A Week In San Diego, CA, On A $49,921 Salary

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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 teacher who makes $49,921 per year and spends some of her money this week on shaved ice.
Occupation: Teacher
Industry: Education
Age: 24
Location: San Diego, CA
Salary: $49,921.69
Paycheck Amount (Monthly): $3,535.30
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $875
Student Loans: $300
Utilities: $100
Netflix: $12.99
Spotify: $4.99 (I still get the student price since my university email is still active.)
Retirement: $424.54
Union Dues: $112.35
Disability: $27.63 (Taken out of paycheck post-tax.)

Day One

6 a.m. — Alarm goes off! I shower, get ready, and make breakfast — always an egg with a tortilla and Bitchin' sauce (a local spread that's like hummus but made out of almonds). I like to take my time eating and waking up so that I'm not half asleep when I get to work. I'm out the door by 7:10.
10:30 a.m. — During the next three weeks we are on a wacky schedule at my school because of state testing. I eat a granola bar and submit grades for progress reports.
1 p.m. — Lunchtime finally! Because of the weird schedule, I have lunch 30 minutes later than usual, and my stomach is grumbling from that 30-minute difference. I eat some couscous that I bought at a local market with some Bitchin' sauce and crackers.
4:45 p.m. — Finally home! School ends at 3:35, but I stayed a little later to chat with another teacher. I go home to quickly change to meet my run club friends for hill repeats near the beach.
7 p.m. — I ran about six miles (mostly uphill), and I am starving. I've been running half marathons but fell out of training due to sickness and work craziness, so today was a tough run for me. I decide to head to Lemonade, a chain in Southern California, for a sandwich, cookie, and blood orange rosemary lemonade. $17.78
9:30 p.m. — After showering, I plop on the couch to watch The Bachelorette (my guilty pleasure) and end up falling asleep there. At some point, my boyfriend, D., comes home. I don't even think I acknowledged his existence — oops. I mosey to bed around 11:30.
Daily Total: $17.78

Day Two

6 a.m. — Same routine as yesterday morning, except this time I stop to get gas on the way to work. I arrive at work around 7:25 every day, even though school doesn't start until 8:30; I like having down time to prepare in the mornings. $40
10:30 a.m. — Prep period! I eat a granola bar for a snack (give me those Nature Valley crunchy g-bars all day).
12:15 p.m. — I eat my leftover sandwich from Lemonade for lunch and some Bitchin' sauce and crackers (as that is a given). I eat lunch in the teachers' lounge because it's a nice reprieve from being around teenagers all day.
1:45 p.m. — We have reading time for 30 minutes. I think this is a great thing to have in school, especially since 100% of our students are on free and reduced lunch with limited resources at home. Today I see a kid “reading” a book and then some smoke coming out from behind the book. I walk over to investigate, and aloud I say: “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!” Homie is straight up vaping in class. I immediately call administration to get him and write a referral. Never a dull moment in middle school.
3:35 p.m. — I co-advise a club, and today is my day to stay after school to coach the kids. The head adviser sells snacks that go toward the club; I'm craving chocolate, so I buy peanut M&M's and a soda for one of the kids. $2
5:15 p.m. — I arrive home and change into workout clothes to head to CycleBar, a bougie spin studio. I pay $119/month for unlimited rides, and even though it's expensive, the cross-training benefits are worth it to me.
6:30 p.m. — I shower when I get home, eat a bagel and Cheez-its for dinner (I am a grazer and usually would rather snack than eat a typical meal). I watch some TV and then crash on the couch (again) around 10.
Daily Total: $42

Day Three

6 a.m. — Same morning routine and same snack at the same time!
12:15 p.m. — Lunchtime! My boyfriend is the cook of the house, and though I can cook, I hate doing it — I am impatient and would rather eat a PB&J every day than wait for something to cook. I do all the laundry and clean the bathroom, so I think it balances out. I brought a bagel and a banana for lunch.
4 p.m. — The county fair is in town, and teachers receive $1 admission on Fridays, but we have to pick up the tickets. My boyfriend has an in at the fair, so he gets free tickets already, so I'm going to give these tickets to my parents and brother. My parents just have to redeem and pay the $1 at the ticket booth at the fair.
5:15 p.m. — I get home to change into workout clothes to head to a running event for Global Running Day (yes, it's a thing). The event is a partnership between Lululemon and a local running store. I actually don't own anything from either of those stores, but they promised us ~free refreshments ~ so I'm down. We have to run 2.6 miles and guess what our time will be. The top five people who ran closest to their guessed time win a prize. Some people guessed within 10 seconds of their actual time, and I was several minutes off lol. They give us spiked kombucha from a local kombucha shop (kombuchery?), and it's actually pretty good.
8:30 p.m. — I shower, eat a bagel and some Cheez-its, and finish my night with some TV.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

