A Week In Orange County, CA, On A $30,000 Income

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Today: a stripper who makes $30,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a new lingerie set.
Occupation: Stripper
Industry: Entertainment
Age: 22
Location: Orange County, CA
Salary: ~$30,000 if I make at least $200 a night and work four days a week.
Paycheck Amount (Daily): ~$200-$400
Monthly Expenses
Rent: 1,800
Student Loans: $0 (I worked incredibly hard to graduate with two degrees in three years, with most of the cost covered by scholarships. My parents graciously covered the rest.)
Health Insurance: $0 (I'm on my parents' plan still.)
Utilities: ~$40-$45
Therapy: $70 every two weeks
Internet: $60
Lyft All-Access: $299 for 30 $15 credits a month
Imperfect Produce: $12 every two weeks for surplus or "ugly" fruit
Gym: $0 (Included in my apartment complex.)
Netflix: $0 (I use my sister's account.)
Hulu: $0 (I use my girlfriend's account.)
Amazon Prime: $0 (I use my parents' account.)
Cell Phone: $0 (I'm on my parents' account still.)
Roth IRA: $450 (I've been doing this since I started working because I am extremely paranoid about not being able to retire.)

Day One

7:30 a.m. — I wake up early and have the same thing for breakfast that I've had every day for the past eight years: a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich on sprouted bread and a cup of coffee with soy milk. I have serious decision fatigue, so I often eat the same thing on a regular basis.
9:30 a.m. — I've sat around on my computer for long enough this morning, so I head to the gym to do my Saturday ab workout. My friend is a personal trainer in training, and they offered to write me a customized plan, so that's what I've been doing lately. I also go on a four-mile bike ride on the trail for some cardio.
10:30 a.m. — I get home to quickly shower and shave. Then I eat an apple from my biweekly Imperfect Produce box as a post-workout snack. I also meditate, set my intentions for the day, and practice gratitude. I do those three things every day on an app called Youper, and I really like what it has done for me.
12 p.m. — I make stir-fried yakisoba noodles with lots of frozen veggies and Trader Joe's Soyaki sauce for lunch.
1 p.m. — I do my hair, makeup, and nails, and pluck my eyebrows so I look put together for work today. I try to do most personal-care things myself, because the costs add up so quickly. Since I started stripping, I've had the urge to spend more on my appearance, but I'm trying not to let lifestyle creep get to me.
2 p.m. — Read the witch doesn't burn in this one, a poetry anthology by Amanda Lovelace, to kill some time. Working second shift is a drag sometimes — it involves a lot of sitting around during the day.
3:15 p.m. — Grab a pear and a Clif Builder bar as a snack and catch my Lyft to the club ($15 with my All-Access plan, plus $14 for the ride in traffic). $14
4 p.m. — Time to take my anxiety medication, put on my lingerie and heels, and make some money.
9 p.m. — Night shift starts at 9, so I tell my customers goodnight. My shifts are only five hours, but I rarely take breaks and I'm "on" the entire time, so it can be really tiring. Today was slow, so I only made $250 after my tip-out. I tip the house manager and the DJ $14 each. $28
9:30 p.m. — I take a Lyft home ($15 dollars paid by All-Access and $9 for the ride). $9
10 p.m. — My mom asks to come over with some leftovers, so I eat those while talking with her about how our days went. My mom is one of my best friends, and I'm so happy I live close to her. Then I take my night medications, take a quick shower, do my skin care, brush my teeth, and go to sleep.
Daily Total: $51

Day Two

8 a.m. — Sunday is my day off, but I usually wake up at the same time every day. I drag myself out of bed and make my usual PB&J and coffee with soy milk.
9 a.m. — I go to the gym for today's arm workout. I also do a four-mile bike ride afterward for my cardio. I love living in SoCal because it's always perfect weather for a bike ride.
10 a.m. — I come home, shower, and wash my face. I use all Trader Joe's personal-care items: shampoo, conditioner, face wash, sunscreen, and moisturizer. I also brush my teeth and floss.
10:20 a.m. — I make my bed, practice gratitude, set my intentions for the day, and do a guided meditation. Then I have some leftover salad as a post-workout snack.
11 a.m. — I have a second cup of coffee and use my restless energy to tidy up my apartment. I do the dishes, take out the trash and recycling, wipe down all the countertops and sinks, and clean the toilet. Keeping my apartment clean and orderly is very important for my mental health.
12 p.m. — Make stir-fried yakisoba with tofu and frozen veggies again. I'm a creature of habit. Clean the pan and dishes right away so my apartment stays clean.
1 p.m. — I want to buy a serum from The Ordinary, but I don't want to pay for shipping on their website or Sephora's. For some reason, it's twice as expensive on Amazon Prime, so I skip out on it for now but keep it in mind for later. Instead, I do two loads of laundry to keep my productivity going. I start reading a new library book: She Felt Like Feeling Nothing by R. H. Sin.
2 p.m. — Do my hair and makeup and pick out three outfits for a modeling gig I found on Craigslist. I've met with the guy before, and it's a fully dressed shoot in a public location, so I'm not too nervous. He usually pays me $50 for an hour.
3:15 p.m. — My mom always worries about me meeting people from Craigslist, so she gives me a ride to the photo shoot location so she can keep an eye on me. Very nice of her :). I pay for her parking. $5
5 p.m. — The shoot runs long, but he pays me $70 for it. I get home and fold and put away my laundry. I finish the library book while I snack on two oranges.
6 p.m. — A regular of mine offers me two tickets to see the show he's in. I've been to it before, but I love dinner theater (when vegan options are available), so I tell him yes, please! I ask my mom to go with me, and she's equally excited.
7:15 p.m. — The show is great! We cheer so loud that I practically lose my voice. The vegan food is delicious, too. I tip our server $10. I find my regular and tell him thank you — he hooked us up with amazing seats and some special interactions from the performers. $10
10 p.m. — Finally get home and I sleepily do my skin care, brush my teeth, take my night meds, and go to sleep!
Daily Total: $15

