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 music teacher and farm manager who makes a $43,617 salary, plus $15/hour, and spends some of her money this week on a milkshake.
Occupation: Music Teacher and Farm Manager
Industry: Education and Agriculture
Location: Rochester, NY
Salary: $43,617 from teaching and $15/hour at the farm
Paycheck Amount (2x/month September-June, every week May-October): $1,175 during the school year, variable in the summer
Gender Identity: Woman
Rent: $1,300 for our rent and all utilities, split with my fiancé
Loans: $0 right now (I have no loans from undergrad but am just starting my master’s and taking out loans.)
Pet Care: $20 (I have two bunnies.)
Car Payment: $447
Car Insurance: $800 every six months for car insurance
Gym: $0 (My fiancé holds a Black Card membership to Planet Fitness that we both use.)
Hulu/Netflix: $0 (My fiancé’s mom allows us to use her Hulu and Netflix for no charge.)
Graze Box: $13 (every two months)
7 a.m. — I wake up at 7 and get ready to go to the farm for work. I’m a sales manager, so I’m in charge of making sure all of the sales associates get their job done efficiently. It takes me about 30 minutes to get to the farm, and when I get there we have a no-call no-show, so I have to spend about two hours reworking the schedule for this upcoming week. While I’m working, I suck down a Fruigees Kalefornia Grape smoothie that I brought from home. I finish up at the farm around 9:30 and drive back toward my apartment to teach a couple private music lessons.
11:45 a.m. — After I teach the two private lessons, I stop at Wegmans and grab some carrot sticks, bananas, apples, organic baby sweet lettuce, fresh scallops, and shrimp for our dinner tonight. My fiancé, L., and I are trying to change the way we eat. We’re both pretty overweight and really want to lose some weight for the wedding and if we decide to have kids one day. $34.30
12 p.m. — I stop at the post office on my way home from the grocery store and drop off a check for $150 to be mailed to the company that’s providing transportation for our wedding in May 2020. My phone alerts me while I’m there that my car payment has been withdrawn from my account as well. Gotta love the end of the month! $150
1 p.m. — I come home, start chopping apricots to make some jam, and then take a break for lunch. I make a salad with the organic baby lettuce, sliced deli turkey, Havarti cheese, and honey-mustard dressing. While I eat I watch reruns of Vanderpump Rules on Hulu. When I’m done with my salad, I start working on one of my homework assignments. In New York state, teachers have to have a master’s degree to be able to continue teaching full-time. I just started mine part-time (night classes twice a week) and really want to get ahead of the game. This assignment is a discussion of the disciplines of musicology, and it’s interesting but a little dry to read, and I’m glad when it’s done.
4:45 p.m. — L. gets home around 4:45, and I start making dinner. I use the scallops and shrimp I bought earlier, along with some squid-ink fettuccine that I bought from a local pasta maker. I toss it all in a lemon garlic butter sauce, and we have dinner by 5:15. As we eat, we watch The Office and I persuade L. to come to my riding lesson tonight. We are done with dinner and on the road by 6.
8 p.m. — I’ve been taking horseback riding lessons for almost a year after dreaming about it since I was a kid. I love it so much, and the place I take lessons is super accommodating with all of my jobs and school. The teacher is funny, and we get along great. Each 45-minute group lesson costs $35, but I give her two 20s and tell her I’ll just pay $30 next time. She shrugs, so L. and I head home. It takes about 30 minutes to get back to our apartment. When we get back, I feed my bunnies, shower, get into bed, and lie awake until about 1:30 before I finally fall asleep. $40
Daily Total: $224.30
7 a.m. — I wake up at 6:45 and head to the farm. I’m working sales today instead of just doing management, so I bring a water bottle and plenty of snacks. I get there around 7:30 and help the other three stations get their vans loaded up before I get myself loaded up. I take all of the fruit we have (peaches, some early apples, nectarines, apricots, and blackberries) and put a bunch of it into my Chevy Astro van. I drive the van about an hour east, having a Fruigees while I’m driving, to a rest area on the NYS Thruway and set up my tent, two tables, and all of the fruit, honey, and maple syrup outside the entrance. I get completely set up around 9:30 and spend the rest of the morning talking to people and selling fruit. I’ve been doing this job for seven seasons now, and even though I work full-time during the school year, I love this job too much to consider leaving yet. Plus the extra money is nice for helping to pay for the wedding and my grad school.
1:30 p.m. — I finally get a spare moment to run inside the rest area to use the bathroom and fill up my water bottle. When I come out, I have a couple prepackaged snacks that I brought with me from my Graze snack box that I get every two months. I spend the rest of the afternoon selling and leave the station around 4:15.
6:30 p.m. — I am done with work around 6:15. The farm is in the same town I grew up in, where my mom still lives. I ask her if I can come over and bring dinner, and she says of course. I stop at a local greasy burger joint and pick up a chocolate milkshake for her, some loaded waffle fries, and a garbage plate for us to split. I pay and drive two minutes over to her house. We hang out, eat, and I play with my sisters’ dog and cat. My youngest sister comes home from her cashiering job around 7:30, and I leave to go home around 8:30. $21.60
8:50 p.m. — I stop at Target and grab some supplies on the way home. Part of my job on the farm includes me making and packaging homemade jam to sell, so I grab fabric and pens to write labels. I sit on the couch and write the labels for the apricot and blackberry jams I made yesterday. By 11, I have 20 jars of jam packaged and labeled to sell tomorrow. I shower, go to bed, and fall into a fitful sleep. ($25 expensed)
Daily Total: $21.60
6:45 a.m. — I wake up and then head to the farm, getting there around 7:30. After making sure everyone is out, I work on cleaning and organizing the barn a little bit, then head to my mom’s house for about an hour. While I’m there I eat a Fruigees for breakfast. I leave to go to my apartment around 10:30.
