Money Diaries: Emily Chronicles a Week of Spending

I suck at numbers. Always have (and probably always will). I also suck at managing my personal finances, so this was like laying out all of my flaws in public. Though I’ve gotten better, I still spend carelessly. I don’t always put my needs in front of my wants. Similar to Leandra’s sentiments on shopping, spending can certainly feel like a form of therapy.

Growing up, there was always a huge importance placed on money (specifically, the importance of saving it and/or not having enough of it). You’d think that by now, I’d have a huge savings account and all of my shit in order. But quite the opposite has happened. When I have money, it burns a hole in my pocket. My mom used to say that I never understood the value of a dollar growing up, and maybe that still rings true as far as my personal spending goes.

Alright, without further adieu…


“Emily, you still spend money every day on your MetroCard? How are you living in Brooklyn without a monthly subway card?” IDK. I wish I had a more adult response to this. My reasoning is that I don’t often travel to Manhattan or elsewhere on the weekend and my live-in boyfriend has a car. I also only ever go to and from work on weekdays, so I have yet to justify buying the monthly pass that I think is around the same price of 40 swipes a month at 2.75 ($110).  In regards to my “free” dinner…it wasn’t truly free since it was made with groceries purchased prior, but it’s free for now. Also, I HATE cooking. Hate it, despise it, suck at it. On occasion I can make a pretty mean breakfast spread, though.  I’m fortunate that my boyfriend cooks pretty often.


I end up ordering takeout every day, whether it’s for lunch, dinner or both. I know this is bad to an extent, but a long work week and a strong dislike of cooking leave me with few options that don’t involve the microwave. I’ve been there, done that. (My college experience could have been titled “The Microwave: How Emily Survived College.”)


I don’t typically buy two large pieces of furniture within a single week, but the new year has made me feel more inspired to furnish my apartment like an adult. This meant getting a set of table and chairs that aren’t $50 from Ikea. It also means saving elsewhere. Since moving into my apartment, I’ve cut back a lot on regular clothing and accessories purchases and instead am focusing on home purchases. As a result, my “wardrobe” has fallen flat but my living room is looking great!


Surprise! Emily takes the subway again! Sweetgreen for lunch, a place that Leslie has strong feelings about. The smell is a bit overwhelming in there, but I’m too busy to pick another place so I settle on familiarity.


Woohoo! A Mimi Cheng’s coupon found in the office kitchen scores me free dumplings. I add scallion pancakes and a seltzer. Breakfast for dinner (ordered via Seamless from a local Brooklyn diner) hit the spot that night. Happy Friday to us.


Adulthood comes a-knockin’ on Saturdays and it’s time to buy groceries again. Not for the week, mind you, just random shit that will be used for dinner and like…toilet paper.


The cherry on top of the week was a splurge at Ikea on a desk. Ikea (just like Target) makes you realize all of the things that you want but absolutely don’t “need.” Hmm, I think we should buy a hanging lamp for the ceiling — oh it needs a special lightbulb! And also a special cord! Oh, a new whisk! This pillowcase is kind of cool and makes it look like I know what’s going on in the world. Let’s throw that into the cart, too.


Alright, so in retrospect, this total should actually subtract my two furniture purchases (because I don’t normally get things like that weekly). So let’s say $246.79. That doesn’t sound TOO bad? Actually, that’s pretty bad considering my other costs were just food and transportation — with the exception of that unplanned Restoration Hardware sale mid-week (I got a decorative gold tray and a bath mat).

I guess the point is that I treated myself this week, and made some “investment” purchases (lol). At least my apartment is coming together. But this has made it clear that I need to cut back in the takeout department. Do I make my boyfriend cook extra and bring leftovers? Probably.

***Disclaimer — those weeknight dinners were for both me AND my boyfriend! Not just me!

Click here to see how the money diaries of a college student. Thinking about credit card debt? Read this.

Photo by Krista Anna Lewis; Loeffler Randall bag, Barneys wallet, Céline sunglasses, Hart Hagerty earrings.

Emily Zirimis

Emily Zirimis is the Visual Manager at Man Repeller

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