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A Week In New York, NY, On A $102,000 Salary

Photo: Courtesy of Taiyaki NYC.
Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. We're asking real people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.

Today: a wellness consultant who makes $102,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a fish-shaped ice cream cone.
Currency in USD.
Occupation: Consultant
Industry: Wellness
Age: 32
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $102,000 (commission-eligible)
Net Worth: Approx. $179,000 ($100,000 in retirement accounts; $29,000 in personal investment account; $42,000 in HY savings account; $2,000 in HSA account; $6,000 in everyday checking and savings)
Debt: $0
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,100 (excludes 401(k) and HSA contributions and health and dental insurance premium)
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $2,500
Utilities: $50-$170 (Depending on the season, just got hit with $172 from June! Yikes.)
Peloton: $39
Netflix/Hulu/Spotify: $0 (Using friends' shared accounts, it all shakes out in the end.)
Cell Phone: $0 (My dad pays. I have offered to pay in annual or semi-annual payment but he refuses.)
Internet: $50
Donations: $25-$200 (church and/or other charities, most recently COVID relief in India)
Health/Dental Insurance: $110 (deducted from paycheck)
Amazon Prime (annual): $119
Renters' Insurance (annual): $94
HSA: $100 (deducted from paycheck)
401(k): $17,00 (deducted from paycheck)
Savings: $50-$200 (whatever is leftover — and I frequently withdraw/rebalance from liquid accounts to my investment account)
Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
Absolutely, there was no other option after high school other than a four-year university. My mother went into full-on panic when I got rejected from the state's university, which was everyone's safety school. I ended up at another four-year public university (out of state), which was funded entirely by my parents. They immigrated here in the early '80s for a better future for themselves and their children. My parents set up college funds for all of us, which is how tuition and room and board were covered. I worked during the summers to get experience in my field and earn some money to pay for gas/tolls and other personal use (going out with friends, shopping, etc.). It's not as peachy keen as it sounds; my parents divorced when I was in middle school and money was always a point of contention between them.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
Ugh, not many. My parents sheltered us from any real conversations about money. I didn't have any insight into how much my parents made or how much anything cost. In order to get our weekly allowance, we had to write certain parts of the Bible in English and Korean. We were always taught to save first, spend within our means, and never accrue debt. My dad once tried to get us all to read Rich Dad, Poor Dad when it was first released. I now go to my dad for financial advice all the time; I only recently started actively investing (right before COVID hit, perfect timing......) and he's been a great resource.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
Babysitting in high school for extra spending cash and then when I was legally able to work at 15, I worked at a local ice cream shop.
Did you worry about money growing up?
Not when I was school-aged, but then I got more insight into how money was always a point of contention between my parents following their divorce. They view money very differently, and my dad was really stingy with his money when my mom would ask him for money for us.
Do you worry about money now?
All. The. Time. I have an admittedly weird relationship with money and always have. I remember playing Chinese poker with my family as a young kid and hiding my chips to always have a "bank." I also saw what the divorce did to my mom, who didn't have a career independent of my dad's business, and that will forever shape how I view money. I was also furloughed during COVID for about four months (with no guarantee to return), which messed with me psychologically.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I guess I still am not fully independent because my dad pays my cell phone bill, but I'd honestly say maybe 25 or 26 when my dad stopped paying for my car insurance. In a pinch, I could ask my dad for some money but would really use this as an absolute last resort.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
College was paid for by my parents, as stated. My dad gave me $10,000 earlier this year when he closed his first piece of business in over a year. I maxed out my Roth IRA with it, used some of it to offset the cost of my recent move (it ain't cheap in NYC), and saved the rest.

