Money Diaries logo

A Week In Brooklyn, NY, On A $110,000 Salary

Photo: Courtesy of White Claw.
Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. Were asking real people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we’re tracking every last dollar.
Are you single and/or living alone? We want to read your Money Diary! Submit your diary here and email with any questions you may have.

Today: a marketing manager who makes $110,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a White Claw tallboy.
Occupation: Marketing manager
Industry: Fintech
Age: 28
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Salary: $110,000
Net Worth: $147,877 (investment account: $50,922.93; HYSA: $13,100; Roth IRA: $30,429.34 (I always max this out, this year I'll contribute $6,500); Roth 401(k): $18,145.66; traditional 401(k): $27,729.59; checking account: $3,000; savings account: $2,053.66; HSA: $3,082.42 minus debt).
Debt: I owe $586.51 on my Peloton and pay off my credit card in full each month.
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,745.01
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,875 (for my half of a two-bed/one-bath apartment in Brooklyn. I share with my roommate, D., and pay a bit more because my room is much bigger).
Peloton Loan: $117.32 (only four payments left).
Rock Climbing Gym: $125
Peloton Membership: $44
Spotify Premium: $18.12 (I split with my family and in return get all the streaming).
Oura Membership: $6.52
Utilities: $80
Cell Phone: $0 (still riding the parental train).
Healthcare: $0 (for now my company fully covers).
Planned Parenthood: $25
Investments: $600
HYSA: $50
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 think there was always an expectation for me to go to college. However, neither of my parents really understood the process or how to make it happen. My mother did a couple of semesters of community college before dropping out and my dad started at age 21 after a stint in the Army. This meant I was pretty much on my own when figuring out how to apply and it was TOUGH. I have so much sympathy for first-generation college students because the process is not easy. I ended up at a private university where about two-thirds of my tuition was covered by a university scholarship. I graduated with about $20,000 in student loans which my dad paid off for me as a graduation present. I am eternally grateful for that and the support my parents gave me (rent, groceries, books) while I was in school.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
We didn’t talk a ton about money but it was definitely something I was worried about constantly, especially with my mom. My parents got divorced when I was two. While my dad went on to get remarried and has always been a high earner, my mom had another kid on her own and we struggled a lot until I was 16 or 17. Money was a constant worry at her house and there was a huge imbalance between my nights spent there and the ones spent with my dad. Today, I think I’m terrified of debt because of the hold it seemed to have on my mom, and I worry constantly about carrying a credit card balance. Beyond that, I think I’ve found a pretty good balance between saving, spending, and budgeting.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
Beyond the typical neighborhood babysitting, my first job was as an assistant to an HR manager in a security firm during my senior year of high school. I worked several afternoons a week and spent the bulk of my time shredding resumes. The extra money helped me feel more independent and relieved the money stress on my mom.
Did you worry about money growing up?
Often with my mom, rarely with my dad. It was two extremes. We never went hungry or anything but my mom was a single mom with a baby and a middle schooler and she talked to me about it, which made me anxious.
Do you worry about money now?
Spoiler alert: I get laid off on day two and this will be the first time I’ve been without a job since I was in high school. While I know my parents would never let me starve and I have a solid security blanket (as well as a month's severance), I am very worried about the job market and how the new year will shake out for me.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I became officially financially responsible for myself at 26 when I got off my parent's health insurance. Before that, my dad covered healthcare, my cell phone, and Uber. While they still cover my cell phone (planning to ride that train until I die), I cover all other costs for myself.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
My dad paid off my student loans (about $20,000) and about two years ago I received $10,000 from my grandparents. I immediately put the money from my grandparents into my investment account.

Day One

7 a.m. — I wake up at my mom’s house in NJ because I traveled out here for the weekend. The commute into the office from here is long but not unmanageable, so I quickly get ready and say goodbye to the pups before my mom drives me to the train station.
8:20 a.m. — Catch the train. When commuting from my mom’s house, I take the train to the PATH so need to buy tickets for both. $14
9:30 a.m. — I arrive at work a minute before my boss and quickly settle in. We had Monday off and I’m taking Friday off to head to Vegas so it’s an extremely short week for me.
12:30 p.m. — Finally time for lunch (and my first meal of the day). I didn’t have time to pack anything from my mom’s, so I use a coupon I have from Chopt and order a salad. I go for one of the summer specials that has basil dressing, corn salad, and parmesan crisps. $10.88
3:30 p.m. — I crack open a Diet Coke and a bag of white cheddar Cheez-Its from the snack closet. Both are supplied by my company and are free.
5:30 p.m. — I head home. I bought a weekly MetroCard last week so this ride is free. The train randomly decides to skip my stop so I have to get on going the other way and ride back to my stop. Annoying, but the trains often have a mind of their own.
6:30 p.m. — I leave to head to dinner with a friend. We’re meeting at a Thai place. I order a grilled pork dish and it’s great. We also get a papaya salad and Thai iced tea. $39.10
10:30 p.m. — Quick skincare as I’m super exhausted from trekking into the city this morning. I use the Sunday Riley retinol, Saturday Skin eye cream, and Saturday Skin waterfall cream.
Daily Total: $63.98

