A Week In Philadelphia-Area, PA, On A $57,000 Salary

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Today: a video producer working in digital media who makes $57,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on cupcakes.
Edit note: Some of the details of this diary have been removed to better protect the diarist's anonymity.
Occupation: Video Producer
Industry: Digital Media
Age: 24
Location: Philadelphia-Area, PA
Salary: $57,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,782.58
Pet Sitting Income: $150-$250/month
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $400 to my parents
Student Loan Payment: $200
Car Insurance: $120
Car Payment: $0 (I purchased my car in cash.)
Adobe Premiere/Photoshop: $21
Phone: $50 (My mom pays the bill, but I contribute monthly.)
Gym Membership: $10
Savings: An average of $2,000 a month into my personal savings account, my 401(k), or my investment accounts
Health Insurance: $0 (I'm on my parents' plan for one more year. My job doesn't offer benefit because I'm an independent contractor. *Cries*)
Annual Expenses
Amazon Prime: $119 (My parents pay for Netflix, my sister pays Hulu, and we share all three.)

Day One

10:30 a.m. — I wake up to the sound of an alarm, and as I roll over to hit my phone, I remember I never set one last night. The noise is coming from my dad's cell phone ringing downstairs. My dad and I both work from home; it's…interesting. I moved back home when I took my current job to save money, and it's getting old real fast. I throw on warmer clothes and grab my keys. The wind is whipping outside this morning, and I don't feel like walking the one block to my neighbor's house. In addition to my job, I pet sit on the side for about eight different families. This week I have to feed my neighbor's cat twice a day, and it brings me in an extra $100.
11:45 a.m. — I get back home and open the fridge to look for breakfast. There's a tiny piece of my grandmother's spinach quiche left, so I warm that up and eat it as I watch the fall finale of This Is Us.
12:30 p.m. — Every few months I like to pay off a bit more of my student loans. Today, I make an additional payment of $300. I could easily pay my student loans off in one go but...I'd rather not. $300
2:30 p.m. — I try to do some work, but I can't unless my client responds back to me. I browse the internet as I wait for them. I get hungry and heat up leftovers from last night's dinner: baked chicken, rice, vegetables, and stuffing.
6 p.m. — My entire day was spent in front of my computer doing work. I leave and head to my grandma's house with my dad, since my mom is working late. Every night at 6, we go to her house down the street for dinner. She's a fantastic cook. Afterwards, I head back to my neighbor's house to feed the cat. I don't go to the gym today because a two-hour episode of Survivor is on tonight. Some things are more important. I bake cookies and watch Survivor, then lay in my bed on my phone until 1 a.m. Oops!
Daily Total: $300

Day Two

8 a.m. — I curse my body that it woke me up this early. I'm so tired that I have a headache. I lay in bed until 11, then get up and go feed the neighbor's cat. I'm starving, so I drive down the road to the grocery store to buy Smartfood popcorn, multigrain chips, a roll for my lunch, mozzarella cheese, chocolate-covered pretzels, muffins, and shaving cream. It comes to $21 exactly. By the time I get home, I'm not hungry anymore. $21
2 p.m. — I finally get my appetite back and make a turkey sandwich with the roll I bought this morning and open up the bag of popcorn. I have to eat fast, though, because I have a work video chat at 2:30.
5 p.m. — I head to Big Lots to get one of my bosses a twin mattress and box spring for a set she's building. It costs $212.61, but she Venmos me back immediately. I drive it over to her house and unload it into her basement for her.
6:30 p.m. — I head to Sneaker King to pick up the Uggs I had on hold there for my mom's Christmas gift. She's always wanted a pair but won't get them for herself, and now that I'm making good money, I'll treat her. The store is having a 10% off sale, woohoo! $143.97
7:30 p.m. — My dad brought me home spaghetti and meatballs from my grandma's tonight. I heat up a plate and eat it as we watch Jersey Shore, my dad's favorite show. Then I go to bed extremely late again, around 1:30.
Daily Total: $164.97

Day Three

11:30 a.m. — I roll out of bed and immediately get dressed in my gym attire. First stop: feed the neighbor's cat. After hitting the gym for an hour, I go across the street to the grocery store to get two gallons of milk, mayo for my dad, and turkey. $12.60
2 p.m. — I get home from the store and make my sandwich, pair it with some Smartfood popcorn (boy, that stuff is ADDICTING) and munch on it as I watch a rerun of Friends. After that, I hope in the shower.
4 p.m. — I text my friend to see if she wants to get a drink tonight. She says she'll let me know, but that's always code for "no," so I don't get my hopes up.
7 p.m. — My dad calls and asks me to make a reservation at a local pizza bar tonight for five: my mom, dad, cousin, cousin's mom, and me. Guess we're going out to eat tonight! We all order pizza and wine. My dad pays for everyone. I never hear from my friend about going out tonight, so I go to bed around 1:30.
Daily Total: $12.60

