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The Money Diaries: The Slightly Lovedrunk, Bar Hopping New Yorker

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Today is another post in the Money Diaries series, which is based off New York Magazine’s Sex Diaries. We’ve collected stories from real people about their spending habits over seven days, anonymized them, and posted them here.

stethoscope.jpg

Today’s post is by a 28-year old woman who’s keeping an eye on her account balance while living up the nightlife in New York City.

* * *

DAY ONE

10:15 a.m: Decide to forgo breakfast this morning as part of a weight- and finance-maintenance plan. Instead I select a cup of company-subsidized Lipton hot tea from the kitchen.
1 p.m: Intended to hit the street cart for lunch today, but my boss’ boss comes over to my cube and wants to go to a deli downstairs. I have a review coming up, and I suppose I need all the brown-nosing points I can get. I get a buffet assortment of three chicken salads, green beans, and other random greens. Grand total: $7.75. I sigh.
3:30: Work BFF comes over to my cube and says she wants to go get some froyo. I can’t resist the lure of cold, whipped ice-sugar, so I shell out $2.75 for a small double-dutch chocolate in a cup.
7 p.m: Date at a Midtown lounge with a former lawyer.
7:45 p.m: Get so tired of trying to sell myself as a competent, beautiful, and Fun (with a capital F!) woman that I order a second Ketel One and tonic to his one rum and Coke.
8 p.m: Decide he looks a little like Erik Estrada and doesn’t seem terribly focused, even though he’s a nice guy. He picks up the tab, which is also nice.
8:05 p.m: Start missing my ex-boyfriend. A lot.
8:20 p.m: Hug my date goodbye and thank him.
8:30 p.m: Wander down 55th Street depressed as hell. Decide there is only one cure for my heartache and enter a karaoke bar perched on the top floor of a Japanese restaurant.
9:45 p.m: Two $5 Kirin Lights and four $1.50 song cards later, I notice I’m getting teary as the woman sitting beside me sings Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” It’s definitely time to go home.
10 p.m: I convince myself I’m too sad and buzzed to take the subway, so I blow $10.50 on a cab ride.
10:15 p.m: A bit irritated with myself for spending so pointlessly this evening, I try and make up the difference by eating leftover kung pao chicken takeout from my fridge instead of ordering dinner.

DAY TWO

9:45 a.m: WebMD.com has convinced me that I have strep throat, so I make a pit stop at my doctor’s office on the way in to work. Copay: $20. He writes me two prescriptions: One for an antibiotic and one for Allegra, even though I don’t have allergies.
11:45 a.m: The drugstore pharmacist tells me it’ll be $10 for the antibiotics and $35 for the Allegra. I decline the Allegra, because I think I have a few tablets of Claritin in my desk drawer. Pharmacist seems annoyed at my frugality.
1:35 p.m: Nothing will stop me from going to the gyro cart today. I pick up a $4 lamb-stuffed pita and a 75-cent Diet Coke and consider lunch a financial success.
2:40 p.m: I am terrified of logging in to my bank’s website and viewing my checking-account balance, but I do anyway. Because I live in New York City and because I pay half of my monthly salary to live alone in a studio apartment, I really shouldn’t spend more than $63.85 until next month.
2:46 p.m: I think hard. I SHOULD have a $250 check for a freelance article I wrote in March coming in the mail soon. But until it comes through, I need to seriously cut back.
4:59 p.m:
Like any good, cliche New Yorker, I see a therapist every week, and today I had my first appointment with a psychiatrist about, ahem, chemically stabilizing my moods. Copay: $20.
6:45 p.m: I grab a slice before going out. I do a double-take as I pay: My pizza place raised its prices from $2.75 for a slice of one-topping pizza to $3. This makes me infinitely sad for some reason.
7:30 p.m: A coworker of mine won a free keg of beer from a shoddy Irish pub. I somehow get away with drinking for several hours and paying only a dollar for a tip.
12:30 a.m: As I stumble back to my apartment, a cute former coworker of mine texts me that he wishes he were single…because of me. It’s a damn shame, because I happen to know for a fact that this guy is fiscally responsible, even though he doesn’t make a ton of money.

