A Week In New York City On A $40,650 Salary

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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 line producer who makes $40,650 per year.
Occupation: Line Producer & Administrator
Industry: Commercial Entertainment
Age: 23
Location: New York City
Salary: $40,650
Paycheck (Bi-weekly): $1,060.66
Monthly Expenses
Housing Costs: $785. I have four roommates and only one bathroom (!) but it works out okay. We all keep different schedules, have our own rooms, and get on well.
Student Loans: $191.53/month on a total balance of $16,723.49. I graduated $37,000 in student debt across nine loans with varying interest rates.
All Other Monthly Expenses
Gym Membership: $20.90
MetroCard: $0. My job pays for an unlimited pass.
401(k): $60
Medication: ~$14/month. It's for a back injury from a year ago. The cost varies based on how much I need and fluctuating drug costs.
Utilities & Household Supplies: $40. We pay for gas, electric, and internet. I hold the G&E account, and I usually do all the bulk ordering of paper towels, toilet paper, dish soap, etc. My roommates pay me back usually on Venmo. The one who holds the internet account subtracts my share from what she pays me back.
Student Loans: I try to pay about $600 extra on top of what I have to pay, but this varies month to month. I use babysitting money and end-of-year bonuses to pay more than the monthly payment.
Pandora: $4.55/year
Phone, Amazon, & TV Streaming: $0. Thanks, Mom, Dad, boyfriend's parents, roommate, the friend who gave me an old Apple TV with everything logged in!
1 of 8
12:15 p.m. — My boss calls. That isn't totally unusual for a weekend; since his assistant left to go back to school, I've been covering his desk and communicating with him more often during off hours. After he decides to handle what he called me about on his own, I get up and head out for a grocery errand. I order a cold brew with skim milk from the shop in my building. It's overpriced but good and convenient. I'm exhausted from my second week of double-duty. Less than two weeks until the new assistant starts! $4

1 p.m. — I buy carrots, celery, zucchini, an orange pepper, string beans, cage free eggs, milk, broccoli, Applegate ham, and hummus. I wash and chop up most of the veggies and clean the fridge. My roommates and I are not good about keeping track of what to toss. Some stuff can be composted, so I put it in a container on the fire escape, and snack on some celery. Our building doesn't participate in the city compost program, so I drop it off at the sanitation department. They have a pick-up bin on Wednesday mornings one block away. $25.34

4:30 p.m. — I take a break from cleaning my disaster of a room to make a grilled cheese with ham. I also download a script my boss wants me to read on to my Amazon Kindle, plus a movie on Netflix. I borrow a sweatshirt from my roommate because all my clothes are in various piles, and head out for a babysitting job. The subway is a mess today, but I listen to a podcast called Bad With Money on the way.

11:30 p.m. — The babysitting family pays me $120 and orders a car to take me home.

Daily Total: $29.34
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11:30 a.m. — As I'm getting ready to leave, my boss calls for the second time today. He needs my help with a time-sensitive task that will be difficult on the weekend. I feel a little like Emily in The Devil Wears Prada ("Ilovemyjobilovemyjob!") I wanted to leave half an hour ago, and now I'll need to rush. I grab my laundry and drop it off across the street. I used to do my own laundry until I hurt my back really badly and needed to send it out. The cost is about the same, so I just do that now, unless I have garments that I worry will get ruined in the dryer. I pay now and will pick up tonight. $17

11:40 a.m. — I wait 10 minutes for the train. WTF, MTA...

12:06 p.m. — I grab my boss' business cards and make a quick coffee at the office. We don't have to-go lids, so I grab a few extra napkins and walk carefully. The corner coffee store is closed on Sunday, so I carefully walk through Times Square and grab a lid at Starbucks. ($0; thanks, barista!) I pick up tickets for my boss and then head to the event where he's speaking. I beat him by five minutes!

2 p.m. — I take the subway back uptown to see an apartment. My boyfriend and I are moving in together in about six weeks. The apartment has a good layout, but is pretty tragic; the sink looks like it's from the 1930s and the stove looks like it will explode any minute. After I'm finished, I walk back to my apartment to make something to eat. I snack on some Easter Bread that I brought back from visiting my parents over the holiday. I cook string beans, broccoli, snow peas, and season them with pink salt, pepper, chili powder, and garlic. I add this to some rice pilaf that one of my roommates gave me. I put the rest of the rice into containers for later this week. I'll need to make more veggies later.

4 p.m. — I take the subway downtown to do a favor for someone who works with us. It's part of my job to do some of the legwork to maintain my boss' relationships. This time I don't have to wait for the train. I don't usually work this much on the weekend, and I'm sick of being on the subway.

7:30 p.m. — I take a break from watching This Is Us on Hulu and make a snack of rice cakes and peanut butter. I'm feeling shitty and run-down. Maybe because I haven't had much protein today? I go back to the grocery store with a reusable tote and buy chicken breast, chicken tomato basil meatballs, an onion, lemons, yogurt, and cold brew for the office. I'll be reimbursed $7 for the coffee. I make some of the chicken with the onion and pepper from yesterday. The rest of the chicken goes in a Ziploc bag with some spices. $18.17

Daily Total: $35.17
3 of 8
6:05 a.m. — I am babysitting this morning, so I get up and dressed. I feel pretty crappy. I brush my teeth and wash my face with micellar water. I take some rice with veggies, a lemon, a yogurt, carrots and celery, chicken meatballs, and the office cold brew with me and head out. I feel like I'm forgetting something...

