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A Week In New York On A $73,000 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. We’re asking real people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we’re tracking every last dollar.

Today: a marketing coordinator who makes $73,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a brass candlestick holder.
Occupation: Marketing coordinator
Industry: Architecture
Age: 26
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $73,000
Net Worth: $202,000 (savings: $11,000; checking: $7,000; Roth IRA: $65,000; brokerage: $97,000; 401(k): $22,000).
Debt: 0
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $3,000
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,000 (for my half; I split this evenly with my partner, H.)
Savings: $800
Electricity: ~$30 (my half)
Gas: ~$15 (my half)
Internet: $27 (my half)
Phone: on my parents’ plan
401(k): $390 (+ my company matches 4%)
Health Insurance: $100
Streaming: I use my parents’.
Spotify + Hulu: $10
iCloud: $1
Patreon: $5
Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
I never questioned that I would go to college. I feel very lucky that I could apply to a variety of schools and didn’t have to consider cost in my decision. My parents set up a fund when I was born to cover all tuition needs. I worked over the summers and had two jobs during my senior year of college to fund my travels while I studied abroad and social activities.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent(s)/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
My parents are very financially literate. I didn’t have a good concept of my parents’ wealth growing up as all of my friends were in similar situations or even wealthier. They didn’t disclose specifics when I was younger but have been more transparent as I’ve gotten older. Their insight has been hugely beneficial as I discuss my finances with them often. I’m also open with my partner, H., and close friends about finances, as I think we all benefit when we know what the other is capable of and comfortable with affording.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I started babysitting when I was 14 so I could have spending money. My first official job was in high school, teaching swim lessons during the school year and over the summers.
Did you worry about money growing up?
I never worried about if my family had enough money, only if I had enough money. When I was in primary school, I would spend my small allowance on the silliest things. I always thought I had to use it up and never thought to save it (thankfully, I got better at this starting in high school).
Do you worry about money now?
I think about it a lot but only worry about it a little. I’m able to treat myself within reason and I’m limited by my PTO so I can’t take many vacations outside of family visits. I worry about buying a house and having enough money to have kids (and pay for their college). I’ve come to terms I’ll likely never have as much money as my parents have.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
At 22, when I got my first job. I have my parents as a safety net if anything drastic were to happen, but I have enough savings that I could afford to stay in New York for multiple months without a job (plus H. could cover our rent in full if needed).
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
My grandpa gifted me $7,000 when I graduated high school. I’ve saved $60,000 myself but the rest of the money in my brokerage is left over from college. I don’t touch that money but it is technically in my name.

Day One

5:15 a.m. — I wake up to my alarm. I’ve started training for a marathon and need to get my run in before work as I have book club tonight. I look out the window and see a couple of inches of snow so I decide to get back into bed.
6:15 a.m. — I wake up before H. so I can get ready for work. He wakes up 15 minutes later and while he showers, I make the bed (it’s a sacred system, I’m very particular). I order a few items I need from Target (jasmine rice, olive oil, a can of chickpeas, oats, face wash, body lotion). $48.83
7:15 a.m. — We head to the train ($2.90). Our offices are near each other so we’re able to commute together which makes a boring activity a special one. We play Wordle and Connections then read our books before a little kiss and goodbye. My stop is first. $2.90
8 a.m. — I prepped overnight oats (with almond milk, cinnamon, chia seeds, and maple syrup) yesterday so I have half a mason jar (and put the other half in the fridge for tomorrow). I have my first cup of Earl Gray tea with almond milk. I follow this up with a banana from the office.
12:15 p.m. — I eat lunch in the office cafe (I meal prepped a big salad of quinoa, broccoli, and chickpeas for the week) while I read my book The Idiot. I get all of my books through my library and Libby. It’s my dad’s birthday next week so after I finish eating, I walk across the street to the post office to send him a card.
2 p.m. — I ask my friend, O., if she is free on Friday and we buy tickets for All of Us Strangers. She buys and I venmo my half ($18.19). Before my check-in with my supervisor, I eat some chickpea chips courtesy of the office. $18.19

5:15 p.m. — I turn off my screens and head out for the day. We’re now in-person most days of the week but the silver lining is I don’t have to lug my laptop around. H. is on the train and tells me which car he’s in. I find him and we talk about our days ($2.90). I tell him my plan to run to book club to make up for the workout I missed this morning. $2.90

6 p.m. — We get home and I have to make a quick turnaround. I layer up and shove a light puff jacket into the new running vest from Salomon that I got for Christmas. I also pack some chapstick, my Kindle, and my keys. Bye H.! I’m off and it is COLD and icy. I listen to Jenny Slate’s Little Weirds on audiobook, from Libby of course.

