Weekly Recap : Money Diary

Hi everyone!  Today we're going to be getting a bit personal and talking about a touchy subject- money!  I recently discovered the Money Diaries series on Refinery 29, and thought it was such an interesting concept.  Seeing how people from around the country spend their money in a week is kind of fascinating to me!

While I'm not affiliated with R29, I thought it would be fun to take that idea and share a week in my life and how I spend money.  Since this was a rest week after my half marathon, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to recap my week in money rather than workouts.

Just to preface this post- if you're offended by money talk or don't want to hear about this subject, I would suggest skipping this post.  I'll be sharing some real life numbers, even talking about my income!  In keeping with the theme of the real Money Diaries, here is a snapshot of me:

Occupation: Product Manager
Industry: Banking
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Age: 26
Paycheck Amount (2x a month): Approximately $570 after taxes, insurance, transportation, 401(k), health savings account.  This is the amount that goes to my personal checking account- the majority of my paycheck goes to the joint account I share with Dan to pay all of our bills.
# of roommates: 1 (Dan) + Selma


7:00 - We got in really late from Vancouver (around 2AM) so I worked from home.  Somehow I still woke up early(ish) and got a coffee immediately!  I also finish up some fruit that we had from last week before it goes bad.

11:00 - Really slow day at work.  I have a small team (about 10 people) and almost everyone is on vacation.  I have the Olympics on in the background all day and catch up on emails and some other work.  I'm really hungry so I make some pasta with fresh basil, caramelized onions, and chicken-less tenders.

4:00 - Dan had the day off work and I log off a little early since no one else is on.  We head to Trader Joe's to pick up groceries for the week (I shared my haul on Snapchat!)  ($95 from joint account)

5:00 - I do some meal prep for the week, and snack on some hummus and veggie crackers that we got at the store.  For dinner we're having burrito bowls- my favorite!  I also have some white wine.

Daily total - $95 (joint account)


6:30 - Work!  I was really tired this morning, so I made two Nespresso pods instead of my normal one.  It definitely helped wake me up!  For breakfast, I made overnight oats on Monday night with some almond milk, chia seeds and sunflower seed butter.

11:00 - Get out of a 3-hour long meeting and I'm so hungry!  I brought a side salad with my lunch so I eat that and have some water.

12:00 - Lunchtime yoga!  It was great doing this right after my race so I could stretch out all of my muscles.  To treat myself for going to the class and finishing another half marathon, I stop at Starbucks on the way back to the office and get a cold brew with coconut milk ($4.33)

1:00 - Eat the rest of my lunch- leftover pasta from yesterday.

4:30 - Take the bus home.  Dan drops me off downtown on his way to work, and I take the bus home.  My employer lets us buy bus passes from our pre-tax income, which ends up saving about $200 annually.  I would check if your work does this too! ($3.75)

6:00 - For dinner, I make homemade pizza.  Dan and I both love Trader Joe's pizza crust, so I just add on some sauce and load it up with veggies.  On Dan's, I add spinach, onions, black olives, peppers, and vegan mozzarella.  I tried to do a rainbow pizza with tomatoes, peppers, olives, onions and spinach, but my crust was just a bit too thick.  It still tasted great!  I also tried out a recipe I saw in a magazine for zucchini chips.  They were SO good!

Daily total - $8.08


6:45 - I got to work a bit late and forgot to make coffee.  I have some k-cups at my desk in case of emergency, so I made one of those.  Luckily, I did remember to grab my overnight oats (same as yesterday) though!

11:00 - Lunchtime!  Today I had a burrito bowl, black bean salad, grape leaves and some pickles.  Odd combination, but I like having small portions of different foods so I can spread out lunch over a few hours.

1:00 - I have a long meeting at work, and one of my co-workers offers to get me a drink from Starbucks.  I bought her one a few weeks ago so she was repaying me.  I ended up getting my favorite tea- Youthberry tea with simple syrup.  ($2.94..did not pay)

5:00 - Finally leave work! Take the bus home ($3.75).  I have the worst luck and it's an absolute downpour.  I really liked my outfit for the day and was planning on getting a picture of it when I got home, but it's soaked through!

6:00 - Get home, immediately change into pajamas (feels so good) and make a decaf almond milk latte.  I needed a hot drink and this tasted great!  I still can't believe how good the drinks are that come out of the Nespresso, which is why I hardly ever go to coffee shops anymore.

6:30 - I had some leftover veggie burgers in the freezer that I made a while ago, so for dinner I thawed those out, topped them with Trader Joe's mango jicama slaw on a pretzel bun, and served it with more black bean salad.

Daily total - $3.75 (+ $2.94 from coworker)


6:30 - Got to work with my coffee.  Last night I was too lazy to make breakfast, so I just grabbed a banana and granola bar on my way out.  Not exactly satisfying, but better than nothing!

