Ms. Vine’s Money Diary / A week in the midwest

My money diary was inspired by Refinery 29’s series. Mr. Vine and I keep joint finances, but for simplicity, I’m only including the dollar amounts for items that I personally purchased in a day. It is not, and is not intended to be, a detailed accounting of every penny we earned and spent during the week. Rather, this is a glimpse into what I spent during an arbitrarily selected week. 

Day 1:

6 a.m.: Wake up, scroll through phone in bed, get up and feed the cats. Have a peach and a glass of whole milk for breakfast. $0

7:20 a.m.: Head to the office (carpool with Mr. Vine). Brew coffee from the work machine. $0

9:00 a.m.: Every Friday my office provides free donuts or bagels. Donuts this week. I’m tempted to have one–they smell really good today. But most of the time I’m disappointed when I eat one. So I resist. $0

10:00 a.m.: Still craving a donut. Instead, I opt for a tangerine (my office also provides fresh fruit). $0

11:45 a.m.: Text a friend to confirm our happy hour plans. We make the frugal choice to meet on my apartment patio instead of at a bar. Starving for lunch. I eat yogurt leftover from what I packed yesterday. Still hungry so I order takeout from Panera. I feel guilty about buying lunch, when I am also trying to lose a few pounds. $6.77

12:30 p.m.: Browsed some secondhand furniture store websites. I’d like to replace our dining table with something a bit larger. There’s a particular one I’m interested in, but the store did not have it. $0

2:40 p.m.: Wrapped up a small assignment, distracted by festival music outside my office window. Had another tangerine and brewed coffee to get me through the afternoon. $0

4:45 p.m.: Left work a bit early, prepped my patio for happy hour by making salsa and popcorn to serve as snacks. Finished a bottle of rosé from our fridge and opened a bottle of red (which we didn’t finish). $0

8:00 p.m.: Another friend texted and invited us over to watch some TV shows. We packed up what was left of the popcorn along with some chips and salsa. She ordered pizza and beer to share. $0

11:15 pm: Home and in bed. We are going on an overnight camping trip tomorrow and have prepped almost nothing. Oops! And I drank too much tonight. 

Daily total: $6.77

Day 2:

6:45 am The cats wake me up and they are ready for breakfast. It’s good to be up early because I have a lot of prep work to do before we leave for our camping this afternoon. And I’d like to go for a run this morning. I’m moving kind of slowly, make coffee and have some tomato juice and blueberries for breakfast. $0

10 am: Completed my run and start packing for our camping trip. I need to walk to the grocery store for a few last minute items that weren’t previously purchased. At the grocery store, I buy onions, hot dog buns, tortilla chips, marshmallows, graham crackers, 2 packages of chocolate bars, a bag of pretzels, and some chips. $27.49

3 pm: We are packed and depart for the campsite, which is less than an hour away. The campsite was prepaid, we get checked in, set up our tent and then take a short hike. $0

7pm: Our friends arrive and we get a fire started so we can cook sausages for dinner. We snack while we wait for the coals to heat up. Our friends supplied the camping equipment through their workplace, and they brought the firewood. It gets dark while we are cooking dinner, which makes it hard to know whether the sausages are fully cooked. We are clearly novice campers. $0

11pm: We all turn in after socializing by the fire and making s’mores. $0

Daily total: $27.49

Day 3: 

7:15 am: Wake up as soon as it’s light. It is chilly in the morning, so we are eager to get a fire going. We burned through most of our firewood the night before, so my friend decides to make a Starbucks run to get a hot coffee (I packed cold brew) and more firewood. She picks up the tab on the firewood and coffee. $0

9 am: Everyone is awake and I’ve made cinnamon rolls in orange peels. They look questionable but actually taste good and are cooked thoroughly! After this snack, my friend and I hike out to the beach. It’s getting warm now that the sun is out. $0

11am: We heat up breakfast burritos in the coals while burning the rest of our firewood and start slowly packing up the camp gear because we have to clear out in a couple of hours. The burritos are amazing! I am high fiving my past self for making these. $0

12:30 pm: We pull down the tent, pack up, say goodbye to our friends and head home. $0

3 pm: We’re unpacked and go up to our building’s pool. We invite a neighbor friend and another friend to join us. I make a bloody mary and grab a couple of cans of beer to bring along. $0

6 pm: We’ve had enough of the pool and are ready for dinner. I cook some leftover sausages from the weekend (so much easier in the daylight) and we snack on veggies and hummus and chips and salsa also leftover from camping. Our friend shows us how to make s’mores in the microwave! This is a game changer and we keep the camping fun going a little longer. $0

