A Week In New York City On A $85,000 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 analyst working who makes $85,000 per year and spends some of her paycheck this week on sangria.
Occupation: Analyst
Industry: Consulting
Age: 22
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $85,000
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,500
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,422.50 (I share a three-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment with two friends. The rooms are decent-sized and the building is great, but the downsides are the teeny kitchen and lack of natural light.)
Student Loan Payment: $0 (My parents covered tuition, and I worked three jobs during school.)
Dental Insurance: $22.08
401(k): $1,550 (I am maxing out my 401(k) due to my low-risk/risk-averse investing habits.)
MetroCard: $0 (I'm in NYC maybe 10 days out of each month and choose to walk instead of taking the subway when I am here.)
Health & Vision Insurance: $0 (I'm on my parents' insurance.)
Internet: $16 for my share
Utilities: $15-$20 for my share
iCloud: $0.99
Gym: $50 (I get a corporate discount, and this gym has locations all over the Northeast, which is ideal for when I travel.)
Netflix: $0 (I use a friend's account.)
Hulu: $0 (My sister is still a student and gets the $4.99 Spotify/Hulu bundle, so I use her account. In return, I cover her expenses when she visits me and send her money when she needs it sometimes.)
Company Stock Plan: $700
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Day One

8 a.m. — Wake up and immediately sign onto my laptop for an early meeting. I'm in Texas today celebrating my niece's first birthday! I don't get a chance to see my family much, so this has been really fun. The one downside is that Texas is one hour behind New York, so all my calls are earlier. I am very lucky to be able to work from home, so I quickly log on and get settled for an hour-and-a-half call about all the issues my client came up with over the weekend that we have to solve. I snack on a Noosa yogurt while on mute and have to remember to un-mute myself when I speak!
11 a.m. — Oh thank goodness — I break away from the computer to say hi to my cousin and play with my niece. We had her birthday party yesterday, and it was so much fun! Oh to be a baby....she received more gifts than I have in the last five years combined!
12 p.m. — I do a quick finance check — I am obsessive about checking my credit score and credit balances. I missed a payment once, and the subsequent lecture from my dad and credit hit scarred me. I was also a victim of identity fraud earlier this month, so I am just doing due diligence to make sure everything is okay.
2 p.m. — I have a 6 p.m. flight back to Boston tonight to make a meeting for work tomorrow morning, so I pack now. Then I take the baby to the apartment's pool for a few last rays of sunshine. I take a photo for my Insta of the water and the palm trees and obsessively check my work email to make sure I'm not missing anything. I did a ton of work last week knowing I'd want some extra down time with my family today.
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4:30 p.m. — Time to leave for the airport! I was going to Uber, but my cousin drives me instead.
6 p.m. — I get through security and board my first flight (I am connecting in Atlanta). There's a huge military base nearby, so I see a lot of soldiers on my flight and feel really proud for their service. I enthusiastically join in on the applause as they board. I get upgraded to first class, which is so nice for this three-hour flight. I fly every single week for work (classic Monday through Thursday consulting schedule), so I feel like this is well-deserved and a nice perk for the exhausting weeks and time away from home. I pull out my iPad to read my book.
10 p.m. — Landed in Atlanta! I have only 20 minutes until my next flight, so I sprint across ATL and make it just as they finish boarding. I get upgraded to first for this segment, too, and settle in with club soda, chips, and cookies while perusing dance classes in Boston on my phone. I was a competitive dancer for 10 years, so I'm looking for a low-key way to get back into it.
1 a.m. — I finally land in Boston, pick up my suitcase from baggage claim, and call an Uber to my hotel. All transportation when I'm in Boston is covered, as well as hotels and food. I get to my hotel around 2 a.m., check in, text my family to say I arrived safely, check my work email one last time, and immediately pass out. The morning will be rough. ($89 expensed)
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Daily Total: $0

