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A Week In Brooklyn, NY, On A $70,000 Salary

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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: an associate buyer who makes $70,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on renting a ping-pong table.
Occupation: Associate Buyer
Industry: Fashion
Age: 25
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Salary: $70,000
Net Worth: ~$25,000 ($100 in checking, $9,500 in savings/investments/401(k), $15,000 in retirement).
Debt: $0
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,850
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $2,100, I live with two roommates.
Loan Payments: $0
Utilities: $75
ClassPass: $68
Cable/Phone/Internet: $50 (my roommates and I split this).
Subscriptions (Spotify, iCloud): $15
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?
There was no question from me or my parents that I would attend college. I was nerdy and try-hard in high school, college was always the goal. I attended a four-year private university. My parents paid for my education — the best gift they have ever given me.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
Money would often come up in arguments with my parents over clothes I wanted to buy. (It did not come as a surprise to my parents that I ended up working in fashion.) I still remember a Juicy jumpsuit my mom didn't let me buy. We never had to worry about money but my parents did not indulge my every whim. My parents taught me about saving and I would save my birthday money every year.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I babysat throughout my teens but my official first job was as a hostess at a restaurant the summer before college. I got the job to have spending money for college.
Did you worry about money growing up?
No, it was not something I had to worry about growing up.
Do you worry about money now?
Yes, I am constantly thinking about money. I am surrounded by clothes all day and I always want to buy something new/go out to eat/take a trip/go to a concert. I babysit on the side to give myself more “play” money, but every month I can barely pay off my expenses.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I am not fully financially independent from my parents — they still pay for my health insurance and phone bill. I have a financial safety net in my savings account, some investments in the stock market, and a 401(k).
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
My parents helped me pay rent on my first New York apartment but no longer help me pay for rent.

Day One

10:15 a.m. — I sleep in late today because it is a holiday. My body normally doesn't let me sleep past 9 but I had a big weekend so I am still catching up on sleep. I make myself a vanilla coffee from my Nespresso machine and heat up a frozen bagel with butter.
11:15 a.m. — One of my roommates, D., is also off from work today. We keep googling museums and activities but everywhere we want to go is closed for the holiday.

11:40 a.m. — I heat up my leftover Chipotle bowl from last night and eat it with some tortilla chips from my pantry. My friends always make fun of my Chipotle order, it is basically a bean salad. I order it at least once a week, it's my ultimate comfort food.

1:55 p.m. — D. and I take an Uber to a place where you can rent a ping-pong table for $15/hour. I found it on Instagram and got a discount. Both of us are terrible at ping-pong but it gives us an excuse to leave our apartment. She pays for the Uber, I pay for ping-pong. $15.30

2:45 p.m. — We walk back to save money.

3:15 p.m. — I sign up for a pottery class next month and they charge me now. I have been wanting to try pottery for years and this will be my first attempt. Maybe this could be a new hobby? $90

4:45 p.m. — D. and I have an early dinner at a pizza place nearby. We each order two slices. $15.70

8 p.m. — We turn on The Mindy Project and our roommate, K., gets home from work and joins us on the couch. I heat up some apple cider in the microwave — my favorite end-of-the-day drink.

10:15 p.m. — I read Hillary Clinton's political thriller State of Terror in bed and eat some of my anti-stress gummies.

Daily Total: $121

Day Two

8:15 a.m. — I'm up for my first day of work this week. I am working from home today so I stay in my pajamas for a while. I make a coffee with oat milk and grab a yogurt from my fridge.
10:45 a.m. — I FaceTime my mom after I finish one of my work projects, and I run downstairs to grab my Marley Spoon meal kit delivery. I don't normally do meal delivery services because I find them ridiculously expensive, but they gave me a discount on my delivery. I paid for it last week.
11:45 a.m. — I start making one of my Marley Spoon meals, fettuccine with a pesto tomato sauce and a side of peas. My box has two meals with two servings so I package half of my meal up to eat tomorrow. I put too much parsley in the pasta so I don't love it, but it is very easy to make.
2:25 p.m. — I finish up a call, make my second coffee, and have leftover trail mix I find in my purse.
5:15 p.m. — I walk to my hot yoga class. I pay for the class through my monthly ClassPass subscription, but I have to rent a non-slip towel for my mat because someone stole mine from my building's laundry room. The new one I ordered last week from Alo Yoga hasn't arrived yet. The class feels 10 degrees hotter than normal; I am dripping by the end. $7