Day Four

8:30 a.m. — I had to set my alarm this morning to get up early. I eat a muffin as I do my makeup and my dad yells at me to eat an egg instead. Shut up, dad. I leave at 10, feed the neighbor's cat, and head to a convenience store I've never been to before to pick up a package that was supposed to be delivered to the client I work for before heading to her house.
11 a.m. — We all pile in the car and head to a local mall. She's having a meet-and-greet today and I'm helping film it for a video. Five-hundred fans show up, and she's happy she got to meet all of them in the short two-hour window. One guy even freaked out when he saw me; it was weird. During the meet-and-greet, she asks me to go grab her Dunkin'. I don't ask her to reimburse me because it's only $3.28. We leave the mall at 3:30 and head back. $3.28
7 p.m. — I'm starving when I get home, and I don't want to wait for dinner, so I eat the rest of the Smartfood popcorn I have left. My friend tells me that Bath & Body Works is having a sale today where all three-wick candles are $8.95. I grab my keys and head to the mall.
8:30 p.m. — The only candle left smells like Abercrombie cologne. I pass on the deal and browse American Eagle, where I run into an old schoolmate from elementary school. We catch up, and I buy a sweater and a scrunchie for 50% off. On my way home, I stop at the neighbor's to feed the cat for the last time this week. $28.34
Daily Total: $31.62

Day Five

10:30 a.m. — I wake up and rush to get dressed. My dad and I go to church, and then we head to a local diner for brunch. I order a short stack of pancakes and home fries. Dad picks up the bill.
1 p.m. — I get home and put in a load of laundry before spending a few hours deep-cleaning my bathroom and helping my dad move my grandma's mattress for her. Afterward, we go home and watch the Giants game. They win in overtime! Yeah, babyyyy!
6:30 p.m. — My grandma and mom are gone all day, so my dad goes to the store and gets a pre-made chicken for us for dinner. We eat it with some veggies as we watch more football.
8 p.m. — I browse Target online for wine stoppers, a gift idea for my dad this year. I see that they're having a special today of 10%-off gift cards, and you can even buy them online! I shop at Target all the time, and I figure that I might as well prepay to save some money. I purchase a $100 gift card for $90 and opt to send it to my phone. #TreatYoSelf. $90
11 p.m. — I hop on the phone to help my coworker upload this week's video.
Daily Total: $90

Day Six

10 a.m. — I wake up and do some more laundry, eat a muffin for breakfast again, and watch Life-Size 2.
3 p.m. — I'm starting a new therapist today. I think mental health is important, and I feel no shame in going to one. It helps to have someone to talk to. She's very nice, and we set another appointment for two weeks from now. The sessions will cost me $70 each until I meet my deductible, and then they will be free! I truly dread the day I turn 26. $70
5 p.m. — We premiere a new video. We're excited about this one, and it goes well!
7 p.m. — My grandma isn't cooking tonight, so I make some pasta with Alfredo sauce and add the leftover chicken from last night. I was going to get takeout, but I figured I'd use up what we have already and save some money. After dinner, I have a call with one of the client and a discussion about the video we just uploaded. I spend the rest of the night in bed watching a movie.
Daily Total: $70

Day Seven

10 a.m. — I wake up and don't even get out of bed until 11:30. We don't have anything for breakfast, so I just heat up leftover pasta from last night and eat it. I answer some emails and help coordinate some brand deals for the client. I have errands to run today for work, but I'm struggling to get myself going.
2:30 p.m. — I finally leave the house and go to a local bakery to inquire about ordering cupcakes for an event this weekend. While there, I get two cupcakes to go for $5. I eat one in the car and save the other for later. $5
3 p.m. — I then head to Target and stop for gas on the way. The pump won't take my card, so I have to go pre-pay inside. I put $20 worth in my tank. $20
4 p.m. — At Target I get things I need for work: address labels, some Sharpies, cute stickers to seal envelopes with, and an extra cartridge of black ink. While at Target, I see that the TV show Black Mirror created a game based off of their episode “Nosedive.” It's my dad's favorite episode, and I think that the game could be a cute gift for Christmas. I also have a 10% off coupon for it, score! I pick up a toiletry item I also need and head to check out. Then I ring up the things I got for work and put them on the company Amex. Remember that gift card I bought the other day? Yeah. It doesn't work. So I put my purchase on my debit card and set a reminder to call customer service later tonight. $26.06
6 p.m. — Dinner at Grandma's! She made my favorite: cornflake chicken with rice and veggies. I spend the rest of my night making the address labels for work and putting them on the cards to mail out. I finish around midnight and head to bed.
Daily Total: $51.06
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