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A Week In Brooklyn, NY, On $80,000 Salary

Refinery29 logo Refinery29 9/29/2019 You

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 a Operations Lead working in Startup Accelerator who makes $80,000 per year and spends it on “Long-stem lighter”.

Occupation: Operations Lead

Industry: Startup Accelerator

Age: 25

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Salary: $80,000

Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $1,840

Gender Identity: Woman

Monthly Expenses

Rent: $3,200 (I share a one bedroom with my boyfriend, C. I pay $1,750 and he pays $1,450 since I make more money. I hope our salaries will even out soon.)

Loans: $0 (I went to school in Canada, received a scholarship, and my parents graciously paid the remainder.)

401(k): I contribute 9% and employer matches 5%. I currently have around $11,000 saved, and hope to ramp this up as my salary increased and my employer started matching.

Savings: $360 (As of a month ago, I made a commitment to put $360 a month into savings. I currently have $540 saved, and plan to stick with this and watch it slowly grow. Previously, I was an inconsistent saver.)

Unlimited Metrocard: $127 (taken from my paycheck pre-tax)

Horti: $27 (This is a houseplant subscription service, which probably sounds crazy but brings joy.)

Spotify: $9.99

Phone: $73

Netflix: $0 (We use my parents’ account.)

Hulu: $0 (C. has a free membership through a work perk.)

HBO: $0 (I use a friend’s account.)

Yoga Studio Unlimited Membership: $170

Amazon Prime: $14.99

Dog Walker & Food: $170 (we have a walker come 3x/week, and have a recurring order of food and supplies.)

Utilities: $85 (internet, ConEd)

Health Insurance: $0 (My company covers)

Day One

6:30 a.m. — I wake up in the beautiful Catskill Mountains in upstate New York. I’ve been here since Wednesday planning and participating in my team’s leadership offsite. It’s been hard work, but has been running smoothly, which is a relief since I was tackling logistics.

8 a.m. — My room and the team’s supplies are packed up and I head to the lodge’s dining room for breakfast. I sample a bit of everything — eggs, pancakes with berries, and yogurt. Picking the menu for this offsite means I’m a big fan of all the food.

10 a.m. — After meetings from 8:30-10, I get an oat cappuccino on the company card ($0), try to get a handle on my neglected inbox, and send out a newsletter. We’re back in meetings and brainstorms afterwards, and I enjoy working with leaders who have flown in from China and Israel who I don’t see often.

1 p.m. — Meetings break and we all grab boxed lunches on the way out to the bus ($0). I’ll miss being upstate and out of the city. The lodge was so gorgeous and I managed to secure a promise of the friends and family discount if I come back!

4 p.m. — Arrive back at the office and say hi to a few people, but don’t plan on staying. I’ve been working enough the last few days and am definitely calling an early Friday. I take the train home ($0) in the pouring rain.

4:45 p.m. — I get home and excitedly greet my boyfriend, C., and puppy, H. I missed them after being away for three days. C. worked from home today, so we scheme up evening plans while he sends some final emails.

7 p.m. — We decided to treat ourselves to dinner and a movie. I buy our tickets online ($35). We walk to a neighborhood spot that we wanted to try, and catch up on the week. I get fish and chips and C. gets a burger. I pay — we alternate weeks for date night and C. did last Friday. ($39.09) The service is super speedy and we realize we’re early for our movie. We hop into a Mexican restaurant across the street for a cocktail, but when we order they card us and I don’t have my ID. Even though I’m a young-looking 25, I’m definitely not usually carded. We decide to just leave and instead pop into Whole Foods to kill time. C. and I wander the aisles and play a game we always play here that involves making each other smell each soap and guess the scent. $74.09

8:45 p.m. — Movie time! We see Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and enjoy popcorn and M&M’s courtesy of C.

11:30 p.m. — Home sweet home & lights out.

