How a 29-year-old Brooklyn-based editor spends:

  • SALARY: I make $89,000 as an editor in Brooklyn. I have asked for a raise before. I was given more responsibilities (like, a lot more) at my job and asked about compensation. I kept hearing there was a delay and they were waiting for approval. I spent a lot of time thinking about how much the new work was "worth" and I came up with a number that was about a 30% increase. I wrote an email to my boss saying as much and they gave it to me. Of course I kicked myself afterward for not asking for enough, but in the end I was happy with the number. 
  • SAVINGS: It's almost time to pay my taxes and I think I'm going to owe because of my freelance income, so my savings account is a little fat right now. I usually keep $5,000 in a high-yield savings account that I don't touch. The rule of thumb is three to six months of living expenses, but I also like to use my Roth IRA as backup savings (you can withdraw anything you put in there within a year without penalty).
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay $1,000 in rent. I'm lucky to split it with my boyfriend. I contribute to a 401(k), but I don’t have to pay for health insurance. I also pay $140 for ClassPass, $10 for Birchbox, $100 for my cell phone bill and $35 per month for web storage and my personal website. 
  • DEBT: I am not in debt. 
  • INVESTING: The first $1,000 was terrifying. I think a lot of people don't count contributing to their 401(k) at work as investing. That is most certainly investing. So I've been investing since I was 22. But beyond that it took me well into my 20s to start moving my own post-tax money into the market. I do the $5,500 Roth contribution every year and contribute $500 each month to a regular taxable investment account at Vanguard. I have a mix of index funds and ETFs in there that I revisit about every six months. I also have money with a robo-adviser that I contribute $300 to a month, but I may move that out next year so I save on the management fee. 
  • SPENDING VICTORY: Spending a little extra to shop at my local independent bookstore, grocery store or beauty supply store to support local businesses and not contribute to big evil corporations. 
  • SPENDING REGRET: Clothes that I bought after college. I'm not sure what sort of career/life I was shopping for but I bought a lot of clothes that I thought were business appropriate. My style changed and I became more confident in myself so I kinda wasted $3,000 to $5,000 on a lot of pencil skirts (I have only worn a pencil skirt once). 
  • CHARITY: The last charity I donated to was Hurricane Maria relief efforts.
  • SIDE HUSTLE: I am able to make $5,000 to $10,000 per year freelance writing. I take whatever I can get! I do freelance writing and editing on the side when it doesn't conflict with my day job. I get paid between $400 and $1,000 a piece. The number of pieces varies from five to 20 a year.   
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I’d pay for technology classes for my mom so I don't get frantic texts about how to post to Facebook all day! (kidding, sorta). I'd probably buy a plane ticket to one of my bucket list countries: Korea, Russia or China! But that would be it because I wouldn't take the lump sum! 
  • GOALS: I started a business this year so I hope to grow that quickly. I just quit my full-time job, and I'm hoping to build back up to my current salary in three to five years. I want to grow that business throughout my 30s and be financially independent around age 45. That's when I'll detach from the business and consult, teach and write! I love working so I don't have plans to stop, but it would be nice to fly first class once in a while. 

- She Spends / Issue #57