A Week In New York City On A $150,000 Income

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Today: an analyst working in investment banking who makes $150,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on blueberries.

Occupation: Analyst
Industry: Investment Banking
Age: 23
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $95,000 base plus ~$55,000 bonus that varies annually
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): ~$2,500

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,900
Student Loan Payment: $0 (I was very fortunate to have a college fund set up by my parents as well as some scholarships. I also worked through school to pay some of my tuition. I’d say that tuition was covered ~70/15/15 by my parents, myself, and scholarships.)
Health, Dental & Vision Insurance: $132
Internet: $25
Utilities: $30
Gym: $25 pre-tax and reimbursed by work
Phone: $50
Apple Storage: $0.99
Spotify: $9.99
New York Times Subscription: $15
401(k): I put in a lump sum from my bonus (once a year) that makes up the majority of the contributions, and about $100 is taken from each paycheck, so around $200/month. But most of the balance in the account is from what comes out of my bonus.

Day One

11:30 a.m. — I wake up slightly hungover from last night. My friend’s boyfriend was in town and she had a birthday get-together for him at a bar near Union Square. Today, I have brunch plans in Brooklyn with my friend, L., so I get up and get ready quickly. I’m pretty fast at getting ready, but the place we picked in Brooklyn requires me to take the L train, which means I need to walk to 14th Street. It’s a beautiful walk, but I text L. to let her know I’ll be a bit late…and so will she, so it’s perfect! After a quick subway ride ($2.75 using my prepaid MetroCard), and another lovely walk in Brooklyn, we’re at brunch. It’s a super cute restaurant called Aurora. We want to sit outside, but unfortunately there’s a baby shower booked for the space.

1 p.m. — We get coffee, and I order Eggs Benedict with prosciutto and a side of sausage. L. orders pasta. I haven’t caught up with her in awhile, and it’s always fun to hear what’s going on with her — we were friendly in college but have been hanging out more since we both moved to New York. We spend a good amount of time admiring the incredibly chic women at the baby shower. L. forgot her wallet, so I pay and she Venmos me. $31.50

2:15 p.m. — We planned to go to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and are very excited, but it looks like a nightmare to get to via public transit (Google Maps is directing us to go back to Manhattan and then back into Brooklyn…), so we Uber (L. Venmos me half). It’s a bit of a long and frustrating drive, but we finally make it after about 40 minutes. $11

3 p.m. — Apparently admission to the garden costs extra today (like twice as much) because there’s a festival. We figure we’re already here and it looks beautiful, so we might as well pay and go in. $30

4 p.m. — This park is stunning. The only thing that’s (very) annoying is how crowded it is, because it’s a festival weekend and it’s so beautiful out. L. and I decide to leave early since I have plans at 5 with another friend. We get small cups of ice cream from a street vendor on our way to the subway ($3). A crowded subway ride later ($2.75), we’re in Chelsea and we bump into my old rental agent. He’s great, and it’s a fun catchup for about three minutes until I realize I really need to run to the theater! L. and I part ways, and she invites me to a party next weekend. $3

5:10 p.m. — Make it a bit late to a sci-fi movie with my other friend, T. When I first moved to New York I was a bit lonely, but it takes time to make friends in a place that isn’t college and I’m so grateful to have a great group of friends now. I fall asleep two-thirds into the movie (residual fatigue from last night?), but enjoy the two-thirds that I do see. (The movie ticket is extra expensive because it’s part of a festival.) $26

7 p.m. — T. and I go to dinner in Chelsea, and she fills me in on the ending of the movie. It sounds really good, and I’m slightly annoyed at myself for missing it…I might need to watch it again. I order duck breast and a cocktail and T. orders gnocchi and a draft beer. She asks if I’m going out tonight, and I say I’m honestly not up for it (am I getting old?), so she goes to meet her friend for drinks and I walk home. $53

