A Week In New York City On A $68,000 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: an associate fashion designer who makes $68,000 per year and spends some of her paycheck this week on hot wings.
Occupation: Associate Fashion Designer
Industry: Fashion
Age: 27
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $68,000
Paycheck (Biweekly): $1,560.30
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $875
Student Loan Payment: $297.54
Internet, Gas & Electric: ~$130
Renter's Insurance: $7.72
Cell Phone: $136
MetroCard: $121 for my monthly unlimited pass, deducted from my paycheck pre-tax
Savings: $300
Health Insurance: $108.90
Dental Insurance: $11.42
Retirement: 7% of salary, pre-tax. (Company will match after one year of employment.)
Gym Membership: $21
Netflix, Hulu, MoviePass, Apple Music & iCloud: $36.63
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Additional Expenses
HSA Account: $1,500/year. (Pre-tax, biweekly deduction, plus $500 company contribution.)

Day One

6:45 a.m. — Alarm goes off and I continue to lay in bed, listening to The Daily. I remember it's payday and get up, only to be accosted by the heaping mound that is my laundry. Start getting ready, wash my face, brush my teeth, clean my pet's litter pan, feed her, and sit back in bed, still trying to wake up.
7:30 a.m. — I'm so behind today, but I'm purposely taking it slow because my boss is out of the office. I decide to finish filing my taxes and pay my electric bill and one of my credit card bills. (I'm a day late with my payment, so I'll be getting a late fee. So annoying — I need to set a reminder.) French braid my hair, complete a "no-makeup" makeup lewk, get dressed, get my laundry ready for drop off, and leave for work.
12 p.m. — Where did the morning go?! My late start really got me in gear for the day. I feel like being late to work motivates me to get shit done more efficiently than when I'm on time. Weird. After packing up six boxes of sample sale clothing (something I've been putting off for weeks), I think I deserve food. Today, I brought leftovers from last night's dinner; a friend and I celebrated National Margarita Day with tacos and tequila. (Sadly, no tequila for lunch.)
5 p.m. — I duck out of work a bit early to make it to my Brazilian wax appointment. I've been pretty consistent with going since I decided this is a beauty/grooming routine worth putting my money into last year, and I love the lady who waxes me. She's very quick, offers little small talk (which I love), and there's minimal discomfort! $57.03
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6:30 p.m. — Hop on the train home and head to over to the laundromat to pick up 33 pounds of freshly laundered clothing. I have a laundry machine in my building, but I rarely use it because there's only one machine for all 12 units. My laundromat is only two blocks away, open 24 hours, and usually ends up being cheaper than if I do it at home, plus I don't have to worry about scouring for quarters! $25.20
8 p.m. — Get ready for date night. I'm taking my boyfriend, G., to a comedy show. It's a bit of a surprise date since I didn't tell him what we're doing, so I'm excited and hope he likes it. He comes over and we take an Uber (which he pays for) to the lounge. We each get a beer and a shot and I tell him our plans. He's pumped! I recently made him watch the 2 Dope Queens HBO special with me (which he loved), and when I saw one of the comedians from the special was performing in Brooklyn, I immediately purchased tickets! He gets us another round of beers and shots and we find our seats.
10:30 p.m. — The show was hilarious. Our bellies are full of laughter but empty of food, so we're super tipsy. We pig out on nachos and hot wings and he orders two more beers on his bar tab and I pick up the food tab. A few hours later, we take an Uber to his place and pass out almost immediately. (He pays for the Uber again.) $27.43
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Daily Total: $109.66

