A Week In Kansas City, MO, On A $48,000 Salary

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Today: a Social Worker who makes $48,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on sushi.
Occupation: Social Worker
Industry: Nonprofit
Age: 28
Location: Kansas City, MO
Salary: $48,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,461
Gender Identity: Cis Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $825 (on my own in a small house in the suburbs)
Credit Card Debt: $325 ($9,000 left)
Student Loans: $50 minimum payment ($6,000 from undergrad)
Car Payment: $295
Car Insurance: $88
Rental Insurance: $12
Phone: $78 (unlimited plan and Apple iPhone Upgrade Program)
Internet: $0 (I lucked out and moved into a neighborhood with free Google Fiber!)
Gas/Electric: $30-80 in the summer and $80-125 in the winter
Water/Trash/Sewer: $50
Lawn Care: ~$60 depending on the weather
Planet Fitness: $25
Netflix: $7.99
Hulu: $0.99
iCloud Storage Expansion: $0.99
HBOGO: $0 (I use my stepmom's)
Amazon Prime: $0 (I use my dad's)
Savings: I am trying to build up an emergency fund but only have about $300 saved right now. I am semi-following the Dave Ramsey method and trying to pay off all my debt first – it's pretty dang hard.

Day One

7 a.m. — Wake up! I snooze a little while scratching my dog T.'s ears. She loves to cuddle in the morning and it makes it extra hard to get up. We go for our daily 30-minute walk around the neighborhood, stopping to say hi to the kids getting on the bus. I love living in a friendly neighborhood. After the walk I shower and get ready for the day, washing my face with Exfolikate and putting on jeans and a sweater. I make myself oatmeal and iced coffee before leaving T. with a treat and a kiss on the head.
11 a.m. — I answer emails and compile questions for my supervisor. She is leading a community training today so I won't really get to see her. My coworker who is located at another office picks me up to go to Costco. We have to get the food for the training! We get four pizzas and two salads, expensed on the company card ($60). My coworker gets me a sandwich and a Diet Pepsi while I grab the salads — we don't worry about reimbursing each other because we know it will even out eventually. We drive the food over to where the meeting is being held. I talk to my supervisor for about five minutes to prep for the meeting I'm leading today. Then it's back to the office.
12:30 p.m. — I head over to the library where our meeting is held weekly. Usually, these meetings are like pulling teeth but there's only about 15 people here today so it's a little easier. We are also implementing some new changes to our system which is pretty exciting. The library closes early so we get kicked out. I'm not complaining about getting off work early!
3:30 p.m. — CVS texts me that my prescriptions are ready so I hit the drive-thru to pick them up. I get 90-day supplies of my anxiety and depression meds so they're a little more pricy. My insurance isn't covering my birth control right now for some reason (usually it's free!) so I hold off on paying for that until I can talk to my doctor about other options. I also grab a peach soda and some cheese balls to munch on. $74.19
4:15 p.m. — I indulge in one of life's simplest pleasures: a car wash. T. likes to hang her head out the window so my car is always disgusting. Plus, it recently snowed so my car is extra ashy. After it's nice and shiny, I take advantage of the free vacuums and window wipes, spending about an hour on the task. My Apple Watch dings that I've met my Move goal and that it's tracked 18 minutes of exercise in the last hour, lol. Two birds with one stone! $15
5:30 p.m. — Home! I let T. outside while sorting through my mail, recycling all of it except my Warby Parker glasses that just came in. I try them on and snap a few selfies — I love them. I am currently bingeing Kitchen Nightmares and during this episode, Gordon is at an Italian restaurant so the craving for pasta hits. I make angel hair pasta with butter and cheese, ground turkey, and mixed veggies from a can. Old, weird food habits from cheap childhood meals die hard.
6:25 p.m. — Time to leave for my weekly community choir rehearsal. I auditioned for this choir at the suggestion of the voice teacher I was taking lessons from over the summer while I was auditioning for some musicals. I didn't get cast in any but I did make this choir which has been really fun. I was a big theatre/choir nerd in high school and it's nice to get back into it. We practice for about two hours and then I head home. I eat a mini piece of cheesecake that I bought last weekend and watch more TV before heading to bed with T. My skincare routine is pretty sad, just a makeup wipe. I coax T. into bed with me for some snuggles. She's so sweet — the best rescue dog in the world.
Daily Total: $89.19

