A Week In New York, NY On A $78,922 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.

This week: an associate marketing director working in publishing who makes $78,922 per year and spends some of her money this week on Moroccan Oil.

Occupation: Associate Director, Marketing
Industry: Publishing
Age: 36
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $78,922
Paycheck Amount (biweekly ): $1,672.41/$1,784.86
Gender Identity: Woman





Monthly Expenses
Rent: $0 (When my then boyfriend and now husband, C., and I moved in together, I moved into the apartment he’d purchased just before we met. Ever since we’ve lived together, he’s paid the mortgage on our place and I’ve put money toward our monthly travel fund instead. We started this arrangement as a way to pay for our wedding on our own and have kept it up ever since.)
Loans $0 (paid off the last of my student loan debt almost two years ago, thanks to a little help from C.)
Gym: $65
Monthly MetroCard: $127 taken out of my paycheck pre-tax
Cell Phone: $67.13 (C. and I share a family plan, but we split the costs by line each month)
Monthly Donations: $135 (across several charities, including the National Abortion Fund, Children’s Inc., EarthJustice, the DNC, and PBS)
Savings: $500, plus I transfer 18% of my paycheck to a 401(k) account each month pre-tax
Credit Card Payment: $450 (If my expenses are less than that, I add the balance to my savings.)
Amazon Prime: $0 (C. pays)
Netflix: $8.70
Hulu: $5.99
Internet: $0 (C. pays)











Day One

7:45 a.m. — My alarm goes off a little later than normal for me. I’m currently empaneled on a federal grand jury, and I have to report to court today so I won’t be going into the office. Reporting time at court is 9:30. Before heading out the door, I make myself a smoothie using Greek yogurt, some plant-based protein powder, spinach, a banana, and some frozen berries. I also make myself an iced coffee using chilled coffee from our French press I made last night.

8:45 a.m. — Kiss C. goodbye and head downtown using my prepaid monthly MetroCard.

9:42 a.m. — Arrive in the jury room a little late due to an unusually long line at security. I’m informed by my fellow jurors that juror number 16 is currently a no-show. We need at least 16 jurors in attendance to hear a case, so we’re in limbo waiting for her. Instead of getting dismissed, we’re kept waiting for several hours while the office tries to track her down.

11:30 a.m. — After waiting around for almost two hours, we’re notified our missing juror has been located and she’s on her way in. We’re expected to start hearing cases at 12:30, so we break for lunch. I take a short walk to a ’Wichcraft near the court. I’m usually not a huge fan of their sandwiches, but they do an amazing seasonal BLT sandwich in August and September. I get a BLT, a bag of chips, and a can of fancy seltzer. I almost die when the cashier rings up the total and it’s $17. That’s a hefty price for a sandwich, but it is an amazing BLT. $17

3 p.m. — After hearing several cases, we are dismissed for the day and I get ready to head home. On my way to the subway I get a notification from FedEx that they attempted to deliver a package to my address, but no one was available to sign for it. It’s medication from a specialty pharmacy that I need for my next round of IUI treatment next week, so I’ll need to go pick this package up from the FedEx shipping center in the Bronx tonight. Annoying.

4 p.m. — I get back to my apartment to find out that the dryers have finally been turned back on in the laundry room! Our building is slowly updating all the gas lines, and the line connected to the dryers has been out for almost two months. We’ve been line-drying most of our laundry during this time, but I’ve let some items like sheets and towels build up. I instantly drop everything and throw four loads of laundry in before it gets too crowded. I have to top up the laundry card to get it all done. $35

5:49 p.m. — I get a notification from FedEx that my package has returned to the shipping facility, so I head out to pick it up. I text C. on my way, asking him to get supplies for dinner while I go pick up the package. He obliges.

7:10 p.m. — Successfully collected my package and headed home. On the subway back home I sit in a huge puddle of water I didn’t see on the seat. This day, man.

8 p.m. — Glad to be home, but grossed out about the (hopefully) water I sat in on the subway. I immediately jump in the shower. When I get out C. is home and making dinner. He makes us pasta with chicken sausage, tomatoes, peppers, and onions. Yum! We settle in for a relaxing night of Netflix. We begin the second season of Mindhunters, but I’m asleep before the credits roll on the second episode.

