A Week In New York City On A $129,000 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: a communications and culture specialist working in finance who makes $129,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Tatcha primer.
Occupation: Communications and Culture Specialist
Industry: Finance/Banking
Age: 28
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $129,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $3,394 (This varies.)
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $2,220 (I live in a studio by myself. Manhattan rent is absurd, but I actually don't mind paying this since I prefer living alone, and my landlord hasn't raised the rent in six years.)
Electric: $30-$60 (This can vary wildly from summer to winter depending on my AC/heat use.)
Internet & Cable: $141 (Yes, I have cable.)
Cell Phone: $81 (I technically pay my mom in a lump sum at the beginning of each year and she adds my portion monthly to the family plan.)
Netflix: $12.99
Spotify: $9.99
Gym: $240 (I have an unlimited membership rate that I got as a founding member.)
Health, Dental & Vision Insurance: $0
Retirement: $0 (Contractor life.)
Credit Card Payment: Varies from $500 to $1,000
Oral Surgeon Payment: $2,650 this month and $1,350 for the next two months. In a super awesome twist of fate and no fault of my own, I have teeth issues.
Savings: $0 (LOL. Thanks, former unemployment!)

Day One

6:45 a.m. — Good morning. My alarm goes off, and I snooze for 15 minutes since I showered and washed my hair yesterday evening. I had a SUPER weird dream about the apocalypse, and I write it down in my dream diary on my phone before I forget it.
7 a.m. — I do my skincare and makeup. I wear a full face of makeup every day to work, and I invest in good products. I have extremely sensitive skin, plus rosacea, so spending more on quality products saves me issues in the long run. I wash my face with Exfolikate cleanser, put on Kiehl's Daily Reviving Oil while my skin is still damp, and follow with my rosacea medication and Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer. Next is Bare Minerals primer, foundation, finishing powder, blush, Anastasia brow pencil, Too Faced eyeshadow, Becca Champagne Pop highlight (the best there ever was), mascara, and lock it all in with my Urban Decay setting spray. TA-DA!
8:15 a.m. — I pack up my lunch and breakfast, grab my gym and work bags, and bundle up for today's slushy mess since we got a little snow yesterday, and I walk to work.
9:20 a.m. — I get in, check some emails in my inbox, fill up my water cup (the first 24 ounces of my 96-ounce daily goal), and then head to the espresso machine. I use a Nespresso pod to make a shot and then the Keurig for a 6-ounce cup. I dump the espresso in and add milk. It horrifies my coworkers that I do this. *Shrugs.* I eat my breakfast, which is always two-hard boiled eggs and a wish for ketchup.
12:30 p.m. — A slightly early lunch. I meal prepped turkey chili for lunch this week. I heat it up, drink more water, and refill my water cup with more.
2 p.m. — I guess for the sake of transparency I should mention that I don't do much at my job. At my last job I was overworked, stressed, and having almost daily panic attacks due to my awful manager and the pressure being put on me. I ended up getting fired for “performance issues,” which is a nice way of saying I didn't subscribe to the office politics. I had never been fired from a job in my life, and at the time it seemed like the worst thing in the world to be 27, unemployed, and horribly demoralized. Now, I make more money than I ever have, I leave around 5/5:30 every day, my work load is very light, and I am back to being in a good place physically and mentally. I'm not very challenged, and I'm maybe not doing my best work, but I'm so grateful to be employed and a valued member of my new team while I get back on my feet and figure out what's next in the long-term.
3 p.m. — Since today is a gym day, I have extra calories to eat. Woo! I go downstairs to get a bag of sour cream and onion chips and a black cherry seltzer. $3.54
5 p.m. — I hang out at my desk and chat with my coworkers before changing into my gym stuff and heading out to the gym. I walk around 18,000 to 20,000 steps a day since I don't take the subway much. I find with the train delays and crowds, it's usually not more than a 10-minute difference to walk it, and I save money on the subway fare.
8:45 p.m. — I scarf down some spinach and shrimp I cooked earlier in the week and chug more water. I have reached 96 ounces today. That's almost three liters for y'all not into ounces for measuring. I jump in the shower and then do my nighttime skincare routine (nightly rosacea medication, Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate, Kiehl's Nightly Refining Micro-Peel Concentrate, and Kiehl's Rosa Arctica moisturizer.) I brush my teeth, use the special mouth rinse from my oral surgeon, and put in my retainer.
10 p.m. — I slather on body lotion and hop into bed. I put on an episode of ER on Hulu, which I am aware is a really old show, but I am obsessed and need to finish season 9 so I can find out if Dr. Carter and Nurse Abby stay together. Scroll around on my phone and hit the lights. I put on my Calm app sleep sounds and set the alarm. Tonight, I feel like “babbling brook.”
Daily Total: $3.54

