A Week In San Diego, CA On A $53,000 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.
Ahead of National Twins Day, we present Twin Week, where we’re tracking the spending of five sets of twins. Just because twins share the same DNA, doesn’t mean they share the same money habits, so we thought it’d be a fun experiment to compare and contrast the way millennial twins are saving and spending. Here’s a set of twins living in Seattle, WA, and San Diego, CA, respectively.
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This diary: a teacher working in education who makes $53,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a Star Wars shirt at Comic-Con. Her twin is a transportation engineer.
Occupation: Teacher
Industry: Education
Age: 28
Location: San Diego, CA
Salary: $53,000
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): ~$1,800 after taxes
Additional Income: I work part-time at the library and usually make ~$500/month.
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $790 (I split the rent with two roommates.)
Student Loan Payment: $173
Health Insurance: ~$30
Car Payment: $0 (I paid off my car earlier this year.)
Car Insurance: $90
Rental Insurance: $11
401(k): 6% of my paycheck
Gym: $30
Internet: $20
Electricity: $20
Apple Music: $10

Day One

6:15 a.m. — I wake up for work and say goodbye to my cousin. She visited for the weekend with her boyfriend. They live in Maine and I don't get to see them a lot, so it was super fun to see them! I leave for work around 6:45. I'm a teacher and am currently teaching summer school.
7:30 a.m. — I teach a calculus class and eat a donut with coffee. I had planned on making oatmeal that I keep at work, but my boss brought in donuts so...yeah. I teach another class.
8:30 a.m. — I have two hours of planning time, so I work on some stuff and text my roommates about the electricity bill. It's $17 this month, and they both Venmo me for it.
11:30 a.m. — Work bought us lunch today! I have a veggie sandwich from Panera. It comes with chips and a cookie, which I give to a student. I love a free lunch. Then I teach for three hours.
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2:30 p.m. — I leave work and go to the bank. I take $20 out of the ATM and get $10 in quarters so I can do laundry.
3:30 p.m. — I go to a zero waste/refill store. It's pretty far from my house, but it's the only place I know in San Diego that sells soap berries (look them up!!). I end up buying soap berries, floss, a toothbrush, and razor blades. $16.75
4:15 p.m. — I get home, go for a run, and then decide to skip laundry for the day. I'm tired! I take a shower and then watch an episode of Law & Order while I eat leftovers from the last night. I'm really happy that I can relax. It was great having my cousin over, but it's nice to have alone time at the end of a day, too.
7 p.m. — My boyfriend comes over around the time my roommates get home from work/gym. We all hang out and drink wine and unwind. I go to bed to read around 9:30 and am asleep by 10:30.
Daily Total: $16.75

Day Two

6:15 a.m. — I wake up around 6:15, shower, and go to work around 7:15. I teach for two hours.
9:30 a.m. — I have two hours of planning before my next class, so I decide to go get a coffee and a bagel, which I eat back at school while doing work. $8.50
11:30 a.m. — I teach for four more hours.
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4:15 p.m. — I leave work and decide to go clothes shopping, since I need new stuff for my upcoming trip to France with college friends. I spend about an hour checking out three different stores, but I leave empty-handed.
5:15 p.m. — I get home and put in laundry. I end up doing two loads today, which costs me $5. Then I Venmo my roommate $11 for cleaning stuff she bought last week. $16
6 p.m. — I'm making my own seitan tonight, which I've never done before. I go to the grocery store and get seitan, plus some staples and stuff for lunch over the weekend. I'm going to be working the whole weekend at San Diego Comic-Con (as part of my library job), so I want to be prepared with food. I normally have Sundays off, so I'm a little nervous I'm going to be exhausted, but I can probably handle it. $57.38
7 p.m. — When I get home from the grocery store my boyfriend is already at my apartment. (He's friends with my roommates too, so it's not weird!) We make seitan (which turns out really good and is pretty easy to make!) and veggies for dinner. I also make my lunch for the weekend: chickpea salad to put on a wrap and a kale Caesar salad.
9 p.m. — Dinner is cleaned up, so we hang out with my roommates for a bit. We're in bed by 10:30.
Daily Total: $81.88

