A Week In NYC On A $36,000 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking millennial women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar. (Thanks, New York mag, for the inspiration.)

Today, a web editor in New York City, putting down a security deposit for a new apartment.

Industry: Digital Media/Editorial
Age: 22
Location: NYC
Salary: $32,000, plus freelance work
Paycheck Amount (2x a month): ~$1,200
# of roommates: 1

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $760
Loan Payments: They haven’t kicked in yet; I just graduated in May and don’t have to begin making payments for six months. My parents also offered to make my loan payments until I have a more permanent/higher-paying job.
Utilities: $25 for internet, around $40 for electricity
Transportation: Monthly Metrocard $116
Phone Bill: Still on family plan, all paid for by my parents
Health Insurance: Still on parents’ insurance
Savings: I opened a Mutual Funds account several years ago and make deposits whenever I come into extra cash. (There’s around $8,000 in there currently.)

Day One

9 a.m. — Grab a coffee at Starbucks to fuel up for a morning of apartment hunting. $3

1 p.m. —Weekly Whole Foods trip for groceries. Splurged on Halo Top ice cream. Also pick up zucchini, hummus, mozzarella, popcorn, granola, fruit, and some other things. $31

3 p.m. — Found a new apartment through Craigslist! Paid the security deposit. Will be moving to Park Slope with two roommates. $200

7 p.m. — Made caprese salad for dinner from my WF haul.

Daily Total: $234

Day Two

9 a.m. — Cereal for breakfast at home. I’m not a huge breakfast person, but my commute is pretty long right now, so if I don’t eat before work, I show up super hangry. Honey Nut Cheerios are the solution.

1 p.m. — Brought my own lunch to work, but some coworkers invited me to join them in the cafeteria, so I paid $5 for a sandwich. Seems worth it to socialize at my new job! $5

7 p.m. — Mac 'n' cheese for dinner. It’s Kraft-style, but since it’s from Whole Foods, it’s healthy, right?

Daily Total: $5

Day Three

10 a.m. — Have breakfast at the office since I slept through my alarm and didn’t eat at home. They have fruit, peanut butter, coffee, and some other snacks, so I don’t have to spend any money.

12 p.m. — Office coffee #2. The Starbucks around the corner is tempting, but I can’t justify spending money on lattes when they’re free at work.

2 p.m. — Brought my lunch to work; some frozen Trader Joe’s meal I found in the back of my freezer, supplemented with snacks from work.

7 p.m. — It’s unreasonably hot, so I pop into Starbucks mid-commute for an iced tea. $3

8 p.m. — Stop by Trader Joe’s to grab something for dinner. Craving Kung Pao cauliflower I got there last week. $5

Daily Total: $8

Day Four

9 a.m. — Cereal and coffee for breakfast at home.

1 p.m. — Free sandwiches at the office. Yay! I take half of one and grab soup from the cafeteria. $3

9 p.m. — Late dinner with a blind date. He offers to pay, and I don’t object. He’ll probably end up expensing it, anyway.

Daily Total: $3

Day Five

9 a.m. — Coffee and cereal at home. This is getting pretty old.

1 p.m. — I know I’m supposed to be saving money, but Bloomingdale’s is having a sale. I got paid $75 for a freelance assignment today, so I don’t feel too bad about treating myself. I get a sweater. $40

6 p.m. — Pop into the grocery store for some spinach, mozzarella, and pesto. $12

9 p.m. — Order new sneakers online from Free People. Mine are super worn out, and these will be cute enough for the gym and the office. I’ve been looking for a new pair for a few months, and these were on sale (and free shipping!) $50

Daily Total: $102

Day Six

10 a.m. — Pop into Starbucks for an iced coffee. $3

2 p.m. —Half-day at work! H&M is having a sale, so I couldn’t resist checking it out. $40

10 p.m. — A friend is in town. Dinner and drinks at my favorite Thai restaurant. Got my first paycheck from my new job, so Champagne was in order. $28

Daily Total: $71

Day Seven

11 a.m. — Stop by a café for a bagel and cream cheese. $3

1 p.m. — Iced matcha latte from a new café. Did it mostly for a cute Instagram post. $5

2 p.m. — Great Kate Spade wristlet on sale! Score. I don’t feel super guilty about all my recent shopping, since I got paid for another freelance assignment today. I typically make anywhere from $75 to $300 a month freelancing. $30

3 p.m. — Vegan ice cream, since it felt like a hundred degrees outside. $5

4 p.m. — Tacos and margaritas with my friend from out of town. Can’t beat a weekend happy hour. I rarely go out to eat this much, but since my friend is visiting, we’re hitting up some new spots. $16

10 p.m. — Got invited to a party downtown — open bar with the cover. $5

12 a.m. — Super hungry, since tacos were so long ago. Cheese fries at a 24-hour diner before heading home. $9

Daily Total: $73
Money Diaries are meant to reflect individual women’s experiences and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29’s point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.

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