First up: a college guidance counselor who makes $59,400 per year. She spends some of her money on a fake nose ring and an iron.
Occupation: College Guidance Counselor
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Salary: $59,400 (plus freelancing)
Paycheck (Once A Month): $3,100, plus $100-$300/week tutoring
Housing: $1,150 (Boyfriend and I split proportionally based on income)
Monthly Loan Payments: None
All Other Monthly Expenses
Spotify: $4.99 (I'm using a credit card promo that covers half)
Metro Card: $121
Internet & ConEd: ~$100 for my half, less when it gets cold
Savings: $700 right when I get my paycheck on the first of the month.
403(b): 10% of my paycheck (pretax)
7:45 a.m. — I am up and in the shower at this inhumane Sunday hour. I am heading out to Long Island for the morning and want to start my lunch meal prep now. I make a vegetarian sweet potato chili in the slow-cooker that should last the entire week. I have made a commitment to no-meat lunches for the year for my health and the environment. (And my work food has to be kosher or kosher-passing, so veggies are much easier.)
8:30 a.m. — The trains from Atlantic Terminal are screwed up, so I schlep to Penn Station. I end up taking the Manhasset train, which is quick but not on my ten-trip ticket. I buy a roundtrip off-peak and read my book on the train. I started the Mistborn series on the recommendation of a friend and I'm enjoying it a lot so far. $17.50
10:30 a.m. — It's my grandma's birthday! We go out to brunch to celebrate her 80-something years on this earth. I am lobbed with questions about where my boyfriend is. This brunch is last minute and he already made lunch plans with his grandma, so he is absent. I eat smoked salmon Benedict and chat with my cousins. Parents split the cost of the brunch.
1 p.m. — Brunch is over and I'm back in the city with my winter stuff in tow. I use the second half of my roundtrip ticket. It's way too hot for my parka, but better to have it on hand. I used to live in a tiiiiiny apartment (450 square feet with three people), but I moved this summer after I graduated and got my first job. Now I don't need to use my parents' home as a storage unit!
2 p.m. — Boyfriend and his brother (our former roommate) come back from lunch with their grandma. Boyfriend's brother really likes boyfriend's new shoes and pants, so we go shopping as a group to find him something similar. It's nice to spend time together; it's strange to go from seeing someone every day to once a week.
5:45 a.m. — Boyfriend's brother is staying for dinner. We bought chicken lettuce wrap makings yesterday at Trader Joe's but need to flesh it out a bit to stretch it to three people. I decide we'll make sesame noodles to bulk things up. We need scallions, so we stop at the (overpriced, gross) grocery store on the same block as our building. We cook together and hang out; a nice night is had by all. It's fun to be back together again. $0.58
10 p.m. — We watch TV and I get ready for bed. This is going to be an insane week for me at work, and the stress does not help my sleep.
Daily Total: $18.08
5 a.m. — I am so freaking anxious about the PSAT. Test anxiety? Let me introduce you to test COORDINATOR anxiety. I get up, shower, and make avocado toast for breakfast. I can barely eat one slice so the second goes to waste. I throw the last hunk of a banana bread I made in my lunchbox for a snack.
8:20 a.m. — Metro Card swipe. An unlimited card feels luxurious after keeping such a close watch on my à la carte swipes for so long. Read Mistborn on the subway.
11 a.m. — I want to get a coffee but I have a lot of things to do today. I keep a stock of string cheese in my work fridge and eat one of those instead. I am booked solid, nine to five, between kids and PSAT duties today.
12 p.m.— A kid stands me up. I send her an email asking her to reschedule her appointment as I eat my lunch. The sweet potato chili is delicious, but it definitely needs more liquid. I end up eating it with a fork.
5 p.m. — End of the school day. I go to pack up and notice the nub of banana bread in my lunchbox. YES. This is the most exciting thing that has happened to me today. Good job past me!
5:45 p.m. — Boyfriend and I eat leftover chicken lettuce wraps together; tasty! I need to rush out and head to my game, and he just got off a crazy-busy time at work. I feel like we still never see each other.
7 p.m. — I play in a Dungeons & Dragons-type RPG every other week at a game store. It's a fun hobby and not terribly expensive. It costs $15 to play and I consider it money well spent for four hours of play time. I often end up buying a cookie or something at the store, but tonight I brought an apple. We wrap up at 11 and I'm pooped. I take the subway home instead of walking, and quickly pass out in bed. $15
Daily Total: $15
4:19 a.m. — Jesus. I should not be up this early; the test is getting to me. I try to sleep but give up around 5:30. I get up and shower while listening to the Myths and Legends podcast, and then make myself a slice of avocado toast. I eat half of it and put the other half wrapped up in my pocket to eat on the way to work.
8:50 a.m. — I throw out the avocado toast. It's just not happening; I'm too anxious. On the upside, Mistborn is getting really good. It's slow progress for me, but I like being able to read on the subway. One of my freelance clients texts me to reschedule while I'm on my way to work. This girl is KILLING me. She's a great writer but flaky and I worry that she won't get her essays done by the early action deadlines.
