My Weekend Money Diary #17: Activate Beast-Mode Planning

My Weekend Money Diary #17: Activate Beast-Mode Planning

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.


I am dreadfully behind on all things blog-related, so this is my money diary from a few weekends ago–don’t hate me!


After work I get sucked into hanging out in a meeting room to play a board game with coworkers. There are about 100 things I’d rather be doing on a Friday night, but I can’t always say no to socializing. I’m content when I’m alone, but I recognize there’s an “invisible game” happening at the workplace, and having coworkers who like you is just as important as working hard. So I play the board game. And I’ll admit, I had fun.

I head to TJ Maxx to return some merch I bought for a video, and my lunch wasn’t enough, because now I’m starving. You know I have a sweet tooth, right?

Everywhere I look in the store there are temptations: biscotti cookies, artisanal sea salt potato chips, chocolate-covered cranberries. I’m 35 minutes away from home. Standing in line, I chant “I have food at home” over and over. I manage to avoid impulse buying snacks, and I’m glad, because I come home to a home-cooked meal of honey-glazed salmon, brussel sprouts, and roasted potatoes.

Earlier in the day I sent my husband a salmon recipe from Goop. He said if he followed the recipe to a T, it would have cost $30 in ingredients, so he adapted his own cheaper version:

I hate “product clutter,” and I’m trying to use up my current skincare and makeup before buying more. I’m running low on the sample-sized face wash I’m using, so I cut off the top of the bottle. I know people make fun of me for this, but come on, there are at least five more uses!

Note to self: buy face wash.



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Breakfast is coffee and avocado toast with a side of kiwi.

Avocado Toast with Kiwi Breakfast

I need to make more progress on decluttering. I forgot my Poshmark password, and have been lazy, so I haven’t logged on in weeks. I finally reset my password and reduce the prices on a few items from my closet. 

Earlier this week, I ordered a pair of pants from The Real Real on final sale. Lo and behold, they don’t fit, even though I cross-checked the measurements a dozen times.

I measure the pants myself and the waist is an inch bigger than described. I e-mail The Real Real, attaching a picture of my measuring tape laid out on top of the waistband. Sure the pants were ‘final sale,’ but I think I have a viable case here.

A few hours later, customer service tells they’re happy to let me return the pants. Yes!

My husband is decluttering, and I notice a well-loved shirt in the to-go pile. “Wait, but you love that shirt.”

“Yeah, but it’s got holes in it.”

I inspect the two holes, assure him it’s fixable, then toss the shirt on my sewing desk for later.

Last September I wrote about sheets. It took me four months to get around to ordering sheet sets from Snowe, my top recommendation. They’re expensive, so I waited a while to keep my credit card statements from going bonkers. The bowls I added onto the order are too shallow, so I pack them up and drop them off at FedEx.

Dropping Off Packages

Then I swing by Citibank to open up new bank account. I have some cash laying around that could be doing more, so I’ll turbo-boost it with a sign-up bonus.

If I leave the money in a savings account, I’ll make $20-$30 in interest per month. But if I open up this new bank account, I’ll earn $100 per month in five months. Tripling money in a relatively short amount of time seems like a smart move.

On the walk home home, I pop into CVS to check out face wash prices. It’s the NYC price of $17.99 for a 12-ounce bottle of Cerave. NOPE.

It’s my life goal to always live within walking distance to a library. So far I’ve got this goal down pat. I always like to check out the finance section, and I pick up The Millionaire Next Door. As I self-check out, I’m surprised I have $13.69 in late fees. The screens asks me if I want to pay now or later. Not today 🙂

My sewing machine light bulb has been out for months now. Today’s the day I fix this problem. Considering my machine is from the early 80s, I’m pleasantly surprised my local shop has a bulb that fits perfectly. $4.34

As I walk home, I cross the street on purpose so I’m walking on the side with the grocery stores that have flowers out front. I don’t always resist buying flowers, but today I do. I snap a pic, which feels like a decent way to admire them, then move on.

Poppy Anemone Flowers at the Local Grocery Store

At home I eat what could pass as a child’s meal: chicken fingers with a stick of string cheese for lunch. The box of chicken fingers my husband insists on is expensive, $6.50 per box, but I have to admit, they are super tasty.

I need to do something about the face wash, so check out pricing on the Target site. $14.99 for 16 ounces of Cerave. So now we’re talking.

But I need to spend at least $35 for the free shipping, ughhhh.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned how house supplies are a black hole of spending never to be found again. I walk around the apartment doing a quick inventory of supplies that are running low, and add packing tape, kitchen twine, cabinet hooks and hand soap to the cart.

