A Week In West Virginia On A $48,000 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, as part of Your Spending In Your State: a library branch manager who makes $48,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on cava.
Occupation: Branch Manager
Industry: Libraries
Age: 32
Location: West Virginia
Salary: $48,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,443
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $550 rent plus a $25 monthly pet fee for a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment that I live in with my boyfriend, S.
Student Loan Payment: $137 (I'm doing PSLF and am on an income-based payment plan.)
Health Insurance: $43.20
Retirement: $240
Utilities: ~$167
Internet: $86.55 (includes Netflix for a year)
Car Payment: $208 (I pay more than the minimum and hope to get my car paid off this year.)
Car Insurance: $61.12
Phone Service & Lease: $107
Credit Card: $100-200 (This depends on how much I have left at the end of the month. I'm trying to pay down a balance and always make more than the minimum payment.)
Gym: $94.96 ($35.96 for membership, $59 for group training)
Hulu/Spotify: $9.99 (I just started the combined deal, which will go up to $12.99 after three months.)
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Day One

7 a.m. — I snuggle my dog for a few minutes and then roll out of bed. After I let the mutt out, I shower, put on some make up, and get dressed. Then I wolf down a hard-boiled egg, fill up my travel mug with coffee, take the dog out one more time, check to make sure she has food and water, and rush out the door.
8:55 a.m. — Arrive at work. Walk into my office to see that my employees and advisory board have put together a care package for me. I almost cry because it's just so sweet. Today is my last day on the job before my surgery; I'll be out for at least four weeks for recovery.
9 a.m. — Today is our big summer reading kick-off, so the children's staff and I are scrambling to get everything set up. Originally, we were going to have all the stations outside, but it looks like it's going to rain. We decide to move everything inside except for the squirt gun painting (way too messy for indoors).
11 a.m. — I required all staff to work today to ensure that we have enough people to cover our two circulation desks and the kick-off. As a thank you, I get pizza for everyone. I place the order now and will pick it up and pay on my lunch break.
11:30 a.m. — The kick-off is underway, but the mobile gaming truck that we booked hasn't arrived yet. I call the main library to speak with our teen services librarian, who was in charge of scheduling the truck for all our locations. Turns out there was miscommunication about the start time, and the truck should arrive by noon. Luckily, we have the indoor activities and squirt gun painting to keep people occupied during the wait. No one raises a fuss — our community is pretty chill.
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11:45 a.m. — The gaming truck arrives! While the guy is setting up, I talk to a couple teens about anime and manga. One of them wants us to start an anime club. There used to be an anime club at our library, but it was aimed at older teens and adults. It kind of petered out before I started, and the person who ran it isn't exactly teen-friendly, but I think that our teen assistant could help make it a better program. I'll revisit this idea when I return from medical leave.
12:30 p.m. — Lunch break! I run over to pick up the pizzas ($31) and the employee gives me an additional neighborhood discount, since the library is right across the street. I carefully carry the pizzas over to the library and bring them to the staff lounge. I chow down on a slice with pepperoni and banana peppers, alert the staff that pizza has arrived, and then go back to my squirt gun painting post. $31
1:30 p.m. — The staff and I start put away all the kick-off supplies. The second floor closes at 1:45 p.m. and we have trouble getting everyone to leave, but I see it as sign that they've truly enjoyed themselves.
2 p.m. — THE LIBRARY IS CLOSED! All of the full-time staff are still on the schedule until 5. I help the children's staff with shelving and then go downstairs to my office. It's nice to get stuff done when there aren't patrons around. I clean up weeding reports and send them to one of my employees to work on while I'm out. Then I spend the rest of the afternoon tying up loose ends and straightening up my desk.
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5 p.m. — Leave work and stop by Kroger. The parking lot is insane due to a carnival that's going on, so I opt to leave and go to a different one near my apartment. Crowded grocery stores make me twitchy. I pick up a bottle of cava, frozen waffle fries, and a pint of Graeter's ice cream (SO GOOD). $19.17
5:30 p.m. — Get home and hop in the shower. I'm sweaty from being outside half the day. I make a quick dinner of waffle fries and kale dino bites for me and my boyfriend, S. We catch up on RuPaul's Drag Race and play with our sweet pup until bedtime. We turn in around 9:30 because we are old at heart.
Daily Total: $50.17

