A Week In New York, NY On A $50,000 Salary

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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.
If you're one of the many travelers that have taken to the road to make vacation happen this year, tell us about your road trip experience here.

Today: a Sales Representative who makes $50,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a B12 shot.
Occupation: Sales Representative
Industry: Tech
Age: 24
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $50,000
Net Worth: Well, my net worth is currently in the negative. While I contribute to a 401(k) and have stock holdings, I have credit card and student debt.
Debt: $40,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,472
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,200 for a three-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. I share with two roommates.
Credit Card: $358
Private Student Loans: $310/month in private student loans
Utilities: $100
Melissa Wood Health: $10 (fitness video subscription),
Hulu: $10
Spotify: $10
Cosmetic Dermatology Membership: $100 (I get botox every three months or so)
AppleCare: $12.99
MetroCard: $127 (this is currently on pause due to working from home)
401(k): 6% of my paycheck, about $90
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?
My parents encouraged me to pursue obtaining a higher education. Unfortunately, they weren't able to help me out with tuition so I ended up leaving university my junior year to work full time. Luckily, I was able to build enough experience and work for companies able to pay me the equivalent of what I would have been making with a degree. However, I'm stuck with three years of student debt and no degree.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
My parents separated when I was six years old and both struggled financially until I reached adulthood. My mother had great financial skills and knew how to keep her credit score high, but had a large amount of debt up until she retired and had the means to get debt-free. My dad always discussed how to make smarter financial choices but trusted me to make decisions for myself and learn valuable life lessons.
What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was when I was 16 and in high school. I was a hostess at a restaurant making minimum wage. I got the job because I liked the way my friends had extra money to spend on outings, and wanted to eventually buy a car for myself. My parents wanted me to understand that money doesn't come for free and that you appreciate the things you earn in life, which I hold valuable today.
Did you worry about money growing up?
Yes. After my parents separated, my mother utilized resources like payday advances to help make it to her next check. My dad hid a lot about his finances, but we always lived very modestly. My parents didn't have fancy cars or big houses, but they always made sure we had dinner on the table and a roof over our heads. Today, that's what matters to me the most.
Do you worry about money now?
Everyday. I think about my future and wanting more normalcy as an adult. I stress all the time about being able to live on my own one day, being able to have money to travel, and being able to live my life without worrying my debit card might decline.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I became financially responsible for myself at the age of 18. My parents told me that if I wanted to live on my own that I'd need a job to pay for my rent/car/bills. They helped me out here and there with $50 every so often, but I was mostly independent financially.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.

Day One

9:15 a.m. — It's been a hectic week and I decide to start my morning off right with a matcha latte from my favorite coffee shop. When I arrive, I see they have my favorite breakfast tacos they always run out of, so I grab two of those in addition to my beverage. While this shop is pricey, it's the best matcha and food in my area. $17.80
9:45 a.m. — I have plans to make taco salad tonight with some leftover ingredients from the other night, so I pick up some ground chicken from the butcher on the way home from the coffee shop. This shop is a little more expensive than the grocery store, but their meat is great quality and I feel more motivated to eat at home when I cook with better ingredients. $10.47
5:10 p.m. — Since the pandemic started, most personal care services in NYC have been closed. I finally score an appointment with my favorite eyebrow studio. I only get my eyebrows done every few months and maintain in between. She does an amazing job so it's worth the price tag. The service is $40 and I tip her $10. $50
6:15 p.m. — I stop by Fairway to grab some snacks. I've been trying to avoid eating out since it's cheaper to cook at home and I want to limit my exposure to COVID-19. I grab some milk, crackers, fresh veggies, and some easy frozen lunch foods to throw in the oven. $36.12
6:55 p.m. — I realize that my MetroCard is out of swipes, so I reload it with a couple rides worth. I haven't been riding the subway as often, so I stopped getting an unlimited card. I head home and throw together a quick dinner before heading to sleep. $5.50
Daily Total: $119.89

