A Week In New York, NY, On A $40,000 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: an assistant media buyer negotiator working in advertising/ marketing who makes $40,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on bras.
Occupation: Assistant Media Buyer Negotiator
Industry: Advertising/Marketing
Age: 23
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $40,000 (+ about $3,000 in overtime)
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,372
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,395 (I have the flex room in a one-bedroom.)
Student Loan: $185 (My parents cover this.)
401(k): $100 per paycheck
Health Insurance: $26.48
MetroCard: $75
Wi-Fi: $40
Electricity: $40 (in the summer)
Renter's Insurance: $5
Gym Membership: $49.99
Netflix: $0 (on my parents' account)
MealPal: $83
Savings: I try to save $100-$150 a month.

Day One

5:30 a.m. — I wake up at my sister's apartment in Philly, since I went to my family's beach house for the weekend at the Jersey Shore and thought it would be easier to take a bus in the morning and head straight to work than schlep to the city on a Sunday. I buy a Greyhound bus ticket and hop on the 6:30 a.m. bus, which isn't crazy crowded. $11
9:30 a.m. — I get into work and catch up with my friend/coworker L., who is also an assistant. She just got back from Italy, and I can't wait to hear about her trip. I head to the kitchen, make a coffee and grab an apple, and I suddenly get requests from my coworkers to make my special coffee. It's a shot of espresso over ice with unsweetened almond milk. Yum. Where are my tips?
1 p.m. — I head to my gynecologist appointment for an annual checkup, which is, thankfully, close to my office. I had to get a new doctor since I moved to New York in January. She has a nice office and is definitely a great doctor — shocker considering the office's health-insurance policy. After my appointment, I head to Dr Smood to pick up the MealPal that I reserved earlier today. The meal is a lot cheaper and a game-changer — instead of paying $11 for a salad, it comes out to be $6.50 on a subscription service, which is included in my monthly expenses above and, not to mention, is one of the best lunches I've had so far.
Advertisement
6 p.m. — I head out of the office, lugging all my bags from the weekend. On my way to the subway, I stop at Starbucks and grab an iced coffee with almond milk. I desperately need a pick-me-up, since I am headed to yoga and need all the caffeine I can get my hands on due to that early bus. I need to kill some time, so I stop in Lively to check out their bra selection. Very cute bras, but the sales girl fitted me completely wrong. After trying on some bras, I check the time and bolt to yoga. Plot twist: I meet F., a guy whom I have been on a couple of dates with, at hot yoga, which I begged him to do with me. It was his first class, and he was so nervous that I saw sweat dripping down before we even entered the heated room. I bought a package earlier in the month, so I use that to pay for this class. $3.64
7:15 p.m. — We finish up the class and he walks me home, just a hug goodbye since we are both sweaty. I head home quickly to shower. The Bachelorette finale is on, and it is a very important tradition of mine to go to my best friend, B.'s, apartment every Monday to watch it. We have been friends since we were eight and always have the best time watching it together. I get a request to pick up whipped cream at 7-Eleven, since one of her roommates made amazing brownies. This better be a new part of our tradition. I'm so excited for those brownies. I stop at Pastafina, a pizza shop, and grab a large chicken Caesar salad (I ordered on Ritual, so it was cheaper than it usually is since they gave me a promotion code; it's safe to say that I love a good deal). $13.09
Advertisement
11 p.m. — I head home from her apartment. She only lives two blocks away, which is convenient, especially after our late-night Bachelorette viewing parties. When I get home I catch up with my roommate, whom I haven't seen all weekend. She tells me that she is going to the same concert as me on Thursday night, Khalid. Surprise! I'm so excited that she's going; it's going to be such a fun concert. When I finally calm down from the excitement, I get in my pajamas, unpack my bags from my weekend at the beach, and sadly set my alarm. After a busy but very fun day, F. texts me a sweet message of how he really liked the class and that he appreciated me pushing him to do it with me. What a great way to end this day. I smile and pass out.
Daily Total: $27.73

