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 artist’s agent who makes $75,000 per year. This week, she spends some of her money on a Moleskine notebook.
Occupation: Artist’s Agent
Industry: Advertising & Fashion Photography
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Paycheck (Bi-weekly): $1,844.39
Home Owners Association Fees: $400. (We split the full $800 evenly. My husband’s parents bought our apartment with a trust, and we pay all costs associated with it.)
Student Loan: ~$300
Car Loan: ~$200
Parking Space: $200
ClassPass: $15 for one class per month. (I try to use the gym in my building more.)
Cable & Internet: $120
MetroCard: $121, reimbursed by work. (Ubers are also paid for by my job. I normally only take them for work.)
Donations: $50 for NYC Food Bank, $50 for Planned Parenthood, $50 for No Kid Hungry. Also about $20/month worth of $5 Starbucks gift cards to hand to homeless folks I see on my commute. (This allows them to not only buy food and drink, but as they’re paying customers, they can use the restrooms and sit inside for an hour or two and get warm.)
Roth IRA: $250
Medical, Dental & Vision Insurance: Work pays 100%.
Phone: Work pays 100% until end of January. (After that, I’ll get a new plan with my same number.)
Pet Insurance: $30
Amazon Prime: $99/year
Dog Daycare: $500 every 15 visits
Physical Therapy: $150 per visit, and normally two visits per week. (This apparently will be reimbursed back to me 80% in a few months by my insurance.)
6 a.m. — Wake up; thanks, jet lag!
7:30 a.m. — I’m fighting a cold and decide to sleep until the last minute before I get up, make coffee, get ready for work, and head out. New York is so cold right now, but thankfully I missed the bulk of the snowstorm while I was away for Christmas. My husband is from the UK, so we try to take advantage of the cheap flights and go to another European area when we visit; this year was Rome for a few days. My husband had a stomach bug for the first two days, but we had a lot of fun the rest of the time and we learned a lot!
9 a.m. — I had to get a new MetroCard so I arrive at work little later than usual. I eat breakfast (a yogurt I found in my fridge) for breakfast. We let friends and their kids stay in our apartment over the holidays, and they left a few groceries and goodies behind. I’m starting a new job at the end of the month, so most of the next two weeks will be focused on handing over assignments, consolidating my past productions and billings, and updating my contacts. I’m nervous and excited!
12 p.m. — My husband got me a great sweater from Everlane that is a little too short; he’s returning it, and I’ll getting a different sweater instead. We maintain mostly separate finances, though we do have a joint emergency and holiday checking card and aren’t really concerned with who pays for what. It’s all love!
1 p.m. — My boss and I grab ramen for lunch. We’ve been working together closely for five years and have sensitive things to discuss before I leave. We’re not formal so we walk and talk; he puts lunch on his company card, and we bring it back to the office.
5 p.m. — I got a great year-end bonus and use some of it to pay off my credit card. I only have a little bit left from our trip because my card didn’t incur a high foreign transaction fee. I pay it off and slightly marvel at my ability to do so, as this wasn’t always the case. $700
8 p.m. — Home. I take the dog for a walk. My husband makes dinner every night, and we eat at home. I’m just not interested in cooking, but I love to clean up.
10 p.m. — In an immense amount of pain and slightly terrified of my PT appointment tomorrow morning. I take a bath in CBD salts my husband got me for Christmas, which definitely helps. Then it’s off to bed with a book.
