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 consultant who makes $100,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on tea.
Location: New York, NY
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $1,850
Rent: $1,354 (I have one roommate in a two-bedroom, rent-stabilized apartment in lower Manhattan. I found the apartment on Craigslist and have never felt luckier.)
Student Loans: $0 (Lucky enough to have had my parents pay for college!)
New York Times Subscription: $15
Spectrum Wifi: $65.99
Health Insurance: $33.29
Employee Stock Purchase Plan: $400 (We get stocks at a 15% discount and then sell them immediately when they’re purchased.)
Roth 401(k): $400
Investment Account: $500 (My parents are financial advisors and set up an investment account for me to use — I put $500 a month into this account.)
7:30 a.m. — Finally wake up after snoozing three times. I never used to have a hard time waking up while traveling, but now that I’m on a local project, I find it so hard to get out of my own comfy bed in the morning. I always set my alarm for 6:30 so I can get out the door and start training for my half-marathon (I’m running my second one in May), but NYC winter weather is getting in the way. Roll out of bed and jump in the shower.
8 a.m. — Got out of the shower and say hi to my roommate. I live with my best friend from college who I’ve known for five years. We share a two bedroom rent-stabilized apartment that we found on Craigslist. It required a lot of DIY and elbow grease to make it livable (I re-grouted the bathroom myself and painted the entire apartment, as well as installed curtains, built my own closet, and re-finished the floors myself), but it was worth it. I never want to leave. I dry my hair and put makeup on. I usually wear a simple, yet full face of makeup. Today it’s Erborian CC Crème, Kat Von D powder, Anastasia Beverly Hills brow pencil, Charlotte Tilbury eye pencil, Nars Orgasm blush, mascara, and Sugar tinted lip balm. Getting dressed is easier these days because I’m on a project at a company where the dress code is casual, so I put on black jeans, combat boots, and a black sweater. I’m not looking forward to wearing business clothes again when I have to switch projects.
8:45 a.m. — I buy a weekly MetroCard. I should probably be buying a monthly pass, but I’m just afraid I’ll lose it. At least my commute is pretty quick. I listen to music, a true crime podcast, or NPR’s How I Built This. My knowledge generally consists of morbid facts about serial killers (men are most likely to kill their wives when they get pregnant), or morbid facts about business (luxury companies generally burn their excess inventory (like with actual flames) in order to maintain scarcity and demand for their products). $32
9:15 a.m. — I arrive at the client site. I have some time to relax and answer emails before the client arrives. I get a Nespresso and my usual daily breakfast of Greek yogurt and a Kind bar.
10:30 a.m. — I’m working on a financial model that I have to deliver by the end of the month. I’m working with the tech team, and everyone is in hoodies and smoking Juul pens. One client on the project has offered me a joint on four different occasions. During working hours.
1 p.m. — I try to bring lunch from home every day. Today, I brought a veggie burger over arugula and kale with carrot miso dressing and avocado. I’m pretty pleased with myself.
6 p.m. — I wrap up the day and say bye to my coworkers for the weekend. I’m so happy it’s Friday — this was a long week. I have plans with my roommate for dinner later, so I go to our mutual friend’s apartment to wait for her to finish work.
9 p.m. — My roommate and I walk down to Chinatown to try this dumpling place we’ve heard about. She recently took a job at a start-up that pays her half her old salary, so we try to find creative ways to go out and have fun without spending tons of money. We stop at a natural wine store on the way there — I’m really into the natural wine movement. I always feel obnoxious when I request a "Georgian orange" and ask who the producer is, but it’s made me a more conscious consumer, and I like having a newfound interest in something I would usually just consume by the bucket. I buy a bottle for me and my roommate ($20) and we head over to the restaurant. We order dumplings, noodles, a pancake, and two appetizers for $17 each. $37
11 p.m. — We walk back uptown and I get into bed, delightfully sober. I take a few hits off my weed pen, which I’m a little addicted to. I bought it in California, and it’s the only thing that gets me to sleep sometimes. I have a hard time winding down my thoughts at night, and being dependent on a plant seems better than taking a sleeping pill every night, which I have done in the past.
