A Week In San Antonio, TX, On A $16/Hour Income

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 medical claims examiner who makes $16 an hour and spends some of her money this week on wire cutters.
Occupation: Claims Examiner
Industry: Medical
Age: 25
Location: San Antonio, TX
Salary: $16/hr
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,280
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $750 for a one-bedroom/one-bath house with a washer and dryer
Loans: $200-$500 (depending what I can pay that month — includes credit card and other loans)
Wi-Fi: $78
Water: $36
Light, Gas, and Trash: $89-$150 (Texas heat is a real thing, y'all! )
Spotify: $14.99 (family plan, I pay)
Netflix: $0 (thanks, mom!)
Hulu: $12.99
Phone: $161 (for my share; I share an account with my mother and brother)
Healthcare, Vision, and Dental: $68.47 per paycheck
HSA: $50 per paycheck
Gym Membership: $45
Savings: $72 per paycheck
401K: 4% of my gross salary goes into it automatically (after a year, my job will match at 6%) Prime Channels: $49.98 (HBO, STARZ, SHOWTIME, Cinemax)
Car Insurance: $0 (my mother pays for my plan)
Car Payment: $0 (parents paid off my vehicle)
Sling: $0 (Dad covers)
Amazon Prime: $59/year (Still on that student discount!)

Day One

6 a.m. — Alarm goes off after I've hit snooze for the third time. I get out of bed, brush my teeth, wash my face, and brush my hair. I usually wear makeup, but today I'm not feeling it so I just apply my SuperGoop moisturizer and Kiehl's under-eye avocado treatment. I head over to my closet and put on some orange tie-waist ASOS pants, a striped button-up from Marshalls, and my white triple-sole Vans. For breakfast I make toast and a cup of coffee.
7:25 a.m. — I'm out the door and headed to the car with toast and coffee in hand. There's traffic due to an accident, so I'm going to be late for work (I'm taking a training class right now, and I'm supposed to be there by 8). While I sit in traffic, I bump my Cardi B and bounce along in my car. Nothing I can do over situations I can't handle.
8:10 a.m. — I get to work, and they've already started class. We discuss claims information and go over different types of codes and different claim situations.
10 a.m. — Our first break of the day! I go on my Whataburger app and order my lunch for today. I usually pack it, but I was lazy and didn't do it today. My funds on the app are low, so I put $15 from my debit card and pay using the app. $15
12 p.m. — Lunchtime! I'm so ready to eat. I along with other coworkers pick up our Whataburger and eat at work. We only get a 30-minute lunch break, so I always order ahead or bring lunch so I have time to eat.
12:30 p.m. — Back to work and stuffed beyond belief! I had the single meat cheeseburger with toasted buns on both ends — so good. Trying to focus in class is so hard. All I can think about is going home to my very comfy bed.
2:30 p.m. — Second break of the day. I am honestly so ready to go home. I don't understand why we need eight-hour work days. I honestly can't keep interest for more than two hours at a time.
4:30 p.m. — I'm out! I get home, take off my shoes, and head straight for my room. I change into some black shorts and a black crop top from ASOS. I check emails from work and make toast and coffee in my Keurig. I do laundry and clean the bathroom. I like to do all my chores during the week so I can have my weekends free. I clean the kitchen and wash the dishes. I start to feel lonely, so I call my mom and talk to her about this coming weekend and our plans for Father's Day. I tell her my brother, K., and I were thinking of barbecuing Saturday and then he'll head home Sunday. I live two hours away from my parents, and it's really hard for me. I'm Mexican, and as in Mexican culture, I'm super close to my very big family.
8 p.m. — I start watching You've Got Mail on Prime, and it reminds me of my boyfriend, so I text him that I love him, and he tells me he misses me. He's going through some family issues that he has to deal with, so it's just me in this little house all alone.
11 p.m. — Time for bed! I wash my face, lower the volume on my TV, and cuddle with four pillows all around me. It's the only way I can sleep.
Daily Total: $15

Day Two

6 a.m. — Alarm goes off. I get in the shower, blowdry my hair, moisturize, eye cream, and apply some makeup. I like to use the Huda cream concealer and Bare Mineral powder with Tarte bronzer and mascara. I put on wide-leg striped knit pants with a white T-shirt and Vans.
7 a.m. — I'm literally running out the door at this time due to being late the past two days. San Antonio traffic even with school out is so bad, I swear. I bump up the Bad Bunny and sip my coffee in the car while munching on toast.
12 p.m. — Lunch break. I make a microwaveable Stouffer's mac 'n' cheese and it's amazing! I also buy some beef jerky and a bag of chips from the vending machine. $2.50
2:30 p.m. — Break time! I get an email asking if I want to work overtime this week, and I automatically say yes.
4:30 p.m. — Out of work and ready to go. Traffic is light, so I make it home in 15 minutes. An ASOS package is left for me at the door. I go inside, kick off my shoes, get into my slippers, and start shuffling inside the house and cleaning up the living room. I like to vacuum a lot because I'm obsessed with keeping a dust-free house. I also clean the windows, organize the movies, and dust the entertainment center. I fold some blankets and put away pillows and an air mattress from my family's visit this past weekend. I defrost chicken breast and then fry it on a skillet and make Mexican rice in a pan.
8 p.m. — I put on When Harry Met Sally and head for the shower. I shower, lotion up, wash my face with my Clarisonic, and use my favorite Laneige multi-cleanser. I also do a face mask, tone, and apply an anti-aging overnight cream before heading for the sheets. I knock out by 10:30.
Daily Total: $2.50

