A Month In NYC On A $70,000 Salary

Photo: Courtesy of Taittinger.
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.)

To celebrate our 99th money diary (!!), one New York woman tracked her spending for four full weeks, taking advice from Sallie Krawcheck's financial guide. She juggles two jobs, invests $220 a week, and takes a New Year's Eve trip to Paris. (Don't read week four if you're suffering from wanderlust!)
Industry: Media & Research
Age: 24
Location: New York City
Salary: I make $70,000 working contract for a media agency and a hedge fund. I used to work in finance and had a $90,000 salary with a $65,000 bonus, but recently changed jobs. My live-in boyfriend makes $140,000 with a $100,000 bonus.
Paycheck Amount: Around $4,400 (after tax) paid once a month between both roles
Roommates: Boyfriend and the plants from our urban garden

Monthly Expenses
Housing costs: $3,000 monthly mortgage payment. I used to split the mortgage with my boyfriend (P.), and he would pay the maintenance fee, but that changed when I left finance. While I was looking for a job, P. paid for everything. Now, I pay the maintenance fee of $800. P. wouldn't care if I didn't chip in for the mortgage because he thinks I contribute in different ways. It upsets him that I think I have to "chip in" monetarily at all, but I like feeling independent.
Loan payments: $300 a month for student loans
Utilities: $30 a month
Transportation: $119 on monthly MetroCard, and $60 on Ubers/taxi cabs
Health Insurance: Covered by my boyfriend (domestic partnership)
Savings: $150 a month (post-career change)
Cell Phone: $48 a month
Advertisement
1 of 5
Day 1
9 a.m. — My boyfriend and I make coffee on our way to yoga. We grab two scones we made Saturday afternoon and take them with us. We get into yoga for free, as our friend is working at the front desk, but have to pay $4 for two mat rentals. $4

11:30 a.m. — Our yoga studio is in Chelsea, across the street from Bed Bath & Beyond. We have our monthly 20% coupon and need a set of white sheets. We want 600-thread-count Egyptian cotton that are less than $95, but we're willing to shop around. We find sheets on the clearance rack! Yes! $63.33 total, but I Venmo my boyfriend a smaller contribution $20

12:45 p.m. — We make Spanish tortillas for lunch (a deliciously quick meal) with leftovers in the fridge.

1 p.m. — I just signed up with Ellevest and started reading CEO Sallie Krawcheck's ebook, Mind The Gap. I've decided to follow her advice as part of this experiment. Sallie recommends couples who share a mortgage consider refinancing every couple of years. My boyfriend and I use our lunch date to go over our mortgage, and find that not only have we always paid on time, but that our provider raised our interest rate without a) notification or b) consent. We pull up our contract and discover that they had breached various terms of the agreement. We call our bank to discuss; after three hours of back and forth and being put on hold, we are refunded and we are able to negotiate an even lower rate of 6% based on our updated credit histories.

3 p.m. — We cook dinner almost every night; Sunday is when we plan recipes and make a grocery list for the week. We pick up the Key Foods coupon book on the way inside, and find that there are actually great sales. (We get a six pack of a VT craft IPA for $6!). We spend $86 total, but I Venmo my boyfriend $26 as a contribution. He doesn’t mind footing the bill for our expenses, and there is no rhyme or reason why I contribute what I do. I just pay what feels right at the time. $26

6 p.m. — We use a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated to make a homemade penne alla vodka. (The recipe actually called for vodka and rum!)

8 p.m. — I wash all the pots, pans, silverware, glassware, and dishes from our cooking adventure. We split up the housework: My boyfriend does most of the cooking, so I do most of the clean up after cooking. Still, it irks me that he hasn’t bought a dishwasher for our apartment yet.

8:30 p.m. — We watch a rerun of The Office and make hot chocolate with Armagnac for a night cap.

Daily Total: $50


Day 2
6:45 a.m. — Pack lunch for my boyfriend and myself using the leftovers from last night’s dinner.

7:30 a.m. — Make coffee at home in a to-go cup (saved $2.75!) so I can bring it with me on my way to yoga. My friend is the yoga instructor, so I get in for free! Mat rental: $2

9:30 a.m. — Just arrived at work. Buy a banana in the cafeteria and refill my coffee mug for free. $0.85

12:15 p.m. — Eay my leftover penne from the night before instead of ordering Thai with my coworkers. Money saved: $12

2 p.m. — Go out for a coffee run and get a cookie with an intern. $4.25

5 p.m. — I call my previous employer (a bulge bracket investment bank) and ask to close the brokerage account I set up with them years ago. I want to transfer the money to my new account at Ellevest. They are sending me paperwork.

7:30 p.m. — Christmas shopping for family. My little female cousin wants a scooter. We find a pink scooter for $50 on Amazon, but I'm weary of the "pink tax." Out of curiosity, we search for a “boy’s” scooter and find the exact same model, but red, for $25. We buy the red one. $25

7:45 p.m. — For dinner, we make a sweet potato stir fry with ginger, scallions, garlic, and jalapeño using the groceries we bought yesterday.

