Week In The Wallet: Turkey Edition


Wake up feeling like I have been hit by a truck. I can’t tell if it’s the weather or the work stress. Grumble grumble. In any case I spend a good part of the morning wrapped up in blankets and scrolling through Jameela Jamil’s Instagram for gems like:

At some point I get my weekly local food delivery. I changed over from my pseudo CSA to this service because it allowed me to get fish, dairy, grain, and veggies all in one go rather than just produce alone. I get pizza dough, apples, beets, butternut squash, salmon, cilantro, greek yogurt, spinach, and a bazillion red onions. ($59)


While I cook, I eat some of my leftovers from last week: bok choy, roasted mix vegetables, and peanut pork pan fried noodles. From what was sitting in the fridge and the new delivery I make up some beet carrot salad, pan fried salmon, roasted butternut squash with leftover rosemary, chopped spinach, and caramelized onions to use for a pizza sauce later in the week.

As much as I dread going outside, I make a quick trip to the grocery store to pick up my new obsession: Spendrift cucumber water. I also get a trifecta of mozzarella, pecorino, and ricotta cheese for pizza and fancy oat and sea salt soap bars because apparently I am fully a millennial now and these little luxuries unironically #sparkjoy in my life. What have I become… ($24.13)

In the evening I visit my friends for board game night, bringing my beet carrot salad as a side dish offering. I forget to bring Lactaid pills and we’re eating spinach lasagna with bechamel  sauce so I run to the CVS to buy some ($12.21) We end up playing rummy cube and they feed us spinach ricotta lasagna and an almond torte. Nomnomnom.

Daily total: $95.34


Laze around on the internet all morning, too cozy under my warm blanket to make myself breakfast. At some point I muster up enough energy to make pizza with my husband. The toppings include: caramelized onions sauce, mozzarella, ricotta, pecorino, gouda (leftover in the fridge), basil, and spinach. The crust could probably have used a wee bit more precooking but otherwise it is quite tasty.

After pizza and Jeopardy watching– apparently Netflix added the championship episodes from like three years ago– I go for a run at the gym. By the time all that’s done it’s only like six in the evening, but I’m feeling exhausted and potentially depressed from the perpetual overcast weather, so I do my evening prep early and head to bed.

Daily total: $0


I woke up with godawful fits and starts between midnight and two, but managed to sleep again through seven in the morning. I get ready and check my work email: 31 messages since Friday evening. Not terrible. Except three of them are actually tasks that I need to do “immediately” because the founder said so. Sigh.

I get to the office and realize I left my key card at home. Ugh. Our desk space requires a badge and is separate from the kitchen and bathrooms, which means I’m going to have an annoying and awkward time.

For lunch I eat peanut pork noodles, beet and carrot salad, and some chopped spinach.

I start to prep salmon for dinner and then drop the pan– fish, hot oil, and all– right on the floor. Today is just not my day. I end up eating what amounts to a carbon copy of my lunch.

My husband’s therapist sends us an email in the evening, letting us know that his insurance doesn’t cover their sessions, retroactive three months. So we owe her ~$1200. He really likes seeing her and it’s made a big difference for his wellbeing so we’re not going to drop it, but I find this notification long after the fact really annoying and unprofessional (like, you know, most medical billing). We can handle that sort of one-off expense without much trouble, but for a lot of people that’d be a real emergency. It looks like she’ll take my employer’s insurance, so we’ll probably switch him over to my plan going forward as part of open enrollment.

Daily total: $0


My morning, like most, is filled with back to back meetings. I take a quick break to load up on Indian buffet food before our organization-wide “Here’s the state of things” meeting. ($15) Surprise surprise, we have infinite prospects and work to do and are slow at hiring. Also we’re moving offices. In two weeks. Thanks for giving us a lot of heads up, management!

One of the mid-level folks from a perspective customer is in town for the holidays. I buy some a bunch of desserts from the patisserie downstairs to welcome her, which I’ll get reimbursed by my employer later. We chat a bit with one of my direct colleagues and one of our founders. It sounds like they’ll make a decision which way they’re going in a week or so. Given that she’s bothering to visit our office, it seems like good tidings for us? This would be a really big account with a lot of interesting work directly affecting my day to day, so I’m hopeful.

