Money Diaries

Money Diaries: September Week 1

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7:00 AM: Up bright and early this morning to pack up our camp and head out for breakfast. $0

8:00 AM: I’m seriously in love with the pot pie here + terrible iced coffee! This definitely isn’t the cheapest way to go camping, but it works. Our typical camping meal is generally a can of salmon with avocado and mustard on bread or butter lettuce. It’s great because it doesn’t require that much refrigeration as a whole. $9.15

9:00 AM: Head over to get fancy coffee. I continually hear great things from the coffee lovers in the group, so I decide to double down on caffeine this morning and get a shot of espresso with whipped cream. Unfortunately, this isn’t one of those fluffy espresso drinks and it ends up being super sour and bitter. $4

10:00 AM: Head out on the road. It’s a VERY long drive. About 6.5 hours, but thankfully we didn’t get held up from anyone coming back to the city from Burning Man. At least the drive was beautiful since we actually get to see what’s around us–we get to pass through Bishop, Mammoth Lakes, and Yosemite. Gas + Fees to get through Yosemite. $30.04

1:00 PM: Charged for Comcast some time in there… $61.11

1:30 PM: Also charged for my new gym membership. Gyms are like apartments these days. SO many upfront fees + deposits outside of the monthly “rent”. $59.99

7:00 PM: Grab some groceries for the week and clean up the car to drop off. $44.50

8:00 PM: Drop off the car and lyft line home. Since I lost my Uber ride pass, I’ve started defaulting back to lyft again. $2.69

9:00 PM: Dinner at home and pass out early. $0

Groceries: $44.50
Travel: $32.73
Restaurants: $13.15
Bills & Utilities: $61.11
Health & Fitness: $59.99

Total: $211.48


8:00 AM: Blogging at the coffee shop for a short time. We’ve been getting worse and worse at waking up early. I’m clinging on to our new early morning habits by a thread. $2.73

9:00 AM: I need to work from home this morning, so no carpool for me! $0

12:00 PM: Head into the city via bus which is thankfully right outside the apartment. $4.50

1:30 PM: I still have one box of some leftovers from last week. The food is still good but pretty bleh at this point. $0

6:30 PM: Walk over to choir. $0

9:00 PM: Lyft line home. I miss my ride pass so much! $12.70

Restaurants: $2.73
Commute: $17.20

Total: $19.93


8:00 AM: Blogging at the coffee shop. Because of trips, staying up later than usual, and amping up other hobbies, I feel like I’m constantly behind on my blog schedule, which is already vague as it is! $2.73

9:00 AM: Carpool into the city. $1

10:00 AM: Granola bar for breakfast. $0

2:30 PM: Back to lunches at the deli. I accidentally get a little too much food for 2 days, but that’ll mean zero worries about partitioning for the week! $7.16

6:00 PM: After our weekend trip, my boyfriend and I are pretty excited to be climbing again, so we head over to the gym via BART. $3.60

8:00 PM: Uber pool home. $2.50

8:30 PM: Dinner at home. $0

9:00 PM: Boyfriend books our hotel for Tony Robbins. A travel budget can unravel SO quickly. $154.43

Travel: $154.43
Commute: $7.10
Restaurants: $9.89

Total: $171.42


8:00 AM: Blogging at the cafe. Also skipping the carpool for our last session of counseling! $2.73

11:15 AM: Head over to our last session. I think we’ve gone enough that we relate to each other much better than before, even if problems and conflict don’t just magically disappear. $170

12:30 PM: Uber pool over to BART. Boyfriend pays. Without my ride pass, I feel like splitting cars gets to be so confusing…which kinda shows we probably take too many cars. $0

12:45 PM: BART into the city. $3.60

2:00 PM: Pay my friend back for tickets she got to SF Color Factory, which we’ll be going to in a couple of weeks. It’s supposed to be a very cool and colorful playhouse inside. $32

5:00 PM: Head out for my Hack Reactor unofficial 2 year reunion. My old roommate is a great planner, and even though he moved to LA for his second job, he’s great at visiting and getting us all together. I meet up with him and another friend to share a Lyft to a brewery in Bernal Heights. $6.50

6:00 PM: Grab a burger from a food truck parked outside the brewery because I’m starving! People trickle in for the night, I think about half of us end up making it out! It’s so nice to see everyone and catch up! $10

9:00 PM: Split a Lyft with my old roommate back to East Bay. He’s staying with his parents for the week. $16

Restaurants: $12.73
Commute: $26.10
Entertainment: $32
Health & Fitness: $170 (no clue what I was categorizing this as before…)

Total: $240.83


8:00 AM: Really trying to get out my Time vs. Money article this morning. I’ve seriously labored over this one for weeks but just can’t seem to put what I’m thinking into words. I think it turned out close to what I had in mind! $2.73

9:00 AM: Carpool into the city. $1

10:00 AM: Yogurt at work for breakfast. $0

12:00 PM: On the lunch menu is sushi! My favorite! Even though it’s not a lunch I can pack for next week, there are a few big reasons I love getting sushi for lunch. 1. I don’t really eat sushi out that frequently because I don’t know anyone else who opts for sushi over something else, and I find sushi too pricy to justify it as a solo trip. 2. Work always orders tuna sashimi, and no one else at the office seems excited by it! More for me! Because I pretty much only like tuna. $0

4:50 PM: Walk over to my new gym for Lyra! $0

6:15 PM: That’s what you get for being out of shape, all the ab workouts kill me. I’m also meeting up with my boyfriend in Oakland at the climbing gym after. BART over to the climbing gym. If someone told me 2 years ago that I was going to be a “gym rat”, I wouldn’t have believed them. $3.60

