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 manager who makes $100,000 per year. This week she spends some of her money on a friend's wedding and a green smoothie.
Editor's Note: This post has been updated.
Location: New York, NY
Paycheck (2x/month): $2,578 (after tax and pre-tax deductions)
Housing Costs: $1,112.50. I share a studio with my boyfriend of over nine years (henceforth known as "BF").
Student Loans: $164.64. I have about $10,000 left to pay, out of the $40,000 I graduated with in 2013.
All Other Monthly Expenses
Gym: $205. (This price includes a corporate discount because of my firm. We also get $400 every six months if we can prove at least 50 gym visits for those six months, which I do.)
ConEd: ~$20 after splitting with BF
Internet: $25 after splitting with BF
Family: $120 for my sister's allowance while she's at college. I do this mostly to help my parents.
MetroCard: $121. (I need to figure out how to get this deducted pre-tax ASAP!)
Tidal: $10. (I know, I know.)
Hulu: $8. (I get Netflix and HBO from friends, and I give them Hulu in return.)
Laundry: ~$80 (more on this later)
Cell Phone: $70 toward my parents' plan, but my firm gives me $80/month to read work emails on my personal device.
Renter's Insurance: $5.38 after splitting with BF
Savings: I deduct 10% of my salary to my 401(k) and deposit at least $200/month into my Barclays Dream account to save for big trips.
7:30 a.m. — Wake up and prep today's lunch. I was supposed to do this yesterday, but I got home later than expected. I pack my bag with workout clothes so I can hopefully make it to a yoga class after work.
8:30 a.m. — Need to reload my MetroCard! I just started a new job and am waiting to deduct my transportation expenses from my paycheck, pretax. I usually get an unlimited card, but I'll be out of town the next few weekends, so it doesn't really make sense to get one right now. $26.25
9:30 a.m. — Breakfast at my desk. I try to keep breakfast foods at my desk at all times so I don't have an excuse to spend money. I eat a sprouted whole-wheat tortilla with almond butter and chia seeds, plus an apple. I also have my office's gross (but free) coffee.
12 p.m. — Lunch that I made this morning! Kale with garlic lemon dressing, brown rice, and cannellini beans with my favorite Healthade Kombucha flavor — blood orange, carrot, ginger. And a piece of dark chocolate for dessert.
4 p.m. — Snack time: green tea and Lesser Evil Buddha Bowl popcorn from the stash I keep at my desk.
5:30 p.m. — It looks like I'm going to make it to yoga! I dash out of the office with a coworker-friend to make sure we get a good spot for the 6 p.m. class.
7:30 p.m. — Just getting home from yoga. I have leftovers from meal prepping this morning, but I want to make sure I have lunch for tomorrow, so I sauté sweet potato cubes and fresh cremini mushrooms, and eat that with leftover brown rice and cannellini beans, topped with tahini and hot sauce! Delish.
9:30 p.m. — It takes me FOREVER to do the dishes. (We don't have a dishwasher.) I left dishes in the sink this morning and added more from dinner just now, and I have to stop and dry three times before I finish. My boyfriend is house/dog-sitting this whole week so I have our studio to myself, which is nice. (I love living with him, but I also really appreciate and need alone time.) But doing chores is kind of a drag since I'm so used to splitting everything with him. After I finish, I munch on strawberries and hunker down for the season finale of The Leftovers! I put off watching it until all the episodes were released. I'm so sad it's over!
10 p.m. — Laundry pick up! I know I should probably go to the laundromat to do my laundry, but with all of my workout clothes, I need to do laundry once a week. Having someone wash and fold them, and being able to hang-dry my stuff for about $20/week is MORE than worth it for me.
11 p.m. — I go to bed hoping I don't have nightmares from The Leftovers.
Daily Total: $26.25
6:30 a.m. — Alarm goes off! I try to snooze 10 minutes, but get up because I'm having a bad dream anyway. It wasn't related to The Leftovers, but another one where I am at the airport trying to make my flight but I keep running into problems and can't make it to the gate! I get dressed and head to the gym.
