A Week In Detroit, MI, On A $67,000 Salary


Welcome toMoney 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 production editor working in tech who makes $67,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a tarot deck.

Occupation: Production Editor
Industry: Tech/Publishing Startup
Age: 27
Location: Detroit, MI
Salary: $67,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,853
Gender Identity: Woman — She/Her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $750 (for a one-bedroom)
Student Loans: $425
Cooking Gas: $13 (all of my other utilities are included in my rent)
Renter's Insurance: $20
Internet: $45
Cell Phone: $30
Car Payment: $115
Gym Membership: $49
Therapy: $200
Health Insurance: $67 (My company covers most of my insurance, but my plan in Michigan is higher than it was in Massachusetts, so I pay the difference; this is already subtracted from my paycheck.)
Netflix: $0 (I use my mom's account.)
Spotify: $0 (My sister's boyfriend pays for our shared “family” plan.)
Monthly Donation to the National Network of Abortion Funds: $6
Weekly Bouquet Service: $60 (I live very close to a wonderful flower farm and treat myself to weekly bouquets in the summer.)
Roth IRA Deposit: $25
401(k) Contribution: $245 (also already subtracted from my paycheck)
Savings: I try to sock away at least $200 a month in savings. I set a goal at the beginning of this year to hit $10,000 — I'm currently at $8,000.

Day One

8 a.m. — I wake up to birds chirping loudly outside the Bed-Stuy apartment I'm staying at. I have been in New York for a work conference for the past week and spent the weekend visiting with friends in Brooklyn. It's been a magical few days, but I'm ready to get back to Detroit for some peace and quiet (and cheaper brunch prices). I shower and get ready, and my friends make me cold brew and scrambled eggs.

9 a.m. — I hug my friends goodbye and grab a Lyft to the airport. I choose a Shared Lyft and share my ride with two girls heading to Governors Ball. Rain is threatening, and they are hoping the festival won't be canceled. (I Google later and find out that it was evacuated due to severe weather — hopefully, they managed to see a few acts!) My Lyft driver is kind, plays good music, and drives well, so I make sure to tip. I have a lot of respect for anyone who can navigate NYC traffic and keep a smile on their face. ($25.10 expensed)

9:40 a.m. — I make it to LaGuardia and breeze through security thanks to my TSA Precheck (best purchase I ever made), only to find out that my flight has been delayed by two hours. I also discover that my gate is down a steep flight of stairs that lead into a small, hot waiting room, outside of which is a shuttle bus that will allegedly take us to our plane. I comfort myself with a tall caramel Frappuccino from Starbucks (not as good as I remember it being) and an original Auntie Anne's pretzel (just as good as I remember). $10.76

3:30 p.m. — I finally make it home, and my angelic mom picks me up at the airport. I persuade her to swing by Taco Bell on the way back to her house, where I order my fave combo: two chicken chalupas and a root beer (and plenty of hot-sauce packets). My brother and his girlfriend await us at my mom's house. My dad has early-onset Alzheimer's, and my mom is his full-time caregiver, so my brother has been hanging out with my dad while my mom fetched me from the airport. $9.74

9 p.m. — I'm too tired to drive home, so I spend the night at my mom's house. I browse Depop for a bit before falling asleep. I've made a commitment to myself to shop more ethically and sustainably this year, and because options for cute, ethical fashion start to dry up past a size 12, thrifting/secondhand is generally my move. I'm on the lookout for a swimsuit cover-up right now. Lo and behold, right before I'm about to call it a night, I stumble upon the perfect one (black, sheer-ish, button-down, big enough to be oversize on my size 18 bod, and cheap!). I buy it and drift off into dreams about strawberry daiquiris and beach chairs. $13

