A Week In Brooklyn, New York On A $42,000 Salary

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: a studio coordinator who makes $42,000 per year and spends it on Tecates and tequila.
Occupation: Studio Coordinator (Full-Time) and Student (Online, Full-Time)
Industry: Design
Age: 21
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Salary: $42,000
Paycheck (2x/month): $1,188.34 after taxes
Monthly Expenses
Housing: $1,000 month rent for my room; I have two roommates.
Loan Payments: $0
All Other Monthly Expenses:
Gas: $10-$30 for my share
Electric: ~$25 for my share
Internet: $22.99 for my share
Phone: ~$180
MealPal: $130.43
Spotify: $4.99
Hulu: $11.99
Netflix: $11.99
Gym Membership: $10.45
iTunes Storage: $2.99
Savings: $200, automatically transferred once a month
MetroCard: $49.93, deducted twice each month before taxes
Credit Card Payment: $200-$400. I pay it off in full monthly and usually only use it for Seamless and Uber.
1 of 8
7 a.m. — Rise and shine! I wake up feeling well-rested from an easy weekend. I decide to wear makeup today, so I put some tunes on and get pretty before I leave at 8:15.

8:25 a.m. — I'm leaving the house a little late for a 9 a.m. arrival. It's my responsibility to open the office and set up breakfast, and I'm usually the first one in on Mondays since everyone is recovering from the weekend.

9:40 a.m. — Thank goodness the company I work for loves its employees! We get breakfast every day and it's my responsibility to take care of all the office's food needs; on Mondays, we have bagels with cream cheese. I pick out a yummy poppyseed bagel, toasted, and get a hefty amount of cream cheese. Mondays are my busy days. I put away the office groceries for the week and take care of expenses from last Friday, including happy hour and general office orders. Last week was crazy: I had to book travel for some employees, but the client's budget kept changing, resulting in me changing some flights and hotels this morning.

3:15 p.m. — I go to the bathroom and realize I'm swimming in my clothes; not cute. I've recently been dealing with stress and anxiety from a breakup, and I've lost a good amount of weight. Even my leggings are loose. My coworker says there's a sale going on at Express. I've never shopped there before but she's always raving about their deals, so even though the line is long, I give it a go on my lunch break. All the pants I pick fit perfect. I get two straight-cut, ankle-length trousers in grey and white, and a pair of high-waisted jeans. Today is the last day of the sale, and there's 40% off of my total. Score! $137.82

3:45 p.m. — After the sale, I head to pick up my food. I pay for a monthly meal service, MealPal, that lets you place meal orders the night before at local restaurants and then pick them up during lunch hours. The 20 meal-per-month package ends up costing only $6 per meal, a steal for New York City. Today, I've scheduled a salad order from Coco & Cru that has a kale base with organic chicken, capers, anchovies, tomato, olives, and a lemon dressing. I hate kale, but it's good for you. In the end, the salad is actually very tasty!

6:35 p.m. — I run out of work and head to the train. After my breakup, I signed up for swing dancing classes to keep busy and try new things. The class starts at 7 p.m., so I only have half an hour to get there. The trains are crazy-busy at rush hour and I squeeze myself like a sardine into the train car. I don't care at this point; I really hate being late.

7 p.m. — I get to class right on time! I prepaid for a month of four classes since it was cheaper than paying for each class separately. It comes out to $12.50 a class; not bad.

8:30 p.m. — I finish dance class and head home. I need to pick up my laundry but I'm in an awfully great mood and decide to go for a run. Once I get home, I change into workout gear, run to pick up my laundry, run back with my laundry, drop it off at home, and then head back out to keep running. This is unusual for me — neither my appetite nor my energy levels have made working out feasible for me since the breakup — but I go along with it. After all, working out does release stress and anxiety. I get back from my run and, still feeling weirdly motivated, pop in a workout video for half an hour. Afterward, I'm tapped out and take a shower. $20.90

10 p.m. — I really want to go to sleep but I have a Skype call for work scheduled at 10:30 p.m. I picked up a second job/passion project to keep busy, which involves doing marketing, helping with events, and occasionally writing for an online magazine based in Miami. I'm planning a networking event for May and need to get a better idea of our aims before I reach out to potential location sponsors. The editor-in-chief isn't able to talk until late because of a dinner meeting, so I stay up for our chat.

