My Spending Diary – A Week in Houston, Texas

Happy Friday y’all! I’m so glad it’s almost the weekend. I took off work all next week for Thanksgiving, and I can hear the Hallmark channel and my couch calling me already. And the book I’m currently reading, so excited to spend some time reading that. And sleeping in, I can’t wait to sleep in!

In a completely different tone, this week has been really rough for me because we had to put down my cat, Toby, on Wednesday evening. He was 17 years old, and I got him my junior year of high school after my first cat, Stormey, passed away and just a few months before Dennis and I started dating. I already miss him so much. I wrote this post before all that happened, so I wanted to go ahead and share it with y’all before it’s outdated. I’ll do another post later about Toby and what this experience has been like, from making the decision to being there with him when he passed. So hard.

Well, on a lighter note, I wanted to share one of my guilty pleasures with y’all today. It’s called the Money Diaries, and if you haven’t heard of it before, you should really check it out. It’s a website where millennial women (hello!) tell how they spend their money in an average week, written in a diary format. If you’ve ever wondered whether your spending habits are normal, or if you’re just nosy like me, then you’ll love it. I can honestly spend hours reading these articles without even realizing it.

My husband is an accountant, and he’s a HUGE follower of the financial independence movement. So money management is a daily topic in our house. I know that sounds really boring, but it’s SO important to know how to manage your money well. Especially as women looking to build for our future and our family, it’s good to know the basics and at least be aware of what we’re spending, and how we can spend, save and invest wisely.

Since I enjoy reading about other people’s finances so much, I thought I would share my own spending diary here on the blog. No judging, OK!

Day 1

5:45 a.m. – My alarm goes off, and I fall back asleep until my second alarm goes off five minutes later. I reluctantly get up to do my makeup while listening to our local Christian radio station. The DJs are hilarious, and I need worship music to get my day started right. I put on warm clothes because it’s freaking cold outside, in the 20’s which is basically Antarctica for Texas.

6:15 a.m. – I take W. for a walk. My face is freezing and I can’t wait to get back inside. I train with her, going over her basic commands and practicing some new ones. This is our morning routine every day. It really helps her release some of her mental energy and it makes me feel better to spend one-on-one time with her since she’s home all day by herself. Dog mom guilt is REAL.

7:15 a.m. – I do my hair, brush my teeth and get dressed for work. Dennis is still sleeping. He goes to work later than I do, and I secretly don’t mind because it means W. isn’t home alone as long as if we both left at the same time.

7:30 a.m. – I sit in my car for a while to let it warm up. I drive an older car (2003!), and it likes to warm up a few minutes even in normal weather. I drive about five miles and 10 minutes to work and feel so grateful for my short commute. I used to work downtown, and it was 1.5 hours one way. That’s three hours of my life every day that I’ll never get back, plus the cost of gas, tolls and additional maintenance for my car. Getting this job closer to home six years ago was truly life changing for both of us.

7:45 a.m. – I arrive at the office, drop my bags in my cubicle and go make some coffee. My company provides it for free, and this morning somebody brought flavored syrups. I try the vanilla flavor and it’s delicious. I go to a weekly meeting with my coworker who is also on my team. We update each other on our projects and leave with a list of things to follow up on. I get an urgent request on Whats App, and then spend most of the morning working on that.

11:45 a.m. – I take a break for lunch with a coworker. It’s still really cold outside, and I’m craving my favorite grilled cheese and tomato soup. But I went to the doctor yesterday, and I gained a couple pounds since my last visit. So I order a salad with grilled chicken instead. Luckily everything at this restaurant is amazing, and the salad is really good. $13

1 p.m. – Back at the office, I work on a few projects and then sort through email. My nose has been running all day, probably because of the cold weather. But my company won’t buy tissues for our desks, so I go on Amazon and buy some for myself. $8

5:45 p.m. – I finally head home. I work a 9/80 schedule, which means I work 9 hours every day and then I get every other Friday off. It makes the days feel long, but I don’t mind because it’s so nice to have those Fridays off.

6:05 p.m. – It takes about 20 minutes to get home. W. is so excited to see me! I love on her for a few minutes and we play with the toy she brings me. This is my favorite part of the day. I have to start cooking dinner though, and I feel bad because she wants to keep playing. Tonight I’m making chicken quesadillas for dinner. Thankfully it’s really quick and easy.

