A Week In Brooklyn, New York, On A $55,000 Salary

A Week In Brooklyn, New York, On A $55,000 Salary
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

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.

Today: a copywriter who makes $55,000 per year. She spends some of her money on Uniqlo HeatTech.

Occupation: Copywriter

Industry: Advertising

Age: 22

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Salary: $55,000

Paycheck (2x/month): $1,600

Freelance Paycheck: $400-800/month

Monthly Expenses

Housing: $900. I’ve been subleasing for the last couple of months, so this has varied. This was my total this past month, including utilities.

All Other Monthly Expenses

Gym: $15

Apple Music: $5.99

Adobe CC: $15. (I split it with my best friend.)

Apple Storage: $0.99

Savings: ~$1,000 a month, sometimes more. I’ve had to save up for an apartment deposit the past couple of months, but also have been saving in general.

Cell Phone: $50. I’m on my parents’ plan and I send the money to my dad.

Doggie Credit Card: $50. My family’s dog had an unexpected emergency surgery that we had to put on a doggie credit card. I help my dad with a majority of the monthly bill.

Health Insurance: On my mom’s plan.

Credit Card Debt: $50 - $100. I have a small balance on a student credit card.

Netflix/Hulu/HBO: $0. Thanks friends (and brother’s ex-girlfriend)!

MetroCard: $121/month for a monthly unlimited pass

Day One

7:45 a.m. — I get out of bed and I hear the kitty scrambling around. I’m at a sublease for the month and they have the cutest little kitty. I got aggressively mugged a few days ago and a lot of my things were stolen, so I have been feeling extremely anxious and paranoid. (Disclaimer: This is going to be an unusual week for me.) Mitz, the kitty, has been a little fur ball of comfort. BUT, it’s the holidays, so it’s my favorite time of year! I decide to wear my new bright red boots as a pick-me-up. Can’t let anything bring my holiday cheer down!

9 a.m. — I get to work and decide to buy a bagel at the café we have. I’ve had no appetite the past few days because of anxiety, but I’m on a mission to get back on track with my meals. I get a plain bagel with cream cheese and then make blueberry green tea that I had at my desk. $1.63

9:30 a.m. — I’m organizing Secret Santa amongst my friends and it’s so fun! I always end up being the planner for activities, and since all of my friends also work in the advertising industry, we like to jokingly talk in email talk in our chats. HELLO GUYS, just wanted to circle back around and remind you all of our Secret Santa event this Sunday. Please let me know if you have any questions. I’ll be sending the itinerary by EOD. Cheers!

10:35 a.m. — It’s a bit slow this morning, so I go to a comfy corner at work to read articles and call my dad. He’s going to visit family in El Salvador after a few years of not visiting, and I Venmo him money. My family is very low-income, and although I’m still not earning a ton, I’m trying to help out my parents as much as I can — even if it’s something small. Plus, he will also be giving money to some of our family members who live in poor conditions over there, so I’m happy I can finally help out. $50

12 p.m. — We get out of a creative review with the account team and have to re-do a lot of things. Ugh; the life of a copywriter.

12:30 p.m. — I haven’t bought groceries this week so I have to go out and buy lunch. I get a few rosemary potatoes and chicken. My coworker and I also decide to split a container of peppermint hot chocolate that will last us for a while. $8

1:45 p.m. — I’ve had to replace some of my stolen things one by one, and next on the list is a new water bottle. I find a cute one on Amazon and it’s pretty cheap compared to the S’well bottle I had before. I’m trying to look at the situation in a positive way. At least I get a fresh start! $13

2 p.m. — Secret Santa exchanges are this Sunday and I have no idea what to get my person! I browse the internet but give up and get back to work.

6 p.m. — I finally get home. I was on a workout and semi-marathon training roll these past couple of weeks, but I haven’t been very active the last few days. I decide to do a 45-minute, at-home workout because I don’t want to lose the progress I had been making and I can’t let my anxiety prevent me from working out. Plus, working out always makes me happy. Blogilates on YouTube is always my favorite!