Day Two

9 a.m. — I have a lot of important meetings at work today and prefer the silence of my office over my apartment (one of my roommates works from home and is in and out of the kitchen), so I grab a couple of ferry passes for today and start walking over. My office just reopened a couple of weeks back and they've made it available for us to use. I'm the only one actually going in, so it's a great time to focus and get a lot of work done. $5
12:10 p.m. — I forgot to bring my lunch with me, so I quickly call in an order to the local sushi restaurant to pick up a roll. I didn't have an appetite this morning, and a sushi roll sounds like it hits the spot. I head back to my desk and eat while I power through the rest of my work. $9.72
4:45 p.m. — Since nail salons are back open, I make an appointment at my normal shop uptown. What they fail to tell me is that they've raised their prices and my bill ends up being about $25 more than it normally is. While I do understand many businesses are taking on additional costs for the effects of COVID-19, I know the raises in prices around the city won't go back down, which will make living here even more expensive. I get a gel manicure and a pedicure and tip them $25. $120
6:50 p.m. — I've had a terrible day at work and feel like I'm unraveling. I stop at Chick-Fil-A for a large iced tea for the subway ride home, which is definitely a mood boost. Once I'm home, I heat up some leftovers from last night and catch up on some Real Housewives of New York before falling asleep. $3.15
Daily Total: $137.87

Day Three

8:30 a.m. — I wake up to my alarm and neaten up my room. I have a pretty small space, so I try to stay on top of keeping things organized so I come home to a clean room. I have a doctor's appointment in an hour, which is luckily within walking distance. I throw on my sneakers and walk over. My work covers the $200 annual fee for a concierge medical group, which allows me to see doctors quicker, and they're friendlier than a traditional practice. I'm also grateful that my employer pays our medical/dental/vision premiums, which is one less thing to worry about. I pay my $30 copay and start my walk back home. It's storming, so once I'm home, I freshen up and throw together some breakfast. I quickly cook a couple eggs and some berries and start working on a project I have due for work. $30
1:20 p.m. — I decide to take a short break from work to get my eyes off of my computer for a bit and do a short workout video. I love mat pilates since it's effective and makes my body feel great after. Prior to the pandemic, I attended SoulCycle classes, which cost an arm and a leg, but really push me to work hard. I thought about purchasing an indoor bike, but I don't have the space or $2,500 to spend on one, so mat pilates it is! Once I finish, I do a quick meditation and get back to work.
4:15 p.m. — I realize my scale is broken and purchase a replacement on Amazon. I don't have a ton of food in the fridge to cook with, and don't want to spend money ordering in, so I cut up some veggies and do a small snack plate for dinner. I also have a few ciders from last weekend, so I drink one of those while I watch TV and clean up the apartment. I'm so glad the week is over, so I can have a break from work for a bit. $29.45
9:35 p.m. — I have a huge craving for ice cream and a little walk outside, so I walk over to the local ice cream shop for a scoop and head back home. I turn on a Netflix (I use my mom's account) documentary and fall asleep quickly. $6.34
Daily Total: $65.79

Day Four

10:15 a.m. — I get to sleep in and feel so much better than I have all week. I have plans to grab lunch and drinks with an old coworker later on but have a few errands to run before. I quickly freshen up and throw on an outfit to head out the door. I reload my MetroCard with $10 and take the subway to my medspa in the city. My first stop is to get a B12 shot. I get these once a month or so. It's $25, and after my membership discount and tax, it comes out to just a couple of dollars below normal price. $33.25
1:30 p.m. — I meet up with my friend at a local bar that's doing outdoor seating, it's pretty cool to see how the city has adapted in new and creative ways to accommodate the new regulations in place. We order food and a few rounds of drinks. I used to regular this business before the pandemic, so they comp a couple drinks on our tab, which is so appreciated. $40.25
4:15 p.m. — We decide to head closer to the water and find a rooftop bar. We go to a new place and I don't realize the prices are so high until I look at the menu. The view is gorgeous though, so I take advantage of the moment and we split a bottle of sparkling wine. I probably won't return due to the prices, but it's a cool spot! I say goodbye to my friend and call a Lyft ($22) to take me home. Once I'm home, the guy I'm dating, T., invites me out to his condo near the beach to spend some time together. I freshen up and grab some essentials to spend the night, and he comes to pick me up shortly after. $62.25
9:15 p.m. — We order in food from a local American restaurant down the road, and I realize how hungry I am after a day out and about. When it arrives, I demolish my salad and fall asleep after a few glasses of wine.
Daily Total: $135.75

