How To Survive One Day In LA When You Only Make $70K

Today: a Creative/Influencer and Hostess who makes $70,000 per year and spends some of it this week on Gucci platform sandals.

Occupation: Artist
Industry: Entertainment
Age: 25 (acting age range: 16-30)
Location: The City of Angels
Salary: $70,000 ($25,000 from restaurant + $20,000 side gigs of babysitting and social media sponsorship + $25,000 financial support from parents)
Net Worth: Not exactly sure but I did buy some MicroVision stock the other day, and it’s gone up because it’s green now and not red. My friend says it’s a sure thing. I’m getting into stocks now. It’s just smart for the future.
Debt: $0 (v blessed)
Paycheck Amount (weekly): $480
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses

Rent: $1,200 (I rent a room in a small 3 bedroom/2 bath house in Santa Monica. It’s my friend’s parents’ house, so I get a really good deal and don’t even have to pay for utilities or anything. I just have to make sure to get along with my friend which is hard because she stinks up the kitchen cooking, and I think I can’t take it anymore, but then I’m like don’t move out because you won’t have this backyard which is the perfect setting for my paid-sponsorship-IG videos.)

Equinox: $200

Corepower Yoga: $139 (I no longer go to Equinox because my ex is an instructor there, but I can’t get out of my contract with them. But I must work out for my spiritual and physical health, so I started going to Corepower.) 

Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Amazon Prime: N/A (I use my dad’s—shhhh my stepmom thinks it’s our little secret.)

Mint: $16.99 (I had to download this to even figure out how much I was spending to do this article.) 

Followers Tracker Pro: $2.99

More Followers Pro: $5.99

Apple Music: $9.99

Spotify: $9.99 (I know I should pick either Apple Music or Spotify but I can’t decide—I keep going back and forth.)

WiFi: $60 (I do pay for this because my roommate buys all of the toilet paper and paper towels, so I think that’s probably fair.)

Charity: I think charity is so important, and once I’m more successful I will donate to places like Planned Parenthood and Catholic Charities.

 A Day In The Life

9:00am: Alarm goes off for me to make the 9:45 yoga class. 

9:09am: Alarm goes off again. 

9:18am: Alarm goes off again, so I turn it off completely. I can go to yoga later today.

10:55am: Wake up naturally and drink the room temp bottle of Pedialyte next to me. I was out late last night because today is my day off. Had to make up for not being able to go to bars for over a year! 

11:30am: Drive to Alfred Coffee and get a large iced vanilla latte with hemp milk and a yogurt parfait because I’m starving. $15 (It would’ve been only $11 but I accidentally tipped $4 because my finger slipped on the iPad, and then I couldn’t go back to change it because the barista seemed sad.)

12:00pm: Get a text from my friend Sean asking where I am. I forgot we had lunch plans, so I lie about coming all the way from the east side, stopping for gas, and blah blah blah. I’ll make it up to him. Even though Sean is annoying as hell, I can’t cancel because he’s going to set me up with his commercial agent. I have to run home to put on makeup and change, but then I meet him on Montana Avenue only 25 minutes late. I’m a pro. I pay for lunch because I have to make it seem like I really feel bad for being late. Don’t judge me for ordering drinks at lunch. $85 

2:30pm: Go back home for a power nap. 

4:00pm: The smell of my roommate cooking cauliflower in our kitchen wakes me up. I’m so grossed out that I leave the house. Just get it in smoothies like I do. You don’t need to cook that sh*t. I get in my car and this little (!) comes on, which after Googling, I figure out means that one of the tires is low. Sh*t.

4:10pm: I pull into a gas station by the air and water pump. I’ve never actually done this myself, but I’m a strong, independent woman, dammit—I can do this! Once I bend down to examine the first tire, a gas station worker comes over and says he would do it for me if I have any cash. He is legit because his shirt has his name in cursive on that cute patch. I look in my wallet but only have a $20 bill. He says that will be fine because I’m so pretty and nice. Cash doesn’t really count anyway. I don’t even know how I have it. He checks all of my tires for me. I think he says the back left one was a little low. $20

4:30pm: Run into Erewhon to get a Green Goddess Superfood Smoothie. Since I had suuuuch a big lunch I’m not hungry, but I have to eat something before my acting class. God, why is everything in this city so expensive? I’m just trying to survive! $16.50

4:40pm: I realize I’m out of gas. I really should’ve gotten some while I was at the gas station earlier, but I didn’t even notice. Gas has gone up a lot in price. It’s probably because of all of the Teslas. $62.88

5:00-8:00pm: I attend my intensive method acting class. This is the first day, so I have to pay upfront with a check. It’s a really big deal because this acting teacher taught Philip Seymour Hoffman (RIP). It will look so great on my resume. $700

8:15-10:15pm: I get drinks with my class at a bar down the street. Stefanie says she’s going to Venmo charge me but who knows when. $TBD

11:00pm: I’m finally in bed after a long and hard day—so much for a day off. Dammit, I forgot to go to yoga. I decide to watch Almost Famous because I lied to my classmates tonight and said it’s one of my favorites. I can’t find it on any streaming platform, so I have to rent it. $3.99

1:00am: I stumble downstairs to eat some of my roommate’s cauliflower in the fridge. I’m starving, okay. 

4:33am: I wake up to go pee. I remember that I’m out of my daily moisturizer with SPF, so I order some on Amazon. I also add these metal straws that I’ve had in my Save For Later for months now. $38.99

Daily total: $~942.36

Clearly, it’s almost impossible to survive in LA. I don’t know how I do it. It feels like even going out to breathe costs $100. I’m very fortunate to have my parents helping me out. My parents are divorced and haven’t spoken to each other in years, so they actually have no idea that they’re both contributing. They each get to think they’re the hero which is really gracious of me. I also believe things are really about to take off in my career, and when that happens, I’ll no longer need support from them and can quit my hostessing job. For now, my hostessing job is great, and I actually make more money doing that per hour then I probably would doing something with my Communications degree. It is hard, but it’s so fulfilling and worth it to go for your dreams. Chris Brown once said, “Follow your dreams. Just make sure to have fun too.” That’s what I try to live by. 