Daily Total: $700
6:30 a.m. — Wake up, shower, coffee. I drink a full glass of water while getting ready and decide to order an UberPool to PT since it’s so cold. It’s very close to my office, so I can walk over after and expense the cost, and I’ll have a chance to meditate beforehand. ($13.87 expensed)
9 a.m. — After an hour of very painful PT, I’m out. I had an abdominal surgery to get rid of cysts on my stomach and intestines several years ago. I also ended up getting pelvic inflammatory disease from a misplaced IUD a few years ago and have developed scar tissues all over my pelvic floor that requires internal physical therapy. I leave sore but in less acute pain. $150
9:15 a.m. — Quick treat at Starbucks, where I get a vanilla latte. I put $25 on my Starbucks mobile wallet so I don’t blindly hand over my card and become more aware of my spending. $25
12:30 p.m. — My husband stops by the office with our dog! They had errands in the city, and we grab lunch around the corner. I treat him to ramen and get myself a kale harvest salad. He’s a freelancer and does a lot of the day-to-day errands when he’s not working — paying for lunch is the least I can do. I update him on my PT appointment, and he says he’ll make dinner in the Instant Pot my parents got him for Christmas. $24.75
2:45 p.m. — In an afternoon slump and browsing Amazon. I order a Moleskine notebook for my new job ($12), Benadryl ($8.82), treats for the pup ($14), new socks ($10), and dishwashing soap ($4). I’ll have to buy a new laptop, so I’m trying to put myself on an austerity budget, and I refuse to look at any other websites, even though there are a couple of Ganni sweaters I have my eye on. $48.82
4 p.m. — Researching new artists, closing productions from my current job, and subtly letting people know I’m leaving. It bums me out a bit, but I snack on leftover cashew brittle we got in a gift basket from a client, along with a Pukka tea. They have the best flavors!
7:45 p.m. — Meeting our best friends for weekly Taco Tuesday night It’s always fun, and we catch up on our holidays and eat way too much food. We go home around 9:30, and my husband kindly pays for our share. We take turns picking up each other’s tab; it evens out in the end but it feels more special and like a date when we play “CAN YOU GUESS THE BILL?!” My hip is in a lot of pain from PT, so my husband helps me walk home with his arm around my waist.
9:45 p.m. — Home and in a bath with Epsom salts as directed by my physical therapist. I have peppermint tea and a piece of dark chocolate in bed, and chat with my husband before I take my sleeping pill. (I’ve had chronic insomnia since I was in a bad accident as a teenager. This is very low dose and doesn’t give me that crazy pill hangover.)
Daily Total: $234.57
7 a.m. — Wake up, make coffee, and toast one of the crumpets we brought back from England. I’m trying not to wash my hair every day and am experimenting with different dry shampoos and ways of parting my hair. It works for now. I’ll probably pull my hair back at work.
8:45 a.m. — At the office after miraculously getting on the first L train that pulls in. I start going through all the emails that no longer apply to me. Being in this weird dead space of having to be at the office but not being able to work on anything new is draining. I’m purposely going into my new job with as little information as possible on the inner-workings of the company, so that I can be fresh-faced on my first day and not worry about any preconceived ideas. Getting my contacts in order is the main thing on my to-do list, but it seems a little awkward to do in front of my coworkers. I eat a banana I brought from home and start plugging away at handover notes.
11 a.m. — I think I spoke too soon. One artist I look after has gotten a ton of work in the space of two hours. Fantastic! I get to stretch my brain and pass the time. It’s always a bonding experience to bitch and moan about the budgets/creative/timing with the rest of the team.
1 p.m. — Head out to stretch my legs and return something at the Apple store where I also start looking at new laptops. A salesman tries to sell me on an iPad Pro with a keyboard, and won’t listen when I say I’d like a laptop. I ended up having to walk away mid-sentence and go look at laptops alone, making me feel like a jerk but also proud of myself for being more assertive. I wander over to my favorite Thai place and get tofu red curry with brown rice and veggies for lunch. $11
6 p.m. — Leave the office early today so I can take a Gyrotonic Pilates class in the East Village. It’s aimed at stretching your back and hips while being really gentle to your body. My husband joins me as he has a back injury. This class is a really lovely way to wind down and do guided stretches that work in conjunction with my physical therapy; it’s taught by a very graceful ballerina, which makes me feel like a graceful ballerina in turn.
8:30 p.m. — We eat cheesy polenta with red peppers, roasted veggies (sunchokes, peppers, sweet potatoes, broccoli, leeks, garlic, and carrots), and steak for dinner, and take the dog for a walk. I hand my husband a $10 bill for the groceries and so he’ll have cash in his wallet tomorrow. $10
11:30 p.m. — Finally in bed after cleaning up the apartment. I pack lunch (leftovers from dinner) and get the pup’s food ready for daycare tomorrow. I read the rest of my issue of The New Yorker. (My boss gave me a subscription for the holidays.)
