A Week In Brooklyn On A $50,000 Budget

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 research analyst with a $50,000 salary, who likes to spend it on tickets to shows and bacon, egg, and cheese bagels.
Industry: Advertising
Age: 25
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Salary: $50,000
Paycheck Amount (biweekly ): $1408
Number of Roommates: 3 (my boyfriend and I share a room, and my roommate and her boyfriend are in another bedroom) Monthly Expenses
Housing Costs: $750 for my share of the rent
Loan Payments: None. I made sure to pay off all my loans before I moved out of my parents' house. Originally paid about $300 a month.
Electricity: $20
Phone bill: Pay my parents $50
Cable & Internet; $43 (we have cable and DVR — the apartment is heavy on TV)
Unlimited MetroCard: $116.50

Day One

11 a.m. — Every Saturday morning I walk to my local Brooklyn bagel shop, and I get two bagels with bacon, egg, and cheese and coffee for me and my boyfriend. Our Saturday morning tradition since we first started dating has been bagels and watching DVR'ed episode of Shark Tank from the night before. $8.98 1 p.m. — We head to the TKTS booth for discounted tickets, but we don't see any shows we like, and it begins to snow. We hide out in Starbucks while we decide if we should trek to Times Square or not. I order some new butterscotch coffee drink. (It's delicious.) $5.00 3 p.m. — Buy tickets for Oh Hello on Broadway at the box office in Times Square. The show ends this week, and my boyfriend "needs" to see it. His birthday is three days away, so this is the perfect birthday activity. I only pay for my own ticket, though, because I've already spent too much on him. $99.00 6 p.m. — We head to my girlfriend's new apartment and decide to check out the Indian restaurant she lives above. I order naan for the table, mango lassi, and chicken tikka masala. The food is all delicious, and I have plenty leftover to eat later on when I get hungry again. $12.52 Daily Total: $125.50

Day Two

12 p.m. — My boyfriend's best friends agree to come into Midtown to celebrate his birthday early with a boozy brunch. The deal is two-hours unlimited drinking plus an entree. It was my idea, so I decide I should pay for the both of us. $72.97 4 p.m. — We somehow end up in Hoboken, and I am bitter that my unlimited Metrocard does not count when traveling to Jersey, so drunk me jumps the turnstile. (Sorry.) We order drunk food at a friend's apartment, and I somehow end up not paying for it. 7 p.m. — We take the NJ Path back to the city but accidentally take it to Union Square, which brings us right to a fro-yo store. Drunk me cannot resist frozen yogurt. I am extremely disappointed when its not self-serve, and I convince the nice worker to give me more toppings than allowed. $6.50 Daily Total: $79.47

Day Three

10 a.m. — I announce that I bought my boyfriend tickets to see Wicked for his birthday. I wake up early to make us both breakfast, since the show is at 2:00 p.m. We usually do Broadway shows as presents since it is more of an activity for both of us. I make us eggs and frozen pancakes from Trader Joe's. Then we use our unlimited MetroCards to head uptown. 130 p.m. — I refuse to spend any money at this overpriced theater, so we stop in a CVS so I can buy a lollipop to suck on during the show. I don't mind shelling out big bucks for big productions, but I refuse to spend $12 on a Wicked-themed drink. $1.00 5 p.m. — We head to Bed Bath and Beyond to buy some much needed home items. We are constantly running out of silverware, so I buy a thing of forks. I also decided to start cooking more in the new year, so I buy these cute rainbow-colored mixing bowls. My roommate is going to love them. $25 6 p.m. — We go to Basta Pasta, a fancy Italian spot I've been dying to try. I thought it would be a nice special place for post-Wicked birthday celebrations. I'm being way too nice this birthday because I got a promotion. I get spaghetti served out of a wheel of cheese, and we both get wine and our own desserts. $88.04 Daily Total: $114.04