Images: Corey Saldana /Unsplash

Realistic ‘Money Diaries’: How Much It Really Costs To Move

As you well f*cking know by now, we here at Betches consider it our duty in life to rip Refinery29’s Money Diaries a new one. Seriously. That’s in our official company policy. Look, if they’re going to continue to “break down barriers” and promote the struggles of Olivia Jade full-time trust fund babies and part-time influencers, then I’m going to continue to anonymously blast them about it on the internet, and I won’t apologize for that! We’ve already discussed how it costs a chill $2k to even breath in cities like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Portland, and now we’re financially breaking down everyone’s favorite topic: moving.

If you’re anything like me, then moving feels like the undocumented 10th circle of Hell, right after that one about treachery. And I should know, because in the past 4 years I’ve moved four times, two of which involved moving to a different state. Yep, you heard right: FOUR TIMES. If you’re wondering where my mental stability is after said moves, let’s just say I’d rank it somewhere between Khloé Kardashian aggressively screaming “LIAR!” into her phone in the latest trailer for KUWTK and Britney Spears shaving her entire head in 2007. I hope that paints a clear enough picture for you. I think we can all agree that moving is not fun, and it’s hella expensive—especially if you’re moving in or to a big city. And since I’ve done both, and there’s nothing in this world I love more than b*tching about my own life, I thought I’d document my struggles for your viewing pleasure. For the sake of time (and your sanity) I’m only going to talk about the two moves that involved moving in and out of New York City, as those were the most expensive moves by far. You’re welcome.

1st Move: NC → NYC

When I first graduated from college, I realized that just because I had a degree in creative writing and listed “senior send-off T-shirt designer” for my for my sorority as my greatest career accomplishment, didn’t mean anyone would actually hire me. Which felt—and still feels, quite frankly—extremely unfair. Not everyone can come up with a slogan as catchy as “adios bitch-achos” and convince 100 something white girls to all agree on it, okay!!

I spent the first 9 months after graduation doing literally any freelance opportunity I could to pad my resume while living at home and applying for more full-time positions. The February after graduation, I landed a job in Manhattan as a publicity assistant for a major book publishing house and essentially had to move my entire life from North Carolina to NYC in a shorter amount of time than Forever21’s return policy—and you know that sh*t is a quick turn around.

The Basics

Occupation at time of move: Book Publicist/Aspiring Writer/Actively Trying To Marry Rich
Industry: Anything that would accept my creative writing degree
Age at time of move: 23
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $35,500
Moving Stipend: Lol. Companies actually do this? Just because I was hired at one of the largest publishing houses in the world doesn’t mean they would give up any of the billions of dollars they make a year to help my entry-level ass move. In fact, I was only given three weeks to move from North Carolina to New York City, find a place to live that didn’t end up with me a) living in a cardboard box or b) becoming the plotline of a Law & Order episode, and the only help they gave me was to “accidentally” change my start date to one week earlier.
Savings at time of move: $3K

What I Paid For During The Move

Moving truck rental: $900
Gas, toll fees, etc.: $500-$1,000

(I’m going to be completely transparent here, I was lucky enough to have my parents help me out a ton for this move. At the time, I was freelancing and only had about $3K in my savings, which, as you’ll see below, was almost entirely what was needed to pay upfront for my apartment. I know not everyone is lucky enough to have their parents help them move or help them fund said move, so keep this in mind if you’re having to move completely on your own.)

Apartment fees (deposit, 1st/last month rent, etc.): $2,850. My first apartment in New York was located in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn but, like, before Bed-Stuy had coffee shops that served avocado toast. I distinctly remember a cab driver making a crude comparison to Bed-Stuy and a war-torn country and then telling me to pack up my things and “run while I still can.” And they say New Yorkers aren’t friendly or helpful! My rent for one bedroom in a four bedroom apartment was $950 a month, and I had to put down essentially three month’s rent up front with first, last, and security deposits. This is not uncommon in the New York area, which was a shock to me. This was practically everything I had in my savings account, and I hadn’t even gotten the keys to my goddamn apartment yet.

^^Actual footage of me during my move

Furniture: $800. Fun fact: even if you’ve accumulated furniture throughout your life, don’t think you can bring it to this trash city, because odds are it won’t fit in the 300 cubic square feet your landlord is pretending is a bedroom. When I moved to New York I had to buy all new furniture because the bed and dresser I’d had from home wouldn’t physically fit in the limited space I had. Most of the furniture I bought was from Amazon and Goodwill so, like, cheap finds and it STILL cost me close to $800 when all was said and done.

Random Moving Costs: Can you put a price on your sanity? What about the Metrocard I had to buy before getting my first paycheck? Let’s just round this number $300 and call it a day.

Total Cost of Move: $6K. That’s right. SIX THOUSAND DOLLARS, and that’s mostly for rent and actually transporting my sh*t from point A to point B. That doesn’t even include any of the fun stuff like room decor or the boxed wine I needed to dull the sting of my savings being set on metaphorical fire. 

2nd Move: NYC → NC

Cut to 3 ½ years later and I moved back to North Carolina from NYC. I won’t go into the details as to why I moved—you can read my sappy, wine-induced Instagram post for that—but I’ll just say it was time for a change. I’d been applying for jobs in North Carolina while I was still living in the city, but I actually ended up moving before I had another job lined up. This was a huge risk and, as my mother so sweetly told me several times during the course of this move, I could have really screwed myself. That said, I made saving a major priority before going into this move. I didn’t want to have to rely on my parents again, and I knew I could possibly be without income for a few months. See? I’m learning! And they say you can’t teach a basic betch new tricks. 

The Basics

Occupation at time of move: Just Actively Trying To Marry Rich (Kidding! I was also freelance writer, if you can call aggressively pitching Riverdale related content to any outlet that would listen “writing.”)
Industry: Parental pity
Age at time of move: 26
Location: Greensboro, North Carolina
Salary: $300-$1,000 depending on amount of freelance gigs I could hustle each month.
Moving Stipend: Do the Cheetos my dad sprung for at the 7-11 in bumblef*ck Virginia count? No?
Savings at time of move: $10K

What I Paid For During The Move

Moving truck rental: $900
Gas, tolls, etc.: $500-$1,000

Apartment fees (deposit, 1st/last month rent, etc.):  $100. When I left the city I moved back in with my parents *shudders* but this also meant that I was living rent-free for a bit. I did owe $100 to my Brooklyn landlord for “miscellaneous damages” to the apartment, despite the fact that he could not name (or take photographic evidence of) one actual damage that he charged me for. K.