Four hooks for $10.89 seems like a bad value, so I remove them from the cart at the last minute. $71.01

I spend some quality time with Mint, looking over our money, asking my husband, “Soooo, those $200 in ATM withdrawals last month–what were those again?”

While most people are hoarding money due to the coronavirus, I decide to transfer basically all of my savings to my brokerage account. Famous last words: I can rebuild my savings with my next paycheck.

All online roads lead me to shopping. I browse eBay and secondhand sites and make a shopping forecast list. That way I can see how everything I want adds up and whether I’ll put the effort into making these purchases happen.

Is $335 too much for a wallet? Kind of, but also it’s something I’d interact with every day. While no one would care about it but me, a wallet feels more splurge-worthy than a more visible bag I’d use infrequently.

My husband is going to Seattle in August, so I put on my travel hacking hat. One lifestyle upgrade I’ve made is paying more for direct flights, and that’s definitely reflected in the $632 price I find.

How to pay for this?

If I use points, the Delta flight would cost 43,000 points plus $11.20 in taxes. The problem is, I only have 22,567 Delta points, and of course now I’m kicking myself for thinking Delta points are terrible and never doing anything to acquire them.

I could use Chase points, but I’d rather save them for something else. I save the flight with Google Flight’s tracker to see if the price goes down. We’re still four months out, so I’m confident I don’t have to jump on buying the ticket now.

In April we’re doing a national park road trip through Utah, so I need to finalize the details.

A rental car is in the $444-$500 range. The price from Costco Travel is $391. I wonder if I should get a Costco membership for this. But then I remember we had it for a year, and barely used it. I’ll check my work website on Monday to see if there’s a discount code.

My husband makes a big batch of shepherd’s pie for dinner. It’s not the most visually appealing meal, but shepherd’s pie is a childhood treat stemming from my hot-lunch days. It’s so different from anything my parents ever made at home, so always feels exotic and luxurious to me.



I am “locked in” on researching more travel, so skip breakfast and have egg and avocado with blood orange juice for lunch.

Avocado and Egg Breakfast

We are ending the trip in Las Vegas. My Las Vegas philosophy? When in Vegas, you go over the top. But there are many over-indulgent hotels in Vegas, so I’m having analysis paralysis on which to choose. I’ve only ever stayed at The Venetian. Should I just stay there again? Of course, I can’t decide, so do nothing.

So, I’ve done a ton of travel research, but I’m trying not to book anything just yet. I mentally note how much I’m going to spend in the next few months, so I can strategize which new credit card bonus to sign up for. If I can make my natural spend work for me, then that’s what I’ll do.

Uh oh, LN-CC is having a sale on actually-good stuff that normally doesn’t go on sale. Like this Marni bag I’ve been eyeing for a while.

I need to walk away from the computer, so I don’t get sucked into the sale. Because at some point, I became a person with no boundaries who always carries her work laptop around. And buying an expensive bag that’s too small to carry to work every day is a factor I can’t ignore.

Two loads of laundry done! Now I get the pain and pleasure of changing the sheets. Putting on a fresh set of sheets is one of my favorite ways to add that luxury feel to life.

Fresh White Snowe Sheets
I learned how to make a GIF!

I sit down to hem my jeans, but I’m bummed there’s a problem, because one side looks wonky. I’m gonna have to get my sewing machine serviced.

Hemming A.P.C. Jeans

Upon further inspection, my husband’s shirt actually has six holes in it, and since my machine is down, I hand-sew what I can. It’s not my best work, but he’ll get at least one more season out of this shirt he loves to wear.

Now the personal project I’ve been <<eager rubs hands together>> looking forward to all weekend!

I’ve become obsessed with getting rid of the clunky dresser in our small bedroom, and that means making better use of our closet spaces. Enter hours of research and the arrival of the Elfa system. My husband is out with a friend, so I set it up myself.

The Container Store Elfa Drawer Unit
Observe the poor Photoshop job I did blocking out my name and address

I’m thankful for that big batch of shepherd’s pie, because all I have to do is heat up leftover for dinner, then crouch at the computer again.

I need more denim thread and a new seam ripper, so I head online to Joann Fabrics, my go-to spot for inexpensive notions. While I’m here and ordering stuff, should I grab new scissors? Browsing the options, I forgot how a pair of utilitarian scissors can cost $20. The price isn’t unreasonable, but scissors aren’t not a priority for today. $8.91

Phew–after a busy weekend, it feels so nice to end the night by sinking into our now hotel-esque bed!



I spent HOURS of my life researching trips, and I didn’t even book anything 🙁

Do you find productive weekends to be kind of exhausting, too?
How are you planning future trips and shopping purchases?
Any recs for a favorite Vegas hotel?

Featured Image: The Luxe Strategist

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