A Week In Queens, NY, On A $64,600 Salary

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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 training manager who makes $64,500 a year and spends some of her money this week on beer.
Editor's Note: Today's entry was pulled from the Money Diary archives and was written before COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic.
Occupation: Training Manager
Industry: Retail
Age: 31
Location: Queens, NY
Salary: $64,600
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,555
Gender Identity: Cis Woman

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $950 (I split the $1,900 rent with my partner, including water and internet)
Gas: $18
Electric: partner pays
Student Loans: Paid off last month!
Credit Card: $600 (I have $5,000 in debt)
Medical Debt: $186 (this is my final month paying this)
401(k): $275/paycheck (about $25,000 in this account)
IRA: $0 (not currently contributing monthly until I pay off credit cards, $7,000 in account)
Wealthfront: $2,000 in this account, not adding right now
Robinhood: $850 in this account, not adding right now — I've used this to buy and sell a few stocks to learn the ropes and understand the market more.
Netflix: $11.98
Spotify, HBO, Amazon Prime: partner pays
Hulu: we use my partner's mom's account
Gym: $30
Bernie Sanders Campaign: $10
North Star PAC: $10
New York Magazine: $60/year

Day One

7:30 a.m. — Wake up, read MD for inspiration to start this diary. Get lost in comments section; it's amazing and brutal. I'm a little hungover from last night. My boyfriend, L., and I went out with friends in Bushwick and I had a bit too much tequila. Water and pop an Advil. L. wakes up and we snuggle for a while before he gets up for work. We talk about what to have for dinners this week and I start the grocery list. I read Alison Roman's cookbook for inspiration, but L. requests my mom's chili so we go with that and salads. L. leaves and I clean the kitchen and unpack. I was out of town last week for work and it's feeling a bit like a bachelor pad. I clean out the fridge, sweep and do some dishes. L. works as a server in Manhattan, so he works on weekends. He offered to clean tomorrow, so I leave the other rooms for him.
10:30 a.m. — Grocery shopping. This is my first full week home in a while. I travel for work two or three weeks a month and just took a solo trip home to the west coast to see my parents. The grocery store isn't too busy for a Sunday and is next door to my house so it's easy to pop in daily. Today I'm stocking up! I pick up chicken, ground beef, avocados, lemons, limes, milk, seltzer, coffee, mixed greens, curry powder, herbs, onions, KIND bars, cashews, bagged salads, beans, corn, chilies, apples, mushrooms, peppers, pears, olive oil, tomatoes, cat food, TP, Kleenex. I splurge on some nice olive oil and a huge bag of cat food, so it's a bigger bill than usual. L. and I share food and usually just go back and forth paying for groceries. Since we knew we would get more today he will chip in. I pack lunches every day when I'm home and he does not, so he'll pay less of the $168.63. (L. Venmos me $65, so $103.63). $103.63
11:30 a.m. — I get home and start making the chili. It's a huge pot, so it will last us all week. We might even need to freeze some, so we don't get sick of eating it. I listen to Spotify's weekly playlist while I cook. They are so good at reading me and sending me new things to explore! Soup includes ground beef, black and kidney beans, canned tomatoes, corn, chilies, onion, seasonings, and broth. While that simmers, an Anna of the North song comes on and I'm reminded that my friend, C., and his boyfriend, H., bought me a ticket to her show next weekend and when I told L. about it, he said he wanted to join. I buy him a ticket and I'll let him buy the drinks at the show ($26.72). While I'm thinking about it, L.'s favorite band is coming to New York in May and he would love to go. I buy tickets and text him to tell him and wish him a happy early Valentine's Day ($55.02). My first day of spending isn't off to a great start, but I hopefully won't eat out too much this week. $81.74
12:30 p.m. — Soup is done and I have to have a bowl! Sit down and start an episode of The Stranger on Netflix — I just started it yesterday and I'm hooked! Can't sit for too long, I'm meeting my coworker/BFF, K., for an afternoon hang. Shower, brush teeth, and wash face. I use Fresh soy face wash, Sunday Riley CEO vitamin C serum, Fresh Rose Petal Toner, and Fresh Moisturizer. Top it off with some Coola sunscreen. K. and I are planning on walking and window shopping, so I throw on jeans, an oversized turtleneck, Nikes and top it off with a beanie and big gold hoops. I don't wear much makeup on the weekends, so just a swipe of mascara and I'm out the door.
2:45 p.m. — Made it to Soho. I usually have a weekly Metrocard, but since I was out of town last week, I still have some money on a pay-as-you-go card ($2.75, prepaid). We meet by the train and K. wants a coffee so we walk to the nearest Starbucks. We both get iced coffees and start our walk. We end up walking all over lower Manhattan, window shopping and catching up. We walk about six miles. $4.63
5:15 p.m. — I decide it's time to head home to mentally prepare for the workweek and finish meal prepping. L. and I were invited to a party tonight, but I'm exhausted so I opt to stay home. I stop at Whole Foods to buy chutney for a recipe and it's kind of expensive! This curry chicken salad better be good. $9.86
5:30 p.m. — I realize as I go down to the train that my card is out of money. I try to reload on my pretax card, but there isn't enough for a weekly. Make a mental note to up the dollar amount. Since I travel so often, I usually withhold enough for two full weekly passes, but it's not always enough for the days I'm home on travel weeks. I have to use my debit card. $33
6:15 p.m. — I take a train that is undergoing construction and is unreliable on the weekends. And surprise! It's unreliable. We stand with door open for about 20 minutes and the train skips my stop. I walk home from the closest stop, about a mile. I beat L. home from his workday, pop the chicken in the oven and mix up the curry sauce for the chicken salad. While the chicken is cooking I finish doing dishes and sit down to watch more of The Stranger. L. gets home and I reheat some of the chili I made for us for dinner.
9:30 p.m. — Time to head to bed. Evening face routine includes cleanse, Kiehl's avo eye cream, either a retinoid or hyaluronic acid serum, and Fresh moisturizer. My friend, T., is a skincare buyer for a department store, so I get a lot of trials and freebies from her. I'm otherwise not bougie enough for these products. Tonight, I decide to try the Laneige water sleeping mask that feels so cooling and amazing, and promptly drop it on the floor, spilling 90% of this trial... dang it! L. comes to bed and we chat for a bit before he makes a playful move on me and we get busy before lights out.