9 p.m. — Once again, I wash all the pots and pans by hands. Maybe I’ll look into buying a portable dishwasher this week.

Daily Total: $32.10

Day 3
8 a.m. — I overslept, and I’m running late to work so I buy a coffee and bagel on the way to the subway. $5.50

8:15 a.m. — I realize how late I am and panic. I open the Uber app and nearly confirm a trip from Brooklyn Heights to the West Village (my office), but then I take a deep breath and think. I live very close to the subway. Would an Uber during morning rush hour really be faster than an express subway? Is it really worth $18? No.

9:30 a.m. — I email the fund manager and ask to have a catch-up, which makes me very nervous. My boss does not make himself approachable, so an email is bold. In her book, Sallie recommends setting expectations for success with your boss so by the time your big review comes no one will be surprised. In the body of my email I write, "I was hoping we put time on the calendar to discuss my performance. I’m interested to know what you believe success looks like for me, and I want to discuss expectations for year end." My formal review and bonus happen at the beginning of February, so not too late to be in control! Waiting for a response.

10 a.m. — I buy 99 shares of NASDAQ: WBMD in our joint account, of which I submitted $220 (which is exactly 20% of my weekly paycheck) of my own money. After I purchase these shares, I immediately call Fidelity to tell them I want to be involved in the corporate tender. 99 shares at $53.50 = $5,296.50 + $7 (transaction cost). I call my boyfriend afterward and let him know about our newest investment. $220

2:30 p.m. — Coffee and cookie break. $5

3:30 p.m. — I call my student loan provider and ask to be enrolled in autopay, as per Sallie’s advice. They give me a lower interest rate as a result! Ha-chaaaa!

5 p.m. — Happy hour with the other research analysts, but I order a water with a lime instead of a drink. I am determined to find better ways to socialize. (Why does networking always have to be over drinks?)

7:30 p.m. — We host another couple over for a small dinner party. We serve sweet potato ginger dumplings. The filling for four people totaled to $9, and the dumpling wrappers we got in Chinatown were $5.50 for 60. The other couple brought wine (yay!). Total spent: $14.50

10 p.m. — I wash all the dishes from our dinner party…once again. Wish we had a dishwasher!

Daily Total: $245


Day 4
7 a.m. — Wake up early to make myself breakfast and coffee; pack myself lunch.

8 a.m. — Yoga and a mat rental. $28

9:30 a.m. — Get a text from my shopping buddy about a Pulsd deal for Maison Close. $99 for $199 of lingerie. $99

11:15 a.m. — For lunch, I eat a salad that I packed at home. Then I email my boss about setting goals. I am new to the media agency, so I have loads to learn.

2 p.m. — Coffee and a macaroon by myself because sometimes I need alone time! $6

5:15 p.m. — Take a break to call my boyfriend at work. We are fighting with our condo board. There is a leak in our ceiling, which contractually is their obligation to repair. They are trying to charge us $89.82 for a light fixture. So annoying!

7:30 p.m. — Dinner with a friend at a Vietnamese restaurant in Chelsea. Very tempted to Uber home, since it is freezing cold and snowing. Take the subway instead. $33.48

Daily Total: $166.48

Day 5
7 a.m. — Meet my step-sister for breakfast at the Oculus, as she’s visiting from L.A. We have two pastries and two coffees from Épicerie Boulud. I treat, because duh. $12

9:30 a.m. — I get a notification that the 99 shares of NASDAQ:WBMD were tendered, which means the company bought them back for $55! We made $1.50 per share, a quick $134.50 (99 shares x $1.50- $14 of transaction costs).

10:25 a.m. — I buy two refills for the office tea, ginger and green. $12

12:30 p.m. — I forgot to pack lunch (ugh), so I buy falafel from the cart outside. $4

4:45 p.m. — Have my meeting with the fund manager to discuss my performance. I am a little nervous, as he is a very direct man. I follow Sallie’s advice and bring in a list of three areas where I know I need improvement. The result is positive; he is very impressed. I leave the meeting with a clear definition of his vision of success for me. I’m feeling confident that my year-end bonus will be in line with my expectations, and higher than last year’s.

7 p.m. — I come home to a Romanesco stew made by P. I call our local wine shop to order a $23 Oregon Pinot Noir for delivery. I tip $5, because it’s the holidays after all! $28

9:30 p.m. — We begin planning our New Year’s Eve trip to Paris by looking at restaurants for our New Year’s celebration dinner. We don't book anything yet, but make a list based on location within the city and price (must total to less than 500 euros total).

10:30 p.m. — I do the dishes, again, because….

Daily Total: $56

Day 6
6:45 a.m. — I pack leftover Romanesco stew for me and my boyfriend.