Day Two

7 a.m. — I’m up early to get started as I have lunch plans with a friend and want to get a few things accomplished before then.
9:10 a.m. — My boss asks for a quick Zoom and as soon as I see the HR person, I know. I’m being laid off. They offer me a month’s severance and a two-week working notice period, meaning payment for six more weeks total. My boss quickly cuts off the meeting telling me to take the day and circle back later. Once I’ve cried a bit, I call my mom and she gives me some good tips. I’m able to calm myself down a bit and immediately start working on my resume and website. I plan to take the two weeks but want to read the full separation agreement before signing. I also cancel lunch with my friend as I’m still reeling and just feel unwilling to spend money on a lunch out. I still want to see him as he’ll soon be moving out of state, so he agrees to run some errands with me this afternoon.
12:30 p.m. — My best friend, H., sends me lunch to cheer me up a bit. It’s from a local French bakery I love and she sends me a BLT, a Diet Coke, and something called a chocolate explosion. All are delicious and help me feel a little bit better.
3 p.m. — I meet up with my friend to return a couple of things at Target and Marshalls. I had purchased a new outfit and some new accessories for Vegas but given my new financial status, I return most of it. My friend and I share a passion for diet orange Sunkist and he buys me a can on our walk home to help perk me up. I also add $50 to my MetroCard. This will be reimbursed by my company as part of our $125/month travel expense (this will be the last time I use this). $95.34 back on my card.
6 p.m. — I quickly scarf down dinner — a Japanese curry I made earlier in the week with rice and a hot dog. I top it with hot sauce and pickled onions. I also start packing for Vegas and contemplating what to wear for the night out, considering I just returned the outfit I was planning to wear.
8 p.m. — I get ready for bed and then I take an edible and turn on The Office to try and zone out and forget about the day a little bit. I feel strangely calm.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

7:30 a.m. — I get up and do a Peloton workout to try to burn off some of my excess energy. Yesterday, I rescheduled a dentist appointment that was supposed to be next month to today, so I also get ready for that. If I have to make a follow-up appointment, I want to make sure it falls under this month's insurance.
9:30 a.m. — Cleaning is done and I have a baby cavity to watch. I decide to just schedule the filling to make sure it gets taken care of before I have to change my insurance. I schedule my follow-up for the day after I get back from my trip. Insurance fully covers my cleaning.
11:30 a.m. — I review the separation document and officially sign it. Unfortunately, I won't get paid out for my vacation so I have six weeks (and tomorrow) until I stop getting a paycheck. My boss lets me know my working notice will start Monday, so I can take today to continue processing, and tomorrow off as previously planned.
1 p.m. — I eat a lunch of my leftover grilled pork from the other night. I spend the rest of the afternoon pulling work samples off the company drive and updating my website.
6 p.m. — Same curry dinner as last night. I absolutely love curry and I make this recipe a lot.
6:30 p.m. — I head out to a Basquiat-inspired performance at Greenwood Cemetery. I was at an event here last week and they offered free tickets to this one. I snagged two and invited a friend from an old job. On the way, I grab a bag of sweet chili Doritos to share. $4.50
9:30 p.m. — After some standouts and some very odd spoken-word performances, my friend and I head back to my place to chat for a bit. On the way, we grab coconut popsicles. I pay because I have cash. She stays for about an hour before heading home. $5
11:30 p.m. — I do some packing and finally head to bed after an extremely emotionally taxing day. I'm not ready to share my news widely yet so only my mom and two close friends know so far.
Daily Total: $9.50

