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.
Today: a digital marketer who makes $70,000 per year. This week, she spends some of her money on a Take 5 candy bar.
Occupation: Digital Marketer
Location: New York
Paycheck (2x/month): ~$1,800
Housing Costs: $1,500
Monthly Loan Payments: None
All Other Monthly Expenses
Unlimited MetroCard: $121
Netflix: $0. I mooch off my friend's account.
Utilities: $25 (on average)
Gym Membership: N/A — I bought a Groupon deal for 10 kickboxing classes, it has lasted me well over three months.
Health Insurance: $0. I'm covered by my parents' insurance until the age of 26.
401(k): ~$180 deducted from each paycheck
Phone & Transportation: My parents graciously offered to take care of my phone bill despite my offers to pay. They insisted, so I won't fight it.
7:25 a.m. — Alarm goes off and I am UP. I'm one of those strange creatures that wake up immediately upon the first alarm. It's time to seize the day. I get ready and make my way to the subway station.
8 a.m. — As I debate grabbing breakfast before I get into the office, one of my coworkers texts me that he's stopping at a bagel shop before work and asks what I want. I thank him for offering and ask him to get me an everything bagel toasted with cream cheese, and he obliges. What a sweet human.
8:30 a.m. — I arrive at the office and my coworker hands me my bagel. I thank him and ask for his Venmo account to pay him, but he says not to worry about it. I brought our team scones a few weeks ago and he says this time, breakfast is on him. It's already a fantastic start to the weekend.
10 a.m. — I'm stuck in a long meeting, but JP Cooper tickets are on sale for AmEx card owners! My coworker offers to help me buy them with his AmEx card. He snags my friend and me two tickets during my meeting. I thank him and pay him back on Venmo. I am so pumped to see JP Cooper live. How can one artist possess so much talent? $41
1 p.m. — Today is my coworker's birthday. We decide to go out for a sit-down lunch and head to Barn Joo, a nice Korean restaurant, to celebrate. I order the beef japchae. The sweet potato noodles are slightly overcooked but still delicious. All of my coworkers box up their leftovers to go since the portion sizes are huge. I, on the other hand, proudly finish the entire entrée and head back to the office feeling mildly lethargic. Pero like, what is portion control? I regret nothing. $22.12
6 p.m. — I made plans to attend a yoga class in East Village with a friend. It starts at 7 so we explore St Marks Place for a bit before heading over. The studio is donation-based and focuses on providing yoga for everyone. My practice today is tough but fulfilling. I went to a kickboxing class the day before and still feel sore. However, I flow through the practice with more ease than usual and notice that I am getting stronger. There's no better feeling. My friend and I each donate $5 as we head out. $5
8:30 p.m. — I bid my friend goodbye and hop on the train back to the Upper East Side. I am going out with work friends tonight and have to shower, get ready, and hop back on the train down to the East Village. My friend is throwing a pregame at her apartment. I love living on the Upper East Side, but it is definitely a bit out of the way. I am planning to move further downtown next year.
10:15 p.m. — I arrive at my friend's bomb-ass studio in Gramercy. We organized a GNO (girls night out) with a group of gal pals from work, and it's really nice to hang out outside of work. All of the girls are down to earth and fun. We gossip about work, boys, and throw back tequila shots. Cheers to the freaking weekend!
12:30 a.m. — We finally head out. I call us a Lyft to the Lower East Side and Venmo request them later. Since moving to NYC, I've made the switch from Uber to Lyft. I've learned that Lyft has better corporate policies and takes a smaller cut from their drivers, and it is the exact same service. We head to Hair of the Dog, a college-type dance bar. $17.70
1:25 a.m. — The bar is packed and we can barely walk. My friends buy tequila shots but I abstain and we promptly dip out. We head over to Pianos, a nearby bar with dancing, and chill for five minutes before deciding the music is abysmal and not worth paying the $8 cover for the upper-level dance floor. Once again, we dip out and walk to Los Feliz, my personal favorite. It's a multi-level Latin and hip-hop bar and we spend the rest of the night there dancing. I pay for a round of tequila shots for my friends, and Venmo request them later. I'm still appalled at how absurdly expensive drinks are in NYC. $46 with tip for four tequila shots? Horrifying. $46
2:30 a.m. — Tonight, I am the ultimate wing woman and successfully set up two of my friends with cuties. I am also single but scared of human boys, so I groove with my friends all night and curve all the boys. After getting sick of dodging guys, I escape to the back of the bar where I spot a boy dancing by himself like a straight boss. I join him on the ledge and we perform an impromptu hip-hop routine. That's the reason I go out!
