How a 24-year-old Long Island Reporter Spends:

  • SALARY: I made $45,000 overall for 2016. I have a union job and my pay follows the union pay schedule, so it changes throughout the year. My wages are dictated by a union pay schedule. Benefits like vacation time increase by year, pay increases in January and then again on your date of hire each year. You can under some circumstances ask for a raise on top of the pay schedule, but to my knowledge that's very uncommon.

  • SAVINGS: I have $5,000 in my savings account right now. I just had some big medical expenses, though. It's usually between $6,000 and $7,000. I also have a money market account through a bank. They have me pick from different stock pools depending on how risky I'm feeling and they take care of it.  

  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I spend $1,075 on rent each month. Our Long Island apartment is $2,150 total, but I split rent with my boyfriend. It's more than I'd prefer to be paying, but it's very hard to find a decent place on Long Island that welcomes pets, is legal and within my price range. I contribute to a 401(k) plan. I’m still on my parents’ health insurance plan. I also pay for subscriptions to Planet Fitness, Hulu, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Spotify Premium and Showtime (just until Twin Peaks ends).

  • DEBT: I am luckily not in debt. I am very, very lucky to have been able to pay for school through scholarships and money my parents had saved. Also I only have one credit card with a low limit because credit card debt terrifies me.

  • SPENDING VICTORY: Our dog, which we rescued from Thailand from smugglers who were going to illegally sell her for meat. We put down $500 at a rescue for the adoption fees for her (fees are higher for dogs coming from other countries to cover travel and import expenses). She's also had a lot of medical problems and anxiety issues from that experience. She was a dog that really needed a loving home with a permanent caretaker and now she is my child. I pay $30 a month for pet insurance and have paid about $1,500 in out-of-pocket vet expenses. An additional $4,000 in vet bills was covered by our pet insurance company and the rescue we worked with. Our return on investment is dog snuggles though and those are priceless. Definitely the adoption fees, vet care expenses, monthly pet rent, cost of replacing chewed shoes/destroyed window blinds, etc. for my dog.

  • SPENDING REGRET: Before I moved into my current apartment with my boyfriend, we were swayed by a new luxury building opening up in our town. It was just barely affordable for us, the in-building gym and new appliances seemed great compared to our the shitty Craigslist basement we were living in. They said we could move in in a month, so we put down the deposit ($500 out of my bank account) while the building was still under construction. BIG MISTAKE, DON'T DO THIS. The construction timeline was off, then they failed their fire safety inspection, and we experienced delay after delay for three months. We finally made arrangements to move out of the basement and packed everything up, only to be told days before the move that our new apartment would not be ready for at least more two months. Our landlord already had a new tenant for the basement space and at that point, we just canceled our lease with the new place. Our current apartment was the first thing we found that we could immediately move into (and that's why the rent is higher than I'd like. I love the apartment and don't want to move out, just wish I'd had time to find something just as good for less). I eventually got that original deposit back, but only after hounding the apartment management company for SIX months. Do better research than I did, y'all. We had to call and email them every two weeks or so for six months to ask where our deposit refund check was. I considered small claims court, but that seemed like way too much work and extra legal fees for $500. The check did eventually arrive. We also had to pay for three months rent in our previous "apartment" because of the delays, which was ultimately around $3,300 that could have been going to a new, better place instead or furniture.

  • CHARITY: The last charity I donated to was ProPublica.

  • SIDE HUSTLE: I do not have a side hustle.

  • GOALS: I'd done a decent job building up my savings the last couple of years, but then had some big unexpected medical expenses this year that dipped heavily into it. For the short term I'd like to build my savings back up, especially because I know that I only have a few more years on my parents' stellar medical insurance plan. Long term, I'd also like to have enough for a down payment on a house. I know what credit is and how it works, but I'd like to have a better understanding of how to manage it and get more comfortable with it. At the moment, things like credit cards really freak me out so I avoid using them and I know that's not good for the long term.

- She Spends / Issue #13