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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…

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“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.

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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.”)

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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