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. (Thanks, New York mag, for the inspiration.)
This week: A recent college grad making $50,000 per year as a content editor, who's been waiting two years to see Hamilton.
Occupation: Content Editor
Industry: Information Services
Location: Lower East Side, NYC
Paycheck Amount (2x / month): $1,215
Monthly Housing Costs: $1,647.50 for my half. I share a two-bedroom shoebox with my friend from high school.
Monthly Loan Payments: $0, I'm lucky that my parents paid for my college education.
Utilities: Roughly $40 for gas, my half. We recently signed up with Green Mountain Energy, and for an extra $6.95 a month, our electricity comes from renewable power. Totally worth it!
Cable and Wi-Fi: $34.85
Travel: $121 for a monthly MetroCard pass, which comes out of my paycheck on a pre-tax basis; $60 for cabs; $24 for trains home.
Health Insurance: I'm on my parents' plan.
Phone Bill: I'm on my parents' plan.
Gym Membership: $175, reimbursed $100 through work.
HBO Now: $14.99
401(k): $75 per paycheck. I also have a savings account that has about $15,000 in it.
8:45 a.m. — I signed up for a 9:30 a.m. spin class before I went to bed last night, and now regret it. I chug a glass of water and walk 20 minutes to the studio.
10:15 a.m. — I'm really into the house music the instructor plays and come in eighth in the class! I don't want to be late to brunch with my cousins uptown, so I eat a free banana for breakfast on my way out.
11:15 a.m. — I take the subway to the Upper East Side to meet my cousins and their friends from San Francisco. It's a running joke among my friends that I never go above 14th Street, so it's nice to get out of my downtown bubble and try a new brunch spot!
1:30 p.m. — I order scrambled eggs, bacon, breakfast potatoes, and a complimentary Bloody Mary. I only get to see my cousins once or twice a year because we live on opposite coasts, so it's great to catch up with them. The bill comes and my cousin puts it on her card. I Venmo her for my meal, plus tip. $17
1:45 p.m. — It's warm for February, so we walk 10 blocks to The Met. I have an NYCID, which gets you free memberships to over 40 museums in the city! I'm excited to learn that I saved $25 on entry today.
4 p.m. — My feet hurt from walking all day (I probably should have worn more comfortable shoes) and I'm hitting a "Sunday scaries " slump. One of my cousins is heading back to San Francisco tonight, so we take the 6 train downtown together and say our goodbyes. I promise her I'll visit this summer!
4:45 p.m. — I stop in CVS to pick up toothbrushes, toothpaste, and my birth control. Unfortunately, my health insurance doesn't cover my particular birth control, so I have to pay out-of-pocket every month. It's getting expensive, so I make a mental note to call my gynecologist this week to talk about other options. (Hello, IUD!) $84.13
6 p.m. — My older cousin who lives in Brooklyn invites me over for dinner with his wife. I'm exhausted from my workout this morning and walking around all afternoon, plus I have to finish up some work for tomorrow, so I politely decline. Usually, I spend my Sunday afternoons meal prepping, but I've had an active day already and don't feel like walking to Trader Joe's. I remember I have leftover whole-wheat pesto pasta with mozzarella and chicken sausage that my friend and I made for dinner last night in the fridge, so I heat that up and turn on the Oscars red carpet.
8 p.m. — My friends and I are going to Miami in May, so I check Google Flights to see if our flight has gone up. It has, but I don't feel like paying $353 for a round trip ticket, so I decide to wait and see if it goes down this week.
Daily Total: $101.13
8 a.m. — I shower and make oatmeal with almond milk, almond butter, and cinnamon. I pack a frozen Trader Joe's meal for lunch and grab a couple of peppermint tea bags from my kitchen. I try not to drink coffee or any caffeine, although I've been pretty bad about buying unnecessary coffee as an excuse to get out of the office recently.
8:40 a.m. — I drop off laundry on the way to the subway and pay $12 for 16 pounds — a bargain in my otherwise pricey neighborhood. $12
9 a.m. — I grab a free iced coffee from the kitchen and check emails from the weekend.
11 a.m. — My company has a mentoring program that pairs recent college grads with higher-level employees. I meet my mentor for coffee at Le Pain Quotidien for a quick check-in. She pays, and we chat about my first few months at the company. She gives great career advice and promises to connect me with some of her colleagues in the department I'm interested in moving to.
12:30 p.m. — I tell myself that if I bring lunch everyday to the office, then I can treat myself to dinners out on Fridays or Saturdays. Today, I eat a Trader Joe's frozen meal (Greens, Beans, and Grains) and it's actually pretty good!
1 p.m. — I check Google Flights to see if the Miami flight price has gone down. It hasn't, but my friends and I decide on a cheaper, earlier one that costs $277. Apparently the best flight rates are on Tuesdays, so we decide to wait until tomorrow to book.
