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: a Server/Host/Front Desk Lead working in Hospitality who makes $60,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Bjorn Qorn.
Occupation: Server/Host/Front Desk Lead
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Paycheck Amount (Weekly): $17/hour for the studio, $10/hour + tips when I serve, $15/hour + tips when I host.
Rent: $1,250 for a three bedroom with one roommate
Loans: $239 for my federal student loan (I'm down to $20,000 from undergrad)
Internet: $33 (my half)
Electric: $20-$90 (my half)
Phone: $135 (I pay this to my mom for my phone/portion of the phone bill)
Metro Card: $127 for a monthly unlimited
Hulu/Netflix/HBO: $0 (thanks to varying friends and family)
Renter's Insurance: $7
Cat Food: $35
Credit Cards: I'm paying off some medical debt which is almost done. Another $700 payment and I'm all clear!
Lifetime Movie Club: $4 (I will not be shamed.)
7:30 a.m. — The cats are pissed they haven't been fed yet. I get up, feed the beasts, and get back in bed for another half hour. At 8, I get up and throw on yoga clothes. I start listening to The Daily as I get on the train to go to yoga. I get yoga as well as a few other classes like SoulCycle for free because I work at the studio. I haven't been using it as much as I'd like because of my schedule at the restaurant. I'm trying to change that!
11:30 a.m. — I took two classes in a row (one flow and one that uses massage balls to work out the muscles) and I feel so invigorated! As I'm walking, I realize that I have a voicemail from my partner, L. I listen to it and practically melt on the sidewalk. I walk to a little market to grab something to whip up quick for lunch (avocados, crushed tomatoes, and a candy bar) then head home. Yes, I eat the candy bar on my way home. $9.99
12 p.m. — I get home and my roommate has a friend over who I've met before and really like! We chat as they get ready to go to the pool. I open a can of chickpeas, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, cayenne, turmeric, and garlic powder. I put those in the oven at 450 for half an hour. While that's going, I shower and decide I want tacos. I cut up one of the avocados, toast some tortillas, and brown some soy chorizo. I eat then chill for an hour. I get ready to work tonight (I'm hosting at the restaurant) by putting on burnt orange Madewell shorts, a T-shirt with my hometown's logo on it, and my white sneakers. My makeup routine varies a lot, but today I do a light face with Fenty highlighter, a little natural eye look, and brows. Grab my water bottle and bag and I'm out the door to catch the subway!
2:45 p.m. — I'm either 15 minutes early to work or running to get there on time, thanks to the subway. I usually err on the side of caution! To kill the time, I head to a coffee shop where I'm a regular (it's between the restaurant and the yoga studio where I work so it's my vacation home practically). I get an English Breakfast tea (yes I know it's 95 degrees out, but iced tea just isn't the same!! I quit coffee a little over a year ago to reduce anxiety, but I do miss iced lattes). I chat with one of the guys who I know pretty well. Nine times out of ten I don't pay here so I always try to tip well when I do get charged. $6
3 p.m. — I clock in, chat with everyone, and start organizing menus. I serve most of the time here, but I do some weekday hosting as necessary. At around 4:15, I go on break and have family meal, which is always just whatever the kitchen whips up. I grab a plate of some kind of pulled pork, rice, and veggies. I eat quickly then go outside to call L., who's done with his first day training at a new restaurant. It went well! We talk about our plans this week — I work a double tomorrow and he works one Wednesday, but he's going to come to a party with me Wednesday night and we'll spend Thursday morning together.
9 p.m. — Tonight is sssoooo slow. The highlight is one of our bartenders coming in with her boyfriend. I love her and we all make sure she gets the best table in the house and that we have wine waiting for them. I get cut at 9. I call a few friends to see if anyone wants to do anything and my roommate, N., and I make plans! I head to Honey's in Bushwick, which is a spot that makes their own mead. I get their seasonal raspberry mead, she gets a martini. We catch up and get another round (I get a whiskey sour and she gets a mezcal sour). The bartender accidentally double charges us, but voids the extra one. $30
11 p.m. — We go to another bar, which we call the Christmas tree bar and I truly don't even know the name of. We both get whiskey gingers and I get fries because I am trying to remember to eat after work. Also they're shoestring, which is the best kind of fry don't even try me. We sit outside and drink and talk more. We've only known each other less than a year (we met online when my old roommate moved out), but it feels like we've known each other longer. I get another drink and close out, paying for N.'s drink too. Working in the service industry, I try to make sure that I tip at least 25 percent anytime I go out. We walk home, feed the cats, and I fall asleep around 1. $30
Daily Total: $75.99
7 a.m. — Today is a long day, but the cats certainly don't care. I get up to feed the beasts and start to get ready. I'm hosting again this morning (then working at the studio tonight). I put on Madewell grid pants and a black crop top. I pack my bag and head out around 8:15 after a lot of lazing around and cuddling the cats.
