A Week In Brooklyn On A $34,000 Salary

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. (Thanks, New York mag, for the inspiration.)
This week, a production assistant working in film and TV who makes $34,000 per year and expenses lunches and transportation.
Occupation: Production Assistant
Industry: Film/TV
Age: 24
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Salary: $34,000
Paycheck Amount (4x month): $554.92
Gender Identity: Female
Monthly Expenses
Monthly Housing Costs: $985
Monthly Loan Payments: $0
Netflix: $10.81
Hulu: $7.99
Zipcar: $7.62
Credit Cards: Roughly $500 spread over a few cards
MetroCard: $124 in weekly passes, reimbursed through work

Day One

10:30 a.m. — I wake up a little later since it's Saturday. Thankful I no longer have to work on Saturdays, though I do miss the overtime pay. I go to my favorite bagel shop to grab a sesame bagel with plain cream cheese. Then I head to the coffee shop down the block to grab a large coffee. Their coffee is better and still pretty cheap. I head back to my apartment to eat my bagel while catching up on my shows. Currently it's been This is Us and Nashville. It's my new favorite Saturday morning tradition. $5
2:30 p.m. — I use my weekly MetroCard to head to Soho to meet up with a friend. We decided earlier in the week to hit up this new cookie dough place.
3 p.m. — My friend is running late, so I stop into Sephora. I need more foundation and my mascara has been clumping lately. My favorite brand, Bare Minerals, is pretty reasonable in cost and I only have to replenish every few months. $49.19
3:20 p.m. — I grab a water and go join my friend in line. We were both surprised that it covered a whole city block. We stand in line for an hour then decide it's not worth it, since we have Drybar appointments that we can't miss. $2
4:30 p.m. — We start walking towards Union Square for our hair appointments. We pop into The Strand for a bit. I don't find anything I need to have, but she buys a book for her grandfather's birthday later this month.
5:30 p.m. — I spot a Hummus & Pita Co. and we go in to grab dinner. We're both hungry, and need a good meal before tonight's shenanigans. $10.81
6:30 p.m. — Drybar time! I've never been, but my friend has, and she loves it. We sip on our free champagne while waiting. It turns out amazing and was worth the $45. I tip $10 because of the amount of hair I have. I can make a blowout last a week, so it's well worth the money. $55
8:00 p.m. — We take the subway to my friend's place to get ready for tonight.
9:00 p.m. — We head back downtown on the subway. The project I was working for has rented out a bar in the Meatpacking District to throw a wrap party tonight, since we are done filming. Thankfully, it's an open bar, or else I would only be able to afford a drink or two. We all drink a little too much but have a good time.
2:30 a.m. — I clearly need to Uber home, but even drunk me balked at the $30 Uber price. I decide to save the money and UberPool home. It takes forever but my wallet is happy. $12.19
Daily Total: $134.19

Day Two

11:30 a.m. — I already made plans for Sunday brunch forever ago, so hungover me has to get out of bed. I head to Flatiron on the subway.
3 p.m. — Boozy brunch is the best (but expensive). We go to a tapas place with amazing food and unlimited sangria or mimosas for $39. It's one of those family-style places where all the dishes are shareable. The best part is the churros at the end. $50
3:30 p.m. — I hop on the train back to Brooklyn. I decide to get off one stop sooner and pop into Target.
4:30 p.m. — I've been meaning to pick up some nails and Command strips to decorate my apartment more. I pick up those and a lampshade to try to make my Ikea lamp look a little less like an Ikea lamp. $42.55
5 p.m. — My plan was to hang up my pictures but instead I start watching The Mindy Project on Hulu and doze off. Brunch makes sleepy. Not even Mindy Kaling can keep me awake.
Daily Total: $92.55

Day Three

7:45 a.m. — Boo Mondays. I tend to wake up at the last possible second in order to get to work semi-on time. (9:05 a.m. is so the same as 9:00 a.m. in my opinion.)
9:05 a.m. — I'm already a little late to work, so I don't stop and get a coffee. Instead, I drink the free coffee they provide and grab a bagel from the office kitchen. One of the best perks of this job has to be the free breakfast.
12 p.m. — It's typical for a production to pay for your lunches up to a certain amount. We get $14 per lunch, which is pretty standard for our industry. Our department decides on Sweetgreen, and I go pick it up. On the way there one of my coworkers asks for me to pick her up a coconut water and a water since she's been battling food poisoning. I'm glad to do it since I can turn the receipt into production later and get reimbursed.
6 p.m. — I still have a few hours till I can get out of here. I decide to go up to the kitchen to see what snacks production has stocked the pantry with. They don't have much to choose from, so I settle on a granola bar.
8:30 p.m. — Finally time to leave. I swear I love my job, but 12 hour days are so tiring. I take the train back home and I pass out without eating dinner. (Typical me.)
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

