A Week In NYC On A $55,000 Salary

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

The social media strategist celebrating her birthday and budgeting for Starbucks.

Industry: Media
Age: 24
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $55,000
# of roommates: Two

Monthly expenses
Rent: $952
Loan payments: $158
Utilities: ~$23
Transportation: ~$130 per month ($116 for monthly subway card plus at least one trip to Connecticut)

Day One

10:00 a.m. — Working from home, so I make a late breakfast and coffee with my boyfriend, and then spend the day working in front of the fireplace.

5:00 p.m. — Dinner with my dad, stepmom, and boyfriend for my dad’s birthday. The company is excellent, but the food is mediocre at best, so I eat an appetizer and anticipate being hungry later. My stepmom pays as a birthday treat.

9:00 p.m. — Called it, I’m already starving. Time for a phone call to order my favorite chicken sandwich as takeout. I feel no regret as I get melted cheese all over my face. $12.77

11:00 p.m. — After an evening of chilling out on the couch and extensive research, I book four nights at a hotel in Europe as part of a trip my boyfriend and I are planning for the spring. He agrees that rather than pay me back now, he’ll pay for other trip related stuff (luggage and meals) until we’re even. $519.08

Total amount spent: $531.85

Day Two

11:00 a.m. — Brunch at my boyfriend’s parent’s house. His mother buys the groceries and cooks delicious breakfast pizza.

7:55 p.m. — Ran late shooting a video for work, so I call an Uber to my own birthday dinner 60 blocks away. Normally I’d take the subway, but we are so late. Plus, I can expense it to the company. $15.14, but it's expensed, so $0.

10:00 p.m. — Amazing birthday dinner with friends at Awadh on the Upper West Side. They take the check when I go to the bathroom. I am given a firm “no” when I offer to contribute.

10:30 p.m. — Birthday party for a friend at a bar in Harlem. My boyfriend orders and pays for his own beer, I am still tipsy from wine at dinner.

Total amount spent: $0

Day Three

9:00 a.m. — We’re almost out of groceries at my apartment, but it’s my boyfriend’s turn to pay.

10:00 a.m. — On the way home from the store, we stop at Company on Edgecombe for coffee. I intended on cooking breakfast since I have plenty of eggs and bacon, but we see they have breakfast sandwiches on cheddar chive biscuits, so I cave. $24.28

12:00 p.m. — Hulu membership is automatically renewed. $7.99

5:30 p.m. — While prepping homemade broccoli and cheddar soup, I realize I don’t have a peeler with which to skin carrots or potatoes. I order one from Amazon using a birthday gift card. $8.99, but with the gift card it's free. $0.

6:00 p.m. — My boyfriend comes home from work and makes three different kinds of wings for dinner, we watch the Super Bowl from the comfort of our bed.

Total amount spent: $32.27

Day Four

9:00 a.m. — I stop by Starbucks to pick up my latte that I have budgeted in three times a week. $4.84

12:00 p.m. — I bring lunch from home, eat office snacks, and then enjoy leftovers for dinner.

Total amount spent: $4.84

Day Five

9:45 a.m. — I forget to eat breakfast and grab a doughnut on my way to work. $1.12

2:00 p.m. — Leftovers for lunch.

7:00 p.m. — Fashion event after work with free drinks and hors d'oeuvres, plus an ice cream sandwich when I get home.

Total amount spent: $1.12

Day Six

9:20 a.m. — Thank god it’s Wednesday and I get to have coffee. $4.84

12:45 p.m. — I’m bored and want to bond with a coworker, so we pop out for Starbucks round two. $3.10

8:00 p.m. — Dinner is a bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich on an English muffin, made at home.

Total amount spent: $7.94

Day Seven

9:15 a.m. — I forget breakfast again. Another doughnut. Oops, yum. $1.12

1:00 p.m. — Out to lunch with a few of my team members. A rare opportunity since we all have insane schedules, but it’s important for us to bond. It was fun and totally worth the extra money. $13.15

8:30 p.m. — Working overtime, so I can expense dinner. Normally I’d order something small, but the time I spent working was also the time I would have spent grocery shopping and prepping lunch for the next day, so I splurge and get $25 worth of food to last me through the end of the week. $0

Total amount spent: $14.27
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.

Have a money diary you'd like to share? Email moneydiary@refinery29.com

More from Work & Money

So you're at a networking event and you have no idea what to say to the person you've just met. Do you ask about their job, even though it sounds boring? ...
Update: Greathouse has just relented on his Twitter feed, calling the original blog post "dreadful" and apologizing that he "told women to endure the ...
I get so nervous before job interviews — sweaty palms, dry mouth, butterflies in my stomach. It’s really not fun. But once I’m sitting down with the ...
Refinery29 joined the Clinton Foundation for a tour of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to get a firsthand look at the experiences of the women and girls who live ...
So, you've graduated from college, updated your LinkedIn, and have been hitting up your network like crazy. You had an amazing first interview, you ...
If the new phrase for the office BFF is the "work wife," then is a good boss or mentor your "work mom" or "work dad"? Part authority figure, part dispenser...
The morning at my insurance firm was hectic. My first appointment after lunch was a balding man in his mid-50s. I smiled at him warmly and attempted ...
You know what's easy? Spending money. It's the best way to get what you want right now. Except...this is not sustainable. Those little luxuries add up ...
9:30 p.m. — HANGRY. Get home and eat canned soup and watch Netflix before bed
Any recent grads freaking out about their job prospects need not fear: Apparently the demand for exorcists has never been higher. The Telegraph reports ...
9:45 a.m. — Starbucks reward, bitches! OBV I get the most expensive thing that I can concoct. A Venti 5 shot soy latte. Yum
Four years ago, my life was exactly where I wanted it: I was working as a senior editor at a major glossy magazine. My first young adult novel had just ...
After months of waiting and countless discussions about what the future holds for our favorite television characters, Shondaland shows are finally back. ...
Just after my son’s first birthday, I was on the phone with my mom, grappling over a gut-wrenching decision. I was scheduled to go on a business trip but...