A Week In New York City On A $75,000 Salary

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Today: an associate manager working in live entertainment who makes $75,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a burrito from Chipotle.
Occupation: Associate Manager
Industry: Live Entertainment
Age: 27
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $75,000
Paycheck Amount (Weekly): $838
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Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,164 for my half. (I split rent equally with my husband. We haven't combined finances yet since we're newlyweds.)
Student Loan Payment: $0 (Due to a combination of scholarships and my parents being generous.)
Health/Vision Insurance: $84
Dental Insurance: $20.83
Hulu: $5.99 (I got a promotional price two years ago that still hasn't changed.)
Netflix: $0 (I use my old roommate's account, and she uses my Hulu.)
Cell Phone: $0 (I'm on my parents' family plan.)
Pet Insurance: $18 (my half)
Dog Walker: $180 (my half)
AMC A-List: $19.95 (I just signed up last month — hard to tell if it's worth it yet.)
Gym: $27
DirecTV Now & Internet: $52.50 (my half)
Electricity/Gas: $30-$60 (my half)
Tolls: $100
Car Insurance: $131
401(k): I contribute 6% with a 4% company match
Savings: $300

Day One

5:30 a.m. — I hit snooze.
6 a.m. — Oops, too many snoozes. I dry shampoo my hair and throw on my favorite flannel. (I get dressed in the dark most mornings because my husband starts work two hours later than I do.) I walk into the foyer and notice my flannel has a bleach stain on it – curse communal washers! I put it in my pajama drawer and choose a sweater instead. My office dress code is definitely casual, but not bleach stain casual. I also pack my breakfast (a Krispy Kreme donut purchased at a work fundraiser), lunch (cannellini beans, roasted tomatoes, garlic, and spinach), and an almost too-ripe avocado and peanut butter crackers for snacks.
6:55 a.m. — I meet two coworkers at my car parked a block away from my apartment on the street. Carpooling is one of the many ways I justify driving in the city. Some people may scoff at the idea of owning a car and living in Manhattan, but I make it work for me. When I compared the costs of driving versus train commuting before purchasing, I ultimately decided that buying a car would improve my work/life balance. I paid cash for it and park on the street, so I usually don't have to pay much for parking. It shaves an hour off my commute every day and my carpoolers also occasionally chip in for gas/tolls.
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7:15 a.m. — We stop at Dunkin' on the way in. One of my carpool friends is obsessed and goes in every single morning. I get a double espresso ($2.70) and pay on my credit card. I used to have the Dunkin' app and collected loyalty points, but I realized it was absolutely increasing my spending there. $2.70
10 a.m. — Busy morning. I work on preparing budgets for some of my extra duties. I volunteer to do some marketing and workplace culture stuff for the company, and I am happy to say that I get compensated extra for it. I go over some 2019 proposals with a peer and then schedule a meeting to review with my boss tomorrow.
1 p.m. — I catch up on some newspaper reading over lunch. I try to go outside for most lunches, but I have an accumulation of interesting articles to read today and I don't always have the energy to read when I get home from work. My husband pays for a New York Times subscription for us and his dad. We got married in the spring, and are slowly working on combining finances. I just finished officially changing my name and he just started a new job, so there's been plenty of paperwork to handle first.
2:30 p.m. — Super slow afternoon. There's been a surprising lack of Halloween candy this week, so I scrounge around in my desk drawer and come up with exactly enough change for a chocolate bar from the vending machine ($1). Our best couple friends text us about us coming over tonight — a mid-week Halloween is a little lame for partying. We agree to get in costume and watch movies. My boss also requests that we move the budgeting meeting to next week. I am disappointed, but oh well. $1
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4 p.m. — I stop by the post office on the way home and drop off a Poshmark package I sold. I continue home, park on the street with quick success, and take the dog on a super long walk. Our friends live in a no-pet apartment, so he'll be home alone tonight. I dress him up like Chewbacca for the walk, and to our delight, we run into dozens of trick-or-treaters.
6:30 p.m. — Husband gets home from work, and we change into our costumes and pack beer and games. Then we trek up to Chipotle to meet our friends and get our $4 "booritos" to go. I love a good spooky promotion. I decline guac since I didn't eat my avocado earlier – I'll add it in to my burrito when we get to our friends' apartment. I pay because the line is CRAZY and I get my wallet out first ($13.63), though normally my husband pays when we eat out. (I cover all of the groceries, so it ends up being a good balance.) We head to our friend's apartment and watch Halloween episodes of some of our favorites shows (Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine). $13.63
10 p.m. — What a fun night of friends! My husband takes the dog for another walk and I do my nighttime routine — face wash, lotion, pajamas, open windows. Our landlord, ahem, aggressively complies with NYC winter heat regulations so we have to sleep with all the windows open to get it to a tolerable temperature. I am always dried out in the winter but I much prefer this to freezing!
Daily Total: $17.33

