A Week In NYC On A $50,000 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 woman hosting a dinner party while training for a half-marathon.
Industry: Performing arts/media
Age: 30
Location: NYC
Salary: $50,000
Paycheck Amount (Every Two Weeks): $1,219 after tax, insurance, FSA, 401(k) and transit check; my husband reimburses me $450 per month to cover his portion of insurance and our phone bill
# of Roommates: 1 (dude mentioned above)

Monthly Expenses
$2,533.08, split evenly. I pay $1,266.54
Internet: $88 (my husband covers utilities, which is comparable)
Phone Bill: $200, but my husband reimburses me for half
Rock Climbing Gym Membership: $85
Netflix: $7.99
Hulu Plus: $7.99
New York Times Weekender subscription: $6 (special discount rate)
Standing donation to Karam Foundation to support a Syrian refugee family: $50

Yearly Expenses
Taxes (Accountant Fee): $162.50 for my half. My husband and I coordinate our checks for federal taxes and our accountant. We’ll get a refund from New York State that makes up for these two fees, and then some. My accountant has told me in the past that it’s better to owe than be owed when it comes to taxes, because you still get a little more money this way — but whenever he starts to go into the intricacies of withholdings on paychecks, he starts to sound like one of the teachers in Charlie Brown. I paid $467.50 extra in taxes this year.

Day One

8 a.m. — I have the same breakfast every morning: Half a cup of vanilla Greek yogurt, half a cup of pumpkin puree, one tablespoon of chia seeds.

9:15 a.m. — I'm out of coffee at home, so I stop at Le Pain Quotidien for one. I contemplate also getting a roll, because Le Pain Quotidien is basically Amsterdam’s red-light district for bread, but I essentially have exactly enough for my coffee in quarters and I hate to use my card for such a small amount. The barista is excited, as she needed quarters. $2.75

11 a.m. — Still want bread. I try to sate this craving with a Pink Lady apple and some almond butter from home. Desired effect is not achieved.

12:05 p.m. — I convince enough of my coworkers to rally around having bread with lunch, so our office manager approves the purchase of a $3 baguette from LPQ from our treats fund. I wish I had this same determination when it came to understanding my taxes.

12:30 p.m. — Lunch from home: An arugula salad with celery and broiled eye-round steak. I’m not a dressing fan, but the steak juice gives it the extra something it needs. Oh, and bread. Beautiful, free bread.

2:20 p.m. — Check my Wells Fargo and see that my Hulu and Netflix payments both went through today. It seems ridiculous to have both, but I love that Hulu has most all of the Criterion collection and I try to watch at least one new Criterion film each week. My automatic transfer of $83 from checking to savings also goes through.

4 p.m. — I bring most of my food from home, because lunch options in midtown are ridiculously expensive. I have a Pink Lady apple with almond butter, which I pack into a Ziploc bag and squeeze, pastry-bag style, onto the apple slices, because I’m classy. Also because I lost my little bento box thing that held small items like almond butter.

8:30 p.m. — Working late. I have a Tarocco blood orange on my way home.

8:45 p.m. — Improvising with what we have in the pantry, I make a frittata with eggs, plain Greek yogurt, some leftover Israeli couscous, onion, and Parm. It does the job and I eat it with my husband while watching The Americans.

9:50 p.m. — Check out on my latest Stitch Fix box; I keep a pair of culottes and a sailor-stripe shirt. $83.

Daily Total: $85.75

Day 2

7:05 a.m. — FreshDirect arrives. I buy for the week and do a lot of meal prep, but I got a little extra today, as I’m hosting a dinner party and making a seafood and radicchio risotto for eight people. $85.83

9:15 a.m. — Make the same Greek yogurt/pumpkin/chia breakfast with coffee at home. I get the La Colombe beans from FreshDirect and one bag usually lasts two weeks, as I’m the only one in the house who drinks coffee.

10:05 a.m. — My husband and I start to make our way down to the Brooklyn Ikea. He stops at the bodega near our apartment to get an iced tea and gets me a kombucha to make the card minimum.

11:50 a.m. — Go to Ikea for five of the $7.99 folding chairs to accommodate the headcount at tonight’s dinner, along with some drinking glasses, AA batteries, and paper napkins to use as guest hand towels in the bathroom. While we’re there, I break down and buy three succulents, plus pots. It’s a crowded Saturday morning and I’m un-showered and scoping out cacti alongside a crowd of Brooklyn hipsters, so basically it’s Coachella on a budget. $70.61

1:10 p.m. — Graze on the rest of last night’s frittata for lunch and have a spoonful of almond butter out of the jar.

4:15 p.m. — Run to Food Cellar near my apartment to get a baguette and some taper candles. $11.16

7 p.m. — I recently started hosting a table as part of The Dinner Party, which is a group of mainly twenty- and thirtysomethings who have experienced significant loss. TDP organizes tables of roughly eight to 10 people to have regular potluck dinners and connect over the shared bond and discuss life after loss. It’s an amazing group of people. In addition to the risotto I make, we have wine, beer, roasted broccolini, zucchini, salad, and a gluten-free chocolate cake with coconut cream. And bread.

Daily Total: $167.60

Day 3

10:30 a.m. — Standard breakfast and pack my coffee in a to-go mug to go out for the morning.

