A Week In Thousand Oaks, CA, On A $42,000 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.
Today: a Social Media Coordinator working in Art who makes $42,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on White Claw.
Occupation: Social Media Coordinator
Industry: Art
Age: 25
Location: Thousand Oaks, CA
Salary: $42,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/week): $1,228.60
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $450 for my half of a bedroom I share with my boyfriend, in a house we live in with his older brother E. and E.'s girlfriend.
Loans: $0 (Thanks Mom and Dad!)
Utilities: $50 - $100
Gym: $50 for gym
Spotify: $14.99 (I pay for my whole family)
Netflix/Slingbox: $0 (thanks to my brother)
Computer Payments: $199.99 (I'm paying this off in monthly installments through Amazon — last payment is next month!)
Hulu: $11.99 (I subscribed during this week, so you'll see that, and I'm adding it here because I will keep it for a few months at least)
HIIT Classes: $10 (This is the fee for having this payment frozen. I will unfreeze it once I've paid off my computer.)
Apple Storage: $2.9
Savings: $500-$700

Day One

6:55 a.m. — I'm up! I usually get up between 6:45 and 7:20 a.m. Doesn't take me long to get ready. I get up and go wash my face. I took a shower late last night, so not repeating that (water bills be crazy these days).
7:15 a.m. — I'm done with the face wash. I use acne medication prescribed by my dermatologist; prescribed face wash, then apply a topical medication (also prescribed), followed by rose oil, firming under-eye cream, moisturizer with SPF 50! I literally put all of this stuff (except for the topical medication) from my forehead down to my chest, just above my boobs. My mom did that from when she was my age until present day and that woman is gorgeous with FEW wrinkles and I aspire to live that life.
7:45 a.m. — I'm out the door! I'm trying to slow down on eating breakfast, because I've gotten into this nasty habit of spending too much money eating out and only eating breakfast because it's comfortable and not because I'm hungry. If I'm hungry, I can get fruit /nuts/etc. in the office before lunch, but I'm usually not truly hungry until lunch anyways. I got $75 in Starbucks and Coffee Bean money for Christmas, though, so telling myself not to go get breakfast before work has been a struggle thus far. Halfway through January and I'm almost out of that money, so soon it'll be easier to quit the habit. I stop at Coffee Bean for a dark chocolate latte and egg and potato wrap. Both are mediocre, but usually Coffee Bean is better than this. Oh well.
9:55 a.m. — I am running out of things to do. My manager rearranged the way things work in our team, and my job basically got entirely shifted into other things. I'm super happy about it, because I wanted to learn new things and advance and that's what happened, but actually doing my new tasks requires a little training from my manager on how to do them. She hasn't had much time to sit down with me in the last two weeks, so I have mostly been waiting for her. I have other tasks, but they don't take up the whole day. I'm applying to graduate schools, so I spend a little time working on my admissions essay.
12 p.m. — LUNCH! I typically prefer to wait until 1, but I have a personal phone call I need to make now, so I go early. We have a cafeteria here, which is awesome. Free lunch! The food isn't always amazing, but it's usually pretty good, and I try to go as much as possible. I want this call to be private, however, so I leave the campus today and go offsite.
12:20 p.m. — Phone call done, and it went well! It was about a potential job. A job I'd really like to have, if I'm being honest. I drove a ways away while talking on the phone and wound up at one of my favorites, albeit expensive, lunch spots (lol at my subconscious), so I go in and get a smorgasbord of items: roasted butternut squash, asparagus, broccoli, beef, BBQ chicken, and pesto pasta. Just a little of each. I like this place because it's basically a buffet: you get what you want and then pay. I also buy a water. $18.60
1 p.m. — Back at my desk, wondering if the recruitment lady from my phone call liked me. We have a new freelancer who just started yesterday. I think she's either in her last year or is fresh out of college; she's only here from 1-6 every day. I make an assignment for her and show her how to do something using various tools and leave her to it.
1:45 p.m. — As soon as I sit back down, I realize it's almost 2 and I had a meeting at 1. Oops. Email some people to apologize — the new girl distracted me, I'm sorry!! This meeting happens weekly but it was canceled for a month because of the holidays and today was the first one back, so I'm not used to going again just yet.
5:20 p.m. — I'm done with work for the day, and off to my book club! Doesn't start until 6, but I just cannot sit at my desk any longer.
6 p.m. — Book club starts! It's an office club, so we get free dinner, woohoo! I have beef and broccoli from this yummy Thai place. I love book club. I was an English major in college. I love discussing novels.
7:45 p.m. — My boyfriend, C., texts me saying he's going out with “the guys” for a drink, which is totally fine, but then I find out where they're going and it's a major signal of who “the guys” actually are and I just no longer feel comfortable. C. has had some relationships with other women in the past that made me extremely uncomfortable. They weren't sexual, but they felt like emotional cheating. And he lied to me about it. So now, I feel suspicious about other women that enter his life. And it feels like getting drinks with “the guys” isn't the full truth. I leave book club early and go home. I hate this about myself.
11 p.m. — After texting me 20 minutes ago saying he's going to come home, C. texts me again saying he's staying out after all and is getting an Uber. He comes home around 2:30 a.m. My anxiety is so high about this, I just don't feel good.
Daily Total: $18.60

