Cost of living in New York city

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: an account manager working who makes $82,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on paper clips.

Occupation: Account Manager
Industry: Pharma
Age: 24
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $82,000
Paycheck Amount (bi-weekly): $2,161
Gender Identity: Woman

Monthly Expenses
MoRent: $1,260 for my room in a flex apartment with two roommates Student Loans: $250
Phone Bill: $36
LASIK Repayment: $104
Therapy: $280
Psychiatrist: $15
Utilities: ~$40 (My building covers heat and water so this is my portion of the electric bill)
WiFi: $33 for my portion
Spotify: $16 (I pay for my family)
Gym: $70
Hulu: $6
Netflix/Amazon Prime: $0 (Thanks mom!!)
FabFitFun (quarterly): $50

Day One

7:30 a.m. — Good morning! Last night I had a panic attack and cried myself to sleep. So I skip the gym this morning to stay in bed and jade roll my swollen face. I think I should preface this Money Diary by stating that I suffer from anxiety and chronic depression. I am going through some personal stuff (you’ll hear about that later) and find myself in a particularly bad place right now. I like to write about my feelings throughout the day to track how I am doing so hopefully this Money Diary will help that. Some other background for those who will ask about my health — I used to be on Zoloft and it made me an emotionless robot with no sex drive. Now I am on Wellbutrin and I am always upset and nervous… it is a lose/lose situation. Currently working on finding a new psychiatrist who can help me take the Gene Test to determine which antidepressant will work best with my body.

7:42 a.m. — I drag myself out of bed to go get coffee. I have coffee at home but I need to get my body moving and nothing does that like a cold NYC morning and a gingerbread cold brew from Dunkin. I head back home with my coffee. $4.02

8 a.m. — My roommates both slept at their boyfriends’ last night but one of them came back while I was getting coffee. I say “hi” and she doesn’t answer… Here is where that personal stuff comes in… She hasn’t been speaking to me lately and I genuinely have no idea why. As I am getting dressed I hear her go into the bathroom… I say “hi” again and say I didn’t know she was home… she responds, “yeah, this morning” and that is that.

8:30 a.m. — I put on makeup for the day: Benefit Cosmetics Cakeless Concealer, Thrive Cosmetics Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara (the GOAT), Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Bronzer. Grab my lunch and I’m out the door. I am going home for the Thanksgiving holiday this weekend so I add $20 to my subway card instead of purchasing a weekly unlimited (this makes more sense financially for those who don’t live in NYC). $20

12:10 p.m. — I started a new job a few weeks ago after unexpectedly losing my old one (I was unemployed for about a month), so I spend most of my morning in trainings. I am enjoying it so far and I like using my brain again. During a break, I run out to return a sweater to American Eagle and buy a new notebook from Staples. I also see some pretty paper clips on sale so I grab them for my desk. $7.04

12:15 p.m. —I text my boyfriend, B., that I have been feeling abandoned and unloved lately and he tells me he needs some space, so that helps (she said sarcastically). We decide not to talk until we see each other in person and I go back to my desk to eat my turkey sandwich and clementine from home.

1:47 p.m. — B. asks if we can speak tonight before I go to the gym. I’m glad he reached out, but I’m concerned. We agree to meet at the Starbucks next to my office. I ask him if he is planning to break up with me because anxiety is fun and makes me think the worst at all times.

2:10 p.m. — B. confirms he is not breaking up with me and just wants to talk.

3:27 p.m. — I have a lull of training meetings and no real work yet so I look up alternative therapy options in NYC. I’m serious, people, I recognize that I am not healthy and that I need help!! I am desperately looking for it, but it is 2019 and for some reason, I still need to wait six months to see a psychiatrist or pay $750 out of pocket for an appointment. I find a few psychotherapy research clinics and send out some emails… maybe something will work out.

