A Week In Brooklyn, NY, On A $65,000 Salary

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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 copywriter who makes $65,000 per year and spends it on tiny pumpkins.

Occupation: Copywriter
Industry: Advertising
Age: 26
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Salary: $65,000 plus two bonuses (usually about $5,000 total)
Paycheck (2x/Month): $1,593.09

Monthly Expenses
Housing Costs: $1,180 for my share of a two-bedroom apartment.
Loan Payments: $373.67

All Other Monthly Expenses
Phone: $50. I'm on my parents' plan but I set it up so my bank automatically sends a check every month for my share.
Internet: $34.69 for my share
Gas & Electricity: About $45. This varies, but this is an estimate based on our cost this month last year.
Car Insurance: $100. My roommate has a car that we share, so I help with the (insanely) high insurance payments.
Metro Card: $121
Spotify: $9.99
Netflix: $9.99. I share with my roommate.
Hulu: $0. I use my sister's.
Amazon Prime: $0. My roommate pays for our Amazon prime every year since I handle Netflix.
Sephora Beauty Box: $10.99
Gym: $20
Planned Parenthood Donation: $10
401(k): $162.48. My company matches.
Savings: I have $75 automatically transfer into my savings each month, but I also add whatever I can, usually a few hundred dollars each month.

Day One

8 a.m. — I finally wake up after snoozing a few times. I had a hard time sleeping last night (hello, night anxiety). I finally pull myself out of bed and get ready for Monday. I feed my two pet rabbits and refill their hay; they're both rescue rabbits and I love them so much. I'm out the door by 8:45.

9:30 a.m. — I get into the office and fill up my water bottle. I work in advertising, and we have a new-ish client who is super demanding. I spend most of the morning in a meeting on a new set of emails we have to deliver.

12:30 p.m. — Finally time for lunch. I usually bring lunch, but I didn't prep anything for today, so I go out for a turkey sandwich and chips. I also have a soda from the stash I keep at my desk. I know soda is bad for me, but I don't drink coffee, so I'll have one if I really, really need the caffeine. $9.34

3 p.m. — I take a break from work to shop online. I'm going to a wedding back home in the Midwest next weekend with my roommate, W. I go a little crazy on ASOS Curve and order five dresses and some rings. Their return policy is great though, so I'll send back whatever doesn't work. $283.95

6 p.m. — After a frustrating afternoon at work, I'm finally on my way home. I stop by the grocery store to pick up a few things I need for dinner: honey, Dijon mustard, and chicken, which is on sale for 40% off. I also pick up an orange. $18.97

8:30 p.m. — Done with dinner. I made honey-Dijon marinated chicken with mashed potatoes and roasted green beans. W. comes home and we eat together and chat. We got into a little disagreement yesterday (over what turns out to have been a silly miscommunication), and talk about it. W. is my best friend from college, and we're super close. He recently started dating a new guy, and it's caused a little bit of tension. We talk about everything and hang out for a while.

Daily Total: $312.26

Day Two

7:30 a.m. — I wake up a little bit earlier today, take a shower, and do some things around the house, including bunny duty. I also make a smoothie, using frozen berries from Trader Joe's, a banana, almond milk, kale and spinach, and Tone It Up protein powder my sister convinced me to buy a few months ago. I put it in a disposable cup from a set I bought from Amazon last week. I know I should use a reusable tumbler, but to be honest, I think lugging around a dirty tumbler would dissuade me from drinking the smoothies.

8:45 a.m. — I get a seat on the subway and open my book. I finished up Sweetbitter last week (I hated it), and now I'm starting The Alice Network.

9:30 a.m. — I get to work. I'm writing a few website pages for that new client. I usually like writing web copy, but this client is so annoying and I am frustrated.

11:45 a.m. — I reheat leftover chicken and mashed potatoes in the office microwave. I throw the green beans in the toaster oven in an attempt to crisp them; it almost works. While I eat, I read a long-form article at my desk. I like to bookmark interesting articles on my computer and come back to them when I have a break or eat my lunch.

12:30 p.m. — A few weeks ago, I noticed that one of my favorite leather bags was starting to fall apart — the piece that connected the strap to the purse was wearing out. I contacted the company, and they told me I could get it repaired and get reimbursed later ($50). I walk to a local shoe shop and drop my baby off.

2:20 p.m. — After a long (but professional) argument with my creative partner about some web pages, I go to the office kitchen in search of a snack. I go back to my desk with a cup full of pretzels and two chocolates from the receptionist's desk.

4 p.m. — There's leftover food in the office kitchen. Since I won't be able to eat dinner until late, I grab a half-sandwich and salad.

5:45 p.m. — I leave work and stop by Walgreens to pick up new tweezers since mine disappeared, and a bottle of water. I'm taking a screenwriting class at a local college, and tonight is the first one! I'm really excited about it — and my company paid for the course. $13.09

9:30 p.m. — I finally make it back to my neighborhood. I stop by a bodega to grab milk for mac and cheese. To make the credit card minimum, I also buy a pint of ice cream, which I put in the freezer after I get home. I make and eat my pasta, wash my face, and immediately go to bed. $9

Daily Total: $22.09

Day Three

8 a.m. — I wake up late today and rush to get ready. My office is very casual, so I put on a t-shirt and cardigan with high-waisted black jeans and a pair of "smoking" flats. I make my smoothie and am out the door by 8:45.

