A Week In New York, NY, On A $62,000 Salary

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: an analyst who makes $62,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on deli coffee.
Editor's Note: Today's entry was pulled from the Money Diary archives and was written before COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. Additionally, tomorrow is a national holiday, therefore there will be no Money Diary. We will be back with a diary on Tuesday.
Occupation: Analyst
Industry: Government
Age: 23
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $62,000
Paycheck Amount (biweekly): $1,650 post-taxes/deductions
Gender: Woman

Monthly Expenses
Rent $1,150 for a room in a three-bedroom with two roommates. This includes utilities.
Loans: $0 (Thanks to parents and scholarships)
401(k): $800 (pre-tax)
Monthly Unlimited Metrocard: $120 (pre-tax)
Union Dues: $80 (pre-tax)
Savings: $800-$1,000 (I've been saving aggressively because I'm planning to spend a year abroad on a working holiday visa then go back to school for a graduate degree. I'll be working throughout and taking out loans for grad school, but I want as strong of a head start as possible. I currently have $25,000 in a high yield savings and $1,000 invested through Robinhood.)
Insurance: $0 (on my dad's healthcare until I'm 26)
Donations To NY-Based Anti-Mass Incarceration Organization: $15
NYT Subscription: $8
Spotify: $15
Planet Fitness: $15
Netflix/HBO/Hulu/Disney+/Prime: $0 (My ex had ALL the streaming services. We're still friends, so I get to use the accounts still. Perks of amicable breakups!)

Day One

10 a.m. — I sleep in because lazy Sunday! Make some coffee with my pour-over, cut up some strawberries, and read some of my book, The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. I definitely recommend it.
12 p.m. — Make myself some lunch. Today it's couscous, veggies, and half an avocado.
1 p.m. — I put on workout clothes and head out to the gym. I'm usually terrible about working out regularly….but I'm going to Guatemala in a couple of months and doing an overnight volcano hike, which is rumored to be quite difficult. I'm trying to get in shape before I go. I'm finding that this positive goal motivates me a lot more than the negative “I don't want to gain weight” mindset I've had in the past.
2 p.m. — Made it through! I put a hat on over my supremely sweaty hair and start the walk home. On the way, I pick up my laundry ($25) and hit the grocery store. I did a full Trader Joe's haul yesterday, so today I pick up a few things I missed ($17.64). $42.64
2:30 p.m. — Shower, do some simple makeup (eyeliner, mascara, concealer), eat some veggie chips and hummus, and get ready to head out again.
3 p.m. — Stop by a cafe around the corner for a small latte which I take on the bus (prepaid in my monthly expenses). On the bus, I finish my book. $4.63
4 p.m. — I finally get around to seeing the Kirchner exhibit at the Neue Galerie. I pay the adult ticket price (I miss those student discounts!). It's good but I've seen better shows here and I'm not sure this was worth the hefty price tag. $25
6 p.m. — Take the bus home and make a dinner of asparagus and polenta with a three-cheese sauce. I add some Trader Joe's beefless ground beef to the sauce and cook the rest of it with taco seasoning for lunches this week.
8 p.m. — I have a glass of red wine and a couple of chocolates while I re-watch a few episodes of Fleabag (Phoebe Waller-Bridge is the love of my life). Set out my clothes for tomorrow and head to bed around 10. I toss and turn for a bit.
Daily Total: $72.27

Day Two

7:50 a.m. — I wake up a little later than usual because of my restless night. Pack my gym bag, take a shower, and blow dry my hair (which takes two minutes thanks to my pixie cut, everyone, I repeat, EVERYONE, should chop their hair off immediately. It's so convenient). Don't wear makeup to work, just some moisturizer with SPF.
8:15 — I need a little time to wake up in the morning. I make and drink my first cup of coffee and read a bit of my new book — The Lonely City by Olivia Liang.
8:45 a.m. — Head to the subway listening to NPR's Up First podcast and grab my daily deli coffee in my reusable mug. $1
9:30 a.m. — Most days I really like my job. Today, I'm a bit nervous because I have a time-sensitive deadline. I just transitioned to this new role about a month ago and I want to make a good impression. I make a quick breakfast — English muffin with half an avocado and hot sauce — and get to work.
12:30 p.m. — Take a quick break for lunch (couscous, TJ's beefless beef, a bunch of vegetables, hot sauce) then back to work.
2:30 p.m. — I take a walk outside to get some fresh air. I stop at a convenience store to get more coffee in my mug (as you can tell, I'm not a coffee snob, just an addict). It's free today because it's my seventh cup! I head back to the office and have the coffee with some banana bread a coworker brought.
5:30 p.m. — Manage to wrap up on time! I inhale a Clif bar and take the subway to the gym. I do a quick 30-minute workout then head home.
7 p.m. — Make a dinner of leftover asparagus and pearl couscous with olive oil, ground red pepper, parmesan, and, you guessed it, beefless ground beef. I also make vegetables for the next couple of days since I'll be busy the next few nights.
8 p.m. — I half-watch some Netflix shows while swiping on Tinder. Ultimately stop with the sensory overload and settle down with my book for a bit before lights off around 11.
Daily Total: $1

