A Week In New York City On A $50,000 Salary

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Today: a flight attendant who makes $50,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a new Apple Watch band.

Occupation: Flight Attendant
Industry: Aviation
Age: 27
Location: NYC
Salary: $50,000
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $990 (varies depending on my hours)


Monthly Expenses
Rent: $900 for my room in a two-bedroom apartment
Student Loan Payment: $0 (Thanks to scholarships.)
Hulu & Spotify: $12.99
Cable: $0 (Thanks, Mom and Dad.)
Health/Dental Insurance: $40
Gym: $10
Phone: $75
Savings: $100
Donation To Girls Club Of Lower East Side: $25 (I know it’s not much, but hey, it’s something.)

Annual Expenses
Amazon Prime: $99/year

Day One

7 a.m. — Today is my day off, which is much needed. My schedule is insane, and it’s rare that I have time for myself. I made plans with a friend today, so I get up early to go to the gym for some cardio beforehand. When I get home, I shower and wash my hair. I need to buy a new hair mask — I’m currently transitioning to curly hair after YEARS of heat damage, so my hair needs all the TLC it can get. I get ready to go outside while watching Cheaters on VH1 (don’t judge me) and get so caught up that I’m late. I power walk to a coffee shop nearby and pick up a large iced latte with oat milk to try something new ($5.50). I honestly can’t taste the difference between oat and soy milk, so I probably won’t be trying it again. I take the subway using my preloaded card while reading Tell Me Lies — so far, so good. NYC is having a heat wave, and I made the horrible mistake of not bringing water with me, so I go buy some ($2). $7.50

12 p.m. — I meet up with my friend, and we catch up while heading to Madewell. We get there and all the summer stuff is on sale (YASS), so I get shorts and a top ($75). I have to buy as much summer clothing as I can, since I’m planning to go to the Dominican Republic for the holidays. We walk to Strand, and my friend recommends I pick up Meet Me in the Bathroom. I check the back and all I see is The Strokes, LCD Soundsystem, and The Yeah Yeahs, and I’m sold. I use a Strand gift card my sister gifted me. $75

5 p.m. — After all the shopping, we head over to Liquiteria for smoothies. I get the Mudslide and a green juice to take home ($22). I check my work email and see I’ve been assigned to cover for a coworker on an 8 a.m. flight to Madrid tomorrow, and then I have back-to-back flights after that. I need as much sleep as I can get, so I say goodbye to my friend and a request a Lyft home ASAP ($14). I forgot to stop by Sephora to pick up a hair mask, so when I get home I order the Bridgeo Repair Don’t Despair mask plus a Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask for my face ($90). I set my alarm and go to sleep. $126

Daily Total: $208.50

Day Two

5 a.m. — I wake up, shower, and get ready. My coffee starts brewing while I put on my makeup. As part of the cabin crew, I have to wear “natural makeup” and can only have red or nude nail polish. (It’s a bit sexist, no?) I grab my bag and a yogurt and pour my coffee into my thermos. I request a Lyft — the airline covers it when I’m covering for someone, so I expense it. My Lyft arrives and I eat my yogurt in the car while listening to a new podcast — “Why Won’t You Date Me?” It’s hilarious and relatable.

8 a.m. — I get to JFK and quickly get a latte from Starbucks ($7). People think that as a flight attendant you get to see the world, which is true, but you’re also working, so you may hop off an eight-hour flight just to sleep and hop on another one in the morning. When we board the flight to Madrid, I notice an elderly lady looking very freaked out, so I walk over to her and talk to her to calm her down a bit. She’s anxious because her daughter is a few rows behind and she is terrified of planes. I talk to the passenger next to her daughter into a seat swap for free drinks, and he agrees. Yes! $7

3 p.m. — I’m in Madrid and I hop on the free shuttle to the hotel for some much needed sleep. I’ll be on a flight back to JFK tomorrow morning, so I have a few hours here. I call my parents and my mom tells me she is buying new glasses — I love that she’s getting new glasses so much that I Venmo her $100 to put towards them. I’m exhausted, so I take a nap. $100

7 p.m. — I wake up and see that I have 50 messages from the group chat I have with coworkers. Apparently we’re all meeting up in the city for drinks. I tend to be an introvert, but I’ve been trying to put myself out there, so I get ready and go. We meet up and I have two beers. It’s all great until someone asks why I don’t have a boyfriend. I don’t understand why that’s a necessary question. Isn’t that rude? I leave and hop on the metro. When I get to my room, I fall asleep. $13

Daily Total: $120

Day Three

8 p.m. — Work was draining, and the people on my flight to NYC weren’t exactly the friendliest, since the flight was delayed. I understand, but it’s not my fault. I get to my apartment door and I see my Sephora package. I’m starving and waaaay too tired to cook, so I order Malaysian food ($17.18). I shower, throw on comfy PJs, and turn on the A/C. When my food arrives I watch Random Acts of Flyness on HBO. It’s soooooo good, so I just set my DVR to record all future episodes. $17.18

