A Week In Brooklyn, NY, On A $51,500 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: an operations analyst and cosmetology student who makes $51,500 per year and spends some of her money this week on a margarita.
Occupation: Operations Analyst & Cosmetology Student
Industry: Fashion
Age: 32
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Salary: $51,500, and I also pet sit on the side (income varies — see below for each payment)
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $1,368 (day job)
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,200 for a one-bedroom (I live alone in a rent-stabilized apartment.)
Loans: $170.02 for a personal loan for a portion of school tuition. My student loans are deferred until the end of the year.
Gym Membership: $15.68
Credit Card Minimum: $27 (I pay more if I can.)
Spotify & Hulu: $9.99 (I get Hulu for free with my Spotify Premium membership.)
Internet: $83.29
Gas: $18
iPhone/iPad Plan: $174
Electric: $45 (this varies depending the time of year)
iCloud storage: $2.99
Netflix: $9.72

Day One

7:10 a.m. — My alarm goes off. I throw on whatever clothes I see first and walk dog #1. She has been staying with me for three weeks while the owners are on their honeymoon. I quickly shower when we get back, feed her breakfast, and get dressed before another client comes over to drop off dog #2. He leaves, and the two dogs play for a little before I get ready to head out for work. I have a splitting headache for some reason on the way to the train. I'll grab some Advil at the office when I get there.
8:55 a.m. — I arrive to work — and since it's Friday, we can leave early! YAY! Work goes by pretty fast and I head out around 1:15 for a doctor's appointment. On the way there, I get a text from my friend, B., and we make plans to get together on Sunday for lunch — she makes a reservation for 12:30. I stop by the bank and take out $80. This will be my spending allowance to go out this weekend.
1:30 p.m. — I get to Planned Parenthood to talk to a nurse about alternative birth control options. I currently use the patch method for BC and I LOVE IT, but in a couple months I'm making a career change and won't have health insurance for an indefinite amount of time. Because of this, I won't be able to afford the patch out of pocket, so I need something more long-term. While I'm in the waiting room, I realize that I will mostly likely have to get an IUD. It's the best option for long-term birth control, and I don't want to get the implant in my arm. I had one last year and removed it, since it was not a good fit for me. I see the nurse, and she agrees that an IUD will be my best option. The procedure goes well, but it is PAINFUL. I hobble out of the building and want to cry from the intense cramping. She said the cramps will subside in about a few days to a week. Let's hope its on the shorter side.
4 p.m. — I make it home and immediately lie in bed. I'm glad I took that Advil this morning — it's helping a little with the cramps. I rest for a few hours, praying that the pain will subside and feeling lucky that I don't have class tonight.
8:30 p.m. — I walk the dogs and feed them both dinner. Dog #1's owner comes by to pick her up and he Venmos me $608 for watching her for three weeks. I immediately transfer the funds to my savings account.
10 p.m. — I head out and take the bus to my boyfriend, R.'s, place. We catch up and talk about our weeks and then decide that we are both craving burgers. We go to the store to get a few ingredients. He pays for the groceries and I give him $15 in cash for my half. When we get back to his place, he cooks the burgers and I chop up the veggies. They're so yummy I almost forget I'm in excruciating pain. But alas, 15 mins later it hits me again like contractions. I crawl into the fetal position in his bed and quickly fall asleep. $15
Daily Total: $15

Day Two

7 a.m. — I make my way back to the bus to go home to walk the dog. Once I get back from our walk, I map out my day. I have three cats to drop in on and another dog to pick up. But first, laundry ($9). $9
2 p.m. — I quickly make a salad before heading to cat #1. This client's apartment is so cute and HUGE for a one-bedroom. Jealousy sets in. Makes me think about moving out of my place and apartment hunting ASAP. The owner left me a $12 tip on the kitchen counter.
3 p.m. — I arrive at cat #2's building. This cat is insanely cute. I stop to treat myself to a scoop of pistachio ice cream at Van Leeuwen. $6.26
4 p.m. — I head a few blocks down and pick up dog #3. The owner left me $60 cash on the counter for watching her for the night. Takes us about half an hour to get back to my place because she is stopping at every single tree to sniff.
5 p.m. — I deep clean my apartment for a while. I'm so happy because my life is so busy that I haven't gotten a chance to do this in a long time. It's therapeutic. Once finished, I kill some time relaxing in bed. I get an email that Urban Outfitters is doing 50% off sale items, so I order a cute summer dress ($23.40). Then I remember that Target is having a sale on home goods. I've been wanting to replace the floor lamp in my living room, so I decide on a cute rose gold arc lamp ($65.31). I'll see if any of my friends want my old lamp, and if not, I'll try to sell it. $88.71
7 p.m. — Cat #3 isn't too far from my apartment. I feed/water her and clean out the litter box. I close the door behind me when I leave — OOF! I totally locked the keys inside their apartment. I have a mini panic attack and message the owner.
8 p.m. — On the walk home, I call my dad to wish him a happy birthday. We chat for a few minutes. When I get home, I shower after the long day. I walked eight miles today between all the cat and dog sitting! I feel less guilty that I didn't go to the gym today. Plus, I got to check out the neighborhood and do a little sight-seeing as well.
10 p.m. — R. comes over with a six-pack of beer and we make a pizza from scratch. Afterwards, we both split an ecstasy pill and talk about our days. We end up staying up all night until dawn. We go for a nice walk to the park — it's so quiet and peaceful at this hour. We play cards on a bench for a little and then head back to my place for a nap.
Daily Total: $103.97

