A Week In San Diego, CA, On A $44,148 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.
This week: an assistant supervising cashier who makes $44,148 per year and spends some of her money this week on unlimited tacos.
Occupation: Assistant Supervising Cashier
Industry: Higher Education
Age: 24
Location: San Diego, CA
Salary: $44,148
Paycheck Amount (1x/month): $2,725.60
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $975 (for my portion of a two-bedroom apartment with one roommate)
Student Loans: $250 (I pay about 3x the minimum to get them paid off ASAP)
Gas and Electric: $10-$30 (split with my roommate)
Car Insurance: $62
Savings: $200 + whatever I have left over at the end of the month into a high-yield savings account
Phone: $0 (covered by my family because my mom is an angel)
Parking: $24.59 (taken directly from my check)
Health Insurance: $0 (covered by my employer)
Premium Vision: $4.33 (taken directly from my check)
Retirement: $226.30 (taken directly from my check, and I know my employer contributes some, but frankly I don't know how much)
AMC A-List: $19.95
Dollar Shave Club: $6.46 every other month
Betterment Investment App: $50 (more if I'm feeling frisky)

Day One

7 a.m. — Alarm goes off and I snooze, of course. I am NOT a morning person. Nor am I a Monday person.
7:10 a.m. — I get out of bed, brush my teeth, put on the outfit I picked out last night, take my allergy pill, and am out the door by 7:30. My morning routine is…minimal, to put it lightly.
8 a.m. — I arrive at work and prepare myself for a SLOOOWWW day. I work on a college campus and we're in the first month of summer, so things are very quiet around here. My coworker and I talk about our weekends. She's a mom of two, and I'm single single single, so we like to exchange stories and laugh about how different our lives are.
8:30 a.m. — A guy that I've been on a few dates with has been out of the country for a few weeks and let me know last night he'll be back in town soon and he'd like to get together. I reply this morning and tell him I'm free Friday to meet up. I find it sweet that he's thinking of me from Madrid! I'm sorta recently single and have been dipping my toe back into the dating pool. I think I'll have a few dates lined up for this week (partially due to some drunk swiping from this weekend).
12:20 p.m. — I like to take a late lunch, so I usually snack around noon. I put down my work and take a moment to eat an apple with some almond butter. I much prefer peanut butter, but I'm just eating this until it's gone. I keep apples at my work desk because there's so much good food around campus that I could be wasting money on. I also grab a handful of granola from the office's community snack table.
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2 p.m. — I take my hour break to find a comfy spot on campus. I chill in the sun and listen to the postcast Why Won't You Date Me? by Nicole Byer. I have been OBSESSED with her lately. My roommate just introduced me to her podcast a few weeks ago. She's so fun and wild — I love listening to her.
2:30 p.m. — I take a few minutes to post to my “business Instagram” account. My friend and I have started offering San Diego tours as a side gig, and I try to post on the Instagram account once a day!
4 p.m. — My boss calls me to get some account information and tease me about not approving my upcoming vacation. He is a very silly, very wonderful manager. I tell him he'll have to answer to my mom (who is visiting San Diego for the first time!), and he tells me he'd love to meet my mom because moms love him.
4:30 p.m. — The day is winding down, so close to being able to go home! I might be kayaking after work? Maybe not? My friend/business partner, T., was planning on going during my workday with his friends, who have been helping us get off the ground with our business. Apparently they pushed back their start time, so I might be able to join. But they're also very busy people, so them flaking would not be surprising.
5:30 p.m. — Get home and my plans have changed significantly. I found out someone I graduated from high school with died. I'm really upset. We had a lot of classes together. He was going to become a doctor. I can't believe it.
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6 p.m. — I heat up some leftovers for dinner. Mac 'n' cheese and veggies from last night. Text a few of my friends about our classmate's death. Everyone is devastated. I want more comfort food, so I eat a tiny bag of Doritos and some grapes. I turn on The Mindy Project in hopes of getting my mind off things.
8:30 p.m. — T. and I have our weekly Monday meeting. Usually it's in person, but we were both in weird moods today, so we discuss things over the phone. Our big project for the week is to design handouts for our business. I get on Costco's website to start designing and realize that I am NOT good at this. I put Drake & Josh on in the background, because I have impeccable taste in television.
10 p.m. — I try to plan a group trip to see the new Toy Story, but that doesn't pan out, so I just get a ticket for me and T. I pay for the AMC A-list every month, so I get my ticket free and I won't ask my friend to pay me back, because we go back and forth paying for things. $19.19
11 p.m. — I do my nighttime routine, which is just about as minimal as my morning routine. Wash my face, brush my teeth, and go to bed. Watch a couple episodes of Loosely Exactly Nicole before passing out.
Daily Total: $19.19

