A Week In Los Angeles, CA, On A $41,000 Salary

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 writers' PA on a TV show who makes $41,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on
Occupation: Writers' PA on a TV Show
Industry: Entertainment
Age: 22
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Take-Home Income: about $41,000
Paycheck Amount (Weekly): about $820 (My hourly take-home rate adjusted for taxes is $13.50, and I get paid for a guaranteed 12 hours per day, plus sometimes more for overtime if I work more than that.)
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Monthly Expenses
Rent: $975 (I live in a three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment with two other roommates. We got a deal on our rent when we first moved in due to a property manager mishap. I previously paid $800/month for a DOUBLE room in college.)
Credit Card Payment: $50 (After spending my postgrad summer in Europe, the debt was inevitable. I'M HANDLING IT.)
Netflix: $0 (I'm on my mom's account.)
Phone: $100 (I'm on my mom's plan, but I like to chip in for my half.)
Student Loan Payment: $0 (I was lucky enough to benefit from financial aid and parental support.)
ClassPass: $75 (I like to go to a pilates studio in my neighborhood but can't afford the studio's own monthly plan. It's also nice to try other classes in the area and mix up my workouts.)
Health, Vision, & Dental Insurance: $50 (deducted from my paycheck each week)
Utilities: $67.57 for my third
Car Payment: $0 (I drive my car from high school, and my mom pays for my car insurance.)
Savings: I have about $2,000 in savings from odd jobs in college.

Day One

6:45 a.m. — Monday, the start to the week! I wake up, shower, and get ready for work. I have to go to the grocery store to hunt out a specific type of almond butter for the kitchen in my office. As a PA, I'm responsible for snacks and lunches. Of course the store does not have the right almond butter, so instead I buy a fresh dandelion root juice and a bottle of Essentia for breakfast with my own money. SUE ME, fancy water is more fun to drink. $9.08
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9:30 a.m. — I make coffee at work and eat an orange. I've been feeling a cold coming on for like two weeks that somehow my immune system has continued to dodge. As everyone else trickles into the office, I'm sent out on a run for fancy coffee. (Pretty sure I'm the only one who drinks the office coffee.)
11:30 a.m. — I also order and pick up lunch every day for the office. Today we're ordering from a salad/sandwich place. I order a “Paleo plate.”
12:30 p.m. — Drive to pick up lunch. I'm running late due to traffic, and then the mac and cheese takes forever at the restaurant. I have to get lunch back by 1 p.m., so I'm stressed (but what's new). Work pays for lunch every day, so I don't have to worry about that.
1 p.m. — I make it back in time (not getting fired today, woohoo). My “Paleo plate” is boring and I'm still hungry.
3 p.m. — I call around and try to make different doctors appointments now that I have health insurance through work.
4 p.m. — I do more grocery shopping for work. The two stores I go to are out of what I'm looking for.
5 p.m. — I finally find an e-book of this cookbook I need to buy for the cookbook club I'm starting. The idea is to pick a cookbook and everyone signs up for a recipe, but I want to provide everyone with a PDF. I buy the e-book and take screenshots to send in a file to tentative members (friends who I convinced to join). $18.99
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7:30 p.m. — Once home, I eat a leftover half of a chicken arugula wrap from last night and part of my leftover lunch from last week. (If you aren't constantly testing expiration dates, are you even living??) I'm exhausted and lay down to watch reruns of Friday Night Lights.
Daily Total: $28.07

