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.
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Today: an associate working in finance who makes $150,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a Kate Spade tote bag.
Location: Manhattan, NY
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $3,500
Rent: $2,100 (I share a two-bedroom with a roommate.)
Student Loans: $0 (~80% was covered by scholarships and the rest ($40,000) I paid off over the first few years with year-end bonuses.)
Health Insurance: $0 (Sadly, I only have one more year on my parents’ plan.)
Utilities: $60 for my share
Phone Bill: $45 (I’m still on my family plan.)
Orangetheory Fitness: $125
Charity: $35 to Save the Children, as well as a couple one-offs throughout the year that add up to $500-$600. One of my goals this year it to increase my donations to charity.
401(k): 12% (~$1,500 a month), and my company matches 6%.
Savings: $1,500 to my growth-focused investment account. I also keep a low-risk investment account as my emergency fund with about four months expenses ($15,000) and a savings account to use for travel each year ($5,000 to $10,000). Currently, my 401(k) and savings combined stand around $200,000.
5:45 a.m. — First alarm goes off, and I snooze for another 15 minutes. Mondays are always rough, but today is especially, given I couldn’t fall asleep until about midnight last night. I drag myself out of bed by 6 and get ready for the day. Then I’m out the door by 6:30 for a quick 15 minute walk to work. I love living close to my office because I not only save on a monthly MetroCard, but I can also sneak a few extra minutes of sleep if I need to.
8 a.m. — I make it through the morning rush and am ready for breakfast. I try to pack breakfast every day to cut costs. Yogurt, fruit, and granola are my go-to.
12 p.m. — A few calls and new projects before it’s time for lunch. A salad and tomato soup do the trick. My boss pays.
2 p.m. — I get an email that Kate Spade just released its new spring collection (as if I hadn’t been counting down the days). I browse the new arrivals and instantly fall in love with a few pieces. I debate ordering a piece online or taking a walk to the store. These bags are my kryptonite. I still have some bonus money lingering in my checking account, so I’m tempted to get myself a belated birthday present. After replenishing my travel account and putting aside some cash for a few “treat yo self” moments, I immediately put the rest of my bonus in my investment account before I can justify making this purchase. I decide to wait and check out the bag at the store in person later this week. Temptation avoided.
4:30 p.m. — Out the door and on the way to the gym. The only benefit of getting into the office at such an ungodly hour is that I’m usually out before 5, which gives me time to hit the gym and/or run errands before it gets late. I power through a HIIT leg workout and some interval running on the treadmill. I’m usually the most motivated on Mondays, so I try to get the hardest of my workouts over on this day.
6:30 p.m. — Time for dinner. I haven’t been able to bring myself to cook lately. I always find myself making a few variations of the same meal, even though I like to think I have decent cooking abilities. Either way, I’ve found myself cycling through the same six to seven restaurants on Seamless for the last couple months. I’m waiting for the day the delivery guys and I are on a first name basis. It may be sooner than later. $18
10 p.m. — After a quick shower and skincare routine, I jump into bed to finish an episode of House (throwback, I know) before I fall asleep. Since last night was a late one, I’m hoping tonight I can get a few more hours of sleep.
Daily Total: $18
6 a.m. — I honestly think Tuesdays are worse than Mondays. Maybe it’s just me, but the early wake up and craziness of Mondays always leaves me more exhausted the next day. Showering at night saves me so much time/effort in the morning. I run a straightener through my hair quickly before packing my lunch and heading out. It’s freezing this week, so I take the time to throw on some extra layers for my walk. I’m a baby when it comes to the cold, so I don’t take any chances. Stop at Starbucks for one of their refresher drinks and a banana. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I like the little pick-me-up the refreshers give me. And TBH, I love the color of the dragon fruit one. (Purple is my favorite color.) $6
9 a.m. — A new project kept me consumed for the better part of the morning. I look up and realize I haven’t had breakfast yet (this is super late for me!), so I break out my packed breakfast and finish it off in what feels like one large bite. I get an email announcing the kick-off meeting for a committee I’m on benefitting childhood cancer. Each year, we put on an event at a ~fancy~ NYC club where we sell tickets for table/bottle service and raffle off donated items. Can’t wait to start it up again!