Day Two

6 a.m. — Up and in the shower. As always, as soon as I get up, my dog gets in bed and takes my spot. I wish I could snuggle this morning, but instead I'm off to work. I pack my leftover burrito and a pear.
8 a.m. — My coworker brought in leftover candy, so I munch on a Reese's cup and a mini 100 Grand bar for breakfast. It's a slow morning, so I daydream on Zillow about houses in my hometown. Neither my husband nor I are from NYC originally, and we've talked about moving out of the city in the next few years. We're still not sure if that means the 'burbs or back to where our family is. I honestly love my job, so I think it's going to be difficult for me to leave and find something similar elsewhere, but I sure am getting homesick. Also, the cost of living is so much lower almost everywhere else in the country.
10:30 a.m. — I drink a beet juice that I put in the office fridge last week, which does not deter me from eating more chocolate like I had hoped it would. I have some M&M's.
1 p.m. — Over lunch I check my email and see that Azazie processed my $50 refund! I purchased a "custom size" bridesmaid dress for my friend's wedding, but the sizing came in really funky and I had to get it altered. Azazie has an amazing alteration refund policy, and the request was super easy. I also see that Lincoln Center released new tickets for My Fair Lady — $35 for audience members under 35. My husband isn't interested in classic musicals, but I love me some Laura Benanti. I pick a date in December for a date with myself! I also read through this week's Money Diaries, polish off my leftover burrito, and promise myself this Kit Kat is my last candy. $35
5 p.m. — I read at work while I wait around for my coworker to finish up. I grabbed a bunch of books from my building's recycling last week, all fairly recent — and right now I'm reading Travelling to Infinity (which the movie The Theory of Everything is based on). Jane Hawking is smart as hell! I make a note to rewatch the movie after I finish…Eddie Redmayne is delicious. My coworker lives near me, so I drive him home and we sneak in a few beers and sandwiches at a new neighborhood spot before I have to walk the dog. I have a pulled pork panini with French fries and they give me au jus to dip it in! So delicious. I intend to save half as a surprise for my husband for dinner, but it's so good I eat the whole thing. $31.63
8 p.m. — Husband brings the mail in and then goes for a four-mile run with the dog. I open the mail and find a letter from the IRS noticing an error in my tax return…uh oh. They don't demand any money, they just want me to figure out if the errors I reported are legit. I will deal with it tomorrow. I settle in for a few episodes of Daredevil. Husband doesn't enjoy Marvel's darker series, so I only watch when he's not home. I'm a little behind in terms of release dates. I watch the first episode where Punisher is introduced, get hooked, and stay up far too late.
Daily Total: $66.63