Day Two

12 a.m. — T. wakes me up with an ear-piercing bark. At least she is kind enough to let me know she needs to potty instead of making a mess in the house. I let her outside and fix myself a bowl of rice cereal with chocolate almond milk. We go back to bed.
7:20 a.m. — My executive director texts us at 5:30 a.m. to say that she is feeling sick and our 8 a.m. staff meeting is canceled — yay for sleeping in! T. and I head out for our walk again, this time stopping to chat with a friendly beagle and her owner and a not-so-friendly Boston terrier who nips at T. Luckily T. is very easygoing and sweet despite her intimidating appearance (70 lbs with lots of muscle!) and she shrugs it off. When we get back home, I do the dishes before showering and fixing a bagel with smoked salmon cream cheese and iced coffee. I leave T. with a bone and a kiss, and head to work.
9 a.m. — My commute is only about 12 minutes if I time it just right. I finally get to see my supervisor. She leaves to speak at a panel at a conference and I fill out a few forms to refer some clients for housing. I call a few of them to confirm their details and let them know that they will be getting housed soon, which is always a great conversation! At around noon, just as I am getting ready to head out to present at that same conference, a client and her case manager walk into my office. They are frustrated with the system and want to know why she has slipped through the cracks. I let her know how people are selected, and that I will look into her case when I get back.
1:08 p.m. — After getting lost on my way to the conference (even though I've lived here five years, it's still a struggle!) I stop off at KFC for a bite. This is the only food option that remotely appeals to me in a sea of drive-thrus (many parts of Kansas City would be classified as a food swamp — lots of unhealthy or unsustainable food options). I get a chicken tender meal and Diet Pepsi then walk into the conference hall. $5.66
2:30 p.m. — The presentation went well! People asked some thoughtful questions and I took some notes to bring back to my team. I have been at this job since July and I finally feel like I have somewhat of a solid grasp on it. I run to my next meeting at my office which is with a data and research team from our local university — they are doing a needs assessment for us and have some questions about my role and the multitude of spreadsheets I manage. They are a fun group and ask lots of really good questions.
4:15 p.m. — I head home because my landlord has asked me to meet the plumber who's fixing my toilet. My house is very old and there are often lots of clogs and things to be fixed. While he works on that, I put together my box spring that was delivered from Amazon. My bed broke on Sunday and I've had to piece a new one together so I'm happy to finish this task.
6:43 p.m. — The plumber finally leaves, and says he can't turn the toilet back on because my landlord turned it off and it's "aGaInSt ThEiR pOlIcY". I google "how to reset a toilet" before calling my landlord and ask what to do, and she sends over one of her handymen to finish the task. Thank god, because I need to pee!! The box spring is all finished and I put it together with the new frame that I bought and assembled on Friday, and put my memory foam mattress on top. Ahhhh, so cozy. T. is a little wary of the new bed but she jumps up for snuggles eventually. I'm not hungry but I have a bowl of cereal before dozing off around 10.
Daily Total: $5.66

Day Three

7:09 a.m. — I have a rough time getting out of bed today. T. and I start out for our walk and catch up with one of our other neighbor friends, an older gentleman and his temperamental beagle. He asks about my job and we talk for about 20 minutes while walking and chatting. When we get back, I put all my trash and recycling out.
8:15 a.m. — I have a meeting today at the downtown library so I stop and grab some coffee, donuts, and a water bottle at the gas station. The meeting runs over a little and I have to rush back for the next meeting at my office. I make sure to validate my parking slip so I don't get charged at the library's garage. $8.12
11:55 a.m. — Second meeting of the day goes well! Today is the last day of my free DashPass trial so I order a cheeseburger, fries, a Diet Coke, and a milkshake from Five Guys. I can definitely tell my period is coming soon because I always crave this terrible stuff right before. I read today's MD and swipe mindlessly on Bumble while I eat. $20.16
3:15 p.m. — I spend the afternoon calling clients and trying to fill more referrals. I have a sad conversation with a mother whose daughter would have been selected for housing soon and learn that the daughter has passed away. It's definitely a reality check for me that my clients are more than just numbers. I catch up with my supervisor when she returns about our seemingly endless upcoming meetings this week and next. I head out at around 5:30.
5:58 p.m. — I text my stepsister V. and stepmom K., asking what they're doing tonight. I know that V.'s wife is out of town for work this week, so I want to make sure she's feeling loved and not too lonely. I stop home and let T. out first. We decide to eat at Chipotle — K. graciously pays for my chicken burrito bowl, chips and guac, and Mr. Pibb. We spend about two hours chatting and eating. We reminisce and tell stories about my dad who passed away last year after a long battle with cancer. With the anniversary approaching, I realize how much I appreciate these relationships and am so glad we get to spend time together. I take home half of my burrito bowl and most of the chips and guac.
8:30 p.m. — I'm home and outside with T. even though it's raining. Sometimes she needs some coaxing to do her business.
10 p.m. — After watching Kitchen Nightmares and eating a mini cheesecake slice, T. and I get in bed to snuggle. I scroll through social media for a bit before falling asleep.
Daily Total: $28.28

