Readers, I am tracking my spending habits for one month, cash and all! A Refinery 29 series called “Money Diaries” sparked the idea for this post. My breakdown of living expenses and day-to-day spending is similar to their format, but I’m taking this as an insightful learning experience!
I’m pretty good about keeping up with my spending habits every month, but I wanted to actually hold myself accountable and see what I’m spending every day. Hopefully, this will inspire you to track your spending (if you don’t already!) and see where you can cut out unnecessary costs.
This was a pay day week (thank you, Lord!), but I also had to pay some bills and save for my boyfriend, Ashton, and I’s fun-filled weekend in New Orleans.
Just so everyone knows, I’m 23, a young damsel (unmarried), I live in Mississippi and I’m a digital content producer for small TV station. I’ve been there just over a year!
NOTE: I recently moved in with a friend after I was basically “apartment” poor for a whole year. I had to make a lifestyle change and now I’m paying half of what I was paying beforehand. I will also have to start paying car insurance for next year. So that’s about $2,000. I also pay a few annual expenses such as On Star insurance ($249/year), Amazon Prime and about three magazine subscriptions.
**I forgot to mention in my living expenses that mom helps me out with my yoga. It’s about $115/month and she helps me out with that because otherwise, I couldn’t afford it.
Also, this list doesn’t include other categories I’ve made in my budget such as toiletries, clothes, home decor, gifts, entertainment, etc. These are just the essentials and monthly expenses!
9:30 a.m. – Ashton and I got home late last night from a concert in New Orleans. I woke up early for Bible study and then went to church.
1 p.m. – Ashton’s birthday is in a few days, so we went out to lunch with his family. His mom pays, she’s a sweetheart!
6 p.m. – I went to a hot yoga class and then stopped by the store to buy some dinner ingredients: a fresh salmon filet, parsley, a sweet potato and a squash. Oh, and some Hershey kisses for a cheesy gift I’m putting together for the BF. $15.15
8:30 p.m. – After I fixed dinner, my roommate and I were trying to figure out what to do with her rotten bananas. The perfect solution? Freaking delicious banana bars! Spotify charges $9.99 to my bank account.
Total spent: $25.14
8: 30 a.m. – I wake up and start meal prepping for the week. Dinners for this week are Jamaican jerk chicken tacos with roasted veggies and a sweet potato enchilada skillet! I grill the chicken and roast the veggies.
12 p.m. – I make a turkey, mozzarella and tomato basil panini for lunch. A Paypal transfer from my roommate for rent, water and cable finally went through! + $445.15 (Since I already paid everything in full, all of this is going into my savings account.) I also deposit roommate’s check for $64.75 for power.
2 p.m. – Heading to work. (I work the night shift at the TV station so my regular schedule is Monday – Friday from 2-10 p.m.)
6:30 p.m. – I eat dinner at work almost every night so I eat my delicious Jamaican jerk chicken tacos with roasted veggies.
10:30 p.m. – I head home and start scrolling through Etsy for bedroom decor. I see this beautiful white feather gold dipped garland and I think it would look perfect over my bed. I cave and spend $22.
Total spent: $22
8 a.m. – I wake up early and it’s Ashton’s birthday! I make some scrambled eggs and toast with coffee. I realize I need a few ingredients for the cupcakes I’m baking for him and head to the store. I buy vanilla extract, flour, eggs, cupcake liners and more sprinkles (you can never have too many). $10.53
It’s PAY DAY! I check my bank account and find that $820.67 has been deposited into my account. I put $395 into my savings account to repay myself. I also pay $233 off my credit card. Money goes fast, doesn’t it?
10 a.m. – I bake some homemade funfetti cupcakes and then make my sweet potato enchilada skillet for the week.
12 p.m. – I just ate some of the enchilada skillet for lunch because I’m too tired to cook anything else.
1:30 p.m. – Before heading to work, I stop by the local wine shop and grab a semi-nice Malbec red wine for Ashton’s birthday tonight. $13.12
7 p.m. – Eat the enchilada skillet
10:30 p.m. – Head over Ashton’s place for birthday, wine, cupcakes and gifts in tow. We drink wine, watch a movie and hang out until around 1:30 a.m.
Total spent: $23.65 + $233 credit card payment
9 a.m. – Wake up and get ready for a yoga class at 10. I have yogurt and berries for breakfast with some toast and green tea.
11:30 a.m. – Finish yoga class and head back to the apartment to make some bruschetta pasta salad for lunch.
2 p.m. – Head to work with a freshly brewed cup of coffee. I check my bank account and see that our expensive power bill has gone through. $129.51
6:30 p.m. – I eat another delicious dinner of Jamaican jerk chicken tacos and roasted veggies.
