Welcome toMoney 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 freelance photographer, photo assistant, and tutor who makes $48,000 per year, and this week she spends some of it on a Coke.
Occupation: Freelance Photographer, Photo Assistant, and Tutor
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Monthly Take-Home Pay: I charge $50/ hour for tutoring, $38/hour for assisting, and $110/hour for photography (time on job shooting). I average about $4,000 a month.
Rent: $1,100 (My roommate and I split a two bedroom.)
Student Loans: $0. (I had college scholarships, and my parents covered the rest.)
Health Insurance: $0 (I’m still on my parents’ plan.)
Cell Phone: $0 (I’m on my parents’ plan.)
Credit Card Debt: $300-400 (After graduating college, I spent way outside my means. I $2,400 remaining after being up to $10,000 in debt a year ago. Right now I have a 0% APR credit card.)
Savings: I set aside 25% of my income for taxes and 5% to my emergency savings (I hope to divert money from my credit card payments into savings the next few months)
7:30 a.m. — I wake up suddenly and panic, thinking I’ve overslept. I look at my clock, but can’t go back to sleep, so I check emails. My schedule is different every day because I freelance, so I’m very paranoid about over sleeping.
10 a.m. — I take the subway with my weekly pass to my student’s home. I teach private lessons, and she is my oldest student at 73 learning Photoshop. She’s very sweet and making progress.
1:30 p.m. — I get home and make a giant balsamic steak and rice burrito with leftovers. I take an hour nap and wake up to a last minute gig I agreed to. I’m supposed to retouch a designer’s lookbook over the weekend while juggling my own shoot. I hate myself for accepting it, but I need the cash.
6:30 p.m. — I head to the gym. I am training to be a competitive powerlifter, and it’s probably the most stable/regular aspect of my life. Plus, I need the muscles for carrying equipment on photoshoots.
9:30 p.m. — Exhausted from gym session. It was nice to see the regulars though. And finally benching 145 pounds for reps! Stopped on the way home for some Oreo thins and crackers $10.88
10 p.m. — I snack and eat a tuna sandwich and salad for dinner as I work on my photo editing. I’m still hungry, so I make a protein pancake with chocolate chips. I also go online to order some Rogue wrist wraps for powerlifting. I injured my back a few months ago lifting, and now I’m paranoid about protecting myself! $17.80
11:30 p.m. — I get a text that the start time for tomorrow’s photoshoot is an hour earlier. Not pleased. I get everything prepped and ready for bed immediately.
Daily Total: $28.68
7 a.m. — The schedule change throws me off, and I’m tossing and turning all night. My sleep app tells me I got slightly less than 6 hours. Even worse, I receive an email from my retouching gig that they changed the photos and want them tonight for revisions (48 hours early!). I push back and say it’s not possible and that tomorrow is the earliest I can do. I hate it when clients plan poorly and try to dump it on someone else last minute.
7:30 a.m. — I shower and make protein pancakes with chocolate chips. I pack my camera and call a Lyft to midtown. $19.30
9 a.m. — Today, I’m shooting at an acting and modeling agency. This client is hard because they have me photograph anywhere from 16-20 people in a day. Most of them having little to no experience, and I have to chat with them to get them relaxed. I have some social anxiety, and it is extremely draining dealing with so many people.
4:30 p.m. — Today is the longest ever with 22 people. There are no breaks except to use the bathroom, and the shoot runs late. I’m wiped and call a Via home using credits.
5:30 p.m. — I make more burritos with lean beef, Spanish rice, corn, and lettuce. I eat some carrots and take a nap.
8 p.m. — I wake up and get to work on the editing. I stop next door at the bodega for a Coke to help energize me. $1.25
1 a.m. — I’m getting tired again and take another nap. My student cancelled for tomorrow, so I’d rather sleep now.
Daily Total: $20.55
5 a.m. — I wake up, put on some music, and edit while I snack on crackers and salami .
12:30 p.m. — Finished with round one! I’m dead tired. I upload the photos while I nap for 3 hours.
3:30 p.m. — I wake up to an email that the client is very impressed with the photos and that there are only a couple changes needed. I make a tuna sandwich and salad for lunch and call my sister. We end up talking for almost 2 hours while I work and clean the apartment while waiting for the client to give me the green light.
8:45 p.m. — I need fresh air! I take the bus to the Williamsburg Whole Foods and buy some beef short ribs, local oatmeal raisin cookies, Spanish rice, tangerines, and my favorite addition: Birch Benders Protein Pancake mix. I sit in the cafe and do the final revisions until closing time. It’s slightly warmer outside, so I decide to walk home. $39.20
11:30 p.m. — My mom calls, and I’m cooking. It’s Sunday and I have tomorrow off, so I go into a bit of a frenzy. My roommate is gone, so I can play my music loud and cook. I marinate my short ribs for my favorite Korean bbq tomorrow night, make chocolate chip banana bread, and cook some frozen chicken and Spanish rice for yet another burrito.
1 a.m. — I watch the season finale of Shameless while my banana bread is baking. I know my schedule is super messed up, but I’m used to it at this point. I go to bed around 3.