Day Two

6:40 a.m. — I'm stirring before my alarm goes off, so I assume it will be easy to get out of bed this morning.
7 a.m. — I was wrong. Snooze it is. Followed by my basically nonexistent morning routine and drive to work.
8:20 a.m. — Somebody brought little breakfast pastries into the office! Perfect morning treat.
11 a.m. — I realize I forgot to put chicken out to thaw for dinner! Luckily, my roommate is a teacher and is out for the summer, so I text her and she puts some chicken in the fridge for me. I almost didn't so that I'd have a reason to go out to eat for dinner tonight, but I've got some big expenses coming up and I make the responsible decision!
12:30 p.m. — Take a break to eat my apple with almond butter and check out the Money Diaries subreddit. I like it a lot. Lots of discussion that isn't quite right for the comments section on R29. I end up reading a lot about women who are recruiters, so I apply to a recruiter assistant job for funsies. I've come to realize recently that there's a salary cap I probably won't be able to push past at my current job.
2:10 p.m. — I take my hour lunch break and try to sit outside, but it's a little too chilly and the sun's not out. I sit inside and listen to another episode of Why Won't You Date Me? and scroll through Twitter. When I get back into the office, I see that someone put a bag of salt and vinegar chips on the snack table, so I grab some of those!
4:55 p.m. — Time to go home!!! I have a plan for my evening. I've been looking for my passport all week because I need it to renew my library card, and I also have a book on hold — so first order of business is finding that. My friend also texted a few girls asking if we wanted to grab tacos (Taco Tuesday is practically a holiday in my neck of the woods), and I agree because it's worth it to spend some extra money if that means time with my friends.
5:25 p.m. — I get home to see that my Amazon package has arrived. I'd been holding on to an Amazon gift card since Christmas and decided it was time to treat myself. I got a really cute two-piece outfit that's a little risky for me. I also got a strapless bra, because the top of the outfit is strapless and I am a big-boobed lady. I try on the outfit and I loooove it. So glad that I took a chance on something outside of my comfort zone.
5:40 p.m. — I tear my room apart and find my passport — thank goodness. What would I do without my library privileges? My upstairs neighbor texts me to see if I want to hang out with his puppy while he's busy tonight. Of course I do! I let him know I'll be back in a couple hours and can take his dog on a walk and play with him.
6 p.m. — I walk to the library to renew my card, and they didn't even ask to see my passport?? I guess it's good that I found it anyway. I pick up my book on hold, Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived. It was highly recommended to me by a guy I've been seeing. My friend lives right by the library, so I walk to her apartment to meet up before tacos. We go to a really popular bar that has unlimited tacos for $10 and $4 margs. I love a deal! I end up eating five tacos, chips, and a margarita. No regrets. $18
8 p.m. — I walk home from tacos and go to pick up the precious puppy! He's a black lab, just under a year old, that I love so so much! I hang out with him whenever I can. We go on a walk along the boardwalk, and he just wants to make friends with everyone. I wish we could see the sunset over the beach, but it's been a very cloudy week. We're in the middle of San Diego's “June Gloom.”
9 p.m. — We get back from our walk, and the little guy falls asleep at my feet while I read my current book, The Invisible Bridge. It's unreal how much I want a dog. I spent two weeks dog-sitting for a friend a couple months back, and it really solidified how happy I'd be to adopt one. Unfortunately, I love where I live, and it's really difficult to find apartments here that allow dogs.
10 p.m. — I take puppy back to his apartment and continue reading my book. End up falling asleep on the couch.
12 a.m. — Get up from the couch and get ready for bed.
Daily Total: $18