6:30 a.m. — My alarm was being funky, and I overslept. Luckily, I naturally woke up at 6:30. I quickly shower, make my regular breakfast, grab my lunch, and hit the road.
11 a.m. — Lunch isn't until 1 today, and I can't wait that long, so I eat during my prep (Bitchin' sauce with crackers and a granola bar).
11:30 a.m. — We have an assembly today, so I quickly take attendance for my class and then shuffle us over to the auditorium. The assembly is a music and dance duo, and the kids seem underwhelmed. A kid asked me if they could just go back to class. Yikes, middle schoolers are difficult to please.
2 p.m. — Thursdays are early-dismissal days for the kids, while the staff has meetings. Today we are meeting according to which grade level we mostly teach. There are a few teachers who have been at this school since before I was born, and they think they are the queen bees, but I'm not drinking their Kool-Aid. They speak condescendingly to the rest of the team, and I'm honestly tired of it, so I call them out on it. They don't like it, but I'm not going to let people treat me a certain way just because I'm younger with less teaching experience. I worked for NASA, for Christ's sake.
4 p.m. — I meet a coworker for her birthday dinner at a place known for its meatballs. I get a chorizo meatball with fries and an overpriced gin drink. $23
6 p.m. — My parents and younger brother are visiting this weekend, so I drive to their hotel to hang out with them for a bit. We watch game shows and catch up. I head home around 10 P.M. and quickly fall asleep.
Daily Total: $23

Day Five

6 a.m. — You know the drill...
10:30 a.m. — A new building is being constructed for our school. Right now my department peeps and I meet with the architect and some district higher-ups to discuss our wish list for furniture and the design of our rooms. Our principal said we could ask for anything, so I asked for a 3-D printer. Hey, the worst they could say is no, so we shall see!
12:15 p.m. — Lunchtime! I brought a bagel and banana again. It's national doughnut day, and someone brought doughnuts in! Someone left half a doughnut, so I eat that, too.
4 p.m. — Home! This would be the weekend that my boyfriend and I clean the house, but we'll be pretty busy, so I decide to do my part now. I clean the bathroom and do some laundry and then go for a short run.
7 p.m. — I'm too lazy to make dinner, so I eat some Bitchin' sauce with crackers and sit myself in front of the TV. D. arrives home from his work trip, and we catch up and then go to bed around 10.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

5:30 a.m. — I'm up early today to meet my run-club group. After, I'm meeting my parents to lounge around with them at their hotel. So I pack stuff to shower and change into.
8:30 a.m. — I did about nine miles, and now I'm starving. I meet my parents, and my mom makes breakfast for us. I shower, then take a nap at the pool. We go back to their hotel room and eat a snack. Trying to save my appetite for the baseball game tonight! The Padres suck, but at least they sell good food.
5 p.m. — Leave my parents' hotel to pick up D. to go to the game. We arrive at the game early, which is good because we end up walking around the entire stadium before deciding what to eat. I end up buying a sandwich with this really yummy secret sauce. I also eat some of my mom's tri-tip nachos. $11.50
8 p.m. — My brother, D., and I get up in the middle of the game for dessert. We buy ice cream sandwiches from this place where you choose your cookie and ice cream flavor. I get M&M cookies with vanilla ice cream. D. gets cookies-and-cream cookies with cake-batter ice cream with fudge mixed in. My brother just wants two scoops of cookies-and-cream ice cream with a single chocolate chip cookie. I pay for us all. $25.50
Daily Total: $37

Day Seven

7:30 a.m. — D. and I are up kind of early to get ready for a mud run today (our start time is 10 a.m.). It's kind of far, so we have to hit the road early. I grab a granola bar to eat in the car and pack a bag for after the race, and we are on our way.
11:30 a.m. — We signed up to do a 10K, but I'm pretty sure that course was longer than a 10K, even with all the obstacles. D. and I walk through this sprinkler-system thingy that they have to get the mud off ourselves, and then we change into clean clothes.
12 p.m. — I am parched, so I buy a Hawaiian shaved ice with tiger's blood and pineapple syrup. My boyfriend buys me some mac 'n' cheese, and he gets a brisket sandwich and margarita for himself. $6
2 p.m. — As soon as I get home, I jump into the shower. It feels good to be clean! We are meeting some of D.'s friends for dinner before they move to Boston, so I take a nap so that I have enough energy for this evening.
6 p.m. — D.'s friends meet us at our apartment. We originally planned to walk to the restaurant, but D. and I are pretty wiped from the run, so D. drives us all instead. We go to a local pizza place and split a mashed-potato pizza (it's better than it sounds) and a BBQ chicken pizza. We each get drinks, too. D. pays this time. We alternate paying for things like this and figure it all evens out in the end.
8 p.m. — We decide to go out for ice cream before heading back to our apartment. I get mint chip, but it has a faint taste of toothpaste. Oh well. D. gets Thai tea in a cone, and I pay for both of us. We all head back to our apartment and chat for a few minutes. D.'s friends have to get back to their place to finish packing. D. and I watch some TV and head to bed around 10. A new week awaits! $12
Daily Total: $18
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