Day Two

7:30 a.m. — I wake up before my alarm clock and head to the bathroom to do my morning routine. I take out my retainers (yes, I still wear them), brush my teeth, and wash my face with this new face wash that I recently ordered from Amazon. On my way back from the bathroom, I head to the kitchen and find that I only have one egg left in the carton, womp womp. I tell myself that I need to head to Trader Joe's soon. I make the one egg over-easy and let it cool as I get changed for the day. I put on a black dress and a black-and-white headband. I down the egg and head out the door with my AirPods in my ears.
Advertisement
8:10 a.m. — I am inches away from my favorite Starbucks destination in the city when L. (my coworker who just got back from Italy) texts me asking if I'm walking to work. We only live three blocks from each other, so I know she's close enough. She mobile orders and meets me at Starbucks. With coffees in hands, we walk to work but hit the park before heading in. It's nice to chat and people-watch before sitting in front of a computer screen for eight straight hours. $2.99
12:10 p.m. — We are hungry! I go on my MealPal and order my meal from a new spot. Chicken teriyaki and miso soup sound good. It's super hot outside, but the office is an ice box, so walking outside and some hot soup is super nice. We scarf down our lunches and head back to work. Hopefully, this meal will keep me full until dinner, but no promises there.
6 p.m. — I head out to a sweat lodge called Shape House, which I am excited to try. The classes are usually $75 for an hour of sweating and watching Netflix, but I found a Groupon deal for $39, bingo! I walk to Flatiron and watch the show You while I create a pool of sweat — pretty cool idea. $39
8:30 p.m. — I finish up the sweat session, shower there, and Ritual order a salad ($5.33, 50% off on Ritual when it is your first time). I feel ten pounds lighter and good. I head to B.'s again for the second night of the finale. The Bachelorette is a nine-month commitment out of the year, and we are here for every second of it. We all gasp at Hannah's decisions and cannot wait for Bachelor in Paradise to start next week. $5.33
Advertisement
11 p.m — I walk back to my apartment while Hannah's decisions run through my mind — what a drama-filled season, as Chris Harrison would say. I walk into my roommate having a panic attack because she saw a cockroach on her bed, and now it is out of sight. I'm scared, but since I am the dad of the household, I grab the Raid and search around. I find this sucker dead underneath her nightstand. I sweep it up and flush it down the toilet. I do my nightly routine, filled with retainers and my favorite watermelon nighttime face mask, and hit the pillow HARD, trying to not think that cockroaches might be in my bed right now — New York City in the summertime is quite wonderful!
Daily Total: $47.32

Day Three

7:30 a.m. — I wake up before my alarm, but slept like a baby thanks to the sweat lodge. No more eggs in the house, but I remember that they put out bananas and peanut butter in the kitchen, and they go quickly, so I get changed and head out the door. I decide to walk again to work and text my other friend how last night went; she went over to a guy's apartment, and I am a fan. I walk to work and admire the yoga class that is going on in the park.
8:45 a.m. — A banana is in the kitchen awaiting my arrival, so I spoon some peanut butter on my plate and head to my desk to munch it down — boy, am I hungry today. I catch up on emails, make my special coffee (didn't want to spend $ on Starbucks today), and wish I was outside because this office is always so cold. I look down at my phone and see that my dad Venmoed me $180, $90 for dinner that he owed me when we were at the beach and $90 for a bet I won. That was a satisfying “transfer to bank.”
Advertisement
12 p.m. — B. texts me saying that she and her roommates are seeing the new movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood tonight, and there is one more seat available next to them. I whip out my credit card, punch in my information, and book the seat next to them for an 8:30 p.m. showing. It works out because I have to let another friend, Z., into my apartment after work. She's sleeping over because she has a makeup job tomorrow morning right by my apartment, and she is moving out of her place today — I'm such a good friend. $18.99
6 p.m. — Before leaving work, I quickly book a round-trip bus ticket for two weekends. I am going to my parents' beach house and want to make sure I book it now before prices increase. I leave work and stop at Lively again just to try on a better-sized bra and hope for a better saleswoman to help me out. I leave a half hour later with two new bras (two for $60, good deal) and stop by a shoe store that's closing and snag Steve Madden sneakers for $19.99. I meet Z. in front of my apartment and we give each other a big hug, always good to see her. My friends have to cancel on the movie because one was working late. Thank God I get a refund. I text F. to come hang, and he stops by to drop off leftover dessert from dinner that night, warm beignets with powdered sugar on top, yum. I go to bed next to Z. and prepare for a big day tomorrow. $79.99
Advertisement
Daily Total: $79.99

