Money Diaries: Haley Chronicled Her Spending for a Week


If money and I were in a relationship on Facebook our status would be “It’s Complicated.” The tension between us started around March when I decided to quit what 10-year-old me might call a Fancy Job for what 10-year-old me might call a Dream Job. An act that was thrilling on top of life-affirming on top of terrifying, like an existential layer cake!

If I were to sit my 10-year-old self down today I might tell her, tenderly, that when a person and a job love each other, they start a Dreamy relationship that sometimes pays less than a Fancy relationship and it can be a beautiful thing. Oh, and moving isn’t for the short-on-cash, kind sisters’ bedrooms are free for a while and New York gobbles up your money like a sparkly monster.

While I’ve accepted all of these as my reality, I’m still working out the kinks of living it, of mastering the delicate compromise of being economical without driving with money goggles on. You know, the invisible ones that sit on my nose and bark at me in the voice of Gilbert Gottfried: “Don’t go to coffee with your coworkers! Turn around now!” or, “Don’t get a glass of wine with dinner, that’s unnecessary!”

I could never take the goggles off completely. My parents taught me to budget before they taught me what sex was. But if the Fancy Job had me resting on my laurels for a couple years, these new developments have required me to put the goggles back on. I’m trying to keep them at half-mast — like cute granny reading glasses that are open at the top! — but I’ve yet to examine what that means exactly, and I’m a little scared to find out.

Let’s do this.


I buy coffee every day and I am ashamed of and resigned to this fact. I never realized how much money I was saving in San Francisco when all I had to do for a cup was pad down some stairs and press a button.

The wash&fold is also a luxury I ought to not spring for, but my landlord hasn’t installed our machines yet and the way the guy folds my laundry is one of my favorite things next to love, family and Thanksgiving.

Three points to Ravenclaw for eating my own groceries for all meals.


Three MORE points to Ravenclaw!

Also, cold brew is expensive and so is building a kitchen. But cooking essentials are necessary and cold brew is not. I’d say I’ll do better tomorrow but…


I did a bad thing and got another cold brew. Iced coffee for the rest of the week!

Sweet Green is around the corner from our office which makes it dangerously convenient, so I MIAT — Make It a Treat. Only one salad every week or two because they’re expensive.

The tip was for a facial gifted to me by my very kind sister. The savings on the tip is my fault for not having cash but…well…I did save that money. And probably gained an enemy. I still feel bad about it.


Hot coffee is the cheapest coffee! Noted for days that I’m not actively sweating while ordering.

Dinner with my siblings was an easy “yes.” They both put down cash and I covered the balance with my card, and since they are altruistic fairy god siblings, somehow the remaining bill was only $11. That couldn’t have been right.

The other stuff was due to AN ACNE EMERGENCY.


I loosened the belt on Friday because it was a holiday called Friday. Seeing a movie by myself for the first time felt like an experience worth investing in. I’d surprisingly say the same for Señor Frogs, where my friend threw his birthday party. It started out ironic and then somewhere along the conga line became frighteningly earnest.


I signed up for Audible on a whim when I decided to walk five miles home from the lash appointment and wanted to listen to a book. Not cheap but I’d trade a Sweet Green salad any day for that walk.

I listened to “My Brilliant Friend” by Elena Ferrante, which I enjoyed, but also if you’ve heard it please join me in the comments about the narrator’s voice — I have several cranky thoughts.


A million points to Ravenclaw.

Alright, let’s tally this up:

the totals

QUICK Q: HOW DID I SPEND ALMOST $300? I barely did anything this week! I only ate out for four of 21 meals and one of those was a measly to-go cup of soup. Not pictured but certainly looming in the next week: Netflix/Hulu/Spotify subscription fees, a $119 subway pass, rent, utilities, a doctor’s appointment, a couple of birthday presents, a vacuum, a flight to visit my boyfriendshorts that don’t make me want to die and oh so much more.

I love my life and I am very lucky and another thing to note is it’s extremely expensive. Can someone give me their Netflix password?

Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis; creative direction by Emily Zirimis. 


Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman is the Features Director at Man Repeller.

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