Day Three

7:45 a.m. — Another slightly late start. Same morning routine — get ready, coffee, book. Deli coffee and then subway to work. $1
9:45 a.m. — Make it to work — plain English muffin today. Drink my coffee and snack on some clementines while reading news articles from my morning email newsletters.
12 p.m. — Work on some long-term projects for a couple of hours then make my lunch (mixed veggies, rice, and avocado) and read a Money Diary.
2 p.m. — Walk to the convenience store and get coffee ($1.09) and read some more articles — these are about the Australian wildfires. I have a lot of Australian friends and have plans to live there, so this particularly hurts my heart. I donate to the Australian Red Cross to help with relief efforts. $11.09
5:30 p.m. — Free at last! I have plans to see a movie with friends later but have a weird gap of time so I decide to walk the two and a half miles to the theater while I take an organizing phone call. I volunteer for a racial justice collective and we are planning our next public meeting.
6:15 p.m. — Off my call and I head into Uniqlo to pick up a lightweight down jacket for my volcano hike. I cringe at the price….. but it is cheaper than other comparable jackets and I just got some holiday money, so I take the plunge. $89
6:30 p.m. — Grab some chicken over rice from a halal cart close to the theater ($6) and a bag of M&Ms from the CVS ($1.73 — what a healthy day!). $7.73
7:15 p.m. — Meet up with my friends, Z. and T., to see Little Women. I pay T. back for my ticket. I love the movie — I laughed, I cried, I laughed some more. Full disclosure: I think Timothée Chamelet looks a bit like a teenager so I'm not a fan (don't hate me), but the guy who plays Friedrich can get it…. $11
10 p.m. — Z. heads home and T. and I head to a divey bar across the street from the theater to debrief. The bar specializes in frozen margaritas so I grab a mango one. We talk about the movie and how its feminism holds up in the modern era before heading home on our separate trains. I'm in bed by 11:45. $13.30
Daily Total: $133.12

Day Four

7:30 a.m. — I wake up this morning and am feeling mentally and physically exhausted. Since I have some paid sick time stockpiled (everyone in America should have access to this!), I decide to take a sick day. After emailing my boss, I set a later alarm and drift back to sleep.
10 a.m. — Wake up to the sound of my later alarm. I get up and start prepping coffee and roasting some chickpeas for lunch. I remember today is compost day, so I pack that up and run down a few blocks to drop it off before the collection site closes.
12 p.m. — Chickpeas, rice, and veggies for lunch, then I veg out for the whole afternoon reading and watching TV.
6 p.m. — Properly refreshed from my day of laziness, I head downtown to a training for a group I volunteer with. We're planning a trip to lobby for a few bills. They talk us through how the day will go and what messaging we should use with legislators. They provide pizza during the training, so I grab a couple of slices.
9 p.m. — Head home on the subway with my friend, S., who was also at the training. S. and I have become close over the past year because we spend so much time on the train together after events — it's good to have a train buddy!
9:45 p.m. — I try to hit up my friend with benefits, D., for a booty call but he is sick this week. I guess you all won't get to hear what sex euphemism I would have used.
10 p.m. — Snack on some leftover rice and veggies, read my book, and head to bed around 11:30.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

7:30 a.m. — Back to work! Same morning routine as every other workday. Coffee at the deli. $1
12 p.m. — My boss is out sick today, so it's a relatively calm day. English muffin breakfast. Lunch is rice, chickpeas, and veggies. Also grab my usual afternoon coffee. $1.09

6 p.m. — I meet up with a group of friends and head over to an antiwar protest nearby. I typically focus my activism on legislative wins, but given the urgency of the situation I think solidarity is an important reason to show up. There's a good crowd and the speakers are great, but it is a particularly cold night, so about 40 minutes in I stop feeling my toes!

