A Week In Kauai, HI, On $9.25/Hour

Photo: Getty Images.
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 summer intern working in land management who makes $9.25 per hour and spends some of her money this week on mango kombucha. Note: this diary was written last summer and is the last entry in our Your Spending In Your State series.
Occupation: Summer Intern
Industry: Land Management and Development
Age: 20
Location: Kauai, Hawaii
Salary: $9.25/hour
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $533
Advertisement
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $0 (I'm living with my parents for the summer back home. It's my last summer before graduating and entering the “real world,” and my first one since high school that I've spent at home.)
Spotify Student: $5
Hulu Basic: $8 (I pay for this, my parents pay for Netflix, and we all have access to both accounts.)
Phone: $0 (My parents pay.)
Health Insurance: I'm on my parents' plan until I turn 26. (#ThanksObama)
College: I'm on an academic merit scholarship that covers my tuition, and other outside merit scholarships cover most of my other costs. Since my scholarship renewal is contingent on maintaining a high GPA, grades are very important to me. My parents contribute about $2,500/semester from a college fund to cover basic costs like books and transportation.
Savings: I put $500 into my Roth IRA every six months and am trying to build up my checking account for next semester, as it was decimated during my study abroad semester (I was not permitted to get paid at my internship because of my student visa).

Day One

6:30 a.m. — I wake up and have scrambled eggs with leftover gyoza filling from last night for breakfast, along with fresh mangos from my best friend's farm and figs from our backyard! Being home for the summer makes me appreciate the wonderful things from my island that I took for granted before moving away.
10 a.m. — Two hours into work, I have a coffee from the office Keurig and a KIND bar.
Advertisement
1 p.m. — Lunch from home: shiso musubi (rice balls), leftover gyoza, takuan, and ahi poke. My mom just returned from a trip to Japan and is way too excited about using the kawaii bento accessories she picked up.
4:30 p.m. — I fill up gas at Costco using my mom's card ($23.33). Gas here is so expensive that this is the only place we fill up for the rebate, and I don't have my own Costco card.
5 p.m. — Finish work and stop at my local juice shop to pick up a mango kombucha. (I get 50 cents off for bringing a reusable bottle!) This company supports a total of 30 local farms on the island and only sells reusable bottles. And their workers are the sweetest! $4.50
5:15 p.m. — I go for a three-mile run along the ocean. Not paying for a gym, plus killer views, and occasional whale spottings make me wonder why I go to college on the East Coast.
8 p.m. — Mom and I cook sukiyaki and brown rice for dinner with fresh watercress on the side, and I pack the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
9 p.m. — The Bachelorette is on! My mom and I munch on ice cream from the freezer while we watch.
Daily Total: $4.50

Day Two

6:30 a.m. — I wake up and see that my grades from my semester abroad came in! I did well in most of my classes but got one unexpected B. I shoot off emails to the professor and my advisor while eating an avocado and chicken sandwich for breakfast. (The avocados are free from our friend's farm.)
Advertisement
7:30 a.m. — I call my best friend from study abroad on my way into work to vent about the grade. She's the best and I miss her.
9:30 a.m. — Office Keurig coffee and leftover KIND bar for snack.
1 p.m. — Leftover sukiyaki and rice for lunch with a raw egg. A coworker went to a Filipino restaurant nearby and brought back cascaron for dessert, and another coworker brought in homemade matcha ice cream!
5 p.m. — I meet my dad after work for our favorite hike and we trail run three miles up and down the mountain. He is 56 and still kicks my ass.
7:30 p.m. — I make beef, broccoli, salad, and brown rice for dinner for my dad, my grandma, and myself. (My mom is working.) Afterwards, I read more of Labor of Love by Moira Weigel, a really interesting book about the history of dating that I'm renting as a free library eBook!
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

6:30 a.m. — Wake up and eat breakfast: avocado sandwich on whole grain again with fresh mango.
7:30 a.m. — I study economics and love that there are so many accessible, well-made, and free podcasts available on the topic! I listen to Planet Money on my way into work.
12 p.m. — I'm selling a bathing suit that doesn't fit me properly on eBay, so I run to the post office during lunch. I make $152 after fees and spend $28.78 on expedited shipping for the buyer, so I net $123.22.
Advertisement
12:15 p.m. — I'm tired of Japanese food, so I go to the Costco food court (my happiest place) and get a chicken bake for lunch. I also grab a free strawberry guava juice from the company fridge. $2.33
5:30 p.m. — There's a swell on the south side of the island, so I meet up with my dad after work and we surf until the sun goes down. When we get out of the water, we realize someone has stolen our car keys! This has never happened to us before on the island, and it's super disappointing. We call a friend to bring us a spare.
9:45 p.m. — By the time our friend comes and we get back to our side of the island, everything but fast food is closed. I'm starving and exhausted, so I go through the Taco Bell drive-through and get a cheesy potato burrito. $3.68
Daily Total: $6.01

