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A Week In New York, NY, On A $60,000 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. We're asking real people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.

Today: a paralegal who makes $60,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Casamigos tequila.
Occupation: Paralegal
Industry: Law
Age: 22
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $60,000
Net Worth: approx. $30,000 ($7,000 in checking, $23,000 in savings. I have no clue what is in my retirement account or if I even have one, but money is taken out from my paycheck every month for it!)
Debt: $0 (my parents paid for my schooling, so I don't have any loans or other debts)
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,400
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,600 (including utilities)
Dropout TV: $5.99
Phone: $35
Netflix/Hulu/HBO/Apple Music: use parents'/friends' logins
Insurance: on my parents' plan
Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
Yes. Although it is uncommon to go to college in my hometown, my parents both attended college and expected me and my brother to go as well. They intentionally saved throughout my childhood to send us to school. I ended up going to an expensive university, so I graduated in three years so I would not have to take out loans. Now, I am planning on attending law school, which I will have to pay for on my own.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
I almost never heard about finances while growing up. We were always well off, especially for the rural area I lived in, so there were never any fights about money between my parents. As I got older, my dad started to talk about money with me and my mom warned me about credit card debt.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I started babysitting when I was 13 so I could have spending money. I also worked in food service and at a boutique throughout high school.
Did you worry about money growing up?
No. I never thought about money or how much we had. There was always food and after-school activities and it was not until around high school I realized how privileged I was to grow up like that.
Do you worry about money now?
Yes and no. Week by week I do, but in the grand scheme of things, not particularly.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
Technically, I am still not. I pay for rent and utilities and my other bills, but I am on my parents' insurance and they pay for my weekly therapy sessions. My parents are my safety net. If anything ever happened I know that they would help, which can lead me to be reckless in my spending at times.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
No, but I know that I will eventually.

Day One

8 a.m. — I wake up and get ready for work. I only eat breakfast on the weekends and I don't drink coffee, so it's out the door for me. I leave my apartment around 8:35 and walk to the train station. I jump the turnstile and get to work by 9.
1 p.m. — I usually skip lunch so I can leave work earlier, but today my co-worker brings me a cookie. I eat that at my desk and continue working.
5 p.m. — I leave work and pay for the subway ride home as there are a lot of cops in the station today. $2.75
5:45 — I am hungry when I get home, so I stop by a burrito place on my walk back and pick up a burrito. It's an incredible burrito and so filling. I watch some episodes of The Great while I eat. $15.41
7 p.m. — My roommate, N., gets home and we talk about our days and watch an episode of The Great British Baking Show. She makes a salad and sweet potato fries for dinner. I try some and we chat some more.
8 p.m. — My friend, C., comes over as we have a party at a mutual friend's apartment tonight. She buys a seltzer at the corner store and asks if I want anything, but I don't want to drink tonight. We talk with my roommate while I get ready. We call my other friend, D., who is supposed to come out with us and she comes over, too.
9:30 — It's raining and D. just got her hair done and refuses to walk, so we agree to split an Uber three ways. $3.67
10 p.m. — We're at the party and one of the friends insists on doing shots. They're free, so might as well.
12:30 a.m. — It's still raining so we split an Uber back home. I wash my face and get into the shower. I finish getting ready for bed around 1:15 and pass out after scrolling on my phone for a few minutes. $4.18
Daily Total: $26.01

Day Two

8 a.m. — Wake up to the same routine as yesterday, except this time I pay for the subway ride to work. $2.75
4:30 p.m. — I leave a bit early to get home in time for my therapy appointment (my parents pay). I call my mom while I walk from the subway. I get home and get through therapy where we talk about my eating habits. $2.75
6 p.m. — I finish therapy and get some Goldfish at the bodega to keep as a snack. $5.18
7:30 p.m. — I scroll on Uber Eats to figure out what I want for dinner. I do not know how to cook well, so I mostly eat out once a day unless my roommate makes food for us both. I decide on sushi and place an order for pickup. $22.46
10 p.m. — My friend comes over to gossip, but he is very drunk when he shows up. I offer him some water, but he wants a drink so I give him some rum we have lying around. It's nice to talk to him anyway. He leaves around 1:30 and after tidying up a bit I knock out around 2.
Daily Total: $33.14