Daily Total: $232.86

Day Two

7:30 a.m. — I let the alarm ring for 30 minutes. Up and skincare routine first. Make breakfast (mushrooms, pepper scramble) and salad with the curry chicken for lunch. Blueberries for a snack. L. gets great local coffee as a perk of his job, so I make a french press and fill my travel mug. Throw on black silk blouse, patchwork denim and Nike Cortez with the same gold hoops from yesterday. Add a burnt orange double-breasted blazer and I'm out of time. Makeup routine is simple: foundation, a bit of powder and blush, a light shadow, brow, and mascara. Is that simple? It's done in 5 minutes. I kiss L. goodbye and I'm out the door.
8:45 a.m. — Early to work. Monday is the only day I spend in my office during the week. Most of my time is spent in our retail stores across the city and country, working hands-on with employees. I settle in, eat breakfast, check emails, and make my to-do list. My team is spread out across the country and we create internal training content for employees, so Monday is often a project management and phone call heavy day. I send emails to different people about projects I'm leading, write a report about my trip last week, and plan out my goals for February.
1:30 p.m. — During my lunch hour on office days, I go to the gym around the corner. My eyes have been watering incessantly lately and I think I have allergies or a problem with my contacts so I call and set an appointment for an eye exam next Monday. My insurance will cover that 100% with no copay from me. Done with the run and I need more caffeine so I walk to Starbucks and get an Americano in my mug. $3.65
3:45 p.m. — A phone call with a coworker goes longer than I intended. We're planning a group training session with a few dozen managers based in New York in a few weeks so we nail down the details. We got off topic, but it's always fun to catch up with her. I grab my salad from the fridge and munch on that while finalizing a part of a project I need to finish today in order to pass it off to the graphic designer.
7 p.m. — Make it home. L. cleaned the apartment and has dinner ready for us. What a dream. We've been dating for a few years and recently moved in together. I wish we had more days off together but we'll take what we can get for now. L. rents Parasite on Amazon. Wow that was so intense and good. L. turns on Night on Earth — similar to Planet Earth, but at night, in the deep sea. Highly recommend both.
10:30 p.m. — We get in bed and start watching the Netflix McDonald's documentary and it keeps me up too late!
Daily Total: $3.65

