A Week In New York City On A $64,000 Salary

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Today: a criminal justice policy fellow working at a nonprofit who makes $64,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a watering can.
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Occupation: Criminal Justice Policy Fellow
Industry: Nonprofit
Age: 27
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $64,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,668
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $1,120 for my half of the mortgage and maintenance on a co-op I own with my sister
Student Loan Payment: $0 (I had a full scholarship to grad school and was very lucky to have my parents pay for undergrad.)
Taxes — I'm breaking this out because I'm always curious about taxes in other diaries:
Federal Income, Social Security, Medicare: $822
NYS Income Tax: $223
NYC Tax: $144
Savings: $800
401(k): $640 (My work matches about $200 of this.)
FSA: $200 (I started my job mid-year with lots of delayed medical appointments.)
Metrocard: $121 pre-tax
Internet: $28 for my half
Heat & Electric: about $60
Spotify, Hulu, New York Times: $21 for my half (My sister and I split the cost and share the accounts with our parents.)
Netflix: $0 (I use my parents' account.)
Phone: $0 (My work pays.)
Gym: $5 (My building's gym is tiny but very cheap!)
Charitable & Political Donations: about $100
Annual Expenses
Homeowners' Insurance: $640

Day One

8 a.m. — I wake up and go through my morning routine: shower, style my hair, throw on The Ordinary serums (salicylic acid and the niacinamide/zinc combo), and water the plants on my patio that I am obsessed with. Grab fruit and I'm out the door.
8:45 a.m. — Get breakfast from the cafeteria at my office. I am super lucky to work at a nonprofit that is housed in a corporate office space, and we have access to the corporate food perks! I get a hard-boiled egg, toast, and an earl grey tea.
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1 p.m. — Walk with a coworker to Maison Kayser for lunch. I get a quiche and a mocha. We walk around a bit complaining about different work issues. $12.95
6:30 p.m. — I go over to my boyfriend's apartment. He was recently away for a a few weeks, and while he was gone, I realized that the relationship wasn't working. I didn't miss him much, I think in large part because I've slowly realized that he is very conservative. I'm incredibly liberal, have worked in politics in the past, and spend a lot of my free time volunteering on campaigns, so that's a no-go for me. When I get to his apartment, I break up with him, get my stuff, and hold back tears until I'm outside of his building. I know this is the right choice, but it's still hard to end a relationship after nine months.
7:30 p.m. — My wonderful cousins, who live in the same neighborhood as me and my ex-boyfriend, tell me to join them at the restaurant they're at for dinner when I tell them what just happened. There's a glass of white wine and big hugs for me when I arrive, and I order pasta with sausage because carbs and wine and family make everything better. My cousins pay for dinner and walk me home, and by the time I get there, I'm feeling much better. This was the right choice.
10:30 p.m. — I watch Hulu, do my nighttime skincare routine (The Ordinary salicylic acid and 10% lactic acid), and fall asleep.
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Daily Total: $12.95

Day Two

7:30 a.m. — Wake up after sleeping the best I've slept in a while. Normal morning routine and I'm off to work.
8:45 a.m. — Get to work after a blissfully uncrowded subway. Being in NYC when most of the population has fled to vacation destinations isn't all bad. Grab a bagel and a cold brew from the work cafeteria.
12:30 p.m. — Get a smoked salmon sandwich and an onion bialy for lunch from a local cafe with the best bread. $15.72
3 p.m. — It's the last summer Friday of the year, and I'm out of work at 3. I head to Ulta because I'm feeling a bit down post-breakup, and what better way to cheer myself up than a little beauty shopping? I grab a couple masks, a foot peel, a new conditioning mask, a new leave-in conditioner spray (there is no such thing as too much conditioner when you have curly hair), and a lipstick. $34.24
4:30 p.m. — My sister is traveling with her boyfriend this weekend, as are many of my friends. A few weeks ago it seemed great that I would have my apartment to myself for a long weekend with my boyfriend, but not so much today. I don't want to stay in on a Friday night, so I buy a ticket to a feminist comedy show at a sex toy shop. The ticket includes wine, so I feel like this is the right way to spend my post-breakup Friday. $16.72
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5 p.m. — The Labor Day weekend sales get me. I've spent the whole summer desperately in need of new shoes, but not doing anything about it. I grab a few pairs from J. Crew Factory for just $14.95, plus new pants that I'm hoping will hit the beautiful work trifecta of not needing to be dry-cleaned, not wrinkling like crazy, and still being cute. $129.70
10:30 p.m. — The comedy show is fun, although there are more couples there than I want to see in my newly single state. I drink a couple glasses of wine and browse the store after the show, but decide not to buy anything. I walk part of the way home and then get on the subway. I'm hungry when I get home, so I order delivery from one of my favorite local restaurants — a cheeseburger, french fries, chicken nuggets (the chicken is always moist and the breading is so good!) and coleslaw. I eat, watch Netflix, and then pass out. $27.23
Daily Total: $223.61

Day Three

10 a.m. — I'm having a very lazy morning. I've been awake for a few hours, but am just now getting out of bed. I eat leftovers from the food I ordered last night. Cold fried chicken is one of my favorite foods.
1 p.m. — I make tomato toast, one of my favorite summer foods. I'm being very lazy today and alternating between reading a new book and watching ER (why did I start watching a show that has 15 seasons??). I try on shoes I ordered, and unfortunately they don't fit. I really want a pair of leather/faux leather loafer-style shoes, but I have very high foot arches, which makes buying slip-on shoes a struggle. I box the shoes back up to return.
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4 p.m. — I finally motivate myself to get out of the house. I stop at the bank to get cash for the week ($60), and then go the grocery store, where I buy red peppers, zucchini, cucumber, grapes, honeydew melon, salad greens, tomatoes, sweet Italian sausage, and pork chops. (I put this on a shared credit card that I split with my sister.) $57.79
7 p.m. — I meet a friend for dinner, where I order a margarita and a Greek salad with lamb chops. I was feeling pretty down before, and time with a friend is exactly what I need. $33.62
9 p.m. — After dinner, we walk to my favorite local ice cream shop. I get a scoop of rum raisin — it's delicious! $4.90
Daily Total: $96.31