9:30 a.m. — I get to work at 9 and turns out we have a hood inspection this morning so we can't start serving food until 10. I do some organizing at the host stand then hang out with my coworkers until my manager tells me to put my food in (weekday mornings, we do staff meal rather than family meal). Today I get the sausage egg sandwich with no cheese.
11 a.m. — Today is slow as far as guests, but chaotic because we have a private event tonight that bought out the restaurant. In between my job as host, I'm helping set up the best I can. This mostly involves moving firewood.
2:45 p.m. — Of course because the kitchen closes at 3, our biggest pop is at 2:30. The chaos increases! I stop seating a little early because we need to block off a section of the restaurant for the DJ to set up. I restock the bathrooms then leave at 3. I walk two blocks and get to the yoga studio for my shift. This isn't my usual shift, but I'm covering for one of my coworkers. I do a quick check on things, then settle in to cross stitch for a bit while this class is in.
5 p.m. — I check people in for the next class and greet the new girl training. When the class is in, my stomach starts rumbling. I run to the market on the corner and get a giiiiiiant bag of spicy bjorn qorn, which is popcorn that we're all obsessed with. The rest of the day goes by really smoothly. Three classes, half a bag of popcorn and catching up with some of the staff I hadn't seen in awhile. I close up at 9ish then head home. I consider stopping for food, but I just want to crash. I fall asleep at like 10. $5
Daily Total: $5
7 a.m. — Cats are hungry. I am tired. I joke to them that the restaurant is closed and they'll have to come back later. They don't think I'm funny. I'm hosting again this morning so it's the same song and dance.
10 a.m. — Today is my managers last day! She's moving into an events position within the same restaurant group, but stiiiill. One of my coworkers brought in cinnamon rolls. For staff meal today, I order a scramble with toast, bacon, and avocado. The barista heats up a cinnamon roll for me. We have all these gift bags leftover from the event last night. After I stash a stack away for employees, I start handing them out to guests. My roommate comes in for a pancake and we catch up a little.
2 p.m. — Done with work! I jump on the train into the city to go to Trader Joe's. I totally forgot to pack a change of clothes for yoga so it doesn't look like it's gonna happen today. At Trader Joe's I get eggs, bread, cherry tomatoes, avocados, frozen turkey burgers, dried mango, tea, and other things I've forgotten. I head home, unpack the groceries, and make myself a turkey burger with arugula and spicy mayo. I make two batches of rosemary chocolate chunk cookies to bring to a party tonight while my roommate and I watch the reunion for a Double Shot at Love with Vinny and Pauly D. We continue to watch more trash TV. $32.54
6 p.m. — L. gets to the house and we catch up before making dinner. My manager is having a going away party tonight for a bunch of people. I chop up stuff for a salad and make frozen dumplings, which we share while we watch The Office. We lay around, clean up, and then start to get ready for the party. I shower, do my makeup with a lot of highlighter, and put on my favorite men's jeans and a white crop top.
9 p.m. — We walk over to the store near my apartment and grab lemonades for mixers. My friend (she's not my manager anymore just my friend lol) wants to borrow our fan so she calls us a car to her place. We get there at about 9:30 and start saying hi to everyone. It's L.'s first time meeting most of my coworkers and it goes really well. We spend the night drinking (a lot), dancing, laughing, and generally having a good time. $5
3 a.m. — We walk back home after saying goodbye to everyone. It's about a half hour walk and we keep stopping to make out and giggle because we had a lot of rum. We get home and fall asleep probably around 4.
