Food Diary: How the 26-Year-Old Line Cook Eats in Indianapolis for $17.50 an Hour

Welcome to The Receipt, a series that chronicles how Bon Appétit readers eat and what they spend. Each food diary tracks an anonymous reader’s weekly expenses related to groceries, restaurant meals, coffee drinks, and everything in between. In an age of skyrocketing food costs, The Receipt reveals how people in different cities, different incomes, and different schedules plan their meals.

Today’s receipt shows a 26-year-old restaurant line cook who makes his own smoked trout dip and snacks on cakes and pizzas at work, but is reluctant to work the brunch shift in Indianapolis. ing. Keep her reading her receipt.

One step ahead:


what is your pronoun? she

what is your profession? line cook

how old you? 26

What city and state do you live in? Indianapolis, Indiana

What is your annual income, if any? My hourly wage is $17.50 and I work 20-60 hours a week. I work overtime when possible. If you worked 40 hours a week for a year, your total income would be $36,400. However, business hours have been shortened across the board due to deteriorating business performance.

How much is a one-time salary after tax? Currently averaging $1,200

How often are payments made? (e.g. weekly) biweekly

How much do you have in savings? $1,500

What are your approximate monthly fixed costs other than food (i.e. rent, subscriptions, bills)?

  • rent: $1,000
  • Gym Membership: $40
  • TV streaming service: $30
  • Spotify: $ 10
  • utility bill: $125
  • total: $1,205


Do you follow a specific diet or have any dietary restrictions? I’m a pescatarian.

If there is one grocery item that you always buy, what is it? Soda water, canned tuna, and health supplements such as protein powder and collagen before training. I’ve also tried different vitamins, but my goal is to find a good multivitamin that provides vitamin B12 and iron.

How often per week do you eat out or do you cook at home? A free meal is provided for each shift worked. I usually build it myself and pay for it in labor. I try to eat out no more than once a week, other than the food I get from work.

How often did you eat out per week as a child? My parents divorced when I was quite young and I grew up in a small town. My mother was quite against eating out, so we could rarely eat out when we were with her mother. When I was with my dad, we ate out a lot, but not often. When I was a kid, there were probably only 6 restaurants in my town, 4 of which were fast food. It was only a 15 minute drive to the next closest town, but we often chose it for the convenience of being close to home.

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