10:30 p.m. – Get home, finish laundry and head to bed early.
Total spent: $64.75 (half of power bill)
9 a.m. – Slept in this morning. I ate some scrambled eggs with toasted pita and a cup of coffee.
10 a.m. – I head to Target for face cream and end up buying a nail file, a tinted moisturizer, a toning rose water spritz spray, a three-set travel toiletry bag (haven’t bought one since high school…) and a cute pair of sandals. $60.82. Don’t really feel bad about it.
12:30 p.m. – Make a yummy panini with a side of pasta salad and get ready for work.
6:30 p.m. – Eat dinner of sweet potato enchilada skillet.
10:30 p.m. – Get home from work and Ashton and I head to a neighborhood bar for drinks and a late-night appetizer. He pays.
Total spent: $60.82
9 a.m. – It’s Friday!! Finally! I skip yoga this morning because I’m still groggy from last night’s two Dark and Stormys. I do some yoga in my room and then drink green tea and eat some peanut butter oatmeal.
12 p.m. – I start getting ready for work and then eat the rest of my pasta bruschetta salad.
1:20 p.m. – Before I head to work, I stop by Winn Dixie and pick up some wheat tortillas for my tacos tonight. My corn ones were broken 🙁 I also grab 2 apples and a peach and ask for $40 cash back for this weekend in New Orleans. $48.24
1:30 p.m. – I also remember I need to go to CVS and grab some travel-size hairspray and makeup wipes. I also grab a Starbucks iced coffee. $7 and some change.
6 p.m. – Eat my dinner of the Jamaican jerk chicken tacos…finally getting sick of these.
10:30 p.m. – Get home from work and watch a movie while I clean the apartment and organize. Crazy Friday night, right?
Total spent: $15.24 + $40 cash back
9 a.m. – I wake up and decide to make some healthy blueberry pancakes! I have like three pounds of blueberries in the freezer. I’m out of butter though, so I head to the store. $3.21
10 a.m. – Ashton comes over and he helps me make pancakes. We hang out for awhile and then he goes back to his apartment to pack and get ready for the weekend! I take a shower and get ready.
1:30 p.m. – We leave for our weekend in New Orleans. I got tickets ahead of time for my favorite folk band, Lord Huron, at the House of Blues tonight!
3:30 p.m. – Get to New Orleans. Ashton pays for parking and we walk down to the Jackson Square area. I head into Anthropologie and walk out with a beautiful vase and the Love and Lemons cookbook! $58.91
5 p.m. – Both of us really want an afternoon cocktail, so we stop in a bar and grab two hurricanes. I pay. $20
6:30 p.m. – We eat at this Mexican place with fantastic margaritas. We each get two and then I get jumbo shrimp with steamed veggies and a side of tortillas. Ashton pays for dinner.
8 p.m. – We get to the House of Blues and we wait about 20 minutes in line. When we get inside, we get drinks and enjoy the show. Ashton pays for drinks. (I offer to pay for a lot of things, but my boyfriend insists he pays most of the time. I’m blessed!).
Total spent: $78.91
10 a.m. – We wake up and get ready for lunch with the boyfriend’s family! They are in town visiting.
12 p.m. – We meet them at a place near Jackson square and walk to Royal Street Oyster House. We feast on chargrilled oysters, banana foster’s cheesecake and I get a delicious seafood plate for my entree. I am STUFFED! Ashton’s dad pays for the meal.
3 p.m. – Ashton and I head into Urban Outfitters. I buy two summer tanks on sale and a much-needed halter bra. I put this on the credit card. $66.66
5 p.m. – We head to Starbucks for some iced coffee and a water. $10
5:15 p.m. – We leave for Hattiesburg. We stop in Ashton’s hometown for a quick hometown tour and pop in to see his mom.
9 p.m. – We finally get back to Hattiesburg! I take a shower, meal plan and get ready for bed.
Total spent: $76.66
Total spent this week: $600.17
- Bills: $297
- Food: $47
- Entertainment: $33
- Shopping: $167
- Other: 9.99
- Toiletries/Makeup: $47
What I learned this week:
All in all, I think I did pretty well. I probably spent too much money on shopping, but I did have some extra money after bills. I’m also going save $200 from this check. I’m really good about not eating out during the week and cooking all my meals from home, which saves a ton of money! I’m also thankful for a sweet boyfriend who likes to live it up on the weekends! We are usually pretty disciplined during the week since we have different work schedules.
Let me know how you liked this series! I was a bit hesitant to do this series because I am in a good financial state and not on the struggle bus, but I also wanted to show how I try to cut costs and save money every month. Thanks for reading, ya’ll!
If you want to read more about my financial journey, check out my post on 7 money lessons I’ve learned after college.