Day Three

6:20 a.m. — TGIF!! I snooze too much, dry shampoo my hair, and pack a frozen acai bowl for breakfast, a frozen Amy's pesto tortellini for lunch, and extra granola as a snack. I also prep a Kong for the dog and throw it in the freezer. He has separation anxiety, but if we give him a long-lasting treat before we leave, he gets too distracted to do anything destructive.
7 a.m. — Dunkin' stop. Another double espresso. $2.70
10 a.m. — My boss is out today, so it's a little busier than normal for me while I cover for her. It slows down a little mid-morning, so I pour granola in my acai bowl and chow down while pulling up my tax records. I think the IRS is right on some of the differences, so I print out an amended form to mail in.
1 p.m. — I eat my pesto bowl (yum!) and pack up another sale for Poshmark. I normally only sell my own clothes, but a few weeks ago I dipped my toes into buying thrifted clothes specifically for resale. I nabbed a few name-brand wool coats in good condition, mostly because I was shopping for myself, but also to try to sell. I figured if they didn't sell I would donate them to the NYC Coat Drive without feeling bad about losing money. However, the first coat sold last night, and the profits will cover the whole thrift store purchase!
4 p.m. — I jet out at the end of the day and stop by the grocery store t0 pick up Honey Bunches of Oats, flour, sugar, cranberries, pumpkin, honey, bananas, and almond milk. $25.13
6 p.m. — Dog and I walk around the block. My friend whose upcoming wedding I'm going to be a bridesmaid in comes over and my husband goes over to her place to play video games with her fiancé. We cut out some wedding decorations on my Cricut and I also cut some vinyl iron-ons — my husband is running the NYC Marathon this weekend and I'm making surprise t-shirts for everyone who is coming to cheer him on! We drink wine and order fries and hot dogs from the corner diner. $15.98
Daily Total: $43.81

Day Four

7 a.m. — I snooze in bed and read the newspaper on my phone while my husband gets ready for a sponsored race breakfast. The dog and I walk him to the train. They allowed plus ones to sign up last week, but all the spots were taken in 45 minutes, so I got waitlisted to no avail!
9 a.m. — I put on a pot of coffee and slice a banana to put in my cereal. After eating, I finish off making the marathon t-shirts. I also listen to last week's Live From Here and make a note to see when the show is coming to NYC this year. We went to the show last year and it was insane. Chris Thile is a genius.
11 a.m. — Husband is back and I clean the guest room and bathroom while he catches up on work emails. We both have desks in the guest room — we are lucky to have so much space in New York, and we make sure to offer it up to friends and family whenever they're in town. Our friends are coming to stay with us in a few days, so I change the bedsheets. After everything is clean, I make pumpkin cranberry muffins, roast salmon, and sauté spinach! I ignore the part of the muffin recipe that calls for artificial sugar packets (weird Southern cookbooks!) and put in brown sugar...but I'm not sure about my ratios.
3 p.m. — I open a ginger cider and we watch two episodes of MasterChef. We are woefully behind on this season. Muffins are under-sugared, as expected, but still delicious.
5:30 p.m. — We take a break from TV to keep working on an Ikea project we started three months ago. We are planning to stay in our apartment for a few more years, so we added some extra kitchen cabinets where there was just empty space. It has already improved life immensely, but we forgot to buy hinges, so we've had open shelving for months. Today we put all but one door on — we had the order pulled for pickup, and it turns out they pulled the wrong sized door for one of them! We also decide we hate the door handles we picked out, so we will make the long haul trip next weekend to return everything and purchase the correct door.
6:30 p.m. — I call in dinner from our favorite Italian place — it's time to carb up for the marathon! We leave a few minutes later to pick up the food with the dog. I get butternut squash gnocchi in butter thyme sauce and tiramisu, and my husband gets lemon spaghetti with grilled chicken. The portions are so big that we both keep leftovers for tomorrow post-marathon. Husband pays.
8 p.m. — Home with the food, and I pour a glass of wine for myself while my husband sticks with water. We nom and watch the first two episodes of The Romanoffs. We have no idea if we like it or not, but it is very well done. Then we head to bed — big day tomorrow!
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