Daily Total: $33.50

Day Two

9 a.m. — I wake up a bit later than usual but cut myself some slack since I'm still wiped out by my trip. My mom brings me coffee with a dash of sugar-free French vanilla Coffee-Mate. I grab my laptop and hop online. I work remotely for a Boston-based company — I moved back to Michigan last year to be near my family as my dad's Alzheimer's worsens. Working remotely is super convenient, particularly since it means I can work from my mom's house whenever I need to. Before getting down to business, I pay a bill to my doctor's office for lab work I had to get done a few weeks ago and read an article on Bon Appétit about what your restaurant tote bag says about you. I'm tempted by several of them (I'm a tote maniac), but I resist. $14.89

11 a.m. — I've been in a work groove, but my stomach is starting to complain, so I take a break to make myself scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese and cherry tomatoes.

1 p.m. — After calling in to a long work meeting, I eat some strawberries, gather up my stuff, and take advantage of my lunch break to make the quick drive back to my apartment. It's very good to be home — I check my mail (all junk), water my plants (flourishing!), and have lunch: cottage cheese, carrots, and leftover rice. My meals are not usually this depressing, but my fridge is nearly empty after a week away from home. I definitely need to find time to grocery shop this week.

7 p.m. — I'm a member at a space for women and nonbinary writers and artists in Detroit, and the School for Poetic Computation is holding a workshop there tonight. It's fascinating and a lot of fun, and I meet some very cool people. Afterward, I meet up with a few friends for dinner, where we luck out and arrive right in time for the late-night happy-hour menu. I have a burger, fries, and the restaurant's house-made shrub. Lately one drink is enough to give me a hangover, so I've been trying to find interesting non-alcoholic options. Shrub, or drinking vinegar, is a favorite. $17.84

Daily Total: $32.73

Day Three

8 a.m. — I remembered to turn on my sleep tracker last night (I use the Pillow app — my need for quality sleep has outweighed any worries about companies having my data), so the first thing I do when I wake up is check it. It tells me I got a solid eight hours and 18 minutes of sleep at 75% quality (whatever that means). A victory! I do the bare minimum to look presentable and head out. I need to pick up a prescription at CVS, and I parked too close to a stop sign last night and want to move my car before I get a ticket. It's a beautiful day, and I'm happy to get some sun before I'm glued to my laptop for the day. I pick up my birth control, toilet paper, mouthwash, deodorant, and my holy grail product for misbehaving skin: Peach Slices Acne Spot Dots. $18.61

9 a.m. — I get online and start making breakfast and coffee. I use coffee beans from Astro Coffee (a local shop) and make poached eggs with sourdough toast. I scarf down my meal, turn up Jamila Woods, and get to work.

11:30 a.m. — I receive two pieces of exciting news: Roxane Gay is going to be the keynote speaker for a summit I'm attending in September, and my best friend from college is engaged! I'm thrilled. Her girlfriend (fiancée!!) is amazing, and I know they've been thinking about taking this step for a while. I buy a cute “Congrats on your engagement” card on Etsy. $8

1 p.m. — I take a quick break to walk to the flower farm where I get my weekly bouquet. It's a lovely walk, and the flowers are beautiful. I pick my bunch from the buckets on the farmer's front porch and head back home. A weekly flower service is a bit of an extravagance, but it really brightens both my apartment and my mood to have fresh flowers around. Afterward, I eat a late lunch (a tuna sandwich with celery and a few blueberries) and then head back to my mom's house. She has a doctor's appointment and a haircut scheduled, so I'm hanging with my dad while I finish my work for the day. He's still sleeping, so I settle on the couch and get back to my long to-do list.

4 p.m. — My dad wakes up, so I feed him some clementines and have one myself. I turn on the Rolling Stones, one of his favorites.

