A Week In New York City On $25,000 A Month

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: an entrepreneur working in e-commerce who makes approximately $604,800 per year and spends some of her money this week on Sour Patch Kids.
Edit note: We updated the headline and income info to more accurately reflect the OP's take-home pay.
Occupation: Entrepreneur
Industry: E-commerce
Age: 22
Location: New York City
Income: Between $300,000 and $360,000 (As of writing, I've made more than $600,000 in revenue this year.)
Paycheck Amount (Monthly): Between $25,000 and $30,000 (I get payouts each business day, but amounts vary wildly, so this is the monthly average.)
Advertisement
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,207 (I live with two roommates.)
Student Loan Payment: My parents generously covered my undergrad education. I will be going to graduate school next year, and I will cover all costs.
Wifi & Utilities: $175 for my half
Netflix: $7.99
Building Amenities Fee: $52
Cell Phone: $70
Savings: I try to put away as much as I can at the end of each month in a high-yield savings account — usually around $20,000. I transfer money from my checking account to savings daily, so I never feel too flush and accidentally buy a Chanel bag. I recently opened a brokerage account, and am looking into individual retirement accounts, but still need to do more research.

Day One

11 a.m. — It is a beautiful Sunday outside, so my boyfriend, R., and I decide to picnic in the laziest way possible without actually cooking or sitting in the sun. We grab picnic snacks (he pays) and we sit on a bench in the shade eating peanut butter pretzels, chips and guac, and dried mangoes. A guy is trying to convince dog-walkers to try his weird coffee yogurt drink; R. doesn't let me try the drink because he says they're not FDA-approved. I write down the coffee yogurt brand on my list of new businesses. (I like to keep a running list of new businesses that I see on social media, TV, subway ads, etc., and study their business models.) After our eventful morning, we walk home and take a nap.
3 p.m. — R. has a haircut at 2 p.m., and I spin around on of the comfy chairs in the salon as I wait. I contemplate getting a coffee from the Starbucks next door, but I'm too lazy to walk the 20 feet. After he's done, we walk over to a local pizzeria. He is feeling pretty good about his fresh cut, so obviously we slow down whenever we walk past a reflective surface. We order one classic margarita, one eggplant parm, and a Diet Coke for me. The food takes forever to come out, and it's all very mediocre. The Diet Coke tastes like Pepsi, but I slurp it up anyway. We split the bill and stroll home, stopping for delicious salted caramel ice cream on the way. (R. pays for the ice cream.) $32
Advertisement
9 p.m. — Spend the rest of our Sunday sitting together on the couch doing our own thing. R. has some catch-up work to do before work on Mondays, and I always have a never-ending list of emails to answer. We reconvene after a few hours to watch Coco on Netflix. I can't sit still and stare at a screen without food, so I run to Trader Joe's to pick up some movie snacks (if you haven't tried their dark chocolate peanut butter cups, you haven't lived) and a pack of Tupperware from the Rite Aid across the street for his sister, who mentioned she was running out of Tupperware for her meal prep. Verdict: R. loves the movie, and I think it is just okay. Then again, I know for a fact I have terrible taste in movies, so it was probably amazing. $34
Daily Total: $66

Day Two

6 a.m. — Wake up at 6 a.m. with R. and get home to my apartment. I call my lovely parents who live on the other side of the world, and order some vitamins and other stuff on Amazon for them ($193). I'll ship it all together with some other stuff I ordered after everything arrives. I make a note to look at cashmere sweaters for my mom too, since she loves them! $193
7 a.m. — Play Parks and Recreation for background noise while I start my day. I spend the morning answering emails, brainstorming new designs (I am a handbag designer), and coordinating with my fulfillment center. I'm in the middle of switching fulfillment partners for my e-commerce store, and it's a bit of a logistical nightmare. Currently, my items are manufactured in China, and shipped all over the world from a center in Hong Kong. I'm transitioning to more local fulfillment (and faster shipping for my customers) by dividing inventory between fulfillment centers. It's a bit of a risky move, but I know it's a necessary step to scale my business. I break for lunch at 2 p.m. and get my normal burrito bowl from my favorite spot downstairs. $10.74
Advertisement
8 p.m. — I Uber to and from Duane Reade ($7.53) to pick up candy ($12). Yeah...what can I say? I love me some candy. Eat delicious Sour Patch Watermelons while watching Netflix and browsing Mango (they have really upped their game!!!) and Zaful for bikinis for the upcoming cruise that I'm going on with R. Reviewers warn that their bikinis run small, so I order a Zaful suit ($15.99) in my normal size on Amazon first to see how it fits. If it works out, I'll order the rest. I shower, apply my favorite Embryolisse moisturizer, brush my teeth, and go to bed at 11 p.m. $35.52
Daily Total: $239.26

