Welcome to Money Diaries, where we’re tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We’re asking women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we’re tracking every last dollar.
Today: an Associate Data Scientist who makes $105,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on avocado sushi.
Occupation: Associate Data Scientist
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,550
Gender Identity: Woman
Rent: $2,200 (For a studio apartment. When I moved back to New York a few months ago, I moved into my own place for the first time. It’s at the high end of what I can afford, but it’s drastically improved my mental health.)
Student Loans: $650 monthly + $258 quarterly
Cell Phone: $98
Roth 401(k): $525, with a 50% company match (deducted post-tax from my paycheck)
iCloud Storage: $3
Microsoft Office: $7.50
Birth Control: $25 (I take Lo Loestrin and swear by it, after years of STRUGGLING to find the right birth control. Unfortunately, it has no generics though, so it’s classified as a higher tier prescription through my insurance.)
Benefits: $0 (Fully covered and paid through my employer.)
Transportation: $127 (for a monthly metrocard, deducted pre-tax from my paycheck.)
Gym Membership: $25
9 a.m. — I woke up a couple hours earlier than I needed to, but still managed to stay in bed later than I wanted. I’ve been sleeping pretty restlessly lately, waking up in the night or struggling to stay asleep. As a New Year’s Resolution, I’ve been trying not to eat in bed late at night, and I think it’s messing with my sleep routine. I’m hoping I’ll adjust soon, but this morning, I stop and grab a cafe au lait with almond milk to perk myself up on the way to work. $4.25
9:30 a.m. — I work at a small office that was recently acquired by a much larger company, and with the acquisition came muuuuch better snacks. I eat breakfast at work almost every day. Today, it is cinnamon spice oatmeal with an apple and kombucha on tap (I hate how much I love tech perks).
12 p.m. — Normally I pack my lunch, but I’m on the last leg of my groceries and trying not to go to the store before the weekend. I grab some chocolate almonds from the office and pick up a custom salad (kale, avocado, chicken, tomato, onion, crunch) from a bodega down the street. $10
6 p.m. — I’ve been unbearably snacky at work all afternoon, and completely spoiled any semblance of appetite I would’ve had for dinner. I’m meeting a friend for drinks as soon as she gets off work, and I’m wary of my low alcohol tolerance after a dry(-ish) January, so I grab a protein bar for the road and head out.
6:45 p.m. — I’m devastatingly early, and by the time I get to the bar, my friend hasn’t even left her office 30 minutes away. Twenty-four years on this earth and I still haven’t figured out how to get to places at the right time. I’m almost always either inappropriately early, or disrespectfully late. It’s too cold to enjoy a stroll outside, so I duck into a coffee shop nearby, grab a ginger tea, and catch up on some Hinge and Bumble conversations I’ve let fall to the wayside $3.12
7:30 p.m. — My friend and I meet up at a cozy wine bar, each get a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, and settle into conversation. I recently moved back to New York after a year in San Francisco, and I haven’t seen this friend since before the move, so we have lots of catching up to do. I blink and two hours have passed. She pays and sends me a Venmo for half. $13
11 p.m. — By the time I’m home, I’m exhausted, and confused about whether I’m hungry or not. For the first time in my life, I live by myself and absolutely love it. I’m extremely introverted in the sense that I get my energy from being alone. But also, my apartment is a mess right now, and I have no external motivation to clean it. I ambitiously used some free ClassPass credits to book a spin class for early tomorrow morning, but it’s late enough now that I know I’m not going to want to wake up, so I late cancel and send them an email, hoping they’ll waive the usual fee. I make a small bowl of spinach, vinegar, and nutritional yeast to put something in my stomach before bed, wash my face, put on a podcast, and am asleep within five minutes.
Daily Total: $30.37
7:15 a.m. — I am VERY happy to wake up naturally and realize I slept through the night for the first time in several days. I make and pack myself a curry tofu spinach situation for lunch, and head to work.
9 a.m. — I don’t really need to be at the office this early. I have things to do, but I’m not overloaded, and most people don’t get here until 10 or 10:30. But I’m most productive in the morning, so I make myself coffee and some greek yogurt with banana and granola from the office kitchen, and get to work.
12 p.m. — My boss canceled our standing one-on-one meeting at the last minute, which frees up my lunch hour, but is also irritating because I would’ve worked from home if I had known earlier! I heat up my curry and grab some popcorn from the snack closet, and take a break from real work to do the crossword while I eat.
4:45 p.m. — This entire day has dragged. Luckily, I have therapy tonight, so I’m ducking out of work early. My therapist is in-network, and I have an EAP with three free sessions per year, so starting next week it’ll be $30/session, but for today it’s still free. I steal some greek yogurt on my way out.
6 p.m. — Therapy was really hard today. We’ve been talking lately about the way I treat romantic pursuits like a game, where the only objective is to get the person to like me. Today, I realized how disconnected I am from understanding what I actually want because my pleasure has been so tied up in how the other person perceives me. It’s good work, and I have to do it, but it’s so hard. I had planned to hang out with an ex tonight (we’re “friends” now!) but I’m absolutely exhausted, so I cancel. I don’t have the energy to cook, so I eat a can of tuna and popcorn for dinner and finish most of the new season of Shrill before I go to bed.