7:30 a.m. — Gym time. The StairMaster machine I like is taken, so I walk on the treadmill until it frees up. I do the fat burner setting on hard for 30 minutes, then do a speed workout on the treadmill for 15, and then 15 minutes of an arm workout. I love starting the day with a tough workout. I head to the locker room to shower and, damn it, I forgot to pack a bra. My sports bra is too sweaty to even contemplate wearing it for the day, but luckily the dress I'm wearing is pretty thick and I think I can get away with it. (I just have Bs anyway.)
9:30 a.m. — Post-workout breakfast is a tortilla with almond butter, apple, and chia seeds again. I also have iced coffee that I brought from home.
1 p.m. — Lunch is last night's sweet potato, brown rice, and leftover kale salad. It has SO MUCH garlic in it people can probably smell me from a mile away, but I don't care because I love it.
5 p.m. — Green tea and popcorn from my stash. I became a snacker at my old job because I worked until 7 p.m. or later, so I needed a lil' something around 5 p.m. to get me through to dinner.
7 p.m. — I stop at the store to pick up things for dinner (more mushrooms and kale), and ingredients to make snacks. $11.55
9 p.m. — Laundry gets dropped off. I set up everything I'll need for the gym and the workday in my backpack. If I don't prepare absolutely everything I need the night before (down to the socks), I won't get up. $19.53
Daily Total: $31.08
6:30 a.m. — Wake up for gym time! I get myself together in 10 minutes and make it in time to do a quick walk on the treadmill before trying a new class called “athletic conditioning.” It's really just circuit training, but it gets me sweating so I'm happy with it.
11 a.m. — I'm so sad for everyone in Mexico that suffered from these last two devastating earthquakes. I was in a magnitude 7.6 earthquake when I was 11, and it was one of the scariest experiences of my life. There is no prep time for earthquakes, and there is nothing like walking around with your mom shopping for pajamas one second and the next, the earth starts to move under your feet and everyone is running for their lives. I research reputable organizations and donate $20. It's not a lot, but there is so much going on these days I feel like I am making donations every other week. $20
1 p.m. — My friend is getting married on Saturday, and I really need to get my nails done. I was going to try to go to my favorite nail salon in my hometown the day of, but with hair and makeup appointments that day too, I know it will be too crazy to also do nails. I look online for salons that do SNS powder gel and head over. I don't care what anyone says about SNS; it lasts three weeks with ZERO chips, and I love it. I also get a pedicure with callous remover because I need it! $80
5 p.m. — Read Money Diaries and drink green tea with popcorn.
6:30 p.m. — The subway really sucked this afternoon, so it takes me 45 minutes to get home instead of the usual 30. I stop at Whole Foods and buy more ingredients for the snacks and shakshuka, a weekly staple at our place; it's easy to make and is great for work lunches. I also buy kombucha and strawberries. $30.72
8:30 p.m. — It's been a cooking marathon tonight! I chop everything for shakshuka and while it cooks I make the snacks. I'm making a vegan recipe, so I use banana and coconut oil instead of butter. Only BF is strictly vegan, but I have to say it's very satisfying to find a delicious vegan recipe.
9 p.m. — OMG: BF makes a surprise appearance! I knew he was starting to miss me. We hang out, and he tries to eat all of the snacks I made, but I have to stop him because I want to share them at work! BF leaves to go back to his dog-sitting duties, and I watch an episode of Gilmore Girls that I've already seen a million times and go to bed.
Daily Total: $130.72
5:52 a.m. — For this 7 a.m. class, I've found that 5:52 a.m. is the perfect alarm time because I snooze until 6 a.m., then I need 10 minutes to get ready, and I'm out the door by 6:12 and there is usually a train when I get there and I make it with 10 minutes to spare before the class. Not getting a good spot for a class gives me so much anxiety. Sometimes I don't even go to the class if I'm going to be less than five minutes early.
9:30 a.m. — Yoga class and cardio were fab, and I'm feeling great today! I make breakfast and resist eating one of the snacks with every fiber of my being. I only have 10 left and haven't even shared yet. Whoops!
12 p.m. — I meet with some coworkers in the cafeteria for lunch. I eat my shakshuka with avocado, share the snacks with my lunch pals, and they are a hit.
5 p.m. —Green tea and popcorn time.