Day One

6:45 a.m. — I wake up at my friend's beach house. I get ready and then head back to the city. I take the ferry ($2.75) back to Manhattan. It's misting, but I still choose to sit on the deck. Once we arrive, the next ferry up to my neighborhood won't take off for another 30+ minutes so I decide to take the subway, even though jumping on another ferry would've been free. ($2.75 on my prepaid MetroCard.) $2.75
10:30 a.m. — I'm back at my apartment. I'm so tired but I'm training for my third NYC Marathon so I head out for a five-mile training run in Central Park. It's ridiculously humid and I'm drenched in sweat when I get back. I shower and make a "recovery" smoothie — almond milk, ice, vegan vanilla protein powder, banana, chia seeds, peanut butter. I lay on my bed and read Crying in H-Mart for a bit.
12:30 p.m. — The guy I've been seeing for the past three months comes over. We chill for a little before deciding to head down to the East Village for brunch. I only have one ride on my MetroCard left, so I refill my card with $22. $22
1:30 p.m. — My guy, S., and I have brunch at a mostly vegetarian place. This place has unique mimosa flavours so we each get one — mine has turmeric and some other things in it and his has watermelon and honeydew with some other flavours. For food, he orders the "crab cake" and rosemary potatoes, and I get a breakfast bowl with spinach/mushrooms/bacon/potatoes/an egg. He pays for brunch.
4 p.m. — It's National Ice Cream Day, so we decide to celebrate the "holiday." We both have a ton of places pinned on our Google Maps, so we go to a place nearby and cross one off of his list (brunch place was my pick). We share this famous fish-shaped pastry filled with matcha soft-serve; it's yummy! I pay. $8
5 p.m. — We mosey around downtown and eventually head to midtown via subway ($2.75 on prepaid card). I go to Urban Outfitters and pick up the waterproof Birkenstocks that I ordered online last week. They must be in high demand because several retailers have been sold out of my size. I obviously *need* these for my trip to Cancun next month — I have not left the tri-state area since pre-COVID and am FIENDING to travel. Afterward, we see there's a street fair near Bryant Park so we walk the few blocks but nothing catches our eyes.
6 p.m. — We jump on the subway ($2.75 prepaid) back to my apartment. We stop at the liquor store across from my apartment so that I can get a bottle of rosé for us. $22
8:30 p.m. — We spend the night watching random YouTube videos, episode two of the new Gossip Girl (lol), and season two of Netflix's Never Have I Ever. He very clearly wants to have sex, but I am about to get my period (literally any second now) and am not feeling it. We order Indian for dinner (vegetable kebab, lentils, a paneer dish, and garlic naan), and I pay ($45 with tip). $45
10:30 p.m. — I walk with S. to the subway stop one block away. When I get back, I fall asleep on the couch watching TV until midnight. I do my night routine (floss/brush teeth, face cleanser, toner, essence, serum, eye serum, eye cream, face cream — mostly K-beauty products) and hit the sack HARD.
Daily Total: $99.75

Day Two

6:45 a.m. — I wake up, brush my teeth, smear some face sunscreen on, and head out for a quick three-mile run in Central Park. I'm sooo thankful for these shorter runs! I'm trying a more aggressive training plan this year which includes five days a week of running and one day of cross-training and it's already a lot (two weeks in, lol). I do a Flash 15 Peloton workout when I get back from running and now I'm especially suuuper sweaty. I hop in the shower and do a pretty identical skincare routine to my PM one and add SPF as the last step.
8 a.m — I log on and check/respond to emails from the weekend while listening to my weekday morning lineup of podcasts (The Daily, Up First, Robinhood Snacks First, Your Money Briefing).
10 a.m. — I channel my inner Italian (I'm 0% Italian) and have some leftover bruschetta on a baguette with an over-easy egg and a couple of slices of soppressata for breakfast. I also see on Instagram that a local coffee shop is giving away free espresso, so I walk across the street for a double shot over ice. I add vanilla extract, almond milk, and cinnamon when I get home.
1 p.m. — We have a somewhat tense hour-long weekly team meeting. Our company is currently going through a rebrand and the team is not aligned. Are 1 p.m. drinks on a Monday appropriate? Instead, I opt for some lunch of red lentil pasta and edamame with a homemade peanut butter/sesame/ginger sauce situation. I'm still hungry so I munch on some carrots and hummus. Afterward, I step out for a few minutes to drop off an Everlane return at the post office.
5:30 p.m. — The rest of my afternoon is spent reading up on some industry news, having IMs and calls about this rebrand, and prepping for a presentation later this week. At some point, my Whole Foods order that I placed yesterday gets delivered. They were only out of one item but had everything else (spinach, Brussels sprouts, baby carrots, hummus, frozen edamame, chicken breakfast sausage, tofu, coconut water, cheddar cheese, and a few pints of ice cream). $35
6 p.m. — Work wraps up with my frolleague (friend/colleague) calling me and dropping some four-lettered words; Mondays, amiright? I meet my friend who lives a few blocks away for a walk. We head to an Indian deli/grocery store in our neighbourhood so I can buy naan to have with my leftovers (I plan on stretching them for as many as two or three more meals). The ratio of leftover entree to naan is not right, IYKYK. My friend and I catch up as we walk back home. $10
7:30 p.m. — I'm back home and heat up some of the leftovers from last night's dinner (vegetable kebab, lentils, and paneer over rice and naan). I eat dinner while watching some news segments and other random videos on YouTube while texting with friends and S. I also eat chocolate/peanut butter ice cream for dessert. Ice cream literally stands no chance in my apartment, which is why I choose not to buy it regularly.
10 p.m. — I take a quick body shower (NYC folx, how many showers a day are you averaging these days?) and do my PM skincare routine. I'm feeling super bloated from my period and also the ice cream, ugh. I read more Crying in H-Mart before doing a Peloton meditation and falling asleep by 11.
Daily Total: $45

