An Intern's Week In Brooklyn, New York, On $12/Hour

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.
This week, we’re looking at the way interns are spending across the country. Internships can be a key way of getting experience, entering fields, and making connections, but not everyone has the ability — in terms of timing or finances — to make it happen. For those who do, managing an internship during the traditional work and school year, or working full-or-part-time over the summer can provide an exciting (or nerve-wracking!) preview of life after college.
Today: a public relations intern who makes $12 an hour and spends some of it on a McFlurry.
Occupation: Copywriter Intern
Industry: Advertising
Age: 22 (recent grad)
Location: I live in Brooklyn, work in Manhattan, and am originally from Texas.
Salary: $12/hour, 40 hours/week
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $600 for a student dorm room for the summer at a discounted price
Utilities: N/A for the summer
Apple Music: $5
Adobe CC: $10 (I split it with a friend)
Cell Phone: $0. On my parents’ plan (but not for much longer)
Transportation: $121 for an unlimited monthly pass
Netflix + Hulu + HBO: $0 — shout out to my friends and my brother’s ex-GF for the hook up
Birth Control: $20
Health Insurance: $0, on parents’ plan
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7:25 a.m. – I’ve finally gotten out of bed, but it’s too late to make breakfast. I struggle to find an outfit to wear and hate how everything looks. I hate Mondays. Eventually, I settle on something and eat a sponge cake that a friend's grandma made before I head out.

8:50 a.m. – I get to the office and remember that it’s Bagel Monday. Thank goodness! I grab one and start working on copy for a client.

12:30 p.m. – I didn’t pack lunch because I didn't have time the night before, but I don’t want to spend money because I’m broke. I walk to Central Park for lunch and eat a granola bar and the other half of my bagel.

4 p.m. – Now I’m really hungry. Hangry, actually. I finish up a few meetings in which everyone says they like my work. That's great, but at this point, I just want to be home eating dinner.

5:30 p.m. – I leave the office and head home.

6:15 p.m. – Finally eating dinner! I stuff my mouth with sweet potato fries (my current obsession) and two over-medium eggs. I love breakfast for dinner.

9 p.m. – Some friends and I go to Milk Bar for ice cream; one friend treats us all.

Daily Total: $0
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7:25 a.m. – Wake up too late to make breakfast or pack lunch. Again. Why do I do this to myself? I decide to have two frozen waffles, which I actually really love. $0

8:15 a.m. – I’m out the door and notice a new breakfast taco place in the station. I need to try this tomorrow. I’m missing Tex-Mex and breakfast tacos.

10:15 a.m. – Dark chocolate almonds are my weakness, and my office has a little machine filled with them. I’m already starting to get hungry. $0.25

11 a.m. – Trying not to eat too many sweets, but hot chocolate is tempting and I’m thirsty. I get some from the hot chocolate machine at work.

12:30 p.m – After 30 minutes of Googling and reading Yelp reviews, I settle on Whole Foods for lunch. I get tequila lime chicken thighs, sweet potatoes, and salad. I don’t want to spend money on lunch for the rest of the week, but I do pretty well considering that I’m full now without spending too much. $6.41

3:55 p.m. – The interns and creative department are having Tequila Tuesday at work at 4 p.m. By 5:30 p.m., I’m tipsy. As one of the creative directors says, “Time flies when you’re having tequila." We had chips, pico de gallo, and guacamole, so I'm also happily full.

7 p.m. – I stop by the overpriced grocery store in front of my dorm and buy chicken thighs, one onion, Special K Vanilla Almond, and a coffee-flavored Greek yogurt. I’m running out of groceries — and money. $11.20

8:30 p.m. – I wake up from a long nap to take an online quiz for school. I have a small headache from the two margaritas I drank at work. Why am I such a lightweight?

10:30 p.m. – I finish a workout and buy a ticket to see Wonder Woman with friends tomorrow night. I miss Texas’ movie prices. $17.20

11:45 p.m. – I shower, eat Oreos with milk, and then head to bed.

Daily Total: $35.06
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7:10 a.m. – I wake up a bit earlier than usual to make hard boiled eggs for lunch and eat cereal. By 8:20 a.m. it's pouring. I have no umbrella or rain jacket and my usual train is a few blocks away, so I decide to take an express and then transfer to the 1. It makes my commute so much longer than it needs to be.

10:30 a.m. – A colleague gives me a Cinnamon Oat KIND bar, and I'm thrilled.

12:30 p.m. – The day is flying by, and I’m happy to have more to do at work now. I quickly eat some black beans and my eggs, feeling happy that I brought my lunch.

2 p.m. – The dark chocolate almonds got me again. $0.25

6 p.m. – I'm tired from work, hungry, and sleepy, and I have no energy, nor enough groceries, to make a full dinner. My roommate asks if I want her leftover pasta, and I joyously accept.

