A Week In New York City On A $99,000 Salary

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Today: a senior analyst who makes $99,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Triscuits.
Occupation: Senior Analyst
Industry: Legal & Regulatory
Age: 30
Location: New York City
Salary: $99,000, with a 10% annual bonus
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $2,104.57
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Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,100 (I live with my boyfriend of six years, and we split our rent and shared expenses proportionate to our salaries. The total rent for our one-bedroom duplex in Manhattan is $2,900.)
Student Loan Payment: $0 (My parents covered undergrad, and I worked full-time while completing my master's degree.)
MetroCard: $121 (taken out of my paycheck pre-tax)
Health, Dental & Vision Insurance: $120
Retirement: $410 (6% of my salary, with a 5% corporate match)
Electricity, Gas, & Internet: ~$140 (split with my boyfriend)
Cleaning Service: $115 (split with my boyfriend)
Hulu, Netflix, HBONow, & Spotify: $50 (I'm still on my family's cell plan, and in exchange I give my family access to all of my subscriptions.)
Additional Expenses
Stitch Fix: $20 (every 6 weeks)

Day One

6:15 a.m. — I wake up before my alarm because I went to bed really early last night. I've been grappling with depression lately, though, and I'm pretty unhappy at my job, so I hit snooze and sleep again for as long as I can.
7:50 a.m. — Okay, okay. Up, showered, and out the door. If I leave the house by 8:30, I can be at my desk by 9. After years of living in D.C., where the subway was always broken, I'm grateful for my short commute here.
9:15 a.m. — I bring breakfast from home (cottage cheese and two slices of Dave's Killer Bread) but grab coffee from our subsidized corporate cafeteria. The charges come directly out of my paycheck, post-tax, which can sneak up on me sometimes. $1.50
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1 p.m. — Grab salad, pasta, and tofu from the cold bar downstairs. Spend lunch at my desk reading a piece on LongReads.com about life as a woman in an oilfield town. $5
6 p.m. — Get home. I was going to go for a run, but…it's colder than it looks outside. Instead, I throw together avocado, pico de gallo, and rice from the fridge and work on my to-do list for the week while catching up on Westworld.
8 p.m. — I always go to weekly trivia at a nearby dive bar with friends — it's nice to have something to look forward to when you have a case of the Mondays. I have two vodka sodas and tip generously because I always come to this bar and they take care of me. I also sneak bites from everyone's Chinese takeout because I'm the worst. $20
Daily Total: $26.50

Day Two

7 a.m. — Wake up to my boyfriend's Venmo payment for his portion of a recent trip I booked for us. I immediately transfer the $700 to my savings.
9 a.m. — I make cottage cheese and toast for breakfast, and then cash in on a surprise free drink coupon from Starbucks. It's so nice being able to spend extra time outside on a beautiful morning.
9:45 a.m. — It's almost skirt season in New York, and I realize I somehow have no nude color work shoes. After wasting so much money on cheap-ish flats that I only wear once due to killer blisters, I've accepted that I need to be picky about my shoes. I'm obsessed with Rothy's and consider them well worth the splurge, given how much I walk. I place an order for my third pair. $145
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12:15 p.m. — It's a beautiful day, so I spend lunch just strolling the neighborhood. I stop by the office cafeteria for a salad on my way back and escape to a windowed conference room for the rest of the day to do legal analysis in natural light. $5.80
5:45 p.m. — I meet someone from my grad program for networking drink. We have way more in common than I expected; I think I may have just made a friend? TBH, I don't know how this works in the adult world. $24
8 p.m. — I know better than to go to the grocery store hungry, but here we are. I pick up LaCroix, Triscuits, cottage cheese, chorizo, artichoke dip, cheese, and dessert hummus (?). A few things are on sale, so I get doubles. $44.30
8:45 p.m. — My boyfriend is traveling for work, so I turn the dip, chorizo, and Triscuits into a bizarre mezze plate for dinner. Then I throw on a sheet mask and browse job boards before bed.
Daily Total: $219.10

Day Three

9 a.m. — It's pouring, and I just want to stay in bed. But I have important meetings today and want to look especially professional. I get to work and realize I forgot to bring anything for breakfast, but luckily someone brought in bagels — score! I grab a coffee downstairs. $1.50
12:30 p.m. — My two important meetings were cancelled, and I'm pissed about it. One was to discuss the future trajectory of my role, and has been pushed several times now. I find myself getting mad at work a lot lately…another sign that I need to keep my options open. I run downstairs for lunch before an afternoon of meetings. $6.60
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3:30 p.m. — Someone brought Girl Scout cookies to our meeting marathon, and I snack all afternoon.
6 p.m. — My friend is moving soon, and she invites me over for dinner. I buy a bottle of wine to bring as a belated birthday present, and we catch up while packing her kitchen. $13
9:30 p.m. — I'm tired and don't feel like facing a 45-minute train ride home. Uber to the rescue. $15.45
Daily Total: $36.55