Day Two

6:45 a.m. — Wake up early because today is VOTING DAY. I take a shower, get dressed, and walk across the street to my polling place. The line takes about 10 minutes, and I'm out of there in 20. People literally wait in line for brunch for like three times longer than that.
8 a.m. — After voting I head to work, but not before stopping for a responsible citizen treat for myself. I get a smoothie at the grocery store and add in some extras, making it an extravagant purchase. $8.97
10 a.m. — I drink a cup of tea instead of coffee since I'm already feeling a little jittery/anxious today.
12 p.m. — Same old, same old. I go pick up lunch for the office from a burger place. I opt for a chicken salad which is mediocre at best.
4 p.m. — I drive to the studio and pick up paychecks and as well as a poster for our office.
7 p.m. — I get off work a little early because my friend texted me today with free tickets to go see A Bronx Tale at The Pantages. She got house seats from someone at work. I know nothing about A Bronx Tale but hey, free theater and great seats. I live close by, so I take the Metro to Hollywood. (I never take the Metro, but I thought it might be fun and it drops off literally right across the street. Also, it was free to ride on Election Day.) At the show I buy an overpriced bottle of water. $4
10 p.m. — The musical was fine — it ran a little long and didn't really tell a gripping story. Good to support the arts though, right? I forego Metro-ing home since I'm not familiar with transit post 10 p.m. in this city. I catch a Lyft instead. $3.07
11 p.m. — Realizing I didn't have dinner, I eat some almonds and then sit on my phone for too long before finally going to sleep.
Daily Total: $16.04

Day Three

7 a.m. — I get up early to go buy post-election day treats for the office. The plan is to go to two bakeries in the Larchmont L.A. area. One of them still isn't open when I get there, so I walk around for a few minutes and decide to get a smoothie. This is smoothie week I guess. I go to Kreation, and I'm about to buy one of their fancy smoothies when I find out it's 20 DOLLARS. Usually I'd say no thanks, but I decide to screw it and buy the $20 smoothie. It's actually an insane purchase, and I pledge to not buy any more breakfast for the rest of the week. $20
8 a.m. — The giant smoothie made me jittery — I don't even know what was in it. I get the rest of my baked goods and head to work with lingering buyer's remorse about the smoothie. But whatever, it's over, it happened.
10 a.m. — I drink green tea with two tea bags because coffee seems like a bad idea this morning.
12 p.m. — I order and pick up lunch.
1:30 p.m. — I finally get to sit down and eat after having to run back to the restaurant because someone's lunch was messed up. I get a tuna salad, and it's better than expected. But I also can't complain too much because it's freeee.
4 p.m. — I finish up some clerical PA work and then go on another grocery trip. As we are dipping into “winter” here in Los Angeles, everyone is freaking out that we need hand sanitizer and Emergen-C.
7:30 p.m. — I head home to see my boyfriend, who's been waiting for me. We live on opposite sides of the city and usually see each other only on weekends, but he was working near me today. He already got pizza for dinner, and I have a leftover sandwich from work that someone didn't want. I eat that while we hang out and talk.
11:30 p.m. — We're both extremely tired and go to sleep by 11:30. I'm too young to be this weak!
Daily Total: $20

Day Four

7 a.m. — I wake up with my boyfriend, we shower, and he eats a bagel that I brought him from work. We bid adieu and go on our separate ways.
8:30 a.m. — I get to work and make oatmeal and coffee. We're having a fire drill with the building today. I make a roster of everyone in the office and walk us to safety.
11 a.m. — Everyone is safe, but I refused to wear the neon vest they gave me. Once back in the office, I grab coffee for someone and then order lunch.
12:30 p.m. — I pick up lunch and have my third celebrity sighting of the week at the café we ordered from.
4 p.m. — I sit in the office on my computer and pretend to read important articles while actually just bouncing between Twitter and Instagram until I reach the end of both of them.
7 p.m. — One of my best friends just started dating a new guy, and we're having a dinner so he can “meet the friends.” Seems a little overwhelming since there are three of us and one of him, but we'll see! We're going to some vegan place in Beverly Hills.
10 p.m. — Dinner was good! The guy's great, and we all approve. We got drinks, and I splurged on some vegan risotto with truffle mushrooms. It hits my wallet hard, but is it worth it for friendship? We'll see. I also pay $5 for parking, tragic. $53
11 p.m. — I get gas for my car on the way home. Work compensates me for most of my mileage, but I haven't gotten any checks for that yet, so it's still coming out of my pocket. I also buy a coconut popsicle for dessert. Gas station coconut popsicles are my kryptonite. $51.64
Daily Total: $104.64