Day Four

6:45 a.m. — I wake up on my own to a text from my friend K. saying that she is almost to the city and is going to start walking over to my place. I am so excited to see her! Z. wakes up and starts getting ready for her makeup job that day. K. says she is here, and I give her the biggest hug ever. We catch up and I tell her the instructions with my key. I have to head to work all day, and then I am going straight to the Khalid concert, so she is on her own, but is meeting our other friends that night to surprise B. I head out the door and meet L. at Starbucks to prepare for our morning walk to work.
8:15 a.m. — I have 52 stars on my Starbucks rewards, score. I have them give me a venti hot coffee (they don't do iced for 50 stars) and then give me a cup of ice, such a hassle. L. and I walk to work and stop to grab wine at Trader Joe's on the way. We get there at 8:52 a.m., but they don't open until 9, ugh. I grab the cheapest twist-off for my at-work pregame. $6.52
12:15 p.m. — Lunch time! I head to European Wax Center, get a lip wax, and tip the girl 15% ($16.60). I pick up my MealPal — today is a BBQ chicken salad, my favorite from Just Salad. I head back to the office for the afternoon, counting down the seconds until Khalid. $16.60
Advertisement
6 p.m. — I dart out of the office with a couple of cups of wine in me and a to-go cup in my hand. I head uptown to meet B. and my other friend Y. for the concert outside of MSG. B. tells me how surprised she was that K. came in — success! Doors open at 6:30 and the concert starts at 7:30. I. Am. Ready.
11 p.m. — The concert is over — he is just so talented. I walk home from MSG with my two friends and head to the Gem, a local bar, because K. texted me that she was there with our college friend. We hang out there for a little, and then I head home and go to bed right away.
Daily Total: $23.12

Day Five

9 a.m. — K. and I wake up and pack a bag for Long Island. B. is having a birthday weekend celebration with all our friends, including M., who is coming in from D.C. We leave my apartment and grab bagels and iced coffees at one of my favorite bagel shops. $11.43
10 a.m. — We meet M. at the LIRR and buy round-trip tickets to the island. $20.50
11 a.m. — B. picks us up from the station, and we head to her place to eat pizza and salad for lunch, which she provided, thank God. We wait until everyone arrives and then hop in the car to head to a wine stand in the Hamptons, blasting Ariana Grande on the way there.
Advertisement
2 p.m. — I split the infamous Summer in a Bottle ($18.33) with two friends, and we drink wine while overlooking the vineyard. We get tipsy as the sun goes down and head back to her house for a fun night with games. $18.33
Daily Total: $50.26

Day Six

8:30 a.m. — I wake up next to my good friends from college — we cannot sleep past 9 a.m., since we are working women and are so used to waking up early. I head out to grab coffee before everyone wakes up. I head back to the house and find that B. ordered all of us bagels, so we munch down on those. $3.05
11 a.m. — We all head out to the shops. B. mentions that there is a sale at Ruby and Jenna, a cute boutique-style store. I find a long skirt on sale and swipe my cc ($31.69). We head back to B.'s house and prep for a pool day. $31.69
1 p.m. — We hang out by her pool with all of our friends from college, and B.'s friends from high school and play music.
5 p.m. — Everyone showers and gets ready for a fun night ahead of us. We eat leftover Indian food and pizza for dinner and start drinking.
7 p.m. — We head to a cool bar that is about 30 minutes away called the Salt Shack. It's a beach bar that has live music. I pregamed way too hard, so I just drink water at the bar. I end up falling asleep on the table, oops. We order an Uber back home. $22.50
Advertisement
Daily Total: $57.24

Day Seven

8:30 a.m. — I wake up and wake all of my friends up because we are catching a 9:14 a.m. train back into the city. We say bye to B. as she is leaving for med school the next day. I pop into Dunkin' Donuts to grab a water bottle — hungover girl problems. $3.54
1 p.m. — I finish up my laundry while K. leaves to meet up with her friend for a little. I text my friend's brother to ask if I can get into a 2 p.m. SoulCycle class. He works for them and can get me on the wait list when he works. He gives me the go, and I get changed and head to the Upper East Side for the free class.
3 p.m. — I leave the class very sweaty, with more energy than I had before. I spot a Juice Generation and grab a Mr. Greengenes smoothie — my favorite. I text my best friend from high school and meet her at Central Park, where we catch up. I haven't seen her in two weeks, so it's nice to meet up. I drop a pin to K., and she meets us in the park. $9.74
5 p.m. — K. and I walk back to my place. I make plans with a few camp friends to have dinner, so K. and I stop at Chop't to grab salads for everyone. $13.50
8 p.m. — We all take a walk to Madison Square Park and sit under the lights at Shake Shack. I haven't showered from my workout class, so I feel gross. K. and I head back to my apartment, where I catch up with my roommate, shower, and fall right to sleep. Another weekend in the books.
Advertisement
Daily Total: $26.78
Calling All College Students! Have you always wanted to do a money diary? Well, this is your chance! We’re doing a special series of college diaries, and we want to feature you. If you’re interested, send us an email telling us a bit about yourself, with the subject line “College Diary.”
Want more Money Diaries? Well, you’re in luck — Refinery29 Canada is launching its own Canadian Money Diaries three times a week. (Which means once you’re done with catching up on all our diaries during your lunch break, you can head on over to R29 CA for even more.) You can now experience Money Diaries IRL at 29Rooms Toronto September 26th through October 6th. Buy tickets here.
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 questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here: r29.co/mdfaqs
Do you have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Submit it with us here.
Advertisement

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series