8:00 PM: Head out from the gym. I’m pooped. Boyfriend calls the uber. $0

8:30 PM: Still on my horror movie kick, so we decide to get tickets to see It. In the meantime we meet up with a friend at a wine bar close by to celebrate him getting a job! $0

10:10 PM: The theater we see It at is really old and fits in perfectly with the movie. There’s a man sitting where the screen is playing creepy music on the piano when we walk in! Loved the movie–it was disturbing on so many levels. Has anyone else wondered how Stephen King is such a prolific writer? He’s in his sixties yet he’s written 50 pieces! $12.50

Commute: $4.60
Entertainment: $12.50
Restaurants: $2.73

Total: $19.83


11:00 AM: Sleep in this morning, this week has been brutal! $0

12:00 PM: Grab our morning coffee, and I can’t help but grab a pastry as well. $6.03

12:30 PM: We head over to the bookstore next door because we have about 10 books we want to get rid of. The bookstore takes 2 of each of our books! I always feel better selling my stuff to a certain place instead of donating it all to Goodwill because I always feel like things at Goodwill are one step away from the dumpster. –$2

1:00 PM: Take an uber pool over to Goodwill for the rest of our things. Boyfriend pays for this one. $0

2:00 PM: Drop off our things at Goodwill and stop in to our favorite taco place for lunch. $11.80

3:00 PM: I grab the lyft line home. $5.15

4:00 PM: I end up taking a nap and reading Do Less while my boyfriend is out getting a haircut. I pretty much dismissed the book after it suggested only paying for things in cash… $0

6:30 PM: Feeling pretty lazy and uninspired tonight, so we end up vegging out and watching Season 3 of Narcos. $0

9:00 PM: I spend the rest of the night Marie Kando-ing my closet. $0

Restaurants: $17.83
Commute: $5.15
Shopping: -$2

Total: $20.98


8:00 AM: Wake up pretty early and decide today’s the day I need to finally list all my various things on eBay. Mostly I’ve only got the product photos for my perfumes I’m trying to get rid of. I end up listing 3 perfumes on eBay and one pair of shoes on Poshmark, which my friend suggested. I may end up moving this to eBay if no one bites in a week or so. My boyfriend finally takes pictures of these terribly ugly World Market dining chairs we no longer use and puts them on Craigslist. $0

10:00 AM: Breakfast and cleaning the kitchen. We have so many random glass containers that need to be re-organized and stored somewhere. $0

1:20 PM: Uber pool over to our favorite Chinese restaurant in Oakland to meet up with some friends. One of our friends from Boston is in town! $4.54

1:40 PM: I feel like every time a group of people are at a Chinese restaurant, we somehow end up with something like 8 entrees. Tummy is stuffed! $20

3:00 PM: Head over to the climbing gym in Berkeley. One of our friends brought his car, so we’re able to catch a ride with him since he wants to climb too. $0

5:00 PM: Walk over to the local grocery store near the gym–we need to stock up on avocados again. I also happen to see New Mexican hatch chiles and it brings back so many memories, I get ingredients to make green chile stew. Haven’t split these groceries yet. $60.54

6:00 PM: Lyft over to REI to return a rain jacket I bought for Thailand in March, but otherwise never wear. There was a $10 lyft code for Oakland pride so this ride is free! $0

7:00 PM: Return my rain jacket, and buy some wash for my softshell jacket to re-waterproof it. -$107 + $11.40

8:00 PM: Boyfriend uses his lyft credit to get us home. $0

8:30 PM: Stick my green chile stew in the Instant Pot to accelerate the stew! The pressure cooker makes tenderizing meat stews so much faster. $0

Commute: $4.54
Shopping: -$95.60
Groceries: $60.54
Restaurants: $20

Total: -$10.52

Jing is currently a software engineer based in Oakland, CA. She left her job in New York, moved to San Francisco unemployed, and more than doubled her salary in 4 months.

8 thoughts on “Money Diaries: September Week 1

  1. It’s so cool that you can return stuff like that and have – score! I could save so much more time if returns were allowed for all the things I wanna buy. (Guess I won’t hesitate to return anything I don’t want)

    1. Yeah, and I don’t feel guilty too because I do buy things pretty frequently from there and always with good intention. I’d feel scummy buying it knowing I was going to return it (not to say I haven’t done this when I was in a serious money pinch in the past!)

  2. I used to be Planet Fitness member. I like their monthly rate($15) but their yearly charge($40) sneaks up on you.
    I went to the one in downtown SF(Sansome St) and in Daly City. The Daly City location had free pizza for the members the first Monday of every month. I always thought was kind of weird for a gym to provide pizza but hey, free food!!
    They have nice amenities with lots of cardio machines and enough room for the free weights. 30 minute express workout is a cool feature if you need to go in and out of the gym. Locker rooms are clean too.

    1. Yeah, mine is $10 a month, but I did have to pay the annual fee. I’m setting a reminder in my calendar to cancel Planet Fitness. Maybe I should take advantage of the free pizza to offset my membership for the next 10 months! Haha, it is absolutely weird they entice people with such unhealthy food, but maybe they think people will be incentivized to work it off right after!

  3. Oh interesting that you went to counselling with your boyfriend! That’s great that both of you agreed to go and are going. I love counselling, I find that the objectivity is so helpful 🙂 It’s always great to work on yourself and learn different ways of communicating.

    1. Yeah, I think it was helpful and it did help me talk through my emotions because I get so worked up and lose my train of thought really easily. We’d love to try it ourselves though and make space to be honest and talk openly. The counseling was super expensive and we did 8 sessions, so for now we’re going to try and use what we learned to work through new issues!

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