Learn How Not to Spend Your $31k Salary From This Fashion Girl
I’ve always been good at saving money. But when I realized I’d be moving to NYC after college to work as a journalist with a not-so-big salary, I knew I had to be really good at saving money.
Not everyone is naturally great at maintaining a budget. I see dudes throwing $100 bills at NYC night clubs way too often. Sometimes I grab them, because broke.
I also have friends who claim they’re broke but manage to buy $10 salads for lunch everyday. It can be tough to see where your money really goes if you’re not paying attention. But when you’re making close to $31K in one of the cities with the highest cost of living in the world, you need to start paying attention.
This journalist who logged her “money diary” for Refinery29 clearly didn’t pay any attention, or maybe just doesn’t give a f*ck if she lives paycheck to paycheck. But either way, reading her diary made me mad. I mean seriously, she bought a special hairdryer to bring to her fuck buddy’s house and spent money on some type of carry out food almost every day.
As someone who makes a similar salary and actually pays a couple hundred more for rent, let’s analyze where this girl went wrong, and what she should’ve done.
8:45 a.m. — Feeling tired and hungover from a holiday weekend, I indulge in a greasy bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich and small iced coffee on my way to the office. $7.90
Alright, clearly we’re starting off on a bad foot here. I get wanting greasy food for your hangover, but you can pretty easily make a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich at home for so much cheaper! Or grab a $1 slice of pizza, because pizza for breakfast is totally fine if you’re hungover and broke.
1 p.m. — Normally I try to pack a lunch for work, but because I’m in between apartments right now with most of my dishes still packed away, I get an over-priced salad near my office. $10.55
If you’re someone who is obsessed with eating healthy, I can understand that there aren’t many cheap eating out options, especially in NYC. But considering this girl ate junk food for breakfast, it doesn’t seem like she’s on some psycho diet.
If you’re not going to pack lunch, you pretty much have to give up all hope of trying to eat healthy. It’s too expensive and not worth it. And if you really cared about eating healthy, you would meal prep the night before.
8 p.m. — After work, I head to the apartment of a new guy I’ve been hanging out with, and he orders pizza for us.
Finally, you’re learning! Always use men for free pizza. It’s the least they can do.
6 p.m. — After work, I run to Walgreens to get a hair dryer to leave at my new guy’s apartment for when I spend the night, and also some laundry detergent because I’ve run out of clean clothes. $40.25
Why? Why? Why? Have him sleep at your house since you require way more beauty products, or just bring your god damn hair dryer over with you when you know you’ll be spending the night. There’s really no need to purchase two.
I take a cab from my guy’s place to my apartment in Brooklyn, because I had several bags of clothes and miscellaneous stuff with me that I deemed too heavy to carry on the subway. I hate taking cabs when I’m not too drunk for the subway, but I decide I can make an exception this time. $27.53
First off, you should always try to take the subway when you can, especially when you’ve already purchased the monthly pass because you won’t be spending any extra money. Why couldn’t her dude have helped her carry her shit? She also should have looked at Uber or Lyft… or other NYC ride sharing apps like Via or Gett… to see which price was the lowest, because cabs are almost always more expensive and way less convenient.
7:30 p.m. — I get some groceries so I can start packing my lunch again and hopefully save some money. I hate cooking, so I keep it simple with items like hummus, carrots, cheese, and crackers. $19.95
Learn to cook. It will save you so much more money. Or at least buy items that have more nutritional value and will keep you full for longer. Oatmeal, rice, beans, and frozen veggies are all cheap items that are healthy and filling. Cheese and crackers are neither healthy nor do they make up a balanced meal.
12 p.m. — I work from home on Fridays, and I typically go to my favorite neighborhood bagel place for a late breakfast. I get a bagel and a small iced coffee — my usual. $6.60
The fact that she said “my usual” is such a bad sign. I get that it’s only $6.60 and I sound like a psycho, but that shit adds up if you’re going there once a week. That’s at least $343 a year on fucking bagels and iced coffee. Probably more because she purchases iced coffee a couple of other times in the week. You can make iced coffee at home, and you can get bagels at the grocery store in bulk!
3 p.m. — I meet up with one of my roommates in Manhattan for brunch at one of our favorite Mexican spots. We both get an entrée and two drinks, and we split the bill. $30.53
You’ve spent over $45 on Mexican food in five days. Chill on that.
4:30 p.m. — We decide to day drink and head to the Standard. I order us a round and am reminded of how expensive this place can be. $35
Day drinking? Bueno. Day drinking in the meatpacking district on your own dime? No bueno. I’m not saying you have to make guys buy your drinks, but I am saying you shouldn’t be spending $35 on just one round. Pregame harder, bring a flask in your purse, or utilize promoters. It’s ratchet, but get over it. There’s also the option of day-drinking at a less glam place that doesn’t charge $17 per drink. Or not drinking… but let’s not push it.
1 a.m. — After drinking all day and letting my new guy pay, I ask him to let me pick up the last tab and he agrees. $60.97
How kind of you. Dumb, but kind.
6 p.m. — Even though I work in fashion, I rarely ever shop for clothes. But this weekend, the guy I recently started dating is taking me on a trip for my birthday, and I want to get a few new outfits so I look good. I head to Soho and do some damage, buying several tank tops, a romper, two bralettes and a pair of overalls. I tell myself it’s okay to spend some money because it’s almost my birthday, and I really, really like this new guy. $206.55
If this is her birthday gift to herself, I’ll let it slide. But considering how many other excuses she made throughout the week for spending unnecessary money, I have a feeling she’s going to dish out more money for another birthday gift on her actual birthday. I’m all for treating yourself, but sometimes you have to settle for making your rent on time instead of a new romper. Life is hard.
This girl spent $264 on food in a week. Wanna know how much I spent last month? $108. I’m not trying to brag, I’m just saying that it’s doable. Find ways to get free food. Buy in bulk. Eat out as little as possible unless someone else is paying for it. I love food so much, but when you’re starved for cash (pun intended), it’s a waste of money, especially in NYC.
Plus she spent $206 on clothes in a week. I spent $40 in a month. They were actually shoes, that I got for 50% off. It’s possible not to shop nonstop, I swear.
Your finances are your business, and so is how you choose to spend your money. But if you find yourself struggling to get from paycheck to paycheck and don’t know where you’ve gone wrong, start tracking your spending. If it looks anything like this girl’s, you’re going to have to make some changes.
Let’s get it!