A Week In New York City and New Jersey On A $44,000 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.
Today: a Consultant working in Public Relations who makes $44,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a pumpkin spice latte.
Occupation: Consultant
Industry: Public Relations
Age: 24
Location: New York, NY/New Jersey
Salary: $44,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,382.64
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $0 (I live at home in New Jersey)
Student Loans: $300 (I overpay)
Train: $463
Spotify Family: $15.98
Gym: $31.98
Car: $0 (it's nine-years-old now and a hand-me-down from my father. Will be selling when I move to the city.)
Car Insurance: Not sure what it actually is since dad covers it.
Health Insurance: Love you, Dad!
Savings: $500 into a HYSA every month. More if I can. Have about $19,000 saved right now.
401(k): I'm not eligible for any benefits at my job right now, as I'm waiting for a "temp-to-perm" role to become permanent...

Day One

6:35 a.m. — I wake up a little early this morning to have time to actually do my makeup. I have a meeting with one of my bosses today, but also an exciting date later. I use MAC concealer, MAC finishing powder, Tarte bronzer, Benefit blush, MAC paint pot, Too Faced eyeshadow, Urban Decay eyeliner, and Maybelline mascara. I wear a slightly sexier sweater that is still work-appropriate, black jeggings, and brown knee-high boots.
9:30 a.m. — Get to work, grab a venti cup of water and some office coffee, start working.
11:30 a.m. — I bring a Chobani smores yogurt flip every day for breakfast, and usually wait to eat until about 11:30.
1:30 p.m. — I take an extra slice of pepperoni pizza off the counter at work. I brought a salad for lunch, but I'm saving that for later so I don't have to eat dinner during my date.
4 p.m. — Eat the caesar salad I brought, with today's special addition, an avocado.
6 p.m. — I end up working late finishing a project, but it works out because my date has to work until 6 anyway. I head to the bar we're supposed to meet at but it's PACKED and she's running late. I'm very nervous and get stuck in the bathroom for a while. Lol, classic. We finally meet up around 6:45. She is very cute and we have a lovely time. She insists on paying since she was running late. Three hours and two long island iced teas later, I think it's going pretty well?! We walk back in the same direction and kiss goodbye. I am drunk and giggly and text my friends about it on my whole ride home.
Daily Total: $0

Day Two

6:50 a.m. — I am HUNG. OVER. No makeup today. Flannel, jeans, sneakers. Makes me feel a little gayer. I am normally very traditionally femme and I have a hard time expressing my availability to women. It's still new to me.
9:30 a.m. — I need real food today. I go to the deli next to my office for a baconeggandcheesesaltpeppaketchup. Nothing better. I pay with cash my grandma gave me when I went to go visit her last weekend. She spoils me. I skip Starbucks and settle for a boring office coffee, but the sandwich definitely helps the hangover. Mostly admin stuff all day today. $4.90
2 p.m. — I have a coupon on the Chick-fil-A app for a free sandwich, so I could just have a free lunch, but one of my friends snapchats me a picture of their mac n cheese and says it's amazing, so I add that to my order to try it. I also get a small peppermint milkshake. $9.12
5 p.m. — My boss has me make a reservation for a fancy lunch next week and tells me to leave early. Don't mind if I do!
7 p.m. — I sleep my entire train ride home. I'm not usually THAT tired at night, but I got home at 12:30 last night and was pretty hungover, so here we are. I get home and make fresh guac for my dad and me. He already made himself frozen scallops for dinner, so I follow suit and make my own. They're just raw, frozen from Costco. I defrost, pan fry in butter with a little garlic powder, salt, and lemon juice. Delicious.
9 p.m. — My parents keep grilling me on my date last night but I don't want to tell them anything, so I go to bed and watch The Sound of Music, which always makes me happy. I had never seen it until I studied abroad, and it was my roommate's favorite movie so we ended up watching it about 12 times that semester. Miss her. I vape a little and fall asleep by 12:30.
Daily Total: $14.02

