A Week In New York, NY, On A $111,524 Salary

Welcome to Money 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: a senior paid social manager working in advertising who spends some of her money this week on Asics sneakers.

Occupation: Senior Paid Social Manager
Industry: Advertising
Age: 25
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $111,524 (including $10,000 annual bonus)
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,408.53 (after taxes, benefits, 401(k) contribution)
Gender Identity: Woman

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,500 (my half of a two-bedroom in upper Manhattan with a friend from college)
Student Loans: $313 ($21,000 left out of $30,000)
Electric: $20-$40 depending on season (my half)
Internet: $37.50 (my half)
Gym membership: $53
Spotify Premium: $9.99
Netflix: $0 (thank you mom and dad)
Phone: $0 (thank you mom and dad)
Monthly Unlimited NYC Metrocard: $0 (covered by employer)
401(k): $500 (5% in traditional, 1% in Roth, $3,000/year matched by employer. I started contributing to a 401(k) almost two years ago at a different employer with a lower salary, so currently have ~$2,400 and plan to contribute more when loans are paid off)
Health/Dental/Vision: $73.18 (taken out of paycheck)
Savings: $500-$1,000 (currently at $24,000. Working to save up to $30,000 and use that and my annual bonus to pay off the rest of my loan balance to cut off six years of payments.)

Day One

7:15 a.m. — My alarm goes off and it’s dark out. It’s getting colder and colder and darker and darker and I am UPSET. I don’t usually take too much time getting ready in the morning (quick makeup of brows and eyes) and am out the door by 7:45.

8:30 a.m. — My commute is fairly fast and I’m settled into my desk by 8:30. My office generously orders snacks for everyone free of charge and part of that is cereal, but today we’re out of my favorite (Strawberry Special K) so I opt for Cocoa Krispies. I forget it’s free bagel day so when bagels arrive, I snag a pumpernickel bagel with veggie cream cheese. I’m currently in between clients, so I help out my coworkers on my team with various tasks throughout the day. I hate when work is slow because I feel like I’m not being useful and the days drag on, but I know they’re working on placing me on a different client once we get through final stages of pitching.

12 p.m. — It’s Friday and that means I go out with my team for lunch! We try to make it a tradition to go out to eat every Friday for some bonding, and today we decide on ramen from a place nearby. I get spicy ramen and it’s delicious. $14.05

2 p.m. — My client asks me to do something so I spend the rest of the afternoon doing that and attending a couple of meetings. Do you ever get annoyed when someone asks you to do something directly related to your job description, something that you get paid to do? Yeah, same. At least I get to work my brain muscles!

4:30 p.m. — The office cracks a bottle of champagne following an exciting announcement, so I indulge before heading off to my boyfriend, P.’s, apartment in Brooklyn for the weekend. I typically only hang out with him on the weekends, and since I live pretty far from Brooklyn I just stay at his place either Thursday or Friday all the way through Sunday. I like spending the weekend in Brooklyn and always hate feeling like I would bother my roommate with him staying at our apartment every weekend, so it’s a nice arrangement.

5:45 p.m. — I arrive at his apartment. He just recently moved here from another apartment about a mile away, and we decide that since this place is much cleaner (his old building was incredibly old and his roommates were not the cleanest), we will save money and eat in. He already has chicken and squash so we throw some cinnamon on the squash and bake them both in the oven. Quick and easy! He unpacks some of his things, I hang out on my phone, and we catch each other up on our weeks. We don’t go crazy on the weekends and tonight we stay up to a very late 10:30 before clocking out for the day.

