A Week In Brooklyn, NY, On A $70,000 Base Salary

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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: a recruiting director working in executive staffing who makes a base salary of $70,000 per year and spends some of her paycheck this week on basketball tickets.
Occupation: Recruiting Director
Industry: Executive Staffing
Age: 27
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Salary: $70,000
Commission: $40,000-$80,000/year
Paycheck (Weekly): $765.45 (after healthcare and commuter benefits deductions)
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $770 for my room in a three-bedroom apartment
Student Loan Payments: $345
Electricity, Gas & Internet: ~$80
Car Insurance: $193.66
Phone Bill: $106
ClassPass: $75
Therapy: ~$150 after medical reimbursement
Hulu: $7.99
The New York Times App: $7.50
Texture Magazine App: $9.99
Netflix: $10.99
MetroCard: $121 monthly unlimited card, taken out of weekly paycheck pre-tax
Additional Expenses
401(k): 3% of salary, pretax
Roth IRA: ~$300
Charitable Donations: $50, split between End the Backlog, ASPCA, and Shatterproof

Day One

10 a.m. — Enjoy sleeping in a bit because it's Sunday. I'm eventually forced out of bed to feed my kitty; he won't stop crying and licking me for attention until I fill his bowl. Wander into the kitchen and make a breakfast of kiwi, raspberries, a piece of toast with peanut butter, and coffee with almond milk. Scroll through social media and read a few New York Times articles before getting ready.
12:30 p.m. — Meet a friend for a barre class in Williamsburg. I've never tried barre before but have been on an exercise kick lately and I'm willing to give it a shot. This studio isn't covered by my ClassPass membership, but as long as I use my full membership credits monthly, I don't feel guilty about paying out of pocket for a few additional classes. $34
2 p.m. — We continue our lady time with brunch at the most adorable little spot around the corner from the barre studio. I order eggs, toast, and hash browns with a gin and cucumber cocktail that I drink a little too quickly. I have a wonderful afternoon catching up with my friend, and we make a promise to make this a regular Sunday tradition. It's a far cry from my usual "drunk brunch" Sunday activities! $35.04
4 p.m. — I part ways with my friend and take the subway back to my neighborhood. Swing by the grocery store to pick up a few items for the week – onion, spinach, zucchinis, avocado, tomatoes, rice, a can of crushed tomatoes, rolls, ground turkey, and ground beef. $33.39
5:15 p.m. — Get back to my apartment and unpack the groceries. Cooking and unwinding on a Sunday evening is one of my favorite parts of the week. I prep meals for the next few days, including my perfected tomato sauce recipe, meatballs with the ground beef, tacos with the ground turkey, and Spanish rice.
7 p.m. — Shower, apply a face mask, and spend a few hours on the couch watching Hulu with my two roommates. We've been re-watching the last season of Broad City before binge-watching the newest season. I snack on two meatballs and a roll plus a few Swedish Fish from my secret stash. These fish are my weakness.
10 p.m. — I crawl in bed and my kitty sprawls out on my chest in a way that makes any movement on my end nearly impossible. If only he weren't so cute! Read a few chapters of David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell before going to sleep.
Daily Total: $102.43

