A Week In Philadelphia, PA, On $10/Hour

Welcome toMoney 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.

Last month, we looked at several Money Diaries from moms leading up to the beginning of the back-to-school season: One mother had older children who were increasingly independent; another mom was a graduate student on active duty in the military; and another diary featured a stay-at-home mom with twins starting preschool.

This week, we’re taking another look at scholastic Money Diaries — this time from college and graduate students. Today: a college student who works in retail and makes $10/hour. This week, she spends some of her money on Honey Nut Cheerios and printing services.

Occupation: College Student & Support Staff
Industry: Retail
Age: 20
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Salary: $10/hour
Paycheck (Weekly): $110 – $120

Monthly Expenses
Housing: $0. I live with three roommates in a four-bedroom apartment on campus. My parents kindly pay the $1,100 rent.
Loan Payments: None. I am still in school.

All Other Monthly Expenses
Netflix: $0. I use my dad’s account.
Apple Storage: $0.99
Spotify: My brother and I share the account and he pays. Whenever I see him I give him money for it ($4.99) or repay by taking him out to lunch.
Audible: $15. I usually listen to audiobooks on my walk to class or work. As a busy college student, I can finish a lot more books listening to them rather than reading them.
Adobe: My grandfather pays $21/month for the Adobe suite. Having it on my laptop makes it easier to complete classwork and homework. My grandfather also pays for my textbooks and other school essentials.
Cell Phone: None. My brother and I are still on the plan with my dad.
Savings: I try to put one of my paychecks into my savings account once a month.

9:30 a.m. — Wake up five minutes before my alarm. Go into the kitchen and brew a Keurig coffee over ice. I try to not eat dairy and gluten and was excited to find almond milk coffee creamer at the grocery store last week.

10:30 a.m. — Eat two rice cakes with peanut butter and jelly for breakfast. Watch a few episodes of Friends before I have to start getting ready for work.

11:50 a.m. — I arrive at work early and the door is locked, so I head to Just Salad a couple of blocks away to buy a detox smoothie and kill time. The smoothie is really good and filling. I sip it over the next hour or so. $5.29

3 p.m. — Sip on a diet ginger ale I bought yesterday and left in the fridge. We hit our sales goal at work today and still have two more hours until we close, which puts me in a happy mood.

5:20 p.m. — I leave work and head to Trader Joe’s, which is crazy crowded. I pick up sunflowers for my friend’s birthday tomorrow (they’re her favorite flowers), three ready-made salads, coconut milk yogurt, hummus, celery, lemons, bananas, a can of chickpeas, frozen green beans, and two peanut butter RXBars. $31.74

6:30 p.m. — I eat one of the salads I bought and watch another episode of Friends before going to the library to work on a paper. It is due in a couple of days and I am more than halfway finished. I just want to get it done.

9:15 p.m. — I leave the library with my paper almost done. I spent a lot of time getting sidetracked texting a group of friends. One of my best friends is in Australia studying abroad, so it was nice to catch up with her and everyone else.

9:45 p.m. — Snack on a banana and raisins and hot water with lemon. Watch more Friends until I decide to go to sleep around midnight.

Daily Total: $37.03

9:30 a.m. — My alarm wakes me up and I head down to my building’s gym to work out. During my workout, I listen to How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I recently got really into reading self-help books.

11 a.m. — Back at my apartment, I eat a banana with peanut butter and raisins and make an iced chai tea latte. Around 12:30, I decorate my friend’s bedroom for her birthday today. I use old streamers and decorations I still have from my other roommate’s birthday a couple of months ago.

1:30 p.m. — I meet my two roommates at Saxbys and do more work on the paper that’s due. I get an iced chai with almond milk and decide to skip the one class I have today, macroeconomics, to spend more time with the birthday girl. I text a friend who is in the class with me and ask if she can sign me in. She says she isn’t going to class either, but one of her friends can sign me in! (This is a daily occurrence at college, especially in big lecture classes.) $5.31

2 p.m. — Stop back at the apartment to drop off our bags and the birthday girl loves all the decorations. The three of us whip out our phones to document everything on social media — typical millennials. I head back to the library to do some homework. I work on an art history assignment that’s due tomorrow and eat an RXBar.

7:45 p.m. — Go out to dinner for the birthday girl’s birthday. The three of us Uber to the restaurant and split the fare. $5.33

8 p.m. — For dinner, the birthday girl chose a restaurant that has a lovely outdoor seating area. We split focaccia with ricotta cheese for an appetizer, each get pasta as our main, and all get dessert. My roommate and I decide split the bill so the birthday girl doesn’t pay. $63.18

10 p.m. — I Uber back to the apartment alone since my friends are going to see Annabelle. I hate scary movies and decide to skip. $9.16

Daily Total: $82.98

9 a.m. — Wake up before my alarm and make coffee. I eat raw almonds and golden raisins to hold me over until lunch after class. I have two classes today, marketing and public speaking.

2 p.m. — Meet my friend at Saxbys to work on other assignments due later this week. I bring a salad from TJ’s and eat it there. I browse Ikea online for bedroom furniture since I am moving out of my current apartment in a couple of weeks. I email my mom things I like to see what she thinks.