Furniture: +$200. I actually made money here because I was able to sell back some of my tiny-ass furniture I bought for NYC that I would no longer need once I moved to a city that wasn’t garbage. Blessings. What I couldn’t sell I left on the street to be fought over by my neighbors like the last weapon in The Hunger Games

Random Moving Costs: $500. I may or may not have locked my keys and cell phone in my apartment mid-move. To set the mood for you, I spent the last two days before my move saying goodbye to my life in the city by binge drinking for 48 hours straight, as one does. My dad flew in approximately 12 hours before we were set to drive 13 hours back to North Carolina with all my sh*t and found me curled in the fetal position in my dog’s bed amongst piles of trash bags full of clothes. In the remaining 12 hours before the move, we managed to pack up the rest of my stuff, get dinner, see a show, and get approximately 4 hours of sleep before waking up at the crack of dawn to pack the truck. So, to summarize: I was severely hungover, exhausted, and in the midst of heavy lifting when I found out I’d locked my keys and cell phone in the apartment halfway through packing up the car. I think this is perhaps the best representation for my state of mind upon realizing what I’d done:

Long story short, after attempting to break into my own damn apartment, having my neighbors threaten to call the cops for said break-in, begging to use a random person’s cellphone to call my landlord, trying to call my landlord and crying when I realized it was a Jewish holiday and he would perhaps get back to me in the next 1-2 weeks, and finally using my dad’s apple watch to call my mom who called a local locksmith in the area, we were able to get back into my apartment to finish the move. For a cool THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS. Add in all the boxes and packing materials I bought, and we can just round this cost up to $500 here I think.

Total Cost of Move: $3K

What I Learned

As you can see from this deep analysis of my psyche finances, moving is f*ckingggg expensive. And I’m only describing the moves that occurred across state lines! I also moved once while living in New York all on my own, without a car, or my parents to listen to me whine about it help me. Two months after moving to North Carolina, I moved into my own apartment in Greensboro, which effectively drained the rest of my savings. Will I move again, you ask? Only if I feel like sabotaging my own happiness in the near future. So, yes, probably.

That said, I have learned a few things about moving. For one, savings matter, especially if you’re moving on your own without any parental pity outside financial assistance. It was key to my second move. I also learned that just because you have enough money for rent doesn’t mean you actually have enough money to move—you might end up spending three times what your monthly rent costs. Also, don’t drink before your move. Just don’t do it.

Images: Giphy (4)

Realistic Money Diaries: How I Survived In San Francisco On $45K A Year

You might remember that Refinery29 published a failed attempt at a ‘Money Diaries’ about (what they consider) relatable women who live in f*cking expensive places. The reality is that these stories actually sound like someone is calling up their d(z)addy every time they want to go to Glossier or brunch. Meanwhile, the rest of us are here having sleep for dinner, wondering what the heck we’re doing wrong.

Now, five years or so after college, one might say I occasionally can treat myself to an avocado toast or a non-happy hour drink. My poor (literally) post-grad self might have *slightly* moved up in the world (you might find me freelancing on resumes and sh*t on Betches because I’m a freak and have a *passion project*), but it wasn’t always that way. So, what better way to explain that than to pimp out the first few years of my twenties. Here is a much more realistic money diary of how I lived in San Francisco during these miserable years of my life.

After graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill as a journalism major, I decided, “why would I use everything I learned in the last four years towards my future career? I’m going to go into sales.” So, I moved to SF after getting an entry-level job at an ad tech company. After landing the job through one of my sister’s friends (networking at its finest), I accepted a $45K salary and moved to one of the most expensive cities in the country. Good job, brah.

The Basics

Salary: $45,000
For some perspective, there was actually a homeless man (Google: The SF Bushman) that was reported to make over $60K from his “street performance” in SF. So, the fact that I was making $45K was pretty dismal. Oh, and the average salary in SF is well over six figures, making it impossible to find a place to live that doesn’t resemble Harry Potter’s cupboard under the stairs.

Rent: $1,300
At first, I was paying $1,600 for a crappy apartment with this dude who was not only like 15 years older than me, but also was most likely a drug dealer (this part would have been fine if he shared). Two months in, I actually found out the apartment had f*cking fleas. I *immediately* exited the vicinity. Thank u, next. I ended up finding a place for $1,300. The new apartment was 500 square feet for two people (and somehow included a living room, kitchen and bathroom) but hey! At least I was flea-free.

Bonuses: $200/mo
I got paid overtime at this job so on average about an extra $100 a paycheck, so $200 in total. TBH this feels like a waste of money considering the slave labor coffee runs I was being forced to do on a daily basis, but whatever, money is money.

The Sh*t I Paid For

Internet: $50
Ugh. Literally, what does a girl have to do to stream Riverdale on a Friday night? Give up her first-born child to Comcast? I am literally not even a human without working internet so my roommate and I split this bill.

Phone: $Free$
At this point, I was traveling for work so I asked my company to pay for my phone bill. They said yes. You never know until you ask, right?!

TV: $10
Cable’s going to be a no for me, dawg. Luckily, my roommate was in the same situation, so cable was a no-go. If I had to choose between a few bottles of wine and getting to watch The Bachelor on time, I’m choosing wine. Sorry, not sorry Chris Harrison. I did treat myself to Netflix and steal my parents cable password so I did not die of boredom.

Groceries:  $60/week ($240/mo)
Trader Joe’s frozen meals literally (not literally) became my bitch. I mean, have you ever tried their fried rice? Five stars. If I could get two meals out of a $5 bag, that was great. This and the fact that I actually couldn’t fit in my kitchen if I ate bread the night before (that small, yes), meaning that I highly overused the microwave. TBH, I probably did this 3-5 nights a week.

You might have noticed that I only talked about dinner. Welp, in full saving mode, I ate the cheese out of the snack fridge at work most of the time for lunch, making some sort of sandwich. OFFICIALLY EMBARRASSED AT MYSELF. WOW.

Life tip: if you do this, just conveniently end up on a call or in the bathroom when the office admin asks where all the snacks went.