9:15 p.m. – Some of the other interns and I are on our way to see Wonder Woman! I haven’t seen a movie in so long, and I'm ready to feel empowered and inspired. My roommate treats us all to extra-buttery popcorn. I eat most of mine during the movie trailers.

1:30 a.m. – Well, I am overwhelmed. I’m filled with love and sadness and also seriously want to get some upper-body strength. Gal Gadot, I want to be you.

Daily Total: $0.25
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7:30 a.m. – Wake up tired, with horrible cramps, and already stressed about my finances. I’m going to have to ask my parents and younger brother for grocery money since I don’t get paid for two more weeks. I make a smoothie to soothe myself; intern life isn’t easy.

8:15 a.m. – I find a $5 bill in my wallet! I’ve wanted to try the Austin-style breakfast tacos near my train station because part of me is homesick and craving Texas flavors. It’s a bit overpriced but gets the job done. $4.61

12:30 p.m. – I get hungry and decide to try out the café downstairs at work. I buy a small fried chicken thigh and a piece of cornbread. It’s really good! $7.57

4:30 p.m. – Today is Thirsty Thursday at work, which means it's time for red wine and beer kegs. I love the ad industry.

9:30 p.m. – I wake up from a nap I took at home, after being tired from work and all that wine. I’m taking an online summer class, which has to be one of the worst decisions I've made recently. I do some homework and eat cereal for dinner. Sometimes Special K Vanilla Almond is all you want. Before going to bed, I cook some of my chicken for tomorrow’s lunch.

Daily Total: $12.18
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7:30 a.m. – It’s Friday, and I’m pumped. I’ve got a long, full day ahead with lots of brainstorming to do for our clients, so I pop some Trader Joe’s waffles in the toaster and get ready for work.

2 p.m. – This has been one of those days that's so busy that you don't realize you're hungry until you look up. I finally eat my chicken and bread as work slows down.

5:30 p.m. – Sometimes interning in the city makes me feel like I have to do everything, or else I'm wasting time. Still, I need a mental health break. I decide to take this Friday off to chill.

7:30 p.m. – I make egg burritos for dinner and settle in to watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, clip my toenails, and sext. This self-care Friday was much needed.

Daily Total: $0
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10 a.m. – It feels so good to sleep in! My roommate and I decide to make pancakes together. I have a Tinder date today, and it’s been a while since I’ve gone on a date at all. I'm curious to how it will go.

1:30 p.m. – I meet my date at a coffee shop. He pays for my chai latte, which is the best I’ve ever had. He is talkative and nice. I'm relieved that it’s not awkward!

2:30 p.m. – We decide to go to a museum, the Rubin Museum of Art. I pay for my ticket, and am silently grateful for my student discount. $10

4:30 p.m. – The museum was amazing! We part ways, and I meet a friend in Chelsea, buying pizza on the way. $7.50

5:30 p.m. – I'm going to a Toro y Moi DJ set tonight but need my afternoon nap first. After my roommate and I wake up, we take the L train to The Well in Williamsburg.

6:30 p.m. – This venue reminds me of Austin! I get a drink, start dancing, and check out everyone’s cute outfits. $7

10:30 p.m. – The show is over, and I’m loving life. This is the third time I’ve seen Toro y Moi live, and he killed it again. My roommate and I have a case of the munchies and head to McDonald’s. I get a McChicken, fries, and we split a McFlurry. $3.27

11:20 p.m. – We're still a little hungry and decide to stop at a bodega to buy chips. I also find a small-sized Mazola Corn Oil, which I've been looking for! $6.68

11:30 p.m. – Another friend is throwing a party in Bed-Stuy. We’re exhausted but decided to check it out for a bit. We aren't familiar with the area, and it’s too long of a walk, so we split an Uber. $5.23

12:15 a.m. – We decide to head home and split another Uber. I’m extremely tired and immediately fall asleep once I get home. The Uber is on me. $17.34

Daily Total: $57.02
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10:30 a.m. – Sunday is upon us! I’m going to the MoMA today and eat a few leftover pancakes for breakfast before I head out.

12:30 p.m. – My company gives us free admission to the MoMA, and I’m also able to get a discounted pass for my friend.

4 p.m. – Looking at art for a few hours makes us tired. It was so beautiful, but we're starving afterward. We decide to get burgers — one of the juiciest I’ve ever had! $11.93

5:30 p.m. – Back at home, I take a nap and sleep off my food coma. I get up around 8 p.m., having finally mustered the energy to get out of bed to hit the grocery store. I buy cilantro, tomatoes, mozzarella, apples, chicken breasts, and lime juice to make quesadillas for lunch tomorrow. $9.09

8:30 p.m. – I decide to watch the sunset on the Brooklyn Promenade. There are so many couples around me. I kind of want a boyfriend right now, but also I’m happy to be single and living my life! I’ve only been in New York for a few weeks, and I fall more in love with the city every day. The skyline is beautiful, and I'm kind of in disbelief that I’m here. I feel ready to take on the rest of the summer and hopefully land a full-time job.

Daily Total: $21.02
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