6:45 p.m. – Dennis is late coming home, and I’m starving! So I snack way more than I should while I’m waiting. After we eat dinner, we bundle up to take W. on a walk, and again I’m freezing after just a few loops. W. seems to be loving the cold because I’ve noticed she’s been extra frisky on our walks lately. So cute! I bring in our potted plants and cover up my potted lemon tree before heading inside.

8:00 p.m. – I’m trying to get back into a daily workout routine, so I do a 26-minute HIIT workout. I use the Tone It Up app, which I absolutely love, streamed on our Apple TV.

8:30 p.m. – I take a quick bath and then head back upstairs because Disney+ launched tonight and we’re going to start watching The Mandolorian. First we scroll through all the shows and movies that are available, and I’m so excited because who doesn’t love Disney?! Now we can watch all things Disney whenever we want!

10:45 p.m. – The Mandolorian is really good, so I’m bummed they’ve only released one episode so far. I’m sure it’s to get people hooked who signed up for the free 7-day trial, so they’ll pay for the full subscription.

Daily Total: $21

Day 2

5:45 a.m. – My alarm goes off, and I go back to sleep. My second alarm goes off, and I go back to sleep. I finally get up around 6:10 a.m. and now I’m already behind for the day. Ugh! I get up to do my makeup, get dressed and take W. on a walk. If yesterday was cold, today is downright ridiculous. There’s ice on all the roofs and cars, and I’m suddenly really glad we keep our cars in the garage.

7:15 a.m. – The weatherman says we’re in the 20’s again this morning. The water seems to be working fine, so I guess our pipes survived last night. I do some training with W. and then give her breakfast and her daily allergy pill. I’m glad I picked out my clothes last night because I’m running behind today, and it takes me forever to choose an outfit if I don’t do it the night before.

7:45 a.m. – I leave for work, and I’m a little sad because Dennis left early to attend a mandatory training. So W. will be home alone longer than usual. Luckily we started this thing when she was a puppy where she gets a treat every time we leave the house. So she’s excited that I’m leaving, and brings me her ball to put her treat in it. It makes me feel a little better to see her happy.

8:00 a.m. – I arrive at the office, make my coffee (with vanilla syrup again this morning, yum!) and get started on emails. My coworkers are located all around the world, so I usually have a lot of emails in the morning due to the time differences in the various countries. I send replies and coordinate some requests that came in overnight.

12:45 p.m. – I’ve been waiting an hour for an important email, and my stomach is eating itself. So I give up and leave for lunch. I’m heading home to walk W., which is my normal routine on my lunch break. While my car is warming up in the parking garage, I get a text from my coworker about the email I’m waiting for. We talk for a few minutes, I coordinate with a few other teams, and we’re able to resolve the issue. It’s amazing how technology allows me to do my job wherever I am.

1:30 p.m. – I get home and W. is so happy to see me! I let her outside and she hangs out on the patio. Normally I watch my soap opera while I eat lunch, but today the impeachment hearings are on. I guess I’ll have to catch up tomorrow or watch online tonight. I throw some stuff in the crock pot while I’m home. I’m making tomato basil Parmesan soup for dinner. Since my work call took so long, I feel bad taking more time to walk W. So I give her a treat and head back to the office.

2:30 p.m. – My workload this afternoon is pretty manageable compared to my normal day-to-day, so I take care of some administrative tasks and finally clean up my inbox.  I finally have no unread emails, yay!

6:30 p.m. – I get home and W. is so excited, it’s the cutest thing in the world. The house smells delicious from the soup in the crock pot. Is this what it’s like to come home and have dinner already made for you? I still have to do a few things to finish the soup, so I start cooking and W. sits on the porch outside. Since my soap operas didn’t record, I watch a Hallmark Christmas movie on the DVR instead.

7:00 p.m. – Dennis gets home from a board meeting and we eat dinner while watching the Rockets play. Then we bundle up and take the pup for a walk. Am I starting to sound repetitive? I do a quick workout after our walk and then Dennis heads upstairs to watch The Walking Dead while I take a bath, finish some laundry and read my Bible before bed.