Day Three

7 a.m. — Alarm won't turn off. Didn't sleep well last night so this feels especially cruel. Mental note to look into taking melatonin, as I've been restless recently #thisis31. Out the door for a run at the park nearby. Listen to a true-crime podcast and am thoroughly creeped out. Perfect start to the day, tbqh.
7:45 a.m. — Back home and time to make breakfast (same scramble as yesterday), prep lunch in my Porter lunch bowl that L. got me for Christmas (same chicken salad as yesterday). It's such a chic design and never spills, it's amazing. I take too long meal prepping and now I'm running late. How do people get eight hours, go to the gym, make food, and have time for a full face?? Jump in the shower, skincare and some Ouai leave-in conditioner and bumble BB curls. Hair will have to be wet today. I decide on a 70s rocker vibe: straight leg jeans, Creedence Clearwater repro tee, '90s Nicole Miller Leather blazer, and top it off with a cream wide brim hat and these amazing orange lens thick aviators and silver hoops and grab my large Fendi logo tote. I buy everything secondhand: thrifting is my life. I will note if I ever wear anything I bought full price.
8:45 a.m. — By some miracle, I'm out the door on time. L. and I usually have opposite schedules but this morning we have to share the bathroom. Not ideal but he's cute naked so can I really complain?? I'm working at a store in Queens today, and even though I live in Queens it's actually my longest possible in-town commute. It will take me about 75 minutes to get to work. I grab my new issue of New York magazine, a mug of iced coffee, and makeup to do on the train.
1:30 p.m. — Lunchtime. Morning coffee is long gone, so I walk to Starbucks for a cold brew ($3.87). Stop in the TJ Maxx to look for something for L.'s niece but get distracted in the home section and end up getting a container for collecting compost ($6.52). Go back to the breakroom to eat my salad and keep reading Conversations with Friends. $10.39
6 p.m. — The afternoon goes quickly and now I'm off to my friend, Z.'s, fundraiser. He and a group of coworkers are trying to unionize his workplace ($25 donation via Venmo). I meet some of our mutual friends there to have a few drinks and congratulate him on his work so far! Go Z.! I get drinks for both of us ($23). $48
8:45 p.m. — We're all starving so we go around the corner to a Korean BBQ place. I get pork bibimbap which is delicious and a glass of wine. My friend, V., picks up the tab and we all Venmo her. I have my reusable bowl from lunch with me, so I can take my leftovers without needing to take a to-go container. $28
10:30 p.m. — We all ride the train back to Brooklyn and I take a transfer to get back to my place in Queens.
Daily Total: $86.39