Day Two

10 a.m. — After a 5 a.m. romp, we wake up and G. makes breakfast: eggs, potatoes, and bacon. We get back in bed after for more cuddle time.
11:45 a.m. — I'm meeting a friend in Jersey today, so I need to get a move on. My boyfriend and I live within six blocks of each other, so I walk home, quickly get dressed, feed my pet, and haul ass to the G train, hoping to make my 1:15 train.
1:11 p.m. — I make it to Penn Station with time to spare. I buy my ticket and walk down to the train. I'm so eager to see my best friend; we haven't seen each other in a few months and definitely need to catch up! We decide to meet in the middle and see Black Panther together. $28
2:45 p.m. — Make it to the NJ station, but we miss our movie and my friend is stuck in traffic. I don't wanna wait around in the rain, so I hop in a cab to the theater, where she meets me. We're not interested in seeing the 3-D version (mostly because I can't use my MoviePass for 3D and neither of us wants to pay for the extra cost.) We opt for a later showing and hang out on the couches to talk until then. I've missed this level of black-girl girl talk. She knows my heart. $10
3:45 p.m. — We buy movie snacks. I treat myself to curly fries, chicken tenders, and water. $17
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7 p.m. — WAKANDA FOREVER.
7:15 p.m. — My friend drives me back to the train station and it dawns on me that I haven't spent more than 30 minutes at home today. I begin to have apartment separation withdrawal, then remember I made plans with friends to have drinks and go to a party later.
10 p.m. — I arrive at my friend's place and she offers me a glass of really good wine. I take a photo of the bottle to purchase later. We jam to music before walking over to another friend's house for the party.
12:50 a.m. — It's been a long day and I really miss my bed. I say my goodbyes, find the nearest bodega for a sandwich and a bag of chips and walk the 15 minutes home listening to Oprah's SuperSoul Conversations. $6
Daily Total: $61

Day Three

10 a.m. — I sleep in for a bit. It's another rainy and cold day in New York – the perfect day to stay in bed and watch Netflix. I braid my hair and binge-watch Wormwood.
1:40 p.m. — I'm halfway done with my hair, but I have to get ready for therapy. I hop in the shower, get dressed, and throw on a hat to cover the unfinished part in the front. On my way out, I'm happy to see the pet supplies and beauty blenders I ordered have been delivered. Amazon Subscribe & Save is a blessing. Make it to the bus just in time and settle in for the ride, trying to get my thoughts together for today's session. (But mostly I just listen to SuperSoul Conversations and play Solitaire.)
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3:45 p.m. — After therapy, I realize I haven't eaten yet today, so I stop by Panera to grab a broccoli cheddar soup and bread bowl ($7.28). On my way to the bus, I pop into the beauty supplies store for two extra packs of braiding hair (I'm always nervous I don't have enough) and return home. $12.35
5 p.m. — My roommate texts me to inform me she went to urgent care and has the flu (yikes!). At the same time G., texts to see if I'm coming over for dinner tonight – Mexican takeout and Harry Potter? Yes, please! I hurriedly finish up my hair.
7:45 p.m. — At G.'s apartment, I order a cheese quesadilla with a side of black beans and he gets a carnitas burrito with a side of chips and salsa. He pays, and we have red wine while watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1.
10:45 p.m. — G. makes a snide comment about not liking Dobby's last scene, which makes me roll my eyes. Then I remember he didn't grow up reading the books and doesn't fully get the stories behind each character. Blindly watching these movies for the first time in your 30s must give you a different perspective. My inner 11-year-old child scoffs at his critiques of the cinematography and character development. Maybe I'll persuade him to read the books...
Daily Total: $12.35