Day Two

6:30 a.m. — Alarm goes off and I groan at the thought of facing a Monday. I end up hitting snooze for nearly an hour before getting out of bed to feed my kitty. Pack my lunch of zucchini noodles and meatballs in sauce and my breakfast smoothie, which I made from oats, coffee, almond milk, peanut butter powder, and a frozen banana.
9:45 a.m. — Get to work and I'm only a few minutes late – a miracle given the subway delays and sweaty train cars that I dealt with this morning. I'm immediately thrown into a work tornado; calls are coming in so fast I can't even finish a conversation before a new call beeps in. I chug my smoothie as I conduct a few phone interviews and prep a nervous candidate for his interview with my client later.
1 p.m. — I am mentally drained when my work BFF pops into my office and convinces me to come with him to Chipotle. I had every intention of eating my packed lunch but an escape from the office and guacamole are too tempting. We have a good catch-up about our weekends during the walk. The person at the counter forgets to charge me for the guac and I take this as a sign that this excursion was meant to be. $13.12
4 p.m. — After a few more hours of general craziness at my desk, I come out of my office to joke around with my team.
6 p.m. — Leave the office and head out as a team to a local Irish pub that has become our go-to. We don't typically go out on Mondays but two of my employees are leaving us this week, and tonight is the only night that works for the group to get together one last time. I also invite a few former employees from the last few years, and the night becomes a really fun going away and reunion celebration. The bar gives everyone a free shot with their first drink, and after five beers, I'm feeling quite good. $25.60
12:30 a.m. — The group dwindles down to just a few committed drinkers, but eventually someone remembers that it's a Monday and we should all head home. I really try to be good about not wasting money on Ubers, but after so many drinks and given how late it is, I order a car. It's pricier than usual but worth it to be home and passed out before 2 a.m. $43.55
Daily Total: $82.27

Day Three

6:30 a.m. — Is there any sound worse than your alarm screeching before 7 when you're hungover? I eventually force myself out of bed, feed the kitty, take a few Motrin, and get ready for work. I make a quick smoothie before heading out.
9 a.m. — I have my weekly therapy appointment on Tuesday mornings. I started going to therapy awhile back after a bad breakup, and my sessions have transitioned from crisis management to part of my self-care routine. We have a really good session and I leave ready to take on the day and 2018 in general. What hangover?
10:30 a.m. — Get to the office and my smoothie isn't enough to get the day started, so I run down to the café in our building and get a whole wheat everything bagel with avocado spread and a coffee. Once upstairs, I get a call from a client letting me know they're ready to make an offer to my candidate. I'm so happy! Aside from the commission, I've been working with this candidate for months and am thrilled to have finally gotten her an offer. $5.66
1 p.m. — After a few hours of work, I head downstairs for my daily cigarette. I've been a smoker for a few years and am really trying to quit. I bought a vape that I use to replace the habit throughout the day but I'm still treating myself to one actual cigarette per day for the time being. Baby steps! I grab a Diet Coke from the café downstairs on my way back in. $1
1:30 p.m. — Eat my packed lunch from yesterday while I meet with my employee whose last day is today. We tie up a few loose ends and then spend time reminiscing and making promises to stay in touch. I'm really going to miss him!
6 p.m. — Spend a few hours meeting candidates in back-to-back interviews. I really need to find a replacement to help with my loss of recruiters this week, but I have yet to meet anyone that could be a good fit, which is really frustrating. I give my employee a huge hug when he leaves and try not to tear up.
8:10 p.m. — Phew! Finally done in the office. I tend to stay late most nights to get work done in the quiet when my team leaves, but I'm anxious to get home. Hop on the subway and heat up tacos and rice for dinner when I get back to my apartment.
11 p.m. — Finally crash in bed after cleaning up the kitchen and doing dishes. I don't have the mental capacity for a book tonight, so I read a bit of InStyle on my Texture app before passing out.
Daily Total: $6.66