Daily Total: $69
10 a.m. — I wake up and call my girlfriend. She lives in Ireland and is five hours ahead of me. We met when she was going to school in London (she’s Italian), and I was studying abroad. We’ve been doing long distance for three years, and we’re trying to find a way to get her to move to the U.S. Hopefully with her tech job she can, but the current administration has made that pretty difficult. Our last resort is to get married, but we both feel it’s a little soon at 24. We’re making a decision about that this year. I make some avocado toast and a Nespresso from my machine that I bought off Craigslist and watch The L Word before going to the gym with my roommate. I used to do ClassPass, but right now I’m just paying $27 a month for Blink.
1 p.m. — It’s my friend’s birthday, so my roommate and I stop at Key Foods to grab Funfetti cake mix and icing ingredients. We recently bought cake pans from Amazon, so we are feeling very adult. We go back to the apartment and make the cake, and then go out and buy those ridiculous number balloons from Party City that every basic girl on Instagram has. I guess we aren’t that adult. $27
5 p.m. — While we wait at Party City for them to inflate the balloons, we go to a nearby bar for happy hour. I get a glass of Pinot Grigio ($6) and we share olives and a cheese plate ($13). $12.50
8 p.m. — We go to my friend’s birthday at Panna II, that ridiculous but extremely fun Indian restaurant in the East Village. The food is pretty average, but the entire restaurant is filled with Christmas lights and it’s BYOB, so naturally we get extremely drunk off bulk-sized bottles of wine and two bottles of champagne that we brought from home. Someone in the restaurant plays "Wagon Wheel" and everyone sings at the top of their lungs. (You get the vibe.) $33
11 p.m. — We go back to my friend’s apartment and proceed to get really drunk off a bottle of cheap vodka and lemon juice ($8). We were planning to go out to bars, but someone requests the entire soundtrack of High School Musical, and we get too drunk and have too much fun at her apartment to leave. $8
Daily Total: $80.50
10 a.m. — Hungover. I take three Advil and put on a robe and slippers. Spend the morning watching The L Word.
1 p.m. — The Sézane store just opened in Nolita again after a three-month hiatus. I’m heading down for opening day to return a shirt I got for Christmas that’s too small. I love Sézane — I’ve been to the stores in Paris and New York and own way too many things from the brand. Nothing strikes my fancy today, though, so I just return the shirt and head back uptown.
3 p.m. — I buy a magnifying mirror to pluck my eyebrows. I also browse the skincare products — I am obsessed with skincare. I just recently stopped my membership at Heyday, but I was going there once a month for alternating 30-minute and 50-minute facials. My skin had never been so clear, but at $75 a month, I wanted to take a break. I’m seeing the effects on my skin, though, so I may go back soon. Other than the facials, I spend the most money on my hair. I see an amazing hairstylist in Flatiron who gives me highlights and a cut two or three times a year for $500-$600 each time. I always gulp when I see the price tag, but I’ve never loved my hair more. $9
3:30 p.m. — I buy some protein powder at GNC. Traveling Monday through Thursday every week with expensed client dinners isn’t great for a healthy lifestyle. There are many reasons I don’t like consulting, but the number one reason is the effect it has on my health, physical and mental. Sleeping in a hotel room every night is not good for my mental health. I was seeing a therapist for awhile, and I’m doing a lot better since being local…but I have to find a different job eventually. $36
4 p.m. — I buy groceries at Trader Joe’s and come home. I cook a light dinner of frozen shrimp, zucchini noodles, jarred black truffle pâté that my girlfriend brings in bulk for me from Italy, and parmesan. The Sunday scaries are heavy. $50
Daily Total: $95
10 a.m. — I get into work and call British Airways. I planned to go to Ireland this weekend to visit my girlfriend, but I hadn’t gotten my flight yet. I get all my flights in points from credit cards. When we first started dating, I knew that it wasn’t financially feasible to fly to the UK regularly. I did tons of research and found blogs that spoke about credit churning. I’ve had around 18 credit cards in the past three years. My strategy is to sign up for a credit card that has a high sign-up bonus, put all my business spending on that card until I hit the spending bonus, and then get another one. If you pay off each card in full on time, there’s no risk to your credit score. It’s a lot of energy and time, but it’s saved me thousands of dollars. With this strategy, I haven’t had to pay for a single flight for either of us in the three years we’ve been dating, and we get to see each other roughly once a month. I get the flight on British Airways Avios and pay the $80 fee. $80
5 p.m. — Uneventful but stressful day. A certain client is being difficult and not giving me the information I need. I leave work promptly at 5 p.m. and walk to the nearby CBD store. I buy a vial of CBD oil for my vape pen to destress. CBD is even more mild than weed, right? $50
8 p.m. — I cleaned my closet out recently after watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. I want to sell some of my old clothes, so I download Poshmark and snap photos of old Tory Burch boots and a few Madewell items. Hopefully I can make some money off of these things so that I’ll feel better about how many new clothes I’m going to buy for my trip to Greece this summer with my girlfriend.
