A Week In New York City On A $200,000 Income

Photo: Getty Images.
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 software engineer working in tech who makes ~$200,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on ice cream.
Occupation: Software Engineer
Industry: Tech
Age: 23
Location: New York, NY
Income: $128,000 base plus a $19,000 annual bonus and ~$53,000 in stock options paid throughout the year
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $3,000
Gender Identity: Queer femme
Advertisement
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,500 for my room in a two-bedroom apartment
Student Loans: $0 (I finished paying my $20,000 student loan in March.)
HSA: $200
Transit: $121
Health, Vision, & Dental Insurance: $29
Life Insurance: $30
Spotify: $15
Netflix: $12
Utilities: ~$70 for my share
Wifi: $60 for my share
AMC: $25 (Lets me see up to three movies/week.)
Kindle Unlimited: $10
Fitness: $34
Retirement: $0 (I put my entire bonus in at the beginning of the year to max company match. I have about $75,000 saved.)
Acorns: $200 ($50 is automatically taken every Monday.)
Other Savings: $150 (As a buffer, I cash out my stock options and save or invest them. I have about $30,000 saved/invested.)
Family Contributions: ~$2,000
Annual Expenses
Amazon Prime: $119

Day One

10 a.m. — Wake up to hear my roommate moving around the living room. I head out to catch up with her. She was out late last night with some mutual friends and I was too tired to join but I want to hear how it went. We spend too long chatting, and then I take a shower and brush my teeth. I slip on my current favorite sundress, leather jacket, and white sneakers. It's finally warming up in New York, and I want to enjoy it. I fluff my locs so they're all falling down instead of all over. Rush to the subway to the city to meet my partner, R., for drag brunch. I live on a local train, so I check the app to make sure the train is running and coming soon. Swipe my prepaid card and spend the ride listening to Lizzo and playing sudoku.
Advertisement
11:30 a.m. — R. is running a little late. I get in the wrong line because there are two brunch places next door to each other and R. planned the date. They arrive and correct me and we head into the underground bar space where the performance is. R. got the reservation through Groupon, but it only covered entrance, so we pay for the prefixed menu, which comes with a meal and bottomless mimosas. Score! I get the chicken and waffles and watch the show. The mimosas are pretty watered down, but the queens are amazing and entertaining, so it's a great afternoon. R. pays and I Venmo $69 for my share. $69
2 p.m. — We walk from brunch slightly tipsy to Central Park and relax under a tree and cuddle. We chat for a while and people-watch. It's warmer than I expected so I take off my shoes and get some sun on my toes. After a bit, we hop on the subway to Port Authority to head to R.'s house in Jersey City using a prepaid card. R. pays for my bus ride from Port Authority to their place.
6:30 p.m. — After a lazy afternoon of more cuddling, some Netflix, and sex, we emerge to cook some dinner. R. prepared some pork roast so we heat it up and make some plantains and spinach as sides. I introduce R. to Cutthroat Kitchen since they love to cook so much. It's a cooking competition show about sabotaging your opponents. They seem into it. We watch the Game of Thrones finale with lots of feelings and head to bed around 11 p.m.
Advertisement
Daily Total: $69

Day Two

6:30 a.m. — R. wakes up. I'm a pretty light sleeper, so I feel the bed move but easily fall back asleep. They say goodbye when they go to work around 7:30. I sleep in until about 9:30, slowly get ready, and use a prepaid ticket for the bus to Port Authority and the subway into my office. I arrive at about 11, check my email, and get a drink from the work fridge.
12 p.m. — Step out of the office briefly for a doctor's appointment right next to the office. Get some labs done for my checkup and head back to work. We get free lunch, which I eat outside. Appreciate the sun while people-watching and listening to some music.
3 p.m. — I block off most of my afternoons for my most focused coding. Today, though, I have a meeting with my manager to discuss my career and expectations. We recently had a team training about development, and this is a follow-up to discuss what I'm interested in working on, and what I can do to perform better and eventually get a promotion. It goes fairly well, and I appreciate them taking the time.
7 p.m. — Finish up working around 7. I take the subway to Port Authority and buy some prepaid bus tickets to/from R.'s place ($16.50). I get there around 8:30. We catch up about our days, watch some Cutthroat Kitchen, cuddle, and head to bed. $16.50
Daily Total: $16.50
Advertisement

