Lifestyle, Money

Money Journal, January 2020

My Chic Money Journal | B Chic Blog | Millennial Lifestyle Blog | bchicu.org

I did my last money journal in August 2018 and realized that a lot has changed since then. I wanted to complete an updated version and share it with you all. This one does not include a huge wedding to plan for, so I thought it’d be more realistic. Here’s the current state of my financial life though. 

  • We recently moved to the DFW from the Midwest
  • My salary has increased by 17%
  • Nick’s birthday is this week
  • This is a pay week, so you’ll get a snapshot of my spending during a payday weekend
  • We split rent and utility bills
  • Not all money journal entries are logged because Nick paid for it separately 

I’ve got to be honest, it was hard keeping up with this journal all week. Some days I didn’t document my spending until a day or two after the fact. The one thing that kept me on track was my budget on Google Drive. I manage my budget and more with this template.

Day 1

7:30 I woke up very late for someone planning to go to church that started at 8. But here I am, getting ready for the first Sunday service of the year at one of Dallas’s largest black churches. 

8:20 We couldn’t find parking anywhere in the main lot and refused to go to the overflow. I guess I let my pride get to me too much. We settled on McDonald’s for breakfast since we were already out. $20.07

9:37 I took a nap after being back home and well stuffed. This was inevitable thanks to my late night. 

3:39 I head out to my pre-planned double Aldi visit while Nick prepares for his podcast recording. We did our weekly grocery shop yesterday but I saw some things I wanted to come back for and splurge on with my own money. Salted caramel + dark chocolate treats ✔️, kitchen sponges ✔️, the cutest baby planner I’ve ever randomly seen even though we’re nowhere near having kids ✔️✔️ (Aldi gets me every time). $24.46

4:02 I remembered that the Aldi brand k-cups I just purchased are incompatible with my K-Café and I’m essentially addicted to these espresso drinks now. So I rushed to Kroger after my Aldi stop to purchase a 12-pack from Community Coffee. $5.40

4:23 I decide to make 2 grilled cheese sandwiches and hold off on eating the leftover spaghetti until lunch tomorrow. Yay! My first day back to work after a 2-week winter vacation. Welcome to the real world, kid. Btw, the latte I made with the medium roast was just what the doctor ordered. This is going to do wonders for my morning commute tomorrow. 

7:19 I start on dinner which is more of a favor to Nick because I’m not that hungry and he needs a new meal to pack for lunch tomorrow. I make Chicken Tetrazzini (complements of Pinterest recipes) and that’s pretty much my night. 

Total: $49.93

Day 2

I did not spend any money today which is good for my bank accounts but bad for the excitement of this journal log. Feel free to skip this post if you’re only interested in my money spending activities. 

6:40 This is the earliest I’ve gotten up for work in a long time. Having a 2-week break for the holidays truly did a number for my stress, sleep patterns, and overall energy. My morning routine is seamless as I already picked out my outfit, lunch, and packed my work bag.

8:19 I pull up to my office a few minutes early and jot down a few notes from yesterday. I use the Write Daily app and it’s a great tool for me to get things off my mind. 

12:30 I spent a few minutes talking with my boss about various things. I like that I can randomly pop into her office to check in and give an update. Since we are back for the first time this year, we have a bit more catching up to do. She asks me if I packed a lunch or plan on buying something and that spirals into a long conversation about cutting extra expenses and bringing lunches to work more often. One of my 2020 goals is to actively take lunch each day. I’ve probably skipped lunch or had a working lunch for 98% of my time here so far. I now appreciate the break it offers and need to take advantage of it more. I discuss this with my boss and she’s in total agreement. 

1:50 I heat up my leftover chili and head to the office conference room to eat my food and watch YouTube videos I saved last week. 

3:18 I start to get hungry for a snack and daydream about McDonalds fries. It takes everything in me to pull myself out of that trap and re-focus on this social media plan I have to send out to the team by the end of today. 

5:17 I make it through the afternoon tempted to stop by a fast food restaurant after work and I’m well on my way home as the sneaky thought of fries creeps up again. I manage to avoid it and listen to my Daily Drive playlist on Spotify. I love that the music and content switches up for the afternoon. 