Day Three

8 a.m. — I make the usual PB&J and cup of coffee. I see that e.l.f. cosmetics is offering free shipping, so I ask my girlfriend and sister if they want anything. They don't, so I order blush and a blush brush for myself, because I've noticed my complexion looks somewhat flat at work. $9.70
9 a.m. — Gym time! Today is chest and back. I also go for another four-mile bike ride. Then I shower, shave, wash my hair, and brush and floss my teeth. I only wash my hair two to three times a week because I have really thick, curly hair that doesn't get oily very quickly.
10:30 a.m. — I open up all my blinds and windows to help air dry my hair. Then I do the dishes, start a load of laundry, tidy up my apartment, and do my usual mindfulness combo. Today I'm grateful for my girlfriend. She lives in Seattle, but I visit her as often as I can and I love her very much.
11:45 a.m. — I'm starving since I skipped my post-workout snack, so I make lunch early. You know it: yakisoba with frozen veggies and tofu.
12:30 p.m. — I do my hair and makeup and wonder how I'm going to kill time for the next three hours until I have to leave for work. Oh, second shift, how you test me. I grab a new library book and get it started.
3:15 p.m. — I nap and watch YouTube videos until it's time to leave for work. Grab a Clif bar on my way out the door and catch a Lyft (All-Access covers $15, I pay $14). $14
7:15 p.m. — Work is so slow, but I'm lucky and get one guy to spend ~$250 on me. Altogether, I made about $300 in three hours and decide to go home early. I pay the club $40 for my two VIP sessions. Plus, the house manager gets $6 and the DJ gets $6. $52
7:45 p.m. — I Lyft home ($11 after All-Access). Then I eat dinner while watching Criminal Minds. I leave the TV on while putting away my clean dishes and laundry. $11
8:30 p.m. — I take my night meds, shower, brush my teeth, and do my skin care. I'm asleep by 9 p.m.
Daily Total: $86.70

Day Four

8 a.m. — I somehow slept for 11 hours. I feel like I need more sleep than the average person. If I sleep for less than nine, I'll be so tired all day that I literally cannot keep myself awake. Ten hours is my sweet spot.
9 a.m. — My apartment is under construction and I hate bothering the workers when I leave for the gym, so I decide to do an ab workout at home and skip the cardio for today.
10 a.m. — I do my usual mindfulness routine and then shower, shave, lotion, brush, and floss. I have to apply lotion really early in the day so that it'll sink in before I go to work. Otherwise, the pole gets really slippery, which can be dangerous for myself and the other dancers.
11 a.m. — I have an apple as a snack while watching the latest episodes of The Good Place and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I love both those shows.
12 p.m. — I make some avocado toast for lunch and a second cup of coffee. I use the extra energy to wipe down all my countertops and vacuum the apartment.
1 p.m. — Do my hair, makeup, and nails. I go for the "girl next door" look, so I do a slightly messy hairstyle and apply mostly neutral makeup. I also wear my glasses and thigh-high socks every day as part of my schoolgirl aesthetic. Guys who are into my type generally like that I look "real" and down-to-earth, so I play that up.
2 p.m. — I write a short play as a creative-writing exercise. I try to write regularly to improve my skill. I also eat some sweet-potato fries as a snack.
3:15 p.m. — Catch a Lyft ($14 paid after All-Access). I read poetry during the ride. $14
4 p.m. — Today is $2 Tuesday, so the club will be very busy. I text a few of my regulars and ask them to come visit me. I use a text-spoofing app so they don't have my real number.
9:15 p.m. — Long day. I made $461 and immediately spend $45 of it on a new set of black lace lingerie. We have a girl who comes in regularly with really cute sets for sale, and I like supporting her. $45
9:30 p.m. — Tip out $20 to the house for VIP, $8 to the house manager, and $8 to the DJ. $36
10 p.m. — Lyft home ($15 from All-Access, $10 from me). My mom visits with a home-cooked meal again. I'm very spoiled. We gab about my customers and regulars. $10
11 p.m. — I shower, do my skin care, brush my teeth, and take my night meds. Exhausted, I fall asleep instantly.
Daily Total: $105

