A Week In NYC On A $127,000 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.)

This week, a Manhattan woman with a last-minute work trip to London.
Photo: Getty Images.
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Occupation: Business function at a major tech company
Location: Manhattan
Age: 32
Salary: $127,000 (paid biweekly). Total, with bonus and stock, approximately $192,000
Cash signing bonus (paid out monthly): $42,000 (This cash bonus is just for 12 months and goes away next year, but I'll receive approximately $65,000+ in company stock in January 2018 to make up for it.)
Company stock (current value and available to withdraw in January 2017): approximately $23,000
Take home Paycheck: $2,470 every two weeks, an additional $1,870 each month (after taxes, 401(k), insurance, FSA)
# of roommates: 1

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $2,350 out of $5,795
Mortgage: $1,517 for my mother's condo. I had about $93K in grad school loans. I made payments for two years and then worked out an arrangement with my mother. She paid off the loan in its entirety and I bought her a $300,000 condo when she sold my childhood home after my father passed away. I am paying off a mortgage towards an asset and paying lower interest rates than my student loans. Wins all around! Absent this arrangement, I would be paying $1,000 per month towards grad school loans, instead of my mortgage payments.
Student Loans (undergrad): $130
Cell phone: $50 ($150 billed and $100 reimbursed by work)
Electricity: $150-400, averaging $273.61. Roommate pays this. Her idea of room temp is around 60, whereas mine is around 72, so she decided to take over the electricity bill. I pay for the cleaning lady, internet, and any household items, like toilet paper that I purchase from Costco or Amazon.
Mother's life insurance: $171
Life insurance: $30
Sling/Netflix/Spotify: $40
Comcast: $40 (mom's internet/cable)
Time Warner: $86.32
Rent the Runway: $162 for unlimited membership. This is a luxury that I probably don't need, but I had a string of events in a row, so the membership made sense at the time. I will probably cancel later this year.
Gym: $0. Since I travel so much, I cancelled my gym membership a few months ago and bought exercise equipment for my apartment.
Metrocard: $116.50 (work pays)
Cleaning lady: $89 every four weeks
Credit card debt: $200 ($5,000 total). One of my credit cards was offering interest-free purchases for a year, so I made a major purchase this summer that I had been putting off for a while. I could pay off the whole thing now, but that doesn't make sense financially when the debt is interest-free whereas my blue-chip stock is generating profit. It makes more sense to keep that money invested for now and then pay this off in its entirety sometime in 2017, probably a couple of months in advance of the end of the interest-free period.
Annual Expenses
Renter's insurance: $158
Amazon Prime: $99
Google Express: $99 annually (roommate pays)
Savings: $18,000 per year to 401(k). I currently have approximately $8,000 in stock (unlike the amount listed above under income, this is already vested and available to me if I need cash) and about $100,000 in retirement accounts.
Charitable donations: $3,000-4,000 per year between my alma maters, board member donation for a nonprofit organization, cancer research, disaster relief, animal rescue, and ad hoc donations here and there.

Day One

1 p.m. — Woke up around 11 a.m., but I wasn't feeling hungry. I'm still not that hungry, so I grab a plum and kiwi to snack on, as well as a couple of Tate's cookies my mom let behind.

4 p.m. — I decide to order a few things on Amazon: Woolite, travel detergent packets, six packing cubes (mix of regular, compression in different sizes), and bra wash bags to protect my bras in the washer so I don't have to hand-wash. I'm going on vacation to Europe next week and firmly believe in traveling with carry-on bags only, so the compression bags and travel detergent packets will come in handy! Bra wash bags and Woolite also extend the life of your bras and other delicates, saving money in the long-run. Prime will have these delivered in a couple days. $109.42

8 p.m. — Try a vegetarian restaurant on Seamless while catching up on television. I order two appetizers, one small plate, and one entree. I have enough for leftovers later this week. $41.02

Daily Total: $150.44

Day Two

8:30 a.m. — Start answering emails and skip breakfast. Eating breakfast when I'm not hungry makes me feel nauseous, so I usually skip it. Instead, I grab my French press out of the fridge, where I have been cold-brewing tea and pour it into a travel bottle to take to work. I have been cold-brewing tea all summer and it is amazing. It's refreshing, caffeinated, and keeps me from buying iced coffees every day.

10 a.m. — Head to work on the subway using my monthly Metrocard, paid for by work.

3 p.m. — Chipotle salad for lunch. $9

5 p.m. — Work has been crazy, so I am finally getting around to purchasing my friend's wedding gift three weeks after the wedding. $74.16 on Etsy and a $50 Amazon gift card. Total: $124.16

7:15 p.m. — Take the subway to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription. Comes to $3.91, but I pay for it with my health FSA debit card.

7:30 p.m. — Meet a couple of friends for drinks while waiting for our table at Burger and Lobster. Haven't seen these guys in a few months, so a get-together was long overdue. Once seated, we each order a lobster roll, but one of the guys really wants to try the burger, as well, so we order a burger to share along with a few rounds of drinks. We split the bill. $91.94, including tip.

