Spending Diary: A Digital Marketer in San Diego Who is Saving Half


Spending Diaries is a new series on TFFM! To kick it off, I thought I would track my own spending for a week and see how it goes. It ended up being a fun experiment in mindfulness and a great reflection on my monetary values. Want to be part of the next Spending Diaries? Email me: taylor@thefreedomfrommoney.com (You can be anonymous!)




Wake up, journal with coffee. Get ready for the day. My sister picks me up so we can take her dog on a morning hike.



We stop at 7/11 on the way to my job so I can pick up some overpriced dish soap. We’re out and Alex (my fiancée!) won’t have time after a 12-hour work day. My sister also buys me a doughnut from the local shop—NOM NOM ($2.69)



Snacking at my desk all day and eating food I brought from home. (PB&J, artichoke frittata and fruit).



Lunchtime workout! I head to the gym on campus to do some running.



Back at my desk and ready for another snack.



Time to go home! I don’t own a car, so I’ve been taking Lyft to and from work. Not sure if it will be my long term solution, but it’s working for now. ($5.09)



Home! I read for a while, play with cat (*heart eyes emoji*) and relax after the workday. Leftover soup from the Crock Pot for dinner.



Alex is home! Time to hang out and catch up ❤



Time for bed. (I literally need 8 hours a night. It’s insane.)






Up bright and early for a workout with my sister, but she texts me and says she’s not feeling well, so the workout is postponed. I don’t read the full text, but go back to bed for a bit.



Alex brings me coffee in bed ❤



There are knocks on the door and I get up to answer. Opps. It’s my sister and she’s here to pick up a few things and take me to work. (Guess I should have read the whole text…) I get ready super fast and we leave in 20 minutes.



Back at work for another day!



Filming a video of a professor. I’m nervous but it turns out well!



Lunch time.  Artichoke frittata that I made on Sunday.






Work is done! Time to work out on campus before I head to a meeting for the Trevor Project.



My run is done. Catch an Uber to the meeting and learn about getting involved. ($8.67)



The meetings starts (and there’s free wine, crackers and cheese—score!) It’s awesome, the cause is close to my heart and I’m excited to get involved.



Alex (aka the best partner in the entire world) comes to pick me up from the meeting after a 13 hour day at work ❤



I’m full from the free snacks, but I whip up some tacos for Alex to say thanks for the ride.



After some hanging out and catching up, it’s my bedtime.






Up and getting ready for the day with some coffee and journaling, the usual.



Leave for a walk with my sister and the cutest dog in the world.



Dropped off at work courtesy of my sis.



Breakfast (and lunch?!) I make the rookie mistake of eating my food before 11AM. #crying Veggies and PB&J.



Meetings, work, article writing. Take our interns out to coffee since it’s the last meeting of the year before they have winter break, but my boss insists on paying.



Workday is over! Grab a Lyft to the grocery store to pick up a few things to make my sister a Crock Pot full of chicken & dumplings for after her surgery tomorrow + some beer for Alex and ingredients for Spanish rice—vegetarian version for Alex and meat for me. (Lyft $4.36 + $15.00 for my half of the groceries = $19.36)



Done with shopping! Get a Lyft home ($3.22)



Get the Crock Pot going and start making rice while I do a quick arm and ab workout at home.



More cooking, some cleaning



Alex is home! Time to eat and relax.


It’s my ridiculously early bedtime.





Slept in too late to work out before work. (This haunts me for the rest of the day cause I don’t have another time to do it.)



My sister picks me up and we head to her doctor’s appointment. (My boss very kindly let me come in a little late so I could go with her.)



Everything goes well and she’s done! She drops me off at work on her way home and I leave her with the Crock Pot chicken and dumplings I made the night before.



Time to work. Mainly emails and prep work today. I take a 10-minute break to book flight tickets I had on hold and just like that, we are officially going to London in spring! ($550 for my flight—but this comes from my “London” fund, not my monthly budget)



The day goes by super fast! I grab a Lyft to my sister’s house to check in on her and hang out for a bit. The Lyft driver and I talk about his marathon running experience and I’m pretty sure he has convinced me to sign up for one in summer—ekkk! ($6.67)



After watching some Real Housewives and walking the dog with my sister, I head home via Lyft for ($3.13)



Blogging Mastermind call! (Aka: 4 of us hop on Skype and talk about blogs and life)



Time for a late dinner of leftover Spanish rice.



Alex is working the late shift and I’m asleep before Alex comes home 😦






Late-ish morning with coffee and journaling



Grab a Lyft to the office ($5.57)



I eat more leftover Spanish rice for breakfast (Is it possible to eat too much Spanish rice?!)



Busy day at work—meetings, emails and edits.



Time for a lunchtime workout at the on campus gym!



It’s the weekendddddddddd. Grab a Lyft to my sister’s place to check in on her and hang out for a little bit. ($0 because I got a promo for $5 off 20 rides)



Time to head home. Grab another Lyft for $0.



Alex is home!! Time for wine, leftovers and quality time.



Finally time for sleep.






It’s a super late morning, but I slept SO well and I’m not even mad about it. Journaling and coffee while Alex sleeps for a bit more.