Transportation: $65
Having a car in San Francisco is basically equivalent to asking someone to break in and steal your sh*t. Enter: monthly clipper card (SF version of a subway card).

Gym: $0
What’s a gym?! Coming out of college, my metabolism was still fast AF (as if I needed another depressing thing of the past to come up while writing this post) so luckily, taking runs around San Francisco was enough to keep me *somewhat* in shape. That and the fact that my meals consisted of half a Trader Joe’s frozen meal.

Clothing: $30
I should have mentioned: I interned for free in NYC at Condé Nast for three summers prior, so I had artfully mastered the ability to make a Forever21 sale rack look like Balenciaga. I remember I let myself buy one new thing from Forever21 (specifically, yes LOL) a month, for about $30.

Self-Care: $0
I’ll be honest, this first salt mine job had occasional perks (occasional being the KEY word). Once in a while, one of the more senior account executives would take me with clients to get mani-pedis (this counted as a “meeting”), so that was covered in terms of making at least my hands look halfway decent. For everything else, it really didn’t happen while I was at this company. Once I actually cut my own hair (terrible idea, never do it) because I needed one so badly and ended up looking like Janice Ian from the BEGINNING of Mean Girls.

Savings: $100 ($50 from each paycheck)
Put $50 from every paycheck into index funds because my mom had sent me a graph about some sort of compounding sh*t.

The humiliation is sinking back in. I was actually the LAMEST 21-year-old in a new city because welp, money. I don’t have a budget for this because I DIDN’T HAVE ANY FRIENDS, OKAY? Geeeeez. Why are you making me think back to this time in my life?

The Numbers

Monthly Salary: $2,400
Paycheck came to about $1,100 each time after taxes (f*cking taxes). I got paid twice a month. This meant one of my paychecks went entirely to rent plus about $200 in bonuses a month. In total, take home $2,400 a month.

Rent: $1,300
Leaving me with a measly $1,100 (I’m honestly shocked looking back at how the EFF I did this). I’d burn through that in like, one trip to Whole Foods now.  

Other expenses: $595

So with $595 I like, I don’t know, tried to make a friend after moving to San Francisco. Maybe you know, treat myself to fight off the depression. Extra guac on my Chipotle burrito. Or go to a happy hour once in a blue moon.

What I Learned

To get *real* for half a second here, the hardest part of this situation was actually that I was lonely AF. I mean, not having enough money to socialize after moving to a new city is just plain pathetic and miserable. In hindsight, I also wish I had given myself more experience in a field that was growing.

I interned at Condé Nast (trying to be like Devil Wears Prada or something WHO KNOWS WHAT I WAS THINKING) for my summers during college. Although the experience was cool AF (wassup Anna Wintour), I was interning a) for free and b) wasn’t getting any experience in an industry that was growing (I was working in print magazines, for reference).

I also studied NEWSPAPER JOURNALISM college. That was literally the dumbest decision ever. Because when the eff did you last pick up a newspaper?

But *somehow* I survived. Barely. The trick was really keeping my expenses down. And even though I’ve moved on to other things, there will always be a little place in my heart for Trader Joe’s fried rice.

Images: Ian Schneider/Unsplash

How I Survive In Portland On A $50K Salary: Realistic ‘Money Diaries’
As long as Refinery29 keeps recruiting socialites to write about their budgeting woes for their Money Diaries segment, we will keep flaunting the finances of our freelancers to remind the world what suffering really looks like. While not nearly as expensive as LA, New York, or San Francisco, Portland, OR, where I currently live, is rapidly moving up the ranks of American cities that young people flock to for overpriced beverages and an astronomical disparity between their rent and wages. Thanks, Portlandia. Here’s what a typical day looks like in the Pacific Northwest’s second favorite city (fuck you, Seattle).


The Basics

Occupation: Officially I’m a global communications planner at a media agency, which is one of those made up titles that means I majored in journalism in college and then shrugged my way into job. It’s worked out spectacularly well for me thus far, so if everyone could keep their mouths shut and not ruin that, I’d be very appreciative.

Industry: Advertising. My office could not be more stereotypically “millennial advertising” if we tried. Portland’s latest warehouse loft-turned-office has it all: exposed brick. unfinished floors. open floor plans. a three-legged dog who named Cooper who loves burritos as much as any of the rest of us. Welcome to media, it’s just as glamorous as you were promised.

Age: 26
Location: Portland, OR
Salary: Approx. $50K
Paychecks: I get paid twice a month, on the 15th and the 30th. Sometimes this seems like a rational spacing of time, and sometimes it seems like four years have passed between the 15th and the 17th. If pay day happens to fall on a Friday, I am guaranteed to be starving for the next week and a half because my drunk self has no concept of not spending her entire paycheck mere seconds after she receives it on drinks for her all her friends.

Bonus: Much like debt-free college and social security, bonuses are a myth perpetuated by baby boomers to make us hate ourselves. No one tell them how well it’s working.

Shit I Pay For


Rent: For rent and utilities, I pay a grand total of $705 a month. I realize that this is a screaming deal, and there’s likely a reason. I live in the corner apartment of a building on a bustling street that hosts no less than four ambulance parties a night. We have no dishwasher, which means I could be stricken down with salmonella at any given moment. About once a month, someone tries to break into our basement storage/laundry room, which means I am unable to clean my clothes or access my storage unit for days at a time while the door is being replaced. Sometimes this means you have to wrap your cat in a blanket and carry her to her vet appointment because you physically cannot access her carrier. Don’t mind me, the quirky twentysomething strolling down a busy thoroughfare, gripping a struggling, screaming, overweight cat as if her life depended on it. I’m a rom com waiting to happen.


Car: I’d say I fill my car up about twice a month, and it’s probably $40 each time because I wait until there are literal tumbleweeds rolling around in the tank before coasting to the gas station that is only slightly downhill from my apartment.


Comcast: I pay $40 a month for moderately reliable wifi and access to the most basic cable package so that I can watch two shows in real time: Riverdale and anything from The Bachelor franchise. I initially positioned this as a work necessity, just in case I have to write a recap or reactionary piece. That has never happened. I’m just trash who needs immediate access to Riverdale and The Bachelor.