Day Four

7 a.m. — I am up pretty easily this morning. Our kitty is being so snuggly but I push her off, I gotta make it to the park for a run even if it's 35 degrees out.
7:45 a.m. — Back home. Make breakfast, same scramble. I'll take leftovers from dinner last night for lunch today to switch it up. Body shower and skincare. Last night I did a Sunday Riley retinoid serum, it's been chilly and windy so I'm skin is feeling really dry this morning. Wash with Fresh, Sunday Riley Vitamin C serum, Thayers witch hazel toner, and The Ordinary moisturizer, topped with sunscreen. I'm going to let all this sink in and I'll do my makeup on the commute.
9:40 a.m. — Outfit inspo today is '80s businesswoman meets art teacher? Pinstriped Philip Lim tunic, leopard cropped pants, black AF1's, topped with a lavender blazer (with huge shoulder pads, obvs) and gold chains, hoops, and a blue beanie. Those 70s orange sunnies are my new obsession so those are here too! It's going to be 20 degrees colder today than yesterday so I add on a tartan plaid puffer scarf (think sleeping bag). I crawl back into bed briefly to kiss L. goodbye. He's in bed watching Bon Appetit's YouTube channel, which honestly, swoon. This man is perfect, no? Wish I could stay here today. Spotify just introduced me to Grace Ives and I'm obsessed. I watch her videos on the train and would buy a ticket to her show if there was one announced!
1 p.m. — I eat the bibimbap from last night. I try to watch the State of the Union but other than Pelosi being my muse, it's too annoying to watch. The coffee I brought from home is gone, but I'm trying to not buy coffee or depend on it so much every day. Instead of buying one, I drink water
6 p.m. — Work really flies by. I work with the employees on the floor today and have a virtual training. I try a new way to get home to save time and it cuts almost 20 minutes off but requires four trains. I will have to deliberate on if this is the way to go for the next commute. I stop at the local grocery store to get avocados and two ciders. $10.61
7:25 p.m. — L. brined a chicken and has dinner ready for us. Sesame chicken salad with avocado. It's so good we both have seconds. We settle in (i.e. I strip down to my skivvies), talk about our days over dinner, and watch the newest episode of The Outsider. We stay up later than we should have watching Bon Appetit videos on the perfect pizza, and that somehow turns into getting our freak on… I jump out of bed for a quick wash, Kiehl's line-reducing serum, and Bioassance eye serum and moisturizer.
Daily Total: $10.61

Day Five

7:45 a.m. — I lay in bed and snuggle with L. and read R29 infertility diaries. It's frustrating and moving and ouch some of the comments are a little brutal. And I'm now rushing to get out the door. Eye roll @ myself.
9 a.m. — I make it out the door after a quick shower, skin routine, breakfast scramble (note to self, we're out of eggs), leftover chicken salad from last night for lunch, and an iced coffee to go. Today is compost drop-off day in my neighborhood, so I walk to a further train stop to drop it off and hop on the train. I'm working in south Brooklyn today, so the commute should hopefully be pretty seamless! It's cold and rainy so I opt for black wide leg cropped trousers, a red Kooples tee with rhinestone shoulders, and a super slouchy The Row cashmere sweater that I scored at a consignment shop last week! Add small gold hoops, Nike Tekno sneakers and the CDG paper bag tote (from the Met exhibit a few years ago, bought second hand, as always).
2:15 p.m. — Morning flies by and I'm no longer in the mood to go to the gym on my lunch break. Surprise, surprise, I should have gone this morning! I have chicken salad for lunch and go get an Americano from Starbucks. $3.86
6 p.m. — Heading home and listening to the new episode of Catch and Kill podcast. Ronan has me on the edge of my seat and I cant wait to hear the final episode. My coworker just got the book and is going to lend it to me soon!
7:15 p.m. — I've made a long to-do list for this weekend that I'm dreading, so I decide to knock some out now. I put away my clothes from the week (anyone else still act like a child in this regard?), prep laundry bags for Saturday, and clean the den/office. We moved recently and I've changed the purpose of this room many times (office, reading room, dining room) and we have now collected too much furniture. I've posted a few things to sell on an app but no luck yet. I have calls with some cross-country friends while tidying, including my BFF, who I ask to bring me more cleanser and moisturizer when she comes to visit next month. She lives in a midwest town with limited shopping, so I send her clothes and she sends me skincare as our trade.
9:30 p.m. — I forgot to eat dinner and now I'm starving. L is watching Jojo Rabbit and made a wrap that didn't interest me. I make some TJ's gyoza from the freezer.
11:30 p.m. — We get in bed and talk and snuggle until we're too tired and fall asleep.
Daily Total: $3.86

