A Week In New York City On A $54,000 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: an analyst working in market research who makes $54,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on high-waisted, light-wash jeans.

Occupation: Analyst
Industry: Market Research
Age: 23
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $54,000
Paycheck Amount (Biweeky ): $1,510

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,300 (for one bedroom in a three-bedroom apartment)
Student Loan Payments: $0 (I was on an athletic scholarship in college, and my parents paid the rest of my tuition.)
Utilities: $35
Health Insurance: $0 (I’m on my mom’s insurance plan to save money.)
Cell Phone: $0 (Still on my family’s plan.)
Spotify: $10
Hulu Plus: $10
Internet: $30
MetroCard: $121 for my unlimited monthly pass
Spin Studio Membership: $167
Savings: $200, automatically deducted from my checking account. (I’m usually pretty good at keeping money in savings, but sometimes things pop up.)

Day One

7:45 a.m. — Time to wake up! I’m one of those people who wakes up immediately when their alarm goes off. I lay out my clothes the night before, usually to save time in the morning. I brush my teeth, throw on some makeup, and grab a Greek yogurt to eat at work. I’m loving Chobani’s rebrand.

8:15 a.m. — Get on the subway to work. My commute is around 25 minutes, and I usually read the entire way (if I can grab a seat). Right now I’m reading Hunger by Roxane Gay.

8:45 a.m. — I arrive at my office a bit early, so I run over to Gregory’s and grab a large iced coffee. $4.56

9:10 a.m. — I forgot that on Mondays my office serves catered breakfast, so I put my Greek yogurt in the fridge and grab a breakfast burrito. It’s subpar, but I douse it in Sriracha.

12:45 p.m. — Get falafel for lunch with two coworkers. I used to be a very picky eater, so I only recently tried it, and now I’m hooked. I grab a Diet Coke, too. My New Year’s resolution was to quit Diet Coke, but I just went from a few cans a day to one or two a week. Pick your poison, right? $11.63

5:15 p.m. — Done with work! I just started my current job a few weeks ago. I head home and make myself cauliflower fried rice and grilled chicken. This guy I went on a second date with last week asks if I want to come to Hoboken, but I’m pretty set on staying in, and even more set on avoiding the PATH train.

8 p.m. — Smoke a bowl and then start the first episode of Queer Eye with my roommates.

11 p.m. — I always lay out my clothes for the next day the night before, which seems childish, but it’s actually a huge time-saver. I go through my skincare routine (Mario Badescu face wash, Clinique toner, and Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Serum) before falling asleep to an episode of the podcast Hidden Brain.

Daily Total: $16.19

Day Two

7:45 a.m. — Wake up slightly before my alarm, unsure of what time it is. My room faces an alley, so I get no natural light. I’m moving next month, and this is the main reason why. I make myself oatmeal and throw in a banana and brown sugar.

11:05 a.m. — Working on a difficult research report at work, and I’m struck by what we call “analysis paralysis.” I go for a walk.

11:45 a.m. — I’ve been wanting a pair of high-waisted light wash jeans for ages, and & Other Stories is having a sale, so I splurge. I live in black high-waisted jeans, so I’m unsure If I’ll be able to pull these off, but I guess I’ll find out. $68.30

1:45 p.m. — Per usual, I take a late lunch. I find that taking my lunch later helps break up my day. I usually like eating alone, so I grab a sandwich at a nearby deli and read my book. $8.14

2:15 p.m. — I get a text from this guy T. who I met on Bumble confirming that we’re on for tonight. I suggest a craft beer bar near my apartment. It has dim lighting, which is always a plus. We vibe really well over text, but I’ve learned the hard way that that’s never a guarantee the date will go well.

6 p.m. — Getting stressed before my date. I have a glass of rosé at my apartment with my roommate to calm my nerves. I’m both a year-round iced coffee drinker and a year-round rosé drinker.

9:15 p.m. — Shocked at how well the date went. We ended up each having three beers and splitting an appetizer. I offered to split, but he graciously paid. I make a mental note to insist on paying next time.

10 p.m. — I’m still hungry, so I heat up Trader Joe’s edamame before bed.

Daily Total: $76.44

Day Three

8 a.m. — Wake up slightly hungover. Gross. I get the worst hangovers, and I can’t even be upset because I do it to myself! I resist the urge to grab a bagel on my way to work and instead make an egg scramble with green peppers, onion, and tomato.

1 p.m. — I have an eye doctor appointment near my office. In order to buy contacts, you need a prescription from the last year, which I frankly find ridiculous, because my prescription hasn’t changed in five years or so. I go ahead and purchase a year’s supply, which is partially covered by insurance. $152.42

6 p.m. — I leave work and take the subway to DeKalb Market Hall, a food court in Brooklyn, where I’m meeting an old coworker before we see Lorde perform later tonight. I buy pierogies and an Other Half IPA. I’m a huge beer fan, and I love the craft beer selection in NYC. I buy a beer for my friend, too, because she’s in between jobs. $27.28

9 p.m. — Lorde comes out! The crowd goes wild. Jack Antonoff ends up coming out, and they play “New York” by St. Vincent together. He’s a fuck boy, but you could cut the sexual tension with a bread knife.

11:45 p.m. — Getting on a train at Barclays is a nightmare. I wait for 10 minutes and then end up taking a train that keeps getting delayed. It’s late, and it’s a weeknight, so I hail a cab. $7.83

12:30 a.m. — Skimp out on my usual skincare routine, read a few pages of my new book Homegoing, which is amazing, and then I’m out.

Daily Total: $187.53

Day Four

6:25 a.m. — I get up early this morning and head to spin class. At least twice a month I decide I’m going to become a person who works out in the morning, but so far I have a low success rate.