Day Three

10 a.m. — We wake up after an hour or two and R. heads home while I walk to my first cat of the day. Today is a doozy — five cat drop ins and I have to drop dog #3 back off at her house. I make my way to cat #1.
11 a.m. — I get a message back from cat #3's owner about the keys. Success! They have a second lock box with a spare set of keys just outside their door. I walk about half a mile to get to cat #2. I play with him for a little and start to make my way to meet B. for lunch at the Smith in the East Village. We catch up for a while and share some mac and cheese to start. I decide on short rib grits. YUM. She puts the whole bill on her card and I give her two twenties for my portion. $40
2:30 p.m. — We walk over to Urban Outfitters to do a little shopping. B. tries on a whole bunch of stuff and I just browse. I shouldn't spend any money, especially since I bought that lamp the other day. We split up and I head home to walk the dogs and take another little nap.
5:30 p.m. — I wake up after about an hour and my IUD cramps are going wild, so I take a couple Ibuprofen hoping they go away soon. I look out the window and it is bonkers raining outside. Guess I'm not walking dog #3 all the way home. I decide to just walk her to the train. Their apartment is only a couple stops away. We manage to make it there only a little wet.
6:30 p.m. — As I'm about to leave their apartment, it stops raining! Perfect timing. I walk about half a mile to cat #1 to feed her dinner. There are rainbows everywhere from the rainstorm!
7:15 p.m. — I walk about a mile to get to cat #2. Exhaustion starts to creep up on me.
8 p.m. — I head to cat #3, relieved again that there was a extra set of keys for me to use.
9 p.m. — I get home to walk dog #2 and take a shower after a long day of pet sitting. R. texts me that he's at his friend's place and invites me over for beers and pizza. I take the bus there and we hang out for about an hour before walking back to his place a few blocks down. We fall asleep while watching true crime shows.
Daily Total: $40

Day Four

7 a.m. — I open my eyes and realize that I don't have work or school today since it's a holiday! Hooray! I grab the bus back to my apartment and walk dog #2 to the park. We play with the other dogs for about an hour. I only have one cat to visit today so I drop the dog off at my place and walk to my last cat.
10:10 a.m. — I get a text from dog #2's owner saying he will pick her up around 12:30. Perfect timing. On the way home from feeding my last cat its breakfast, I stop by the grocery store and pickup some cherry tomatoes to make a salad for a BBQ I'm attending later. $5
11:30 a.m. — I prepare the tomato salad by chopping the tomatoes in halves and adding fresh dill, lime, Israeli couscous, a little arugula, rose vinaigrette, and some seasoning. It's delicious. Time to shower and get ready for the party.
12:30 p.m. — Dog #2's owner arrives exactly on schedule to pick her up and I feel relief that I don't have anymore pets to worry about for the rest of the week.
1:15 p.m. — My friend arrives to my place to go to the BBQ together. It's such a nice day and the weather is perfect, so we decide to walk the mile and a half there. We stop for some iced coffee on the way and she treats.
2 p.m. — We get to the party and gorge ourselves on food, drinks, and good music in the backyard. I wish R. could've come, but he's recording with his band all day. Time flies by and before I know it, it's nighttime.
10 p.m. — I take an Uber back to my apartment, bummed that I have a full day tomorrow. I have 25% off rides this week, so I don't feel guilty about taking a car. $5.84
Daily Total: $10.84