8 p.m. — I don’t have cable and I remember that yesterday was the start of Bachelor in Paradise. I watch the episode on my laptop and eat dinner, which mostly consists of snacks. — hummus with celery, salted peanuts, and applesauce.

9:30 p.m. — I am still hungry but don’t like any of the food I have in my apartment. I am also getting a little stir crazy and decide to make a quick trip to CVS. I pick up makeup remover wipes, peanut butter, and Honey Nut Cheerios. $10.58

10:30 p.m. — I eat some Cheerios when I get back. Is it weird that I usually eat my cereal dry, without milk? My mom calls, and we talk for about an hour. We plan for her and my brother to come visit me next week before he goes off to college.

Daily Total: $10.58

10:30 a.m. — Eat a banana with peanut butter for breakfast and drink a homemade iced chai tea. I watch the new episode of Real Housewives of Dallas. It’s not my favorite Housewives city, but it is the first episode.

12:30 p.m. — Head to Saxbys to work on an assignment that is due later today. Get an iced chai with almond milk to help me stay focused. $4.51

4 p.m. — Finish my first class for the day, macroeconomics, and head to FedEx to print out two assignments that are due for a class I have tonight. I am pretty hungry and decided to make pasta for a late lunch. I throw in some green beans and celery. $4.78

6 p.m. — Go to my last class of the day and my professor lets us out early! Decide to put in a load of laundry and then work out in my building. One thing I’m excited for about moving is no longer paying for laundry. $2.50

8:30 p.m. — Eat a Silk blueberry yogurt with Cheerios for dinner. While I fold my laundry, I watch the second episode of Bachelor in Paradise. The show is so bad it’s so good.

Daily Total: $11.79

8:30 a.m. — Today, I have class at 9 a.m. I wake up as late as I can.

9:50 a.m. — After class, I head to Saxbys to get my usual iced chai. I do some work outside, feeling happy in the sunshine. $5.31

2 p.m. — Two more classes down, one more to go, and then it is officially the weekend! Go back to the apartment and eat two rice cakes with peanut butter and jelly. After, I head to CVS before my last class of the day to pick up body wash and a bag of chips. $4.11

7 p.m. — Tonight, my friend and I have plans to see an outdoor movie, Beauty and the Beast. We Uber to the movie and split the fare. The movie itself is free so I don’t feel that bad about paying for a ride share. $7.49

7:30 p.m. — There are a bunch of food stalls at the movie location. My friend gets Chickie’s & Pete’s crab fries; I opt for a salad and a bottle of water. $8

10 p.m. — Even though I have seen Beauty and the Beast before, it was nice to watch the movie outside. The venue is right along the Delaware River and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Areas like this make me love going to school in a city. Uber back to the apartment. $8.81

Daily Total: $33.72

10:30 a.m. — Two of my friends and I have plans to go to brunch this morning. We Uber to the restaurant together. $7.09

11 a.m. — At brunch, I get eggs, toast, bacon, and potatoes. I thought the food was just okay, which is kind of a disappointment. I have been to this restaurant before and I remember the food being much better. The three of us split the bill equally. ($18.94) I told my mom about my brunch plans yesterday and she offered to pay, so I use her credit card. Thanks, Mom!

2 p.m. — Uber back from brunch. I planned to work today but my boss sends a text saying that they don’t need me to come in. $8.73

3 p.m. — Now that my day is open, I head to the gym for a quick workout. When it’s time for the treadmill work, I boost it up to an incline and listen to more of How to Win Friends & Influence People.

4:30 p.m. — For the rest of the night, I switch between watching YouTube videos, Friends, and Flipping Out. Eat some dry Cheerios for dinner.

Daily Total: $15.82

8:30 a.m. — Wake up before my alarm. I watch YouTube videos and enjoy my coffee. I am not that hungry for breakfast and decide to have a spoonful of peanut butter mixed with a spoonful of jelly.

10:30 a.m. — Today at work, we’re holding a big end-of-summer sale. I stop by Saxbys to get my usual iced chai because I know I’ll need the caffeine to help me get through the day. $5.13

11 a.m. — To my surprise, my boss says I can pick out a sale item and take it for free! I take a pair of cropped AG flare-leg jeans.

2:30 p.m. — The store is not as crowded as I thought it would be, but it’s busy enough to make the first half of my day go by quickly. My boss runs out to get lunch and treats all of us to Just Salad. Mine has tofu, spinach, kale, avocado, edamame, and carrots. I eat half and save the rest for dinner.

5:30 p.m. — On my walk home from work, I talk with a coworker (who is also a student) about how lucky we are to work at such a great place. Everyone is so nice and we are learning a lot about what really goes on in the retail industry.

7 p.m. — I eat the rest of my salad from lunch. Over the next couple of hours, I watch Friends while cleaning my room, and pack a bag of clothes for my mom to take back home when she visits me next week. I haven’t worn most of them and it would be silly to move and take them to the next place.

9 p.m. — While cleaning out my room, I list some items on Poshmark to sell. I get an offer on a pair of Tory Burch sandals less than a half hour later! An easy $90 made.

Daily Total: $5.13

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