6:08 Finally! I make it home without stopping for fast food but snack on chips and queso anyway. 

7:36 After talking with my husband on the phone for a bit, sleepiness really creeped up on me. I had intended to be productive this evening but it looks like that isn’t in the cards. I take a nap and hope for quick rejuvenation. 

9:22 I wake up and call my mom back after missing her call. She’s been sick and I wanted to ensure that she was fine. We talked for a good 45 minutes while I updated the blog post for my most recent podcast episode

10:11 Since I took a nap already, I utilized this time to take care of chores and prepare for the next day. Washed dishes, put clothes away, packed my lunch, chose my outfit, and wrote my daily scripture. 

12:01 I got sucked into social media and typing up some email ideas but I took a nap. So I had some extra energy. By now, I’m tired enough to fall asleep and end my day. 

Total: $0

Day 3

Here’s another day where I almost didn’t spend money at all. At the very end of the day, I made a very tempting purchase.

6:50 Ok I don’t wake up as early but I manage to leave the house around the same time thanks to my prep the night before. 

8:32 I pull into the parking lot at work and I’m satisfied with the timing. You never know how Dallas traffic will turn out and today wasn’t so bad. I had my homemade espresso drink at home so I don’t reach for breakfast at all. 

11:50 I do however smash the barbeque chips that I brought to work for my morning snack. I was a lot more organized this time and ready to fight the hunger. 

2:30 I intended to leave work and run some errands during my lunch but some of my colleagues are out longer than expected. So I hang tight and frankly mentally check out. I complete my 2020 personal budget template and feel fairly confident about my paycheck and plans to spend it all come Friday! 

4:00 I decide that I’ll ask my boss if I can leave early since I didn’t have a proper lunch. I mean, I did eat my leftover Chicken Tetrazzini at my desk, but not leaving the building has taken a toll on me. I’m ready to get out. 

4:28 I get a chance to ask for her permission and then I’m out of the office for the day. It was pretty mentally draining and I’m just ready to be home at all costs. I spend the whole ride home justifying why I should go to McDonald’s to feel better after such a crummy day. It seems like there’s nothing a medium fries from Mickey D’s won’t solve. Ultimately, my discipline wins and I’m feeling good about myself. Mind you, I pass about 3-4 McDonalds and a plethora of other fast food chains on my way home. It was not an easy decision. 

5:57 I manage to work my way up to the apartment and lay down for a nap. This return to work is no joke. I feel “workforce” out of shape for real! 

7:10 I crawl out of the bed to put my workout clothes on and head to HotWorx for my pre-scheduled hot yoga class. The class is super hard as this was my first yoga session in weeks. In the previous weeks, I had been favoring Pilates and Barre. It does still help with my focus, breathing, and strength. 

8:27 I pull up to my apartment again to call it a night, debating on whether I actually wanted to cook for myself or go to McDonald’s anyway. I decide against it when I remember all the construction I have to drive through to get to it. I thank God for the obstacle and saving me the regret. 

8:28 I spot the flatbed truck of the Valet Trash service and instantly think about the garbage bag I forgot to set out for the 2nd day straight. I bolt up the stairs to set our trash out before they stop by our building. I make it upstairs in time and avoid having to tell Nick that I forgot again. 

8:29 I then quickly make the decision to visit Wendy’s which has an easier path from our complex to indulge in the 4 for $4. So much better than McDonald’s fries, right? $4.33

8:55 By this time I’m back home and on the phone with my mom. We talk for about 45 minutes as I eat dinner and take notes on a fascinating social media article I found. Social media research is very beneficial to my marketing role at work. 

10:27 Nick comes home and I’m still on my laptop trying to figure out a Facebook ad for my Etsy shop. I get it accomplished and finally shuffled off to bed. Unfortunately, my energy is drained and I don’t prepare for work the next morning. 

12:30 I finally put my phone down as I lay in the bed. I’m obsessed about Facebook advertising now, but finally decided that it’s maybe healthy to just go to sleep now. 

