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 marketing manager who makes $132,600 per year. This week, she buys a selfie stick to use with her dad.
Occupation: Marketing Manager
Location: New York, NY
Paycheck (2x/month): $2,840
Housing: $1,250 to rent my share of a three-bedroom apartment in Chelsea with two other roommates.
Loan Payments: None. I received full scholarship for all four years of college.
All Other Monthly Expenses
Gym Membership: $55
Internet: $18 (my share, after three-way split with my roommates)
Gas & Electricity: $20 (my share, after three-way split with my roommates)
Health Insurance: $180
8:30 a.m. — I sleep in two hours more than usual. I typically wake up at 6:30 a.m. for an hour each of indoor cycling and running outside, but I recently injured myself and can't exercise for two weeks. I don't mind the extra sleep though! I take a quick shower, tidy up for work, and decide to walk the two miles to my office downtown.
11 a.m. — After my morning meetings are over, I realize I haven't eaten anything yet. Not exercising two hours before work certainly kills my appetite! I'm feeling a bit hungry and I probably won't eat lunch until 1:30 p.m., so I grab a bowl of cereal from the office kitchen. I love mixing cereal! Today's concoction includes a handful of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Reese's Peanut Butter Puffs, Captain Crunch, and Rice Krispies with vanilla almond milk.
1:30 p.m. — I have 30 free minutes before my next meeting. I consider grabbing something quick from Whole Foods, but as I put on my jacket to leave the office, I notice there is a giant platter of leftover sandwiches in the kitchen. I grab two different kind of wraps — portobello mushroom with beets, and a goat cheese and chicken Caesar wrap — and devour them at my desk. Love free lunches!
3:15 p.m. — I've been in and out of meetings all day and need to get some fresh air. I step out of the office to walk around for a bit. I do some window shopping at Brookfield Place (one of the nicest, glitziest shopping mall in Manhattan!) and score super comfortable, grey yoga pants from Lululemon. It's 50% off regular price, so I make the purchase without even trying it on. $50
5:30 p.m. — Such a nice fall day outside, even though it's November. It's already pitch black though because daylight savings time just ended. I hate when it gets dark around 4 p.m.! I walk home again to get my steps in. I consider stopping by Sephora to buy a mascara, but decide to head home because I'm hungry. I stop by my neighborhood's CVS to get three bottles of Diet Pepsi, my guilty pleasure; they're on sale for $0.99 each. $3.29
7 p.m. — I am trying a new meal subscription service called RealEats. Each meal is vacuum-sealed into food-safe, recyclable plastic pouches that you place into boiling water and voila! Tonight's menu is braised lamb with polenta and spicy carrots. It's easy to prepare and tastes delicious. I eat half of the ice cream sandwich for dessert. $15
10 p.m. — One of my roommates announces today that she got a new job in San Francisco and will be moving there by the end of the month. While she is technically responsible for finding someone to take her lease, I also feel obligated to find someone I like. I post on several sites about the room opening, and pray that I will be "matched" with someone sane. My worst nightmare is hearing these horror stories about random Craigslist roommates. I talk to my mom for a bit before going to bed.
Daily Total: $68.29
8:10 a.m. — I couldn't fall asleep until 2 a.m. last night, probably because I had five cans of Diet Coke. (Again, it's my vice!) I begrudgingly wake up, take a shower, and take my 8:30 a.m. call in bed. The meeting runs over by 30 minutes, but luckily I have some down time so decide to walk to work again. It's supposed to rain later today, so I make sure to bring an umbrella. I listen to a podcast (I'm obsessed with How I Built This, Hidden Brain, and Planet Money, among others) on the way.
1:30 p.m. — I haven't eaten anything since I woke up this morning, so I am starving. I see leftover sandwiches in the office kitchen (day two of free lunch continues!), so I grab two chicken salad sandwiches. There's a generous amount of tender chicken smothered in mayonnaise with walnuts and craisins. I'm feel hungry after devouring the sandwiches, so I take a handful of trail mix to snack on (and end up picking out the M&Ms to eat).
5 p.m. — I want to continue my streak of walking to work, but it is pouring outside. My shoes get soaked while walking to the nearest subway station. ($2.75) Rainy days are my least favorite. Before heading home, I stop by a jewelry shop near my apartment. My best friend from college, who is in town this week for work, celebrated her birthday last week; I am treating her to dinner tonight. I get her 14-karat gold-coated, sterling silver earrings ($54). $56.75
6 p.m. — Two girls come visit the apartment to see the room that is opening up. One is a second grade teacher from Tennessee, while the other works in finance. Both girls seem cordial and respectful. Given the prime location of my apartment (and it being rent-controlled), I don't worry about finding someone to fill the room. It feels like speed dating. Do they like me? Do I like them?