6:45 p.m. — I head to Sweetgreen to pick up a salad for dinner. I have a $7 credit in the app so my salad is super cheap. $3.21

8:15 p.m. — K. gets home from work and we work on a puzzle I got from my parents for Christmas. It is 1,000 pieces and is taking us a while.

9:30 p.m. — I snack on some pretzels, heat up some apple cider, and read a few pages of a book from the Bridgerton series before bed.

Daily Total: $10.21

Day Three

7:55 a.m. — I hit my snooze button probably five times today. I check Instagram and scroll for five minutes, then get ready to head to the office. I pack my lunch (leftovers from the night before) and pour myself a cold brew from the fridge.
8:25 a.m. — I have been waiting for the subway for 15 minutes on a packed platform. I check Twitter — the train I need to take is out of service. My job is hybrid so I text my coworkers that I will work from home instead of paying $50 to Uber to the office. $2.75
8:45 a.m. — On my way back to my apartment, I stop at a cafe for something to eat because I have no breakfast food at my apartment (I was planning on picking up a bagel near the office). I order focaccia; it is buttery and covered in pecorino cheese. I head back to my apartment. $6.83
11:25 a.m. — One of my work calls finishes so I heat up my pasta leftovers from yesterday. It is much less appetizing today than yesterday, so I throw half of it away.
5:37 p.m. — I cancel a date I am supposed to go on tonight with an old fling. I am not in the mood to commute to Manhattan. He saw it coming because I cancel on him all the time, so no feelings hurt.
6:15 p.m. — I walk to the motherland, Chipotle, to pick up some dinner. I have a free voucher for queso, so I add that to my normal order of a bowl and chips. $12.09
8:15 p.m. — I finish working on a PowerPoint presentation for work. I put on my pajamas, eat a stress-relief gummy, and turn on Netflix.
Daily Total: $21.67

Day Four

8:40 a.m. — Scroll through Instagram stories (a habit I am trying and failing to break) and make some sourdough toast with butter and a coffee with pumpkin spice creamer.
10:15 a.m. — I text one of my friends about renting a Hamptons house for a week this summer. We brainstorm who could possibly put the $10,000+ rent on their credit card so that we don't have to. We debate the ideal location — Southampton, Montauk, or East Hampton — and decide whatever is cheapest is our pick for this year.
11:20 a.m. — I heat up some frozen vegetarian chili. I make a big batch of this every few weeks in the colder months and freeze my leftovers. Some weeks when I have seasonal depression it is the only thing that gets me through. Today, I top it with some Mexican cheese mix.
3:25 p.m. — I find a bag of trail mix when I am going through old tote bags and I drink a coffee with oat milk along with it.
6:45 p.m. — Walk to a first date with a guy from Hinge. We're going to a dive bar I haven't been to yet. Normally I go to swankier cocktail bars on the first date, so I don't know what to expect.
8:15 p.m. — I call an Uber to take me home — mainly so that my date won't walk me home. He is nice, but I'm not attracted to him. Back to the Hinge drawing board. Bonus: I have an Uber credit so my ride home is discounted! $5.21
Daily Total: $5.21

