Money Diary Archives - Purse Strings

How a Married Couple Moving Toward Career Security Spent Their Week

Money Diary Series

How a Married Couple Moving
Toward Career Security Spent
Their Week

We have clear goals to buy a house to call our own

We are Hillary and Susan. We married in 2017 and have been transitioning through a mix of part-time and full-time jobs as we worked to secure our careers-jobs. And now, we have landed! 2019 was a great year for us both. Susan found her work in Tax and Hillary landed a head coaching position for the women’s volleyball team at a small private University.

We are so happy in our new apartment and exploring a new city. Susan, the numbers person, pays close attention to our spending and saving. We have clear goals to buy a house to call our own, and, once settled, consider growing our family. However, a trip through Europe is on our docket first.

As vegans, we eat most of our meals at home and we bring our lunch to work. Hillary is the cook and does a great job making delicious vegan meals. We are not big coffee drinkers, so the daily Starbucks doesn’t creep into our budget. We do love dogs and have a miniature poodle named Stanley.

Here’s how we spent money this week.

 

Monday
Spent: $47

Gas: $27

Contribution to baby gift for work colleague: $20

Tuesday

Spent: $35

Dog food for Stanley: $25

New holiday collar for Stanley: $10

Wednesday

Spent: $89

Picked up two xmas gifts: Two T-shirts: $37

Chipotle for dinner: $17

Headlight replacement: $35

Thursday

Spent: $92

Groceries: $50

Holiday lights and batteries to decorate: $24

Holiday pillow: $18

Friday

Spent: $52

Dinner and drinks with friends: $52

Saturday

Spent: $40

Tried our hand at Bingo night: $40 – didn’t win ?

Sunday

Spent: $18

Laundry soap and game watching snacks: $18

Spent: $373

Reflections on keeping a money diary

Our weekly food expenses were on target at about $65. We usually budget $75 for the week. We did go out one night to eat with friends and then to Bingo so our entertainment costs were around $100 – a bit more then we’d like to spend but it was fun. Having a pet is always an expense because we love to buy things for him. Besides his food we did limit our spending to a new holiday collar – and he looks adorable.

The headlight was an unexpected expense and of course with the holidays, we know that there will be additional costs. We wrote a list of who we want to buy gifts for and try to stick to a dollar limit as well.

We know our car will need some work and soon we will probably need to get a new one. We do need to figure out if we should continue to put money into the car or replace it – with probably a used car.

We do plan to open a savings account to save money just for our trip to Europe and our goal is to sock away several hundred dollars a month for this trip. This will cause us to track our expenses carefully and limit toys for Stanley, but hopefully he won’t mind.

Besides rent, and the looming need of a new car, we do have one student loan that costs us $400 a month. These are our biggest expenses, so we feel pretty good that Europe is doable. These are exciting times for us and we feel pretty good about our spending so far.

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How a Newly Retired Accountant Spent Her Week

Money Diary Series

How a Newly Retired Accountant
Spent Her Week

I live in a two-bedroom condo, that’s fully paid for.

My name is Helene and I am newly retired. Well, almost. I was a tax accountant for years – and loved it. While so many people hate tax season, I love the challenge of every return. They are all different and they always provide me a challenge. It’s kind of like a big puzzle. It’s been my life and I made a good living. Even in retirement, I still do a few taxes for clients I’ve worked with for years. It’s not hard, keeps me sharp on the tax laws and earns me a bit of play money during the busy season.

I’ve been divorced for years. I think I’ve been on my own longer than I’ve been married. I have three grown children and six grand-children who are the apple of my eye.

I live in a two-bedroom condo, that’s fully paid for; own my car and don’t have many other expenses. Of course, I my overspend on my poodle – Cottonball! I couldn’t live without her!

