A Week In New York City On A $32,084 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.
Today: a project coordinator working in fashion who makes $32,084 per year and spends some of her paycheck this week on chicken parm from her office cafeteria.
Occupation: Project Coordinator
Industry: Fashion
Age: 33
Location: New York City
Salary: $32,084
Paycheck Amount (Weekly): $617.23
Monthly Expenses
Housing: $500. (My portion of the maintenance for the co-op my fiancé owns that we live in.)
Student Loan Payment: $0. (I decided to go to college in my mid-20s, and I haven't started paying loans back yet.)
Tuition Payment Plan: $400.17
ConEd: $65. (Varies slightly by month and season.)
Internet: $49.99
Netflix: $10.99
Hulu: $11.99
Lola Tampon Subscription: $8-16. (Depends on the month and if I have any left over last month.)
Vitamins from Ritual: $32
Additional Expenses
Weekly Metrocard: $35

Day One

7:10 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I play the snooze/alarm game for half an hour before I finally crack my eyes open for real and try to wake up. I can hear my fiancé in the other room and wonder if he's going to come in and lay with me. I hate waking up early, and he wakes up with the sun, so sometimes he joins me in bed. He doesn't this morning, and I begrudgingly get out of bed and get ready. I got paid today, so I transfer my fiancé $100 towards my portion of our monthly co-op payment while I have my morning tea. He walks me to the bus and then goes back home (since he works from home).
9:10 a.m. — I started drinking coffee again recently for the first time in years, and I love the French bistro at the corner of my office building. I get a small skim latte and a chocolate croissant because I figure I can spare it on payday. $7.53
1 p.m. — My office has a cafeteria, where I get dumplings ($7.59) for lunch. While I eat I text my best friend (who is also my fiancé's cousin). She came over last night and we ordered takeout from our favorite Thai place, but I know she's having issues with her job, so I offer to pay her back for my half. She accepts and I transfer her $20. $27.59
2:30 p.m. — I go online to pay our electric bill ($65.02) and my monthly tuition payment. I moodily pay and think about how a whole third of my check is gone already and I only just got paid today! I love and hate payday. I'm currently contracting and am getting paid way below my usual rate. I love the work, but I haven't gotten paid this little since I first started out in my field. It's frustrating sometimes to be living paycheck to paycheck. I have to budget out monthly expenses by the week, which is difficult for me because I'm used to getting paid larger amounts at once.
4:15 p.m. — My coworker convinces me to go downstairs to Starbucks with her. I manage not to get a coffee (I'll be up until 2 a.m. if I do), but I do get chips and peanut butter cups. $5.98
6 p.m. — On my way home I pick up three bottles of wine ($31.54) from our local liquor store and spend the rest of the evening hanging out with my fiancé and his best friend. Our apartment is in the East Village and we both grew up here in NYC, so friends and family frequently stop by. His friend gives me a $25 Starbucks card he got that he says he's never going to use, so I upload it into my app. I go to bed around 11 and my fiancé follows a few minutes later. $31.54
Daily Total: $72.64