By the time dinner rolls around I’m still pretty full from my Indian food. More Jeopardy, cucumber Spendrift, and trying really hard to turn off my angry and addled brain.

Daily total: $15


Relatively slow day at the office because of the upcoming holiday weekend. Which means I can finally catch up on everything (or, well, some of the things).

My grand-boss invites me out to Au Bon Pain for lunch where I order a turkey sandwich. She pays. We chat about how my work is going, all the projects coming up, how short staffed we are, etc. We also talk about the banal personal stuff: kids, spouses, etc.

I head home early because the office is basically empty and most of my afternoon meetings have been cancelled. My in-laws are planning on ordering pizza for dinner. The combination of carbs, marinara, and cheese often gives me a stomach ache (which is why we made white pizza earlier in the week) so I let them know I’ll probably eat leftovers at our house before we drive over.

More noodles, salad, and cucumber water for dinner. I’m intent on NOT bringing my laptop to the in-laws’, so I try to finish everything up work-wise before my husband gets home. We then drive over and watch even more Jeopardy, this time with teen contestants.

My mother-in-law mentions to me how in retiring she’s worrying about money for the first time. I’ve worried for years that they weren’t saving enough, but had been told repeatedly that they had “more than enough.” From back of the envelope calculations, it sounds like she has her house paid off, about a half million in assets, and $4-5k a month coming in between Social Security and her pension. Plus she and her husband plan to do some part time work as well. So they should be in a pretty comfortable place, at least as long as their health stays good. But, man, it’s a far cry from what they’d made their savings out to be. It makes me frustrated in hindsight by how much they supplemented by husband’s lifestyle for so many years rather than prioritizing their own savings.

Daily total: $0


I snack on olive oil crackers and Kerrygold cheddar for lunch. The holidays are delicious. My husband and I help with some Thanksgiving sides and keep his cousin’s children entertained with board games before dinner. The final spread includes: turkey, rolls, butternut squash, sweet potato casserole, Brussel sprouts, cranberry sauce, cookies, and pumpkin pie. Nom nom nom. A really nice, chill day.

Daily total: $0


I have the rest of the salmon and some leftover turkey for lunch, on top of salad and chopped spinach. Leftovers: a blessing and also– after a week of repeats– kind of a curse.

I don’t manage to drag myself away from reading and watching travel planning videos to Japan (we’re hoping to go next year as a last hurrah before babies) until three in the afternoon. I go to a nearby Japanese street food restaurant for some gyoza and croquette combination bowl. The meal is served with a side salad, but it’s only until I’ve snarfed down half of it that I realize I should ask what type of lettuce they used. It was green leaf, thankfully, and we (me, the shop owner, and the staff) had a good laugh at both my greedy eating and impotent worrying. Ha. ha. ha. ($17)

I feel like sitting at my favorite tea shop and read the rest of the evening away, but they’re full up. After checking a few of my favorite bakeries to find them closed for the weekend, I make a last stop at the one nearest home and pick up a tiny (fits in the palm of my hand) pumpkin loaf. ($5). Once I get home, I pan-toast it with butter and share with my husband for dessert. Nom.

The evening is spent chilling out, mostly reading Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee. It is fine, but much less of a compelling read than Pachinko. Also more videos about Japanese food, because apparently I am hungry forever.

Daily total: $22


Total spending: $132.34

Looking back on my diary, it’s clear I was really depressed this past week. Having grown up in the sunny Southwest, the overcast weather really does a number on me mentally. Also, I’ve been investing myself too much in my work, emotionally speaking. Taking my laptop home night after night is a huge red flag that I’m spiraling. Going forward I’m going to endeavor to avoid that behavior and, instead, add structure to my weekday evenings so they aren’t wasted away on television/other poor decompression methods.

How was your Thanksgiving? How much do you think is “enough” to retire regularly?


Week In The Wallet: Spend ALL THE MONEY Edition

To preface this week’s money diary, you should know: this isn’t how I typically spend money.

