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: an economic development manager who makes $80,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Narragansett beer.
Occupation: Economic Development Manager
Industry: Corporate Social Responsibility
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): ~$2,100/paycheck after tax
Gender Identity: Woman
Rent: $2,150 split evenly with my partner, $1,075 for my half
Student Loans: A scholarship paid for my undergrad, and I recently paid off $60,000 of grad school loans.
Phone Bill: $40, paid for by my company
Car: $0 (We use my partner’s car now, which is paid off, and I gave my car to my mom when hers broke down — it was also paid off.)
Utilities: About $100, split evenly with my partner
Netflix: We use my partner’s parents’ account
Hulu: We use my old coworker’s brother’s account
iTunes Storage: $0.99
Health Insurance: $55
Dental Insurance: $6
Savings: I have $35,000 in savings now, and I save about $2,500/month
403(b): Currently has about $25,000 in it
Mutual Fund: I invested $20,000 in a mutual fund in 2015, which is now at about $29,000 (down from a high of $31,000)
Roth IRA: I have $6,000 in it. I keep forgetting to add to it.
Joint Account: $1,400 each
6:30 a.m. — Wake up and have a cup of green tea that I brewed yesterday and put in the fridge. I brew tea in the kettle, then have a day of hot tea, then put the remainder in the fridge and alternate each day to get more use out of each tea bag. Do a HIIT workout that I make up as I go in the living room. I was doing the ClassPass live free trial not too long ago, but I don’t want to pay to continue it, so I just do what I remember. It takes about 25 minutes, and sweat is POURING out of me. I guess it’s officially summer in NYC.
8:30 a.m. — My partner, B., takes our dog for a walk and makes us breakfast. I generally make lunches/dinner, and he always does breakfast. We have avocado toast with two fried eggs on top. After that we get all of our stuff ready for work, grab frozen lunch meal prep out of the freezer that I made last week, and walk to work.
11 a.m. — I’ve been manically working and trying to get everything I have to do today done early, because I want to write some cover letters for some job applications while I’m still in the office today. I’ve been at my job for a year and am pretty unhappy. I worked in nonprofits for almost a decade before this, then went to graduate school for public policy, and after I got my master’s last spring I took a corporate social responsibility job. It pays well, but I’ve learned that it’s not as important to me as feeling like my work is purposeful each day. Over the past week or so, my lack of prospects has really jacked up my anxiety and got me feeling pretty down, so I want to send out a ton of applications before the weekend when I’ll be too busy to work on them.
5 p.m. — I spend the rest of the day flipping between work and cover letters. I take the train with my prepaid card — I don’t do monthly passes, because I walk to work frequently and it wouldn’t be worth it. I put about $40 on this card last week.
5:30 p.m. — Stop by the library to pick up a book I ordered. When I go to check out, I find out I have a fine because of a book I lost a few weeks ago ( The Best Place on Earth by Ayelet Tsabari — highly recommend!). They’re charging me $29 for it, when everything online says it’s $12. We debate about this for a few minutes, but I have to concede if I want to check out any more books, which I do all the time, so I pay it. I don’t really mind paying the library, but it still seems like a bit much. $29
6:30 p.m. — Have dinner of leftover chickpea curry I made last night. I also made fresh pita bread to go with it yesterday, but B. ate it all in one sitting. While I eat I FaceTime my friend in Louisiana, who I met in grad school. We do this just about every day and normally talk for like an hour. I’ve been in NY for a year and have been pretty lonely at times, so I’m grateful that I have a strong group of friends in other places that are just a call away.
8 p.m. — As I’m walking out of our building to walk the dog, I run into B., who is just getting home. He picked up a vacuum on the way back from work from someone on Letgo, which we really needed because our dog sheds so much (I honestly don’t know how he still has hair on his body). It was also a great score — it’s a barely used $200 vacuum that he got for $30! He paid for it with his own cash. This is actually a bad habit that he has. We split finances evenly by depositing about $1,400/month each in a joint account, and I like to be able to keep track of our expenses by referencing everything through the transaction history on there and categorizing it in an Excel sheet. But he goes and pays for things in cash, which makes that hard. I also want to contribute to these expenses, and we aren’t really the type to Venmo each other $15. Anyway, I don’t record this because it’s not an expense for me.
