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 HR Manager who makes $100,000 per year, and spends some of her money this week on shoes and a jacket from Patagonia.
Occupation: HR Manager
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Paycheck (Biweekly): $2,663.54
Housing: $600. My boyfriend (C.) and I live in a big, two-bedroom apartment in Park Slope. Even though we can afford to live alone, we choose to have a roommate because C. is freelancing and doesn't have a steady income, and it allows me to save a ton of money. Our roommate pays $1,400/month and C. and I split the remaining rent and utilities. Occasionally, when C. and I are both out of town, we'll put up our room on Airbnb. (But I usually let C. put that money into his account.)
Student Loans: $300. I have about $6,200 left to pay, down from the $18,000 I graduated with.
All Other Monthly Expenses
Renter's Insurance: $13.42, which includes C.
Phone: I'm still on my parents' plan, but C. and I both need new phones, and we're planning to add me to his plan soon.
401(k): 15% of every paycheck
Medical, Dental, Health & Life Insurance: $51.05
Unlimited MetroCard: $121 pre-tax
6:40 a.m. — C. and I spent the weekend at his brother's farm upstate so we get up early to catch the train into the city. We're toast after spending a full Sunday doing manual labor on the farm. C.'s brother drives us to the train station, and we buy tickets on the mobile app. $18.50
9:45 a.m. — Finally off the train. It takes a transfer in Jersey and a subway ride to get to my office, and it's Monday morning rush hour. Woof. I decide I need a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich to survive the morning. I order it on an everything bagel and fork over my money. The only bodega in my work hood closed so now, I have to rely on a bougie bagel place for my BEC fix. $8.11
10 a.m. — Get to the office and pour a cup of coffee with cream. I have a bite of the coffee cake sitting on the counter and eat my BEC with hot sauce at my desk. C. texts to tell me he's stopping for a sausage, egg, and cheese. Snap him a picture of my BEC and tell him great minds think alike.
1 p.m. — I'm not very hungry but I know the afternoon will get away from me if I don't grab something now. Head to a local joint that has good/healthy food. It seems pricey but I can save half for a second meal. I get braised Mediterranean chicken over sweet potato mash and a side of kale-avocado-bean salad and cauliflower. $11.38
1:30 p.m. — Ugh. Cauliflower tastes like sulfur. I've never loved it, but I always hope I'll grow out of not liking it. Wrong again.
2 p.m. — A coworker is going to a fundraiser to benefit victims of Hurricane Maria. I want to contribute, so I Venmo him $20. I have a stockpile of cash in my Venmo account from various birthday gifts and from covering friends, so it feels like Monopoly money to me. $20
3:30 p.m. — I'm bored, and this afternoon has been so unproductive. I cut up an apple from the office pantry and drink some water. I'm so sore from the farm work yesterday!
5:10 p.m. — I practically run out of the office. I'm so excited to get home. I veg on the couch for a while with a seltzer and my book.
7 p.m. — C. and I watch Jeopardy (our weeknight tradition) and make dinner. He went to the store earlier and got flank steak, greens, and artichokes. We eat an amazing dinner and binge watch the second season of Master of None. I'm asleep before I hit the pillow around 10:30.
Daily Total: $57.99
7:20 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I'm not ready to get out of bed. I take a quick shower and head into the city on the subway.
8:45 a.m. — Stop by the coffee shop and get an iced skim latte and a zucchini peach muffin. I have a site visit at my company's future office, so I put my breakfast on the company card. ($7.45 expensed)
10:15 a.m. — The site visit is over, and I'm really excited about the new office. There's lots of marble and swanky light fixtures — definitely an upgrade from our current space. I walk 15 minutes uptown to the old office.
12 p.m. — My company is doing an online promo to stress-test our website. They're offering 50% off three items for all employees (we usually only get 25% discounts). I buy C. a new pair of Nikes, a Patagonia jacket for him for Christmas, and I get myself a pair of Vans. $129
1:30 p.m. — Heat up my leftover lunch from yesterday and wolf it down at my desk while reading.