12 p.m. — With my boss off at a lunch meeting, I’m left to fend for myself for lunch. I settle on Dig Inn, since I can order it from the app without having to be away from my desk for too long. $13
3 p.m. — Time for a little pick-me-up and a break from the computer screen. I hit the vending machine for some veggie chips and a flavored seltzer water. $3
4:30 p.m. — I dip out of work a few minutes early and hustle back to my apartment to get a quick workout in before my client dinner tonight. While I have a gym membership, I also have a gym in my apartment building, and it’s perfect for days like this when I have limited time and need to be in and out quickly. Today is just a power walk on the treadmill. While I prefer to get my cardio from some combination of running/rowing/StairMaster, I have forced myself to work at least two days of walking into my routine. It helps prevent me from burning out too quickly and skipping the gym entirely for the rest of the week. I’ve also been dealing with a shin and hip injury lately, so I probably shouldn’t be running at all. The walking is insanely boring to me, even with a show on TV to distract me.
5;30 p.m. — I run back up to my apartment for a quick body shower and a touch up of makeup/hair. I decide it’ll be faster to jump on the subway instead of taking my chances with an Uber during rush hour. I make it there just in time for our 6 p.m. meet up. We decided on a fantastic Korean steakhouse in Flatiron.
8 p.m. — Meat sweats!
11 p.m. — I tap out after the seventh drink of the night. I can already tell tomorrow morning is going to be brutal. Despite the long night, it’s always great to catch up with my clients in person — a great excuse to try so many different restaurants in NYC. I grab an Uber (expensed) and jot down some quick notes from our conversation to follow up on later in the week.
11:30 p.m. — Finally home. I somehow drag my body through my skin routine, chug a glass of water, say a quick prayer to the hangover gods to spare me, and am out like a light in under 10 minutes.
Daily Total: $22
6 a.m. — The prayers worked. I wake up feeling half as bad as I expected. Same routine — actually, I leave a few minutes early today. In the office by the usual 6:45.
7:30 a.m. — Today calls for a hangover breakfast. I opt for some eggs smothered in cheese, home fries, and sausage from the cafeteria in our building. Top it off with a boatload of Frank’s Red Hot (the best hot sauce in my opinion) and ketchup. This greasy food is giving me LIFE. Boss pays, because he pities my current state.
10 a.m. — Rent is due today. I always hate seeing that gaping hole in my checking account. I have all my bills set to be paid in full via autopay (credit card, rent, utilities, gym, charities, etc.). I find it so much easier to not have to worry about processing payments on my own. My parents always did the opposite so that they could manage how much of the bill they paid depending on what funds they had available at that time. I just hate knowing I have outstanding bills and can’t stand getting hit with late fees or interest. I do a quick check on the e-bill to make sure everything is in order, file it away in a folder, and that’s the last I have to worry about it.
12 p.m. — This week has been going pretty smoothly, which is surprising given this is our busy period. The morning went by quickly after a few internal calls/meetings. I’ve also been working on a few new client analytics initiatives, which has kept me occupied. (I’m a nerd for these kinds of things.) My boss is trapped in a meeting, so I decide to go grab us lunch. Salads and soup will (hopefully) even out the damage we did this morning on breakfast. $31
4:30 p.m. — Temps have been in the single digits today, and out of nowhere, we get a whirlwind of snow — apparently it’s called a snow squall! It looks like the end of the world outside. Luckily it subsides right as I’m leaving the office. I almost face plant three times on the walk home because any remnant of water has now frozen on the ground. I squeeze in another quick gym session before I have to head back out.
6:45 p.m. — Workout and shower done. Head for the subway to make it uptown just in time. Tonight we are meeting up with a couple of clients for a basketball game. I’m not the biggest fan of basketball, but it’s still a good time and the free food/drinks in the company suite help. My favorite part is seeing which celebrities are in attendance. Especially in NY, you’re always guaranteed a handful of sightings. After last night’s indulgence, I’ve opted to stay away from the alcohol tonight. Was hoping to fill up on dinner in the suite, but unfortunately the food options aren’t that great. I pick a bit at some pasta and then munch on some chocolate bark and popcorn to tide me over.
10:30 p.m. — Dip out of the game a bit early to avoid the subway rush. Back home and ready for bed at a reasonable time. For a few minutes there I thought it was Thursday night, and I cry a silent tear when I realize it’s only Wednesday. I crank the heat up (tomorrow is supposed to be in the negatives!) and knock out at a decent hour.
