A Week In New York City On A $39,000 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.
Today: a woman working in student affairs in higher education who makes $39,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on party cups.
Occupation: Student Affairs
Industry: Higher Education
Age: 22
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $39,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,167
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $750 (I share a four-bedroom apartment uptown with four other girls (two of them share a room). We save by living in a five-story walkup that doesn't have laundry or any other amenities. The total rent for our apartment is $2,800/month.)
Student Loan Payment: $0 (I was fortunate to receive a large scholarship for school, and my student housing was paid for by my parents.)
Wifi: $17.50
Utilities: ~$30 in the winter months
Hulu: $7.99
Apple Music: $4.99
ClassPass: $49
Cell Phone: $0 (This is paid for by my mom.)
Credit Card Debt: $200-$500 each month, depending on the upcoming expenses I have. Before taking this job, I worked for a startup that simply could not afford to pay me. I survived on my credit card during the months I was looking for a job and not getting paid. I accrued about $6,000 of debt, which I am now chipping away at. Occasionally, my ex-boss sends me money through Venmo to pay off the rest of the money I am owed. He still owes me $3,700.

Day One

8 a.m. — I wake up late for work. I'm still exhausted from last night. I went to a wedding of a college friend and had hopes of meeting a guy, but that was a fail. I notice that a friend of mine sent me a Venmo request for the Uber we split to the wedding, so I pay him. $14.33
9 a.m. — Since I'm late to work, I decide to Uber. This kind of thing has become a once a week occurrence, and it's not good for my wallet. $31.72
9:30 a.m. — I need coffee, so I order from my Starbucks app while I'm in my Uber. There is a Starbucks conveniently located around the corner from work. I reload my card to pay. $15
12 p.m. — Work is very slow today since students are all in finals season. I work for a Jewish women's college, which means that students don't get school off for Christmas, and winter break isn't until January. I decide that because I'm bored, I should go find something to eat. I expect to spend a lot of money on overpriced sushi in the cafeteria, but then I see it — the holy grail — leftover sushi from yesterday! I take about two rolls' worth...might not be good, but I'll take my chances. It's free!
2:45 p.m. — A slight mishap in a catering order for today (my fault) means leftover pizza! I grab a slice. I'm thinking of starting Whole30 in January, so I justify this as carb-loading.
5 p.m. — Leave work and head to yoga (through ClassPass). I stop for a tea at Starbucks because my throat is sore. I pay through the app. After class, I Uber back to my apartment. $13.71
11:30 p.m. — After eating leftovers for dinner, having a few friends over, and rearranging some furniture in our apartment, I finally head to bed.
Daily Total: $74.76

Day Two

9 a.m. — Overslept. Fridays at work are incredibly laid back, since there are no classes on campus and most of the administration works from home. This means I can show up whenever, wear whatever I want, and still have a productive day. Since I'm already late, I decide to take an UberPool and use the time in the car to answer emails from my phone. $14.31
10:30 a.m. — Pit stop at Starbucks before I get into the office. I get a coffee and a yogurt. $7.73
12:30 p.m. — I notice that my ex-boss sent me $100 through Venmo. I decide to keep it in my Venmo account so I can use it for utilities, which are due soon. I send $10 to my roommate's boyfriend, who is hosting a large potluck meal tonight and asked that anyone who isn't bringing food to chip in some money. $10
1:30 p.m. — I leave work early on Fridays — most of the administration is Sabbath-observant (including me), so our workday ends before 5 p.m. (2 p.m. in the summer, 1 p.m. in the winter). I decide to walk to Trader Joe's and stock up on groceries, but I get tempted by a neighboring discount dress shop, Bolton's. I talk myself into buying two sweaters and a pair of earrings. $55.86
2 p.m. — At Trader Joe's, I buy salmon, ground beef, chicken breast, almond butter, pistachios, salad mix, cucumber, avocados, potatoes, lemons, ground coffee, almond milk, snap peas, squash, broccoli, pesto, and jalapeño lime almond dip. (Can you tell I'm prepping for Whole30??) I bought some heavy-hitters, so my total is high. $97.99
2:30 p.m. — I *have* to Uber back, since these bags are so heavy, but it seems to be cheaper than usual. $9.99
4:30 p.m. — Sabbath starts, and the night begins with prayer service at synagogue, a meal at my roommate's boyfriend's apartment, and then some tea and gossip on our couch. We all hit the sack around 11 p.m.
Daily Total: $195.88

Day Three

10 a.m. — I wake up to the sounds of my roommates chatting away over coffee. I get up and make myself some. Three of them go off to synagogue for morning services, and one of my roommates stays back with me. We talk, drink coffee, eat cookies, and relax.
1 p.m. — My roommates come back, and we prep a lunch of pasta with bolognese, string beans, and grilled chicken salad.
3 p.m. — I let the guy from my laundromat up to my apartment so he can pick up my laundry. Paying for a laundry service is the best way I treat myself, since there is no laundry in my building, and I don't have the patience to walk my stuff to a laundromat and wait there while it goes through the wash. He tells me they'll have it done and delivered by tonight.
5:30 p.m. — Sabbath ends, so I turn on my phone and invite some friends over for games and beer at my place. I run to the corner store and buy a six-pack of Modelo and a six-pack of Blue Moon. $23
8 p.m. — My laundry arrives before my friends do ($48). After they leave, I clean up my apartment, change into pajamas, and head to bed around midnight. $48
Daily Total: $71