DAY THREE

10:30 a.m: Oh, holy God, I am so hung over that it feels like I’ve eaten a ball of yarn. I come up with 71 cents for a whole-wheat bagel with butter on it, hoping that it will somehow soak up the excess alcohol in my stomach. Ow.
1 p.m: Lunch at a Midtown diner with a friend. We switch off on paying the check each time we eat together, so today my grilled cheese was free. Nice.
3:28 p.m: Somehow I’ve gotten a reputation at work for being the woman who always has quarters for the chocolate-covered-almond machine. I give one to my boss and one to the features editor. I’m trying to make nice with the editor so he’ll give me some writing assignments. Is it wrong to try and buy respect? And with quarters, at that?
4 p.m: I pick up a prescription at Duane Reade, and because my doc gave me a $35 promotional coupon for the medication, it’s totally free. That has never happened to me in my entire life.
7:15 p.m: I grab a $3 slice before yet another date that I’m dreading.
9 p.m: Date at an Upper East Side lounge with a guy who works in finance. He tells me he works for a private equity fund and explains it to me. I still don’t totally understand what that is, but it’s nice to know he’s good with numbers. He also picks up the check, which is very nice.
1:15 a.m: My ex-boyfriend texts me and says he misses me. We text each other until 2.

DAY FOUR

10:30 a.m: I need coffee. No free tea today – only java will do. I spend $3.69 on a small black coffee and yogurt/granola parfait at a deli downstairs from my office.
2 p.m: Half-day Friday! I decide to go to lunch with my boss and my work BFF. I shell out $10 for a delicious pork curry over ramen noodles.
5:45 p.m:
I am running on barely any sleep (had a hard time falling asleep last night after trading texts with the ex), so I grab two Red Bulls from the deli. Those things are expensive. Grand total: $5.
7:30 p.m:
I’m running around my apartment in a Red Bull-fueled frenzy getting ready for dinner at a steakhouse with said ex-boyfriend. We haven’t spoken or seen each other in two weeks – a break that was my idea. I certainly don’t want to walk all the way to the subway in three-and-a-half-inch heels, so I blow a cool $20 on a cab way down to the Meatpacking District.
10 p.m: Steaks were had, a wine bottle was uncorked, after-dinner drinks were consumed and a relationship was rekindled. My no-longer-ex-boyfriend picks up the three-digit check. I feel spoiled, grateful, and incredulous at the same time.
12 p.m: After dinner, boyfriend and I grab a couple of beers at a Greenwich Village haunt. I figure that I should pay for at least something tonight, so I spend $13 on our tab, which consisted of a Pilsner Urquell and a Bud Light.
12:30 p.m: Boyfriend pays for the cab home.

DAY FIVE

9:15 a.m: Time to hit the Jersey shore for a bit of beach time with three of my pals. Price for a PATH train ride to Jersey: $1.75
10:15 a.m: I’m so insanely tired that I buy a Diet Coke. I pick up a Poland Spring as an afterthought, as it’s probably not good to subsist solely on Diet Coke, Red Bull, and booze. Total: $2.50
3 p.m: Ahhhh, sun. We’re all hungry, so I grab a hot dog and a frozen Coke for $6.
5:15 p.m: We pile into the car and hit a seafood restaurant that looks out onto the water. I have a delicious meal of oysters, a cod sandwich, and chips. And a pina colada and a Corona, of course. We split the check four ways. My portion is $29.88.
7 p.m: We each pitch in $5 for gas money.
9:30 p.m: Hit up an Irish pub near Herald Square. I drink two Harp drafts and half a Bud Light, which costs me $20.
10:30 p.m: Boyfriend shows up and whisks me back uptown to drop my things off, and then to his ‘hood in Brooklyn. He pays for the cab rides.
12:30 a.m: We hit a taco joint for tacos, nachos, and one margarita each. I contribute $10 to the cause.
2 a.m: Cab back to boyfriend’s apartment. I throw in $5.
2:30 a.m: Boyfriend mentions offhand that the accountant he recommended for me this past tax season didn’t get my payment, even though he said they invoiced me. I get really flustered, because I’m normally so good at paying all of my bills on time. Boyfriend sweetly offers to pay for it, and I immediately say no. You can’t put a price on pride, y’all.

DAY SIX

1 p.m: Free concert at McCarren Pool in Williamsburg, Brooklyn! I contribute $5 for the cab ride there and realize I have zero cash left. I hold our place in line while boyfriend runs out for giant iced lattes and turkey sandwiches, which he pays for.
3 p.m: We’re standing in the rain with no umbrellas, still waiting for doors to open. I guess nothing really comes free.
4 p.m: Show is awesome, and the free people-watching is even better.
5:30 p.m: Boyfriend grabs us burgers, a bag of chips, and two Bud Lights. I’m embarrassed that I have no cash.
7:15 p.m: Boyfriend and I stop by a fancy cheese store for crackers, pate, and brie for tonight.
8:30 p.m:
I’m cleaning the apartment for my two friends who are coming later, while the boyfriend offers to run to the grocery store for fruit, chips, and delicious French onion dip. He picks up the tab for it all, and I continue to feel bad that he’s paying for so much.