Day Five

9 a.m. — I sleep in a bit, and I'm grateful for the extra sleep. Today's a rest day from the gym, so I take it easy and have a lazy morning. PB&J and coffee, as always.
10 a.m. — Mindfulness routine! I was having very bad anxiety yesterday, so today I try to calm my mind and tell myself that no matter what happens, I can handle it with grace.
11 a.m. — I read and finish my latest library book. That's three books finished in five days, so I'm pretty proud of myself. Hair and makeup time, except I check my bag and realize I left my makeup at the club last night. I do what I can with what I have at home and plan to leave for work a few minutes early so I can finish it off.
12 p.m. — Have a frozen meal from Trader Joe's for lunch while watching YouTube videos.
1 p.m. — Bike to a coffee shop to meet an old friend and grab a cup of drip. I'm recovering from very serious agoraphobia, so I make an effort each week to leave the house for something other than work. $2
2:30 p.m. — Bike home. It's nice to get a little cardio in, and it's 68 and sunny, so perfect weather for a bike ride.
3:15 p.m. — Grab a nectarine and a handful of raspberries. Then Lyft to work ($14 out of pocket). $14
4 p.m. — No one's here yet, so I practice on the pole for a while. I saw a girl do a trick yesterday that I loved, so I try to do it myself.
7:30 p.m. — A customer buys me a veggie sushi roll from our sushi bar. Yes, I know how a strip club/sushi bar sounds, but it's actually really high-quality. It's delicious and I'm happy to have the calories so I can work a little longer.
9:30 p.m. — A customer tells me his fetish is to be left behind by a girl who's swept away by a strong, handsome man. I tell our bouncer discreetly and he helps me fulfill the fantasy. I get a nice tip for it, too. I make $234 for the night and tip out $10 to management and $10 to DJ. $20
9:45 p.m. — I Lyft home ($12 out of pocket). $12
10 p.m. — I take a quick epsom-salt bath, eat some microwave vegan mac 'n' cheese, drink a watermelon kombucha, and do my skin-care routine. I'm very tired and fall asleep without brushing my teeth.
Daily Total: $48

Day Six

9 a.m. — Breakfast of champions: PB&J and coffee.
10 a.m. — Leg workout today! I also do a two-mile bike ride and stop by the bank to deposit my cash. The tellers always give me judgy looks because of the number of single dollar bills I bring, but I try not to let it get to me.
11 a.m. — I spend an hour journaling about what I want to talk to my therapist about tomorrow. When I don't do this, I have a hard time remembering what the week was like, so I try to organize my thoughts. I also do my mindfulness routine.
12 p.m. — Lunchtime! I have spicy avocado hummus on toast and a navel orange. I do a load of laundry and am grateful once again that I have laundry in my unit.
3:15 p.m. — I mess around on my computer until it's time to Lyft to work ($14). $14
9:30 p.m. — I make $301 — I tip out $1o to management and $10 to the DJ, then Lyft home ($12). $32
9:30 p.m. — Arrive home to see my Imperfect Produce box waiting for me at the door. This week I got navel oranges, cara cara oranges, blood oranges, apples, avocados, blueberries, and pears. It'll last me two weeks of having one fruit a day.
10 p.m. — Eat another Trader Joe's frozen meal, shower, do my skin care, brush my teeth, and fall asleep very quickly. This busy week is catching up to me.
Daily Total: $46

Day Seven

10 a.m. — PB&J and coffee. Then I head to the gym to do arms and core. I get home, shower, and do my mindfulness routine.
12 p.m. — I drink a Soylent. It's a meal-replacement shake that I drink when I'm not feeling like eating but I need the calories or energy.
1 p.m. — I have an hour-and-a-half session with my therapist every two weeks. Today we touch on my unstable sense of self-esteem, my new medications, and my general anxiety.
2:45 p.m. — I get my guilty pleasure for a late lunch: Taco Bell. The Seven-Layer Burrito without sour cream or cheese with added crispy potatoes. Lots of hot sauce, too. It's an amazing lunch. $3.29
3:45 p.m. — I spend Friday afternoons as a live model for a figure-drawing class as a little side hustle. It's an after-school art class, and the students (middle-school age) are all really talented! It only pays $45 for two hours, but I like the teacher and the students, so I don't mind doing it.
6 p.m. — Bike home. Make some yakisoba with frozen veggies and tofu for dinner.
9:30 p.m. — I spend the rest of the night watching Criminal Minds and eating SkinnyPop popcorn. I'm a simple girl and am very tired from this past week.
Daily Total: $3.29
If you are experiencing anxiety or depression and need support, please call the National Depressive/Manic-Depressive Association Hotline at 1-800-826-3632 or the Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.
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