3:30 a.m. — We are tired and very hungry! Rumor has it there's a 24-hour Ukrainian pierogi joint in East Village. I never thought I'd need pierogis at 4 a.m. but tonight is the night. I order eight pierogis in assorted flavors and chow down. Our waiter is Ukrainian and hot. After picking up our bill, I write down my phone number on the receipt. Why not? He does not end up texting me, but at least the pierogis were scrumptious! $13
4:30 a.m. — I call a Lyft Line home. A young couple joins me and somehow takes up almost all of the backseat. As a result, I am squished up against the window and deeply uncomfortable. Despite my physical discomfort, my Lyft driver is awesome and tells me about his night. He promptly drops me off at home and I thank him. $8.80
Daily Total: $153.62
10:30 a.m. — I wake up after only five hours of sleep. I can NEVER sleep well after a night out. I swear, my body is programmed to wake me up around 9 or 10 a.m. without fail. (I wish it was programmed to make me exercise as regularly.) I lounge around in bed, eventually turning on my UE Boom to listen to the sweet sounds of JP Cooper.
11:30 a.m. — I feel slightly guilty after spending so much money yesterday and commit the rare act of preparing breakfast for myself. I cut up a ripe papaya, wash a carton of blackberries, and make myself an egg, sunny side up. I devour the ensemble while chatting with my roommate about her boy woes. She recently began sleeping with a boy from work and the relationship is in a gray area all too familiar to my generation. I listen, sympathize, and provide my input. My personal love life can be described as crickets chirping, a gym on Christmas morning, my bank account after rent is due... You get the idea.
12:30 p.m. — My roommate heads out for the day and I crawl back into bed and listen to music. After a bit, I get myself together and walk to my favorite coffee shop. I call my dad on the walk over. He called me yesterday because he missed me but I was busy. My dad is my best friend and we are the biggest dorks together. (He is also a Renaissance man who writes, composes, and produces his own music. He's won awards overseas for his songs.) On the phone, he asks me to sing a song he wrote in Mandarin. He's wanted me to do this for the longest time, but singing in Mandarin is intimidating and my dad's style of music is…very different than mine. I know it will make him happy, and that makes me happy, so I agree. He emails me the lyrics and music. I promise to take a stab at it.
1 p.m. — I arrive at Café Jax, a cozy coffee shop with a large basement, and order a banana loaf. It's overpriced but delicious. I bring my journal and my new copy of The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur. It's a book of beautiful prose and poetry with themes of love, heartbreak, abuse, and healing. Before reading, I spend an hour journaling about the past week. Journaling has been my form of therapy ever since high school. I spill my deepest thoughts onto these pages; it's my safe space. After journaling, I pull open The Sun and Her Flowers and read a few chapters. Kaur's prose is simple but powerful. I highly recommend. $4
3:30 p.m. — I leave Café Jax and make my way home. On the way back, I stop by Xi'an Famous Foods and grab an order of their spinach dumplings to go. Believe me, this the best item on their menu. My family is from Xi'an; so much of the menu is essentially the “fast food” version of some of my favorite homestyle cooking. It's both a blessing and a curse that there's a location right near my house. The food comes fast and I skip home, excited to eat. $9.70
5:30 p.m. — After eating, I take a two hour “nap” and wake up disgruntled. I had tentative plans to head to a coworker's birthday drinks but decide against it. Instead, I text my brother to hang out, and his girlfriend asks if I want to go out. Still recovering from the night before I politely decline. My brother invites me to come over and be bums with him. He gets me. I take the train to his house and we watch Elf and Blades of Glory together. I eat his snacks. That's what big brothers are for right?