2:30 p.m. — Second lunch! C. packed me the rest of the flank steak from last night plus greens and dressing so I toss it all together in a big bowl that I keep at my desk.
3:45 p.m. — Spent the last hour browsing dresses on Rent the Runway for a gala C. and I are going to next month. I love dressing up, but I don't own anything fancy, and I want to go big for my first gala. I find an amazing Badgley Mischka dress that retails for $660 and is only $115 to rent before shipping, insurance, and tax. My work bestie sends me a $30 discount since it's my first time using RtR, so I apply that and order the dress. $108.34
5:20 p.m. — Leave the office and take the subway home. The trains are a nightmare, and I come home in a major funk to a sunburned and hangry C. I drink a seltzer on the couch and fume while he complains about work.
7 p.m. — We watch Jeopardy. C. makes a sausage and Swiss chard pasta, and I make a salad. We manage to snap out of our funk and watch an episode of Project Runway followed by an episode of Master of None with chocolate peanut butter ice cream. Hit the hay at 11.
Daily Total: $237.34
7:30 a.m. — Alarm goes off and I stare at my phone in bed for 30 minutes. I forego a shower and head out the door. It's humid, and the whole way in, I feel like I'm going to die on the subway.
9 a.m. — Pour myself an office coffee and cut up a banana over oatmeal. This is my normal work breakfast, but I've been bad the last couple of days with BECs and muffins.
12 p.m. — My office has a town hall meeting today and lunch from Le Pain Quotidien is provided. I take a half ham-and-cheese and a half turkey club sandwich plus arugula salad, a cookie, and a strawberry.
2:30 p.m. — Nibble on a few sour gummy worms that I have stashed under my desk for mid-afternoon sweet tooth emergencies.
3 p.m. — Walk to the coffee shop with a colleague for our weekly 1:1. We each get iced tea. ($4 expensed)
5:30 p.m. — Head out of the office for a long walk home. I need to call my parents to catch up, and I like doing that while I'm on a walk. I call my mom and trek the 4.5 miles over the Brooklyn Bridge and to my apartment.
7 p.m. — Home just in time for Jeopardy. I watch with my roommate and then heat up leftover sausage and chard pasta. C. is at a work dinner and won't be home 'til later.
10 p.m. — Spent the last couple of hours reading and staring at engagement rings on the internet. C. gets home, and we giggle and talk for an hour and a half before passing out.
Daily Total: $0
7:40 a.m. — Alarm goes off, and I'm up, showered, and out the door.
9 a.m. — Coffee and banana over oatmeal from the work pantry.
12:15 p.m. — Walk to my go-to healthy lunch spot, and order a small kale, black bean, and avocado salad with sweet potato mash and salmon on top; it's delicious. $10.89
3 p.m. — Find an almost ripe peach in the office pantry and eat it at my desk.
5:15 p.m. — My afternoon was uneventful at work, but my office has a happy hour down the street. I stroll over with a couple colleagues and order a beer. ($7 expensed)
6:30 p.m. — I'm on my way to meet C. and some of his friends for dinner and drinks in Brooklyn. When I get there, C. has a beer waiting for me. We order four tacos, and I pay since C. offers to get my beers for the night. $18
10:30 p.m. — We have a good time and a few more beers, and at the end of the night we hail a cab for the mile to our apartment. C. tells me he'll pay if I buy him a slice of pizza. We stop at the pizza place right under our apartment and order a cheese slice for C. and a pepperoni slice for me and stumble upstairs to bed. $6.50
Daily Total: $35.39
8 a.m. — TGIF, but oh man, I'm hungover. Three and a half beers never made a dent in me before; I am clearly getting old. I have a meeting with my financial advisor at 10, and my boss knows I'll be in late. I get dressed, eat a bowl of cereal, and head out by 9 to go uptown.