DAY SEVEN

10 a.m: I hit my bank’s ATM on my way to work and take out $100. I have $387.28 left in my checking account. That’s not as bad as I thought, but it has to last me another 17 days, and that includes two upcoming therapy sessions. I’m really starting to need those two freelance checks I’m owed. I really, really do not want to dip into my savings account for emergency cash.
1:45 p.m: I have GOT to eat something green and fresh after inhaling junk for the past few days, so I go with three of my coworkers to a deli around the corner and hit up the salad bar. Total comes to $6.
2:30: I recently got an ominous-sounding letter from my insurance provider saying that a procedure from my last vision checkup isn’t covered. With visions of $500 invoices dancing in my head, I call the doctor’s office to ask what the letter means. The nice receptionist tells me that the doctor chose to just write that procedure off rather than charging me for it. I fall all over myself thanking her.
2:58 p.m: I see that my gym has deducted $21.40 from my checking account for monthly dues. Perhaps I should consider actually going to the gym in order to get my money’s worth.
7:30 p.m: Slice of pizza, $3.
8:30 p.m: Boyfriend invites me over. We work separately, in silence, on different things: he on his taxes and me on my freelance assignment. We both complete our tasks.
10:30 p.m: Against our better Monday-night judgment, we grab a couple of drinks. My round of delicious Victory Hop Wallop draft beer costs $14. I look at him. Victory, indeed.

In sum: $347.11 spent, $71 of which was on booze; 8 unnecessary cab rides; 7 instances of alcoholic behavior; 6 dates; 2 financial freakouts; 1 CHiPs reference; 0 freelance checks received via mail.

Update: The anonymous poster, “Jane,” leaves a comment below.

* * *

To be featured anonymously in a future Money Diary, click here.

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67 Comments on "The Money Diaries: The Slightly Lovedrunk, Bar Hopping New Yorker"

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Stephen Waits
7 years 10 months ago

Wow.

Lance
Lance
7 years 10 months ago

Was that a 28 year old or an 18 year old?

HB
HB
7 years 10 months ago

Interesting reading but it is almost impossible to empathize with her situation. She has a lot of needless spending going on. She doesn’t seem to be willing to make any sacrifices to save, but complains that she has no money and that New York is expensive. There are plenty of people out there doing more with what she has — without a boyfriend’s subsidies.

Malang
7 years 10 months ago

In sum: $347.11 spent, $71 of which was on booze; 8 unnecessary cab rides; 7 instances of alcoholic behavior; 6 dates; 2 financial freakouts; 1 CHiPs reference; 0 freelance checks received via mail.

Identification is the first part of correction. It will do you good to trend your expenses (use mint.com or something) and then see which area you need to cut down on and find ways to do it.

Cory
Cory
7 years 10 months ago

Wow indeed. I agree with HB’s comment.

John
John
7 years 10 months ago

Geez…she’s financially and socially irresponsible. I can’t even follow this post – she’s talking about going on dates, yet then begins mentioning a boyfriend, all the while carrying on a text-affair with an ex? And don’t even get me started on the financials.

It’s hard to empathize with someone who says “I really shouldn’t spend more than $63.85 until next month” then goes on to spend her own and other people’s money with utter lack of control. This is just one example of how the citizens of our country can’t manage money.

Grow up. You’re not cute anymore.

lordskip
lordskip
7 years 10 months ago

sounds like the kind of girl i always end up with on blind dates.

as a 28 year old alcoholic barfly/native new yorker, even i have trouble sympathizing.

Holly Hoffman
7 years 10 months ago
I think it’s interesting to note that her spending goes up exponentially when she’s with her ex-boyfriend. Also, I’m not sure that cheap junk food is the way to save on money. Eating from the lunch cart is a success? I pack oatmeal w/ dried fruit & flax for breakfast ($1.20 per serving over 2 business weeks), drink company coffee, bring a healthy lunch, and pack small snacks. Eating the way she is, is not cheaper or healthy. There’s also a correlation to emotional spending – a cab ride, karaoke bar, gyro. Why not try to find a non-spending comfort/reward,… Read more »
Colin
Colin
7 years 10 months ago

You guys are pretty rough. This behavior is very common amongst 20-somethings. At least this girl has the courage to write down her experiences and hopefully learn something from them.