Day Two

10 a.m. — I wake up and enjoy the fact that I don't have an alarm today! My fiancé is playing videos game in the living room and I make a shake with leftover blood oranges, yogurt, honey, almond butter, and almond milk. It's not very good and I'm disappointed. My fiancé and I lounge around and talk before I leave to get on with my day. We make plans to do errands later and I kiss him goodbye.
12:15 p.m. — I love, love, love my manicure place, which is a hair salon in the Meatpacking District, and even though it's a costly expense right now ($27 after tip), getting my nails done makes me feel good. I started coming here over four years ago and have become friendly with the staff. They're having a moving sale, and while my nails dry, I find a perfect necklace for my future sister-in-law's birthday gift. It's so perfect and 60% off, so I decide it's worth it ($18.97). $45.97
3 p.m. — I need a dress for my cousin's wedding that's in a month. My future sister-in-law has a clothing line with a friend, and I decide to walk over to their store to see if they have anything I might like. I hang out and play dress up for a couple hours with her business partner, but decide to wait on getting a dress because the one I really like in my size is out on a photo shoot. I buy a logo t-shirt of their brand. $27.22
6 p.m. — I get home and go food shopping with my fiancé. Since we live in such a central location, we have a choice of several supermarkets and we decide where to go based on what we want to buy. We decide on the middle-priced supermarket and get toilet paper, paper towels, eggs, hemp milk, frozen spinach, frozen mixed veggies, tofu, onions, and seltzer. I pay because my fiancé and I have an agreement that I cover most of the food and he covers the bulk of rent. $46.33
6:45 p.m. — I decide to try a pan chicken recipe from Pinterest that's chicken thighs, lemon, garlic, and rice started on the stovetop and finished in the oven. My food experiments are 90% successful, though I have a chronic habit of confusing chili powder and cayenne pepper (but luckily this one doesn't call for either!). It comes out really well and my fiancé likes it too!
7:10 p.m. — My best friend comes over to hang out, and we all meet my fiancé's cousin a few blocks away at a dive bar. I pay for my and my fiancé's beer. When we get home, our next door neighbor invites us to come over so we have a beer more each before finally going to bed at around 2 a.m. $20
Daily Total: $139.52

Day Three

9 a.m. — I wake up and lay around in bed on my phone. When I finally get up, I have tea and chat with my fiancé. I have schoolwork to do (graduation can't come soon enough!) and I procrastinate actually starting by looking through my emails. I get a lot of fashion and business newsletters and find them relaxing to look through. I'm also obsessed with Pinterest and use it as a mood board for every part of my life. My fiancé suggests we go around the corner to the neighborhood diner we like, and I jump at the chance to not have to figure out food! I order two eggs over medium, roasted breakfast potatoes, bacon, toast, and decaf coffee. My fiancé pays and we bring home leftover bacon and toast.
11:30 a.m. — I'm traveling to the far reaches of Brooklyn today (Sheepshead Bay) for a bridal shower for my cousin-to-be. Last weekend my mom and I went shopping to get gifts from the registry, and now I'm lugging a wooden cutting board set on the subway. It ends up being a pretty quick commute even with the transfer to the bus, and I get there exactly on time. I meet the bride's extended family, and everyone is super nice. I'm extra excited for the wedding!
7 p.m. — I get home and am a little buzzed from the bridal shower, so I decide I need to make a quiche. I use some of the ingredients from yesterday's grocery buy (frozen spinach, eggs, onions), and pour in milk, add in sautéed onions, and crumble the bacon from today's breakfast into the mix. I use a pie crust I have in the freezer and bake it all for an hour. Then I sit and have a glass of wine I probably don't need while my fiancé and I discuss what's going on with his business (he freelances) until we go to bed.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

8:50 a.m. — I leave later than usual this morning and need to buy a new weekly Metrocard ($32). I used to get monthly ones, but since I'm budgeting I buy a new card every Monday. It only takes me about 30 minutes to commute from my apartment to my office in midtown, and I get to my desk around 9:15.
9:20 a.m. — I buy breakfast at my office's cafeteria, an egg on an English muffin, and eat it at my desk. It's a little dry, but I eat it anyway and make a mental note to get hot sauce or something next time. $1.95
11 a.m. — I brought some of yesterday's quiche for lunch, so I don't have to buy lunch today! I eat it before the bulk of my meetings. Mondays are busy for me, and I often have recaps to do after all my meetings. By 3:30, I'm totally wiped out and make myself a tea. I keep a couple boxes of tea and honey in my desk because I have a serious tea habit.
7 p.m. — My fiancé went out with a friend and I rarely get an evening without him. His working from home means we spend a lot time together and even though I love it (and him!), I like my alone time. I order in Thai and get him pineapple fried rice to eat for lunch tomorrow and myself vegetable soup and fried spring rolls. I chill out until he comes home and we watch Netflix until bed around 10 p.m. $23.60
Daily Total: $25.55