Day Two

6:30 a.m. — The mutt refuses to ever let us sleep in. Waking up to sweet puppy kisses isn't too bad, though. S. hops out of bed to let him out and get coffee started.
9 a.m. — It's my last true day of freedom before the surgery process begins and I have a list of things I want to do. First up — a hike with the dog! We get ready and make our way to a nearby trail. It's a little muddy, and the mutt almost yanks me over a couple of times, but she has a blast.
10:30 a.m. — We're back at the house and getting ready for #2 on my list — Indian food! I take a nice long shower and dress extra cute because I feel like it.
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12 p.m. — Arrive at my favorite Indian place just in time for the buffet to start. I gorge on all the foods! My favorite today is the fish pakora, which I could eat my weight in. Once we're uncomfortably full, S. settles the check and we head to the next destination.
1:30 p.m. — I want to stop at our local independent bookstore for coffee and to peruse the used books, but parking is a nightmare so we decide to skip it. A couple of my colleagues are selling their wares at a festival, so we make our way there instead. It starts to pour as soon as we get out of the car, but luckily, I have my trusty cat umbrella! We find their booth and chat for a while. Their stuff is super cute and I end up buying a piece from each of them ($14). We run into my yoga instructor, who gives me a big hug and wishes me well with the surgery. $14
1:30 p.m. — Target run! I miraculously pass the Starbucks without getting a beverage. I need a few items to make my post-op time easier. I grab Gas-X, stool softener, and pads. I also get another bottle of cava ($28.60). I take a look around for comfy PJs, but decide the ones I have at home will be sufficient. $28.60
3:30 p.m. — We're home. The mutt immediately pummels us with snugs and kisses. How am I going to keep this cutie off my incisions?! We putz around for a while and watch Report of The Week. Still full from the Indian feast, so I sip on cava and enjoy snacks instead of dinner.
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9 p.m. — This grandma is going to bed.
Daily Total: $42.60

Day Three

7 a.m. — Fur baby demands that we get up, and she's the boss. I roll out of bed and laze around a bit before getting ready. Have coffee and a hard-boiled egg.
10:30 a.m. — Off to my gyno's office for my first pre-op appointment. Upon arrival, I get signed in and pay them the estimated cost of my surgery after insurance ($215.60) and an extra $25 for my FMLA paperwork. I'm internally cheesed off that they charge for paperwork, but I can't take leave without it. $240.60
11:30 a.m. — Finally in a patient room! My blood pressure is high, and the nurse asks if I'm nervous. (Uh, yeah!) I sign off on some paperwork, and the doctor explains how the surgery's going to go down tomorrow and addresses all my concerns.
12 p.m. — Onto my next pre-op appointment! This one is at the hospital where the surgery will be done. I have to throw down another $100 towards the surgery costs. I get blood work and the nurse gives me special soap to use before the surgery. She also informs me that I'll have to do a urine test in the morning. Ugh! I'm so pee shy! She recommends that I hold my bladder in the morning until I get to the hospital to ensure I can go. $100
1 p.m. — S. and I grab ramen for lunch, and he covers the bill. My mom and aunt are at my apartment doing a deep clean because I won't be able to do housework for a few weeks, and S. isn't the best housekeeper. We text back and forth about dinner, and I decide to make spinach flatbreads. Mom requests Brillo pads and Magic Erasers for some reason, so S. and I stop at the grocery store to pick up ingredients for the flatbreads, ginger ale, toilet paper, and the requested cleaning supplies ($29.77). Both of us are shocked by what a Brillo pad actually looks like, which probably says a lot about our cleaning skills. $29.77
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2:30 p.m. — Back at my apartment, my mom and aunt are in full maternal mode. They've scrubbed every inch of my place and started laundry. We relax and catch up on the porch for a bit. I don't get to see them very often because they live a few hours away, so I'm really happy that they're here.
4:30 p.m. — Get dinner started. My aunt brought an ungodly amount of food with her, so we add some stuff to the flatbreads: spinach, broccoli, mozzarella, parm, red onion, and shrimp. Plus I add olives and peppers to mine. We also have spaghetti squash on the side. We watch Chopped and I wrestle with the pup.
8:30 p.m. — I shower with my special soap and get ready for bed. The pup decides to sleep in the living room with her grandma — what a traitor.
Daily Total: $370.37