Day Four

5:45 a.m. — After a few hits of the snooze button, I force myself out of bed. Even my kitty is too tired to be up – I can't rouse him until he hears the musical sounds of his canned food. I prep my usual smoothie, pack leftover tacos and rice for lunch, and leave the apartment.
7:30 a.m. — Early morning spin class! This one uses my ClassPass credits. I shake off my sleepiness within a few minutes and hit a new personal high score on my bike. I credit these new floral leggings I bought last week at Old Navy for giving me life this morning. I shower, change, and blow my hair out in the locker room before heading to work.
9:15 a.m. — I have every intention of drinking my breakfast smoothie this morning, but I run into my work BFF on the way into the building and find myself going to the café with him for more sustenance. I order the usual bagel/avocado and coffee and leave my smoothie for later. $5.66
1:45 p.m. — I snag a dollar from work BFF to grab a Diet Coke downstairs, as I'm out of cash. We tend to go back and forth with spotting each other for various snacks and drinks and always just consider it even. I also enjoy my daily cigarette before heading back upstairs to eat my tacos and rice for lunch.
5 p.m. — Have a long meeting with my boss about 2018 goals and the recent changes in my team. We blew past our 2017 revenue goal, so we're increasing our goal for 2018 significantly. I'm confident that this will be attainable, but with the loss of two recruiters this week, it'll be a bumpy ride for the first few months.
7:30 p.m. — I finally head out of the office. Another late night, but I had a heart-to-heart about the future of the company with one of my most senior recruiters after everyone left, so I'm considering it a night well spent.
8:45 p.m. — Swing by the grocery store on the way home to grab a roll, avocado, and toilet paper. My roommates and I all grab household items as needed and because no one ever feels like they're doing more than they should, we just call it even and don't keep track. $6.70
9:15 p.m. — I make a meatball sub and side salad for dinner along with a few more Swedish Fish as a treat. I force my roommates to watch The Bachelor with me against their will – this is one guilty pleasure that I have zero guilt about.
11:15 p.m. — Switch up the reading tonight with Difficult Women by Roxane Gay and cuddle up with my kitty to sleep.
Daily Total: $12.36

Day Five

5:45 a.m. — Another painful wakeup time. Kitty is giving me a dirty look this morning; he doesn't approve of me interrupting his beauty sleep this week. I feed him, pack my lunch, and head out.
7:30 a.m. — This morning's workout is an amazing class a coworker introduced me to recently: It's a mixture of cardio, weights, and hip-hop. Is there any better way to start your day than with a little twerking? I pay for this class out of pocket because it isn't on ClassPass. I shower and get ready at the studio before leaving for work. $32
9:20 a.m. — Once again, I give in to the temptation of grabbing breakfast downstairs at work and get a bagel and coffee. I'm already getting bombarded with calls before I even make it upstairs. $5.66
11 a.m. — This morning is hectic but in a good way. I am close to closing a placement that would be huge for me — if it goes through, my commission would be about $10,000. My candidate's and the client's feedback are really good, and I cross my fingers that we'll make it through the salary negotiation stage without any major problems.
2 p.m. — I'm out of cigarettes so I reluctantly head to the pharmacy for a new pack. Going through a pack every few weeks instead of every few days is definitely helping my wallet, and I pat myself on the back for the progress I've made. I also grab a lighter, a bag of almonds to snack on at my desk, and two Diet Cokes; the extra one is for my work BFF. Back at the office, I eat lunch from home. $19.99
6 p.m. — Time to say goodbye to the second person leaving my team! I try to keep an open dialogue with my team about their career goals, even when it doesn't include staying with me forever. Because of that, I was able to place this employee at one of my clients! I try not to tear up when I give her a hug and remind myself that we will continue to speak daily.
7:40 p.m. — Finally leave the office and go to my nail salon for my semi-regular gel mani ($34) and neck massage ($14). In addition to doing a great job with nails, this salon is my fave because they are always playing a rom-com on TV for their customers – tonight's is The Proposal. I leave a $10 tip. $58
8:50 p.m. — My absolute favorite pizzeria in the city is across the street from my nail salon, and I grab a slice and Diet Coke after I do my nails. I enjoy having the entire night feel like a treat. $5.15
10:30 p.m. — Finally home! I tidy up the apartment, make a smoothie and lunch for tomorrow, and crawl into bed. I pick up Difficult Women but only make it a chapter before falling asleep.
Daily Total: $120.80

