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.
Calling all entrepreneurs: We want to hear from you! If you’re a freelancer or self-employed, we’d love to feature your Money Diary. Submit here.
Today: an attorney who makes $225,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on miso soup.
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $200,000 + $25,000 bonus
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $5,500
Rent: $1,275 (I split rent with my boyfriend — this is my half.)
Student Loans: $0 (I just finished paying off the last of my law school loans!)
Interest-Free Loan: $833 (I took a $10,000 interest-free loan from work that I put straight towards paying off my student loans that had a 7% interest rate. I’ve paid back around half of it so far.)
Health Insurance/Dental Insurance: $240
Health Care FSA Contribution: $120
Transit: $100 taken from my paycheck
Utilities: Anywhere from $35 to $150 (split)
Phone: $0 (Work covers this.)
Internet: $35.50 for my half
Gym: Provided by work as a taxable benefit. I think I probably pay $60 a month in taxes on it.
Hulu: $4 (I use a friend’s, but I Venmo her a few dollars every month so we can avoid commercials.)
Netflix: $0 (I use my parents’.)
Apple Music: $9.99
401(k): $1,200 (I raised this from $300 as soon as I made my last student loan payment.)
8:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off, waking me up in the middle of a completely bizarre dream. I close my eyes under the pretense of trying to remember the dream, but then doze off until my first (of three) back-up alarm goes off. I turn to my boyfriend, Z., who also needs to wake up. I hop out the door around 9:10 and catch the train just as it arrives at the platform. On my way in, I stop by the office cafeteria to pick up my usual — a plain Greek yogurt with berries and granola to sprinkle on top ($3.27). I also pour myself my first (of too many, if I’m being honest) coffee of the day. $3.27
1 p.m. — Things have been pretty slow at work for the past week, so I end up bored-snacking all day. For lunch I heat up a mishmash of roasted portobello mushrooms and sweet potatoes, sautéed spinach, and cauliflower rice mixed with black beans, all topped with hot sauce I keep at my desk. It’s good, but not filling. I have white cheddar Smartfood Popcorn as well. I ordered a pack of 40 for $15 on Amazon, and it has been my go-to snack lately!
3 p.m. — The day is dragging on. I’ve spent most of it working on a pro bono case. There isn’t any deadline looming, but because I know at the drop of the hat I can be flung into an assignment that could take up essentially every waking moment, I do my best to take advantage of this slower time to get ahead. Even still, I need a break. I visit The New Yorker ‘s website but I’ve hit my free article limit for the month. They have a promotion of 12 articles for $6, so I sign up. It also comes with a free tote bag, which explains all the New Yorker bags I see on the subway. Great free advertising for them! $6
6 p.m. — I leave work and I’m still hungry despite snacking all day. There’s a Sweetgreen right at the subway entrance by my house, so I stop by on the way. I order a Guacamole Greens, subbing the chicken for mushrooms and the tortilla chips for cheese crisps (yum!!). I eat at home, and it’s delicious. Z. comes home from work a couple hours later and joins me in bed to watch The Detour on Hulu. We’re a few episodes in, and it’s funny, but I don’t find myself feeling excited to watch it. We’ve been struggling to find a new show to watch together now that we’ve finished The Handmaid’s Tale and The Good Place. $12.79
Daily Total: $22.06
8 a.m. — I wake up a little earlier today because I didn’t shower last night. I manage to only press snooze twice before rolling out of bed. Z. and I end up leaving together for work, and we make it out the door around 9, which is a bit earlier than normal. I have a training at work that starts at 10, so I want to be able to settle in at my desk first without rushing. I make it to the training and fill up a plate with the free breakfast. The training is interesting and a welcome change of pace from my normal work day.