Day Three

9 a.m. — Wake up at 8, read articles on Medium for an hour, then chat with my parents about travel plans for end of the year. After Black Friday (which I need to be home for), I'm planning to go to London to visit my best friend, travel around Europe with another friend who is studying abroad for a semester, and then go home for two weeks to visit my parents. Since I'm not a U.S. citizen, I need to apply for visas ahead of time.
12 p.m. — I take stock of inventory and look at store data to calculate how much inventory I'll need to prepare for the holiday season. I go downstairs to drop off my visa application at UPS and purchase next day shipping ($9), and pick up my usual burrito bowl ($10.74). While eating, R. texts and says he just found out he is going on a business trip to Europe in two weeks and asks if I want to go with him...what?! I call the UPS store and ask if they can please hold my package, and then it's a mad scramble to type up a request to change my visa dates as well as print out hotel confirmations and more supporting documents ($11 for printing). Fingers crossed it will be processed in time and that I will be able to go next week!! I am too excited to eat and I put my burrito bowl in the fridge for another day. $30.74
4 p.m. — I have been a healthy living influencer of sorts on Instagram since high school. Hop on a call with startup I am doing marketing for, and then head to my eyelash extension appointment. I recently started getting extensions again, and they make me feel so pretty! I found a spot that charges $80 for extensions and $70 for three-week refills, which I think is a decent deal — especially in NYC, where they can run up to $200. I top up my metro card on my way there ($40). I don't take the subway too often, so I don't get the monthly unlimited pass. I dream about Black Friday/Cyber Monday marketing strategy while the technician makes me beautiful. ($70+$20 tip). $130
5 p.m. — All done! I sit down in the salon's waiting area, scroll through Fashionphile, my favorite pre-loved designer site, and immediately order a navy blue Celine tote bag that's on sale for $650 plus tax ($707). I've had my eye on this style for awhile, and this price is an absolute steal (retail price is around $1,900). I know I can sell it for at least $1,200 on Poshmark or eBay if I ever tire of it and make some easy money! I unloaded about $1,600 worth of stuff on Poshmark last month, so I'm using that "fund" for some fall purchases. I love designer bags and shoes, but will only buy new items if I sell stuff I already own. It feels like Monopoly money to me, so I don't feel bad. Also — long live Phoebe Philo, can I get an amen! $707
5:30 p.m. — Boyfriend is getting off work early today and convinces me to sleep over, so I pick up a Sweetgreen salad for him for dinner ($14.15). I buy roundtrip NJ Transit tickets ($7), and we take the bus to NJ, where he lives. $21.15
2 a.m. — Can't sleep because all I ate today was an arugula salad, and I'm hungry. R. is sleeping on top of me as he likes to do. Also, today someone on Instagram called my business a scam because her order never arrived. After following up with her, it turns out she placed an order from a different brand and website for a similar item that never arrived...sorry for your poor experience, but please don't blame me for another brand's incompetence!! I fall asleep in a huff.
Daily Total: $888.89

Day Four

9 a.m. — Wake up at 9 and spend my morning answering customer emails and bouncing designs off my design team. I'm spending the day at R.'s while he is at work since I didn't feel like commuting this morning. I scroll through Instagram and see a different Celine bag on a blogger and experience serious FOMO. Scour the internet and find it for $3,000 on Ebay...okay then. Tuck away bag in the back of my mind.
1 p.m. — Go to Trader Joe's and pick up food for the day ($30). Then I heat up a lasagna for lunch and watch (a.k.a. listen to) an episode of Better Call Saul while eating. Get distracted and start watching The Good Place instead. I start drafting email sequences and marketing for Black Friday. Then I browse videographers and email marketing experts on Upwork. $30
5 p.m. — Start cooking dinner! The BF has requested my famous brie pasta for dinner. I basically boil fresh pasta and fry up bacon, then melt a pound of brie in pot, and mix it all together and top it off with loads of parmesan. It. is. delicious. REALLY DELICIOUS. R. and I book a dolphin excursion for our cruise ($95 each). Yay for tourist traps and paying exorbitant amounts for a Polaroid of me kissing a dolphin. Woohoo!! $95
Daily Total: $125

