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A Week In New York City On A $82,500 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: an Engagement Manager who makes $82,500 per year and spends some of her money this week on sushi.

Editor’s Note: This diary contains mention of an eating disorder.

Occupation: Engagement Manager
Industry: Consulting
Age: 25
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $82,500 base, with 40% bonus (expected ~$115,000 this year)
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,254.42
Gender Identity: Woman





Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,200 (Our total apartment costs $4,600 monthly, though we did get one month free bringing it down to roughly $4,200…I live with my boyfriend, A., who makes approximately three times what I do, so we split housing costs accordingly.)
Student Loans: $750 (paid to my dad…he paid for my undergraduate and was the co-signer on all of my loans)
Transit/Metrocard: $100 ($50/per paycheck, taken out pre-tax)
401(k): $207.24 (6% of my salary, which my employer matches)
Gym Memberships (…this is going to get some judgment, so I will preface by saying my parents are in a financial position to do this and they have never complained): Equinox: My dad pays and gets a corporate discount and Classpass ($149/month) paid for by my mom. Additionally, my mom will buy me class packs to some of my favorite workouts in the city, mainly SoulCycle.
Netflix/Hulu/HBO Go/Showtime/ALL THE STREAMING: Boyfriend pays
Health Insurance: Covered by dad’s until I turn 26
Dental/Vision Insurance: Covered by work
Sephora Play Box: $10.89
Credit Card: $0 (used mainly for work purposes/expenses and paid off in full each month)
Savings: $200 ($100 from each paycheck, plus whatever I receive in my bonus usually I am able to put away ~$10,000 at once. I also use Digit, which saves a little bit of money each day)
Acorns: $50/month











Day One

8 a.m. — Alarm goes off and I lie in bed for a bit, scrolling through social media. Full transparency, I had every intention of working out this morning, but honestly could not even be bothered to set the 6 a.m. alarm. Also, in the spirit of full disclosure, I decided to start my Money Diary on a Tuesday since I went a little wild with Cyber Monday sales and didn’t want to be judged. I get ready for work fairly quickly since I have a simple morning routine: shower, Glossier face wash, toner, and moisturizer. I don’t wear much makeup during the week and I recently got my eyelashes done, which I generally do every other month, so I don’t really need much this morning. I swap out the workout clothes I laid out last night for my work clothes: Rag & Bone jeans, white cable knit sweater from Banana Republic, and cheetah Kenneth Cole boots. Throw my workout clothes and aspirations for an evening workout into my tote and head out.

9:30 a.m. — In the office, after taking the subway (prepaid Metrocard). After recently moving, my commute has shortened to just 15-20 minutes, depending on the train schedules, which has been life-changing, but also has made me very lax about the time I leave my apartment. On my way in I order Starbucks (grande, non-fat, triple-shot, extra-hot cappuccino…VERY LOW MAINTENANCE). I loaded my card yesterday so the cost is nothing today.

12 p.m. — Incredibly slow morning, mainly spent applying to jobs. I have been with my company for three years and I’ve reached the point where it is naturally time to find other opportunities. I am generally happy here so I haven’t been taking the process incredibly seriously yet, but it’s good to start. I take a break to head out to lunch with my dad, something we do every Tuesday as he has a meeting near my office. I have to be back by 1 for a meeting so we pop into a fast-casual build-your-own-bowl type of place. I get kale, white beans, carrots, brussels sprouts, and turkey meatballs, but save half for later. We also stop by an Australian coffee shop to split a lemon bar (my dad’s favorite) and hot apple ciders. My dad pays for everything.

5:30 p.m. — Uneventful afternoon, aside from popping out to the UPS store to return something (prepaid label). I head out a bit earlier to make a 6 p.m. workout class near my apartment. The class costs nothing as my mom gifted me a 10-pack of classes. I never think this class is challenging, especially compared to the other classes I do in the city, but the proximity to my apartment makes it beyond convenient.

