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I’m 38, I Live in Brooklyn, and I Make $96,500/year

YNAB Money Snapshots

Welcome to YNAB Money Snapshots—where you see a real picture of someone else’s budget and finances. They’re all anonymous, because sharing money is still a squirrelly topic for many, but we think airing them out in the open makes you better with your own money story. 

As you read these budgets, keep in mind that some people make lots of money and some people make a little bit of money, but we know it’s what you do with that money and how you feel about that money that means more than any yearly salary. 

See how a Senior Ad Ops Manager and Blogger in Brooklyn, New York making $96,500 a year spent her money in April.


  • Name: M.
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Brooklyn, NY 
  • Job: Senior Ad Ops Manager/Blogger
  • Living situation: Just me, myself, and my POP! figurines.

Income: $96,500

Savings: $1,961

  • I have around $1,961 between all my savings accounts right now. 

Debt: $2,020.91

  • Line of credit: $2,020.91 
  • I just recently paid off all outstanding balances on my credit cards and paid off a loan last month. 

April Inflows: $5,436

  • Payroll: $4,730
  • Deposit from Lending Club: $25 - This was an overpayment refund from my loan payoff. 
  • IRS: $681 - This was my CARES act stimulus check. 

April Spending

In my budget, I list out all my categories with the name, due date, the amount due, and the card it goes on (example: Cell Phone - 1st - $85.50 (Cap.One_Amex)). It’s been shortened in my budget below for space.

My Savings Categories

I save for all kinds of things. I'm a Disney/Nerd blogger on the side so I go to the theme parks a lot. If I’m at Disney World, I’m torn between the Magic Kingdom and Epcot (love to Drink Around the World), however, Disneyland will always be my favorite as it was the first park, and the only Disney theme park Walt Disney was alive for (see Disney Nerd). I go so often, I have a category just for Disney trips. 

I also recently started a wish farm to really narrow down where my money is going but also to see if something was really needed, I’m a bit of an impulse shopper. Right now I have four categories: small, medium, large, and extra-large. On the wish farm right now are things like the iPad Pro to replace my dying MacBook Air (L), fancy new bedding because I’m an adult (M), a new Blu-ray player (S), and a car (XL). 

My Month

April was the first full month of New York's Stay At Home order due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So this was nowhere near a normal month for me. My takeout budget ended up being almost 2.5x the normal amount since it was hard to get groceries delivered. 

It was the same with some entertainment categories—those saw a little more action than they usually would as I found myself renting or buying more movies than usual and subscribing to a few new streaming services (hello Outlander binge session). 

I'm also in the process of moving at the end of May from Brooklyn to Washington D.C. (something that was in the works before the pandemic started), so I had a few expenses related to the move that I know won't be repeat offenders. 

My Story

I was always told I was bad with money. I pretty much lived by the "see it, want it, buy it" philosophy, and to deal with the consequences later. 

This led to several rounds of bad credit, never knowing how to actually use a credit card, and pretty much-living paycheck-to-paycheck my whole life. 

I had an unexpected move a few years ago that threw me for a loop. It  *should have* been my wake-up call (keywords: should have). Instead, I buried my head in the sand and ended up having to take out payday loans from those apps you see on Instagram all the time to make rent. 

In January 2020, I made a goal that I was going to figure out a budget that made sense for me because on paper I make a decent enough salary that I shouldn't be living paycheck to paycheck. 

I have two learning disabilities—one that targets numbers and math explicitly, so after failing at using Mint, good old Google kept recommending YNAB.  

I'm not gonna lie, I almost gave up since I couldn't get it to click in my brain.  But, after a few hours with YouTube tutorials, it clicked and now I’m here to stay. 

I'm now excited to budget, grow my savings, and make my debt go down. In this short amount of time, I've managed to pay off a loan early and pay off all of my credit cards.

My Financial Goals

  • Pay down outstanding debt
  • Build a good emergency fund
  • Buy a car
  • Raise my credit score

I would rate my current financial situation: 3/5

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I’m 38, I Live in Brooklyn, and I Make $96,500/year