5 p.m. — I leave work at 5 on the dot to go meet B. at Starbucks. Of course, the Starbucks is full so we awkwardly walk around and look for somewhere else to go, finally landing on Pret. We actually have a shockingly healthy discussion about how I have not been okay since I lost my job a few months ago. I suffer from abandonment issues and extreme perfectionism, so being fired for no good reason set me back about two years in therapy sessions. I tell B. that I need him to sympathize with me and validate my emotions instead of always trying to turn them around. He says he needs me to hold him accountable and tell him if he is hurting me. We agree that I don’t have enough positivity around me right now and that I am struggling to crawl out of my hole but that we are in it together.

6:17 p.m. — I finally get home and it is absolutely freezing outside. I throw on leggings, a sports bra, a sweatshirt, and a winter coat and force myself to the gym. After a 40-minute weight lifting session on Aaptiv (highly recommend this app if you are looking for something new!), I am feeling much better.

7:20 p.m. — I don’t want to go home yet so I decide to wander through TJ Maxx. They recently put out all of their holiday stuff and I am thrilled to find a small gift for B., wrapping paper, and some cards ($14.12). While I walk through the store I talk to my best friend, N., about everything going on. She is the only person who truly understands how I feel and is the most amazing support system I could ever ask for. $14.12

8:30 p.m. — It starts raining while I’m in TJ Maxx so I get back to my apartment soaking wet and freezing (walking everywhere in NYC has its downsides). I immediately hop in the shower to warm up and follow up with my nighttime skincare routine. I have struggled with adult hormonal acne and I am finally locking down what works for me: Youth to The People Kale + Green Tea Spinach Cleanser, Nassif Medical Spa Detox Pad, THE ORDINARY Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, and Drunk Elephant Protini™ Polypeptide Moisturizer.

9 p.m. — For a late dinner I throw together a flatbread pizza of ricotta, lemon zest, tomatoes, and zucchini. I eat half and pack the other half for lunch tomorrow. I also pack a bag to stay at B.’s house because we decided to go do NYC Christmas activities tomorrow night.

9:47 p.m. — In bed and exhausted. I play two rounds of Toon Blast (if you have anxiety, download this. It’s amazing for clearing your mind) and pass out.

Daily Total: $45.18

Day Two

6:30 a.m. — Nope. Too sore from last night’s workout. Back to bed.

7:30 a.m. — Okay that’s better. I get up, make my bed, and ask my Google Home about the weather. We are very season-confused here in NYC and he (yes, it’s a boy) informs me there is a low of 28 and a high of 54… okay. I put on Zara high waisted jeans, a cream cropped sweater from American Eagle, and a thin cheetah belt. I go into the kitchen to put a Trader Joe’s croissant in the toaster and pour myself some coffee (very quietly, as my roommates are still asleep).

8:20 a.m. — I eat my breakfast and contemplate changing my outfit. I usually pick out clothes the night before to avoid this… I end up not changing and just add thin gold hoop earrings and black booties. I grab my coat and head to the subway while listening to The Daily podcast. I love it because it gives me relevant news in a very digestible way. I swipe my pre-loaded subway card and head uptown.

9:03 a.m. — I’m sweating. I pick up my mobile ordered Starbucks ($3.72 on a pre-loaded card) and collapse at my desk in an attempt to cool off.

12:38 p.m. — I read Money Diaries while eating my leftover flatbread. I also have some water because I am trying to drink that instead of iced coffee at all hours of the day. #Health.

3:46 p.m. — I just answered an email where I actually knew the answer to someone’s question! This is the first time this has happened since starting three weeks ago and I feel accomplished. I celebrate by refilling my water and grabbing a snack from my lunch box.

5 p.m. — Off work, so I walk over to B.’s office (about a mile). It’s not too chilly so it’s a nice walk and I listen to The Cut on Tuesdays while I walk. This episode is about abuse in queer relationships and the lack of attention it receives. I love hearing stories from people with such different lives from me and becoming more aware of the world around me.