Good for her & thanks for a very interesting post.

Jack
7 years 10 months ago

Yeah, totally agree with the comments. What ever happened to buying a 12-pack of Sam Adams or some microbrew at the start of the week and boozing it up at home in privacy? Probably costs, what, $20 for the week?

Some call it alcoholism, I call it financial responsibility.

Carl
Carl
7 years 10 months ago
I agree with Colin, it does take a lot of courage to write it all down for everyone to scrutinize….as long as she can learn from it. It really is amazing how obvious it is to see some ways to improve, but so difficult to implement…if indeed, this is very common behavior. I don’t know about anyone else, but I feel for the boyfriend. Sounds like he’s buying her attention. He’s most likely a poor chump she’s using for a while and will break up with again as the mood strikes her….or when he wises up and stops paying for… Read more »
Ramit Sethi
7 years 10 months ago

Agree with Colin — I know many, many people like this. Rarely are they “bad people.” It’s too easy to paint people with a broad brush, especially via a blog comment.

What 1-2 things would you suggest she do to hit her goals?

Bryce
Bryce
7 years 10 months ago
She spent ~$350 over the course of a week including doctors visits, food and fun. It looks like she doesn’t make large investments (TV’s, cars, etc.) and she works freelance on the side – extra income. Given a decent income at her main job she is keeping herself moderately under control – and while in her youth. She has ~$390 to last her 17 days with a probable $250 coming in. That puts her right about on budget given a slight cut in expenses. (640 total as opposed to 700, a $60 shortage). Although she didn’t mention saving money she… Read more »
Jefferson
Jefferson
7 years 10 months ago

This girl needs to grow up. 28 and still playing high school games with guys. The money part is even more ridiculous. Being almost 30 is old enough to know better.

Laura
Laura
7 years 10 months ago

I don’t understand why the responses are so harsh on this one . . . she never spent a penny she did not have, and as far as we can tell from this has savings and does not use credit cards. The comments act as though one should never go out to eat or out for drinks with friends. She made some unhealthy eating choices for sure but didn’t do anything lavish – took the train out to the beach, got reasonably priced drinks and only spent money she had.

JM
JM
7 years 10 months ago

The criticisms sound harsh because she is TWENTY EIGHT YEARS OLD. The behavior seems a bit immature for someone who is 28. If she was 22, I’d completely understand. But 28?

Jenn
Jenn
7 years 10 months ago
Wow, it seems like this girl eats out for every single meal… no wonder she is short on cash. Maybe if she could start packing some breakfasts and lunches she wouldn’t have to feel so bad about a night out with friends or be too broke to buy some cheese. What I don’t like about these posts is that almost all of them just pay lip service to the idea of saving money, but they don’t actually DO anything to make that idea reality. She had company tea one day and another day her lunch was free (because she’d paid… Read more »
Carlin
Carlin
7 years 10 months ago
The first thing she should do is starting keeping track of her money using a checkbook. I think both times she wanted to know how much she had she checked it at an ATM, which can get you in trouble if you forget about an outstanding check or upcoming ACH payment. The other thing I would do is I would focus on expanding my freelance opportunities to earn extra cash. I know it’s important to relax, go out with friends, etc, but it seems like she’s got a good amount of free time outside of her regular working hours that… Read more »
Ryan
Ryan
7 years 10 months ago
Like the others mentioned… she seems to have an emotional attachment to spending money. As in, when she is in a bad mood or feeling upset, she spends money as a “reward” to try and make her feel better. That is a financial no-no. I went through a similar, though much smaller, episode a couple years back and it really needs to go away. If the author is reading these comments, I really hope that she brings up this issue with her therapist. I’ve seen worse… if she is within budget, that’s great. The problem I see, and I think… Read more »
Moneymonk
7 years 10 months ago