Day Four

6:45 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I jump up to snooze it for another 15 minutes.
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7:15 a.m. — Neither of us slept well and G. kept waking me up with his sleep-talking. My roommate texts to see if I can buy her a thermometer. I gotta get a move on, so G. gets me an Uber home. Even though we don't live far from each other, he always offers to call a car when I sleep over before a workday. It's sweet and gives me extra time to wake up.
7:30 a.m. — When I Uber Pool from his place I don't usually end up sharing the ride, but today we make two pickups and there's tons of bus traffic. What's normally a four-minute ride takes 15, so when I get home, I run inside to quickly get ready for work.
9:15 a.m. — I'm having a bad transportation day! Thank you, MTA for the many delays and crowded cars. I settle into my desk, eat my yogurt and berries from home, and grab an English Breakfast tea from the kitchen stash. I text my roommate to let her know I had no luck with the thermometer search. Turns out my neighborhood pharmacy doesn't rise with the nine-to-fivers.
2 p.m. — Where did the day go?! I'm starving. I try to bring my lunch at least four days a week, but since I didn't get the chance to grocery shop this weekend, I venture outside for lunch. I settle on a Santa Fe salad from Fresh & Co. and return to the office to eat at my desk. I'm still pretty new at my job and haven't made any friends yet, so I mostly eat at my desk or alone in the kitchen after the lunch rush. I‘m working with my therapist on branching out and making friends because it really does bum me out not having someone to confide in at work. The problem is I have a lot of social anxiety and feel weird about inserting myself into conversations with coworkers to make friends. $9.53
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4:45 p.m. — Feeling peckish, I grab a bag of chips from the vending machine. My roommate says she got a thermometer and that her fever has subsided! $0.75
5:30 p.m. — Head out of work to meet up with G. We're going to a screening at Alamo Drafthouse in Brooklyn. We love watching movies together and it's a free date night since he is on a mailing list for movie screenings! When we get inside the theater, I'm immediately consumed by the smell of someone's hot wings and decide I have to get some. I peek at the menu and decide to order from the Black Panther specials – I love that they do a themed menu for the big blockbuster films. I order the Waaddii Berbere spiced wings (roasted chicken wings seasoned with berbere spice and a side of nigella seed-garlic yogurt for dipping). They're very good and I'll have to research this incredible spice. After beers, wings, and soft pretzels, which G. pays for ($34.24), I'm pleasantly full.
9 p.m. — The movie was good but pretty triggering. It's a Black Lives Matter-esque film in which a police officer kills an unarmed black man. It's set in Bed-Stuy, which I liked because I could recognize the setting and feel connected to the story. G. is significantly moved by the film and kind of questioning his life. After filling out the survey, we decide to peruse Target for a bit but leave empty-handed. We head to Trader Joe's for groceries and pay separately, but G. buys me flowers. He suggests an Uber to my place and I oblige. (He pays.) In the car, we talk about the film as well as work and personal fulfillment goals. $39.05
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10:45 — G. walks home after our long talk about life. I think the movie affected him more than me. I'm feeling pretty bummed/emotionally drained, but I love that we can talk openly about the things that truly affect us. He's a great guy and the most emotionally available man I've ever dated. I decide to take a long shower to mull over my thoughts. I send G. a sweet text of encouragement, do my nightly moisturizing routine, throw on my charcoal sleep mask, and doze off.
Daily Total: $49.33

Day Five

6:45 a.m. — Alarm goes off, followed by my Echo playing The Daily. I lay in bed for another 15 minutes while listening to the news and checking Instagram. I get an email that my federal tax return is being deposited in three-to-five business days, and then check my bank account to find that the funds are already there. HUZZAH! I should probably use the extra cash to pay down a credit card or my student loan this month.
8:45 a.m. — I get orange juice and the egg and bacon brioche sandwich from Pret, which I've been craving, and decide to save my yogurt and berries for tomorrow's breakfast. $7.82
12 p.m. — A tooth has been killing me lately. I had a really unpleasant dentist appointment a few months ago that ended with me leaving the office in tears and still in pain. I've been on the search for a new dentist ever since because I know I have to get one of my wisdom teeth removed. Any female oral surgeons, holla at ya girl. I'm done with these men!
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2 p.m. — Another day without bringing my lunch, so I settle for something cheap and filling: a veggie burrito with guac from Dos Toros. I eat at my desk while online browsing for a gift for my friend's upcoming baby shower. $9.76
6 p.m. — Head out of work and off to the gym for the first time in weeks. I had minor outpatient hand surgery recently from an old sports injury and built-up tension in my wrist, and as a result, I haven't been able to exercise or really do anything with my hand or arm. I also had to pause my ClassPass membership. I'm really nervous and excited to get back into the workout groove. I miss Pilates so much.
6:30 p.m. — My attempt to go to the gym is a fail because I got distracted on my way out of work and left my gym bag. Imagine my surprise when I got off the train and entered the gym with no gym bag in tow. Whomp, whomp, whomp. I go home to make dinner and meal prep for the rest of the week. Tonight, I'm eating salmon, risotto, and arugula salad, and I also make pasta for tomorrow's lunch. I snack on veggies with Annie's Goddess dressing and watch The Path on Hulu while prepping my ingredients. This show has me hooked. I'm so intrigued by culty religious things!
10 p.m. — Dinner was delish. I'm trying to challenge myself more in the kitchen and am constantly browsing Martha Stewart recipes, Yummly, and Buzzfeed Tasty videos for ideas. I've really perfected my salmon-making skills. I finish washing dishes, drink a beer, and continue watching The Path until I climb into bed and put on Chewing Gum.
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Daily Total: $17.58