Day Four

9 a.m. — Wake up "early" for yoga. I have iced coffee and an Rxbar, and I'm in an Uber to the studio by 9:30. $13.43
11:30 a.m. — After class, UberPool is only $3.53 — I can't resist, and I don't want to walk in the cold. $3.53
2 p.m. — After eating some toast with eggs, I see my close friend A. got engaged to her boyfriend, R. I set them up in the summer after dating R.'s older brother, and we recently had a very rough breakup. I'm so excited for A., but being in contact with them and seeing that it worked out for them (and not for me) makes me emotionally overwhelmed. I eat my feelings with some leftover pasta and bolognese.
5:30 p.m. — I head downtown to see Phish! This is my fifth time seeing them this year. I take the subway (using my prepaid MetroCard) and meet up with my dad's friends because they have my ticket. They treat me to a beer near the Garden.
10 p.m. — First set was AMAZING! During the set break, I wander around in pursuit of some munchies. I get a Diet Coke and a soft pretzel. $11.50
12 a.m. — I take an UberPool back uptown. What a night. $21.01
Daily Total: $49.47

Day Five

8 a.m. — I wake up late and hop in the shower. I'm annoyed that I have to work on NYE, but I get to leave early. I throw on my work clothes and brush out my hair. Since I can't miss our Monday morning staff meeting, I get in an Uber. (Okay, these Ubers are getting embarrassing.) $27.29
9:15 a.m. — I order a huge coffee through my Starbucks app and pick it up on my way into work.
12 p.m. — There are leftover bagels from a recruiting event we had yesterday. I eat one with cream cheese for lunch. Then my roommate texts me that the beautiful blue storage bench I ordered last week has arrived! Rejoice!
3 p.m. — Everyone is off early for NYE. I head to Duane Reade and pick up some party cups for tonight. I also see a half-priced makeup brush set, and I can't resist. $21.75
4:30 p.m. — I head to the college dorms to meet up with some friends of mine who are still in school. When I arrive, we order pizza and start getting ready for tonight. I Venmo my friend for the pizza. $8.50
6:30 p.m. — When we're getting ready to go, we see it's pouring rain. We collectively agree that it would be better to Uber. Lyft is cheaper, so we do that. $26.38
7 p.m. — We arrive at my place and set up for our little shindig. I convinced my friends that since I'm hosting, they had to bring the alcohol. We party for a while and get tipsy.
11 p.m. — We collectively leave my apartment and walk to a different building in the neighborhood for a party going on. They're charging $20 at the door for guys (outrageous!) so we split up for other plans. Six of us hop in an UberXL (paid for by my friend), and we head toward Columbia's campus to a bar where we have some other friends.
11:30 p.m. — At the bar, my friend and I order shots and cocktails. She pays, but I know she'll Venmo request me later for the difference.
12 a.m. — HAPPY NEW YEAR! This is my first year in three years that I haven't had a midnight kiss. Still having fun, though. We disperse around 1:30 a.m. My friend and I share an Uber back, and he pays.
Daily Total: $83.92

Day Six

8:30 a.m. — I can never sleep well when I'm drunk. I wake up hungover and the remember that today is my first day of Whole30! I brew coffee and make a kickass breakfast of potatoes, eggs, and avocado.
10 a.m. — I decide that because I finally have a day off, I should meal prep. I spend hours cooking delicious food for Whole30 (which will also save me money).
2 p.m. — My roommate wants to take a trip to HomeGoods to buy a few essentials for her room. I go with her and find a beautiful silver fruit bowl for our kitchen and a small marbled jewelry box for myself. $35.90
4:30 p.m. — I made plans with my friend who is visiting NYC from out of town. We go to the nail salon — she gets a mani and I get a pedi. It's expensive (Manhattan prices) but worth it, because I rarely treat myself to a pedicure. It's $28 plus tip. $33
6:30 p.m. — We head to a fancy kosher restaurant for dinner. I can't have much because of Whole30, but I find a salad that's relatively compliant. $20
8 p.m. — I realize I left my MetroCard in my other coat, so I buy a single ride. $3
10 p.m. — My friend and I hang out, watch the new Ellen Netflix special, and then get ready for bed. I set her up with a spare mattress and pass out by 12:30.
Daily Total: $91.90

Day Seven

7 a.m. — I wake up a little earlier than usual because I have a few things to take care of at work first thing in the morning. I make a coffee with almond milk and head to the subway with my friend.
10 a.m. — A mishap with our food vendor means we're short six large bottles of iced coffee for a student government event. I run to Duane Reade around the corner, and they don't have any — who knew that plain iced coffee in a bottle was such a specialty item? I run to five more stores in the neighborhood, until I finally find some at Whole Foods and empty their case. Since it's for a work event, I'll get reimbursed. ($32.71 expensed)
11 a.m. — I take a well-deserved iced coffee with almond milk from the student table, which I have along with an Rxbar for breakfast.
2 p.m. — I eat a prepped salad of kale, cabbage, roasted acorn squash, avocado, sliced almonds, and homemade meatballs. YUM.
4 p.m. — I see an ad for Static Nails, which are press-ons that supposedly last for two to three weeks. They're gorgeous, and I'm tempted to try them. I place my order with express shipping. $20.18
5:30 p.m. — I take an Uber home after a long day at work. I guess I'm Uber's biggest customer? $13.66
7 p.m. — I eat my prepped food for dinner: meat-stuffed portobello caps, mashed potatoes, and roasted broccoli. I think I'm really digging Whole30.
12 a.m. — After cleaning up the apartment a little, walking to my friend's apartment to hang out, coming home, and chatting with my roommates, we shut off the lights and head to bed.
Daily Total: $33.84
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