A Week in Boston as a PR Intern Making $1000/Month

By nature, anything that is a taboo topic is interesting to read about—and money is no exception. Like many people, I’ve become addicted to reading Refinery29’s Money Diaries series and was curious (and a little scared) to see how my money spending habits add up.

Occupation: Full-time student, part-time PR intern

Industry: Media

Age: 19

Location: Boston, MA

Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $483.68

Monthly Expenses

Phone: $20 (I’m on my own plan and get 2GB with unlimited talk/text)

Spotify: $2.50 (I’m on a family plan with classmates from high school)

Amazon Prime: $0 (thanks to my parents)

Netflix: $0 (also thanks to my parents)

Acorns: $1 (plus roundups whenever I make purchases)

My money diary will not take into account dining hall meals because I’m on a meal plan, the cost of living in a dorm, my health insurance or the cost of my classes.

Day One

9:30 a.m. — I never eat breakfast because I don’t get up early enough. I take the T to class across campus, which can be unreliable, but I’d rather not walk, especially because I paid for unlimited MBTA rides for the semester ($320).

Approximately $2.25

12:05 p.m. — After class, I take an Uber to work, because taking the T would make my commute an hour-long, and I wouldn’t be able to work enough hours each week. By taking an Uber Pool, this cuts my commute time down to approximately 25 minutes, and sometimes I can get a nap in before work too.

$7.85

12:45 p.m. — I grab a bagel and coffee from the kitchen at work, and get started on replying to emails. Some days, they serve catered lunch, and I get to work in time for some of the leftovers. Because I don’t have time to eat breakfast or lunch before heading to work, I usually eat something at the office.

5:30 p.m. — I take the T back to campus to save some money. Also, because it’s rush hour, taking an Uber back would take the same time as the T. I also usually fall asleep on the T, and have slept past my stop a couple of times.

Approximately $2.25

8:30 p.m. — After our biweekly Her Campus meeting, I get dinner with a friend in the dining hall. I have another sandwich dinner before my weekly call at 9 with a high school friend who I have a podcast, Ang&Ash, with. I spend the rest of my night doing homework and watching Netflix.

Daily Total: $12.35

Day Two

12:15 p.m. — I don’t have class today because we had individual meetings with our professor instead. I could’ve taken the T to work, but I told my mom I would call her and thought it would be too loud in the T. Also, I was just feeling lazy.

$7.60

5:30 p.m. — I go on a date, and he picks me up from work. He cooks at home, and we have a very healthy tofu pasta bok choy concoction.

11 p.m. — My date offers to drive me back home, but I decline because it’s around a 20-minute drive. I take an Uber instead, which ends up going in circles because someone else requests a ride at a weird time.

$7.56

Daily Total: $15.16

Day Three

9:30 a.m. — Wednesday is the only day I don’t have work, but also the day I have the most classes. I take the T across campus for my first two classes, skipping breakfast because I wake up too late.

Approximately $2.25

12:15 p.m. — I meet a friend at Einstein’s Bagels, and we catch up after having conflicting schedules for two weeks. She gets there early enough to buy me a Lox bagel and a chai latte, and I Venmo her back.

$11.78

2:30 p.m. — After class, I walk to the Brookline post office to send in my application for a US passport. Although I received my citizenship a couple of months ago, I haven’t been able to find time to go to the post office because of my work schedule. The passport clerk makes conversation with me and asks why a Californian is on the East Coast; I’m still not really sure.

$145

3:30 p.m. — I meet a date at Tatte, but decide not to get anything because I’ve already had a cup of coffee today.

4:30 p.m. — I change my mind and get a venti pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks.

$5.83

6:30 p.m. — After lab, I eat in the dining hall, then head upstairs to transcribe an hour-long interview. When I finish, my fingers are cramped and I take a break by watching Criminal Minds. I decide to treat myself to a Reformation dress I see on Poshmark at a reasonable price. I reason that because it’s priced so low, I should get it right now, even though Boston is headed into the high 30s with snow. It’s not totally clear what I’m treating myself for… going to class?

$51.79

Daily Total: $216.76

Day Four

10:30 a.m. — I wake up feeling sick, and email my professor and manager to let them know I won’t be coming in today. I eat breakfast in the dining hall, then go back to sleep.

3 p.m. — I try and catch up on work, with medium success.

7 p.m. — I eat dinner in the dining hall again, then buy DayQuil from CVS. Somehow my stockpile of cold medicine has all expired already.