5:37 p.m. — B. and I wander through Bryant Park looking at all of the Christmas decorations and shops. B. is determined to try this elaborate hot chocolate he saw on Instagram while I just want dinner so we grab a table and take turns getting up to find what we want. I get an Aperol spritz ($16, I HATE NYC) and an amazing Italian sandwich with prosciutto, mozzarella, olive oil, arugula, and more ($13). B. finds his hot chocolate. $29

6:45 p.m. — I get a call from my mom, which puts a slight damper on my mood since I am going through a realization that a lot of my mental health issues stem from our relationship. I try to be open and tell her about things I feel and what I want and she either laughs it off or overreacts and yells, so it’s complicated. B. is supportive and we make a plan for Thanksgiving to escape my family if I am feeling overwhelmed. We head to B.’s apartment and I use my pre-paid subway card.

8 p.m. — I have a potluck at work tomorrow so I toss together shredded Brussels sprouts, apples, pomegranate seeds, lemon juice, honey, and parmesan to make a Fall-ish salad (I bought the ingredients earlier in the week). Then I take a body shower, brush my teeth, and collapse into B.’s bed. Asleep by 10.

Daily Total: $29

Day Three

7:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off and the bed is empty since B. went to the gym. I get up and put on Zara jeans, a mint green button-down, concealer (hello, massive pimple I grew overnight from skipping my skincare routine!!), bronzer, and mascara. As I am brushing my teeth, B. gets home. We grab my fall salad and walk to the subway. B. swipes me onto the train with his card.

8:55 a.m. — I get to work and I am dripping sweat from walking the three avenues from the subway. I drop my stuff and head down to Starbucks for a cold brew and a sausage egg and cheese sandwich ($8.38 on prepaid card).

10:46 a.m. — I see that my FabFitFun box was charged. I added on a Spongelle pack so that my box would ship early ($12.01). I also notice that my student loan and phone payments were applied. I update my budget spreadsheet. $12.02

12:15 p.m. — Our potluck is a big success and my Brussels sprouts get good reviews. I always get nervous bringing food in for the office because what if no one likes it? I eat some food with a few coworkers and get a plate of desserts back to my desk for later. I decide I need a walk, so I venture down to Forever 21 to use my 40% off coupon. I grab a pair of leather pants I have been wanting ($16.79 with the discount) and then swing by CVS to grab a new stitch kit ($7.94). $24.73

5 p.m. — I have a book club meeting tonight, but it doesn’t start until 6, so I pop into the nail salon for a super quick manicure. I will likely get SNS dip with my mom when I am home next week, so I just get a basic mani ($19 including tip). It’s honestly one of the worst manicures I’ve ever gotten so I hate that I wasted the money. $19

8:35 p.m. — Book club is SO fun. We meet at a bar near my office (walking distance) and I have a caesar salad and two glasses of sangria ($44 including tip). We stay for over two hours discussing our November book (Two Girls Down) and brainstorming what we should read for December… We notice that we all enjoy the thriller/mystery genre so we laugh about trying to find a Christmas thriller for the holidays. $44

9 p.m. — Home. Roommates barely say hi. Sad face. I body shower (I only wash my hair twice a week), do my full skincare routine, and crawl under my gravity blanket to read. This gravity blanket was a birthday gift from B. and it makes SUCH a difference for my anxiety. I can’t sleep under it because I sweat too much, but it is a great pre-sleep ritual. Lights out by 10:30.

Daily Total: $99.75

Day Four

:30 a.m. — I am up and I am going to the gym!! I do a 40 minute back and arms workout on Aaptiv and grab Starbucks on my way back home. My prepaid card is 17 cents short for my order (tall cold brew, one pump of cinnamon dolce syrup) so I reload my card ($25). $25

7:40 a.m. — Back home and I toss a Trader Joe’s croissant into the toaster while I wash my face and body. While I eat, I watch 90 Day Fiance (I am addicted to this show and I can’t stop). I put on a green suede skirt, white chunky sweater, Adidas superstars, and a leather jacket. I dry shampoo my hair and toss half of it into a black barrette (my favorite trend right now). Concealer on the pimples, bronzer, mascara, lip gloss, and out the door at 8:30.