Daily total: $0

Day 3

3 a.m. – W. wakes me up because she wants some water. I get up to let her out of our room and then go back to bed.

5:45 a.m. – Alarm rings, I get up, you know the drill… The only difference is today it’s raining outside, so I can’t take W. on a walk. It actually works out because I have an important meeting at 8 a.m., so I need to leave early anyway.

7:30 a.m. – I arrive at the office, make my coffee and head to the meeting. Someone brought donuts, and I grab one with frosting and coconut on top. The rest of the morning I run around trying to get a contract finalized and signed. My boss’s calendar is blocked the rest of the day, so I send a meeting request for the afternoon and pray he accepts it. He accepts a few minutes later, and I’m super relieved. Now I just have to get the contract finalized before I present it…

12:15 p.m. – It’s still raining outside. I head home anyway to let W. go potty. She is fully capable of holding it all day, but it feels cruel when I’m just a few miles down the road. Plus I like the time away from the office. My soap opera is back on today, so I watch it while I eat lunch. I heat up some leftovers and it’s actually pretty good.

1:30 p.m. – Back at work and the contract is finalized, hallelujah! I make some brief talking points for the meeting with my boss. I feel extra nervous when I’m not prepared, so it helps me to have some notes in hand. The meeting goes really well. We just have to make a few changes and then its signed. Now comes the hard part to actually manage the project. But I’ll worry about that next week because my weekend officially starts now!

6:00 p.m. – I’m home and so ready to relax. Tomorrow is my Friday off, and I’m really looking forward to sleeping in. Dennis had a big lunch today, so we decide against take-out for dinner and have leftovers instead.

7:30 p.m. – We take W. for a walk around the neighborhood, and then we play ping pong with her before her dinner. She LOVES the ping pong ball, it’s so crazy! Something about the sound and erratic movement puts her prey drive into high gear. It’s the only toy she’ll actually chase. She destroys it after about 10 minutes.

8:00 p.m. – After feeding W., we head back upstairs to watch Moana. Disney+ for the win again! We’ve heard from so many people that this movie is really good, and they’re right. The songs are cute, the graphics are beautiful and the humor is funny even for adults. I’m a bit distracted though because I keep thinking about work. It’s really annoying when I can’t turn off my thoughts, especially about work stuff.

10:30 p.m. – We both go to bed at the same time tonight, which is rare for us. I’m so grateful for the short work week and the long weekend ahead.

Daily total: $0

Day 4

6:15 a.m. – I wake up early because my nose is stuffy, I can’t breathe and W. is scratching and rattling her kennel. So much for sleeping in. I let her into the living room, blow my nose and lay back down to scroll through the news and Instagram on my phone. I deleted the IG app earlier this year because I was wasting too much time on it. Now I just log in through Safari. It’s more of a hassle, which deters me from getting on as often.

8:00 a.m. – W. really wants to go for a walk, so I finally get up and take her for a few loops around the block. I have a long to-do list today. I try to get as much done as I can on my Friday’s off, otherwise my nights and weekends completely fill up with housework and errands.

9:30 a.m. – I check my work email to make sure there isn’t anything urgent. Of course, there is something urgent. I pull out my computer to take care of a few things. Dennis is hosting poker tonight, so I really want to get some housework done before his guests arrive. I’m in the bushes in our front yard, cleaning our windows when I get an urgent call from work, so I take a break to answer it. It really is nice to be able to work from anywhere, but at the same time, it means you’re never really “off” too.

2:30 p.m. – I have a hair appointment today, and the salon is about 45 minutes north of town.  I really like the lady who does my hair, and her prices are more reasonable than most of the salons in my area. I stop for gas on the way. $31

3:00 p.m. – At the hair salon, I get color and a trim. She does a great job, like always, and I give her a 20% tip. $114 

4:30 p.m. – On my way home, I stop by my mom’s favorite restaurant to pick up a slice of strawberry cake for her. She was telling me the other day that they’ve been out the last few times she was there, so I’m really excited they still have a few slices left today. $5

5:30 p.m. – After slogging through Friday afternoon traffic, I swing by the grocery store to pick up some snacks for Dennis’ poker night. Cookies and a 24-pack of bottled water, nothing fancy. $9

6:30 p.m. – I head to our house to drop off the snacks, love on W. and then drive over to my mom’s to give her the cake. She’s so surprised! We chat for a few minutes, and  she tells me our family cat, Toby, isn’t doing well and she made an appointment to put him to sleep on Monday. I start crying. He was my cat in high school, and I had to leave him at home when I went away to college. So even though he hasn’t lived with me in more than 10 years, I still consider him mine. I understand the decision, but I wish we didn’t have to do it. I promise to come visit him on Sunday to say goodbye and to let her know if I want to come with them to the vet.

