My week in money: how to afford living in NYC
Here’s what I spent in a week trying to save up for those perfect Manolo Blahniks.
I got inspired reading an old Money Diary on Man Repeller, and felt like the concept only would be positive to spread in here as well. Living and working in New York City makes it so easy to spend money on little things here and there. But little strokes fell great oaks. So I’ve tried writing down my spendings for 1 week. I figured I would spend less if I write it down, plus it would be cool to see the bigger picture in the end of this little project.
*WARNING* this post is quite long, so get a cup of coffee and get comfortable.
Here’s my week in money:
I started my Monday morning early (hallelujah jet-lag) and decided to drink a cup of coffee in bed while watching morning news. I already have the coffee machine and coffee in my kitchen, so $0 was spend. Edward drove me to work and also bought me breakfast on the way. Ergo I spend $0 on breakfast.
After a couple of hours in front of the computer I went to Starbucks with a colleague. It was rainy and fall-like, so I felt like treating myself to a grande Mocha with a caramel shot. I had to reload money onto my Starbucks app, and therefore spend $10 (although only $4.16 was used, and the $5.84 I can still use). Since we just came home from Spain Sunday afternoon, we hadn’t grocery shopped, and I therefore bought my lunch. This is something I really try to stay away from, as it is so freaking expensive. I got a sushi lunch combo for $14.25.
I took the subway home, but have a 30-day card though my job, $0. Later in the evening I worked on some projects (more about that later this fall) and bought a template through Etsy for $15.58. I actually didn’t have dinner this day, just because my day had been too busy to eat lunch before 4PM and I actually stayed full the rest of the day.
Total spending lands at $39.83.
I woke up early again (I really love these slow, early mornings) and ate breakfast and drank a cup of coffee at home. Since we already had this in the kitchen I spent $0. I was very close to buying my second coffee at Starbucks on my way to the office, but the way too long line saved my budget and I decided to make a cup of Nespresso at work (not as good, but it’ll do). Ergo $0 was spend on morning coffee.
Tuesday I was really good and brought lunch. Edward was so lovely and went grocery shopping on his extra vacation day, while I went to the office. So again I spent $0. After lunch I kinda started craving something sweet, and went to the deli down the street. Good news is that I left with a the healthy afternoon snack version: Kombucha, Kale chips, and gum, bad new is that I spent $16.08.
For dinner Edward cooked some really delicious fish and veggies, which was already in our fridge, ergo $0.
Total spending lands at $16.08.
Pretty good if I may say so, but I will say I was pretty hungry when I got home for dinner. I didn’t like the kale chips, but since I had already spent the money I didn’t get something else. This is a good diet!
Started the day a little later (my jet lag is going away, which means waking up when my alarm rings and not at 5AM), but still took the time to make a good breakfast, brew a cup of coffee, and drink a big glass of water. I must say my breakfast bowl reminded me a lot of the way too expensive Acai bowl I used to buy (and still do sometimes), but this one was $0. Win!
On my way to work I almost fell asleep in the subway (which still is $0 because I have the monthly pass) and got myself an iced coffee at Starbucks. Since I had already loaded $10 onto my app, it technically was $0 this day. I had also brought lunch (yay me, consistent!), but I tell you my cravings for sugar was unreal this day. I tried resisting with a Matcha Latte, but finally had to make a late afternoon run to Chelsea Market. Opted for some vegan chocolate and gummy bears. Could’ve been worse calories wise, but spent $16.07. Ate leftovers for dinner with my boyfriend $0.
With that Wednesday came to a total of $22.25
Thursday was kind of a no-spending day since I worked from home. Ate breakfast at home ($0), was on the subway real quick ($0, because of the monthly pass), and had lunch at home ($0). I was quite busy, so not much was eaten.. I did though go out for pizza and a soda with Edward for dinner (great culinary choice, hah).
This day came to a total of $18.
Ate breakfast at home $0 and then off to work. I got an iced coffee from Starbucks, because #FRIYAY, which was $3.43 and also bought my lunch at Chalait. A perfect avocado toast to the price of $12.52. Ouch. But again, #FRIYAY. On Fridays during summer I’m off at 3PM, and this day I biked ($0 because I already bought the 1-year pass) to the Upper West side to do some shopping for mine and Edwards 2-year anniversary (which we are making a big deal out of, because it’s damn romantic and I have something really cool planned for us). After visiting many stores, I finally found the dress in Theory. A little expensive, but too perfect to leave behind. $Too much.
Okay, it’s finally the weekend and Edward and I had a Dinner & a Movie date planned. He payed for dinner ($0) and I payed for the movie (Dunkirk, not a recommendation), which came out to $18. After the movie we went on a late night stroll and a scoop of Ben & Jerry’s (which ended up being all over my new white Supergas, but it was worth it). This was probably the most expensive two scoops of ice cream I’ve gotten in a long time. $8!
Total: $41.95 + too much shopping
Saturday we decided to take Edward’s mom for brunch. And I decided to pay (extra points, you know). We went to La Macchina on the Upper West side, which has really good food and mimosas. I went for the usual Eggs Benedict and with a side of avocado, and Edward and his mom went for their way too good burger. Brunch came out to $60.97
After that Edward and I wanted to be cultural, and was almost on our way to the Guggenheim, but the thing is… Edward and I are the kind of people who stroll through a museum in 10 minutes, so paying $25 per person in admission fee is a little overdone. Instead we went to the Cathedral of St. John, which we’ve driven by many times. It was so damn beautiful inside. And it was free. Win win.
On weekends I love to cook a good dinner, so before we headed home from our very cultural afternoon, we bought some shrimp, the white fish I can never remember the name of, veggies, and cherries for desert (and I of course was also planning to eat the ice cream we had in the freezer). It was so freaking good, and came out to $44.59
I loooove Sundays. I feel so chill. I woke up really early, had breakfast in bed (from our fridge $0), and went to the Basketball court with Edward. We went to the one by Riverside and 110th, which was perfectly empty on this Sunday morning. I’m not familiar with basketball, but had begged Edward to go play with me because I thought it would be so much fun. And it really was. And a good workout. Damn.
After that we needed some cold drinks ($12.56), before we headed to Central Park to catch a little tan. We went home early in the afternoon, I bought flowers for the apartment on our way home ($10), and spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning. Did any of you guys grow up being taught that Sunday was cleaning day? Well, it’s stuck with me. I only clean on Sundays.
Dinner was leftovers ($0), and since Edward was at work I decided a SATC-marathon would be the right way to end this week.
This is a good diet. If I can’t spend unnecessary money, I’m funny enough not buying unnecessary sweets and drinks. I think it’s been very healthy going through this process and writing down every time I spend money.
Moving forward I’m not going to write down everything, but I’ll definitely be saving up more and setting a certain amount of money that I can use. I had decided I could only spend $100, but with the amount below it’s clear to everyone that I totally broke that. I’m trying again this week, and I bet you, after a while it’ll just be normal to spend very little. It is definitely possible even in New York City.
Total for the week: $250.15