Day Four

4:30 a.m. — Up before the asscrack of dawn because I have to be at the hospital by 5:45 a.m. I take another shower with my special soap and get dressed in some comfy clothes: loose drawstring shorts, my favorite bralette, a tank that says “DOG MOM,” a super-long cardigan, alien socks, and slip-on sneakers. Everyone else drinks coffee, but I'm not allowed to have food or beverages. It feels weird to be awake at this hour without coffee.
5:45 a.m. — Get checked in and head up to the waiting room. My mom makes some comment about how sexy my legs are, to which I respond: “Mom! Gross!” The lady across from us laughs.
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6:30 a.m. — Why did I have to be here so early?! I still haven't been called, and I've been holding my pee all morning so I can take this urine test. I ask the lady at the window if I can go to the bathroom and she gives me a urine cup and tells me where to leave it. Sweet release!
6:50 a.m. — A nurse finally calls me back, and we all cheer. The other people in the waiting room look very confused. The nurse takes me to a pre-op room and she leaves me to get changed into a very stylish hospital gown. Once I'm dressed, she hooks me up to an IV and gives me a plethora of drugs. I notice that they didn't give me the nausea patch that my doctor said he ordered. She checks and confirms that she missed it. I'm glad I noticed, because the last time I had anesthesia, it was a total pukefest.
7:30 a.m. — They let my family and S. come back for a few minutes before they wheel me off to surgery. My mom and aunt start singing and I tell the nurse they can take me now. A medical student and resident who will be observing my surgery stop by and introduce themselves.
7:45 a.m. — It's time! I get wheeled off to anesthesia and the staff shows my squad to my room so they can wait there. The nurse in anesthesia is really passive aggressive to the rest of the staff, but nice to me, so whatever. My doctor comes over to check on me and explain what I need to do after the surgery to go home today. I get wheeled into the surgery room, which looks scary AF, but the drugs kick in and I pass out as soon as they get me on the table.
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11:30 a.m. — I wake up in recovery. My doctor stops by and tells me that the surgery went really well. The fibroid was larger than they thought, but there was very little endometrial tissue, which is a relief. He says some other stuff, but I'm pretty groggy and don't fully comprehend. He leaves and the nurse keeps reminding me to take deep breaths — apparently my breathing gets shallow when I nod off. She thinks I have sleep apnea. Great...
12 p.m. — They move me to my room and I'm feeling much more alert. My mom tells me that the doctor said I would be able to drive in about five days, as long as I'm not taking my pain meds. My nurse comes in and orders me some lunch. When it arrives, I take a bite and immediately feel nauseous. She gives me some Zofran, which works wonders.
1:30 p.m. — Mom and aunt decide to go get my prescriptions filled and make sure my apartment is ready for my return. I give mom my credit card for the prescriptions ($6.91). After they leave, I get all of my lunch down and now I have to pee. The nurse's aids get me untethered from everything, and also give me a pad and some weird hospital underwear. I walk to and from the bathroom on my own. I also take my pain medication. $6.91
3 p.m. — S. and I watch some cult show on A&E. My nurse checks in and says she will contact the resident to see if I can be discharged. I've completed all the requirements: eat, walk, pee. My mom and aunt arrive just in time for the resident to approve my discharge. My nurse goes over what I need to do during recovery and gives me some paperwork that lays it all out.
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3:30 p.m. — Arrive at my apartment and successfully get inside without the pup jumping on me. I sit on the couch while everyone else flurries around me making sure I have everything I need. Mom and aunt decide to go home tonight since I'm doing so well. They leave a bunch of food for us. They also picked me up a new heating pad while they were out earlier. Bless them.
4 p.m. — I move to my bed and the mutt lies next to me while I read Invisible Darkness by Steven Williams. It's about Paul Bernardo and Karla Holmolka. They are truly vile.
7 p.m. — S. makes us dinner: tuna cakes, rice, and broccoli. I eat as much as I can and then take my medicine. We watch some TV before I fall asleep.
Daily Total: $6.91