10:00 - I got an email about a deal at Noodles and Co (25% off online orders).  This is perfect because I was also too lazy to make lunch today, so I put in my order.  I love Noodles because it's so cheap and the food is delicious!  I ordered a small Japanese Pan Noodles, Veggie Med sandwich without feta cheese, and a side of Thai curry soup.  All of that ended up being less than $10 after the coupon! ($9.21)

11:30 - Pick up my order.  It's SO good!  All of our managers were out for 2017 planning meetings, so my day was pretty free.  I turn on the women's volleyball match while I eat, and it ends up being a really intense 5-setter.  Unfortunately we end up losing....wah!

4:30 - I switched jobs a few months ago, but still keep in touch with my old group.  We worked together for 3 1/2 years, so they're like family to me!  We met up for a happy hour at a local wine bar, and I end up getting two glasses of wine and some appetizers.  I loved the wine so much that I ended up buying a bottle to take home (it was a house blend that tasted like an oaky Chardonnay....my favorite!).  I leave around 6:30 in time to catch the final bus.  ($63.75)

7:00 - Dan picks me up at my bus stop and we go to Market District to pick up six packs.  I have plans on Saturday and have to pick up beer!  I was so excited to see fall beers because that's my favorite type of seasonal beer, so I got a Sam Adams Fall Variety.  ($20)

7:15 - I'm really hungry, tired, and don't feel like cooking at all, so I convince Dan to go to Double Wide Grill for dinner.  They have an amazing vegan menu and I've only been there once years ago, so I've been wanting to go!  I end up getting a veg-gyro which was amazing, and Dan got Seitan "wings".  They were both so good!  We didn't order drinks, so our bill ended up being pretty reasonable! ($20 from joint account)

Daily total - $92.96 (+ $20 from joint account)


6:30 - You already know my morning drill by now...get to work and drink coffee!  For breakfast, I had some salad.  Some days I just don't feel like eating breakfast food, so I'll eat something normal!

1:00 - This week was Restaurant Week in Pittsburgh, which means that a ton of local restaurants have special menus or deals for the week.  My new team has a tradition of going to The Capital Grille every year.  This is a really fancy restaurant, and their average lunch entree is around $25.  For Restaurant Week, they have a three course lunch for $16.16.  Not bad!  Unfortunately, since they're a steak house none of their options were vegan, but I didn't want to miss out on a team event and went anyway.  My favorite part of the meal was dessert, which was a flourless chocolate cake! ($20)

4:30 - I head home on the bus and grab some leftovers at home to eat quickly. ($3.75)

6:00 - Dan and I head over to Chelsea's with the Sam Adams we picked up.  She also had a bunch of food and we played Cards Against Humanity! 

Daily total - $ 23.75


8:00 - It's been such a long time since I slept in, and it felt so good!  I started my morning with some espresso and some sauteed veggies with roasted potatoes.  I also turned on the Olympics and chilled out!

2:00 - Dan and I spent the morning doing some projects around the house (including installing an indoor herb garden!) so at this point I'm starving.  I tried out a recipe for tofu lettuce wraps and they were amazing.  Dan liked them so much that he requested them again! 

7:00 - I did a lot of cleaning, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to relax for the rest of the night.  For dinner, I made Alexa's Roasted Broccoli with Quinoa Salad (so good!) along with the rest of the black bean salad in the fridge.  

Daily total - $0!


9:00 - Today is my last day of my week of rest, so I slept in again!  When I finally woke up, I turned on the men's marathon.  I also made coffee as usual, and just had a banana for breakfast.  Some mornings I just don't have an appetite!

11:00 - I'm being really lazy today, but finally get going for the day.  I make up a weekly meal plan and head to the store with Dan to pick up groceries.  ($65 from joint account)

12:00 - Now I'm in super productive mode, and spend the next 4 hours food prepping for the week and cleaning the house.  I have on Bachelor in Paradise and the Olympics on in the background, so it's not too bad!  For the week, I made a ton of roasted veggies, PF Chang tofu wraps for Dan, black bean burgers, soba noodle salad, zucchini chips, salsa, and a nectarine crisp for tonight's dinner.  I'm snacking the whole time too (just for quality control ;)

5:00 - It's our monthly vegan dinner, so a few friends come by!  We have a ton of great food, and end up opening the wine I got on Thursday.  Everyone loved it!

Daily total - $65 (joint account)

Weekly total - $128.54 from my account, $180 from joint account.

There you have it!  This week was definitely more social than most weeks for me, so I ended up spending more than usual.  It was a lot of fun time with friends though, so I don't regret it at all!  My philosophy is to save money 80% of the time, so 20% of the time I can have fun and not worry about paying the bills.