11:45 p.m. — It's finally bedtime; I'm beat.

Daily Total: $158.72
2 of 8
7:30 a.m. — I sleep in a little before getting ready for work. No makeup today!

8:25 a.m. — I like to be on the train by 8:20 because there's always an issue in the morning with a sick passenger or something. Today, however, I took too long deciding on an outfit for the weather, so I'm running a little late.

8:55 a.m. — On Tuesdays, we have baguettes and cold cuts for breakfast at work. I stop at Balthazar Bakery to get three baguettes for the office, it comes out to $10 with tip but I put it on my company card since it's a job expense.

9:45 a.m. — Finally sitting down for breakfast. I'm having an open-faced sandwich: one side has provolone, mustard, and ham, and the other has brie and blackberry jam. I check my social media accounts while I eat and then start to work.

2:15 p.m. — My coworker and I take shifts covering the phones during lunch. She went out before I did, so I have to wait until she's back to leave. She ends up accidentally taking a long lunch but brings me dark chocolate-covered almonds with a raspberry powder coating to make up for it. This is a new snack for me, and I am loving it. I head out to pick up lunch, but since I'm not hungry now, instead of eating it, I sit at a nearby park to draw and enjoy the nice weather.

5:50 p.m. — After I got back from lunch, I got distracted by work and wasn't able to eat the food I brought back; now it's late and I'm starving. I reheat my lunch for the day: chicken parm with veggies and roasted potatoes. I scarf it down in about three minutes, so of course my stomach hurts. I have plans to meet up with a new friend and get dinner, but I text him to let him know that I'm no longer hungry after my late lunch. We agree that I'll keep him company anyway while he eats. I feel horrible, but at least I'm honest!

7:45 p.m. — We catch up and walk around. After my stomach feels better, we go for coffee near the train station. I order a latte and he gets a cappuccino per my request; apparently, he's never tried one! I spot a bucket filled with photo strips and realize there's a photo booth in the back. We talk and make up stories for the people in the images. $4

9:30 p.m. — We part ways and I take the train home. I usually take a car after a certain hour but it feels wiser to use my MetroCard instead of shelling out an unnecessary $15. I get home by 10 p.m. and manage to fit in a workout video. I shower and stay up talking to my roommate.

12:20 a.m. — Heading to bed, way too late.

Daily Total: $4
3 of 8
7:47 a.m. — I snoozed too long and only have 15 minutes to get ready!

8:20 a.m. — I manage to make it on the train at a decent hour. Nice.

8:55 a.m. — I decide to treat myself to a large vanilla latte from Starbucks. I usually have class on Wednesdays, but we're nearing finals this week, so I can enjoy my breakfast without running around. $5.72

9:45 a.m. — It's Parfait Day at work! It feels good to eat fruits and yogurt, even though neither keeps me full for long. I put 2% Greek yogurt in a bowl, sweeten it with honey, and then add dark chocolate granola, strawberries, and bananas.Work is slow, so I work on a personal art project for a few hours instead.

2:45 p.m. — I always schedule my lunch pickup for 1:15 p.m., but I never actually go at the right time. Lunch today is a steak wrap with fries from a nearby pizza joint.

3 p.m. — I pick up lunch but my back is killing me! I suffer from scoliosis and have had two corrective surgeries. I'm supposed to work out to strengthen my back muscles, but i've been neglecting exercise. There's a great massage place a couple blocks from work, so I decide to try it out since I'm desperate; I can't sit or stand without being in pain. Half an hour later, I feel like a brand new person, but I am very sleepy from all the rubbing. $26

6:30 p.m. — I leave work and take the train to my waxing appointment.

