Money Diaries logo

A Week In New York, NY, On A $305,300 Salary

Photo: Getty Images.
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.
Do you have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Submit it with us here.

Today: a product operations manager who makes $305,300 per year and spends some of her money this week on a strawberry matcha latte.
Occupation: Product Operations Manager
Industry: Tech
Age: 29
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $305,300
Net Worth: $513,061 ($210,000 in retirement accounts, $250,000 in a brokerage, $2,000 in my HSA, $45,000 in a HYSA, $10,764 in i-bonds).
Debt: $0 (the only debt I had was my $19,000 student loan debt, which I paid off within six months of graduation).
Paycheck Amount (biweekly): $5,032
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $2,618 (for a rent-controlled studio).
Renters Insurance: $5
Apple Storage: $2.99
Internet: $30
Utilities: $70
ClassPass: $141
Phone Bill: $0 (on my parents' phone plan).
Oura Ring Membership: $6.29
Retirement Savings: At the beginning of the year, I put my yearly bonus into my retirement savings (my company has a 50% match) so I don't consider it a monthly expense.
HSA: I maxed out my HSA contribution early in the year so I don't count that now.
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?
Absolutely, pursuing higher education has been ingrained in me for as long as I can remember. My parents emigrated to the US when they were in high school and worked hard to obtain degrees, so their logic was if they could do it, their kids could do it better. I went to a public university and received a generous financial aid package. My parents helped with room and board for my first two years and I worked a work-study job to cover the other two years. I also took out a small loan to help cover expenses.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
Growing up, the conversations were limited. My siblings and I never received allowances, but my parents would give us each about $20 a week to spend on food at school. Whatever we needed education or necessity-wise, they would provide. My parents took me to open my first bank account when I was 15 to start building credit and told me to save as much as I could.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
I was a poll worker for the city during one of our local elections when I was 15. It was a one-day 12-hour job and I got a $225 paycheck (pre-tax). At that time, I thought it was a lot of money, but that experience gave me a bit more clarity on the value of the dollar, how hard it is to make money, and my first experience with taxes. I got it because I saw the opportunity to earn a paycheck and have my own money.
Did you worry about money growing up?
Not until my dad lost his job in the 2008 financial crisis. Before then, my family lived pretty comfortably and it seemed like there wasn't any financial stress in the family. When my dad lost his job, my parents tried to shield us from the stress but it definitely felt different.
Do you worry about money now?
In a general sense, yes. I am constantly worried about being laid off. I saw what the layoffs did to my parents and I want to avoid that at all costs. Because of this, I'm very mindful of my spending and save a lot.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I wasn't financially responsible for myself until I was 24, when I moved out of my parents' place. I'm very grateful to have my parents as my financial safety net in the event that I lose everything.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.

Day One

9:45 a.m. — I wake up and check my phone and work messages. I have been sick the past couple of days and quickly assess my energy levels. I ping my manager and update her that I still am not feeling well then roll back into bed.
11:30 a.m. — I wake up again to a text from my boyfriend, B., asking me how I am doing. I move to my desk and answer a few pings from my colleagues.
1 p.m. — I make a last-minute decision to meet my boyfriend and his friends for lunch at his place. I get ready and head out. I take the subway and the PATH to New Jersey. $5.50
2 p.m. — I get off my stop and pick up an oat matcha latte from a cafe. $6
2:30 p.m. — I get to B.'s place and head out back to the pool. He's grilling for his friends and hands me some grilled mackerel. Delicious!
4 p.m. — We finish chilling by the pool and head back up to B.'s condo to clean up and his friends pack and leave. B. and I sit and catch up. I talk about my anxiety about missing work while being sick. I'm just so anxious that I'll be laid off.
8 p.m. — After cuddles and conversation, we're hungry. We drive to an all-you-can-eat hot pot place. We each order our broth of choice and many rounds of meat and veggies. We split the bill. $37.98
10:30 p.m. — I catch the PATH and subway back home. $5.50
11:30 p.m. — I shower, do my nighttime skincare routine, and head to bed at 12:30.
Daily Total: $54.98

