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.
Summers are always a challenge for me. It’s like everyone I know was born in June or July, so I’m always moving from one birthday celebration to the next.
But this year I got an extra dose of milestones and bittersweet news: One of my best friends is getting married in a few weeks. Another friend finished school and is moving away from the city. And the third friend might be moving, as well.
To add to it all, the ending of Stranger Things 3 absolutely gutted me, so I’m feeling a little raw about friendships and life changes.
With one friend literally moving across the country in two weeks, the opportunities for hang sessions was quickly dwindling. Is there ever going to be a time when our group of friends is going to be together again? Probably not. As the planner of the group, it’s now or never.
So, I had an idea to plan one last outing where we could all be together: a bachelorette day! Oh, and I had only a week’s notice to figure it out. Here’s what went down.
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Koreatown + Mom’s Life Problem
My best friend is coming into town tomorrow for the bachelorette–yay! Whenever we are together, I’m practically unstoppable. But also, whenever we are together, I’m completely unproductive in life. So whatever adulting I’ve got to do this weekend, Friday is my one shot.
After work I’m off to Mood Fabrics with creative visions swirling in my head. For another wedding I’m attending, I want to try to make my own evening bag. I also want to get some muslin fabric to sew up as a bathroom curtain. I checked out the fabric I want online, but couldn’t find any of it in the store. Total bust.
I’m going to make stir-fry udon noodles tomorrow, and with three people now to cook for, I need extra supplies. I train it over to Koreatown to H Mart, but they don’t have the udon noodles I want. But they do have pre-made soups that are perfect for lazy cooking days. $14.56
Down the street are Korean beauty shops. For the bachelorette, we’re going to spend the day at a spa club, and it’s going to be low-key. No matching T-shirts or anything, but I thought it would be fun for the group to wear animal-themed sheet masks. I ordered these from Amazon a few days ago, but it looks like they won’t get here in time. I head into Kossette Beauty Market to see if I can pick up masks here instead. They have the exact mask I want…but they’re twice as expensive as the ones I already ordered. I pull out my phone and tap out an e-mail to my friends: “Hey guys! If you have a sheet mask at home, I’d recommend bringing one.” My matching sheet mask dreams–dashed!
My husband had a summer Friday and left work early. We had three ripe bananas that were going to go any second, so he’s made banana bread for the weekend.
My mom’s FaceTime-ing me. Says she’s not feeling too good. My heart drops–I think she’s about to tell me about a health problem.
But nope. She swings the camera around to show me a batch of fish sitting on her food dehydrator, which is now making weird noises. The machine is broken. Since selling dried fish is my mom’s side hustle, make no mistake: an unfinished batch of merchandise is a very serious life disruption. She’s got orders to fill.
Me: “Do you…want me to buy you a new one?”
Her current food dehydrator has four trays and costs $37, but I’m upgrading mom to an EIGHT tray one from Amazon. $107.74
Since I couldn’t find the muslin at Mood, I place another order from Amazon. $38.22
It’s late, and my brain is too shot to sew or blog. But I can online shop. I look through everything from the Nordstrom sale and update my sales page with my top picks.
FRIDAY TOTAL: $160.62
I wake up to three missed FaceTimes from mom. She wants to know when the new food dehydrator will arrive, and is pleased when I tell her it will be there tomorrow.
Coffee and a slice of banana bread for breakfast. I’m heading into Manhattan to pick up a few things for the house and for the bachelorette. It’s in the high 80s today, so I make sure to pack a water bottle in my bag.
I’m really into lamps right now. I saw Jielde lamps on the McNally Jackson website, so that’s my first stop. It’s an expensive lamp, so I’d rather see it in person first, but the store disappointingly doesn’t carry any lamps at all. I leave but go back in to buy two cards for upcoming weddings. $12.96
I’m also on a home upgrade rampage, so I go to Muji to buy two refill bottles as soap dispensers in the kitchen. Muji is a dangerous place for the wallet, but I make a beeline for the soap dispensers and don’t browse anything else. $11.43
I never got the udon noodles I wanted, so I walk toward Hong Kong Supermarket in Chinatown. Except I get a little distracted on the way.
First distraction is the Parachute bedding store. Considering I’m going to review their pillowcases in a blog post, I have to stop in and look at how the rest of their stuff feels in person. The employee sees me taking pictures of fabrics and gives me swatches to test out at home. A really nice touch!