7:15 p.m. — I found a waxing place on Yelp that's the greatest! I only pay $40 for a full Brazilian and half of my legs, including tip. I catch up with my wax lady; she makes a joke about me getting laid this week, so I fill her in on the sad news about the breakup. She's in shock and tells me that she's switching salons. I hope the new place has similar prices because she's the only one I trust to see me in all my nakedness. $40

7:40 p.m. — There's an event today at the Empire State Building in honor of Harpers Bazaar's 150th anniversary. They're projecting images onto the north side of the building starting at 8:30, so I walk to check it out instead of taking the train. It's a bit of a distance, but I have time to kill.

9 p.m. — I think it's time to call it a day. I hop on the subway back home and manage to get there in 20 minutes! I'm still full from lunch, so I just shower and go to bed at 11:20 p.m.

Daily Total: $71.72
4 of 8
7:49 a.m. — I snoozed my 7:15 a.m. alarm and now I'm late. I get ready quickly and head out the door.

8:20 a.m. — Decent train time. I have a busy day at work, mostly with school work, not actual work. It's close to the end of the semester, so I'm catching up on assignments that are due next week. I'm pretty good at my job, so I manage to get all my work done in two full workdays and then use the rest of the week for personal projects and homework.

8:55 a.m. — It's Thursday, which means I have to pickup baguettes for breakfast at Balthazar. I get three for $9.75 and round up to $10 to make it easier for accounting.

9:35 a.m. — I have the same thing for breakfast on Tuesdays and Thursdays, since I'm a creature of habit: a baguette sliced in half with ham, provolone and mustard on one side, and brie and blackberry jam on the other.

1:35 p.m. — I snack on a handful of almonds until I can take my lunch.

2:30 p.m. — Lunch time! Today is shrimp and pork steamed dumplings with fried rice from Nom Wah Tea Parlor. I usually pick up my lunch and head back to the office to eat, but there's a nice sit-down counter. I eat there and make some calls to scout locations for my part-time job.

7 p.m. — I stay half an hour longer at work than and realize that my anxiety is acting up. I try to calm myself down but it's not working, so I take a Xanax that I was prescribed after the breakup since it's been out of control. They usually work within 10 minutes and give me an overall sense of calm, but my body is not reacting well this time. I imagine it's because of the Adderall in my system from the morning. I have prescriptions for both, so I didn't think this would be an issue. I half run to the train, feeling weak and disoriented.

9 p.m. — I run into an old flame getting off the train. I'm mid-anxiety attack and don't have the courage to say hello, but I text him later. Things didn't end well, so I didn't think he'd reply, but he ends up asking if I'm around. I feel better and figure I could use the distraction, so we meet at a bar. I order an apple cider (my favorite) and chug it to calm my nerves. We catch up for about 20 minutes then he says he has to go. We go to close our tabs and he pays for my drink, which cost $6.

9:45 p.m. — I get home and shower, which really makes me feel better. Although I no longer feel the effects of the Xanax, I know it's still in my system and is now mixed with the alcohol in the cider, so I get into bed and turn on Netflix instead of going to sleep. I feel very drunk and my uncle who is a doctor has told me to stay awake if I ever have a bad reaction to prescription drugs. I listen and avoid Googling what to do, to keep me from freaking out even more. Once the effects have settled and I feel better, I pack a bowl and smoke some weed to get me sleepy. It's 4/20, after all. I go to bed around 11:45 p.m.

Daily Total: $0
5 of 8
7:30 a.m. — I set an alarm for 7 a.m. to wash my hair, but I snoozed. I guess I'll have to sacrifice makeup today. I showered last night, but I prefer the way my hair looks when I wash it in the morning. (I also love to shower, so it works out!)