5:30 p.m. — I've had an iPhone 6s for almost two years now and am ready for an upgrade. I know I'm not going to splurge for the iPhone X, but with my plan I can make trade in for the iPhone 8 for the same monthly price I'm paying now. I have to pay upgrade fees and taxes, and I'll also have to buy a good case, but I'll deal with that once I actually get the phone! $103.66
7 p.m. — I get home and make leftovers for dinner; I'm eating shakshuka for the third time in a row, but I have a big weekend ahead of me — my best friend's wedding — and there will be a lot of expenses.
9 p.m. — I pack up everything I need for the big weekend and go to bed early. My dress is still at the tailor, so at least I don't have to worry about lugging it around tomorrow.
Daily Total: $103.66
5:52 a.m. — Gym time. I'm feeling super groggy this morning, so I buy a kombucha on the way to the gym. After class, I walk on the treadmill for 20 minutes. When I'm done, I head to the locker room to shower and do my weekly weigh in. Ever since I started doing yoga and eating more plant-based meals (thanks to sharing meals with BF), I have started feeling great. $3.99
9 a.m. — Breakfast with coffee. I'm trying to work more efficiently than usual since I have to leave early for the wedding rehearsal.
11:15 a.m. — I forgot my Spanx at my apartment, and I definitely need them for my bridesmaid dress, so I run to a nearby department store to buy another pair. $15.99
1 p.m. — I meet two coworkers in the lobby of the building and head out for lunch. I get two slices of pizza and we catch up and chat about work, eat, and enjoy the nice weather. My coworkers decide to get gelato for dessert, but I'm too full. $13.72
3:30 p.m. — I meet another coworker in the firm's cafeteria to catch up. (I want to get to know everyone better.) I bring tea from my desk and just ask for hot water, so I don't buy anything.
4:30 p.m. — Head to Grand Central to catch the train to my hometown where the wedding will be. I'm so excited for the weekend, I stop and buy a nice half-bottle of Sauvignon Blanc for the train ride ($14.09). I have an off-peak, 10-trip train pass I bought a while back, but this is a peak hour train and I'll have to supplement my pass with $5. $19.09
7:30 p.m. — The rehearsal goes well! The bride is really stressed out, but we manage to get everyone together to go through the motions of the big day, and I think everyone will be prepared. The father of the bride brought sandwiches for everyone, so we eat and hang out for a bit. Most of the bridal party leaves, but the bride and groom, and a few other bridesmaids and I head to the bar next to the venue for a post-rehearsal drink. I buy the first round. Hanging out with everyone is nice, but everyone around me feels so grown up with all of their baby and wedding talk; I start to feel restless. I'm so happy for my best friend, but I am not ready for the responsibilities of marriage or motherhood. I need a break and ask my younger sister to pick me up. $26
9 p.m. — I'm definitely feeling the vodka sodas I just had, and my sister is also in a “fun” mood. She somehow convinces me to go out and drink more vodka in her room, but after being around all the “almost grownups,” I decide to join the recklessness. My boyfriend is working until midnight anyway, so it's not like I have anything else to do! My sister lets me borrow her clothes, and we pregame in her room while our mom watches TV upstairs. Feels like high school and I love it.
10 p.m. — We take an Uber to a bar about 15 minutes away (not like high school). After checking my credit card the next morning, turns out I spent $24 on drinks at the bar we went to. $24
11:30 p.m. — Eventually, I realize my sister is too drunk to be out, so I call an Uber to come get us. I also call my boyfriend to meet me at home, so I can stay with him at his parents' place where he is house/dog sitting. $14.72
Daily Total: $117.51
8 a.m. — OOOF. Rough night. I wake up with a pounding headache and no idea where my phone is. I legitimately think I lost it in the Uber because I don't remember much. I'm also supposed to be at the hotel with the other bridesmaids getting ready, but I can't face them like this, and I need to figure out my phone situation.