10 p.m. — My friend from work, A., texts and wants to grab drinks. I agree after some cajoling. But no going out! She comes over, and we debrief on what we did on our one free day. Saturdays are “protected” from our jobs — our teams need to put in a special request for us to work on Saturdays. This means we can actually make plans on Saturdays, which is why my Saturdays always end up being a very expensive combination of eating, drinking, shopping, and going out. A. and I go to a cute bar and funnily enough, bump into a guy we used to work with. I used to be a bit into this guy, and A. does not understand what I see in him. What are friends for if not to tell you what they really think? After two drinks each, I declare I’ve reached my (lightweight) limit, and the bartender tells us someone paid for one of our rounds. A. and I are pleasantly surprised and try to deduce who our mysterious admirer is with no luck. I get the remainder of the tab. $34

1:30 a.m. — A. and I decide we deserve drunk food even though we didn’t go out, and we go to a casual ramen spot near my apartment. It’s not amazing, but it tastes pretty good for post-midnight food on a Saturday night. We order gyoza and ramen and A. pays since I got the drinks. After a big bowl of ramen, I’m feeling a little bloated and like I’m already going to regret this in the morning. A. and I also have brunch plans tomorrow. She Ubers home to the Lower East Side and I walk home to my apartment in the light rain. I love New York at night when it’s raining just a little.

Daily Total: $188.50

Day Two

10 a.m. — I wake up and check my email. I have some work to do already, which is slightly depressing. I went through a phase where I worked almost not at all on the weekends (after working every weekend for many months), but the dream can’t last forever. I do some work before showering and getting ready for brunch with A. I call my best friend for a bit before I go to brunch. I met her in college and she’s the person I always call when I need advice or am excited about something or otherwise have news to share. As they say in Grey’s Anatomy, she’s my person.

11:30 a.m. — A. and I have brunch at L’Artusi, one of my all-time favorite spots. The most stereotypical New York couple sits down next to us — bro-y finance dude and girl with fresh Drybar blowout. Both A. and I struggle not cracking up too much at some of the things they’re saying (like about the sweaters she puts on her dog). I have some work to do, so I leave for the office and A. walks home. $33

1:15 p.m. — I cab to work with the window down, enjoying the breeze and intermittently responding to emails. After getting to work, I settle in and am actually quite focused for a bit. It’s now cloudy. It’s always easier to forget you’re working on a weekend when the weather’s not nice. ($12.80 expensed)

4:30 p.m. — I wrap up work and get a text from my friend who used to work with me but has since moved jobs. We decide to grab coffee in the West Village. He gets a cold brew and I get a nonfat latte. My friend brought his laptop just in case (lol) because he’s announcing a deal tomorrow, so he’s basically on call until they announce. I love catching up with him – he’s always fun and easygoing, and we’re pretty much on the same page career-wise and friend-wise. He answered every dumb question I had when I first started my job, and doesn’t take himself too seriously (which is hard to find amongst people who work in finance in New York!). He pays for coffee, and I Venmo him. $5

6:45 p.m. — Log in from home to do some more work and order Thai food on Seamless. I dial into a call with the lawyers on a deal we’re currently working on, which drags on for awhile. I like the team on this deal, though — especially the female associate. It’s true what they say — liking the people you work with literally makes all the difference. ($23.86 expensed)

8 p.m. — Finish up work and eat all my Thai food. I fall into a slight food coma and watch Grey’s Anatomy for a bit. I love Cristina. After three episodes, I browse NYT, read a bit of a book, and consider for the umpteenth time if I should make a playlist on Spotify. (I’m just so lazy and other people’s playlists are so good.) I browse online on DSW for boots, since I have a gift card from last Christmas. I made a resolution this year that I’m not allowed to shop unless I donate to Goodwill, in which case I can buy one item from Goodwill for every one thing I donate to Goodwill. Exempt are gift card purchases if I already have the gift card, and gifts from other people. I’ve actually gotten some cute stuff from Goodwill so far, which horrifies my mother. (“Why would you buy secondhand clothes when you’re perfectly capable of buying firsthand clothes?”) I’ve gotten two gorgeous Theory dresses that I’ve had tailored.

