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 a Consultant working in Finance who makes $82,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a bucket of beers.
Location: New York, NY
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): I recently got a raise and signed up for the 401(k) so it’s changing, but it’s $3,153 pre-tax.
Rent: $1,700 (I live with two roommates. I have the nicest room and pay the most.)
Loans: $100 (I have about $5,500 in loans left. I am expecting a bonus soon and hope to pay off the whole loan.)
Utilities: $20-65 (in the summer)
Renter’s Insurance: $11.34
Dental Insurance: $12 (pre-tax)
Health Insurance: $0 (Fully covered through work)
401(k): 8% of my salary
Cell Phone: $0 (My parents cover it)
7:45 a.m. — I wake up and get ready for the day. One day a week, I let myself sleep in and take a later train out to work. I am so not a morning person and I know my boss will be in late today!
8 a.m. — I’m out the door (after waiting for my building’s VERY slow elevator). I meal prep and pick out my outfits the night before to cut down on my morning routine, so all I have to do is grab everything and leave.
9:15 a.m. — I arrive at the office. I’m currently based outside of the city, but that will be changing. I am looking forward to having a 20 minute walk to the office versus the 20 minute walk to the train that I’m doing now. Work covers the full cost of transportation.
10:30 a.m. — I take the plunge and sign up for my company’s 401(k)! I’ve been eligible for a couple months, but was too intimidated by all the words I don’t understand to actually do it. I’m putting aside 8% of my salary for right now and just picked the basic investment plan — I like that I can change it later when I understand more! I’ve recently had a number of money changes in my life (a significant raise and a new apartment with a slightly higher rent and moving expenses), so timing made sense. I’m working on figuring out other savings goals and how to start investing.
12 p.m. — I take my lunch outside with a few coworkers. I have a chicken stir fry with broccoli, carrots, green beans, edamame, and rice. I brought too much so I stick my leftovers in the fridge (after eating all the chicken, of course).
2 p.m. — We have an August birthday celebration only to realize no one at this office has a birthday this month! There’s been a ton of turnover lately, so that was a very funny oversight. I eat a piece of chocolate hazelnut cake anyway!
5 p.m. — I leave the office early to go to a former coworker’s going-away party in lower Manhattan. She is moving internationally and it’s weird to think that I may never see her again. I’m very excited to be offered a ride by someone who drove today.
6 p.m. — We’re the first to arrive at the bar so the drinks and apps start flowing! This place has a crazy extensive wine list, but I just go for a few glasses of dry rosé. It’s good to see a few people who don’t work in my office anymore and trade stories about how things have changed. One of the executives tells us that she will pick up the bill and I’m surprised, but grateful.
8 p.m. — I leave the bar to meet up with one of my friends, F., who works around the corner. She has crazy hours so I’d texted her about the coincidence and she happened to be leaving. We meet outside her building and walk north.
8:45 p.m. — We decide that we want margs. I haven’t seen her in a bit so we both have two drinks and catch up on our lives. It seems everyone has the same frustrations these days — men and work. Another friend, D., joins us about an hour in and we stay until the place closes. F. picks up the tab and I Venmo her. $26
11:30 p.m. — F. and D. moved so I stop by to see the new place. It is so cute and better all around then the last place, so I’m excited for them! I’m also excited because its right around the corner from our favorite college football bar, which will be clutch in the upcoming months. Unfortunately, this is an Eastside-Westside friendship so I call an Uber rather than take 10000000 subways. $10.57
12 a.m. — I get home and the doorman lets me know a package arrived! I know that it’s a new chair I ordered from Amazon (more than I needed to splurge, but I fell in love). I don’t really feel like taking it, but he convinces me. I push it through the door and chat with one of my roommates before showering and falling asleep almost immediately.
Daily Total: $36.57
7 a.m. — Multiple drinks on a Wednesday made this a tough wake-up call. I get ready and head out the door in about 20 minutes.
8:35 a.m. — I arrive at work to multiple emails, including one from a higher up saying that they won’t make it today. Our office head is back today after a long vacation so I stop in his office to say hi and show off that I was the first one in.