6 p.m. — I go offline for the day, leave my mom's, and head to the grocery store. I buy chicken noodle soup, clementines, Häagen-Dazs coffee ice cream, milk, eggs, butter, coffee creamer, a frozen pizza, shredded sharp cheddar cheese, canned corn, frozen broccoli, cucumbers, romaine lettuce, cavatappi pasta, couscous, a loaf of wheat bread, peanut butter, cottage cheese, croutons, and cherries. $63.11

7:30 p.m. — I start preparing dinner while listening to Spotify's “This Is Joni Mitchell” playlist. I make gnocchi from the farmers' market with marinara sauce and Parmesan, along with a salad of Romaine lettuce, cucumbers, croutons, beets, and homemade Italian dressing. To my delight, past-me impulse bought a mini cheesecake last week, so I have that for dessert. After dinner I put on a face mask (Detroit Rose Honey Bunz — locally made and the most delicious-smelling mask on the planet) and read a book ( Pleasure Activism by adrienne maree brown).

Daily Total: $89.72

Day Four

8:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off, but I hit snooze until 9. I drag myself out of bed, wash my face, and open my laptop. Sometimes my most productive hours are first thing in the morning, so I'll work a bit before eating breakfast. I definitely need coffee, though, so I get my Chemex going.

11 a.m. — I've had an incredibly productive morning. I take a break and have scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese, the last of my sourdough toast, and a few of the cherries I bought yesterday.

2 p.m. — I'm still full from breakfast, so I use my lunch hour to go to the gym. I'm obsessed with my gym, which is rare for me — I'm generally fairly anti-gym because of all the body-shaming and weight loss/diet talk that generally comes along with it. This one plays Motown music all day, and everyone is kind, enthusiastic, and just trying to have a good time and move their body. Bonus: There's a steam room and a sauna in the locker room. I get in a quick workout, take a shower, and head home.

3 p.m. — I eat a late lunch at my desk: a peanut butter sandwich, a salad (Romaine, cucumbers, croutons, Italian dressing), and more cherries.

6 p.m. — I sign off for the day and head to the community garden in my neighborhood, where I volunteer every other Wednesday. The rain stops just in time for us to weed and plant a bit. We harvest kale, spinach, lettuce, and radishes to take home. The woman who lives in one of the houses next to the garden lets us snip a few blooms from the giant peony bush in her backyard. I walk home with my haul, making it back right before the next bout of rain comes.

8 p.m. — I wash my veggies and begin dinner. Tonight I'm having an easy version of cacio e pepe: linguine, butter, black pepper, and Parmesan. I sauté my freshly harvested kale with olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and have that alongside the pasta.

9:30 p.m. — I talk with my sister on the phone for a while. She lives in Montreal, and I don't get to see her as often as I'd like, so it's always nice to touch base. She sends me a recipe for cold brew, but it's in French — she always overestimates my language skills. Luckily, the steps are fairly simple, so I puzzle through and prepare it while we talk. After we hang up, I take care of my skin-care biz, read a bit, and then hit the hay.

Daily Total: $0

Day Five

8:30 a.m. — Today I make scrambled eggs with my garden spinach for breakfast. I have never liked spinach, but I give it another shot. I add saffron salt, pepper, and garlic powder to the eggs. I take one bite with the spinach and end up fully eating around it. At least I tried! I wash my breakfast dishes, prepare my cold brew, and start working.

10:30 a.m. — I've been borrowing a pair of gloves at the garden for the past few weeks, and I think it's time I get my own. I hate using Amazon, but I have some money left on a gift card, so I use it to buy a pair. The remaining balance almost covers the whole purchase. $0.41

12:30 p.m. — I'm feeling lazy, so I have my frozen pizza for lunch. I'm not expecting much, but it's pretty good — it's the Sicilian Recipe Crispy Thin-Crust Pizza from California Pizza Kitchen. I eat about half and put the rest in the fridge. I have two clementines and some cherries for dessert.