You has a fulfilled life, I need to hang with her

LWM
LWM
7 years 10 months ago
As far as getting paid for her freelance work, I think I can speak to that. As a freelancer in the publishing industry (not a writer, though), I’ve noticed that over the past couple of years, the time it takes my clients to pay me has doubled (30 days used to be average, but now it’s 60 or more). With any market downturn, publishing gets hit pretty quickly, so her late freelance fees are probably way out of her control. And enforcing a penalty for late fees is near impossible for a freelancer. On another note, the reason I keep… Read more »
Ian
7 years 10 months ago
Wow. One more reason not to live in New York. I know there are lots of things to do there, and people can come up with tons of reasons to go there, but when you have to live paycheck to paycheck just to survive, it’s just not worth it. I am not sure what she is working toward, but it doesn’t seem that she has some grand aspirations of a high 6 figure income anytime soon. I could be wrong. Of course, she spent as much in one week (NOT counting what her boyfriend spent) as I spend in an… Read more »
Chris E.
Chris E.
7 years 10 months ago
Yup. Yup. The commenters are waaaay to harsh on our diary friend. Please excuse her from your boring non-money spending lives. I can’t imagine if she were funding vacations with her credit cards (like some of my fiends) or flirting with random guys to get her alcoholic satisfaction at the pub. Please remember why we have money… to spend… to live. The point is to have money for spending (not hoard it). If you want to hoard it figure out how to make more. Don’t penny pinch on everything. Please realize there’s another token here, and that’s we despise cheap… Read more »
Jane
Jane
7 years 10 months ago
Hi, guys. This is my diary. I want to appreciate all of the helpful suggestions you all have given me. I’m grateful especially for Bryce’s comment, as I think that sums up my situation very well. I’m actually quite amused by some of you calling me “immature,” because most people I know say I’m one of the most mature people they’ve met for my age. I don’t fancy myself “cute.” I’ve gotten to where I am (all the way from the Midwest) due to a lot of hard work and perseverance. Also, readers, I am a “woman,” not a “girl.”… Read more »
Jane
Jane
7 years 10 months ago

Sorry — I meant, “I appreciate all of the helpful suggestions…” Also, Ramit: I LOVE the illustration you picked for my diary. So fun.

Jack
7 years 10 months ago

GREAT response comment (I probably would’ve flipped out at some people and called them names that rhymed with ‘bouchedags’) – good luck with all of that, Jane.

Ramit Sethi
7 years 10 months ago

God I love the comments on this blog.

Gina
Gina
7 years 10 months ago
Initially her situation as a single girl trying to keep up in NY by starvation & budgeting made me say, Great girl! I had to stop reading cuz it was starting to make me ill how chasing one’s social life made her spend irreponsibly. As a New Yorker, I can relate. But shopping for groceries & cooking at home does wonders. So does not running around town trying to keep up with friends, which is actually not creating one’s own life. But I wish you the best with your boyfriend, & as a writer. It’s more than planning for $,… Read more »
Gina
Gina
7 years 10 months ago

I suddenly feel much better about myself.

ChrisV
ChrisV
7 years 10 months ago

seriously?? she barely spends any money compared to most people in NY? I would be interested to know her salary though since that puts in all in perspective.

When i lived there in my 20s, i spent way more on cabs, dinners and drinks not mention clothing and beauty stuff (living in NYC is very expensive). This girl has NO Debt AND savings!! I dont even think she has a problem unless she makes less than $60K a year. The only think frivolous is a the gym membership if she never goes…

I Should Talk
I Should Talk
7 years 10 months ago
@Jack: I agree with you 100%. I might have also suggested folks take their pissy condescending tones and shove . . . but I won’t. Jane, I commend your bravery. I’ve learned a lot from Ramit and his roving band of commenters and it sounds like you have too. The high cost of living in NY and low salary in my then-chosen field (publishing, oddly enough) led to me choosing to move out of the city and eventually leave the NE for good. I’m much happier for it, but I think you are kicking ass to stay there and make… Read more »
AC
AC
7 years 10 months ago
Jane, I’ve been wanting to move to New York and this REALLY makes me want to take the plunge! I, too, commend you for an overall healthy financial life. One thing you might try to improve your emotional/habitual spending is to go on a “spending fast” for a couple weeks. All the things you buy now, just stop. No “slices,” drinks out, take-out, new clothes, cab rides, unhealthy snack foods, etc. Just set a small budget for basic food, and don’t buy anything else. You might be surprised at how you’ve gotten into the habit of spending mindlessly, and if… Read more »
anon
anon
7 years 10 months ago

For a second I thought it was your diary, and then I assumed you were gay when I read about the boyfriend.

