A Week In Brooklyn, NY, On A $95,000 Salary

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This week: a writer who makes $95,000 per year and spends some of it on truffle fries.
Occupation: Technical Writer
Industry: Tech
Age: 27
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Salary: $95,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,017.52
Monthly Expenses
Housing Costs: $1,000. I share a two-bedroom apartment with my boyfriend, who also pays $1,000. I've lived here for four years and the rent hasn't been raised.
Loan Payments: $350 for my student loans. (Only $7,500 left!)
All Other Monthly Expenses
Health Insurance: $50 taken out of my gross check biweekly
Savings & Retirement: $791.67 taken out of my gross check biweekly
HSA: $62.50 pre-tax biweekly
Netflix/Hulu: $0. My boyfriend pays for these, but I pay for our renter's insurance.
Renter's Insurance: $180/year
Parking: $170 pre-tax once a month for parking. My boyfriend's car is in a lot by our apartment. He sacrificed by moving to NYC a year-and-a-half ago, so I pay for parking.
Subway: $90 pre-tax for the hellscape that is the MTA
Utilities & Internet: ~$110
Gym Membership: $20 for the Planet Fitness black card
Cell Phone: $0. I'm still on my dad's plan. (I know, I know.)
Amazon Prime: $125/year
iCloud Storage: $0.99 cents/month
Weekly Total $$ Spent: $326.13
Food & Drink: $156.16
Entertainment: $35
Home & Health: $61.98
Clothes & Beauty: $14.99
Transportation: $58
Other: $0
1 of 8
6:40 a.m. — I wake up at the same time every weekday morning to go to the gym. The only time I waver is if I'm sick or I get home after midnight. I know I'll take a class this morning, which luckily is included in the Planet Fitness membership.

8 a.m. — Back from the gym. I do weightlifting Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, so I drink a shake with chocolate whey protein and a frozen banana. (Freeze the banana, add half a cup of water and the protein, and it's just like a milkshake. So good.)

10 a.m. — I head out to do some work at Gregory's Coffee. I work from home most days and coffee is a nice treat in the morning. I order a small drip coffee. $2.40

12 p.m. — Today is therapy day. I found a therapist whom I love. She's young, she gets it, and she actually helps me work through things. I've been looking for someone like her since I moved to New York, and I've only been seeing her for six months, but I hope she never moves away. The cost ($25) comes out of my HSA account.

1:30 p.m. — Target run. We need some household essentials (paper towels, toilet paper, aluminum foil, etc.), and my boyfriend has specific grocery requests. Since the new Target opened up in downtown Brooklyn, it's actually a pleasurable trip. $61.98

2:15 p.m. — Finally home and it's lunchtime. I grab an apple, some gouda I picked up last week at a new cheese store, a tortilla with baked lime chicken from last night's dinner, and a Yoplait Greek 100 yogurt.

6:30 p.m. — My boyfriend and I try to cook together at least once a week and make enough to last two to three meals. Last night, I had a dinner party with friends and cooked a bunch of chicken and peppers with cilantro-lime whole-grain rice, so we're eating those leftovers.

8 p.m. — Watching House of Cards and snacking on Oreos. There's nothing like watching smart people do government scheming.

Daily Total: $64.38
2 of 8
6:40 a.m. — Wake up again for the gym. Today is Tuesday, so it's a cardio day at Planet Fitness. I'm so tired, but it's better to do something than nothing.

8 a.m. — I scramble two eggs for breakfast and put it in a tortilla with leftover rice and sour cream.

9:30 a.m. — I send money to my friend Liz for tickets to a podcast taping tonight. I don't normally listen to this podcast, but live shows are always fun and I figure I might get into it. Plus, it's an excuse to see some friends I don't see very often. $35

12 p.m. — Lunchtime. I heat up some frozen chicken gyoza from Trader Joe's with a cup of cherries, a few Oreos, and a couple of rosemary crackers.

5:30 p.m. — Last week, I tried Hello Fresh and got a couple of awesome meals; I wish it were more affordable. The last one was a pasta with pancetta, mint, and peas that I make for myself and my boyfriend. Really outstanding.

7 p.m. — Podcast-taping time at the Bell House. I make it just in time to find my friends, who managed to snag great seats. Knowing that I'll be drinking tomorrow, I decide not to get a drink tonight. Noosa is an official sponsor and they're giving away free yogurt cups, so I grab one with toppings to enjoy during the show. I'll also grab one on the way out for tomorrow.

Daily Total: $35
3 of 8
6:40 a.m. — Weight-training day at Planet Fitness.

8 a.m. — Protein shake again, with chocolate whey and a frozen banana.

12:30 p.m. — Lunchtime. I stir-fry some leftover pancetta and green beans and eat that with a cup of cherries, the rest of my Oreos, rosemary crackers, and the vanilla yogurt from last night.

5:45 p.m. — Going to go see my first concert of the summer at Prospect Park. It's almost a tradition for my friends and I not to go inside, but instead picnic right outside the venue so that we can hear the concert and bring our own wine and snacks. I pack a bottle of Malbec and homemade guacamole, and pick up chips and pico de gallo on the way. $7.38

6:15 p.m. — I decide to eat something a little more substantial before I get to the concert and buy a pork bun from a dumpling shop right outside the park. $4.12

10 p.m. — Lake Street Dive are incredible.

Daily Total: $11.50
4 of 8
6:40 a.m. — Cardio day at Planet Fitness. I've recently started watching Sex and the City for the first time. It's a good way to distract myself from the endless exhaustion of the elliptical.

8 a.m. — I scramble two eggs and throw them in a tortilla with sour cream.