10 p.m. — I get into bed to read my new book, The Silent Patient. I get a few chapters in and then knock out.
Daily Total: $29
6:30 a.m. — Wake up and make some tea. I don’t work out on Fridays, so I just chill and listen to some music. My boss let me know last night that he was going to be out today so I can work from home, which is great news because I can send out more job apps.
8 a.m. — B. makes us breakfast (avocado toast with eggs again). Not the cheapest daily breakfast, but I’d rather have more avocados and less money. Priorities. After he leaves for work, I walk the dog and settle in to get some work and job applications done while watching The Great British Bake Off.
11:30 a.m. — I enter the Hamilton lottery through the app on my phone. I’ve been entering every day for weeks and haven’t gotten lucky so far. I recently became a Broadway fan and have seen Book of Mormon, Dear Evan Hansen, and Wicked all through lotteries/standing room. If you win the Hamilton lottery, you win two tickets for $10/each!!
1 p.m. — While having lunch (meal prep again), I pay my mom for my dog’s recent check-up. She works at a vet hospital, so she gets a great discount for our animals. He got a few shot updates, a teeth cleaning, and a tooth removed. We think he looks exactly like Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon, so now the name fits even better. I pay out of our joint account (original cost was $1,100, but with the discount it’s $400 — $200 for my half). $200
1:30 p.m. — While I’m looking at my online account, I do a quick review of my savings/checking. It’s kind of hard to look at right now for a few reasons: I went on a three-week trip recently to Egypt and Israel (which was incredible but expensive), so it’s taken a couple thousand dollar hit from that. But the bigger thing is that last month I also paid off my student loans from grad school. My total tuition was ~$80,000, and I paid $20,000 up front and then took a $60,000 loan. I was making ~$2,000 payments per month on it for the past year, but having that debt hanging over me (and daily interest accruing) was severely impacting my anxiety and just about every decision I made, so I chose to pay it off in one ~$30,000 payment.
3 p.m. — I finish my last call of the day, and it’s officially the weekend!! Love summer Fridays. I head down to Key Foods to grab chicken, onion, lemons, blueberries, and sugar. I live right next door, so we don’t really stock food anymore, we just go down and grab stuff as we need it. It’s great because we don’t really ever waste food. My only complaint is that I bring a reusable bag, and the checkout people never really listen to me and start bagging stuff anyway, which happens today. So after un-bagging my stuff to put it in my own bag, my total comes out to $12.40. $12.40
4 p.m. — I FaceTime my friend in Louisiana so we can have “yeasterday,” which is where we bake bread together over FaceTime. We do this like once a week, and on the menu today is lemon blueberry bread from Pinch of Yum. It turns out great! I highly recommend this for long-distance friendships, because it’s an actual activity to do together besides just talking.
6 p.m. — I get ready to go to B.’s friend’s house for a start-of-summer rooftop party. She lives in a cool building in lower Manhattan, so it should be a good time. I grab a bottle of rosé I have in the house to bring and am out the door around 6:30. I take the subway with a prepaid card.
11:30 p.m. — I had a great time and saw an amazing sunset from the roof, but around 11:30 I’m almost asleep. B. pays for a Lyft home. I make some drunk pasta that I eat with my hands and fall asleep by 12:30.
Daily Total: $212.40
7 a.m. — Wake up a little later than normal. The hangover gods are kind today, but I am exhausted from a bad night of sleep. I force myself up, and the dog and I head to the park for our Saturday morning run, about five miles.
8 a.m. — Back from park #1, we stop by the house to get B. and head to park #2. There’s another park near our apartment that is off-leash until 9 a.m., so on weekend mornings it is packed with 100 dogs (not an exaggeration!). It’s the highlight of my week, because our pup gets lots of socialization and they also have a farmer’s market with tons of great snacks. It’s where we drop off our compost. It’s a 15-minute walk there, and we stay for about an hour before heading home for breakfast.
1 p.m. — I’m still pretty tired from last night, so I spend most of the morning shuffling between reading, watching Black Mirror (season five is…not great), and cooking a big batch of chicken tikka masala with a slaw-ish thing for a side.