Day Five

8:20 a.m. — Wake up parched — too much alcohol and not enough water on the date last night. D. and I recap our dates from last night. Hers was also not a home run.
9:05 a.m. — I make some sourdough toast with butter and Bonne Maman berry preserves and my classic Nespresso coffee with oat milk. I don't have any meetings for a while so I comb through my emails.
11:15 a.m. — I make another Marley Spoon meal, this time it is a spicy soba noodle dish with peanut sauce. It is very simple to make and way more my speed than the previous meal.
3 p.m. — My work lets us log off early on Fridays so I subway into Manhattan to get my nails done. $2.75
4:15 p.m. — I have a remaining balance on a gift card so it is very cheap. I now have royal blue nails. My defining trait is I always have outlandishly colored nails. $8.24
4:30 p.m. — I am hungry and spy my favorite frozen yogurt place. During the summer it has a line outside the door but today I am the only customer in the store. I get their original flavor topped with mangoes. Delicious, even in 40-degree weather. $7.35
4:45 p.m. — I subway back to Brooklyn. $2.75
6:30 p.m. — I snack on pretzels and prepare to head back to Manhattan to see some friends from college.
7:15 p.m. — K. and I take an Uber to our dinner. We split the fare. $15
9:45 p.m. — We order communally for the table, stuffing ourselves with squash hummus, falafel, fried cauliflower, halloumi, fattoush, and za'atar fries. I have two tequila pomegranate cocktails. We leave happy and stuffed. $72.97
10 p.m. — We take an Uber to a bar in the West Village: splitting it four ways is basically the cost of the subway. A win! $2.98
10:30 p.m. — We order a round of spicy margaritas. They are simultaneously too sweet and too spicy. I follow my margarita with a Corona. $30
12:05 a.m. — We try to go to another bar but the line is 20 people deep so we collectively decide to call it a night. I Uber home. $31.92
Daily Total: $173.96

Day Six

8:20 a.m. — Wake up to the sun pounding through my sheer curtains. I am slightly hungover and majorly grateful that we didn't end up going to another bar last night. I order six bagels from my favorite place to restock my freezer. These bagels always help cure my hangovers. $23.75
9:50 a.m. — I start reading The Alice Network by Kate Quinn. I am riveted from the get-go.
11:50 a.m. — I head to Juice Press and pick up a protein smoothie on my way to meet my friend at the movies in Manhattan. They upgrade my smoothie for free! $11.43
12 p.m. — I subway to the theater and we get tickets for Babylon. The theater thankfully has comfy reclining seats. I don't know if I could watch a three-hour movie in a normal movie theater. $19.03
3:30 p.m. — I subway back to Brooklyn, read on my couch, make a coffee, and nap. $2.75
5:15 p.m. — I stop in the bodega near my apartment and pick up some snacks to have on hand. $15.83
5:30 p.m. — Back on the subway! I head to the West Village to babysit. The mom orders us pizza. $2.75
11 p.m. — I get a free Uber home and collapse on my bed. Five hours of babysitting is hard work, but it helps pay for my big-spending day yesterday.
Daily Total: $75.54

Day Seven

9:15 a.m. — I sleep in! I am happy to not be hungover on a Sunday; no Sunday scaries here. I make myself some sourdough toast with butter and preserves.
10 a.m. — I go to the bodega to pick up some oat milk and yogurt. I really should walk 10 minutes further to go to the grocery store, but instead I pay the inflated price for convenience. $12.92
11:30 a.m. — I heat up the last of my soba noodle leftovers from the fridge and then go downstairs to do laundry. I meet a cute guy in my elevator who is also going down to do laundry. We make small talk. Everyone in my building is pretty friendly, a 180-degree pivot from the cranky neighbors I had in my old apartment. $5.50
12:45 p.m. — I place a Nuuly clothing rental order for my upcoming trip. I pack my cart with comfy sweaters that could be good for an après ski moment or for the office. $88
4 p.m. — I walk to the yoga studio for a restorative class. The teacher plays two Sam Smith songs and I mentally make a note to look into their summer tour tickets.
5:45 p.m. — I pick up dinner at Chipotle for D. and me. My third Chipotle meal this week… It has been one of those weeks, I guess. $17.64
9:45 p.m. — I finish my book and have a hard time falling asleep, my mind often is racing before the stress of a Monday morning.
Daily Total: $124.06
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