Day Three

6:30 a.m. — Same as yesterday. R. gets up and I fall back asleep after they leave. Wake up at 9:30 and head to work using the prepaid tickets and subway pass. I arrive at 11 and catch up on my email. Get some seltzer from the fridge.
11:30 a.m. — My team decides to head out for a team lunch outing. There's a fish and chips place nearby, so we walk over together. I get the lunch special and try Irn-Bru, a weird orange soda that tastes like bubblegum to me. We get a few sides to share including mushy peas and curry sauce. I also get a fried Mars bar, which I hate, but another teammate loves it and takes it off my hands. Boss expenses our meal.
3:30 p.m. — I'm hungry again, so I get some fruit and make a sandwich with provided items at the work kitchen. Spend some time coding.
5 p.m. — I've been wanting to go to Paris for a festival I'm interested in that Lizzo (my new idol), Janelle Monae (a.k.a. BAE), and a bunch of other artists are performing at. I can't get it out of my mind, so I check out flights and they aren't too bad. I impulsively book my ticket ($750). I invite my sister to come with and pay for her flight using my airline miles. We book a hotel, but have a cousin in that area who we're hoping to crash with — if not, we'll just keep the hotel. I check and can work remotely that week, so I don't need to take the whole time off. Should be fun. I plan to spend the evenings exploring and the weekend at the festival. $750
Advertisement
7:30 p.m. — Take the subway to my apartment. I catch up with my roommate and make myself something small with leftovers in the fridge. Notice some leftover cake flour and make a quick microwave mug cake, which is amazing. I love/hate the recipe, since it's so hard to resist. I recently ordered a beginner knitting kit on Amazon, and it just arrived yesterday, so I get started on that. I remember a few things my grandma taught me, but it isn't looking too great.
9 p.m. — My roommate suggests going for a quick workout downstairs in our building gym, so we change and I use the elliptical. Then I shower and call a friend from college to catch up while I try knitting some more. Give up on my knotty mess and head to bed around 1:30 a.m.
Daily Total: $750

Day Four

9:30 a.m. — Morning routine. Wake up, shower, throw on some jeans and a t-shirt, and head to the subway to work with my prepaid card.
12:30 p.m. — Get my usual free lunch at the office. Then I call my mom for a much-needed catch up session. I find an empty room and eat my lunch while we talk. She's in a different time zone, so it's easier to talk during the day. She lets me know what's going on at home and asks for my help redecorating an apartment she rents. I promise to transfer over some money (from my family fund) when she figures out how much she needs.
Advertisement
2 p.m. — Some work friends message me. We have a Black folks in tech monthly social that I was feeling a little lazy to attend, but they remind me how much fun it is, so I stop by and catch up with everyone. We talk about how to welcome interns who are starting soon and support them. Tech is about 2% Black, so having a community is pretty helpful. I feel recharged and get back to work.
4 p.m. — I mentor an after-school coding program for Black and Latino high schoolers, so I head over to meet my mentee. She tells me all about high school drama, PSAT, family life, and college plans. I encourage her to continue trying coding after she mentions feeling that it's not coming to her as naturally as it is to her peers. Since I've felt the same way recently, it hits a bit close to home, and I share some tips about how I get through it. We step out to get some ice cream nearby ($12.39) and she heads out around 6. $12.39
8:30 p.m. — My roommate has a date tonight at a club, so she invites me to come as backup. I stay working a little later than normal since I spent so much time socializing today, and get home around 9. I heat up the last of my leftovers, have a quick drink with my roommate to get in the party mood, and change into a new jumpsuit I've been meaning to wear. We take a Lyft to the club. $13.54
Advertisement
11:30 p.m. — I was expecting the club to be empty because it's Wednesday, but it steadily becomes packed. My roommate and I start brainstorming how to find the guy she's meeting. They met online and haven't seen each other in person yet, and it's dark. He invited her because he's meeting his friends here, which is strange, but I roll with it. I order a drink for both of us ($33.60) and we wander around. It's dark, but we finally find the guy. He and his friends seem out of it — and not in a good way. He briefly talks to my roomie but then disappears for an hour. We spend some time dancing, and the guy comes by us again. His friend insists on trying to open an emergency door. We try to enjoy the rest of the night, but people keep bumping into us, so we leave around 1 a.m. My roomie gets the Lyft home and we debrief on what a weird night it was. I shower and head to bed. $33.60
Daily Total: $59.53