2 p.m. — They've restocked my favorite iced tea in the kitchen, so I grab two.
3:45 p.m. — I raid my coworker's snack drawer and eat a handful of Oreo Minis.
6 p.m. — I pick up my laundry and heat up a bowl of quinoa soup and a veggie burger. I still need to go grocery shopping, so I look through Thug Kitchen for recipe inspo.
8:15 p.m. — My roommate and I take a yoga class at the gym.
9:30 p.m. — I'm too lazy to go to Trader Joe's tonight, so I stop in our neighborhood grocery store on my way home from the gym. I buy bananas, scallions, shallots, red bell peppers, shiitake mushrooms, snap peas, rice noodles, popcorn, chicken sausage, and eggs. I'm surprisingly under budget for food this week. $36.97
10 p.m. — I meal prep breakfast for the remainder of the week. I decide on egg cups with chicken sausage and spinach. My apartment smells like baked eggs, so I light a candle and watch last night's episode of Big Little Lies before going to bed.
Daily Total: $48.97
8 a.m. — I have three egg cups and pack snacks and lunch for the day: leftover quinoa soup, brown rice cakes, popcorn, and a banana.
9 a.m. — I'm the first one in the office, so I grab a free iced tea and check Google Flights. Still $277 round trip to Miami, but my friends and I agree to bite the bullet and buy them anyway. I'm going to Miami! $277
10:45 a.m. — My throat has been killing me all morning, so I make ginger turmeric tea and eat a bag of Skinny Pop.
12:30 p.m. — I eat the leftover quinoa soup for lunch and shop online for bathing suits.
1 p.m. — More tea. I hope I'm not getting sick.
2:30 p.m. — My coworkers and I go out for a snack. I have rice cakes and almond butter at the office, but I'm craving a lime seltzer. $1.25
5:15 p.m. — I leave the office early because I can't stop sneezing/my head feels like it's about to explode. I pick up Claritin and a bag of cherry Luden's on the way home. $10.68
6 p.m. — I make tofu Pad Thai from the Thug Kitchen cookbook. I add snow peas, a green bell pepper, shiitake mushrooms, frozen broccoli, frozen spinach, garlic and shallots to a pan. I halve the amount of rice noodles the recipe calls for, and it still makes a ton! I box up the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
7:30 p.m. — I take a last-minute spin class at my studio. I've taken five classes this month, so I get a free class next week!
Daily Total: $288.93
7 a.m. — I heat up three egg cups and head to the gym for a quick workout.
9:15 a.m. — I get into the office on the later end because I shower at the club. I make myself a cup of ginger turmeric tea and read my emails.
10:45 a.m. — Snack on a banana I left at the office yesterday.
11 a.m. — I make myself another cup of tea. I'm also pretty sure I've finished half of the cherry Luden's this morning...
12:30 p.m. — I heat up leftover Pad Thai for lunch. I'm not super hungry, so I only finish half. I feel bad about wasting it, but I don't think it makes for great leftovers.
2 p.m. — I meet with my boss about a new project I'm working on. We snack on homemade coconut peanut brittle that my coworker made.
3 p.m. — Another cup of tea. And some brittle.
4:30 p.m. — My friends want to meet up tonight. We're all on a budget and are trying to limit our happy hours, so we decide on a cheap salad place in Union Square.
6:30 p.m. — I meet my friends for dinner. I order a salad with chicken, tzatziki, roasted eggplants, hummus, and red cabbage. I grab a raspberry-lime seltzer for the road. $13.47
8 p.m. — My boyfriend comes over to hang out and watch TV. He's been on vacation for the past week, so it's nice to finally see him again! He hasn't eaten dinner yet, so he orders Seamless. I snack on a rice cake with almond butter and half a banana while he eats.
11 p.m. — We catch up on last week's episode of Girls and pass out.
Daily Total: $13.47
8:30 a.m. — We oversleep. As he scrambles to get ready — he has to be at work by 9 a.m. — I heat up the remaining egg cups. He's a huge fan!
9:20 a.m. — I make peppermint tea at the office and check my email. I recently joined a new gym, so I get 25% off my first spa service and an additional 25% off because it's my birthday month! I make a note to book a facial ASAP.
12 p.m. — I eat leftover salad for lunch, and top it with some falafel and grilled chicken I had in the fridge. It looks gross, but tastes pretty good.
2 p.m. — I snack on a brown rice cake, almond butter, and half a banana.
2:55 p.m. — Office trip to Starbucks. I've officially hit my mid-afternoon slump, and I'm craving an iced coffee with almond milk. $3.47
4 p.m. — My free spin class expires early next week, so I book it for tomorrow morning.
6 p.m. — I meet a family friend at her office for happy hour. She works for a massive tech company, which is basically my dream career. (Shout out to #womeninSTEM) I pour myself a draft beer at the open bar and network for a couple of hours with her coworkers.