8:25 a.m. — I take the train into work and will arrive late; surprise, surprise. TFIF!

8:55 a.m. — Since it's Friday, I treat myself with a coffee from Starbucks. I use the app to order while I'm on the train. The Starbucks is on the way to work and I get to skip the line because of pre-ordering, so it's a quick, two-minute stop. I only have $2 or so on my Starbucks card, so I reload with the $10 minimum; the coffee itself is $5.72. $10

9;30 a.m. — Breakfast on Fridays consists of pastries from Balthazar Bakery that are fancy-schmancy and not at all filling. The croissants are gone, so I have a chocolate donut with my coffee. The $60 total goes on my company card, which I expense later. Today is going to be totally unproductive. I can feel it.

12:45 p.m. — My coworker has a hard out around the time I'm supposed to pick up lunch, so I call the restaurant to see if I can get it early. Today, I have a salad with baked salmon, a hardboiled egg, avocado, tomatoes, and a honey mustard dressing. I'm not hungry yet but it looks super tasty!

3:45 p.m. — I'm hungry! I eat my salad in the kitchen and talk to one of the freelance designers. I walked in on him trying to make fresh whipped cream with half and half and told him that it wouldn't work. I do a lot of baking, mostly cakes, so I walk him through the best way to make a buttercream icing for his pear pastry. He is very grateful that I saved him the trouble and gave him a baking lesson, so he shares his dessert, which is delicious!

9:35 p.m. — I finally leave work and I'm so exhausted. We have happy hour on Fridays, and I had to set up by myself today. I also decided to stay late since I've been stressed about school, but I got it all done! I just want to go home, get very high, and eat my leftovers from the weekend.

10:15 p.m. — I get home and have a tad bit of energy. My back is killing me from sitting for 12 hours, so I do a work out. When I'm finish, I see a text from one of my neighbors asking to hang out. I'm trying to put myself out there and make more friends, so I tell him I'll be up soon with my food. After a bit, I realize that I read the message wrong — he's actually at a bar at the end of the block — but since I already said "yes," I tell him that I'm going to eat first and then head over. I heat up my leftovers (pulled pork, white rice, and black beans with a cilantro cream sauce) and scarf them down before getting ready to go out. So much for a quiet night in, but nothing like a cute top and some lipstick to lift your spirits!

11:30 p.m. — I get to the bar, start a tab, and order my first cider ($6). My neighbor's friend is in town from Australia and I find out he's a DJ touring the U.S. for the first time. This is obviously not gonna be a "one drink" kinda night. We take turns getting rounds; the bar has a beer-shot combo for $8, so Tecates and tequila it is. I think I've had three shots and two beers in addition to the cider. It's way too much alcohol, but I'm having lots of fun. $28

2 a.m. — We ditch the bar and head home, picking up snacks at the corner store on the way. We get salt and vinegar chips and more beer; my neighbor pays. I stop in my apartment to grab my carton of ice cream and some weed. This Häagen-Dazs flavor — coffee with a cookie crumb swirl and chocolate covered espresso chips — is to die for. We go to an empty apartment in our building that's left open, hang out, listen to some of the DJ's tracks, and play trivia games. My neighbor has never seen Broad City, so we put on an episode.

4 a.m. — After the episode ends, I go back to my apartment. I am beyond exhausted and it's definitely bed time.

Daily Total: $38
6 of 8
10 a.m. — Oh my. I'm awake, but still drunk. I chug a big glass of water and take two Advil as a preventative measure before going back to sleep.

1:15 p.m. — I should have set an alarm or something. I've missed half the day! I get up, brush my teeth, and check out the fridge for food. I don't usually go grocery shopping for a whole week since my fridge isn't that big and my roommates cook a whole lot more than I do. Plus, I tend to eat out a lot. I do always have milk, coffee, and eggs, though, so I fry up two eggs with salt and pepper and I FaceTime my mom. While we talk, I make a big cup of coffee.