8 p.m. — I somehow make it out without frostbite, so five of us head over to a falafel spot for dinner. I get a spicy falafel sandwich and a piece of baklava. Food, friends, and, most importantly, heat — what else do you need? $13.78

9:30 p.m. — Head to my neighborhood and meet my friend, H., at a craft beer bar near my place. H. lives in my neighborhood as well, and it's nice to have a friend close by for impromptu nightcaps. I get an IPA and a wheat ale and Venmo him for my part of the bill. Tired and happy, I head to bed by 11! $22

Daily Total: $37.87

Day Six

7:30 a.m. — Same shit, different day. Deli coffee, you know the drill! I also stop at Dunkin to grab two egg and cheese wake up wraps. $3.18
12:30 p.m. — Ran out of meal prepped meals, so I have a TJ's vegan tikka masala and some peas.
2 p.m. — Grab my usual afternoon coffee and some peanut butter for my English muffins next week. $6.08
6 p.m. — Tonight I have a Tinder date! We're meeting at the Met Breuer, so I hop on the train.
6:30 p.m. — New York residents have pay-as-you-wish admission, so I pay $5. Within the first five minutes, I know this is not going to work out. This guy is not my type at all. Oh well, with Tinder you win some, you lose some! At least I get to see some art. $5
8 p.m. — I manage to duck out after we see the exhibit. Conversation was awkward and the artist was too minimalist for my taste (I understand the ideas behind minimalist art…. I just don't like it very much). Gosh, I hate bad dates. I call H. to see if he's around so I can salvage this Friday night. He is, so I hop on the bus toward his place.
9 p.m. — I pick up some General Tso's chicken from the Chinese place near H.'s ($7.75, he's already eaten) and a six-pack of Brooklyn beer from the deli ($13.49). $21.24
11 p.m. — Friday successfully salvaged! Chinese food, beer, and fun YouTube videos abound. I walk home and am in bed around midnight.
Daily Total: $35.50

Day Seven

9:30 a.m. — Happy Saturday! I wake up, make my coffee, and finish my book — great timing because the library just notified me that a couple of my holds are in. I get ready for the day.
10:50 a.m. — I'm headed to a neighborhood gathering and we do snacks potluck-style. I stop at the grocery store and pick up some fresh mozzarella and tomatoes. $11.48
11:30 a.m. — I arrive and the food spread is wonderful — chocolate cake, apple tart, cider donuts, sandwiches, and coffee. I fix myself a plate and sit down to chat with friends and fellow organizers.
2 p.m. — I leave feeling wonderful — community can be increasingly hard to find in New York and I'm so grateful to have found it. After breaking up with my boyfriend of two years and having my best friend move out of the city, I was worried I'd be lonely. I do feel that way sometimes, but days like these remind me that I have a bunch of wonderful people to support me.
2:30 p.m. — Head to the gym to get some training in since I skipped a few days. As always, I leave looking extraordinarily sweaty. On my way back, I stop at the library to drop off some old books and pick up new ones.
3:30 p.m. — I shower and think about going grocery shopping, but decide to take a nap instead. It's a good choice.
5:30 p.m. — I roast some Brussels sprouts to go with my leftover Chinese food and there's enough left for a third meal for tomorrow! The gift that keeps on giving.
7 p.m. — I'm headed on another Tinder date — hope this one is better than the last! I put on a cute striped cotton dress and do makeup (eyeliner, mascara, concealer, brows, lipstick). I hop on the train and start my next book — Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao.
7:30 p.m. — Trains are running late so I arrive before my date, L. It's unseasonably warm weather, so I grab an espresso and walk around while I wait. $2.67
7:45 p.m. — L. arrives and we go to Bar Pisellino. This is my first time here and I love it — the drinks and staff are lovely. Since the weather is so nice, we sit outside. The conversation is free-flowing, which after last night, has me so relieved. We talk for a few hours, I get a Manhattan and a Tom Collins and we split some almonds and a raspberry pastry. He kindly pays.
8 p.m. — L. walks me to the train and we kiss goodnight. I'm not looking for anything too serious, but it was a solid date and I'll definitely see him again!
Daily Total: $14.15
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