Day Four

7:30 a.m. — It feels good to sleep in a little bit. I don't have anything until 9 today, so I take my time walking T. and getting ready. I won a Pumpkin Spice-themed raffle basket at a charity event last weekend so I make an iced coffee with some of the coffee syrups and almond milk — it's pretty good. I also make a bowl of oatmeal and head out the door, jamming to CHVRCHES on my commute.
11:30 a.m. — First meeting went well — we went through about 25 clients and called a few about next steps for their housing. My supervisor is in a meeting all day and I'm feeling kind of anxious about a meeting I'm having to lead on Monday. I prep some papers/handouts and then I drive to Whole Foods while calling my mom and fixing up a salad from the hot/cold bar for lunch. I think I do pretty well but at the register, I learn that I packed $13 of salad into the box, plus a bag of chips and a tea. Oh well, at least it's green! $15
3:55 p.m. — The tea from lunch isn't cutting it so I stop at the vending machine at work for a Diet Dr. Pepper ($1.11). I power through the rest of the workday, catching up on emails and making calls. I head home at about 5 and T. greets me with wet kisses and tail wags. I lounge on the couch for a bit and scroll through a funny Twitter thread about terrible first dates. I place an impulse sushi order at one of my favorite spots in the next town over (Philly roll, Las Vegas roll, spicy tuna roll, shrimp tempura, and miso soup plus a tip). After picking it up and heading back home, I eat about one third and know that I will eat the rest tomorrow. $38.40
9 p.m. — I eat a mini piece of cheesecake while laughing at Kitchen Nightmares. I fill out some paperwork for a gyno appointment next week at which I'm hopefully getting an IUD. I do some research about the different types, which is honestly quite terrifying. Fingers crossed it works out for me...
Daily Total: $53.40

Day Five

7:30 a.m. — We're up! T. was extra snuggly today which made it hard to get up. We do our typical walk with a few more layers for me — it's super cold today. I have a phone meeting at 9 so I'm lazing around and slowly getting ready. I drive the two minutes over to Dunkin' (it's dangerously close to my house!) and get a caramel latte with almond milk, an egg and cheese sandwich, and hashbrowns. I have enough loaded on my card to cover the food plus a free drink coupon. My call is with someone who does my role in another city. I appreciate her talking through the systems they use there and her advice for moving parts of our system online.
9:30 a.m. — My gas light is on so I stop to fill up on my way to the training. I also grab two sodas for later. $32.44
10:30 a.m. — Today I have an all-day training around how to support and provide resources to survivors of domestic violence. It's pretty draining but very helpful. Lots of good questions and scenarios. Lunch and snacks are provided but they didn't send us enough sandwiches so I go without. My supervisor is off-site but nearby, so I ask her to please bring me a sandwich to get me through the day! She delivers me a turkey sub and I am extra grateful.
4 p.m. — After helping clean up the tables and chairs, I drive home. The temperature dropped sharply, we are expected to get some snow tonight! I think maybe I'll put up my Christmas decorations.
4:25 p.m. — I'm home and sprawled out on the couch. I got my property tax bill today and it has to be paid by December 31, so I plan out when I will pay it — definitely before going holiday shopping. My sister texts me about her college classes and we chat for a minute. I eat my leftover miso, shrimp tempura, and sushi. I also start cooking a pull-apart cheesy bread that I got at Costco when I went with my stepmom last week. But by the time it's done I'm full! I know that I'll either eat it this weekend or on Tuesday when we have our mini Thanksgiving dinner.
7:30 p.m. — It feels amazing to do absolutely nothing. This week at work was pretty up and down. I peek at some pre-Black Friday sales but I don't really need anything. I also paint my toes and nails which have been neglected for weeks. T. and I lay around before heading to bed at 10.
Daily Total: $32.44