12 a.m. — My sleeping schedule is horrible, so I’m wide awake and trying to read to fall asleep. I take a break and check my Instagram, where I keep seeing nonstop ads for the Quip toothbrush. I decide to just give in — they have a “limited edition” pink brush, so of course I get it, along with refills ($46.09). I’m still wide awake, so before I buy anymore crap, I take melatonin and then voila! I’m fast asleep. $46.09

Daily Total: $63.27

Day Four

10 a.m. — I wake up super sick, which has been happening a lot since I started working this job. While I’m getting ready, I vomit. I email my boss, and take the day off. I wipe off the fancy clown paint I had already applied on my face and change back into my PJs. I make tea and listen to Grimes while lying in my death bed. I also browse Amazon and buy a new black band for my Apple watch. $10.99

1 p.m. — I just requested the rest of the week off. I’m physically drained, and my body needs the rest. This month has taken a toll on me, and I’ve only had one day off. Even though I’m sick, I gather all my laundry and drop it off at the laundromat ($22). I then walk over to Walgreens to get NyQuil and a six-pack of La Croix ($15). $37

6 p.m. — Since I’m too sick to go out, I decide to rent a movie. Molly’s Game is the $0.99 movie of the week on iTunes, so I check it out. It’s insane — I just keep saying “omg” aloud. I wish I knew it was a book before I saw the movie! After it’s over, I start to plan out a trip to London for my birthday and eventually doze off with my computer on top of me. $0.99

Daily Total: $48.98

Day Five

9 a.m. — I walk over to a coffee shop and have an espresso ($3). I have a driving lesson today, and it’s pouring. I was born and raised in Manhattan, so I never really cared about learning how to drive until three years ago. I got my permit and now I’m practicing for my road test. I bombed it last time because of my anxiety, so hopefully it goes well this time. My driving instructor notices my Arctic Monkeys t-shirt, and it turns out she’s a fan too. We just talk about them while I drive around so I’m at ease for this lesson. $3

11:30 a.m. — I go to my doctor, and on top of having a cold, my iron is low. She gives me her recommendations and I leave ($30 copay). My friends text me about meeting up at a bar in Queens. Even though I feel like crap, I rarely see my friends, and now that I have the rest of the week off, I should try to take advantage of it, so I say yes. Plus, I love Queens. I go to the salon and get a blowout ($30 plus $10 tip). $70

6 p.m. — I cleaned my apartment, and now I’m ready. I walk over to the subway, pay $2.75 for my ride, and start my trek to Long Island City. I meet up with my coworkers and drink gin and tonics. My friend’s boyfriend mentions he has some blow and offers me some, but I pass because I’m not trying to wake up my anxiety while I’m having fun. At the end of the night, my friend puts the tab on her card and I give her $55 for my drinks and fries. $57.75

11 p.m. — I take the train home ($2.75). I shower and sit in bed checking my email and the news. I’m still hungry, so I have a bagel with cream cheese. Then I get back into bed and order a pair of pants from Frank And Oak that I’ve been wanting ($79.50). $82.25

Daily Total: $213

Day Six

1 p.m. — I sleep in and wake up feeling rested and better. I check my email and I have to do training hours again. Every year I have to do a certain amount of training, and it’s a whole day affair. All the good slots are taken, so I’m stuck taking the 7 a.m. on Monday slot. I walk over to the nail salon and get an SNS manicure ($35 plus $5 tip). This is the only manicure that actually lasts for me without chipping. (I think gel manicures are a scam.) $40

5:30 p.m. — I start working on my graduate school essay. I’m applying for a program I’ve been extensively researching for a year. All the typing makes me hungry, so I make a quesadilla. I see an ad for Sorry To Bother You on TV, and it looks interesting, so I buy a ticket to go see it on my next day off, which will be next week. If you got to the movies during a weekday before noon, tickets at this theater are $6. $6

Daily Total: $46

Day Seven

9 a.m. — I wake up and decide to be more active today to prepare my body for work tomorrow. I like active workouts that involve dancing, but classes in NYC are ridiculously expensive. Still, I decide to splurge on a Body By Simone class just to see what the hype is about. $35

1 p.m. — I LOVED IT. After class I have noodle legs and limp my way into Gregory’s to pick up coffee for my apartment. I try something new — the Luzmilda from Costa Rica. I have the app, so I get $5 off, plus a free iced coffee because of a deal they’re having ($16). I walk home, shower, and try out my new face mask. It feels like my face is burning, so I wash it off and make a mental note to return it. I read Meet Me In the Bathroom. $16

9 p.m. — I finish the book!! I love reading interviews of bands that I loved listening to while in high school and still do today. Now I need to find a new book to read. I order some ramen ($12) and RVSP for a upcoming show at House Of Vans. While waiting for my food, I pack and get ready for work in six hours. I gobble my ramen and go to sleep. This wasn’t a usual week for me, so I savored it, and I’m glad I did, because my next day off won’t be for another week. $12

Daily Total: $63

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