RT Wolf
7 years 10 months ago

Bravo to Jane for your followup comment and for having the courage to publically following your spending. I agree with Ramit about conscious spending. Sounds like you’ve already got good insight into your spending, so this post is more for everyone else:

http://www.iwillteachyoutoberich.com/blog/conscious-spending-how-my-friend-spends-21000year-on-going-out

As long as you are aware that you are spending that much money on those things and you’re ok with it, you’re doin more or less fine, especially with your side work, 401k and savings. Cheers! Good luck in the future!

Carla
7 years 10 months ago

I agree with Lance. Even as a twenty (almost thirty) something, I cannot relate. There are days where I would “splurge”; like coffee at a nice indie cafe and lunch out when I didn’t bring it from home. Living in the Bay Area, though its cheaper than NYC, but I don’t make a comparable salary to be able to enjoy those little indulgences. I also know too many people who have to decide between prescription drugs and transportation to get to work so I overall cannot relate to Jane.

D
D
7 years 10 months ago
Being a 20-something in LA, I have to say I can relate to this posting. But some of the comments here are a bit harsh. She isn’t using credit cards or racking up debt. She isn’t going to parents or friends for some extra cash, like I’ve seen in previous money diary entries. Based on her reply, she’s contributing to a 401K and a savings account. While her spending may be a bit wreckless and need some controlling, it is totally within her grasp. Her situation isn’t all that bad. By packing lunches and snacks for the day at work,… Read more »
Tyrone
Tyrone
7 years 10 months ago

She should have put out with the guy who looked like Erik Estrada.

Ale
Ale
7 years 10 months ago
It’s amazing how quick we are to judge somebody else’s lifestyle. Someone mentioned after a different post, how if they weren’t spending it wouldn’t be as much fun or interesting to read. Spending money or not spending money is not always as easy as one might think. The psychology of having or not having money is incredible. I’ve noticed, that I tend to spend more money when I have less of it and constantly thinking of not spending money than when my I feel comfortable with my cash flow. When combined with environment (NYC) that pushes to spend, how can… Read more »
Kelly
7 years 10 months ago

Two suggestions

Read an Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. His mantra: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. (http://www.michaelpollan.com/indefense.php)

Focus on just one goal at a time (http://zenhabits.net/2008/09/really-simple-goal-setting).
An easy goal is to bring breakfast from home. I bring yogurt for the week on Monday and keep it in the group fridge. I keep granola stashed in my filing cabinet. Combine for a filling breakfast! Go for the full fat yogurt (aka creme top)… protein, fat, and fiber will keep you full the longest.

An
An
7 years 10 months ago

Jane, just a little suggestion, bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes, then change into your heels at work. Comfortable walking shoes include cute flats, or even sneakers. I know NYC loves fashion, but don’t sacrifice your wallet and health for it.

Oh, good job on cooking at home. Just pack your lunch and snacks to work, and even go to meet up at nice parks with friends and have a picnic (I guess that’s a new in the city 😉 ). You can do it Jane 😀

Writer's Coin
7 years 10 months ago

Just another reason why New York scares me.

Umchic
Umchic
7 years 10 months ago

I love this post…and love the comments. It kind of reminds me of my last couple of weekends. I live in CT and travel to NYC and Boston often, however this weekend I was in Philly and was impressed with how well my money stayed IN my pocket. It’s so much cheaper in Philly.

