A Week In NYC On A $240,000 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking millennial women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar. (Thanks, New York mag, for the inspiration.) Today, an attorney in Brooklyn getting most of her meals reimbursed.
Occupation: Attorney
Industry: Law
Location: Brooklyn, NY (work in Manhattan)
Age: 29
Salary: $240,000 (annually; excludes bonus)
Paycheck Amount (2x a month): Approximately $7,000 after taxes, insurance, flex spending account, long-term disability, transportation (at this point in the year, my take-home pay is higher, because I no longer contribute to social security or my 401(k))
# of roommates: 0 (boyfriend lives with me on weekends)
Monthly Expenses:
Rent: $2,750 per month for a one-bedroom with a home office
Loan Payments: $0 (full scholarships to undergrad and law school)
Utilities: $55 (average for gas and electric)
Transportation: $125 (pre-tax; deducted from paycheck)
Phone Bill: $69
Health Insurance: Deducted from paycheck
Renter's Insurance: $18
Savings: $18,000 per year to 401(k), $5,500 per year to IRA, $900 per month to investment account, $1,000 per month to long-term savings (all fixed amounts; excess amounts of my salary are saved for short-term goals, like travel, new furniture, gifts, down payment, etc.). I use a zero-based budgeting program (You Need A Budget), so all of my dollars are accounted for as soon as I get paid.
Netflix: $8.99
Cable/internet/landline: $123 (Time Warner. Can't give this up!)
Charities: $400 to 500 a month on average, more toward the end of the year
Subscriptions: $40 per month (makeup box, PBS, magazines)
Cleaning service: $110 every two weeks, plus $25 tip each week
Gym membership: Equinox ($40 with discount)

Day One

6:30 a.m. — Wake up, shower, ponder going to work early. Decide against it. Work from home in the morning. Consider buying coffee on way to work, but remember before leaving that I have coffee concentrate and half-and-half in the fridge. Fill to-go cup and head to office at 10:30 a.m. I take the subway and swipe my Metro card (pay-as-you-go): $2.75

12:30 p.m. — Am starving. Planned to grab something fast inside my office, but get invited out to order food at an Asian fusion place with some other girls. Order as a group and I pick up the tab. $153, but reimbursable from work. 3:30 p.m. — Stuck on a long call and dying for a snack. Remember that I packed cherries and sugar snap peas before I left for work in the morning. Nosh while awaiting my turn to speak. 7:30 p.m. — Hungry and stuck at work for a few more hours. Decide to order Indian food — chicken curry, naan, and samosas. $29, but work pays. 8:45 p.m. — Still at work. Decide to go get a wax (not a weekly expense) at the place near my office to: 1) wake up and 2) prepare for the weekend. Momentarily curse the female grooming tax. Definitely awake now. $70 (with tip) 11 p.m. — Order car and go home. Car home is paid for by work ($40). 11:30 p.m. — Snack on more cherries and some Rice Krispies Treats after getting home. 1:10 a.m. — Watch DVR to catch up on some shows while browsing Amazon. End up buying a random Korean skin-care product. $4.79

Daily Total: $77.54
($299.54, $222 reimbursed)

Day Two

9:30 a.m. — Wake up grateful for air conditioning. Am so dehydrated from barely drinking water yesterday that I down a flavored water from Juice Press before I leave the house. (I bought a bunch over the weekend; they are $2.75 each). Subway to work. $2.75 10 a.m. — Off the subway and already sweltering. Can't resist stopping for cold brew and a muffin at my favorite coffee place. I justify it by telling myself it is motivation to get through my 10:30 call. $7.21

1 p.m. — So busy at work I didn't end up eating my muffin. Decide not to bother and I go out to get hot food: baked salmon, steamed spinach, and mac 'n' cheese. $8

2:30 p.m. — Realize Virgin America is having a big sale on airline tickets and it covers dates when I have a wedding to attend. I bought my ticket months ago, but take advantage of the sale to buy my boyfriend's ticket (already had money set aside in my budget for it). $366

7:45 p.m. — Thought I would get out early from work, but it's just not happening, so I order dinner. Braised greens, pulled pork, and Brussels sprouts. I also order a milkshake, but toss most of it in the garbage. $32 (work pays). 10 p.m. — Browsing Net-A-Porter in car home from work. Manage to resist the sales. $40 for car (work pays). 10:30 p.m. — Home, waiting on documents to come back. I eat cherries and Rice Krispies Treats and drink lots of sparking water. Browsing Sephora and Net-A-Porter, but manage to resist temptation again. Total: $383.96 ($455.96, $72 reimbursed)

Day Three

6:30 a.m. — Wake up and contemplate making a smoothie to save money on breakfast, but the sound of a Vitamix this early in the morning is unbearable. Pick up an iced coffee on the way to the subway, instead. ($4 with tip). Subway ride to work ($2.75). $6.75 12:30 p.m. — Go out and grab a turkey sandwich with avocado, potato chips, and pickles. And because I can't resist, a cookie at the checkout. $7.75