I'm The Worst

Hulu: My first big move into adulthood was taking over my family’s Hulu payment because it felt weird making my grandma pay for it while I handed out the password to all my friends. You could say I’m selfless. We sprang for the $11/month plan so that we can skip commercials. This is how the other side lives, my friends.


Gym Membership: I pay $89/month for a Class Pass membership that gets halfhearted use at best. Some weeks I’ll remember that one day the sun will return to this god forsaken city, and I go to barre religiously for four days in a row. Then I discover Hawaiian food and don’t move for another three weeks. Moderation is everything.


Going Out/Eating/Stupid Shit: I’m so offended that you would even think I’d subject myself to the trauma of checking these numbers. It’s too much okay? Is that enough? Are you not entertained?


Savings: I try to put away anywhere from $200 – $400 a month for a month long trip I have booked in October. “Try” is the operative word here, because I usually end up dipping back into that savings a couple days before pay day. My Mint app is furiously buzzing just hearing me type this.


Student Loans: I have come to accept that I will be paying these until the day I die. My 10-year plan is that the United States government crumbles in some kind of YA dystopian anarchy plotline, and I don’t have to finish paying for my college degree. That’s it. That’s as far as I’ve gotten in the realm of financial planning.



A Typical Day

8:00am – Eat what I’ve convinced myself is a healthy cereal alternative but what I know deep in my heart to just be a Trader Joe’s branded version of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Sprinkle a couple blackberries on top and voilà, I am a health guru.

8:20am – Get into my car and notice that my gas light is on. How long has it been on? Only God knows. Immediately decide that this is a problem for later me to deal with.

8:35am – Stop on my way to work to buy an iced latte that I can hardly justify because our office provides coffee. But it’s the closest thing Portland has to Blue Bottle and so we all have to make our scarifies, I guess. My favorite part about spending $5.75 on an iced latte is that it only takes me 30 seconds to drink it and immediately wish that I had another one. Sure, it could have been $4.75, but I tipped a full dollar in my ongoing efforts to get the hot barista to remember me. This strategy has yet to pan out.
8:37am – While waiting for my latte, I openly gawk at a woman at a nearby table who has managed to pull off the heavy bang/oversized overall/struggling yet chic artist look that I was convinced, until this moment, only worked on people like Alexa Chung and Rachel McAdams. I wonder if she also tipped the barista a dollar.
10:00am – Walk to the cafe by my office because it’s such a nice day and why not get some fresh air! Definitely no ulterior motives here! Just accompanying a friend and basking in that sweet Oregon sunshine!
10:05am – Order a side of bacon, because I’m a growing 26-year-old girl and if keto taught me anything, it’s that we should be celebrating this perfect piece of meat.
12:30pm – Ventured to New Seasons to stock up on cheese for my weekly Riverdale viewing party. If you don’t spend your Wednesday nights devouring entire wedges of jalapeño gouda and mocking Archie Andrews, I honestly don’t know what to tell you other than to get your shit together.
Get Your Shit Together
While there, I realize that I have yet to drink a single liquid today that isn’t coffee, something that is definitely not helping eradicate the cold that has slowly taken over my body in the last 24 hours. In the name of self-care, I spend $4 on 11 oz. of hand squeeze orange juice and another $2.50 on a giant-ass bottle of Fiji water. I recognize that spitting in the face of sustainability is a bold choice to make in Portland, but I don’t have a dishwasher and don’t trust my own paltry cleaning skills to remove whatever bacteria may have accumulated in the four reusable bottles I actually own after months of use/baking in the backseat of my car.


I didn’t buy lunch because Tuesday night I decided to meal prep for the week to make myself feel better about a solid week straight of takeout. This didn’t stop me from standing in front of the hot bar mac and cheese and just sighing for five straight minutes. But, in the spirit of full disclosure, if we were talking a typical day I’d spend five minutes hemming and hawing about saving money and then drop $9 on a boxed salad, likely rife with e. Coli.


2:30pm – Consider eating the “afternoon snack” I packed this morning. It’s a healthy and dissatisfying combo of carrot sticks and white bean basil hummus, something that sounded enjoyable while I was furiously grocery shopping the night before but now just makes me want to die.
2:40pm – Eat it anyway. Even Cooper is unimpressed.
4:30pm – I head to the store to buy some stupid expensive sunscreen for my stupid pale skin because the stupid lovely sun came out in Portland for the first time this stupid year. God forbid I go to an outdoor happy hour before slathering myself in SPF60 and praying that whatever well alcohol I’ve selected for myself won’t interact with the sun and result in a cute rash across my chest.
4:45pm – It is now time for later me to deal with the fact that my car is running on literal fumes. I stop at the gas station near my office where the taxis fill up, because it’s cheaper and still pull the “just $10 regular” move because I have never heard of foresight. Sounds like a problem for two-days-from-now me.
6:30pm – Spend the entire drive to happy hour convincing myself to just get whatever cheap cider they have on draft and then don’t even hesitate before ordering the $10 cocktail special because it sounds festive and tropical. I also spring for an order of chips and salsa for the table because I’m the backbone of my friend group and also plan on eating them almost entirely by myself.


7:20pm – Head to my friend’s house for our Riverdale viewing party, where I eat no less than five different kinds of cheese. It’s easier to listen to Veronica say “Daddy” 150 times per episode when you’re uncomfortably full of brie and jalapeño gouda.
8:15pm – This episode is dark. Like, are we really all going to pretend we cared that much about Midge? And are we going to have to spend the rest of this season dealing with the return of tortured Archie? Because there isn’t enough cheese in all of New Seasons to make that okay.
9:30pm – Have to physically restrain myself from getting ice cream on the way home. I don’t know when I became this monster that eats entire meals consisting solely of dairy, but I blame Whole30. There’s no logic there, I just like to blame them for anything that goes wrong in my life.


Total Spending for One Weekday: Not counting the sunscreen but including the salad I typically would have bought, we’re looking at $49.42. I’ve had worse days, but it’s still not great.
Total Spending for One Week if I Spent Like This Every Day: $345.94. Refinery29, if you’re still looking for people with zero understanding of how money works, give me a call.


It probably goes without saying, but this could have been a lot worse. If you factored a weekend brunch into this plus even the tamest of nighttime activities, were’ looking at $500 a week. Who do I think I am? Bill Gates?