Ramit, I love this blog…keep up the good work

– Mid 20s in CT, F

MandarinZazz
MandarinZazz
7 years 10 months ago
I am 29 y/o guy who lives in DC and would say my friends and I have similar spending habits as Jane and also maintain no debt, savings, etc. I am curious if some of the initial comments on this blog would have been the same if you were a guy. I think there is definitely a double standard for women financially. I also think some older folks do not realize that people “settle down” later in life these days for a variety of reasons such as staying in school longer for law, masters, phd’s, and how expensive the housing… Read more »
Anna
Anna
7 years 10 months ago
I’m about the same age as Jane, live in a similar city, and have similar habits. I save a bit more than 15% of my income, but after that, I spend whatever I want on whatever I want. A lot of people my age have kids, and they spend all their money on their children. I’ve chosen to forgo both the expense and the fun that come with kids, so why shouldn’t I spend the money I would spend on daycare, carseats, and toys on things that I find fun? I don’t have expensive hobbies or electronics or weekly manicures;… Read more »
JP
7 years 10 months ago
I agree with AC’s suggestion to have a spending fast. I did this with a friend last year, we allowed ourselves to buy nothing but necessities for 2 months. It became so much fun to compete with each other and get through the day on as little as possible that it was addicting. It’s a good way to go extreme and “shock” yourself into good habits. Another thing, I cook a huge dish every Sunday and that’s my lunch for the week. It usually costs me about $8 – $10, and I really notice the savings. Thanks for sharing, and… Read more »
F
F
7 years 10 months ago
Jane, It’s good to hear you’re back on track. In your diary you already appear well aware of what you’re doing well and what should change. Problem is that you’re letting yourself be surprised by the moment rather than setting your rules in advance. Grant yourself a moment and draw up a budget with what you would to spend on lunches, leisure, etc. versus what you are actually spending; then come up with solutions. When cutting, focus on recurring items. I’m not telling you anything new: just do more of what you’re already doing (home-cooked dinners). BTW, eating out less… Read more »
KO
KO
7 years 10 months ago
Perhaps you should consider going cash-only for a month. After getting paid, withdraw everything except enough to cover any auto-pay bills (wouldn’t want to add “$25 insufficient funds charge” to the list of expenditures…). Maybe seeing your wallet get thinner and thinner will help you put the brakes on your spending. I also agree with the suggestion to start logging all of your expenses — that was my New Year’s resolution this year and I’m still doing it, as burdensome as it is sometimes. It’s pretty interesting to compare how much you spend on eating out, taxes, and savings… Also,… Read more »
Nathan
Nathan
7 years 10 months ago

The same thing happened to me with the allergy meds. Except the copay was $50, and I took it like a sucker.

Dazz
Dazz
7 years 10 months ago
Jane is correct in many ways. I live in NYC as well and yes, the cost of living here is extremely high. I think her behavior is fairly normal for a late 20-something in NYC; however it is not a trend I like or subscribe to. My wife and I cook all the time and rarely go out to eat or bars. I have found the age to marry is much higher in NYC than other areas of the country, and people date (like they were early 20s) well into their 30s. It is the culture of this city for… Read more »
finance girl
7 years 10 months ago
ok, first off, buy fruit for a whole week and put a day’s worth every day in your bag. At least you will eat a couple pieces of healthy produce no matter what else your day throws your way. ok, second, order one drink but then afterwards just make it mineral water. you will save money (and health!) in aggregate b/c you will be drinking only 1 alcoholic drink and then, more importantly, something healthy afterwards. Think of the water as a treat to your body and the alcohol as a treat to your mood. you will get there just… Read more »
Chris H
Chris H
7 years 10 months ago
If Jane had been the same person in DC I could have sworn I went out with her last week (not the super expensive date). This isn’t too bad since she is putting the savings as a priority, and also covering all of her housing, food, and bills before the spending in the diaries. As long as you don’t move yourself to maintaining the lifestyle on credit you should be fine. P.S. I agree that I probably wouldn’t have read through the comments or looked at the next one if one entry was 7:15pm – noticed direct contribution was given… Read more »
imelda
imelda
7 years 10 months ago
These comments are ridiculous. RIDICULOUS. Look, I’m as frugal as the next PF-blog-frequenter. But I see nothing wrong with this. Absolutely nothing about this woman’s diary entry indicates that she is out of control or spending irresponsibly. Yes, she says that she spends more than she would have liked. Don’t we all? Compare this diary to that of the 25 year old woman who wrote a money diary. That girl didn’t have enough to pay her bills, had a habit of overcharging her credit cards, asked her mother for money, then went out shopping for new clothes–all the while claiming… Read more »
Confident Nerd
7 years 10 months ago

Hey Ramit,
First time here. I am curious. What does it mean to you when you say the word “rich”. Other than that, do like the site and your style of writing.

Anya
Anya
7 years 10 months ago
To “imelda”: That was my past diary. It was written during a particularly bad few weeks financially. I BORROWED $200 from my mother, which has since been repaid, and most certainly did not buy new clothes (reread it, honey… I said there was a temptation.) To Jane: I applaud your courage as well! And you’re doing just fine. You have money going into savings and aren’t overspending. Bravo as well for your diplomatic response. I hate that the first group of comments are so unnecessarily harsh. She never said she was broke, she said she was trying to save, so… Read more »
Mike
Mike
7 years 10 months ago

OK, if I were you, I wouldn’t feel bad about mooching off my boyfriend. You mentioned he was working on his taxes… for the Oct 15 deadline? I work at a CPA firm and the only clients we have who haven’t filed a return by October are the ones who are making 6 figures a year in INTEREST INCOME. I bet he has a crap-load of money he hasn’t told you about.. either in investments or held in a trust. Don’t worry about letting him pay so much =)