7:15 a.m. — I make coffee and bring it with me on my way to yoga. I know the instructor, so I get in for free, but I buy P. his next yoga class as a surprise gift (we do this for each other pretty frequently!). $26

9:30 a.m. — I buy a second coffee on the way to the office (that kind of day). I also buy a very sugary doughnut. $7

11 a.m. — I have a cold and forgot to pack myself DayQuil. I walk to CVS before lunch and buy the generic brand for $12.99 (since the brand-name DayQuil was $19.50!). $12.99

6:30 p.m. — It is miserably cold as I leave the office, and I’m oh so tempted to hail a cab. I open Uber and find relief in the 4x-surge pricing for the first time ever. I summon the strength to take the subway instead (which, to note, isn't a miserable experience). Money saved: $46

9 p.m. — I am still sick. I order butternut squash soup on Seamless and drown myself in NyQuil. $10

Daily Total: $55.99


Day 7

10 a.m. — I wake up to an email from my student loan provider — my first autopay went through with the 0.25% reduction in my interest rate! $300 (counted in monthly expenses).

2 p.m. — My boyfriend and I go to a birthday brunch, even though I’m still sick. We bring champagne that P. buys ($49); I bring flowers. $22

5 p.m. — We finally use the seven pounds of onions we bought last week and make French Onion Soup, from a Cook’s Illustrated recipe. We realize that we forgot gruyere, so I go out and buy one pound of cheese. $18

8:30 p.m. — I do all the dishes again even though I’m sick.

Daily Total: $40

Breakdown Of Weekly Paycheck: $1,100 (after tax)
Ideal: Wants 50% ($550), Needs 30% ($330), Investing 20% ($220)
My results: Wants: $219.48, Needs: $206.09, Investing: $220
2 of 5
Day 1
9 a.m. — Wake up for yoga at 10. We are running late, so P. treats me to coffee and a bagel from the deli downstairs.

10 a.m. — Yoga! We know the instructor, we get in for free! Mat rental $4

11:20 a.m. — We stop at Home Depot on our way home from yoga for a masonry bit for our drill. We are installing shelves we got from Ikea into a brick wall and need the proper bit in order to hang them. I buy it, just to make a point. $6

3:20 p.m. — We make our list of weekly grocery needs. We are hosting a large dinner party Wednesday night, so we are making a menu that will be both a) affordable and b) impressive (harder than it sounds!!). We decide on a pretty simple coq au vin dish using a traditional French recipe that I received from my grandmother. We buy chicken legs, an array of fresh veggies, herbs, butter, milk, two cartons of eggs, sandwich bread, and berries. We walk out with eight large bags from Key Food. It comes to $102 total; I pay $33 (which is the cash I have in my pocket).

6:30 p.m. — We make avocado toast for dinner with a fried egg on top, and book an Airbnb for our trip to Paris over New Years ($689) P. pays.

8 p.m. — While we’re watching reruns of The Office, I order the parts I need for the portion of the Christmas present I’m making (a bamboo magnetic knife holder — he has a fancy knife collection). Will pick up at Home Depot on Tuesday. $77

9:30 p.m. — I do the dishes.

Daily Total: $120

Day 2

7 a.m. — Pack tuna fish and avocado sandwiches for lunch for my boyfriend and myself, using the ingredients we bought yesterday.

7:30 a.m. — Make coffee and a fried egg with sautéed onions for breakfast.

10 a.m. — Feeling really spacey, so I go for an early coffee break. $3.50

12 p.m. — I eat the sandwich I packed.

3:30 p.m. — I get an email back from HR. It turns out I can set up a direct deposit into my Ellevest account! Yay! I also I buy 17 shares of VIX at $11.71, which is the index for Volatility S&P 500. Historically, the market has been very volatile in January. So, needless to say, I’m bullish on VIX. I set an automatic sell limit at $17. $199.07

6:45 p.m. — I meet my boyfriend for yoga in Bushwick, which happens to be one block away from our favorite low-cost healthy foods store, Mr. Piña! We’re 45 minutes early to our 7:30 yoga class, so we stop in for some juice and buy some fresh fruit to bring home. $23

7:30 p.m. — We get free yoga again, and because we are wearing accidental matching outfits, they give us free mats.

9 p.m. — We make more sweet potato stir-fry for dinner, and realize we forgot to buy scallions at the store. We’re too tired to care right now. We lay in bed and research restaurants for our trip to Paris.

Daily Total: $225.57

Day 3

7:30 a.m. — Make coffee and immediately put on two sweaters because it’s freezing cold.

8:45 a.m. — It’s 31 degrees outside and windy — a dismal weather combination. I’m very tempted to Uber to work, but I walk to the subway instead. Fighting the urge to Uber is getting easier. Money saved: $23.50

10:30 a.m. — I go on a coffee run for the traders. I buy seven cappuccinos at $4.45 a piece. I put it on the corporate card (thank god).

12 p.m. — I’m just about to go on a lunch run when I get a call from a delivery man who is apparently outside my office. P. ordered me lunch from my favorite lunch spot in the West Village, Westville, because I told him I forgot to pack lunch this morning. What a sweetie.

4:05 p.m. — I go on a post-market coffee break. The traders I work for can be really overwhelming, and alone time is very important for me.

