“Trying To Bring Lunch To Work More Often,” Says Everyone, Ever.

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking millennial women 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.)

Today, a fashion designer doing laundry for her boyfriend and buying bikinis on Coney Island.
Photo: Sam Nodelman.
Industry: Fashion Design
Age: 34
Location: Live in Brooklyn, work in Manhattan
Salary: $70,000
Paycheck Amount (2x a month): $1,749, after taxes
# of roommates: 1 (my boyfriend) Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,050
Utilities: $100
Transportation: $116.50 unlimited monthly Metrocard
Phone Bill:
Health Insurance: $198
Vision Insurance: $17
Savings: $150 IRA and $100-$200 into my savings account
Boxing Gym: $145
Netflix and Hulu: $15.98

Day One

8:30 a.m. — English muffin with egg and iced coffee at home. 12:45 p.m. — Order a kale and chicken salad and a bottle of water to eat at Bryant Park with a coworker. It's nice outside! $11.42 3:30 p.m. — Must resist the temptation to purchase an iced coffee right now! I can easily make it a habit. Eat a piece of chocolate instead. 6:45 p.m. — Head to Bed Bath & Beyond after work. Don't you hate it when all your toiletries run out at once? Cotton balls, toothbrushes, toothpaste, baby wipes, makeup remover, face wipes for the gym, loofah. Oh, I found Sriracha chili sauce and Thai peanut sauce at Cost Plus World Market for $7, too. $37.81 7 p.m. — Ran out of my Peter Thomas Roth moisturizer, so I stop by Sephora. It's better to spend on my face than more shoes, right? I charge it to my Visa. $74.04 7:42 p.m. — Trying to bring lunch to work and eat at home more often. I stop by Trader Joe's for frozen broccoli, Brussels sprouts, turkey meatballs, tuna, chicken nuggets, pasta, pesto sauce, organic ketchup, burger patties, frozen cod, sweet potato fries, chicken gyoza, waffles, frozen berries, avocados. If I could buy more, I would, but I have to carry all of these groceries (plus my purchases from Bed Bath & Beyond) from the city to Brooklyn on the subway. $63.17 8:45 p.m. — My boyfriend offers to buy me dinner if I meet him at his work. Even though I'm tired, I can't refuse Thai food and his company. Grilled chicken, papaya salad, and drunken noodles. Boyfriend pays. 11 p.m. — No leftovers from dinner. Pack a quick lunch for tomorrow and my gym clothes. Daily Total: $186.44

Day Two

8:16 a.m. — Eggs, avocado, and salsa wrapped in a toasted tortilla and iced coffee at home. 12:48 p.m. — For lunch I have spinach tortellini, turkey meatballs, and broccoli with pesto sauce from Trader Joe's. 2:40 p.m. — Since I ate lunch at my desk, I have an itch to go outside and get a cold brew from Gregory's. It's a beautiful day! $3.40 6 p.m. — Boxing day. Brought a Klean Kanteen that keeps my water ice-cold. No more buying bottled water everywhere I go. 8 p.m. — Practically crawl home from the gym. I bake two burger patties and sweet potato fries from TJ's. Make an avocado burger, and it's delicious! Save one patty for lunch. 9:30 p.m. — Really missing my gel manicures right now. I used to spend about $35 (with tip) every two weeks. But I've spent way too much visiting friends out of state recently, plus I just booked a six-day trip to Puerto Rico with my boyfriend and our friends. I must not spend! I’ve tried to do my own manicures, but they chip during boxing. I trim, buff, and apply a clear coat at home. Daily Total: $3.40

Day Three

8:16 a.m. — Multigrain waffles, berries, light whipped cream, and iced coffee at home. 12:55 p.m. — Heat up my burger patty from last night and toast the buns at work. I add avocado and some hot sauce. Wish I had pickles and tomato. This isn't the most exciting lunch, so I take a ginger ale from work to eat with my lunch. 4:45 p.m. — Stop by the Korean market on my way home and get seaweed, chili paste (for lettuce wraps), and cold spicy noodles to make at home. $15.00 5 p.m. — I didn't feel satisfied with my lunch, so I get a quick bite to eat at a Korean buffet. I get a veggie omelette, kimbap, and some marinated beef. $9.66 9:07 p.m. — My boyfriend wants to go out to dinner so I get an Uber for us. $6.67 9:45 p.m. — Dinner at Walter Foods. My boyfriend orders me two Pimm's Cups, and we share oysters, fried chicken, French fries, and a piece of flourless chocolate cake. My boyfriend buys. We walk home and enjoy the nice weather. Daily Total: $31.33