Day Three

7:10 a.m. — Wake up after my usual morning snooze. Get ready and head out to work. I should have the office mostly to myself today, so that'll be nice!
7:40 a.m. — They're giving away tickets to see Kesha on the radio, if you can answer some trivia questions! I freaking love Kesha. I used to spell my name with a $ back in high school. I call and they've already found a participant, but they tell me to hold and I can be the backup. After about 10 minutes, they thank me for holding and tell me that I can pick up two tickets today for the concert tomorrow! I'm so excited!
8 a.m. — I get to work and tell everyone the good news about the tickets! I text all my friends and my family, and they all know how great this is for me.
9 a.m. — I text my friends to see if anyone can come with me, but no one seems interested, so I call T. and he happens to be off work tomorrow! I start throwing plans at him, but we're meeting tonight for the movie and decide to talk about it later. This is such an amazing start to my day! I do have a date planned for tomorrow that I'll have to cancel, but it's a second date that I wasn't all that excited about anyway. Dude is cool about rescheduling and wants to meet up tonight. I tell him I'll let him know after the movie.
10 a.m. — I take an early lunch break to pick up my tickets from the radio station. The woman at the prize counter is so sweet. She tells me she loves my hair. I actually get complimented on my hair daily. I have very long red hair, and redheads are pretty rare on the West Coast compared to Kentucky, where I'm from!
11:30 a.m. — Back in the office, I grab some of the breakfast pastries from yesterday and squeal with excitement about the concert tomorrow. I also realize that the first Democratic debate is tonight, and I'll miss it because of the movie. I'll go back and watch it later, though. Rooting for my girl Warren!
2 p.m. — Work has been kinda nuts today. Lots of weird situations that I have to assist in reconciling. I grab some Hawaiian-style BBQ chips from the snack table.
5 p.m. — Off work and time to head to the movies. The theater is at a mall on my way home, so I go there pretty regularly.
5:10 p.m. — I've got some time to kill before my friend arrives, and I see a big clearance sign outside of Francesca's that woos me. I end up trying on six dresses because they're all marked down to $15. I find a really pretty lavender lace dress that I love, so I go ahead and buy it. I've been trying to fill my closet with things that I love, so that I can get rid of the things I'm not into anymore. $16.13
5:30 p.m — T. arrives and we get something quick to eat before the movie. I get a chicken bacon ranch sandwich and a blizzard from DQ, and he grabs some stuff from Wetzel's Pretzels. He also came prepared with pockets full of snacks for the movie. Sunflower seeds, Apple Jacks, and a can of seltzer water. $10.16
6 p.m. — At the theater, T. is amazed that they have a full bar, even though it's pretty standard now. The bartender is new and said he can't make mixed drinks, so we'd have to get beer or wine. T. buys me a cider, because I won't let him pay me back for the movie.
8 p.m. — Of course I'm leaving the movie with tears in my eyes! Disney always gets me. I really loved the movie, and I'm glad that T. did too, because he's not as into Disney as I am. I end up texting the guy I was thinking about meeting tonight and asking to reschedule. I wouldn't be able to stay out late and didn't want to have to cut the date short.
8:20 p.m. — I stop to buy a discount fair ticket on my way home. I'm in the Big Brother Big Sister program, and I took off work to take my little sister to the fair tomorrow. Tickets are $16 at the grocery store. $16
8:30 p.m. — I stop for gas because I'll be driving a lot tomorrow. $30
9:30 p.m. — I really want to finish The Invisible Bridge tonight, so I shower, get ready for bed, and get to reading. I end up falling asleep while reading it, but I made great progress.
Daily Total: $72.29

