A Week In Ocean County, NJ, On $10/Hour

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: an intern and food service worker who makes $10/hour and spends some of her money this week on a new razor.
Occupation: Intern/Restaurant Worker
Industry: Law/Food Service
Age: 23
Location: Ocean County, NJ
Income: $10/hour, plus $3,000 one-time payment for the internship.
Paycheck Amount: $130/week
Monthly Expenses
Rent: It was $900, but I'm living at home temporarily for the summer until I move in with three of my friends from law school, where my rent will be $525.
Student Loan Payment: $0 (deferred until after I graduate)
Hulu/Spotify: $5.87 (student account)
Netflix: $0 (My mom pays.)
Dollar Shave Club: $9 (I have this paused until September because I have an excess of razors — but this company is amazing!)
Phone Bill: $40 (But I pay my mom for six months at a time.)
Car Payment: $210 (Covered by a bank account that has been collecting the money I've gotten for my birthdays since I was born.)
Amazon Prime: $0 (I use my mom's account.)
Gym Membership: Free with my school
Advertisement

Day One

6 a.m. — My alarm goes off after a nonstop weekend of wedding dress and bridesmaid's dress shopping for my best friend's wedding next year. I am more than happy to snooze for as long as I can. I get up at 6:30 and only have time to throw on a basic outfit of slacks, a blouse, a thin blazer, and flats. I pull my hair up in a half pony, stop in the kitchen to talk to my mom about the wedding weekend, and run out the door at 6:45. I'm living at home for the summer while I am doing an amazing legal internship, but this also means I have to drive an hour and fifteen minutes each way to get there. Oh well, these sacrifices will pay off in the long run!
8:15 a.m. — Arrive at work about 15 minutes early and have just enough time to put on mascara and brows in my car. I quickly run my ColourPop brow pencil through my brows, curl my lashes, and put on mascara before getting out of my car and running into my office. I stop at the Dunkin' Donuts on the bottom level of the building and pay for a coffee and breakfast sandwich with money that is already preloaded on my app.
1:20 p.m. — I microwave chicken with rice that I brought from home and lock myself in my office to eat for 30 minutes. During this time, I call my local library about reserving a few books online, and read a blog post on Spire & Co.
Advertisement
3:15 p.m. — It's the first day of my period, so I run to grab a second cupcake from the break room. #NoJudgement. I leave work around 5 p.m. for the trek home, listening to Wine and Crime to pass the time.
6:30 p.m. — My period feels get the best of me, so I call into my favorite local sushi place on my way home. I eat it all within 10 minutes while watching an episode of The Staircase. $24
7 p.m. — I told my soon-to-be roommates I'd set up the renter's insurance for our new digs, so I log on and get us the one that will cost us the least because we're #ballinonabudget. They'll reimburse me for their contribution later ($223). While I'm online, I order a pack of toothbrush heads for my electric toothbrush, which I put on my mom's credit card because she said I could. $223
8 p.m. — I meal prep my chicken rice bowls for the week and box everything up. Then I bring in water from the garage so it's cool when I bring it to work tomorrow, watch the first episode of Season 3 of Rick and Morty, and pass out around 9 p.m.
Daily Total: $247

Day Two

6 a.m. — My alarm goes off at 6 a.m., but I don't get up until 6:30. I put my dogs outside to do their business, wash my face, slap on some mascara, brows, and concealer, and get dressed in my regular business clothes. I quickly make an iced coffee at home and grab my meal prep lunch before running out of the house around 7. I listen to the Wine and Crime podcast on my way to work.
Advertisement
8 a.m. — Get to work by 8, scroll through social media, and eat a chocolate chip Clif Bar while waiting for the other interns to show up. At around 9:30, I go to the break room to make a coffee with a K-Cup.
11:50 a.m. — I'm feeling hungry, but I don't want to take my lunch break so early. I find Ferrero chocolate in my desk and munch while I continue my work.
1 p.m. — Eat my lunch on one of the couches outside of my office. I left my key card inside my office, so I have to wait for another intern to come back from lunch to let me in.
3 p.m. — Period cravings strike again! I run to the Dunkin' on the bottom floor to get two donuts, using the money left on my app.
5 p.m. — I leave work to hang out with two friends. One is living in South America and only comes to visit twice a year, so I am extra excited to see her. We go to the pizza place where I work to get a free dinner of pizza, soda, and fries.
8:45 p.m. — I drop my friend off at home, but end up talking to her parents for a few hours. I am exhausted, but I haven't seen them in forever, so I stick it out. It's amazing how going to high school and growing up together basically gives you a second family! I leave around 11:45 p.m., dreading my early wakeup for tomorrow.
Advertisement
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

3 a.m. — I wake up with a migraine that is essentially blinding me. I doze in and out for a few hours before texting the other interns in the office around 6 a.m. to tell them I won't be making it in today.
8:30 a.m. — I'm feeling sick, but a little more alive, so I throw a load of laundry in. I make toast and get comfy in my bed to watch Golden Girls. The butt of the migraine is gone, but this headache is not going away anytime soon.
11:30 a.m. — I snack on apples and peanut butter, and then clean my bathroom a bit. The headache is still ongoing, which is lovely!! I attempt to nap throughout the day, but my aging beagle comes into my room and snores for hours. I eventually kick him out so I can get at least a few hours of sleep.
4:15 p.m. — I wake up from my nap and hang up my laundry that's sitting in the machine. Then I crawl back into bed to watch Friends. At around 5 p.m., I take a shower, but notice that my razor handle is completely broken, so I quickly order a new one online ($11). After washing my hair and shaving my legs, I put on my PJs and put on Friends. $11
6 p.m. — I fry little pierogies for dinner and sit in my bed watching Friends until I fall asleep at around 8:30 p.m. The headache never really goes away.
Advertisement
Daily Total: $11