7 p.m. — Four miles later, I arrive and I’m purposefully 30 minutes early, so I pop by next door and get a cheese pizza slice ($4.80) and eat it on the walk to the cafe where book club is. $4.80

7:20 p.m. — I’m the first one here and I order two chocolate-covered pretzel rods and secure us a table while I try to warm up. The rest of the group arrives and we catch up before we get into the discussion. $4.36

9 p.m. — We pick our next book and we all walk to the subway. Once home, I eat a mug of Cheerios. H. is just now eating leftovers for dinner and I grumble about the day’s annoyances. I shower quickly then put on my eye mask while H. reads in bed. $2.90

Daily Total: $84.88

Day Two

6:15 a.m. — I wake up before H., without an alarm (I pride myself on my internal clock), and get ready.
7:15 a.m. — On the train platform I get Wordle in three and Connections with no mistakes! We’re able to get seats together and read the rest of the way. I like this new book, but feel it is repetitive at times. $2.90

7:50 a.m. — I eat my oats but fill up before I finish the jar so I save it for tomorrow, supplemented by the banana I’ve stashed in my desk. I have my first cup of Earl Gray, followed by a lemon ginger tea as my throat has been a little sore.

10 a.m. — While at my desk, I play around on to figure out a route for the long run I have planned for this weekend. H. is also training for a race, so we have 14 miles planned. I come up with a route that goes over both the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges and send it to H. He approves!

12:15 p.m. — I eat my same lunch by the window and read but then my coworkers join me so we chat while we eat. After, I finish listening to Little Weirds while working on some emails.

1:30 — I have an apple sauce for “dessert” and work for the rest of the afternoon. I make plans with my friend, S., this weekend, and I suggest either the Met (I have a membership gifted by my parents for my birthday and that gets me two free tickets) or the movie Zone of Interest. He chooses the latter and we touch base later to decide on a showtime for Saturday.

5 p.m. — I leave right at 5 p.m. on the dot as I’m not commuting with H. tonight. I stand and read the whole way, which is welcome as I sit at my desk all day. $2.90

5:40 p.m. — It’s so cold out and I’m dreading my run. I stop by the corner store and buy a black and white cookie and a 100 Grand chocolate bar for when I get back from the run. I check the mail and unpack before I bundle back up. $3.57

6 p.m. — I start my new audiobook, Eat, Pray, Love. I’ve seen the movie so many times, but never read the book. I run just over four miles.

7 p.m. — After a shower, I call my mom while I make dinner. It’s broccoli and brown rice pasta with pesto. Not the most exciting. I eat the cookie for dessert. O. asks if I want to see a DJ set with her in a few weeks — the names aren’t familiar but I love live music and it’s within walking distance so I buy my ticket. $25.75

7:30 p.m. — I watch YouTube while I eat then continue my subscription catchup while I stretch and follow my simple skincare routine (face wash, tretinoin, and a deep moisturizing overnight face mask). I sit with my feet up against the wall and watch TikTok before I climb into bed.

9 p.m. — H. and I made it our resolution to be off social media (and our phones in general) at 9 p.m. and since I’ve been in the office, my screen time has been minimal (not counting all the time I stare at my monitor from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day). I read The Idiot on my Kindle and wait for H. to come home, then it’s shut-eye.

Daily Total: $35.12

Day Three

6:15 a.m. — Quickly out of bed. I brush my teeth, wash my face, and do my normal makeup routine: fill in my eyebrows and add blush and mascara. I walk out of the bathroom to H.’s alarm going off. While he gets ready, I book my tickets for the movie with S. this Saturday. So far, we’re the only reserved seats in the theater. $14.19
7:15 a.m. — We walk to the train and there’s still lots of snow out, which amplifies a gorgeous pink sky. I get Wordle in two! I have a hard time with Connections so I peek at H.’s board and miraculously am able to finish (I try not to take these games too seriously). We both read the rest of the way and our train transfer lines up perfectly so I make it to the office early. $2.90
7:45 a.m. — I get my Earl Gray and leftover oats and finish them off at my desk. This has been a pretty quiet week for me so I pull up a few items to work on but end up reading an article before others get into the office.
9 a.m. — We have our monthly global meeting so we get to see the full marketing team and catch up on all the new items and events that have taken place since our last check-in. The meeting lasts the full hour and once it wraps I get another cup of tea and eat the banana I saved for today.
12 p.m. — Normally, I eat my lunch now but we have a company-wide town hall to showcase a project that finished recently. This is new content for most of the firm but we in marketing have seen the images so there are no surprises there. There’s pizza so I have a slice!
1 p.m. — Last night, I watched a TikTok of a woman making a Valentine’s Day candy salad and I’ve been craving something gummy since. I walk a couple of blocks to Target and end up not buying anything from the seasonal section, instead opting for store-brand peach rings and mini peanut butter M&M’s. $5.91
5:30 p.m. — With the help of a cup of peppermint tea, a GoGo SqueeZ, and a handful of pistachios, I’ve made my way through the end of the day and I head home on the subway. H. has plans again tonight so I’ve got another meditative run ahead of me. $2.90
6:15 p.m. — Okay okay, I’ll run. It’s not as cold out but a few steps in, I can already tell I’m not feeling this. It’s a slow but beneficial three and a half miles. I listen to Elizabeth Gilbert talk about learning Italian. I shower and put on my PJs. I enjoy the rest of the brown rice pasta, some steamed broccoli, and a pad of butter for dinner. The new season of Break Point is on Netflix so I watch that while I cook, eat, and clean up.
8:30 p.m. — After an episode of Break Point and a few handfuls of my mini M&M’s, I call my sister. We catch up while I get ready for bed. I hop into bed and watch a little more TV before I switch over to The Idiot until I can’t keep my eyes open (approximately 10 pages).
11:30 p.m. — H. gets home. I don’t sleep as well when he’s not next to me so I greet him and once he gets into bed, I pass out.
Daily Total: $25.90

