How a 29-year-old Brooklyn-based knowledge manager spends:

  • SALARY: I make a $70,000 base salary as a knowledge manager for a humanitarian organization. I asked for a raise just a few days back and got an "absolutely," though we are figuring out the best way to frame the request and my new role. I also asked for a contract change in a previous role which didn't work because of bureaucracy, but I got bumped up a level and paid more money instead.

  • SAVINGS: I have $6,900 in my emergency fund and $5,960 in my retirement account. Plus there's $1,200 set aside to be spent for VACATION next month!

  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: My partner and I pay $1795 for a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. My partner is chipping in more and more as he earns more money as a personal trainer (we just moved to the city six months ago and he's getting established). I contribute to a 401(k) and pay around $380 per month for health insurance for myself and my partner. I have a Netflix subscription, and I got a good deal on a Hulu/Spotify bundle. I pay electricity ($100-200/month depending) and gas (about $50/month). My partner covers our car insurance ($120/month) since he mostly drives to work, and I pay for my monthly transit pass out of my pre-tax transport allowance at work ($120/month).

  • INVESTING: I invest through my 401(k).

  • DEBT: Right now I'm paying $1000 per month, trying to really aggressively pay off my graduate loan while paying a bit less on the lower interest ones. I hope to pay a bit more in the near future so I can get it paid down more quickly. I try to think of this as an investment in my future to keep from getting frustrated about it. I will probably never buy a house but I hope that if I have kids I can pay for their college!

  • SPENDING VICTORY:  The best thing I ever spent money on was bringing my pup along when we moved from Italy to the US. It was crazy expensive (he weighs 125 poundds and needed a custom carrier and to travel animal cargo) but it was worth it to bring him and to do it properly. Also, every vacation I have ever gone on.

  • SPENDING REGRET: My master's degree. I am not convinced it has gotten me anything in terms of work and it doubled my debt with an enormous interest rate of 7.65%. I did it because I felt lost and unsure of what to do next, and that seemed like the obvious next step. It wasn't!

  • SIDE HUSTLE: It varies. I do consulting work for non-profits, I have been asking $35/hour but I think I will bump that up now.

  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I'd pay off my loans! And maybe buy a house.

  • CHARITY: I contribute to Planned Parenthood every month.

  • GOALS: Solid emergency account, solid retirement account, no more loans, and to start investing in an account which could either be for buying a house one day (but probably not) or (more likely) for covering hypothetical children's college. Generally, I want to create a situation in which I can feel at ease and less anxious about my financial status.