Daily Total: $31
6 a.m. — Wake up and it’s -12 degrees with wind chill (what is that!?). Hop out of bed relatively well-rested, which is a fleeting feeling during the week. I layer up with multiple sweatpants and heavy layers to prepare for the tundra. As soon as I make it to the front door, I immediately decide against walking the 15 minutes to work and call an Uber. Necessary today. $10
8 a.m. — Very busy day at work. The madness started from the minute I walked in. Hustle over to the break room to grab my breakfast (yogurt, granola and fruit). I eat all my meals during the day at my desk. It isn’t really standard for people in my kind of role to take lunch breaks, so unfortunately the longest break I really get is the walk to the break room or to the lunch place of choice.
12 p.m. — Craving Chinese food badly today. Take my boss up on his offer of General Tso chicken and brown rice. I somehow convince my other coworker to brave the cold and pick up for us. Lunch comes just as I start to get hangry and I tear in. Meant to eat half and take the rest home but before I know it, I’m scraping the bottom of the container.
3:30 p.m. — The afternoon is dragging on. Lunch definitely put me in a food coma. Trying to keep busy so that I don’t fall face first into my desk. My friend and I have been loosely planning a trip to Portugal for September, so I browse some articles online about things to do/see. I can’t wait. I’ve been on a Europe kick for the last few years. I did seven countries last year! Aiming to do three to four more this year.
4:15 p.m. — Time to call it a day. I have an Orangetheory class at 5:45, but since I’m heading out early today, I decide to stop by Kate Spade to check out the bags from earlier this week. They have so many cute new crossbody bags and wallets, but I settle on a tan leather tote bag. As I leave the store, I get a call from my brother. He told me he was let go at work today. Getting let go is horrible in any instance, but I especially feel bad because he just bought his first house with his wife a few months ago. They’ve been working hard to get it in order as well as pay down some of their student loans, so this is pretty bad timing for him. Fortunately, he has a pretty strong résumé, and he already has an interview lined up at another place. $325
6:45 p.m. — Orangetheory class done. Brutal today. It was an “endurance” day, which means you do longer rounds on the treadmill. While my legs feel like Jell-O at the end, I feel super accomplished.
7:30 p.m. — Waste no time taking a hot shower and jumping into PJs. I perfectly time my sushi delivery from Seamless so that it arrives just as I’m about to settle in on the couch. The sushi is kind of expensive from this place, but it’s so good, and since today has turned into a “treat yo self” day, I figure it’s okay. I light some candles and pour myself a glass (or two) of wine before flipping on the TV. I bum off my parent’s YouTube TV — they cut the cable cord last year and haven’t looked back since. It’s a pretty good deal, considering almost all the channels we watch are on it, and we can stream it from any smart device. And we can also record shows! $30
10 p.m. — Bed nice and early tonight!
Daily Total: $365
6 a.m. — It’s Friday! Same as always this morning. It’s a little warmer today (and by that I mean it feels like two degrees instead of -12). I opt to walk to work. Regret it.
8 a.m. — Browse the hot breakfast in the cafeteria. I decide on my go-to – eggs with cheese, home fries, and turkey sausage with a load of Frank’s Red Hot. I also snag a banana for later. $7
11:30 a.m. — This morning was going fine until I ran into a small problem with a client. A long walk for lunch should help get me back in the right mindset. I settle on chicken, vinegar coleslaw, and pickled onions from a BBQ joint and pick up for my boss as well. He pays.
1 p.m. — More issues this afternoon. I don’t know why the chaos always seems to happen on Fridays. I take 10 minutes to zone out and browse some things on Fabletics. I need some more workout clothes. I feel like I’m constantly replacing pieces because of the high wear and tear they go through. I pick up two tanks and a pair of leggings. New workout outfits give me that little extra boost of motivation I need to actually hit the gym. $95
4 p.m. — Freedom, finally! This has been the longest week EVER, and all I want to do is melt into the couch. I have a friend visiting from Chicago this weekend, and there’s a group of 10 of us going out tonight, so I know it’ll most likely be a late one. I told myself I’d get a quick workout in beforehand, but instead I plop down on the couch, turn on the TV, and fall into a nap before I know it.
6 p.m. — Wake up feeling surprisingly refreshed but starving. I do an express reorder on Seamless for my favorite chicken burger and fries from a local sports bars. They make an amazing lemon-garlic aioli for the fries, and I swear half the time I order this meal just for that. $20
9:30 p.m. — I finally get up from the couch and slowly get ready for the night. I’m out the door by 10 p.m. and Uber over to my friend’s house for a pregame. I was forewarned there would be a liter of tequila awaiting us. This should end well. $15
12 a.m. — Luckily, the club we decide on is around the corner from my friend’s apartment. Even though we had to brave the cold while waiting on line, the beer blanket helped. A LOT. I love this group of friends, even though I don’t get to see them all too often. I spend the night dancing away on some elevated surfaces.
