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 social media manager who makes $90,000 per year, and spends some of her money this week on a matcha latte and an embroidery pattern.
Occupation: Social Media Manager Industry: Apparel Age: 26 Location: New York, NY Salary: $90,000 Paycheck (2x/month): $2,200
Monthly Expenses Housing: $1,288 for my share of the rent in an apartment I live in with my boyfriend. The full cost is $2,575 (utilities included).
All Other Monthly Expenses Digit: $3/month. The app automatically takes money out of your checking account, and puts it into a secure account in the app. Basically, if I don't see the money, I won't spend it. DealRay: $10/month. The service alerts you to the best flight deals. I really should delete it though, because with my full-time job, I'm rarely (never) able to take advantage. Internet: $50/month Credit Card: $1,300. I put everything on my credit card (gotta get them points!) and usually pay off the bill in its entirety every month. The total is usually $1,300 per month — sometime more, and sometimes less, depending on the month. Transportation: $121 for a monthly MetroCard pass Phone Bill: $40 for my portion. I'm still on a family plan with my mom and sisters (and my mom never forgets to Venmo me every month to pay!). Prescriptions: $150. Right now, I am taking two medicines that my doctor prescribed. One of them is stupid expensive (about $125), but I will hopefully be off of it soon.
8 a.m. — My periods are REALLY bad because of the medicine I'm taking (sorry, guys), so I call my boss and decide to work from my couch for the day. The loss of blood overnight makes me feel gross, and I skip breakfast; my boyfriend makes me coffee instead.
11:55 a.m. — I get hungry and am craving a croissant. I don't want to move much, so I run across the street and get the last plain croissant they have. I ask them to pop it in the microwave for five seconds, because if you thought regular croissants were good, you haven't tried one that's heated up. I run back home and eat it on my couch while checking email. $3 2 p.m. — Look through my mail pile and find a $10 coupon for alcohol delivery. I really don't drink much, but Aperol spritzes are my fave, and I figure I shouldn't let this coupon go to waste? Accidentally schedule the delivery for the next day instead of today, so I guess my at-home cocktails will have to wait. Still excited, though! $25.32 7 p.m. — After basically not moving except to use the bathroom all day, I take a nap and feel a million times better. I decide to go for a walk with my boyfriend. We just moved a month ago, so the neighborhood is still new. We run into a friend on the street who invites us along for a drink at a bar he is going to. There's a happy hour margarita special for $5. My boyfriend buys this round because I bought our rounds over the weekend. 8 p.m. — Need to get a few things for the apartment, and because the BF got my margarita, I get the random stuff we need from the corner bodega: soda water, cranberry juice, sponges, and paper towels. $21 Daily Total: $49.32
9:30 a.m. — Feel a lot better today and get breakfast at work. I buy a small iced coffee and an apple because I have a jar of peanut butter at my desk. My office has a partially subsidized cafeteria, so I usually buy breakfast and lunch at work. (Bad habit.) I also buy a coffee almost every day because my office doesn't have a coffee maker.
$3.75 11 a.m. — I buy a mattress cover that I really should have purchased months ago. The one I pick has a high rating and costs a little more money, but it's on Prime and I don't have to pay for shipping! $27.95 12:30 p.m. — I brought lunch to work for once, although I practically bit my boyfriend's head off last night when he started to finish the chicken and Brussels sprouts we made for dinner. He didn't eat it, so I was able to bring it with me! 7 p.m. — It's such a nice day out and work is pretty slow. I convince my boyfriend to hop on the train from Brooklyn and meet me at the office so that we can walk across the Brooklyn Bridge together! We don't go out that much, but we're trying to be summery while the weather in NYC is still nice. We find a happy hour oyster place in DUMBO. I'm so hungry after my measly apple and chicken today, and I order fries and happy hour mac and cheese. Worth it. $45.20 7:30 p.m. — Almost done with our three-mile walk home, and I really need to go to Duane Reade to stock up on pads and tampons. This period is killer, and it doesn't look like it's ending anytime soon. Why are these things so expensive?! $14.78 Daily Total: $91.68
9:30 a.m. — Coffee and an apple again. My peanut butter is almost gone; I'll need to stock up soon. My work coffee card is at the ninth punch! Only one more to go until I can get a free, fancy drink. Should I just buy two coffees today to speed this up...? Probably not.