Day Two

8 a.m. — Why am I awake?? I read for 20 minutes and text with my boyfriend. We recently got back together after taking some space to work through issues...mostly with my work schedule and frustration that spilled over into every other aspect of my life. I'm working harder at compartmentalizing! I get dressed, pack up my stuff, and grab a granola bar I brought. In the Uber ($20.57) over to the client site, I join a call and listen on mute while pondering how many times my client can change his mind. ($20.57 expensed)
11 a.m. — Work, work, work...catch up on emails and figure out a plan for the week. I check my bank accounts again and pay off a $1,500 dental bill (ouch)! $1,500
12 p.m. — I go downstairs to the cafeteria and grab a salad. I get ~$50 a day for food from my work, but as a vegetarian, I rarely hit $50. I get to keep the leftover amount, which comes to around $500-$600 extra a month. I make plans to see my boyfriend (who lives in Boston) tonight and wonder if I have enough time to hit the gym first. ($10.93 expensed)
5:30 p.m. — I head back to the hotel, checking my emails in the Uber. ($20 expensed)
7:30 p.m. — I pack a night bag and do some random admin work (clean out inbox, update skills, research potential Managing Directors to network with) and then Uber over to my boyfriend's. We started dating in college and did long-distance (NYC to Boston) until I got staffed in Boston for work! It's a funny coincidence, and I am glad I get to see him more than one weekend a month. We're still adjusting to my hours and constant on-call status, especially with the frequency of my travel. ($29.98 expensed)
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9 p.m. — We grab dinner at our favorite Thai place — it's cash only (and I rarely carry cash), so my boyfriend pays. It comes out to $21 and normally we split evenly, but our anniversary was recent and we didn't do anything for it (#lazycouple), so we declare this a celebration, his treat. I read while he showers and meal preps for tomorrow and then call my parents. My lease is up in August for my apartment in NYC, and I am debating moving home, because I'm starting to wonder if it's worth it to pay rent for a place I only sleep in about six to eight days a month. I love living on my own, though, because it definitely encourages me to be social and explore NYC — so I'm still not sure!
11 p.m. — My boyfriend and I hang out and talk about our relationship...we're still getting over this rocky "space" we had. Then I research more about potential dance classes and think about bring my photography blog back. We finally fall asleep around midnight.
Daily Total: $1,500

Day Three

8 a.m. — Another morning! I wake up starving. My hotel has a concierge lounge for guests with status, so I grabbed a bunch of fruit last night before leaving to meet my boyfriend. I get dressed, and then eat some of the fruit and a granola bar for breakfast. On my way to the office in my Uber, I dial into a call. Get to the office and immediately wish I was back in bed. ($19.40 expensed)
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10 a.m. — I take care of work travel logistics for my next two weeks. I manage to find two decently priced trips on my preferred airline (Delta, baby) and book them ($322 for each flight), plus a car for next week ($192 expensed) and hotels for both weeks ($1,400 expensed). I book the hotels using my personal credit card for the points and then get reimbursed, but pay for the others on the company card for liability and insurance purposes. These costs were shocking to me when I first started, but I have seen coworkers expense some fairly ridiculous amounts...flying to smaller cities is way more expensive, so I applaud myself for sticking to a $300ish flight budget. ($2,236 expensed)
11 a.m. — REGRETS. Immediately after booking my flights, my best friend from school texts asking me to visit her for the weekend soon. My company has a great travel policy where I can fly to another city besides my home city from my client city as long as the flight cost is equivalent to a usual trip home. I love my friends and miss them dearly. I debate canceling flights to see my best friend, but put it off for now because I made a pact to myself that I would stay in NYC more and get more value out of my rent.
12 p.m. — Lunchtime! Another salad today. I consider kombucha, but stick to water. I eat lunch alone at my desk...sadly a far more common occurrence than I would like. It's typically frowned upon in consulting to act nothing less than stressed 24/7, so most of my team eats while working. I browse through emails (work and personal) while I eat and see that a refund for Pacsun hit my account ($83.04 back!). ($7.95 expensed)
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2 p.m. — Feeling lonely. I am the youngest by a few years on my team, and the only woman most days. I message a coworker who started work around the same time as me, and we lament about the glass ceiling we all want to break and the numerous barriers (subtle and not-so-subtle). I drink coffee to calm myself down.
6 p.m. — Entertain the idea of leaving the office now and pretend to consider going to the gym. I usually try to go once or twice a week while traveling in Boston, but I have had no motivation lately. I do mindless work — set up meetings, clean out my inbox, and sign up for trainings — while listening to Taylor Swift and considering my options for dinner.
6:30 p.m. — Uber back to the hotel and graze on snacks for dinner. Call my parents, check my personal and work emails, talk to my boyfriend, check in with my sister, and start making plans for the weekend. Traveling is quite lonely, and this is a fairly typical night for me. C'est la vie! I continue to read and then decide to push off packing for my flight until the morning. ($19.48 expensed)
11 p.m. — I sign up for a 6 a.m. conditioning class tomorrow, which I input into my work calendar so no one calls me during that time, and then fall asleep at 11 p.m. Promptly wake up a few hours later at 4 a.m., cancel the 6 a.m. class in a haze, and fall back asleep. A+ for effort.
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Daily Total: $0