Day Five

9:10 a.m. — I wake up and cuddle in bed with T. for a bit and we decide to make today a beach day. After making some coffee, we throw on our beach clothes and make our way to grab a good spot. The beach is $8/pp for entry, which T. covers for both of us. We layout for a while and decide to order some brunch to his condo (he won't let me pay again). Once it arrives, we head back and enjoy some pancakes and french toast on his balcony. I relish in this time together since we're both so busy with our careers. We've been casually dating for about four months and I'm really happy with where we're at. While we're not exclusive, I have fun when I'm with him, and I know things will naturally progress how they should.
3:15 p.m. — We head back inside for a short nap, and wake up after an hour or so. I'm craving a bit of caffeine, so I sneak out to a coffee shop and grab a couple iced lattes for both of us. I have a tall list of things on my to-do list, so we get freshened up and start the trip back to the city so he can drop me off. $7.90
7:10 p.m. — Once I'm home, I shower and relax for a bit. I'm terribly exhausted from the day and just want to get a bite to eat and go to sleep. I walk over to the local grocer and get a pesto pasta salad and a Diet Coke for dinner. Once I'm home, I have a Jell-O cup that's in my fridge and fall asleep on the couch. I had every intention of starting a new book tonight, but clearly sleep won. $15.50
Daily Total: $23.40

Day Six

8:30 a.m. — I wake up and realize the hectic week that's about to start. I crack open a cold brew I have from my last grocery trip and sip on that while I freshen up and clean my room. I set up my work from home "desk" at the kitchen table and start working away at a weekend's worth of emails. I've been meaning to do my laundry for two weeks now, so when I have a short break, I run across the street to start my 40 pounds of laundry. I go through a lot of clothes, and when I'm taking public transit, I try to wash my clothes frequently so they don't hold on to germs. Maybe I'm a germaphobe, but it's always worked for me. I pull $20 out of an ATM and spend almost all of it on the machines. I just despise those ATM fees and try to avoid them when I can. $18.50
12:15 p.m. — I'm swamped with work today and feel that I'm getting a bit irritable. I call my mom and have a nice long chat and throw together a quick cheese quesadilla. I sit back down and power through more work before going to fold and put away the mass amount of laundry I just did.
6:30 p.m. — After I finish my work for today, I prepare dinner while watching an old episode of Summer House. I live vicariously through the people on the show since my summer is incredibly far from that these days. I'm still hungry so I cut up some watermelon and have that for dessert before falling asleep early around 9.
Daily Total: $18.50

Day Seven

8:30 a.m. — I wake up and make an intention to have today be better than yesterday. I throw on some clothes and walk to grab a matcha latte. This place is a little further than others but their staff is so friendly and the matcha is the best in my neighborhood. I head back home to begin working on the project I have due for work tomorrow. $6.78
1:15 p.m. — I take a quick break from my work and walk to the store nearby to grab some ingredients for lunch and dinner. I've been craving Italian food lately, so I pick up the fixings for turkey meatballs and zucchini noodles. $28.43
4:15 p.m. — I decide to continue my Netflix documentary while I prep dinner. I'm Italian, so I always put together a homemade sauce and let it cook for a while. I find this is the best way to jazz up some otherwise standard ingredients like ground turkey and zucchini. A couple of hours later, I sit down to eat and pour myself a glass of wine.
8:30 p.m. — I have a terrible headache and realize I'm out of ibuprofen. I throw on my shoes and walk to the nearby CVS and add an ice cream to my basket. I take the long way back home since it's so nice out and fall asleep to an old episode of Lost. $12.34
Daily Total: $47.55
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