A Week In NYC On A $70,000 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 lingerie designer going to a lot of barre classes and taking a day off.
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Industry: Fashion Design
Age: 29
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $70,000
Paycheck (2x a month, after healthcare and taxes): $1,728
Roomates: 0
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,060, gas and heat included (small studio with shared bathroom in Harlem, hence the dirt-cheap rent)
Internet: $30
Phone: Work pays, $0
Spotify: $10
Hulu: $7
Gym + exercise studio: $77 + $182 = $259
Transportation: $116.50 monthly metro card, comes out of paycheck pre-tax
Credit Card Payments: $450 (paying down irresponsible spending habits from my first few years in the city living on intern/assistant salary)
Savings: $300 per biweekly paycheck automatically deposited into savings account = $600 monthly
401(k): I put in 2% of my salary from my paycheck into my 401(k); my company matches

Yearly Expenses
Renter’s Insurance: $120

Day 1

10 a.m. — Lounge around apartment, make breakfast and tea at home.

12 p.m. — Hair appointment. I get highlights for first time to cover newly discovered greys. Or "sparklers," as the stylist calls them. She does a really good job and they’re very subtle, so I plan on trying to go only three times per year. $153

3 p.m. — Wander around Soho. Pop in at Zara and try on a few things, but the line to purchase is so long, I think better of it and leave empty-handed.

3:30 p.m. — Buy a tea at Dean & DeLuca for the tail end of this cold and to help keep me from coughing on the subway. $3

4:30 p.m. — I stop by Harmons to pick up household items. I get dish soap, Tupperware, toilet paper, etc. It’s cheaper than the local drug stores, but it’s like my Target. I always leave with more than what's on my list. $30

5 p.m. — Groceries at Trader Joe’s. Bananas, berries, eggs, salsa, green beans, spinach, mushrooms, yogurt, plus a few flowers for the apartment. $63

5:45 p.m. — Transfer at 34th street before realizing the D train isn’t running. Transfer again and struggle with heavy grocery bags before giving up and taking a cab to Harlem. $21.80

8 p.m. — Netflix and chill by myself. Since I’ve been a little under the weather, I stay in, make dinner, give myself a manicure, and watch Chelsea Does.

Daily Total: $270.80

Day 2

11 a.m. — Brunch at boss’s apartment. She makes delicious pancakes and mimosas for our team. She didn’t want us to bring anything, but my momma raised me right, so I pick up flowers as a hostess gift. $10

2 p.m. — Shop around Williamsburg with a friend. Try on a few things, but don’t see anything I need or "have to have."

4:30 p.m. — Tea at Starbucks, again to help keep me from coughing on the train and grossing out fellow commuters. $2.95

6 p.m. — Skype with friend from London and make dinner at home. Also prep lunches and bake mini egg frittatas and oat muffins for the week. Try to do this on Sunday evenings to help with the budget.

Daily Total: $12.95

Day 3

6:15 a.m. — Alarm goes off, but in my groggy state, I turn it off and sleep through Barre3 class. I have to pay the no-show fee. $15

9:30 a.m. — Make tea at home and bring breakfast to work (egg frittata, banana).

1 p.m. — I eat fish, quinoa, and veggies for lunch, prepped last night.

3:30 p.m. — Buy coffee and snacks at work. $5

5:15 p.m. — I make myself go to a Barre3 class after work to feel less guilty about missing this morning. Luckily, it's included in the membership.

6:15 p.m. — Smoothie from Liquiteria. $7.95

6:30 p.m. — I run home to shower and heat up some leftover mushroom and lentil soup before heading out on a date.

9 p.m. — First date at cozy UWS spot with someone I met on Tinder. I order two glasses of wine and offer to split, but date picks up the tab.

Daily Total: $27.95
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Day 4

8:30 a.m. — I make breakfast at home, avocado toast and tea, and head to work with a banana.

11:30 a.m. — Buy tea at Starbucks. $2.95

12:30 p.m. — Bring lunch from home: TJ's tamale and a spinach salad.

2 p.m. — I book a flight home to West Coast for one week vacation in July. I’ve been looking at ticket prices and found a cheap one-way ticket; I pay for the return ticket with miles, but outbound, I pay with money from my savings account. $241.60

7 p.m. — Meet friend for movie and dinner at Nitehawk in Williamsburg. I order the hummus and veggie plate, plus a side of tater tots (it's all about balance). We split popcorn. Tickets $12, dinner $32. Total: $44

Daily Total: $288.55

Day 5

8:30 a.m. — Breakfast at home. Oatmeal and tea.

1 p.m. — Bring lunch to work: fish, quinoa, and veggies.

6 p.m. — Skip the gym in favor of happy hour with coworkers. It’s 70 degrees and we want to have drinks outside. There aren’t a lot of options near the office, so we settle on The Dream Hotel's roof, where there is no happy hour special and the cheapest glass of wine is $15! Happy hour fail. I get one drink, plus tax and tip. $20

9 p.m. — I meet up with the same Tinder guy from day three at Harlem Nights for some live music and a couple cocktails. I pay for the second round of drinks. $18

11:30 p.m. — Make a veggie sandwich at home to lessen the aftereffects of drinking.

Daily Total: $38

Day 6


9:30 a.m. — Make tea at home, bring breakfast to work. Egg frittata and oat muffin.

12 p.m. — Bring lunch from home: Leftover fish, quinoa, and veggies. I’m starting to get sick of this meal.

1 p.m. — Pop out of the office for monthly wax and awkward small talk with my aesthetician. $65

6:30 p.m. — I convince a coworker to try a Barre3 class with me, since I have a free class card.

8 p.m. — Head home to make dinner and watch TV.

Daily Total: $65

Day 7

8:00 a.m. — I take the day off work for the holiday weekend, but I’m still awake early. Make tea and eggs at home.

9:45 a.m. — Barre3 class, included in monthly membership.

10:45 a.m. — Smoothie at Liquiteria to hold me over until yoga. $7.95

12:30 p.m. — Yoga at gym, included in monthly membership.

2:30 p.m. — Pick up some groceries at Trader Joe's for the weekend and following week: eggs, almond milk, broccoli, green beans, spinach, coconut water, hummus, carrots, apples, tomatoes, avocado, and some pre-seasoned fish. $71.35

4:30 p.m. — Take advantage of a nearly empty laundromat during a work day. ~$7

6 p.m. — It’s Friday, but I’ve had a pretty social week and I’m trying to watch my budget. I cook dinner at home and have a chill night.

Daily Total: $86.30
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Editor's note: Not including the airline tickets, this week's diarist spent $547.95.

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.
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. For more money diaries, click here.
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