Money Diaries

Money Diaries: October Week 2

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8:30 AM: Super tired this morning. I’ve been going to bed really late these days and the 1-2 hour bedtime change seriously makes a difference. No money diary this morning. $0

9:00 AM: Carpool into the city. We can smell the smoke from the California wildfires all the way from Oakland and SF. $1

10:00 AM: Breakfast at work. We’re in the middle of a giant office move so there hasn’t been that much breakfast food. I’m now eating popcorn for breakfast. $0

1:00 PM: Still have some leftovers from the previous week’s deli lunch because I ended up going out to lunch last week with my coworker for lunch roulette which was expensed. I also worked from home another day last week so I had eaten lunch at home. $0

3:00 PM: My lips feel ridiculously chapped and they have been for a while now. I can’t find any of my lip balms and end up grabbing a couple Carmex’s from Walgreens. $5.36

6:00 PM: Hopped on the transbay bus home. $4.50

6:30 PM: It’s such a bummer that it’s getting dark earlier and earlier. Decide to hit up Trader Joe’s for some snacks and other groceries. I’ve been on a dried mango kick. $28.87

8:00 PM: My boyfriend also somehow ends up at Whole Foods after work getting more groceries. Pay him for my share. $22

8:30 PM: I remember this really old recipe I saw on Everyday Food years ago on Youtube where you steam fish in parchment paper and get the idea to try this out. It’s so easy and delicious! $0

9:00 PM: Last night we started watching this movie called Gerald’s Game on Netflix which is based off a Stephen King novel and it is so unsettling…there are quite a few graphic scenes. We finish watching the movie. It’s kind of a psychological thriller. How does Stephen King come up with this stuff?! $0

Commute: $5.50
Shopping: $5.36
Groceries: $50.87

Total: $61.73


8:30 AM: Another late morning. It’s been a serious struggle to do any writing in the evenings because I’m so exhausted when I get home (partially due to less sleep from going to bed so late). But it’s also difficult to write in the mornings for the same reasons. $0

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

10:00 AM: Eating chips for breakfast this morning. I should probably check if there’s cereal in the cupboards. Since switching to yogurt I always seem to look in the fridge for breakfast and if there isn’t any, default to some random option. $0

1:00 PM: Another round of deli leftovers from last week. $0

6:30 PM: Head home on the bus. $4.50

7:00 PM: Decide to do round 2 of the parchment paper fish. Parchment paper is seriously magical. $0

9:00 PM: End up wrapping up A Tale For The Time Being, which gets really good towards the end. I really enjoyed this one because it gets pretty philosophical as well as speculates on time theories. Then I get started on The Millionaire Next Door, which my boyfriend purchased on a whim. Considering it’s a personal finance classic, I figure I should read it. They give a lot of anecdotal examples, but it still ends up reading kind of academically. $0

Commute: $5.50

Total: $5.50


8:00 AM: Get up just long early enough to work on the Pinterest art for my new blog post at home. I’ve been getting a small amount of traffic from Pinterest, but it is tough without an auto scheduler. I love Pinterest so I think that’s the only that’s helped so far…I’m only part of 4 group boards and haven’t spent much time finding new ones to join. $0

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

9:30 AM: Opt for coffee near work this morning. $3

10:00 AM: Yogurts back in stock for breakfast! $0

1:00 PM: Lunch in my mind is the most meh meal of the day because it’s where I try to focus in on cost savings for a substantial meal. I see there’s a huge tray of leftover chicken from the company lunch last Friday, so I help myself. $0

5:30 PM: BART over to the climbing gym. It’s crazy, the sun is actually red from the ashes of the fires. $1.95

6:00 PM: Climbing with a couple friends as well as some acroyoga this time and practice our cartwheels. $0

8:30 PM: Uber pool home, all my pools have been ridiculously inexpensive back to Oakland. While with my flat rate ride pass, the extra cost of the car usually ends up being around $8-12, but this one is just the flat $3.50

9:00 PM: Dinner at home. $0

Commute: $6.45
Restaurants: $3

Total: $9.45


8:00 AM: Another late morning, no blogging. I have to get my mornings back on track, bah!! Otherwise, blogging is kind of always rolling around on my mind. I know blogging is for fun, but sometimes I don’t want to break my own streak. $0

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

10:00 AM: Grab a yogurt at work. $0

1:00 PM: More leftover chicken for lunch. $0

4:30 PM:I’ve been so unproductive today since the smoke from the Napa/Sonoma fires is so bad in the city today I feel like I can’t breathe. I’m glad we have a work happy hour saying good bye to the second floor of the office that we’re closing. We get to play some really ridiculously hard games like balancing 4 dice on a coffee stick in your mouth and picking up and stacking a glue stick tower with chopsticks. I got eliminated the first round…because balancing 4 dic on a coffee stick is SO HARD. $0

5:30 PM: I walk over to Neiman Marcus to pick up an order that just came in at the store (hilariously, I had just been complaining to a friend how NM has been taking forever to process my order even though they stated overnight delivery on the order!). $0

5:30 PM: So two weeks ago, I dropped some serious money on a sweater and jeans at Bloomingdale’s I’d been eyeing. I got a 25% discount on the order, clicked through my credit card portal for an extra 2% cashback. I realized after reading Luxe Strategist’s post that I could maximize the discount by waiting until the month turned to get another 5% back through my Chase Freedom due to rotating categories. This turned into a huge buy/return Event.