2 p.m. — I have a client intake meeting for a pro bono case. These are always my favorite, and the rest of the morning/early afternoon fly by. Next thing you know, it’s 2, and I still haven’t eaten lunch. I swing down to the cafeteria and buy a tuna sandwich with carrots and a pickle on the side. I resist getting cheese on it, but I do have it heated up because there is something a bit more satisfying about a warm lunch. Not to mention our office is always freezing, so I will take any warmth I can get. $6.10
6 p.m. — I’m able to leave work at a reasonable time again. I know that I’m going to be swamped again soon, so I try really hard to not feel too guilty about it. I’m yet again ravenous, despite having eaten an extremely large tuna sandwich just four hours ago. On the subway home, I pop onto my Sweetgreen app and order a Hummus Tahina salad but substitute the falafel with warm portobello mushrooms. I manage to work mushrooms into almost every salad I get there — I’m obsessed. $13.61
6:30 p.m. — I feel bad about ordering Sweetgreen two nights in a row, especially when I have time to make dinner myself. I get off the subway a stop early so I can stop by Duane Reade and pick up some Mint Chocolate Chip Enlightened Ice Cream. Because a $6 pint of ice cream is clearly the solution to feeling bad about reckless spending. I also pick up a pack of paper towels while I’m at it. I swing by Sweetgreen to pick up my salad and then head home. $9.48
7 p.m. — On the walk home, I call my dad to catch up. I love taking advantage of commuting time to talk to family. At home, I dig in to my salad. Z. is going to be at a work party until late tonight, so I lounge around and text my friend, A., to make plans for Friday night. It turns out he has a date planned, but he inspires me to try to get a group together to do trivia. Then I dig into my ice cream and turn on Friends from College. Depressing.
11:30 p.m. — Z. comes home from the party and gets into bed. Just in the nick of time to save me from myself, as I was about to start the second season of Friends from College — which A. warned me is even more depressing than the first. We talk for a few minutes before saying goodnight and falling asleep.
Daily Total: $29.19
8:15 a.m. — It’s Friday! Z. is able to work from home today, so getting out of bed is even harder than normal. I hop in the shower and then get ready a bit slower than I should. At 9:20, I get an email from a partner asking to hop on a call at 9:45. I throw on my coat and run out the door. I manage to catch a train as it pulls into the station and make it to my desk at 9:46 — nice!
10:15 a.m. — After the call, I meander on down to the cafeteria to get my usual Greek yogurt with strawberries and granola ($3.27). I have to hold off on eating it because I’m getting blood work done at 10:30 and need to fast until after. At the appointment, they have a pile of free Luna bars, so I snag a Chocolate Dipped Coconut one — yum. I’m a little worried about my blood test results, as my lifestyle has definitely slipped a bit over the past year as some stressful periods at work derailed some of my fitness and nutrition habits. I vow to make more of a conscious effort to make smart health decisions. $3.27
1 p.m. — A friend from college is in my office building for a meeting, so we decide to catch up over lunch. We go to Beyond Sushi, a vegan sushi joint, and each get the lunch special — a sushi roll and a side. I pick up the check. Like every fast casual place in the area, it’s packed during lunch. As soon as we get our food, we squeeze our way out and eat outside. It is bizarrely warm, and we’re able to eat outside! We discuss our jobs, ambitions, and his upcoming wedding. He’s marrying one of my best friends from college. $29.22
4:30 p.m. — I leave early because work is slow and I need to pack. Z. and I have been texting all afternoon about taking a spur of the moment weekend trip to Philadelphia, and we decide to do it! He books the bus tickets leaving Saturday morning and returning Sunday evening ($56 for both) and the hotel for Saturday night ($220) on our joint credit card. Once we moved in together, we realized sharing a credit card that we put all shared expenses on made the most sense. We just split the balance every month — easy! $138
6 p.m. — I decide to take advantage of the great weather and go for a run outside for the first time in months! I’m a huge baby when it comes to the cold, so anything below 65 degrees is too cold for me to run in. I do a 30-minute run in Central Park (how I missed it!) and then hop in the shower. When I get out, Z. and I decide to call the sushi place downstairs to get takeout for dinner. We split three basic rolls, a fancy roll, and each get a miso soup. It’s $14.60 for my half. $14.60
8 p.m. — Trivia time!! We are cutting it close on time, but luckily the bar hosting trivia is only 15 blocks away, so we can walk. We meet our friends there and grab a booth. This is our first time doing trivia at this bar, and it turns out to be much easier than the other spot we have tried. I personally like it, but the more serious trivia buffs of the group are not impressed. I get a question right (Q: What was St. Patrick’s original color? A: Blue!) and allow myself to bask in the glory of my genius for about 30 seconds before admitting that I only knew that because I read it last night. We end up in ninth place out of 24 teams — not bad. I had two ciders. $17.13
10:30 p.m. — We get home, finish packing, and crawl into bed by 11.