6:30 p.m. — I leave work, and I need to finish my Christmas shopping. I stop by The Strand and buy two copies of The Elegance of the Hedgehog, my favorite book of all time (one for my sister and one for P.'s grandmother). I stop by Home Depot to pick up the materials I ordered. $33

7:30 p.m. — We begin making steak-and-Guinness pie for dinner. I forgot to pick up puff pastry, so I run out to the store. $6.03

9:30 p.m. — P. cleans the living and dining rooms to prep for our dinner party tomorrow, and I do the dishes (obviously) and clean the kitchen.

10:45 p.m. — We watch a re-run of The Office and go to bed (we REALLY love that show).

Daily Total: $39.03

Day 4
6:40 a.m. — We wake up, and I make coffee for us and pack leftover steak-and-Guinness pies for lunch.

7:15 a.m. — I begin working on a research project I was given at work two days ago at home.

9:30 a.m. — In a panic, I see the time and realize that I have a meeting at 10 in the office. I immediately message my manager and explain that I lost track of time. I think about taking an Uber, only $7 if I Uberpool on the price fare estimator. But it would take 25 minutes to get to the office. I decide to dial into the meeting, a bold choice but one that makes the most sense. I put the research I did into an email and send it to my manager. She is pleased.

12 p.m. — I follow through with Sallie’s advice, and set up a monthly deduction of 20% of my media agency paycheck into my Ellevest account that will begin with my next paycheck.

1:15 p.m. — I eat my lunch, which stinks up the office kitchen, so I go out and buy Febreeze (sorry guys). $5.50

4:35 p.m. — I get an email from the condo board about a collection for the super. This slipped our minds, so I write a check for $200 from our of a joint checking account. (P. primarily contributes to this account.)

5:45 p.m. — I stop by a toy store and buy a doll for our super’s daughter. $26.40

6:15 p.m. — We start prepping for our dinner party! I remember that we forgot to make a dessert, so I run to Key Food and pick up ice cream (on sale: two for $5!). $5

7 p.m. — Everyone arrives with wine! Yesssss!!

10:30 p.m. — The dinner went really well, but we’re left with a huge mess. After a pathetic attempt at cleaning, we decide to leave it for tomorrow since I’m not working. I really need a dishwasher!

Daily Total: $36.90


Day 5
7 a.m. — I pack P. leftover coq au vin and make myself coffee. I finish the dishes from last night’s soiree and wipe down all surfaces and vacuum.

10:30 a.m. — I’m heading to see my dad today to work on the Christmas gift for P. My dad is a carpenter, so he has all the tools and knowledge I need to make something nice. I arrive at Grand Central and buy two round trip tickets (one for me, and one for him so he can visit). $48

12 p.m. — I arrive, and we go to the famous Star Diner for lunch! I treat my dad because he’s so amazingly generous and kind. $18

6 p.m. — I’m walking back home from the subway and stop at the local wine store and buy two bottles of champagne for Christmas. $103

7:30 p.m. — P. and I make green Thai curry for dinner! After we eat, we make chocolate soufflés for dessert.

Daily Total: $169


Day 6

8 a.m. — I wake up and make coffee. At 9, I go to my friend's private pilates class.

10 a.m. — I buy a large “artisan” water because there are no other options and that was the most intense workout ever. My friend asks if we should go out to brunch, but I invite her back to our apartment. P. is at work, and I know I’ll be able to whip up something tasty for a fraction of the cost of a restaurant in Tribeca. $6

11:30 a.m. — We get back to our apartment, and I cook us a quiche with onions, spinach, and goat cheese using the groceries I bought on Sunday.

3 p.m. — We take the train to Target. My friend needs to buy her niece a Christmas gift and I need bath supplies. I think about the "pink tax" as I shop. There are two shampoos, one in a pink bottle (for females) and another, by the same brand, in a grey bottle (for males). The female shampoo is $12.99 and the male shampoo is $8.99. I flip the bottles over and see that they have the same two active ingredients and the same fragrance. Oh, and both shampoos are of identical volumes. $8.99

6 p.m. — I meet P. near the office for a happy hour date! We both decided to cut down our spending, so a happy hour date fits in perfectly with this goal. P. pays.

8 p.m. — We make eggplant sandwiches for dinner.

Daily Total: $14.99

Day 7

10:30 a.m. — Wake up and make coffee. We decide not to eat anything for breakfast, since we’re headed to my mom’s for a Christmas Eve luncheon.

11:30 a.m. — We buy my mom and her husband a Rakka chocolate bar to represent their gift, which is a chocolate-making class at Rakka in Brooklyn! $6

5:30 p.m. — We decide to make steak and eggs for breakfast on Christmas morning. We stop at Key Foods (can’t believe they’re open Christmas Eve), and buy flank steak. $2

6 p.m. — We watch Miracle on 34th Street. I cry at the end of the movie when the people of New York take to the streets to show their support for Santa. It’s the sweetest!