Daily Total: $0
7 a.m. — I slept through the night again last night! I don’t usually like to eat before I’m at the office, but I wake up starving and scramble two eggs before I get ready for the day.
9:30 a.m. — Some of the women in my office are doing a clothes swap today, and I want to join, but I already did a big closet clean-out when I moved a few months ago. Still, I pack a small tote with some shirts and jumpsuits that don’t quite fit right and head out. I get to the office at the usual time and grab an apple to round out my breakfast. I’m still a little braindead from therapy yesterday, but nobody at work is expecting any deliverables from me today, so I don’t feel bad about slacking off a little bit.
12 p.m. — The office caters lunch every Friday, and today is build-your-own Vietnamese noodle bowls. I make mine into more of a salad with — because balance — a side of dry Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I have still done approximately no work today.
5 p.m. — I stick around long enough to make it to the office clothing swap. I’m still new at this job, and my role is generally insular, so I don’t have close friends at work yet. I eat a couple of slices of pizza, expensed by the office, and leave with two new shirts and a pair of track pants.
6:30 p.m. — I’m trying a new cycling studio today with my free ClassPass credits in a desperate attempt to kick my Soulcycle habit. I regret it as soon as I walk in the door. The studio is fine, standard lockers, bikes, merch. But the instructor is mean and aggressive from even before the class starts, berating riders for not adjusting their seats and ranting about how disappointed he’ll be if we’re off-beat. Not to be a Soulcycle evangelist, but their instructors get the balance right. I feel good about myself there and still work hard for fear of disappointing them. I bolt as soon as class is over.
9 p.m. — A couple of my friends are meeting up at a Dolly Parton-tinged (not quite themed) bar, and as tired as I am from the week, I know I’ll feel better if I put on make-up and socialize, even just for an hour or two. I’m craving Peanut M&M’s, and grab a pack on my way to the subway. $2.49
10 p.m. — I get to the bar, and grab a tequila soda, which turns out to be much cheaper than I would’ve expected for a themed bar ($8.21). The theme is also subtler than I expected, which is much appreciated! Touches of Dolly Parton, without gimmicks (or $20 cocktails). We stay and gab for an hour or two before heading home, and because I’ve underspent on transportation for the month, I splurge on a Lyft Line home ($15.15). I pop some popcorn once I’m home, and fall asleep watching old seasons of Survivor. $23.36
Daily Total: $25.85
8:45 a.m. — I wake up still full from snacking and drinking the night before, but I have a Soulcycle class booked this morning (with credits from an old class pack) that I want to fuel up for. My fridge is completely empty, and I’m due for a grocery run, but I’m a little pressed for time this morning so I grab a build-your-own oatmeal and a tangelo from the market near my house before heading to the subway. $4.17
10:30 a.m. — The class was incredible. This instructor always plays the best playlists; I rode front-and-center today and sang my HEART out when he played Bulletproof. I have my own shoes and bring my own water, so I don’t have to spend any money at the studio.
12 p.m. — I beat the afternoon crowd to the grocery store, and take my time stocking up for the next couple weeks. I shop at a co-op in my neighborhood, where prices are much lower than standard grocery stores, in exchange for one three-hour work shift every four weeks. I buy produce, veggies, and my usual tofu and curry sauce, plus ingredients for a roast chicken I’m going to meal prep this week, a chile-vinegar hot sauce I want to test out, pre-made salmon and avocado sushi for lunch, and Mexican street corn for a Super Bowl party I’m going to tomorrow. $141.27
3:30 p.m. — I’m on my way to meet a friend in the West Village. We’re seeing Get On Your Knees, Jacqueline Novak’s one-woman-show (we bought the tickets a few weeks ago). He’s coming straight from a coffee date, and for as much as I hate first dates, I love hearing about my friends’, so I’m excited to hear how it went.
5:30 p.m. — The show was incredible, his date was meh, and we’re both starving. We wander around the West Village, hoping to duck into a new restaurant in a whimsical, New York way, but everywhere that looks appealing is fully booked and/or way too expensive. I realize we must look like complete schlumps when the host at one of the restaurants tells us they’re “fully committed.” We resort to Google Maps and find a small Peruvian spot nearby, where we split chips and guac and I order a fish stew. My friend and I both want the credit card points, so we split the check down the middle. $27.41
8:30 p.m. — I’m ready to go to bed as soon as I walk in the door. I think it’s a combination of the cold weather, the early winter sunsets, and a dash of seasonal depression that has made it feel almost impossible to stay awake lately. I’m really bloated from dinner, so I fall asleep with my heating pad to soothe my stomach.
Daily Total: $172.85
9 a.m. — I wake up to a gray and dreary day. Tonight is the Super Bowl, which I’m watching at a friend’s place, and I’m excited to spend the day in comfy clothes, catching up on TV and cooking for tonight until I need to go.
