A Week In New York City On A Joint $280,000 Salary

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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 copywriter working in finance who makes $120,000 per year ($280,000 when combined with her husband) and spends some of her money this week on empanadas.
You can hear even more from today's diarist on this week's episode of Money Diaries: The Podcast. Check it out here!
Editor's note: This diary was written in October 2018, hence the references to warmer weather.
Occupation: Copywriter
Industry: Finance
Age: 30
Location: New York, NY
My Salary: $120,000 + 20% annual bonus
My Husband's Salary: $160,000 base + commission
My Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): Roughly $2,500
My Husband's Paycheck Amount (2x/month): Varies, but usually in the $4,000-$4,500 range
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $2,800 (I rent an apartment with my husband.)
Student Loans: I have $0, and my husband has a student loan he pays off at $135/month.
Netflix: $10.99
Sling: $25.99
Verizon: ~$80
Phone Bill: ~$120 (We use Google Fi and get reimbursed for any data we buy and don't use.)
Yoga Membership: $145 for an unlimited monthly pass
Car Insurance: ~$80
Whole Life Insurance: $115 (Most people will say this is a scam, but I used to work for an insurance company, and I could write a manifesto on why it's a worthwhile investment for me.)
Utilities: ~$80 (Water is included in our rent.)
Wine Memberships: ~$300 (This seems high, but it's honestly cheaper and less annoying than having to run to the liquor store every time you need a bottle of wine. A couple of the wineries are also local, so I feel good supporting them).
401(k): $646
Roth 401(k): $738
Roth IRA: $200
High-Yield Savings: $400

Day One

8 a.m. — Get up a little later than usual because I decided not to go to yoga this morning. (It's raining out, but I'm also noticing a pattern where if I have even one glass of wine the night before, I can't wake up for 6:45 a.m. yoga.) I shower and make myself coffee, scrambled eggs, and toast. I have a lot of extra time, since I'm not spending an hour doing downward dog. I was planning to go out to lunch with my sister today, but she just called and cancelled (typical), so I pack the same pasta dish I've been eating for lunch the past two days in a row because my husband made obscene amounts of it on Sunday.
12:52 p.m. — Eat my three-day-old pasta and broccoli at my desk. I don't buy lunch that often for a couple reasons: 1. I started a new position recently, and I'm still figuring out the social situation. At my last job, I worked with several close friends and lunch was the highlight of my day. It often included Don Draper-style (read: boozy) trips to restaurants in our office's hip neighborhood. At my new job, people barely go for takeout. 2. My new office is on a really high-up floor in a gross section of town. Color me lazy, but the food options around here are barely worth the time and effort it takes to get to them. On the bright side, I've probably saved myself a decent amount of money at this point, because even a simple salad in this city costs $12-$15.
3 p.m. — Go out for a coffee with a coworker. The office coffee is MEH. Plus, we need to discuss some stuff that's NSFW. $3.25
6:40 p.m. — Take a Lyft home from my friend's apartment. She ordered some furniture for me at a store where she gets a big discount, but the catch is that the stuff has to be delivered to her place, not mine. The stuff is too big to carry on the subway, so I have to cab it. $33.73
8 p.m. — By the time I get home, I'm so hungry I run to the nearby taco truck with my friend for dinner. I told her I'd make her dinner, but I don't have the strength. She brought wine, so I pick up the tacos and guac. We do face masks while finishing the bottle of wine. $21.50
11:30 p.m. — My husband comes home from a work function, also with tacos from the same taco truck. I pick at his tacos with him and then we go to bed.
Daily Total: $58.48