Day Six

7 a.m. — Sleeping in feels amazing this morning! I hit snooze a few times but get up quickly when I hear something crash in the kitchen. Kitty was getting impatient for breakfast and knocked a bowl off the counter; luckily, it's not broken! Get ready for the day and head out.
9:45 a.m. — I resist the bagel temptations this morning and I drink my smoothie at my desk and hunker down for a busy Friday.
11 a.m. — Take a break from work and browse the Internet a bit. I order a new vape (I dropped mine the other day and it has been leaking slightly since.) I don't want any excuse to not stick with this new lifestyle, so I'd rather pay for a new one ASAP before the leak worsens. $28
1:30 p.m. — Eat the last of my tacos and rice for lunch. I also bring a second helping for my work BFF. He was drooling at the smell of it all week, and I generally bring him leftovers at the end of the week instead of throwing away the extra food I make. Cooking for one person is a difficult science when it comes to portioning.
3 p.m. — I spend another few hours interviewing candidates for my team, and I meet someone I love! She has everything I'm looking for and her answers to my questions don't sound overly-rehearsed. I thank the recruiter who found the candidate and start the process of getting internal approvals to hire.
5:30 p.m. — We've all had a long week here at work. Some of my recruiters come over to hang and chat for the last few minutes of the day, and I let them leave a few minutes early.
6:30 p.m. — I meet up with a friend for a long overdue dinner and catch-up. We have reservations at a restaurant near Union Square that has a very weird, almost creepy, Victorian vibe. I love it. I order a BLT with avocado and a side salad. I also enjoy two glasses of sauvignon blanc. We have a great time but are both tired from the week and decide to call it a night after dinner. I put the bill on my card, but she Venmos me for her meal on the spot. $49.97
10:45 p.m. — I get home and am exhausted, so no reading tonight. Instead, I watch Parks and Recreation on Netflix before bed. I've watched the series twice already but can never get enough Ron Swanson in my life.
Daily Total: $77.97

Day Seven

10:15 a.m. — I could have slept in longer, but my kitty had other demands. I get up to feed him but then crawl back into my warm bed and grab my book. I have no plans any time soon and enjoy the lazy morning.
12 p.m. — Finally extricate myself from bed and head to the kitchen. I make coffee with almond milk and brainstorm breakfast ideas. I end up combining leftover ground turkey, scrambled eggs, tomatoes, and spinach and throw it in a tortilla for a breakfast taco. I chat with my roommate and then we watch Broad City.
3 p.m. — I finally motivate myself to start my laundry. The amount of dirty laundry that has piled up in my closet is actually ridiculous. I do two loads ($10 total) but I'm stuck paying a $1.75 ATM fee at a corner store because I didn't plan ahead to get cash at my bank. The laundromat is a block away so I come back between loads to clean the apartment. $11.75
6:15 p.m. — I finally finish my afternoon chores, shower, and get ready for the evening. I head to Manhattan to catch my college basketball team play at Madison Square Garden. I haven't been to a game yet this year but try to come out for a few and show my alumni spirit! I Venmo my friend on the way for my ticket. $40
7:10 p.m. — Meet up with two friends for pizza and beer that all the students and alumni have deemed the go-to pregame spot. I grab two slices ($5.90) and a beer for myself and the others ($16.50). $22.40
8:20 p.m. — Game time! We are most assuredly going to lose — the opposing team is fantastic —but it's nostalgic and fun to be back at a game. We grab two more beers each (we're taking turns paying) and make friends in our section. The game is much closer than it should have been, and we're happy to see our team do better than expected. Madison Square Garden is still wild with fans, and everyone spills out onto the street for the next adventure.
10:30 p.m. — We go to a local bar that is again packed with my school's fans, both students and alumni. While standing in line for the bathroom, my friend and I hit it off with cute guys wearing lacrosse shirts from our school. Unfortunately, we realize that they are current athletes and not alumni ... talk about feeling old! We quickly dodge the situation before they realize how old we are and head back to our table. We all split a pretzel and a few more drinks and divide the bill evenly at the end of the night. $20.53
1:45 a.m. — Feeling quite proud of myself because I resisted an Uber even after all the drinks tonight! After a long subway ride home, I dive into bed and don't even make it through one episode of Parks and Recreation before falling asleep.
Daily Total: $94.68
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