Day Five

10 a.m. — Wake up surprisingly refreshed. Maybe I should go dancing more often? Take a shower, throw on a dress and a jacket, and hop on the subway. I make it to work in time for my morning meetings and then I go to get lunch with a work friend. We apply for library cards during our lunch break.
2 p.m. — Finally get back to my desk with my first ever library card and spend the afternoon coding. I get stuck on some tests I'm working on, but my teammate helps me solve it. I find out that one of my work friends experienced a family loss, so I chip in $20 to someone organizing flowers for her. $20
Advertisement
6 p.m. — I leave work a little early to meet my therapist. She's within walking distance, which is very convenient. I've been trying not to meet her during work hours, because I sometimes leave our sessions feeling too many feels, so evening sessions are working better. She just moved out of network for me, but I don't want to start over since I've been going to her for a year. I pay in full from my HSA ($250). I head straight home afterwards.
7:30 p.m. — Get home and order some sushi on Seamless. I round up the total into the tip because I prefer whole statement numbers ($29). It arrives around the same time my roommate gets home. We start watching Dead to Me on Netflix, which is pretty good. I try knitting some more, and I'm getting better. Fewer holes! $29
11 p.m. — Realize I'm running low on mouthwash, so I order some on Amazon ($13). I get ready for bed, but head back to the living room to chat with my roommate some more. We both end up falling asleep on our very comfortable couch. I wake up later but decide not to move. $13
Daily Total: $62

Day Six

9:30 a.m. — Wake up in the living room to hear my roommate in the kitchen. It's New York, so that's just three feet away. I get up because I have a dentist appointment this morning, and message my team that I'll be working from home today after my appointment. I take a shower, brush my teeth pretty thoroughly (to try to impress my dentist), and take the subway to her office. I stop by Dunkin' to get some chai and a muffin because I won't be able to eat after the appointment. $5.31
Advertisement
12 p.m. — My appointment goes by quick, and she numbs me up so I feel nothing. I take the subway back home and take advantage of the Friday afternoon empty laundry room to do a few loads. I refill my laundry card with $20. Then I do some cleaning around the house and log into work. $20
4 p.m. — I reorder my sushi because I loved it yesterday — plus, I'm finally not numb and can chew again. I attend a virtual meeting at work. Then at the end of my work day I get back to knitting and watching Cutthroat Kitchen. $29
9 p.m. — I start getting bored, so I browse some of my regular online stores and find my favorite one is having a sale. I buy floral overalls, leather sneakers, and several new panties ($104). I check a few others, but hold back. Then I start a new trashy romcom book on my Kindle and read in bed for a few hours. $104
Daily Total: $158.31

Day Seven

10:30 a.m. — Wake up and wash my hair. I recently dyed, it so I've been putting it off, but it's due. My roommate comes home from her morning errands, and we take a Lyft to a few apartments we're looking at. Our lease is almost up and we want to get a larger apartment on a better train line. $5.38
1 p.m. — The first apartment is perfect, and we get way too excited. We go see the second one but it's way too far away from our regular train. We decide to apply to the first one immediately, since New York apartments go pretty quick. We submit our information to the broker and take a Lyft back home. $9.59
Advertisement
2 p.m. — A friend is having a birthday party at a park, so we take the subway there. We stop by a store to pick up some drinks, and my roomie pays since I covered the Lyfts earlier. I'm supposed to meet R. at the movies, but they cancel and ask me to comer over instead. I spend some more time with my friends at the park and then take the bus to R.'s house. I'm too far from Port Authority, so I take the PATH train. I put $10 on my MetroCard and take a Lyft from the PATH to R.'s house. $22.63
7 p.m. — R. and I order Qdoba to be delivered ($46) and spend the rest of the night relaxing, watching more Cutthroat Kitchen, and talking about life/us. We head to bed around midnight. $46
Daily Total: $83.60
Money Diaries are meant to reflect individual women's experiences and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.
The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day. For more money diaries, click here.
Do you have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Submit it with us here.
Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here: r29.co/mdfaqs
Advertisement

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series