Day Six

5:30 a.m. — I wake up way before my alarm and feel awful. I had a few tequila and sodas while cleaning last night, and that paired with not eating much has left me with a headache and inability to sleep. Scroll Insta for an hour and a half and fall back to sleep.
8:30 a.m. — OOF! I fell back to sleep and just woke up. I'm out of time and eggs so I opt for a KIND breakfast bar and a pear for breakfast. Pack a small salad and bowl of chili for lunch — I'm starting to run low (and bored) of the prepped food options for the week.
9 a.m. — Skincare is cleanser, serum, moisturizer, and the new Victoria Beckham x Augustinus Bader Moisturizing Primer and Veronique Gabai Sunshine Face Oil that a friend of mine just got me (!). Today is my first time trying them out so we'll see how they do with my skin. Outfit today is MM6 cropped black trousers with sporty elastic hip ties, a sleeveless black turtleneck, gold chains ala The Rock in the 90s, and an open Toga Pulla Archive black super structured shirt. Top with an oversized grey plaid trench and black Everlane booties (all secondhand).
2:15 p.m. — Back to back calls and a group virtual call with my team has left me ready for lunch! And a long to-do list for next week! I eat my lunch and the coffee I brought from home is gone, so I grab an Americano to get me through a full afternoon of training and another call before my work week is over! Whew! It's always Fridays that suddenly the work wants to pile up! $3.65
6:15 p.m. — Take the train to Bed Stuy to meet my friend, C., for dinner. I listen to Murder In Oregon podcast on the way there. I have a long, fun dinner with C. We've known each other since he moved to NYC six years ago and we were fast friends. Life has been busy for both of us so this catch up is really nice. We split a chip and dip, cauliflower tempura, and the burger, along with a few beers each because it's happy hour and it's Friday. $49.92
9:15 p.m. — Crawl into bed with L. who is already watching the debate. We chat a bit about the news cycle and which candidates we do and don't like. I'm exhausted from not sleeping well last night but pull myself out of bed and wash my face, do a Fresh black tea overnight mask, and use the Bioassence eye cream.
Daily Total: $53.57

Day Seven

6:30 a.m. — I hear L. in the other room getting ready for work and call his name. He comes and kisses me goodbye.
8:45 a.m. — Up for real this time. Make coffee and strip the bed for laundry day. I wash my face, do a Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel and sunscreen. Walk to the grocery store (next door, hello convenience!) to buy eggs, bacon, several cheeses, and chorizo (some for breakfast and some for a recipe from Nothing Fancy for Sunday night dinner). $27.65
10:30 a.m. — My laundromat is a few blocks away, so I grab my bags and walk over to drop off. Wow it's bustling! I find two machines in the back and start the wash. Listen to The Daily podcast about the Iowa caucus and it's pretty interesting. I know I can fall into thinking my liberal surroundings are the norm and it's a good reminder that there is more to this decision than who you like the best. Move laundry to the dryer and head home to run a few other errands while it dries. $9.50
11:30 a.m. — I ordered an ornament over the holidays that is made by a local artist and I just got an email that it's ready. While I'm at the boutique picking it up, I find a book, bath toy, and a stuffed subway car for L.'s niece's birthday and a totem candle for us. $71.85
12 p.m. — I make a quick scramble for breakfast/lunch and coffee before heading out for a full afternoon.
1 p.m. — Meeting up with my friend, N., who just moved here from London for a coffee date and to catch up. We both have Americanos. It's so good to see her and hopefully I'll see her often! $4.15
3:30 p.m. — I stop by my nail salon for a gel mani and pedi, I usually go once every three weeks or so for a manicure, but the pedicure is rare. While I'm there I have a call with a friend to catch up on some of her dating drama. $72
6 p.m. — When I get home, I see that L. picked up burgers from a spot down the street for dinner. He's taking a nap so after I eat and go crawl in bed with him and we end up getting a little frisky before getting ready for a housewarming party tonight.
8:30 p.m. — We stop at the local wine shop to buy a bottle of white and red for the party and walk over to our friends' place. The party is so delightfully fun, a good mix of close friends, acquaintances, and some people I meet for the first time! $31.42
12 a.m. — We stay late, have the best time, Uber home, and fall into bed. (L. pays).
Daily Total: $216.57
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