A Week In Detroit, MI, On A $38,000 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 copywriter working in marketing who makes $38,000 per year and spends some of her paycheck this week on a pair of slip-on sneakers.
Occupation: Copywriter
Industry: Marketing
Age: 24
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Salary: $38,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,142.58
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $360. (I live in a three-bedroom duplex with one roommate, and we split the $720 rent equally.)
Student Loan Payment: $350
Utilities: ~$100
Health Insurance: $0. (Staying on my stepmom's until I'm 26.)
Phone Bill: $0. (My dad's work has covered our family's phone bill for as long as I can remember.)
Wifi: $15
401(k): $175
Car Insurance: $0. (My dad pays right now. I'm saving up to buy a more reliable, “adult” car this fall, at which point I'll be taking over my insurance for good.)
Spotify: $9.99
Gym: $9.99
Netflix/Hulu: $0. (I'm that mooch friend everyone has.)
Savings: ~$500. (My boyfriend and I are aiming to buy a small building in Detroit in two to three years, and then renovate it into a living/work space. He is a ceramist, and many Detroit artists have been buying abandoned buildings and converting them into living/work spaces, community studios, and galleries.)
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Day One

7:30 a.m. — I wake up at my boyfriend's house just as he's leaving for work. He kisses me goodbye and lets me know that there's coffee waiting downstairs. I pour myself a big ‘ol cup and drive back to my apartment to get ready for work. We live about five minutes away from each other — it's so convenient!
9:15 a.m. — I arrive at work, settle in, and go to make myself breakfast when I realize I forgot to bring almond milk for my cereal. I head downstairs to hunt for dairy-free milk. I see a little “juice box” of soy milk behind the Starbucks counter and the cashier sells it to me for $2.50. Breakfast is grape nuts with banana slices and coffee. $2.50
12:30 p.m. — Free lunch today courtesy of my supervisor as we welcome the newest copywriter to our team! It's her first day, so all of us copywriters hang out and chat over pizza and salad. The fun ends early for me and my teammate, as we have to head back to the most boring meeting ever.
3:30 p.m. — I'm starving, so I grab a plate of salad and a few chips and salsa from the common area. There's usually leftovers from team lunches sitting out somewhere in the office.
5 p.m. — I bring a gym bag with me to work every day with the intention of working out immediately after but ... it doesn't always happen. I make it to the gym after work maybe two or three times a week, and today is not one of those days. Instead, I drive over to my boyfriend's house because we're both sleepy and want to cuddle in this depressing, cold, rainy weather we've had all month. We make ourselves tea and chill out on the couch for a bit, watching Hulu and dozing off intermittently.
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7:30 p.m. — After being lazy for a bit, we scrape ourselves off the couch and head to the gym.
9 p.m. — I get back to my apartment and heat up a bowl of vegetable wild rice soup I made for the week. Then I sneak a few bites of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and decide to dive into the Netflix series Love with my roommate. We watch two episodes while we silently tag each other in funny videos and memes on Instagram.
11:30 p.m. — After showering, I immediately jump into bed. I've been a zombie all day and don't have the energy to prep my work stuff or clean up my room. I vow to take care of all that tomorrow…
Daily Total: $2.50

