My Weekend Money Diary #13: Beautifying My Life

My Weekend Money Diary #13: Beautifying My Life

What happens when someone who’s “good at money” tracks their spending the old school way? With a pen and paper and not using an automated system like Mint?

Inspired by the Man Repeller and Refinery29 money diaries, I thought it’d be fun to see what happens when I track my spending for a weekend. Although I’m conscious about my overall spending, I’m at a point where I don’t feel the need to review purchases line by line. But that doesn’t mean there’s no room for surprises.


Long time, no money diary! In this edition: DIY flower projects, free stuff from Everlane, a new-to-me beauty Youtuber, and how to get fuller faster.

*Affiliate links below*


The sun’s out, it’s a few degrees warmer than usual, and I’ve got my cropped jeans on. Even though it’s February, I swear I feel a hint of spring outside. I’m in the mood to add some beauty to my life, so after work I stop by Trader Joe’s to peruse their flower selection. But it’s Friday night and while this is the absolutely the most zen time to shop at Trader Joe’s, the flower selection is less appealing: the only options left are bouquets with half-broken flower heads and greenery with browning edges.

I’ll try again tomorrow.

My mom likes to jokes that in another life she would have named me Candy. For someone whose sugar consumption inspires would-be names, of course I know it’s the day after Valentine’s day, and I’d be silly NOT to drop by CVS and see which holiday candy is on sale.

The selection is slim, but I buy a bag of Dove chocolate hearts for half off, and put back a bag of Lindt chocolates after I find out those aren’t on sale at the register. $2.89

My husband always gets home from work earlier than I do, and he has tortellini with pesto sauce waiting for dinner. Plus, wine! I am a lucky gal.

I bust open the bag of chocolates and browse Pinterest. Thirty minutes later I look down and half the bag is gone, and I don’t know how that happened. I imagine that this is how someone might feel if they don’t trust themselves with credit cards.

Even though I already had my wedding I still like finding deals, so I pin a few bridal looks. I find a jumpsuit (perfect for a city hall wedding) on crazy discount on Yoox, which leads me to clicking around to see what other deals are on the site. There are literally over a thousand pages to go through, so I narrow it down by only certain designers I like.

I fall asleep with the laptop on my stomach and the Yoox tab open.



I like to start my weekend mornings on a positive note, so I flip through a couple pages of Flower Color Guide book I keep on my nightstand. It’s written by Putnam & Putnam, the NYC florists who design florals that look like they came out of a Dutch painting.

I haven’t browsed Craigslist for what’s for sale in my neighborhood in a while. I find a pair of West Elm lamps for $75 or $40 for just one. The retail price is $99 each. We have two lamps that I’m looking to replace, but something isn’t quite right about the West Elm ones, so I move on.

But maybe Target has something? I remember seeing an article of “luxe” picks at Target, but I browse lamps on the site and am blown away at how expensive they are. $50 for a lamp from Target? Whoa.

The Super Bowl is over, which means it’s time to cancel Youtube TV until football season starts up again in the fall. That means no more Riverdale for me until the episodes end up on Netflix. As the show is getting more and more ridiculous, I can stand to wait.

My husband and his son and I all haven’t been out in a while, so I’m looking for something for us all to do. The Cooper Hewitt museum is one of my favorites in the city. It’s not overwhelmingly large like The Met, the works are more relevant to everyday life than fine art, and it’s housed in an old mansion.

It’s also Saturday and free starting at 6pm. Obviously we should go there today.

I lobby the group, but no one feels like going into Manhattan. Plus, my husband would rather pay the $16 admission fee than face the crowds. We decide to see a movie close by instead. The movie theatre by our apartment recently went through a renovation, and we haven’t checked it out yet, so we buy three tickets to see something light and entertaining, Isn’t It Romantic. $43.50

The whole house is spending the afternoon cleaning and decluttering. I finally get rid of the laptop desk I mentioned in this post—go me! One benefit of living in a city is you can leave stuff out on your stoop and there will always be someone walking by who will take it. After just a few hours everything’s gone.

Now that I’m cleaning and decluttering, I’m re-considering clothing storage for my sweaters. When I had the moth problem I looked into options, but all the boxes and bags I saw on Amazon seemed cheap with plastic panels on them. So I’ve been reusing dry cleaners plastic bags in the meantime, until I find a more permanent solution. I look at options from the Laundress, but the $45 price tag for a box is scaring me away.

After the chores are finally done, it’s time for my art project. I take the subway to Trader Joe’s to see if they have better flower options today. I buy three flower bunches and two sets of greens for super cheap. They aren’t the best quality flowers, but the project isn’t about that–I just like putting together different color combinations and seeing if I can arrange them a little more artistically. Thinking ahead to having a day off on Monday, I also buy a cauliflower bowl I can have for lunch that day. $23.62

Trader Joe's spring flowers

The whole project of cutting and removing leaves took longer than I thought, but I’m happy with how they turned out:

Trader Joe's DIY flower arrangements
Trader Joe's DIY flower arrangements

My husband asked me earlier to pick up half and half from Trader Joe’s before, but I totally forgot, so now I have to run across the street and pick up a quart. $4.99

The movie starts at 7:50 and we time it to arrive at 7:30. The movie we’re seeing isn’t super popular, and our neighborhood isn’t that dense. And no one likes waiting for a movie to start when they could be something else with their time. No problem with the arrival time, right?