3 p.m. — We head back to the park (third time today!) to meet up with some friends for a picnic. We have this one friend here that is really great at organizing stuff like this, and I’m so grateful for it. We don’t bring the dog because he is not great around strangers and has a tendency to just bark nonstop at them, which can ruin a picnic fast. I really wish this was different, because this is a perfect dog activity, but he’s kind of a forever work in progress. I bring the lemon blueberry bread I made yesterday and stop at the store to grab some cider and salt-and-vinegar chips (paid for with our joint debit card, $7 for my half).The picnic is fun and the weather is perfect. We play Uno and blow bubbles and play with some pups. It’s truly a pleasant summer day. $7
7 p.m. — We get back to the house and have the leftover tikka masala for dinner. This is the best time of day in my apartment, because it’s the only time we get good light, so I just sit and appreciate New York for a minute. B. heads out to play basketball with a friend, and I call my mom.
9 p.m. — I’m exhausted and read a couple more chapters of my book before going to bed.
Daily Total: $7
6:15 a.m. — I wake up feeling much more rested than yesterday. Dog and I head out on our five-mile run through the park and get back around 7:15 to start packing up the car. We’re headed to Providence today to visit some old friends, and I am so excited!
10 a.m. — The drive is going by pretty fast. We stop at a gas station to get gas ($28), and B. gets a coffee ($2). We spend the drive listening to Lizzo and trying not to get the dog’s hair on everything. We generally put purchases on our joint card when we’re together. $15
11 a.m. — We pull into town and immediately go to meet up with a person whom we’re buying an air conditioner off of on Craigslist. We’ve been thinking about buying one for a while (we barely survived last summer in our fourth-floor apartment with no A/C!), and when we saw someone in Providence put up a brand new one for $35, we finally decided to do it. Very excited to set this thing up when we’re back home. $18
11:15 a.m. — We stop by the dog park so the pup can get his zoomies out. I love this park because it’s right on the water, and today is absolutely perfect weather, so Providence is in fine form.
12 p.m. — On our way over to meet our friends, we pass by our favorite Indian specialty store and stop by to get some more of their tikka masala sauce. It’s perfect timing, because we just ran out when I made it a few days ago, and I haven’t been able to find it in NY ($4.50 paid with joint card, $2.25 for my half). $2.25
1 p.m. — Reunited! We meet up with the group at PVD Fest and walk around for a bit. We watch the acrobatic thing where people dance suspended off this platform hanging from a crane, which is amazing but terrifying, and I get a Dels lemonade. $3
1:30 p.m. — PVD Fest was fun, but we all just want to sit around and talk, so we head over to Tallulah’s for lunch. B. and I share (very large) nachos and a couple beers (he pays). Is anything as good as eating some nachos with your friends in the summer?
4 p.m. — We spend a good few hours eating and catching up, and I spend a large portion of the lunch trying to convince everyone to move to California with us so we don’t have to miss them when we eventually leave the East Coast. I get some takers! We take a nice walk around the neighborhood, taking adequate time to stand in front of all our old houses, and wonder who lives there now. We also stop by Bottles, the neighborhood liquor store that we were FREQUENT patrons of back in school, to pick up a Narragansett variety pack ($7 for my half). We walk over to the park and have a last beer together in the sun. $7
5:30 p.m. — It’s finally time to head out. It takes about 45 minutes to drive from Providence to the coast, and we want to get down there while there’s still light left. We stop by Shaw’s on the way to pick up steak, potatoes, onions, bell peppers, and bananas to cook over the fire ($6 for my half). $6
6:30 p.m. — We have arrived! It’s a beautiful campsite right on the water, and because it’s a Sunday there’s almost nobody else here. I take doggo for a walk, and B. gets the fire going. When I get back, I get all the food set up, and less than an hour later we’re eating a delicious meal while watching the sunset over the lake. The site costs $14, paid with the joint card. $7
9 p.m. — We sit and play with the fire for an hour or so before we both get in the tent to sleep. I love camping because it’s great spending time outdoors, but it’s extra fun with the pup. He snuggles up between us, and I get maybe a page through my book before falling asleep.