10 a.m. — James Comey is testifying, so obviously we need to have snacks while we “work” and watch. I make some popcorn in an air popper (the best one-use cooking tool, ever).

12 p.m. — Lunch before Northside Festival is more frozen gyoza and the last of my cherries.

12:30 p.m. — Going to Northside Innovation Festival. Someone put me on a list to get free tickets, so I figure I should take advantage of it. I know I have a lot of subway travel ahead of me, so I decide to buy a weekly unlimited subway pass. $32

5 p.m. — My boyfriend and I get dinner at the Meatball Shop before a show at the Bell House. I get the Kitchen Sink special (meatballs and a bunch of random sides) and a happy hour sangria. He sends me his share on Venmo. $21.49

7:30 p.m. — Time for Ron Funches. This is the fourth time I've ever been to the Bell House and it's bizarre to have been here twice in one week.

10 p.m. — My boyfriend buys us both ice cream at Ample Hills, which we think is the best ice cream in NYC. It's $9 for two smalls, but a small is really two scoops/flavors, and it's a rare treat.

Daily Total: $53.49
5 of 8
6:20 a.m. — Weight-training day at Planet Fitness. I get up early because I have a Ladies Get Paid event at 8:30 a.m. in Manhattan, and I know I want to be on time.

7:30 a.m. — I'm out of bananas, so I settle for two scrambled eggs as this morning's protein source.

8:40 a.m. — I'm a little late, but I made it to the LGP event. I buy a large iced coffee, but my nervous energy could probably pull me through the morning. I'm in a coffee shop, so it's the right thing to do either way. $4

10:30 a.m. — I leave for day two of the Northside Festival and buy a pastry and another coffee because breakfast specials are great. $2.50

12 p.m. — Kirsten Gillibrand is speaking and suddenly I am Leslie Knope having a moment with Joe Biden. Almost cried, I just love her so much. She makes me proud to be a New Yorker.

1:50 p.m. — Finally a time to eat and check in on actual work. My boyfriend is with me at Northside, so I buy us both lunch at a pastry shop — a mozzarella-and-pesto sandwich, a slice of quiche, and a chocolate chip cookie. It's pricey, but tasty. Such is life in Williamsburg. $18.94

4:45 p.m. — Happy hour at Northside. I buy myself a glass of wine right before it starts, and I get a token for a free Jameson drink. Oh well, guess I have to have two drinks. $10

6 p.m. — I go to Berry Park with my boyfriend and another couple we meet at the festival. We have a drink and chat. I try to buy myself a Moscow mule and my boyfriend a Coke (he doesn't drink), but my friend's boyfriend insists we put it on one tab. I'll have to go out with them again and make up for it.

7 p.m. — After leaving, we see a little coffee shop that boasts cold-brew iced tea — my boyfriend's favorite drink (it's basically an obsession). We both try it and it's not his jam. That said, we're already here so I buy myself another glass of wine. $8

7:45 p.m. — We stop at Home Frite on Bedford Avenue on the way home, which I've been meaning to do forever. I buy large truffle fries with lemon-garlic mayo. $9

Daily Total: $52.44
6 of 8
9:50 a.m. — There's a French bakery in Queens that feels like our little secret, and it has the best croissants in New York City by far. Forget what all of the lists tell you — the croissants at this bakery actually come close to Paris quality. Boyfriend treats ($18).

11 a.m. — My boyfriend was picked to take a tour and learn about the NY State Pavilion in Queens. I tag along just in case they have extra space; if not, I'll go to the Queens Zoo. Some people don't show up, so I get to put a hard hat on and learn all about the 1963-1964 World's Fair. Also get sunburned.

12:30 p.m. — We drove out to Queens because that subway ride would be more than 90 minutes from our home. Since we already have the car, we decide to go a little further to Flushing for dim sum. We order excellent soup dumplings, scallion pancakes, steamed pork buns, etc. It's cash only and costs $24.50, but we leave $30 including tip. My boyfriend covers $20. $10

1:30 p.m. — We also have to get bubble tea because that's just the rules of Flushing. I get taro slush and he gets coconut slush. I treat. $9

2 p.m. — Parking in Flushing was a nightmare, but we found a garage next door for $4 an hour. Even though we were there for an hour-and-a-half, it cost us two hours. My boyfriend has to get extra cash to cover it, but I Venmo him to pay for it. $8

6 p.m. — A former colleague's birthday was last week and she's having a '90s party at her home in New Jersey. I debate going, but another former colleague is coming down from Washington Heights and we decide to be bus buddies. It takes me far too long to do those '90s twists, plus a bodysuit and high-waist shorts. I pick up a bottle of Prosecco for the birthday girl. $10

6:30 p.m. — Nothing like Port Authority on a Saturday night. I get a one-way bus ticket, just in case we stay too late to take the bus back. $9

10:45 p.m. — Heading back. Half the people dressed up in general '90s wear and the other half dressed up as people (Bob Ross, Selena, David Hasselhoff, etc.). I need to up my game next time. I buy a bus ticket back to the city. $9

Daily Total: $55
7 of 8
12 p.m. — Alamo Drafthouse is having a screening of Space Jam (a favorite of mine and my brother's from back in the day). We paid for the tickets last week; tonight, I order the blackened chicken Caesar, and leave a tip. $19.33

1:30 p.m. — I stop by Century 21 to buy a summer hat. It's hot and I burn like crazy, so it's the least I can do to help myself. $14.99

2:30 p.m. — We almost always do a little Target grocery shopping when we're in this neighborhood, so I pick up some essentials for the week: bananas, shredded chicken, Oreos, yogurt, etc. $20

6 p.m. — Popcorn for dinner because I'm a cool adult, and adults can do whatever they want.

Daily Total: $54.32
8 of 8
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