A Week In New York City On A $150,000 Salary

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Today: a senior sales executive working in fashion who makes $150,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Gucci sneakers. [Ed note: The OP's savings info has been updated.] For an interview with the OP, click here.
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Occupation: Senior Sales Executive
Industry: Fashion
Age: 35
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $150,000
Paycheck Amount (Weekly): $1,565
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,900 for a studio apartment
Student Loan Payment: $0 (I had an academic scholarship to college and my parents paid the rest.)
Health Insurance: $160
Transit: $121
Netflix: $9.99
Spotify Premium: $9.99
Cable/Internet: $110
iCloud Storage: $2.99
Therapy: ~$400
Renters Insurance: $24.99
Electric: $45-$100 (depending on the season)
401(k): 12% of my income ($346 per week, which is the max contribution)
Savings: When I don't have a balance on my credit card, I put every extra dollar each week in a basic savings account linked to my checking, as a "rainy day fund." I started this account about two years ago and was able to grow it pretty quickly after my promotion. I have $18,000 in it currently, and well as $13,108 in a contributory IRA. I also have an individual investment account with $325,821 in it. (My parents put money into separate accounts for my brother and me every year when we were kids. I decided to invest and diversify my funds about five years ago, with the help of a financial advisor, and have seen substantial growth.)
Annual Expenses
Amazon Prime:
$99

Day One

8 a.m. — I open my eyes and look at the clock. I was out pretty late last night and had a few too many cocktails, so I stagger to the bathroom to wash my face. I'm not convinced I'm entirely sober yet. This was easier to recover from in my twenties. I wish it wasn't so early, so I get back in bed. I love weekend mornings to myself. I've lived by myself, in the same apartment, for the last 10 years. My building is a doorman co-op, and I rent from the owner of the unit. When the financial crisis hit shortly after I moved in, I was able to renegotiate my monthly rent and it, somehow, has never gone up. I haven't even signed a new lease since 2010. I rent from a really nice family who clearly doesn't need the income, and I'm a reliable, low-maintenance tenant who pays on time. I think both sides feel like we hit the New York jackpot.
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9:15 a.m. — I get a text from a friend from college, R., saying "Hi! We still on for brunch today?!" I thought brunch was tomorrow, but I reply with an enthusiastic yes, even though I'm exhausted. I relax for a few more minutes, and then get up to tidy up my apartment and shower.
11:15 a.m. — R. arrives at my apartment with her crying hangry baby. At least he's cute! After a bottle (for baby) and some catching up with R., we laugh about my date mix-up, but I'm really glad to see her. Baby has calmed down, but I'm now getting hangry myself, so we walk to brunch. We're going to Coffee Shop in Union Square because it's closing next month. It was one of our favorite spots when we first moved to New York together in the post-Sex and the City bliss of 2005, when we shared a tiny one-bedroom apartment in Murray Hill and did everything together.
12 p.m. — I order a quinoa bowl with a poached egg on top and a side of bacon. I get a mimosa, and R. gets wine. Baby sleeps through the entire brunch, and we have a great time chatting and catching up on life. We order another round of drinks, because why have just one?
2:30 p.m. — When we're ready to leave, R. picks up the check as a belated birthday present to me. We say our goodbyes, and I walk home to take a mimosa-induced nap.
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5:30 p.m. — I wake up from my nap and groggily start getting ready to meet my friends, C. and K., for cocktails at our favorite bar in the West Village. K. is moving to London this week, so this will be our final happy hour together, at least for now.
6:30 p.m. — Getting ready requires minimal effort — just some retouching of the afternoon's makeup and throwing on a clean shirt. The weather is perfect. It's the rare New York evening that's warm but not humid. I walk through the West Village and soak it in.
6:45 p.m. — Arrive at the bar to find that a bottle of half-priced happy hour Chenin Blanc has already been ordered by K. We peruse the food menu as a formality, but we already know what we're ordering. We get a pressed meat and cheese sandwich each, and enjoy our wine. We're having a really nice, low-key evening, chatting and drinking and snacking. We order a second bottle of wine and a watermelon feta salad to share.
10 p.m. — We finish our wine and get the bill. C. is friends with the bar owner, so we're only charged for the two bottles of wine. The tab comes to $26 each, and we each tip an additional $25 for the generosity. $51
10:30 p.m. — We leave the bar, take one last New York selfie together, and say "see you soon" to our London-bound friend. I've lived in New York for 13 years, and I've had a lot of friends come and go over the years. In a city so transient, it sadly comes with the territory. I walk home, shower, and get into bed.
Daily Total: $51