Day Five

8 a.m. — Friday!! Finally!! I go to the grocery store before work since my office is inhaling all of the fruit I buy at a rapid pace. Then I have my usual oatmeal and coffee.
12:15 p.m. — We order pizza today for the office, and I get it with cauliflower crust.
1:3o p.m. — I stress eat my entire cauliflower pizza and an extra “sweet knot” that the office decided to order.
3 p.m. — I drive to pick up more paychecks from the studio for some of the assistants. The finance office is near a Sephora, so I go in because they're having a sale. After waiting in line, I find out that the sale is only for MVB members, and since I'm only a lowly Beauty Insider, I don't qualify. I forego my purchase and drive back to work.
7:30 p.m. — I go home, totally exhausted. I'm not interested in doing anything fun tonight. I eat a salad someone didn't want for lunch and a couple pieces of leftover cauliflower pizza. Then I turn on Friday Night Lights and CHILL OUT. (I luv u, Tim Riggins).
11 p.m. — I get tired and decide I should just go to sleep. This week has been enough.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

10 a.m. — I wake up late, thank god. I have an optometrist appointment at 10:45. Before going to the appointment, I go to Lassen's and get another dandelion juice to detox from my Friday pizza craze. I also end up buying another fancy water and a few more packets of Vital Proteins collagen. I grab the matcha one to try it. $21.54
11 a.m. — I'm trying to get different contacts with my new health insurance from my job. I decide to get dailies because I've given myself one too many eye infections with my monthlies (pathetic, I know). My insurance will cover most of the cost of the contacts, but I still have to pay for a lot of the contact fitting. $121.25
12 p.m. — I have some time before the pilates class I booked, so I go to Von's to get some almond milk for a matcha latte and vegetables I may or may not cook tonight. At home I combine the matcha collagen and milk for the latte. It's delish, but I can't make this a consistent thing because those packets are like $4.
1 p.m. — I finish my pilates class and drive to the valley (Saturday is errand day I guess) for my first laser hair removal appointment. I was tired of shaving, and waxing is so expensive, so a friend convinced me to go to this place she goes to in Burbank. Instead of just paying for the one treatment, I throw caution to the wind and buy the six-appointment package. I'm assuming I'm going to need to go at least six times anyway, and this will make it a little cheaper. $200
2 p.m. — I stop by Trader Joe's (my third grocery store of the day??) to get Dr. Bronner's body wash, almond butter, probiotics, and pistachios for a snack. $37.15
3 p.m. — I go home and chill out for the afternoon. There's a massive fire in northern L.A. and the sky looks almost apocalyptic. I stay inside to avoid the poor air quality and watch more Friday Night Lights.
5 p.m. — A friend of mine comes over, and we decide to get dinner. Despite the hazardous air, we walk to a nearby Thai spot. I get a larb (minced chicken) dish, but it's way too spicy. This is the same friend whose new boyfriend I met earlier this week, so we chat for a while about that and then decide to get ice cream. $17.37
7 p.m. — We get ice cream from a place nearby. I treat because I told the guy our order was together, and I don't feel like charging her for $4. $9.40
9 p.m. — We hang out at my house and then I drive her home. She Ubered over to mine earlier, and I didn't want to make her Uber again.
Daily Total: $406.71

Day Seven

10 a.m. — I wake up and make myself some dandelion tea and oatmeal for breakfast. I start reading a book my friend just gave me. After breakfast, I make Earl Grey tea and put one of my collagen packets in it. (I don't like drinking caffeine until after I eat in the morning.)
12 p.m. — I read for most of the morning until one of my other girlfriends comes over to borrow a dress for this gala she's going to next week. She picks out something from my closet, and we go get smoothies at this place nearby. Someone needs to hold me back from this newly found smoothie addiction!! $10
1 p.m. — We decide to go shopping at Crossroads by my house. I never leave this particular place empty-handed since they have such good stuff and today is no exception. I buy a Reformation dress for a fourth of the usual price, plus a jacket and a button-up blouse. $106
5 p.m. — We hang out at my house, and she helps me finalize my email for cookbook club. I finally send it and get disappointed when I don't get 10 immediate reply emails telling me how excited everyone is.
7 p.m. — My friend leaves, and I make a grain bowl with the few vegetables I currently own. I try to watch an episode of FNL but decide to read my new book instead. It's quite captivating.
11 p.m. — I go to sleep to prepare for another week of exhaustion!!!
Daily Total: $116
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