As serious as law school is sometimes, what surprised me the most was how many social events there were. It seemed like every week there were happy hours, cocktail receptions, and parties to attend.
When I’m going to a party for the second time in a week, my tried-and-true cocktail dresses seem so repetitive. That’s why I’ve been known to change it up, with a bobble-ponytail (created with evenly-spaced hair ties and hair extensions), a two-piece instead of a dress, and some sleek jewelry and bow pumps to tone down the ensemble so I don’t look too crazy.
Top: Zara, exact copy here from Mango ($22.90) // Skirt: Zara, similar here (shorter and above the knee) // Necklace: F21 here ($3.90)
One cornerstone of my blog is honesty, whether I’m being honest about the pressures of blogging, to the unsavory aspects of the industry. That’s why I’m introducing a new series that covers something bloggers rarely talk about: the money that supports their blogs. Fashion blogs require a lot of “investment” from the constant churn of new clothing. And today, I’m sharing how I earn and spend my money over a typical week.
I’m working in a big law firm this summer (also known as a “biglaw” office). What most people don’t know is that large law firms all pay the same lockstep salary to employees. This is great for, among many other things, cutting down on pay discrimination.
But just because everyone gets the same salary doesn’t mean we spend it in the same ways. As a summer associate, I’m lucky to be paid on the same scale as a first-year associate. I will definitely have to do a couple of posts like this, because one thing is certain in biglaw: every week is a different beast.
Rent ($1800) is included in my spending for the week that it’s due. Savings are also included as “costs,” since the money is leaving my checking account.
My firm pays for dinner if I stay at work past 8PM. Every time I take advantage of this perk, I will note it in the day’s diary.
I also get free lunch if an associate or partner invites me out. I’ll note whenever this happens.
Breakfast: I stop by Whole Foods on the way to work. I buy an overpriced yogurt in a cute glass bottle. $4.69.
Lunch: I have tons of work to do, so some of my floormates and I make a quick run to Au Bon Pain. I get the Chicken Cobb Avocado salad, my fave. $9.80.
Lunch: A partner is an alumnus from our law school, and he is treating everyone from our law school to lunch. We have a three-course lunch while he shares his war stories.
6 p.m. I break a fingernail while furiously researching my long-term memo. I find a nearby salon on Yelp and get a manicure with Essie’s ‘Sugar Daddy’ polish. $18.60.
Shopping: I have a ton more work to do and it’s already 7PM. I know I get paid on Friday, so I decide to get something on my Amazon wishlist early.
I buy a pair of pink-and-white gaming headphones (I play tons of video games). They are expensive but hopefully I won’t have to buy another pair for years. $92.54.
8 p.m. Here I am, working late at the firm again. I order sushi and expense it to the firm.
Breakfast: I have some leftovers that are about to go bad, so I eat them for breakfast.
Lunch: Another summer associate and I attend a lunch at Le Bernadin with two full-time associates. The firm pays.
4 p.m. I need some caffeine/sugar, so I head over to McDonald’s for my secret vice, a mocha frappe. $2.82.
6:40 p.m. Anticipating that I’ll have to stay late again, I order Indian naan and chicken tikka masala, delivered and expensed to the firm.
Breakfast: I eat the leftover naan and chicken tikka masala from last night.
Lunch: I go to lunch with full-time associates and some other summers. The firm pays and we are treated to sake and omakase sushi.
After lunch, the associates take us to a bakery. We get a budget of $65 to spend there (!!). I get a box of tarts for my officemates and an iced mocha latte. The other summers also got a few pies.
Shopping: Some people take a break in the afternoon to go to the gym, which is across the street. Instead, I go online shopping and see a beautiful pink dress covered in bows and I immediately buy it for $106. Yep, I rewarded myself.
6:30 p.m. I am so done with the day that I order food as early as the firm will pay for it. I get Chinese comfort food.
9:30 a.m. I eat in the firm’s cafeteria, where the food is subsidized. I get fruit, sausage links, and eggs. $8.91.
Lunch: I need to finish my work because I’m going on vacation next week. I make a quick run to KFC, one block away. I have a soft spot for their hot wings. $12.84.
I GET PAID! Picked up my check and immediately deposited it. After taxes, my net income for two weeks’ work is ($4326.61).
I immediately Venmo my roommate my share of the rent payment. $1800. Living in NYC is expensive.
I deposit $1500 into my Roth IRA account. Never too early to think about retirement, right?
The rest of my paycheck (about $500 after the rest of the week’s expenses) will hold me over until I get paid again.
Shopping: I notice that a white eyelet romper I’ve been wanting for weeks has just restocked in my size and I add to cart: $58
6:30 p.m. Again, I have to be done with everything before I leave for vacation. I crave sushi again after eating it at lunch yesterday, so I order a huge batch. Firm pays.