Day Four

6:15 a.m. — Wooo! It’s Friday. My throat hurts and I didn’t sleep very well as I had a stress dream about promotions at work. I get ready quickly and have a few minutes to hop back into bed with H. before his alarm goes off.
7:15 a.m. — We’re on the subway platform and the train comes only a minute later. I get Wordle in three again and no mistakes in Connections! I do the mini crossword as well but that stumps me so I’m done in 58 seconds. $2.90
7:50 a.m. — I make my cup of tea and eat a Clif bar I have stashed in my desk. I follow it with a banana an hour later.
12:30 p.m. — It’s the final day of my quinoa which I can barely finish as I’m tired of this meal. I read a bit then head back to my desk. My supervisor asks if I have a moment and they tell me I’m getting a title promotion — crazy dream timing! I’ve been hoping for this for the last few months but didn’t think the day would ever come.
3 p.m. — My coworker shares the cookies she brought so I have two and type through the rest of the day before signing off at 5 p.m. I take the train to meet O. and two of her friends at a brewery before the movie. I get a cider and O. tells me to put it on her tab. $2.90
6:10 p.m. — O.’s two friends have decided to join us at the movies! We walk over and stop at a bodega for snacks but I packed the gummy rings from yesterday.
8:45 p.m. — Turns out I had no clue what the movie was about going into it and I leave surprised and heartbroken. I say goodbye to the group and grab a veggie burrito (courtesy of a Christmas gift card) before I run to the subway. When I get home, my Target packages are waiting for me! I watch more Break Point while I eat my late dinner. I then diligently unpack and break down the boxes and then have M&M’s on the couch. $2.90

10 p.m. — I do a couple of stretches and PT exercises my sister taught me to help with some stubborn knee pain. H. comes home much later after a night out with friends.

Daily Total: $8.70

Day Five

7:15 a.m. — I have never been able to sleep in, this is typically the latest it gets. I watch some YouTube on the couch then have cereal and tea for breakfast. H. and I are doing a deep clean of the apartment today but he’s still fast asleep (understandably so).
8 a.m. — I want to get a head start on the clean and get to work in the bathroom. I pop in Eat, Pray, Love, clean the toilet, and scrub the sink and shower until I swear I see little sparkles. Now down to the building basement to do laundry. We’ll need to do two loads and H. put money on the card last so we have enough to cover the $8 ($4 for each full load).
9 a.m. — H. is up! I feel like we haven’t hung out all week. I put the sheets in the laundry and take out the first batch from the dryer. While the next load is in, we walk to the farmers’ market down the block. H. gets some milk and I add on a little chocolate milk, which he treats. He finishes up the laundry while I change into my running clothes. I’m off!
11 a.m. — I run three and a half miles. I’ve been listening to podcasts or audiobooks while I run and it’s such a treat to switch it up with some music. I push my pace and have a big smile on my face with the sun out (which I haven’t had on a run yet this week)! H. is at the gym when I get back so I shower and get ready for my movie plans, eating a handful of pita chips to hold me over.
12:30 p.m. — I’m out the door to see a movie in Williamsburg with S., bye sweet H. I read The Idiot on the subway. $2.90
1 p.m. — S. and I meet in the lobby and then find our seats for Zone of Interest.
3 — We’re both silently devastated after the movie and we walk around the neighborhood to find a cafe. After multiple spots, we’re finally able to find a place with an open seat. We catch up on work drama and I get a chamomile tea ($3.81). I tell S. I’m on a mission to find a candlestick holder and he tells me about a place nearby so we walk over. Success — I get a brass holder and a pink stick ($13.07). I need to go to Trader Joe’s and S. could use some things as well. I get items for two dinners, ingredients for lunch this week, and chocolate oat milk ($56.76). We say goodbye and I walk to the subway ($2.90). $76.54
5:30 p.m. — H. is out so it’s dinner for one. I put on the rice maker and while that’s cooking, I vacuum and mop (our apartment is a tiny studio so this is a light lift). I cook off half the prepared tofu I just bought and some frozen broccoli and plate it over rice with soy sauce and sesame seeds.
7 p.m. — After dinner, I watch Break Point, finish off the M&M’s, and then get ready for bed. I prep overnight oats for breakfast tomorrow. Time for TikTok! I switch to The Idiot as I get in bed and fall asleep right as H. comes home at 10 p.m. Excited for some quality time catching up on the run tomorrow.
Daily Total: $79.44