Day Two

7:30 a.m. — Wake up to freaking snow outside. Damn you, Michigan! It's spring, please give us a break. Slowly, I start a pot of coffee, put on my makeup, and grudgingly slide into a turtleneck. I put together a salad for lunch and pack my breakfast, too. I usually don't eat breakfast at home because it takes a bit for me to feel hungry after waking up.
9:15 a.m. — Get to work, make myself more coffee, and dig into my Greek yogurt with diced strawberries and protein granola.
11 a.m. — It's a slow day for me today, which makes me sleepy. I like being busy at work! I make myself a chai latte and work on copy decks.
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12:30 p.m. — I head to the atrium in my building to each lunch alone and away from a computer screen. I try to avoid all technology during lunch, just to give my eyes a break. I made a Caesar salad with blackened tempeh and paired it with an apple and a Clif bar.
4:45 p.m. — Leave work and head straight home instead of the gym. Ugh. Get it together girl. But like, I'm soooo sleepy. I munch on Garden of Eatin's Red Hot Blues (VERY ADDICTING) and watch an episode of Love before taking a lil' cat nap.
6:30 p.m. — Wake up, putz around, eat leftover spaghetti and veggie meatballs, and go to the gym! I feel good about it, but not gonna lie, I was burping up spaghetti breath the whole time.
9 p.m. — I peruse the internet for freelance gigs. I'm trying to figure out a solid side hustle since I want to save up aggressively and pay all my bills...but also buy new sneakers here and there (I have a shoe obsession that's only grown stronger after landing a full-time job). I jot down promising ideas into my notebook.
10 p.m. — After cleaning my room, I read You Are a Badass at Making Money, scroll through my phone for a bit, take a shower, and then hit the hay around 11:45 p.m.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

7:15 a.m. — Wake up from CRAZY weird dreams, internally try to analyze why they're always so effed up, and then proceed with my morning routine: skincare, makeup, outfit, pack food, pack gym bag, listen to NPR on my drive.
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9:15 a.m. — Get to work and make myself quinoa oatmeal with protein granola, banana slices, and a drizzle of honey. I head into our weekly Wednesday morning meeting with our biggest client, where they phone in, review everything the creative team's worked on, rip it to shreds, and then leave us to deal with the damage. This week they are particularly keen to ripping my copy apart. I take notes on the edits they want and then make myself a healing cup of coffee afterwards.
12:45 p.m. — I heat up my lunch of vegetable and wild rice soup and gaze out the windows of the 21st floor. Super exciting stuff happening over here. I'm usually pretty quiet and hermit-like in the beginning of the workweek because I tend to exhaust myself with fun and chaos over the weekends. I need a bit of peace and quiet to reel it all back in.
3:30 p.m. — Hooooooly crap I am antsy. Usually I'm drowning in work, but this week is the total opposite. I can't focus for shit right now. I make myself coffee and attempt to draft out concepts for a big program we're developing.
5:15 p.m. — I drive straight to the gym and do a 30-minute HIIT workout that kicks my butt. Weighted squats, weighted sit ups, chest presses, and burpees. Good lawd was I breathing heavy after that one.
6:30 p.m. — Back home, I make myself a veggie sandwich with a runny egg smooshed inside, with strawberries and baked chips on the side. While I'm eating, I catch another episode of Love. Why am I so late on this show? I really like it — Mickey in particular. She's the shit (albeit kind of a mess), but she reminds me of myself and I kind of want to be her BFF?
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8:30 p.m. — My boyfriend comes over and we chat for a minute before heading down the street to Hamtramck. Hamtramck is a two-square mile city right in the middle of Detroit...literally a city within a city. I LOVE Hamtramck. It's teeming with culture, artists, authentic Bangladeshi and Yemen food, and all my favorite dive bars. We head to one of said bars to celebrate a friend's birthday. I order a porter on draft and my boyfriend gets a bottled IPA. I pay in cash. $11
11 p.m. — My BF is starving and he wants Grandy's Coney Island. It's a drive-through; there's a bunch of them scattered around the city, including one right by my apartment. He gets a Coney Dog and chili cheese fries, and he gets me my kryptonite: squeeze cheese fries. We devour and pass out for the night.
Daily Total: $11