Daily Total: $74.09

Day Two

9 a.m. — I wake up and head to the backyard. C. and I just moved to this apartment from the unit upstairs 2 weeks ago. We are absolutely in love with the backyard down here, even though it’s hard to swallow the $450 rent increase ($300 of which I’ve had to take on, since my salary is $22k higher than C.’s). We truly plan to be here for five years, so I’m hoping my salary will grow and make the rent a little less burdensome?

10 a.m. — We are busy raking the backyard and playing with the puppy, when the breakfast I ordered from Seamless arrives. We normally don’t eat out so much, but we have ZERO in our fridge since I was away this week and didn’t do groceries. I got C. a sausage egg and cheese on an everything bagel, a scallion cream cheese sesame bagel for me, and two iced coffees. $29

1 p.m. — C. and I walk the dog and lounge for a bit, then decide we’re in the mood for an activity. We hop in the car (C.’s sister’s old 2005 Chevy from when she was in high school now resides with us in Brooklyn… very glamorous) and head to Ikea. We wander the aisles and pick up a rug for our kitchen, a peg board for the living room, glass water bottles for outside, and a ton of Tupperware. We then dine at the infamous Ikea restaurant. C. gets chicken tenders and fries and I get a salad and vegetarian meatballs. I pay for the apartment stuff and our lunch, and Venmo charge C. for half. $36

6 p.m. — We’re late and rushing to C.’s cousin’s birthday party, and I feel a little sick. I throw on jeans and a blouse and leave the house with my hair sopping wet. An all-too-regular occurrence for me.

6:30 p.m. — We take the train to the Financial District where this party begins. It’s a boozy trolley tour of Manhattan. Despite the fact that C.’s cousin is a few years older, I feel very old and unable to keep up with this rowdy crowd. While the booze-fueled drive is definitely not my scene, I mooch three beers off C.’s other cousin and manage to have a fun time.

10 p.m. — C. and I return home by train and realize we never had dinner. C. orders Mexican and we share a chicken quesadilla and al pastor burrito in our backyard with the Christmas lights on. We pig out and revel in our new backyard. I am so happy.

Daily Total: $65

Day Three

8 a.m. — I wake up to a $25 Venmo charge for my participation in the trolley debauchery, which I pay. C. and I take H. to off-leash hours at a nearby park, which is our Sunday morning routine. $25

9 a.m. — Head home and lounge for a little while watching Netflix. C. makes breakfast — scrambled eggs, Italian bread, and iced coffee. After lounging time is up, I open my laptop and do a couple hours of work so my week doesn’t slap me in the face tomorrow.

3 p.m. — I microwave frozen dumplings to share with C. The food situation is getting dire, and it’s definitely time for groceries. I make a list and C. starts organizing our laundry. We take the dog out and C. branches off at the laundromat (he pays for laundry every week and I do groceries) and I continue on to Trader Joe’s.

4 p.m. — I forgot there’s no service at TJ’s and my grocery list won’t load. Instead, I panic and buy the entire store. I buy chips, frozen waffles, a six-pack of beer, rice, sun-dried tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, bread, guacamole, hummus, pre-made salads, salmon, chicken breasts, garlic, onions, squash, ginger, coconut milk, yogurt, shishito peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, lemons, and eggs. I’m normally an exceptional grocery shopper and always stay under my $75 weekly budget, so I’m not sure why I dropped the ball this week. Guess we’ll be eating well. $90.29

7 p.m. — I make a yummy dinner of falafel, hummus, rice, and a salad, and C. and I eat in our backyard. I put the remaining falafel and salad in tupperware for the week ahead. At 8, our neighbors text us asking if it’s a good time for them to come over for a drink. We ran into them en route to the laundromat and chatted about them coming over late afternoon and now that it’s later in the day I’m really not feeling company. We politely raincheck and I’m glad we do. I did buy that beer and chips and guac for the sake of having them over, so we’ll make sure to hit another night this week.