12 p.m. — I spent most of my morning writing a print advertisement for one of my favorite clients, and then in a meeting about another. My boss treats us to lunch today; I put in my order (a turkey and brie sandwich), which I eat at my desk while writing a radio commercial we need to submit ASAP.

6:15 p.m. — After yet another long meeting about our creative direction for our difficult client, I finally head out. I make it just in time for a 7 p.m. cardio kickboxing class at the gym by my house. It totally kicks my ass and I am a sweaty mess afterwards, but I feel better. I get back on the subway to take the two stops home.

8 p.m. — When I get home, I immediately start prepping a late dinner. I wash rice and put it in the rice cooker, and throw some of Trader Joe's honey-walnut shrimp in the oven to bake. I shower, change into pajamas, and then come back in the kitchen to microwave a bunch of frozen broccoli. I eat my dinner (expertly paired with a hard cider) while watching an episode of Top of The Lake. Then I read for a bit and go to bed.

Daily Total: $0

Day Four

7:30 a.m. — I wake up late and rush to get ready. Since I showered last night, I just put on light makeup, get dressed, and feed the rabbits. I skip my morning smoothie and am out the door by 8. Once I get to the metro, I realize I left my monthly card in my jeans pocket, so I have to buy a single-ride. I am annoyed at myself. $3

9:02 a.m. — I make it to my therapy appointment, a bit sweaty and a couple minutes late. I decided to start going to therapy a few months ago, mostly to talk about relationship/family/life stuff. I cry literally every time, no matter what we're talking about; it's weird. I put my co-pay on my credit card so I at least get points. $30

10 a.m. — Roll into work and start rewriting a web page we talked about yesterday.

12:15 p.m. — I am so hungry since I missed my smoothie this morning. I heat up the leftover chicken, potatoes, and beans I was supposed to eat yesterday, but it isn't very good. While I eat, I check my bank balance and notice that my automatic student loan payment has been taken out. I went to a public university in my home state; my parents did not contribute to my tuition or living expenses. I took a lot of AP classes and worked part-time throughout high school, so I graduated with my bachelor's (a double major) in three years and about $22,000 in student loan debt. I've been paying it off for five years, and have about $4,800 left to pay.

1:25 p.m. — I take a break from work to order an apple peeler/corer/slicer from Amazon. I've been meaning to get this for a while. $18.99

2:30 p.m. — My coworker and creative partner wants to grab a coffee, so we head out. I pick up my repaired bag (it looks great!) and we stop by Eataly. I can't resist buying a scoop of tiramisu-flavored gelato. $4.90

5:15 p.m. — I head out a little early today and catch the subway exit door just as someone else is leaving. (So I get in without having to pay. I don't really feel that guilty.) I stop by the grocery store near my house and buy five apples, a package of garlic, and some 7Up. $8.49

6:30 p.m. — A former coworker (and current friend) comes over. She recently moved into my neighborhood and we both love food, so we get together about once a week to cook together. She brought brussels sprouts and baby potatoes, both of which we roast with garlic and olive oil. (The bunnies also try raw brussels sprouts for the first time, and they are Big Fans.) I also prepare steak, which is amazing. I used to be intimidated by cooking red meat, but I've been trying to expand my kitchen skills. I also make us brandy Old Fashioneds. We drink and watch an episode of The Bachelor. About a month ago, we bought Ben's season on Amazon and are slowly making our way through it. Olivia is the worst.

9:30 p.m. — My friend heads home just as another guest comes over, a guy I've been seeing (very) casually for about four months. We're not dating right now (a mix of both our schedules and some intense family stuff he's going through right now), but he sleeps over about once a week. We always have a great time together, and it feels healthy. We're both honest about where we're at, and we actually end up touching base on things tonight.

Daily Total: $65.38

Day Five

8 a.m. — Dude left early this morning, but I snooze for a bit before getting up. As I'm stepping out of the shower, my mom calls. We chat while I get ready for work, which includes prepping my lunch, feeding and watering the bunnies, and putting on light make up. We wrap up the call as I'm heading out the door, this time with my MetroCard in hand.

10:30 a.m. — This morning is unusually slow for me, so I spend time Gchatting with one of my best friends, who lives in San Francisco. We haven't seen each other in a long time (over three years, thanks to cross-country airfares!) but we talk nearly every day. I also spend some time researching things to do in Paris. My roommate W. and I are going for almost a week around Thanksgiving (it'll be his first time there) and I'm really excited.