Day Three

6:15 a.m. — I wake up begrudgingly to my alarm and check emails from bed. I brush my teeth, lather my face in sunscreen, chug some water, and head out for a six-mile run in Central Park. The sun is a beautiful orange colour, but I don't run with my phone so I can't capture it, sadly. (I later learn that the sun looked like this because of the haze from the wildfires in the west. Climate change, y'all.) I have a shockingly good run with a faster pace than yesterday. I do a five-minute post-run stretch on Peloton, brew coffee for three days' worth of iced coffee, and hop in the shower before work.
8 a.m. — I log on, check emails, listen to my daily podcasts, and have my first meeting which is prep for a different meeting tomorrow.
10 a.m. — I see that a local bakery is having a sale on their famous sourdough loaves so I place an order online for two and walk over to pick them up. I'll bring one loaf with me to NJ this weekend for my mom. $4.05
1 p.m. — The rest of the morning flies by with a mix of meetings and independent work. I have a salad (spinach, shaved brussel sprouts, shredded carrots, dried bing cherries, edamame, red lentil pasta, same peanut butter/sesame/ginger sauce as yesterday, and a little spicy cashew dressing from TJ's). It hits the spot but something tells me I'll be hungry within two hours.
5:30 p.m. — I didn't even make it two hours before having a snack of Greek yogurt with honey and walnuts and some cherries on the side. I spend the rest of the afternoon in meetings and throw my laundry in after work, I'm officially out of sports bras. I'm so lucky that my new apartment has laundry in my building and only costs $1.75 for wash and $1.75 to dry (prepaid card). This, as opposed to the $9.75 for the large washer at the laundromat next door to my old building, where they also charged $.25 for three minutes in the dryer. THREE MINUTES. Things you take for granted living outside of NYC. While my laundry is going, I take a break from screen time and finish Crying in H-Mart.
7:30 p.m. — After finishing the book, I call my mom while folding my laundry. I haven't talked to her on the phone in about a week, so it's nice to catch up. We have a great relationship and I'm soooo grateful for her — reading the book also served as a reminder to cherish every day with her! I'm not that hungry for dinner, so I make some bruschetta and a random assortment of a couple of pieces of pepperjack cheese, almonds, and dried apricots.
10:30 p.m. — After dinner, I text with some friends and S. while watching the news. I know the news can be biased, but it's important to me to be caught up on the events of the day. I have some vegan ice cream and also do 10-minute core and 10-minute arm workouts on Peloton. I take a quick body shower, do my PM skincare routine, turn on a relaxation meditation on Peloton, and drift off to sleep.
Daily Total: $4.05

Day Four

6:20 a.m. — I wake up from what feels like a deeeeeep sleep (finally), I'm feeling pretty refreshed! Same AM pre-run routine and then I head out for an easy three miles in Central Park. I do 30 minutes of strength and five minutes of stretching on Peloton when I get back before showering. I have some meetings today where I should actually care about my appearance, so in addition to my AM skincare routine, I blow dry my hair and put on a little Zoom makeup to not look dead (Tarte concealer in a couple of places, benefit brow pencil, NARs eyeliner, Maybelline mascara).
10 a.m. — Sip on my black iced coffee while some of my colleagues and I meet with a prospect.
1 p.m. — I heat up some Indian leftovers for lunch. I add chickpeas, onions, and spinach (and almond milk and spices) to add more protein and veggies. I enjoy this over rice with garlic naan on the side.
5 p.m. — The rest of the day flies by with more meetings and some snacking (almonds and dried apricots). After I close down, I start reading this [new to me] book, Shut Up and Run by Robin Arzon. I read four chapters and I'm not really into it but will probably still finish it this week/weekend.
6 p.m. — I got a text earlier in the day from CVS letting me know my prescription is ready for pickup. I walk over and pick up three months' worth of birth control pills and use a coupon and buy CeraVe face wash. $11
7 p.m. — I'm not that hungry for dinner so I have a random assortment of sautéed spinach, roasted Brussels sprouts, a couple of pieces of pepperjack cheese, and a piece of sourdough bread. I think I've been vegetarian for two days in a row?? After dinner, I head out to meet one of my besties for a walk in Central Park. We decide to get Italian ices from a truck. $5
9 p.m. — I get back home and catch up on the news from the day, mostly about the stock market. I pretend I don't see the dishes in my sink and get ready for bed. I take a body shower and do my PM skincare routine. I text with S. and do some reading before eventually turning on a relaxation meditation on Peloton and fall asleep before 11.
Daily Total: $16