Total: $4.33

Day 4

7:05 I think I finally opened my eyes again after my 6:30 alarm. I accept my fate and know that I’ll be late for work. I manage to still grab my coffee to hold me over until lunch. 

8:41 I end up not being too late and I get in before our very punctual volunteer. So I consider that a win. 

9:00 The morning goes by at a fair rate. Not too busy, not too slow. It’s actually productive as I prepare for our monthly marketing meeting. Since we’re in a slow period of the year, I am able to dedicate more time to annotate my social media calendar for discussions, analyze our social media metrics and brainstorm changes for our website. 

11:47 Since I didn’t properly plan for my lunch today I schedule an order pickup for Chipotle in the app. I add this to my lunch time errands. 

12:30 Despite my failed attempts from the previous day, my lunch starts at the expected time and I head to Nordstrom Rack. My husband’s birthday is tomorrow and I want to give him a gift with his cake. I can’t find the right type of shoe but after a few more minutes of sleuthing, I find a nice smelling cologne for him. $32.44

12:58 I pull up to Chipotle a few minutes early, quite perfectly actually and the order is ready! I bypass a few people waiting on their mobile orders and thank God for my luck. I have a steak burrito bowl and chips. $10.34 

1:10 Can’t forget gas! Payday is coming up so I fill up the tank just enough to get me through my 31 mile daily commute. $6.55

5:00 The work day ends on time and I head home for the night. Nick asked me to pick up his pharmacy order after work. So I pick up his card from home and head back out. After completing that task, I purchase a small birthday cake and number candles for his birthday. Might as well knock out 2 birds with 1 stone. $7.79

7:50 Although my night begins a bit later than normal, I embrace the break from my workouts and hop on the computer to watch YouTube videos and read business articles. 

10:37 Nick arrives home from work and we eat cheese bread sticks as a late snack. I plan to go to bed at a decent time, so I convinced him to celebrate his birthday at 11 pm (midnight somewhere, amirite?)

10:48 He blows out the candles and I give him the new cologne. Thankfully he likes the scent. 

11:00 I actually spend another hour working on my real estate course and finally call it quits when I pass my quiz. Another night of no morning prep. I’m ok with that though, because the night was focused on Nick’s happiness. 

Total: $57.12

Day 5

6:50 I get out of the bed a bit earlier than the last few days. So I still consider that a win. 

8:32 I pull up to work pretty much on time. So I call this a win. My drives have surprisingly not been too congested these past two days.

11:50 the morning has been going by slowly although I am getting work done. I debate going to Starbucks as I’ve been putting it off, but I persevere. 

12:43 I remember that there is a 1 pm webinar and I’m starving. I wanted to make Happy Hour at Starbucks but 2 pm is way too late given the feeling of starvation I’m battling. 

12:48 Target is my poison of choice. It’s close to work and has healthier food than the Burger King and McDonalds that I pass. My lunch wasn’t too bad: Panera Bread macaroni & cheese and fruit snacks (bought them for my desk). $7.71

6:02 Came home after an average drive. And took a short nap. Nick allowed me to still go to the gym on his birthday. 

8:17 Came back from the gym actually more tired than I started but we spent the night together to continue the celebration. It’s been my goal to stay consistent at the gym, no matter how demotivated I am or how it feels afterwards. I always know that it’s good for me in the end.

9:37 We ended up ordering from Halal Guys for dinner and having basic gyro meals while we watched the Mandalorian. This show is pretty good and it’s the only reason we have Disney+ right now.

Total: $7.71

Day 6

12:01 I got paid! $1,000,000 😜

9:00 My job has its perks. Since we are a small non-profit, we have flexible working options. I decided to spend my half-day working from home. Since I didn’t have to rush to the office, there was time to indulge in breakfast. Had pancakes, eggs and bacon thanks to Nick. The birthday guy, cooking for me!