Day Four

9 a.m. — No work today, so I get to sleep in. I finish my book before I get up to get ready for the day. The book was really special. It was full of the horrible atrocities of the Holocaust, but I think it's important that we remember what happened. Today is going to be a long day. I get a bag ready so that I can go straight from dropping off my little sister after the fair to the Kesha concert. I pack three different outfits and glitter, of course. I'm ready a little early and do the dishes so I can feel productive about the day.
11:30 a.m. — I pick up my little sister and head to the fair. It's a bit of a drive, and when we park at the free parking lot, we have to wait about an hour for the shuttle. This really puts a wrench in my plan to make it to the concert early. I tend to get really anxious about being late, but I'm working to get over that.
1:30 p.m. — We finally get to the fair! My little sister is really excited about rides, which I'm a little nervous about because I get sick on spinny rides. I get two fish tacos ($6) when we get in because I'm VERY hungry. My little sister already had lunch and doesn't want anything. $6
1:40 p.m. — We head straight to the rides, and I find out they have unlimited ride bands today for $38. That is way more than I anticipated spending today, but my little sister is so excited! She insists on paying for her own, because she knows the fair is expensive. I always pay for our outings and I refuse at first, but she just got a job and it seems like she really wants to splurge on this, so I just pay $38 for my own ride band. $38
4 p.m. — I'm having to take the day very slowly. These rides are making me so sick! In between the horrendous rides of death, we visit the pigs and cows and pet some goats. I was really hoping to leave the fair around this time, but I can't cut ride time short when my little sister spent her hard-earned money on unlimited rides!
6:30 p.m. — I get off the Ferris wheel, and my body can handle no more. I'm glad we did it, though, because the view of the ocean from the top was beautiful. I stand near a trash can for a few minutes just in case, and then we head out of the fair. I promised my little sister that we could get an over-the-top fair dessert, so we get a crazy milkshake called an “Oreo Party Shake” in a melted chocolate-rimmed cup with an Oreo and a giant marshmallow coming out of the top ($14). My little sister also buys a giant turkey leg and funnel cake to bring home to mom, which prove very difficult to transport. $14
7:15 p.m. — I drop my little sister off after a wonderful county fair experience. Luckily, T. lives only a block away, so I pick him up. He bartends at a sushi restaurant, and he brought me a sushi roll to eat before the concert. He also brought some other stuff, but we're in a hurry and the sushi roll is easiest to eat on the road. T. wants to stop at the liquor store so that he can pre-game for the concert. While he's inside, I change into a more Kesha-concert-appropriate shirt and spruce up my makeup.
9 p.m. — It's a long drive to the casino, but we finally make it! I throw some glitter on my face and we head inside. An hour late to the show, which I'm not thrilled about, but I did what I could! I've seen her three times before, so I won't beat myself up. We find the event room, and she's in the middle of singing “Your Love Is My Drug.”
9:45 p.m. — Aaaaand the show's already over! I was really hoping she'd have an opening act, but I guess she didn't. I still had a blast jumping around for an hour. The crowd was kind of hilarious. There were some diehard Kesha fans covered in glitter with crazy hairstyles, and other older people who looked like they were wandering around the casino and decided to grab a ticket to the show. My energy is too high to head back right away, so we stroll around the casino hoping for a Kesha sighting. T. gets a drink.
11 p.m. — No luck finding Kesha, but we talked to some fans and T. wins $30 on roulette! I'd say it was a great spontaneous adventure. I will surely be exhausted tomorrow.
11:55 p.m. — I drop T. off, get home, wipe makeup and glitter off, and fall fast asleep — ears still ringing.
Daily Total: $58

Day Five

7:15 a.m. — I am so tired. Thank God for casual Friday. I throw on some jeans and a top, and I'm off.
1 p.m. — Today has been much more productive than I expected! I'm very sleepy, but things in my “deal with later” pile keep solving themselves! Gotta love when that happens. I take my lunch break to snack on an apple and listen to another episode of Why Won't You Date Me? T. texts me to let me know that we've gotten our first real tour bookings today. They aren't for a couple months, but I'm so glad that people are finding us!
2 p.m. — The guy I'm seeing tonight texts me to let me know that he'll be on call until 9 tonight. That means he'll have to be near a computer, so we can either meet after or we can get delivery and watch a movie at his place. Sounds like a great date to me! I tell him that food and movies sound fun and I'll be there at 7.
3:30 p.m. — Things have slowed down dramatically at the office, and my supervisor knows I had a long night, so she lets me go home early — weekend, here I come!
4 p.m. — I get home, take a shower, and take a nice long nap.
6 p.m. — I wake up but play around on my phone for a while, because a food-delivery date doesn't require much prep. I wear the same top from work and put on cozy leggings.
7:10 p.m. — I'm a little late because there's a Padres game going on downtown and he lives right across from the stadium. He lets me into the parking garage, and it's good to see him! It's been about three weeks. He tells me about his travels, and I marvel at the fact that you can see the Padres Stadium from his balcony. It's not even the first time I've been to his apartment — I just think it's really cool.
8 p.m. — We can't decide on what to eat, so I have him name cuisines until something sounds good. Indian food it is! I get lamb tikka masala and he orders butter chicken. He pays. We turn on Adam Sandler's new movie, Murder Mystery. It's a silly movie, and my food is delicious. I feel good about the choices.
10 p.m. — We end up turning on another movie, Always Be My Maybe. Can't say we watched much of it, though.
11:40 p.m. — He asks if I want to stay the night, but I end up going home because I love my bed. Honestly, had I realized how late it was, I might've stayed over, but I didn't even look at the time until I was in my car. Brush my teeth and wash my face and go right to sleep!
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