Day Three

8 a.m. — I wake up, make a smoothie, prepare lunch, and head over to the library where I work on the weekends. It's San Diego Comic-Con and I'm working a booth today. Should be interesting because I know, like, nothing about that world.
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9:45 a.m. — I arrive at the convention center to work my booth at about 9:45. My boss is there and it's basically what I imagined: madness. I sell a whole lot of cool library merch.
12 p.m. — I get my first break, so I can experience Comic-Con. I eat the wrap I made and I walk around the convention center trying to identify people's costumes. Basically, unless they are dressed like Spiderman or Wonderwoman, I have no idea who they are. I should have dressed up.
12:30 p.m. — I'm back at my booth for three hours. We're super busy.
3:30 p.m. — I take my second break (I get a whole hour now!) and walk around the convention center again. I get a little caught up in the glamour of it all and buy stuff: a Star Wars shirt for myself, a Mystery Science Theater 3000 shirt for my boyfriend, and a cool Princess Leia enamel pin for myself. Can't believe I spent this much on junk, actually. I almost never do stuff like this! $63.75
4:30 p.m. — I get back to my booth and stay until we close at 7. It's fun and busy. The DJ from Yo Gabba Gabba! and Bootsy Collins stop by. They are the only famous people I've seen all weekend, but I have no idea who either of them are until someone tells me.
8:15 p.m. — I'm home by 8:15 and I'm exhausted. My friend is in town visiting and everyone is going out, but I decide to stay in and rest. I make myself vegan mac and cheese and watch two episodes of The Handmaid's Tale. My roommate is getting ready to go out so she made vodka sodas for us. (it is Friday night after all!) I'm alseep by 11.
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Daily Total: $63.75

Day Four

8 a.m. — I wake up and decide to do my hair like Princess Leia for Comic-Con. I'm not going to the convention center, but there's some stuff happening at the library. It takes me a bit longer than I expected, but I think it looks pretty cool. I wear my new Star Wars shirt, too. I'm running late, so I don't make a smoothie, but I make my lunch and I swing by a cafe for avocado toast on my way to work. $3.50
9:30 a.m. — I work at the shop in the library for about three hours. It's busy and fun to people-watch with the Comic-Con costumes.
1:30 p.m. — I get an hour break today since I'm working overtime, so I eat my wrap and then go on a walk to a new cafe down the street for coffee. There are local artists inside selling their Comic-Con themed wares. The iced coffee is expensive, so I probably won't go back. $4.50
2:30 p.m. — I work at the shop until my boss comes back from the convention center. We usually close at 6, but there's an event at the library tonight so the shop will be open until it's over. I decide to stay for the event and ask my boyfriend and my roommate if they want to join. My roommate doesn't, but my boyfriend does. It's a concert with the guy who does the voice of Spongebob. We stay for about an hour and it's fun.
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7:45 p.m. — We leave the concert and go get food at one of our favorite places downtown. We both get vegan sandwiches, and I get a glass of wine, he gets a beer. My boyfriend pays for dinner and I pay for the tip. We walk back to the library where my car is. $14
10 p.m. — We get back to the library and I can't believe the party is still going on. My boss is still there working in the shop, and he tells me I don't have to be at work until noon tomorrow. I thought I had to go in at 9:30, so I'm pretty happy!
10:30 p.m. — Since I learn I don't have to work until noon, I buy a bottle of wine on our way home. I can't believe my buns lasted the whole day! There's something really empowering about having Princess Leia hair. Highly recommend. $11.45
11 p.m. — When we get to my house, my boyfriend and I have a glass of wine and we watch an episode of Queer Eye with my roommate. I Venmo my sister $22 for a round of drinks at my friend's bachelorette party I should have been at this weekend. I'm bummed I missed out. $22
Daily Total: $55.45