Day Two

8 a.m. — I wake up feeling refreshed from a good night's sleep and soak in my free Sunday morning. I make turkey bacon and scrambled eggs with crushed red pepper flakes, and slice some avocado. Then I eat my breakfast and drink green tea while watching trashy reality TV on E!.
10 a.m. — Fresh Direct delivery arrives. I've been using this service for years for my grocery shopping. I get a dozen eggs, organic skinless chicken thighs, two avocados, blueberries, strawberries, endives, salmon, turkey burgers, steamed shrimp, broccoli, and a cucumber. I try to eat pretty healthy and keep my drinking to a minimum during the week so that I can relax a little and enjoy myself on the weekends. Life is all about balance!
10:45 a.m. — I'm going to the good Zara on Fifth Avenue to do fall shopping. I leave the apartment with the hope of arriving as close to opening as possible to avoid long fitting room lines.
11:05 a.m. — After waiting 10 minutes that felt like an hour on a sweltering subway platform, I'm finally on my way uptown. (I use a monthly MetroCard, paid for with pre-tax dollars.)
11:35 a.m. — I end up with two dresses and a tunic. I had a third dress, but it was missing a button and it was the last one in my size. Oh well. $169
12:15 p.m. — I wander up a few blocks, dart around the Trump Tower madness, and walk into the Gucci flagship. I've been wanting a pair of designer sneakers for a while, and I know exactly what I'm looking for. I try on their classic white sneaker with a bumblebee embroidery. They're great, and after internal back and forth (and asking about the return policy), I decide to purchase them. $675
1 p.m. — I check my phone to find 37 text messages. My friends C., R., and W. have been messaging about going to a late brunch, and the plan is the new Emmy Squared in the East Village. I decide to take a cab home after the morning's subway misery. Mistake! 30 bumper-to-bumper minutes and $23 later, I'm home and annoyed. I drop my shopping bags in the apartment and head out to meet my friends. I'm feeling lazy and the restaurant is not close to any subway, so I grab a cab ($9). Taking cabs in the age of Uber feels like supporting local business! $32
2 p.m. — The four of us share some appetizers, and I have a cocktail, a glass of prosecco, and a spicy chicken sandwich that is so spicy I can only eat half. Underwhelming and expensive. $43
3:15 p.m. — We stroll around some more, enjoying the late summer heat wave. W. is craving pie, so we walk into a pie shop on the Lower East Side and I get a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie ($1.50). We walk a few blocks to a bar and grab another drink. $1.50
5 p.m. — We're ready to call it a day, so R. pays the check. We all see each other so frequently that we all take turns paying and figure it evens out eventually. We all head our separate ways home. The subways are a mess, so I grab an overpriced Uber home. Surge pricing is alive and well! $18
5:30 p.m. — I'm home and still thinking about the button-less dress from Zara, so I check the website and add it to my cart. I throw in another dress and check out. I'm making an effort to revamp my wardrobe for the season, and I'm all about high/low shopping. I can splurge occasionally on designer items, as long as I stick to stores like Zara for my staples. $189
7:30 p.m. — I'm still feeling full from lunch, so I boil water and make an instant miso soup for dinner. The Sunday scaries are setting in, and it's time to meal prep for tomorrow. I like to prep my lunches individually every night rather than making everything at once for the week. I hard boil four eggs (I bring two to work each day for breakfast) and make a salad with endives, cherry heirloom tomatoes, hearts of palm, avocado, steamed shrimp, and a lemon wedge for dressing.
11 p.m. — After watching more bad TV, I take two melatonin gummies, and head to bed.
Daily Total: $1,127.50