3:15 p.m. — I have an appointment in the city to get my eyelashes permed. My eyelashes are naturally downturned, which is I'm very self-conscious about. I did some research on the interwebs and found a lady who does a temporary procedure for cheap, here in the city. I close my eyes, she put some chemicals on my lashes for about half an hour, and voila they're beautifully curled for six weeks! $40

4:30 p.m. — There's a street fair near her office and I smell something heavenly. I follow my nose and find a tent with kebabs and fries; I order a pork kebab with garlic curly fries. It's raining and there's no seating since it's on the street, so I head back home on the train. $10

5:45 p.m. — I get home, shower, and start watching Girlboss. Since I have schoolwork to do, I was supposed to take an Adderall today to help me be productive. However, I woke up so late that I'd decide to skip it instead of risking an all-nighter. I'm tired and debate taking a nap, but I ultimately decide to take a math quiz that's due tonight. Last night, my neighbor's friend invited me to his concert tonight. I have a new rule about not saying "no" to social outings, no matter how tired I am, so I finish the quiz, get my score back (an A!), and start getting ready.

8:30 p.m. — I take the train into the city only to realize that I forgot to buy a ticket online. The show has already started, so it's no longer an option on their website. I call and find out that tickets are $35. I wince at the cost but head to the concession stand instead of backing down. In the end, I only pay $15! I go inside and check my jacket for $7. It's a little stuffy inside the venue, but I meet up with my friends and they get the first round of drinks; they pay. $22

9:15 p.m. — I get the next round of beers. After last night, I'm trying to ease up on drinking. I was never a big drinker before moving here, before but it's such a part of the social scene — especially when meeting friends after work — so I've been drinking pretty heavily lately. $17

11 p.m. — I meet more Aussies and we all plan to go out and celebrate our DJ friend. We take a car back to Brooklyn and stay close to home since there are plenty of bars nearby. The car is around $40, but one of the Aussies tells me not to worry about it since I don't have cash to give her. I offer to pay her online but she declines. It feels weird that they're so generous, but I like it.

12:30 a.m. — I've worked up an appetite and go to the corner deli with my neighbor. We get breakfast sandwiches; mine is a "Hungry Man" with sausage, eggs, bacon, and muenster cheese on a roll. I opt for a Pepsi instead of a beer. $6

1:15 a.m. — We're back at the local bar but I don't get anything to drink; I'm still working on that Pepsi. We spend an hour or so there and then go bar hopping.

3:45 a.m. — Bedtime. (Sober!)

Daily Total: $95
7 of 8
9:45 a.m. — I wake up feeling awfully sad, a usual occurrence on Sundays, regardless of my Saturday night outings. I don't think I got enough sleep, so I take a Xanax to help me relax and get back into bed.

11:30 a.m. — I wake up feeling a little better and my roommate offers to make me coffee. She's the best.

12 p.m. — I make do with what I have and eat the same thing as yesterday: two eggs, sunny-side up with salt and pepper, and a big big cup of coffee. I take an Adderall and start to be productive. I have a research paper due tonight and need to make final revisions. I make a lovely to-do list and start with painting my nails. Self-love, check? I shower and then keep working, but I end up getting distracted and creep my ex's page. I find something out that hurts my feelings and triggers my anxiety. My roommate and I go for a walk to help me clear my mind.

4 p.m. — One of our neighbors is having a BBQ on the roof and invites us. We go up and feast on roasted chicken, pork sausages, and Sprite, which calms my stomach and forces me to be social. Afterward, I go back to working on my paper and other assignments.

12:30 a.m. — I keep a giant jug of water near me at home at all times to keep hydrated. I finish chugging my third one of the day and finally head to bed. I submitted my paper at 11:59 p.m., right when it was due, and have residual anxiety from the stress. I try to calm down by reading, which doesn't work, so I take one last Xanax and go to sleep.

Daily Total: $0
8 of 8
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