12:30 p.m. — I head out of the office to stretch my legs and to grab fresh chips from a nearby Chipotle to supplement my lunch. I head back into the office to reheat it; I made a homemade burrito bowl with brown rice, seasoned chicken, lots of lettuce, refried beans, and cheese. It is absolutely amazing and I end up sharing a bit with my creative partner, who sits across from me. $1.63

5 p.m. — After a long afternoon, W. and I meet up for a post-work movie. We use movie passes to buy our tickets to The Mountain Between Us. I always make sure to maximize our savings by using rewards cards for theaters — and we have enough AMC points to score a free popcorn and soda combo.

8 p.m. — The movie was terrible; not even Idris and Kate could save it. Once we're home, we're both too tired to do much else, but I do make homemade pie crust and use my new apple peeler/corer to make impromptu apple dumplings. This is my first attempt, and they're not amazing, but they'll do. We eat them while watching a few episodes of Parks and Rec on Netflix.

Daily Total: $1.63

Day Six

8 a.m. — W. and I both get up early because we have a jam-packed fall day planned! After getting ready, we make smoothies and head out the door to drive into Long Island to go to a farm. W. and I share the large majority of our expenses, so I have a running spreadsheet that I update every few days. Everything I spend today will eventually go into the spreadsheet, and he will pay me his half via Venmo later in the month.

10 a.m. — We get to the farm, but realize that the pumpkin patch is further up the road. We're both hungry, though, so we buy two apple cider donuts and a water for me. $8

10:15 a.m. — We get back into the car and go up the road. The patch is full of great pumpkin choices, and it doesn't take long for us to get six pumpkins — enough for the pumpkin carving pumpkin we're hosting tomorrow at our apartment. $35

11 a.m. — We head to the apple orchard, but realize they have a picking minimum. I only need enough apples for a pie, so we decide to head back to the main farm area because W wants to do the corn maze. We pay for admission and a Gatorade for W, and head in; the maze is a little anxiety-inducing, but we manage to get through it in 20 minutes! $14

11:30 a.m. — We head into the main farm building/store so I can buy those apples. I also insist on getting three sugar pumpkins, baby pumpkins for decorating our apartment, and apple cider. $25.12

12 p.m. — Since we're already so far out in Long Island, I drag W. to the West Elm Warehouse store at Tanger Outlets. We don't end up getting anything, despite falling in love with basically everything.

12:30 p.m. — After some quick research, we decide to go to a local seafood spot for lunch. I've been wanting to try out scallops after the latest season of Bachelor in Paradise, so we get some as an appetizer, and then split the “clam bake,” which includes a whole lobster, shrimp, clams, mussels, corn on the cob, and a baked potato. It comes with only one bib and a tiny fork, which indicates that this entire thing is meant for one person. We're barely able finish it. W. also gets a glass of wine and I get a Coke. $63.17

2 p.m. — We head to a local grocery store to get supplies for tomorrow. I want to make vegetarian chili (two of our guests don't eat meat), so I pick up red beans, pinto beans, black beans, vegetarian broth, an onion, crushed tomatoes, two jalapeño peppers, green onions, sour cream, and cheddar cheese. We also get a big thing of olive oil, spreadable butter, oranges, 7Up and Squirt, and Cool Whip. $60.22

2:45 — Quick stop for gas. $25

3:30 p.m. — W. decides he wants to stop by Dairy Queen for a Blizzard. He orders brownie and I get strawberry cheesecake. It's not very good and I regret it almost instantly. I only finish a third of it and am annoyed at myself for getting anything. $9.86

5:30 p.m. — Back in Brooklyn. We stop by the liquor store on our way home to get brandy for tomorrow and a few bottles of white wine. $58.68

9:30 p.m. — We spend most of our evening prepping for tomorrow and jamming out to Musical soundtracks (Little Shop of Horrors, Chicago, and Hairspray). I roast the sugar pumpkins and make puree, most of which I freeze. I also make an apple pie (with a crumble top), a pumpkin pie, and roast the pumpkin seeds. I give the bunnies some of the apple peel, which is their absolute favorite treat. Then it's time for bed.

Daily Total: $299.05

Day Seven

9:30 a.m. — I get up a bit later than usual. W and I talked about going to a Zumba class together this morning, but decide we don't have enough time with everything we want to do before people come over. I make the chili in the crockpot and clean the kitchen, while W. takes care of the bunny area, vacuums, and Swiffers. I also decide to make homemade soft pretzels for the first time! I make half the dough as traditional pretzels and the other half as bites. They turn out really well. After prepping for most of the morning, I shower and get ready.

11:45 a.m. — W. and I run out to grab a couple of last-minute items for our party: tea lights for the jack-o-lanterns, a plastic tablecloth for easy clean up, fancy mustard for the pretzels, and ice cream for our pie, $19.77

2 p.m. — Our friends come over. We have a great time drinking Old Fashioneds and wine, carving our pumpkins, and eating. The pretzels are a definite hit. We also play “Red Flags,” a fun Cards Against Humanity-type game. Everyone at the party is single (except W. and his new love interest), so some of the flags hit a little too close to home. Everyone leaves around 9, and I do the bare minimum of cleaning before washing my face and going to bed.

Daily Total: $19.77

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