Daily Total: $37.54
8 a.m. — I wake up while L. is getting ready for work. I joke that he should quit. He leaves around 9:30, so I get up and get some water. My roommate wakes up and we decide to finish Life of Kylie. I debate ordering Thai food around 11, but get up and make avocado toast instead. We lie around until I need to get ready for work. During this time, I work on my cross stitch project and fall asleep for an hour and a half.
3:30 p.m. — I'm serving tonight (I usually serve at least Friday-Sunday and the occasional Thursday). I shower then get dressed in white linen shorts and a black tank top. I double check that I have my wine key then head over. Before I go in, I stop by the coffee shop and get tea. I chat with the barista who is a friend of mine. I clock in at 4:30 since I'm closing tonight.
5 p.m. — Family meal is chicken, MAC AND CHEESE, and assorted veggies. I eat then hit the floor. The night is nice and steady and I'm working the outside section, which I love. It goes by fairly quickly and my check average is high. Nothing too crazy happens, though I do have a few tables that tip less than 10% on $100+ tickets. I know servers should be paid a living wage, but that's not an excuse to stiff them! You're not hurting the system or the restaurant when you do that. You're making it directly harder for me to pay my bills. The owner and his wife are in for dinner tonight. They aren't in my section, but his wife is an instructor at the yoga studio so I know her really well. I stop by their table a few times to catch up and see what they think of the new menu items.
11:30 p.m. — Done with all the closing work. I get a lot of matcha soft serve because we're getting rid of it. The bartender, the other closing server, and I all take tequila shots and then I head out. I guess now is a good time to talk about my career. For the last two and a half years I was working in finance. I was miserable, underpaid, and undervalued. When I realized how badly my mental health was affected, I made a plan to put in my notice and went back to hospitality full time. I don't know what my next step is, but I'm so much happier now so I'm sticking with that feeling.
3 a.m. — L. was supposed to come over tonight and I accidentally crash right when I got home. I wake up at 3 and realize he's been trying to get ahold of me for an hour!!! He's here (he was waiting on my roof YIKES), so I let him in, apologize profusely, and we cuddle up to sleep.
Daily Total: $0
9:30 a.m. — We're awake and neither of us have to work until much later. We joke about last night and I apparently owe him three wishes now. We get up and walk to Popeyes around 11. I get a three piece tender (spicy obviously) and two biscuits. We walk back home and I make hot honey by whisking honey, hot sauce, cayenne, garlic, and salt together. I dip the chicken tenders in them and assemble hot honey chicken biscuits! $10
12 p.m. — L. and I watch Dear White People season three though we take a break for about half an hour to get back in bed. My roommate comes home and we do some cleaning together. I get ready for work with a shower and light makeup. I wear the same linen shorts from yesterday with a black crop. L. and I leave around 3:15 together.
4 p.m. — Family meal is wild today. Chicken, brisket (? we don't serve brisket ?), snap peas, potatoes, and a giant salad. I eat in the second wave then get back on the floor for pre-service. We do this before every night shift — it's so we can see/taste/ask questions about any new wines, food, or cocktails. Then it's straight to work! I'm outside again and all my tables are delightful. The energy from all the servers today is great: fun and goofy.
11 p.m. — I hand my tables off to the closing servers (we tip pool so I'll still get a portion of those tips) then do a load of candles to prep for the weekend. I clock out, say my goodbyes and head to the market. I grab two avocados that are nowhere near ripe and two tomatoes that look gorgeous. The subway is going to take ages at this hour so I sit on one of the benches to wait. $5.27
12:30 a.m. — That took SO much longer than it should have. I'm home and should immediately sleep, but I have too much energy. I wash my face, then clean the bathroom. I thought N. was home, but then realize she's out — good for her! I feed the cats and decide to move a plant out of the bathroom and into a room with a little more sunlight. I lay down around 1:30 and put on an old episode of Sawbones (a hilarious podcast) to help me sleep.
Daily Total: $15.27
6:15 a.m. — Up early to feed the cats and myself before going to job #1 today! I toast some bread then stir dried parsley into mayo and cut up one of the tomatoes I bought last night. So good!! I have time to come home before I work at the restaurant tonight so I just wear sweats and a tank to the yoga studio. Saturdays I work at one of our Manhattan locations, but it's just one stop further so it doesn't add too much to my commute. I listen to two episodes of The Daily I missed this week while I get ready. Out the door at 7:15!