Day Five

6:30 a.m. — Why am I awake? I hear S. rustling about in the living room. He comes in to check on me before heading to the gym. Of course, the dog wants to go out as soon as he's gone. Foolishly, I hobble out to the yard with her. At least we have a fence, so I'm not struggling with her on a leash. Once we're back inside, I stuff a couple crackers in my face so I can take my pain meds and lay back down.
8:30 a.m. — S. returns from the gym with groceries, including more ginger ale. He makes me a delicious breakfast of avocado toast with an omelette. I put on an A&E show about Casey Anthony and he hangs out in bed with me for a while.
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12:30 p.m. — Time for lunch! On the menu: chicken soup with a side of pain meds. After eating, I finish my book. The mutt looks adorable cuddling by my side.
2:30 p.m. — I venture out to the yard with S. and the mutt. We do a few laps of walking. I clutch a pillow to my abdomen the entire time because I feel like my insides could spill out at any moment. The walking exhausts me, so I take a nap.
6 p.m. — S. brings me dinner. Per my request, we're having baked potatoes and chicken. We watch a few episodes of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
7:30 p.m. — Snack on some Goldfish crackers and take my pain meds. Honestly, the pain hasn't been much worse than most of my periods. But my vagina feels like it has been brutalized from the cut they made. I hunker down with my heating pad and fall asleep to some 30 Rock reruns.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

7 a.m. — S. smooches me on the head and leaves for the gym. The mutt tries to trick me into taking her out while he's gone, but I don't fall for it this time.
8:30 a.m. — S. is home and makes me French toast! He's the best. We eat and I take my pain meds and decide to shower. My body is a horror film! I send a friend a pic of my belly button and she says it looks haunted.
1:30 p.m. — More soup, more meds. I field texts from friends. The doctor gave us pics of the fibroid and my insides, so I send my friends pics of the fibroid and tell them I'm going to hang them up on my fridge like a sonogram.
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4:30 p.m. — S. and I try to watch The Staircase, but we fall asleep. When we wake up, he makes dinner: baked potatoes, per my request. I start a new book while he cooks — Hell's Princess by Harold Schechter. I attended his session about Belle Gunness at CrimeCon last year, so I'm really excited to read this one. I've been a fan of his since high school, and totally geeked out during his meet and greet.
9 p.m. — Have a snack and take some pain meds. Also take some Gas-X and stool softener. The post-op gas pain and constipation are killer.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

8:30 a.m. — Snoozed through S.'s gym time and wake up to find him playing video games in the living room. He makes us some more French toast and we listen to an episode of Comedy Bang Bang.
10:30 a.m. — Realize that I haven't taken my pain medicine. I stupidly think I'll be okay taking it without food, since I ate recently. But within a few minutes, a wave of nausea overtakes me. I retreat to my bedroom and lay completely still in the dark while listening to the podcast The Baby-Sitter's Club Club.
2:30 p.m. — Nausea is finally gone, so S. and I have a late lunch. Soup for me, leftovers for him. We talk about the job applications he's filled out. He recently finished grad school and is in the process of moving back in with me after a couple years of hiatus on our relationship. I'm glad we're together again, and that he's here to help me through this; but health issues, work concerns, and adapting back to cohabitation have me on edge. He is equally stressed, because he's currently unemployed and moving to a new area. We are both trying to be gentle and understanding with each other, so we're talking through issues much better than we have in the past.
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6 p.m. — S. makes mashed potatoes for dinner because I'm craving them plus chicken and broccoli to ensure I'm getting healing nutrients. After eating, I decide to order some dresses from Amazon. My post-op swelly belly isn't going to be ready for Pixie pants when I finally return to work. I apply a $50 gift card and am left with a $16.97 balance. $16.97
7:30 p.m. — I have a snack, take my pain meds, and read until I get sleepy.
Daily Total: $16.97
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