5:30 a.m. — Husband leaves to catch the bus to Staten Island for the New York City Marathon. I try to get back to sleep and fail, so I take the dog out for a quick walk, make coffee and cereal, and read Reddit for a few hours.
9 a.m. — Whoops, I took a quick nap on the couch. I take the dog out for a long walk, get cash out of the ATM down the block, and get ready to go. I leave $20 for my dog walker. (This is separate from my monthly dog walk cost, since we budget that for only weekdays.) I'll split this with my husband at the end of the month when we reconcile utilities and rent. $20
11 a.m. — I meet up with a group of friends and we head to Brooklyn to try to see my husband at mile five. Once we get there, I dip into a bodega for a seltzer, chips, and a backup water in case he needs one along the way ($4.25). We use the marathon app to track him, and — success! We cheer him on as he runs by. On to the next stop. I also top up my MetroCard, which should get me through today, and honestly the next month ($40). $44.25
12:45 p.m. — We make it to mile eight. The subway station is SLAMMED — this seems to be a popular place to watch. My husband texts me from his watch (it's the future!!) and asks me to have Tylenol ready for him. I sneak my way through the crowd to get a spot in the front and a few minutes later, I see him! He grabs the pills and continues to run. I momentarily feel like a badass for nailing the handoff.
1:20 p.m. — We take the train to mile 15 and have 30 minutes to kill, so we find a burger bar and order food and beer. I Venmo a friend for my beer ($3) and get mozzarella sticks and lobster bisque ($12.25). The kitchen is a little more slammed than expected, so I chow down on the mozz sticks, chug my beer, and run back to the race, soup in hand. Classic soup-to-go situation, you know? We manage to all get spots in the front and my husband runs by with high fives for everyone. $15.25
2 p.m. — We take the train to mile 18 and sprint down the street to First Avenue, where we JUST miss him by a block. Sad, but we've managed to see him a lot today! We have an hour before we want to go towards the next stop to see him again, so we duck into another bar for a round of drinks. I order a Christmas-themed bourbon drink and my friend pays for everyone and tells me not to worry about Venmo-ing her because of the hot dogs on Friday.
3:30 p.m. — We walk over to Fifth Avenue and manage to see my husband as he enters the park! He's in super great spirits and only has 2.5 miles to go! We walk down to the pedestrian crossover on 86th and get as close to the runner exit as possible, but it's packed. My friends wait further up and I snake my way down another 10 blocks or so. As I'm walking, I get a picture of my husband and his medal! Score! He finally makes his way out and wants a beer. I send my friends on the mission to find an open bar with no luck, so we head back uptown. They take the train, but I call a Lyft for the marathon man. $55.61
6 p.m. — We have a round of beers and sandwiches as we all share stories. I grab the bill just because it's easier to put it on one tab, and find out they are giving 20% off for marathon runners today! I pay the $190 bill with the intention of Venmo requesting the group, but my husband instead sends me the full bill amount — he wants to thank everyone for supporting him and says the cheers and smiles got him to the finish line. Adorable.
Daily Total: $135.11