Day Four

8:30 a.m. — Oh no. I overslept!! I make like the Tasmanian Devil and get dressed and pack in an instant. I have so many things with me after being on the road for two weeks straight and in Texas for a weekend, so I stuff things into my suitcase and pray it doesn't rip more than it already has. I dial into a call and listen while scarfing down a granola bar and making sure I have all my stuff. I check out of my hotel and tell everyone I'll see them again in three days. (At this point, I am pushing for a hotel room to be named after me.) A coworker texts me to say that the head of the project praised me at a dinner last night, and I smile. After yesterday, this is the push I needed to keep going.
9 a.m. — Uber to the office with my suitcase in tow. Barrel up the stairs and try not to collapse once I get to my seat. Work work work until lunch! Hoping to switch onto the earlier flight today. ($22.96 expensed)
12 p.m. — Another salad! Work through lunch again. Get a text from LOFT that my in-store pickup is ready. I ordered a skirt and chose to pick it up to avoid paying shipping. (I'll pay for it when I pick it up.) It arrived earlier than I expected, though, and there's no way I can get it today before flying home. I call the store to see if my boyfriend can pick it up...but sadly they require a photo ID, and there's no way he can pass for me! I make a note to pick it up when I'm here next. ($9.98 expensed)
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2:30 p.m. — Oh my goodness...this meeting is never-ending. It's a really important one because we're announcing several big changes to an upcoming program. I helped to devise part of the communication, so I was excited to see how people reacted. People are unhappy about it, but I listen to my boss do her thing and talk them into agreement.
3 p.m. — My boss and I pack up our stuff and she offers me a ride to the airport, which means I don't have to Uber! We get stuck in traffic and chat about our lives. I double-check my 7 a.m. yoga class for tomorrow and check my flight status.
4:30 p.m. — Success! Make it off standby for the earlier flight back home. Get on the plane, continue to monitor work emails, and immediately pass out once the plane takes off. It's a quick journey back to NYC.
6:30 p.m. — HOME!!!! Oh my gosh...the line for cabs is brutal at JFK, and of course there's no cell service to call an Uber. I finally get a cab and share it with three women in line who are visiting from the South. I offer them recommendations for things to do over the weekend and cover the cost of the cab for all of us since it's expensed. ($85 expensed)
8 p.m. — My bed feels amazing. I am so happy. I unpack a little and scrounge around for something to eat. One of the downsides of traveling is that I have no reason to grocery shop anymore, and instead keep a bunch of dry and frozen foods on hand. I miss grocery shopping and cooking because it relaxes me and makes me feel like I have a routine. I eat what rice pudding and vegetable dumplings (Costco is bae), and then watch TV. I debate meeting up with friends tonight, but I am too comfy at home to leave.
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8:45 p.m. — Run downstairs to get my eyebrows threaded before the place closes. After they're done, I feel like a new person, and internally wink *lookin' good, good lookin'* to my reflection in the mirror. I send snaps of my new brows to my Snapchat Best Friends and catch up on a week's worth of messages in my friend group's chat. I watch TV, put away clothes, catch up with my roommate when she gets home, and do a little work before passing out around 11. $10.36
Daily Total: $10.36