Day Four

9 a.m. — I get up early for a Sunday to meet a friend and head out to the Rockaways for a beach day. On my way, I grab an egg and cheese sandwich with avocado on whole wheat toast. $3.50
10 a.m. — Ferry ticket to the Rockaways. I take the subway downtown and then get on the boat with my friend. I could take the train all the way, but it's just nicer to be on a boat for part of it. $2.75
12 p.m. — Taco time! We walk from the ferry to a taco shop, where I get a fish taco and a watermelon juice. Then it's off to the beach, where we spend a few hours watching surfers and dip our feet in the water. The waves are too big for me to go all the way in, but it's still a fun beach day. We take the train home. $9
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7 p.m. — I read for a while on my patio and then make pasta with kale and pork sausage for dinner. I make a big batch so I'll have leftovers. I drink a glass of wine and then watch too much TV before going to bed.
Daily Total: $15.25

Day Five

8:30 a.m. — I wake up and finish the book I've been reading in bed. Then I buy a new Marshall Project/Amazon collaboration on the criminal justice system in Chicago — it's five long articles. I read the first one before getting up. $5
10:30 a.m. — Out of bed. I make tomato toast for breakfast and start the process of baking a loaf of sourdough bread. I feed my starter and leave it to rest.
12 p.m. — It is miserably hot in New York today, but there's a free city pool just a block from my apartment! I throw on my suit, grab a towel, and walk over. This pool is huge, so even though it's Labor Day and there are tons of people here, there's still space. It feels so good to be in the water.
2:30 p.m. — Leave the pool, go home, and shower. Check my credit card and see that a $100 refund for clothes I returned came through!
4 p.m. — Start to make dinner and realize I'm out of a few things I need. I go to the local market and get ginger, a lime, black plums, canned pineapple, and Coco Lopez (on my shared credit with my sister). $11.65
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6 p.m. — Cooking time: I make reverse-seared pork chops with a ginger-garlic-lime-fish sauce marinade, roast peppers, zucchini, and onions, and a salad dressing from the leftover marinade. I only set my fire alarm off once while searing the pork, which feels like an accomplishment since it is about three feet from my stove and goes off all the time. My sister gets home and we catch up about her vacation over homemade piña coladas, and then eat dinner together. I roast up the plums for dessert and we put them over a little Greek yogurt. I love how roasted plums make their own delicious sauce.
Daily Total: $16.65

Day Six

7:30 a.m. — Waking up after a three-day weekend feels harder than it should, given how well-rested I am. I shower, mix up the dough for the sourdough bread, and water my plants.
8:45 a.m. — Make myself a tea at work and have leftover roasted plums with yogurt for breakfast. Then it's meeting time.
12 p.m. — We have a lunchtime team meeting, which I was not excited about when it was first scheduled. But there's pizza, and now I'm thrilled. I have a slice of veggie with pesto and romesco sauces, and a slice of what turns out to be chicken pizza, though I thought it was sausage.
3 p.m. — Grab peanut M&Ms from the office snack area and make another tea.
7 p.m. — Go out for drinks with coworkers. I have a few beers and order mozzarella sticks, plus have some of my coworker's chicken fingers and fries. I get home later and eat some of the leftover sausage pasta for the rest of my dinner. Then I knead the sourdough bread, wait while it rises, and bake it up. I'm pretty pleased with how the loaf comes out. My sister and I start what turns out to be a terrible movie that we picked because it has the same lead actor as the one in To All the Boys I've Loved Before. I love all the new romcoms, but this movie is just painful. $40
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Daily Total: $40

Day Seven

7:30 a.m. — Normal morning routine. I slice up the sourdough bread and a tomato to turn into my breakfast when I get to work, pack leftovers for lunch, and I'm out the door.
8:45 a.m. — I make an iced earl grey tea when I get to work and toast up my bread, then add the tomatoes. It's a tasty way to start the work day.
12:30 p.m. — It's been a productive morning for me, which feels good. I eat leftover sausage pasta with roasted zucchini for lunch, then get Oreos and a Rice Krispie Treat from the office snack pantry for dessert.
3:30 p.m. — I snack on dried apricots and make another tea.
6:30 p.m. — I meet at friend for dinner at a cute Greek restaurant. We share Greek salad, skordalia, zucchini croquettes, and salmon skewers, plus we each have a glass of wine. When I get home, I sign up for volunteering shifts for one of the Attorney General candidates. I had a brief freakout yesterday when I realized I wouldn't be in state for the primary (it's on a Thursday this year, which I didn't remember), but fortunately I can fill out my absentee ballot in person at the board of elections. I really wish New York had actual early voting, but at least I'll still be able to vote! $39.62
9:30 p.m. — We've been wanting new patio furniture for a while. It's getting to be perfect patio weather, plus we promised a friend our old patio furniture. I finally order a set from Ikea that I've been looking at for a while: a collapsible table, four folding chairs, four seat cushions, and a furniture cover. I grab a nice watering can, too, and cross my fingers that the table won't be too hard to put together! (This goes on our shared credit card.) $327.84
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Daily Total: $367.46
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