$3.85 11 a.m. — Pay off my monthly credit card bill, and that's not even all of it. It's unusual, but I have an outstanding balance this month — $900 — because of the move last month. I could pay it off, but I don't want to right now. I will get to it in two weeks when I'll pay off half; then I'll pay off the rest in another month. 1 p.m. — Lunch time! Usually cafeteria lunches are $7 or $8. This time, I get cucumber, hummus, and popcorn. I'm still not feeling like myself and I'm not that hungry. Plus, I found my boss's stash of "don't be hangry" raw mixed nuts, and I ate a bunch not too long ago. It was surprisingly filling but also bland. I need my roasted, salted nuts, please. $4.75 3 p.m. — My coworker and I were asked to do a really weird work project, so we're meeting outside the office to talk about it. The nearby café has "pastry happy hour," which means pastries are half-off after 3 p.m. We get there in time, and I get a chocolate croissant and an iced espresso. I put a ton of milk in my espresso and get yelled at by the barista because, technically, I just made my own latte without paying for it. I knew that's what I was doing — but I think $5 for a cup of milk and one shot of espresso is insane. I didn't want that much milk anyway. I make a mental promise to not do it again — and to stop being so miserly. $4.90 5 p.m. — The internet bill is $64.55, but I sort of split it with my boyfriend and end up paying $50 this month. I Venmo him the rest before I go home. This move has really messed up my internet billing. I have a feeling I'm missing a bill somewhere, but I will deal with it later. I really hope I don't get a late fee... 7 p.m. — My sister is in town, and my dad gave her $50 for food, so we get tacos, plantains, and a margarita to share. She's not 21, and her fake ID is actually mine from years ago, so we can't go anywhere to get a drink together. It's so nice out and it's really great spending time with her. After dinner, we sit on the couch and watch Hairspray. She's leaving in the morning, so I say goodbye and go to sleep. Daily Total: $13.50
9:45 a.m. — Yay, I get my free coffee this morning! Large, iced soy latte, please. So worth the 10 iced coffees I bought before to get this one free. I pay $1 for an apple and start to think that I should just keep a bag of apples at my desk, since that's what I eat every morning anyway.
$1 12 p.m. — I have to reorder contacts. I got down to three pairs and have pushed it off for forever, because daily contacts are so. Damn. Expensive. Alas, I really need them and I'm sick of wearing glasses every day, so I suck it up and order a yearlong supply. I don't skimp and get the cheaper lenses; you only get one set of eyes. $407.44 1 p.m. — We have a new coworker and are taking her out to a welcome lunch! Because my boss is expensing this, and it's a special treat, I order a matcha latte and a zucchini noodle dish. I really wanted the hash brown and egg special, but everyone else is being healthy, and I feel pressure to eat well. The "pasta" is pretty good — and it reminds me that I have zucchini at home that is about to expire. I should make it for dinner sometime this week. ($26, expensed.) 7 p.m. — I buy an embroidery pattern. I recently got into embroidery, which sounds super lame, but really fits into my old-lady lifestyle. I've been really anxious recently and staying home sounds so, so much better than going out with people I barely know. I needed a hobby that lets me watch TV and feel productive without looking at my phone. This seems like a steep price for a drawing I could have essentially traced, but I support local artists and am hoping that their guidance will teach me something new. Turns out that I don't learn anything new after all, but the pattern is complicated, and it's good practice. $15.28 7:30 p.m. — I order dinner on Seamless for my boyfriend to pick up at a nearby taco place on his way home from a late-night photo gig. $11.50 8 p.m. — I am embroidering my new pattern on my couch when I get a call from my mom: My grandfather passed away. I burst out crying and call other members of my family. We talk about great memories and what his last moments were like. I make myself an Aperol spritz and watch a silly show to try to cheer up. I choose Vampire Diaries, but truthfully, I don't pay attention to any of it. I just want my boyfriend home and to be with my family. I feel sick to my stomach after my family news, and I don't want to eat anything. I lie on the couch like a sad potato and eventually make it into bed, barely talking. Daily Total: $435.22
9:45 a.m. — I'm still feeling unbelievably sad and don't have an appetite, but I am paid hourly and I need to go into work. I skip breakfast and get coffee from the café across from my apartment on my way to the train.