11:30 a.m. — I have food in the work fridge, but I’m craving a Southwest salad from the deli. I decide to order one for lunch and bring my food home for dinner today and tomorrow. I eat half of it at my desk and put the leftovers in the fridge. $11.68
5 p.m. — I’m hungry again and eat the other half of today’s salad.
5:45 p.m. — I catch the (delayed) train back and read a cheesy romance novel through the app Hoopla. I access this app through the library and can download eight free books a month, which is a lifesaver on the train. They also offer books that are much more substantive than the fluff I usually pick!
7 p.m. — I get home after returning a package — hopefully just under the wire to get my full refund — and have something waiting for me. It’s a faux sheepskin fluffy white rug from Amazon. When I get upstairs I find a place for that and quickly build the chair I got yesterday. My room already looks so much more homey.
8:30 p.m. — I get a call from my mom! My sister still lives at home, so we chat about what they both have going on and I tell her about my week. While I’m on the phone a massive rainstorm breaks out and some of the furniture on our terrace tries to escape!! Luckily it catches on the railing. My room opens onto the terrace so I check if any water got in, but looks okay for now.
9:30 p.m. — My roommate S. gets home and I eat a second dinner of sausage and broccoli with a sliced peach. We catch up on our days before beginning our respective nightly routines.
11 p.m. — I try to watch an episode of Criminal Minds, but I’m too tired and fall asleep instead.
Daily Total: $11.68
9 a.m. — Summer Fridays are my saving grace!!! We get to work from home, so I get up at the exact time work starts to check my email. Nothing new so I just make a pot of coffee and prep for an 11 a.m. call.
12 p.m. — My call went so well, which is a big relief for my Friday. I scramble an egg to go with my leftover rice from Wednesday.
12:30 p.m. — While I’m eating I start scrolling through StubHub looking for tickets to a football game at my alma mater in the fall. My friends have decided to go back for the most popular game of the season and it’s hard to get tickets. Tickets are available through a lottery based on seniority, so the newest alums, like me, get the later picks, and the most popular games are generally sold out. My friend H. has a ticket to the game so I text him to ask what he paid for it and what he thinks the max I should pay is. In a stroke of luck, he just found out that he’ll have an extra ticket and offers to sell it to me at face value! I Venmo him immediately and am also excited to be sitting next to a friend! $100
4:30 p.m. — I finish early for the day because all of the senior staff have signed off. I invited a few friends over to eat on the terrace and need to shower and clean first. Summer slowdown is coming to an inevitable end soon and I am so sad — I have to take advantage while it lasts!
7:30 p.m. — I order Chinese food for the group from the place with the best rating on Yelp. I get sweet and sour chicken, General Tso’s, and Shrimp Lo Mein. My friends supply the alcohol and insist on Venmoing me something so I just ask for the $10 tip. I’m so excited to show them my new place because it’s SUCH an upgrade!! We eat on the terrace. $29.78
1:30 a.m. — My friends leave my apartment. I wash my face and fall into bed.
Daily Total: $129.78
9:30 a.m. — I wake up and know that I won’t be able to fall fully back to sleep. I decide to lounge in bed for a few hours.
11:30 a.m. — I get up and clean up. I wipe down the patio furniture, the kitchen, and the kitchen table. I take out the trash so that my roommates don’t have to clean up after to me.
12:45 p.m. — I reheat the sweet and sour chicken for lunch and text my friends to see what they’re up to this afternoon. I make some tentative plans before making myself an iced coffee.
2 p.m. — I continue the cleaning spree. I vacuum my room and bathroom then move into common spaces. Three girls shed so much hair. Then I wipe down and sanitize the bathroom — I am so lucky to have my own now!
4 p.m. — A few of my friends want to go to a golf simulator and invite me along. I stop for a bag of chips on the walk ($1.89). When I get there, I realize it’s more intense than I’d thought and I am 10 years of rusty. Thankfully we play a scramble, which benefits a wide variety of skill levels. While we’re there we get a few buckets of beer ($50). $51.89
6:15 p.m. — It’s turned into a beautiful day, so we decide to continue the day outside. We walk towards the West Village because my friends live that way.