6:40 p.m. — My friend and I meet for dinner at a trendy Asian fusion restaurant in the Meatpacking District. Everything on the menu looks delicious, and our eyes become bigger than our stomachs. We order everything from dumplings and noodles, to sushi rolls and sashimi. We save room for dessert — mochi! I am scared to look at the damage we've done when the waitress brings our check. Well, you only live once! The bill doesn't look so bad when you split it. At least I didn't spend any money on lunch yesterday and today. I also bring back leftovers; "free" lunch tomorrow, I suppose. $140
11 p.m. — I am quite tired, both from eating all the food and from going to bed late last night. I read the latest Time magazine that came in the mail today (I get a free subscription through work) and hit the sack.
Daily Total: $196.75
8:30 a.m. — Yesterday, a downpour of rain came in, and today came winter — the temperature dropped 20 degrees to signal that it is officially winter. I put on a knee-length, gray wool coat and mittens to stay warm on my commute to work. I recently upgraded to an iPhone 7 Plus (no, I could not justify dropping $1,000 for the iPhone X), so I asked my brother if he wanted my old, yet totally functional phone (iPhone 6 SE Plus). I stop by USPS to ship it to him in California. It should be delivered in two days. $8.35
1:30 p.m. — Wednesdays are my busy days, and I'm in meetings all day. Luckily, my 1:30 p.m. meeting is a WebEx and I am just listening in, so I grab my leftover dinner from last night (spicy tuna rolls topped with torched salmon, and two dumplings) and eat it for lunch. I take two Halloween chocolates from the kitchen as well.
6 p.m. — I've been inside all day, so I can't wait to leave the office to get fresh air. I plug in my headphones, listen to music on Spotify (I'm on a free subscription; I actually don't mind the occasional commercial breaks), and completely zone out during my 40-minute walk home. I stop by a Thai restaurant and pick up chicken pad Thai for dinner. $16
6:30 p.m. — Another girl reaches out to express her interest in the apartment. Because she can only stay for the next six months, and I don't want to go through the hassle of finding another roommate, I kindly decline her request.
7 p.m. — My friend texts me literally at the last minute, asking if I want to see M. Butterfly on Broadway because she got a pair of comped tickets. I've been wanting to see this play, so I immediately call Uber to get to the theater as soon as possible. I encounter some traffic, but manage to get to Times Square within 20 minutes. I am a bit late to the show, but can't complain; we have amazing orchestra seats in the sixth row. The play is beautiful, and I enjoy every minute of it. $20
10:15 p.m. — My friend and I walk around for a bit after the show. I am very hungry because I didn't have a chance to eat my chicken pad Thai, which is probably all dry by now. I guess I will save it for lunch tomorrow. I really want to eat the soft serve ice cream cone from McDonald's, but give up on satisfying my craving after visiting THREE different McDonald's with malfunctioning ice cream machines. Sigh. I come home instead and go to bed.
Daily Total: $44.35
8:30 a.m. — The buzzer from our cleaner wakes me up. She comes once a month to clean the common spaces (living room, kitchen, and bathroom). After I finish getting ready for work, I leave $120 (includes tip) for the cleaner. I Venmo $40 each to my roommates to split the cost. $40
1 p.m. — For lunch, I eat the pad Thai I bought last night. I am taking the day off from work tomorrow because my dad is visiting me from Atlanta. I try to multitask in order to leave work a little early, but end up making a mess by spilling water all over my laptop. Ugh, the weekend can't come soon enough.
3:35 p.m. — Done with work! I rush back to my apartment, pack my belongings, and head to a hotel in Midtown where I am staying with my dad for the next two nights. I wanted to treat him to a comfortable visit to NYC, so I booked a king suite. The friendly receptionist offers me one of the most coveted rooms, which features an original photograph of Yoko Ono and John Lennon. The suite feels like a home away from home in the middle of the city, with a cozy reading nook by the window overlooking the Manhattan skyline and two full bathrooms. $700
7:10 p.m. — I take NJ Transit to the airport to pick up my dad. On the way to the station, I stop by Pret for iced coffee, but the cashier doesn't charge me because "he likes my scarf." I meet my dad at the airport and we take Lyft Line back to the city. $29 for a trip back to Manhattan is such a good deal, even though we take a 20-minute detour to drop off the other passenger in Jersey City. $43
9:30 p.m. — Shake Shack is listed as one of the items on my dad's to-do list. We go to the original location in Madison Square Park and order bacon cheeseburger and loaded fries. Shake Shack is a bit too heavy and greasy for my liking, and I personally prefer In-N-Out. We walk back to the hotel to help with digestion before calling it a night. $21
Daily Total: $804
10:45 a.m. — I am excited to sleep in and take the day off from work to hang out with my dad! I found out yesterday that the hotel guests can book a HIIT class at a CrossFit gym next door at a discounted price. My leg is feeling a lot better and I haven't done much exercise at all this week, so I decide to check it out. Upon arriving, I am immediately intimidated by the extremely fit men and women gathered at the gym — and they all seem to know each other. We go through a round of exercises. I am absolutely exhausted about 40 minutes into the class and decide to do the "walk of shame" and sneak out. No regrets! $20
12:30 p.m. — My dad and I check out a new Shanghainese restaurant near the hotel for lunch. They have good lunch special deals, but I really want to try some items from the regular menu, including a giant soup dumpling that you eat with a straw. We end up ordering a bit too much for two people and feel very stuffed afterward, so we decide to walk around in Central Park. $65
2:45 p.m. — We visit the American Museum of Natural History. (I got a complimentary one-year membership through IDNYC.) I could spend the entire day here without getting bored; the museum is huge and there is so much to see. My favorite exhibit is the "Scales of the Universe," which illustrates the vast range of sizes in the universe. Every time I come here, it makes me realize how minuscule the earth is in the grand scheme of the Milky Way and the Universe.