Day Five

8 a.m. — We wake up at around 8 a.m. It's Sunday morning, so we try to take it easy. My friends are going to brunch for a birthday celebration, but I have to work, so my boyfriend makes me a tofu scramble. (He's the best.) I take a shower, get ready for work, and decide again on Princess Leia buns today.
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11 a.m. — I tell my boyfriend I'll bring him home on my way to work. We stop to get a coffee first, but then I realize I don't have time to drop him off, so he walks the rest of the way home from the coffee shop. $8.25
11:45 a.m. — I have a quick lunch break and go back to work, since it's really busy.
6:15 p.m. — I leave work. My friends a still out drinking from brunch. It's Sunday afternoon and we aren't 21 anymore, so I'm a little concerned for them. I had plans to cook some sort of healthy meal for dinner, but I meet them at the bar anyway. I have a couple beers, but my friend is working at the bar, so I don't pay anything. We're all getting pretty hungry, so we decide to go back to my house and order some food. I don't feel like cooking for six drunk people.
8 p.m. — We order some food from this restaurant with free delivery. I call it in and everyone Venmos me (except for my BF...I pay for him). We hang out at my house for a while and drink. I end up going to bed while my friends are still over, hoping that no one lets my cat run outside. I'm in bed by 11, since I have school tomorrow. $30
Daily Total: $38.25

Day Six

7:15 a.m. — I don't have to teach until 8:30 today, so I can sleep a little later than usual. I get to work and make coffee and some oatmeal. I didn't make a lunch last night so I'll have to buy something...oops. I teach a couple classes.
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1:30 p.m. — During my lunch, I go to Whole Foods and get a salad from the salad bar and a sparkling water. $9
4:30 p.m. — I leave work around 4:30 and go to volunteer at a farm sanctuary, which I do every Monday. I feed the adorable animals and play with the pigs for a bit.
6 p.m. — On my way back home, I stop at a thrift store near the farm. It's kind of far from my house, so I only ever go when I go to the farm. I find a pair of shorts and a romper (just what I need for France). I love thrifting. $13
7:30 p.m. — I get home and my boyfriend is already there cooking dinner (did I mention he's the best?). He makes bruschetta and cooks veggies on the grill. It's awesome. We decide to watch Black Panther, since he rented it from Amazon and it expires today. I like it, and I don't watch movies too often (I don't really watch TV too much either, but I sure have this week!), so I find it pretty exciting when I watch a movie like this. I'm in bed by 12.
Daily Total: $22

Day Seven

7:15 a.m. — I wake up later than I meant to. I shower and get ready for work, then leave around 8.
8 a.m. — I forgot I was almost out of gas, so I get some. Only a few gallons, though, because I'm running kind of late. $12
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8:30 a.m. — I get to work and teach for four hours. Sheeesh — it's been a long week. I usually don't work on Sundays, so the days are all blending together. I find time to make oatmeal for breakfast.
1:30 p.m. — I brought a can of soup for lunch today. (It's what I found while running out of my house this morning.) So I make that. It's a little uncomfortable because it's close to 95 degrees out. My coworkers tease me for eating soup in the heat and I agree, it's crazy.
4:30 p.m. — I leave work at aound 3:30 and stop at a Goodwill in my neighborhood. I end up finding a skirt I like and two shirts. All that for $11. Again, I love thrifting. $11
6:15 p.m. — My friend who used to live here is still in town, so we're doing Taco Tuesday before she leaves. I drive there but can't find street parking by the beach, where the restaurant is. I try the lot, but it's $10 per hour, so I just decide not to pay and risk it. I hear if you get a ticket you don't really have to pay it because it goes to the parking company, not the city anyway.
9 p.m. — Taco Tuesday was a blast. I had fun with the old crew and it was nice for everyone to be back together again. I ended up spending $30 on three tacos and three drinks. I thought taco Tuesday was supposed to be cheap? I guess I could have had less to drink. My boyfriend drives my car back to his house, where we spend the night. I didn't get a ticket, so I'm happy. $30
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10 p.m. — We hang out with my boyfriend's roommate for a bit and watch a NOVA special. We're in bed by 12. I've been going to bed late this week!
Daily Total: $53
Read my twin's Money Diary here.
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