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The Wealth Gap Is .75 Miles Wide

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Illustration by Mark Nerys  

One Family’s $2,222.98 Is Another’s $539.50

A study in two household budgets for a single week. By Eric Benson

Nicole Dewey is the executive director of publicity at Little, Brown. Her husband, Bill Seely, is the V.P. of marketing analytics at Publicis Modem, a digital-ad agency. They have two sons, Declan, 2, and Trace, 5. They also have a full-time babysitter, Tova.

Monday
Nicole
Subway, $2.25
Coffee and banana, $2.30
Cosi, $9.80

Bill
Subway, $2.25
MetroCard refill, $50
Chelsea Thai, $10.50
Taxis, $21.50

Tuesday
Nicole
Salad and soda, $8.97
Mansion Restaurant, $37.50
Taxis, $30

Bill
Subway, $2.25
Taxi, $18.80

Tova (expenses for children)
Drink and chips, $3.50
Drinks and cookie, $6.10

Wednesday
Nicole
Small coffee and banana, $2.30
bánh mì sandwich, $7.25
Taxi, $15.70
Almond milk, bacon, bread, and grapes, Gristedes, $25.77

Bill
Subway, $2.25
Hale and Hearty Soup, $9.30
Taxis, $28.10

Tova
Pull-Ups, $12.99

Thursday
Nicole
Bus, $2.25
Cookies for assistant’s birthday, $17
Dentist, $125
Tea and almonds, Starbucks, $4.58

Bill
Subway, $2.25
Taxis, $44.60
Sound-therapy system for Trace, $246.95
Chinese food, $23.65

Tova

Snack, $3.20
Ice cream, $5.75

Friday
Nicole
Bus, $2.25
Salad and soda, $8.97
Taxi, $14.30

Bill
Subway, $2.25
Amy’s Bread, $5
Taxis, $23.65

Tova
Chips and drink, $3.50
Toilet paper, $5.43

Saturday
Nicole
Mansion Restaurant, $31
Drinks, York Grill, $19
Laundry and dry cleaning, $105.45
Weekend babysitter, $120
Monthly trip to Trader Joe’s, $221
Target, $280.41
Chico’s, $179.73
Dinner and dessert, Le Zie, $124.24
Taxis, $33.12
Buses, $4.50
Car service, $10

Bill
Snacks and drinks, 7-Eleven, $12.73

Sunday
Nicole
Mansion Restaurant, $36.65

Bill
Drinks, 7-Eleven, $9.14
Diner in Greenpoint, $30
Taxi, $11
Car rental for Mother’s Day trip, $142.80
Bus, $2.25

Weekly Total: $2,222.98


Solymar Arias is a student at Monroe College and a mother of two, son Elijah, 7, and daughter Ja’Leah, 1. Her mother, María Aquino, a school aide, lives with the family.

Monday
Solymar
Bagel and coffee, vending cart, $2.25
Fruit and water, Jerome Avenue Grill (the JAG) at Monroe College, $2.95
Banana, water, and Lay’s chips, Met Foods, $1.85
Elijah’s snack, $2

María
Mayo, spiced ham, Swiss cheese, hard salami, and turkey, Met Foods, $16.99

Tuesday
Solymar
Bagel and coffee, $2.25
Granola bar, water, and fruit, the JAG, $3.20
Banana, water, and SunChips, Met Foods, $1.85
Gallon of milk, $3.49
Elijah’s snack, $2

María
$0

Wednesday
Solymar
Bagel and coffee, $2.25
Water, yogurt, and granola, the JAG, $2.50
Elijah’s snack, $2

María
Sandwich and soda, El Valle, $6
Beef patties, milk, sugar, hot-dog rolls, bagels, and bread, Met Foods, $30.74

Thursday
Solymar
Bagel and coffee, $2.25
Macaroni and cheese, veggies, and teriyaki chicken, the JAG, $4.95
Elijah’s snack, $2

María
Coffee and oatmeal, McDonald’s, $4.51
Soup and soda, El Valle, $7
Shrimp-with-broccoli and soda, Chinese restaurant, $7.25

Friday
Solymar
Tortilla chips and soda, Met Foods, $6.24
Elijah’s snack, $2

María
$0

Saturday
Solymar and María
Monthly trip to BJ’s, including Pampers, baby wipes, paper towels, pancake mix, butter, beans, spring-mix salad, and Chef Boyardee spaghetti and meatballs, $408.98

Solymar
Ice cream, Met Foods, $3
Elijah’s snack, $2

María
Ice cream, $3
Gallon of milk, $4

Sunday
Solymar and María
$0

Weekly Total: $539.50


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