Day Six

6 a.m. — Long run day! I’m up early (or I guess this is pretty normal for me) so I have enough time to eat and digest before we leave at 8 a.m. I eat my oats and make some tea while I play on my computer. H. sleeps in until just before 7 a.m.
7 a.m. — H.’s coffee is brewing, and I pack a salted watermelon Gu and fill up the water bottles for my vest. Things are moving smoothly this morning and we leave right on time at 8 a.m.
8:45 a.m. — Wow it’s cold out! As we run down towards the water, we are contemplating switching the route to stay inland and avoid the wind. We stop at a grocery store to use the bathroom and warm up for a moment before we turn around. We’re about six miles in so we opt to finish our mileage in Prospect Park.
10 a.m. — H. has plans to meet a friend so he dips out after mile 10 but I have a few more miles ahead of me. It’s so nice to have H.’s company, but running with music puts a much-needed pep in my step. Since it’s a revised route, I end up running a little too far but it’s too cold to walk the rest of the way. Fifteen miles under the belt.
11 a.m. — H.’s friend had to cancel so we get to spend the rest of the day together! We make scrambled eggs and hash browns after a long, hot shower, then lounge around for a while. I prep my lunch for the week (more quinoa, with cucumbers, bell pepper, and baby mozz pearls) and another jar of overnight oats.
1:30 p.m. — We do the Sunday crossword puzzle from NYT and it takes us 45 minutes with many checks. We walk to a nearby bakery and get mini cheesecakes (H. treats).
4 p.m. — Before dinner, I make a loaf of Claire Saffitz’s poppyseed almond cake. I realize we don’t have eggs, so I run to the corner store and get eggs, sugar, and more peanut butter ($14.97). Now I can start baking. I make half the recipe, swapping in melted butter for oil and omitting the orange glaze. $14.97
7 p.m. — We stretch, then trade foot rubs while watching an episode of The Americans. It’s H.’s favorite show and I’m watching it for the first time. We started it over a year ago but watch maybe two episodes a month, so we’re only on season two. After the episode, I get ready for bed and open my Kindle, where I manage only a few pages before my eyes refuse to stay open. I fall asleep soundly at 9 p.m.
Daily Total: $14.97

Day Seven

6 a.m. — What a night of rest! I sneak into the bathroom and I’m grateful my legs aren’t sore. Quick morning routine and then I hop back into bed for a few minutes before H.’s alarm. He wakes up, we get ready, then out the door at 7:10 a.m. for the subway. $2.90
8 a.m. — While I eat my oats at my desk, I read through my emails from the weekend. Shortly after, I’m hungry, so I snack on a GoGo SqueeZ and a few pistachios.
12 p.m. — It’s my dad’s birthday! I give him a call and we talk about his plans for the day and I fill him in on my long run. He’s off to the museum with my mom so we say goodbye and I head back into the office to eat my lunch. When I finish, I have only 20 pages left of The Idiot.
3 p.m. — I continue with my day but take a break to make a few calls (one to a bakery about ordering a cake and another to my building management). A handful of pistachios and some popcorn get me through to 5 p.m.
5 p.m. — Perfect timing, the train arrives right as I walk down to the platform and H. is waiting for me with a seat. He’s not feeling great so he’s going to sit out tonight’s run. $2.90
5:45 p.m. — Once we get home, I get a boost of fuel from a birthday cake Gu (first time trying it, pretty good!). Four miles to Eat, Pray, Love and I stop at the grocery store to put in the customized cake order for S.’s surprise birthday party on Friday. $44.99
7:30 p.m. — H. is making pizza when I get home so I shower, then we eat. For dessert, I have poppyseed cake from yesterday while we do the Monday crossword. I lay out my clothes for work tomorrow, brush my teeth, then get into bed, ready to power through the rest of The Idiot. Lights off at 9:30 p.m. — sweet dreams.
Daily Total: $50.79
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