John
John
7 years 10 months ago
Anya – My initial harsh comment was not so much at the spending choices – eating out here and there, overspending a bit – whatever. The disgust came from the way the author’s relationship with money – complaining, stressing, feeling helpless, mooching off of others – and not seeing it within her own personal responsibility to change that. When I see someone recognize their situation – “I really shouldn’t spend more than $63.85 until next month” – then complain – “I continue to feel bad that he’s paying for so much” – then do NOTHING about it – “And a… Read more »
Rachel
Rachel
7 years 10 months ago
Jane, I really want to know what gym you belong to that charges less than $23 a month!? I live in the city as well and based on my life and my friend’s lives this is pretty typical, although I have plenty of friends that do not have savings outside of automated 401k and that are also in debt. So despite other comments, I think you’re doing just fine. 50% of my income goes to just my rent as well. It’s hard to balance saving for your future and your social life in such an exciting/expensive city. My only recommendations… Read more »
Mary
Mary
7 years 10 months ago

I wonder if Jane has paid her accountant yet.

Ada
Ada
7 years 10 months ago
Jane: Sounds like you’re getting it together. It’s huge that you’re saving and have no debt — so at least you’re not digging yourself into a hole. I think it’s really promising that you’re trying to find ways to increase your cash flow. Lots of people spend a lot more energy devising $0.75 spending cutbacks than figuring out how they can earn more. The former is often a losing strategy when you’re making so little money that it already guilts you out to enjoy a couple of drinks with friends, IMHO (cutbacks that force you to be less social are… Read more »
George
George
7 years 10 months ago
“Also, readers, I am a “woman,” not a “girl.” Even if you don’t approve of my behavior.” Jane, you are most emphatically a girl. Actually, I shouldn’t insult girls like that. It was hard for me to consider what improvements you could make to your spending habits because I was consumed with loathing for your lifestyle before I finished the column. A barfly mooch who relates to guys like a 17 year old girl. And the therapy was a crowning touch. Welcome to Yuppieville, Exhibit A. Don’t breed, whatever you do. Or at least wait until you’re 60.
xmasy
xmasy
7 years 10 months ago

why does she need an accountant??
Turbo tax baby!! I dont think ur tax situation is complicated enough to need an accountant!!

nowjustaminute
nowjustaminute
7 years 9 months ago
Jane, IGNORE all the comments from the constipated money nerds in here. Carry on with what you are doing! Dating rich boyfriends, cabs, bar hopping, concerts, hangin out with friends.. keep swimming in all that craziness, don’t think twice about it. This is life, this is now, this is yours, no one can take it away from you. Do you want to be kicking yourself a decade later for having missed out on all the fun in your youth just to save a couple more grand a year? Except er.. stay away from medication for your emotional problems. It can… Read more »
Maureen
Maureen
7 years 9 months ago
I have to say it’s really easy to assume things about a person. I admit whilst I was reading I was tutting here and there but then noticed that you do have to spend money. Yes as many of you mentioned her spending ties into her emotions but who isn’t affected? We’ve all made silly mistakes but there is no sign in her diary of massive expenditures on needless things. In New York I can appreciate that the cost of living is high but this just consists of going to bars to meet people as Jane mentioned. I also have… Read more »
Dmitri
Dmitri
7 years 9 months ago
I would have to chime in with the many others above that have come in the defense of Jane. She’s really neither totally irresponsible, nor immature, nor certainly out of the norm in terms of a standard upcoming 28 year old professional in New York City. Perhaps the dynamics of this city alone are to blame, but seriously, people should stop having a moral high ground and just let her be. As you guys noted, she has her 401K and also doesn’t abuse credit cards. All of us are on this blog in order to become more frugal, and the… Read more »
The Arabic Student
7 years 2 months ago

“In sum: $347.11 spent”

And it would have been quite a bit more if she didn’t have boobs.

Tania
Tania
5 months 6 days ago
Cutting back on the booze would be better for finances and health. Drinking was mentioned nearly every day whether eating out or staying in (take-out) and also was 20% of total spending when she was already strapped for cash. That combined with the mention of mood stabilizers. Someone mentioned normal 20 something behavior. When I was ~25, I decided to no longer get drunk or have more than one drink when out. A push to lose weight and be healthier in my 30s wiped out that one drink on most occasions. I have never regretted cutting back on the drinking,… Read more »
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