A Week In New York City On A Joint $540,000 Salary

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.
We're going on book tour for our new book, Money Diaries: Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Your Finances... and Everyone Else's. Next stop: Chicago on Wednesday, October 24. More details here!
Calling all entrepreneurs: We want to hear from you! If you’re a freelancer or self-employed, we’d love to feature your Money Diary. Submit here.
Advertisement
Today: a law associate who makes $380,000 per year ($540,000 when combined with her husband) and spends some of her money this week on chips and guac.
Occupation: Associate
Industry: Law
Age: 30
Location: New York, NY
My Salary: $380,000
My Husband's Salary: $160,000
My Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $6,000
My Husband's Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $3,250
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $4,600 (not including one-and-a-half free months that we received when we first moved in)
Loans: $0 (I had a full merit-based scholarship to college and law school, and we bought our car outright.)
Health Insurance: $450 per paycheck
FSA: $50
MetroCard: $121
Daycare: $2,700
Garage: $190
401(k): $100 (I recently cut back my contribution amount. I was previously contributing to it aggressively, and have about $42,000 saved.)
Cable & Internet: $160
Electric & Gas: $100
Cell Phones: $0 (Both my husband and I are on my parents' family plan.)
Netflix: $0 (We use my parents' account.)
Savings: I move about $10,000 from our checking account into a savings account that yields 1.8% annually. We have $380,000 in savings that we've earned over the last three years. I don't plan on staying in this job forever, so we try to save towards our future as much as possible.
Additional Expenses
Car Insurance: $600 twice a year

Day One

7 a.m. — Wake up to snuggles from my cuddly nine-month-old, T. My husband, G., honorably takes T. to play and lets mommy catch some more zzzs. I sleep for about an hour more, and then find my boys in the living room and make us breakfast. Coffee in the French press, sourdough toast with peanut butter for G., and toast with almond butter for me. I share a white peach I received from my farm share this week with T., and also give him a baby yogurt and puffs. (We paid $380 for 13 farm share shipments to be delivered every other week from June through October. Each box includes fruits, veggies, and a dozen eggs.)
Advertisement
9:30 a.m. — After cleaning up breakfast and making sweet potato puree for T. and butternut squash soup (more farm share haul), I pack T. up in the jogging stroller for a four-mile run across the 59th Street Bridge. The incline is hard! When I get home, I feed the baby some sweet potatoes — he loves them. Then G. brings him out for a run so I can pump in peace.
12 p.m. — Lunchtime. Butternut squash soup for me, and I make a veggie burger and a roasted beet salad for G. I mix pumped breast milk with whole grain rice cereal for T., and he also gets more sweet potato. We attempt to get T. to nap, but we fail because he's more interested in attempting to throw himself off the bed. I catch him by his ankles and dangle him upside down, and he thinks it's hilarious.
1 p.m. — We give up on the nap and head out for an adventure! We take the subway (using our unlimited monthly MetroCards), and stop at a bar for a drink to make braving the crowds of tourists in midtown more bearable. I get a spiced cider and G. gets a beer ($19). Then we stroll through Central Park since it's the most beautiful fall day! T. tries to grab leaves on the trees as we walk through the park. It's perfect. $19
4 p.m. — We make our way over to the Upper East Side, where my husband used to live in his bachelor days. We have a lot of memories over here. We stop in The Penrose for another drink – a pumpkin beer for me (#basic) and another beer for G. ($20). Then we head to one of our favorite restaurants, Beyoglu, for an early dinner. The food is great and cheap, and the people-watching is unbeatable (so much plastic surgery on the UES!). We share fried calamari, G. gets a chicken and rice dish, and I get a mezze platter with various vegetarian spreads ($74). I feed T. little bits of rice and bread from the restaurant, as well as baby food I brought from home (zucchini and peas). $94
Advertisement
8 p.m. — We take the subway back home. It's time to get T. ready for bed. We have a huge bathtub, and most nights T. and I take a bath together. He loves to play in the water. Then I breastfeed him in bed, and he plays around and falls asleep. I hang with G. in the living room while he watches tennis, and head to bed a little after 9.
Daily Total: $113