Day Two

8 a.m. — Go to yoga DESPITE having had two glasses of wine last night. So proud of myself. Have a cup of homemade coffee and make some scrambled eggs and toast, which I pair with strawberries.
12:13 p.m. — Eat a lunch I packed at my desk. It's a leafy green salad with goat cheese leftover from dinner a couple nights ago. This sounds gross, but the greens have held up surprisingly well. I also threw in some of these pre-cooked chicken skewers we always get from Costco that are delicious. My husband has an obsession with buying in bulk — it borders on unhealthy. However, I have to say that shopping at Costco has probably saved us a lot of time and money. Not only are prices per item cheaper, but having stashes of frozen food makes preparing meals at home a lot easier.
12:20 p.m. — I finish one bag of office pretzels and then get myself another. I don't even like pretzels that much, but I still feel hungry after my lunch (granted — I didn't give it much time to digest). Also help myself to a seltzer from the fridge.
2:30 p.m. — I AM SO TIRED and cold due to the air conditioning in the office. Make myself office tea to wake up and warm up.
6:52 p.m. — Home and starving, so I eat some cheese from the fridge and pour myself a glass of wine. Just got back from the grocery store, where I bought yogurt, granola, more cheese, tomatoes, and avocados. The person at checkout accidentally charged me twice for the granola. When I looked at the total it was $40.85, which seemed high, even for this bougie grocery store. I realized the mistake and went back to have the charge reversed. $34.60
8 p.m. — I make quinoa bowls with BBQ chicken, power greens, avocado, tomato, and cheese for dinner for my husband and me. We watch Cinderella Man. I cry into my glass of wine.
Daily Total: $34.60

Day Three

8:31 a.m. — Eat breakfast after barre class: coffee and granola with yogurt and strawberries.
12:30 p.m. — Get lunch catered through work!
7:30 p.m. — Out to dinner with my husband, my brother, and my sister-in-law at one of our favorite restaurants. The place has decent prices, but because of it, we tend to go ham on wine. We order cocktails, a nice bottle, apps, and entrées. I feel slightly guilty about the size of the bill. In fact, I almost always feel some level of guilt, however fleeting, about making extravagant purchases, even if I know I've earned them and can afford them. However, I remind myself that this is why we cook at home most nights — so that when we do go out, we can really enjoy it. $202.30
10 p.m. — After dinner, we all drive out to my in-laws' summer home on the eastern end of Long Island. We arrive late, around 11:30, have another drink, then all go to bed around 1 a.m.
Daily Total: $202.30

Day Four

9 a.m. — I wake up to the sun shining right in my face. Sleeping in is not an option, so I wake up and make coffee. I'm up before everyone else. I drink my coffee and read the news. Eventually everyone wakes up, and we all go for a four-mile run around 11. I am starved, but there's not that much to eat at the house, so we decide to go out for lunch.
12:45 p.m. — We drive my husband's family boat across the bay for lunch at a sports bar because my brother wants to watch a game. Our team loses at the last minute. We split the bill. On our way out, we get charged $15 for parking the boat in a spot we weren't allowed to be in. We spend the rest of the afternoon fishing. Everyone catches some! $115.21
6:40 p.m. — We're members of a wine club (bougie, I know, but it's so worth it) and tonight the winery is having a little party. Tickets are $25, and we bought them a couple weeks ago. The ticket includes unlimited wine and venison chili. We also get to pick up our quarterly shipment of wine, which our credit card was already charged for. After the chili/wine party is over, my sister-in-law is still hungry, so we stop at the grocery store for some snacks and dessert. We get crackers, cheese, soppressata, stuff to make gluten-free peach cobbler, and a few other things the house needs. It comes to about $80 but my brother pays.
Daily Total: $115.21

Day Five

9 a.m. — Wake up, heat up yesterday's coffee, and head outside onto the deck. It's an unbelievably nice day out. Everyone wakes up slowly, and we spend a lot of time just drinking coffee out here. Eventually, we pack up and leave.
11 a.m. — Head to the local diner for some breakfast on our way back to the city. I order two poached eggs on an English muffin with bacon and coffee. My brother orders an obscene amount of food. My brother puts it on his credit card, and my husband pays our share in cash. $40
12:30 p.m. — We stop at a farm stand for some local produce to take home. We get peaches, apples, string beans, potatoes, horseradish, onions, and asparagus. $27
1 p.m. — Stop at Costco for gas (under $3 a gallon!). We put it on our credit card as a thank you to my brother for driving. $33.01
4:30 p.m. — Back at home, I head to Home Depot for gold paint. I'm planning to paint a mirror frame my sister-in-law gave me. The paint is $22, but I use a gift card I got for Christmas last year, so it's free. My husband also texts and asks me to pick up propane (LOL, like I'll know where to find that), so I hunt around the store for a half hour (it was in the plumbing section, which makes no sense) and then get freaked out that I shouldn't bring propane on the subway, so I decide not to buy it. It was $3.
7 p.m. — I explain my propane freakout to my husband, and he laughs and goes back out to buy it somewhere else. He found some across the street, but it was $10! He assures me I could've brought propane on the subway and saved us $7. Whoops. $10
8 p.m. — My husband grills a pork loin we had in the freezer (using the propane!), and I roast the potatoes and string beans that we picked up earlier today at the farm stand. I make a sauce for the pork loin with mayo, Worcestershire sauce, and horseradish. Dinner is delicious. Oh, and we also have a bottle of wine from the case we picked up. We watch a few episodes of Genius, the National Geographic show about Albert Einstein. While watching TV, I order an art print on Etsy we both like that we want to hang on one of our new walls. (We moved recently.) It comes to $84 with shipping. $84
Daily Total: $194.01

Day Six

7:40 a.m. — Do not wake up for yoga. (I blame the wine.) Heat up some super old questionable coffee. Have some granola and yogurt for breakfast.
12:15 p.m. — Eat lunch at my desk again. Leftovers from last night. Really need to make some work friends.
2:27 p.m. — After much contemplation about the dire status of my work wardrobe, I cave and buy a pair of non-torn jeans and a white collared shirt from Sézane. Free shipping on orders over $200. $245
7:40 p.m. — Eat cheese and order curtains for our bedroom. Comes to $88 or so, but I found a bunch of gift cards during our move and use one of them, so technically this purchase is free.
9:49 p.m. — In the midst of a full-on shopping spree. I buy a much-needed ironing board (our apartment is finally big enough to house a full-sized one!) and a wire thing to hang it over the closet door. I use a $25 Amazon gift card to cover a portion of it. My friend calls me with some bad news. She's been going through a rough patch with her boyfriend, and he just broke up with her. I feel terrible for her; I've been there. I tell my husband about it, and he once again reminds me of his strict 30-day no-contact policy for exes and asks if I want him to relay that message to my friend. I wonder, not for the first time, if he has any deep feelings. $23.99
Daily Total: $268.99

Day Seven

6:55 a.m. — Wake up feeling more rested than I have in awhile. Is it because I didn't drink any alcohol yesterday?? I go to barre, where I get the bad news that my favorite teacher is leaving. Is nothing sacred?? Afterwards, I get milk at Duane Reade on the corner. There's a grocery store literally next door, but it's a slightly farther walk, and it's very expensive. It's actually not cheap at DR, but it's like, organic and vegan or something and lasts forever, so I guess it's worth it. Get home and have coffee and granola with yogurt and strawberries. $4.45
9:22 a.m. — Try to swipe my MetroCard at the subway and get a “see agent” error. I know exactly what's going on — I have an unlimited yearly MetroCard through my old job, but I paid for it out of every paycheck. Obviously, when I left the company, I stopped receiving the paycheck. But the MetroCard continued to work despite no one paying for it. So I figured I would ride that wave as long as possible (no pun intended), and it seems someone has finally caught on. The agent confirms the MetroCard had been cancelled. I buy a single ride and figure I'll decide what plan to buy when I get to work. $3
10:11 a.m. — Sign up for a new unlimited yearly card, but it won't arrive until next month. For this month, I'll have to buy some sort of monthly pass. Oh well, still got three free months of unlimited subway rides!
11:03 a.m. — STARVING. It's like breakfast didn't even happen. I have a snack bar from the office stash.
2 p.m. — I had last night's leftovers for lunch, but I could still eat and I'm freezing from the A/C. There's an amazing empanada food stand down the street from my office, so I decide to go and get a snack. I get two empanadas. $8.27
6 p.m. — My husband reminds me that he ordered some groceries to be delivered to our apartment. I go down to the lobby and pick them up. $117.40
7 p.m. — My in-laws are dropping their dog off at our place while they go on vacation. We invited them to stay for dinner, so I run to the grocery store and get a couple different kinds of cheeses and meats for an appetizer and more potatoes. At the last minute I also grab cookie dough for my husband because he is currently hanging a giant mirror for me, and I know he's frustrated. $30.59
Daily Total: $163.71
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