A Week In NYC On A $130k Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We asked a millennial woman how she spends her hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar. (Thanks, New York Mag, for the inspiration.)
Today, a CPA going on a culture day and getting through five loads of laundry.
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Occupation: CPA
Industry: Finance
Age: 29
Location: New York City
Salary: $130,000
Paycheck: $2,523 (net of benefits plus 401(k) contribution of $1,000 per paycheck)
Roommates: 0

Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $926.24
Maintenance + utilities (gas & electric) + assessment: $1,261.36
Cell phone: $54.01
Cable & internet: $120.10
Transit: $116.50
Equinox membership: $195.00


Day One

7:30 a.m. — Breakfast. Cereal and coffee at home.

9 a.m. — Grande Blonde Roast from Starbucks, because the cup I had at my apartment was not enough for me to remain alive during my 10 a.m. meeting. It's $2.45, but I still have $38 on a gift card from Christmas.

12:30 a.m. — Lunch, brought from home. I spend about $50 every week on groceries, and I have been bringing lunch since October to save money for a vacation I’m taking in 2017. It's my fourth day of zucchini noodles, yogurt, and an apple from home.

Dinner — The boy is making dinner for me tonight, so I pick up two different wine options. A Riesling and a Malbec. I’m running late from work, of course, so I just pick out whatever looks good. $45.71

Total: $45.71

Day Two

9 a.m. — I’m running a bit behind, so no time to stop for a bagel and coffee, which is what I was craving. I make an alternative at home — toast with some smoked salmon. My cup of coffee goes in a travel mug.

9:30 a.m. — Crosstown and Fifth Ave. bus to MOMA, since my friend and I have decided we are overdue for a cultural day out.

10 a.m. — We meet up at the MOMA. I wish I kept some business cards from my prior company so that I could get the reduced admission. Instead, I pay full price. $25

Lunch — After MOMA, we go to a wine bar in Hell’s Kitchen: Three glasses of wine and the orecchiette. $61.72

7 p.m. — Tonight is my friend’s 30th birthday celebration. I realize I’m going to be late, so I get in an Uber, which ends up taking longer than just taking the subway. $27.98

8 p.m. — Drinks and food at the birthday dinner. $68

11 p.m. — I’m offered a shot at the next bar. This can lead to nothing good. The boy gets the cab home.

Total: $182.70

Day Three

9 a.m. — Such a mistake staying out so late on Saturday. I'm going to Hunter Mountain today and wake up later than expected. I realize that I am going to have to take a cab to the other side of town to make the bus. Food is limited to coffee in a to-go mug and toast, which is all I can enjoy in my state of a hangover. $14.52

10 a.m. — We make it to the bus (bus ticket, rentals, etc., were purchased last month).

Lunch — My friends and I decided to try the chili, which was talked up by the tour leader. It’s not that great. Throw in a water and a soda. $14.95

5 p.m. — I grab a bottle of water for the ride home (which I forget to drink) and a free hot beverage at the end of the day. $2.45

8 p.m. — We arrive back on the west side of the city, and I am tired and it's rainy. I miraculously find a cab. $17.80

Dinner — Leftover chicken from three nights ago and an Aleve as preventative care for my calves tomorrow.

Total: $49.72

Day Four

Breakfast — Cereal and coffee at home.

9 a.m. — Another coffee at Starbucks. $2.45 off the gift card.

Lunch — I bring leftover chicken, carrots, and yogurt from home. Need to remember to pick up yogurt at Fairway tonight, along with everything else for a salad recipe I found in an old cookbook.

4 p.m. — Banana from the communal fruit bowl at work. I’ve decided to fight the residual pain from skiing yesterday and go to a spin class later on. I’ll take a dose of potassium to fight off an inevitable leg cramp.

7 p.m. — Spin class at Equinox. I fill up my water bottle right before class, where my ass is kicked.

8:30 p.m. — I pick up ingredients for lunch prep for the remainder of the week. This week, I’m trying a salad from one of my cookbooks; but I'm also limiting what I purchase, because I’m traveling to my parents' house to surprise my mom for her birthday. Plus, I have another trip to Iceland the Wednesday after. I pick up sourdough bread and eggs in addition to salad ingredients. I forget yogurt and vow to pick it up later. $31.09

Dinner — Leftover eggplant parm and a glass of wine, both from day one.

8 p.m. — In serious need of laundry to be done. I pull out a $20 to add to my laundry card and am able to get through five loads in 90 minutes. Meanwhile, I start meal prep for the remainder of the week. $20

Total: $51.09
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Day Five

Breakfast — The avocados in my fridge are still hard as a rock. I prep eggs with mushrooms, cheese, just a little onion, and sourdough toast. The veggies and cheese are from a couple weeks ago, but they still look okay to eat. At day five, I think it should go without saying — one cup of coffee at home.

8:30 a.m. — I’m running late to work (20 minutes on the platform waiting for the C train), so no way to stop for another coffee today. I’ll try to live.

Lunch — I eat carrots and my salad creation that I was up until 11 p.m. preparing last night. I also shop for a remote release shutter for my DSLR. I need it by the time I leave for Iceland next week, so I choose expedited shipping (not Prime eligible, unfortunately), but it's only $6 more than renting, so I make the investment. $41.58

7 p.m. — Hot yoga class tonight.

Dinner — One lonely piece of chicken left and the remaining carrots I didn’t eat at lunch today.

Total: $41.58

Day Six

Breakfast — Same as yesterday. Those damn avocados won’t be ripe until I’m on vacation, I bet. Coffee, obviously.

9 a.m. — I’m not sure if it was waiting for the bus for 15 minutes today or that I am just that tired, but a splurge for a venti Blonde Roast. $2.78 at Starbucks on the gift card.

Lunch — A meal prepped from Monday. I forgot my carrots and realize I never purchased that yogurt. Again. At this point, I’ll just go without for the rest of the week.

Dinner — Today was forecasted to be damp and cold, so I am in the mood for comfort food. There are meatballs I handmade from a few weeks ago in the freezer, which I defrosted during the day, so I make some spaghetti. Kitchen is a disaster as a result of all the pots and pans for this feast, but the meal is so good. I also open the Riesling I purchased on day one.

Total: $0

Day Seven

Breakfast — I sleep in (oops)! I have a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee. Another grande coffee at Starbucks, since one cup was not enough for today. $2.45 off the gift card.

Lunch — I barely had time to throw the remnants of my salad into a container this morning, but proud that I did it!

Dinner — Tonight is an event with a vendor to celebrate the filing of our annual report. My coworkers and I walk to the event, since it feels like spring outside. Food and drinks are covered, and so is the cab for the ride home.

Total: $0
The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day.

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