Day Two

7 a.m. — I'm not sure how many times the baby was up in the night. He sleeps in our bed with us. I know you're not supposed to do this, but I'm doing what I have to do to get by. He slept pretty well in the crib while I was on maternity leave, but when I first went back to work, he was waking up EVERY HOUR. My job is very demanding, and rather than walking into his nursery every hour and not getting any sleep, I brought him into bed with us. I can't stand letting him cry. When we wake up, I feed him oatmeal with breast milk. Then G. takes him for a run while I do a 20-minute yoga video on YouTube and go on a cleaning rampage. I make the bed, fold the laundry, vacuum the apartment, and scrub down both bathrooms. Cleaning is therapeutic to me.
9:30 a.m. — My Whole Foods groceries arrive via Amazon Prime Now. I ordered kombucha, soy milk, Siggi's yogurt, organic strawberries, a bunch of bananas, grapefruit, lemon, avocado, whole wheat orecchiette, cherry tomatoes, basil, tomato paste, sourdough bread, mint chocolate chip ice cream, a dark chocolate bar, and all-natural coffee creamer ($62.07). Convenient, but the basil is missing. I'll complain and get a refund. For breakfast, G. and I eat the delicious fresh sourdough bread with nut butters and fruit on top. I also make scrambled eggs. The baby eats eggs and cut up fruit for second breaky. He's just learning to eat "finger foods" with his little hands, and it's just so precious. We have French press coffee with Whole Foods creamer. $62.07
10:30 a.m. — My work friend sends me a picture of this super cute Halloween onesie that says "I vant to suck your boob" and says that T. needs it. I order a similar one from Amazon for my cousin's baby as a surprise ($13) and also a big cast iron griddle for myself to make pancakes ($29). $42
12 p.m. — We take the subway into the city again to meet my former boss, C., who has become one of my greatest friends, for brunch at Rosemary's. We share truffle focaccia and a trio of delicious vegetable appetizers including chickpeas, cabbages, and eggplant. I have a kale salad as my main with seared yellow fin, and G. gets pasta. I have a glass of red wine, too. C. orders a panini that he doesn't like, so we take it home for dinner ($112). Then we stroll around the village with T. in the Babybjorn. I get ice cream from Van Leeuwen's — a scoop of blackberry Danish and a scoop of vanilla on a fresh waffle cone. I share with the baby and G. ($9). It starts to mist, so we head home on the subway. $121
5 p.m. — We're not ready for the fun to end, so we open up a bottle of Wolffer red wine that my in-laws sent for my birthday. Then we walk around our apartment building with T. — there's an indoor courtyard with a garden. We talk to some neighbors, including a couple that also has a nine-month old son. And another neighbor tells me that the herbs in the garden are for anyone's use! Turns out I don't need that basil after all.
7 p.m. — I make G. leftovers for dinner — the panini, butternut squash soup, and beet salad. The baby and I have avocado toast. Afterwards, I clean up and then it's bath time and bedtime for T.
7:30 p.m. — I work on a research assignment for work for about two hours, and fall asleep by 9:30.
Daily Total: $225.07

Day Three

6:45 a.m. — Wake up and pack T.'s lunch for daycare (two bottles of milk and three jars of puree). I do yoga for about 20 minutes in the hall outside T.'s room while he plays with his toys and G. showers. Then we switch — G. watches T. while I shower. We eat breakfast together as a family — more sourdough toast with nut butter and bananas and strawberries. Nespresso with soy milk for me and creamer for G. T. gets oatmeal with mashed banana. Then we all head out. I can't believe it every time we make it out the door. T. and I walk G. to the subway because he needs to get to work by 9 a.m. I can get in later, so I bring T. to daycare. It's only a five or 10 minute walk from home, but we usually leave early to walk through the park together. I also call my mother and grandmother during this time to catch up.
9 a.m. — I hang out with T. for a few minutes at "school" (we call daycare school because it sounds nicer) and then head into work. He is always SO EXCITED to see his teachers and friends and toys at school, so I don't feel too sad leaving him. He cries when I leave, but I get picture updates throughout the day and can see that he's having a lot of fun. I get to work about 10 minutes later and dive into research.
10:30 a.m. — I head up to the "mother's room" at my office for a 20-minute pumping session. There's a computer and phone so I can continue my work pretty seamlessly. I talk to my best coworker friend, and we decide to order Sweetgreen for lunch. I get a modified custom salad with arugula, basil, chickpeas, heirloom tomatoes, roasted peppers, cucumbers, burrata, and pesto vinaigrette to pick up at 12:15. After we pick up our salads, I eat at my desk while working and drink a kombucha that I brought from home. $12.70
2:30 p.m. — Pump time again. I keep working, but definitely need a second coffee on this Monday. My coworker and I head to Starbucks, and I use my "reward" to get a free medium soy latte. It hits the spot on this cool fall day. Finally!
5 p.m. — I was very productive today. I pack up my bags (full of milk!) and head to daycare. G. has a work dinner tonight, so he won't be home until late. Picking T. up is the highlight of my day. The smile he gives me when he first sees me is so precious. We walk home, I clean his bottles and food jars, and then I make avocado toast for me and give him sweet potatoes for dinner. After we eat, I put him in the Babybjorn and we take a walk around the block. I see the bartender at our corner spot outside and say hello. T. is mesmerized by the trees and sky and tries to grab them. The sun is setting, there's a cool breeze, and I feel so peaceful spending this time with my baby. I love him so much.
7 p.m. — Bath time, then boob time, then bedtime for T. After he falls asleep, I work for about two hours. I'm up until about 10:30 when G. gets home from his work thing. I couldn't fall asleep without him, so I'm up later than I'd like to be.
Daily Total: $12.70