Daily Total: $52

Day Two

5:45 a.m. — A few times a month I volunteer at a women’s health clinic as a clinic escort. We meet at 7:30 and help escort patients to their appointments through the group of protestors who come out every weekend. It’s an early call time for a weekend, but I’m happy to do it. On my way to the subway I realize I left the Clomid pills I am taking this week in anticipation of my next IUI treatment at home. I try to take the pill the same time every day, but it’s too late to turn back. Oh, well, it will be fine. I stop at a local bodega for an iced coffee and a blueberry muffin. $5.25

10:30 a.m. — Pretty uneventful day at the clinic, but we did have an Academy Award–winning actress join us on the street today! It was almost comical how her being there tripped up some of the regular protestors.

12 p.m.— On my way back to my apartment, I stop for a grilled cheese and tomato, a bag of Fritos, and a can of Diet Dr. Pepper from a different local bodega. $7

1:45 p.m. — I decide to watch BlacKkKlansman on HBO via our Amazon Prime add-on subscription (which C. pays for) and chill. C. is training for a nine-day bike ride across the U.K., so he’s out of the house for the day and I have the apartment to myself. I try to resist the urge to nap, but I know I’ll probably cave.

4:30 p.m. — I knew I would fall asleep! No matter what time I go to bed the night before, that 5:45 wake-up call kills me. C. has texted me while I was sleeping to say his ride is going a little longer than he thought. I like having the apartment to myself, so this is fine with me. I lie on the couch for a little bit longer, scrolling through social media before I get up. I’m feeling a little hungry again, but I want to wait for C. to come home so we can have dinner together. I eat Greek yogurt with peanut butter, honey, and frozen fruit on top as a snack before putzing around the apartment.

5 p.m. — While I wait for C. to come home, I decide to catch up on the episodes of Mindhunter that I slept through last night, so C. and I will be in the same place for later. While I’m doing this, I make plans with my dad to come to New Jersey tomorrow to visit my grandmother, who has recently transitioned from living with my parents to a nursing home nearby. I also text my friend K., who still lives in our hometown, to see if she wants to have lunch when I come to town tomorrow. While I relax, I order us a new Zero Waste box for our kitchen through TerraCycle. C. and I are passionate about lowering our impact on the earth, and TerraCycle is one way we do this. They work hard to recycle products that would otherwise end up in landfills. One small box lasts us about three months. $109

6:45 p.m. — C. texts to say his cycle group is going REALLY slow and they are getting the 8:40 p.m. train from Poughkeepsie, so he won’t be home before 10. So much for having dinner together. I decide to heat up leftover pasta, sausage, tomatoes, peppers, and onions from last night and settle in for a quiet night with Netflix. I travel a lot for work and for pleasure, so when I’m home over a weekend, I tend to stay in and enjoy it.

10:30 p.m. — I finally give up on waiting for C. and head to bed. I’m feeling lazy tonight from all my relaxing, so I just brush my teeth and call it a night. I fall asleep listening to a Headspace sleepcast and don’t hear C. when he gets in an hour later.

Daily Total: $121.25

Day Three

8:45 a.m. — Up 30 minutes before my alarm, but C. is up too so we snuggle in bed and he fills me in on his ride. We make plans for the day, and he decides he’ll come to New Jersey a bit later on to visit my grandmother with me, but will pass on lunch with K. I ask him if he’ll grab us breakfast while I shower. I’ve been trying out different shampoo bars to see which one works best for my hair. Today I try one that I bought at an arts fair in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, when I was there back in June. The vendor said it was specifically good for dry hair, but I’m not really feeling the difference. I’ve found a bunch of shampoo bars that I like, but I have yet to find a good conditioner. I make a mental note to read up on conditioning products on the train ride to New Jersey.

9:50 a.m. — C. and I finish up a breakfast of bagels and coffee. He got the bagel at our local bodega, and we made the coffee at home in the French press. I get ready to head out to catch the 11:11 train to New Jersey. We have a good-natured debate about the best way to get to Penn Station from our apartment, each of us having a preferred route.