Day Three

7:15 a.m. — My iPhone alarm goes off (the worst sound known to mankind), and I hit snooze for an hour while watching NY1 news, as I do every morning.
8:15 a.m. — Finally drag myself out of bed. It doesn't matter how much sleep I get — weekday mornings are just a struggle. My morning routine is timed down to the minute. Showering at night really helps. I brush my teeth, wash my face, moisturize, straighten my hair, put on makeup, grab my food out of the fridge, and am out the door.
8:35 a.m. — I head out in one of my new Zara dresses and walk three blocks to the subway. On my way, I see Sarah Jessica Parker dropping her kids off at school. Another reason to love New York: celebrities are everywhere, but no one bothers them or makes a scene. Who said New Yorkers have no chill?! I take the train one express stop, and walk another few blocks to my office.
9 a.m. — I actually make it to the office on time this morning, for once. Management doesn't watch the clock too strictly, butI try to get in before 9:15 to avoid any raised eyebrows.
9:15 a.m. — I peel my hard-boiled eggs, cut up strawberries that I brought from home, and make iced green tea in the kitchen. A few months ago, I gave up my $4 a day La Colombe cold brew habit, and started bringing teabags from home to make iced tea at the office instead. When I really thought about it, that habit was costing me close to $1,000 a year!! I go back to my desk to delegate work to my assistant and eat my breakfast while responding to emails.
9:45 a.m. — My boss wants to have a sit down with the whole team and re-distribute some account responsibilities. I'm shedding some accounts I don't love working with, which is great, but I'm also getting a lot more piled on me. Again. Quick backstory on my job — I was promoted into my current role after accepting an offer at another company and getting an unexpected huge counter offer from my current employer. We're talking more than double my salary, with an accompanying workload to go with. Most people in this role at other companies have 10+ years of experience on me (this is my 10th year in the business), so I spent the first six months after the promotion making the huge adjustment, while trying to shake the whole imposter syndrome thing. I'm now about 15 months into the new role, and things have drastically improved. I work super hard, and I'm finally able to enjoy my success.
12:30 p.m. — Take my endive and shrimp salad out of the fridge and eat at my desk before going into a meeting with my boss. I don't like to eat at my desk, but work has been so busy the last few months, I end up working through lunch most days.
4:30 p.m. — My afternoon has been super busy, but also very productive. I've checked everything off my to-do list that was a dozen items deep when I got to work on Friday. Two days to complete everything is not bad. I snack on some almonds at my desk. I usually leave around 5:30, but I have to stay late tonight to help unpack samples returning from a trade show. I use this time while it's quiet in the office to get ahead on a few things and clean up my desk. I find $10 under my keyboard. That was an unexpected surprise!
7 p.m. — The samples are back, unpacked, and I'm heading home. I'm exhausted and starving, so I beeline for Chipotle when I get off the subway. The thought of cooking tonight is just too much. I splurge and get guac too...why not. $12.09
9 p.m. — I'm half-watching the Emmys, but it's super boring, so I get up to prep tomorrow's lunch — same salad, plus Kalamata olives this time.
10:30 p.m. — Shower, melatonin gummies, sleep mask, bedtime.
Daily Total: $12.09

Day Four

8:30 a.m. — Still in bed, and it's really time to get up. I'm already going to be late as it is, and today is the day New York is getting the remnants of Hurricane Florence, so it will be a slog to commute in the rain. I throw on a dress and booties, do my makeup, and hightail it out the door by 8:50.
9:12 a.m. — Made it to my desk well within the grace period! The rain hasn't started yet, but it's steamy and humid, and my brilliant idea to wear a long-sleeved dress had me kicking myself as I stood there waiting for the subway dripping sweat. Thankfully my office is very air-conditioned.
9:20 a.m. — I peel my hardboiled eggs, cut up strawberries, and make iced green tea. Eat breakfast at my desk while checking emails. Boring boring.
12:30 p.m. — The morning flew by once again, and it's time to make lunch. I take my endive salad out of the fridge, add the leftover shrimp from yesterday, and eat at my desk.
3:30 p.m. — I gather my things and leave the office. I'm taking a personal day tomorrow to use up PTO before the year ends, and I leave a little early this afternoon, with my boss's blessing. The rain has arrived in full force. I am thrilled that my rain boots are sitting under my desk, so I leave my black leather booties at my desk, wrap my handbag in a plastic Duane Reade bag, and walk to the subway. It's raining so hard that it's actually raining inside the station. My tax dollars at work!
3:45 p.m. — I get home, not much worse for the wear, and decide now is a great time to do laundry. My building has laundry in the basement, and I know it will be quiet down there mid-afternoon on a weekday. I trek downstairs and refill my laundry card with $5, which is about the cost of two loads of laundry cost. I still have a balance from last time, but I always like to top up a little extra so that I never have to deal with a low balance and no cash on hand. Future me always appreciates the gesture. $5
6:30 p.m. — C. invites me to happy hour nearby, but the thought of having to put a bra back on sounds awful. I order thin-crust pizza from a local spot and enjoy it in the comfort of my own home. $19
10:30 p.m. — Spend a lazy evening on the couch, shower, and call it a night early.
Daily Total: $24