1:30 p.m. — I need a change of scenery, so I shower, put on some makeup (Glossier Boy Brow in Brown and A'PIEU Juicy-Pang Water Blusher in Guava), change into something cuter than my work-from-home flannel, and head to my coworking space. It costs $50/month to be a member, but my company reimburses me for it. Working remotely can be isolating and lonely, so I really appreciate being able to get out and work around other people. My office in Boston was super social, and I'm working on finding ways to replace that interaction in my work days. Once I get to the space, I circle the block for a bit looking for free parking, but eventually give up and pay the fee. $2.15

1:45 p.m. — It turns out that there is intense construction happening next door, causing a ruckus that I can't drown out with my headphones. I resign myself to the lost parking cost and head to a coffee shop across town that has free Wi-Fi. I get an iced cardamom chai latte and settle in. $5.25

5 p.m. — I quit working and drive home. I drop my laptop off and then head out again to walk my bike over to the bike/coffee shop in my neighborhood that opened a few months ago. The tires are extremely flat, and the bike itself probably needs some TLC. I know the guy at the shop is upselling me, but I agree to a tune-up and new tires. Detroit roads are full of potholes and occasional debris, so the new tires will hopefully serve me well. He tells me it'll be ready by next week. I walk back to my apartment, making friends with a stray cat on my way. $200

6 p.m. — I'm back out the door, headed to the gym for a 6:30 Zumba class.

7:45 p.m. — I get home, shower, and eat the rest of my pizza and a salad for dinner.

10:45 p.m. — I get ready for bed and then scroll through Instagram. Before the targeted ads can persuade me to buy an antibacterial pillowcase, I close the app. Unfortunately, I get sucked back into Depop instead and end up buying an old tarot deck (oops). $5

Daily Total: $212.81

Day Six

8 a.m. — I meet with my therapist on Friday mornings. I wake up, shower/get ready, and head out. On my way there, I listen to the audiobook I just borrowed from the library: If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin. As I approach the office, I get a text from my therapist letting me know she'll be 10 minutes late, so I stop at Starbucks to kill some time and get a grande Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew. $4.19

10:30 a.m. — On my way home, I pick up a loaf of sourdough from a local organic grocery store ($7.99) and a bagel sandwich from the wonderful bagel shop nearby as a reward for a hard, but fruitful, therapy session. My go-to order: bacon, egg, cheese, and tomato on a rosemary, olive oil, and sea salt bagel, toasted ($7.50). $15.49

2 p.m. — After working for a while, I break for lunch: chicken noodle soup and a salad. I know it seems like I'm obsessed with salads, but living alone makes it hard to get through produce before it goes bad, and I want to make sure I get to enjoy all of my lettuce from the garden.

5:30 p.m. — I stop working and head to my mom's. I want to pick up my yoga mat from her house and also buy her dinner. She isn't currently working, which means she's on a very limited income. My brother and I used to give her $300 each a month, but her finances are a bit more stable these days. Now that I'm living close to home, I still like to be able to treat her when I can. Her favorite restaurant is a Mexican place down the road, where we always order the same thing: bean-and-cheese enchiladas for her, the same for my dad, ground-beef-and-cheese tacos for me, and chips and salsa. $31

8 p.m. — I leave for home before it gets dark. I always sleep better in my own bed. Before calling it a night, I turn on Netflix for a bit (I'm rewatching Salt Fat Acid Heat — I have a huge crush on Samin Nosrat).

Daily Total: $50.68

Day Seven

8 a.m. — I make myself breakfast tacos and have some cold brew. My grandpa's 90th birthday party is this afternoon, so I hurry to get ready and leave for my mom's. My sister and her boyfriend are visiting, and we're all going to drive over to my grandpa's house together.

10:30 a.m. — Everyone's running around frantically getting ready, so I go grab us coffee to avoid the chaos. Tall soy latte for my sister, grande cold brew for my sister's boyfriend, tall Pike Place Roast for my mom, grande Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew for me. $13.89

1 p.m. — We make it out the door and drive to my grandpa's house. When we arrive, we help set up for the party, and guests start to roll in around 1:30. I grab a lemonade and eat some veggies and dip while trying to avoid interactions with weird second cousins.