7:30 p.m. — I drop my things off at home, scarf down the second half of my lunch bowl and then head to Wegman’s, which is like the MECCA of all grocery stores. If you live in NYC or the surrounding areas you need to make a visit to it. We have absolutely no food at home after being gone all week during Thanksgiving, so I have to re-up on absolutely everything ($137.83). I also take a Lyft home ($9.54) because I somehow managed to fill up three full grocery bags to the brim. $147.37

10 p.m. — Home, watching The Newsroom on HBO (I know I’m very late to the game, but this show is INCREDIBLE) and preparing food for the rest of the week (roasted veggies and ground turkey). I wanted to get to bed earlier tonight since I haven’t slept super well the past few days, but I go down a Taylor Swift greatest hits rabbit hole and before I know it, A. gets home (around 12:45 a.m.) and we catch up and watch a few episodes of Criminal Minds. We fall asleep sometime after 1:30.

Daily Total: $147.37

Day Two

8 a.m. — UGH. Wednesdays are usually the day I definitely workout in the morning because I have my volleyball league at night, but after going to bed after 1 a.m., it was a BIG NO to the 7 a.m. workout. I quickly get ready (geometric print dress from H&M, All Saints booties, and tights) and head to work — we are interviewing a candidate and I have been her main point person thus far.

9:30 a.m. — The candidate is set up and I crack open one of the La Colombe draft latte cans I purchased at Wegman’s last night. These are delicious, they taste like a milkshake.

1:30 p.m. — Break for lunch and have roasted veggies (sweet potato, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, onions, and broccoli) with the ground turkey I prepped last night. I have mixed berries for dessert because I’m trying this new thing where I limit my candy/chocolate/ice cream/insert dessert of choice intake. I have followed it through on this initiative exactly zero days but remain optimistic.

4 p.m. — Tea break with my coworker to *sips tea* discuss the tea. Hahah. Okay, I’ll stop. I also send a text to one of my best friends asking her to be mindful of how her negative self-talk impacts others. As someone who has struggled with disordered eating patterns my entire life, largely in the form of bulimia, it is triggering for me to hear someone describe everything they hate about themselves and their body, in detail. I send her a pretty lengthy message, so I’m a bit anxious about the response, BUT I do need to stand up for myself, especially my mental health. It is exhausting hating yourself, particularly your body when there is nothing wrong with it, and I am doing my best to not define my self-worth by the number on the scale. I’m not successful every day, but it’s thought that counts, I guess.

6 p.m. — Normally on Wednesdays, I will work out in the morning and then hang out with my coworker before our game, but he has an early flight tomorrow and bailed, so I decide to head to Fhitting Room (My favorite HIIT class). At the studio I realize I forgot socks (UGH) so I quickly grab a pair from them — they are hot pink, have camels and say “Happy Hump Day.” I meannnnnn, as far as dumb purchases go, I totally stand by this one. $5

7:30 p.m. — The class was great AND my friend texted me back. She handled it super well and is going to be cognizant of it moving forward. Yay!! I hustle to volleyball, making it just in time. We win the first game (came out v strong) and then lose the following two. Still very fun and I play the entire game since only four people showed. We discuss playing in a winter league together too, which I hope comes to fruition.

9 p.m. — Home, shower, plop in front of the TV. I had every intention of eating a well-balanced dinner tonight but settle on a “healthy” PB&J (ground almond butter from Whole Foods, GG fiber crackers, and mashed raspberries on top). Frozen mango and ginger tea for dessert.

10 p.m. — Snack on some Hu chocolate. Lol…SO CLOSE!!

Daily Total: $5

Day Three

8 a.m. — Same morning deal — shower, Glossier face stuff, pack lunch, outfit. Today I wear Frame black denim, a chunky white sweater with pearls from H&M, Rag & Bone Chelsea booties, and a Lele Sadoughi leopard headband. Not sure how I feel about headbands, but today is second-day hair day so I roll with it.

9:30 a.m. — Another day, another Starbucks run. Today I use points to get my cappuccino and then spend the rest of the morning working on outlining a project. Things are slow and while I’m grateful given the crazy travel and work schedule I had until just last month, I am VERY bored.