11:11 a.m. — Off to New Jersey! I took C.’s route to Penn Station, mostly so I could stop by our neighborhood coffee shop for another iced coffee. I use my monthly MetroCard to get to Penn and remember I have train tickets that were never collected from the last time we went to visit my family, so the trip to New Jersey costs me nothing. $3

12:25 p.m. — I am a little early to meet K. for lunch, so I stop in Bluemercury to check out their hair products. I end up leaving with a small bottle of Moroccan Oil. I want to try it out and see if it will work well for me before committing to a larger bottle. $15.99

2 p.m. — K. saves me the walk to my parents’ and drops me off on her way home. She’s had some health issues over the years that have made it hard to make plans, but I am glad we had a chance to catch up. She is starting a grad program next week, and I’m excited for her. We shared fried pickles, and I got a Diet Coke plus a mixed-greens salad with chorizo, black beans, and avocado. K. had a Chicago-style pork roll with sweet-potato waffle fries. We split the bill down the middle. $21.32

3:15 p.m. — C. texts to say he is a few stops away, so I leave my parents’ and drive to pick him up. We head directly to my grandma’s nursing home. She’s sleeping when we get there and a little groggy for the rest of the visit, but we stay for about an hour before letting her rest. I stop at a CVS on the way back to my parents’ to get some styling mousse. $4.68

5:25 p.m. — My Dad drives us to the train, and C. and I head back to NYC. We discuss what to do for dinner and decide that I’ll stop at the grocery store on my way back to the apartment, and C. will head straight home with some of the stuff I brought back to the city from my parents’ place. I still have a ticket from our last trip to NJ, so the train trip back costs nothing.

7 p.m. — I part ways with C. at Penn Station so I can head to the west side to go to Trader Joe’s and he can head home to the east side. I wish the UES had a Trader Joe’s, but it’s not the worst getting to the west side location. Except, of course, the 1 train isn’t running this weekend, so I have to take a detour. I make it to Trader Joe’s and leave with breaded chicken, frozen berries, Greek yogurt, plant-based protein powder, mustard, potatoes, peaches, bananas, and an impulsive purchase of some gummy candy. $39.72

7 p.m. — On my way to the crosstown bus, I make a second stop at Fairway to get some more veggies. I hate that Trader Joe’s packages so much of their vegetables in plastic, and I don’t mind making the second stop to avoid this. Especially since there is already so much plastic packaging involved in the items I did buy (most of which can go in our TerraCycle box, but still). I pick up some green beans in my reusable produce bag and two carrots. $2.02

7 p.m. — One last stop on the way to the bus! I stop at Lush to pick up a few items from their Naked range. I get a body-lotion bar and a hot-oil hair treatment, plus one of their shampoo bars that I love because I am still thinking about my disappointing shampoo bar from this morning. Besides the hot-oil stick, which is single-use, these items will last me a while. $39.03

8:30 p.m. — Arrive home and pass the groceries over to C. I don’t like cooking, nor am I very good at it, so C. does most of the cooking for our joint meals. I get comfy on the couch while he does his thing. He uses the food I just bought to make us breaded chicken with veggies. He also makes himself mashed potatoes, but I stick to the green beans.

9:30 p.m. — We settle in to watch Mindhunter. We discover I watched one too many episodes when I was trying to catch up. While C. catches up to me, I make my lunch and coffee for the morning. I basically eat the same thing for lunch during the week. Each night I make a spinach salad with capers, feta cheese, and frozen shrimp from Trader Joe’s that I defrost overnight. I top it off with Trader Joe’s Greek feta dressing. I also pack a peach and a green pepper I slice up for a snack and make coffee that I will chill overnight for an iced coffee in the morning. We watch one more episode of Mindhunter before calling it a night around 11.

Daily Total: $125.76

Day Four

6:05 a.m. — Alarm goes off, but I snooze. I use the iPhone bedtime feature as my alarm so the sound builds gradually, which makes me feel like snoozing is not so bad. C. would probably disagree.

6:45 a.m. — I finally get out of bed and start getting ready for the day. I jump in the shower and bring my new Moroccan Oil with me. When I get out, I make my standard breakfast smoothie using Greek yogurt, plant-based protein powder, frozen berries, and a banana. I realize I used all the spinach I had to make my lunch last night, so I grab a reusable produce bag and make a note to get some on my way home from work. I gather the lunch and coffee I prepped the night before and give a sleeping C. a kiss before heading out the door.