Day Five

6:15 a.m. — Am I becoming predictable yet? Today is supposed to be my rest day, but I have to shift my weekend running up so I head out for six miles in Central Park. My body is pretty sore in general, but it's in the mid to high-60s and it feels so incredible out! I take a body shower when I get back (no camera meetings today, Amika dry shampoo FTW) and do my AM skincare routine.
8 a.m. — I log on, check emails and pipeline. I only have one meeting and one training to complete today, so I am feeling really good about the day. I have a 25-page document that I need to scrub so I'm glad I have lots of independent working time!
10 a.m. — I make a proper breakfast of an omelette with spinach, onions, and feta and have a piece of baguette with butter and jam. I make an iced red eye by pulling an espresso shot with my Breville, pouring it into my iced coffee, and adding almond milk. Nothing is stopping me from tackling this document and having a great Friday Eve. And yes, investing in a Breville is totally worth it! I got a lower-tier one earlier this year and it has been revolutionary. I rarely buy coffee out anymore (sometimes on weekends), but rather buy a bag of good beans from a local coffee shop (which lasts over a month) and voila, oat or almond milk lattes ER'DAY.
2 p.m. — The morning flies by and I'm about halfway through the document after being interrupted (or given a break, really) with an hour-long meeting. I add some chickpeas to the black lentil Indian leftovers and have that over rice with garlic naan on the side. More carbs, mmmmm.
5 p.m. — I throw on some lo-fi for the rest of the afternoon and try to crank through the document while sipping on strawberry kombucha. It feels like there's so much more that needs to be done, but I honestly cannot look at it any longer. I step away to paint my toenails with Essie Blue-La-La. While I'm relaxing, a college friend calls me, and we catch up for a little while.
6 p.m. — I have my weekly therapy session. I've always been an advocate for mental health awareness, but only started going to therapy myself about 10 months ago when I felt like my world was crashing. This was in part due to being furloughed, going through a break up, getting hit by a bicyclist, and of course needing to address childhood traumas that we've honestly just scratched the surface on.
7:30 p.m. — After therapy, I do a little reading and then make dinner. I'm having baked salmon with roasted Brussels sprouts. I have some blueberry goat cheese and crackers as an app while dinner is in the oven. The open bottle of rosé in the fridge is calling my name, but I'm running tomorrow morning and am trying to cut down on the unnecessary alcohol.
8 p.m. — I get caught up on the news from the day while I reluctantly log onto my laptop and finish up the review of that document. I chat with one of my colleagues who's also online. I miss seeing him IRL! I was actually fully remote pre-COVID but traveled regularly — I reaaaally hope we get back to business travel soon.
9 p.m. — I stream my church's sermon from last Sunday while finishing off that vegan mint oreo ice cream from earlier this week.
10 p.m. — I do my PM routine, put on a Peloton meditation, and hope to be asleep soon. My body is tired and I have to wake up tomorrow for eight miles.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