2 a.m. — Thankfully, we call it a night a bit early (2 a.m. should never be considered early…). As all good nights end, we end this one with a drunk food run. McDonald’s is the go-to. I call an Uber with two of my friends back downtown. $24
Daily Total: $161
8:45 a.m. — Ughhhh. Up way earlier than should be allowed for a Saturday. I have to head to a baptism class this morning. My uncle and aunt recently asked me to be the godmother of their daughter (exciting!). For some reason, the church where they are doing the baptism requires all godparents to take a class prior to the ceremony. My church only offers the class once a month at 10 a.m., and today is the lucky day. I throw on something half presentable and make my way to Starbucks on the way to the church to get my life together. A Dragon Fruit Refresher and spinach feta wrap should hold me over. $9
11 a.m. — The class went pretty quickly, and I’m glad I got it out of the way. I head back home to shower. My friends planned a boozy brunch for today at a spot very close to my apartment. I love bottomless brunch, but the ones in D.C. have better deals. I’ve considered moving there just for that.
1 p.m. — Leave my apartment just as brunch is supposed to start. Knowing my friends, they’ll all be late, so I don’t feel pressured to get there on time. I stop off at Duane Reade to search for a clear lip gloss, which has weirdly been impossible to find. I snag the LAST one in the entire store and hurry on my way to brunch. $7
4 p.m. — Nothing like a three-hour brunch. It got aggressive fast. I’m so full and very tipsy. I decide to pay for brunch on my credit card for the points and promptly Venmo my friends for their portions. We head over to a friend’s apartment to hang out and figure out plans for the rest of the day. We planned on doing an apartment crawl since three of us live within a few blocks of each other, but of course, we don’t move once we reach the first place, where we spend a few hours playing Heads Up and drinking. $49
7 p.m. — It’s time for me to bow out for the night. I head back home and swear to meet up with them after dinner (I know I’m lying). Then I order some Thai on Seamless and promptly take a nap. $18
9 p.m. — Let my friends know there’s no way I’m making it back out. I turn on the Ted Bundy documentary on Netflix. So creepy, but pretty good.
1 a.m. — My head hits the pillow and I’m dead asleep within minutes.
Daily Total: $83
10:30 a.m. — That sleep felt amazing. I roll around in bed for a bit before throwing together a quick breakfast of yogurt, fruit, and granola. Today is the Super Bowl, and I’m heading up to my friend’s apartment with a few others tonight. I have a ton of things to get done today, so before my couch starts calling, I throw on some workout clothes and head out the door.
1:30 p.m. — Finish off a productive two-hour session at the gym, where I do a combo of interval running for 30 minutes and an hour and a half of back/shoulders and chest/triceps. I end with a good stretch to prevent any soreness tomorrow. Then I run next door to Modell’s to pick up new lifting gloves. I’ve had the same pair for years, and it’s time for some new ones. $13
2:30 p.m. — Showered and laundry is started. It’s amazing having laundry in the building because I get to avoid lugging it all outside — especially on days like today, where I’m washing two weeks’ worth of clothes, kitchen/bathroom towels, and my bedding. I refill my laundry card. $25
3 p.m. — Head over to the grocery store with my roommate to pick up some groceries and things for tonight. We’re bringing buffalo chicken dip for the game. Yum! I stock up on yogurt, frozen fruit, bananas, hummus, and celery for the week. We split all the ingredients for the dip and I pick up some food from the hot buffet for lunch while I’m there. $61
4:30 p.m. — I finish some more of the Ted Bundy documentary while I fold and put away my laundry. The dip is baking in the oven and the entire apartment smells like Frank’s Red Hot. I love it.
5:30 p.m. — Load up a bag of dip, chips, salsa, celery, and beers, and we make our way to the Upper West Side. We have a buffet of buffalo dip, spinach dip, wings, cornbread, chips, and brownies for tonight. Everything tastes amazing. I’m so glad we convinced everyone to do an apartment party instead of going to a bar. I hate going to bars to watch big games — it’s always way too crowded and loud, and it takes forever to get food/drinks. We’re not necessarily Rams fans, but I’d take anyone over the Pats.
10 p.m. — Well, that was an extremely boring game. We take the subway back downtown and thankfully miss some of the commute rush post-game. It’s already past my bedtime for a Sunday. I load up the dishwasher and do a quick version of my skin routine. I’m in bed by 11 and am ready to start another week.
Daily Total: $99
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