8:55 a.m. — I arrive at work after using my prepaid subway card. I put my lunch in the fridge (Trader Joe’s cauliflower mac and cheese) and fill my water bottle. I notice that my monthly LASIK payment went through so I update my budget spreadsheet once I settle in at my desk.

5:00 p.m. — I was in meetings all day so today flew by. I was supposed to have a virtual psychiatrist appointment at 5 p.m. but at 4:59 the doctor cancels on the app, which is so annoying because I really want to figure out what is going on with my medication. My subway card decides not to work so I add a bit more money. $5.50

5:20 p.m. — I go to my waxing place for my monthly Brazilian only to find out that my regular lady no longer works there? What is going on in the universe tonight? Is it a full moon? I’m not in the right mindset to have a new person wax my lady-bits so I decide to cut my losses and skip the wax. I stop by CVS and grab a bikini/sensitive hair removal cream to use instead. $12.29

6 p.m. — Immediately shower when I get home since I need to wash my hair tonight and it needs a good two hours to dry before I can blow it out (my hair is an actual lion’s mane). The hair removal cream actually works!!

6:30 p.m. — OMG. I wanted to make avocado toast for dinner, but when I try to remove the avocado pit, I stick the knife directly into my palm. Holy shit. Is mercury in gatorade (I know it’s retrograde but this is funnier)? What is going on?!?!? I call B. having an absolute panic attack about my bleeding hand and my bad luck tonight (I know these are first world problems, and people have much harder things to deal with, but I am upset).

7:30 p.m. — My hand is still bleeding and I can see pretty deeply into the cut. One of my roommates comes home and helps me get a new roll of paper towels down from the cabinet to apply pressure. I decide that I am not a doctor and head to CityMD to see if I need stitches.

8:20 p.m. — 200 CCs of saline, lots of tears, and three stitches later I leave CityMD after paying my copay ($35). I buy Chick-fil-A for dinner because clearly I am not cooking tonight ($10.11). $45.11

9 p.m. — I throw the bloody avocado in the trash and pour a glass of wine.

10 p.m. — I’m too high strung right now to sleep so I pack for my trip home and watch 90 Day Fiance. I’m in bed around 11:30.

Daily Total: $87.90

Day Five

7:40 a.m. — Surprisingly not exhausted and grab my jade roller for my swollen eyes. I throw on Zara jeans, a black off the shoulder top, thigh-high boots, two gold chokers, and my leather jacket. I put on concealer, mascara, bronzer, and then toss the last few items in my duffel bag for my week away. We have bagels every Friday at work so I always leave earlier to ensure I get one, out the door by 8:20.

8:50 a.m. — My suitcase and I land at my desk and I run to the kitchen to claim my bagel. I’ve got it down to a science so I put the bagel in the toaster while I run down to Starbucks to get my coffee ($3.81 on prepaid card). When I come back upstairs I drop half the bagel on the ground (MY LIFE) and put veggie cream cheese on the other half.

9:10 a.m. — I don’t have any meetings until noon so I am going to sit at my desk and try to meditate. My hand is aching and I am stressed.

2 p.m. — I need to exchange my leather pants for a smaller size so I pop my headphones in and go for a walk to Forever 21. I grab the small and a sweater that is 40% off ($13.71) while listening to The Daily. On my way back to the office, I order a salad from Just Salad with a 50% off code I have because I obviously did not pack a lunch today ($5.44 with the code). $19.15

4:50 p.m. — I sneak out a few minutes early to head to B.’s apartment because I am ready for this day to end. I swipe onto the subway using my pre-paid card and grab a seat so I can read a bit of my book on the 30-minute ride we live in different boroughs, it’s practically an LDR).

5:17 p.m. — B. picks me up from the train station and orders cheeseburgers for dinner (my favorite food) while I go purchase a much-needed bottle of cheap wine. $10.08

6:20 p.m. — B. and I sit down to watch Star Wars on Disney +. I have never seen any of them (I know) so we start with episode three. I am pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoy it and I realize that I am the real-life version of C3PO. The burgers and wine hit the spot and I can feel myself unwinding.