5:30 a.m. — Wake up randomly and see that the sun is starting to come up. Contemplate getting up but decide to roll back over.
6:10 a.m. — I wake up to my alarm and do my normal AM thing while trying to drink a little more water than normal since I won't take a water bottle with me for this "long" run. It's a taper week so I only have eight miles on the docket today. The weather is a dream, but my body is definitely tired from not taking a rest day and running six days in a row. I do a 10-minute arms/light weights Peloton workout when I get back.
8 a.m. — After showering, I do my AM skincare routine and blowdry my hair. I log on, turn on my podcasts, and dive into the final review of that doc. It's just a first draft and we have a couple of weeks before the final is due, so I'm relieved about that.
10 a.m. — I make a smoothie with half a banana, peanut butter, vegan protein powder, chia seeds, cinnamon, almond milk, and ice. I also have a rice cake with peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon. After, I make an iced almond milk latte and it's *chef's kiss*.
2 p.m. — I really wish we had summer Fridays, but instead we have a loose policy of no internal meetings on Fridays, which is at least something. I sip on my latte for the rest of the morning while reading some industry reports. For lunch, I make a salad with spinach, shaved Brussels sprouts, and tomatoes with a honey basil vinaigrette I made earlier this week. I also make a grilled cheese on sourdough with pepperjack and apple slices. So yum!
4:30 p.m. — S. shockingly gets out of work early, so we decide to go for happy hour. I change my outfit three or four times before landing on a simple/casual BCBG LBD. I pair it with black/gold Jack Rogers and my grandmother's vintage Dior bag (may she RIP). We walk ~10-15 blocks to a swanky place that's on my list and end up staying for three rounds of drinks. We each get a bergamot spritz; S.'s other two drinks are an espresso martini and an old-fashioned, while I round out my order with two glasses of a Russian River Valley sparkling wine. Their cocktails are unique, but I'm unimpressed with the happy hour prices. C'est la vie. I treat. $82
8 p.m. — We don't want to do dinner there, so we walk about a mile across town to another cocktail bar. We order eggplant chips to share; they're so crispy and come drizzled with honey and more honey for dipping. S. gets a fancy whiskey cocktail with smoke and I get a glass of cava. S. pays.
9 p.m. — We decide we don't need to be out drinking anymore and need real food — we walk to a local food cart that S. likes. We each get a falafel platter, S. pays. It's my third meatless day this week!
10 p.m. — We get back to S.'s apartment and he pours us some drinks while I dig in. We each only eat about half of our platters, we definitely could've shared. We spend the rest of the night talking, listening to music, and having sex. I don't have toiletries at his place so I use some mouthwash and sleep with my makeup on. Yikes. We fall asleep around 1.
Daily Total: $82

Day Seven

7 a.m. — Ugh, we're up before S.'s alarm. Well actually, I wake up first and toss around a bit trying to fall back asleep, which wakes S. up. I can't fall back asleep, so we start the day in the best way.
8 a.m. — S. has a virtual conference that he has to attend. He kindly offers to put on headphones and encourages me to get some more sleep. I'm up though and ready to start the day. I head out to grab up some breakfast from a local coffee shop. I get an oat milk chai latte for S. and a regular oat milk latte for myself ($11.50). There's a little farmers' market on the same block where I grab a carrot muffin and a pumpkin muffin ($6.50). $18
10:30 a.m. — We eat half of each muffin and sip on our drinks while talking/hanging out when S. isn't in session. I don't have my MetroCard, so I grab a cab back to my apartment. $14
12 p.m. — My mom picks me up to take me to my dentist appointment. It's a routine cleaning and I'm relieved to have zero cavities! However, I do have two baby teeth that don't have adult teeth above them and my dentist decides it's time to start the process for implants. I'm referred to an oral surgeon for next steps. Dental insurance covers routine visits.
2:30 p.m. — There's soooo much traffic and it takes forever to get back to NJ. I snack on some crackers and string cheese in the car while we are en route. We finally make it back and go out for sushi, Mom treats.
4 p.m. — I head to the mall because I have to make some returns that I didn't get a chance to do this week in Manhattan. I'm definitely in the minority by wearing my mask. I'm vaxxed, but with the Delta variant, I think it's best to be cautious in crowded indoor spaces. I stop at Madewell first for the returns and then shop around. I try on this jumpsuit that I've been eyeing at Athleta, but the only one they have in store is a little tight, unfortunately.
6 p.m. — I get back home and hang with my mom while scrolling social media. It quickly turns into online shopping — I get that jumpsuit, three tanks, a bikini top, and a sports bra from Athleta. Some items are on sale, and I also get a FitPro discount through some certifications that I hold. I really hope the jumpsuit works! My guess is I'll end up returning two or three of the items. $250
7:30 p.m. — Mom makes me dinner of steak and sautéed onions with a mixed green salad.
9 p.m. — It's ice cream time. My mom usually doesn't keep sweets in the house but she said she bought ice cream for me. I have vegan vanilla with mixed nuts and strawberries.
11 p.m. — I spend the rest of the night hanging out with my mom and catching up with S. I fall asleep around 11.
Daily Total: $282
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