Day Four

8 a.m. — I wake up, put my makeup on, and make myself a tempeh Caesar salad wrap for lunch. I pack clementines and my breakfast, too. I wasn't going to make coffee because I was feeling lazy, but I can feel the coffee pot staring into my soul. I cave and make enough to fill up an extra large mug.
9:15 a.m. — Wow. I've been wearing new black flats for less than an hour and I can already feel them skinning my heels off. I grab Band-Aids, but they're not helping. I'm walking around work like I have a stick lodged up my ass. This ain't gonna fly. I hunker down at my desk and work away at a couple assignments, then Google the closest shoe store.
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12 p.m. — Arrive to Payless and end up leaving pleasantly surprised with a chic pair of platform slip-ons. It's slightly annoying because now I have a useless pair of flats that are too late to return, but I know I'll wear these slip-ons religiously. I switch shoes in my car and balance is restored in the universe. $28.33
1:30 p.m. — I eat lunch at my desk and get up a few times to munch on extra Chipotle chips in the kitchen. I work on a confusing program that's getting messier and messier with each client request/revision and open up Spotify to get me through the madness. I listen to Death Cab for Cutie and Hiatus Kaiyote. I also pay our gas/electric bill, plus my share of the WiFi. My roommate reimburses me $70 via Facebook cash.
5:15 p.m. — I get back to my apartment and sprawl out on my couch for a bit. I try to take a cat nap, but I had two cups of coffee for no reason at 4, so I'm feeling restless. I watch an episode of Love where Mickey is a BRAT. Don't know how I feel about this chick anymore. I plug in my record player, put on a Best Coast album, and clean up the living room and my bedroom.
7 p.m. — My boyfriend comes over with a friend. They hang in the living room while I finish getting ready, which means reapplying my blush and slappin' on dry shampoo, a.k.a. my life blood.
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7:45 p.m. — We head to Hamtramck again to hit another favorite dive bar for $1 Taco Thursdays. I love the bartenders here — they are absolute GEMS of human beings. I get a delicious tequila limeade cocktail and two bean tacos, and the boys get about a million chicken, beef, and pulled pork tacos. We eat and drink, but don't stay for long today because there's an exhibition opening that we want to catch. I pay for my tab. $12.65
9 p.m. — We hop over to the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. Tonight is the opening reception for an exhibition on Tom of Finland. It's amazing! It was my first time seeing his work in real life, and I was incredibly impressed. Considering the nature of Tom of Finland's work, it drew in a huge crowd, full of leather daddies wearing raunchy leather harnesses, leather chaps — you name it. We say hi to a few people, hang out and chat, and then we're off to the next place.
9:45 p.m. — We make a quick stop at the College for Creative Studies in Midtown. There's a wood firing happening tonight in the ceramics department, and my BF wants to see how it's going. We stop in and chat with students and his old professors.
10:30 p.m. — I drop our friend off at his house because his phone died and his girlfriend was probably wondering where he was. Then, my BF and I head back across town to Hamtramck for karaoke. Fun fact: Detroiters love their karaoke. We've got karaoke seven nights a week here. I go at least once every week, but sometimes we'll go two or three times because it's so frickin' fun! Everyone's just hanging out, drinking, cheering, and singing their favorite songs. I'm a terrible singer, but I still love doing it. My boyfriend, on the other hand, has the voice of an angel. His go-tos are usually Usher, JT, Beyonce (on a good night), and Luther Vandross. Tonight I sing "Short Skirt, Long Jacket" by Cake. I drink a Hot Toddy because my throat feels dry. $5
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11:30 a.m. — We get back to my boyfriend's house. I take a quick shower because I know my morning zombie self won't, and we go to sleep.
Daily Total: $45.98