Day Two

6:45 a.m. — No dreams last night. I check my email and social media and hop out of bed to do skincare, get dressed, grab my gym stuff and my pre-packed lunch/breakfast/snacks, and get out the door.
9 a.m. — It's Valentine's Day, and I love cheesy holidays. There's an event later today at work with the LGBT group with free candy, so I mark it on my calendar. Love is love. I eat my breakfast (two hard-boiled eggs as usual) and make my coffee.
11:30 a.m. — I have a phone interview today. It goes really well…I think. It's for a job that pays less than my current contracting role even when I factor in the basic costs of healthcare benefits and 401(k). I spend some time agonizing over my long-term career goals and current money situation because of this and decide there ain't no point in worrying when I don't even have a job offer on the table. I eat my mid-morning snack (cheese stick from TJ's since I'm four years old).
12:30 p.m. — Same lunch, work on same stuff, book some travel for my boss, and then help him get out the door for an evening flight. My fave work friend is here today, so we chat and go get our Valentine's Day candy and spend some time at the LGBT event.
5:30 p.m. — Off to the gym. Today is day three of my four weekly gym days, and my body is feeling it.
8:30 p.m. — Home. My doorman has a package for me — it's my rosacea medication that the pharmacy delivers. I had to switch to a new cream that I could pay for out-of-pocket. They charge my card $65, but it will last me several months. I chat with my doorman because he is my favorite and is always up for a friendly chat. $65
9 p.m. — What the hell am I going to eat? I scrounge together a dinner. I cut up some chicken sausage and scramble two eggs with some cheese and red pepper flakes since I'm out of hot sauce.
10 p.m. — Shower, body lotion, bed. I don't have the energy to watch anything tonight, but I leave Jurassic Park on in the background while I do the dishes and pick up before I sleep.
Daily Total: $65

Day Three

6:45 a.m. — It's payday! And also the day my first payment to my surgeon is due. Goodbye paycheck…it was nice to see you. Whatever, I'll be stealing everyone's man in the nursing home with my killer smile when I'm 84.
7:45 a.m. — My mom (who is also my accountant) calls to tell me my federal tax refund is in a shared account we have. I tell her to take out $1,000 since I owe my parents for the rent they covered the last month of my unemployment. Can't miss what you never had.
9:30 a.m. — Breakfast, coffee, emails. My boss is on vacation, and it's a long holiday weekend, so most of my coworkers are working from home. Contractors aren't allowed access to work from home, so I piddle around and get small tasks done leftover from the week.
12:30 p.m. — My fave coworker gets out of a meeting, and we decide on Mexican food for lunch. $9.79
2 p.m. — After lunch, I stop at Duane Reade for birthday cards for my grandma and sister and a congratulations card for my friend who just had a baby. $16.73
5:30 p.m. — I walk home and debate getting a manicure, but I decide I don't want to sit around waiting so I go straight home.
8 p.m. — I cook the same dinner from last night and settle in for an evening of nothing. I watch a few episodes of ER, do my skincare, and get in bed. I always get up and do the early gym class on Saturday so I don't stay up super late.
Daily Total: $26.52

Day Four

7:45 a.m. — Time to get ready for the gym. I wash my face, put on SPF and moisturizer since I'll sweat it off shortly, brush my teeth, and get dressed to walk to the gym.
10:30 a.m. — I walk across town to Trader Joe's. I stop at Starbucks and pick up a venti dark roast coffee with a gift card I got for Christmas.
10:45 a.m. — I stop in Sephora for ONE thing and…I get Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel, Tatcha Silk Canvas Protective Primer, and Shiseido Urban Environment Oil-Free UV Protector SPF 42. $165.49
11 a.m. — I get to TJ's, and it's just beginning to get crowded, so I rush to get everything. I get spinach, a lemon, apples, bananas, onions, celery, carrots, cheese sticks, cheddar cheese, chicken sausage, yogurts, pickles, chicken stock, chicken thighs, shrimp, and granola bars. $64.33
2 p.m. — I get home, put away all the groceries, make my usual eggs, chicken sausage, and cheddar. I add in spinach, and remember I'm still out of hot sauce, goddamnit. Shower, wash hair, exfoliate, shave, and then do my skincare. I have plans to meet up with a friend this afternoon, so I blow out my hair and text her to confirm.
3:30 p.m. — My friend bails on me and asks to meet up tomorrow. I'm annoyed since I didn't make any other plans but still blew out my hair. I turn on ER and decide this is why I hate making plans. I text my best friend from home, and we catch up.
8 p.m. — I'd love to pretend that I spent my Saturday doing something other than binging a show and lying in bed. But I didn't.
Daily Total: $229.82