8:15 a.m. — Get out of class feeling great. It’s always a gamble trying out a new instructor, but the playlist is on point today. I pick up the protein shake/smoothie I ordered before class from the smoothie bar at the studio. It’s a chocolate peanut butter combination with blueberries, automatically charged to my debit card. It’s a great perk of this studio, but it adds up. $7

8:55 a.m. — I swing by Starbucks and grab a grande iced coffee, unsweetened, with soy milk. I struggle with acne, so I’ve been trying to cut out dairy to see if it helps. $3.41

9:45 a.m. — I attempt to do the Thursday New York Times crossword puzzle, but I give up. I can make it through Monday and Tuesday no problem, but Wednesday and Thursday are iffy. Maybe one day.

11:30 a.m. — Struggling at work today. I recently switched from working in communications to working in research, which is closer to what I want to do, but it’s a way less social environment, and I’m at my desk most of the time.

1:55 p.m. — I go to Chop’t for lunch. I like Fresh&Co a lot better, but there isn’t one by my office. I get a Mexican Caesar. $10.12

2 p.m. — Excel is either my best friend or worst nightmare. I decide to take a break from work and read a few articles on The Atlantic.

3 p.m. — Bumble date texts me saying he had a great time, and he’d like to see me this weekend. We make plans to go the Gutter (a bowling alley/bar in Brooklyn) on Saturday.

5 p.m. — Some coworkers invite me to get a drink with them after work. I feel like I’ve already drank a lot this week, but I want to socialize at my new job.

6:15 p.m. — We go to a divey bar and I legit gasp at how cheap drinks are. I get two beers, and I’m below the card minimum, so I buy one for my coworker. $11.04

8 p.m. — Home and craving something spicy, so I head to Xi’an Famous Foods and get the tingly beef noodles. I save half for lunch tomorrow. $11.24

Daily Total: $42.81

Day Five

6:30 a.m. — I head to spin class. It was “Demi vs. Selena”–themed, so I couldn’t miss it. The class unanimously agreed Demi “won.” I recently watched her YouTube documentary and loved it. Of course, I order a smoothie before class. $7

8:40 a.m. — It’s Friday, which means bagel day. (I always get a bagel on Fridays.) I go to Leo’s and order a bacon, egg, and cheese on an everything. $4.26

3 p.m. — I scan the local upcoming events and see that Roxane Gay is doing a speaking event soon, so I buy a ticket. I figure while I’m young and living in New York, I should take advantage of stuff like this, so I don’t mind spending money on events. $25

7 p.m. — I’m getting my wisdom teeth out in a few days, so I head to the grocery store to stock up on soft food. I buy a few Naked shakes, Chobani, pudding, cottage cheese, two cartons of Halo Top (mint chip and chocolate), and applesauce. What a haul. $32.12

8:30 p.m. — Decide to have a quiet night in with my roommate and her boyfriend. I pick up a bottle of rosé at the store by my apartment. The prices are criminally expensive, but you pay for convenience. $17.12

10:45 p.m. — Finish the pint of chocolate Halo Top. I knew this would happen.

11:30 p.m. — I try a new serum I recently purchased from The Ordinary before bed.

11:55 p.m. — I watch the latest episode of SVU and fall asleep. I’m determined to live in NYC until I see an episode being filmed.

Daily Total: $85.50

Day Six

9:30 a.m. — I’m up early (for a weekend) to go for a run in Central Park with one of my friends from college. We do an easy three miles around the reservoir and then catch up over coffee and croissants. I treat. $14.30

12:30 p.m. — My least favorite part of the week: laundry. I haul my clothes to the nearest laundromat, about a 10-minute walk away, and exchange a $10 bill for quarters. $10

12:45 p.m. — While I’m waiting for my clothes to dry, I grab tacos at a nearby food truck and take a walk around the neighborhood. $7.25

8 p.m. — Time for my date! I take the L train to Brooklyn and get there a bit early. I always get to things way too early because I can never rely on the subway.

10 p.m. — The date is going well, and we decide to go to a craft beer bar nearby. I buy a beer for each of us. $19.12

11 p.m. — We head back to his apartment to play Mario Kart. My motor vehicle driving skills are impaired from my alcohol consumption, and I lose both games. We click really well, and I’m super into him, which is rare for me.

1:30 a.m. — I am not messing with public transportation at this hour, so I get a Lyft back into the city. $9.40

2 a.m. — I sneak back into my apartment so I don’t wake my roommates, and go to bed with a smile on my face.

Daily Total: $60.07

Day Seven

11 a.m. — Sleep in and then make myself scrambled eggs for breakfast. I munch on a honeycrisp apple, my favorite fruit. I’m meeting a friend at the Whitney at 1 p.m., and it’s a nice day, so I decide to walk the two or so miles there.

1 p.m. — I get to the museum and buy a student ticket. I still have my ID from college, and it has definitely come in handy $12

3 p.m. — The museum is cool, but I’m underwhelmed. The MOMA remains my reigning favorite.

6 p.m. — I make myself pesto pasta and chicken for dinner. I would cook more, but my apartment is very small (no counter space) and it’s a struggle with three people. I’ve been eyeing an Instant Pot, but haven’t yet pulled the trigger.

8:30 p.m. — I clean my room and make sure I have everything ready for the week. Then I browse Amazon and order a few new books: Meaty by Samantha Irby, Drown by Junot Díaz, and a Che Guevara biography (I’m a nerd, I know). I buy used copies of the second two. $21.02

11:45 p.m. — Listen to the newest episode of This American Life and pass out.

Daily Total: $33.02

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