Day Five

7:46 a.m. — I have no alarm set today, but I'm up early regardless. I lay in bed for a bit and soak up the morning.
9 a.m. — Get up and make breakfast. Scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, avocado, a bowl of blueberries, and green tea. I take a chicken breast out of the freezer to cook later to use for the rest of the week's lunches.
9:45 a.m. — Still feeling kind of gross from last night's pizza splurge, so I decide to take advantage of a free day and book an early afternoon Physique 57 class. I have a pre-paid class package. It's expensive, but it's the one thing that's really consistently worked for me — plus, I enjoy the classes. I haven't been working out much with all my recent work craziness, so I'm making an effort to get back into a routine.
12:40 p.m. — Leave the apartment to walk to Soho for class. By the time I arrive about 20 minutes later, I'm sweating and look like I've already worked out. It's much warmer out today than I realized.
2:15 p.m. — Class is over. Thank god. I feel like someone has poured hot acid all over my legs, but I'm really glad I went.
2:30 p.m. — I stop at Citarella on the way home to pick up lunch. I make a salad of spinach, roast turkey, mushrooms, beets, egg whites, and cucumber at the salad bar. I also grab a jar of capers because Fresh Direct didn't have them in stock this week. $10.39
3 p.m. — I'm home and exhausted. I add avocado, Kalamata olives, and tomatoes to my salad, and dress with lemon juice and a little olive oil. I sit on the couch and eat while listening to a podcast.
5:30 p.m. — After a quiet afternoon, I take a quick body shower and head out to therapy. I've been seeing a therapist every other week for about a year, and she's really helped me make priorities in my life and sort through a lot of the mental clutter that goes along with living in New York. She's expensive and doesn't take insurance, but it's worth it to me. We have a good session, and I Venmo her when I leave the office ($200).
7 p.m. — I get back home and start making dinner: baked salmon filet with lemon juice, olive oil, the aforementioned capers, salt, and pepper. I cut up broccoli and steam it on the stove.
9 p.m. — Meal prep for tomorrow. I bake the defrosted chicken breast in the oven and make my salad. When the chicken is done cooking, I put it on a plate and cut it in half, but the plate falls on the floor and shatters. I'm very fortunate that I didn't take a shard of porcelain to the foot. I'm a little freaked out, but I mop up the mess, clean the kitchen, and hop in the shower.
10:30 p.m. — Ready for bed, exhausted. I take melatonin, pop on my sleep mask, and pass right out.
Daily Total: $10.39

