A Week In New York City On A $65,000 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 kindergarten teacher who makes $65,000 per year and spends some of her money this weekend on strawberry gelato.
Occupation: Kindergarten Teacher
Industry: Education
Age: 28
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $65,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month ): $1,935
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,475 for my half (I share a one-bedroom with my boyfriend, and we split household costs evenly.)
Student Loans: $168 minimum, though I usually pay closer to $200
Netflix: $10.99
Phone: I pay my mom $79 for the family plan
Internet: $45
Electricity: ~$30
HBO: $0 (We use my mom's boyfriend's account.)
Spotify: $0.99 thanks to a three-month trial
The Be.come Project: $35
Retirement: $110 with 6% employee match
Savings: $300-$400 (I put about $200 in a high-yield savings account and $100 into a separate account for travel/big purchases. I also use a credit card for almost everything, which I pay off monthly, and transfer all the cash back into this account.)
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Annual Expenses
Amazon Prime: $119

Day One

7:30 a.m. — I wake up to my boyfriend, R., up and about before our alarms go off. It's Saturday, but we both have to work this morning. We teach at the same school, which requires teachers to attend a few admissions-related events each year, and today happens to be one of mine. He coaches basketball, and they have a game this morning. I start getting ready and try to pretend it's not the weekend, even though I was up until 2 a.m. I hold cold spoons under my eyes to try and minimize the puffiness caused by one too many glasses of wine at last night's happy hour(s).
9 a.m. — After a shower, some granola, a cup of coffee, and making myself fairly presentable, I take the subway to the school, where a few of my teacher friends are also working the event. I feel energized when I see them, and we spend the next three hours schmoozing and answering parent questions. I feel really aligned with the school's philosophy and enjoy working there, so it isn't too hard for me to sell it, but the constant mingling and smiling is tiring. I didn't think I'd ever work for a private school but I applied here when I first moved to New York and was still in the process of switching over my out-of-state teaching certification, a very slow process because I was struggling to pay for all of the requirements. Fast forward a few years, and I'm still here. It can definitely be tough to navigate the fine line between business and education at a private school, but this works for me for now and, while the bar is high and a lot is expected of us, I'm grateful for being treated relatively well.
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12:30 p.m. — Finally done! I call R. to see if he's wrapping up too so we can start our weekend. He meets me at school, and we resist the urge to skip out of the building out of sheer excitement to get a break from it after being there for six days in a row. We take the train home, and I'm back in my pajamas within 30 seconds of walking into our apartment.
3:40 p.m. — We decide to order this week's groceries online. We do this pretty often because there aren't any big grocery stores in our neighborhood. This also allows us to get everything all at once and split it down the middle, without leaving the couch. I place an order of orange juice, chicken sausage, almond milk, cheddar cheese, ice cream, cauliflower crust pizza, clementines, frozen berries, bananas, a rotisserie chicken, gluten-free pasta, tortilla chips, salsa, pesto, chickpeas, coffee, rice cakes, granola, avocados, bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, and sweet potatoes, then send R. a Venmo request for half. $84.04
7 p.m. — I spend the afternoon lounging in bed with our cat. Eventually, R. and I order from our favorite taco place. We take turns paying for Seamless orders, and today it's my turn. We order a bunch of tacos, rice, beans, and maduros. This place is a splurge, but it's SO good. $45.73
8:30 p.m. — My mom is coming for a quick visit tomorrow, so R. and I spend some time cleaning the apartment. I go to bed around 10:30 with the intention of reading my book, but pass out before I'm able to open it.
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Daily Total: $129.77

Day Two

7:15 a.m. — Why does my body insist on waking up before 8 on weekends? I scroll through my phone for a while before eventually getting up to make coffee and eat a bowl of granola with almond milk.
8:30 a.m. — I realize we didn't do a very good job cleaning yesterday and spend most of the morning sweeping up cat hair, which I find so satisfying.
12 p.m. — I leave to meet my mom at Penn Station. (I'm too nervous to let her take the subway to Brooklyn by herself.) I jump on the train to essentially pick her up and turn back around. She pays close attention, in hopes that she can do it by herself next time. I use my Metrocard for her subway fare and mine. Somehow, we end up making brunch plans with my dad's first wife/the mother of my half-siblings because she's also in the city today. She and my mom have become close friends since my parents' divorce, and this is my first time hanging out with the two of them without my dad. I don't know how to make that sound less weird without going into too much detail, but it feels totally normal and turns out to be a lot of fun. I offer to split the bill, but the moms treat.
3:30 p.m. — Extremely full from the heavy brunch, my mom and I walk back to my place so she can say hi to R. It's supposed to snow later, so she calls an Uber to Penn shortly after. We hug goodbye and hold back tears because we always go a little too long without seeing each other.
6 p.m. — R. and I get simultaneous alerts that tomorrow is a snow day! It feels like a gift after working on a Saturday, and we both do a happy dance around the living room. Nothing like a snow day to make stressed out teachers feel (and act) like kids again!
8 p.m. — I still feel so gross from lunch, so I decide to do a quick Be.come Project workout. I recently became obsessed with Bethany C. Meyers and their app. I love the “body-neutral” approach, and I'm finally enjoying a consistent and convenient workout for the first time in my life. It's also much cheaper than therapy and has a similar effect. Afterwards, I feel so much better, and R. is happy because he's been waiting for me to stop feeling bloated so we can eat dinner together.
9 p.m. — I'm craving something light, so I make us some quinoa with sautéed veggies, salsa, cheddar cheese, and avocado. We spend the next few hours cuddling on the couch, blissful that we don't have to wake up early, though based on my track record lately, I probably will anyway.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