8 p.m. — I make the dangerous decision to go shopping on Broadway on my way home. I stop into Zara and try on a lacey v-neck bodysuit that I think will pair nicely with high-waisted jeans and booties. Plus, it's only $25! I pay with leftover Christmas money from Grandma. $25
8:30 p.m. — I make yellow curry with frozen shrimp, kale, shiitake mushrooms, and basmati rice for dinner. The curry comes in a starter jar I got at Trader Joe's last week, and it's surprisingly amazing.
9:30 p.m. — I snack on a bag of Skinny Pop and watch The Office on the couch. I eventually move to my bed and pass out early.
Daily Total: $28.47
7:30 a.m. — I roll out of bed and walk to the spin studio. I'm still not feeling great.
8:15 a.m. — I'm famished post-spin, so I grab a free apple on my way out.
8:30 a.m. — Still famished. I make almond butter toast with a banana and hop in the shower.
9 a.m. — I'm working from home today, and I check my email and start on a new project I was assigned yesterday.
10:45 a.m. — I eat a bag of Skinny Pop and make myself a cup of peppermint tea.
12:15 p.m. — Feeling sicker as the morning progresses. I order noodles and Chinese greens from the dim sum place down the street. It's expensive, but my throat feels better instantly. $16.33
4 p.m. — My friend is coming in from Boston for the night! I clean the apartment before she gets in.
5 p.m. — I finish up a couple of emails and snack on pita chips. My friend arrives and we decide to treat ourselves to a little 'spree at Aritzia. I try on a pair of high-waisted black jeans and a silk top. Both fit perfectly, so I can't resist. I use a gift card to help with the damage. $103
6:30 p.m. — We run to Whole Foods on the way back to my apartment and pick up wine, cheese, crackers, and grapes. I pay for the wine, she buys the eats. $13.05
8 p.m. — We finish the bottle of wine and meet our other friend at a taco place in Nolita. It's a 30-minute wait for our table so we get margaritas at the bar. $14.16
9 p.m. — The hostess finally seats us. Just as we're getting settled in, she moves us to a neighboring table to accommodate a bigger party. She apologizes for any inconvenience and orders us guac on the house. Free guac and killer margs? I'm definitely coming back!
10 p.m. — We order chicken, carnitas, and fish tacos, and a margarita pitcher. Everything is delicious and the check isn't as scary as I thought it would be. $30.90
11 p.m. — We stop by a friend's birthday party at a bar in the Lower East Side. It's good to show face and mingle with people I haven't seen in a few months. My friend and I order vodka sodas at the bar. $8.50
12:30 a.m. — The alcohol isn't making my allergies/cold any better, so I hint to my friend that it's time to head home. Luckily, she's tired too. The bar is only a few blocks from my apartment, so we thankfully don't have to spend money on a cab.
Daily Total: $185.94
9:30 a.m. — I wake up with a mild hangover. My friend grabs a blue Gatorade from the fridge and we split it. (Always important to be prepared!)
10 a.m. — I make scrambled eggs and a green smoothie with kale, pineapple, almond butter, and banana while she gets ready to meet her family for the day.
11:00 a.m. — My mom texts me that the fam is on their way to meet me uptown. We're seeing Hamilton today, something that my family's been looking forward to for almost two years! I shower and start to get ready.
12 p.m. — My boyfriend FaceTimes me to complain about his hangover. He was out too late last night and wants to have a chill night in. We make tentative plans to meet up after the show.
2 p.m. — I take the subway uptown to meet my family.
4:45 p.m. — Hamilton was incredible and had me in tears! The music was better than I imagined, and the message was so politically relevant. We walk to an early dinner and decide that we need to buy tickets again. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)
5:15 p.m. — I'm hungry and the parents are paying, which is a deadly combination. I order a glass of red wine and a burger with fries. We split shishito peppers and artichoke dip for an appetizer and chocolate cake for dessert. I can barely move at the end of the meal!
7 p.m. — I head back to my apartment to gather a few sleepover things to bring to my boyfriend's tonight. On the way I stop at Duane Reade to buy Sour Patch Watermelon and jalapeño Skinny Pop (our favorite). I grab a box of tissues for myself because my nose has been running nonstop all day! $7.85
8:30 p.m. — My boyfriend lives in Long Island City, so it takes a solid hour (weekend train delays) for me to get to his apartment. We crash on the couch and start Fences.
10 p.m. — We're both exhausted/hungover and only make it through an hour of the movie (Sorry, Viola, I still love you!). We turn on his pick, V for Vendetta.
11 p.m. — My boyfriend orders pizza and garlic knots. I'm still full post-burger but have a slice anyway.
12:30 a.m. — I fall asleep on the couch and totally miss the end of the movie. He fills me in as I get ready for bed. I think about setting my alarm for the gym tomorrow, but he convinces me not to. Sundays are for sleeping in!
Daily Total: $7.85
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