10:45 p.m. — I log in to do some more work and then watch the latest episode of Billions. I started watching Billions because of Damian Lewis, and I’m not sure if I like him better in Billions or in Homeland. I watch another episode of Grey’s Anatomy before falling asleep.

Daily Total: $38

Day Three

7:30 a.m. — I usually wake up around 10 a.m. (we get in late and work late at my job), but for the past week or so, I’ve had daily 8 a.m. calls. The calls are pretty interesting, though, so I’m actually able to stay quite awake during them. That being said, my phone is on speaker on my nightstand and I’m technically sitting in bed the whole time.

11 a.m. — After showering and getting ready, I hop on the subway to work. I’ve developed a really bad habit of not eating breakfast, but in order for my body to stay up later, I tend to snack after dinner (which is bad, I know) and end up not being super hungry for breakfast.

11:30 a.m. — I pick up a salad I preordered (chicken, kale, and quinoa with avocado — the same salad every day) and get a free coffee at the coffee shop in my building courtesy of my get-one-free-coffee-for-every-ten-coffees punch card. I expense lunch since I have enough dinner money in my dinner budget to cover both lunch and dinner. ($11.97 expensed)

2:30 p.m. — After a few calls, I meet a student from my alma mater for coffee and get a nonfat latte. I would have bought this guy a coffee, but he told me he just had one. We chat and I feel old reminiscing about college, even though I graduated less than two years ago. ($4 expensed)

5:30 p.m. — Have an early dinner because I am starving. I order three sushi rolls from a new place on Seamless (spicy tuna, spicy salmon, and salmon avocado). I was craving sushi but I really regret ordering it because, as expected, Seamless sushi is incredibly mediocre. I scarf down my dinner at my desk while on yet another call and then get back to work for a bit. ($13 expensed)

7 p.m. — Head down to the gym after dinner because I have not been to the gym in a very, very long time. I go hard on the rowing machine for 15 minutes and then the elliptical for the span of one song (always “Watch Me Shine” from Legally Blonde — it’s the song that’s playing while Elle Woods is on the elliptical when she’s getting her life together!). Then I do some (very bad) ab exercises and stretch. My workouts all have one thing in common — they’re short. I have absolutely no stamina after my too-long hiatus from the gym. I head back upstairs to do some more work. Then I catch up with a coworker, and we complain about the annoying parts of our days for a bit. She convinces me to go for drinks after work and I readily agree.

10:30 p.m. — We head for drinks at a bar near work and a few coworkers join us for some wine. It occurs to me, not for the first time, how lucky I am to have amazing friends at work. My friend gets the tab and we hail Ubers to go home our separate ways. My roommate is out of town for work, so the apartment is pretty quiet. I log back in quickly to do a bit more work and then pass out. ($22 expensed)

Daily Total: $0

Day Four

7:55 a.m. — I blearily wake up for my 8 a.m. call. Afterwards, I decide get to work early because I want an omelette from a bodega near my office before the omelette station closes at 10 a.m. I shower, get dressed, and get ready. I walk because it’s so beautiful out!

9:40 a.m. — The omelette guy smiles at me knowingly – he knows I booked it here for the omelette. I get turkey, peppers, spinach, and mushrooms in it, and it’s delicious. Then I settle in at work for more calls while eating and taking notes. $6.19

2 p.m. — Feeling a bit peckish, so I go down to the corner store and get some snacks for lunch: strawberry Greek yogurt, Mandarin oranges, and blueberries. $14.39

4 p.m. — I unexpectedly have some free time at work, so I run to the tailor five minutes away to drop off a black Theory dress (Goodwill find!) to be taken out a bit at the bust and hips and a silk blouse that I need to get hemmed. $60

5:30 p.m. — After my meetings, the rest of my afternoon is looking pretty free. This is great! I decide to a run to Barnes & Noble with my friend G., who is probably my most well-read friend and who has decided that I have terrible taste in books and insisted that he get me some “real literature.” G. picks out Salinger, Dostoevsky, Bret Easton Ellis, and a couple others, and pays because he says I’ll feel much more obligated to read them if he pays (which is true — I buy books all the time but always forget to read them or just never get around to it). I resolve to pay him back after I read them.

7 p.m. — Short work day! I meet up with some other friends from work for drinks. I get a cocktail and stay for a bit before the emails start coming through again, and I leave to go work from home (and Seamless more Thai food to my apartment, of course). ($24.94 expensed)

9 p.m. — Cab home just before Thai food arrives — great timing! ($12.80 expensed)

11:15 p.m. — After wrapping up work, I eat my drunken noodles while Facetiming with one of my friends from home.

12 a.m. — My friends N. and B. are hanging out on B.’s rooftop and invite me to come over. I debate staying at home (it’s hard to leave your apartment when you’re already in pajamas…), but it’s a beautiful night and my call tomorrow morning was canceled, so I throw on a dress and walk over. I stay on the phone with my friend from home, and we chat until I get to my friend’s apartment.

12:30 a.m. — I gladly pour myself a glass of rosé. Rooftop drinks in New York are the best. This, this is why we pay exorbitant rent and work long hours — for moments like these, right?

Daily Total: $80.58

Day Five

8:30 a.m. — Wake up blearily. I stayed up until maybe 4 a.m. and spent the night at B.’s. We slept together, which we both kind of know was the reason I came over in the first place. It’s now beautifully sunny and thankfully I’m not extremely hungover (just tired). I already know I’m going to pay for staying up so late. Ugh. I walk the 15-minute walk home and promptly crash. Ah, bed.

11 a.m. — Wake up again and hop in the shower and get ready. One of the best parts of this job is that you can have flexible (ish) hours if you’re not super busy, but when you’re busy you really are busy. I’ve pulled 100-hour weeks before, so you take the 40-hour weeks where you can. I arrive at work half an hour later and heat up my leftover Thai food.

2:30 p.m. — After a few deal calls, I get on an internal call to discuss summer intern candidates. I’m on the recruiting team for my alma mater, and we’re reviewing first round interviews right now. As with every year, a lot of people apply for not a lot of spots — always tough decisions to make. It’s almost ridiculous how competitive internships have gotten these days.

3 p.m. — My friend and I buy tickets to the opera, which we’ve been talking about buying forever. We get fairly good seats and are excited for next Friday. We also make a reservation at this Korean restaurant we’ve both been wanting to try for afterwards. $150

6 p.m. — Sneak out of work after finishing up all the things I need to do for the day. I grab a bottle of rosé and head over to B.’s for some drinks before meeting N. for dinner. $21.69

6:30 p.m. — Back on B.’s rooftop. I love rooftops. And the rosé is also a liter bottle, which is a pleasant surprise. B. and I lounge around the rooftop (no hooking up) and talk about a girl that he’s hung up on and a guy that I’ve been hung up on. We’re good friends but are fairly ambivalent about the fact that this is just hooking up for both of us. As we’ve both said before…this is why it works. After awhile, I leave to meet N. for dinner at a trendy Vietnamese place downtown. We’ve been wanting to go to this place for awhile, but it always has a wait, so we go to a nearby bar for drinks.

9 p.m. — Mixing alcohol is never a good idea…after having half a bottle of rosé, this tequila cocktail was not a good call. Urgh. $14

9:30 p.m. — Our table is ready! We order papaya salad and spring rolls to share and each get a massive bowl of pho. The appetizers are delicious, and the pho is amazing. Completely worth the 45-minute wait. N. and I are both intermittently on our email during dinner. (Even when I’m not at work, I’m expected to respond to emails fairly quickly.) I have had many dinners blown up by work requests before, but luckily this isn’t one of them. N. pays and I Venmo her. I walk home and do a bit more work before going to sleep. $35

Daily Total: $220.69

Day Six

8:45 a.m. — Wake up after sleeping like a baby. So, so nice when that happens. I dial in for an early call from home and slowly start getting ready.