I know that, compared to a lot of people in a lot of places, I’m doing pretty well. I have an apartment that is cute when I actually clean it. I manage to eat enough food to feel bad about myself. My cat goes to a vet that’s nicer than my actual doctor. I feel safe spending at least $7 extra dollars a week just to gain the affection of a barista who will never know my name. I’ve done okay for myself.


Shout out to people living in more expensive cities with less means. You’re the real MVP’s. Feel free to teach my your ways, unless they require that I stop spending $20 a week on extravagant cheeses to accompany my CW shows. That’s just not a sacrifice I’m willing to make.


Images: Giphy (5)
How To Survive In Los Angeles On A $50K Salary: Realistic ‘Money Diaries’

As a struggling artist/writer Betch in LA, I cannot believe how much I spend to live here. We recently covered the expenses of living in NY—a true account after Refinery29’s batshit crazy Money Diaries, otherwise titled Daddy Pays My Bills and It’s So Hard. So let’s dive into what it costs to live in the other most expensive city in America, Los Angeles. Or like, that may technically be San Fran. Whatever, still talking about LA.

The Basics

Occupation: Artist (drawing/painting), Animator (what I went to school for), Writer (obvi, that’s how you’re reading this shit), Magician (a recent endeavor that sounds like a joke but isn’t. Let’s not discuss it further).

Basically, all my jobs are freelance and sound made-up (particularly magician). But I really, really love when my dad’s douchebag, pretentious friends say things to me like, “Okay, so what’s your backup career if artist/writer doesn’t work out?” I tell them not to worry: I’m a magician now.


Because I’m a fucking hustler, my income goes up and down depending on how much work I get. The cool thing about freelancing is that you can take on as much work as you want. The shit thing is sometimes there is no work. This is what credit cards are for.

Industry: Illustration, Animation, whoever will pay me to write or draw, etc.
Age: 27
Location: North Hollywood, CA
Salary: ~ $50k
Paychecks: I’m paid per project so this amount goes up or down. I spend about $3,000 monthly. Like, that is how much it costs to keep me alive here.
Bonus: The fuck. I’m lucky if people actually pay me what we agree on per project.

Shit I Pay For

Rent: $1,200/month for my own bedroom in a two bedroom apartment in an “up-and-coming” neighborhood that I share with a roommate and a dog. “Up-and-coming” means there was a shooting that killed 3 people on the next street over from us, but we’re also getting a Whole Foods. The roommate pays less than me for the smaller room. The dog is a freeloader. I read recently that the ~smart~ person should only spend 1/3 of their income on rent. Like, what the fuck? If I made that much, the first thing I would do is move into a nicer apartment.
Utilities: $100-200 a month, for fun things like water, electricity, AC (a fucking necessity here unless you want to die in the summer), etc.
Car: I probably spend like $50 every week or two on gas. But tbh I usually work from home, so no one requires me to drive anywhere. Car service can be anywhere from $100-$600 a year (and God help you if you need new tires), which is why I just ignore it when the light comes on. #lifehack
Gym Membership: $40/month for a small private gym that I occasionally see celebrities at, like wannabe thirst trap Ariel Winter and Kylie Jenner’s lips (unclear if she had a face under them).
Going Out/Eating Out/Stupid Shit: If my credit card bill exceeds $1,000, I cry. Does that clear it up?
Savings: lol

A Standard Work Day (Particularly, Today)

8am: Wake up. Cry because I hate mornings. I am literally an actual vampire person. I hate the sun and I’m nocturnal. Also, the whole drinking blood thing. That aside, since I work from home usually, I roll out of bed, get coffee, feed my dog (who doesn’t get up to eat) and begin working looking like Nosferatu.

9am: Continue working. I’m illustrating a children’s book today. It’s about a kitty. Cry at the thought of my $200k film degree because I was going to change the world with my movies. My dog is snoring like a monster truck. Cute.
9:15am: On this page, the kitty says “meow, meow.” Debate ending it all now.
11am: I’m meeting my friend who also works from home at a neighborhood coffee shop, so I force myself to get dressed (kinda) and put on makeup (ish). I get in an *actual* fight with my dog, who is still deadass asleep because she doesn’t want to get up to use the bathroom. Like, I’m mad because she’s making me late, but also: fair. Lift her 60lb ass out of bed and drag her outside and back.
11:30am: Go to coffee shop. Spend $14 on a nonfat chai latte barely bigger than a shot glass and a breakfast wrap. I tell myself I’m going to eat half the wrap and save the other half for later.
11:32am: Ate both halves. Fuck. I’m destined to be broke AND fat. Continue to illustrate kitties while bitching to my friend about how annoying our other friends are. My favorite way to work.
2pm: Go home, eat again. I told myself I was going to the gym at 3. Also, I hate the gym. I debate just being obese and not going. Why does it matter? I’m not dating. No one wants to fuck me regardless. I should just crawl back into bed with my dog (who is STILL FUCKING ASLEEP SOMEHOW) and give up. Think of the time I’ll save.
3pm: The problem is, everyone at the gym is gross and sweaty. So then I have to touch the gross, sweaty things that they touched.
3:20pm: Late for the gym, but I somehow still go. Unsurprisingly, the gross and sweaty people are there. As is some chick from some show that I don’t know the name of. She is soooo thin that she looks like an 8-year-old boy with blowup doll lips. It’s a really good thing I’m not one of the many people trying to become some sort of actor or model in this city. I eat carbs, for one.