Day Two

7 a.m. — I still feel like shit. C. is asleep and I sneak out of our room as fast I can so I don't wake him up. I don't want to talk to him right now. Off to work.
9:52 a.m. — I'm trying to make this complicated spreadsheet but I just can't focus. I take some time to write my feelings down in a Google Doc. Then work on this Money Diary. Then take on a more menial task. Am I crazy for freaking out?
12:30 p.m. — Lunch! It's vegan burgers today, with potatoes and green beans, in the cafeteria. We also always have a soup of the day and a salad bar. I get a big salad, a black bean burger patty (no bun or anything), and some green beans and potatoes slices. The black bean burger is overdone, which is a bummer, but everything else is yummy.
1:30 p.m. — Back at my desk. I'm texting with C. and he has literally no idea that I'm upset with him, because why would he. I haven't expressed my feelings or concerns. We make vague plans to get drinks after my work. I have dinner with my parents at 6:45, and he works at 7. It's something. Maybe being around him will make me feel better.
3:44 p.m. — I need coffee. This day is dragging on. I've been joking around with C. I miss him. We've been together for four years.
5:15 p.m. — Drinks with C. I feel extremely uncomfortable. I ask him about his night the night before. I ask him who he was with, and he names two unspecified people and “some guys from the bar.” I know he's lying, but I can't confront it right now. I drink three gin and tonics. $34.49
6:45 p.m. — I meet my parents across the street from the bar I was at with C. (The restaurant we're at is walking distance from the bar — no driving!) They grill me about my relationship, my living situation, and graduate school. I expected it, because they're parents and they love me, but I'm just so emotionally drained right now. I eat the most delicious filet mignon with creamed spinach and shoestring potatoes and go home. Mom and dad pay, thanks you two.
9:15 p.m. — Back home and exhausted. C. is at work until midnight or so. He's a waiter. I fall asleep in bed fully dressed from dinner around 9:30, wake up two hours later and send a groggy “I'm asleep” text to C. before changing into my pajamas and going back to bed. No face washing, oops.
Daily Total: $34.49

Day Three

8:30 a.m. — I wake up and am so happy it's Saturday. C. is asleep next to me. I read in bed next to him for about an hour, then wake him up with morning sex. I feel happy.
9:40 a.m. — C. gets in the shower and I feel anxious and cold all over again. I go downstairs to make coffee and my hands are literally shaking. What is wrong with me? I'm just gonna do it. I go upstairs and confront him and turns out I was right all along. He wasn't out with the guys. He was out with two girls from his work. Two girls and one guy. Everyone single but him. The whole thing feels wrong and awful and I tell him to go to work and that I need to think.
11 a.m. — Meet my mom for coffee. I never talk to my mom about issues in my relationship until things are really serious. She buys me a latte and we chat for an hour.
1:15 p.m. — Back home. I just want to sit in bed and watch movies all day with the animals. C. will be home around 8 tonight. I haven't eaten yet. I decide I want to watch Transformers and subscribe to Cinemax through Amazon Prime for the month. I pay and immediately cancel so it won't renew for next month. There are a lot of movies on Cinemax that I want to watch. $9.99
3 p.m. — I take a very long, very hot shower. Water bill be damned.
6 p.m. — I am starting to feel hungry, go figure. I make a small, frozen Amy's spinach and cheese pizza and a gin and tonic. Then, another gin and tonic.
8 p.m. — C. is home and I tell him how I feel. I tell him I think we should break up, that I would tell anyone else in my situation to break up with him. I cry and he tells me he loves me. I tell him that I love him too, but this is becoming a pattern of behavior that I can't deal with anymore. I don't want to break up and I'm not ready to right now, so I say that I don't think there's anything else to say right now.
9:30 p.m. — I rent Dirty Dancing on Amazon Prime and C. and I cuddle in bed and watch. I just try to ignore my feelings and enjoy the movie. We fall asleep a few hours later. $3.99
Daily Total: $13.98

