A Week In Lubbock, TX, On A $45,000 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 senior administrator working in higher education who makes $45,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on chipotle-lime mayo.
Occupation: Senior Administrator
Industry: Higher Education
Age: 23
Location: Lubbock, TX
Salary: $45,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,150
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $600 for one-bedroom/one-bathroom duplex with security system and backyard
Student Loans: $0 (My parents paid for housing, and I had scholarships that covered tuition.)
Utilities: ~$160
Internet: $52.43
Gym: $27.06
Jazzercise: $14.99
Health Insurance: $0 (My work pays.)
Life/Eye/Dental Insurance: $2.30, $3.01, and $14.32 respectively, automatically deducted from my paycheck
Invisalign: $112.91 (Charged to TexFlex, a flexible savings account.)
Work Parking Pass: $21.24, automatically deducted
Subscriptions: $5.40 for my Spotify Student account, which also gets me Hulu/Showtime. $5.33 for The Washington Post. I mooch off family for Netflix/HBO.
Amazon Prime: $7.03
Car Insurance: $96.58
Phone: $80 (For my brother and me.)
Brother's Groceries: $250 (This is a favor for my sister.)
Charities: $20
Savings: $500 (I just opened a high-yield savings account.)
Teacher Retirement System Of Texas: ~$150-$190

Day One

7:20 a.m. — I wanted to get to the office early to do my homework for my class on Tuesday, but I end up sleeping in. I finally get up. I have a hard few weeks coming up work-wise, so I think I'm trying to avoid being there more than I have to. At work by 8.
11:30 a.m. — My boss asks me if I want anything from Market Street. I ask for Cheetos Puffs. After I wrap up a meeting, I eat leftover chicken from last night's dinner at BJ's. I eat at my desk so I can continue working on a few things. My boss couldn't find the small bag, so she got me a large bag of Cheetos Puffs. I'm not mad. I Venmo her. $3.79
5 p.m. — Head out to the Y, where I take Jazzercise classes. I started going last year. My boss's sister gave us free class passes, and I was really hesitant to go at first. I always equated Jazzercise with old ladies, neon leg-warmers, and the ’80s, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it's a great workout with current music. The instructors are super fun, and the community is really nice. Lately, the classes have been packed with newbies, and I'm glad other people get to experience the fun and supportive atmosphere, but I wish we had a bigger studio to accommodate us better. We're doing a heart-health challenge for February (take 28 classes, get a cute tank), so everyone is trying to get their shirt.
7:15 p.m. — Get home and make taco soup. It's a lot, so I eat some, put away half for lunch this week, and put half in the freezer.
10:15 p.m. — Get ready for bed. I bought all this Origins stuff in December, and I'm trying really hard to not get lazy about my skin-care routine.
Daily Total: $3.79

Day Two

6:55 a.m. — Again, I wanted to get to the office early, but I end up sleeping in. Finally get up and get ready for work.
7:35 a.m. — Get to work. Finish my homework and get to work on actual work. At some point, I skim the Texas Parks and Wildlife job postings. I like to keep my options open. I love my current job, but it doesn't hurt to be on the lookout for my next move. I find one open in my hometown. I tell my sister to apply, too.
12:30 p.m. — My boss goes to lunch early, and she asks if I want anything from Market Street. I ask for some Saltines. She tells me not to Venmo her this time. I eat taco soup and crackers. I eat quickly since I have a conference call at 1. My sister and I also have a quick call to discuss the job opportunity. I Venmo her money for my brother's groceries ($250).
1:40 p.m. — Head to campus for my class. I'm in my last class for my master's! I'm so excited to almost be done with school (hopefully forever)!
4:30 p.m. — The heater went out in our building, so my professor sped up class a little to get us out early. I appreciate her kindness.
5:15 p.m. — I head to the Y for Jazzercise.
6:45 p.m. — Back home and I realize I do not have anything ready to eat for dinner. I shouldn't have put the other half of the taco soup in the freezer. Oh, well. I contemplate going to pick something up for dinner, but I decide against it. I eat some cereal and waffles and watch Made for More on Amazon Prime. Rachel Hollis says some inspiring things, and I'm reminded I should finish her book.
9:45 p.m. — Get ready for bed. I have a project due tomorrow at work that I wasn't able to complete today. I decide to go into work early, so I should go to sleep soon. I tell myself if I'm successful at getting up early, I can treat myself to Starbucks.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