Daily Total: $14.05

Day Two

8 a.m. — It’s Saturday! We wake up to the sun at 8, cuddle for a bit, and head out the door by 9. Every Saturday P. goes to the gym and I hang out at a coffee shop nearby until he’s done. I order a small iced green tea chai and a banana chocolate chip muffin (I get the same thing every time because we love a good routine in this household!). I scroll through Instagram while munching on my food and then call my aunt to catch up since we haven’t talked in a bit. $8

10:15 a.m. — P. is done so we head to the shoe store on the way home because last weekend I absolutely RUINED my sneakers walking in the rain (so upset). I need them for walking on the weekends, the gym I just recently signed up for, and this late Halloween party that my coworker is throwing tonight. P. and I are going as an 80s couple, the most simple and boring thing we could think of, but it’s cheap so we’re not mad about it. I did full clown makeup complete with a fiery red wig for my office party on Halloween, and even won second place in the costume contest. I decide on a pair of Asics and cry a little when I see the total, but know that it is a good investment since I’ll be wearing them often. $130

12 p.m. — After we leave the shoe store, it is 100% too cold for me to spend another second outside, we decide to save some money and go to the grocery store to pick up ingredients for lunch and dinner. P. and I typically pay for our own things when we go out (or if one person pays the total, the other will Venmo their portion). This time, I pay for the vegetables (green and red peppers, cucumber, and cauliflower) and cookies (because obviously we need a treat). My total comes out to $10.48. He buys some miscellaneous things for himself and we decide we can also make the salmon he already has at home. Thinking ahead to dinner, I recommend getting us steak to make my contribution to meals a little more even, so we stop by the butcher shop near his apartment and pick up skirt steak for $22.41. $32.89

1 p.m. — We’re back home and he whips up an egg for himself while I sit on the couch and scroll through social media. You’d think that because this is my literal job I’d be sick of social media, but here we are glued to the socials. We’re hungry enough for lunch so we put lemon and garlic salt on two strips of salmon and bake the red and green pepper with it. While we wait, P. fixes me a “cocktail” of water with low carb protein powder and chia seeds. It’s weird and I hate it but we gotta get some health into our system somehow, right?

5 p.m. — Honestly this whole day has revolved around hanging out and eating, so it should not be surprising that we are hungry again for dinner before we make the trek to the Upper West Side for the Halloween party. We make skirt steaks and cauliflower and save the rest for tomorrow’s lunch and dinner.

6:30 p.m. — Time to go to the party! We scoop a six-pack of beer for $14.44 and curse the city for being so expensive. We arrive at the party about an hour and a half later and are the first ones to arrive. My coworker swore that everyone would be there at the party’s start time of 7, so he throws on a Netflix movie and we eat chips while sipping on beer. People start arriving and the party gets going, so we mix and mingle a bit before heading out at 10. I am TIRED, my bedtime (like a child) is usually 9:30 so I am ready to hit the hay. $14.44

Daily Total: $185.33

Day Three

7:30 a.m. — The sun is up and so am I! The clocks turned back last night so we are up early. We lay around until 8 and decide to do a fun activity today, and see that The Joker is playing at Nitehawk. For those who are not familiar with Nitehawk, it’s a super cool theater where you can drink alcohol and eat real food during the movie, and servers come by throughout the film to serve you at any time you wish to order something. It has a pretty old school vibe, which is awesome too. We pick an 11:30 a.m. showtime to get that matinee deal, and I Venmo request P. for his half of the ticket since I ordered them online. $16.50

9 a.m. — I’m craving a breakfast sandwich from Starbucks and there’s one a block away so I indulge in a sausage, egg, and cheese. The NYC Marathon is about to start any minute and runs right by P.’s apartment so I see a band setting up to play for the runners. My boss at my last job ran it last year and I do NOT know how people can run for so long. After a mile, I’m out. $4.30

10:45 a.m. — We walk almost two miles to get to the theater and we both really liked the movie! It was definitely very dark, but I like those kinds of movies. We split a popcorn and I drink a Bloody Mary. I pay since he covered drinks for us last weekend when we came here to see Parasite. $21.60

4 p.m. — We walk back to his apartment and hang out for a bit, binging Schitt’s Creek. We just started about two weeks ago and are on season two. In my opinion, we’re going at a glacial pace compared to my watch-everything-in-one-day method, but tonight we watch several episodes in a row which makes me happy. We cook up the steak around 5, throw the squash and green/red pepper medley from yesterday into the oven, and snack on some cookies while we wait. We cuddle for a while and go to bed early to rest up for the workday tomorrow.