Day Six

7 a.m. — My alarm goes off. I turn it off and let T. out for a minute. I fall back asleep on the couch and then let her in. We go back to sleep and I set my alarm for 9:30. I'm meeting my grandparents for lunch today in the town where they live which is over an hour away. I take a quick shower and get ready while T. barks her life away in the yard. Luckily my neighbors don't care, they also have dogs! I leave at 10 after making an iced coffee and toasting a bagel for the road.
11:15 a.m. — I swipe on a little bit of L'oreal Powder foundation and curl my eyelashes with Benefit Roller Lash (my standard beauty routine) before I meet my grandparents at their little townhome. They just moved into a retirement community and have barely begun unpacking. They want to take me to their favorite Chinese place and I'm happy to oblige. It's nice to catch up with my grandparents — they put me through college and most of grad school so I'm forever grateful to them and cherish our time together. When we finish lunch they give me a tour of their community. I show my grandma how to get her email onto her iPhone and my grandpa gets jealous so I show him as well. I leave at about 2:30 and listen to Nicole Byer's podcast on the drive home.
3:45 p.m. — When I get home I give T. lots of snuggles and ear rubs. I also pop some popcorn and bake the pumpkin cookies that came in the raffle box I won last weekend. After watching Kitchen Nightmares, I get a craving for steak. I browse longingly at food delivery options but instead head to Aldi where I get popcorn, a case of Dr. Pepper, green beans, mushrooms, pumpkin spice Special K, ribeye, shredded cheese, eggs, iced coffee, and a pair of fuzzy holiday leggings ($34). I use salt, pepper, olive oil, and butter for the steak. The smoke alarm doesn't even go off once — success! I also make some garlic mushroom gnocchi. T. is drooling more than I've ever seen before so I cut her a little piece of steak and microwave it until it's cooked through and put it in her bowl. My dad used to get so mad when I ate my steak well done and slathered in A1 sauce, but now I'm a medium-rare girl. I think he would be proud of this steak :) $34
8 p.m. — I put the leftovers away and hope that I remember to eat them. T. and I are happy and stuffed, lounging on the couch.
10 p.m. — After a few more episodes of Kitchen Nightmares, it's bedtime for me and T. I resolve to be more productive tomorrow — I have a mountain of laundry that needs handling.
Daily Total: $34

Day Seven

7 a.m. — T. and I are up at our normal time. I let her outside and then we go back to bed. I scroll on Insta and FB, messaging my family some logistics about my upcoming drive to see them for Thanksgiving. T. and I lay around for the better part of the day. This is a typical Sunday. My job is extremely draining for me so I usually take the weekends to recharge.
3:30 p.m. — I realize I haven't eaten all day so I drive to the Taco Bell across the street from my house and get tacos and a burrito and cheesy fiesta potatoes for tomorrow. I also get a Dr. Pepper, hoping it will recharge me to do something around the house tonight. I scarf most of the tacos down while watching Kitchen Nightmares and reading today's MD written by the mom of the baby in NYC — just reading it makes me anxious and exhausted! What an inspiration. $13.21
6:30 p.m. — I'm finally up and doing something. I gather all of my laundry together in the living room and get started. With it being a short week at work I jump into my emails and schedule them to go out for tomorrow morning. T.'s giant bag of dog food also arrived yesterday so I transfer it to the big tub.
8:30 p.m. — I made it through several loads of laundry — yes! I also finally put away the clean piles. T. is loving the cooler weather and is just chilling outside. I mess around on the internet and make an Amazon Christmas list before heading to bed. Somehow I'm tired even though I slept for most of the day.
Daily Total: $13.21
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