Day Four

6:15 a.m. — None of us slept great last night. Oh well. I do weight exercises and yoga in the baby's room while he plays on the floor. G. has an early meeting, so he leaves for work earlier than usual. I make the baby a scrambled egg for breakfast, and I have strawberry rhubarb Siggi's yogurt with cut up strawberries, Kind granola, and a scoop of almond butter. Aldi's has the best almond butter out there. I make a Nespresso pod with soy milk.
8:30 a.m. — It's pouring out, so I strap T. into the Babybjorn and pack up our bags (including bottles, food, and pumping parts) and we walk half a mile to school. It's SO HEAVY that I wonder if I'll make it. I try to sing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" to teach T. about rain, but I'm out of breath and can barely breathe!
9:30 a.m. — Drop off went well, and now I'm at my office. I make an iced latte with almond milk in the kitchen. I'm working on a document review that's a little boring and frustrating because we keep changing the approach that we're taking and having to redo work. Argh.
11:30 a.m. — It's pouring rain, and I have a $10 promo code from Grubhub, so I treat myself to Blue Ribbon Sushi for lunch, delivered. YOLO. $23
5 p.m. — I leave work to pick up the baby. He's been boycotting his bottles at daycare this week (which I'm a little worried about), so I breastfeed him right when we get home. I order Indian takeout for dinner from this amazing place and get spicy lentils, sag paneer, spicy cauliflower, and garlic chili naan for G. and me to share ($48). I'm happy to have G. rejoin us for dinner since we had breakfast and dinner last night apart. After dinner, we head down to the basement game room and play ping pong with T. strapped in the Babybjorn. I put the paddle in his hand and we play against Daddy. He laughs and loves it and cries when we leave. $48
7:30 — After T. goes to bed, G. and I watch Ozark in bed. We're so into this show. We fall asleep around 9:30.
Daily Total: $71

Day Five

6 a.m. — T. was up a lot in the night and has a stuffy nose. I think the poor little guy is sick. G. takes him to play and lets me sleep in a little longer. (G. doesn't usually wake up when T. does, so he slept fine last night, but I'm exhausted!)
7:17 a.m. — Why did they let me sleep this long?! I wake up, throw our sheets in the laundry, whip up blueberry buckwheat pancakes on the new griddle that I ordered, clean up, shower, get dressed, pack our bags, and we're out the door by 8:30 to walk G. to the subway.
8:30 a.m. — Realize I didn't put on deodorant! I head back home with T. and in the meantime get four emails from my bank's fraud alert asking whether I spent $400 on Amazon Australia. Uh, no. I give them a quick call, close out our current card, and am told that new cards should arrive tomorrow. That was painless, but I'll have to change all our auto-pay stuff later. I put on deodorant, drop T. at school, and head to work.
9:30 a.m. — This is a "slow" time at work for me, so I take advantage of it. My job is usually very busy and very stressful. I'm expected to be on call 24 hours a day, including weekends. It's pretty typical for me to work 70 to 80 hour weeks, so when I have a bit of downtime like this, I don't feel guilty. After pumping, I do a 30-minute yoga video from Aaptiv (my work friend sent me a 30-day free trial) in the mother's room. I feel so relaxed, and it's amazing. I've got to do this more often.
12:30 p.m. — We have an associate lunch today with limited veggie options. I eat iceberg lettuce and roasted potatoes, and some not-so-great creamed spinach. At least it's free?
1:30 p.m. — I place a FreshDirect order for apples, bananas, lemons, beets, avocados, carrots, kale, zucchini, Siggi's yogurt, nut milk, dried chickpeas, whole wheat English muffins, a bar of dark chocolate, a case of grapefruit LaCroix, and anchovy paste (for homemade Caesar salad dressing). $56
5 p.m. — Leave work, order Italian takeout (kale Caesar salad, garganelli pasta with mushrooms, and eggplant parm), and pick up the baby. G. meets us at the school since it's "open house" night. We chat with some of the teachers and other parents for a bit, and then head home. After dinner, we go to the game room again to play ping pong. T. loves it again and I envision him as Forrest Gump. $50
8 p.m. — Bedtime. We attempt to put T. in his crib, but he cries uncontrollably, and we don't even last five minutes. Then I snuggle him in our bed, and he passes out quickly. We go to bed around 9:30 again.
Daily Total: $106

