I Asked Chat GPT to Write a Money Diary: Ventura, California

Pop Culture Crime
4 min readOct 24, 2023
Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

As somebody who loves to read Refinery 29’s Money Diaries, I wondered how well GPT-4 could write one of its own.

I started with a vague request: Write a money diary in the style of Refinery 29’s Money Diary posts set in Ventura, CA. I got a pretty generic response. I decided that wasn’t exactly what I wanted, so I asked it to get a little more specific.

Here are the results, along with my commentary.

Money Diary: A Week In Ventura, CA On A $55,000 Salary

Occupation: Marine Biologist
Industry: Research & Conservation
Age: 28
Location: Ventura, CA
Salary: $55,000
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $1,650 after taxes
Gender: Female
Roommate: Sarah, a grad school friend

Okay, I’m intrigued.

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,300 (for my half of a 2-bedroom near Downtown Ventura)
Utilities: $75 (half the total)
Internet: $30 (split with Sarah)
Spotify and Hulu bundle: $10
Yoga Studio Membership: $100
Savings: $300
Transportation (gas, etc.): $120
Student Loan Payment: $250

I feel like $2,600 for a 2-bedroom apartment near downtown Ventura might be on the lower side, but it’s not much lower than the average apartment rent from my very brief research.

Day One: Monday

7:00 a.m. — Brew a pot of Beacon Coffee and make avocado toast. Enjoy the morning reading a chapter from my new book on coral reefs.

8:30 a.m. — Drive to the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center where I work. The view of the harbor never gets old.

12:30 p.m. — Lunch break at Snapper Jack’s Taco Shack. Get a fish taco combo ($11).

6:00 p.m. — Attend a yoga class at Ventura Pop Up Yoga ($15 drop-in rate).

7:30 p.m. — Cook spaghetti carbonara for dinner with Sarah.

Daily Total: $26

I love when the diarists mention the books their reading, and this vague “book on coral reefs” is exactly what I was hoping for when I started this little project. I love the specificity of Snapper Jack’s too.

Day Two: Tuesday

7:30 a.m. — Quick breakfast: Granola with Greek yogurt and honey.

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Pop Culture Crime

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