3:15 My afternoon yoga has become a ritual for half-day Fridays working at home. Today also happens to be the Hotworx’s grand opening. I wasn’t expecting so many vendors, but people lined the entire gym to sell their products and services. Me being the gullible and persuasive person that I am, I accidently signed up for HelloFresh. I thought they only needed my information for an introductory period, but I paid for my first week on the spot. Whoops. I’ll cancel it after the delivery. $20.93

4:08 Started my actual day pretty late at 4:08. Payday means cash is burning a hole in our pockets and we HAVE to shop. Nick and I went to DXL, TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack, and then finished up at JCPenney. 

4:26 While Nick shopped at his stores, I wandered around TJMaxx on my own. I’m dangerous when left to my own devices in a store. In less than an hour, I found a sports bra, yoga tank, clearance Starbucks k-cups (score!), and earbuds for my laptop. $34.68

5:54 (?) At around 6 o’clock we remembered to grocery shop. There was a desperate need for a ton of things, so we needed to do this. Knowing a storm was looming, we tried our best to move fast. Unfortunately, the rain descended before we could leave the store. Texts from others gave us a tornado scare but made it home just fine. Turns out a tornado touched down north of us (about 50 miles) but just thunderstorms in our area. It was a bit surreal knowing that a tornado had just ripped through North Dallas a few months ago. Families are still putting their lives back together after their homes we destroyed that October Sunday evening. 

7:54 Dinner, courtesy of the grocery shop. Spinach noodles, Italian sausage, and homemade Alfredo sauce. I forgot to put the salad together. Nick did well with the main course though. Delish!

10:06 The night ends with ice cream and cuddling.

Total: $55.61

Day 7

10:11 I got out of the bed super late compared to when my mind woke up. It was racing and making plans for the day. Today we will go to our first fondue restaurant for Nick’s birthday!

10:15 Nick convinced me to make breakfast: potatoes, eggs and bacon skillet. I was able to listen to a podcast episode while I prepared the food. I tend to spend Saturday mornings washing dishes, making breakfast, and catching up on the So Money podcast.

12:32 After breakfast I return to the bedroom to work from there. After sinking into social media for about 30 minutes, I finally focused on a real estate course section. I pass my quiz on the second try.

2:13 That takes up a bit of time but then I remembered my errands. Nick places an order for Chipotle and I pick it up. 

2:50 I return to eat and then go back out to complete my weekend mission. Before heading out, I adjust and confirm my budget for the shopping.

3:00 Since it’s so late, I check Google for USPS locations to ship a used Keurig to my parents. After a wasted 20 minute drive, I can’t find where the office is located. Later I realized that the local convenience store, with all Spanish signage, had a postal drop off desk. It’s a good thing I didn’t go in there, because I would’ve been out of my depth and confused! I found a nearby UPS store instead and mailed the Keurig for less than $20! I wasn’t expecting that at all. $16.27

3:57 I realize that I’m in a familiar area and decide to stop by Target. With my new K-Café from Nick, I’ve been making myself speciality coffee drinks. Starbucks’ site says that Target and Walmart sell their syrups, so I checked to see if it’s in stock. No luck, but I was able to purchase a new shower curtain, shower mat, and milk–all things we needed! $17.87

4:30 I rush back home to change into my dinner date outfit. We leave a bit late but make it to dinner on time for our 6 o’clock reservation.

6:00 We have a wonderful first-time experience at Simply Fondue. It’s expensive but I wanted to do something nice and fancy for Nick. We aren’t big on gifts since his birthday is right after Christmas, but experiences are where it counts. This was one for the books $156.00

Total: $190.14

The Wrap-Up

Things I learned from this money journal:

  • I wake up late for work a lot and my love for coffee is interesting. I don’t think I’m addicted but it’s become part of my morning ritual that I don’t want to give up.
  • My stops at fast-food restaurants and Target are becoming obsessive. I can’t deny the phrase that we are a product of our environments. I have to stop working at a place so close to Target, McDonald’s, and Chipotle. 
  • I love my husband and I pulled off a great week of birthday surprises.

The Breakdown

Food + Drink: $93.24
Entertainment: $156 (birthday dinner)
Home + Health: $17.87
Clothes + Beauty: $34.68
Transport: $6.55
Other: $56.50 (birthday gifts & shipping)

Grand Total: $364.84

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