Daily Total: $42.40

Day Four

7 a.m. — It’s time to wake up and I’m sad. I love spending weekends with my boyfriend and now I have to go to work?? Who let this happen, why must capitalism drag me back into the grind? I kiss P. goodbye and we make plans to see each other for dinner in the city on Wednesday before he flies to Texas to visit his dad for the next week. I’m already craving Kimchi Fried Rice and will bombard him with my suggestion later.

8 a.m. — I get to work right at 8 and settle in with a cereal cup (still out of Special K so took the Cocoa Krispies again). I help out a coworker with weekly and monthly reporting for his client and sort through the rest of my emails. I finish his request quickly and try to find some relevant articles to read and ask others if they need assistance. This is such a weird time in my job right now but I know it won’t last forever!

12 p.m. — All my money seems to go to food these days. My coworkers decide they want to go to Whole Foods to pick up lunch and I go with them. I usually like to go to Trader Joe’s on Mondays to stock up on lunches for the week if I don’t feel like meal prepping, but I decided to be social and go with them today. For today’s lunch, I opt for the hot bar pasta, meatball, and green beans. For the rest of the week, I got Annie’s pizza bagels, a burrito, and an Amy’s cheddar, and broccoli bowl. Not the healthiest or most cost-efficient, but it will do the trick for this week. I make a mental note to scrape together some groceries I already have at home to make lunches next week. $25.05

5 p.m. — The sun sets at 4:45 and I’m headed home at 5. Seasonal depression is real, guys. I struggled with depression and anxiety from high school through college and have managed to get it more under control into my twenties, but the darkness really can get to you even if you’re at a point in life where you’re feeling good. Not to get DRAMATIC in the middle of this Money Diary, but I had to spend some time in the hospital a few years ago for my depression and got prescribed medication and therapy sessions to help me. I was avoiding it for so long, denying that I needed help and thought I could handle it on my own, but the hospital was a wake-up call for me. Mental Health awareness is super important to me and I want everyone to know that you are valid for whatever you’re feeling and it is ok to seek help!

6 p.m. — I signed up for the gym last week to help combat some of that seasonal depression by keeping active, and the staff practically harassed me into doing a free personal training session tonight at 7. I know I cannot justify the additional $1,200 for the standard 10 session personal training package, so I plan on doing this free session and then working out by myself. I stopped at the grocery store before coming home and got some toilet paper, matches, and cheese and asparagus-filled ravioli. An interesting mix, I know. I whip up the ravioli to eat after my training session because I know I’ll be too tired to cook after. I also make a smoothie to drink before I head out. My smoothie tonight consists of oat milk, chia seeds, spinach, and peanut butter because I forgot I’m out of fruit! It still tastes pretty good though. My roommate, R., gets home and we chat about our days before I’m out the door to the gym. $17.30

8 p.m. — Personal training is done and I am KNOCKED out! That was great, but I still can’t justify the extra cost to continue. I hop in the shower, use my Lush Epsom salt and peppermint body exfoliator to relax, and chill out on the couch with my ravioli before jumping into bed. I passively scroll through Tik Tok (a guilty pleasure which I am well aware I am too old for) and start snoozing by 10.

Daily Total: $42.35

Day Five

7:15 a.m. — Here we are again, up, out the door, and in the office by 8:30. We’re restocked on Special K and I grab a bowl and a seltzer water before I scroll through my emails. I write a few POVs and help out my coworkers. I’m cranking out a ton of POVs for my agency’s website and I’m tired of writing by lunchtime.

12 p.m. — I heat up the pizza bagels from yesterday’s Whole Foods trip and eat with my coworkers. After I finish up, I find out we officially won a new client that I will be working on starting in December! I’m excited to finally have my own client again and start picking up more responsibilities.