12:30 p.m. — Lunch with my dad and babushka (Russian for grandma)! Usually, we only have lunch once a week but I love seeing them and have the time to spare, so why not. We go to Pret and I get a chicken noodle soup and split their avocado toast with my dad. Babushka covers everyone’s lunch today and also slips me some money for the weekend.

7 p.m. — A busy afternoon of work as things are picking up. I was informed I may have to go to San Francisco next week, so I want to make sure I have my things in order. I head out and decide to go to hot yoga at Y7 (a hip-hop yoga studio) for an extended class. I have to rent a mat and towel ($5) for the class and honestly struggle through the entire 75 minutes. I don’t love yoga because I don’t have the discipline to not let my mind wander, so it essentially becomes a time for me to ruminate. It is nice to stretch though. On the way home I reload my Metrocard with $40 (included in monthly expenses). $5

8:30 p.m. — Home and very happy I meal-prepped, which is a rare occurrence for me but I guess I wanted to impress the Money Diary community. I have some of the roasted veggies and ground turkey, plus plantains (all from the Wegman’s haul earlier this week). I have frozen mango for dessert.

11:30 p.m. — Stay up too late watching Criminal Minds because A. works insane hours (he got home at 11) and I’d rather be tired than not hang out with him. We also get “distracted” (this is a sex euphemism, commenters) halfway through the episode and have to start over. Bed sometime after 12:30, which is honestly way too late for me. I can’t wait until his work schedule stabilizes (though mine will probably become erratic then…).

Daily Total: $5

Day Four

8 a.m. — FriYAY!!!! I’m working from home today because our *mistake* couch (the sectional is the wrong orientation) is getting picked up today, between the hours of 7-2 (how specific). I crack open a can of La Colombe and get to work.

12 p.m. — Couch successfully picked up and I decide to head to SoulCycle as today is incredibly slow. Class costs me nothing since I use a credit from a prior class package, but I do pay for shoes ($3). I finally pulled the trigger on spin shoes during Cyber Monday sales because they were 50% off. I’m so excited to finally get them and stop this expense! $3

2:30 p.m. — Home, shower, comfies, work. While working, I run several loads of laundry (having an in-unit washer/dryer has been life-changing). I also have the same lunch as the past few days.

5:45 p.m. — Done for the day!!! I get ready pretty quick (Topshop “mom” jeans, heeled ankle booties from AllSaints, black Uniqlo turtleneck, Gucci belt) and do a quick makeup routine (NARS concealer (the GOAT) and a little NARS blush on my cheeks). Very simple since my eyelashes are still going strong, despite this being my third week. I head out to the city to meet my friends for girls’ night!

10:30 p.m. — WELLLLLL (lol, don’t you love how you know things will take a turn when a sentence starts off this way…), this was a very unexpected and fun night. My friend, V., is leaving for Vietnam tomorrow for three weeks so we decided to have a sushi night with our other friend, J. We go to Sushi by Bou, which is an amazing omakase experience for only $50. However, sushi with one drink, turned into multiple rounds of sake shots, all comped by the restaurant because J. finished their challenge (a six-layer sushi bite, filled with toro, uni, eel, ikra, and more). We decide to continue the night at the bar downstairs where I get a vodka soda. V. really needs to go home to sleep and finish packing so we all head out around 10:30-11. I take the subway home, have a few chicken nuggets, and snuggle on the couch next to A. $113.11

Daily Total: $116.11

Day Five

10 a.m. — Mornnnnin! I wake up leisurely and head to a combo strength and conditioning class. It’s my first time taking it and I enjoy today much more because the 60-minute format actually felt challenging. After class, I head to the bodega to pick up some random items (cinnamon rolls for my dad, turkey bacon for A., grapes, etc). $21.76

4 p.m. — Day is fairly uneventful, aside from the delivery of our new couch, which I love!! I was so worried about switching the orientation, but I am very happy with how it looks. I spend the afternoon folding laundry, vacuuming, and generally cleaning while A. works. I also bake cinnamon roles to share with my dad and godfather when they come over, sometime around 4. My godfather is visiting from Russia this week and I love spending time with him. We sit and talk for a bit over tea and cinnamon rolls.