I leave for my vacation! I’m visiting some friends (and also seeing a guy I’m interested in since he’s conveniently in the same city . . . haha).
I woke up late and didn’t have time to eat, so I grabbed some nuts and water from CVS to snack on during the bus ride. $9.61.
I spent $61 on Greyhound bus tickets for this trip.
I spend $2.10 on subway tickets to get to my final destination.
Food (pasta) for the night is generously paid for.
I meet up with the guy I’m interested in and we hit up Shake Shack for some delicious burgers and fries. I pay because he’s already asked me out for dinner tonight and he will be paying for that. $27.29.
Afternoon: The guy invites me and his friends over to his beautiful pool. I lay out on the pool chairs for several hours, watching him and his friends swim. There are worse ways to spend a sunny afternoon.
Dinner: The guy takes me out to an Italian place that has absolutely delicious lobster ravioli. I pay for the Ubers there and back ($5.11 and $4.73), but he pays for the expensive meal.
We get back just in time to watch Game of Thrones with friends. Nothing like murder and intrigue to help the food digest!
I’m on vacation, but the working world hasn’t stopped spinning. I have to call into a phone conference for one of my matters. This isn’t technically part of my week, but this is just one example of how a law firm requires you to be on call 24/7!
This was an expensive week! The next time I post, my costs will be way lower now that rent is taken care of for the week. I also had a ton of free lunches and dinners this week because of my workload, which won’t always be the case. I bet you’ll see tons more Seamless costs starting next week.
And if you thought my shopping was egregious for just one week, I have to agree with you: just imagine how much Gal Meets Glam or Pink Peonies spends in a week, given that they photograph new clothes every day! The overconsumption and “keeping up” with trends are a couple of reasons why my blogging has slowed down recently. It feels exhausting and unsustainable to constantly be on the lookout for new deals and items.
Hope you enjoyed this peek into my money diary! Let me know if this series is something you’ll look forward to reading in the future.
I hope everyone is having a great Fourth of July weekend. Hopefully you are somewhere warm, sunny, and next to a body of water. I will be celebrating America’s freedom by scarfing down some cheese fries and giving my credit card a workout at the mall, indulging in America’s favorite pastime (capitalism)!
Earrings: Claire’s, similar here in silver // Lip color: BITE in “Eggplant” // Swimsuit: Kate Spade // Necklace: F21
Top: Primark, similar here from Glamfabstyle // Shorts: Joe Fresh (old), similar here ($44) // Bag: Dooney & Bourke (similar here with shoulder straps or the classic logo version here) // Sandals: Liz Claiborne ($29.99)Sunglasses: Primark, similar here from BP ($12) // Earrings: F21 (old) Bracelet: F21, black and white version here.
You know you’ve been away from your blog a long time when you forget your log-in and can’t remember how to change the privacy on uploaded pictures. I almost published this post without any pictures enabled as “public view”!
It’s been a crazy few weeks since I’ve started work. NYC is constantly exciting and challenging me. I’m getting used to 10-hour workdays, an endless whirl of happy hour events, and the noise of the city outside my window (the first few nights, I could barely sleep because of the constant traffic outside).
I’ve found out that the reason NYC apartments are so small (besides the fact that there is no space on this peninsula) is because no one hardly spends any time at home: I only return after I’ve exhausted the workload and nightlife. Will I eventually burn out? I’m not sure. The above pictures of me from a more idyllic time, wearing casual clothes at my family home in Texas, do make me miss the wide open fields and a slower pace of life (and yes, those are fake flowers in my bag. You should have heard my mom when I snuck them out of the vase so I could pose with them).
I’ll be sure to write up my experience as a law firm summer associate soon. See you, until the next time I get a breather and remember to post!
I’m writing to you from Manhattan, New York! It’s been hectic moving to the Big Apple and navigating my first few days at the law firm. One of my major stressors has been the fact that I budgeted just enough money to last me until my first paycheck, which actually left me in quite the predicament this past week: I was briefly completely broke, in Manhattan, the most expensive city imaginable.
Luckily, with the help of good friends (and the law firm’s generous summer welcome receptions), I’ll be fine (and since I’m being compensated during this internship, there was no real danger). Still the thrill of moving to a new city and briefly claiming the title of “starving student trying to hack it in New York City” makes for an exciting story. Anyone want to cast me in their next sitcom or reality show?
Dress: Chicwish (size up, I am wearing a size large) // Shoes: JCP (old), similar here also from JCP // Bag: gifted, similar here for $31 (smaller size with bigger bow) or another one ($67) (same size and giant bow) // Headband: F21 // Lip color: BITE beauty “Lingonberry” // Belt: borrowed from an Abercrombie top