1:15 a.m. — I take a Lyft line home. What luck — no one is added to the ride so I get home quickly. My Lyft driver is really nice. I thank him and go home to crash. $4.08
Daily Total: $17.78
9 a.m. — I wake up naturally again; so much for sleeping in on the weekends. Ever since moving to NYC after graduation, my body has programmed itself to make me a morning person, against my will. I lay in bed and continue reading The Sun and Her Flowers.
10 a.m. — I decide to haul ass out of bed. I am a restless soul, so much so that I regret lounging around at home during the weekends. I have the constant urge to go outside and explore. I shower, get changed, and listen to JP Cooper on Spotify while I get ready to go.
10:30 a.m. — I arrive at Padoca Bakery, an adorable coffee shop a few blocks from my apartment. I order an espresso (a responsible move toward becoming fully functional this morning), and a pumpkin cranberry muffin. I settle in a cozy nook and devour it all. Unfortunately, the space in the shop is tight and a stranger accidentally knocks over my espresso, spilling it all over my lap and my coat. He apologizes and buys me another one. I am mildly distressed but do not blame him. It's clearly an early morning for all of us. $5.99
12:15 p.m. — My friend is meeting me on the Upper East Side for brunch. We haven't hung out in forever and I'm happy she was able to make the trek up to my neighborhood. We usually meet at her apartment in Midtown so I'm excited to show her around. We walk to a Vietnamese restaurant I've been meaning to check out and share spring rolls, a huge bowl of pho, and stir-fried rice noodles. The food is absolutely delicious. I backpacked across Vietnam this past summer, and the food is just as tasty as I remembered. We sit and catch up and she shows me her matches on Coffee Meets Bagel. I am not on any dating apps, so I swipe through her "daily bagels" and message a few potential suitors. We giggle like little girls. I pick up the bill and she Venmos me. $49.37
3:45 p.m. — We are still stuffed after brunch but succumb to a lingering sweet tooth. We stop inside 16 Handles, our favorite fro-yo joint, and each grabs a generous helping. I mix cookies and cream with mint chocolate chip and top it off with all sorts of chocolatey goodies. We sit inside and enjoy. $4.80
4:20 p.m. — This gloomy weather is perfect for an afternoon at the museum. Despite having a corporate badge that allows me and guests free entry, I have yet to enter the Met. I've managed many breakfasts atop the Met steps but always get too lazy to go inside. We walk over and I get my friend and myself in for free. I visit my favorite painting in the European painting gallery, “The Young Bather” by Gustave Courbet. I love gazing at it every time I visit the Met. It's an oil-on-canvas portrait of a nude woman with beautiful curves. I'm not huge into art, but the woman looks so comfortable in her own skin and at peace with the world. In the description, one writer praises the “beautiful girl” as “health itself, with an ample and plump silhouette…one couldn't be more independent or more true.”
5:15 p.m. — The Met closes at 5:30 so we quickly visit the new Michelangelo exhibit (which is a bit too crowded for our liking), and head home. It's dark outside and a regular Met street performer is playing the saxophone beautifully. I smile at him and he gives me a thumbs up. I shoot him one right back. The entire neighborhood looks so elegant at night. Happy and relaxed, I walk my friend to the subway station and hug her goodbye. I walk home.
6 p.m. — I have brunch leftovers for dinner and slice up a persimmon for dessert. They are one of my favorite fruits and the local fruit stands make them highly accessible. My roommate has her boy over so I watch Netflix in my room, making no noise, and pretending that I don't exist. (Shout out if you get the reference!)
7 p.m. — I remember that my coworkers and I are doing a Secret Santa soon. The max limit is $10, so I browse Amazon and purchase a pack of 10 Korean sheet masks and buy an extra pack for myself. These are so luxurious and a winter skincare essential. Plus, they sell for like $6 apiece at Sephora — so it's a great beauty hack. $19.28
8:30 p.m. — I despise going to the gym and am almost finished with a Groupon deal for kickboxing classes that I purchased a few months ago. I bookmarked a Groupon deal for three weeks of unlimited yoga at a studio close to my apartment. I have missed practicing yoga regularly, so I decide to purchase it. It's a great deal and I'm pumped to activate it. $30
Daily Total: $109.44
7:45 a.m. — Alarm goes off. I set it for later than usual to let myself sleep an extra 20 minutes. I had a terrible sleep last night. My roommate had her boy over and I had a hard time falling asleep. I'm all for guiding the D, but my roommate has had him over on Sunday evenings and random weekdays; it's not an ideal situation. I may talk to her about it if it gets too uncomfortable.