I golf in a women’s league once a week, take an easy yoga class at the health center, and I love to travel. I recently got back from two weeks in Paris. I thought I’d track my expenses for the week, well because I am a numbers person, and because I just thought it was a great experiment to see what I really spend. Here’s what I learned:

Monday

Spent: $127
Golf with my girlfriends: $75
Lunch after golf: $28
Gas: $24

 

Tuesday
Spent: $110
Grocery shopping for the week: $72
Specialty Dog food for Cottonball: $38

 

Wednesday
Spent: $383
Cleaning lady: $110
New walking shoes: $140
Box of golf balls: $85
Dinner with a friend: $48

 

Thursday
Spent: $113
 Weekly hair appt: $85
Manicure: $28

 

Friday
Spent: $195
 Cottonball grooming: $95
Salad to bring to a family dinner: $32
Pharmacy: $68

 

Saturday
Spent: $102
 3 Grandkids to movies: $78
Gas: $24

 

Sunday
Spent: $73
 Brunch after church $48
Bucket of balls: $25

Spent: $1103

Reflections on keeping a money diary 

This was a great exercise – just to see what I spend on a weekly basis. If you’d have told me I spent over $1000 a week, I would have disagreed – but now I see where my money goes. There’s not much to argue with here. I am retired and enjoying the perks of life like golf, someone to clean my house and taking my grandchildren out.

I have saved way over a million dollars while working over my lifetime, and although I do go on nice trips, I don’t anticipate outliving my money.

The one thing that really scares me though – is that I don’t have Long Term Care insurance. If something were to happen to me, I am sure I could go through my money pretty quickly. I am healthy and both my parents lived into their 90’s. Being alone, I think I do need to look into some insurance that could assist me as I age, so my children are not burdened with my care.

No matter what stage of life you are, or how much money you have, tracking your money for just one week is really a good way to see where your money goes.

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How a 58 Year-Old Divorced Mother of Five Spent Her Week

Money Diary Series

How a 58 Year-Old Divorced
Mother of Five Spent Her Week

Age: 58 

Salary: $85000 

Location: Unknown

 
Selling things that I
don’t need on
Facebook is so easy!

I’m a 58 year-old mother of five, and grandmother of five! Two of my children are away at college and three are older. I’m divorced and work full-time.

Monday
Spent: $19.5

I like to prepare healthy meals on Sundays that I can take to work the first few days of the week. I always bring a lunch to work.

Coffee: Had a networking meeting $2.50

Dinner: Had a networking meeting $17


Tuesday

Spent: $5

Paid bills. Sold a rug on Facebook!

Tea at Starbucks—networking meeting in the evening


Wednesday

Spent: $15

Cycle Class: $15


Thursday

Spent: $32

Bought present for grandson: $25

Made cookies for a college student (ingredients.): $7


Friday

Spent: $45

Gas for the drive to an upcoming weekend in Wisconsin: $45


Saturday

Spent: $75

Took grandchildren to the movies: $75


Sunday

Spent: $170

Gas for drive home from Wisconsin: $45

Weekly groceries. $125

 

Spent: $361.5

Reflections on keeping a money diary

This was a good week! Networking costs are well worth it, especially when they are small. Selling things that I don’t need on Facebook is so easy!

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How a 35 Year-Old Single Professional Spent Her Week

Money Diary Series

How a 35 Year-Old Single
Professional Spent Her Week

Age: 35

Salary: $135000

Location: Chicago

I have so many items in my closet I haven’t even worn yet.

I’m a 35 year-old CPA/ Consultant working in the city. My annual earnings are $135,000 plus bonuses.

I’m an independent single professional who currently rents, but I’m looking to buy a condo in the city. I don’t have a car and do have a sweet furry four-legged cutie named Violet.


Monday

Spent: $367.75

Refill on my Ventra card: $200

Coffee and veggie muffin at Prat: $8.50

Picked up dinner at Whole Foods: $14.25

Doggie daycare for Violet: $145 a week

Tuesday

Spent: $23.75

Coffee and veggie muffin at Prat: $8.50

Picked up dinner at Whole Foods: $15.25

Wednesday

Spent: $80

Coffee and veggie muffin at Prat: $8.50

Picked up dinner at Whole Foods: $13.50

Walgreens: shampoo, toiletries: $33

Dog walker (home later than expected): $25

Thursday

Spent: $80.5

Coffee and cheese muffin at Prat: $8.50

Out to dinner at Lyfe Kitchen with a friend: $16

Run through TJs for staples: $56

Friday

Spent: $197.75

Coffee and veggie muffin at Prat: $8.50

Shopped online for gifts for my niece and nephew to send for bdays: $150.

Pick up dinner at Whole Foods: $14.25

Dog walker (home later than expected): $25

Saturday

Spent: $524

Girl shopping!