7 p.m. — After a leisurely walk and being joined by S., we decide on an Israeli-Mediterranean place. We order a bottle of Malbec and labneh to start. I begin to feel a bit nauseous, but assume it’s just because I’m hungry. I order a burger with sweet potato fries, but am only able to pick at it. I realize the nausea is because of some issues I had with medication in the past week and am bummed about it. It’s one of those things where I am able to function normally, but it sucks the joy out of situations because I’m constantly thinking about how queasy I feel. $42.33
8:45 p.m. — I feel a bit better after getting the food down (and I should mention it was very good!) so I continue with my friends to another bar. I get a vodka cocktail, but realize that was a bad idea and only drink about half. The atmosphere is cozy though, and I’m able to enjoy the conversation with my friends. $14.88
10 p.m. — I decide to catch a Lyft Line home because I need to lie down and take some ibuprofen! I guess everyone else decides that they’re tired too so S. comes home with me. $5.25
12:30 a.m. — I really struggle to get to sleep with the queasiness, but eventually I do. I continue to wake up a few times in the night.
Daily Total: $114.35
10 a.m. — I wake up feeling better, but not 100%. I lounge around and listen to the new Taylor Swift album. My sister texts me that she likes “London Boy,” which concerns me about her taste.
12:15 p.m. — I start walking up to the Rockefeller Center area. Along the way I stop at Starbucks for a vanilla iced coffee. $3.76
1 p.m. — I get to the Paley Center and my roommate T. arrives minutes after me. We binged The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel together so we have fun reminiscing and taking pictures. I can’t believe the amount of people here who dressed in period attire! As we leave, I donate $10 (tickets were free) to the museum. Though I work in a finance-adjacent industry now, I spent a few summers working at museums and have also participated in the arts my entire life so I like to make sure that I support both types of cultural institution when I can! $10
2:30 p.m. — T. and I decide to go to a quick brunch before shopping in the area. We end up getting a great table on a rooftop patio — perfect timing! I have a chicken and waffle dish and enjoy the view. T. and I used to spend a TON of time together before both our jobs/lives got much busier so we are thankful for the chance to catch up. We talk about feeling in flux and how it seems like some people have their lives so put together (we don’t!). $17.42
4 p.m. — We stop into a few stores in the Upper East Side shopping district. I’m looking for a strapless bra. I have a few white tanks that I can’t wear because my only current strapless bra is hot pink floral (why). I try a few stores before going to Victoria’s Secret. I am certainly a member of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee so shopping for strapless can be a science. I grab a basic nude bra with a touch of push-up. It’s expensive, but knowing me I’ll have it for five years, so worth the investment. T. also finds a few swim separates so successes all around! $55.95
5:30 p.m. — For once in our lives the subway is running on a regular schedule! We catch a train pretty quickly and are back home in 15 minutes. T. and I part ways as she goes to grocery shop. I get home and take a nap.
7 p.m. — I’m feeling crummy again so I take an ibuprofen. I had a few (thankfully solved) health issues about a year ago, so I get really anxious when I don’t feel well. T. offers me a scoop of the pasta salad that she just made and I count that as dinner.
7:30 p.m. — I see I have a package and go down to the doorman to grab it. It’s the matting I ordered! I want to hang up a few Playbills in my room, but they are an unusual size that doesn’t frame well (or cheaply), so I got mats to fit into 8×10 frames. I had a hard time choosing just four to start, but decided on Hadestown, Hamilton, Dear Evan Hansen, and What The Constitution Means to Me.
10 p.m. — I eat a second “dinner” of mac and cheese. I know people rave about TJ’s frozen meals, but I always end up disappointed. I only eat about half before showering and going to bed.
Daily Total: $87.13
7 a.m. — Another day, another train. I take advantage of the fleeting white pants weather. The mild morning makes for a lovely 20 minute walk to the train.
8:30 a.m. —I start the day with an email check. I’m thankful that we are in the peak of “summer slowdown” and get started on a few things I need to catch up on.
12 p.m. — My coworker, K., asks if I want a chicken sandwich from Popeyes. A few of the office guys are taking a drive to find out if the sandwich is leading up to the hypes (and memes). I brought lunch so I decline and go to sit outside.