Well, that was a misjudgment. The theatre is small, and the front row is the only one that has a set of three seats open.

For everybody wondering why we are savages who don’t go to a theatre with reserved seating: we wanted to try this new place that’s within walking distance to our apartment. Opting for a convenient theatre was definitely a value judgment we made. We typically only make the trek into Manhattan for reserved seating when it’s a blowout movie.

It’s a theatre where they serve food, too, so we each order a burger and fries, and a couple drinks. $62.61

While we’re watching previews I’m scrolling through Instagram and get served a coupon for the Laundress—25% off with code HBDGWEN. OK, that changes things. When I get home I buy a storage box and a trial-size set of detergents. I’m a little disappointed in myself that I spent so much on products that would be advertised on that Goop website, but I did want to try a specialized wool shampoo for my sweaters. Although I am proud that I didn’t spend $75 to get the free tote bag that I know I don’t need. $66.15



I wake up late, at around 9am, and there’s no time to hang out in bed–I need to bust a move to meet my friends for shopping in Soho. They want to meet at Everlane by 11am.

No time for breakfast, but I down a coffee before I leave the house.

I arrive at Everlane at 10:50am, and there’s already a line outside the store.

I try on some clothes I saw online, but nothing works for me. I do, however, get a free Blue Bottle coffee in a Miir reusable tumbler from some kind of promotion Everlane is doing that day. The tumbler is insulated and has a lid, so it’s the perfect swap-in for the paper cups I use at work.

Blue Bottle Coffee at the Everlane x Miir event

My friend is Vaguely Engaged, which means she’s getting married at some point—she just doesn’t know when yet. So I know I’ll have to go to LA sometime in the near future, which I file away in my mental travel planning folder.

She wants to try on makeup for her wedding, so off to Sephora we go. I’m not really in the market for anything, but I try on a few products just for kicks. I’m testing an Hourglass brow pencil on my hand, and get approached by a sales associate who offers to try it on my actual brows. She draws them in a rounded shape (like Joan Crawford in Mommy Dearest) and in the wrong color, which further cements my mistrust in anyone doing my makeup for me ever. Unless it’s the person who does Meghan Markle’s makeup. But that’s it!

We’re all hungry, so walk over to Fish Cheeks, this Thai place on Bond Street, and order a few plates to share. Fried chicken wings with a wonderful lime tang, crab coconut curry and slices of grilled pork cheeks with a spicy dipping sauce.

Fish Cheeks in NYC: Crab coconut curry, fried chicken wings, pork cheeks

Here is the secret to getting full on a seemingly small amount of food:


We order an extra bowl of rice to go with the food, and by the end, we can’t even finish everything. For a long time, I was weirded out when I’d go to a restaurant and receive plates full of meat and nothing else. Mom would definitely not approve of eating chicken wings without a carb. $21.05

Over lunch my friends and I talk about makeup. How we aren’t very knowledgable about it, how other people seem to have magically perfect makeup looks that we can’t achieve, and how the older we get, the less we bother wearing any to work. I always thought being OK with my bare face, even if it’s not remotely perfect, was a good thing. But talk about weddings reminds me that it’s fun to make an effort every once in a while.

We stop at Hourglass, so my friend can try on more lipsticks. The lip color is definitely the hardest part of finding wedding makeup. You want the color to be a little brighter so it shows in the pictures, but not so bright where you don’t feel like yourself.

I keep meaning to go to Target in the East Village, yet I push it off every time. I want to look at the Baublebar range of jewelry for this other wedding I’m going to this summer, but the earrings I’m eyeing are sold out online. The L train isn’t working today, which means there’s another barrier to traveling out of the way already, and now it’s getting cold and late. Target—I’m gonna have to deprioritize you once again.

I head home on the subway and my husband is making chili for dinner with his famous crispy rice croutons. He’s making a big enough batch, so there will be enough for lunch or dinner the next day—yay for batching.

I half-watch a Sopranos episode on TV with a Pony makeup tutorial playing on my laptop. One of my friends mentioned her today, and after watching a couple videos, I can totally see the artistry in well-applied makeup. I look up the lip product she mentions in one video, but I Google how it looks on someone with my skin tone, and it doesn’t quite look the same.

Tomorrow I’m inspired to try a full face of makeup. Tonight I’m busting out my Clé de Peau Beauté face mask that I got for free from a flight, because good makeup starts with the skin, right?


Weekend Total: $224.81

How did your spending go this holiday weekend?
How do you add beauty to your life without dropping tons of money?
Do you have any favorite beauty Youtubers? I personally used Lisa Eldridge as inspiration for my own wedding look.

Feature Image: Unsplash

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