8:30 a.m. — Luckily I have my Apple Watch, which still works with Wi-Fi. I text my sister and ask her WTF happened to my phone, but she is in a worse state than I am and has no idea. I text the bridesmaids that I'm running late but will stop by before my Drybar appointment at 11 a.m. I tell my sister to come pick me up so I can go pick up my bridesmaid dress at the tailor ($20) and so we can get hangover-fighting green smoothies ($7). $27
9:30 a.m. — We get to my parents' house and my phone is nowhere to be found! I try calling it but no answer. I can't believe I left it in the Uber. Especially since I just ordered a new phone and need to hand that one back to Verizon so I don't get charged!
9:45 a.m. — I drive to my boyfriend's house to do a last check for the phone — and ta-da! It's in a room I didn't check earlier. THANK GOODNESS! I text the bridesmaids that I am on my way!
10 a.m. — I get to the hotel room and hang with the bridesmaids, trying desperately to hide my hangover. Luckily, everyone is focused on the bride. I eat popcorn I randomly found in the car. I think I play it off pretty well, but I NEED coffee.
10:50 a.m. — Rush to my Drybar appointment! I park and pay $1 for parking. They offer me coffee! $1
12 p.m. — Honestly, I really don't like how my hair turned out. I look like a schoolgirl and the look just isn't working, but today is not about me and I don't have time to complain and fix it. I pay and head back because my makeup appointment at the hotel is next. $65
1 p.m. — Back at the hotel and everyone is in a frenzy trying to get ready. The photographer is taking pictures, makeup is getting done, people are getting dressed, the flower girls are crying and need attention, but there are mimosas and everyone is loving the excitement. I drink a mimosa, and I think my hangover is finally gone!
2:30 p.m. — Finally my turn for makeup. I honestly don't wear much make up, and I think $100 is a lot of freakin' money for it, but all the bridesmaids are doing it, and I'm a team player. The artist does a good job and even though it's not really my style, I look good! $100
3:30 p.m. — We dash to the wedding venue! The bride is trying her best not to cry and ruin her makeup, but it's all happening and it's so exciting!
5 p.m. — My best friend is married! The ceremony was beautiful, and the weather was perfect. The newlyweds are high school sweethearts, and my friend reads what she wrote to her hubby in their senior year yearbook; everyone cries, including me. As much as I shy away from grownup stuff like marriage, it's beautiful to see two people so happy together.
5:30 p.m. — We dance the night away, and it's a perfect night! My boyfriend and I give $85 to the bride and groom, but I pay $60 because he doesn't want to give more than $25. I don't feel like fighting about it, and she's my best friend, so I don't mind chipping in extra. I would give more, but I already spent so much on the bachelorette, bridal shower gift, dress, makeup. It's been a lot! Everything goes without a hitch, and the bride and groom are happy as can be. I join in on the after party at another local bar, but my boyfriend wants to head back to the city and I'm so tired, so we don't stay long. I say goodbye to the bride and groom and we head home. $60
Daily Total: $253
10 a.m. — I'm tired but boyfriend and I eventually get out of bed. I make us his favorite vegan banana pancakes, and we chill and have coffee.
11 a.m. — It's supposed to be #SundayRunday, but we are too tired. We decide to just go out for a long walk, and my boyfriend shows me some of his favorite skateboarding spots. I have never been able to skateboard (and he has tried to get me to learn many times), but I love how passionate he is about it — and his resulting fitness isn't so bad either ;)
12 p.m. — We stop at a bakery I have always wanted to try and get a baguette and an iced coffee. We try to save the bread for when we get back, but steal a few bites on the walk back home. $7
1 p.m. — We stop at Healthnuts and get stuff for lunch and dinner — kale, chips, hummus, a cucumber, a six-pack of beer, and a few other little things. He pays and Venmos me for half. $20
3 p.m. — SO tired from that walk. We eat and then I take a nap. Not sure what boyfriend does while I nap, but he quietly hangs in the studio while I sleep.
4:30 p.m. — Boyfriend has to leave to pick up someone at the airport soon (the lady he dog sits and does odd jobs for), so we go for another little walk to the park and sit on a blanket with a beer. We try to play Frisbee, but it's unseasonably hot out, so and only go at it for 10 minutes.
6 p.m. — Boyfriend leaves for the airport. I make an easy kale salad and save the rest for lunch tomorrow. For dessert, I have chocolate I brought back from my recent trip to El Salvador.
10 p.m. — Bed time!
Daily Total: $27
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