Select Page
A Week In Los Angeles, CA, On A $70,000 Salary

A Week In Los Angeles, CA, On A $70,000 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.
We are looking for people with disabilities who would be interested in sharing their stories with us and our audience for Money Diaries, Salary Stories, and Travel Diaries. Refinery29 is committed to sharing the stories of people with disabilities, whether those disabilities are physical, mental, or developmental, visible or unseen, and we want to shed light on all the ways these disabilities impact daily lives. If interested, please email moneydiary@refinery29.com with the subject line “Diary Follow-up.”

Today: a freelance video editor who makes $70,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on an Ariana Grande T-shirt.

Occupation: Freelance Video Editor

Industry: Fashion and Beauty

Age: 24

Location: Los Angeles

Salary: $70,000 (projected)

Paycheck Amount (1x/month): $5,000–$7,000 (varies based on projects and clients, but this is my monthly goal)

Gender Identity: Woman

Monthly Expenses

Rent: $500 (I live with my parents in an apartment. I help contribute a bit.)

Credit Card Payment: $150

Student Loans: $500

Netflix: $12.99

Hulu: $0 (I use my boyfriend’s account.)

Phone: $60 (I’m on my family’s plan. I take care of the bill for my brother and me.)

Internet: $97

Adobe Creative Cloud: $52.99

Frame.io: $15

Google Drive: $2.99

Intuit Self-Employed: $5

Saving For Japan Trip: $100–$150

Saving For A Car: $100–$150

12 a.m. — It is Monday, and I am still awake editing videos. I like to get a head start on work for the week, especially if I know it’s going to be a busy one or if some projects just take up more time. This week is especially busy, since I’ll be going to an Ariana Grande concert and Orange County over the weekend. I also just feel more productive and creative at night. I finish editing a rough cut for two videos. I upload them and set my scheduled emails to send at 7 a.m. — I don’t want my clients to know that I’m up working late. I turn off my computer and wash my face. I’ve been using a cleanser from Shiseido lately, and it is a godsend. I go to sleep at around 3.

8 a.m. — I wake up and go on social media for a few minutes. I get out of bed and brush my teeth. I text my boyfriend good morning. He works in Orange County, so we’re not too far from each other. I go to my desk, answer some emails, and work on three videos.

10:30 a.m. — I eat some eggs and potatoes for a late breakfast while watching a few videos on YouTube. I check my bank account and see I just got paid from two clients. I check the setlist for tonight’s concert.

11 a.m. — I go back to work. I finish a video that is due the next day (yay!), and I send the video to the client. I love it when I’m able to send a project earlier than its due date.

4:30 p.m. — I finish work early, so I shower and get dressed. I finally get to wear the Ariana Grande shirt I got from H&M. I wear a black miniskirt, a windbreaker, white sneakers, and a clear backpack (only clear bags are allowed at Ariana’s concerts). I do my makeup routine.

6:30 p.m. — I take a Lyft to the concert ($14.47). I’m going alone because my boyfriend has to work, but I don’t mind, since I really want to see her live. $14.47

7:30 p.m. — I am finally inside the venue and head to get some merch. I buy myself a black T-shirt with a graphic of Ariana’s face upside down and her tour dates on the back. I also look for the NASA hoodie for my boyfriend, but they don’t have any in stock. $40

8 p.m. — I didn’t eat before leaving my apartment, so I look around the stadium for food. I buy nachos and a Coke. $15

9 p.m. — I look for my seat, and it’s surprisingly not bad at all. Ariana starts performing, and I sing and dance along to the music — she is great live. I was nervous that I wouldn’t have fun because I was going alone, but I end up having a lot of fun.

11 p.m. — The concert ends. I leave the venue and call a Lyft. The rates are going up because it’s late and there’s a lot of traffic. $30.68

12 a.m. — I get home and tell my mom about the concert. I show her the T-shirt I got, and she’s surprised by how many concerts Ariana has left in her tour. I wash my face, take some Advil, and go to sleep.

9 a.m. — I overslept. I grab my phone and check my emails. I get up, brush my teeth, and shower. I get started on work.