11 a.m. — When I get home, I start my laundry. We have coin-operated machines in the basement of our building, and they cost $1.50 per wash and $1.55 per dry. I air-dry all of my clothes, so I pay $3 for two wash loads and hang everything up on my two drying racks in our living room. While the laundry is going, I eat leftovers from last night and work on homework. $3
4:30 p.m. — I accidentally fell asleep on the couch from 1:30-3:15, and now L. and I are getting ready to go to a concert that some of his friends are performing in. L. is a freelance professional musician (aka, a guy in a band), and we have a lot of friends who are in similar positions and play in our city regularly. When we get there, I get a drink and start a tab with my credit card for both of us.
7 p.m. — I end up having three drinks while we’re at the show, and I buy a drink for L.’s brother, S., as well. He and his new fiancée came to the show as well, and the four of us spend some time together before L. and I decide to leave around 8:40. I close my tab and leave a $10 tip. $46.10
9:15 p.m. — We drive up to the Lake Ontario shoreline to one of our favorite garbage-plate restaurants. I get a grilled-cheese plate, and he gets a burger plate. I pay with my personal card. When we’re done we go for a walk on the pier over Lake Ontario, and go home around 10:30. $19
Daily Total: $68.10
7:30 a.m. — Even though today is my day off from the farm, I’m woken up by a phone call at 7:30 from one of the workers with a question. After I get her sorted out, I try to go back to sleep but can’t. Instead I get up and start working on homework and lesson plans, because school is starting in two days.
10:30 a.m. — My phone buzzes to tell me that my car-insurance payment has been deducted from my account. I pay a lump sum every six months instead of breaking it out monthly. I take a break from my work and get dressed to go for a walk/jog, then I come back and do some light weightlifting.
2 p.m. — After a nice afternoon eating oatmeal and watching Vanderpump Rules, I pack up and head to CountryMax to look for supplies for horseback riding. I just bought a used saddle a couple weeks ago, and I’d like to get a new girth and some other supplies for it. CountryMax is unfortunately not well stocked, so I leave empty-handed and head to L.’s dad’s house for a barbecue. We spend the rest of the evening there and head home around 8:30.
Daily Total: $0
7 a.m. — I wake up and go to the farm. After load-in, I go to Walmart to pick up supplies to start making jam at the farm instead of at my apartment. I spend $150 that will be reimbursed, and now we have a complete canning setup at the farm. ($150 expensed)
9:30 a.m. — I stop at Tim Hortons and pick up a breakfast sandwich for myself and some coffee for the workers on the farm. I use my personal credit card. $13.68
12:30 p.m. — I finish making the blackberry jam. I leave it to sit and set on the counter before calling my mom to see if I can come over. She doesn’t answer, so I call again in five minutes. I leave about 20 minutes after my first call and start heading back to my apartment.
2:30 p.m. — L. and I go shopping to buy our groceries for the week. We get stuff to make taco salads, and I get stuff for lunches for the week. $85
4:15 p.m. — We head to L.’s mom’s house, where we meet with S., his fiancée, and his fiancée’s dad, who lives with them. L.’s mom makes pulled pork and tater tots for dinner with cupcakes for dessert. We stay until around 7:45 and then leave to go back to our apartment, because school starts tomorrow.
Daily Total: $98.68
7:30 a.m. — First day of school! Which means meetings all day. I have half of an everything bagel with cream cheese from the breakfast provided by the school before we settle in for our first two-hour block of meetings.
11:30 a.m. — We break for lunch, and they’ve brought in food trucks for us! I wait in line with some of my colleagues for a mac ‘n’ cheese truck. The school gave each of us a coupon for $5 off our purchase, so I only pay $4 out of pocket for lunch and leave a dollar in the tip jar. $5
4:50 p.m. — L. gets home and we go to the gym. He has the Planet Fitness Black Card, which means I can get in as a guest. I do about 25 minutes on the stationary bike while doing some reading for a grad-school assignment.
5:45 p.m. — We get home and I make dinner. Ground turkey with cumin and turmeric, green-leaf lettuce, salsa, cheddar cheese, and light sour cream make a really good dinner. I pack up the leftovers to take to class tomorrow, and we watch TV while I work on homework and lesson plans until around 7:30. We go for a walk to our mailbox (it’s a mile and a half round-trip) and then come home and go to sleep.
Daily Total: $5
7 a.m. — I wake up around 7 after barely sleeping last night and head into school. I have an hour and a half to work on my classroom and eat some of the peanut butter oatmeal I meal-prepped last night before the second day of meetings starts. We’re in meetings until 11:30.
11:45 a.m. — During our lunch break, my colleagues and I go to Panera to catch up and hang out together. I get half of a grilled cheese and a cup of soup. We eat there for about 35 minutes and head back to school for the afternoon to prepare our classrooms. $10.97
4 p.m. — After school I head out to my grad class. I bring leftover taco salad and get there pretty early to work on some homework for my other class. I eat while I work for about 45 minutes and then go to class at 6.
8:40 p.m. — After class I head home and talk to my mom on the drive. I get ready for bed around 9:45 and hope that I’ll actually be able to sleep tonight, since the students start tomorrow. I’m so excited, I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve.
Daily Total: $10.97
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