I’ve read a few of the Money Diaries on Refinery29, and I thought it was interesting to see how different women across the country handle their finances, as well as how the value of money changes in different areas. I live in the DC metro area, where the value of a dollar is the lowest in the country: $100 is only worth $84.67 here. I grew up in HI and also lived in metropolitan WA for a long while, so a high cost of living, while depressing, just seems normal to me. I don’t say that to be lofty or with my nose in the air or anything, I promise. I just remember when people started complaining about gas going up to $3/gallon a few years ago somewhere, and I was so confused. I paid that much (or more, I think) for gas in high school! And it’s not crazy for milk to be around $5-6/gallon in HI, ON SALE. So, you know, it is what it is.

Thus, I thought it could be fun to do my own “week at a glance” type diary, albeit with far less financial detail (I’m not going to tell you how much I make or what kinds of savings plans or payments we have, for example). Let’s be honest, I just want to talk about food, HA. I know I mentioned last time that we are being stricter with our budget, but we S cooks a lot at home and we eat generally healthy meals, I think. The USDA helpfully provides budget estimates for various family sizes (with additional guidelines to adapt them to your own family), and I find it very interesting to see what the suggested amounts are. I think I remember reading somewhere that Americans don’t spend nearly as much on food as other countries, partially due to fast food consumption (cheap, unhealthy) and partially due to different attitudes toward food than exist in other cultures and countries.

Day 1: Wednesday, Jan. 18

5:30 AM – Get up, wash up, get dressed. Do my makeup while S feeds the dogs. We take the dogs for a walk (yes, it’s freezing and dark; S has a headlamp and we wear ALL THE LAYERS),  then make our lunches and have breakfast: pour-over coffee with beans we grind daily and buy in bulk at Costco, homemade cinnamon swirl raisin bread, lactose-free milk. Both of us leave for work.

8 AM – Get to the office, groan at the number of emails. I have a meeting at 9 AM, a training class at 10:30 AM, and another meeting at 2 PM, so I try to do as much as possible in the hour before the madness starts. I’m offered a cookie the size of my head by a coworker, which I happily accept and put on my desk for later. I drink water throughout the day from a 32 oz Nalgene.

12 PM – FINALLY LUNCHTIME. Normally I snack before lunch (or eat earlier), but this is the first time back at my desk. I work through lunch, which is a sandwich made with homemade bread*, baked ham from dinner on Monday, and pepperjack cheese. I also have a satsuma and plenty of water, and refill my bottle. I have a pear left, but I save it for later.

1 PM – I go down to the coffee bar to treat myself to an Americano ($2.37), in true “if you give a mouse a cookie,” form, adult version. I come back upstairs and have my Americano and cookie while I furiously try to finish something before my next meeting.

530 PM – Get home, put the pear I didn’t get around to eating back in the fridge. S got home before me today, and already fed the dogs their dinner and let them out in the yard (we have a dog walker come daily to take them on a walk in the middle of the day. We have long commutes and the day becomes too long for them to go without exercise and a bathroom break). I go through the mail, do some tidying up. He makes dinner while I change and get in a very quick jumprope session for some cardio, then play with the dogs. Dinner is creamy cauliflower soup, made with coconut milk, and more homemade bread. I mix up homemade sodas with club soda and Pink House Alchemy syrups (sarsaparilla for him, strawberry rhubarb for me), and we eat.

8 PM – I shower, paint my nails (Dior Porcelaine), and write this post while cuddling with the dogs on the couch. No dessert tonight.

Daily total: $2.27

*This past Monday was a holiday, so we had extra time to make bread, and a baked ham. Usually we’re normal human beings and have store-bought bread, lol.

This is kind of fun, lol. Some of the comments on Refinery29 are unkind, and I’m not trying to provoke anything like that. I just thought it’d be fun to do my own version, and I’m not trying to suggest that my lifestyle be emulated or anything like that – not at all. But, I’m nosy and these details can be interesting, and I’d love to read yours! Will try to find time to update tomorrow or Friday; I think we’re going climbing tomorrow night, so maybe Friday (which is another holiday, while we all prepare for doom).