9:30 p.m. — I’m supposed to work from home tomorrow because I have an appointment to get an IUD inserted in the morning and I think I’ll be more comfy working from my own apartment afterwards. I feel a sudden wave of anxiety about the procedure (a different doctor failed to insert it a couple months earlier and it was mildly traumatizing), as well as feeling unprepared for the week ahead. I’m not sure what time to take the Misoprostol I’ve been prescribed and make the terrible mistake of Googling the medication, which leads me down a heinous rabbit hole of internet medical doom. I end up crying and C. rubs my back while H. snuggles on my lap. They know what to do. I fall asleep at 1.

Daily Total: $115.29

Day Four

7 a.m. — I wake up at 7 in order to insert the Misoprostol three hours prior to my appointment. After taking it, I feel immediately nauseous, which I’m sure is just anxiety. However, I do notice that the bottle says “take with food,” so I make myself a dry piece of toast. I’m feeling off in general, so head back to bed for another hour while C. walks the dog.

8 a.m. — Back up and at ’em. I phone my referring physician (the one who failed to insert the IUD the first time), to ensure my notes are faxed to the specialist, and I call Aetna to triple confirm that another contraceptive will be covered by my plan. I’ve had a nightmare dealing with insurance reimbursements in the past, so I am extra precautious. I miss living in Canada.

9 a.m. — I hop into sweatpants and take the train to the hospital for my appointment. By the time I get off the train I feel dizzy and weak, and I’m not sure if it’s the Misoprostol or my anxiety or both. I stagger into the Panera beside the hospital and buy a large iced coffee and a chocolate croissant, thinking the caffeine and sugar will help my cause and prevent me from fainting. $6.33

10 a.m. — The procedure went well and was quick and successful. Phewwf. I make a follow up appointment for six weeks later, and reluctantly pay the $50 copay. Again, I miss the homeland. $50

10:45 a.m. — I take the train home and rush to be able to hop on a marketing call with my team. I don’t feel 100 percent, but I will survive. I connect to the call a few minutes late as I’m walking home from the subway. When I get into my apartment, I set up camp on the couch and participate in the remainder of the 90 minute meeting.

12:30 p.m. — I make myself a salad out of yesterday’s groceries and scarf it down while taking a few more quick calls.

1:30 p.m. — I take a break from work to take the dog on a walk.

7 p.m. — I wrap up my work, C. gets home, and I take the dog to the park.

8 p.m. — C. makes a delicious dinner — butter chicken in the Instapot. We eat together and watch an episode of Mindhunter. I fall asleep around midnight.

Daily Total: $56.33

Day Five

7:45 a.m. — I wake up late and get sucked into a hole of checking my email and not getting out of bed on time.

8:15 a.m. — C. has to move the car for the street cleaner and I’m out the door with the dog. We do a neighborhood loop and run into all of H.’s favorite things — a construction foreman she’s befriended, the barber’s pitbull Canelo, and our homeless friend named Trav whose lap H. jumps into and beard she licks every morning. I love our neighborhood so much, and feel less “anonymous” than I ever have living in New York.

9 a.m. — I’m home and showered, but late for work. I rush to the train and get in by 9:30ish. First stop at the office is the barista bar where I get an iced americano with oat milk ($0).

11 a.m. — I eat breakfast late this morning — plain yogurt I brought from home with granola we keep at the office.

3 p.m. — My day has been busy and productive — four meetings, but also plenty of time to crank out projects. I eat my falafel salad for lunch while taking a video conference meeting… professional! After the call, I head back up to the barista bar for a coffee. I am weirdly intrigued by the woman in front of me’s turmeric latte order and I do the same. Very odd choice for this coffee addict, and it tastes a lot like the butter chicken I ate last night.

5:50 p.m. — I’m rushing to finish up at work so I can make it to yoga. I grab a chocolate sea salt Rx bar from the office and fly across the street to the studio. Sadly they had let a waitlist in and closed the class by the time I show up at 5:56. I’m a little bummed, but at least I didn’t lose money since I have an unlimited membership. I sign up for a class tomorrow and hop on the train home. I see a writer I like on the street (Jenna Wortham) and listen to a podcast of hers during my commute.