The second distraction is the Yaya Tea shop. It’s almost 2pm and I haven’t eaten lunch. A small onigiri rice ball is the perfect quick snack to re-fuel and move on. Waiting in line, I see there’s a $10 minimum for credit cards. I definitely can’t spend that, so I walk across the street to an ATM. I consider adding on a bubble tea, but decide a sugar rush on a hot day is just gonna make me feel overindulgent. $3
At Hong Kong supermarket, I pick up a pack of udon noodles, three heads of bok choy and scallions. I double-check the receipt because of how cheap it all is. $4.54
Final Manhattan destination: CW Pencil Enterprises, a pencil shop I could have spent forever in. It’s so close to where I often walk around in Chinatown, and yet I had always missed it. Plus, it’s the perfect spot for something fun yet inexpensive as a takeaway for the bachelorette. The pencil I test out and love only comes in a 12-pack set. But I don’t need 12 pencils. So I buy four of these rainbow pencils. $10.89
I’m not going to have time to go to Trader Joe’s on Sunday, because that’s when the bachelorette is happening. I stop by to pick up a salad kit, chicken nuggets, and some bananas. I’d love to pick up a bouquet of flowers for the house, but the only good ones they have are peonies for $6.99. But peonies never last that long, so no flowers for me. $8.66
There’s a blackout in a section of Manhattan, and it looks like my friend is stuck on the train.
Guess I’m making these udon noodles on my own! I kind of hate myself for committing to making a double batch, but it’s enough to feed the three of us, plus two work lunches for me.
I thought it would be cute to make custom leather luggage tags for the bachelorette. So I pull out my leather stamping set and practice some embossing. The letters look OK, but I realize that the tags would be much more practical if I had thicker leather, so I sadly nix the entire idea. The theme for this weekend: creative visions that just aren’t coming together.
My friend finally arrives at 10pm and I microwave a plate of udon noodles for her dinner.
One logistical detail that I’m low-key stressing out about is that the spa club is in New Jersey. And no one in the group has a car. There’s a free shuttle from Manhattan that you can reserve, but there are no slots open for the time we want. We’re gonna just show up tomorrow at the pickup spot and hope people flake. But I download a few ride share apps to my phone, just in case we have to wing it.
SATURDAY TOTAL: $56.47
The Bachelorette Day!
My husband makes coffee for everyone, and I pack slices of banana bread as a breakfast snack for the road.
I practically cry tears of joy when we actually get on the shuttle! We are on our way to SoJo Spa Club, which I had heard about from my blog friend Birds of a Fire. It’s been described as a “Disneyland for adults,” and I’d say that’s about right. Seven floors where you can explore pools, outdoor baths and saunas.
WE HAD AN ABSOLUTE BLAST. I mean, the proof is that I barely took any pictures.
We made a beeline for the infinity pool, because I had heard it gets crowded fast.
There’s a rooftop area where you can sunbathe.
My $19 tuna poke bowl from the cafeteria. Anyone else peep that super tiny amount of rice???
Weekend pricing for the spa is $80, but I found a promo on the website to get $50 off for buying two gift cards. The final ticket price ends up being $67.50 each.
Not everyone in the group has the same financial means, so to avoid making people feel bad, I pay for the gift cards up front. Then I’ll Venmo people individual amounts, depending on what I think they can contribute. For a one-time event like this, I’m fine covering the rest. $135
With our faces freshly purged from the saunas and sheet masks, the next stop is the Chanel Beauté Atelier. It’s a beauty workshop where you can try all the products for free. We put our bags in the Chanel-themed lockers and everyone goes off like a kid in a candy store.
I love that the lipstick samples come pre-scooped in these sanitary little containers.
And the mascara wand testers aren’t the usual generic spoolies. They’re the specific wands that come with each mascara.
From the Chanel studio, we walk to dinner at Wayla, a cute newer Thai spot in Chinatown.
We’re not sure how much to order, and ask the bartender for advice. He says that an appetizer and a main will be enough for most people. For our group that would be eight dishes: four appetizers and four mains. But one of my biggest pet peeves is ordering too much food that goes to waste.
We order three appetizers and two mains to share, and everyone has a drink. If we’re still hungry, we can order more later. It was a good call, because we almost couldn’t finish all the food!
The Land of Smiles drink was 10/10.
The branzino fish wasn’t something I’d normally order, but it was surprisingly good.
Again, I pick up the check ($170) and Venmo everyone separately. After splitting everything up, I end up paying $85.
So for the whole bachelorette day, the price ended up being around $133 per person. And yes, the bride paid for her own way. That’s just how our group works.
My best friend and I take the train back to Brooklyn and are so lucky we get to indulge in homemade blueberry pie my husband made while we were out.
I haven’t heard a single peep from mom all day. So I call to follow up on the food dehydrator. Turns out she’d been using it for hours already and “forgot” to call. I’m glad she’s happy with it.
SUNDAY TOTAL: $241.00
WEEKEND TOTAL: $458.09
Do you parents hit you up to buy them things, too? Would you consider $133 for a full day of bachelorette activities reasonable? Have you ever been to or planned a wedding party that was super fun? What did you guys do?
Feature Image: The Luxe Strategist