5pm: Come home but can’t open my door because there are too many Amazon Prime boxes blocking it. What the fuck did I order? I don’t even remember.
5:32pm: A new watercolor set (that can technically be for work), a sexy cocktail dress (from Amazon? Really? I don’t remember this purchase AND I don’t even go anywhere to wear this), cheap sunglasses that look identical to ones I already own, an Easter-themed bandanna for my dog with a bunny on it (necessary), and a pack of 100 candle wicks (at some point I thought I’d make my own candles). Total amount spent: $76.16. But I technically bought this shit two days ago so it really doesn’t count as today’s cost. Leave the boxes stacked on my kitchen table next to the other empty boxes I’ve been meaning to take out for three weeks.
5:33pm: Eat a Quest bar for post-workout protein. It is Birthday Cake flavor which is way better than the other Quest bars that all have this weird “Quest bar” taste, no matter the flavor. However, it does not taste like birthday cake. Strongly consider being obese again. Also, why do they all have that same flavor? It’s like my college cafeteria. You could get a salad or a grilled cheese or a steak, and yet it all somehow tasted like the cafeteria. It’s fucking wrong.
5:34pm: Write articles for Betches. You are SO welcome. I haven’t even fucking showered yet, I’m just sitting in my sweaty (AND GROSS) workout clothes to get this shit done for you.
7pm: Feed my dog again. I really should cook something. Except I’ve already eaten everything I like and all I have left are frozen fish and chicken and turkey burgers and vegetables. I’d have to eat, like, super healthy. I decide to go grocery shopping tomorrow.
7:01pm: Oh sorry, by grocery shopping I meant, use Instacart to click on groceries and then have a struggling actor deliver them to my door for an additional $6 plus tip. Worth it.
7:02pm: Postmates my favorite pho place that I’ve been eating at twice a week because it’s so fucking good I don’t want anything else. Also? It’s less than a mile from my apartment. Also? Between delivery, service fee (wtf is a service fee if I’m already paying for delivery though, Postmates?), and tip, the order costs twice as much. The filet mignon pho is $10, and I also get crab rolls which are literally lettuce wrapped crab for $6. The order total is somehow $32. What the fuck. Still worth it.
8pm: Eating my pho, super happy now. I think I’m going to take a bath. Well actually, because I went to the gym, I’m going to rinse off in a shower, and THEN take a bath. It’s a huge waste of water but it’s necessary because otherwise I will be sitting in gym germs and I will die.
8:02pm: I’m trying to drink less often but really, I need a glass of wine for a bath, sooo….

8:03pm: Good thing there’s a liquor store next to my apartment. I spend $18 on rosé, but it’s the one with the pretty rose carved into the bottom of the bottle. It’s also the perfect shade of pink. So chic. Did you know a glass of rosé is only 86 calories? Like, a chardonnay is 120. This is basically diet wine.
8:10pm: Take a bath using no less than $50 worth of products from Lush. I smell amazing so it’s worth it. Also, I didn’t buy these today so it doesn’t count.
8:20pm: Drank entire bottle of rosé. 430 calories. Fuck.

Total Spending for One Weekday: $64. Not counting my Amazon or Lush purchases because those were not done today. So yeah.

Total Spending for One Week if I Got Coffee/Breakfast/Dinner Every Day Like This: $448. That is fucking depressing.

Also, this is not including weekends, where depending on where we go, I may be drinking nine $3 margaritas (and ordering the $7 queso and chips) or four $12 vodka-soda-limes. Or, God forbid, if I go out to dinner WITH drinking. Or brunch, where it’s $15 an entree, but only $15 more for bottomless mimosas which is seems like a good fucking deal. Because I drink like six of them. So I am saving money.

This day sucked in terms of spending, but I pay my rent and my dog sees a dermatologist, so I think we’re doing pretty damn fine over here. Kudos to the Betches making it work in cities that clearly don’t want us. In other news, my credit card bill is due in two days and tbh, after writing this out I don’t even want to look at it.

How To Survive In NYC For Under $70K Per Year: A Realistic ‘Money Diaries’

I read a lot of disturbing shit these days, but recently I read an article that was more offensive than my current bank statement—and, no, I’m not talking about the Arie’s latest tweet about how everyone is just, like, out to get him. I’m talking about the latest in Refinery29’s Money Diaries, a recurring column where they tackle “the last taboo facing modern working women: money.” Yes, because gender norms, sexual harassment, and glass ceilings are certainly no longer issues for the modern working woman! Every new column they ask millennials living in cities all over America how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period—and they’re “tracking every last dollar!” K. First of all, I don’t trust the sociopath who decided to actively sign up to track their spending habits over a seven day period. I’d rather admit to my mother that she was right about something in my life than evaluate my finances, like, ever. Second of all, what is Refinery29’s idea of a “struggling millennial”? Someone who can’t afford to buy everything organic? Or someone who still steals toilet paper rolls from the company bathrooms?

Recently a New York City millennial was featured on the Money Diaries, and it… was extra. So let’s take a look at this basically homeless person that was picked to share how she toughs it out in the city.

“Today: a service coordinator who makes $67,000 per year. This week, she spends some of her money on makeup and a silk eye mask.”

*throws laptop against a wall* SIXTY-SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS A YEAR. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME WITH THIS?? This is the struggling millennial who can barely make ends meet? AND SHE’S BUYING FUCKING SILK EYE MASKS?? Brb I think I just popped a blood vessel reading this.

Okay, well at least I can take some sort of solace in the fact that this person, this silk eye mask buying heiress, is definitely older than me. No way is this bitch younger than 26….

“Age: 25

Location: New York, NY

Salary: $67,000”

*starts to slip into a rage blackout* Okay, but maybe she, like, has student loans to pay off or pays a fuck ton of other bills? Is this where she struggles?

“Monthly Expenses

Housing: $900 for a one-bedroom apartment. I’m extremely grateful that my parents help me out with the rest.

Loan Payments: $0. I went to a CUNY school.

MetroCard: $121, but my job reimburses me

Cable, Internet & Power: $0 — thanks, Mom and Dad”

So, let me get this straight. Homegirl lives in a one bedroom apartment in New York City, but only pays $900 in rent? According to TimeOut New York the average rent for a one bedroom apartment in New York City is $3,100 a month. This means her parents are financing AT LEAST 75 percent of that rent—if not more—and she doesn’t pay for a Metrocard, student loans, internet, power, or cable. Tbh she could have led with “I have cable” and I’d know she was rich AF. But you’re right, Refinery29, she’s this close to being out on the streets and living in a cardboard box. I’m weeping for the injustice of it all.

Also, let’s take a minute to evaluate this interesting piece of information about her finances:

Paycheck (Biweekly): $928

Bonus (Monthly): $900-$3,000”

Wait, her paycheck per month is less than $2K? So her income is really somewhere around $35,000/year and not $67,000/year as previously indicated? And what are these monthly $900-$3,000 “bonuses” she’s referring to? She’s definitely a prostitute, right? Because the biggest bonus my boss has ever given me was the remaining money on her Starbucks gift card, so I can’t really fathom a $3,000 dollar bonus happening once a fucking month. If little miss service coordinator starts saying she just gets by with a little help from her friends then we’ll really know what’s up.