8:30 a.m. — I'm up and out the door. No makeup today because I can barely function with shitty sleep. I almost never eat breakfast at home because our team eats at work. I hop on the subway to work.
8:55 a.m. — I arrive at work and greet a few of my coworkers. I pull out my cereal, pour it into a bowl, and head into the kitchen to grab some soy milk. Our office has awesome perks. Free milk, coffee, cold brew on tap, cold pressed juices, and an espresso machine. No complaints. I prepare a bowl of cereal and eat at my desk.
9:10 a.m. — Our office Slack channel posts about free coffee beverages downstairs. My coworkers and I head down and grab a few cans of fancy coffee. I grab a can of Pumpkin Spice latte and a can Peppermint mocha for my coworker who hasn't arrived at work yet. Each can is delicious and has two and a half cups of coffee's worth of caffeine! Yup, it's that type of morning.
11:45 a.m. — After my second meeting of the day I'm pretty hungry. Nanoosh recently came to our office for an event and handed our team a bunch of $5 off coupons. I snag one from my team's stash and head to the café with a coworker. I order a large butternut squash soup with extra pita. With the coupon, it comes to $1.80. (Sure wish I had an unlimited supply of these coupons.) My coworker gets the same thing and we walk over to Washington Square Park to eat by the fountain. This is our favorite lunch spot because both the people- and puppy-watching are fantastic. The soup is delicious and hits the spot in this chilly weather. $1.80
12:30 p.m. — My coworker and I are still hungry after the soup (go figure) and decide to head to the Italian market nearby in search of protein. We split a meat and cheese platter and head back to the office to pair it with sourdough bread we have stashed in our drawers. Our company gets a discount at the market so the platter comes down to a little under $4. I hand her $2 cash at the office. $2
5 p.m. — I'm done with meetings for the day and have made good progress on a webpage I've been working on. I'm a firm believer in leaving once you're done with work. My office has pretty great hours. Everyone typically leaves around 5 to 5:30 p.m.
5:40 p.m. — The Q train is moving like a snail today so it takes me nearly 40 minutes to get home. I trudge up the stairs of my fifth-floor walkup. I swear the stairs have barely gotten any easier after four months into my lease. I'll just think of it as a free booty workout! I take a quick shower and chat with my roommate about the upcoming holiday “banger” we are planning. This is our first time entertaining in NYC so we're both pumped. We agree that popcorn and mistletoe are necessities, and we discuss buying the fluffy pillows we've been eyeing on Target.com. They are $13 each. I order two and pay online with my Redcard for an additional 5% off. She Venmos me half. $27
6:30 p.m. — I recently decided Sundays are for resting so Mondays are my new errand-running, get-my-life-together day. That makes today laundry day, a.k.a. the worst day of the month. My laundromat is across the street from my apartment, so laundry day requires me to go up and down our walkup about three or four times. I begrudgingly drag myself across the street with a horrifyingly large bag of laundry. My roommate jokes that I look like Santa with a bunch of presents on my back. I joke back there are no presents here. I arrive and find out that the laundromat has raised the price of washing and drying by a dollar. Blasphemy! As a result of laziness, I mean my thrifty nature, I mix all my clothes together to finish it in one load. My mom is probably quaking in her boots back home. $5.50
6:40 p.m. — I make my way up five flights of stairs back into my apartment and prepare dinner. I typically eat out for lunch during the week and cook dinner at home. I slice up a ripe avocado and toast Ezekial bread from Trader Joe's. I top off the avocado toast with chia seeds and sriracha. This is my secret combo that I've been eating regularly, without fail, since college. My college roommates used to poke fun at me because I never got sick of the ensemble for three years. Give it try! I've converted all of my friends. I fry an egg sunny side up and pour a glass of seltzer water. I've developed the worst habit of drinking only seltzer water at home. After I run out, I'm going to try curbing the habit. I eat my meal while rewatching Parks and Rec for the umpteenth time. Andy and April are couple goals.