8 a.m. — I honestly love Chinatown this early in the mornings. On Saturdays, all the markets are getting food deliveries, but they're just about the only people around so there's a nice buzz in the air. I unlock the studio and start getting things set up for the 8:30 class.
12:30 p.m. — Well we're down two of my staff, which is super fun (especially on busy Saturday mornings). My friend texts to see where I am — I let her know and she's on her way with tea! She's taking the 1:30 and decided to come early. Honestly, I met a lot of my NYC friends through the yoga studio, where I started as a work exchange, which I highly recommend to anyone able!
2 p.m. — It was great to catch up with my friend (and briefly my manager who came in for a minute), but now I need to hustle home. On my way to the subway, I pop into Duane Reade and grab cotton rounds. Then I run home, shower really quickly, apply a quick face, chat with my roommate, and head back out the door. $3.80
4:30 p.m. — I'm in the neighborhood early so I swing by my coffee shop and the angels behind the bar give me a lemonade. We talk for a second then I head to the park with my book for about 10 minutes (I'm reading Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl). I head into work at 4:30 and get started setting up family meal and filling water bottles. Family meal is rice, some kind of chili, and greens.
7:30 p.m. — For a Saturday.....yikes. We only have 130 on the books at start of service and lots of people are cancelling. We do have a special tonight, squid rigatoni, and chef makes the staff one. Holy shiiiiit that's delicious. I have some very sweet tables, but business is just super slow this summer.
10:30 p.m. — I take over tables from the opening servers and we start to wind down. As things are finishing, a ridiculous Twister-level gust of wind starts blowing through. We pull the awnings back and I tell my one table outside that they can finish their drinks at the bar. We close everything up, I marry the wine and organize things, polish a million wine glasses, and hug the bartender goodbye. It's his last night!!!! I call L. as I'm walking to the train. I like to chat with all the extra energy I have coming off shift. We talk about his day training and how lucky I am to only wait one minute for the train! I get home around 1 and promptly pass out after a shower and regular bedtime routine.
Daily Total: $3.80
6 a.m. — No. I hit snooze to the wrath of the cats until 6:45. I feed them, pack my bag, change into yoga clothes (like pajamas, but different?) then sleep until the last possible second.
7:22 a.m. — At the train platform and apparently the next one is 15 minutes away! Shit! Fuck! I check the prices for Lyft and a share is $4. I call it then head back to street-level. A group of men decide to catcall me and I usually ignore it because a lot of reasons (safety, am I really teaching those trash people anything, not giving them the reaction they want), but I'm too tired and too on-edge so I flip them off. They make more remarks and I don't turn around to see if they're walking away or toward me, I just walk to a group of people waiting for the bus and, honestly, try not to cry. My Lyft seems to be driving further and further away from me!!! More things making me want to cry!!!! I cancel that one and call another who gets there in three minutes. He drops me off second and right on time! I tip $5 on the $4 ride. $9
9 a.m. — I walk over to a different coffee shop in my area that has insane pastries. Usually, I would've just gone to my regular spot and gotten something for free, but I'm still shaky from this morning. I get a ham and cheese croissant as well as a blueberry muffin. The rest of the morning goes by smoothly and I enjoy catching up with the Sunday crew! We set up and break down three classes, keep things clean, and I handle any client questions. $11
2 p.m. — I'm starving. On Sundays, I tend to stay in the neighborhood because I'm right by my other job so it feels silly to go all the way home just to come back to the same spot. Usually, I bring food, but didn't today so I head to Le Superior with my book and get three tacos (two chorizo, one carne asada). I finish my book while I'm here. $15
3 p.m. — I head to a used bookstore and browse for something new. I realize they have a lot of copies of Left Hand of Darkness, which I haven't read before. I buy it then read some in the park before I go into work. I head into work at 4:30. The day goes by quickly and I think I made a good amount of money!! L. meets me at the restaurant right before we close so I don't fall asleep on him again. We walk toward the train and head home. Tomorrow, we're going up to Columbia (I've never been!) and Harlem since we're both off. Goodnight! $7
Daily Total: $42
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