9:30 p.m. — We head to Pok Pok NY for our annual Christmas Eve dinner. P. comes from a Jewish family and went to a Chinese buffet every year on Christmas Eve. So, as such, this is a tradition he wants to continue. But since I have a pretty intense intolerance to MSG, we go for Thai instead! (P. pays.)

Daily Total: $8

Breakdown Of Weekly Paycheck: $1,100 (after tax)
Ideal: Wants 50% ($550), Needs 30% ($330), investing 20% ($220)
My results: Wants: $219.48, Needs: $206.09, Investing: $220
3 of 5
Day 1
9:30 a.m. — We wake up to open presents! P. loves the Korin knife and the wooden magnetic knife holder I made him. He gives me this beautiful Maje jacket I first tried on and fell in love with in Singapore. I’m so touched! I can’t believe he remembered the size and the make.

10 a.m. — I make us coffee, and we begin to open stocking presents. P. unwraps an airline pin for his travel bag and a scarf I knitted for him. In my stocking, I unwrap a cactus and a calendar P. made from a collection of photos we took while traveling over the past year. It is so sweet. I tear up.

11:15 a.m. — We are both feeling sick and groggy. We decide to go back to sleep.

2 p.m. — We wake up and decide to find an Indian buffet. P.'s family grew up having an Indian buffet for Christmas lunch, so this is a tradition we keep in our family.

3 p.m. — We arrive at Dhaba, in Gramercy, and find a line of 15 people. But, hilariously, we're the only party of two, so we get a table immediately! The food is delicious, and we leave feeling monstrously stuffed and decide to walk home because of it. I pay for the meal: $33.

4:30 p.m. — We stop at the Beekman Hotel for a drink. The lobby is so festive, it has a 10-foot Christmas tree and holiday cocktail specials. It’s so romantic. P. pays ($44).

7 p.m. — We get home and decide to watch Ernest Saves Christmas, and open our Christmas champagne. We choose to open the Taittinger for the aroma and apple flavors.

9 p.m. — I begin to feel famished, so P. makes me penne alla vodka. He’s the best.

9:30 p.m. — We open Pied a Terre and eat the pasta while listening to the Ella Fitzgerald Christmas album.

Daily Total: $33

Day 2

11:15 a.m. — We wake up a little late. I make coffee and we make a Spanish tortilla with onions and sweet potato. (I’m addicted.)

2 p.m. — We walk to Chelsea for a 3:15 yoga class. New York is such a beautiful city and sometimes I worry I don’t see it that way enough. We arrive at yoga, and my friend is working the counter! We get buddy passes, which include free mat rentals.

4:20 p.m. — We walk home after yoga. Need to work off all that Indian food and champagne!

5:30 p.m. — We stop by Key Foods on the way home. We don't have an ingredients list since we are leaving for France on Friday. We buy eggs, onions, milk, heavy cream, bananas, blackberries, and zucchini. I pay because P. forgot his wallet at home. $55

7 p.m. — We eat leftover penne alla vodka and pair it with a glass of Pied a Terre. Over dinner, we mentally prep to go back to work.

9:30 p.m. — P. cleans up the living room and our bedroom to prepare for the week while I do the dishes. Then we head to bed.

Daily Total: $55

Day 3

6:30 a.m. — I make coffee and pack up leftover penne alla vodka for me and P. I make myself rose tea, to have for a treat at work.

8:30 a.m. — I start heading to work, and pick up a coffee on the way. Going back to work after a holiday is mentally difficult. $2.75

9:30 a.m. — I get to work and am the first one here, which is a very calm way to begin a workday. I love solitude.

12:30 p.m. — I warm up my penne alla vodka. It’s so delicious.

6:30 p.m. — P. meets me at my office and we head to yoga. We get in for free again, but pay for mat rentals. $4

8 p.m. — We decide to go to Pho Vietnam for dinner in Chinatown. We both get pho, and then an order of a pork pancake. P. pays. ( $26)

10:30 p.m. — We head to bed with some ginger tea.

Daily Total: $6.75

Day 4
6:50 a.m. — I wake up and make P. coffee and pack us the rest of the penne alla vodka for lunch.

7:10 a.m. — I decide to go for a run across the Manhattan Bridge. We live in Brooklyn Heights on the border of Dumbo so a run across the bridge is only four miles.

8:30 a.m. — I head to work and pick up a coffee on the way. In my wallet, I find $3 with a ribbon around it and a note that says “coffee money.” P. warms my heart in even the chilliest weather. $2.75

9:30 a.m. — I am the first one in the office again, I could definitely get used to this.

12:30 p.m. — I heat up my penne alla vodka. Embarrassingly enough, I’m kind of sad that it’s the end of it. Food that P. makes for me tastes the best.

2:30 p.m. — I’m starving, which usually happens on the days that I run. I walk to the health food store around the corner from my office and buy a yogurt and a clementine. $4.46

4 p.m. — I leave the office early to work from home. P. has a client event, and I work best in a quiet atmosphere.

6:15 p.m. — I make myself zucchini pasta and continue to work. I’m working on a pretty cool research project at the media agency, so I am actually enjoying the work I'm doing. I hard boil eggs for lunch tomorrow.