Daily Total: $21
6 a.m. — Jolt awake to the sound of my husband’s alarm. We cuddle for a minute, and he gets ready while I lounge in bed. After he leaves for the day at 6:30, I take a shower and get ready for work, make coffee, and take the dog to daycare. I stop to get a bowl of oatmeal from a café and I’m in the office by 8:45. $4.50
10 a.m. — I make an appointment with the salon around the corner from my house. I want to look respectable in my new job, and as I normally wear sweatshirts and jeans, I think a new haircut will make me appear more put together. I also make an appointment with our accountant. My husband and I got married last spring, and since he is still on a visa and is freelancing, I’m unsure if it’s best to file jointly or separately.
1 p.m. — I heat up my lunch; my office doesn’t have a kitchenette or microwave, so I invested in a mini-crockpot. It doesn’t cook anything but is like a small warming oven that is perfect for leftovers, veggies, soups, etc. I run out and grab a seltzer from the bodega down the block, texting my best friend on the way. He is one of the most incredible people I know; caring, talented, funny and inspiring. $1.29
4:30 p.m. — Meeting a photographer for coffee (I get peppermint tea) to tell him I’m leaving, after several years at the same agency and a year of totally dedicating myself to his career. The conversation goes nowhere productive, and I end up mentally exhausted. ($10 expensed)
7:15 p.m. — Home and in a weird, easily annoyed mood. My husband falls asleep with the pup and I take a bath in CBD salts while finishing my book. We walk to get food around 9 p.m. (I get veggie soup; he gets shrimp fried rice) and watch a few shows on Viceland while we eat. $24
8 p.m. — I hop on The Outnet and buy a new pair of black jeans. They’re on sale and I have a code for 20% off. $85
10:45 p.m. — In bed, exhausted from being in pain and calming myself down from thinking about the new job. Am I ready to leave? Not really. Will I be good at this job? Probably. Do I know what I’m doing? Hell yes I do. Am I excited? A thousand percent.
Daily Total: $114.79
8:30 a.m. — I buy myself a TGIF latte, and then talk to my boss to figure out what needs to happen during my last week. I put feelers out for freelance photo producers who can lend a hand at my current office for a month or so while they search for a new senior advertising agent. No one seems promising except for the folks who are too expensive. Oh well, at least I’m trying! $4.84
12:15 p.m. — I eat a yogurt with flax seed granola and chat with another photographer; she’s beside herself that I’m leaving but incredibly happy for me. I’ve bonded with these people so much, and to have her recognize and appreciate the amount of work I’ve put in means the world. Being an artist’s agent sometimes means you’re the first one blamed and the last one thanked but this group is truly special, and I’ll miss speaking with them daily.
1 p.m. — At an appointment with a specialist on pelvic floor dysfunctions. It’s an appointment I made almost six months ago with a doctor billed as the best in the country and boy, is she. There was a moment during the exam when I passed out from the pain and broke out into cold sweats, but I left with happy tears in my eyes from pure elation. She broke everything out in plain English and was the first doctor I’ve gone to that has made me feel relieved and hopeful about getting better. She was encouraging and impressed that I had already begun physical therapy, was livid that my old OB-GYN wouldn’t listen and kept telling me I needed to keep my IUD in and to get used to it. I’ve never looked forward to a follow-up appointment so much. $40
2:30 p.m. — I walk back while chatting with my mom; she’s just retired after a very successful career but thinks that my new job is going to create too much stress for me. I politely tell her that it’s not the stress of the job that is killing me, it’s being in constant pain for the past year, having to wait six months to see a specialist, and finding out that insurance doesn’t cover basic things like a topical estrogen/pain ointment. I stop and get fresh summer rolls and prepare myself for my prescription that will cost $400 for a two-ounce tube I’ll be picking up on Monday. $8.07
6:30 p.m. — The afternoon passed without much fuss, and my colleague and I decide to get a drink nearby. I was supposed to be doing Dry January with my husband, but with all these changes happening lately (and never one to drink often anyways), I decided to make it Dry Feb instead. We each get a cocktail, split a plate of fries, and chat for an hour or so. I’m really going to miss working with her. Hopefully, we’ll see each other socially more! $21