Day Four

10 a.m. — We both took the day off of work since today is my boyfriend's actual birthday. It's nice having a super-long weekend between the day we took off and the day we both got off for MLK Day. We head to our bagel shop once again to get a quick BEC because we are spending the day at the Museum of Natural History. $8.98 11 a.m. — We buy student tickets at the Museum of Natural History and also pay for two extra exhibits, the butterfly zone and the planetarium. They are both worth it, and we have a very full day of fun activities. My boyfriend pays for the museum tickets after I spent way too much on him over the long weekend. 1 p.m. — We get too hungry to wait any longer, and we decide to eat in the museum. It is the worst sandwich I have ever had, and I can only finish half of it. I am so mad at myself for thinking maybe roast beef would be a safe bet. I should have brought food with me like my mom raised me to do. $11.43 5 p.m. — We go to Rolf's, a fun German place fully decorated during Christmas time with lights everywhere. The location is cool, but I cant stop thinking about the place burning down due to all the decorations. We split the bill and only order appetizers. This place is crazy overpriced. $20 7 p.m. — We are seeing Oh Hello tonight, and, once again, I will not be buying anything at the theater, so we stop at a CVS and I get Skittles and a Ring Pop. They are perfect snacks to have during a show and won't be too noisy to eat. $3 8 p.m. — I almost buy myself a silly souvenir at the show because I'm a sucker, but end up spending no more money for the rest of the night. We use our unlimited MetroCards to go to Times Square and back home to Brooklyn. My boyfriend declares he has had the perfect birthday and "I'm the best." Daily Total: $43.41

Day Five

9 a.m. — I'm back at work and back on my normal schedule. I start the day by drinking the coffee and milk provided at the office and eat a Trader Joe's yogurt that I keep in my work fridge. 12 p.m. — I go to a sandwich spot next to my office, and get a brie and prosciutto sandwich. There is a discount if you work in my building, which takes off about a dollar, I always make sure to mention it. I also have a pastry that was brought in by a client — a nice benefit of working in advertising. $6.80 6 p.m. — I make a chicken dinner with green beans for me and my boyfriend, using all ingredients we already have in the house. The meal is just okay. I've been trying to force myself to eat vegetables, and it is not going too well. I quickly finish my dinner, so I can move on to eating cereal (my actual favorite meal). Daily Total: $6.80

Day Six

9:30 a.m. — I get to work late and so does my work friend. She mentions wanting a bacon, egg, and cheese, but I promised myself I wouldn't spend more money on breakfast for the rest of the week. I finally decide I will get crazy jealous if she gets one and I don't, so I go back out and buy a BEC that I do not deserve. $6 12 p.m. — I head over to my friend's office to visit her at work. I borrowed a copy of Moonlight from her roommate last weekend and need to return it. He is a member of SAG and got sent copies of all the nominated movies, which I have been heavily borrowing in time for Oscar season. After I leave her office, I stop at Pret a Manger to get myself a chicken-and-bacon sandwich and a clementine. This is clearly a good day for bacon. $8.69 7 p.m. — I decide to make another chicken dinner tonight, since I did not like last night's meal. This time, I'm making my favorite chicken dish that does not include vegetables. I head to the grocery store below my building to buy white wine and rice. I stop in CVS as well to see if they have any sales on cereal or ice cream, but both are full price. I can't justify spending $6 on Ben and Jerry's, so I sadly head back upstairs to cook. $7 Daily Total: $21.69

Day Seven

9 a.m. — I start my morning with coffee from work and a Trader Joe's yogurt. 1 p.m. — My company is moving offices, so my coworkers and I decide to go to our favorite Thai place one last time. We split the bill. $12.50 4 p.m. — My coworker whips out an order form for Girl Scout Cookies. It's my favorite time of year once again! I buy eight boxes for my whole apartment. My two roommates Venmo me for their boxes, and I decide to be nice and cover the boxes my boyfriend wants, mostly so I can eat his cookies without feeling bad. $16.00 Daily Total: $28.50
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