Day Three

4:45 a.m. — I wake up and head straight for the bathroom. I wash my face, brush my teeth, and start getting ready for the day. I put on a pair of animal-print joggers with a blush pink T-shirt and a blue jean jacket. I'm ready and out the door by 6:15.
6:30 a.m. — I get to work and get started on the spreadsheets I was assigned.
10 a.m. — First break of the day. I use this as an opportunity to text my brother and let him know I'm going to be working Saturday and I won't be able to pick him up from Austin. He says he understands, and we'll get together next weekend.
12 p.m. — Lunchtime! I packed leftovers from yesterday and have a chicken breast with Mexican rice while I watch ILuvSarahii videos. She's my favorite YouTuber! I finish up and head back to my desk.
6 p.m. — I'm out! I head straight home, where I take out an oven-ready lasagna. It takes an hour and 20 minutes to heat up. While that heats, I make a salad and place it in the fridge. I snack on cheese and carrot sticks.
8 p.m. — Dinner is ready. I serve myself lasagna and salad while I watch Living Single. I love Queen Latifah, she's ICONIC! I text my friends a bit and chat with my brother. After I finish eating, I clean up the kitchen and go straight to my bedroom and crash out by 11:30.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

5 a.m. — I'm up and head straight for the bathroom. I shower, put on a pair of mom jeans, a white T-shirt, my high-top Chucks, and a cardigan. No makeup today, I'm too over the week to do that. I head out and pick up some tacos at Bill Miller for the day. I get to Bill Miller and order two carne guisada tacos, a sausage with potato and cheese, and a large sweet tea. Breakfast and lunch for the day! $11.94
6:30 a.m. — I get to work and put away two of the three tacos. I work on some more spreadsheets while I eat my taco and sip on my sweet tea. I remember I need to send my friend $25 for a photo booth we're getting our friend for her wedding. I Cash App her right away before I forget. $25
10 a.m. — Break time! I go online to this cute local store and purchase four jacket pins and a Father's Day card for my jefecito ($43.62). They have such cute things, and they offer in-store pick-up! I also purchase the items my father requested as Father's Day gifts on Amazon. I buy a pair of work gloves, a knife-sharpening rock, a collapsible wooden ruler, two pairs of wire cutters, and a cute “LATINA AF” shirt for myself ($88). $131.62
10:15 a.m. — Back to those spreadsheets! I get a little bored and start making my grocery list and reading Money Diaries. I'm so surprised I haven't seen a San Antonio diary yet.
12 p.m. — Lunchtime! I heat up the tacos from this morning and then chat with coworkers about plans for the weekend.
4:30 p.m. — I'm out and it takes me about 15 minutes to get home. Right away I kick off my shoes and head for the kitchen to heat up leftover lasagna. I call my mom and talk to her about the weekend. We discuss what we're going to do for Father's Day and what to get my grandfathers. I end up deciding to give one grandpa $25 and a card, the other two shirts. She agrees that's best, and we say our goodbyes. I go on my Target app and look at shirts they have on sale. I get three T-shirts and schedule in-store pick up. $19.54
8 p.m. — I open up my H-E-B Curbside app and place my order. I purchase milk, eggs, zucchini, squash, sausage, cereal, ice cream, plant burgers, chicken patties, string cheese, cheesecake, coffee creamer, salad bags, mushrooms, pasta sauce, Italian sausage, sliced cheese, lettuce, hamburger buns, chicken thighs, a bag of spinach, shredded mozzarella, and a small loaf of bread. I set pick-up for tomorrow after I get out of work. $86.54
10:45 p.m. — My brother sends me a text asking if I can send him the payment for the furniture I bought from him. He's moving to NYC, and the furniture he has is too big for his new place. I Cash App him $75. I watch Living Single and Ancient Aliens until I pass out around 9:30. $75
Daily Total: $330.10