8:15 a.m. — Arrive at work. I am usually one of the first people in the office in the morning. I like to get a jump on the day before all the meetings start up. Today I have to report to jury duty at 10:30, so I am extra grateful for the time to get stuff done. I reply to emails and keep a few projects moving before heading to court at 10.

12:45 p.m. — We break for lunch, and I eat my salad in the juror break room. I also help myself to a small pack of Welch’s fruit snacks that are in the break room for jurors and other court officials to snack on. We have some downtime until our next case at 2, so I take the rest of the time to read my book.

3:45 p.m. — After hearing two more cases, we’re done for the day and I head back uptown. I take it as a huge personal triumph that I remember to stop for spinach, and as a result treat myself to a black-and-white cookie. $9.18

5 p.m. — I arrive home and throw a load of laundry in before digging into work emails that came in while I was in court. I still have money on the laundry card from the weekend, so no need to top up.

7:30 p.m. — C. gets home just as I am putting away the last of the laundry. Per usual he is on cooking duty, and we have the same meal as last night —chicken with veggies, plus potatoes for C. I do my Lush hot-oil treatment while he cooks.

9:30 p.m. — Dinner is done, and C. and I settle in for some more Mindhunter. While we are watching, I prep my standard lunch salad and coffee for the morning. We call it a night around 11.

Daily Total: $9.18

Day Five

5:50 a.m. — Ugh. Another early morning, but it can’t be helped. I need to go to the NYU Fertility Center this morning to have blood drawn and an ultrasound to see if I am ready for my trigger shot for the next stage of my IUI treatment. I make my standard breakfast smoothie (today with spinach, since I remembered to buy some yesterday!), pack up my standard lunch salad, and prep my iced coffee that I made last night. I’m out the door in about 40 minutes. Since this is a walk-in facility, I try to always go first thing in the morning, so I don’t have to wait too long.

7:10 a.m. — I use my monthly MetroCard to take the bus downtown. I am the second patient in the waiting room. After several attempts to find a vein, I get my blood drawn and get to see my actual doctor for the ultrasound. I’m not ready for the trigger shot, and she tells me I’ll probably have to come back on Thursday, but the office will call to confirm once they’ve processed the blood work. Thankfully, my insurance has been great so far, so this visit will cost me nothing.

8:15 a.m. — I have jury duty again today. This makes three days in a row, which is a first. Since I was selected on August 1, I’ve only had to report a handful of times, but I guess things are picking up. I don’t need to arrive at court until 9:30, so I take the subway to the office to answer emails and get some work done.

9:30 a.m. — We have three cases to hear this morning, so I settle in for a few hours of civic duty.

1:15 p.m. — We’re dismissed for the day, and I take the subway the two stops to my office. I’m really getting the full use of my monthly MetroCard today! When I arrive in the office, I catch up with my friend N., who has been on vacation for the last two weeks, and then eat my salad at my desk.

3:20 p.m. — I snack on the peach I brought with me this morning before heading into a meeting. I have two easy meetings this afternoon, and then we have a company mixer. We recently moved to a new building, so this is an attempt to get us to socialize with our new floormates. I usually hate the idea of forced fun, but hopefully this will be a good afternoon distraction.

6 p.m. — The mixer is very crowded and very loud, so I grab a cupcake, say hi to a few people, and then head back to my desk. I call in and find out I have jury duty again tomorrow, so I am glad I bailed on the party early, since I will be out again. I check a few things off my to-do list and text C. to see when he was thinking of leaving work. If our schedules line up, we try to take the train home together in the evening, but he is taking a spin class at the gym tonight in preparation for his upcoming nine-day bike trip, so I head home alone.

7 p.m. — I am beat from my early morning, and as previously mentioned, I hate cooking, so I keep it simple and have some Greek yogurt with peanut butter, honey, and berries for dinner. I don’t have much motivation for anything else, so I lie on the couch and read for a little until C. gets home. He makes himself cereal for dinner, and we settle in for the last episode of Mindhunter. I fall asleep about 20 minutes into the episode.