Day Six

1:30 a.m. — In a lame effort to cut T. off the night feeds, I withhold the boob from him, which results in an hour of him whining and an hour of me being awake. I finally give in and give him the boob and he passes out immediately. Another mom fail…
6:20 a.m. — The intercom in our apartment goes off. FreshDirect is here. G. gets up to receive it and put the groceries away. They were out of my chocolate bar :(. I make us breakfast — Whole Foods peanut butter cereal for G. with sliced bananas, banana slices and puffs for T., and Siggi's yogurt with granola and banana for me. I think it's so cute that we all share the banana.
7:45 a.m. — G. has to take T. to school today because I have an early call at 8. I pack up the stroller with T.'s bottles and food and log into my computer to get ready for the call. My call ends at 9, and I take advantage of the alone time to run a quick 2.5 miles on the treadmill in the gym in my building. I finish up and my colleague wants to debrief, so I take a quick shower and jump on a call with her at 10. After getting caught up on work, I realize it's almost lunchtime and I might as well work from home to save on commuting time.
12 p.m. — I make a kale salad with homemade Caesar dressing (olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, anchovy paste, a dash of soy sauce, and cinnamon) and pumpkin seeds. I also eat an apple with almond butter. I feel weak. I think I may be getting sick. I work all afternoon while watching the Kavanaugh hearing in the background. She is a credible witness. He is angry AF and won't stop talking about beer. If I hear the word "beer" again…
5:15 p.m. — I meet G. picking up T. from school, and we all walk home together. G. says his throat hurts, and we both agree that we're sick. We stop in the communal herb garden in our building's courtyard to pick a heap of basil for dinner. I make G. a kale Caesar like what I had for lunch. I also make pasta — whole wheat orecchiette with yellow squash cooked with olive oil, garlic, tomato paste, anchovy paste, and red pepper flakes. Mix in butter, a ton of parmesan, and then cut basil at the last minute. It's delicious. We also have some more Wolffer wine and mint chocolate chip ice cream for dessert. Baby gags on plain pasta, so he eats chickpeas and bananas instead.
8 p.m. — We're all definitely sick. T.'s been especially boogery this week, so I blame him. I guess the germs are the cost of the snuggles. Fine by me. G. and I snuggle, take Tylenol PM, and go to bed early.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

6:45 a.m. — Wake up to an alarm because T. has his nine-month checkup. I'm still feeling sick, but at least not worse than yesterday. We shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, and leave at 8. G. and I disagree about how to get there. It's only 1.2 miles away, and I want to walk, but it's drizzling out, so G. wins and we take the car. The garage is in our building, so G. calls to give them a heads up, and then we're on our way. We actually find street parking and it's $1 for an hour. $1
8:30 a.m. — We love our doctor. I told him I was worried about some things, and he says whatever we're doing is great, because the baby is thriving. After the appointment, we drop the car at the garage. G. heads directly to work and I stop in the apartment to breastfeed T. and grab his food for the day. Then I drop him off at daycare. We arrive just in time for snack time, and I sit with him while he eats a few blueberries for the first time. Then it's off to work.
12 p.m. — I take a break to run to Sweetgreen with my coworker. I have $9 in rewards so my salad is only $3. We catch up about the hearing yesterday. $3
2:30 p.m. — It's pump time. I usually pump two to three times per day at work. My pumping schedule has to be flexible around my meetings. Then I go to a meeting for one of my cases. I can't wait to get home and for the weekend to start.
5 p.m. — I leave work, pick up T., wash his bottles and food jars, and then we take an early bath. Afterwards, I put his PJs on, breastfeed him, put him in the stroller, and head out with G. to our local Mexican spot for chips, guacamole, tacos (cactus for me, shrimp for G.), and margaritas! We head home at 7:30 for bedtime. $66.91
8 p.m. — The baby falls asleep in the stroller only a couple blocks into our walk home, so we decide to turn back to the Mexican restaurant and get a second round of margs! What a romantic treat for G. and me. We head home afterwards, transition T. into bed, and go to sleep. TGIF! $27.43
Daily Total: $98.34
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.
Have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Right now, in addition to our ongoing diaries, we're looking for potential diarists along the following theme:
Your Spending In Your State: We want to run one Money Diary from a different state each week. Want to rep your state? Submit here! In particular, we're looking for diaries from Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, North Dakota, Rhode Island, and Mississippi.
Have you been working for at least 8 years and seen your salary increase or fluctuate? If so, fill out this form for a chance to be featured on our Salary Story series!
Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here: r29.co/mdfaqs

More from Work & Money

Watch

R29 Original Series