Day Five

6:30 a.m. — Time for yoga!! (Classes are included in my gym membership.) I am so proud of myself for being awake this early and going to the gym. I get dressed, notice that my hair needs to be washed, and head out. I am working from home this morning before heading to the office in the afternoon to see friends.
8 a.m. — Feeling like a workout goddess. Come home, sign onto my computer, and accidentally doze off while waiting for a call to start. Never fear, I wake up and eat another bowl of rice pudding while listening in to my call. I make plans for tonight with friends, then shower and continue to work on documents.
2 p.m. — I eat a random assortment of food in my fridge and get dressed to go into the office. On my walk to work, I run into Gap and find a soft black dress on sale! I buy it, because I can always use more black, and this weekend's weather is supposed to be really nice. I listen to music as I walk the rest of. the way. I smile at the sun shining down on me and look forward to catching up with friends at work. $14.99
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3 p.m. — I love seeing my work friends! I am so lucky to have found them — they have been fundamental in my adjustment to work, and they understand what I've been going through. I notice that most of my team has signed off for the evening, and take that as a sign to completely disconnect for the rest of the evening. I check my email constantly on Sundays through Thursdays and respond ASAP, but Fridays and Saturdays are mine.
4:30 p.m. — There's a networking event with free drinks and food in the office!! They're giving out free shirts and notebooks, so I grab one of each, a plate of mediocre (but free, so it's great) food, and half a glass of white wine. I got my period earlier today and my cramps are like actual internal warfare, so I take Midol.
6:30 p.m. — Walk home and talk to my boyfriend on the phone. His voice really calms me down, and I need it. Then I call my dad and we start arguing, which immediately ratchets up my anxiety. I really love my parents, but they haven't been adjusting well to empty nesting. The stress of needing to justify each weekend why I want to stay in my apartment instead of going home is getting hard. They've given me everything and I love them for it, but the guilt trips hurt because I do care about them. I hang up and feel a little melancholy.
8 p.m. — My boyfriend calls me as I'm laying in bed to tell me he hurt his back at the gym. I slipped a disc in my back during college, and I remember the sheer pain and discomfort, so I immediately worry. He says it's common for him so he knows how to deal with it, but he sounds really upset. I order him Vietnamese food from Seamless to have delivered to him. He's really happy and surprised, which makes me happy! I continue to lie in bed until my roommate comes home. We've made a pact to try more bars and hot spots in NYC while we still live here and can afford it. Tonight we decide to try The Campbell, a cool bar we heard about in Grand Central. $14.58
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9:30 p.m. — We're both dressed in all black and wearing similar makeup, which we jokingly call the "NYC Uniform." We get to The Campbell and each order one drink. (WHY are drinks $20 in NYC?) I've been really proud of myself for limiting my drinking to the weekends and for not blacking out as regularly as I did in college (heh). We take artsy photos of our cocktails, discuss our respective relationships, and talk about our futures. I cover the bill ($50), but she immediately Venmos me her half. $25
11:30 p.m. — We walk to a wine bar located near our apartment, but when we get there it's closed. We take that as a sign to go home. We want to get food, but the 99 cent pizza place is permanently closed, and we take that as a very strong sign to go home and go to bed.
12 a.m. — Home! I take my makeup off and then read in bed. My cramps are still bad, but I refuse to take anymore Midol tonight — last time I took it this late, I was the Energizer Bunny and stayed awake all night, much to the chagrin of my boyfriend. Lesson learned!
Daily Total: $54.57

Day Six

10 a.m. — Head to a pilates class (included with gym membership)! The class is great, and I feel pleasantly sore afterwards. I come home and get dressed while watching Famous in Love. I'm meeting some friends from school and work at Smorgasburg, and I am excited to mix friend groups, albeit a little nervous!
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12 p.m. — I load my MetroCard with $10 and head over. $10
1 p.m. — Meet up with my friends at Smorgasburg. My school friends are some of my favorite people and one of my biggest regrets about traveling is not seeing them enough. I can be myself around them and tell them anything, which makes them keepers in my book. My work friends are great, too, and they get along well with my school friends. We split up to get food — I get a vegan BBQ slider and a Goa Taco (so good) and then we all meet by the water to take pictures and eat. We all split chili-lime mangoes and make plans to come back soon. I spend $19 in total, which I count as money well spent. $19
3 p.m. — We don't want this day to end. The weather is perfect, so we walk across the Williamsburg Bridge.
6 p.m. — I meet up with some other friends at a small tapas place in the East Village. We share a pitcher of sangria and talk about a whole bunch of nothing. I'm so grateful I've had so much friend time in the sun today! We move onto a bar called Bua, which is much more our vibe, and share two bottles of wine among the four of us. Disaster strikes momentarily as one of my friends spills red wine all over me, but luckily we clean it up fast. It does stain my scarf, which was a gift from an ex, so it's probably for the best! I cover the bill ($100 with tip) and everyone immediately Venmos me. I love doing this for the points and the ease of paying. Splitting at the table is confusing and stressful for us, plus the waitstaff! $23.25
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8 p.m. — Okay I am tipsy. I rush home to get dressed for a birthday party and sprint to the bus to head down to the bar where it is. I am very late.
10 p.m. — My friend's birthday is so much fun! She's so sweet, and it's great to see a bunch of school friends. I catch up with them for a while and we all scream-sing "Happy Birthday" to her when they bring out her cake. We take a bunch of silly Boomerangs for Instagram.
11 p.m. — I head to a pregame for my work friends! My friend bought a handle of vodka for us to split, so I Venmo her my portion, though I probably won't even drink it. I get to the party after responding to a bunch of texts asking where I am (being fashionably late is a lifestyle). We hang out on the rooftop of the apartment to appreciate the beautiful night. In classic NYC fashion, we don't leave for the bar until after midnight. $6
12:30 a.m. — We finally get to the first bar, but it's not really our vibe — too many frat dude types and not enough dance floor. We move on to Los Feliz, which is a ton of fun! We all start dancing and I get gin and tonics for myself and my friend (because I owe her a drink). We dance until 4 a.m. and get increasingly sillier as the night progresses. $25.04
4 a.m. — PIZZA TIME. My friend gets us an entire pie for the table to share and, oh my gosh, it tastes so good.
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5:30 a.m. — Home!! Makeup and contacts off, fling my clothes into a corner, and crawl into bed. Set my alarm for my yoga class in the morning. Text my friends that I'm home safe, make sure they are too, and then pass out. Zzz.
Daily Total: $83.29