Day Two

9 a.m. — I wake up, make a green juice, and take my multivitamins. I slowly get ready and do my skincare routine before heading out the door for my sugaring appointment. I take the subway there. $2.75
11:40 a.m — I arrive late to my sugaring appointment and my esthetician is ready for me. I'm done and out in 15 minutes. This appointment was part of ClassPass, but I tip her with cash. $7
12:30 p.m. — I walk from my sugaring appointment to my nail appointment. On the way, I stop by Boba Guys and get an iced strawberry matcha. $7.19
1:15 p.m. — I get a soft pink gel manicure. With tip, it comes out to $43. $43
1:30 p.m. — I take the subway to my local Target to buy some ingredients for a late lunch ($2.75). I buy a dozen eggs, a cup of Siggi's yogurt, and cough medicine ($17.93). $20.68
2 p.m. — I get back home and start making myself a smoothie hold me over until dinner. B. arrives and we watch some travel vlogs on YouTube in preparation for his upcoming trip to Europe.
6 p.m — We get ready to head to dinner. We take the train to the Upper West Side to get Thai food. $2.75
6:30 p.m. — B. orders a Pad Thai with beef and two beers, and I get a Pad See Ew with beef. We share a steamed mussels appetizer. We split the meal. $40.90
8 p.m. — While at dinner we decide to go to a nearby movie theater to see Barbie. I stop by a pizzeria to buy a water hoping that it will be cheaper here than at the cinema. $2.49
8:15 p.m. — We arrive in time for the movie and buy tickets. We take some pictures together in front of the Barbie pink sign before going into the auditorium. After the movie, we head to a wine bar. $22
2 a.m. — We stay later than expected because we start talking to another couple about the Barbie movie and just never stop. One glass become two glasses and before we know it, we've stayed until closing. I paid for the first round and B. pays for the second round. $33
2:30 a.m. — One our walk back to my apartment, B. wants to stop by a pizza shop. He gets two slices of pizza and I order a kale mushroom pizza. He pays.
4 a.m. — I am finally in bed after I shower, hydrate, and do my nighttime skincare routine.
Daily Total: $181.76

Day Three

10.20 a.m. — I wake up and get ready. B. is still asleep so I head out to Target. I buy a few ingredients for lunch and cleaning supplies. $18.68
12 p.m. — I start making a light lunch while B. gets ready. I make fried eggs with prosciutto and cheese and a smoothie.
4 p.m. — We head out to to a coffee shop to pick up coffee and a snack before we go back to my apartment to do some work. I order an iced matcha latte and which he pays for and I pay for our two cookies ($7). $7
7 p.m. — We head out for a quick dinner. This restaurant serves Vietnamese and Thai food. I order a beef pho and K. orders a rice plate. We get calamari for our appetizer. We split the bill. $30.90
8:30 p.m. — We take a short walk to the pier. Summers in NYC are beautiful because everyone just wants to be outside and enjoy good music and views. We head home to do a little more work before B. goes home.
11 p.m. — B. stays longer than expected because we start talking about our future and where we want to end up long term. My family is all on the West Coast and his family is all on the East Coast. This conversation is very serious because though we are deeply committed to another, it is a reminder it takes more than love to end up together. After he leaves, I get ready for bed and read a bit.
Daily Total: $56.58

Day Four

8 a. m. — I wake up, get ready, and pack for work.
9:30 a.m. — I arrive to work by subway and go through emails and parse the things I need to work on for the day. $2.75
11 a.m. — Time for a coffee break. I go to the cafe and order an iced americano. I'm so lucky that my office has a cafe. It's one of my main drivers for coming in on a Monday.
1 p.m. — Finish my first round of meetings and go to lunch with my coworker. My company provides lunch and today they are serving various types of fish and veggies. I bring a container and load up on lemon shrimp and a kale salad for my dinner tonight.
3:30 p.m. — I send off some emails, finish my meetings for the day, and am now working on a document to pitch to leadership.
5 p.m. — I pack to leave, change into my Pilates outfit, and walk over to my 5:30 Pilates class.
7:20 p.m. — I walk home after Pilates. I FaceTime my sister and her family as I heat up the dinner I brought back from the office. I sit on my meditation pillow and watch some travel and food videos on YouTube as I eat. B. calls me and we talk about our day and plans for tomorrow.
12:30 a.m. — I shower, do my skincare routine, and head to bed.
Daily Total: $2.75