Day Four

8 a.m. — I wake up crying. The same issue rings in my ears: this isn't right, why would you lie to me about this? I know in my gut that nothing happened and that C. loves me and he wouldn't cheat on me, but I also know that he prioritizes going out and drinking and making friends with strangers over maintaining trust and respect in our relationship. It feels wrong. C. wakes up and sees me crying and we talk for a while.
10 a.m. — C. and I might just need space from each other right now, but I don't want that. It's so hard and it hurts so much, so I turn away from the entire situation and tell C. that we're just going to stay together and when he gets home from work, I'll be here and we'll be together. I love him and he loves me… and I think he's too emotionally immature for our commitment… and I cannot fathom ending this relationship. We watch She's the Man in bed, cuddle and laugh at the movie and try not to focus on everything else.
12 p.m. — C. and I go get burritos. $25, he pays.
1:30 p.m. — C. leaves for work and I sit and wonder if my mom somehow knows, innately, that I did not manage to break up with him. My mom likes my boyfriend a lot, but she thinks he's too immature for me and that I should focus on myself right now. I hang out with my roommates and read for a few hours.
6 p.m. — I decide I want to cook dinner tonight and go to the grocery store to get everything I need for pasta bolognese and Caesar salad. I buy a bottle of wine and a box of White Claw as well. I love White Claw. And wine. $60.90
8 p.m. — I finish cleaning the kitchen (it was gross and needed to be cleaned before cooking could commence) as C. comes in through the front door. I see him and know we're not talking about our potential break up/argument tonight. I don't want to. I want to pretend everything is normal. We cook dinner. The sauce needs to simmer for a while so we go upstairs and C. helps me decide on an outfit for his company's holiday party tomorrow night. He hangs up my dresses after I take them off, while I start putting the next one on. He helps me pick shoes and a purse. We laugh. He's my best friend.
10 p.m. — Dinner is finally done and I'm hungry! I eat a giant plate of pasta and salad and drink four White Claws. Work in the morning be damned, I need this right now.
Daily Total: $60.90

Day Five

6:44 a.m. — The kitten wakes me up, as per usual. She's rambunctious and running around. I browse my phone for a while before hopping in the shower. Usual skincare routine. Realize I didn't do my skincare routine all weekend. Stress and anxiety will do that, I guess.
7:30 a.m. — I am dressed but I get into bed, hold C.'s back, and feel sad. We cuddle for a while. His holiday party is tonight and I'm nervous. I don't feel good.
8:15 a.m. — At work, feeling a little wobbly. Check my email, make coffee, do a little spreadsheet management, and catch up on Money Diaries. Wonder if I should break up with my boyfriend. Wish I wasn't wondering about that.
12 p.m. — Lunchtime! I have C.'s work's holiday party tonight and I want to get my nails done. Just a simple, light pink, sparkly polish. $14 + $5 tip = $19. I always tip nail techs $5, no matter the price of my service. Is that just me? $19
12:50 p.m. — Back at the office and off to get food to go from the cafeteria. It's vegan burritos today. I get two halves, cauliflower, zucchini, and fruit and take it back to my desk. I can't finish the second burrito half and don't have any veggies, but do eat a little fruit. Maybe I'm losing my appetite. Normally I would finish all of this. Vegan food isn't usually that filling.
3 p.m. — I'm starting to get bored. I have some mail to send out, but I ought to wait until later in the day to take care of that. Plus, I'm getting a headache. Weird day, today.
4:30 p.m. — Now the day is really dragging. Mondays, ugh. I go mail the aforementioned items and get back to my desk wondering how best to spend the last nine minutes of this day. Maybe, possibly, looking at dresses online at Target. Oops.
5 p.m. — The day is done! I am leaving like 15 minutes early, but I'll make that time up later in the week. I need to go to Target and get dressed and do my make up and fix my hair. LOL. I buy a case of White Claw to take to the party and a pair of black tights at Target. $25.30
6:15 p.m. — I get to the party and immediately drink two White Claws before deciding to slow down so I don't get hammered. Over the course of the night, I probably have two or three more White Claws, plus drinks from playing games. I Venmo someone a few bucks for the case of beer she bought for games. We go out to an afterparty and stay out way too late. We also stop at a liquor store, where I buy a Boochcraft. Uber home around 2:30 a.m. C. pays for Uber. Apparently, he also bought us burritos but he says I didn't eat my burrito and just fell asleep. LOL. $12.70
Daily Total: $57

