How is it possible that I’ve spent $175 in 26 hours in New York?
Before I get ripped for reckless shopping, $75 went to groceries and $40 to booze (I swear I’m not an alcoholic. It’s for my brunch this Saturday, okay?!). Not so justifiable expenses: cab rides, multiple meals out, wardrobe expansion. However, I completely stand by the $10 heel repair of my purple BCBG peep-toe stilettos. That’s less than 10% of their original retail price ($130 — bad, bad freshman self!) to restore my favorite shoes to their former glory. Totally worth it.
My only real luxury was a manicure, which a girl needs every once in a while. I even visited the Kate Spade and walked out without a purchase. This is discipline. But I need more than discipline if I want to leave New York with actual savings. Thus, I’ve downloaded Burn, a Mac-compatible expense tracker I found — where else? — at Lifehacker.
Since I’m on a streak, I wrote up a preliminary weekly budget:
Rent - $250
Utilities - $25
Transportation - $25 (30-Day Metrocard $76 or ~$20/week + $5 in random cab fare)
Groceries - $50
Restaurants - $50
Other - $50 (mostly salon/spa-related expenses)
Total expenses? $450. Thankfully, my job pays. Miracle, right? Assuming I manage a few freelance assignments, I might even have a decent shopping budget.
Before taking my summer gig, I did the math. Manhattan is ridiculously expensive but I’m actually making just as much money after rent as I would be in Los Angeles living at home. Also, a matter of pride: I really didn’t want to take a pay cut. The hourly rate for all my previous summer internships (entertainment, public relations) in California has been shit, and that’s being generous. Doing business-oriented stuff in Boston this fall actually paid double-digits, and I really didn’t want my seventh internship to pay me what I was making at 16. Minimum wage stopped being cool when I graduated high school. My current job — in new media — constitutes living wage in Manhattan, believe it or not. Thus, I’m in the Village instead of the San Gabriel Valley.
This is a very good thing. For one, my mother won’t have to fund my trip to China in mid-August. Second, I won’t feel guilty for the three months I’m financially independent. That is, until school starts and I’m reminded once again that she was in labor for 26 hours and I better be making the most out of Harvard because someone has to give me a real job when I graduate, dammit. But I’ll worry about that in September.
In other news, I am incredibly happy that I have a kitchen in which I can cook instead of a dorm room microwave that nukes the hell out of ramen. Tonight’s dinner for one: baked salmon fillet.