Day Four

8 a.m. — I wake up to finish packing and quickly eat breakfast. It’s the last of the curry from last night, meaning I am leaving no leftovers in the fridge and also won't be buying an expensive airport breakfast. The subway ride is covered by my refill from yesterday.
11 a.m. — I board my flight to Vegas with a bit of dread. I love my friend and want to celebrate her birthday, but I'm stressed about traveling to a very expensive city. To take my mind off it, I watch Black Mirror and finish my book, The Bandit Queens. I snack on a granola bar and a bag of mini Cheez-Its that I packed.
2:15 p.m. — I land in Vegas half an hour early! I quickly grab my stuff and take an Uber to the hotel. $16.88
3:40 p.m. — It’s been almost an hour and our room still isn't ready. I talk to the concierge who puts a rush on the room and then drop off my bags and head out to find a snack. I walk over to a lounge that I stumbled upon on my last trip to Vegas. I grab a Diet Coke and some cheese and crackers and start a new book, The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende.
4:30 p.m. — I get a text that our room is ready and head back over. H. is splitting the room with me and she's finally arrived so we meet in the lobby and head up together. She surprises me with some small treats including a Diet Coke and some watermelon Sour Patch Kids. The birthday girl (E.) has told us to meet in her room at 5:30 p.m. so we quickly get ready and head to her room.
6 p.m. — We arrive at the restaurant for dinner. I get a combo plate with chili, katsu, rice, and mac salad. It’s delicious, but the portions are huge and I leave at least half behind. Unfortunately, the server is a little over-eager and dumps a whole cup of katsu sauce down E.'s shirt. We quickly clean her up but a faint smell lingers throughout the night. $17.25
7:30 p.m. — We arrive at the evening activity — a rum distillery with live performers. My favorite performers are a couple that does an incredibly acrobatic dance which includes her balancing on her partner’s forehead with one hand. The rum is tough to drink: one of the samples is 110 proof and burns so badly on its way down. Overall, a great activity and I already bought the tickets so today is free.
10 p.m. — I’m exhausted from the long day (different time zones are really catching up to me) and order an Uber home with H. and another girl. Once we’re back, I immediately get ready for bed but H. manages to rally and join E. at the hotel club. $6.50
Daily Total: $40.63

Day Five

7:30 a.m. — H. and I both wake up (thank you, time-zone switch) and can’t fall back asleep. We have vague instructions from E. to be ready by noon but there's been no confirmation. We decide to get breakfast and take a walk.
9:30 a.m. — H. and I get breakfast at an egg sandwich place in the adjoining hotel. We each order a sandwich with sautéed kale, egg whites, caramelized onions, and American cheese on a brioche bun. It's so good. $16.40
10:30 a.m. — We stop at a Walgreens to buy Gatorade for tomorrow and I buy a White Claw tallboy. E. wakes up and lets us know we need to be ready to go at 11:30 a.m. We head back to the hotel and get ready for the day club by slathering on as much sunscreen as we can. H. calls the Uber. $11.57
12:30 p.m. — After a brief wait, we make it into the day club where E. has been able to get a comped cabana that’s stocked with drinks. We spend the next three hours swimming, sipping some sort of peach drink, and dancing to the various DJs. Because this is comped, we all chip in for tip, but otherwise this excursion has been free. $20
3:30 p.m. — H. and I are too drunk and hangry. We leave to get lunch while the others stay a bit longer. We head to the food court at this casino and get Hokkaido noodles, a duck burrito, bao buns, and fries ($30.15). We call an Uber back to the hotel ($8.17) and chow down once we get back. $38.32
6 p.m. — E. lets us know to head to her room at 8 p.m. so we both shower and get ready. I have a mini breakdown about my lack of employment and feeling like a fraud anytime someone asks me what I do. H. calms me down and I get dressed. While my dress is not new, my shoes are, so it's still fun. Shoutout to Fenty highlighter for helping me shine. Once we're ready, we head to E.’s room.
9 p.m. — After many photos and shots, we stop at a taco place for dinner. I get two tacos, one lengua and one tripa and they’re both great. Living in NYC, I desperately miss West Coast Mexican food and this meal makes me so happy. After dinner, we walk to the club and wait a bit before getting in. $9.62
10:30 p.m. — We are in the club — it’s a night-swim club so we’re on a large daybed at the edge of the pool. Not exactly what I’m dressed for but it’s another comp so I can’t complain. We get a bottle of vodka and a selection of mixers so I make a vodka soda.
1 a.m. — The DJ we’ve been waiting to see finally goes on and the crowd goes crazy. I’m about three vodka sodas deep and feeling good. I’m not crazy about EDM so I don’t love the music but E. is having a great time and telling us how much she loves us. It’s also nice that this club is outside and you can stick your feet in the water when it gets warm, so I can’t really complain. My other friend, Z., goes to the bar for a blue version of a Long Island iced tea and gives me some to try. It’s good but I can quickly see it turning deadly.
2:15 a.m. — H. and I are ready to call it quits and head out with another girl. We try to give E. some money for tip but she literally runs away as my friend chases her with a $20 bill so we call it a day and take an Uber back to the hotel. Once back, we quickly get ready for bed and chug water before falling asleep. $5.83
Daily Total: $101.74

