A Week in Brooklyn on a $65,000 Salary

a person cutting a pizza

Welcome to Spending Notes, where we do a weekly deep dive into how our readers spend their cash.

Today: a web developer who makes $65,000 a year

Occupation: web developer

Age: 20

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Salary: $65,000 (approx. $2,500 per pay period)

Day One


This is a big week for me in a couple of ways. My girlfriend, L., is moving into my apartment—our apartment, now—this weekend. Plus, I’ve got a big project finishing up mid-week. So, I’m sure I’ll be busy all this week! First up is spending a few hours troubleshooting this client project. Then, I switch gears to work on my personal project—L. moving in. Between the two of us, we have a ton of stuff, and this apartment really isn’t that big. Today, I’m searching for cheap storage units in Brooklyn so we have some options at the ready. That way, we can declutter and get some of the excess stuff out of the way! I’ve got a few options picked out, and L. comes over to share some takeout for dinner.

Total: $37

Day Two


I woke up this morning to a new realization: L.’s cat, J., is moving in with her, too. We get along fine, but I didn’t think about “pet-proofing“ the apartment. I have a ton of houseplants, and I’m pretty sure some types can be toxic to animals. So, I do some research into house plants safe for cats. As it turns out, a few of mine are okay! I can keep my spider plant, African violet, and Boston fern! I spend some time cross-checking indoor plant safety with the ASPCA’s list of pet-safe plants, then order a few more that will thrive in the apartment’s indirect light and humidity. I might have gone a bit overboard, but who can blame me for free shipping? I call my mom to see if she’d like to “adopt” some of my others—I could potentially keep them out of pet’s reach, but even as a beginner fur parent, I know there’s no such thing when a cat chooses a popular houseplant as its own!

Total: $132

Day Three


Houseplants aren’t the only thing I have to worry about this week. Today’s dedicated almost entirely to finishing this project! Funnily enough, though, the client is actually pretty greenery-focused, so I’m still thinking about ferns, succulents, lilies, and orchids. I’ve just got some code between areca palm, bromeliad, and prayer plants! And by some, I mean a lot of code. A quick call from L. reminds me that I need to eat—she stays on the line until I have a delivery receipt to screenshot and send her. I complete the site’s finishing touches while sneaking bites of pasta. I’m mentally exhausted from the extra intense day, so I fall asleep pretty quickly, albeit for dreams of ponytail palms and haworthia.

Total: $27

Day Four


With my latest big project out of the way, I can spend today focusing on new clients and their websites. I’ve got a pretty extensive CRM from previous projects and referrals, so I start by reaching out to a few lukewarm prospects. I also update my portfolio and set up a few ads across social media to promote my services further.

Total: $142

Day Five


I haven’t got any bites just yet, so I send a few more messages before turning back to my own blooms and indoor garden of pet-safe houseplants. I take a few plants to my mom’s, making room for my new plants. Essentially, she’s getting a small garden so I can make homes for the non-toxic plants that are on their way! In the evening, L. stops by. We split a pizza and work on rearranging a portion of the apartment. Just two more days!

Total: $16.50

Day Six


T-minus 24 hours until L. moves in officially! She’s working today, so I’m working on getting rid of some excess junk in the meantime. We’ll be sharing a storage unit soon, too, but this will give us some breathing room in the meantime! I take a pile of clothes and some other miscellaneous items to the local charity shop to donate, clearing out a little more space for L.’s arrival. On the way home, I pick up a sandwich and drink, then head home to get some sleep. Tomorrow’s going to be a busy one!

Total: $7.50

Day Seven


Today’s the big day! J. and a few of our mutual friends come to help get her belongings moved in, and I run out to grab a case of beer to celebrate afterward. With just a few nonurgent boxes to go, we order in, then settle in for a cozy night at home—our home!

Total: $64

Total for the week: $426