Daily Total: $202.22
6:50 a.m. — This is the earliest I’ve woken up in a while. Z. hops in the shower and I start getting ready. On our way out, we stop at a bodega to grab a bottle of water for the road and then take the subway down to Penn Station. We’re early, so we stop at a Dunkin’ to get a large black coffee on the way into Penn Station. Once we’re in, Z. realizes he’s hungry. We spy another Dunkin’ and he grabs a breakfast wrap. I brought a big Pink Lady Apple to eat on the road, but my hands feel gross after the subway, so I decide to buy some hand sanitizer ($2.50). Then we hop on the bus, which leaves exactly at 8:30. $7.80
10:30 a.m. — We arrive in Philly exactly on time. The hotel is less than a 10-minute walk away from the station, so we walk over and they offer to let us check in early — score! Then we make our way up to the room, which ends up being a huge corner room with a kitchen — double score! We drop off our bags and then walk around a bit before making it to our noon reservation at The Love, a restaurant that was recommended to us by friends. We share a plate of biscuits with maple pepper butter spread, I order a South Philly frittata, and Z. orders chicken and waffles. The Love does not disappoint. We pay with our shared credit card, so I pay half. $24
2 p.m. — With full bellies, we head to the famous Rocky Steps. We take a few pictures and soak in the view before deciding another snack is in order. Z.’s friend recommended Tahina Shakes from a local falafel joint called Goldie. We’re skeptical, so we order one to share, with a plan to get another dessert at a second location. I also order a side of pickles. We pay with our shared card. The shake is out of this world!! I am beyond shocked, and instantly regret only ordering one. $3
3 p.m. — We head to Reading Terminal Market to get a famous Beiler’s donut. We manage to wriggle through the herds of people and I set eyes on some of the richest, most glorious looking donuts I’ve ever seen. I head toward the end of the line, only to realize the line curves around the edge of the restaurant stall and continues for another 30 people. No way. Instead, we head to a market stall with no line, and grab a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie and a cup of coffee. Then we get out of there! $3
4 p.m. — We head back to the hotel room for a nap before getting ready for the evening. On the way, we grab three water bottles at CVS, which we put on the shared card ($3). I hop in the shower, get ready, and we’re out the door at 5 to head to the Chili’s right next to the hotel. I’m reluctant to admit that I’ve travelled to a new city to eat at a chain restaurant, but I love Chili’s chips and salsa, and they don’t have one in NYC. After waiting 20 minutes, we plop down at the bar and get an order of bottomless chips and salsa and two drinks each. We have a reservation at 7:30 that we need to get to but have trouble getting the bartender’s attention for a bill. When we finally get it, we pay in cash so we don’t have to wait for him to run the card, and we bolt! $22.50
7:30 p.m. — We make it to our first dinner reservation. Since we’re only here for one night, we decide to make the most of it and get food and drinks at several places. I order a fancy drink with tequila, chili, and blood orange soda. Z. orders a mixed drink with some dark liquor that makes me gag. We also get an octopus appetizer and a margherita pizza. Z. ends up getting a second drink, and when the bill comes, tries to pay for it himself because he feels bad. I refuse, and we pay with our shared credit card. I also tip the bathroom attendant ($1). $86
9 p.m. — On to our third location of the night — a speakeasy. We end up waiting in line for 20 minutes outside of an unmarked door as the doorman lets people in a few at a time. When we’re let in, we’re informed of the rules (no cellphones, pictures, cash only, etc.) before being led into a half empty bar — what a joke! Kudos to them for maintaining an air of exclusivity I guess, but we’re not impressed. We sit at the bar and each have an overpriced cocktail. It’s cash only, so Z. pays ($36).
