A Week In Brooklyn, 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.
This week: a managing editor working in nonprofit/human rights/literary arts who makes $62,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on strawberries.
Occupation: Managing Editor
Industry: Nonprofit/Human Rights/Literary Arts
Age: 46
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Salary: $62,000 + $1,100 in child support
Paycheck Amount (1x/month): $3,825
Gender Identity: Cis-woman
Monthly Expenses
Monthly Housing Costs: $2,000 (I live with my 11-year-old daughter in a rental in a luxury building that I got through the "affordable" housing lottery — but that's a story for another column.)
Cell phone: $67 for mine + $7 for 30% of kid's = $74
Netflix + Hulu: $20
Costco Executive Membership: $135/year (I have the credit card that gives me cash-back rewards that always pay for the cost of the card.)
MetroCard EasyPay: ~$30 (reloaded automatically)
Internet: $45
In-Building Laundry: ~$30
Electric: $50 (average)
Investments: I have a traditional IRA with about $95K (I deposited my yearly limit of $6K back in February for this year.)
Other Investment Accounts: ~$26K
Savings & Checking: $31K (I have no debt, paid off my student loan of about $10K 15 years ago, when I started making a decent salary — I went to an Ivy on a full scholarship — and don't carry a balance on my credit cards.)

Day One

7:15 a.m. — I wake up too early for a Saturday in July, but my body clock is pretty set. I read more of the novel There There by Tommy Orange and snuggle a bit with my partner, C., who's still fast asleep. He's a freelance photographer, and he often works late and is more of a night owl. My daughter, Q., and I usually spend the weekends at his place, so that's where we are today. I go to check on Q. and hug her good morning. I make some Earl Grey tea for myself, and Q. makes herself a bowl of cereal (it's her summer vacation, so I'm pretty lax about letting her eat mostly whatever she wants). I'm not particularly hungry and so don't have anything besides the tea and some kiwi. We enjoy our breakfast together and hang out for a bit.
10:30 a.m. — Q. and I head to the optometrist for her eye exam. She wore glasses at age four. Her exam and the glasses we buy are mostly covered by insurance through her dad. She picks out a semi-opaque, matte, purple, rectangular pair, and we decide to get the Transitions lenses so she can wear them outside as well. With partial coverage from insurance, that pair totals $102. I also order her a backup pair with cream cat's-eye frames online for $37.90, so Q.'s two pairs of glasses total $139.90. I split expenses for Q. with her dad, and my portion is about 33%: $47. I also order a matching backup pair of glasses for myself (I just got myself a new pair in-store about two weeks ago) and sadly have to get bifocals, but because I'm ordering them online, I splurge and get the ones without the bifocal lines, $53. $100.00
11:30 a.m. — We're just across the street from a Starbucks, and Q. is a big fan. By this time, I'm a bit peckish, too, so we stop in to grab two egg, cheese, and turkey bacon sandwiches for an early lunch. I leave a $1 tip. (I pay on my Starbucks app, which occasionally nets a free drink or meal, once I've collected enough rewards stars.) We head back to C.'s to hang out and read for the rest of the afternoon. $10.04
5:30 p.m. — C. is off to work, and Q. and I decide to order ramen for dinner. I get a bowl of chicken ramen with an extra serving of noodles (we split that, since neither of us is a big eater) and a pork bao for me as well. After dinner, we watch Big Hero 6 and relax. After the shower and other nighttime routines, Q. goes to bed around 9. I stay up a bit to do the dishes, tidy up, and get some more reading done. I'm up when C. gets home around 11:30 p.m., but fading fast. We chat a bit, and I fall asleep. $30.03
Daily Total: $140.07