Day Five

7:15 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I jump in the shower and get ready for work. I don't have a ton of groceries or time to whip up a lunch, so I'll just have to grab something later.
8:30 a.m. — I get to work and make a little breakfast in the kitchen.
1:15 p.m. — I remembered that I have a $2 off coupon for the Wok to Walk a block away, so I make my way there. I order udon noodles and veggies with a Thai peanut sauce ($6.90) and bring it back to work to eat at my desk. It's a busy week, and I have to make sure our warehouse on the west coast is getting our first shipment of fall goods out before the end of Friday. $6.90
4:45 p.m. — I start to pack up to head to class. On the way out, I grab a clementine and a Kind bar from the kitchen. My cramps from the IUD are back with a vengeance, so I pop two Aleves and walk to the train.
5:20 p.m. — I get to class and look at the books for what's scheduled for me. It's a haircut, yay! My client has curls like me, and she tells me she is relieved that someone with curly hair is cutting her hair — we get each other. I reshape her hair and add some curly fringe to frame her face. She has such gorgeous hair, and I feel lucky to celebrate her curls. I give her a little photo shoot at the end to add to my portfolio on Instagram. She tips me $14 before she leaves.
7:45 p.m. — I take a 15-minute break and snack on the clementine and Kind bar that I grabbed from work. It's not much, but it'll hold me over for the night. I check my Health app on my iPhone and see that I walked over 24 miles between Saturday, Sunday, and Monday! All that pet sitting really gave me quite the workout. Also, all the earnings from the cats and dogs this weekend conveniently got automatically deposited into my checking account today. I transfer it all ($277.60) straight into my savings account so I'm not tempted to spend it, since I have a root canal scheduled this Friday that I will need to pay for. For the last hour of class, I work on my mannequin doing classic pinup looks.
9:25 p.m. — We are released from class and I take the train home. I feel like a zombie. Once home, I prepare my lunch for tomorrow: spaghetti with zucchini, mushrooms, and veggie meatballs. Before I snooze, I text with R. a little to talk about our days.
Daily Total: $6.90

Day Six

7:15 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I'm immediately grateful that it's already Wednesday. Thank god it's a short week! I shower and pull my hair back into pigtail buns. I cannot be bothered. I shove the spaghetti into my bag plus a few gym clothes. Off to work!
8:35 p.m. — On the way to my desk, I instantly grab a banana and some Greek yogurt from the office fridge. As soon as I sit down, the IUD cramps start coming. I take a few deep breaths and take a couple Advil. Hopefully these cramps will stop by the end of the week.
2:10 p.m. — It's spaghetti time! I can't finish all of it, so I save some for a light dinner on my break at school tonight. I journal a little on my lunch hour in the park by my office.
4:50 p.m. — I make my way out of work, grab my spaghetti leftovers, and take the train to school.
5:30 p.m. — Tonight on the books I see that I have a client wanting a half head foil service, which I am grateful for because class goes by so much faster when I have a color client. I work on her highlights for most of class and give her a little trim at the end to help plump up her ends. After our little photo shoot, she tips me with a $20 bill.
9:25 p.m. — I leave school and take the train to the gym to do a quick 45-minute workout. I walk home and then realize I didn't get a chance to eat my spaghetti leftovers. I don't like eating this late at night, but I'm starving. I reheat them, turn on Law and Order: SVU, and I'm out by 11:45 p.m.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

7:20 a.m. — My alarm goes off and it feels like it's louder than normal. Grumble. I'm SO not in the mood to go to work today, so I skip a shower and just throw on a dress, platform Mary Janes, and a vintage cardigan. I don't have a ton of groceries to throw something together, so I think I'll just do a tiny bit of grocery shopping on my lunch break to hold me over until payday next week. I pack a few gym clothes and I'm out the door by 8 a.m.
8:35 a.m. — I get to work and grab an apple and a granola bar from the kitchen and enjoy them at my desk while I check emails and remember that it's B.'s bday today. I shoot her a text and we make plans for Sunday. Before I dive into work, I make a mental note that I should stop at the bank before groceries and deposit the leftover allowance I gave myself from last weekend plus the cash tips I got from hair clients and pet clients this week into my savings account. As a general rule, I try to put any leftover cash I don't use at the end of the pay period into my savings so I'm not tempted to spend it. I'll reevaluate my spending allowance when I get my next paycheck.
1:55 p.m. — I'm working up that appetite and figure this is a good time to run those errands. Before I get into the elevator, I get a text from B. asking me to lunch with her and her partner. Guess I'm spending some of that extra cash after all. I meet them a few blocks away for Mexican food and a margarita. I give them $30 and walk back to work to finish out the day. I'll put the remaining $80 in the bank tomorrow. Grocery shopping will have to wait until Saturday! $30
4:50 p.m. — I leave work and head to class.
5:20 p.m. — I have a repeat client tonight and I'm so excited she's coming in — I'm OBSESSED with her hair. It's so otherworldly and perfect, it's like a Disney princess's. We have a consultation and we decide to give her a few highlights, retouch her roots, and put a copper glaze on her current-blonde balayage. We get to work.
9:45 p.m. — We finish a little later than expected, but we get the job done. She looks AMAZE. I give her my business card, hoping she will continue to see me after I graduate next month. She Venmos me $25 and I make my way to the train, now riddled with anxiety about the root canal I have scheduled tomorrow at the dentist — wish me luck!
Daily Total: $30
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