Day Six

7:15 a.m. — First alarm. Nah.
8:15 a.m. — Drag myself out of bed and get ready.
8:45 a.m. — Leave for work, a little later than usual, but the weather is finally feeling like fall outside, so my decision to wear a long-sleeve dress paid off today.
9:06 a.m. — Arrive at the office, eat my eggs and blueberries, and make iced green tea.
3:30 p.m. — I haven't been at my desk all day. So many meetings and problems to deal with! The rest of the afternoon is no different. They're really making me earn my paycheck today.
5:45 p.m. — Finally leaving work. I'm ready to go home and chill.
6:30 p.m. — I log into my banking app. I get paid every Thursday, so this is when I take stock of what's going on and pay my bills. I have an automatic transfer set to move the weekly portion of my rent ($441) to my savings account. I have a balance of $2,367 on my credit card, and I submit an online payment of $800. My parents always instilled in me that they would not bail me out if I ever found myself in a position of debt. I have always been good about not carrying a substantial balance. When I made less money, I just spent less. I've shopped a lot this month and love my new purchases, so I can live with the $1,567 that I'll carry over to next week. I should be able to pay it off by the end of the month. I pay $800-$1,000 on my card every week when I'm carrying a balance, and I haven't been charged interest or a late fee in over five years. When I'm not carrying a balance, I save every extra dollar. I've netted about $15,000 toward my rainy day fund since the beginning of last year.
7 p.m. — I survey my food situation and realize that I have protein but no vegetables left. Sigh. I order chicken and steamed veggies with rice from a local spot, and vow to be better about cooking next week. $18
8 p.m. — I prep my last lunch of the week, and no dishes were harmed in the making of this salad.
10:45 p.m. — I shower, take melatonin, and then it's time for bed.
Daily Total: $18

Day Seven

8:30 a.m. — I drag myself out of bed for the last workday routine of the week. I made it!
8:50 a.m. — Leave the house later than I'd like to, but my boss is out today so the office should be pretty quiet.
12:15 p.m. — Work is super quiet today. It's kind of nice. I have my salad from home, but I want something else to go with it. I go downstairs and take cash out of the ATM for the week. I walk to Pret and pick up a small tomato basil soup. $4.89
5:10 p.m. — After a loooong, sloooow afternoon at work, I quickly change into workout clothes and walk over to SoulCycle.
6:15 p.m. — I leave class looking like a sweaty red mess, but feeling very satisfied. I like ending the week with a workout. I have WhatsApp messages from my friend who booked a villa in Tulum over New Year's, and he wants me to confirm that I'm in for the trip. C. has already committed, and I enthusiastically commit. I'm very excited to be ringing in 2019 somewhere warm and beautiful. Guess I need to really commit to the workout routine! I don't have a class package at SoulCycle, so I pay for the class a la carte ($37) and rent shoes ($3). I bring my own refillable water bottle. $40
6:30 p.m. — I'm home and hop in the shower. I'm meeting up with C. later to go to a birthday party in Chelsea. For dinner, I make a turkey burger, spinach that I found in the freezer, and sliced avocado.
7 p.m. — I order next week's groceries from Fresh Direct. I get organic chicken breasts, cage-free eggs, salmon, broccoli, frozen spinach, strawberries, avocados, endives, spinach pancakes, tuna salad, steamed shrimp, tea bags, and aluminum foil. $75.09
8 p.m. — I listen to the Hotel Costes playlist on Spotify, and do my hair and makeup at a leisurely pace.
9 p.m. — I take the tags off one of my new Zara dresses that came in the mail today (a maxi three-quarter sleeve shirt printed dress), and leave the apartment to meet C. and her friend to walk to the party. The weather is beautiful, and I don't need a jacket. I bring a roadie spiked seltzer for the walk because they've been drinking at dinner and I need to catch up.
9:30 p.m. — We get to the party, and I don't know anyone, so I head to the bar to get two glasses of prosecco for C. and me. Our friend who organized the Tulum trip shows up, and we catch up and talk about how excited we are for New Year's. $31
10 p.m. — I go to the bar and get another prosecco. $15
10:45 p.m. — C. and I chat with the birthday girl, and next thing I know, my glass is empty again. We both agree to "just one more," and C. buys us another round.
11:10 p.m. — Thankfully tonight, "one more" didn't turn into three more. C. calls an Uber to go meet the guy she's seeing. I decide it's probably a good time for me to head home, so we part ways and I walk back to my apartment.
11:15 p.m. — I stop into a bodega for a blue Gatorade and a coconut water ($5.50). I will be needing these tomorrow morning. $5.50
11:30 p.m. — I'm home and tipsy, trying to look as sober as possible as I say hello to the night doorman. I always try to remind myself that they've seen much much worse. I am already bracing for tomorrow's hangover, so I pour myself a glass of half water, half blue Gatorade, and a ton of ice, and sip it until it's time to go to bed. Tomorrow morning is not going to be pleasant, but at least it's the weekend.
Daily Total: $171.48
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