The week after I bought the sweater at Bloomingdale’s, I saw on a blog ad that the same sweater was on sale for $63 less than I had paid at Neiman Marcus. It wasn’t October yet, but I was afraid the sale would end so I rebought the sweater hoping to return the original. Then October hit a week later and the sweater was still on sale! My order at Neiman was still processing, so I just cancelled it and re-bought it again for $63 less + 3% Chase Portal cash back + 5% cash back on my Freedom. Another week after that, I’m looking through my email and Neiman Marcus has an email ad saying “extra 20% off select sale styles”. Considering the sweater I bought was on sale, I figured I may as well check to see if the price dropped even more, and it had! Again, the last order was still processing, so I cancelled again to rebuy it for $37 less than the previous sale + 3% Chase Portal cash back + 5% cash back.

I picked up the order at Neiman and just walked over across the street to Bloomingdales and returned it (hilariously, I was also wearing the same sweater that day). All in all, this summary of my buy/cancel/buy/cancel/buy/return sounds like much more effort than it was (most of it was just clicking a few buttons to cancel/rebuy the item). I ended up paying about $100 less than the original sale price I’d gotten it at. Just goes to show retail pricing is absolute baloney. No one said saving money was glamorous though! $166, +$262

7:00 PM: Meet up with my boyfriend and walk over to the bus. $0

7:15 PM: Take the bus home. $4.50

8:00 PM: Parchment paper fish for dinner. $0

Commute: $4.50
Shopping: -$96

Total: -$91.50


8:00 AM: Wake up late, but manage to get ourselves to the coffee shop. Hopefully this is the beginning of returning to our old routine? $2.73

9:00 AM: Carpool into the city. Our driver is very kind and doesn’t accept toll money. $0

12:00 PM: Amazing garlic noodles, chicken satay, and beef curry for lunch. It’s such a shame we’re closing down the second floor of our office this weekend, so none of these leftovers are here to stay! $0

5:00 PM: Walk over to my Friday Lyra class.

7:00 PM: Meet up with my boyfriend and walk over to the bus. $0

7:15 PM: Take the BART and walk to Whole Foods. $3.65

8:00 PM: Grocery haul. I finally got my 2 Southwest cards, so I’m switching over to paying with that. $48.43

8:30 PM: Uber pool home. $1.75

9:00 PM: And…more parchment paper fish for dinner. $0

10:00 PM: Feel lazy and decide to start a new Netflix show called Mindhunter. It is so good we end up staying up late watching 3 episodes. It’s the history of the FBI behavioral unit that profiled serial killers. It’s also directed by David Fincher so that was an automatic yes in my book. $0

Restaurants: $2.73
Groceries: $48.43
Commute: $5.40

Total: $56.56


10:00 AM: Wake up a bit late and head to the coffee shop to do some blog work and have a long overdue finance date. I end up getting a coffee and a scone. $6.97

1:00 PM: Head home to grab climbing gear and call an uber pool to go to the climbing gym. $1.75

3:00 PM: Didn’t do the best climbing today. There was a kids birthday party at the gym. I remember my first time climbing was actually at a birthday party when I was 11! $0

5:00 PM: Head over to another coffee shop. I’m so hungry I decide to order an avocado toast to tide me over. I have to do some serious deep focus blogging, but I know I’ll just curl up on the couch if I decide to work at home. $10.85

7:30 PM: Uber pool home for dinner. $1.75

8:00 PM: Continue marathoning Mindhunter. Ashamed to say it but we watched 5 episodes tonight…The show is plain addictive. $0

Restaurants: $17.82
Commute: $3.50

Total: $21.32


8:00 AM: We were invited to another outdoor climbing trip with friends today. Our friend comes over to pick us up. $0

9:30 AM: We stop at a Safeway to get water and breakfast and lunch foods. Of course I can’t help but also add some chips + 6 layer bean dip to the mix. $22

9:45 AM: Also end up grabbing a chai latte at Starbucks. $3.55

10:30 AM: Spend the whole day hiking, snacking, relaxing, and doing some very laid back climbing. $0

4:30 PM: Head home for the day. I’m exhausted from staying up so late last night to marathon the show. We spot our friend for some gas. $6

7:00 PM: Order a giant way too expensive meal on Postmates because we’re just too dang exhausted to move or do anything but finish watching Mindhunter (which we do). $45

Commute: $6
Restaurants: $48.55
Groceries: $22

Total: $76.55

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.

6 thoughts on “Money Diaries: October Week 2

  1. Enjoy reading The Millionaire Next Door. I just finished it last month and it was an eye-opener for me in regards to high income people.
    Yeah the air quality from the fire is really bad. I tried to go for a walk along Market last week and had to go back to my office almost immediately because of the air quality. I’ll try to go for a walk this week but this time wearing a mask.
    That was quiet an experience you had buying that sweater but you ended paying $100 less.

    1. I just finished it this weekend! It was definitely interesting to see, especially the adult-child relationships! I’ve often wondered when I have kids how will I be able to teach them frugality if money is actually less strained than when I was growing up.

  2. I hate when I lose my lip balm too. I always have to have one close by.

    Ooh thanks for the video for the parchment fish, I have never heard of that or tried it, it looks so easy and looks so delicious!

    I didn’t know that shiitake mushrooms were high in protein, I love them. I recently found out they are high in Vitamin D too!

    1. It is SO yummy and easy! For me I can generally finish slicing all the veggies and things and the fish will be defrosted so the timing works out perfectly. It’s also way less clean up because the whole meal just ends up in the paper and prevents the baking sheet from getting dirty 🙂

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