7:00 p.m. – Dennis pushed his poker game back to 8 p.m. so we’re not as rushed to eat dinner.  I order the new garlic Parmesan crust pizza on my Papa John’s app. I cry all the way to the store and try to hide it when I go in to pick up the pizza. $10

8:00 p.m. – We eat dinner (the pizza is really good), and then Dennis’ poker buddies start arriving. W. is kind of a hassle when we have big groups of people over, so I put her in our room while we chat. Once the guys head upstairs, I get started on my grocery list and place a pickup order for the next day. Kroger is offering free grocery pickup through January 1, so basically I don’t plan to go into the store for the rest of the year.

8:30 p.m. – I read a book while Dennis and his friends play poker. Our house is laid out really well, so I don’t even hear them upstairs. W. is camped out by our door and whines every time someone comes or goes, so I put her in her kennel. By 10:30 p.m. I’m starting to get sleepy, so I decide to go to bed.

Daily total: $169

Day 5

7:30 a.m. – W. wakes me up because she wants to go for a walk. I really wanted to sleep in longer, but I decide to get up and piddle around before taking her. I make a bowl of cereal and start a Hallmark Christmas movie on the DVR, when my phone rings. It’s the pest control people coming to spray our house, and they’ll be here in 5 minutes. Good thing I woke up early after all. Dennis is still passed out, so I wake him up. It turns out his poker buddies didn’t leave until 2 a.m. and he went to bed at 3 a.m. after cleaning up. No wonder he’s moving slow this morning! He also tells me I forgot to let W. out of her kennel last night, and I feel bad she was trapped in there for hours until he came down to let her out.

9:30 a.m. – I take Wa. for a walk while the pest control guys spray our house. I’m usually cheap when it comes to most things, but I am willing to spend the money for the annual pest control treatment because I can’t stand bugs in the house and it really does work. $320

11:30 a.m. – I go to the mall to look for a formal dress for a work dinner next month. I look at several different stores and don’t find anything. This is why I shop online. The stores almost never have my size, the selection is not great and I waste time looking when I could just shop on my phone at home.

12:00 p.m. – I drive through Chick-Fil-A for lunch and order a 12-count nugget meal for Dennis and a 6-count meal for me. I have enough points to cover most of it, but I forget to place the order in the app before I start driving. So I just pay with my credit card and save the points for another time. $16

1:00 p.m. – After we eat, I go pick up our groceries at Kroger, and I’m reminded again of why online shopping is so amazing. Since we both work longer hours, I have to meal plan in advance and get all of the groceries we’ll need for the week. Neither of us has time to go to the store after work, and my brain is too fried to figure out what to make in the moment. Much better to have it all planned out, so I don’t have to think about it. $81

4:30 p.m. – We meet up with some friends at the movie theater to watch Ford v. Ferrari. The movie is REALLY good! My friend bought the tickets for everyone in advance, so we Venmo her our portion. $22

7:30 p.m. – After the movie, somebody suggests Torchy’s Tacos for dinner. Dennis gets two tacos, I get one taco and we order chips and queso with a soda for me and water for Dennis. $23

11:00 p.m. – We stay out late talking and visiting with our friends. When we finally get home, W. is full of energy and ready for her evening walk. We do a few quick loops around the block and then go to bed.

Daily total: $462

Day 6

7:00 a.m. – My alarm goes off, and I get up to take a shower. We attend the first service at our church on Sunday mornings, and then we have bible study. Sundays are also Dennis’ day to walk W. in the mornings. So he takes her out while I’m getting ready.

9:30 a.m. – We’re actually on time to church today! Our pastor preaches about the history and significance of the Lord’s Supper, and then we talk about how to discern God’s will in our lives in bible study. We love our bible study teacher and we’ve started building some great friendships in our class. The lesson goes a little late, and we both start checking our fantasy football scores before we’re dismissed.