6 p.m. — We visit an American restaurant that specializes in local products, line-caught fish, and seasonal produce. The waitress recommends ordering a bunch of small dishes and appetizers to share. My favorite is the pumpkin flatbread topped with cubes of butternut squash, goat cheese crumble, baby spinach, pumpkin seeds, and a drizzle of honey. It has a fantastic balance of sweet and savory. Dinner takes longer than expected, so we skip dessert and catch an Uber downtown for a show. $115
8 p.m. — We have a fourth row seat at STOMP. From mops and brooms to shopping carts and plastic bags, STOMP performers use everything they see in sight to create rhythm and sound. The show is a bit too loud, and because the performers literally stomp on the stage to make sound, it gets really, really dusty. $200
10 p.m. — It's a nice evening out, so my dad and I walk back to the hotel. On the way, we stop by Whole Foods so I can buy vitamins. My dad tells me he is loving NYC so far, and I am really happy to hear that. $10
Daily Total: $410
10:35 a.m. — I am still feeling full from last night's dinner. It's a beautiful fall day, so I decide to go for a jog outside. I run for about an hour and stop by a café to get a large iced green tea. I don't drink coffee, but I love tea. I come back to the hotel and take a quick shower. $3.29
12:30 p.m. — This is the last meal with my dad before he leaves NYC. We go to one of the oldest steakhouses near Wall Street, where we indulge in Kobe beef filet mignon and whole steamed lobster. I don't normally eat like this; this is a rare occasion where I get to treat myself! After our heavy lunch, we take a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and take pictures with a selfie stick I bought on Amazon a couple of days ago ($10). $230
3:15 p.m. — I have a final activity planned with my dad before he heads to the airport. We visit a sleek, upscale movie theater where visitors can enjoy plush seating, gourmet bites, and cocktails while watching the latest films. Because we are still so full from lunch, we decline even the complimentary popcorn that comes with the movie ticket purchase. The full reclining seats, which are reminiscent of first-class airline cabins, are so comfortable that I hear my dad snoring during the movie. Embarrassing! $45
6 p.m. — I scheduled a shuttle bus to pick up my dad and take him to the airport. I don't get to see him very often, so I really try to squeeze in as much as possible when he visits. $20
7:15 p.m. — As comfortable as the hotel was, there is truly no place like home! I am excited to be back in my apartment and spend the rest of the evening lounging around and watching YouTube clips. I walk over to Whole Foods Market to pick up something to eat for dinner. I love their salad bar selection. I put a little bit of everything (grilled chicken, sweet potato, and quinoa) in the little paper container. $15
Daily Total: $313.29
10:15 a.m. — It feels like it should be Monday because I took Friday off, but it's still the weekend! I have a pile of dirty laundry sitting in my room, so I cross the street to the nearest laundromat. I don't have a washer and dryer in the building, but because I live on the first floor and the laundromat is across the street. It has never really bothered me much, except when it's raining. I typically have to allocate at least two and a half hours to do laundry. $4.50
12:30 p.m. — After dining out so much over the past few days, I feel the need to go on a mini-cleanse. I walk over to a juice bar near apartment and pick out the healthiest sounding cold-pressed juice, which includes kale, spinach, parsley, celery, and cucumber. It doesn't sound too appetizing, but I am hopeful my body will thank me afterward. $9.50
2:15 p.m. — I have a little bit of work to do, mostly checking and responding to emails and prepping for meetings coming up this week. After two productive hours of work, I want to treat myself — so I decide to get a manicure. I pick a pink, glitter manicure to don my nails. The technician applies lotion on my dry hands and also gives me a mini-massage. $14
5:30 p.m. — My roommate told me about an amazing sale at Madewell, so I walk over to check it out. I can't believe my luck when I find a pair of summer shorts for just $5! Best of all, they are in my size. I buy four shorts and a button-up shirt, also on sale for just $10. Even though I probably won't be able to wear these until next summer, I am still so excited for the amazing bargain. $30
7 p.m. — I dig through the fridge for something to eat for dinner so I don't have to go outside. There's not much, but I pick out cottage cheese, microwavable mini-corn dogs, and a bowl of cereal (Special K with strawberries) with almond milk.
10:15 p.m. — I usually go to New Jersey once or twice a week for work; it's about two-hour commute from Manhattan. I hit the lights early so I can get good sleep to start off the work week.
Daily Total: $58
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