7 a.m. — Called it! Up early again but I don't care because SNOW DAY! I cuddle with R. and the cat for an hour before getting up to make coffee, cheesy eggs, and gluten-free avocado toast. I generally do most of the cooking between the two of us, and we both prefer it this way even though I'm not very good at it. R. is a messy cook and gets stressed with even the simplest of recipes. I like to be in control of what I'm eating, thanks to some lovely digestive and inflammation issues.
11 a.m. — I look out the window and the roads are completely clear. We definitely could've had school today. Oh well! I give my plants some TLC because they've been struggling in our dry apartment this winter, then relax on the couch and scroll mindlessly through internet articles while R. plays video games. I snack on a clementine and enjoy the quiet with no plans of being productive today.
3 p.m. — I throw in a load of laundry and do this week's Be.come routine, then take a shower and get back to lounging. I snack on some tortilla chips and start the first episode of The Umbrella Academy.
6:20 p.m. — Okay, I initially found this show way too weird, but now I'm into it. I take a break to feed the cat and start cooking dinner, which is the rotisserie chicken from yesterday's grocery order with roasted sweet potatoes, rosemary, and broccoli. I make way too much, but R. plays in sports leagues throughout the week and I know he'll eat it after his games. While everything's in the oven, I sort the recycling and R. takes it out, along with the compost.
8:30 p.m. — We eat — way more than I thought we would — and then watch Last Week Tonight. I program the coffee maker to run as soon as my alarm goes off in the morning and then curl up with Michelle Obama's Becoming for a little bit. R. joins me in bed and we go to sleep around 11.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

6:30 a.m. — Ugh, I slept horribly. I guess that's what I get for doing absolutely nothing yesterday. I snooze for 20 minutes and then take a quick shower. I throw on a professional-but-can-sit-on-the-floor outfit, apply some light makeup and CBD lotion to a psoriasis patch I'm trying to get rid of (it's working!), then sit for a few minutes with a cup of coffee and granola with almond milk while checking my email. R. leaves while I'm getting ready because he follows a different class schedule and kisses me goodbye. I grab my lunch, a banana, and a clementine.
8 a.m. — I catch the train to school. For some reason, I woke up with John Legend's “Stinky Booty” song in my head — really makes me wonder what I was dreaming about? — so I listen to this week's Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify to try and replace it with something else. When I get to work, I fill my travel mug with the coffee the school provides. I'd rather get more sleep and take my time at home than get to school early to prepare, so I usually walk in about 15 minutes before first period and plan and prep after school. I also try to get quick tasks done as much as possible throughout the day. I have pretty limited prep periods (and don't take breaks) compared to my coworkers in older grades, but the school day is a little shorter for the younger ones so I'm usually okay with it. It's taken a few years, but I can finally say I rarely take work home.
10:30 a.m. — I snack on a banana and quickly respond to a parent email while the students eat their morning snack and talk about sharks. So far, we've had math this morning and started a unit on measurement, which is a fun concept to teach, but the kids are a little all over the place after yesterday's snow day and we have to rush a little to make up for the lost time.
12:20 p.m. — The students eat their lunch in the classroom followed by some quiet time, which means I get to eat my lunch. I have leftover quinoa and veggies at my desk and work on report card comments. Kindergarteners don't like being quiet, and my work computer isn't functioning properly, so I don't get much done.
4 p.m. — I leave a little earlier than usual because I have a doctor's appointment. It's not easily accessible via public transit from my school, and it's cheaper and easier if I go home first. I take the train home while watching the new Game of Thrones trailer, which gives me mixed feelings of excitement and dread because I know this last season is going to be brutal. I drop off my work bag and spread some almond butter on a rice cake for a quick snack. I check all three of my ride-share apps and call an Uber because it's the cheapest ($6.86). When I get to the doctor's office, I pay my specialist copay ($60). $66.86
6:30 p.m. — I decide to walk a few blocks and wait for the bus. It's so cold! Hard to believe it's almost spring. When I get home, I feed the cat and make gluten-free pasta with pesto, chicken sausage, tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella. R. will probably be home late, so I set some aside for him and for myself for lunch tomorrow.
8 p.m. — Not satisfied with that pasta, I eat some ice cream and watch the latest episode of Crashing on HBO, then follow it up with High Maintenance. R. comes home and we talk for a few minutes about our days. He's really stressed and burnt out, and I feel a little helpless. We both read in bed until about 10:30.
Daily Total: $66.86

