I used to look upon the posts of people claiming to have made their yearly salary in a month with such disbelief. Until that person became me.

It's hard to believe that I just rang in a $32,000 month when a few years ago, I accepted my first job at an advertising agency in New York City making just $35,000 ($27,000 after taxes) a year.

Considering living expenses (rent, electricity, food, etc.) in NYC added up to around $2,000 a month and I was earning about $2,200 after taxes, a significant portion of my day-to-day consisted of pinching pennies, living paycheck-to-paycheck, and stressing about money.

I was absolutely miserable — sharing a crowded apartment with three strangers in a room so small that I had a loft bed in order to fit my things, working 60-hour weeks, slapping hummus onto crackers when I got home because I was too tired to make dinner (and too broke to buy it), and watching reruns of Breaking Bad on Netflix until I passed out.

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