12:30 p.m. – Back at the house, we turn on the TV to watch the Texans play the Ravens. We’re getting annihilated, and our defense can’t stop anything the Ravens throw (or run) at them. We stop watching and head over to my parents to say goodbye to Toby. I spend the whole time crying and I can tell it’s tearing up my parents too. We talk about whether now is the time or not. It’s such a difficult decision. We all agree to pray about it and talk in the morning. I email my boss to let him know I’ll probably take the afternoon off tomorrow for a personal matter. I’m never sure how much detail to share and even typing about it makes me start to cry.

2:30 p.m. – We stop by the grocery store on the way home to pick up some crackers and some other food items I can’t remember for a recipe I’m making for church tonight. $12

5:00 p.m. – I make the seasoned crackers from a recipe my mom gave me, and then we head back to church for Sunday evening bible study. This is the last session of the year, and the ladies ministry is hosting a potluck to celebrate. We spend the whole time talking and eating. My family never attending evening services when I was growing up, and Dennis wasn’t raised in the church at all. So it’s new for both of us to be this involved in our church. We’re really glad we did it, although it will be nice to have our Sunday evenings back for a couple of months!

8:30 p.m. – I don’t really have much of an appetite tonight because I’m so depressed about Toby. Dennis eats leftover pizza for dinner and I eat some leftover crackers from the potluck. Tonight is the series finale for one of our favorite shows, Poldark, and we agree the final episode isn’t that great. The first two seasons were definitely the best. I’ll still miss watching the show though.

10:30 p.m. – I check my phone while getting ready for bed and see a text from my mom. They decided to cancel the vet appointment for Toby tomorrow! She said she changed her mind when she saw him playing with a grasshopper on the back porch. I’m SO relieved and happy to hear that, and I also feel like I have emotional whiplash.

Daily total: $12

Day 7

5:45 a.m. – My alarm goes off. I remember today is Monday, and I get to work from home. That means I don’t need to get up as early because I don’t have to do my makeup. I lay back down for another 30 minutes and then get up to walk W.. We go through our morning routine, and then I turn on my computer and start sorting through email. I message my boss that I don’t need to take the afternoon off after all, and decide tell him the reason why. I think it’s good to be open at work sometimes, to remind each other that we’re humans with personal lives and not just employees or a number in the system.

10 a.m. – I have a conference call with coworkers in three different countries. I truly love the international nature of our business, and I’m grateful that I get to work with people from so many different backgrounds and cultures. Thankfully W. doesn’t bark during the call, and we have a really productive meeting. I finally get deadlines on a couple of projects I’m leading. My inner journalist is very happy about this.

11:30 a.m. – On my lunch break, I drive over to Bath & Body Works because they’re having a sale on their candles – buy two, get two free, plus a $10-off coupon. I pick up four candles with Christmas scents to use for the holidays and especially for the ornament exchange I’m co-hosting with one of my friends at our house this year. Another perk of working from home is that I can actually use my lunch break to run errands (normally I go home at lunch to walk W.). $41

5:30 p.m. – I finish up for the day and turn off my computer. Dennis comes by the house to pick me up, and we head to dinner with my parents. I didn’t plan anything for dinner tonight because I knew we would be going out. The restaurant has half-priced pizzas tonight, so Dennis and I split a large pepperoni. $18

7:30 p.m. – We run by the house to get changed and head to church for a volleyball game. Our church hosts a pretty competitive volleyball league in the fall and spring. Somehow we got selected to play in the all-star game tonight. Everyone is really good, and our team wins the best three out of five. I feel a bit out of place due to the skill level of the other players, but I’m flattered I was invited to play.

9:30 p.m. – We return home from the game, and my cousin from Denver is there. He’s visiting for work and staying with us tonight. We don’t get to see each other often and he’s leaving in the morning, so we stay up pretty late talking and catching up. W. is super excited to have a visitor in the house and gets riled up playing with her new friend. She hasn’t seen him since she was a puppy.

11:45 p.m. – We finally go to bed, and I’m pretty sure I’m asleep a few minutes after my head hits the pillow.

Daily total: $59

 

 

 

 

 

 

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