9:30 p.m. — I reorganize my suitcase since I packed it so hastily the night before and help B. pack for the week. I also pour myself another glass of wine before washing my face and settling into bed. It takes me a really long time to fall asleep, but I watch The Office and I think I’m out by 11:30.

Daily Total: $29.23

Day Six

7:45 a.m. — I am up and getting ready to leave for the airport. Hair in a bun, leggings, sweatshirt, sneakers, and a fresh bandage on my hand. B. is driving me on his way home for the holidays so we need to pack the car and I need to get coffee. We head out around 8:30 and I grab a cold brew and breakfast sandwich on my pre-paid Starbucks card.

10 a.m. — There are so many idiots in the airport. Nothing frustrates me more than people who don’t think the rules apply to them and hold up the entire line. I finally make it through security, grab a water bottle ($2.78), and settle down at my gate to watch Grey’s Anatomy. $2.78

11:10 a.m. — I am on the plane and ready to go! Aisle seats for life!

12 p.m. — I buy a package of peanut M&Ms. $3

2 p.m. — I land a few minutes early and head outside to meet my brother. He helps me put my stuff in the car and we head to the new house. My family moved last week and I don’t have my own room at this place. My mom booked a hotel room for my sister and me so we can have a place to sleep. It feels really weird to be going “home,” but be in a hotel/new house.

6 p.m. — We spend the day wandering around the new house and cleaning out the old one. My mom buys pizza for dinner and I deposit my suitcase in my brother’s room until my sister gets here on Monday and we move to the hotel. I am exhausted so I go to bed to watch TV around 8 and my brother takes the couch.

Daily Total: $5.78

Day Seven

8:45 a.m. — I am awoken by my three barking dogs and head downstairs to find my siblings on the couch playing video games. The most frustrating part about being home is not having the freedom to go out and do what I want (I don’t really drive anymore and I definitely don’t have a car here). My brother is being a bum so I ask to take his car to go get coffee and Band-aids for my hand.

9:30 a.m. — It feels so good to drive through the mountains. I go to CVS to get bandaids, antibiotic cream, and tampons ($21.25), then swing by Starbucks for a cold brew ($2.81 on my pre-paid card). $21.25

11 a.m. — After laying on the couch for way too long the siblings and I decide to move around. We go to Target for a new shower curtain for the house and I grab a Christmas tree-scented candle ($8.74). Surprisingly I don’t find anything else I want in the massive, non-NYC Target, but I enjoy just walking around and looking. $8.74

2 p.m. — We head to the outlets to continue our stroll. The stores suck as there is not much shopping in my town, but I manage to snag a pair of knockoff Dr. Marten’s in white ($32.09). My stepsister gets a sweater at Old Navy and I get a pair of fuzzy socks with cheeseburgers on them (v on brand) for only $3. My mom starts asking where we are so we head home. $35.09

2:30 p.m. — Mom is home from work and on a rampage. We try to do everything she is yelling about in order to get her to relax. My stepsister and I escape and go to the grocery store for last-minute Thanksgiving supplies using my stepdad’s credit card. I also get supplies to make my family dinner.

6 p.m. — I start making dinner and my mom tries to take over. I tell her that I have it under control since I cook almost every night for myself and she gets huffy and puffy. She goes upstairs to shower and I take a deep breath and keep cooking. Spaghetti, garlic bread, and shrimp are completed and I call the crew in to eat.

8 p.m. — I pour a glass of my mom’s expensive wine and cuddle with one of the pups to watch the AMAs. This is the best award show simply because of the performances. I am really worried about Selena Gomez and her health… she seems unsteady. Say what you want about Taylor Swift, but she crushed it.

10:50 p.m. — I text with B. for a bit and give him the address to the new house since he is coming down tomorrow (his family lives four hours from mine, we are both from the South). I am relieved to have him here as he acts like a solid buffer between my mom and me and I need all of the support I can get.

Daily Total: $65.08

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