Nordstrom jeans and a blouse: $225

Nordstrom shoes: $175

Lunch with girls at Cheesecake: $27

Uber to friends house: $11

Round of drinks: $44.50

Uber home: $16.50

Dog walker: $25

 
Sunday

Spent: $147.5

Mani / pedi: $80

Starbucks: $2.50

Dog food and treats, also winter sweater for Violet (couldn’t pass it up): $65

 

Spent: $1421.25

Reflections on keeping a money diary

When I look at what I spend on food I can see I have a daily eating routine. I don’t cook much so I grab easy food where I can. I love the muffins at Pret. I rarely eat lunch, mostly snacks at my desk, so when I am heading home I am hungry. It’s usually something ready made at the Whole Foods hot bar.

I do go out on the weekend to shop and eat with my girlfriends. I make a good income and I don’t spend a lot during the week. Perusing my credit card bill I see a lot of my spending comes in monthly-renewals like my Nextflix, Stich-fix, Yoga membership, gym membership (which I hardly use).

I don’t have a roommate so my rent in the city for my one-bedroom is $2800. My goal is to purchase a condo within the next year. I’ve been dating this guy for a while and not sure where it’s going, but I am still thinking of purchasing a condo anyway.

Oh ya – and let’s not forget my student loans which I am still paying. Those are $250 a month for a few more years. I do spend a lot on Violet but she is like a child to me and worth every penny!

I should try to plan for more meals instead of picking up all the time. And, I know my clothes shopping can get out of hand. I have so many items in my closet I haven’t even worn yet. This activity was helpful to evaluate where I should save money and put it towards a real estate investment.

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How a 23 Year-Old Upcoming College Graduate Spent Her Week

Money Diary Series

How a 23 Year-Old Upcoming
College Graduate Spent Her Week

Purse Strings | Student Loans | Debt

Age: 23

Salary: $14000

Location: Chicago

I also remind myself how spending money on coffee is dumb and I should just make it myself.

I’m a 23 year-old who will soon be graduating college. I’m fortunate that a lot of my larger bills are paid by my parents while I’m in school. They take care of my dog expenses, phone, and rent. I do have college loans and will have to address those when I’m out of school.

My spending is on utilities, food, transportation, clothes and other miscellaneous expenses. I’m in school two days and my internship is three days. My internship pays me $270 a week (minus taxes). Here’s how I spent my money this week.

 

Monday
Spent: $0

I like to cook and in the winter I use my crockpot. I realized it always makes enough leftovers so I can bring my lunch to work.

Train: Free (built into college payments)

Coffee: $0


Tuesday

Spent: $25

Food: Trader Joe’s


Wednesday

Spent: $18

I felt accomplished and bought a chocolate old-fashioned doughnut $3

Gas: $10

Walgreens: $5


Thursday

Spent: $15

Pizza: Love Chicago Pizza! (Best decision all week.)

Friday

Spent: $50

Going out: Lovin’ Chicago life.

Saturday

Spent: $10

Coffee/Something Cheap: Still getting out with friends.

 
Sunday

Spent: $200

Jewelry: $50

Started to “meal prep” (aka find 3 crock pot to meals on Pinterest) and those are the meals for the week.

Something random I need/want that I never planned for.

This week: Cap and gown ($60) YEAH!

Other examples: Need new work clothes (or found something I must have!), medication, and essentials ($30 even cough and cold meds are expensive), toilette paper, tampons)

Makeup/lotion/washes/scrubs (girl you know)

House supplies (cleaners, rugs, hooks, pots)

 

Spent: $318

Reflections on keeping a money diary 

I’m getting better at making meals which has helped me save money. I also remind myself daily how spending money on coffee is dumb and I should just make it myself. I know it’s not as good but I could use an extra $15 for fun. Being a Shark Tank fan, the video below also helped cutting spending.

I could be better at saving money when going out but it’s hard when you want to take in all Chicago has to offer, hanging with friends, and being single and 23. I want to be able to save more money because I’ve realized “pop-up” expenses get more expensive the older I get (loving it).

I’d like to start saving more and investing more. I’d love to learn how to invest with only $1,000. Additionally, I want to learn how much I should be saving right now and what things I should start planning for now. Like do I actually need to save for my 401k now? If a job gives me 401K matching, how should I approach that later?

We will provide you useful and timely information you can use to be #financiallyfearless