Day Two

8 a.m. — It's Sunday, so we all get up a little later. I make tea and toasted bagels with scrambled eggs. I also peel a grapefruit and remove all the skins for us to share. My mom used to do this for me, so I like to do the same when there's a bit of extra time. C. goes off to work again. Q. and I are meeting friends back at our apartment about a mile away, so we pack up around 11 a.m. We spend the day playing card games, chatting, and eating an assortment of leftovers in the fridge: beef sirloin tips, marinated gigante beans, artichoke hearts, lemon and garlic olives, feta, watermelon, blueberries.
4 p.m. — Q. requested a mini backpack for our travels next month. She already has two backpacks and a fanny pack, but apparently none is the right size! We search a while on Amazon for the perfect one, and it costs $18.06. I have an $11 credit, so it ends up costing $8.06. $8.06
5:45 p.m. — We've mostly depleted the leftovers in the fridge, so we decide to walk to one of our nearby favorite Vietnamese restaurants for dinner. Q. and I don't have much opportunity to eat Vietnamese food at home. My family doesn't live in our city, and I find it tough to get the right ingredients and spend the prep time it takes to make it myself. Unfortunately, the restaurant is closed for the week (the chefs have gone to Vietnam for R&D, which is of course a great reason). So we walk around and see a dim sum place that we never noticed before. We order scallion pancakes (a Q. fave), soup buns, char siu, and an eggplant pork dish. The food is mediocre, but we should have known that good dim sum in our hipster neighborhood was not a good bet. $30.49
7 p.m. — We get back to our apartment, have some green tea mochi for dessert to keep with our Asian dinner theme, and settle down to watch Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon on Netflix. Q. is reluctant but quickly admits that it's a stunning film and the fight scenes are exhilarating and balletic. Q. falls asleep satiated and chatting about how fun it is to see movies that have an all-Asian cast.
Daily Total: $38.55

Day Three

7:30 a.m. — We have breakfast at home as usual: tea, smashed avocado with lemon juice, salt and pepper, and cumin on a bagel for me. Q. makes herself scrambled eggs on toast. I cut up a nectarine for Q. and have some blueberries.
8:15 a.m. — We go to shop at Whole Foods, since I have a $15 off promo for being a Prime member (on C.'s account). I purchase baby seedless watermelon, nectarines, strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, baby kale, spinach, swordfish, feta, fennel, cucumber, haricots verts, crostini crackers, goat cheese, cherry, roasted chicken, marinated gigante beans, hotdogs and buns, ice cream cones, blueberry yogurt bars, and Bengal Spice tea (which I tend to drink most nights). We head home, and I work for a few hours. $109.72
12:30 p.m. — For lunch I make a chopped salad using a lot of what we bought at Whole Foods earlier: roasted chicken, feta, baby kale, marinated gigante beans, fennel, cherry tomatoes. Q. opts to have a hotdog with a side salad. I do a couple more hours of work. Q. plays some games and also does some doggy care for a few clients in our building. It's a good job for her: It takes an hour or two a few times a week, gets her out of the apartment, and she makes some pocket money.
5:30 p.m. — I finish with work projects and start prepping dinner: grilled swordfish, blanched haricots verts, and wild rice. I forget that the rice takes 45 minutes to cook, so we eat later than usual. For dessert, I have Americone Dream ice cream in a cone, and Q. has a slice of double chocolate pound cake. We watch a few episodes of Queer Eye and Fresh Off the Boat, both shows we love.
Daily Total: $109.72

Day Four

7:30 a.m. — Breakfast today consists of Earl Grey tea, yogurt, granola, blueberries, kiwi for me, and Frosted Flakes for Q. with sliced nectarines and blueberries. I start work for a few hours at 8:30.
12 p.m. — For lunch, I make a quick salad and throw in the dim sum leftovers, while Q. has hotdogs and a side of raw fennel (it's summer!). I have a day of three more work meetings, so it feels a bit hectic.
5:45 p.m. — Dinner is roast-chicken tacos with spinach, fresh tomato salsa, and cheddar, with some watermelon and blueberry frozen yogurt bars for dessert.
7 p.m. — I notice that the Brita filter needs to be replaced, so I put in an order on Amazon. I opt for a six-pack of the Brita replacements. I've also been noticing that my eyes are strained after a long day of reading and meetings on my laptop, so I research computer reading glasses and get a set of two so I can keep one at my place and one at C.'s. $42.45
Daily Total: $42.45

