Cost of living in New York City

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 Law Student, Intern, and Cam Girl who makes $29,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a pair of Everlane Day Heels.

Occupation: Law Student, Intern, Cam Girl
Industry: Legal Services and Sex Work
Age: 27
Location: New York, NY
Salary: $29,000
Paycheck Amount (1x/week): Varies month-to-month, but on average $600.
Gender Identity: Woman

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $833
Loans: $0
Gym membership: $30 (student discount!)
WiFi: $25 (split with my partner slash roommate)
Con-Ed/Gas: $30
Shared Bank Account: $100 (I put this in a shared bank account with my partner to buy groceries, pay for home things, etc. every month)
Robinhood: $20-$40
Coffee Membership: $36
Cell Phone: $0 (family plan)
School Costs: I’m in law school and my tuition is covered by a scholarship, my parents, and a $22,000 loan that I took out. I’ll graduate with $66,000 in debt. I plan to work in nonprofit law so it will most likely be covered by a repayment plan.

Day One

5 p.m. — It has been a long day of work and this is my first expense of the day. I’m on my way home from work and get a text from my partner that we need food for dinner. I stop at the grocery store down the block and pick up chicken, avocados, bread, and fruit. We split the grocery bill. $9

7 p.m — My friend invites me to see a concert at a private club. I’m not a member, so I seize the opportunity! It’s a great show. She puts drinks on her account, but I pony up for our shared Lyft home as a thank you. I get home around 2 a.m. $40

Daily Total: $49

Day Two

11 a.m. — I wake up late and hungover from last night. I hard boil eggs I already have in the fridge and toast up the bread I bought yesterday. I place an Amazon order for toilet paper, toothpaste, cleaning supplies, and some new lingerie (including a thong with a string of pearls!) to wear on my show. I like to keep it fresh with what I wear for my show, though I can usually wear an outfit three or four times until it gets boring. My friends inherit a lot of (washed!) second-hand lingerie from me. $53.42

2 p.m. — I log in to my cam site and check my messages. A regular has tipped me $25 while I was offline. This is rare — he remembered it was my birthday late and feels bad. I turn my cam on and do a two-hour live show. Several regulars are online and I end up making $552, which is far better than I normally do. After my show, I go down the block and buy a mango with chili powder and two churros from the neighborhood subway churro lady ($6). I’m still high on the tips I earned earlier, and the churros are delicious. $6

5 p.m. — Turns out the drinks from last night weren’t actually put on my friend’s account — she sends me a Venmo charge for the three tequilas I drank last night. $22 per drink seems absurd, but the show was free and I had a great time rubbing shoulders with the New York glitterati. I remember how much I made during my show earlier today and shrug it off. $66

7 p.m. — I eat leftover chicken and pasta from the pantry for dinner with my partner. We watch the new Coen Brothers film on his mom’s Netflix account. It’s been a great day.

Daily Total: $125.42

Day Three

8 a.m. — I swing over to the coffee shop where I have a monthly membership with unlimited coffee, and get a large cappuccino. I tip $1. I see the baristas every day, so I always make sure to leave a tip so they know I appreciate them! They’ll sometimes slip me day-old muffins or empanadas on my way into school when they have day-olds. Us tipping economy folks look out for each other. $1

12 p.m. — I packed lunch today! I’ve been trying to do this more often, but it’s hard. I eat with a girl I tutored last year and we chat about her summer internship applications.

4 p.m. — After yesterday’s show, I’m feeling like a boss. I swing by my neighborhood beauty shop and pick up some glittery glue-on nails ($3.50) and nail glue ($2). I get home and start an hour-long show. I wear the new nails during my show, but it doesn’t sell — the room was quiet and I only make about $20 tips in an hour. I try not to take the low earnings to heart. $5.23

8 p.m. — My partner had a bad day at work, so I take him out for a drink and a burger. I pay and he tips. We head home after drinks and talk until we fall asleep. $43

Daily Total: $49.23

Day Four

7 a.m. — I get up and quickly get ready before heading to class.

11 a.m. — After morning classes, I stop at the gym on my way home. This is the first year I’ve had a private gym membership (rather than the school one) and I love it. My gym has lots of classes and it’s right next to the train on my way home. I do a chill yoga class then lift some weights, focusing on my legs and butt.