8:30 p.m. — I finish folding my laundry and treat myself to some dark chocolate. My favorite is the Dark Chocolate Lover's Bar from Trader Joe's. I lay in bed and watch Kehlani's “Distraction” music video. This song is giving me life; mad early '90s, early 2000s vibes. Not to mention she is so sexy!
10 p.m. — I feel a bit blue and decide to go outside for a walk. There's a puppy daycare near my house and I stand outside and look at the two lone pups left there for the night. (FTR, I refer to all dogs as pups.) I shed a few tears by myself and walk home. Nothing like a good, dramatic cry alone in the cold! In all realness, crying is healthy. I go to sleep immediately after I get home.
Daily Total: $36.30
8:45 a.m. — Shortly after I arrive at the office, I prepare a bowl of cereal with soy milk. After that, I grab a few slices of sourdough bread from my drawer and pair it with organic peanut butter.
12 p.m. — I have a lunch date with a few gal pals from work and we head to Vapiano for pasta. It's my first time and I order the pasta picante, which is delicious. I finish every bite. $13.65
3:30 p.m. — I'm supposed to attend a kickboxing class after work today but I feel so meh I call and reschedule. I blame da pasta.
6 p.m. — The hormonal cravings are on. I suddenly feel a deep longing for junk food. I head to the 7-Eleven right outside my apartment and get a Take 5 bar (the most underrated candy bar) and a bag of snack mix. Instagram-worthy. $4.67
8 p.m. — I devour my snacks and spend the rest of the night watching Netflix and YouTube videos. I'm binge-watching the second season of Stranger Things and it is fire. Eleven is my spirit animal. Steve Harrington is such a babe. After vegging out for a few hours I hit the lights.
Daily Total: $18.32
8:30 a.m. — Not feeling breakfast today. Perhaps it's due to the late night snacking. I opt for a mug of hot coffee from the office kitchen and add a dash of soy milk. Breakfast is served.
12 p.m. — Sweetgreen is hosting a promo event at my office so my coworkers and I each get a free salad! I get the harvest bowl, which is full of greens, sweet potato, chicken, grains, and goat cheese. It's normally $15. I devour it and it is indeed delicious. However, I would probably never pay full price for it unless it morphed into a burger.
4 p.m. — My office is hosting another event with free catering! My coworkers and I load up on hors d'oeuvres: fresh fruit, cheese and crackers, meat skewers, potstickers, and sushi! For dessert, we grab company-branded cupcakes. All the free food this week reminds me of my college days!
7 p.m. — My hormones are all out of whack this week. I don't know why I've been so affected by PMS the past few months. After coming home, I pop on some Netflix and take a "nap."
9 p.m. — I wake up unaware of what country I'm in, but quickly come back to my senses and acknowledge that I am once again craving chocolate. I haul ass down five flights of stairs to 7-Eleven and get another Take 5 bar, a Snickers bar, and a pack of snack mix. I will literally never get sick of this combo. Treat yo'self always, but ESPECIALLY during your period! I walk home to eat my goodies while watching Stranger Things. $7.67
Daily Total: $7.67
8:30 a.m. — You'd think I learned my lesson on excessive late-night snacking but no. I arrive at work, full again from pregaming breakfast last night. I opt for another mug of hot coffee with a dash of soy milk. Nom nom nom.
12 p.m. — My coworkers and I decide to check out the holiday market at Union Square for lunch today. I grab a lunch set from a food vendor selling bao, and get two buns and spring rolls. The food is okay but extremely salty. $11
5:15 p.m. — What a feat; I finally make it to my kickboxing studio. I love showing up every one two or three weeks smiling at the instructors like I never left. One of the kickboxing instructors at the studio is such a cutie. His energy, upbeat personality, and corny jokes motivate me to try harder in class. He smiles and says hi to me and pays extra close attention to me during the class. I keep joking with my friends that I'm going to ask him out before my last kickboxing class. (I only have three classes left!) We shall see if I've still got game.
7 p.m. — For dinner, I make my usual avocado toast, and for dessert, I finish a leftover candy bar from the night before. This is my figurative pat on the back for surviving the week.
Daily Total: $11
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