6:30 p.m. — I stop at Target near my apartment and buy a pack of long stem lighters and a charcoal chimney starter for grilling. C. and I bought a charcoal grill last week with an Amazon gift card he got from work and tonight will be the night we christen it. Both items were on sale because it’s the end of summer. $18.33

8 p.m. — Despite nearly setting our home aflame and needing to FaceTime my dad for international moral support, C. and I sit down to a yummy dinner in our backyard. We made salmon, salad, roasted potatoes, and grilled shishito peppers. We each have a Sierra Nevada IPA.

1 a.m. — The evening flew by after walking the dog, cleaning up, and watching an episode of Catfish (??). Very much bedtime.

Daily Total: $18.33

Day Six

7:30 a.m. — Wake up and head out with the dog for a solid 45 minute walk. I listen to The Daily while I walk.

9 a.m. — I’m late walking out the door again. This week has been tricky — I feel like my routine is off kilter. I take the train to the office.

9:30 a.m. — I arrive at work and head straight to the barista bar for an iced americano with oat milk. I find a desk and get to work while eating my plain yogurt with granola from the office.

1 p.m. — I have a one-on-one meeting with my manager. I eat my salad with falafel during the meeting and our CEO comes by to comment on the fact that my falafel looks dry. I’m prideful about my cooking, but he’s right — these are like little space food balls. Plus, he’s Middle Eastern so he has some stake here.

3 p.m. — I grab another iced americano with oat milk from the barista bar ($0) and head into two more meetings.

7 p.m. — I head over from work to yoga class. It feels amazing to stretch and sweat.

8 p.m. — Class wraps up and I have three missed calls from C. He forgot I was going to yoga and wants me to come join him and our friend, T., at a Mexican place near our apartment. I’m so sweaty, but I hop on the train to join them anyways.

8:30 p.m. — I arrive at the restaurant to join C., T., and our puppy on the patio. They have already ordered and there’s a mezcal mule, three tacos, and guacamole waiting for me. Don’t mind if I do. We have a great night and I learn that T. applied for a job at my company. I promise to help try and get a read on the role for her. I very much enjoy myself, but had not been planning on spending the money. We split the bill three ways and with tip it’s $41.25. C. and I head home and fall asleep around midnight. $41.25

Daily Total: $41.25

Day Seven

7:30 a.m. — I wake up to the puppy vomiting on me in bed. Woohoo! I do some preliminary cleanup and leave the mess for C. to rectify while I take the dog on a walk.

8:30 a.m. — I head into the office on the train and am in by 9. I head to the barista bar for an iced americano with oat milk. I eat my plain yogurt with granola and get down to business. I work in overdrive trying to get my burning priorities done because I am leaving at 1 to see the final performance of the one-woman play Fleabag that is taking place in London and streaming in theaters in New York. I am a huge Fleabag fan (if you haven’t watched it, drop everything and do so!) and bought the last available tickets at a theater in Queens. I am so thankful for my boss for supporting my TV passions and letting me do this.

1:15 p.m. — I get stuck wrapping things up at the office and am late leaving. C. has been working from home and I call him letting him know I’m getting there as fast as possible. Of course the train is slow, just when I need it most.

2 p.m. — I arrive at our train station and start sprinting towards the car. I run into C. on the way there and we run while asking each other whether we’re going to make it. I call the theater to see if they’ll let us in late — it doesn’t sound promising. Defeated, we stop running, turn around, and walk back to our apartment. No Fleabag for us. I’m sad because I had been REALLY looking forward to this, and had made a whole ordeal to make it work. Between yoga and this, it hasn’t been my best week for time management. When we get home I heat up some leftover butter chicken for lunch.

7:30 p.m. — I finish working from home, and am supposed to go to a work event in Brooklyn, but I am exhausted and feel like I might be coming down with something. C. and I head to our local pub to watch the Democratic debates. We’ve gone to this same local spot for each debate in the last couple of months and it’s become a bit of a tradition. I get a BLT and a Jai Alai and C. gets a chicken sandwich with some local IPA. We kick around watching the debates for a while. C. pays.

10 p.m. — C. and I get home and stream the rest of the debates and then head to bed around 11.

Total: $0

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