Daily Total: $0

Day Six

6:45 a.m. — I was honest with myself about what time I thought I would ACTUALLY get out of bed this morning so I don’t disturb C. with my snoozing. I take a quick shower and then make my breakfast and lunch. It’s the same as previous days: smoothie for breakfast, spinach salad with shrimp, etc. for lunch. But I fell asleep last night before making my lunch salad, so it takes me a little longer this morning. I’m still out the door by 7:30.

8:15 a.m. — I arrive at work, determined to be productive until I have to leave for jury duty at 10, but I get sucked into chatting with my other friend N. about work and lose at least 30 minutes. Oh, well!

10 a.m. — Take the subway the two stops to jury duty and put in an hour at the courthouse. Two of the cases we were meant to hear today got canceled, so I’m headed back to the office way earlier than expected!

12 p.m.— I’m starving, so I eat my salad and the peach I brought for lunch promptly at noon, while getting my to-do list in order and prepping for my afternoon meetings.

3 p.m. — I’m still hungry, so I head upstairs to the vending machine and grab a Twix AND a packet of Smartfood popcorn. $1.50

5:30 p.m. — I call the jury office and find out I need to report to jury duty AGAIN tomorrow. Being on a grand jury is no joke. I set my out-of-office and call it a day. I text C. on my way out to coordinate evening plans. We’re both headed to the gym, but make plans to eat dinner together.

7 p.m. — I do 30 minutes on the elliptical before heading home. C.’s taking a class downtown, so I eat a spoonful of peanut butter to hold me over until he gets home.

8 p.m. — C. arrives with groceries in hand. He makes us open-face toasted cheese sandwiches with tomato and onion. Afterward, we share a fancy yogurt I bought a week or so ago but forgot in the fridge and settle in to watch some Netflix. We’ve finished Mindhunter, so we’re looking for a new show to watch. We settle on Orange Is the New Black and watch the first few episodes before calling it a night at 11.

Daily Total: $1.50

Day Seven

5:50 a.m. — Ugh. Alarm rings waaaaay too early, but I’m headed to the NYU Fertility Center again this morning. I take a quick shower and then make my regular smoothie and an iced coffee before heading out the door at 6:30 a.m. I skip making my lunch, so I’ll have to pick something up later.

7:15 a.m. — Arrive at the clinic, and it’s more crowded this morning. Luckily, I don’t have to wait too long, as I have to report to jury duty again today and am hoping to swing by the office first. The nurses get me through quickly and notify me I’m ready for my trigger shot. C. and I will have to come back tomorrow for the final step in the IUI process. Then we’ll cross our fingers and wait.

8:15 a.m. — I’m able to swing by the office to take care of emails and pass off some meetings, since it looks like I have a full day of court ahead of me. I leave the office at 9 and take the subway the two stops to court, where it is confirmed that we do indeed have a full day of cases.

11 a.m. — We have an hour between cases, so I take the opportunity to retrieve my cell phone from the clerk to see if NYU has called with a schedule for tomorrow. I’m also starving, so I stop at a deli by the courthouse and grab a sausage roll. $4

1 p.m. — We break for lunch, and all I want to do is go to my favorite dim sum place in Chinatown for dumplings, but just as I am about to reach the restaurant, I see our foreman coming around the opposite corner, about to enter the restaurant. Something about this guy has been rubbing me the wrong way, and I can’t stand the idea of spending my lunch break with him, so I retreat and grab a sandwich and a ginger beer at Pret. It’s not the same. $9.98

4:30 p.m. — We’re dismissed for the day (and, I’m hoping, the week). I’m meeting a friend for dinner at 6:45 downtown, but I decide I have enough time to head home to the UES and lie down for a little before.

6 p.m. — After lying down for a little and freshening up, I head out to meet my friend D. at Murray’s Cheese Bar. We met at work a few years ago, and even though we work at different companies now, she’s remained one of my very best friends. We decide to share a lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, buffalo cheese curds, and a cherry tomato and ricotta salad. D. has two glasses of wine, but since I’m being inseminated tomorrow, I stick to an artisan ginger ale. When it comes time to pay, we split the bill down the middle. $69.79

9:30 p.m. — Back at home, and C. is home making dinner. We watch an episode of Orange Is the New Black before calling it a night.

Daily Total: $83.77

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