12 p.m. — I try to eat lunch but there just isn't any time to sit down. I'm running around getting everything ready for the PSAT tomorrow. Another teacher emails me to tell me she won't be in school and therefore can't proctor. This is, to say the least, a huge issue. I try to keep calm and handle it as best as I can. It is the first year they've had a college counselor handle this instead of an administrator, and on top of that I'm new. I don't have any authority or any relationships built so getting teachers to cooperate has been a trial.
5:55 p.m. — I leave work almost an hour late today, but I think I'm ready to go for the test. On the plus side, past me threw a banana in my lunchbox that I forgot about. On the way home another client texts me and I answer his questions. I am very careful not to cross my streams — that is, never do freelance work (not even texting or emailing) while I'm at my day job. Most of my clients have learned to call or text me before 9 and after 6.
6:35 p.m. — When I get home, I plop facedown onto my floor. I want cheese and bread. In any combo. Today was a trial. I order pizza from the super-good (but expensive) place. Boyfriend and I rarely GrubHub, so this is a treat. $22.21
7:21 p.m. — After dinner, boyfriend and I hang out when my phone starts going off; it's my undergrad. I try to donate a little bit to something every month, so I guess this month I'll throw my alma mater $30. I had a great experience there, and I know that my poor public school is broke as hell so I don't mind giving them a little bit every year. They always ask for $100 which is too steep for me, but maybe one day I'll have the kind of money to be able to do that. $30
Daily Total: $52.21
6:15 a.m. — I took a melatonin last night. I'm not sure I believe in it, but I do believe in the placebo effect. I sleep until 6, and then it's go time. I eat toast on the way to the subway and wear sneakers to work. You know I mean business.
9:15 a.m. — Can I put "Years of my life" as amount spent? FIVE teachers did not show up to work today, and it's chaos. Luckily, a lot of people step up to cover the holes in the proctoring schedule for the PSAT. I'm freaking out, but my team of college counselors is amazing and helps me through.
5:30 p.m. — My team is amazing and I love them. The test happened. The kids took it. The materials are packaged and on their way back to College Board — and I didn't even cry.
6:15 p.m. — I tutor on the side, doing college counseling (mostly organization and editing) for seniors. I am, however, an idiot and did not reschedule my standing Wednesday appointment because of the PSAT. So, off to Manhattan I schlep. I can't read, so I listen to Dear Hank and John, a comedy podcast about death, on the subway; it helps to relax me. I stop at Levain to buy three cookies after I get off the subway. $12
7:45 p.m. — This client is my favorite this year. He's really funny, I love his writing, and he gives me energy rather than takes it. I finish up with him and walk to the subway, giving my parents a blow-by-blow of the PSAT while I wait for the train to come.
8:30 p.m. — Eat leftover chicken lettuce wraps and sesame noodles for dinner, and explain the insanity of today to my boyfriend. I apologize for being such a stressed-out mess the last few days, watch some TV, and then head to bed.
Daily Total: $12
7:15 a.m. — I sleep in a bit today. My supervisor told me to come in late but there are things I have to do second period. I eat breakfast while my boyfriend and I discuss dinner tonight. I have drinks with friends but should be home at a human hour.
11 a.m. — A much less stressful day but still SO busy. I eat a banana because I don't know when I'll have time to eat lunch.
1:30 p.m. — A meeting with a kid runs shorter than intended, so I have time to eat lunch. Yay, chili! I turn on some music, shut my door, and eat alone.
4 p.m. — I check my personal email and find out that my after-work plans have been canceled. I was supposed to meet up with grad school friends, but we're all crazy busy with November 1st deadlines. We punt drinks to next week.
5 p.m. — I head home and share cookies with a coworker on the subway. We talk about our weekend plans; both of us have Halloween parties to go to.
5:30 p.m. — Boyfriend's brother calls and wants to reschedule dinner for tonight. My plans got canceled so I'm down. I text boyfriend to coordinate. I know he's already on the subway and may not get it until he's home in Brooklyn. He's going to be pissed that he came home and has to turn right back around to go to Manhattan.
7 p.m. — We go out for ramen together. Not boyfriend's favorite, but I love it and it's great comfort food for the week I've had. We're back in our old neighborhood, and a lot of new things have opened in the past month or so; boyfriend pays for all of us. Boyfriend's brother makes a stink about the fact that we made him dinner on Sunday and are paying for this, too. It's not a big deal to us though; we'd already bought the stuff for dinner on Sunday.
8 p.m. — Boyfriend's brother asks if we want to make s'mores dip for dessert. It becomes an argument about who is going to pay for it since everyone is always trying to pay for everyone else. Boyfriend's brother pays for the dip while I'm on the phone with a client. We all try to hide $20 in each other's bags/jackets/pockets to make a point.
