A Response to Refinery29 Money Diaries
Start writing a post
Student Life

A Diary Of Adulting On $12.50/Hr With No Outside Financial Help

A response to a recent Refinery29 "Money Diaries"

Photo by Chan on Unsplash

Refinery29 recently released an article as part of their "Money Diary" series featuring a 21-year-old intern working in New York City. The internet had a lot of feelings about it.

The piece has been heavily criticized because although she makes $25 an hour her parents pay for most of her expenses, and she also receives $1,100 in monthly allowance from family members. Some of her expenses for the week include a Brazilian wax, a weekend trip to the Hamptons with her best girlfriends, and a $23 goat cheese wrap.

Since I'm also a 21-year-old intern I figured I would throw my story into the ring.

Monthly Income

Industry: Environmental Health

Age: 21

Location: My internship is in Wisconsin, but I live in Syracuse, NY the rest of the time.

Income: $12.50/hr

Additional income: On top of my salary, my parents give me $0/month and my grandpa also gives me $0/month. He also forgets my name sometimes when I visit him in the nursing home.

Monthly Expenses

Rent: I live in a two bedroom, the third floor walks up (aka attic). I'm also renting a dorm room while I'm in Wisconsin. My share is $709 (My parents don't pay for it, I do).

Student loan payments: $50. Although I am still in school I'm hoping to pay a little now will pay off in the future.

Health Insurance: $0, but I pay my own copays (and make my own appointments).

Car & Car Insurance: ~$325.

Hulu & Spotify Premium: $4.99. Gotta love that student discount!

Gym Membership: $35 because the trainer gave me a student discount.

Day One

6:45 AM: My alarm goes off for work. I wake up alone in my twin bed. I feel tired as usual but complete my morning routine which includes putting on makeup and getting dressed. I pack some workout clothes into my backpack for after work.

7:56 AM: Luckily my office is only three minutes away from my dorm so I'll be on time for work as usual. When I get to the office I make a cup of coffee using the communal Keurig. Aldi sells fair trade, recyclable K-Cups so I don't feel as bad about using a Keurig. For breakfast, I have a cup of strawberry yogurt with some almond granola.

10:37 AM: I've spent the last 2 1/2 hours working on my research project and I'm ready to gouge my eyes out. I found a new snack that's gluten-free while buying more coffee at Aldi. They're really good and should hold me over until lunch. I take a stroll to the water fountain and fill up my reusable cup before getting back to work.

12:47 PM: I take my lunch break and make an off-brand lean cuisine in the microwave.

1:03 PM: I can take an hour break for lunch but one of the work cars becomes available so I head out to one of my clients for a follow-up. The location is 40 minutes away. The car that's available is a 2016 Chevy Impala and it's the nicest car I've ever driven. Everyone in the office fights over it.

2:50 PM: I arrive back at the office. I spend 20 minutes filling out paperwork then go back to the intern office to continue my research project. I share this office with two other interns but it's the same size as every other office in the building with one person. Even so, coworkers store some of the things that won't fit into their personal offices or department storage closet.

3:57 PM: I snack on some veggie straws so that I don't feel hungry during my work out.

4:30 PM: It's time to leave so I don't have to worry about my project anymore. I head straight to the gym where I work on legs and do some cardio for 25 minutes.

5:47 PM: I decide to buy something for dinner because all I have at home is rice. I head to Trigs, which is a grocery store found only in Wisconsin. They have my favorite Angie's popcorn, but they want $4 for a bag. I begrudgingly take it because I don't feel like going to the organic store in town. I wander around until I find the prepared food section. They want over $7.50 for one salad. I decide it's not worth it and put back the popcorn and leave.

6:53 PM: I usually would just get a salad from McDonald's for ~$5 but they are having a cyclosporiasis outbreak from their salads so that's not an option. I go to Culver's and pay $6 for a chicken cashew salad.

7:03 PM: I eat my salad while watching YouTube videos. In a perfect world, I would be YouTube famous and be paid thousands of dollars for brand deals and driving something fancier than my Subaru Forester.

10:30 PM: I watch House Hunters on Hulu until I fall asleep. I love House Hunters because it gives me ideas for things to look for in houses for when I can afford a mortgage when I'm 40 years old. Until then, this show is all I have.

Today's Expenses: $6

Not everyone can be so lucky to come from a family with extra money. Even so, I feel incredibly fortunate for what I do have, and that I've been able to sustain myself (for the most part) since I've been in college. I may not be able to afford $23 lunches a few times a week, but I am able to pay my rent on time.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

A Tribute To The Lonely Hispanic

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, I’d like to share a few thoughts about being Hispanic in a country where it’s hard to be Hispanic.

Veronika Maldonado

Just a little background information; my dad was born in Mexico, came to the U.S. as a newborn and became a citizen when he was 25 years old. My mom was born and raised in the U.S. as were my grandparents and great grandparents, but my great-great grandparents did migrate here from Mexico. I am proud to classify myself as Hispanic but there are times when I feel like I’m living a double life and I don’t fit into either one.

Keep Reading... Show less

Dear College Football

It's not you, it's me.


Dear College Football,

Keep Reading... Show less

Hurricane Preparedness

In Louisiana and many other states, it is important to have a hurricane plan

Munger Construction

With hurricane season, it's always best to be prepared for it. It means having a plan for your family and home. Everyone in Louisiana should know the basics of preparing for hurricane season.

Keep Reading... Show less

An Atlanta Weekend

A New Yorker's quick weekend in Atlanta.


On a weekend visit to Atlanta, I had to adjust to people being personable and congenial to me. Although I had lived in the South before, I had to get reacquainted with southern hospitality due to visiting from Brooklyn. Atlanta Uber drivers are very down to earth, offer snacks, and provide great genuine conversations. The opposite is the lay of the land from Brooklyn Uber drivers. The southern hospitality is provided not only from the Uber drivers, but restaurant servers, cashiers, or random people giving suggestions. Brooklyn is a dope and unique place to live, but short on the warmth more often than not.

Keep Reading... Show less

20 Traditional Hispanic Recipes To Feast On In Honor Of Hispanic Heritage Month

... in case you needed another excuse to eat empanadas and churros.

20 Traditional Hispanic Recipes To Feast On In Honor Of Hispanic Heritage Month

Like many of my wanderlust-ridden friends and family, I'll travel anywhere for the promise of good food. I once went to Thailand in pursuit of traditional massaman curry and Spain for authentic patatas bravas — neither of which let me down.

What usually ends up being the biggest letdown is coming home to miss the traditional, local cuisine. It may not have quite the same ambiance, but trying to cook authentic dishes at home can increase appreciation for the craft and culture behind them.

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments