Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Money Diary: A Somewhat Typical Week, Part 2

And now for the rest of the Money Diary for my somewhat more typical week (part one here) than in last year's diary (part one, part two)! This week is not fully "typical" in the sense that I don't spend like this every average week of every month. That ~$45 Target order should be our only large purchase of shared household goods or cleaning supplies this April, we typically spend around $50 to $60/month on that, and we split the cost. Sephora orders are a twice per year-ish thing for me, and my next one this year, if needed, probably won't be anywhere near as sizable as this week's ~$109 order because I only wear makeup twice a month or so, and none of my other products are running out. Also, I don't get any skincare products from Sephora anymore, and the only other things I buy there are the Cocofloss and Olaplex No. 3 treatment. Furthermore, I think the additions to my closet captured in this Money Diary should be close to it for the whole month.

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With that additional context, this Money Diary gives a good sense of what my spending looks like most of the time. A few of the biggest things are happening off-screen in other weeks, of course, including my student loan payments and travel spending. (I generally go on one big, long vacation per year, and maybe take one or two additional long weekend trips to visit friends or family.) And I'm often a little coy about the exact amount of my rent, mostly because I'm a bit embarrassed by the fairly high total. Outside of that, though, the diary is accurate in how it depicts my typical approach to spending, including for restaurants, groceries, and coffee shops. My food costs combined are the next biggest spending category for me by far, after student loans and rent.

Another fairly typical day at the office, and I can't help but order the same Sweetgreen salad with kale, spicy chickpeas, spicy broccoli, chopped tomatoes, chopped red onion, and burrata again. I may be ordering it almost every weekday from now until they discontinue the burrata at the end of the season.

With the upcoming trial, K's been having a hard time at the office, so after leaving work a bit past 6:00 PM, I go a bit out of my way to stop at a nearby bakery and coffee shop to get a brownie, cookie, or chocolate croissant for him as a little pick-me-up. I didn't realize that they actually close at 7:00, so they've already sold out of most of their baked goods. Happily, they have a few of their giant chocolate chip cookies left, so I get that and it comes out to $4.87 with tip. Normally, I'd get a second item so we can split both, but they don't have anything else left that I think we'd like, so I just get the one cookie for us to share later.

As for dinner, I get Chipotle. Unlike in last year's diary, this time I add guacamole to my steak salad, as I often do these days (one of the many bits of lifestyle inflation I've indulged in since graduating from law school), bringing the total to $13.50. I eat at home, and after resting and digesting for a while, I use the stationary bike in our apartment to do a workout. Afterwards, I try to do some pilates exercises, but it's been a very long time since I was last doing those regularly, and so my muscles are no longer capable of much. K gets home pretty late, and we share the cookie.

Please follow the link below for the rest of this week's money diary!

As you might have noticed, I generally don't eat breakfast. Although I know one is supposed to, I find that regardless of whether I eat breakfast or not, I'm equally ravenous by lunchtime. Heck, sometimes I get hungry for lunch even earlier if I had a small breakfast than if I didn't. Instead, I usually just have some coffee, whether a latte or flat white from one of the coffee shops near the office, or just the free communal coffee at the office. Today though, I need to turn in something sizable in the morning (I did most of the work yesterday, but didn't feel like staying later to finish up), so I grab breakfast on my way in. If I know I'll be busy starting in the morning, I often buy something to eat before getting to the office, either a breakfast wrap (sausage, egg, and cheese) from a bodega or an egg white, feta, pepper, and spinach frittata from Pret a Manger. Today, I stop in at Pret, and with a small latte, the total is $8.47.

I get that task done well before lunch and turn it in to the more senior attorney. By then, it's time to order lunch, and I get... You guessed it, the exact same Sweetgreen salad yet again! I'll probably mix it up and get something different for lunch tomorrow. The rest of the day isn't too busy, and I head home and do the same cheese plate for dinner thing again, with some of the leftover Willoughby from Tuesday, some of the Trader Joe's truffle cheese from Saturday, and the crackers.

I was originally going to work out again, but it turns out that I'm completely exhausted for no discernible reason, and I decide against exercising. Instead, I lounge in bed with my laptop, browsing online shops and blogs. I also look through the New York Public Library's selection of ebooks, trying to find more reading material to borrow or put on hold. I'm currently reading Tommy Orange's novel There There, after waiting in line for two months.

I've been adding a bunch of items from those internationally-based linen shops on Etsy to my shopping wish list, as I try to narrow down what summer dress I might like. As M mentioned on my recent post about summer dress shopping, it's quite difficult to find a dress design from one of those shops that looks like it'll work well on shorter, more curvy body types. My personal style preferences also don't favor a lot of the more voluminous dresses. I've also been thinking that I might like another linen top in white or cream, one that's a bit more substantial than my linen scoop-neck tee from Everlane (which is nice and holding up well for a few years now, but I'd like something different). I decide on the Linenfox "Kimono" top in white, based in part on Elaine's detailed review, which notes that it has a similar look to the Elizabeth Suzann Georgia tee. It's $61.50 including international shipping. Because it's made to order, it likely won't be shipped for another three to four weeks. I still can't decide on a dress design, so that purchase will need to wait.

With this week's purchases and last month's, I may be close to making all the casual summer clothing purchases I plan on for this year. That's two tops, one skirt, and a pair of shoes so far. I might like one more dress, possibly one more skirt if I find the drape-y silk skirt of my dreams, and that should be it. (Because the summer clothing I buy for the weekend mostly can't be incorporated easily into business casual work outfits, except maybe on casual Friday, I don't need much.) That's not to say I'll actually stop shopping completely until stores start stocking fall/winter items again, I'm also currently thinking about a few nonseasonal items, including some jewelry, and also some items I'd need to find on the secondhand market.

Well, maybe there's one more thing I might get for summer, I could think about buying a new pair of shorts. The only shorts I currently own for wearing outside the home are two pairs of 3-inch inseam J.Crew Chino shorts (4 inches is the closest inseam length they currently offer), one from July 2015 and the other predating this blog. I don't particularly like wearing shorts, I'll always reach for one of my summer dresses, or a top and skirt, first. In the many years since I bought those shorts, my body shape has... changed somewhat. They still fit, but my hips are a bit wider than in years past, so they're noticeably less comfortable and more restrictive now (that J.Crew cotton chino fabric doesn't stretch much). It could just be time to admit that, if I'm ever going to wear shorts at all, I prefer ones with a more relaxed fit and an elastic waist for comfort, in which case, these Uniqlo linen-cotton relaxed shorts may be the direction I'm looking in. Then again, maybe I don't need any non-activewear shorts at all, if I really prefer wearing dresses or skirts in summer that much.

Friday proves busier than most of my other days at the office this week. I grab a flat white on my way in, and we have a lengthy team meeting in one of my cases, and also some documents to prepare and send to opposing counsel. Instead of eating the same Sweetgreen salad yet again, I pick up a sandwich and small soup at Pret a Manger for lunch. I'm lucky in the sense that my projects all have much longer-term deadlines, so I'm able to leave the office right around 6:00 PM and should be free all weekend. We'll be working hard for quite a few weeks yet, but with no formal court-mandated deadlines on the immediate horizon, there's a lot of scheduling flexibility.

I feel inspired to cook two meals this weekend, chicken tacos and some meat and green beans to go with the leftover potatoes from Saturday. I'm also inspired to bake the cheesecake swirl brownies again, so I head to Trader Joe's right after work. The brownie recipe, which I've been adjusting from the source material mentioned in part one, is still a work in progress. I have some ideas for how I want to approach it differently this time, to try and get my ideal balance of brownie to cheesecake swirl (with less cheesecake batter this time). For the meat and potatoes meal, I decide on the Trader Joe's marinated "Bool Kogi" beef (~$11.5), and for the tacos, I get boneless, skinless chicken thighs (~$5 for ~1.25 lbs). I also get milk, eggs, cream cheese,  sour cream, semisweet chocolate, unsalted butter, salted butter, white sugar, a baggie of mandarin oranges, tortillas, guacamole, shredded cheese, and some jalapeno chicken sausages. The total is $67.30, though K will cover half of the meat, bringing down my "actual total" spend for today a bit.

Because K's been so busy at work this week, including this evening (unfortunately, he isn't able to leave the office until close to 8:00 PM, even though it's Friday), we decide to stay in and order delivery food for dinner. We choose a nice Chinese place in our neighborhood that we like, one that's on the medium-expensive side (~$16 to $25 per entree). Just like last year, the way we split costs for our shared Grubhub/Seamless orders is that we each take turns paying. It'll even out in the end because we tend to stick to the same restaurants, most of which are in the same general price range, for our joint orders. It's K's turn today, and will be my turn next time.

And that's it for my spending in this somewhat more typical week! You can see that I really love Trader Joe's, a trait I share with many other NYC-dwellers. Back when I was growing up in the suburbs in California, we generally avoided getting produce or meat and fish from Trader Joe's (inventory turnover is much slower there than in NYC, so we'd encountered some freshness issues in the past). But in all the time I've lived here, I've always relied heavily on Trader Joe's for basically everything. If you live in a part of the US with access to a Trader Joe's, what are your favorite products there? Also, should I buy those Uniqlo shorts? 

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