Day Six

7a.m. — Oh god. Why did this event have to happen on a Monday night?! I am so hungover. But, weirdly, in a good mood. I make coffee, eat a cracker, take a shower, face routine, get dressed, and call an Uber. C. comes with me in the Uber because we both left our cars parked outside the bar where the party was at last night. We reminisce about the night before and laugh in the car. $30.69
9 a.m. — Ugh I hate getting to work at 9. And also, I am hungry. I ask C. to bring me food and he brings me a breakfast sandwich on a bagel AND a smoothie. Yay!
11 a.m. — I get out of a ridiculous meeting and feel like death. This is one of those hangovers that is just going to get worse throughout the day. I'm probably going to nap in my car during lunch. Again, whyyy have a company party on a Monday? I probably shouldn't have drank so much, but I regret nothing.
12 p.m. — I go take a nap in my car for 50 minutes then get a chicken wrap and large iced tea and head back to my car. $10
1:30 p.m. — That nap helped me SO MUCH. I have never taken a nap in my car during lunch before, but I'm absolutely going to do it again one day. It was so nice! I actually feel like I can be a productive member of my office now. Except everyone in my office is currently thirsting over Pierce Brosnan at the Golden Globes. #swoon.
5:20 p.m. — I know I should stay until 6 today but I am just done with this day. I'm fortunate to work at a very lax company when it comes to these things, and I usually don't ever leave early so it's fine. C. calls me from the car on his way to work to talk about a house we're looking at renting.
6:15 p.m. — I hate that my nightly commute takes an hour. I'm hungry so I heat up my leftover burrito from Sunday and eat half of it before diving into laundry and cleaning my room. I usually do some of C.'s laundry with my own. I am one of those people who kind of enjoys chores like washing and folding laundry, so I don't mind including some of his whenever I do my own.
10:30 p.m. — I've spent the last three hours lazily cleaning, browsing my phone, and watching The Office. C. is going to be home soon and I want more food, but I decide to wait because we're going to watch The Bachelor together, and I obviously need snacks for that. I also decide to set up Hulu again (in above expenses), so we can watch The Bachelor in our room, rather than downstairs.
11:10 p.m. — C. and I catch up on each other's days and eat the pizza he brought home. We also heat up some pasta to share because we're really healthy. We start The Bachelor, which is so great this season, and fall asleep when it ends.
Daily Total: $40.69

Day Seven

7:22 a.m. — I forgot to set an alarm!! I wake up naturally at this time and decide not to shower so I get to work earlier than I otherwise would. And I'm not going to buy breakfast today, because I am not hungry!
8:15 a.m. — I get to the office, make a coffee, and start answering some emails. It's going to be a good day.
11 a.m. — I drive up to the studio and supervise a live video shoot for a half hour. Then drive back to my building and text my mom to see if she wants to meet for lunch in an hour or so. She says yes, so we agree to go to a little cafe by my office.
12:30 p.m. — I meet my mom for lunch and we have fun talking about The Bachelor (lol) and my graduate school stuff. I update her on my conversations with C. and how I am feeling now. She encourages me to talk to C. again. My mom thinks we're heading in different directions. I know she's right, but I also think that that doesn't mean we can't figure it out. I tell her I think C. and I need to keep talking about everything and that I don't want to end things and I love him, and she is as supportive as she can be. I love my mom.
1:45 p.m. — Back on set to supervise more film shoots. Content creation is so time consuming. This is a longer shoot, and I'll be here for a little over an hour.
5:15 p.m. — After a LONG afternoon (seriously, this week feels like two different weeks), I'm out of here! C. texts me that he got all the stuff for chili and cornbread. YUM.
6:15 p.m. — HOME, thank goodness. C. looks like he is feeling pretty sick. I tell him that I think we should talk about what happened last week/over the weekend, but that it doesn't have to be right now since he isn't feeling well. We catch up and make tea. He already made the chili and it's ready to go in the Crock Pot, yay! I help put the cornbread in the oven.
8:30 p.m. — We finally sit down to eat dinner and start watching The Witcher. This show is good! We just started it today, and it's better than I thought it would be. This chili is amazing to me, but C. doesn't seem to be a huge fan. We watch several more hours of The Witcher before falling asleep.
Daily Total: $0
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