Day Three

11:30 a.m. — My favorite part about Saturdays is sleeping for 11-12 hours straight. I hear my parents leave to go get a Christmas tree, so I masturbate in bed for a while. Then start looking at pictures of my dog who died a few weeks ago and get a good cry in.
2 p.m. — I make two eggs over easy on a garlic bagel and a homemade latte. I watch Schitt's Creek in bed and vape until my parents get home. Then I help them put up the Christmas tree and start crying because my dog used to love laying under the Christmas tree and I miss him terribly :( Then my mom starts crying so we cry and cuddle on the couch.
6 p.m. — I take a shower and get dressed, and head out to one of my best friend's housewarming parties in Philly. I bring a deck of cards and a bottle of wine. I sent her some gift money when she moved a few weeks ago because I didn't think she was going to have a party, but I can't show up empty-handed!
7:30 p.m. — Trying to find parking in Philly is impossible. She sends me to a garage several blocks away and dear lord it is cold out. I can't wait to get a new winter coat for Christmas.
2 a.m. — The party was good! Lots of food, margaritas, and new people. I made the whole playlist so it was obviously excellent, and then I helped her clean up and get to sleep on the couch around 2.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

11 a.m. — My bestie comes downstairs and makes a brunch reservation online, so we sit and chat for a little bit before heading out. I wear the same clothes from last night. For brunch, I get a pumpkin spice latte and chicken and waffles, and it's really good! We have a really healthy discussion about me finally realizing I also want to date women, and I feel so mentally recharged. A good weekend with a good friend is way better than therapy in my opinion. She pays for brunch on her card, and I throw her a $20, but she gives me $2 back. We argue about it but I accept defeat and just take it. $18
1 p.m. — I grab my car from the parking garage and head home. $7
2:30 p.m. — I go to TJ Maxx looking for a dress for my company Christmas party next week, but no luck. I see a cute sweater for $25 but when I try it on, I realize it won't bring me that much joy, so I leave it behind. I go next door to Ulta looking for this nail polish I've been wanting for months, and it looks like another disappointment until I find it HIDING behind another color! JACKPOT. Go to the cashier expecting it to be $9.50, and it's only $5.97?! This keeps getting better and better. (Use grandma cash again.) $5.97
3:30 p.m. — Get home and hang Christmas lights with my dad. Then he gives me his credit card to go grocery shopping for the week. I love grocery shopping. I find it very therapeutic, and everyone else hates it, so I'm happy for that to be my chore. I get salads for lunch, milk, half and half, lemons, oranges, lox, eggs, rotisserie chicken, basil, baby potatoes, whipped cream, and some other stuff... Not too bad this week.
6 p.m. — My dad reminds me I'm seeing my favorite singer tonight, which totally slipped my mind... I make green beans and stuffing to go along with the rotisserie chicken for dinner, help my parents put the lights on the tree, and then my dad drops my mom and I off at the concert (which is conveniently five minutes away). I don't drink or buy any merch since I already have so many shirts from the other 10 concerts of his I've been to.
11 p.m. — Home! The concert was good! He finally sang one of my favorite songs that I've never seen him sing live before. I take a quick shower, dry my hair, try to sleep. Can't sleep.
12:45 a.m. — Still can't sleep. I buy my weekly train ticket on my phone app so I don't have to do it in the morning. I normally do a monthly for $463 but since I'm off for two weeks, it makes more financial sense to buy weeklies this month. $141
Daily Total: $171.97

