Bread, cash, moolah, paper, dollars, money. No matter what you call it, we all know money talks but it’s also a topic that’s often avoided – until now.

Money Talks* is a Slice of Culture series where we ask real people in Hudson County not only how they make their money, but also how they spend it, specifically during a seven day period. 


Occupation: Target Associate 

Industry: Retail

Age: 22

Location: Jersey City

Debt: $0 

Paycheck Amount: ~$900 bi-weekly

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Monthly Expenses/Subscriptions

Rent: $800 (my portion)

Apple Music: $5

Wifi: $90 (my portion)

Baby Expenses: $100

Did your family expect you to attend higher education? Did you attend? If so, how did you pay for it? 

Yes. It was paid for through scholarships/financial aid. Parents paid for the rest. 

Growing up did you worry about money? Were there conversations about money in your household? 

Yes. Money was a huge issue. I didn’t grow up in a wealthy household so saving money and budgeting was a big thing for us.

At what age did you learn how to manage your finances? Who taught you about finances? 

I had to learn from other people or educate myself. The schools I went to didn’t teach it.

Do you have a savings account? If so, when did you open it?

I recently just opened one last year. 

What was your first job? What prompted you to begin working?

My first job was at the mall and I was a senior in high school. I wanted to work to get what I needed and wanted without asking people. 

When did you become fully responsible for yourself? Do you worry about money?

This year I moved into my own apartment with my daughter so I worry about money all the time now. I want to make sure I’m able to provide for her so I try to be good with it and never short.

Do you have a financial safety net? Have you ever inherited income? If yes, explain.

No, I don’t have a safety net and have not inherited any income.

Spending (Sunday-Saturday)

Day One:

I honestly could not even tell you what I did today, the day was such a blur.

But I didn’t leave my apartment or spend any money.

Daily Total: $0

Day Two: 

Since it’s the beginning of the month, I had most of my bills due.

I paid my portion of the rent. $800

And wifi. $90

Daily Total: $890

Day Three: 

I worked this morning so I took the bus there and back. $2.25

I bought my lunch at work. $6

When I got home, I paid my phone bill as well. $113

Daily Total: $121.25

Day Four: 

Another day at work means taking the bus ($2.25) and picking up lunch. $6

Later in the day, I paid for dinner for myself and someone else. $20 

Daily Total: $28.25

Day Five: 

I didn’t have work today, thankfully.

So most of my day was just spent at home taking care of my daughter, watching tv, and switching through apps on my phone.

I didn’t spend anything. 

Daily Total: $0

Day Six: 

I needed to pick up a few things at the grocery store ($35) so I took the bus there and back. $2.25

Daily Total: $37.25

Day Seven: 

I had an amazing opportunity to get certified as a lash tech so I had to put down a deposit for that today. $200

I also took the bus ($2.25) to pick up a bunch of baby supplies for my daughter; it should last me a few weeks, if not the whole month. $100

Daily Total:  $302.25

Graphic by Alexis Morales

Is this what a typical week of spending looks like for you?

Yes, right now this is what a week typically looks like for me due to the pandemic. There isn’t much for me to do besides go to work and be home.

*Disclaimer: This series and questions were inspired by Refinery 29’s Money Diaries.


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