3 p.m. — At this point, I’ve made a roast chicken from a Zuni Cafe dupe recipe, Mexican street corn for tonight, and decided on a whim to make a loaf of rosemary focaccia to bring as well. I’ve also started and finished the new season of Sex Education (highly recommend!). I’m too imprecise to enjoy or succeed at baking, but I love to cook. Being in the kitchen is deeply therapeutic, and I feel much better now than I did when I woke up. It’s started to rain, and I decide to make some tea and veg until I need to get ready to go.
6 p.m. — I’m running late, it’s raining, and my hands are full, so I call an Uber to my friend’s a mile away. Two drivers cancel on me before I finally get someone to pick me up. I grab the corn and the focaccia, plus an untouched six-pack someone left at my housewarming a couple months ago, and head out. $9.42
10 p.m. — I’ve successfully watched teams score points, groaned at ads, and filled all the way up on carne asada and puppy chow. A couple of years ago, I worked at an advertising agency — where I met most of the people I’m with tonight — so we’re all toasting to the fact that we’re not stuck at work in a brand’s social media war room tonight. It’s still raining when I’m ready to leave, so I call another Uber home, despite major surge pricing. $18.25
Daily Total: $27.67
9:45 a.m. — I’ve been planning to work from home today, since my calendar is empty and I have some tasks on my plate that require a lot of focus. I wake up, get dressed in my work-from-home uniform — a fluffy zip-up and Lululemon track pants — and make breakfast (raspberry Siggi’s yogurt and a banana). I sit down to work and promptly realize my laptop is dead, and that I left my charger at the office. Luckily, I only live a fifteen-minute walk away and I manage to dip in and dip out without anyone noticing. I think about stopping to grab a coffee to reward myself for leaving my apartment but decide against it.
12 p.m. — Despite my big ambitions, I haven’t done any work today. I’m feeling the winter slump particularly heavily today. I’m lacking energy for anything: work, personal hygiene, responding to texts. The forecast is unseasonably nice, and yet I can’t even bring myself to step outside. When I was moving back to New York, I had the choice between taking a new job, or continuing to work for my existing company as a full-time remote employee. Days like this make me so grateful that I took the new job and have an office to keep me accountable. I make a salad with some spinach, the leftover corn from yesterday, and roast chicken for lunch.
3 p.m. — It’s one of my friend’s birthdays this week and his boyfriend organized a group gift. We’re all pitching in to get him French lessons, which he’s been wanting to do for a long time! I tend to be pretty thoughtless when it comes to friend birthdays, so I jumped at the chance for someone to coordinate. I accept the Venmo request for my share as soon as it comes in. $42
5:30 p.m. — I’m behind on shifts at the co-op, and had the best intentions to do a make-up tonight, but I’m just not feeling it. After refreshing my memory on the rules and finding out I have ten more days than I thought to finish the make-up, I decide not to go. I make another leftover salad for dinner with the last of the corn, and watch some more Survivor reruns. I drink some water and go to bed early, hoping I feel more like myself in the morning.
Daily Total: $42
9:30 a.m. — I’m starting the day at our parent company’s offices because they have a special project that they need my support on. I’m super excited about this project and the chance to work with other data scientists, so I have some extra spring in my step this morning. The big office has several full kitchens with prepared food, so I have overnight oats and fresh berries for breakfast when I come in.
12 p.m. — I stick around the big office long enough to stay for lunch. They make a full cafeteria menu, but I tend to stick to the salad bar. I make a big Greek salad with spinach, chicken, feta, roasted cauliflower, veggies, and a garlic tahini sauce. One of my friends from the smaller company finds me in the eating area and we chat for a bit.
1:30 p.m. — I’m finishing my day at my home office, mostly in meetings. Within the next month, I’ll be transitioning into a full-time role at the parent company, which will look better on my resume, and open up the door for some more interesting projects, so I’m genuinely really excited. Will miss the walking commute though.
6 p.m. — I stick around the office later than I need to because I have surprise birthday drinks for a friend on the Upper East Side and I don’t want to go home first. I eat a yogurt to try and keep myself from overdoing it on apps later and then head out.
7:10 p.m. — I’m a little late, but still make it to the bar before the guest of honor arrives. There are about ten of us here, all close friends, so I relax into the environment easily. I’ve already decided not to drink, because I’m worried it might exacerbate the funk I’ve been feeling these past few days. I’m not hungry enough for a full entree, so I munch on zucchini fries and flatbreads before we surprise the birthday boy, and then have a slice of birthday cake before heading home. His boyfriend puts down his card and sends me a Venmo late that night, with a note that he shaved $20 off mine because he knew I didn’t drink or order my own meal. It’s still probably more than what I would’ve wanted to spend for apps and cake, but because it’s a close friend’s birthday I don’t mind (and I’d literally rather die than make a fuss about a Venmo charge). I subway home and when the subway reroutes a few stops before my apartment, I get off and enjoy the unseasonably warm temps on a long walk home. $50
Daily Total: $50
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