Day Five

7:30 a.m. — Wake up to my boyfriend smoochin' me goodbye and telling me there's coffee downstairs. I mumble gibberish and fall back asleep for a few.
8 a.m. — Get back to my apartment and do my skincare routine, put on my makeup, change, and pack my lunch and breakfast. I eat a piece of peanut butter toast because I'm really hungry, but I'm secretly hoping someone brings bagels into the office.
9 a.m. — Nobody brings bagels. I sneak off and proceed to cry in the bathroom stall. JK, JK. I make myself quinoa oatmeal and two cups of coffee before settling into my desk.
11 a.m. — I work on copy revisions to the sultry tunes of Michael Jackson. I also Gchat with my sister while we iron out the details of a floral design workshop and pop-up flower bar we're hosting this month. These are our first two events for a floral business we recently conceptualized, so it's really exciting to see things actually happening! All about that side hustle, baby.
12:45 p.m. — After lunch (vegetable wild rice soup), I do a quick Instagram scroll. An ad for Reese's pops up in my feed, and I instantly crave Reese's Pieces, so I grab my wallet to head downstairs to get some. Damn you, Internet. Damn you, Zuckerberg. $3
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3 p.m. — The combination of drinking coffee at 2:30 and listening to DJ sets on NTS.live has me peddling out copy like a mad(wo)man. I'm typing a million miles a minute and getting ahead on next week's projects — because, why not? Gotta put this crazed energy to use since I can't be on a dance floor right now.
5:30 p.m. — I get home from work and am crazy hungry. I make myself a black bean fajita bowl.
7:30 p.m. — My boyfriend comes over and we head to Midtown to grab dinner and drinks at the bar I used to work at before landing the job I have now. I order a grilled cheese sandwich with apples and honey inside it, and my boyfriend gets spicy chicken nachos. We get a couple flights of beer so we can try a little of everything, and split the tab. $26.35
9:30 p.m. — My stomach is killing me. I'm doubled over in pain and can't stand up straight. It's the black bean bowl I ate earlier. It's difficult to take a deep breath. My boyfriend seriously thinks we should go Urgent Care, but that's the last thing I want to do. We were supposed to head to a park downtown for an outdoor pop-up arcade, but we head back to his place instead. I'm sad and also feel bad about abruptly ruining the night, but my BF repeatedly assures me everything is okay. We head up to the third floor “chill room,” put on X Files, and I take a hit of weed to help with the pain. I stay curled into a ball and end up going to bed around 11:30.
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Daily Total: $29.35

Day Six

9 a.m. — My boyfriend drops me off at my apartment and then he heads downtown to work on a freelance gig. I make myself coffee and an egg sandwich and read a few pages of You Are a Badass at Making Money. Today we're getting a new stove installed, and my landlord said the guys will be there between 10 a.m. and noon. I clean the old stove and pick up the living room so it'll be easier to install.
11:30 a.m. — The stove boys show up with a shiny, beautiful, FUNCTIONING new appliance. Yay, so exciting! Our previous stove was getting really sketchy. Sometimes the oven wouldn't turn off, and half the burners didn't work. My landlord shows up, signs the invoice, and leaves my roommate and me to enjoy!
2:30 p.m. — After showering and getting ready for the day, I drive to CVS to grab film for my camera and then drive over to my boyfriend's house and eat my leftover grilled cheese sandwich. We hop into his car and head to Third Man Records on Cass Corridor to catch our friend's band performing for Record Store Day. $18.01
4:30 p.m. — The show is great! We say hi to the band, roam for a bit, and then my BF runs into a group of friends he went to college with. The small talk turns into the group heading across the street for a quick beer and pizza. I buy a pineapple jalapeño IPA for myself and a double IPA for bae. $13
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5:30 p.m. — BF and I split off from the group and head to the Nike store downtown. I really want a new pair of sneaks! Unfortunately, nothing really catches my eye (well, there was one pair, but naturally they were the most expensive ones on the shelf and I refused), so we drive back to his place empty-handed.
7 p.m. — My boyfriend's been acting quiet and weird and totally disconnected all day. He says he's just not feeling very sociable, which is totally fine, but I'm frustrated that he asked me to hang out when really he wants to be alone. I would've been completely fine going solo all day. I'm not on his wavelength currently — I'm feeling chipper AF and he's bringing me down. I decide to just head back to my place and let him know that we can reconnect later tonight if he feels like joining me.
9 p.m. — I make myself a buffalo vegan chicken wrap and watch Netflix. BF totally ruined my mood for the day. I'm annoyed and stewing over it, but I really don't want to be. I tell myself to just get over it. In the grand scheme of things, my boyfriend having one mopey day is not the end of the world. We'll have plenty of awesome days in the future, just like always.
10:30 p.m. — My BF comes back over, so I guess he's ready to socialize again because the plan is to head to one of our favorite dance parties. My roommate and I drink a couple beers and then my BF drives us all to the party. It's a $5 cover to get in. I give my roommate $1 and my boyfriend $2 to help cover their cashless bums. $8
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12:30 a.m. — We're dancing our asses off, per usual. Our friends host this party on a monthly basis and it's one of my favorites! They spin rap, R&B, and house beats all night and everyone gets hot, sweaty, and sexy funky with each other. I drink two gin and waters but only pay for the second one. $5
2:30 a.m. — We get back to my apartment. I wash my makeup off (I refuse to ever sleep with a face full of makeup, no matter how tired, drunk, or lazy I get) and we crash into bed.
Daily Total: $44.01