Day Five

7:30 a.m. — Breakfast is at home as usual. I make Earl Grey tea for myself, and soft-boiled eggs with buttered toast and kiwi and nectarine for both of us. Today I work at the workspace, which is about ten blocks from our place, for the morning. Q. loves this, because she gets to stay home on her own. I get to the office, have a couple work calls, and do some emails and planning. My summer intern, E., is having her last day today, so I'm having a final meeting with her to discuss how the internship went and take her out for a farewell lunch.
12:30 p.m. — We head to a local Moroccan café and have a lovely meal of chicken and lamb tagines ($70.79 expensed). E. stops by my place to grab some books I've set aside for her, and we say goodbye. I have more meetings for work, and Q. has dog-walking duty.
6 p.m. — I finish up work a bit later because a meeting goes long. Q. and I have leftovers for dinner and decide to watch The Proposal. It's on Starz through the one-week trial we added on our Hulu account, so it's free. We have blueberry frozen yogurt bars and a couple laughs — Sandra Bullock is super likable, even when she's playing an evil boss.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

7:30 a.m. — Breakfast at home. Today it's back to tea, yogurt, granola, and fruit for both of us. I settle down to do editing for work. I try to reserve Thursdays and Fridays for more concentrated reading and editing sessions.
8:15 a.m. — Q. and I need to pack later for a work trip next week. So I strip the bed linens and collect the towels and hamper and hustle down to the building's laundry room to do two loads. Each washer costs $2.75, so that's $5. With the laundry in the wash, I work until it's time to get the clothes in the dryers — two loads at $2 each, for a grand total of $9, on a card that I've preloaded with about $30 each month. I work for another hour, grab the laundry, and head back upstairs to fold and pack.
12:30 p.m. — I take a break for lunch and make a quick salad with swordfish leftovers for myself and a salad with roasted chicken for Q. I work a few more hours.
4:30 p.m. — We're packed and ready to head over to C.'s for the weekend. We have a couple bags and a bunch of perishable food to bring over, too, since we'll be away for a week, so I contemplate taking a Lyft or the bus. Luckily, C. texts that he can come pick us up in his car, so we get a ride over.
6 p.m. — For dinner, we have more leftovers. For dessert, Q. has more double chocolate pound cake, and C. and I have a bit, too, along with some roasted coconut and black sesame ice cream. Deliciousness. We all watch a couple of episodes of Blown Away, the new show about glass artists competing. Q. and I are big fans of The Great British Bake Off and have been looking for a worthy successor. This may not be it, but it's pretty dramatic and entertaining.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

8 a.m. — We get a late start today, because I'm feeling pretty exhausted. Q. offers to make scrambled eggs for breakfast, and I've been so pleased to see her become more self-sufficient. And her eggs taste pretty good! I make some tea and toast and cut up the watermelon and kiwi, and we have a nice meal before I sit down to do some more editing.
12:30 p.m. — We take a break for a chopped-salad lunch. C.'s got spinach, baby arugula, and mixed cabbage. We each add our choice of: tomatoes, roasted chicken, walnuts, cheese, and dressing. Then it's back to more work for me.
2 p.m. — Q. and I head to see a friend and her daughter. We take a couple subways to get there. At $2.75 for each of us round-trip, it's $11 — prepaid on the EasyPay MetroCard.
5 p.m. — After we catch up at my friend's apartment for a while, we head to the park before going to a local favorite casual bistro for dinner. I have a Cubano, Q. has the lasagna, my friend A. has a summer salad with chicken, and A.'s daughter has a kid's meal with grilled cheese. With our two glasses of rosé + tip, the total comes to $96.57. I pay a bit more than half, since Q. and I had more substantial meals. We stroll through the park and get back on the subway to head back to C.'s place. $56.57
Daily Total: $56.57
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.
Want more Money Diaries? Well, you’re in luck — Refinery29 Canada is launching its own Canadian Money Diaries three times a week. (Which means once you’re done with catching up on all our diaries during your lunch break, you can head on over to R29 CA for even more.) You can now experience Money Diaries IRL at 29Rooms Toronto September 26th through October 6th. Buy tickets here.
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.
Do you have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Submit it with us here.
Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here: r29.co/mdfaqs

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series