1:30 p.m. — Apparently the Popeyes line was stopped-traffic-level insane, so the guys bring back like 10 sandwiches to get more opinions. K. is convinced that I really wanted to try one (and he’s kind of right) so he got one for me. It’s much bigger and more like a full chicken breast than a Chick-fil-A sandwich, not as sweet, and does not have much sauce. I prefer the original Chick-fil-A version, but I also grew up on it in the South. There are literally three Chick-fil-As within a 10 minute vicinity of my childhood house. Office opinions are divided, but Popeyes certainly has more than a few converts. I Venmo so that no one shoulders the cost of all that chicken. $4.50
5:30 p.m. — I get out of my final meeting of the day and check Instagram. I posted a story about the Popeyes debate and it’s blowing up! A few people tell me that their local Popeyes were completely out of the sandwiches. I head out for the train.
7 p.m. — I stop by Trader Joe’s on my way home. I really need to restock so that I can get it together and meal prep/cook this week. I go about every two weeks, usually depending on how much I plan to eat out on the weekends. I get tomatoes, chicken breast, sourdough, baby carrots, arugula mix, veggie chips, pretzel slims, ice cream sandwiches, banana bread mix, garlic hummus, broccoli, peaches, and yellow zucchini. $37.37
7:30 p.m. — I get home and put together a quick snack plate of hummus, carrot sticks, sliced peach, and gouda. I’m hungry and don’t want to wait to cook. I also have a handful of veggie chips — I could genuinely eat the entire bag in one sitting! When I’m done I make chicken breast to go on salads. I also chop tomatoes and carrots and throw together a quick broccoli slaw with cranberry, sunflower seeds, feta, and balsamic. I put the salad into three containers for the week.
8:20 p.m. — I reward myself with an ice cream sandwich and clean up the kitchen. I’m trying to be better about cleaning up after myself.
9 p.m. — S. and T. get home within minutes of each other, and we recap our days before I go to shower. We’ve all recently hit our one year mark at our respective jobs and it is crazy to see how much our viewpoints on career paths and next steps have developed. As the artsy one of the group, I find myself enjoying business and strategy more than I expected. I took this job as a paycheck and ticket to NYC, but have learned so much in a year. I like that my creative pursuits won’t become stressors because they aren’t tied to income and that I am increasingly able to patronize the arts! My roommates are finding the culture at their jobs to be different than expected. Many of our other friends are in investment banking and fit neatly into the “two years then move on” bucket, while the three of us have come to the realization that our paths won’t be so neat. One commonality: we miss having summers off!
11 p.m. — My group chat reminds me that I need to book my flights out to the football game (ugh). Considering that I’m going between two big cities, it feels like flights should be cheaper than they are. I didn’t go on vacation this summer so that helps justify the flight’s $363 price tag (I’ve spent $463 total for the long weekend thus far and am hoping to cap my additional spending at $200). I remind myself how important it is to maximize my time there! $362.60
Daily Total: $404.47
7 a.m. — Get up, grab a salad, and run out the door. When I get to work, I make myself coffee and grab some Greek yogurt from the communal fridge.
11:30 a.m. — It’s a great day! We close a deal I’ve been working on for months! My boss is really excited with the amount we’re getting paid and I feel really proud of my work paying off in a tangible way!
12 p.m. — I sit outside to eat my salad.
1 p.m. — My luck continues! I get a notification that I won tickets to the new production of Hercules put on through the Public Theatre’s PublicWorks Shakespeare in the Park program. I invite a theatre friend and she is just as shocked that I won. Tickets are free.
6:30 p.m. — I get off the train and go across the street to a bar for happy hour with my coworkers. I’m impressed with their deals, but not impressed with the crowd, especially in this weird area. We open a tab, and I have two Dogfish IPAs. When we get the final bill, they only charged my coworker and I for one beer each. $6
7:45 p.m. — I peel off from my work squad as they head to their next bar and walk to my weekly trivia night. I go with the same team every week and usually we are pretty good! My teammates and I went to college together and know each other from various arts clubs (musical theatre, choirs, acapella).
10 p.m. — This week was hard, and we come in 4th. The host, who has become our friend, comes over to say hi before we head home. We pay with a $25 gift card, so I end up owing $4 with tax and tip. $4
12 a.m. — I shower and fall asleep.
Daily Total: $10
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