Daily Total: $130
8:30 a.m. — I have an Italian lesson this morning before work. I have been using an Italian and a French tutor for two years now through Verbling — an online language coaching platform. My goal is to be able to work fluently in both languages. I would say I’m there with French but not quite with Italian yet. The lesson is $12 an hour. $12
12 p.m. — I was super hungry today and ate three cheese strings before noon. I eat my salad with a veggie burger on top and try to limit my snacks for the rest of the day. I have another double espresso instead.
3 p.m. — I go to a coffee shop with my coworker and buy her a coffee ($10). She is newish to the firm, and I talk to her about the importance of networking, going to company events, and some tricks of the trade. Success in consulting comes down to some tangible skills and intelligence, but social finesse and connections play a bigger role. $10
6 p.m. — I go to the gym and then head home to pack.
9 p.m. — Bag packed, I settle in with my CBD pen and a new book. I spend way too much time scrolling through Instagram memes, and I’ve been really trying to read more. Even if I read two pages, I feel a little better about myself.
Daily Total: $22
10 a.m. — This project is ending in a month, and so I’m starting to think about how to transition off. I set up meetings with two senior people in the firm who work in an area that I am trying to get into.
12 p.m. — I didn’t bring my lunch today because I’m getting lunch with a coworker. We walk to Whole Foods, and I get a small soup and some baked soy nuggets ($13.79), which are surprisingly much better than you would think. I’m always annoyed by how expensive everything is at Whole Foods, though. $13.79
3 p.m. — Head directly to the airport from work. (I brought my suitcase with me.) I order a Via ($31) and get to JFK with plenty of time to spare for my 6 p.m. flight. I’m used to whizzing through security with Clear and TSA Pre-Check, but Aer Lingus doesn’t support those programs, so I have to go into the general line, which takes 10 times longer and tests my patience. $31
5 p.m. — I buy a giant bottle of water and some sleeping pills ($5) at Hudson News and board my flight. I got a pretty good aisle seat, and as long as I have sleeping pills and an eye mask, I can usually sleep the entire flight. I watch I Feel Pretty and pass out. $5
Daily Total: $49.79
6 a.m. — I land in the Dublin airport and go through Immigration. I always hold my breath — sometimes the Immigration officers give me a hard time because I come so frequently. No problems today though, phew. I walk outside to catch the super cheap, super convenient bus ($7). If the bus isn’t running, I have to take a Dublin taxi, which is guaranteed to rip me off and charge me a ridiculous amount for having a bag or wearing a red shirt or something. $7
7:30 a.m. — I get to my girlfriend’s apartment and pass out in her bed while she gets ready for work. I sleep until 12 or 1 p.m. and then bike into town to her office, where we get free (amazing) lunch. Ah, tech. Maybe it’s time to transition.
3 p.m. — I go to my favorite coffee shop in a super fancy hotel. I order a tea ($5) and it comes with a platter of complimentary tea cookies. I take phone calls on Skype and work from there all afternoon. $5
6 p.m. — My girlfriend finishes work and meets me for a drink ($15). Long distance can be hard, lonely, and scary, but the elated feeling I have when I see her has not died. I feel struck by lightning each time I see her again. We chat over beers and decide to have an early night at home. We walk home along the river, gazing across the water at the bridges that span the River Liffey. I could never live here, and I miss NYC, but it’s beautiful to visit. We talk about her plans to move to NYC, and we strategize about how to make it happen sooner. $15
8:30 p.m. — I buy us a pizza ($20) and she gets a bottle of wine, and we go home to watch a show on Netflix. I think about the fact that I fly across the ocean thousands of miles, traverse Immigration and enter a different country, all to eat pizza in bed and watch Netflix. I look over at my girlfriend, and it makes perfect sense. $20
Daily Total: $47
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