What do you spend money on most weeks?
Do you budget?
What's your spending philosophy?
linking up with Amanda


  1. This is great that you are keeping track. I'm gonna guess that the majority of what we spend during the week is on food. I'm usually good at making my lunches at home but since my husband travels he has to eat out a lot!

    1. That's a bummer..hopefully he gets some of that reimbursed if it's for work!

  2. This was a really interesting post- I am terrible at just spending whatever during the week getting happy hour drinks or starbucks so its a good reminder for me to budget a little better. Plus I think it's interesting to see how other couples divide expenses and etc. Is Dan going vegan also? That's awesome if you got him on board!

    1. He is! It was actually his idea, so he got me on board :)

  3. This is too crazy. I literally just finished up a post exactly like this to post next week. This week I'm sharing my budget on Wednesday, but I figured I would go through & show what a normal-ish week of spending looks like for me too.

    I'm nosy about this type of stuff, so I'm always interested. I modeled mine after Cash Confessional, which I saw on the Charlotte Agenda site, but I'm excited to go stalk Refinery 29.

    1. Great minds think alike :) can't wait to read your post!

  4. I'm obsessed with the Refinery 29 money diaries so I LOVED this post!! You're really good at saving! I've been spending way too much money lately and I need to reign it in since I start paying rent next week. It's so interesting to see how others spend their money.

  5. I always find these interesting and i dont think its weird to discuss it too much as long as someones not rude about it! I think I spend a great deal on food and a sporatic coffee throughout the month. Seems like we're pretty similar! Id love more of these typs of posts--i find them fascinating!

    1. I agree. I try not to sound judgey or say that my way is the best (I definitely have room to improve!). I'll definitely work on doing more of these in the future!

  6. Dude, this post would have taken a lot of work and time! I admire your dedication to saving money and being healthy. You're a huge inspiration. And you're killing me with the Nespresso stuff. I'm asking for one for Christmas.

    1. Thanks Suzy! I'm so in the habit of it now that it's just part of my routine. I'm honored you would consider me an inspiration because I look up to YOU!!

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  8. I really enjoyed this post. My husband and I just started using Dave Ramsey's EveryDollar app to keep track of everything. It's super helpful and a little stressful all at the same time.

    1. Thank you Jenna! I'll look into that app..thanks for the recommendation!

  9. Your Wednesday lunch looks like what dreams are made of! What is in the black bean salad? And do you have a burrito bowl recipe? This was so interesting to read through-- and gave me so many good meal ideas. (as I'm also currently on pinterest looking for recipes!) I'm also really inspired by what you guys spend on groceries-- no matter how hard we try and budget it seems like we easily go over $100 (often by a lot) on groceries every week.

  10. This was so interesting! My husband and I are not big spenders on material things. All our apartment furniture is second-hand from our families. We even skip spending on some smaller things; we don't have cable or even Netflix. But we do this so we can spend money on traveling together, which is important to us.

    1. That's amazing! We're really similar and try to save for travel as well, but could work on buying new stuff for the house...

  11. This is really interesting! I should do this myself because I'm very curious now. Usually my expenses are pretty low, but I suspect they'd be much higher on a week where I had people over for dinner.

    1. It definitely opened my eyes to see how quickly things add up over a week! Time to get my spending in check.

  12. I loved this post! It's so interesting to see how others live their day to day lives. I can't believe how early you work each morning, haha! You should definitely visit Double Wide Grill from brunch - they have a vegan southwest wrap that is SO FREAKING GOOD. We should go together sometime!

    1. I'm so used to it now that I can't believe I ever "slept in" till 7:30 and would get to work at 9. That seems so crazy to me now! That wrap sounds AMAZING and we definitely have to go soon!

  13. Gretchen, this is awesome!!! I love that series on Refinery 29. Such a good post idea :)

  14. Loved this post! I plan every single meal my boyfriend and I are going to eat on Sundays and have gotten our weekly grocery bill down to about $80. It's amazing how much you can save by cooking at home and planning :)

    1. That's amazing Diana! Planning takes work but it pays off so much (literally).

  15. This was definitely an interesting post to read. So, I gather that both you and Dan put the same amount (or a percentage) into the joint account to cover mutual expenses) and then have some money left in our own bank account?

    We spent about $130-150 on groceries every week and eat out once or twice. We don't have many other expenses during the week though. We both almost never buy coffee or lunch out (only on occasion).

  16. You do an amazing job at saving Gretch! I found this really fascinating, because it's not something I'm as good at as I'd like to be, so this was wonderful to read and learn from.

  17. i am super sy so i love seeing how people spend their money lol. i am not shopping at the moment and doing super great, but i think for the next 3 months i need to focus on where my little money goes - like eating out and stuff. we'll see. i have never tried trader joes pizza crust, it looks so yum!


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