MR Money Diaries: Laura Medine, Leandra’s Mom, Chronicled Her Spending for a Week

If you have wondered how different the spending habits of a millennial are from those of her forbearer, I’d recommend that you ask your mom or dad (or both!) to track their spending for a week and then compare it to your own. I know that I, for one, see most of my money vanish at the expense (pun intended) of fitness class and ready-made food, but do you know what I learned about my mother from asking her to participate in our offshoot of Refinery29’s Money Diaries?

That she doesn’t spend any money on exercise! Which is so confusing, because every time I call her, she says she’s on her way to yoga. She also never buys ready-made food. Like ever. Unless she comes across a deal on Gilt, which is so cool and advanced of her. She spends a lot more time at the grocery store than I anticipate I ever will and somehow racks up bills that look a lot like my Zara shopping cart only they’re for toilet paper and sport socks and all those aforementioned food ingredients. But she doesn’t even eat the food! She just makes it and makes it and makes it and lures all her kids home with it and then we never even say thank you, entitled bastards-with-a-father that we are.

If you haven’t guessed it yet, this month’s participant in Money Diaries is my mother. I asked that she provide as much detail as possible to make narrating her spendventures a little simpler but of course, she did not comply, so below you’ll find her notes and my translations.


From my mom: Sunday, October 9th: On our drive to Southampton, I was checking my email and came across the Gilt City coupon that I could not resist, dinner for two at Sirio Restaurant for $89 with a 20% off code = $71.50 three-course dinner for two with wine!

Herrick’s Hardware on Main St. Twinkle silver polish paste 3 unit (since I cannot find in the city) $16.79

Leandra decodes: My mom was driving to Long Island with my dad after having spent no money that morning because she is a grown-ass woman and makes her own breakfast and likes her own coffee and was then scrolling through her spam (one time, I saw her mark unread an e-mail from American Express about a double point event) to find a deal on an expensive-ass NYC restaurant. Well done, mom! How much wine did you drink?

Total spend: $88.29


From my mom: Monday, October 10th: I ordered Smartwater, Dasani and toilet paper from Fresh Direct for $100.82, then I went to Limani restaurant and had a lunch special for $29 (three courses, no wine), but I also paid for my friend — with tip, it cost $83.86.

Then I ordered Silver Tip steak, ground beef and chicken, Cornish hen, artichoke bottoms, frozen okra and shelled edamame from the kosher butcher in Brooklyn for $324.85.

I had a remaining bill from my orthodontist, Dr. Lemchen, who repaired my permanent bottom retainer last week. Paid $225.

Leandra decodes: The water order is probably going to take the people who live under my mom’s roof through to 2017, ditto that for the toilet paper. I’m not exactly sure what my mom was doing in Roslyn, Long Island on a Monday afternoon, but I have to assume it was nothing risque, especially because she picked up the bill, which she never does unless she is in an exceptional mood! My guess is that she ordered that kosher ass meat, which is so expensive!, while driving home from Shlong Island. I am excited about the artichoke bottoms, though, she makes a great Friday night appetizer with those. And as for the orthodontist, I just feel bad for my dad. The braces bills don’t end with high school, huh?

Total spend: $734.53. Woah nelly.


From my mom: Tuesday, October 11th: I went to Fairway on East 86th Street for fill-ins for before Yom Kippur and spent $181.10, then went to the kosher butcher on 84th street for frozen mushroom, spinach and potato borekas for $48.50, then I got my hair blown out and eyelashes applied, which cost $70 plus tip and tax, so it was $87.50.

Leandra decodes: “Fill-ins” in my family are essentially supermarket overhauls because I have three huge brothers who eat enough for six, each. My dad is no better but it’s his house so who am I to judge? I would bet she got a ton of medjool dates and walnuts to stuff inside the dates, but I’m not sure how that tallies up to $181. From the kosher butcher, so you’re aware, a “borek,” more commonly called a “boreka,” is essentially a thin flaky dough that Middle Eastern people like my mother use to create meat pastries. Yes, meat pastries. Hey eyelashes look great, FYI. And $70 for a blowie and lash extensions seems like an insane deal.

Total spend: $317.01


Wednesday, October 12th: YOM KIPPUR $$$NO SPENDING$$$


From my mom: Thursday, October 13th: I spent $199.18 at Modell’s this morning on 86th street buying sport socks and shorts for my sons because somehow all of them disappear after a few months, then I went to pick up my dry cleaning, which came out to $59. I paid my dentist for a check up, which cost $185 (with a 30% off friends and family rate) and then I bought more food from the kosher butcher on 84th street — this time, it was more dough for the borek and frozen challah (in case I don’t have time to make my own). It all cost $68.96.

Leandra decodes: Gosh mom, you spend a lot of money feeding us. And also, you should make Henry and Mark buy their own socks.

Total spend: $511.87


From my mom: Friday, October 14th: More food from Fairway, this time for $318.09, then I bought flowers from a grocery store underneath my building on 69th street for $40.

Leandra decodes: More medjool dates. I hope they make us shit gold.

Total spend: $358.09


From my mom: Saturday, October 15th: No spending

Leandra decodes: She makes her own breakfast, brews her own coffee, probably goes for a walk in Central Park with my dad at which point he offers to buy her an ice cream and she declines and then comes home to make more food from the panoply of product she has essentially spent all week buying. She probably went out for dinner with my dad but he picked up $$the bill$$ so she is riding dirty with a wallet full of singles.

Total spend: $0


From my mom: Sunday, October 16th: This morning, I ordered detergent, Bounty, fabric softener and Califia almond milk on  Fresh Direct for $126.75

Leandra decodes: What is the difference between detergent, Bounty and fabric softener?

Total spend: $126.75

Photos by Krista Anna Lewis; Issey Miyake bag, Chanel wallet.

Leandra M. Cohen

Leandra M. Cohen is the founder of Man Repeller.

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