2:30 p.m. — We eat a huge lunch: fried chicken, antipasto salad, coleslaw, pickles, buttered rolls, watermelon. We toast my grandpa, a few people give speeches, someone plays the bagpipes (this is truly baffling — my family is Irish, not Scottish), and we have vanilla cake and homemade baklava for dessert. I continue to gracefully avoid the second cousins while scarfing baklava.

8 p.m. — My fam heads back home. We hang out and chat for the rest of the evening, and I eat some leftover fried chicken before driving back to my apartment.

Daily Total: $13.89

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So, she and her fiancee moved the wedding up a month and decided to live-stream the whole thing from their apartment. This meant finding something to wear ASAP — and circumventing the restrictions making it impossible to shop for a dress IRL. Benson devised a plan to buy, try on, and return as many dresses as she could order, all within the standard 14-day return window that most stores offer. “I basically looked at every white dress that was available on the internet,” she explained. “I kept doing a thing where I was panic-ordering more and more dresses, and obsessively checking the return policies.” She converted her office into a shopping svengali’s war room, hauling in a garment rack and an oversized mirror, and creating a Google spreadsheet to track all of her purchases. > My grandmother is 90 years old and never would have been able to join in person, but she was able to tune in and see all the dresses.> > Elisa BensonOnce her “virtual bridal salon” was fully staged, she streamed a virtual try-on via Zoom for her family. “When I was changing, I would turn off the video on my camera, and then would be like, surprise!” While it wasn’t the in-person experience that many of us have watched unfold on Say Yes To The Dress, Elisa took advantage of the dial-in to expand the audience. “My grandmother is 90 years old and never would have been able to join in person, but she was able to tune in and see all the dresses,” Elisa explained. “My three-year-old niece watched from her laptop at home surrounded by all of her dino and stuffies.” Elisa was thrilled with the results of her digital shopping trip and ended up with a balloon-sleeved sheath from Moda Operandi. “I could see the virtual bridal salon being a trend that outlasts the pandemic. You get to include more people, you get to try stuff on at home, you get to drink good champagne instead of free warm champagne.”DashDividers_1_500x100 Marriage, Dinner, & A MovieIn late February, freelance designer Theresa Deckner encountered a major hiccup as she prepared for her August 2nd destination wedding in Heidelberg, Germany: a package containing the vintage wedding dress she’d ordered from Etsy had been stolen from the courtyard of her Los Angeles apartment building. This hiccup, however, was soon dwarfed by a much larger one and, by May, Deckner had postponed her wedding indefinitely and made plans to move with her fiancee to North Carolina. Two weeks before their departure, the couple decided that a courthouse elopement would be the perfect sendoff. > I bought it at the Silverlake flea market for $15 dollars and I had it cleaned three times but never wore it because I had a feeling I would wear it to my wedding. I’m kind of superstitious in that way.> > Theresa DecknerWith the tiered, floor-length lace number that she’d originally chosen no longer an option — “It’s such a specific thing,” she said of the pilfered gown, “I feel like not that many people would enjoy it” — Theresa wore a dress that had actually been hanging in her closet for a year. “I bought it at the Silverlake flea market for $15 dollars,” she explained, “and I had it cleaned three times but never wore it because I had a feeling I would wear it to my wedding. I’m kind of superstitious in that way.” (The white Prada heels she wore — a clothing swap score — had actually been waiting in the wings even longer.) With a cotton eyelet fabrication and a go-go-worthy hemline, the mini-dress was too informal for the destination family affair they’d originally planned, but it was perfect for an impromptu visit to the marriage bureau.“The Los Angeles County courts were all closed, but Orange County is super Republican — it was the one time that worked in our favor,” said Theresa. Outside the Santa Ana Court House, she and her partner snuck away from the crowds waiting outside and privately recited vows they’d written to each other. “I started crying,” she said. “It was really cute. And embarrassing.” Inside, an officiant sat on the other side of a plexiglass barrier (“like a bank teller,” Theresa explained) and took them through their vows. After picking up takeout and having a congratulatory Zoom call with their parents, they watched The Royal Tenenbaums. “I’m still excited to maybe have a wedding next summer, but I don’t want to force it,” says Theresa. “We already had a really nice wedding, just the two of us. And that is also ok.”At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