12 p.m. — A package I ordered a while ago arrives. I invested in a portable light box so I don’t have to set up my lights and backdrop every time I have a shoot. I am planning on using it for smaller products, like makeup. I also got a turntable to make the product videos more dimensional, as well as a new camera bag. My family brings over tacos for lunch.

1:30 p.m. — I go back to work, editing some photos and videos and answering emails.

6:30 p.m. — I stop working and look for something to watch on TV. I watch a little bit of Wolf of Wall Street and then a Mary-Kate and Ashley movie and Agent Carter. I keep bouncing because I keep losing interest. I eat eggs and rice, as well as chips and guac (from my kitchen) for dinner. While eating, I video chat with my boyfriend for a bit. Then I play Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with my brother.

9:15 p.m. — I clean out my emails (I have over 2,000, mostly from my designated email for subscriptions), then fall asleep.

8 a.m. — Good morning! I wake up, get ready, and start working right away. My last automatic monthly payment installment was charged to my account overnight for my faux bangs ($22). $22

11:30 a.m. — I make some spaghetti and mangoes for lunch and watch The Good Doctor. I usually never watch medical dramas, but this is a really good show.

12:45 p.m. — I go back to work and edit a few videos and answer emails. I get a package from Sephora’s VIB sale — I got the Buffet serum from the Ordinary. I’m a bit scared to use this serum, because Sunday Riley’s C.E.O. Vitamin C Brightening Serum didn’t work out for me. I also got sunscreen from Supergoop, because I’m lacking SPF in my skin-care routine. Last, I got translucent powder from Laura Mercier, because I’m running out of powder. I don’t really have much experience with powders, so I decided to use everyone’s holy grail.

7 p.m. — My dad brings home cheese pizza, so I eat three slices for dinner while watching The Good Doctor. I watch a few episodes and then go to bed.

6 a.m. — It’s Thursday, and I’m happy that I woke up early. I go on social media for a few minutes before I brush my teeth and get dressed. Even though I work remotely, I try my best to get dressed right after I wake up. It helps separate my personal and work life. I even apply some lipstick or lip gloss every now and then, just to feel like I’m actually going to work. I check emails, grab some cereal, and get started on work for the day.

12 p.m. — I eat some leftover pizza and continue working. I send a reminder to a client for overdue payment on an invoice — this happens every now and then, because freelance life.

7 p.m. — I stop working. I try my best to stop working by 5 or 6 so I can pretend that I work a 9-to-5 job. I eat dinner with my family and then watch The Good Doctor. I try the Ordinary serum before I go to bed — I hope it works. Will keep you updated.

8 a.m. — My alarm goes off. It’s Friday. I hit snooze.

8:30 a.m. — I wake and get started on work right away. I want to get as much done as possible, since my train to Orange County departs at 2:30 (I’m visiting my boyfriend). I eat some cereal for breakfast, then edit and answer emails.

12 p.m. — I take a shower and pack my bags. I’m bringing two cameras, a Panasonic Lumix GH5 and a Canon Rebel T5i. I’ll be going to a show over the weekend, and the person in charge of the show is my friend, so I want to take photos for her. I check if there are any delays today for the trains, since it’s raining today — yep, it’s going to be an hour late. I buy a ticket online while I’m on the site ($19). I download Lucifer, To the Bone, and Unicorn Store from Netflix on my iPad in case there’s downtime. I go back to work. $19

3 p.m. — My dad drops me off at the train station, and I finish up some work while I wait.

3:30 p.m. — I hop on the train. I try to upload two short videos, but the Wi-Fi on the train is too slow. I try to use my phone data, but that doesn’t work either.

5:30 p.m. — I arrive at the other end. I work a little bit more while waiting for my boyfriend. Nothing is able to upload, so I decide to wait until we get to his apartment. My boyfriend picks me up 10 minutes later, and we jam out to BTS and Ariana Grande in the car.

