What I Eat as a 36-Year-Old Attorney Making $300K in Brooklyn, NY

Welcome to The Receipt, a series documenting how Bon Appétit readers eat and what they spend doing it. Each food diary follows one anonymous reader’s week of expenses related to groceries, restaurant meals, coffee runs, and every bite in between. In this time of rising food costs, The Receipt reveals how folks—from different cities, with different incomes, on different schedules—are figuring out their food budgets.

In today’s Receipt, a 36-year-old attorney making $300K a year in Brooklyn, New York, makes cozy pesto pasta and dines out most days a week at restaurants and bars throughout New York. Keep reading for her receipts.

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The finances

What are your pronouns? She/her

What is your occupation? I’m a non-practicing attorney who works in house at a bank providing strategy and advice for entrepreneurs. I’m also in a part-time master’s program at a fashion school in the city.

How old are you? 36 

What city and state do you live in? Brooklyn, New York (Best place on Earth!)

What is your annual salary, if you have one? $300K including base and bonus

How much is one paycheck, after taxes? After 401K, HSA, and health insurance contributions, I take home approximately $4,700. My salary is broken up by base, bonus, and additional discretionary bonus (paid out in Q1 of each year). I live day to day off my base salary and do not include my bonus in my regular spending. 

How often are you paid? (e.g. weekly) Biweekly

How much money do you have in savings? $187,000

What are your approximate fixed monthly expenses beyond food? (i.e. rent, subscriptions, bills)

  • Total: $6,359 to $6,389
  • Mortgage: $4,500
  • Condo fees: $815
  • Cell phone: $100
  • Wifi: $60
  • Utilities: $100
  • ClassPass: $199
  • Additional ClassPass credits: $50 to $80 depending on my monthly activity
  • Therapy: $535 paid from my HSA for four sessions a month

The diet

Do you follow a certain diet or have dietary restrictions? I do! I am a lifelong pescatarian. I do not eat shellfish though. I am also allergic to stone fruit (think peaches, plums, cherries), melons, pineapple, apples, pears, and all nuts including peanuts. Real fun to cook for…  

What are the grocery staples you always buy, if any? I always have iced coffee, half and half, oat milk, Greek yogurt, greens, shallots, avocado, chickpeas, eggs, berries, fresh figs, and bananas on hand. I try to rotate which veggies I purchase. 

How often in a week do you dine out versus cook at home? It really depends! I network a lot for work and that does often include dining out for lunch or dinner or attending events where there’s food and alcohol. I also like to meet up with friends a couple of times per week which usually includes dining out. I enjoy cooking and hosting at home too. It’s really a matter of how much time I have throughout the week to commit to cooking. 

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