Day Five

7 a.m. — Ugh, running late and it's pouring. I go for rain boots, leggings, and a comfy sweater.
9 a.m. — It is POURING in the city, so I decide to take the subway to work instead of walking like I usually do. I add $13 to my metrocard since I use it so infrequently. $13
9:30 a.m. — Water and office coffee. My mom sends me a venmo request for the cleaning women who come twice a month now. I absolutely do not mind paying this, because I do not have the time or energy to clean my bathroom or the kitchen after all of my working and commuting. I send my dad a venmo request for the money he owes me for buying mom's Christmas presents from him. He sends it to me, and I send my mom the cleaning money, so we're all even. $37.50
11 a.m. — Chobani. Work is slow today, so I read the Money Diary about the nonbinary poly person and can't WAIT to read the comments.
2 p.m. — Caesar salad from home. Work is dragging so slowly.
2:30 p.m. — I'm still hungry. I eat an emergency fiber one bar from my bag. My period must be coming. I check my health app, but I'm only on day 21....
3:30 p.m. — I eat my after-work snack of pretzels and peanuts because I am still ravenously hungry. Oops.
5 p.m. — There's leftover pizza at work, and I grab a slice and heat it up because I am STILL hungry. Why??
5:30 p.m. — I finish a last-minute project and I'm out the door. Subway again because it's still pouring out. I'm really glad I wore my rain boots and then never actually went outside. Oh well.
6:30 p.m. — The train is stopped for 30+ minutes. Love the commuter life. This ruins my plans to go to the gym after work (mostly because I'm lazy...and it's raining...and I need to paint my nails).
8:30 p.m. — I eat half a garlic bagel with lox and cream cheese. And two panko shrimp. I then get in a fight with my brother. PMS or just me being a bitch? Who knows.
9:30 p.m. — I paint my nails and do a Drunk Elephant skincare routine. I splurged on this set about three weeks ago because I heard such great things about it. Results TBD. I watch Schitt's Creek, vape, try to sleep.
12:30 a.m. — Can't sleep, so I decide to pay some bills I've been neglecting for months. $217.73 for the dermatologist seven months ago and $150 for urgent care five months ago. Then I donate $200 to the law group who took my case on pro bono. After many many years, we finally settled and the money has paid off most of my student loans. I used to pay $800 a month and thought I would never be able to move out, but now it's looming on the horizon and I should be out of debt within three years. I will continue to donate to the non-profit law firm for the rest of my life, as they really saved my life and I am eternally grateful. $567.73
Daily Total: $618.23

Day Six

6:45 a.m. — I straighten my hair, do the same makeup from day one, and put on a very cute outfit from Topshop in London. It's all white with black tights and black boots, very wintery but cute for work and another date later!
9:30 a.m. — Water and office coffee. Team meeting for two hours. I skip breakfast since we're going out for a fancy lunch later.
1:30 p.m. — I order first, so I get a cup of soup and a salad. My two bosses just get salads so now I feel awkward for ordering more than them, but I'm hungry! Whatever. They were both delicious. Lunch is expensed.
6:30 p.m. — I meet a (different) date at a cute cozy bar. We've been talking a lot leading up to this date and I have a good feeling about it.
10:30 p.m. — three drinks later (he paid), I never ate dinner but my date was really cute and nice and normal! We couldn't stop talking and laughing and then he held my hand while walking me all the way back to the train station and we kissed for a minute but I had to run to catch my train.
12:30 a.m. — Home and eating bread and butter and then some club crackers. Lots of water. I can already tell I will regret being this drunk in the morning.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

6:45 a.m. — Yup, wanna die. Leggings, flannel, snow boots, no makeup.
10 a.m. — This hangover is so bad. I remember why I never drink as I'm sprinting for the bathroom before work. Then the only logical solution is another baconeggandcheesesaltpeppaketchup. I forget to ask for it over easy, so it's scrambled today, which is still good, but definitely not AS good as the other day. Pay with my grandma cash (love you grammy!). Also need Starbucks since this is gonna be a rough morning. I grab a Starbucks Doubleshot on Ice, sub vanilla for classic, extra caramel drizzle, light ice. It's basically an iced caramel macchiato but with more coffee, less milk, and somehow a dollar cheaper ($4.95 on my prepaid Starbucks card). $4.90
3 p.m. — Work and meetings all day. Caesar salad from home for lunch.
6 p.m. — I stay a little late at work because the last meeting ran over, but there were good snacks, so...worth it?
8:30 p.m. — My mom makes my favorite dinner — chicken cutlets, mashed potatoes, and artichokes.
9:30 p.m. — I finally take a much-needed bath to relax since I've been so busy this month! I do a Lush bath melt, which I don't like as much as my usual bath bombs. Face mask, vape, Schitt's Creek, texting yesterday's boy... Get cozy in bed, masturbate, and asleep by 12:30.
Daily Total: $4.90
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