Day Four

9:15 a.m. — Scrambled eggs, avocado, and salsa wrapped in a tortilla, plus coffee at home. 10 a.m. — Meeting a new friend at Coney Island today. I take my Klean Kanteen filled with ice water even though it's heavy. I take the subway. 11:30 a.m. — Feeling a little sleepy from the long ride. I get a hot coffee at an ice cream shop while waiting for my friend. The coffee is no good. $3 12 p.m. — My friend arrives prepared to lay out in the sun, and I didn't bring a swimsuit. Big mistake! I wasn't sure what we planned to do today since it was overcast? And it’s Coney Island? I buy a bikini at the beach store. Oh well, at least I will have a new bikini for Puerto Rico. $59 1 p.m. — My friend brought grapes, cherries, popcorn, and chips. I brought nothing since I wasn't sure what we were going to do. 4 p.m. — Wait forever for a Nathan's hot dog and a bottle of water. Take the subway back home. I'm too far from home for an Uber. $7.19 7 p.m. — Finally home and showered. Make cold spicy noodles and top with dried seaweed. Would go well with a hard-boiled egg, but I just realized I left my eggs out from this morning. Doh! 9 p.m. — Netflix and chillin' at home. I bake four mini chicken tacos from Trader Joe's and add Tapatillo and avocado. I'm actually embarrassed I am sunburned, so I'm staying in. At least my face isn't burned. Daily Total: $69.19

Day Five

10:20 a.m. — Stop by the bodega near my house for some necessities. This place is mostly organic and very expensive: eggs, cheese, butter, coffee creamer, a bag brown rice, aloe vera gel. $30.89 10:45 a.m. — I make myself a broccoli-and-cheese omelette, toast, and iced coffee at home. 11:15 a.m. — I skip boxing today. The thought of rubbing up against the mat and wearing tight leggings hurts my skin. Plus, it's thunderstorming outside! I know, excuses excuses. I stay in, pay bills, browse the web, and start cleaning the apartment. 2 p.m. — During my cleaning spree, I decide to do laundry. I do mine and my boyfriend’s laundry about once a week. I never drop off, because I see them over-soap, over-bleach, and over-dry everything! I try to take good care of my clothes, since I've spent a small fortune on them over the years. My boyfriend usually treats me for doing our laundry, but it's still a pain in the ass. $8 4 p.m. — For lunch, I bake breaded cod, roasted Brussels sprouts, and mashed potatoes. I make extra for lunch tomorrow. 7:45 p.m. — Spicy cold noodles, seaweed, and hard-boiled egg for dinner. I just don't feel like having a big cleanup in the kitchen. And I don't feel like Trader Joe’s again. 9 p.m. — Take a cool shower and smother myself in aloe vera lotion. I also have an aloe vera cooling gel mask from Peter Thomas Roth. Time to watch some stand-up on Netflix. Aren't You Embarrassed? is hilarious. Daily Total: $38.89

Day Six

8:20 a.m. — Breakfast at home. Multigrain waffles, berries, light whipped cream, and iced coffee. It's hot outside. 12:40 p.m. — Busy day at work, so I eat my packed lunch at my desk. The mashed potatoes are still delicious. The cod is okay. Microwaved Brussels sprouts taste like soap? Never packing that for lunch again. 6 p.m. — Head to boxing class after work. Bring my own iced water in a Klean Kanteen. 7:30 p.m. — Buy an organic chocolate milk after my boxing class. I hear it's good for you? $3.49 9 p.m. — My boyfriend wants to go out to dinner after work. I wait for him even though I'm tired and very hungry. I called a Lyft for us (50% off this week). $3.50 9:30 p.m. — We order spicy dumplings, ginger chicken, and rice. I pitch in $20 for dinner, and we walk home. $20 Daily Total: $26.99

Day Seven

8:30 a.m. — Avocado toast with a fried egg on top and coffee at home. 12:30 p.m. — For lunch, I have a salmon, avocado, and quinoa salad from Pret-A-Manger. So good, but so small. $9.79 3:30 p.m. — I get a headache at work. I run to Duane Reade and pick up some Ibuprofen. $5.79 Then I head to Dean & Deluca for a small coffee and biscotti. I instantly feel better. $3.41 6:30 p.m. — My friend from work has to return something at Aritzia, so we head there together and they are having a sale! I get a skirt and a gauzy tank on sale. $89 9 p.m. — After browsing stores together, it gets windy and cold. We have dinner at BDC Tofu house in Koreatown. Such a good meal for under $15 (before tip)! $18.53 10:15 p.m. — I get home, and my boyfriend asks me to go to Walter Foods with him. I'm tired, but I feel bad we have different work schedules. I'm happy he wants to hang out with me. I get a Lyft for us. I watch him eat chicken and fries, but I do eat a piece of his flourless chocolate cake. $4.50 Daily Total: $131.02
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