8 p.m. — I eat rice pudding and my roommates give me a glass of white wine; they’re so sweet. I work on my freelance work and then watch a few holiday vlogs on YouTube. Why do I get so much satisfaction from watching rich girls who live in L.A.? I’ll never understand but I’m not complaining.

Daily Total: $72.63

Day Two

9:30 a.m. — I eat oatmeal topped with honey and granola for breakfast! It’s Hump Day and it’s comforting to know I’m almost halfway done with the week.

2 p.m. — It’s actually been a busy day today. My coworker and I have had back-to-back meetings and finally have time to go buy lunch before our next meeting. I’m craving breakfast for lunch, so I get an egg, bacon, and cheese sandwich with ketchup. I use a 10 percent coupon. I love eggs! $4

9 p.m. — Finally getting off work. I don’t work late nights very often, but today was an exception. Ever since the mugging, I’ve been a little uneasy about going home late at night if it’s past 7 p.m. My job expenses transportation if we work late anyways, so I get an Uber. ($28 expensed)

10 p.m. — As soon as the ride is done and I get inside my apartment, I break down crying unexpectedly. My Uber driver reminded me a bit of my attacker; he was wearing his earphones and not paying attention to the road so I started feeling uneasy and all these emotions came flowing out. Sometimes you just need a good cry to let out other emotions you’ve been trying to suppress all week. I feel a little bit better. I also send a very strongly worded message to Uber.

11:30 p.m. — After a short home HIIT workout, a 10-minute meditation session, and cuddling with Mitz, I feel good and decide to go to sleep.

Daily Total: $4

Day Three

8 a.m. — It’s Friday Eve, as one of my coworkers likes to say! It makes Thursdays sound so good. I head out to the door and finally remember to leave my chicken defrosting. I NEED to get back into my cooking routine. I hate when you’re doing well but then you have an off week! But it happens to everyone, so whatever.

9 a.m. — I get another mini-bagel with cream cheese. I can’t help it! I think it’s hilarious how much I love bagels and cream cheese and I’ve only been in New York for six months. I used to HATE cream cheese. $1.63

1:30 p.m. — Another busy day ahead of us! Lots of writing and brainstorming to do. My coworker and I finally have a breather and get Chipotle for lunch. I haven’t had Chipotle in a few months and I had been craving it. Plus, I can save the other half for dinner. $9

3 p.m. — Champagne and cake for a coworker’s goodbye. I’m full but still can’t resist cake.

8 p.m. — Leaving work! It’s not awfully late yet and I decide to take the train back. I get home safely and notice that I felt a little less paranoid. Baby steps!

9:15 p.m. — I cook my chicken for tomorrow’s lunch while I eat my Chipotle leftovers and watch Vlogmas videos on YouTube. I use my dad’s favorite recipe and miss my family. I can’t wait to go back to Texas for the holidays!

11 p.m. — I’ve been trying a new shampoo for curly hair that has been making my hair so soft and less frizzy. I head to bed smelling like coconut. I jump into bed, enjoying the feeling of being clean and moisturized.

Daily Total: $10.63

Day Four

7:40 a.m. — It’s Friday! I put on clothes and get ready to leave for work. I love smelling all of the Christmas trees for sale on the street in the morning.

9:30 a.m. — Cereal for breakfast and blueberry green tea (my current obsession). Today is going to be a super chill day at work, thank goodness. I decide to go apartment hunting. My best friend might be moving in January and it’s also time for me to finally settle into a lease anyways since I’ve been subleasing around for four months now. I finally have money saved up for an apartment deposit so I’m ready; my goal is January!

12:30 p.m. — Chicken for lunch. Everyone seems to be in a Friday mood, so I just do online shopping and make tweaks on a writing assignment. My coworker and I also go to the Amazon Book Store and I buy Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore. It has amazing reviews and I can’t wait to start reading. The cashier convinces me to add on a holiday book that will be donated to children in hospitals ($3). Kids are my weak spot, especially since I have a seven-year-old sister. $14

7 p.m. — I have to replace my MacBook (another thing that got stolen) so I go check out the laptops. My friends raised money to help me get a new laptop, and friend-of-a-friend is also letting me use her family and friends discount. I am so grateful for the people in my life. I make my decision after talking to some of the employees, who are so nice! I used to work retail during my college years to completely financially support myself and I low-key miss customer service. Going to officially order the laptop in a few days!

