.
9:15 p.m. — Another swanky hotel bar. We each get a Margarita. J. pays. At some point, we decide to extend the night and keep barhopping.
9:45 p.m. — J. gets an Uber and we head to our next location. We manage to snag a booth after a short wait. We end up ordering several rounds of fruity drinks and venting about work for a couple of hours. J. insists on paying, and then we head out and he gets us an Uber back to his place.
Advertisement
ADVERTISEMENT
1 a.m. — Oh boy. We're mid-naked makeout when I get the overwhelming urge to vomit. Thankfully, I recognize what is happening and manage to make it to the bathroom, where I spend far too much time emptying my stomach contents. I drunkenly clean any remnants from the seat and floor and pray there's nothing in my hair. I apologize profusely and insist that this never happens.
Daily Total: $53.14

Day Six

8:25 a.m. — I'm awake and totally mortified. I spend more time apologizing and clarifying that really, I can hold my liquor, it's a new medication messing me up. J. reassures me that it's totally fine. I offer to pay for a cleaner but he won't take me up on it. He orders us both a breakfast sandwich and we eat quickly in post-drunken bliss. At some point, we make it back to his bed and have surprisingly okay hangover sex.
10 a.m. — I start getting dressed to go home and discover that I managed to completely misplace my earrings. Yikes. J. needs to head to work and promises me he'll look for them later. He gets me an Uber home and we say our goodbyes. I promptly take a hot shower, brush my teeth and crawl into bed when I get home for a much-needed nap.
1 p.m. — I wake up, take my meds and spend much of the afternoon lazing on the couch in a weird state of self-flagellation while wishing I could crawl into a hole and never come out. Yuck. I'm also starting to feel hungry again so I raid the fridge for some fruit and olives and snack on that and drink copious amounts of sparkling water while scrolling on my phone.
Advertisement
ADVERTISEMENT
8:30 p.m. — Okay, feeling better. I get up and make dinner using the top sirloin I bought a couple of days ago. I end up making a fairly good beef stroganoff and feel sort of proud of myself. I devour a bowl and then portion the rest out for other meals this week. I also text a bit with J. He suggests getting dinner later this week so maybe I didn't totally eff this one up? Lol. I decide to have an early night and do my nighttime routine before cozying up in bed for a while, trying to fall asleep.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

8 a.m. — Up for work. Great. Morning routine, get dressed, then sit in front of my desk for several hours. I'm struggling to focus on anything today but I try to get through a brutal morning of combing through data.
11:30 a.m. — I break for lunch a bit early to heat up some leftovers before my telehealth appointment. While I've seen some success on this new medication, I'm still struggling with some side effects even after several weeks (namely, slight loss of appetite, nausea and, well, being unable to handle my liquor). I talk through this information with my doctor but I want to just give my body more time to adjust before upping the dose. I also admit that I need to take better control over my drinking habits when I go out to avoid any future upsets, especially before we up the dosage. She agrees and renews my prescription. We set an appointment for a month out. I am charged my copay. $45
Advertisement
ADVERTISEMENT
1 p.m. — Work, work, work. T. and I set up more solid plans for dinner later this week. Work, work, work.
5:30 p.m. — I stop working and head to the gym for a run. Stretch, abs, plank, etc. Shower and nighttime skincare. Quite honestly, I'm still feeling a bit down and not really in the mood to make anything complex, so I just snack on some brie on sourdough and watch the next episode of 90 Day Fiancé. Might never get to that kale in the fridge at this rate.
10 p.m. — I finish the rest of my nighttime routine and head to bed. Oof. It was a busier weekend than I anticipated and I'm not feeling rested for the week ahead, but I try to remind myself to relax. As usual, I listen to a show on my laptop and toss and turn for a bit before falling asleep.
Daily Total: $45
Money Diaries are meant to reflect an individual's experience and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.

The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day. For more money diaries, click here.

Do you have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Submit it with us here.

Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here or email us here.

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series

Advertisement
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT