A Week In Brooklyn, NY, On A $75,000 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.

Today: a designer working in advertising who makes $75,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Olly Women's Multivitamin.
Editor's Note: Today's entry was pulled from the Money Diary archives and was written before COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic.
Occupation: Designer
Industry: Advertising
Age: 23
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Salary: $75,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,206
Gender: Woman

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,650 for a rent-stabilized studio apartment
Loans: $0 (parents paid for undergrad and don't let me forget it!)
WiFi: $54
Gas: $10
Electric: $30
iCloud storage: $0.99
Squarespace: $16
Care/Of Vitamins: $34
Gym: $15
Spotify: $9.99
Netflix: $0 (thank you, mama)
Savings: $300 to a high-yield savings account

Day One

7 a.m. — Wake up pretty easily this morning. I had plans to go to the gym, but my boyfriend Y. ended up sleeping over so I stay in with him. I get up to make coffee and start getting ready for work. Makeup is pretty simple — Tarte tinted moisturizer, some brown eyeshadow to fill in my brows, and a little bronzer contouring. My office is very casual so I throw on vintage Levi's and a black H&M short sleeve t-shirt with Nike Air Force 1's I just bought over the weekend. Y.'s company recently closed their NY office with no warning so he's currently out of a job and stays in bed for a bit longer. We head out around 8 and he walks me to the train before going home.
9 a.m. — Work is going to be slow today. Most of my projects wrapped up last week so I don't have much lined up for this week, but hopefully, I'll get pulled onto something today! I grab a yogurt from the fridge and eat it with half a fig newton bar I have at my desk. This meal really is not typical for me (I'm trying to cut down on my abhorrent sugar intake) but I'm low on the funds this week so I'll take the free food where I can.
11 a.m. — I spend the morning wasting time scrolling through Pinterest/Instagram/LinkedIn and trying to plot my next move to quit my job and become a freelance photographer/director full-time. Daydreams, man. Y. texts me to let me know that after changing his LinkedIn picture to the headshot I took of him over the weekend, he's been getting hit up by recruiters all morning — score! I'm excited (relieved) for him. I didn't go grocery shopping over the weekend, so I head out to Trader Joe's during lunch to get some things to leave in the fridge at work for the week. I don't really need much, so I stick to avocado, sliced turkey, and salt ($6.97). When I get back, I throw some turkey into the leftover salad I brought in from dinner last night and call it lunch. $6.97
1 p.m. — Turns out I'm going to an edit session today! I like going to post-production sessions because it's a nice excuse to get out of the office and get a change of scenery. I walk over with my coworker and we get there while our team is ordering lunch. I wish I knew ahead of time that I could've gotten more free food today! It turns out to be pretty boring as I don't really have much to do, but it's better than being in the office. I see on Instagram that an influencer I've done some freelance video work for is looking for a videographer for an upcoming project. I text her and say that I'm available if she's still looking, but she says she already found someone. Le sigh.
5 p.m. — I take advantage of being out of the office and head home a little early to get to the gym. I hung out with my sister over the weekend and her incredible ass motivated me to work on mine, so today is leg day! I start out with 15 minutes of sprint intervals on the treadmill then do some cable kickbacks, squats, lunges, squat jumps, and hip bridges. Wrap it up and head to Walgreens to get some conditioner and self-tanner (this Irish girl's vice). $32.65
8 p.m. — My gynecologist calls me as I'm heating up leftovers for dinner (chicken, onions, and kale that I burned last night) to tell me that my pap smear came back abnormal. UGH. My yearly pap came back abnormal last year, so I had to have a colposcopy (cervical biopsy), which then led to a LEEP (removal of abnormal cells from the cervix). I went in for my six month follow up pap a few weeks ago, hoping that everything would be normal, but I still have abnormal cells on my cervix, and now need to go in for another colposcopy to see how high risk they are of becoming cancerous. This is the worst. I'm still drowning in medical bills from the first procedure. I call Y. to vent, then try to distract my sorrows with New Girl before popping some CBD+Melatonin gummies and going to bed.
Daily Total: $39.62

Day Two

6 a.m. — I tossed and turned all night. Ever since moving into my apartment, I haven't been sleeping well. I think living alone probably takes some getting used to, but those CBD+Melatonin gummies are crap. I power through and get to the gym for some cardio. After about 40 minutes walking on the treadmill at an incline, I head back home. I do my makeup — tinted moisturizer+brows, and put on dark gray Abercombie skinny jeans with my dad's old Harley Davidson t-shirt and black Adidas Ultraboosts. Athleisure meets old man.
9 a.m. — I get to the office and make some free coffee with a free banana and free peanut butter. #Frugal. My gyno calls again to schedule the colposcopy for Friday at 9 a.m. I kind of wanted to WFH Friday anyway, so I don't bother trying to make an appointment for after work hours. I text my mom to vent about how I can't afford this and she says “welcome to adulthood.” I swear my parents don't have a sympathetic bone in their bodies (okay I know, the self-pity is pathetic, leave me alone!).
1 p.m. — Back to the edit today! Plus I have a few commercials to storyboard so today's workload is already better than yesterday. Also made it in time for free lunch at the session, scoreeee. I get chicken satay with a side of market greens. Paid for by the edit house.
3 p.m. — Leave the edit and head back to the office after stopping to pick up some vitamins. The first time around, I read that Vitamin B and Folic Acid are good for clearing abnormal cervical cells, so I decide to take it seriously this time and pick up Olly brand Women's Multivitamin. $15.99
5:30 p.m. — I make plans to meet Y. at a coffee shop/bar/workspace (Brooklyn things) after work, so I head out a little early and make my way. I'm trying to cut down on my drinking (me likes the wine), so I forego the sweet burgundy nectar tonight and stick to water. We head back to my apartment and make dinner. I throw together some brown rice pasta, ground turkey with onions and tomato sauce, and broccoli. Your girl overcooks the pasta but Y. goes on and on about how good it is. He's a nice boy.
11 p.m. — I'm falling asleep on the couch by 11 so I turn out most of the lights and tuck myself into bed while Y. stays up working on his computer. Let me just say that going to sleep at a different time than someone in the same studio apartment is very much not ideal. But I'm exhausted so I fall asleep almost immediately and surprisingly sleep through the night. Whenever Y. is here I sleep fine. Alone, is a different story.
Daily Total: $15.99

Day Three

7 a.m. — I wake up and make some coffee and start getting ready while Y. sleeps. Same makeup routine and today I wear the same Abercrombie jeans from yesterday with a plain white t-shirt from Aerie and Adidas Ultraboosts again. There's an avocado in my fridge giving me major anxiety since if I don't eat it soon it will go bad, so I make myself an egg white omelet with spinach, avocado, and an apple. Sorry, Y. I eventually wake him up with coffee and we head out around 8:30.
9 a.m. — Make some chamomile tea at work and brush up those storyboards from yesterday. This mornings pretty slow and I'm feeling so unfulfilled at this job. I was previously working in LA and I loved everything about the job, but needed to be back in NY. So I took the first offer I got out here and the culture/work content just isn't as great. I'm really hoping I can make the change to a successful freelancer within the next year.
12 p.m. — MY TAX RETURN DEPOSITED. Sorry, but I really needed this, lol. I should clarify — I'm "low" on cash this week because I recently dropped about $1,700 on a new camera+lens. I planned on using my tax return for it but I found a great deal I couldn't pass up on Facebook marketplace so I snatched it up with the plan to immediately put my return right back into savings. Y. texts me to tell me that my lens also just got delivered! I had it sent to his place because someone needed to sign for it, and well, I'm taking advantage of my boyfriend's unemployment. I peruse all the socials and start mentally planning photoshoots for this weekend. I break for lunch around 1 — cut up bell peppers, sliced turkey, and a clementine from the office.
4 p.m. — I get put on a new pitch that I'm actually super stoked about, so my drive for the workweek is restored. I'm determined to do everything I can to win this work. I have a few meetings about it, then spend the rest of the day brainstorming and researching on it.
6 p.m. — Done for the day! I head straight to the gym for some more interval sprints and arms. Head home after and make some more ground turkey with broccoli and what's left of the pasta (approximately 11 noodles). Take a quick shower then head over to Y.'s to get my lens and hang out. He's about a twenty-minute walk from me with no convenient train or any other way of getting there. I'm exhausted by the time I get there and pass out around 11 while watching The Office. He, again, stays up working on job applications. I swear we used to have sex all the time but I can never stay up anymore.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

7 a.m. — Wake up at Y.'s and start getting ready/make some coffee. He's asleep for most of the morning but we have a few minutes together before I leave for work. I haphazardly packed a bag last night so I'm wearing the same jeans, yet again, for the third day in a row. Today they're paired with a plain black t-shirt (so old, not sure where it's from), and you guessed it, Adidas Ultraboosts. I finish the classic jeans+t-shirt look with my dad's old New York Ranger's Starter jacket. I swear, I'm usually not this athleisure. When I get to the office, I have a banana, apple, and peanut butter. This morning is pretty busy so hopefully, today goes by quickly.
1 p.m. — I have lunch at my desk — more turkey and sliced bell peppers. Still not too hungry after that breakfast so it's more mindless eating than anything. I power through the rest of the day working this pitch and worrying about my colposcopy tomorrow. It wasn't bad at all the first time but I keep reading online that the more you get, the more it hurts. Stay tuned.
6 p.m. — I leave for the day and head straight home. Man, it is BRICK out there. But my new lamps finally got delivered! I build those and it makes quite the difference. My apartment has awful fluorescent lights that make for very not home-y vibes. I've tried changing them but couldn't get the old school light fixtures off, so lamps with warm lighting it is. I make eggs, kale, and avocado for dinner, mainly because #AvocadoAnxiety. I turn on Pete Davidson's Netflix special and am not sure what I think. I've always been a fan but simultaneously don't think he's that funny. Lol. But now I'm in an SNL mood so I turn on old episodes, shower, and head to bed.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

6 a.m. — Colposcopy day! And payday! I slept with my hair wet last night so it's decently nice and curly when I wake up, which I leave as is. Throw on some brows and a little tinted moisturizer then get dressed. Continuing with my week of athleisure, I put on black Aerie leggings, an oversized red hoodie from H&M men's section, some Nike ankle socks that I swiped from Y. the other day, and my Air Force 1s. I make a quick cup of coffee, pack all my things then head out to Long Island. I started seeing this doctor when I was in high school first going on birth control, and going back to Long Island to see her wasn't so inconvenient when I only had to go once a year. I buy a roundtrip ticket on my LIRR app ($20.50) and a small black coffee at the Starbucks in Atlantic Terminal ($2.45). $22.95
9 a.m. — Minimal time spent in the waiting room and it's into the procedure room. The last time I did this was in California, so it was a different doctor. This doctor is not talking me through things or explaining anything, as my last doctor did, so that kind of annoys me. Sure, I know the protocol, but my previous doctor even told me how “high or low risk” the abnormal cells looked upon examination, which was helpful. Also, I can confirm — the second biopsy hurts a bit more. She took two samples then scraped the whole area to catch any other cells. If sitting with your legs in stirrups while the jaws of life pry your vagina open wasn't so unpleasant on its own, the colposcopy truly wouldn't be so bad. Just a pinch and then it feels like bad menstrual cramps. I head back to my mom's after and have a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios with almond milk and a banana because I'm being a baby and want comfort food. I chill for a bit then get back on a train to Brooklyn to rest up at Y.'s.
1 p.m. — I work a bit from Y.'s but honestly I'm so tired, in pain, and just don't feel inspired to think up the next great idea for this pitch that I'm on. Y. and I break for lunch and get some egg sandwiches at the deli a few blocks down. He pays. I get egg whites, spinach, turkey, and avocado on a whole wheat wrap. I send a few inspirational links of what other brands have done to the team and clean up the deck that they've started before signing off for the day around 5.
7 p.m. — Y. is heads down on his work all day. I envy and admire his focus sometimes. We start getting hungry but I know he doesn't want to spend a lot of money and I don't blame him. If I weren't here, he'd probably just make rice with an egg, but I'm not too into that, so I offer to buy ingredients and cook something up. I get chicken cutlets, sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, asparagus, broccoli, a lemon, and basil leaves ($17.97) while Y. picks up some red wine. Mr. I'm-Broke comes back with a $60 bottle of Ridge Vineyards. We uncork and start cooking. After dinner, we snack on a little bit of Ben & Jerry's in the freezer and watch McMillions until falling asleep on the couch. I wake up around 3 a.m. and drag us both into bed. $17.97
Daily Total: $40.92

Day Six

9 a.m. — I wake up and start making coffee, then crawl back into bed. We get up for real around 10 and make eggs, spinach, avocado, and clementines for breakfast. I mindlessly scroll on my laptop for a bit while Y. works on coding challenges he has to do for all these interviews. I don't really feel like sitting here all day while he works, but I don't want to take him away from his work, so I head back to my place to run some errands.
1 p.m. — I go to the madhouse that is Trader Joe's and spend a lot of money. I've been doing a ton of research on this cervical thing and found an immune-boosting meal plan that is tailored for this issue, so I decide to try some of it out this week. It's not too far off from the foods I usually eat anyway. I walk out with ground turkey, sun-dried tomato chicken sausages, kale, spinach, oranges, bell peppers, shiitake mushrooms, sweet potatoes, turmeric, dark chocolate, eggs, avocado, asparagus, chicken broth, and cantaloupe ($53.65). I go to CVS after because I need dry shampoo and I did more research on my Olly Women's Vitamin — turns out it's crap! I need pure Folate, not Folic Acid, and this vitamin is full of synthetic vitamins, not the real deal. There goes $16. But everything in CVS is also “Folate (as Folic Acid)” and I just don't trust any of them. Plus the dry shampoo is $10 for a small bottle! I'll go to Harmon later and find a cheaper one I'm sure. $53.65
3 p.m. — Where did my Saturday go?! I try and decide what I'm going to do with my night, and end up at Harmon for dry shampoo and hair ties, as my only one just snapped in the shower. Spoiler alert: The dry shampoo is only $2 cheaper. ($14.46). $14.46
6 p.m. — I'M HUNGRY. But Y. mentioned having dinner together after he grabs a drink with a friend whose company is hiring. So I eat a KIND bar and sip some red wine. I turn on The Talented Mr. Ripley since I've never seen it before, and I don't know it is, but I'm immediately hooked. Could it be the gorgeous Jude Law and Matt Damon? Psh, there's no way. I hear from Y. halfway through and it turns out his friend bailed so he and his roommate A. are at a bar. I Uber over to meet them ($10.51). $10.51
7 p.m. — I get a Moscow mule and his roommate pays. We walk to get pizza, I get a pepperoni slice, and A. pays again. We decide to have a movie night, so they get wine while I get snacks. I leave with microwave popcorn, Sour Patch watermelon, peanut butter M&M's and regular M&M's ($7.62). We watch an intense documentary about a child murder case and I order Insomnia cookies ($16.51). A. and I have an ongoing joke about how I always promise to get him a Shake Shack breakfast sandwich and never do, so he says cookies will make up for it. It's a fun night but I kind of wish I just stayed home and didn't spend all this money, or eat all this crap. $24.13
2 a.m. — Looks like Y. and I fell asleep on the couch (shocker), so I try to wake him up but he doesn't budge. I go to his room alone and fall back asleep.
Daily Total: $102.75

Day Seven

9 a.m. — Y. came to bed around 4 last night but I wake up and hear him in the kitchen. He has a bad habit of thinking he won't be able to fall back asleep after getting up in the middle of the night and just starting his day instead. I get up and low and behold, he's already half a pot of coffee in. I pour myself some and we hang until A. joins us and we all get breakfast sandwiches. It's the same spot from the other day, so I get the same wrap — turkey, egg whites, spinach, and avocado. A. pays. I've hung out with these guys since college and it's always been like this. No one ever really splits the bill or venmos each other, we all just pick up various tabs as we go. They also make way more than me so I don't think they care too much about paying the bill more often than I do. Either that or I'm a huge mooch and they're nicer than I thought.
11 a.m. — I walk back to my place, shower, and finish The Talented Mr. Ripley. Netflix suggests He's Just Not That Into You after and who am I to deny? I start into a spiral of rom-coms for the rest of the day while meal prepping a bit for tomorrow. I make a boring salad of spinach and tuna with an orange champagne dressing and cut up bell peppers. I also grill up some chicken sausages for breakfast throughout the week. It's the ultimate lazy Sunday and I have no qualms.
6 p.m. — I start getting peckish, so I make turkey meatballs from Trader Joe's with roasted broccoli and sweet potato slices for dinner. To be honest, I never realized how much turkey I ate until this Money Diary. Easy, cheap, and healthy, bite me. I spend the rest of my night watching movies, finally happy that my apartment is starting to feel like home.
Daily Total: $0
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