9:15 p.m. — P. gets home from his client event, which was at Nobu. He knows Nobu is my favorite sushi restaurant in New York, and brings me a doggy bag. He ordered me a spider roll. Thanks P. (Or should I thank the investment bank he works for? Hehe.)

9:30 p.m. — We make a dinner reservation for Paris via email, and research good lunch spots before bed.

Daily Total: $7.21

Day 5

6:45 a.m. — Wake up and make P. coffee and a tuna fish sandwich with egg, tomato, onion, and spinach for his lunch.

7 a.m. — I start working on my research project. I feel like I’m the most productive when I’m working from home, I have no distractions and I get to work in the place I feel the most comfortable.

8:30 a.m. — I make myself a mini quiche for breakfast, with onions, goat cheese, and spinach. I have loads of laundry to do before we leave, so I refill the laundry card and begin the process (which includes walking up and down five flights of stairs). $80

1:35 p.m. — I put $220 into my Ellevest account. $220

5:30 p.m. — P. gets home early today! We fold clothes and pack for Paris!

7:45 p.m. — We make breakfast for dinner, which consists of sweet potato hash browns and sunny-side-up eggs.

8:30 p.m. — After dinner, we finish packing and planning our trip to Paris. We’re so excited!

10:15 p.m. — We head to bed early the night before a trip, so we can get the most rest possible in the fight against time change.

Daily Total: $300

Day 6

6:40 a.m. — Wake up and make coffee for P. and make him a PB&J since there is literally nothing in our fridge. I walk out with him, since I’m taking a 7:30 a.m. yoga class.

7:28 a.m. — I make it to yoga, and just in the nick of time! $27

9:07 a.m. — I hop in the shower, then make myself coffee and eggs for breakfast while preparing my work center for the day.

12:45 p.m. — I walk to this Middle Eastern place that’s under our apartment to pick up a merguez sandwich for lunch. We have no food, and a PB&J isn't exactly appetizing to me. $9

3:50 p.m. — I meet P. at his office with all our luggage, and we head to Newark Liberty International Airport. I feel like a super strong woman carrying the garment bag, a backpack, and two carry-on suitcases.

4 p.m. — We arrive at the PATH and refill our MetroCard so we can get to Newark Penn Station. P. pays ($10). At Newark Penn, we get a cab to EWR. P. pays ($16).

5:50 p.m. — We get to the gate and pick up our tickets. To our surprise, we have been upgraded to first class! (As a note, my mom is a flight attendant and her husband works at corporate for a major airline. We fly for free because of it!) We are so happy. We board, and then go to sleep!

Daily Total: $36

Day 7

7:45 a.m. — We get off the flight and take the RER B to get to Saint Michel, where our hotel is located. It’s the first charge we put on our new joint credit card that we got just because they don’t charge a fee for international transactions! P. pays (€18.50, or $19.55).

9:05 a.m. — We get to our hotel, and the room is available for an early check in! We shower and immediately nap.

2 p.m. — We walk to our favorite cafe in Paris, Café Saint Regis. I take out €300 in cash (roughly $318) with my debit card since I don’t get charged a transaction fee. We both order an onion soup, and we split a croque-madame. Our waiter is the little brother of my childhood friend, so he brings us over a glass of red wine as a welcome drink! P. pays for lunch.

3 p.m. — We wander around Paris, and let ourselves get lost in the beauty.

6 p.m. — We have an 8:30 dinner reservation, so we pick up a bottle of champagne to drink as we get ready for our dinner.

8 p.m. — It is freezing cold in Paris, and we are about a mile away from Grand Coeur (where we are eating for New Year's Eve). We are very tempted to take an Uber, especially since I’m not very graceful and I’m wearing heels. We fight the urge and walk instead.

8:30 p.m. — We arrive at the restaurant; we are having the New Year’s tasting menu. P. pays the check. (€330/$348.65).

12:30 a.m. — We pick up two bottles of cheap champagne, and hop on the metro to get to the party my other childhood friend is hosting at his grandparent's apartment. P. pays (€53/$56).

4:30 a.m. — We walk home in the freezing cold because Uber has an 8x surcharge and there are zero cabs available. The metro is free all night on NYE in Paris, but it closed at 2 a.m. We are out of luck.

Daily Total: $0

Breakdown Of Weekly Paycheck: $1,100 (after tax)
Ideal: Wants 50% ($550), Needs 30% ($330), investing 20% ($220)
My results: Wants: $0, Needs: $217.96, Investing: $220
4 of 5
Day 1
12:30 p.m. — We wake up very late, since we were out extremely late. We shower and use the hotel’s Wi-Fi to plan our day. To our surprise, every museum that's open today is free!

1:30 p.m. — We walk toward the Marais to explore, and stop at a café on the way. It is another freezing day, so we both order an onion soup and then split a croque-madame. P. pays (€28/$29.58).

3:30 p.m. — We finally got to the Musée de l’Orangerie to see Monet’s "Water Lillies." They also have an exhibit on American art. So, most ironically, we go to that exhibit, too! Free.