Day Seven

10:30 a.m. — We wake up and my boyfriend runs across the street to grab us coffee and breakfast sandwiches. He drops off my food and iced coffee before he runs back out to finish the freelance project he's been working on this weekend. I'm still hungry after my egg and cheese croissant, so I eat a bowl of Greek yogurt with protein granola and strawberries.
12:30 p.m. — After putzing around on the couch for a few hours, I check the weather and see that it's 57 degrees out. I can't let this go to waste! My roommate and I put on jeans and head outside to walk around the city and window shop.
1:30 p.m. — We stop in a bodega for drinks. My roommate gets an Arnold Palmer and I get a can of coconut water with pineapple. I pay for both of us because there's a credit card minimum and my roommate doesn't have any cash on her. $1.99
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2:30 p.m. — We check out a vintage store we've always wanted to explore. It's so charming! The building itself is beautiful, and it feels like home inside. I didn't buy anything because I am terrible at making decisions while shopping, but there are amazing vintage purses that I'll be coming back for another day.
3 p.m. — As we're walking back to our apartment, my BF randomly drives by us honking and waving. He makes a scissor gesture with his hands and I remember he's getting a haircut today, so that must be where he's headed. It was cute to randomly see him driving by! It made me smile.
4 p.m. — I'm craving Indian food HARD. I would sell a titty for samosas right now, but I know my roommate doesn't like Indian food. She wants lunch from the café across from our apartment. I order a spicy falafel wrap with extra pickles and a side of cajun fries to go. $9.46
6:15 p.m. — I usually grocery shop and meal prep on Sundays, but with the nice weather, I've been putting it off every hour. My plan was to grocery shop and then workout, but the Planet Fitness in Detroit closes at 7 p.m. tonight. FML, guess that's out. I don't feel like grocery shopping today either, so I'll do it tomorrow night. Instead, I go fill up my gas tank ($25.31) and Facebook Cash my boyfriend $15 (he covered a few drinks and snacks this past weekend). $40.31
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7:30 p.m. — Still upset about not being able to gym it up, I decide to go on a run outside. I last 15 minutes and make it a mile and a half. I'll take it. Plus, it's just so nice to breathe in fresh air and people-watch, look at houses, and let my mind wander while running. Maybe I'll keep trying and get up to 30 minutes one day…and then 45!
8:30 p.m. — I eat the second half of my falafel wrap from earlier, take a hit of the delicious ganja, and proceed to take a hot and soothing shower. Afterwards, I do a long overdue sink of dishes and clean up my bedroom.
9:30 p.m. — I put NTS.live on the Bluetooth speaker and do embroidery on a thrifted pair of mom jeans. I'm adding cute little seashells and ocean-themed patches all over them. Not sure if I'll keep them for myself yet or give them to a friend.
11:30 p.m. — I pull together my outfit for work tomorrow, send a goodnight text to bae, grab my vibrator, and end the week on a high note.
Daily Total: $51.76
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