10 a.m. — My financial advisor is so nice. I order a giant coffee, and we go over my investments. We're moving money around and transferring $11,000 into a mutual fund, and starting in mid-October, I'll be contributing $1,050/month into various investment funds. We agree that I can decrease my 401(k) contributions to 10% of my paycheck and still max out on my employer match, while keeping my discretionary funds comfortable.
11:15 a.m. — Back at the office and there are donuts on the counter. I cut a jelly donut in half and proceed to inhale it.
12:45 p.m. — My colleague asks if I want to grab lunch, so we go to our favorite cute café and decide to sit outside since it's so beautiful. I order a steak salad with blue cheese, onions, strawberries, hazelnuts, and snap peas, and it's so freaking good. ($24 expensed)
3 p.m. — Snack on sour gummy worms from my desk stash and decrease my 401(k) contributions to 10% per my financial advisor's instructions.
5 p.m. — Eat a pot sticker and a scallion pancake from the office before I head home. It's finally the weekend!
6 p.m. — The jacket and shoes I bought earlier in the week arrived! C. loves his shoes and jacket, but I'm not really excited about my Vans; they're very white. I'm not sure if I'll keep them for next summer or send them back for a $30 refund.
7:30 p.m. — C. and I each drink a beer, and he suggests we hang out on the couch and order delivery for dinner. We've been dating for almost a year and a half, and we've literally never done this before. We decide on our favorite Szechuan place and order spicy marinated cucumbers, spicy pork wontons, and double-cooked chicken. I pay and tell C. he can get groceries tomorrow. We chill on the couch for the rest of the evening. $37.50
Daily Total: $37.50
11:30 a.m. — We slept in until 9 a.m., and C. makes coffee for us to drink in bed with our books. I finally get hungry, so we scramble eggs with sausage and eat that with toast and potatoes.
2 p.m. — We shower and kick around the idea of grabbing a beer in the neighborhood, but instead we head to the grocery store. We get chicken breasts, carrots, onions, mustard, toilet paper, Kleenex, sponges, crackers, brie, and greens. C. pays since I got dinner last night.
3 p.m. — C. sears the chicken and gets it going on the stove in a pot with water, carrots, onion, and garlic. I make a quick dough in the food processor and put it in the fridge to chill. We put together the leftovers of dinner from last night for a late lunch, then drink beers with cheese and crackers.
6 p.m. — A friend stops by for a drink, and C. and I split a beer while I de-seed a pomegranate. After our friend leaves, we shred the chicken and make filling for a chicken pot pie. I roll out the dough and we pop it in the oven. While it's baking, C. makes chicken salad with the leftover chicken for lunches next week, and a green salad to go with our chicken pot pie. I top the green salad and the chicken salad with pomegranate seeds.
9 p.m. — C. has a sweet tooth, so he makes a quick peanut butter fudge with butter, sugar, vanilla, and peanut butter. After it chills in the fridge for an hour, I eat a small piece and then head to bed.
Daily Total: $0
6:40 a.m. — Ugh. We're up so early for a Sunday because we're going back to C.'s brother's winery to help harvest grapes. C. puts coffee for us in thermoses and buys yogurts and an apple for the road from the bodega downstairs. Our friends pick us up in their car.
9:30 a.m. — We're finally at the vineyard, where we pick grapes all day. It's backbreaking and C. and I stop midway down our row of vines to share a donut and drink seltzer.
5 p.m. — We're finally finished and leaving the vineyard. I wanted to head back to the city by 5 p.m. to avoid Sunday traffic, but it looks like that isn't happening. We get to C.'s brother's farm where he's made a feast for everyone who helped with the harvest. We drink lots of good wine and eat sausages, cheese, bread, and tons of fresh veggies from the farm, plus the rest of C.'s fudge from last night.
10:30 p.m. — I can't believe we left so late. Of course we hit traffic, and it takes us over three hours to get home. I shower and crawl into bed extremely cranky and unenthused to end my weekend this way.
Daily Total: $0
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