  • The Shower Is The Perfect Quarantine Masturbation Spot

    For those of us not fortunate enough to live alone, coronavirus quarantine may have made of our living situation a bit crowded. So much so that it may be tough to find enough “me time” during your week to masturbate. Because let’s face it: It’s hard to relax enough to get down and dirty with yourself when you’ve got one eye and one ear open, worried that someone might overhear you or even walk in on you.That’s why we believe the bathroom — specifically, the shower — is the perfect place to rub one out. “Masturbation in the shower provides a safe space for that private moment,” Myisha Battle, certified sex and dating coach, tells Refinery29. More often than not, your bathroom’s got a door that locks, and the running water goes a long way toward drowning out any noise. There you have it: the perfect quarantine masturbation spot. If you’re ready to dive in, follow Battle’s expert tips for making your next shower sesh a successful one. Take advantage of your removable shower headYou and your shower head = a tale as old as time. This masturbation method is tried and true, and one you should take advantage enough if you’re blessed enough to have a detachable one in your tub or shower stall.“That’s an easy, low-maintenance way to experience fun stimulation without having to bring a toy into the bathroom with you,” Battle says. “If privacy is a concern, and you have a shower head like that, it’s a quick fix.” Bring along a toy for some funDetachable shower head not your cup of tea (or, tragically, not an option in your bathroom)? No worries, there are plenty of great sex toys on the market that are handheld, discreet, and shower-safe. “Whatever your toy or preference is, it can be incorporated into the shower safely if it’s is waterproof,” Battle explains. Some non-electric glass, plastic, or rubber toys may transition very well from your bedroom to your bathroom — like certain types of anal beads or dildos. But you can even find waterproof vibrators out there, if that’s more your speed.Some toys that are generally H20-safe may come with additional bells and whistles made specifically for water play. There are dildos, for example, that stick to your shower wall via suction cup, Battle says. Just remember to detach it from the wall when you’re done if you share a bathroom. Now that would be an uncomfortable quarantine convo. Work in some lubeIf you’re into using lube while you masturbate — or want to add it while you’re using a toy — skip any water-based types. “Water-based lubes are not ideal for use in the shower because they will quickly run off,” Battle explains. A better bet is to use a silicone- or oil-based lube. If you choose silicone, though, make sure that lube is compatible with your specific toy. “You don’t want to use a silicone toy with a silicone lubricant,” she says. (The lube could degrade the toy.) And oil-based lubes can often break down condoms or dental dams, so don’t use one of those if you use the barrier method for protection.Also important: Lubes are slippery, and showers can be slippery too, so be ultra careful. If any lubricant gets near your feet, you could risk falling — and that can be super dangerous. Get in the right positionYour masturbation position will depend on whether you have a shower stall (which may be standing-room only) or a tub (where lying down is an option). Ultimately it’s all about whatever feels comfortable for you and your body in the shower. Practice a few different positions to find something that feels good — and, again, doesn’t put you at risk of slipping or falling — before really getting down to business. Watch out for the soapSoaps may be good for cleansing your skin, but it shouldn’t be going anywhere too close to your private areas. That’s especially true if there’s penetration of any kind involved. If you have a vagina, soap could throw off your natural pH, putting you at risk of issues such as yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis. Some soaps can irritate the rectum, too. You may even want to masturbate first, and use your soap later, Battle says. You can still use a great-smelling soap to get yourself in the mood and to self-stimulate, but just avoid touching your genital areas with it while you’re masturbating.Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?The Best Toys To Help You MasturbateThe Masturbation Technique In The Goop LabIcy Tricks That Can Transform Oral & Summer Sex