5 p.m. — I’m still excited as I leave work to go meet up with my friend, H., for ramen and kava. We meet up every two weeks to catch up while doing our favorite activities. He’s a chef and moved here from Greece a few years ago and he was one of the first friends I made when I moved to New York almost two years ago. I love going to the Kava Bar in the Lower East Side and for those of you who do not know what Kava is, it’s an alcohol alternative that makes you feel happy and relaxed. It’s made from an Indonesian plant and is a natural (and legal) anti-depressant and anti-anxiety drink. Please note that this is not to be used in place of medication and is not addictive, but there is some controversy surrounding it. Kava Bars are mostly located in Florida, which is where I discovered it since I lived there most of my life. We split the bill for both ramen and kava. By the time I get home I’m exhausted and start (and finish) Living With Yourself on Netflix. Mind blown, you should watch it. $35

Daily Total: $35

Day Six

7:15 a.m. — Up and off to work! I decide to stop at Starbucks for a grande iced pumpkin spice latte and a banana. Please just let me live my basic girl life in peace. I try not to drink coffee unless I know I have a busy day ahead because I’m worried I’ll get addicted. Having a coffee at the start of a busy day keeps me motivated! $7.29

12 p.m. — I finish up some work and heat up the broccoli and cheddar bowl I got from Whole Foods on Monday. It’s good, but way too heavy for the middle of the day and I immediately regret this decision. Now I need a nap. My cousin just started college in Florida and I notice that I have a Venmo request on my phone — he is requesting $5 for a charity he is supporting. I oblige and Venmo him for his fundraising efforts. $5

5 p.m. — It’s kimchi fried rice time! Good thing P. loves kimchi as much as I love do. We go to a place in midtown and split an entree of the fried rice and also split the bill. We take a little walk outside around Rockefeller center and watch the ice skaters skate around. Unfortunately, we get into a little argument about money. We always split things and I suggest that we take turns taking each other out on dates (nothing big, just something small and inexpensive maybe once a month) and that does not go over well. I know most of you will say “okay get rid of him, what kind of boyfriend doesn’t want to take their girlfriend out on a date,” but we work it out, he understands where I’m coming from and I understand his money situation more, and we agree on taking each other out once a month. We’ll see if this actually happens. $11.83

9 p.m. — Even though we worked it out, I’m still a little upset and to top it all off, the trains are delayed for an unknown amount of time. I’m tired and I just want to go home, so I suck it up and take an Uber home. I text with P. a little more before bed and I’m feeling better. $24.79

Daily Total: $48.91

Day Seven

7:15 a.m. — You know what time it is! It’s work time. I claim my bowl of Special K and get cracking on emails. My roommate and I have two friends that we went to college with that are also in advertising, and they text us that there is a symphony at Carnegie Hall they want to go to and are trying to rush to get tickets for $10. Usually they’re $50 and I am not willing to pay that much right now, so hopefully, we can go for way less!

12 p.m. — Lunch is a burrito from my Whole Foods trip and let me tell you, I’m glad I have healthier groceries at home for next week because this burrito is not satisfying OR healthy! My friends, A. and C., text that they weren’t able to get the tickets but want to go to a wine bar close to my apartment instead. A. and C. just got new jobs so this will be a nice time to celebrate, especially since I don’t see them very often.

5 p.m. — I make it to the wine bar right after work and order a rosé cocktail with cucumber, hibiscus, lavender, and soda. It’s an interesting concoction and since I’m not a big drinker, this is the only one I’ll be sipping on tonight. We stay at this bar for an entire four hours, chatting and drinking and listening to live music that starts up about an hour before we leave. $14.15

9:30 p.m. — I am HUNGRY and suggest we go get pizza next door. The guy behind the counter gives us free garlic knots and nobody in their right mind would refuse free garlic knots, so I eat one of those and my friends eat the rest. We are out very late for a “school” night and finally, at 10:45 we go our separate ways. I’m bundled up in a sweater, sweatpants, and fuzzy socks before finally going to bed at 11. It’s been a long but fun week! $3

Daily Total: $17.15

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