Here’s the thing about the “Money Diaries” that always sends me into a rage blackout: Refinery29 only ever interviews millennials who make between $70K-$100K, most of which is in the form of monetary support from their families, and then proceeds to condescendingly tell us how much these kids have struggled with their meager wages. When I first moved to the city over three years ago, I made half that salary and still managed to live my best a life. My parents support me in the sense that they still pay for my cell phone bill (#blessed) and occasionally send me care packages with K-cups in them that “mysteriously” go missing between the Brooklyn post office and my building. To this day, I still make significantly less than $70K and somehow manage to live a ratchet fulfilling life.

So in the spirit of debunking the Money Diaries once and for all, let me just get brutally honest with you on what my bills look like as per the Refinery29 equation:

The Basics:

Occupation: Book Publicist/Freelance Writer/Actively Trying To Marry Rich

Industry: Anything that will accept my creative writing degree

Age: 26

Location: New York, NY

Salary (combined with freelance gigs): $45,000

Paycheck (Biweekly): $1,425

Bonus (Monthly): Lol people actually get these?

Some Shit I Pay For:

Rent: $1,085/month for one bedroom in a three bedroom apartment in a neighborhood that my friends kindly refer to as “the last district in the Hunger Games.” So sweet.

MetroCard: $121/month (pre-taxed, but still)

Internet + Power: Cable is for rich people. I only have internet, which I pay $23 a month for (split between three people) even though it only ever works on a clear, cloudless day. I also pay anywhere from $50-$100 for my power bill (also split between three people) so that I can keep my room the temperature of Tampa, FL. What is life if you don’t continuously live it like you’re on your senior year spring break?

Gym Membership: $59.00/month. Tbh this just feels like throwing 60 dollars down the drain each month, but whatever I’ll include it.

Alcohol: $15 – $30/week

(And for those of you who might not view this as a “necessary” cost of living, I literally just had to buy a bottle of wine to get through through this evaluation of my finances so, yeah, I think it’s pretty fucking necessary. Also, this doesn’t cover what I spend at bars/happy hours/really horrible Hinge dates. Obviously.)

Starbucks: Not a real criteria, just felt like I had to include this one in here. Can you put a price tag on being emotionally dependent on your barista? For the sake of being honest, let’s round this one up to $30/month?

Savings: Alright, is this absolutely necessary to disclose?

Credit Card: K, well now I’m just feeling personally victimized.

To further my point here, I’m going to paint a picture for you of what a day in the life of It’s Britney, Betch is really like. Hold onto your matcha teas, betches, cause this won’t be pretty and might make you mildly concerned for my health is about to get real. Now, The Money Diaries usually outlines all seven days of the person’s spending habits. I don’t have enough alcohol in my system emotional maturity to delve that far into my personal finances so I’ll only be outlining a typical weekday so you can get a sense of my struggles.

A Day In The Life Of Me:

7:00am: Wake up. Briefly consider taking everything in my 401K (spoiler alert: there’s barely anything in there) and quitting my job to become a Lady of Leisure. Or at least a SugarBearHair model. If the professional twins from Ben Higgins’ season can do it, so can I. Realize I am a single mother to a dog, and also someone who also likes to brunch every Saturday and Sunday. Selling hair vitamins would barely cover my mimosa habit, much less my dog’s affinity for, like, eating. Accept my fate and decide to go to work.

7:45am: TRAIN FUCKING DELAYS. Is the grass green? Is the sky blue? Is today just another day in which the MTA is going to rob me fucking blind? Wait 35 minutes for an M train and realize it might be faster if I walked to Manhattan with one broken leg while carrying everything I own on my back than to actually use public transportation even though I pay ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY-ONE DOLLARS A MONTH to do just that. Give up for today and call an Uber. Spend 40 minutes and $45 dollars to go four miles down the road in a car that smells like the backroom of a Hollister store. Only die a little inside.

9:00am: I’m late for work, but not late enough that I don’t have time to visit my boyfriend Starbucks barista. It’s important we make time for each other, you know? I spend $7.00 on a breakfast sandwich and iced coffee and whisper “treat yo’self” under my breath as I exit the building. 

1:00pm: I brought my lunch, but it is a sad sandwich that I don’t really want to eat. Think about how skinny I will be if I just forgo lunch all together. Perhaps I will be skinny enough to fit into my freshman year crop top! Resolve to never again eat lunch.

1:03pm: Eat the sad sandwich and also an entire bag of Cheez Its because they were the last ones in the vending machine and that feels like a sign from God. I feel God here in this break room today.

5:00pm: Congrat-fucking-lations. I made it through one entire day of work and I didn’t even set fire to the building! What a feat! Now, I should go treat myself by sweating out all the frustrations of the day at the gym.

5:02pm: Walk by the gym. Briefly consider how I spend $59 a month there and how I’ve been wanting to get back into shape, and also the frustrations thing. Walk right past the gym and head home.

5:10pm: Spot a wine store directly by my subway stop. Another sign from God! Maybe you should pick up church instead of rewatching Criminal Minds from the beginning. Spend $15 on chardonnay. Remind myself that that’s $5 more than I was willing to spend on myself in college and reflect on how far I’ve come in this world. Namaste.

7:00pm: I consider ordering Seamless but show some actual fucking self-restraint and decide instead to cook myself a grilled cheese and soup. Boys, if you’re reading this, I’m single. Feed my dog. Open the wine. Re-watch old episodes of Riverdale and internally debate with myself if I should start giving redheads a chance. 

Rinse and repeat for five more days give or take one Uber ride or Seamless order.



Obviously, after reading my Money Diaries, you can tell that I’m a walking cry for help not the best with my money. But, you know, I still make it work. I still make enough money to pay for rent, feed my dog, and occasionally treat myself in the Forever21 sales section. Blessings. The point is that this is a more realistic look at what life in New York City is like for most people those of us who don’t make $70K a year. So to the service coordinator who makes $67,000 a year, I salute you for the trials and tribulations you must bear. Like being able to spend your paycheck on silk eye masks and makeup that costs more than $7 at CVS. BYE.

Images: Giphy (9);