Day Three

10 a.m. — I wake up late because I called out of work a while ago to get my COVID booster. I do some dishes and send some emails.
11:30 a.m. — I'm late for my appointment and don't have time to walk, so I take the train to Walgreens. $2.75
12:15 p.m. — I get a salad post-COVID booster and eat it with my roommate in a garden. We talk and she leaves to go to the gym while I walk around SoHo. $16.45
1 p.m. — I stumble into a bookstore and walk around for a bit. I pick out two books: The Joy Luck Club and a book about addiction. I have recently gotten back into reading. $42.66
3 p.m. — I get home and take a nap. The boosters always knock me out for a bit and I'm glad I didn't go in today.
6 p.m. — I get a text from my friend. We're supposed to go to a concert together tonight, but she cancels — I guess I'll go alone.
8 p.m. — I call and talk to my mom for an hour. She asks me not to go to the concert because it will be late and I'll be alone but I tell her I will be fine. I spent $65 on the ticket a few months ago and I don't want to waste it. Plus, I love the artist so it's worth it. I leave my apartment around 8:45 and take the train over to Brooklyn (I never pay for the L train).
9 p.m. — I get to the venue right as the singer gets on stage. She announces that she has to cancel the concert because she is sick. I am annoyed that she didn't cancel earlier as it was a wasted trip, but whatever. I get back on the train to Manhattan (again, never pay for the L).
9:30 p.m. — I forgot to eat dinner so I pick up my favorite Korean fried chicken place on my walk back home. I eat it while N. and I talk about our days. $11.75
11 p.m. — I'm exhausted. I get ready for bed and fall asleep instantly.
Daily Total: $73.61

Day Four

8 a.m. — Another day of work. My arm is too sore for me to want to jump the turnstile. My coworkers are sweet and ask me how I am feeling. $2.75
2:30 p.m. — I am oddly hungry today, so I go to the store in my office building to pick up some snacks. I get a Clif bar and a bag of chips. $5
5:30 p.m. — I head home and think about what I want to get for dinner. $2.75
6 p.m. — I decide against buying dinner and figure I will get something later. I clean the apartment and help N. decide what to cook for her friends coming over for dinner.
8 p.m. — I remember I have plans to watch a football game with D. I go over to their place and then we head to a bar to watch the game. D. wants to take an Uber, but I want to take the subway. She says she'll pay for the Uber and I let her. Our driver falls asleep while driving us to the bar, so it ends up being comped anyway. The train would have been quicker, though.
9 p.m. — I pay for the first round of drinks for the three of us. The bartender knows us and gives us some shots and a pretzel on the house. I am very tipsy and remember I didn't eat dinner. D. buys the next round. $37.84
11 p.m. — D. pays for the Uber back to the city. I am hungry and very drunk so McDonald's it is. I get a Chicken McNugget meal and wait for my friends as they order burgers from a place close by. I walk home and eat while watching Abbott Elementary. I pass out by 12:30. $10.65
Daily Total: $58.99

Day Five

8 a.m. — It's Friday, thank God. I don't usually get hangovers and am lucky today follows that trend. I take a bit longer than usual to get up, though, so I am rushing out the door. I take the train to work and jump the turnstile.
5 p.m. — Finally done with work for the week. I pay for the subway on the way home. $2.75
5:45 p.m. — I get a poke bowl on the walk from the subway. I talk to my dad on the phone for a bit. After, I call my mom and we gossip about hometown drama. $18.09
8 p.m. — It's one of my friend's birthday, and her boyfriend planned a surprise party. D. and C. come over and we get lemonade for a chaser. $2.18
8:45 p.m. — It's BYOB, so we walk to buy some alcohol for the party. I pay for the shooters we get. $37.44
9 p.m. — I made the poor decision to wear six-inch heels, so I pay for the cab we take to the apartment. $10.86
12:30 a.m. — It's about time for us to leave and someone gets an Uber to my favorite bar. They pay and I offer to Venmo, but they won't take it.
1 a.m. — My friend works at this bar, so I get a couple of drinks for free. We dance for a bit and then head home.
2:30 a.m. — McDonald's run again before bed. As I walk into the apartment with my food, N. and the guy she went on a date with are also walking in. I chat with them before turning on the TV for a polite amount of time and going to bed. $10.65
Daily Total: $81.97

Day Six

9:30 a.m. — I wake up and remember why I hate to drink so much on the weekends. I'm not even hungover, just tired. I lounge about the apartment and take an hour-long shower.
11:30 a.m. — N. and I clean and she makes us some avocado toast and eggs.
2 p.m. — It's my friend's birthday brunch so C., D., and I meet to get her a gift. We buy her some earrings, a card, and a bottle of Casamigos. We split it three ways. $46
3 p.m. — I get a breakfast burrito at brunch and we are there for two hours. It is so nice to see all my friends. $22.08
6 p.m. — I get home and N. is with one of her friends. We chat for a bit before they leave to get dinner.
8 p.m. — I decide to stay in because I am exhausted. I eat popcorn and watch No Country for Old Men and Mad Max: Fury Road before I go to sleep.
Daily Total: $68.08

Day Seven

11 a.m. — I wake up late and feel incredibly refreshed.
11:30 a.m. — I order breakfast from a brunch spot. $24.91
12:30 p.m. — I take the train to Columbus Circle and go shopping for a bit but don't get anything. $2.75
3 p.m. — Subway back home. I call my mom while I take a longer way back home. Once I get back I just lie around and watch TV. $2.75
7:30 p.m. — N.'s mom takes us out to dinner at a Mediterranean spot. It's delicious and I have leftovers for tomorrow. She also gets us some ice cream, which is greatly appreciated.
10 p.m. — Finally home and I get ready for bed. I pass out around 1 after scrolling on TikTok and watching TV.
Daily Total: $30.41
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