8:15 a.m. — It's time to refill my weekly Metrocard. I use my Discover card since it's 5% cash back this month on ground transportation. Usually I try to pay cash on my work expenses, but I can't say no to 5% cash back. I'll turn the receipt in at the end of the week to get reimbursed.
8:50 a.m. — I have time for Starbucks this morning so I go for it. My drink order is always the same: grande Americano with a pump of vanilla. I started drinking Americanos when I saw how much cheaper they are than lattes. $3.76
9:05 a.m. — I walk into work at my usual time. I eat a free yogurt and granola from the work fridge for breakfast.
12:00 p.m. — Lunch time! We choose Dig Inn today and I'm happy cause they deliver! Work pays again and we all stay under the $14 limit, so no overages. I choose the roasted chicken, farro, grilled apples, and mac and cheese.
7:30 p.m. — The designer tells us to leave early today. I take it. I bolt out of the office and take the train back to Brooklyn.
8.15 p.m. — I decide to order in since I'm back from work at a reasonable time. I have a bad habit of just eating take out but I just never have the energy to cook. I order chicken Pad Thai and spring rolls. I eat the spring rolls and decide to save half of my pad thai for tomorrow's dinner. $17.84
9:30 p.m. — I watch more of The Mindy Project on Hulu till I fall asleep.
Daily Total: $21.61

Day Five

8:15 a.m. — Out of the house at the usual time.
9:05 a.m. — Grab some free coffee from work and a bagel. I really don't like the coffee, but free is better than nothing.
12 p.m. — I work on a film and we are done shooting, which means more of our department is in the office. The majority of the crew wants sushi, so I put it on my personal Seamless account and will calculate the overages later. It's $160 total, and I will turn the receipt in at the end of the week with all my other work related purchases.
3 p.m. — A couple of us are still hungry, so we decide to split a burger and fries from Bareburger. It's another $17, but luckily, work will cover this too. We gossip about Saturday night's shenanigans as we eat and then I go back to work before my boss gets back to the office.
8:00 p.m. — Now that the movie is done shooting we get to leave earlier! I hop on the train back to Brooklyn.
8:45 p.m. — I eat my leftover Thai while watching The Mindy Project. This has quickly become my new favorite show, I can't believe I have never seen it before. Thank god for Hulu.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

8:15 a.m. — Off to work again, I take the train as usual.
8:50 a.m. — I have time for Starbucks again! I try not to buy coffee everyday since it can quickly add up. I get my usual. $3.76
12 p.m. — Lunch time! We decide on Sweetgreen again since it's cheap. I decide to try something different and I get a harvest bowl. My coworker puts it on her account, so I don't have to pay. She's happy since she is almost to black status at Sweetgreen.
2:30 p.m. — I catch a cab to UPS to drop a package off for work. I technically could walk, but I know work will pay for it so I cab there.
3:00 p.m. — I also have to drop off a check to one of our venders while I'm out. I decide to train there since the traffic is really bad right now.
3:30 p.m. — I decide to walk from Chinatown to back to our TriBeCa office. It's a nice day out and I could use the fresh air. I walk by a cute coffee shop and I decide I have to go in. I get a small coffee and and little chocolate chip banana bread treat. More money than I wanted to spend, but I needed something sweet. I forget to get a receipt, so I pay for it out of my own pocket. $6
8 p.m. — Off work earlier than my usual 9 p.m.! Instead of going to the grocery store, which I really need to do, I go straight home and eat some popcorn that I had leftover from last week. I watch a few episodes of The Mindy Project then pass out.
Daily Total: $9.76

Day Seven

8:20 a.m. — I leave my apartment a little later than I should, so I know there will be no time for coffee this morning.
9:05 a.m. — I barely make it to work on time but luckily my direct boss isn't in yet. I go to the kitchen to grab a yogurt and granola and decide to skip the coffee.
9:20 a.m. — I noticed that my boss walked in without her coffee, so I use that as an excuse for a coffee run. I ask another coworker if she wants any, too. Two medium coffees and a large red eye (mine) comes out to $9.25. I treat, though it is more than I wanted to spend. But it's TriBeCa and at least the coffee is amazing. $9.25
12 p.m. — We decide to try a new place today for lunch, 'Wichcraft! I haven't had it in ages, and it's delicious. I got a grilled cheese and tomato soup. Definitely going on our list of favorite lunch places. No overages, and my coworker put it on her credit card.
3 p.m. — I have to go return some expensive jewelry to Mahnaz showroom now that we are done filming. Since it's worth a ton [of money] I Uber there. It's $26.50 and I put it on my personal account, but I get reimbursed at the end of the week.
4 p.m. — I walk up a few blocks from Mahnaz to Loro Piana. I have to pick up a few tops that one of the actresses requested. I Uber back downtown to the office. The total is $30.25. I again put it on my personal account, but I'll get reimbursed.
7:30 p.m. — The designer tells us to go home early again. I drive our department vehicle back to Brooklyn so I can run a few errands this weekend. Production pays for the gas, but I'll probably top it off at some point over the weekend.
8:15 p.m. — I drive right by a drive-through McDonald's on the way home. I have no willpower and I stop to get a large fries and Dr. Pepper. $5.20
8:30 p.m. — Parking is super easy near my apartment, so I find a spot quickly. After last weekends money-spending activities I'm glad to have a quiet Friday night in watching The Mindy Project.
Daily Total: $14.45
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