10:30 a.m. — I drop off laundry and dry cleaning at the place around the corner. I’ve done my laundry myself since I was 12, but unfortunately my building doesn’t have machines…so I’ve become one of those New Yorkers who gets their laundry done. It’s annoying because you need to do it in bulk for it to be economical, but it’s pretty fast, and it’s so nice to get your laundry sorted and folded. This place also does my dry cleaning, and they’ve always done a good job (and it’s so close!). I drop off about 13 pounds of laundry (including linens) and a dress and skirt for dry cleaning. $36

11 a.m. — Subway to work and read a bit of Bret Easton Ellis on the way. This is the first time I’ve read him (I’ve seen American Psycho, but who hasn’t?), and I like the style. It’s easy to follow, but rich in detail and vocabulary.

11:45 a.m. — I get a granola parfait from Pret on my way in that is surprisingly mediocre. $4.43

11:55 a.m. — Work is catered lunch today. Yay! Snack on some delicious turkey avocado sandwiches before getting on more calls and catching up with my teams.

6 p.m. — Head to the tailor to pick up the stuff I dropped off earlier this week, but he’s still working on it. My friend and I decide to get a quick drink instead, and we go to a beautiful rooftop bar near work. We split a popsicle prosecco cocktail (YUM) and people watch. This week has been surprisingly chill, and I’m not complaining.

7:30 p.m. — A. and I head down to an Italian place near work for dinner and get drinks (wine for me, mojito for her) and some pizza. Our other coworker joins. ($70 expensed)

9 p.m. — It looks like I might be truly free from work tonight, so I decide to meet up with a friend for drinks. We get into a very long debate about politics. He convinces me try foie gras, and I actually think it’s pretty good.

2 a.m. — We close out the bar, and my friend pays. (We always alternate paying, and it’ll even out eventually.) I walk home, chug some water, and fall asleep.

Daily Total: $40.43

Day Seven

7:55 a.m. — I am impressed with myself for waking up for this 8 a.m. call and feeling pretty good this early in the morning after the number of cocktails I had last night. I dial in and text back A., who suggests getting breakfast at a Cuban place near me. Fridays are a bit more chill at work and the restaurant looks really good, so I tell her I’m down.

10 a.m. — We’re the first people at this breakfast spot, and it is so cute. The menu looks amazing and the staff is very friendly. We get Yucca fries to share (free, courtesy of A.’s Yelp check in), ropa vieja (pulled pork), and rotisserie chicken. A. gets grapefruit juice and I get lemonade. I always, always prefer catching up with friends one-on-one. The food is delicious, and we split the bill. $25

11:30 a.m. — A. and I are both very full, and we decide to cab instead of subway to work after I get an email that sounds semi-urgent. $5

11:45 a.m. — Email was not urgent. Sigh. I get some coffee in the kitchen and settle in at work. Also, it’s someone’s birthday today, and we have not one, but two delicious cakes. I try both.

3 p.m. — I heat up some leftover pizza from last night. Yum.

8 p.m. — After I finish up work for the day, I walk home and wander over to Goodwill. I donated some stuff a couple weeks ago, so I get two work dresses – a classic black sheath with tags still on and a black floral dress. I text my mom some cute pictures of what I got and she responds with, “Please make sure you dry clean before wearing — maybe twice!” For the record, I do dry clean them (once). $26

9:30 p.m. — I meet friends from work for dinner. Even though I see them every day, it’s rare that we’re all free in our limited time off work to plan something like this, so I feel happy that we made this happen!

12:30 a.m. — Many courses, many glasses of wine, and many discussion topics later, we’re all extremely full. We had a delicious sharing/tasting menu and there was a different wine for each course, so this lightweight is fairly tipsy by now. We had poke with avocado, scallops, a mushroom and egg course, truffle ravioli, branzino with roasted vegetables, and a delicious chocolate mousse. I love food. $125

12:45 a.m. — One blurry group picture later, I resist the temptation to go for another drink and trudge home because I have early morning volunteering tomorrow. I bid adieu to the girls and walk home, feeling grateful as I walk along the cobblestones that I get to live in such a beautiful neighborhood in such a beautiful city.

Daily Total: $181

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