2:30 p.m. — Realize I need a coffee to make it through the afternoon. Grab a friend from the office and run down to Starbucks. Grande iced latte and snacks for the office comes to $22.50 (reimbursed by work). 6:30 p.m. — Pick up dry cleaning on way home from work ($68). Subway home ($2.75). $70.75 7:15 p.m. — Stop to pick up some groceries. Buy cherries, grapes, watermelon, blueberries, cereal, matzo, cream cheese, sugar-free Jell-O pudding, rotisserie chicken, chocolate syrup, marshmallows, butter. I'm always amazed at how much cheaper it is to buy groceries instead of ordering in every meal. I could probably save if I ate at home more often or paid enough attention to prices at the grocery store, to be honest. I don’t cook so much as assemble snacks. Eat some rotisserie chicken, piece of matzo with cream cheese and dried apricots, and a Jell-O pudding with whipped cream for dinner and dessert. $35.89

8 p.m. — Have call from 8 to 9 p.m. tonight, so am stuck at home and can't go out with friends, thus saving at least $40 (average cost of two cocktails and a shared snack at my favorite local bar). I count this as a win. 11 p.m. — Heat up some pizza I made earlier this week for a late-night snack. Waiting for emails to come in on a deal, so I browse Sephora and, since it's 8% back on Ebates, decide to splurge on some lipstick, moisturizer, sunscreen, and highlighter. $139.36.

Daily Total: $260.50
($283, $22.50 reimbursed)

Day Four

9 a.m. — Housecleaner is running late and I have to be at work for 10 a.m. meeting. Leave tip ($45) on table, give her the keys, and jump into a cab to make it to work in time ($34.56). Traffic on the FDR is the worst. I just couldn't fathom taking the subway and being sweaty and stressed about being late. $79.56

2:30 p.m. — Starving, so I grab a couple of girls from the office and run out to grab food. Stop at Lady M Cake shop and Jacques Torres for snacks and coffee. We spend $39.50 at Lady M for cake and $9 at Jacques Torres (all reimbursed by work). Eat slice of passion fruit Lady M crepe cake and iced coffee for lunch, along with some random snacks. 4:30 p.m. — Tired of work and unmotivated. Call my coworker and we go to Capital Grille for drinks and snacks. Several glasses of wine and multiple beers later, head to a party together. $117.44 (reimbursed by work). 8:30 p.m. — Drink several more glasses of Champagne and head home. Decide I'm too tired and I drank too much to bear the subway, so I cab it home. $30

Total: $109.56 ($275.50, $165.94 reimbursed)

Day Five

7 a.m. — Up early on a Saturday to move my boyfriend's car for street-cleaning rules. I don't like paying $38 a day to park in a garage in my neighborhood, so I drive around for 10 minutes until I find a spot a short block away. Score! Stop for an almond milk latte at my favorite coffee shop on my way home. $5 8:15 a.m. — I told my boyfriend I would make dinner tonight, so I go to the grocery store early to beat the crowds. Buy crackers, key lime pie, mango sorbet, diced onions, organic peas, parsley, thyme, kosher chicken, organic chicken broth, mushrooms, leeks, and carrots. I'll make homemade crust and we'll have chicken pot pie for dinner and key lime pie for dessert. I don't cook or buy groceries very often, so I buy organic produce and high-quality meat whenever I do buy food to cook. It's still cheaper than going out. $38.11. 10:45 a.m. — Early to my hair appointment and hungry. I grab an egg, avocado, and cheese sandwich and an iced coffee while waiting. $9.80

1 p.m. — Cut and color done. I've been going to the same place for several years and have a standing appointment every eight weeks. Needless to say, this is not a weekly expense. $249.91 (including tip) 1:30 p.m. — Have some time to kill before brunch, so I pop into Chanel and browse. End up buying a new summer lipgloss. $40.28

2 p.m. — Brunch in Soho with a friend. Have Caesar salad, lobster roll, and cocktail. Pick up the tab. $121.25 (reimbursed by work). 3:45 p.m. — Stop at Sur La Table to buy supplies for dinner on the way home. $26.13 7:30 p.m. — Boyfriend and I sit down for a homecooked meal made with the groceries. 12:15 a.m. — Home from a party. Since my boyfriend drove instead of taking cabs there and back, I order him an ice cream sundae from a diner as a treat. Add curly fries to hit the order minimum. $13.54

Daily Total: $382.77 ($504.02, $121.25 reimbursed)

Day Six

10 a.m. — Wake up and prepare cold brew coffee with half-and-half from the groceries. Prepare muffins, chicken sausage patties, and scrambled eggs for breakfast at home instead of going out. 4 p.m. — Decide we want a cookie cake (like Mrs. Fields) for a snack. Check my baking supplies and decide I have enough ingredients to make one from scratch. Defrost some homemade frosting and prepare the cookie cake. 6:30 p.m. — Eat leftovers for dinner. 9 p.m. — Eat cheese and crackers while watching Olympic trials on TV.

Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

10 a.m. — Stop for lotto tickets while dreaming of what I would do if I hit the jackpot. I don't win anything. $3 1 p.m. — Run out for a cold brew coffee. $5.

2:15 p.m. — Grab a quick lunch: grilled chicken salad and curly fries. $8

8:30 p.m. — Tired and hot, so I decide to take a cab home from work. $18 (Uber sale!) 9 p.m. — Arrive home hungry. Have a piece of matzo with cream cheese and a couple of pot stickers. Order noodles from Chinese restaurant. $10.71

Daily Total: $44.71
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