5:15 p.m. — We stop and pick up a chocolate croissant. I pay with cash. €1.20/$1.27

6 p.m. — We walk from the Musée de l’Orangerie to Rue de Montparnasse to go to Le Select, a brasserie we go to every New Year's Day. We order paté as an appetizer, and then confit de canard and cassoulet de canard with a glass of wine each. It is sinful. P. pays (€41/$43.32).

8:30 p.m. — After that delicious meal, we walk back to the hotel from Montparnasse with a pit stop on Pont Neuf. The Eiffel Tower sparkles every hour in the evening, so we wait on the bridge to see the 9 p.m. show.

9:20 p.m. — We get back to our hotel, shower, and open the bottle of champagne the hotel gave us as a welcome drink. We use the hotel’s Wi-Fi to make a plan for tomorrow and go to bed early.

Daily Total: $1.27

Day 2

8:45 a.m. — We wake up early, and I make us coffee using the nasty dry mix coffee that the hotel has. (We love sitting at cafes for breakfast, but sometimes you gotta save money when ya can.)

9:30 a.m. — After showering, we leave the hotel and head to Saint Chapelle. Growing up, my mother and I would go to Paris several times a year, but I have never been to the famed cathedral. It's a really special experience for us both. €18/$19.05

11 a.m. — We walk to Invalides, where Napoleon I’s tomb is located. P. really wants to see the architecture of the royal chapel, which is a beautiful building built between 1677 and 1706.

11:35 a.m. — It begins to rain just as we arrive. The rest of the Musée de l’Armée is closed, since it's Monday, but we spend a long time wandering around the chapel. €16/$16.94

12:30 p.m. — We take the metro to Saint-Germain and find a sweet little café, where we both order onion soup (can you tell we love it?!) After lunch, we aimlessly wander around, weaving in and out of stores and churches. €21/$22.23.

3:30 p.m. — After a few hours of exploring, we decide to head back to the hotel before our 9 p.m. dinner reservation.

4:45 p.m. — We change gears, and get thirsty for a happy hour. P. finds an antique store that serves a bottle of Chablis and a dozen oysters for €27! We leave the hotel and hop on the subway to northern Paris.

5:25 p.m. — Because it’s early, and we are so close to the Sacré-Coeur, we make a pit stop and head to the Love Wall; which is a wall in Paris that has “I love you” in many different languages. It’s so sweet!

6:30 p.m. — We arrive at the antique store for happy hour and find it closed early for the New Year. We stop by a bodega nearby and grab two beers for the road. (Fun fact — there are no open container laws in Paris!) We are on the hunt for another cool bar. €3.50/$3.70

7 p.m. — We find a local coffee shop that is filled with students and professors. We stop in and order two glasses of wine. €4.40/$4.66

7:45 p.m. — Before we left for Paris, we read about a café that apparently had the best boeuf tartare in Paris. We stop by on the way to dinner and order a bottle of wine to go with it. P. pays (€30/$31.70).

9:10 p.m. — We walk to our dinner spot about a mile away. It’s not as cold, and the walk is enjoyable. We are eating at Le Soufflé, which is a restaurant known for (duh) soufflés by the Tuileries.

11:30 p.m. — We finish dinner. We order a glass of champagne to celebrate just being us. P. pays (€103/$108.82).

11:45 p.m. — We head home, but we’re sure to take the longer way to the hotel. It’s almost 12, so we walk toward the Eiffel Tower to see it sparkle!

12:10 a.m. — We stop at Le Meurice for a drink. My mom’s best friend works on the marketing team there, so she arranged for us to have a drink there. We order champagne, which comes with these elegant chocolate truffles. It is magical.

2:15 a.m. — We make it back, shower, and head to bed. We have to wake up early to head to Versailles!

Daily Total: $66.58

Day 3

7:45 a.m. — The alarm goes off, and I silence it. Whoops.

10:30 a.m. — We wake up and realize it's too late to go to Versailles. We are bummed, but we make a conscious effort not to let it get us down — we are in Paris, after all! We make a contingency plan over two cups of the hotel’s shitty coffee.

11:30 a.m. — We hop on the metro to Canal St. Martin, and head to our absolute favorite patisserie Du Pain Et Des Idées.

12:10 p.m. — We get to the patisserie and order a galette and a pistachio-and-chocolate “escargot” pastry. €5.50/$5.82

1 p.m. — We sit on a bench down the block from the patisserie to eat, and realize that it’s in front of this beautiful store. We go in after we finish eating, and P. finds a coat that looks great on him and is very warm. P.'s old winter coat is over four years old and he really needs a new one, so I talk him into buying it. P. pays (€430/$450).

2:15 p.m. — We buy sandwiches (a tuna crudité and a chevre jambon) and eat them on the canal. It is so beautiful! €5.75/$6.09

2:45 p.m. — We walk to the hotel from Canal St. Martin, and wander around Paris. We pick up a small bottle of champagne for me and a bottle of beer for P., which we plan to drink as we get ready for dinner. P. pays (€28/$29.58).

