I’m taking inspiration from Ramit’s Money Diaries series (which is based off New York Magazine’s Sex Diaries). Here is my first week. I’m going to continue this money diary for the rest of June – one entry per week. Note: my credit card spending was crazy in May which is why I’m HURTING this month. Excuses excuses I know.
Profile: The 25-year-old with an English degree in the telecommunications industry
7:00 a.m.: Monday. Wake up. Check my filofax (yes you read that right). No morning meetings until 11! I fell asleep watching some Korean drama on my computer last night. I make myself instant coffee and finish watching that episode before work.
8:35 a.m.: Office. Drinking coconut water brought from home and catching up with my interns. I take a bite out of the free Larabars I got for free during the weekend from some summer festival. Disgusting. Rubbish bin they go.
9:27 a.m.: Friend texts me asking if I want to go to the LMFAO concert on 6/20. First of all, LMFAO to the preposterous idea that I listen to LMFAO. Secondly, I’ll be in Chicago. Frivolous spending avoided.
10:00 a.m.: Check my account balances and impending bills (mostly automated) for the month; realize I need to take money out of my emergency fund to cover my insane Visa and AMEX bills (I always pay the full statement balance ). UGH! I hate dipping into my savings. People disagree on how much one needs in his/her EF but golden rule seems to be ~6-8 months of living expenses. That said, I actually don’t know my monthly expenses. I used to figure $10K will be enough for a year. That said, my EF goal is now $30K. I have $26,096.42 as of now.
…or not. I transfer $150 from my HSBC Savings to HSBC Checking reluctantly. My EF drops to $25,946.42. Annoying.
1:00 p.m.: Didn’t pack lunch. Dumb. Go down to the salad bar on 2nd floor. $6.42? Highway robbery.
4:30 p.m.: Wondering why rent ($1,017.06) hasn’t been debited from my BofA checking account yet. The online rent system undercharged me $58 last month for no good reason so this month’s rent is more than budgeted for. Annoying. I need a roommate but I hate people. What to do?
6:30 p.m.: Gym. Last month, I paid a one-time lump sum fee ($414.89) for a 1 yr membership. No monthly fees for me but the pain of charging that much on my cc still lingers…
8:00 p.m.: Home to feed my cat and shower. Wondering why I don’t shower at the gym instead. It can save me money! Will bring shampoo and conditioner to the gym tomorrow.
9:51 p.m.: Go to my friend’s house…to do laundry. I am shameless. I usually take it to my parents’ house in the suburbs but I don’t feel like driving there. Thank god for good friends with washing machines and dryers. One needs clean underwear.
10:30 p.m.: Friend makes me dinner - chicken pasta with arugula and goat cheese. Best friend ever. We settle down to watch a korean drama.
1:40 a.m.: Home. Sleep.
7:45 a.m.: Wake up
9:10 a.m.: Wake up again? Shit I fell back asleep. Throw on clothes and grab my mug of instant coffee. Man I want Starbucks. Remember resolution to take showers at the gym. Run back in the apt to grab shampoo and conditioner. Run to the car.
9:25 a.m.: Of course it’s raining. Why wouldn’t it be? I parked outside and get rainwater in my coffee. Oh well. I realized my milk was expired after I’ve already put it in my coffee. So what’s another few drops of rain? I need to go grocery shopping.
9:50 am: Office. I have a 10 o’clock call. Sometimes, it sucks working on the top floor. To quote the White Rabbit…I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date!
Take another elevator assholes!!!
11:30 a.m.: Need. Coffee. But the cafe downstairs won’t take credit cards if you spend less than $3. Ugh. I add hot water to an English Breakfast Blend teabag from Harrods. What’s this? No cream in the communal fridge to steal? Cripes.
12:02 p.m.: I see my rent has finally gone through. My BofA checking goes down to $156.47.
1:35 p.m.: Conference room. Weekly team call finally ends. I spent the last hour looking down at my iPhone, fighting with my brother via texts. He demands I treat him to dinner because he is “doing me favor” by apt-sitting for me the next 2 days. Oh no he didn’t. I can’t take that shit lying down. Text fight continues.
2:00 p.m.: Back in conference room. We’re getting another intern. Intern season is great but interviewing is exhausting, even from the other side. My colleague and I conduct a phone interview with a USC (southern california) kid. I’m still pissed off from texting with my brother. And still hungry!!!
2:45 p.m.: Scrounge around desk for loose change. 75 cents. “Borrow” 15 cents from coworker and buy myself a bag of wheat thins from the machine. Lunch is served.
3:00 p.m.: Interview a Wesleyan kid.
5:40 p.m.: Gym. Sit ups, run 20 mins, bike 20 mins. Shower at gym for sake of my water bill.
7:50 p.m.: My brother coerces me to dinner. I pay. He needs go get a job ASAP! This cannot continue. I help him prep for his job interview tomorrow. Bill is $25.95 and I tip 15%. Total of $29.95 charged to my AMEX blue.
9:00 p.m.: Dammit. My car is out of gas. $48.97 charged to my Chase Visa card. I plot my move to a city with serviceable public transportation.