Day Seven

10 a.m. — Help. The lights hurt. I wake up and chug the water bottle I filled last night. Go into the kitchen and notice that I also spilled half a pitcher of water on the floor last night. At least it wasn't wine! Crawl back into bed and talk to my boyfriend to catch up on each other's respective nights. A friend from last night calls saying she doesn't remember much. Luckily (and surprisingly) I do, so I catch her up and then send her back to bed with the promise that I'll see her in a few hours for lunch.
11 a.m. — I get dressed and head to yoga, feeling like I may puke in downward dog.
12:30 p.m. — Yoga was weird. Not sure I liked this instructor much, but glad I went and moved around after a night of debauchery. Grab a salad from my favorite place. I'm meeting friends for lunch at 1:45, but I'm HANGRY. Get home and eat while posting an Instagram in honor of my anniversary with my boyfriend. Find cute pictures, throw on a cute caption, and watch the likes roll in. $11.38
1:15 p.m. — I AM LATE. I frantically get dressed and pack a bag because I want to work in the sunshine after lunch. I wear the new black dress I got from Gap, run to the bus, and have to fill my MetroCard ($10) before getting on. Traffic is killer, and I roll into lunch 30 minutes late. $10
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3 p.m. — I get to the restaurant and everyone else has already ordered. I order spinach gnocchi in a pomodoro sauce. We all catch up on our nights and talk about how much fun we had. The gnocchi is just okay, but everyone else really likes it. Guess I'm just a harsh critic! We decide to hit up a sample sale after. $25.50
5 p.m. — Eh. Sample sale is okay — not really my vibe, and I don't really need to be spending money. A group of us split off after shopping to get work done. We walk to my friend's place to grab his stuff and then spend the next hour looking around for a good place to work. We need outlets and wifi, which are surprisingly harder to find than I expected on a Sunday in NYC. We ultimately end up working at a Starbucks near my apartment. We stop for ice cream ($5) on the way. My heart is so full spending the day with these friends. $5
7 p.m. — At Starbucks, I get string cheese and vanilla soy milk because I am a child. I take care of a lot of little work things, and then text my friend who is having surgery tomorrow and check in with another friend who was a little upset with me earlier. $3.48
7:30 p.m. — While we're working, we get a text from our other friends saying they're at a bar right near us! We drop our stuff off at my apartment and walk over to say hi. We play a game of Uno with the biggest playing cards I have seen and hang out for a while. I feel my Sunday scaries setting in hardcore. Why does the weekend have to end?!
8 p.m. — My friends and I leave pretty soon after arriving to get back to my place and keep working. Then I pack for another week in Boston. After six months, I have finally figured out the formula for packing. My friends run out to get food and bring back lightbulbs for me that I requested, which I Venmo them for. $4.99
9:30 p.m. — I place an order on Amazon using a gift card I got through work. I buy Biotin, rosehip oil, vitamin C serum, hangers, pads, an electric toothbrush, and an ice roller ($97). I've had these in my cart for a while and I finally pull the trigger using a gift card I have to cover all of it.
10:30 p.m. — My friends leave, and I'm sad to see them go. This was one of my favorite parts of college — always having people over and around, and I am still adjusting to this change post-graduation. I can't wait to own a house one day to throw dinner parties. I continue packing and talk to my boyfriend. It's a really emotionally heavy conversation, because we are still working through our issues, and I cry more than once. I really do love him, but I want us to both be happy, and we have changed so much since college.
12:30 a.m. — I have to be up at 5 for a 7 a.m. flight. I should be asleep, but instead I battle the Sunday scaries and check the Facebook event for my birthday pregame. One of my roommates and I have birthdays around the same time, so we're doing a joint pregame. I go to sleep around 1 a.m. after setting a bajillion alarms, dreading my 5 a.m. wake-up call. Another week, here I come!
Daily Total: $60.35
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