6 p.m. — My boyfriend and I eat at a Korean BBQ place — I missed KBBQ, I haven’t had it in months. We get two orders of brisket, one order of bulgogi, and mushrooms and onion. We split the check ($20.50), and I tip the waiter ($10). Then we get some boba. We get the same drink: a brown sugar milk latte with boba ($4.25). I give it a 4/5. He gives it a 3.75/5. We also go to Target to buy travel-size makeup wipes and Tic Tacs ($4). $38.75

9 p.m. — We head to his apartment. I catch up on work and upload the videos to send to the clients. I watch a little bit of The Good Doctor while he watches videos of classical music and guitars. I do my skin-care routine. We fall asleep. My hair smells like KBBQ.

6 a.m. — I wake up early to work on videos and answer some emails. Unfortunately, the internet’s slow at his apartment, so it takes a while to upload videos. I take a shower, dress up, and put on skin care and makeup.

10:45 a.m. — We leave the apartment and go to a sandwich restaurant in a very hipster building. We both get the same thing — a sandwich with goat cheese, pesto, and a lot of other ingredients I don’t remember, but it was good. I pay for the both of us ($18.65), and he buys us boba. I get a vanilla matcha latte, and he gets an Oreo mocha latte. I give mine a 3/5, and he gives his drink a 4/5. $18.65

12:30 p.m. — After lunch, we visit a small comic-book store and a thrift store and look around a bit. I pay for parking for the day. $4

1:30 p.m. — We head to a mall and window shop. We’ve been in the mood to shop, but we’re not planning on buying anything besides macarons. We go to a macaron shop and buy four macarons. $13

4 p.m. — We head to Guitar Center, because my boyfriend’s had this urge to play the guitar. There are some pretty expensive guitars there. He says he’s afraid to touch them because they’re so expensive and asks if I’ve ever spent on something that pricey. I reply, “the camera in my bag.” I encourage him to play with one, and I take videos of him.

4:45 p.m. — We head back to his apartment to take a break. I touch up my makeup a bit. The Laura Mercier powder sets my makeup really well.

5:35 p.m. — We leave the apartment again and head to a cultural show at the university we both went to. My friend, who’s in charge of the show, pays for our tickets (thank you!). I pay for parking. $10

6 p.m. — During the pre-show, we get hungry, so my boyfriend buys us nachos and a Coke. Watching the show makes me feel very nostalgic. It was a huge part of my life when I was attending university — I performed and also was one of the show’s coordinators.

10:50 p.m. — We leave and head to In-N-Out. I order animal-style fries, a hamburger, and a small drink. He orders a hamburger and a drink and eats some of my fries. $8

12 a.m. — We head to his apartment and knock out.

8:40 a.m. — We wake up, and I do some work in the morning. I pack my things, take a shower, and get dressed. Today, I’m wearing the shirt I got from Ariana Grande’s concert.

11:30 a.m. — My boyfriend drives me back to L.A. He and I will be having lunch with my parents since it’s Mother’s Day. I do my makeup while he puts gas in the car.

12:50 p.m. — We arrive in L.A. and put my things in my apartment. My parents, boyfriend, and I head out to a restaurant for lunch. We order a lot food, including nachos, pizza, pasta, ribs, fried calamari, and mozzarella sticks. My boyfriend and I also order vanilla cream soda for both of us — so much for cutting back on soda, but we give it a 10/10. I pay for lunch. $114.83

3:30 p.m. — We head back to my apartment and rest our stomachs. My boyfriend leaves, and my mom packs him a few snacks. I work for the rest of the day and eat pizza leftovers for dinner.

8 p.m. — I watch The Good Doctor — this show is really addicting. I do my skin-care routine. The serum I got from the Ordinary is working well. I haven’t broken out, and I can see a difference in the texture of my skin. It’s a lot smoother, and it does feel more hydrated. I hope it can help fade my acne scars. I fall asleep early.

Attention, college students! What gadgets and apps got you through freshman year? Refinery29 is looking for real college students to share the tech items that they couldn’t have made it through the school year without. Fill out our form here, and your pick could be included in our upcoming story!

Money Diaries are meant to reflect individual women’s experiences and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29’s point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.

Do you have a Money Diary you’d like to share? Submit it with us here.
Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here: r29.co/mdfaqs

Read More