10:30 p.m. — One more round and dessert at a nearby bar. We split the bill. $14.34 (tip included)

11 p.m. — Inspired by mom's leftover cookies from the weekend, I swing by the neighborhood bodega to grab cash from the ATM and pick up some Tate's cookies, because I'm drunk and making bad decisions. Make some more bad decisions and send a text for delivery of some illicit substances, but he misses my text, which is probably a good thing, actually. Keeps me from spending $100 unnecessarily! Drunk decisions: $6.31

Daily total: $245.75

Day Three

6 a.m. — Wake up and check my email for any urgent issues from the European or Asian teams. Nothing pressing, so I sleep in until 8:30 a.m. Then, I start doing a little work from home. Grab some French press cold brew pu-erh black tea from the fridge to wake up.

11 a.m. — Take the subway to work. This might seem late, but I've been working from home for the past few hours. While my company has a big office here in NYC, the vast majority of my department is on the West Coast with additional smaller teams in Asia and Europe. My boss is incredibly flexible, so I can work from offices in other cities or from home when I need to.

2 p.m. — I'm starving. The problem with working on a West Coast schedule is that weekly meetings scheduled for morning Pacific time tend to correspond with lunchtime in New York. Usually, it's fine, and eating at 11:30 a.m. or after 2 p.m. also allows me to avoid the massive lines at prime lunchtime. I debate fresh&co vs. Xian Famous Foods and give in to unhealthy Chinese food, since I know I have a healthy veggie dinner tonight. I get spicy cumin lamb noodles and cucumber salad. $16.88

3:30 p.m. — Feeling a bit lethargic, so I grab some more tea that I had brewed overnight from the office fridge. I usually have 2-to-3 quarts cold-brewing between work and home, since it'll keep for a few days and you never know when you need a little more caffeine. This time, it's a lavender Earl Grey blend, which smells divine. I really love how tea smells, but I don't love the astringent/bitter tannins in hot tea. Cold tea is naturally milder and sweeter.

5 p.m. — I've been looking for some cheap e-books to read on the beach. There are versions of classics that you can pick up for free or for very cheap if you are looking for a particular translation. I bought The Count of Monte Cristo in French for free and in English for less than $1 on Amazon! $0.99

7:45 p.m. — I leave the office after my last call and take the subway to the cheap massage place near my apartment. I get massages about twice a month and have found a couple of great cheap Chinese massage places in West Village and Flatiron that offer one-hour massages for $39. This time, I try someone other than my regular guy, which was a bad call. Most of the massage is fine until he tries to do some sort of spinal twisting which left me with a sharp pain in my lower back. Normally, I would tip an extra $21 to bring it to an even $60, but this pain can't go ignored. The rest of the massage was fine until the twisting, so overall, I pay $50.

9:15 p.m. — I go home and have my leftovers from a couple of days ago while watching Vikings on Prime Video.

Daily Total: $67.87
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Day Four

5:45 a.m. — Wake up for a 6 a.m. call with a couple of my German teammates and an external partner in Germany. This call is optional for me due to the timing, but I am curious to hear firsthand how it goes. Have some tea that I have in the fridge to wake up. I already warned my coworkers that I will be groggy and probably just listen to the call on mute.

10:30 a.m. — Take the subway to the office after doing some work at home.

11:30 a.m. — Head to fresh&co early to pick up a vegan Gaucho salad, which is my favorite. I can't resist picking up a bag of sea salt and vinegar Popchips. $11.38

7:30 p.m. — One of my meetings got cancelled, so I hop on the subway and take my last call from home. I was supposed to have drinks with a client, but he reschedules, so I have the evening free! I have some produce from the farmers' market, so I peel and cut a bunch of kiwis, mangos, and peaches. I also remember I have super-fresh corn from the market, as well, so I make myself a raw sweet corn, kiwi, and peach salad. Yum! The other two ears of corn I'll oven-roast over the weekend.

8:30 p.m. — The salad was delicious but really light, so I order mie goreng with tofu from Rasa on Seamless. I can't finish it so my roommate polishes it off. $14.09

Daily Total: $25.47

Day Five

8:30 a.m. — Grab tea from fridge and hop on a call with our German team to discuss issues with one of our external partners before getting ready and heading to the office via subway.

9:15 a.m. — Feeling hungry for once, so I get an egg white veggie omelet with cheese and indulge in an iced coffee. $9

12:30 p.m. — After eating breakfast, I'm not super-hungry, but I have lunch scheduled with a friend/former coworker. She's now working for a competitor and I took over a lot of her responsibilities after she left. We go to a sushi place. I just get Diet Coke, a few pieces of sashimi, and miso soup. We argue over who will cover the bill (both companies would reimburse) and I finally manage to convince her that I should pay to congratulate her on the new role and as a thank you for giving me advice. $48.29 (work will reimburse me)

