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A Week In Queens, NY On A $113,000 Salary

Photo: Courtesy of Apple.
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.

This week: a senior account manager who makes $113,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on an iPad.
Occupation: Senior account manager
Industry: Healthcare
Age: 36
Location: Queens, New York
Salary: $113,000
Assets: Savings: $1,500
Debt: $133,000 (three personal loans, student loans, IRS tax liability, and two credit cards)
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $2,700
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Monthly Housing Costs: Rent: $3,250 (I live with my soon-to-be ex-husband. He does not contribute to any household bills or joint debts.)
Monthly Loan Payments: $2,092
All Other Monthly Expenses:
Gym: $10
Financial Resource Subscription: $10
Hulu Bundle: $17.99
Phone Bill & Internet Bundle: $199
Credit Card 1: $100
Credit Card 2: $100
Con Edison Electricity: $200
Biweekly Expenses
Savings Account 1: $150
Savings Account 2: $100
Savings Account 3: $25
Health Insurance: $123
401(k): $100

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?
There was an expectation for me to graduate college and I was the first in my family to graduate with a bachelor of science (business administration). I went to a private college and my education was mainly funded through Pell Grants and student loans. My mother was a cosigner on my student loans so I graduated with extreme anxiety around paying back the debt so that her credit would not be impacted.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent(s)/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
Growing up, I did not have any conversations about money. I grew up in public and income restrictive housing and my parents did not make much money. My parents were teens when they had me and did not have much in terms of funds to talk about to to save, pay debt, or invest.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was at the local movie theater and I got it the day after I turned 16. As the eldest of four children, I always had a place to live and food to eat but never had access to the things I wanted or opportunities to participate in different activities. My sole purpose of getting a job at 16 was so I could have my own money to open up more options for myself. My parents seldomly relied on me for money, but there were many instances where they’d ask me to borrow money or pay for certain household needs such as toilet paper, toothpaste, or laundry detergent.

Did you worry about money growing up?
Yes, I worried about money all the time. As a child of relatively young parents, I did not have more than my basic essentials. My parents did their best to provide for my wants but that was mainly during birthdays and during Christmas time. Once I went to college, my money worries increased as it became difficult for me to buy books and participate in activities outside of school. So to help support my education, I worked on campus and at other retail jobs.

Do you worry about money now?
Yes, I have extreme worries about money. Two years ago, I married my high-school sweetheart and we had a lavish wedding that cost about $80,000 (there are still personal loans in the process of being paid off). However, in early 2023 I was promoted to a senior account manager at work and started making the most money I’ve ever made and my husband stopped paying towards the rent, household bills, and debts. At this time, I am in so much debt that there are days when I’m so stressed that I cannot eat. Money has been an extreme stress and living in New York with more bills than money is extremely overwhelming. Now the added stress of an impending divorce and having to pay for a divorce lawyer is even more stress that I am trying to work through.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I became finally responsible for myself at 18. I do not have a financial safety net but if I lost my job and needed housing, I could always go home and live with my mother.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
In my first year of college, I received a life insurance payout from my grandmother that was about $10,000; however, it was the most money I’ve ever had and I wasted it on shopping and other frivolous items.

Day One

8 a.m. — I have an early morning dental appointment to have my new crown put in. I prepaid for all of the services on my credit card last month, so I did not have to pay anything out of pocket.
9 a.m. — After my dental appointment, I walk to my favorite coffee shop and order a large matcha latte, bacon quiche and raspberry beignet that I enjoy as I read a book. $18
1:30 p.m. — I take the Long Island Railroad to the other side of Queens (since it’s a two-fare ride, I can’t purchase a city ticket). $15.65
3 p.m. — I meet up with a friend to see a movie and I pay for the tickets and for our snacks. I have a small popcorn and soda and my friend has a pretzel with cheese. $50
6:30 p.m. — My friend treats me to dinner after the movie. We both order appetizers: I have a chicken Caesar salad and calamari and my friend has a shrimp Caesar salad and salt and pepper shrimp.
8:30 p.m. — I take an Uber home from my friend’s house. She lives on the border of Long Island so the Ubers to my area of Queens are very expensive. $40
Daily Total: $123.65

Day Two

11 a.m. — I meet up with a friend for bottomless mimosas and brunch. We share a Greek salad and I order the Mediterranean burger with fries and have 90-minute bottomless raspberry mimosas. My friend orders eggs Benedict with brioche bread and passionfruit mimosas. $46.82
1:45 p.m. — Go to a local cafe with my friend after brunch and order a dirty matcha. My friend orders a caramel latte and we sit and talk for another hour. $5.76
7:15 p.m. — I go to Target and purchase a new iPad, a denim jacket, and denim dress. The clothing is an unnecessary purchase that I buy out of want, not need. The iPad is for crafting ideas to generate more income. $869.82
Daily Total: $922.40

Day Three

10:47 a.m. — This is a highly stressful morning and I do not have anything on hand to eat so opt to get something quick. I walk to Dunkin’ to get to chocolate glazed doughnut and a medium hot coffee. $11.74
6:30 p.m. — I go to the local hardware store to purchase a lock for my impending U-Haul pick up. The lock will be used for my moving pod. $21.53
Daily Total: $33.27

Day Four

10:30 a.m. — U-Haul charge me a storage fee for the items that are picked up and need to be stored for up to a week prior to shipping to my new apartment. I charge my credit for this expense. $154.33
12:45 p.m. — I tip my U-Haul movers $20 a piece for supporting me with loading and moving my items. The service was fast and certainly worth the price. $40
2:00 p.m. — I treat my two cousins to lunch after they help me move my items out of my current apartment. They have been extremely supportive in helping me to navigate my impending divorce so I feel like lunch is the least I can do to show appreciation. $68.24
Daily Total: $262.57

Day Five

6:30 a.m. — Cash-app my younger brother $25 for school lunch. $25
12 p.m. — My cousin makes us breakfast and we have omelettes, toast, and coffee.
6 p.m. My cousin makes rasta pasta for dinner and purchases a bottle of wine for us to enjoy with the meal.
Daily Total: $25

Day Six

9:35 a.m. — Purchase new pajamas from a website that has a 30% off sale. $54.65
12 p.m. — Eat leftover rasta pasta and a cup of hot tea for lunch.
7 p.m. — Have dinner with my cousin and her family and we eat baked chicken, rice, and veggies while we watch a movie on Netflix.
Daily Total: $54.65

Day Seven

10 a.m. — My cousin buys breakfast sandwiches and coffees for us.
4 p.m. — Another large Target purchase: I pick up an Apple Pencil and toiletries for my extended stay with family (lotion, toothpaste, facial products, and feminine care products). $105
5:30 p.m. — Purchase a matcha latte from a local cafe. This latte is a reward for all the stress I endured during the week! $6.33
7 p.m. — My cousin picks up takeout and I have dinner with her and her family. We have pizza and salads. Grateful for the meal.
Daily Total: $111.33

The Breakdown

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