Day Six

6 a.m. — I roll out of bed feeling pretty energized this morning! I take a shower and then prep breakfast and lunch: muffin, mini candy, leftover chips from yesterday, cereal, and gnocchi. Feels like a little much today, but I can leave food in the kitchen at work if I need to.
6:45 a.m. — I meet my coworker at my car and we stop at Dunkin' on the way in. I'm feeling a little dehydrated but also want caffeine, so I opt for a black iced tea ($2.71). I text with my friends from out of town who are staying with us to figure out how to get them the keys. They're staying at an Airbnb tonight with hopes to switch over to my apartment midday tomorrow. I decide to pick them up at the airport to make everything easy! $2.71
10:30 a.m. — Slow morning. I eat my leftover chips and a brownie that one of my coworkers brought in.
1 p.m. — I eat at my desk and continue reading my book. This gnocchi is still incredible even two days later! I also finally figure out what to get my husband for his birthday — Milk Bar does classes, and he looooves their stuff. I call in to see if I can get two spots, but they only have one left. I put my name on the waiting list and hope that someone cancels (which they say is rare). It's a little pricey ($190), but my birthday is the following week so I'll count it as a treat for me too. I won't be charged until a spot opens up.
2:15 p.m. — I leave work early to go to a doctor's appointment. I have been dealing with plantar fasciitis in my feet, and this is hopefully my last appointment for a while. I pay the parking meter ($3), get another cortisone shot in one of my feet, and drive to the local shelter to drop off eight bags of gently used clothing. I did a big spring cleaning and I also collect other friends' donations. Since I have a car, I volunteer a few times a year to take items that people might otherwise toss. I fill up the gas tank on the way to the airport ($25.71). $28.71
5 p.m. — I arrive at LaGuardia a few minutes early and circle the airport a few times. The traffic around the airport is gross due to the construction, but this is much better than it is on weekends. I am reunited with my friends and am so happy! I hand off the key and drive them over to the East Side, before heading home. Traffic is a little worse than expected on the way home, but I feel like I did a good deed. Hopefully I will see them at home tomorrow night!
8 p.m. — Car is parked, dog is walked, and I'm on the couch with my feet up. I eat some cheddar cheese off the block (no shame) and toast while watching an episode of Daredevil. My husband brings home leftover Thai food for me, which I save for lunch tomorrow.
Daily Total: $31.42

Day Seven

5:30 a.m. — Man, the whole fam is snuggled under the comforter and it is hard to listen to my alarm! I get ready and trudge to the train — when I have a lot of things planned after work, it's sometimes easier to leave my car parked on the street for the day. I pay for my subway ride with my preloaded MetroCard.
6:45 a.m. — Train commute means I can stop at Starbucks! I get a grande peppermint mocha with almond milk, banana nut bread, and a sparkling water, since I forgot my water bottle today. $12.61
7:15 a.m. — I transfer to the commuter rail and show my ticket to the conductor. I buy a handful of one-way tickets every six months, so this one is prepaid. I get into work and it's already busy.
12:45 p.m. — I scarf down my Thai food — so good! I make a grocery list for tomorrow. Between the marathon and seeing a show tonight, my normal meal planning and prep has fallen by the wayside.
4:30 p.m. — I head back home via the trains. I walk the dog and drop him off at my neighbor's apartment. When I'm out all day I feel guilty leaving him, so I try to get him some social time when it works out. My neighbor ADORES him but doesn't feel like she can handle owning her own dog right now, so she enjoys watching mine. She'll drop him off at my apartment later in the night whenever she's had enough snuggles. I head back to the subway, snag a seat, and finally breathe.
6:30 p.m. — I meet my husband for a quick bite at a hidden food court near Times Square. I get pork buns and a green tea ($13.17) and he gets a Mediterranean wrap and some INSANE fries. (He pays.) I demolish most of his fries and somewhat apologize. This food court is good for a delicious quick bite, but the prices are a little inflated since it's so close to all the theaters. We head over to The Lyric Theatre — we bought tickets for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child over a year ago and it's finally time! We step into the gorgeous theater and stop by the bar on the way. I get a double cabernet sauvignon and my husband gets a Brooklyn Lager. It's packed and I am able to get my card out first, so I pay ($26). $39.17
10:45 p.m. — Well, that was incredible! We decide we've got a little more energy left, so we meet up with some friends at a bar. I grab a table while my husband gets a Manhattan and an Old Fashioned from the bar. He pays and doesn't tell me the total! My friend and her boyfriend arrive and we catch up for a single drink. An hour later we are feeling super tired, so we catch a cab uptown. (Husband pays.) I'm going to be wiped tomorrow!
Daily Total: $51.78
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