I like to think myself a generally moderate, responsible person. This week, at least as spending goes, was a little bit nuts. I decided to stop putting off some of the items that had been on my wish list for a long while, e.g. cleaning, yoga pants, nude hosiery, window shade. And on top of that, this week I incurred expenses that usually happen only once or twice a month, like spending time with Little Sis, meat CSA delivery, treating my friends to dinner during game night. So while this week was excessive, keep in mind that it is not typical.


It used to be a quick fifteen-minute bus ride to my Little Sis’s house. But alas, those times are gone. Since I moved, those fifteen minutes have turned to forty on good days, and an hour or more in traffic. Even though I don’t have to get into the city until late morning, I’m running behind and decide to take a Lyft instead of dealing with the transit shuffle. ($15.85)

Little Sis wants to bake cream cheese roll ups, so we stop by the crunchy food coop on the way home to pick up ingredients. I also grab some coconut yogurt for me and watermelon juice for her. ($13.87) While we wait for the roll ups to bake, I boil her some spaghetti to go with the bolognese sauce I prepped Friday evening. In spite of all the veggies and greens I mixed in, she actually likes it! We eat lunch while playing Mysterium. She likes playing the ghost.

After taking Little Sis home, I rush back to my place to grab gym clothes and high tail it over to the YMCA before closing time. I manage to sneak in about half an hour on the elliptical and ten minutes of arm and chest presses.

In the evening, I unwind on my computer, looking up educational materials to help Little Sis along with math. There’s one kid-oriented textbook series that catches my eye, so I put a hold on the decimals guide at my library’s online portal. ($0.00) I durdle around on Amazon for a while and order vermiculite for a gardening project. ($14.99) Since my stomach can only handle so much real-pasta, I cook some lentil-quinoa pasta to go with my bolognese, which I munch on while watching Lemon online. ($6.99)

Saturday total: $51.70


After eating the last of my lentil-quinoa spaghetti, I make my way to the city for a shopping day. On the way, I come upon the last yard sales of the summer. Neighbors swarm around a small collection of houses on the hill selling oil paintings, books, compact disks, lemonade and the occasional churro. I poke around but don’t end up buying anything.

I head to the commercial district, which is closed off to cars for the day and shoppers roam free. On the bus ride across the river, I browse Amazon and buy a replacement pair of Gillette Venus Swirl razors. ($12.15) While walking the street, I notice employees at Madewell are handing out caramel popcorn to lure people into listening about their recycled denim program. I grab a bag for fiancé and I to snack on later.

The consignment shop has some nice sheath dresses from J. McLaughlin and Max Mara, both around $50-75, but the patterns are a bit luxe-eighties and I’m not sure how often I’d get to wear them. Pass, for now.

After doing a full walk down to the park, I make my way over to the Wolford store in the boutique mall nearby. Unfortunately they don’t have samples for me try on any of the hosiery, but they have a 30 day refund window and I’m told they’re basically indestructible. I buy a pair of individual 10 tights in Gobi. ($49) When I get home, I realize they’re a bit too sheer for what I need, so I resolve to go back next weekend to upgrade to a denier 30 pair.

Fiancé gets home from his last weekend on the job. We snuggle up and watch Carol, which I’ve been wanting to see for ages. ($7.99) I eat eggplant and corn salsa over sliced potato and hard boiled egg. We both snack on the caramel popcorn.

Sunday total: $69.14


I come in Monday morning, ready to beast. My mug full of vanilla, cloves, and cinnamon white tea gives me just enough caffeine to focus on my big project for the week.

Most days I try to bring my lunch. Today is eggplant and corn salsa over sliced potato and a hard-boiled egg. By dinner time, though, I am feeling a hankering for something sweet. I stop by the local pie shop on the way home and get a slice of bacon, leek, and gruyere quiche and a 5″ blueberry pie for Fiancé and I to share. ($13.09) I supplement the quiche with beets and fennel because vegetables are important, I’m told.