Day Six

6:45 a.m. — Alarm goes off. The Daily plays and I lay in bed scrolling through Instagram and wig tutorials. I briefly glance at hair websites, bookmarking tabs and trying to decide if I should get a wig for the spring.
9:20 a.m. — Another miserable commute filled with signal delays, packed cars, and people complaining. Happy hump-day! I grab my yogurt and berries from the office fridge, pop my lunch in the fridge, and drink English Breakfast tea while reading my emails.
12:30 p.m. — Get an email that one of my favorite singers is performing this Friday! I immediately check out the ticket situation and see they're only $30. I can't pass this up – she always puts on a good show! I purchase two tickets and text G. to see if he wants to go. He's down and offers to pay me back, but we decide he'll just get our food and drinks for the night. $70.96
3 p.m. — Another late lunch. I scarf down the pasta I made last night at my desk while working.
5:15 p.m. — I'm out the door early today for my 6 p.m. brow appointment. I got my eyebrows microbladed last month and am going in for my touch-up. I'm so obsessed with this beauty trend. I did a lot of research for over a year and when I saw a place I've been to before running a special holiday promotion, I jumped on it. Needless to say, I'm really happy with the way they turned out. They look really natural and it's significantly cut down my makeup routine. Most days, I don't put anything on except mascara.
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8:30 p.m. — Brow session is complete and I'm over the moon – they're thicker, and the new tool she used makes the faux hair lines looks incredible. I can't stop smiling. The touch-up was included in the cost of my initial appointment, but I'm a big believer in tipping and letting people know how pleased you are with their service, so I tip $30. I take the train home. $30
10:30 p.m. — After much distraction (me staring at my brows in the mirror), I finally sit down to eat leftover salmon, couscous, and arugula salad. The salmon is kind of dry (I reheated it for too long in the oven), but my hunger is satisfied nonetheless. I hop in the shower, carefully wash my face while trying not to get my brows wet, and sext with G. until I fall asleep.
Daily Total: $100.96

Day Seven

6:45 a.m. — Alarm. The Daily. So tired. Sleeping was rough because I had to avoid pillow contact with my brows and I kept waking up to move onto my back. I'm a fetal position kinda gal, usually. I read that Khloé Kardashian sleeps on her back surrounded by pillows as a way to reduce neck wrinkles. Kardashians are ridiculous ... but the tip came from Jennifer Lopez, so I kind of trust it. She's a goddess.
7:30 a.m. — My brows look hella strong today. I decide to add a little color to my face so I don't look as washed out. Blush, a little eyeshadow, mascara, and Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb. Suddenly I don't look so shocked. Once my eyebrows heal, it'll be less dramatic.
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9 a.m. — Finally: a quick and easy commute to work! I make tea and sift through emails while snacking on veggies.
12:15 p.m. — A friend books us tickets to see A Wrinkle in Time after work. It's almost sold out and I don't want to risk not getting in by reserving with MoviePass later. I Venmo her for my half. $17.75
6 p.m. — Out of work and off to the gym, this time with my gym bag! My friend and I make plans to get dinner and drinks after our respective workouts, which definitely motivates me to go. My first day back to the gym was met with only a bit of discomfort. After hitting the elliptical for 30 minutes, I finish out with a mixed set of crunches and deep stretching. Feels good to get moving again, but I'll have to work up to getting back into yoga and pilates.
8 p.m. — Meet my friend at a bar in Williamsburg. It's packed, but we're hungry and it's raining outside. We loiter with our drinks until we snag an empty table and finally order food — a veggie burger and fries for me and a chicken sandwich for my friend, plus another round of cocktails. I pick up the tab and my friend Venmos me her portion later. We share a car back home. $34
10 p.m. — Home and pleasantly tipsy, texting G. how much I miss him and can't wait for our date tomorrow. I take a long, hot shower and am finally able to gently wash my eyebrows. I slather grapeseed oil on my face and doze off to sleep, excited for tomorrow.
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Daily Total: $51.75
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