7:30 p.m. — It’s snowing tomorrow and I am not ready. I go to Uniqlo and pick up HEATTECH clothing. A lot of it is on promotion, so I get one black crew neck ($10), black leggings ($10), a turtleneck ($10) and socks ($6.99). I also see a cute velvet dress that I can’t resist getting ($19.99). I don’t buy a lot of clothes but I decide to treat myself. Plus, clothes for the weather are a necessity. $57.50

9 p.m. — It’s a chill night today. I make tea and toast whole wheat bread and top it with honey. I turn on my YouTube vlogs and play Christmas music in the background.

Daily Total: $71.50

Day Five

7:30 a.m. — My internal body clock wakes me up even on weekends, but I force myself to go back to sleep.

10:30 a.m. — It’s snowing! I’m a Texas native and the most snow I’ve seen is maybe two inches. It looks absolutely beautiful. I look out the window, boil water for my tea, and make two eggs over toast for breakfast. I pour ketchup on the side. My roommates are starting Jane the Virgin so I watch an episode with them.

12 p.m. — I’ve got a lot of holiday shopping to do this weekend. I get on the train to go into the city. My first stop is Union Square Holiday Market.

1:30 p.m. — I ended up getting a colorful wrist wallet for my mom. She loves bright colors and I found a perfect striped one. This is the first year I can actually afford to get my family and friends real gifts, and that makes me so happy. The snow is falling, the vendors are all happy, people are bundled up in their coats, and I smell hot chocolate. It is such a beautiful Saturday! $30

2:45 p.m. — I meet up with a friend and her boyfriend at my next stop, the Bryant Park Holiday Market. I need to find something for my Secret Santa today since the gift exchange is tomorrow! She recently moved into her new apartment, so I decide to get home decor. I find a beautiful Italian ceramics vendor and buy a little blue and white bowl. We walk around more, watch people ice skating, and look up at the huge tree. Sometimes I can’t believe I’m really in NYC under the snowfall experiencing my first real winter! The holidays make me emotional. $12

3 p.m. — I’ve never been to the Chick-Fil-A in New York so we decide to go there since I am craving it so much. The line is long and filled with drunk people participating in SantaCon but we get our food fast. I order a chicken sandwich meal with lemonade. I am so mad at how expensive this meal is; it’s double the Texas prices. Definitely will not be coming here often. $10

5:30 p.m. — I’m getting an eye exam today — a long overdue visit. I haven’t gotten a new pair of glasses in three years and my best friend works at Warby Parker, so his discount is super nice. I get an eye exam ($75), which should be reimbursed as soon as I call my mom to get insurance details and the pair of glasses I choose is only $87 after his family and friends discount. They’re so cute and I can’t wait for them to ship. I love a good pair of statement glasses. Merry Christmas to me! $162

7:30 p.m. — Today is a coworker’s holiday party! I head back home and watch a little YouTube. My friend is coming over with a bottle of wine before we head to the party.

10:30 p.m. — My friend and I check out a bar near my apartment that has cocktails on tap. I get an amazing lime drink. I haven’t bought a drink in ages (I try not to spend much money on alcohol), so this is a nice treat. $10

11 p.m. — We make it to the party. Very tipsy. Let’s see how the night goes!

Daily Total: $224

Day Six

9 a.m. — Well, last night was fun! Recap: My friends joined me at my coworker’s party, then we drunkenly had snowball fights at the park on our way to a dance bar, then we danced a lot, left and had more snowball fights, ended up at Popeyes, and everyone crashed at my place. It’s been a long time since I had one of these nights and playing in the snow was one of the purest and most carefree times I’ve had in awhile. But I have an awful headache. Ugh. This is why I don’t drink a lot very often.