12:30 p.m. — Meet a friend at Peacefood Café on the Upper West Side for lunch. I get the Japanese pumpkin sandwich and a gingerade. $12.96

1:45 p.m. — Walk back to the N train from the Upper West Side. On my way, I stop in at Kiehl’s to restock on face wash. It’s expensive, but worth it. $31.57

1:55 p.m. — Also stop at CVS for dental floss and eyeliner. $12.50

2:20 p.m. — Swing back by Food Cellar on my way home to get some apples for the week and a few bags of Beanitos bean chips (my nutritionist got me hooked on them). My husband meets me there and I get his sandwich and a cool elderflower seltzer. We’ve been married for five years and have yet to combine our bank accounts, which is mostly on me. He’s even better with finances than I am, but I watched my mother support two deadbeat ex-husbands, so I still have some personal stuff to work through. In the meantime, we basically even out on the little things and consciously split the big things. It works out. $24.20

3 p.m. — Snack on an apple and almond butter while batch cooking steak for the week. It sounds very boring, but I’ve been working with a nutritionist since last September and it’s gotten me into a routine for breakfast and, during the workweek, lunch. I’ll switch things up from time to time, but it saves me from decision fatigue.

6:50 p.m. — Husband gets Two Boots pizza for dinner. I have a slice of the Meg and a slice of the classic cheese, plus one of the beers leftover from last night.

8:50 p.m. — I’m craving another kombucha and looking for a $5 in my wallet. My husband gives me his card and says he’ll cover the drink if I get him a rice pudding.

Daily Total: $81.23

Day 4

8:50 a.m. — The same breakfast routine.

12:30 p.m. — I have my steak salad for lunch, plus an apple with almond butter.

1:55 p.m. — I put a quarter in the office Sorry Jar. Our office is predominantly female and we’ve been trying to correct the habit we have of constantly apologizing, so every time we unnecessarily apologize, we have to put a quarter in a jar. $0.25

3:40 p.m. — I snack on some Beanitos and a piece of dark chocolate, plus some grapes.

6:30 p.m. — Make an avocado toast for dinner with whole-wheat bread and a sunny-side-up egg and a bit of paprika and Parmesan.

Daily Total: $0.25

Day 5

8:50 a.m. — Breakfast. The usual.

11:15 a.m.— I’m starting to feel a little sinusy in my nose and throat. I borrow some apple cider vinegar from a coworker and mix it with some honey in the office kitchen and some hot water.
11:30 a.m. — Still hungry after breakfast. It's too early for lunch, so I have an apple and almond butter.

1 p.m. — Steak salad for lunch.

1:10 p.m. — Pay my Bank of America credit card bill while having lunch; I have an Amazon credit card, but the introductory APR expired at the beginning of this year, so I moved most of the balance to a Bank of America credit card with 0% on balance transfers for 24 months. I’m paying the minimum on that until I pay off the rest of the Amazon card, which I’ll still use because the points are pretty good. $25

4:45 p.m. — Beanitos and grapes as I power through the last hour of work.

6:35 p.m. — I get home and my husband got me my usual sushi order when he ordered his dinner: edamame, a salmon hand roll, and a piece of tamago. He’s pretty awesome like that.

7:15 p.m. — I take a second shower, because the pollen was especially high in New York today. Afterwards, I make a bunch of Thieves Oil capsules — seven drops of Thieves Oil mix in a gel cap with olive oil filling up the rest. Whenever I feel something coming on, I take one of these twice a day and it helps.

Daily Total: $25

Day 6

8:50 a.m. — Same breakfast, plus a Thieves Oil pill and some apple cider vinegar and honey drink.

1 p.m. — I have my monthly check-in with my nutritionist. The best part is that my insurance covers my copay 100%.

1:35 p.m. — My nutritionist’s office is right near a Lush, so I stop there to pick up some more 93,000 Miles body wash. I’m training for my first half-marathon and this stuff has been great for muscle recovery. $11.03

2 p.m. — Steak salad for lunch with an apple and almond butter.

6:15 p.m. — Go to my chiropractor for an adjustment and pay the copay. $25

7 p.m. — It’s the day of doctors; I go from my adjustment to my therapist for our weekly session. She doesn’t take my insurance. While I have an FSA, my debit card doesn’t work with her practice, so I pay her per session and then file a claim from my FSA once a month. It’s a pain in the ass, but it saves me about $1,000 per year, so it’s worth it. $55

8:30 p.m. — I get home drained from a rough therapy session. I’m too tired to do an adult dinner, so I have oatmeal with some flaxseed and blueberries and another Thieves pill.

Daily Total: $91.03

Day 7

8:50 a.m. — Breakfast, plus Thieves Oil. I’m not feeling much better today, so I also bring in my bottle of apple cider vinegar to work and have a few mixtures of it over the day.

12:30 p.m. — Steak salad for lunch.

2:05 p.m. — Brooklyn Academy of Music is in the middle of a Chantal Akerman retrospective, so I pick up tickets for a few upcoming screenings. I use a discount code from a friend of mine who works there, which basically saves me the tax and processing fees. $28

6:25 p.m. — Head home and stop at Food Cellar on the way while realizing that I’m starting to feel absolutely awful. I get an avocado, cheese, and a carton of eggs, plus a chocolate milk, some more of that elderflower soda, more apple cider vinegar, and a kombucha. Something about feeling sick makes me want to become a beverage hoarder. $30.29

7 p.m. — Yeah, it’s a sinus infection. I make an avocado toast for myself and go to bed for 13 hours.

Daily Total: $58.29
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