$8.59

8 p.m. — I find a company that sells shirts claiming that birds aren’t real and are government drones sent to spy on us. While I don’t believe it myself, I think it’s a funny conspiracy theory, and buy a shirt from them. I also buy a sorority shirt with a Jeep and a Christmas wreath on it, because University Tees sends me an email about the “exclusive design” and I reason that I’ll wear it year-round anyway. I’m starting to see a trend with my impulsive shopping habits, but I choose to pretend not to notice it.

$60.95

9 p.m. — I do laundry to try and feel somewhat productive.

$3.50

Daily total: $73.04

Day Five

9:30 a.m. — I’m feeling fine now, and take the T to class. I get lunch with a friend after in the GSU, and try and calculate whether my dining points will last to the end of the semester.

$15.24

2:45 p.m. — I Uber to work, and eat some leftovers for lunch. The office is quiet, because it’s a Friday, and I head out a little earlier to meet up with a friend on Newbury.

$7.89

6 p.m. — There is nothing reasonably priced or cute at the Reformation Vintage pop-up, but I end up buying a hair scarf at Urban Outfitters. I use my $5 off rewards from being a part of their member program. I almost purchase a pair of black straight leg jeans at Madewell, but decide to sleep on it instead.

$7.44

8 p.m. — I’ve been drawing more recently, and decide to pick up more art supplies at Blick’s. While I’m there, I remember that I’ve been wanting to start journaling again, so I wind up also getting a ruled notebook from Leuchtturm1917, then I cave and also get another sketchbook from the same brand as well. I feel like I’ve been a little hasty with my decision to buy another sketchbook, since I have yet to finish any of the ones I have at school, but I reason that it’ll make me more inspired to create more… hopefully.

$56

Daily Total: $86.57

Day Six

10:30 a.m. — I’m meeting a high school friend in Boston for the weekend at Caffe Nero. She’s late, so I order a chai latte and sit by the window to read while I’m waiting for her.

$4.98

1 p.m. — After sorority initiation, I meet up with some of the new sisters for lunch at Life Alive. I’ve never eaten there before, and the vibe reminds me of the dressing room at Free People. The portions are more generous than I expected, and I feel very healthy.

$11.99

3:30 p.m. — I meet a date at Starbucks, and spend the rest of the afternoon doing work there. On my way back home, I pick up some eye drops because it’s been so windy lately.

$11.03

8 p.m. — I have a sorority event at some sisters’ houses, and they provide food with country themes. Even though I ate dinner before, I end up eating more anyway… we Venmo the treasurer to cover some of the cost.

$5

Daily Total: $33

Day Seven

10:45 a.m. — I wake up to see that two of my classes no longer have available slots, and have to quickly rearrange some things before registration opens. Luckily, I still get all the classes I need.

12:30 p.m. — After lunch in the dining hall, I walk to Brookline Booksmith with a friend. I restrict myself to the books that are on sale, because I know I can always get books from the library back home in California. I’m very tempted to buy Jia Tolentino’s Trick Mirror, but it’s $27 and a hardcover, which will be heavy to pack in my suitcase later on. I settle on The Secret Life of the Mind by Mariano Sigman, But What if We’re Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman, and Mindhunter by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker.

$38.22

1 p.m. — We decide to study in Caffe Nero, and I get a grande matcha latte, hoping that the caffeine boost will be nice. I’m not quite sure whether there is caffeine in it though.

$5.03

3 p.m. — I realize my dad’s birthday is coming up soon, and order him Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell on Amazon, including a note that I thought of him when I saw it in the bookstore and hope we can discuss it when I’m home for winter break. I realize most of the books I saw at Brookline Booksmith are on Amazon for significantly cheaper prices, but I feel bad purchasing them because of the poor work conditions and wages for Amazon workers. Also, I need to finish the books I just purchased first.

$20.99

Daily total: $64.24

Credit: Angelina Wang

Weekly total spent: $501.12

While I like to think that I am conscious of what I spend my money on, I would not have imagined that I could have feasibly spent $500 in a single week.

Though this week was atypical for me because I had some expenses that were mandatory, such as applying for my passport ($145), and went out for coffee and meals more often because of special occasions, I still “treated myself” more often than I deserved.

In talking about my financial situation, it would be impossible not to discuss my privilege and the fact that my parents are supporting me throughout college with tuition and room and board. I am fortunate enough that my job is primarily for furthering my professional career, rather than as a necessity to pay for my education. In addition, the fact that I was able to spend $500 a week without noticing until I listed everything out also goes to show that I’m very lucky to be financially secure enough to be able to absorb an amount like that and not have to skip on necessities next week.

However, I still would like to be more conscious of how I’m spending the money I’m making, and this has been a brutal wake-up call.

 

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