10:30 p.m. — Our last and best stop of the night! We had heard great things about this restaurant but were only able to get a 10:30 reservation on such late notice. We went for it anyway, though. We order two cocktails, two veggie sides, and the gnocchi to share. Wow! The food is indescribably good. We vow to make a second trip to Philly solely to have the chance to have a full meal here. We can’t resist dessert after how good the meal was, so we share a chocolate brownie with ice cream, too. Again, incredible. We put the bill ($102) on our shared card and leave the restaurant just before midnight to head back to our hotel. $51
Daily Total: $197.30
9 a.m. — I wake up at 9, jump in the shower, and get ready for the free walking tour we booked! First we grab a quick bite at the hotel’s complimentary breakfast bar — I have Greek yogurt topped with granola and and coffee in a to-go cup. We then check out and leave our backpack with the front desk to hold for the day. The tour starts promptly at 10:30. The tour guide is a little too rehearsed for me, and Z. enjoys it more than I do. We decide to tip $20, which Z. pays, because it was a huge group.
1 p.m. — We have brunch plans with one of Z.’s friend across town at 1:15, so we hop into an Uber that I pay for ($8.59). After not using the bathroom since before the tour, I’m about to pee my pants, so I bolt out of the Uber and run to the restaurant and into the bathroom. Once in the stall, I realize I left my purse (but not my phone) in the car. I called immediately, and the driver meets me on the corner he dropped me off at. I gratefully hand him $10 to thank him. Only later do I realize the Uber app automatically charges $15 when a driver has to turn around to drop off a lost item. Oh well. $33.59
1:20 p.m. — Disaster averted, we are finally about to sit down to brunch. Z.’s friend is great, and the brunch flies by. We each have two mimosas, I have salmon eggs Benedict, and Z. has a burger. We put our half on our card, so I pay half of that. $44
3 p.m. — After brunch, my sweet tooth is throbbing again. We head back to Reading Terminal Market to give Beiler’s donuts another go. This time, they’re closed. I guess it wasn’t meant to be. We each get a $1 coffee at the same stall as yesterday, and then head to Federal Donuts, our second choice. We share a Mexican Hot Chocolate Donut, which we put on our card. It’s good, but we know in our heart of hearts that Beiler’s would have been better. (I pay for half of both coffee and donut.) $2.38
4 p.m. — We head to Goldie for another Tahina Shake (don’t judge!), this time opting to share a Turkish Coffee-flavored one. We (I) also get a falafel pita sandwich, because Z.’s friend said they were to die for. Z. is borderline disgusted with my ability to eat almost the entire pita sandwich, but is trying not to show it. He tries one bite and agrees it’s good, but is too full to indulge further. We put it on our card. $7.50
5 p.m. — Back on the bus home! We arrive at Penn Station at 6:50 p.m., hop on the subway, and are in sweats on our couch by 7:15 p.m. We revel in having a whole relaxing night of the weekend left. We decide to watch The Godfather Part II, but it’s been taken off Netflix, so instead we watch The Breaker Upperers while snacking on some edamame and tangelos. We go to sleep by 11.
Daily Total: $87.47
8:10 a.m. — Wake up, shower, and take the subway to work. At work, I dig into a strawberry Icelandic yogurt from Trader Joe’s for breakfast that I have in the fridge. Then I head down to the cafeteria and buy three small tangerines to eat later. $1.20
1 p.m. — There’s an event at work today that comes with free lunch. I don’t always take advantage of this because it usually requires sticking around for a lecture, but I have the time today. I load up my plate.
3:30 p.m. — I get a few more things done at work and eat the tangerines I bought earlier.