Daily Total: $58.25
5:30 a.m. — I fell asleep extra early, so I’m up extra early. I watch the sunrise from my sleeping bag and enjoy the peaceful morning. After B. wakes up we go on a walk by the water and through the woods, and pack up and head out around 8. We stop by a cute little diner for breakfast, where I get a veggie omelet with country fried potatoes and an English muffin ($7), and B. gets a “soupy” omelette ($9), which is stuffed with a salami. The waitress insists it’s unique to Rhode Island and world famous. Okay! B. pays ($20.26 with tip).
9 a.m. — We drive over to the public beach in Watch Hill (right next to Taylor Swift’s house, but unfortunately I don’t think she’s home) to enjoy the coast for a bit. We have to sneak the pup down because these beaches are very fancy and strict.
10 a.m. — We leave to start the drive back around 10 and only stop once to get a latte from Starbucks. I have a gift card and my reusable cup with me, so why not! We get home just after 12 to a giant block party right by our building. The Notorious B.I.G. was from our neighborhood, and this event is to honor him. It’s really fun, and so sweet to hear his mom talk about him.
5 p.m. — Today has gone by so fast. I’ve just been picking at random stuff in the fridge for food and took a nice long bath to relax and read. I got a nice surprise that one of the jobs I applied for on Friday wants an interview tomorrow (!!!), so I do a bit of research on them, although I’m already pretty familiar because this is one of my top choices for places to work.
10 p.m. — I don’t know how it’s already this late. I go to bed while B. stays up to watch Game 5 of the NBA finals. He is a longtime Warriors fan, and I fall asleep to some distressed cries.
Daily Total: $0
3 a.m. — I wake up and randomly start throwing up? I have no idea why this is happening. I spend the next three hours going between the couch and toilet.
7 a.m. — The puking seems to have stopped, but I still feel nauseous and my stomach just hurts in a weird way. I don’t want to go to work but feel like I should, since I took yesterday off. I try to choke down a couple eggs and tea, put on some leggings and a sweatshirt (thank God I have a supremely casual office), and we take the train to work around 8:45 (prepaid card).
12 p.m. — I’m in meetings and catching up on emails all morning while simultaneously trying not to puke on my coworkers.
12:30 p.m. — I have my interview! She calls and we chat for about 30 minutes. It was one of those interviews where they’re mostly just asking questions and writing down your answers (not a flowing conversation), so it was hard for me to read if she liked me, but then she asked me to come in next week for the next round! I’m trying not to get my hopes up too high, because I’ve done this so many times over the past few months, but I can’t help it.
3 p.m. — I’m still visibly sick and not doing great, so my boss tells me to finish up the day at home. As a side note, when is it appropriate to respond to your employee telling you they’re nauseous with “Maybe you’re pregnant??” Answer: never. I head back on the train (prepaid card) and get home to cuddle with my pup for a bit before working again. I also make a big bowl of buttered pasta, my ultimate comfort food, which soothes my stomach a little.
6 p.m. — I FaceTime to catch up with my girl in Louisiana. We’ve both been busy the past few days, and I feel like I haven’t talked to her in forever. We eat dinner together and hypothesize about what kind of alien is about to break through my still nauseous stomach. After I talk to her, I call and catch up with my sister for a bit. She and her girlfriend are coming out to visit in a couple weeks, and I am very excited to have friends in town.
10 p.m. — Go to bed and hope tomorrow goes more smoothly than today.
Daily Total: $0
6:30 a.m. — Wake up and feel much better. Normal morning routine follows — run with pup, B. makes breakfast, get ready for the day, train to work because it’s raining (prepaid card).
1 p.m. — Normal, uneventful morning at work, which is nice after yesterday. During my lunch break I walk around for a bit and drop by Sephora to sample fancy skin-care creams I’ll never buy, then Trader Joe’s to pick up eggs, bread, coconut milk, sweet potatoes, broccoli, tofu, and zhoug ($16 paid with joint card). $8
5 p.m. — Leave work and train home. My friend and I FaceTime while I make green curry for dinner with my TJ’s haul. Curry is my go-to dinner whenever I don’t have a plan — it’s cheap, easy, healthy, and DELICIOUS EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
7 p.m. — My book is getting DRAMATIC, to say the least, so after B. and I go on a quick walk with the pup, I disappear into the bedroom and finish the whole thing.
Daily Total: $8
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