7 p.m. — A. and I have a ~date night~ planned for tonight, but decide to forgo eating out for a make-your-own-pizza night! We head to Wegmans for ingredients, including cheese and prosciutto to round out our Italian night. A. picks up some random items for groceries as well. The total comes to just over $70, but he pays for it.

10 p.m. — Successful date night! My pizza didn’t turn out as good since cauliflower crust is never the same AND I over-sauced, which was a big mistake. Despite that, it was so much fun and we opened a great bottle of Italian wine to go with it. We put on a random movie on Netflix but get ~distracted~ (you get it).

Daily Total: $21.76

Day Six

9:30 a.m. — Wake up and help A. finish packing for his business trip — he has meetings in Philly tomorrow but is getting there earlier to hang with friends in the area. I decide to head to Rumble for a workout since they were just added on ClassPass and I have credits remaining.

12:30 p.m. — OMG, well what a welcome surprise! I entirely forgot that my newish friend, D., is the studio manager at the Brooklyn location. We chat for a long time before/after class and she, being the nicest ever, comps my glove rental AND gives me a cute new camo hat. Yay!! I love hats, so this is amazing to me.

1 p.m. — Head to H&M to return a sweater ($20.99 back on my card), and then the Target upstairs for some wrapping paper and command strips. I also get a few other random items because, Target, duh. $19.38

10 p.m. — Today ends up fairly uneventful. I fold laundry from a few days back and watching Hustlers on Netflix. I also got a work email about the SF project and it looks like I’ll be going this week but will know more tomorrow. Ahh, such is life when you work in consulting and last-minute diligence comes in! I don’t worry about it too much since I know the work will get done.

Daily Total: $19.38

Day Seven

7 a.m. — Blehhh Monday. The fact that I have an 8 a.m. call plus the pouring rain outside makes this the Monday-est day ever. I quickly get dressed (brownish polka dot skirt from H&M, white Rag & Bone turtleneck, cognac Everlane ankle booties) and quickly head out so I’m not late.

10 a.m. — Calls done! I had a La Colombe draft latte drink during the calls but feel exhausted so I go down to Starbucks with my coworker. This is technically our check-in (I am his manager), so I grab a London Fog. He gets a cold brew and puts both on his card to expense later. We discuss what he wants to work on for next year and I give him some pointers to bring up during our end-of-year reviews, especially since I will be sitting in on his next week.

1 p.m. — Lunch! I have a lunch meeting with my managing partner and fellow manager to discuss potentially changing our pay structure — right now our base salary is low compared to industry standards, even though our bonus incentives are substantially higher. We argue that because bonuses get taxed so heavily, we continue to lag behind our peers. It gets a little heated at times, but all-in-all we come away having a thoughtful discussion with plans on how to update our research effort to bring to the other partners after the holiday break. I order lunch for the group from Westville (Greek salad with a turkey burger patty for me). ($88.80 expensed)

6:30 p.m. — Working on trying to get my current project to a solid stopping point. I find out that I will for sure have to be in California later this week, but hold off on buying tickets until the meeting schedules are set. I feel a little bad to be peeling off my current project, but there is no way I can manage both that and successfully complete a 10-day diligence — I will be working 15+ hour days over the next week regardless. I’m pretty hungry by the time I wrap up, but decide to hold off on any snacks since my coworker and I (plus my two friends) are heading to a ~networking~ event today where there are promises of food AND…drum roll…LUDACRIS! Lol, we’ll see what happens because I am exhausted and it’s raining buckets.

10:30 p.m. — OKAY!! As far as nights, not even industry events, go, that was a really fun one! The food was incredible — shoutout Catch Steak — and so were the drinks (I had three vodka sodas over the night). Plus, Ludacris actually did come and performed a 45-minute set for a group of 100 or so people. It was wild and really fun and I’m happy I decided to go. I take the subway home, give A. a kiss and pass out (face down, ass up, literally) as soon as I hit the bed. I will definitely be a little hungover tomorrow, but totally fine because wow…what a night!!! And on a Monday!

Daily Total: $0

Money Diaries are meant to reflect individual women’s experiences and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29’s point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.

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