8:30 p.m. — Home, chitchatting with the fam and can’t decide on food. In the end, we end up smoking some weed, walking to get a pizza in the rain with the dog, and having a huge giggle fest the whole way. We end up watching silly TV, and I get over-full from pizza and a kale salad and fall into bed around 11 p.m. I read the news on my iPad, flip through The New Yorker, and play Words with Friends until I drift off. $25
Daily Total: $98.91
9:30 a.m. — Awake tidying up the house, and I find out we have no milk for coffee. My husband wakes up, and we snuggle the dog, who would sleep tucked in his cozy cave until noon if we let him. We bundle up, take the dog out, get a coffee ($5, including tip), share a mini-bagel ($1.91) and make my husband an appointment for a haircut. We stop at a cute neighborhood clothing shop to check out their end-of-season sale, but I don’t see anything screaming my name so we leave, wallets intact. $6.91
1 p.m. — Walk a couple of blocks to my hair appointment. I love my haircut (lots of layers that magically make it feel wavy) and the products she uses so much that I buy them ($105 for the cut, $78 for the product, $20 for tip, directly to the stylist on Venmo). On my way home, I stop at the bodega to get milk, seltzer, and a lemon ($8). I have SodaStream but I’ve forgotten to replace the gas canister for the past three months. $211
3 p.m. — Change the bedding and then gather up our tax and green card documents. We have an appointment with an accountant on Monday, and I don’t like not being prepared. I spend the afternoon doing agency and contact research, making notes in my new Moleskine, and looking at the new agency website.
8 p.m. — My husband and I meet our good friends for dinner; we end up sharing a bunch of plates at a cute (also LOUD) restaurant further out in Brooklyn. We walked from our house and are completely frozen when we arrive. They just came back from Cambodia and brought us back amazing gifts. I’m so excited to put up the hammock they gave us this summer. The food was delicious (octopus, ceviche, roasted cauliflower, and more) but catching up was the best. We split evenly; my husband and I put it on our joint card. It’s a late one, and we end up sharing their cab part of the way home. I don’t have any cash to contribute to the ride but we’ll get the next one! $120
Daily Total: $337.91
9 a.m. — Wake up after a fitful night of sleep. I took my normal sleeping tablet but I was up every few hours in pain; it seems like all I do is complain about it, but it’s so intense that it’s honestly consuming me. Our best friends ask if we’d like to have brunch at noon so we get ready, take the dog for a walk and run him in the park, drop him off, and head over to a restaurant we’ve never been to. It turns out to be delicious; I get almond toast with a latte and share the salad that comes with my husband’s burger. The bacon looks incredible so we get a side to share as a table. My husband ran an errand for me, and I didn’t pay him back yet, so this is my treat. $51
2 p.m. — Home and tidying up. Sorting out clothes to give away to our friend who does a lot of homeless outreach. I bought myself a new parka for the holidays and make sure my old one is in good shape and clean to give away. I noticed doing this diary that I tidy up a lot; I guess that is just what happens when you have a big dog who loves to play in the dirt and throw his toys everywhere living in an NYC apartment.
3 p.m. — We booked a cleaner from Handy to tackle the hardcore cleaning. We don’t normally do this, but the guests that stayed in our apartment over New Years have two little kids that left the floor really sticky… The cleaner is the nicest guy. The apartment looks cleaner than I’ve seen it in years and I’m so pleased with the result. The guests gave us $100 for a cleaner, and I pay him $20 for tip. $20
4:30 p.m. — While the cleaner is around, we take the dog out to run errands but nowhere has anything we need, so we stop at Whole Foods. Yes, we have the dog with us. We’ve never done it before, but everyone was surprisingly cool with it. He is registered as an emotional-support dog, is wearing a coat, and stays in a heel by my husband’s side the whole time. We decided to make a ragout in the Instant Pot, watch a movie, and have a cozy day. We buy meat, veggies, and pasta for it, along with other pantry staples and vitamins for the upcoming week ($36). Our friends come over around 7 with a bottle of wine for the sauce, and our dogs play in the middle of the floor while we chat and decide which movie to watch. My father bought my husband a ridiculously big TV with surround sound for our living room. We go with Baby Driver ($5.99), and it is excellent. $41.99
1 a.m. — Our friends leave and my husband takes the pup out while I clean up from dinner. Tomorrow’s Monday, but it’s a holiday so I can afford to stay up later than normal. Thank god for a lay-in.
Daily Total: $112.99
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