10:15 p.m.: Pack for business trip.
8:49 a.m.: Walk to vegan cafe across the street. Get a chocolate croissant and small coffee. $4.64 charged to my Corporate AMEX.
9:25 a.m.: Make brother drop me off at airport so I don’t have to file parking in my expense report later
11:05 a.m.: En route to Dallas, Texas. Save a horse, ride a cowboy.
12:44 p.m.: Dallas. Hello Central Time Zone. An arid blast of dry air hits me as I exit the airport. I cab it from DFW to the InterContinental in Addison. $51.75 including tips. Whatever. It’s expensed.
1:25 p.m.: Front desk tells me wi-fi is paid for by the company during this trip. Too bad I didn’t bring my laptop. I get it for my iPhone though.
1:35 p.m.: New corporate policy say we can’t expense lunch on our $42 per diem. I hit the hotel gym and shower instead. Outside, it starts storming.
It rains in Dallas?
6:50 p.m.: I finally go downstairs to the networking reception that started at 5:30 p.m. Free booze!!! I drink 5? 6? glasses of white because I don’t want wine teeth.
9:15 p.m.: Dinner with friends. I split appetizers, entrees, and dinner (and the bill) with one friend. My half is $20.38 and I tip 15%. Total of $23.45 charged to corporate AMEX.
7:30 a.m.: I go downstairs. Breakfast at hotel. Free.
8:00 a.m.: Conference begins. I get a cup of tea and an apple.
9:30 a.m.: I check my finances. Got paid yesterday! Not that I’ll see much of it. My biweekly paycheck goes to 2 accounts – $700 direct deposit to my HSBC accounts and the rest to my BofA Checking. I also contribute 6% to 401K.
Chase VISA bill is due on the 10th. I pay $1,100 of the statement balance from my BofA checking and schedule the rest ($164.30) to be debited from my HSBC Checking on the 9th.
11:20 a.m.: We break for lunch. Free.
6:30 p.m.: Hors d’œuvre and free booze. Well, if you insist. And a magician show for entertainment!
9:30 p.m.: Walk to In-N-Out across the street (aka 2 highways) with 2 friends. Double double animal style!!!! What? They don’t take AMEX? Annoying. $6.87 charged to Chase VISA. Will file out-of-pocket expense later.
7:12 a.m.: Drop off my hotel keycard at front desk. $314.14 charged to corporate AMEX. I down 2 cups of coffee and shove hashbrowns in my face in the lobby. Free.
10:00 a.m.: Break time. I load up on diet coke and trail mixes. Free.
11:30 a.m.: Working lunch during our breakout sessions. I munched on half a roast beef sandwich and roasted veggies and a giant delicious cookie. Free.
4:00 p.m.: Conference ends. I cab it to DFW with 3 other ppl (2 to ATL and 1 to LAX). LAX guy gets the bill because he is at another terminal. Company pays regardless so it’s all good.
5:25 pm: An executive director invites me and my friend as his guests to the Delta sky room at DFW. Um, heck yes. My friend and I had originally planned to pay $25 to get in. My life is awesome. I drink heavily while my friend make me watch videos on YouTube. Free!
7:45 p.m.: Boarding the plane. I am wasted face.
11:30 p.m.: Landed. I realise I haven’t spent my $42 per diem and am starving. My brother picks me up from the airport and we head to Miso Izakaya in Edgewood. The sign says closes at 12 but the host tells me their kitchen is closed. Fuck you!
11:55 p.m.: We drive to Holeman & Finch. I get the deviled eggs, pork bun rolls, catfish & grits, and caramel popcorn. Bill is $32.40. I tip $6, bringing it to a total of $38.40. My corporate AMEX is swiped after midnight but I will expense it for dinner day prior. Sure hope this is okay!
3:41 p.m.: I get woken up by a phone call.
5:50 p.m.: I contemplated too long about whether I should drive to LA Fitness. Go to my apartment gym and run a mile instead.
7:30 p.m.: I get to my friend Adam’s birthday dinner late. Dinner is at Southern Art (InterContinental Buckhead). We drink, eat, and split the cost equally 4 ways. Charged $59.50 to my Chase Visa. Realised later that there is a Scoutmob for $25 off. Rage a bit.
10 p.m.: I get a regular grass jelly milk tea at the bakery. $2.94.
3:11 p.m.: I wake up.
4:37 p.m.: My brother and sister come to visit. Rare occurence. It’s really bc my brother left something at my apt that he needs to pick up. They go out to eat afterwards but I know I inevitably foot the bill if I go. I eat ramen and dumplings at home instead. I will be paying for Father’s Day meal next Sunday. Such is life.
8:30 p.m.: Target - I buy shampoo, conditioner, Air Wick, and yellow nail polish. $36.37! The hell?
9:40 p.m.: Kroger – I buy a container of fruits (my dinner), 4 Red Delicious apples, 5 Yoplait Whips and a carton of half & half. $13.67 charged to Chase Visa. I get 5% cash back on grocery stores this month.
In Sum (rounding)
Will Be Expensed: $439
Real Spent: $2,481 ($1,217 if you don’t count last month’s Visa bill)