10 a.m. — We decide to check out a cute little diner right by my apartment, and it’s so cheap I’m in shock. Two eggs, hash browns, toast, home fries, bacon, and OJ for only $5.50! It’s so inexpensive that we decide to split two waffles among the four of. us. We order the fresh fruit waffle, which comes with the strangest selection of fruits. Watermelon on my waffle? In this economy? Super weird but the waffle itself tastes good. We make a mental note to never order that again — but I’m still coming back. $10

2 p.m. — After breakfast, my friends leave and I crawl back into bed and slept for another three hours. My headache is, sadly, still not gone. My coworker’s birthday brunch is in an hour so I head to the East Village.

5:30 p.m. — Leaving his birthday brunch which really ended up being just an early dinner. I wasn’t hungry so I ended up just getting an order of fries. $9

6:30 p.m. — I need to get a gift bag and another little thing for my Secret Santa gift, so I go back to the Union Square Holiday Market. I feel like I’ve spent my entire weekend here. I get a little set of different scented tea candles ($12), a white gift bag ($3), white tissue paper ($2), and a little white bow ($2). $19

8:30 p.m. — Secret Santa time! “Eclipse” is playing in the background and one friend brings two boxes of pizza; the host has hot chocolate for us. My person ends up loving her Secret Santa gift! My Secret Santa gets me a candle called City Scapes: Central and it smells like oakwood and ginger; it’s beautiful. He also gives me a little pin that I love.

11 p.m. — We finally leave and my friend lets me sleep over at her place today since it’s getting late.

Daily Total: $38

Day Seven

9 a.m. — Trains are messed up because of an explosion at the train station. So terrifying, but I make it to work on time and I’m glad no one got hurt. It’s Bagel Monday so I have a plain bagel with cream cheese and my usual blueberry green tea.

12:30 p.m. — For lunch, I go get tomato soup with a free coupon I have. Today’s a slightly chill day with just a few meetings and brainstorming my art director and I have to do for some social media posts. The office seems dead today! A lot of people are already gone for the holidays.

1 p.m. — Small Tinder/Bumble break. I haven’t been on a date in so long, especially since I’ve been so jittery lately but I do really want to start dating. I’m a romantic at heart, so ideally, I’d love to just fall in love with someone randomly at like a bookstore and we lock eyes and live happily ever after. But it’s 2017, everyone is “finding themselves,” I’m super busy, they’re super busy, and dating is just hard. But may as well make an effort and set aside time for dates. I swipe for a few minutes and immediately am over it. I’ll just be single forever! I’ll try again later.

6 p.m. — I leave work and head to the Apple store. I’m picking up my new laptop today! I literally couldn’t have done this without the help of my friends and friends of friends. The pick-up line is hectic but it moves fast. I take an Uber home because I don’t want to be carrying around a huge Apple bag with a spanking new laptop inside. I have a free ride because of my complaint to Uber of the sketchy driver last time, so this won’t cost me anything.

8 p.m. — Ahh, the new keyboard feels so nice! I set up the laptop and read for a bit. For dinner, I make eggs and black beans. Eggs for dinner are the best. Then, I eat raspberries and blueberries for dessert. I do a bit of online shopping and see an art print that my brother would love so I have to get it. I still have so many other gifts to buy. $13

9 p.m. — Short at-home butt and abs workout. I really need to get back to the gym soon. It’s been over a week since I’ve gone, but it’s the holidays and I’m going back home for two weeks soon anyways. My mom will be feeding me nonstop, so maybe I can start in 2018?

Daily Total: $13

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.

We love our friends, but sometimes things can get weird when money is involved. We want hear about your awkward friends and money stories! Let us know here, and your answer might be featured on Refinery29!

Do you have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Right now, in addition to our ongoing diaries, we're looking for potential diarists along the following themes:

1. Your Spending In Your State: We want to run one Money Diary from a different state every week. Want to rep your state? Submit here!

2. New Year, New Job: Many people start reassessing their professional goals in January — and that can include looking for a new profession. Submit your job search Money Diary here.

Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here: r29.co/mdfaqs

Do you have info to share with HuffPost reporters? Here’s how.

Go to Homepage

MORE IN Home & Living