Day Four

6 a.m. — I wake up around 6 a.m. with no headache! I get up and dressed and am in my office parking lot by 8:15. I take my free few minutes to pay my credit card bill for the month (ouch).
10:30 a.m. — I eat a Clif Bar while I continue my legal research. Then I hide out in my office at around 1 p.m. with the same lunch I brought the other day.
2:30 p.m. — I'm craving a donut. I use the rest of the money I have on my Dunkin' app and pay for the rest of it in pennies. $0.12
4:30 p.m. — I leave work at 4:30 p.m. because it's THIRSTY THURSDAY!! My friend, N., wants to go out on the Island, and I am so down. I get home around 6 p.m. to quickly pack a bag and head over to her parents' house. I stop to get us both coffees on my way. $12
8:50 p.m. — We watch the RuPaul's Drag Race season 10 reunion while getting ready, and grab the shuttle that runs on the Island to take us to the bar. $2
10:15 p.m. — Arrive at the bar and pay the $10 cover to get in. It's a slow start, but soon the place is packed and N. and I start dancing when they play Cardi! $10
11:30 p.m. — $2 beers and $1 shots call for a fun night! N. and I run into one of her friends from school, as well as a few girls I played volleyball with in high school. We all hang out, dance, drink, and party! $21
Advertisement
2 a.m. — Our fave after-party spot is closed, so N., her friend, and I Uber to Wawa. (Her friend pays for the Uber.) I buy us all food because my friend is letting us crash at her place for the night. $17
2:30 a.m. — I call an Uber to her house. Once we're there, we eat, drink a ton of water, and pass out. $14
Daily Total: $76.12

Day Five

7 a.m. — I wake up to the sounds of my friend's parents moving around the house. I quickly chug water and fall back asleep. We get up around 8:30. I'm glad I stayed on the Island last night, as I have work later on the South End, and Friday traffic is known to be brutal.
10:15 a.m. — We get to a diner and I order two cups of coffee and an omelette with bacon and potatoes in it, as well as potatoes and toast on the side. I give my friend $7 in cash, and Venmo her the rest because the restaurant is cash only and I only have seven bucks. $17
12 p.m. — We attempt to watch the RuPaul's Drag Race finale, but Comcast keeps shorting out, so we never get to watch it. We sleep our hangovers off. I leave at around 3:15 p.m. to head to work and stop at Wawa to get coffee and a sandwich on the way. I drink a lot of water because it's an open-air takeout style place and there are lots of ovens and no air conditioning. $7
Advertisement
10 p.m. — After being verbally assaulted by many customers (you would think that being on vacay would make people nice and patient, but you would be wrong!), it slows down enough for me to eat my sandwich. I inhale it while prepping the store for tomorrow. I leave around 11 p.m., get home around 11:30, and instantly fall asleep.
Daily Total: $24

Day Six

8:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off, but my lazy ass snoozes until 9. After I get up, I quickly get dressed in a flowy sundress and sandals, toast a bagel, and make coffee. Then I talk to my mom and brother, who is also staying at the house for the summer, about how I can get my car payments to be cheaper. I make iced coffee and go to work with my mother at her store.
10 a.m. — Get to work and am instantly bombarded with customers so the day goes by quickly. I'm working here to save money for my friend's wedding. At around 1, I stop to eat a chicken salad sandwich that my mother made me, and continue to help customers.
4 p.m. — I leave work to go to the restaurant! I stop for gas on the way ($30) and arrive at 5 p.m. $30
11 p.m. — I leave work. It was a lot calmer than yesterday but still busy, so I was able to make a good amount of tips. I'm saving my tips to get my nails done, which I can hopefully afford next week (acrylics are expensive, but so worth it IMO). I get home around 11:30 p.m. and pass out.
Advertisement
Daily Total: $30

Day Seven

7:30 a.m. — My goal was to sleep in on my only day off, but my dogs are going nuts because my mom left to go to her store. I give up on sleeping at around 8 a.m. and let them outside. Then I make myself coffee and toast a bagel. When my mom gets home, I help her reorganize the garage, which has become the home to both mine and my brother's school stuff. I find a book that I can bring to the beach with me later.
11:30 a.m. — Arrive at the beach with my mother to meet up with family friends. A driver cuts me off and then decides to stop moving in the middle of the street, so I yell at him. I hate shoobies. I last about two hours under the umbrella with my book and sunblock before calling it quits and going home.
5 p.m. — My boyfriend, B., calls and asks if I can order him Domino's to arrive when he is back from his weekend away at our friend's place. I order and pay with his credit card. No more than two minutes later, my mother informs me that our house's air conditioning is broken, so I quickly pack a bag for work tomorrow to stay at B.'s instead. This was unplanned, but now I can spend time with him AND get pizza! When it arrives, I hand him $3 for the tip to the delivery driver. $3
Advertisement
7 p.m. — B. and I spend the rest of the night watching YouTube videos. I also apply to be a Wag dog walker and an Instashopper online to see if I can make a little extra cash during the upcoming school year. Lights out at 10 p.m. for the start of the 4th of July week!
Daily Total: $3
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.
Advertisement

More from Work & Money

Watch

R29 Original Series

Watch Now
Fashion
A look at the subcultures around the world that color what we wear — and why.
Watch Now
Travel
Explore the world's most most vibrant cultural and culinary centers—in 60 seconds, of course.
Watch Now
Beauty
The craziest trends, most unique treatments, and strangest subcultures in the beauty world.
Watch Now
Lifestyle
Millennial survivor-woman Lucie Fink dives headfirst into social experiments, 5 days at a time.