1:45 p.m. — I have about an hour until my next call and I want to buy a couple of casual dresses for vacation, so I pop into H&M on the way back to the office. No luck. I swing by BCBG. There is a pair of cute shorts, but I'll sleep on it. I do buy a necklace that's on sale plus another 40% off. On top of that, I spot a little damage, so get another 10% taken off! $25.40

2 p.m. — I buy a Diet Coke from the vending machine after my walk back. It’s SO hot out. $1.10

4 p.m. — Since I couldn't find anything on H&M, I check out Amazon and find a cute black off-the-shoulder dress and get one-day delivery for tomorrow. $50.98

6 p.m. — Impromptu drinks with some friends/external partners after our meeting with them ends at 5:30 p.m. We order food and drinks. I pay, since I plan on submitting an expense report next week, anyway. $276.18 (work will reimburse me)

9 p.m. — I take an Uber home. $11.45 (work will reimburse me)

10 p.m. — We are running low on sodas and water, so I order some to be delivered from Costco on Google Express. $24.60

Daily Total: $111.08 ($447 total, $335.92 reimbursed by work)

Day Six

8:30 a.m. — Friday at last! I wake up and decide to work from home today, so I can pack. I found out earlier this week that I need to go to London last-minute for work, leaving tomorrow. Luckily, I'm scheduled to be in Europe for vacation starting next Wednesday, so I will just go straight from my work trip to vacation. I wake myself up with black tea from the fridge.

9:30 a.m. — Nothing urgent this morning. My calls don't start until 11:20, so I head to my nail salon to get a pedicure and gel manicure for my upcoming vacation. $67.31, including tip.

1:30 p.m. — I order food on Seamless. $18.99

9 p.m. — A couple of friends from business school are visiting from L.A.! A bunch of us go to dinner at Asellina for a belated engagement celebration dinner for them. We split the bill. I don't typically go out to dinner these days unless it's for work, but the two this week were for special occasions! $8.84 for the cab, $98.47 for dinner.

11:30 p.m. — Next stop, karaoke. I had made these plans before I knew about my last-minute work travel, but I've already rescheduled three times on a couple of these friends and am determined not to do it again, especially since I'll be gone for over two weeks. $68 for karaoke and drinks.

3 a.m. — I finally head home after a couple games of beer pong at a friend's apartment. Luckily I was able to pack during the day, since I worked from home. I order an Uber home and sleep for three hours. $12.56

Daily Total: $274.17

Day Seven

6:30 a.m. — I finish up the tea I have left in the fridge and get myself an Uber to the airport. I usually travel one-to-two weeks per month and work pays for most of my expenses during those trips. $57.19 (work will reimburse me)

7:30 a.m. — Arrive at airport. Debate paying for a last-minute upgrade and decide it isn't worth it for a daytime flight. I usually upgrade myself with miles for red-eye flights, so I can sleep in the lie-flat seats in business. I clear security in about 10 minutes (thank you, Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check). Feeling a bit peckish, so I get a veggie sandwich and a Diet Coke. I eat half the sandwich. $17.23 (work will reimburse me)

8 a.m. — Grab water and snacks right before I board. $8.89 (work will reimburse me)

10 a.m. — After finishing boarding a little over an hour ago and taxiing on the runway for a while, we finally take off. I purchase Wi-Fi as soon as it is available. $19.99 (work will reimburse me)

11 a.m. — I suddenly realize I still have the two ears of corn in the fridge. Sigh. This is why I rarely buy groceries these days. I used to cook all the time, but my travel schedule is super-unpredictable these days. I email my roommate to tell her to feel free to have the corn and provide instructions on how to cook it (she can barely boil water). Lunch cart goes down the aisle. It isn't great, so I only have a couple of bites and give my ice cream to the kid sitting in front of me...maybe I should have upgraded.

2:30 p.m. — Airline provides a snack. I have that along with the remaining half of the sandwich I bought earlier.

8:30 p.m. (London time) — We land around 3:30 p.m. EDT, but London is five hours ahead. I clear customs/passport control pretty quickly via the E.U./U.K. lines. I applied for and enrolled in the U.K. Registered Traveller program due to my frequent work travel to London, so I don't have to wait in the much longer line for non-citizens of E.U./U.K. I take the Heathrow Express into Central London, buying a ticket on the app as I walk from the airport terminal. $32.15 (work will reimburse me)

9:30 p.m. — I arrive at Paddington Station and hop in an Uber to my hotel. $16.31 (work will reimburse me)

9:45 p.m. — I check in at my hotel, drop my stuff off, change clothes, and freshen up my makeup. I have to pay upfront for the entire four-day stay. $1,255.30 (work will reimburse me)

10:30 p.m. — The sandwich and snack isn't holding me over. I'm starving. I get an Uber and head out to meet some friends who live in London for a late dinner and drinks. $10.92 for Uber and $97.42 for dinner and drinks (work will reimburse me)

2 a.m. — I drag myself back to the hotel in an Uber and will myself to fall asleep so I acclimate to the new time zone. Hopefully, I'll be over my jet lag in time for vacation! $11.22 (work will reimburse me)

Daily Total: $0 ($1,494.47 total, all reimbursed by work)
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