Day Four

8 a.m. — I'm working from home this morning because I have a doctor's appointment, and I manage to squeeze in a phone interview for another job beforehand. It's so hard to interview when you don't have a private office! The position is in another city, but I'm more focused on getting back into the interview game than on the logistics of this specific position. I run to grab an iced coffee with my birthday coupon before it expires. My interview skills run on Dunkin'.
11 a.m. — The interview goes over our scheduled time, and I'm running late for the doctor. I grab an Uber, and the ride there lasts longer than the appointment does. I get some lab work done. $9.90
12:30 p.m. — Get to the office, and I'm starving. I grab a fried chicken sandwich from the cafeteria. $6.90
4:30 p.m. — I sneak out a little early to go for a run in Central Park. The cherry blossoms are in bloom and the city literally smells…nice. That's a first.
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7:30 p.m. — Shopping in New York means a ton of options, but it also takes a ton of time going between stores. It's honestly made me hate clothes shopping, so I get a Stitch Fix box every six weeks. I opt to keep two items from my latest delivery for $146. $146
9 p.m. — My boyfriend has been working 70 hour weeks lately, and it hasn't been great for our relationship. He leaves work early (by his standards) for us to go on a date tonight. We grab octopus tacos and (a few too many) margaritas. He picks up the tab.
Daily Total: $162.80

Day Five

8:30 a.m. — I am feeling those margaritas today. I down some Pedialyte, say a silent prayer of thanks to the creator of dry shampoo, and run out the door.
9:20 a.m. — I think an egg and cheese sandwich is in order with my coffee. Luckily I have a day of email follow-ups with business units, so I'll be able to sit quietly at my desk. $5.50
1 p.m. — Weekend meal planning is always such a delicate balance between wanting to only get takeout because the pantry is empty and not wanting to waste food because of fun, last minute plans. I stop by Trader Joe's during lunch and grab a few items with a longer shelf life, including ingredients for prosciutto pizza, veggie sausages, and cauliflower gnocchi. I charge it to the credit card I use for shared expenses with my boyfriend. $43.85
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6:30 p.m. — I smile at a puppy on my way home. The owner catches my smile and goes, “You know, you can pet him.” It's literally the highlight of my week. New York can feel really hard sometimes, so I've learned to appreciate the little things.
8 p.m. — Quiet night in on the couch with my boyfriend. We make a frozen pizza, split a bottle of wine, and catch up on our weeks.
Daily Total: $49.35

Day Six

8:30 a.m. — My neighbors are up and loudly tinkering in the backyard, so now I'm up too. I grab toast and get myself together to run errands: drop-offs at the post office, Goodwill, and Rent the Runway. I tried out Rent the Runway Unlimited this month, but I was ordering way more misses than hits. It was a fun experiment, but I couldn't justify the $160 price tag to myself.
10:45 a.m. — Spin class. I bought a bunch of classes on Black Friday last year, and now I'm scrambling to use them before they expire. I grab an iced coffee next door on my way out. $3.45
12:30 p.m. — I love wandering farmer's markets, even if visiting them usually means an impulse purchase or two. I unsuccessfully search for my favorite mushrooms (lion's mane) and buy plants for my backyard. $38
1:30 p.m. — I get home, put together a salad with random things in the fridge, and spend the rest of the day fiddling with my garden.
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7:30 p.m. — I'm feeling especially introverted tonight, and encourage my boyfriend to go to his friend's party downtown without me. I have an avocado with rice for dinner and look forward to an evening of guilty pleasures (Halo Top and browsing AskReddit for creepy stories).
Daily Total: $41.45

Day Seven

11 a.m. — I wake up way late — it seems like when I wind down, it's really hard to get myself going again. I'm not sure if it's my inner introvert, my depression, or general tiredness from the week. I make eggs with mango salsa for breakfast and catch up on SNL over a very late breakfast.
12:20 p.m. — My boyfriend did some spreadsheet budgeting while I was sleeping, and now we have a bit of a surprise serious conversation about marriage and buying a house in the next five years. He's shocked by the cost of weddings, and I'm shocked by his budget for a first home. We both leave the conversation feeling a little overwhelmed. I don't see myself in the New York area long-term, but his industry, where he's totally killing it, is really based here. The tension between those things has been hanging over our relationship for the last two years and has really kept me from wanting to get engaged.
2 p.m. — I had big plans for the day, but I'm still on the couch watching Law & Order: SVU. I give up and own it, as opposed to feeling guilty.
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7 p.m. — My low energy has transformed into existential dread for Monday. My boyfriend heats up (another) frozen pizza for us and makes me a martini. He catches up on work while I read on the couch. The Sunday scaries are alive and well and I go to bed before 10.
Daily Total: $0
If you are experiencing anxiety or depression and need support, please call the National Depressive/Manic-Depressive Association Hotline at 1-800-826-3632 or the Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.
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