Day Five

8 a.m. — I wake up and get ready. I also pack because I am staying at B.'s place for the next two nights.
9:15 a.m. — I arrive to the office by subway. I fill my water bottle on the way to my assigned desk. I review my inbox and and plan out the top three things I want to work on for the day. $2.75
10:50 a.m. — After my first meeting ends, I head upstairs to get an iced americano with a splash of oat milk. I then head back to my seat and get some deep work done.
1 p.m. — I'm not that hungry so I grab a berry banana protein smoothie for lunch and an iced matcha.
5:30 p.m. — I pack up my stuff and head to the PATH. I take out my Kindle and read throughout the ride. I am currently reading Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, which I finally got off the waitlist of from the library. I am hooked on the storyline and characters. I wonder how writers can have the most intricate imaginations and ideas that can be translated so articulately on paper. $2.75
6:15 p.m. — I arrive to B.'s place and am greeted by a strawberry protein smoothie. I take my makeup off and change into my workout clothes. We cuddle on the couch and talk about our day as I finish my pre-workout smoothie.
6:45 p.m. — We take the elevator down to his building's gym. Today is a pull day so we first warm up and stretch and hop right to it. I've been trying to do strength training more regularly and B. is a great teacher.
7:55 p.m. — We head back up to shower and get ready for dinner.
8:30 p.m. — We go to a nearby pizza restaurant. We order two pizzas to share, meatballs with ricotta, a side of bread and butter, and tiramisu for dessert. Everything was delicious! I pay. $109
11:30 p.m. — We walk along the pier and then go back to B.'s place to get ready for bed.
Daily Total: $114.50

Day Six

8:05 a.m. — I wake up to my alarm and get ready. I check my bank account and it says I have less than $70 in my checking account after paying off my credit card. Yikes. This is the second time it has happened to me since I moved my emergency fund and travel savings to a high yield savings account. I use this traditional bank account to pay my bills and to receive my paycheck. I transfer some money to this account.
9 a.m. — B. and I leave his place together. We part as he walks to a coffee shop to work and I to the PATH to go to the office. $2.75
10:30 a.m. — Visit my favorite cafe in the office for my iced americano. I chat with the baristas for a bit before heading back to my desk.
1 p.m. — After my meetings, I head to the cafeteria for lunch. I put some grilled chicken, roasted asparagus, and something that looked like beef stew and carrots on my plate. My colleague, F., and I eat lunch together. We catch up about our personal lives and goals.
5:30 p.m. — I am overstimulated, so I call it a day.
6 p.m — I take the PATH to B.'s but stop at my sister's place on the way over. My brother-in-law and niece are home and are about to head to the park. My toddler niece, T., runs to the door when she hears my voice and hugs me. I talk with my brother-in-law for a bit, play with T. until she is hyped up for the park, and pick up my packages that were accidentally shipped to their place. $2.75
6:30 p.m. — I walk back to B.'s place and am greeted by a berry protein smoothie. I get ready for the gym and text my house cleaner. House cleaning with tip for my studio apartment comes out to $150. $150
8 p.m. — We get back from the gym and start prepping dinner. I make steamed eggs and vegetables and B. sears salmon.
10 p.m. — B. needs to work so I take out my Kindle and read for about an hour or so, until he comes to bed. Lights out are at midnight.
Daily Total: $155.50

Day Seven

8 a.m. — I wake up and start getting ready. I pack my things because I am headed back to my apartment today so I can start packing for my trip to California this weekend. B. and I say our goodbyes and I take the PATH to the office. $2.75
11 a.m. — After answering some emails and reviewing some documents I am putting together, I head downstairs for an iced matcha.
12 p.m. — After a round of meetings, I go for an iced berry protein smoothie for lunch and a bowl of clam linguine with a white wine sauce. I take a walk around the office after lunch and then go back to work.
6 p.m. — I take the subway back home and take a breather for a bit. I FaceTime my mom and we catch up. $2.75
7 p.m. — I put a load in the laundry and walk out to pick up dinner nearby. Today I am craving Cantonese BBQ over rice and thankfully, there is a Cantonese restaurant within walking distance. I order a roast pork and BBQ pork over rice to-go. $19.05
7:30 p.m. — I walk home and sit on my meditation pillow in front of my TV and catch up on YouTube videos as I eat.
9 p.m. — I slather on the Ogee Glacial Detox Mask that was gifted to me and catch up on emails.
11 p.m. — I've been horizontal on my couch for too long. I shower, put on my skincare, and head to bed. I read until I fall asleep at 1 a.m.
Daily Total: $24.55
Money Diaries are meant to reflect an individual's experience 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.

Do you have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Submit it with us here.

Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here or email us here.

More from Work & Money

R29 Original Series