6:30 p.m. — I gleefully leave work at a reasonable time. Once I get home, Z. and I can’t decide what to have for dinner. After 30 minutes of indecision, we decide I’ll get Sweetgreen for pickup and he’ll get a chicken and rice platter. I end up ordering the Hummus Tahina again, and again substitute the falafel for warm portobello mushrooms. We head to pick up Z.’s food first, and while in line, decide to get two falafels on the side to share (I put mine on my salad). We finish the meal by heating up Trader Joe’s Brookies (squares that are one layer of chocolate chip cookie and one layer of brownie) topped with vanilla ice cream. Not my healthiest day. I have trouble falling asleep, maybe because of all the sugar, and end up dozing off around 1 a.m. $13.51
Daily Total: $14.71
8 a.m. — Wake up a little earlier than normal because Z. showers after me and needs more time today because he needs to shave. I get into work around 9:35 and head immediately down to the cafeteria to get my Greek yogurt with berries and granola and coffee. I also grab a tangelo to eat later. $34.07
11 a.m. — I’m already thinking about food, despite having just eaten my yogurt. I have a meeting at noon, so I order Chop’t for pickup at 1 p.m. I get the Guacamole Greens salad but modify it so that instead of tortilla chips, I get parmesan chips. After my meeting, I walk by a line of what looks like 40 people, trying not to look to gleeful as I skip the line to pick up my food. It’s good, but there isn’t enough dressing. I finish the meal with a tangelo for dessert. $10.08
3 p.m. — I’m getting sleepy, so I head to the kitchen for my third coffee of the day. Then I head back to my desk, open a bag of SmartFood white cheddar popcorn, and read today’s Money Diary before getting back to work.
7:30 p.m. — Next thing I know, the sun has already set. I pack up my computer to finish a few tasks from home and hop onto the train. Z. is still at work, so I peek into the fridge to see what I can make myself for dinner. I settle for avocado toast on the Ezekiel bread I keep in the freezer and a few eggs.
9 p.m. — It’s time to change the sheets, so I strip the bed and throw them into the full hamper. I begrudgingly realize laundry needs to be done, so I stuff the contents of the hamper into the laundry bag and lug it to my laundromat. Luckily, it’s on the same block as our apartment, so it’s not a huge hike. I still feel weird about it, but we pay to have our laundry washed and folded for us. But I try not to let myself feel bad because our apartment doesn’t have laundry in it and spending what free time I do have in a laundromat is just not worth the extra $5 I would save. I put it on our shared card, so I pay half. $18.19
9:45 p.m. — Z. gets home, and we head to the gym. He recently got a membership at the same gym as me, and we do our best to go a few times a week. Some weeks are better than others, but after a weekend of treating ourselves in Philadelphia, we decided to take working out seriously this week. We run for 30 minutes and then call it a night. It’s hard making it to the gym late at night after a full day, but it beats waking up in the morning to do it!
10:30 p.m. — I shower first, and then while Z. is in the shower I call my parents. They live on the west coast. The distance is hard, but the one benefit is that I can call them late at night and it’s still a reasonable time there. I fill them in on the events of the weekend before crawling into bed, exhausted. Unlike last night, I’m out almost immediately. Who knew exercise was better for your sleep than Brookies and ice cream?
Daily Total: $62.34
Money Diaries are meant to reflect individual women’s experiences and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29’s point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.
The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day. For more money diaries, click here. Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here: r29.co/mdfaqs
We want to know: Did you pay for your engagement ring? Engagement rings are expensive, and these days, it isn’t always practical to expect one person to pay for it. Below, we want to know: did you pay for your engagement ring? Or part of it? What was the process like? Fill out this form for a chance to be included in a story on our site.
We’re working on a story that takes a look at how real couples manage their money. We want to know how you navigate finances with your significant other. What irks you? What stresses you out? How do you feel about where things are at in your relationship? To be considered for an upcoming piece as a part of a special love and money package, please fill out this form.
Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?
Source: Refinery29 – You