6 a.m. — My alarm goes off, but I lie in bed for five more minutes. I'm not really a morning person, in case you haven't noticed. But once I'm up, I'm fine. I get ready for work and am out the door at 6:30. I warm up my car and place a mobile order. I order a bacon, gouda, and egg sandwich (my favorite) and a skinny mocha ($8.34) using gift cards from Christmas.
6:45 a.m. — At work, I start on my project. Around 7:30 a.m., I text some of my friends and wish them a Happy Galentine's Day. I'm really on a ladies-celebrating-ladies kick, and am looking more into Ellevest. I'd like to open an IRA in the near future, and there are so many options out there. I want to ask two coworkers for advice first (they're CFPs).
8:30 a.m. — After a few morning meetings, I call a lawyer I used last year after my sister and I were rear-ended. My bills from the hospital visit after the accident were sent to collections and are on my credit report. I hate having to still deal with all the financial repercussions that came out of a car accident that wasn't even my fault. I'm also reminded that I wish my mom was still here to walk me through these types of things.
12:30 p.m. — I heat up my taco soup, and it's delicious. I eat in the common area. Back to my desk afterward to get ready for another meeting this afternoon.
5 p.m. — Get dressed and head out to Jazzercise. One of my church friends is coming, and I'm excited for her to try out a class with the owner. It's a good workout, and I'm pretty sure I'll feel it in the coming days.
7:15 p.m. — I head out across town for my church's young-adult group. I didn't keep up with this week's video, but I always get something out of our discussion, even when I'm not prepared.
9:30 p.m. — Head back home after staying to chit-chat. I make a turkey sandwich and eat a small bag of Cheez-Its. I may have a friend staying with me this weekend for another friend's wedding, and since I have a long day tomorrow, I figure I should get a head start on cleaning now. As I wash dishes, I put on a playlist that makes me think of my mom. I don't cry all that often anymore, but her birthday is in February, and March is the anniversary of her death.
11 p.m. — Get ready for bed and knock out by 11:15.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

6:55 a.m. — Get up early to take a shower this morning. I've been taking them at night, but I was too tired last night. I get up feeling a little sick (stuffy nose and throat hurts). I'm hoping it is nothing.
8 a.m. — Get to my office and find a Valentine's Day gift from my boss (a candle). So sweet. I get to work on a few things and head into a meeting. A coworker brought some chocolate pound cake, so I have a slice for breakfast. I also make coffee in the Keurig and have an Emergen-C.
10:30 a.m. — My coworkers decide to order from Panera for lunch. I add to the order — half a Southwest Chile Lime Ranch Salad with chicken and a half Cuban sandwich with a side of chips. $13.94
11:30 a.m. — Go with my boss to pick up the order, and head back. We eat in the common area.
5 p.m. — Head out across town. Every other Thursday, we meet up with sisters at the convent. I'm not always the best Catholic, but I really enjoy these ladies and admire their faith. Again, I'm unprepared for the book discussions, but I always get something out of our talks.
9:30 p.m. — Head home and then clean up my house a little. Get ready for bed and am out by 11.
Daily Total: $13.94

Day Five

5:30 a.m. — Get up and head to Jazzercise. I'm definitely feeling sore today. Friday mornings are only 30-minute classes, and I want to make up my missed class from yesterday. I'm back home by 6:20. I decide to swing by Chick-fil-A on the way to work. I get the chicken, egg, and cheese bagel meal with hash browns and orange juice ($7.78) using money on my Chick-fil-A app to cover it.
10:30 a.m. — I finally take the leap and open an Ellevest account to start a Roth IRA. I set it up to deposit $100 monthly. Not a lot, but I'd like to have a bit more in savings before I start putting more into it. $100
12:30 p.m. — I head to pick up something from Market Street with my coworker. We come back and eat in the common area. I normally don't eat out as much as I have this week, but I figure I can eat the last of my taco soup for dinner instead. $8.70
2:30 p.m. — I have a headache, so I take an ibuprofen. Then I munch on a handful of M&Ms.
5 p.m. — Head out of work. I clean up a little in case my friend decides to stay with me. It's a nice night in. I eat the last of my taco soup for dinner while watching The Edge of Seventeen. I also talk with my brother and sister. They're moving into a new place, so they're going through some of our mom's stuff. I wanted to go down to help them move, but it's always a little expensive with gas, grocery runs, and eating out. Afterward, I put on Parks and Rec. I aspire to be Leslie Knope. I am so tired from the past few days that I end up crashing around 10. I get up around 1 and move from the living room to the bedroom.
Daily Total: $108.70