9:30 a.m. — I've dropped off most of the kids at school/bus stops. Then I eat some cereal and a KIND bar. This family doesn't usually have good snacks, but they do today and I take advantage. The nanny hasn't arrived yet, which is annoying but unsurprising since she's usually late. I leave when the kids' dad walks in. I run out and take the subway to work, picking up some fruit on the way for a meeting ($11). I'll be reimbursed.

10:15 a.m. — The meeting I'm rushing to get to is underway, but I made it in time! I eat some yogurt (which I hate, but it's good for me), and coffee.

1 p.m. — Lunch time! I mix a few meatballs in with the rice and veggies and realize I forgot the hummus for my raw veggies.

6:45 p.m. — I tidy up and head to my professional development class. It takes a bit longer to walk than to take the subway, but I think the fresh air might help me feel better. I cut through six building lobbies and then walk on the street for the last four blocks. The class is one night a week for 3.5 months and costs around $900, but I received a full scholarship.

10:15 p.m. — After class is over, I take the subway home. I eat some cereal for dinner (#champion) and shower. I talk to my boyfriend and we pick a day for him to fly to NYC for our move-in.

Daily Total: $0
4 of 8
6:45 a.m. — Babysitting again. I got up a bit late and am rushing. I grab a lemon and hummus that I forgot yesterday and then head to the subway.

9 a.m. — The nanny was on time today, so I leave the baby with her, drop off the other kids at school, and then go straight to the subway. I buy an egg and cheese and pay cash. $3.81

2 p.m. — Tea time. I eat yesterday's vegetables with hummus. Not enough hummus, but I have a new container at home. I still feel like there's an ocean of snot in my head and I have very little appetite. I make some office pantry tea with the lemon I brought.

4 p.m. — I check my bank account. I recently set up a savings account in an attempt to be more responsible, and I've been charged a $5 fee for not maintaining a daily minimum balance of $3,000. What the hell, Chase?! I set up an automatic recurring transfer of $25 to avoid this fee in the future. $5

8:45 p.m. — My boss had a late meeting, and the subway took way longer than it should have. After I get home, I add zucchini and string beans to the rice from this weekend and some pesto that I already have on hand. I watch This Is Us while I eat. When I'm finished, I clean up and shower, and then talk to my boyfriend on Skype.

Daily Total: $8.81
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6:40 a.m. — After three days of NyQuil, I seem to be getting better. I'm tired and have to rush to babysitting again. I'm out of lemons, but grab more hummus and another container of vegetables that I cut up over the weekend. Subway to babysit.

9:10 a.m. — The kids were well-behaved today, and the nanny wasn't too late; not a bad morning. Subway to work, then pick up a bacon egg and cheese on an everything bagel. $5.31

12 p.m. — I go to a meeting with my boss. Lunch is served, but I'm suspicious of meats that have been sitting out. I realize this is mildly irrational in this instance, but I'm not very hungry anyway. Later in the meeting, I get bored and eat some candy from the conference candy jar. When I get back, I eat my vegetables and hummus.

6:30 p.m. — I leave work and take the subway to look at another apartment. This one has been modernized, but they added a wall to make a tiny bedroom in an already tiny studio. Ugh, ugh, uh.

7:30 p.m. — I make some mac and cheese from the pantry with broccoli and chicken that I bought over the weekend. The chicken has a weird texture for some reason, and it all tastes too salty. I hate wasting food, but I toss the leftovers. I wish my cold were over so that things could taste right again.

10 p.m. — I'm out of NyQuil and take my regular medicine (for my back injury) instead. It's been a year, and it annoys me that I have to take this stuff every day, but it's better than not being able to walk, which is where I started.

Daily Total: $5.31
6 of 8
6:40 a.m. — Subway to babysit again. I usually only babysit two or three mornings a week. This week is unusual and is killing me. I wear exercise clothes and pack nicer clothes.

8:45 a.m. — I pick up a bagel with cream cheese and a Naked juice, and then take the subway to the office. $7.84

2:15 p.m. — I buy a wrap for myself at Chopt. I also get one for my coworker, but she gives me cash. I pay for hers separately. $9.79

2:40 p.m. — I give my intern my card to buy snacks for a meeting. He gets my favorite cookies ($14.78); I'll be reimbursed.

6:15 p.m. — My coworker and I go to the opening of a show on Broadway. I got tickets for free from my friend — a pretty common (and cool) occurrence.

8:15 p.m. — Subway home. The show was good, and there was no intermission.

Daily Total: $17.63
7 of 8
6:40 a.m. — Subway to babysit. I bring yogurt and more veggies. The mom has left $180 for me for the whole week.

11 a.m. — At work, I graze on various office snacks and chat with my coworkers. It's a very quiet morning because our boss is at a meeting until noon.

2:30 p.m. — I take the subway to my boss' garage and pick up his car. The attendant gives me the runaround, and I argue back. I'm still trying to work in the middle of this, but some lady tells me to turn off my cell phone because she's allergic to it? What? I win the argument and get out of there fast.

3:45 p.m. — I bring my boss his car and then get an iced tea because it's beautiful out. Subway back to the office. $4.08

6 p.m. — Subway to another babysitting job. I meet the mom, kids, and dog in Central Park. We walk around for a bit and then go home to get ready for bedtime.

11:30 p.m. — The parents pay me $100 and order me a car service home.

Daily Total: $4.08
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