Daily Total: $39.20
7:30 a.m. — I wake up and write a contract for my client. I have today off, but I might as well do it while I’m awake nice and early. I go back to sleep after.
12 p.m. — I wake up again well rested and make my usual protein pancakes, tangerines, and yogurt. I shower and waste time on Tinder and Hinge and reading Reddit. I set up a date with this guy for Wednesday — except he slips that he lives in New Jersey. I’m an asshole with major no Jersey bias purely because of the commute from Brooklyn and bad past dating experiences, but I’m going to go ahead and see what happens.
3 p.m. — I go meet my friend for a work coffee date at Sey in Bushwick. It’s a beautiful minimalist cafe with white walls and plants where all the hipster creatives work. He covers since I got last time, and we work, sending emails, invoicing, etc. I take a work call to plan a shoot for next week.
6 p.m. — I take the subway home and eat some tangerines. I’m definitely looking forward to my kalbi marinating in the fridge. My new wrist wraps arrived in the mail, so I’m super excited to head to the gym!
9:30 p.m. — Awkward day at the gym. Some guy kept trying to talk to me when I had my headphones on, and I thought he was hitting on me so gave him huge grimace. Then on his second attempt, I actually listened to what he said, and I realized that we hooked up on Tinder six months ago… so bad. I go to Trader Joe’s and buy some bread, tuna, mayo, relish, salami, broccoli, onions, and pita chips. I head back home to make my delicious kalbi with rice and broccoli and talk with my sister on the phone a bit. $25.08
3 — I don’t really know how, but I managed to go to bed super late. I lose track of time reading articles online/browsing Reddit and Hinge.
Daily Total: $25.08
10:30 a.m. — I wake up, eat, and do some invoicing. I leave for my tutoring sessions on the Upper East Side.
3 p.m. — The new student — a woman in mid 50s — is nice. We schedule another lesson for Friday, and I leave for my next student in the Upper West Side. I have some time to kill, so I grab a whole wheat bagel with butter and a Vitamin Water at a bagel shop. $5.00
7 p.m. — Session is over, and I head home to Brooklyn. I eat leftovers and my chocolate chip banana bread. I watch the King’s Speech and check my finances. I use Mint and Qapital, and I’m very pleased with my spendings the last couple months and decide to treat myself to some new denim for spring out of my clothing budget. I buy a pair of black skinny jeans from Levi’s on super sale ($34.99) and a beautiful a-line denim skirt from 3×1 for a quarter of the original price on the RealReal ($57.45). Couldn’t be happier! $92.44
2 a.m. — I edit the photos from Saturday’s shoot and send them to the client. I go to bed around 4.
Daily Total: $97.44
11 a.m. — I wake up and make pancakes and yogurt. Emails as usual. I have my date tonight, so I pack a change of clothes and put a teeny bit of Erborian CC corrector on. This is the extent of my makeup routine as I’m always running late enough.
12:15 p.m. — I head to the Upper East Side to teach my latest student — a nutty 52-year-old woman going on 30. She is a fine art/boudoir photographer getting back in the swing of things and is a nice, but totally insane trust fund New Yorker who married well and divorced better.
4:30 p.m. — Wow, that was an exhausting lesson. I change and head over to Hell’s Kitchen for my Hinge date with G. He’s running late, and I’m very early, so I walk around Columbus Circle and look at all the pretty stores.
5:30 p.m. — I meet G in a little Mexican restaurant. I’m totally exhausted and don’t feel like I’m at the top of my game. At first I’m not sure about him as he’s a busy med student, dates a ton, and has only had a one year relationship by 30, which are red flags for to me. However, considering I went on 40 dates last year, I’m no saint. By the end we are chatting openly and having some laughs, even though we haven’t drank anything. He pays for dinner, I offer next time. We walk to the train station and share the quickest most chaste peck and head to our trains. I’m not even going to count it as a first kiss! We agree to meet up again.
8:30 p.m. — I catch up on emails, play a couple rounds of video games, work on my website/portfolio, and do some tax work. I’m exhausted and fall asleep around 1:30.
Daily Total: $0.00
10 a.m. — I wake up and go to therapy. It’s just an okay session. I’m thinking of switching doctors, as I feel like he doesn’t really do anything, and my parent’s insurance only covers so much of each session. (I’m on my parents insurance, and they cover the copay of the weekly session.)
12 p.m. — I go home and do some admin work. I take a quick nap and go to a meeting in FiDi with a photographer I want to assist. She is a freelancer badass and has been making waves in the industry for a decade. I think it goes well, and she will be in touch when she has a job fit.
4:30 p.m. — I head to midtown to meet my ex. We had plans to meet, but he doesn’t finish work when he says he will and doesn’t text me to say he’s running late. I’m stuck waiting around outside in the cold. I’m pretty upset and decide to cancel and go to the gym, which turns into a text fight. We have a pretty rocky relationship around respecting each other’s time and handling problems maturely. Old habits die hard.
8:30 p.m. — I feel slightly better, albeit exhausted, after the gym. The three-hour session help me clear my head and relax. It definitely keeps me active instead of playing video games in bed like I used to. I head home, cook dinner, and surf Netflix.
Daily Total: $0.00
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