1 p.m. — I stop by a Japanese grocery store I love and pick up fresh tofu, eggplant, and tortillas to make a vegan taco recipe I’ve been wanting to try for lunch. $8.20

7 p.m. — I eat leftover tacos for dinner. I get started on my TurboTax and have to pay for the $40 version because my taxes are fairly complex. I have freelance income from tutoring and camming and pay taxes on both. I can write-off school books, teaching materials I use for tutoring, and all of the makeup and lingerie I use for my show. I also write-off my new computer and an expensive camera I bought a few months ago. I also received a grant earlier in the year for a summer fellowship ($6,000), so I include that in my income. I’ll receive a $1,000 refund from the taxes I paid on the grant and other odd jobs. $40

Daily Total: $48.20

Day Five

9 a.m. — I have a chronic illness that makes me prone to weight gain, extra body hair, and acne. I pick up my prescription that controls most of my symptoms. I have student health insurance which isn’t great, but it covers most of the cost of prescriptions. $6

10 a.m. — While surfing the web in class and I see a Poshmark alert that a used pair of my favorite Everlane day heels are for sale. I love Poshmark — both for budgetary and sustainability reasons. I am very picky about the outfits I have to wear to my stuffy legal internships and to court, so I’ve found my perfect items and wait for them to go on sale or pop up on secondhand sites. I snag this pair at a deep discount. $44.89

2 p.m. — Brought lunch again! I’m killing this. I finish up classes and then head home to chill.

7 p.m. — My partner cooks dinner for us while I read for school. Dinner is shrimp from the freezer and veggies from the fridge. We hang out and chat until bedtime.

Daily Total: $50.89

Day Six

8:30 a.m. — I get up and head out to grab a latte at my membership cafe. I tip a dollar again. This morning I get a day-old bagel for free. $1

8:45 a.m. — I got up this early to do a private with a client on Skype. We chat for 10 minutes and then I perform for about 30. He’s shared his identity with me, and even though I’m anonymous, I know we actually have a few friends in common. I look forward to seeing him as our kinks align closely. It’s an awesome show and I come twice (for real!). I really, really love my job, and how I’m able to work relatively short, flexible hours while making decent money. It’s also been fun to explore my sexuality with others and fulfill my exhibitionist tendencies in ways that don’t violate the terms of my mostly monogamous relationship. After my show, I shower and then I stop at Uniqlo to return some clothes I ordered online that were too big. I love that I can shop mindlessly at Uniqlo and always look put-together at work. Plus, their stuff lasts forever. I get a refund for $56.07. After Uniqlo, I head to class.

3 p.m. — Welp, I’m breaking my lunch streak. I pick up a deli salad on my way home from class and eat it while I get set up for my show. A few regulars are on, and a viewer I haven’t met requests a private, which means he tips a minimum amount per minute. I do a short show, then we end up just chatting for a few minutes. The private alone earns me $33, and the whole show puts me at about $100. Not bad for an hour and a half of work. $7.87

7 p.m. — My best friend has me over to her house for dinner. I pick up a six-pack of Tecate on the way. None of my friends know how I earn my pocket change — I think they assume my parents help me out. I’m lucky that I don’t have any more debt for undergrad, but law school tuition is all on me. I will be relying on federal loan repayment which will substantially reduce my loans if I remain in public service work for 10 years, but I am still expecting to pay between $300-$400 per month when I begin working full-time next fall. I might need to continue working nights. $9

Daily Total: $17.87

Day Seven

9 a.m. — I get up and head out, grabbing my usual coffee (I tip $1). I eat an Rx bar for breakfast. I have a big interview this afternoon for a post-grad fellowship and I always perform best on an empty stomach! $1

3 p.m. — The interview went well! I’ll hear back in a few days, but I’m hopeful. I buy a smoothie from a cart outside the office where I interviewed before heading home. $4.75

9 p.m. — My partner and I go out for a few drinks with friends at a bar nearby that does live music. My friend is DJing tonight and put me on the list, so I get into the show for free! It’s my first time here, and I love it — I’ll be back soon. I get a few drinks and we head out in the wee hours of the night. $18.83

Daily Total: $24.58

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