Day Five

7:10 a.m. — Today is a long day for me because I have work and then class. I make tea while I get ready and throw it in my to-go bottle before my fiancé walks me to the bus.
11:30 a.m. — I amazingly have no meetings until the afternoon, so I eat lunch early because I forgot to get breakfast while working on some things. I get chicken and pork souvlaki with collard greens from the cafeteria. Then, I make a tea and nibble on chocolate lollipops I got from the bridal shower on Sunday. $8.08
5:45 p.m. — I had shoes being fixed at the cobbler, so I pick them up and they look perfect! These are my favorite pair of designer shoes, and I wear them to work a lot, so I'm super happy to have them back. I had paid for half of the repair when I dropped them off, so now I pay the second half. $17
6 p.m. — I grab a salad from the deli at the corner of my school. I get mixed greens, beets, chickpeas, olives, mozzarella, and a hardboiled egg with balsamic and olive oil. I also buy a hazelnut and chocolate dipped yogurt bar thing that sounds great. They give discounts to students, so I take advantage, but it only really saves me $1. Still, I'm going to miss using my student ID for discounts! I go into school and eat while I wait for class to start at 6:30. $10.11
8:20 p.m. — Class gets out a little early. My fiancé is out and I realize I've forgotten my keys! UGH. Luckily, his mom lives in the building, so I call her and we hang out while I wait for my fiancé to come home. She offers me veggie soup she made (she's a great cook and recently became vegan), but I decline since I'm still full from my salad. My fiancé gets home at around 10 p.m. and we work on a video project of his until we go to bed around 11:30. I'm exhausted!
Daily Total: $35.19

Day Six

7:10 a.m. — Another morning of making tea while I get ready for work.
12:20 p.m. — They have baked ziti and chicken parmesan at the cafeteria today and I'm super excited to have some comfort food on such a cold day! I get a sparkling water as well and eat at my desk. Some coworkers tell us there's free fruit and cheese in the kitchen on our floor, so I also get pineapple, melons, and strawberries as dessert. Perfect. $8.28
3 p.m. — I have a meeting from 2:30 to 3:30. Our part is done pretty quickly, so we leave the meeting after 20 minutes. One of the cool things about this job is they don't like to waste people's time in meetings they don't have to be in, so if the part you needed to be there for is over, you don't have to stay. It's a great policy. I get to leave early today, which means cuddling at home with the fiancé!
5 p.m. — For dinner, I make steamed green beans, quinoa, and baked tofu that I toss with teriyaki sauce, garlic, and sriracha. It all comes out great and we eat while we watch a movie and drink wine.
Daily Total: $8.28

Day Seven

8:10 a.m. — I am super unhappy to get up today because I stayed up late and last night's wine is making me a little groggy. I make my tea and sleepwalk through my morning routine. My fiancé walks me to the bus, which gets stuck in traffic, and I quietly curse all the construction on 14th Street (and the city in general). I still manage to get to work around 9:15 and set up for meetings I have today. Lots of the ones from yesterday got pushed to today. Yay.
11:30 a.m. — I have a Groupon for this health food store near my job that I've been meaning to use, so I walk over at lunch and buy raw honey, almond butter, bulk quinoa, two boxes of tea, two coconut yogurts, two kombuchas, a ready-made veggie sushi, and a few sweet potatoes (my fiancé's favorite). It comes to $54.23, but with the Groupon, I only spend $24.23. More than I wanted to spend, but now I have snacks at work and lunch for today. $24.23
6:10 p.m. — There's an art gallery in my building and they're doing a show tomorrow that I agreed to be part of (as a living art installation!), so I go upstairs to chat with the artist while the curator sets up. I have a beer and then go back to my apartment, feeling excited for the show tomorrow.
8 p.m. — My fiancé got a Groupon for all-you-can-eat sushi at a local sushi spot we've never been to. It ends up being really good and we gorge on sushi, beers, and sake until the two-hour limit is up! We talk about the sustainability company I want to start and my fiancé's art projects, and then walk home. I call my mom to see if she wants to come to the art show tomorrow, and then try to read in bed, but pass out immediately before reading a page.
Daily Total: $24.23
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