9 pm: I’m exhausted even though it’s ridiculously early. Lots of work to catch up on for Monday. I take a shower to wash the campfire smell out of my hair and turn in early. $0

Daily total $0

Day 4:

6 am: Wake up and feed the cats. Decide not to pack a lunch because I’m supposed to meet with a colleague. Drink a glass of milk for breakfast. $0

7:30 am: Brew coffee at the office and get started on my work for the day. An email came through over the weekend that needs my urgent attention. $0

12:15 pm: Colleague reschedules lunch plans and work is busy. I order takeout from Panera (it’s close and reasonably affordable) to eat at my desk while continuing to work on my to-do list. $6.77

5 pm: Leave work a little early intending to log back on in the evening. Go for a run on the treadmill in my building’s gym (it’s raining). After my run, I cook mashed potatoes and sauteed zucchini as sides for the fried chicken Mr. Vine is picking up for dinner. He does this once a month because we get a credit that nearly covers the cost through our AmEx gold card. $0 (for me, although Mr. Vine spent a few bucks on the chicken).

6:30 pm: We eat dinner and then walk over to our neighbors’ apartment to watch a movie. We make popcorn to bring along. They provide wine and ice cream. $0

10:30 pm: I’m exhausted. We come home after the movie and I barely have time to wash my face and brush my teeth before falling asleep. $0

Daily total: $6.77

Day 5

6 am: Wake up, feed the cats, scroll through my phone while drinking a glass of water and then a glass of milk. I have a headache this morning. Take some ibuprofen and think about packing a lunch. In the end I’m lazy and don’t do it. $0

7:30 am: Brew coffee in the office and get started on the project I didn’t finish yesterday. I hope this headache goes away soon. I have a busy day and it will be long if it sticks around. $0

Noon: Headache went away. Lunch is on with colleague. He picks up the tab. We go to a gastropub and I order a bacon chicken wrap with fries. $0

3:00 pm: A friend texts and she got a new job. She invites Mr. Vine and me to go out to dinner with her and her husband. Our week is busy, but we always make time to celebrate our friends so we agree to go.

5 pm: Text Mr. Vine to ask when he’ll be home (we typically carpool to and from work). He responds that he’s having happy hour with his boss and invites me to join them. I leave work and walk to the restaurant. I order a sangria. Mr. Vine’s boss picks up the tab. $0

7:00 pm: We arrive at our friends’ house to get ready for dinner. Have a glass of wine, then head to the restaurant. I order a sandwich and soup, Mr. Vine orders a burger and fries, we share desserts and a bottle of sparkling wine with our friends. $67.00

11 pm: Arrive home exhausted and too full. Wash my face, brush my teeth and head to bed. 

Daily total: $67.00

Day 6

6 am: Wake up, feed the cats. Make a latte and have a cup of blueberries for breakfast. This week is taking a toll on me and I’m tired. Mr. Vine has a day trip for work, so he leaves before me and I’m on my own to get to the office. I walk to a nearby bus stop that has a free route. $0

8 am: Arrive at the office and brew coffee. I have another busy day, so I get started on my to-do list. $0

11:45 a.m.: Rush to a lunch presentation. I had prepaid the $17 registration charge, which is also reimbursable by work. $0

5:30 pm: Leave the office to get ready to host a monthly wine night for my building. Pull some things out of the fridge and managed a nice appetizer spread with veggies, chips and salsa, hummus, and fresh fruit. Eat the leftover half of my sandwich from dinner last night while getting things ready. Everyone had a great time and we drink a lot of wine. $0

10:30 pm: Everyone left and we cleaned up a bit. Exhausted, again. Fall asleep instantly. $0

Daily total: $0

Day 7

6 am: Wake up feeling more rested than I expected to. Feed the cats. Make a latte and eat some melon from our latest CSA pickup for breakfast. If only the rest of my meals were as healthy as my breakfast is. Pack a lunch with some leftover hummus and veggies, blueberries, and raw walnuts and cashews. $0

7:30 am: Arrive at the office and brew coffee. Check my calendar and realize that I have a lunch meeting. I guess that lunch will be good tomorrow.  $0

12:30 pm: Attend lunch meeting where a sandwich and bag of chips are provided for lunch. I saved the cookie for later. $0

5:15 pm: Head home from the office for the day. We should go grocery shopping for our weekend getaway. But I am tired. Take forever to cook dinner–zucchini stuffed with a mixture of rice, veggies, and sausage and a cucumber and tomato salad. I do manage to make salsa verde from CSA veggies to bring with us. $0

11:00 p.m.: Spend the evening watching TV then fall asleep. 

Daily total: $0


What do you spend money on during a week? Share your money diary here.

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