Day Five

6:30 a.m. — My cat jumps up to lay on top of me as soon as my alarm goes off, making it even harder to get up. After about 15 minutes, I'm successful but not happy about it. I go through my usual routine, drink some coffee, and head out to catch the train.
10:30 a.m. — Snack time! We're having a really productive and busy morning. I eat my banana standing up and several students get excited because they have bananas, too.
12:30 p.m. — I eat last night's pasta and work on my weekly parent newsletter. I'm feeling good because one of my struggling students just read her first entire book to me. Her face lit up when she got to the last page and my heart is full.
3:40 p.m. — Wow, this afternoon was draining. The kids are all in their respective after-school activities, so I eat a clementine and prep for next week. I make copies and try to get organized. Organization is my greatest weakness as a teacher.
5 p.m. — I get home and realize we need olive oil, so I head back out to the pricey bodega across the street. I wander around and forget what we have, then end up with way more than olive oil: paper towels, eggs, gelato that looks good, granola, tomatoes, and more chips and salsa for some reason. I don't send a Venmo request to R. because these one-off trips tend to even out, and I take full responsibility for my impulse purchases. I do a Be.come workout when I get home. $47.42
6:30 p.m. — I remember that I have a medical bill for $140 due soon, so I pay it online. My school provides an HRA debit card with $2,000 towards my deductible, and I have plenty left, so I use that and then start making dinner. I'm so tired from the day, so I decide to throw rice, black beans, salsa, green peppers, tomatoes, corn, and some spices into the Instant Pot.
8 p.m. — R. gets home after coaching a basketball game. The Instant Pot beeps, and I shred some cheddar cheese on top of everything. We eat and talk about a party my sister-in-law is throwing for my brother this weekend. We put on Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj and try the gelato I bought today (strawberry Gelato Fiasco), which is delicious. Then we watch clips of the R. Kelly interview with Gayle King until I decide I've had enough for one night. I head to bed around 10 and only read about two pages before passing out.
Daily Total: $47.42

Day Six

6:45 a.m. — I scroll through my phone in bed and realize my eyes are still closed while my thumb is moving. Why is it so easy to wake up when I don't have to, but next to impossible when I do? I force myself up to shower and do my morning routine. R. is going in a little later today and tries to pull me back in bed, but I resist.
12:15 p.m. — I can't even put into words how much I hate indoor recess. Kids need to run and be loud and, if they can't, it messes up the whole day. Their behavior has been awful this week, and it feels like it should be Friday, even though we didn't even have school on Monday. I blame it on the cold weather, but I think the weeks leading up to spring break are always hard. I scarf down last night's leftovers and respond to an email from the dean of students. I need to finish my newsletter and submit it for approval, so I try to get that done, too, so I can focus on grades after school.
4:45 p.m. — I work on report card comments for a while and make a note to update my grades in the online gradebook tomorrow. I'm struggling to focus, so I head home. Waiting for the train, I scroll through Instagram and see a friend has posted a TBT about a well-known celebrity who happens to send their kid to my school. I laugh to myself because I just saw them at drop-off, looking like every other parent in sweatpants, calling after their kid to have a good day and be a good listener.
7 p.m. — I do this week's Be.come routine again, which feels amazing now that I've practiced it a few times. I feel more energized but still don't feel like cooking, so I put two Caulipower pizzas in the oven. I remember it's my brother's birthday and send him a text because I'm afraid I'll say something to ruin this weekend's surprise party if I talk to him in the phone.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

6:40 a.m. — I wake up with a headache, but at least it's Friday! I take a shower and put some CBD lotion on my head. It has a really nice soothing sensation, but I know it's not going to be enough so I take Advil, too. I go through my routine and end up taking a Lyft to school with R. He pays. I get a text from my family friend about giving us a ride to the party tomorrow, which will save us from either a long train ride or a super expensive Lyft.
3:30 p.m. — I send the kids off, enter some grades, and get my room ready for Monday. Then I head to a bar nearby with a few coworkers, where we catch up over a couple glasses of wine. $19.20
8 p.m. — R. and his friend end up in the same place. We all hang out for a while and then R. and I decide it's time to get some food. I call a Juno ($11.61) to a restaurant near our apartment, but when we get there we're told there's over an hour wait. It's too cold to wander around between restaurants, so we decide to just walk home and order food. We struggle to settle on something we both want, so we just place a Seamless order of pad thai for him and a Postmates order from a Venezuelan place for me. (I get another rice bowl, this time with delicious Gouda cheese, steak, avocado, pico de gallo, and rice.) We order from our own accounts, so I pay for mine. ($17.94). $29.55
10:30 p.m. — We end up talking about how our relationship has been sort of on the back-burner lately. R. has been really busy, and we both seem to be pouring from empty cups at work, with little left for each other at the end of the day. This is not the first time, and I know it comes with us both being teachers. Most of the time, we appreciate having someone who understands, but it can be hard to lean on each other when we're both exhausted at the same time. I know we'll feel better after the weekend because we always do. He gives me a big hug and goes to bed. I watch The Umbrella Academy until I can't keep my eyes open, then join him.
Daily Total: $48.75
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