Day Four

6:30 a.m. — Up and at 'em! I have cereal with chopped apples and bananas from our friend's farm and fresh pineapple.
8 a.m. — Get to work and make a Keurig coffee.
12 p.m. — I go on a lunch run with my boss and she treats me to a pineapple tea. I eat leftover beef broccoli and brown rice for lunch.
5:30 p.m. — I stop at my local juice shop to pick up more kombucha. Mango mint jalapeño for me and strawberry guava for my mom. I get a free shot of ginger juice, cinnamon, lemon, and honey. $9
Advertisement
6 p.m. — I would usually go for a run now, but I'm exhausted, so I FaceTime with my friend instead. He is interning in Silicon Valley this summer, and I try to convince him to use that sweet tech cash to come visit Kauai for a weekend.
7:30 p.m. — I treat my friend to dinner as a thank you for driving 90 minutes roundtrip to bring us our keys last night. My parents have a date night, so I bring my grandma with us as well. We go to her favorite sushi restaurant and order miso soup, seaweed salad, three rolls, and green tea. $77
8:30 p.m. — I crack open my AFOQT book for an hour. I'm studying to become an officer in the Air Force after graduating – I want a break after undergrad before hopefully going to law school. I also feel strongly that our military should be more diverse, and I'm ready to put my money where my mouth is.
Daily Total: $86

Day Five

5:30 a.m. — I wake up early for a phone interview for a fall internship at a cool start-up. It goes well, and I'm excited about the prospect! Afterwards, I eat a BLT with avocado from our friend's farm and some honeydew melon.
7:30 a.m. — New Freakonomics Radio episode! The drive to work flies by.
8 a.m. — Work! My coworker gives me the top of a pineapple we ate yesterday and suggests I try to plant it in my house. I do some research and decide to give it a try.
Advertisement
12 p.m. — Our office is playing tennis today! And my coworker brought in Chinese chicken salad and homemade banana lumpia for everyone for lunch.
5 p.m. — I go home and help my mom prep for the dinner party we're throwing to thank our farmer friends for all of the recent goodies – five of our good friends come over and we make slow roasted salmon, garlic risotto, chicken masala, eggplant parm, and a caprese salad! I've typically only come home for a couple of weeks every year since I graduated high school because my college is so far away, so spending time with my family and friends feels absolutely amazing.
11:30 p.m. — I help clean up and then hit the hay.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

8 a.m. — I wake up and text my friends about breakfast. My friend's roommate from college is visiting Kauai for the first time, so we go to our favorite local diner and order loco mocos, oxtail soup, and banana macadamia nut pancakes to split. $15.08
11 a.m. — We stop at our favorite local boutique to check out the new arrivals, but I ate too much at breakfast and feel too bloated to try anything on. We go for coffee at another local shop and I get an iced coffee. $3.05
12 p.m. — I get home and nap, clean, and watch a few episodes of The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu. I read the book a few years ago and loved it, and the show is just as good!
Advertisement
6 p.m. — It's Bon Dance season — a Buddhist summer festival that we look forward to every year. I meet a friend and we drive down to the Bon Dance with my grandma in tow. (She's too old to dance now, but likes to sit and watch.) We dance for hours while snacking on shaved ice, daikon, musubi, and nishime. As per tradition, the church provides free dinner for dancers.
10:30 p.m. — I get home, finish up the leftover risotto, and sleep. After studying abroad, living a more chill lifestyle has been exactly what I need.
Daily Total: $18.13

Day Seven

8:30 a.m. — It feels so nice to sleep in! I make avocado toast for breakfast.
12 p.m. — It's a family tradition to do a deep clean every Sunday, so I help out by scrubbing the toilets and folding towels.
2 p.m. — More of The Handmaid's Tale! I'm officially hooked.
5 p.m. — My dad, mom, grandma, and I pile into the car and drive to the south side. Grandma is stoked to see a couple of monk seals chilling on the shore! We swim for a while and then go to our favorite hot dog place, where I get a Polish dog with Lilikoi mustard and mango relish and then chocolate gelato for dessert ($12, Mom pays). I'm so lucky to have parents that can afford to have me home for the summer.
8 p.m. — We drive home. I hop in the shower and then scroll through Instagram before going to sleep.
Advertisement
Daily Total: $0
Money Diaries are meant to reflect individual women's experiences and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.
The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day. For more money diaries, click here. Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here: r29.co/mdfaqs
Have you been working for at least 8 years and seen your salary increase or fluctuate? If so, fill out this form for a chance to be featured on our Salary Story series!
Advertisement

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series