10 a.m. — I've been up for about an hour, but who wants to be productive on a Saturday morning? I call T. because we talked about going camping to get more pictures to post to the business Instagram. We considered doing an overnight trip somewhere local, but it seems like it'll be too last-minute to plan out. He's out disc golfing, so we'll meet at his place when he's done to devise a plan. I hop in the shower and shampoo my hair, which is a rare occasion because I do my best to follow a curly-hair method that prioritizes conditioning above all else.
11:30 a.m. — I scan the fridge and the pantry and decide to make some chicken alfredo pasta. Boil the noodles, cook the chicken, heat up the sauce. It's a nice, simple meal, and I feel good about the carbs because I'm about to do some physical activity.
2 p.m. — I go to T.'s apartment, and he suggests we hike Three Sisters Falls instead of an overnight trip. I haven't done that hike, so I'm down! It's a tougher hike than I'm used to, but I know it'll be really pretty, and how often do I see waterfalls? We grab T. some lunch and head east to the trailhead! On the drive, I text all my friends about the events of last night's date. Gotta keep the squad updated.
4 p.m. — It was a bumpy drive to get here! There was a good eight miles of unpaved road, and somehow I didn't get super carsick.
7:30 p.m. — We make it out alive! My body is exhausted. We hiked down to the falls, did some real climbing, and found a swimming hole! I even jumped off a little cliff into the water. There were some younger guys who assured us that they couldn't find the bottom, so it must've been really deep, and I watched a few of them jump before getting the courage to jump myself. The sun was starting to set on our BRUTAL hike back, but at least the view was pretty. My calves didn't seem to care about the nice sunset, though. We decide to reward ourselves with carry-out from OB Noodle House for a job well done.
8:30 p.m. — We park the car and walk to the restaurant to pick up our food. I get the pho special, and T. orders fried rice and chicken wings. We put it on my card, and he gives me cash. $15
9 p.m. — We turn on Brooklyn Nine-Nine while we eat. This food is amazing, and my body is tired. I'm gonna feel this in the morning. T. lets me know that we were invited kayaking tomorrow — apparently rest is for the dead.
11:30 p.m. — On my way home, some dummy runs in front of my car right when the light turns green. That's one of the downsides of living in a beach/party town. Drunk idiots everywhere! I get home and get ready for bed. I earned this sleep.
Daily Total: $15

Day Seven

9 a.m. — I wake up so sore. I look forward to lazing around today until I go kayaking later. I scroll a little on my phone and watch some Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
11:10 a.m. — Just kidding. Minimal lazing. T. calls me to tell me that his friends are about to head to La Jolla Shores to paddle out, so I should meet at his place soon to load the kayaks and head over. I also found out our friend who lives in San Francisco is in town for a bit and will be joining us! I don't hurry over because I know that T. is slow to get ready, so I eat some leftover pasta, put a bag together, and take my time.
12 p.m. — I get to T.'s place, and he's not ready and we're waiting for our friend to arrive. When everyone is ready, we load the kayaks and head to La Jolla. Our friends who invited us tell us that traffic is nuts, which makes sense. It's one of the first really nice beach days we've had. June Gloom is over!
4 p.m. — What an adventure that was. Paddling past the break was really difficult. I climbed up some super slippery rocks to a rope swing that was very terrifying. I wanted to snorkel, but honestly, after the climb and paddling out, I was pretty wiped out. The caves where everyone snorkels were also full of tour groups. When we get back to T.'s place, we rally his roommate and neighbor to go out for a sunset paddle. This had been planned earlier and FOMO hit me hard, so I put away my exhaustion and get ready to go out on the water again. This time we'll be kayaking at the bay, which is much less strenuous than the ocean.
6:15 p.m. — We paddle out to a restaurant where we can dock our kayaks and grab some delicious, fresh seafood! I get fish and chips and a cup of water ($12.39). The guys get food and share a pitcher of beer. $12.39
7:30 p.m. — T. promised some work friends that we'd stop by their beach bonfire, but we're having trouble finding it. Finally, he calls them and we find out they're right across the bay from us. I'm getting very cold. There's no bonfire, so we stay for a minute to say hi because it's getting really chilly and I'm in a bathing suit. T.'s roommate and neighbor are having a tough time (probably due to drunkenness), and it's kind of hilarious. Their kayak filled with water at one point, and T. and I end up waiting in the middle of the bay for them to catch up.
9 p.m. — We're back at the apartment to unload the kayaks, and I hop in the shower to rinse off. It feels so good to put warm clothes on!
10:20 p.m. — Back home and ready to sleep forever. Not ready to go back to my office job tomorrow, but glad that I'm able to make the most of my days off.
Daily Total: $12.39
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