After dinner, I try to freeze my credit. Experian is a breeze but TransUnion and Equifax are giving me issues. ($5) Whatever. I work the annoyance out of my system with a Jillian Michaels’ ab workout, streamed from my library’s Hoopla account. ($0)

Monday total: $18.09


In the morning, I finally manage to call into TransUnion’s automated system and freeze my credit report. ($5) In the morning phone-commute time, I also cave in and buy lululemon Agile Pants II in midnight teal. ($95) This is probably the most I’ve spent on a piece of non-shoes clothing possibly ever. Also one of the few times I’ve bought clothes new. I try to put a bid on a athletic jacket on Poshmark to replace my four-year-old one with a broken zipper. The seller doesn’t end up getting back to me.

I continue chugging along at work. The early evening is spent in long meandering conversations with my friend and my fiancé, both in the midst of career changes.

My meals are all stuff I already have. Tea for breakfast; sliced potato and hardboiled egg covered in bolognese with beets and fennel on the side for lunch; leftover wonton soup and roasted Italian eggplant from last week for dinner; and the remnants of my blueberry pie for dessert.

Tuesday total: $100.00


I manage to successfully bid for a replacement jacket on Poshmark. ($51.49) Now, while I still need some business clothes for upcoming work trips, my casual off-time shopping is complete. I also finalize an order for a roller shade to cover the small stained-glass window in our living room. ($73.50) The window itself is pretty but also the stained glass doesn’t prevent sunlight from shining directly in my eyes.

Work continues as usual. Lunch is a hearty steak burrito from around the corner. ($9.00) The evening is spent hauling our new-to-us Ikea Kallax birch bookcase, which fiancé picked up and paid for, to the living room and playing Edritch Horror into the wee hours with a couple friends. We usually take turns paying for dinner, and I haven’t tanked for a while, so I order the four of us delivery from a local vegan taco shop. ($58.75) The vegetarians are happy and the sunflower seed cheese hits the spot.

Wednesday total: $192.74


Work, work, work. I am running low on prepped meals so I get a chicken sandwich and jalapeno potatoes at a food truck near my office. ($15) In the afternoon I snack on some pears from the office fruit bowl. Dinner finishes off the last of my veggies: beets with fennel and tomato eggplant with a poached eggs on top. Nom.

After work, one of my coworkers who lives near me is taking an Uber home and I’m able to catch a ride, just missing a torrential downpour. ($0)

Prepping for house cleaners, Fiancé has managed to make the house downright tidy! I still have too much clutter in my bedroom, which I organize as much as possible. There’s a stack of paperwork that’s been sitting on my desk for months. While I know I should digitize them, they end up, unsorted, in my bed stand instead.

After failing, yet again, to get Equifax to freeze my credit, I need to get out some excess frustration. I do the Jillian Michaels ab workout again and cap the night off with a little blogging and some suitably snarky Evelyn Waugh.

Thursday total: $15.00


Friday is my favorite day. Not only is it the start of the weekend, but it’s also when I get my CSA delivery! Note: I get really excited about vegetables.

End of summer marks the best season for produce. My crate is full of beets, chard, eggplant, garlic, kohlrabi, dandelion greens, oyster mushrooms, acorn squash, tomatillo, and carrot. ($32) I also get my monthly meat CSA delivery, which contains ground beef, ground lamb, farm seasoned sausage, beef roast, fermented black garlic, and grass fed BBQ beef sticks. ($65) I eat a couple of the beef sticks for lunch.

I’ve scheduled a deep cleaning of the condo and decide to work from home to let in the cleaners. I pay them $250 for the service and give each woman $20 tip. ($290) They do an okay job but I realize I really don’t like having strangers in my house and fiancé and I decide, in spite of my earlier intentions for lifestyle inflation, that monthly cleanings probably wouldn’t be worth it after all. We plan to instead outline a bimonthly cleaning plan so we can keep the place tidy and nice ourselves.

I like to cook my vegetables as soon as I get them so Friday evenings are dedicated to bulk meal prep. I make Asian eggplant with ground lamb and mushrooms, rice, sautéed mixed greens, tomatillo salsa, sweet root salad, and roasted acorn squash with cinnamon. It takes me about four hours to make everything. I take a bite here and there while cooking which fills me up for dinner.

Friday total: $397.00


  • Food: $206.71
  • Shopping: $296.13
  • Entertainment: $14.98
  • Transportation: $15.85
  • Other: $300.00

Total: $833.67