8:30 p.m. — We eat s'mores dip and watch The Good Place. It is truly an A+ TV show.
10 p.m. — We head home and rush to tidy up the apartment. The change in plans led to an explosion of work bags and the like all over. I notice that there's a stray $20 bill in my bag. Boyfriend's brother must have snuck it in there. Well played.
Daily Total: $0
8:30 a.m. — I AM SO UNPREPARED. The week has caught up with me and I'm scrambling to get ready for work. I decide that I'd rather be five minutes late, presentable, and pack my lunch than rush to be on time. I wear one of my weirder/brighter/louder skirts to work today. I'll dip my toe into the wild wardrobe pool and see how it goes at work.
9:05 a.m. — Listen to Harry Potter and the Sacred Text on the subway. It's so freaking good. Get to work five minutes late, but I don't have an appointment this period anyway, so it's fine. My skirt goes over well.
11 a.m. — Consider getting a coffee but I don't have time. Darn.
11:45 a.m. — Eat chili while waiting for a student to get their note signed. I'm not hungry, but this is my break today.
2:27 p.m. — We have early Fridays because of the Sabbath, so I'm out by 1:30. I'm heading to a freelance client but I can't make the freaking train connection I need. Very annoying, but my client's mom says her daughter is also stuck, so we should get there around the same time.
3:45 p.m. — This client has been killing me, but she's a nice kid. I'm worried that she won't make the November 1st early-action deadlines, so we schedule another appointment for this weekend. Not my favorite thing in the world to do, but I want to ensure she actually has a shot at some of her schools.
4:30 p.m. — I need to prepare an iron-on t-shirt for a couple's Halloween costume with my boyfriend, but we don't own an iron. We head to Target to buy the necessities (iron and ironing board) along with some incidentals for the apartment (more soap, a storage basket). Laugh about the fact that we are adults who don't own basic adult items. Boyfriend pays but Venmos me for half. We usually switch off paying for things, but for apartment purchases, sometimes Venmo is just easier when it's a lot. $33.62
7 p.m. — Time for dinner. We don't have groceries because we thought we'd be out at dinner with boyfriend's brother tonight. I make the executive decision to make grilled cheese for dinner. Tasty and worth it.
Daily Total: $33.62
7:30 a.m. — We are up and we are cleaning. There's a ton to do today so I want to start off right. This week the bathroom is mine and the kitchen/sweeping are boyfriend's. Splitting household stuff usually isn't too hard for us because we're both clean people, but because our work schedules have both been so hectic lately, things have fallen by the wayside.
12 p.m. — The game master in my usual Monday RPG is hosting another game at a different store for Halloween. I call to reserve spots for me and my sister. I have to put a credit card down; she'll probably pay me back for her $20 spot, but I won't harass her about it. She spots me for things all the time. $40
12:30 p.m. — Boyfriend and I head into Manhattan to have lunch with a friend who is in town She's consulting in Chicago but is home for the weekend. We go out for Asian tapas. Friend is a huge food person and we're more "eat at home to save money and cooking is fun" people, so it's a fun splurge to see her. She surprises us by expensing the lunch, but she has a per diem and it's a waste not to use it.
1:30 p.m. — Friend wants to try Pop Bars (like gelato popsicles) which are in this area. We go because it's nice and warm out; it's underwhelming but tasty. Probably too expensive for what it is, but our friend likes all pretty, Insta-famous food stuff. Boyfriend pays.
3:45 p.m. — We get home and start putting on our Halloween costumes. We arrange the temporary tattoos I bought on Etsy, and I'm annoyed to realize one of the ones I ordered never showed up. I feel like I am missing an element and need something to complete my costume, so we head out and go to a few stores. I buy accessories that I think will round out the costumes. I spend over $50, but I am going to return about half of what I bought after I see what actually works with the costume. $59.34
4:30 p.m. — We are dressed as Hipster Link and Zelda (yes, we are huge nerds) and are ready to go. I'm much happier with my costume now that I have a hat and a fake nose ring. We take some pictures before we head to our friend's apartment.
5 p.m. — We stop at a wine store before we get on the subway. It's our friend's Halloween/housewarming party and I feel weird showing up empty-handed. I pay, but boyfriend Venmos me for half. $12.50
5:15 p.m. — We get off the subway and run into another friend and walk over together. This is a friend from our monthly board game night, and we decided to do a mini-board game night before the party. We play Codenames and Resistance, and order pizza before the party starts. I pay for my and my boyfriend's share. $25
11 p.m. — It is late (for me) and I am drunk and a little sleepy. I check the MTA and to no one's shock, the subways in Brooklyn are totally messed up. I use Curb to summon a cab and boyfriend and I say our goodbyes. It feels like such a splurge, but it's worth it. I'm pooped. I pay for the cab, we take off our costumes, and fall asleep. We'll have temporary tattoos to deal with in the morning. $17
Daily Total: $166.34