Day Five

8:30 a.m. — I'm always up early no matter what. I lounge around and set up plans with my friend to get our nails done together since she bailed yesterday. It's my sister's birthday, so I text her and send her a Sephora gift card. $25
12:30 p.m. — I meet my friend uptown and get a gel manicure and a pedicure. I cover the tip for us both because she forgot cash. She will get me back later. $84.05
4 p.m. — I head home and get a turkey sandwich and a Coke Zero on my way. $10.49
6 p.m. — Time for some meal prep for the week. I make chicken thighs in my cast iron with sautéed onions and a mustard sauce. I microwave some sweet potatoes and boil eggs. Then I eat some of the chicken. This shit is good as f***. Thanks to my personal idol Ina Garten. I clean up the kitchen and pack up everything else.
8 p.m. — I pretty much do nothing for the rest of the night. You know the drill: skincare routine, brush teeth, get into bed, and watch ER. There is drama surrounding a local politician and his lover this episode.
Daily Total: $119.54

Day Six

8 a.m. — I'm up. I eat a banana and peanut butter and drink lots of water while I get ready for the gym. I wanted to do an earlier class, but the instructor I like isn't starting until 11, so I wait until about 10:15 and head there.
12:30 p.m. — Time for another coffee with my gift card at Starbucks. I text my friend about our plans today. We decide to meet at 3 for Mexican food.
3 p.m. — We catch up and eat tons of chips. I get two margaritas and carne asada tacos with rice and beans and we split guac. My friend works for a skincare company and gives me a coconut hydrating lip balm which smells SO good. Also saves me $18 at Sephora. $54.99
5:30 p.m. — We decide we need dessert and head to Van Leeuwen. I get a cone with a scoop of Mocha Cookie Crumble. Hits the spot, even though its freezing out. There are a few kids with their mom in the shop, and they ask their mom if they can add the song playing on the speakers to their playlist…the song is "Tipsy" by J-Kwon. We burst into laughter and head out for the train. $6.99
6 p.m. — The train isn't running uptown from this station, so I go downtown just to get off and then go back up. Gotta love the MTA. I fill up my MetroCard so I'm not out next time. $10
8 p.m. — I chug a few glasses of water, and it pushes me over the edge. I am a bloated ball of guac and chips. Send help. I lie horizontally and scroll through nonsense on my phone.
8:30 p.m. — I got an email from the company I interviewed with last week!!!!!! They want me to do a writing test of sorts, basically a shorter version of things I'd do in the job. I immediately panic and respond back to let them know I received it. I arrange dinner plans with my friend who works at the company and referred me for the job to debrief.
10:30 p.m. — More ER before bed. The politician's lover died after an allergic reaction to penicillin…that truly sucks but I can't get over the fact the lover was played by Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother.
Daily Total: $71.98

Day Seven

6:45 a.m. — Out of bed. I do my skincare, get dressed, grab my pre-packed lunch/breakfast/snacks, and walk to work.
11 a.m. — Everyone but me and one other person is working from home. My coworker just got back from traveling and brought candies to share. I rifle through them and try two.
12:45 p.m. — I heat up my chicken with mustard sauce and sweet potato. It's good, but I clearly did not cook the sweet potato enough, since it's hard in the middle. I refill my water and wash my dish and silverware. I don't use plastic silverware if I can help it, so I'm that weirdo carrying around a butter knife and fork to the sink.
3 p.m. — I read through the document I need to base my writing test off of and start putting things together so I can get feedback from my friend at dinner tonight if she has time. I find I really enjoy the time I spend putting together the visual and the additional writing. The afternoon flies by, and I stave off thinking about the career crisis that's been on my mind. I know I'm good at this shit and I want to be back in my field doing work that I'm interested in. I'm gonna make it happen no matter what.
4 p.m. — Am I hungry or just bored? I eat an apple from my snack stash that I bring from home and drink my third espresso shot of the daaaaaay. Coffee solves all.
5:30 p.m. — I go meet my friend at an Italian place and have a two glasses of wine and a pizza. I was gonna save half for later...but I don't. She's a real angel and listens to my concerns and thoughts on the new job and my career goals. We walk downtown so she can catch her train and finalize plans for bridesmaid dress shopping next month, since I'm in her wedding in December! $51.72
9 p.m. — I take off my makeup and my pants and do my skincare. Anyone who wears pants when they're home alone is a serial killer. Period.
10:30 p.m. — ER and bed. I snuggle in and scroll on my phone through today's political nonsense. Fuck Donald Trump. But for now, let's get this sleep.
Daily Total: $51.72
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