Day Five

5:45 a.m. — Roll outta bed at 5:45 and take the bus back to the city with R. I make a pit stop by one of my fave Cuban spots, which is open at this ungodly hour. I get a Cuban sandwich and a peach Snapple. $12
6:45 a.m. — This hour is my favorite time to walk around NYC, so I stroll over to Bryant Park to sit and enjoy my sandwich while Googling ways to save on taxes. I am seriously consider moving to Miami to save on taxes. My BFF said the Cuban sandwiches there are better anyway. I wash my hands in the actually lovely Bryant Park public bathroom. Check Uber — it's $6 to go home and I ain't a baller, so I take the subway home. I get home at 7:45, pick up a bunch of packages, and am super productive until 4:30 when I start Googling random things and reading Money Diaries.
5 p.m. — Get ready for happy hour with two friends. Put on my favorite foundation (Chanel Vitalumière Aqua — so light, but good coverage!), some bronzer, and lipstick, and am out the door in 15 minutes. Thank you eyelash extensions! We meet at our go-to spot in midtown. My friend starts a tab and I Venmo her ($40) for a happy hour that leaves me sober. We walk to McDonald's and I order a bunch of food that I don't know what to do with. We bond over nuggets and triple cheeseburgers ($20). I get home by 10 p.m. and go to sleep immediately. $60
Daily Total: $72

Day Six

8 a.m. — I wake up at 8 and decide today is the day I will hire a customer service agent. I'm sick of fielding upwards of 30 emails every day, and I post a job on Upwork. I find one guy I like and spend the day onboarding him. He installs some new software for me and my inbox and ticketing system are instantly more organized. Hooray for having someone else put out fires!
5 p.m. — Finally come up for air and get a salad downstairs for dinner ($17). Grab some Clorox wipes because my living situation is a disgrace and a ginger ale cause it's been 18 hours without soda ($7). Also, my boyfriend is going out of town this weekend, and wanted to drop by before he leaves tomorrow. He's kinda OCD, so I furiously wipe down every surface before he arrives. We cuddle and he leaves at 8 p.m. $24
9 p.m. — I look over the work my customer service agent has completed...and I am NOT pleased. I blame myself, since I should've asked more vetting questions. I am very nice and give him a few more chances, but ultimately tell him it's not going to work out. He is very understanding and refunds me for the time he has billed so far ($50). I don't accept this, and want to compensate him for his time, so I pay him a bonus of $5o. I'm still hungry, so I order pizza ($16 + $4 tip). It comes an hour later (after I've forgotten I ordered it) and I don't really want it anymore. I text my roommates to let them know there's pizza in the fridge if they want any, and go to sleep. $70
Daily Total: $94

Day Seven

11 a.m. — Hooray for the weekend! Even though technically every day for me is a weekend. I FaceTime my parents as they are about to go to sleep, and update my BFF in London about my possible earlier visit. I place the Mango order I was mulling over earlier this week ($150) as well as an order on Zaful for bikinis ($53). The Amazon one fit really well! $203
12 p.m. — Debate getting an Olaplex treatment. I do some Googling and a salon treatment will cost me between $300 and $800, while meanwhile I can buy the same product at Sephora for $28. Hmmmm, what a tough choice!! I add to my cart, but don't purchase yet. I want to treat myself to some Thai food, so I call in a takeout order to my favorite Thai place. I order a red curry, a massaman curry, and extra rice. It will be my food for the day. I wait 20 minutes, then pick up my order. $28
5 p.m. — I veg out at home and spend time with my roommate. We all have very different schedules so we rarely get to see each other, and catching up is nice! My BFF says she's going to Levain, and I ask her to pick up some cookies for me. I Venmo her for four cookies ($16). She'll drop them off for me on her way home, since I live on the way. $16
8 p.m. — Cookie time!!! We eat cookies with soy milk — the perfect end to a wonderfully lazy day. I try not to check emails on Saturdays, since customer service is super draining for me. I FaceTime with R. and then go to sleep at 10 p.m.
Daily Total: $247
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.
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.
Have you been working for at least 8 years and seen your salary increase or fluctuate? If so, fill out this form for a chance to be featured on our Salary Story series!
Have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Right now, in addition to our ongoing diaries, we're looking for potential diarists along the following theme:
Your Spending In Your State: We want to run one Money Diary from a different state each week. Want to rep your state? Submit here! In particular, we're looking for diaries from Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, New Mexico, and North Dakota.
Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here: r29.co/mdfaqs

More from Work & Money

Watch

R29 Original Series