5:40 p.m. — We finally get back to the hotel. We lay in bed and drink. It is so relaxing. Then we get ready for the fanciest dinner night of all! I found a restaurant during my research that has two Michelin stars with a €90 person tasting menu! We are PUMPED.

8 p.m. — The restaurant, Le Passage 53, is hidden in a passageway in the back of a store. There are only seven tables in the restaurant, and the waiters wear tuxedos. It is so fancy! We order a 2008 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blanc Brute.

11:45 p.m. — The meal is fabulous until we get the bill. We have a point system we use as a joke to deter bad behavior. When I catch him picking at this face, he gets a point. When he catches me messing up details, I get a point. When the check comes, he laughs out loud and immediately awards me 400 points. Turns out, I made a huge mistake when I booked the restaurant. The €90-per-person tasting menu is for lunch, and dinner is €180 per person. And the champagne is €40 a glass. WHOOPS. I feel terrible, but P. knows I didn't do it on purpose, and makes sure to create an environment where it feels okay to be wrong. P pays. (€440/$464.87).

12 a.m. — We walk back to the hotel, pack for the return trip, and mourn the cost of our dinner.

Daily Total: $11.91


Day 4
6:45 a.m. — We wake up and head out to the airport. We take the train, so it’s inexpensive. P. pays (€20/$21.13).

7:30 a.m. — We arrive at the airport, and P. goes to the tax refund stop for this coat. He scans the receipt, and it goes directly back to our credit card.

9:20 a.m. — We get our tickets and find out we got upgraded again! We sleep almost the entire flight home.

1 p.m. — We arrive back at Newark and take the NJRR back to Brooklyn. $18

5 p.m. — After a brief nap. we wake up and start cleaning our apartment. We left in a little bit of a rush, so it is pretty messy.

7:30 p.m. — We make a vegetable moussaka for dinner using the ingredients we have left in our fridge. It is so tasty! I do the dishes and clean the kitchen after dinner.

9:30 p.m. — I find a beautiful portable dishwasher on Amazon! YASSS!!! $250

Daily Total: $268

Day 5
6:45 a.m. — We wake up for our first day back to work. I make P. coffee, and pack him leftover moussaka for lunch. Afterward, I go back to bed, feeling very lazy.

8 a.m. — I wake up, shower, and get ready for work. I stop by a local coffee shop on my way to the subway and get an extra-large coffee. I am so sleepy! $3.50

12:45 p.m. — My boss buys our team lunch, which is super lucky because I forgot to pack myself anything.

6:30 p.m. — I haven’t worked out in a while. P.'s best friend from high school just recently got engaged, and we are getting dinner with him in SoHo. I leave the office and walk to the restaurant, for some exercise. I also pick up champagne as a gift for them, because they’re so sweet, and they should know how many people love them. $180

7:25 p.m. — I’m the first one from our group to the restaurant. In an effort to save money, I wait outside instead of ordering a drink at the bar. We haven’t been out to eat in ages (in New York), and the only reason we agreed was because our apartment was not ready to be seen!

9:45 p.m. — We finish dinner. The couple loves the champagne gift! Dinner was a success. We walk home since it's not too far, and it's not cold outside.

Daily Total: $183.50


Day 6
6:45 a.m. — I wake up and make P. coffee and pack us moussaka for lunch.

7:45 a.m. — I have an early breakfast meeting with my boss in Dumbo at Almondine. $7.50

12:45 p.m. — Back at the office. There's so much to do! For lunch I heat up the moussaka.

6:45 p.m. — I leave the office and head to meet P. at the PATH. Even though we just got back from Paris, we are heading to Massachusetts to see his family. We have leftover money on our MetroCard and use that to get to EWR. We have a 9 p.m. flight.

7:30 p.m. — We get a cab from Newark Penn to EWR. P. pays ($16)

12 a.m. — The flight was delayed. We finally get to his parents’ house. It is freezing cold and miserable. We immediately go to bed.

Daily Total: $7.50


Day 7

8:45 a.m. — His mom wakes us up with a knock on the door. She has made breakfast and wants the family to eat together We spent the rest of the morning hanging out around the house watching TV.

12:53 p.m. — His mom makes sandwiches for lunch. We play a few rounds of Uno while eating.

1:30 p.m. — We go back to watching television for another few hours.

6:30 p.m. — His mom opens a bottle of red wine, which we drink before dinner. His mom makes meatballs, which is P.'s favorite.

9:45 p.m. — We head to bed early, since it’s really quiet in rural Massachusetts. I put another $220 into my Ellevest account. $220

Daily Total: $220

Breakdown Of Weekly Paycheck: $1,100 (after tax)
Ideal: Wants 50% ($550), Needs 30% ($330), investing 20% ($220)
My results: Wants: $259.63, Needs: $279.13, Investing: $220
5 of 5
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.

Have a
Money Diary you'd like to share? Send it to us at https://you.refinery29.com/submit-money-diary.
Advertisement