Day Six

8:15 a.m. — I'm up earlier than my alarm. My friend who is in town for the wedding asks if I want to go get my nails done with her. I really don't get my nails done, but I contemplate it because of the wedding today, but I decide against it because I'm saving up to attend a bachelorette party in a few weeks. I head out to the Y at 9:15. I don't feel like exercising, but I'm happy I do it. Make it back home by 10:45.
11 a.m. — I'm tempted to pick something up to eat on my way home, but I don't because this weekend will cost me a bit with friends in town. I'm starving, so I eat a bowl of cereal and then make a sandwich.
2:15 p.m. — My friend comes over after she gets her nails done. We talk for a bit and then finally start getting ready around 3. Some of our other friends are meeting us at my house at 4.
4:15 p.m. — We head out to the wedding. It's beautiful, and I'm so happy for the couple. It feels like a mini reunion for some of our college friends.
10:45 p.m. — After the wedding, we decide to hit up Blue Light, a bar where a lot of Texas country stars got their start. We aren't too familiar with the performer tonight, but it's still fun to be out. We pay a cover charge, and my friends generously cover the two drinks I get there. I get back to my house around 1. My friend who is staying with me wanted to stay behind with a friend of hers, so I leave my key under the doormat, leave her a water and Powerade on the coffee table, and make the couch with pillows and blankets for her. I hear her get in at 2, and I'm glad she made it home safely. $12
Daily Total: $12

Day Seven

8:30 a.m. — I wake up and doze in and out of sleep for the next hour and a half. My friend gets up and heads out around 11. I always hate saying goodbye. I love being around people, and I cherish these fun times. I watch some more Parks and Rec and lounge around the house. I wanted to run some errands today, but that isn't going to happen right now. I also call my brother after he sends me a link to the Halo Outpost Discovery fan experience. He's in high school, and we are closer now than we were before our mom passed. I check it out and tell him Philadelphia sounds like a cool place to visit. I tell him I'll look into it. When I was growing up, my family didn't do extravagant vacations, but we did travel a bit. I want to give him those same experiences.
2:45 p.m. — I leave for Jazzercise. It's another set of two 30-minute classes. By this time next week, I'll have completed the challenge (insert flexed-arm emoji).
4 p.m. — I stop by Market Street to get gas and a few groceries. I get 20 cents off the gallon when I use my Market Street rewards ($27.93). I go into the store and buy two salad mixes, avocados, blueberries, Primal Kitchen Chipotle Lime Mayo (my coworker raved about how good it is), shredded cheese, cheese sticks, milk, Chobani yogurt, canned black beans, Jimmy Dean turkey sausage, and two Simple Scrambles. On the way to the register, I pick up sushi, too ($57.35). $85.28
6:30 p.m. — Shortly after I start eating the sushi, one of my friends who came to town for the wedding texts and asks if I want to meet up for dinner and drinks tonight. I am always up for a party, so I say yes. We go to Chuy's for dinner, and I get the chicken flautas and a strawberry margarita. We decide to meet up a little later at the piano bar in town. $20
8 p.m. — Once I'm home, I regret agreeing to go out. I'm tired and want to get in bed already. I remind myself that this friend isn't in town often. Then I get a text from one of my church friends. She drew my name at our weekly gathering for who she should keep in her prayers for the week. She asks if there is anything in particular she should pray for. I tell her about the hard time I've been having with my mom's birthday coming up and next month being the anniversary of her death. She is so sweet and offers to get a group of us together to pray in adoration in honor of my mom. I shed a few tears and am thankful for sweet friends like her.
9 p.m. — I leave my house at 9 to meet my friend, and when we get to the bar we realize it's closed, so we head to another one. I get a Moscow Mule, and we stay until 11:30-ish. When I get home, I get ready for bed and say a prayer thanking God for placing all these people in my life and for a fun weekend. I crash by midnight. $7
Daily Total: $112.28
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