$3 12 p.m. — My boss knows what happened and asks if I want to go to a vendor lunch with a media partner. These are always fun because you get to hang out, eat good food, and they usually bring cool swag. The lunch takes longer than normal, but the people are really nice and I get an amazing burger ($40) that is expensed. Feeling a bit better. 7 p.m. — Close friends find out the news and want to make today a little happier, so they offer to take my boyfriend and me out to dinner. In honor of my grandpa, I get German potato pancakes and a glass of white wine. The company and alcohol cheer me up a bit, and we walk to the nearby park for fresh air and to see the fireflies. 8 p.m. — Discover a tiny ice cream place across the street! Super dangerous because ice cream is my favorite, but I only get one small scoop that comes out to under $2. $1.90 Daily Total: $4.90
12 p.m. — A friend is in town for a concert, and I promised to meet up with him. I buy coffee and a small breakfast sandwich on the way to see him, and we walk around for a few hours. I always feel pressure to take visitors somewhere cool, and I make a mental note to start a list of default activities. We land on Eataly, but then he has to leave and shower around 3 p.m.
$8.44 4 p.m. — I just can't deal with the MTA. I'm basically stranded at Penn Station without a way to get back to Brooklyn. I post a memorial of my grandpa on Facebook, which makes me sadder than I was before. It feels so final now. In a combination of grief and frustration, I call an Uber to a train station that will take me home; my boyfriend promises pizza for a late lunch. $11.20 7 p.m. — I spend all evening watching The Great British Baking Show because I'm in need of a heartwarming, sugary distraction. I feel motivated to bake something, but I need more flour and butter. The organic grocery store is right down the street. I know it is insanely overpriced, but I go anyway and spend almost $20 on a small bag of flour, one box of butter, and some cinnamon. Never going back – but I'm excited for my sticky buns. $19.22 Daily Total: $38.86
11:30 a.m. — Breakfast sandwich and coffee from the bodega. We are going to the last day of the Irving Penn exhibition at the Met and need food on the way. I find a bottle of Starbucks cold brew and get that, too. Breakfast doesn't get better than bacon, egg, and cheese on a roll and iced coffee while you sit on the train.
$12 1 p.m. — We each pay $5 for the Met suggested donation. I feel bad giving any less than that, but $20 feels like a lot for an exhibition I've already seen — that I know will be insanely crowded. I cover my boyfriend's donation, too, and we head inside. It's so great. We end up buying a poster and a cookbook at the gift shop, but because they're photo-related, my boyfriend charges the costs to his business card, towards an eventual tax write-off. $10 2:30 p.m. — Ice cream! Remember that pizza I had yesterday? Well, I had no patience and burned the shit out of my mouth, so I need ice cream to make it better. Obviously. I actually have cash, so I buy a chocolate cone with chocolate sprinkles for each of us. Time to head back home. $6 7 p.m. — Time to book a flight home for the funeral. I can't wait to be with my family, but I'm dreading all of the emotions and seeing my mom's heartbreak. I eat the sticky buns for dinner; I basically gave up on eating anything green this week. $346 Daily Total: $374
Money Diaries are meant to reflect individual women's experiences and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior. 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. For more money diaries, click here. Have a money diary you'd like to share? Right now, in addition to our ongoing diaries, we're looking for potential diarists along the following themes: 1. Back-to-School Moms: Are you a mom preparing for the back-to-school hustle? Submit your diary about all that entails here! 2. School Daze: Are you a college student? We want to hear from you. We'd love to read entries from women paying their own way, who are working full-time or part-time, have work-study programs, or simply want to share what it's like to be an undergrad today. Submit it to us here.