Day Six

7:30 a.m. — Even after the late night, I’m once again up super early. I don’t really feel hungover but I don’t feel great so I chug some Gatorade and read my book.
9 a.m. — H. wakes up and we get ready to go grab breakfast. We end up getting sandwiches at the deli in a neighboring hotel. I get a triple-decker turkey club and a Diet Pepsi and it’s exactly what I need. $23.09
10:45 a.m. — H. leaves for her flight and I decide to chill by the pool until meeting E. for a final brunch. It’s quite a gray day and it even sprinkles for a bit but I spend about an hour and a half reading and enjoying the warm weather.
1 p.m. — I check out and meet up with E. and Z. We head to another hotel for a restaurant that has ricotta pancakes. E. orders those and I get some eggs and greens as I’m still pretty full from my sandwich. I also get a passionfruit limeade that is absolutely delicious. The restaurant is very bougie and even has a DJ, making it a little hard to hear. E. loves her pancakes and once we’re done, we head out onto the strip to walk around a bit. $30.20
5 p.m. — After some walking and some gambling (Z. wins $20 off a $1 slot!), we’re back in the same lounge I went to the day I got to Vegas. I get a Diet Coke and we eat some snacks then my friends walk me back to our hotel to grab my luggage and say goodbye. I grab an Uber to the airport. $15.82
7:30 p.m. — I finally get to my gate after having to check a bag (shoutout to Spirit where checking a bag is cheaper than a carry-on) and realize the lounge is in the other terminal. Cursing my luck, I eat an apple and a peanut butter granola bar from my bag.
9:15 p.m. — I land in California (I’m going to visit family while I’m on the West Coast) and chow down on some cookies from my backpack while waiting on my checked bag. Once I have that, I quickly order an Uber to my grandmother’s house. $41.64
10 p.m. — Make it to grandma’s and we chat for about an hour before I turn in. I haven’t seen her in almost two years so there’s a lot of catching up to do. We had a bit of a falling out in my teens but our relationship has slowly improved since my grandfather passed a couple of years ago. I also notice before bed that the hotel charge has gone through. I paid a deposit so my share minus the deposit I already paid is $216.50. $216.50
Daily Total: $327.25

Day Seven

6:15 a.m. — I wake up to start reviewing our new website launch. This is one of the projects I’m closing out for work and it’s bittersweet as I put so much into it but won’t be around to see how it actually does.
9:30 a.m. — My grandmother and I have breakfast and chat about the rest of the day. We make avocado toast with feta, sliced tomato, and fried eggs. My boss has very low expectations for me in these two weeks and has made it clear I should spend most of the time applying for jobs and with family.
11:30 a.m. — My boss and I have an official transition meeting. We lay out exactly what I should wrap up and the other meetings we’ll need. Once we’re done I continue wrapping up some other stuff.
2 p.m. — I have some Fritos and hummus as a snack, along with a diet Dr Pepper.
4 p.m. — My grandma and I head to the beach. We walk along the water and chat for a bit. I pay for parking. $5.35
7 p.m. — We grab dinner at a local Mexican place. I get a birria burrito and my grandma gets a carnitas burrito along with some guac and chips. I pay as a thank you to my grandma for hosting. The burrito is amazing. $44.60
8:30 p.m. — I drive home and we snack on some freeze-dried Skittles my grandma's beau brought back for her from a trip. I love them; grandma is more on the fence.
10:30 p.m. — We both turn in as the beach wore us out and I was up early. We make plans to head to a different beach tomorrow morning before a meeting I have at noon. Losing the job sucks but it is giving me so much flexibility on this trip which I really enjoy.
Daily Total: $49.95
Money Diaries are meant to reflect an individual's experience 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.

Do you have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Submit it with us here.

Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here or email us here.

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series