Day Five

6:30 a.m. — I wake up in a panic because I'm supposed to be at work by 7 for overtime. I throw on a jumpsuit and a jean jacket with my white Vans, and I'm out the door by 6:45.
7 a.m. — I stop by Bill Miller because I want tacos and tacos are life. I buy myself and a coworker one taco each. I also get a large ice water because my throat is killing me. $6.56
7:10 a.m. — At work I pass my coworker the taco, and she passes me the lovely triple mocha iced coffee she got me from Dunkin' Donuts. I love our friendship. We start doing spreadsheets and talking about our plans for the weekend.
11:20 a.m. — I'm out of work! I head to the mall and check to see if my package arrived at Torrid. Turns out it was returned since I purchased it back in April and it's June. Oops! I end up giving in to the buy-three-get-two-free underwear deal. $52.78
12 p.m. — I head to Target to pick up my order and end up also purchasing gift bags, a Father's Day card, and tissue paper for the gift bags. I call my mother and talk to her on the phone for a bit. She says I sound really wheezy, and she wants me to go get checked at the doctor. I tell her I will and call the clinic to see if they have openings. While I'm in line, all of Target's systems go down. They say they'll give everyone an extra 10% off for our patience, so I grab the double stuffed Oreos, and I wait patiently thinking of the steal I'm getting. I wait about 30 minutes until they say it will take between two and four hours. I leave my stuff and bounce. I also end up canceling my online order for pick-up. I get refunded for the shirts I would've bought.
12:45 p.m. — I head to H-E-B and pick up my groceries. I head home and remember I bought a plate for a fundraiser my neighbor is having for her son's soccer team, and I need to get cash to pay for that. I stop by a gas station and pull out $20 from the ATM ($.28 in ATM fees). $0.28
1:20 p.m. — I get home, unload the groceries, and head next door to purchase my plate. It's $8, but I end up letting her keep the $2 and get $10 back. Support your neighborhood soccer team! $10
2 p.m. — I head to the med clinic, and they tell me I don't have anything. The nurse prescribes me some antibiotics and a nose spray, which she sends to my pharmacy. It's a $40 copay, which I pay for using my HSA (accounted for in my monthly expenses).
3:30 p.m. — I go back to Target and try to repurchase the things I need. I purchase the card, the gift bags, tissues, two bottled waters, two bottles of Sprite for my throat, beef jerky, and two shirts for my grandpa that I found on clearance. $31.12
4 p.m. — I go back to H-E-B again to purchase beer, jalapeño poppers, and gum. $26.17
5 p.m. — I stop by my house and pick up my overnight bag before heading out to my parents' house. I make the long drive back to my hometown and get to my parents' house by 8. When I arrive my dad's cookout is in full gear. My mom and my tias have already made the rice and beans along with pico de gallo and guacamole. The carnitas are all cooked, and the only thing they tell me to do is "grab a beer and eat," which I happily do!
11 p.m. — The party dies down, and I help my mom clean the dishes while she puts the leftovers away. My father starts asking me about money and how I'm doing. I tell him I'm fine, which he never believes. Before this year, my parents were paying for all my expenses in San Antonio (I've lived here for four years), and I recently told them I want to do it on my own, which makes my dad super nervous. He likes to be in control of my siblings and me, especially me since I'm his baby girl. My father has a good job and he makes really good money, so I've never had to worry. My parents head to bed, and I start wrapping my father's and my grandfathers' gifts. I finish around 12:30 and crash for the night.
Daily Total: $126.91

Day Six

9:50 a.m. — I wake up in a fog and realize it's Father's Day. My dad comes into my room and thanks me for the gift.
12:30 p.m. — I put on a crop top with overalls and my white Vans. I apply some concealer and Bare Minerals face powder, Glossier's Boy Brow, and my Fenty red lipstick. We hang out at my grandma's house with all my tias y tios and my grandpa. We drink beer and talk about old times with my grandma. She passed away two years ago, and it's still very fresh in our house. She was the glue that held all of us together.
3 p.m. — I forgot to get cash for my grandpa's card, so I hitch a ride with my cousins to the H-E-B to get cash back. I buy four waters, a coffee, Hershey's bar, and Mexican sour belts. I pull out the cash and pay for my items ($52.13). We also stop by Dollar General, and I get more beer ($13.75). $65.88
8:30 p.m. — I go to the gas station and put $20 of gas in my tank, and then head home with my niece. She's going to be spending the week with me on her summer break. $20
10:30 p.m. — I'm home and I'm so tired. My niece tells me she's starving, so we head to McDonald's and get chicken nuggets and a Big Mac. $13.54
11:30 p.m. — We head back to the house, and I go straight for the bedroom and pass out.
Daily Total: $99.42

Day Seven

6:45 a.m. — I wake up and get ready for work. I wash my face, put on makeup, and change into high-waisted dress pants and a button-up shirt with cream loafers.
8 a.m. — I get to work and start on spreadsheets, which keep me busy until lunch.
12 p.m. — I forgot my lunch, so I go to the food truck we have outside, and it's amazing. I buy a grilled chicken sandwich with bacon mac 'n' cheese along with a slice of watermelon. $12
4:30 p.m. — I leave work and head to Target because my niece needs a few personal items. I buy her some panties and a sleep set ($26). I also go to the pharmacy and pick up my Rx from the doctor, which I pay for with my HSA ($21). $26
5:40 p.m. — I'm home and my niece lets me know right away she is starving, so I put on some pasta noodles and get working on the sauce and sausage. I add mushrooms, zucchini, and garlic powder. By 7:30 I set the table, make a salad, and we eat. After we finish, I wash the dishes and head over to the bedroom, where my niece is watching The Originals, and we chill out for a bit.
9:30 p.m. — I hop in the shower, change into lounge wear, and FaceTime my mother to talk about this coming weekend. I crash by by 11.
Daily Total: $38
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