We pick up my sister and head to the outdoor mall for some returns, Christmas shopping and the Bath and Bodyworks sale. Alex buys us a few candles and they do some other shopping too. ($0 for me)



Back at home and it’s time for the dreaded monthly Costco shop (I LOVE Costco, but spending so much money at one time makes me sweat).



After a long shop that included most of the groceries for the month, alcohol for Alex’s birthday and LOTS of Christmas alcohol, we’re faced with the damage. ($150 each)



In preparation for Alex’s birthday and a homemade dinner for a friend tomorrow night, I have more grocery shopping to do. It’s mainly things I don’t want in bulk. First stop is Ralph’s ($20) and then Trader Joe’s ($5).



Finally home! We whip up some tacos for dinner and relax for a bit before heading out to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch downtown!



Grab a Lyft downtown because parking is impossible and super expensive. ($5.00 with the promo and it’s my treat)



Alex buys us drinks before the show and we settle in to our amazing seats (that we already paid for)!



The show is over! It was really good and we talk about it the whole way home in the Lyft. ($11.00 because of surge prices and my treat again)



Time for sleep!






I wake up earlier than I meant to so I read for a bit while I have my morning coffee.



I start making the Crock Pot curry for tonight’s dinner. (Can you tell I love my Crock Pot? lol) I also start cleaning and getting ready.

Alex leaves for church, but I stay home today cause one of my best friends is in town!



My best friend and her boyfriend stop by before the football game (she surprised him with tickets—aww) They bring Champagne and OJ and we have mimosas while we catch up.



Alex is home! We all hang for a bit before I drop them off at the stadium.



Alex and I leave for a local play that we’re seeing with a group of friends from my work. It’s soooooo good. Apparently this was the weekend of good theatre.

We rush home cause one of my favorite friends from college is here! She’s spending the night with us and we’re doing a night in (hence the Crock Pot curry). We open a giant bottle of Costco wine and come up with a bizarre yet wonderful theme for the night—Clue (why? I have no idea lol) We play the board game before dinner. Afterwards, we feast on curry, rice and naan bread. Now it’s time for the Clue movie and cookie dough.



After lots of talking, laughing and another round of board games, we all call it a night.


TOTAL SPENT: $792.27

Transportation: $52.71

Groceries: $192.69

Travel: $550.00


What I Learned:

Most of my purchases align with my core values: family and friends. There isn’t anything more important to me, so it was nice to see that my spending (especially the big things like the flight to London and food) were to spend time with the people I love. Having said that, I definitely wish I made more money.

I feel like I’m at a place where my spending is pretty low and my saving rate is pretty high and the only real change I can make at this point is to earn more.

It’s not an impossible task, but I want to do so in a sustainable way that still allows me to have a great work/life balance and spend time with the people I love, doing things I love (cooking, working out, morning walks, etc).

Before doing the spending diary, I knew that I ~wanted~ to earn more, but I didn’t realize that my hesitation about pursuing it was that I don’t want to give up too much of my time. But now that I’m conscious of what I want—a side job that is fairly enjoyable and not too time intensive—I think I’ll finally be able to start working towards it.

I also learned that I like cooking, a lot!



Have you ever done a spending diary?

Want to do one for TFFM?! You can be anonymous!



9 thoughts on “Spending Diary: A Digital Marketer in San Diego Who is Saving Half

  1. TJ says:

    This is cool! I like the format. Can I ask why you used Uber rather than Lyft for the Tuesday ride? 😀

    Did you decide to stop cycling to work because of the time change or are you just over it?

    Also, did any of tips i give help you find a more affordable flight or did it basically end up being what you expected?


  2. Taylor says:

    Hah, that honestly might have been a typo about the Uber 😉 I’m pretty committed to my Lyft brand loyalty, haha.

    One of the main reasons I stopped biking was because it honestly felt SO unsafe with the cars 😦 Some of the intersections were actual death traps, so I finally decided that it wasn’t worth it. Which was a huge bummer cause I actually really enjoyed it.

    I didn’t use my miles for the flight! hahaha. I decided to just save them for domestic flights cause I could not for the life of me figure out how to get rid of the “carrier fee”


    1. TJ says:

      In that case, if you did a round trip to UK for a$550, that sounds pretty good! Good for you.!

      I also love that you are able to utilize Lyft for everything btw.

      I’d love to see a post summarizing a typical Lyft month. I feel like I always get discount emails from them (I wonder if I can donate my discounts to you? haha), but I only used them one time when the Honda dealer van driver wouldn’t pick up the phone, so I called lyft to take me to the car dealer so that i could get my car.

      Maybe I’m just a weirdo,l but I’d be very interested in seeing how you handle trips that have multiple quick stops..like say you need to go the grocery store AND the pharmacy, but they are in different shopping centers. I assume it costs for the driver to idle for you, but I also assume that if you needed to wait for a new driver it could take some time.

      I’ll probably keep my car until it breaks down, but I’d be interested in understanding how much it would cost to use Lyft as a primary method of transportation rather than, you know, spending $15,000- $20,000 on my NEXT car. Because, you know, that buys a lot of lyft rides.


  3. Sarah Noelle @ The Yachtless says:

    Haha, I’m glad I’m not alone in using Lyft sometimes (specifically Lyft Line, the much cheaper version where you end up riding with other passengers). We do have good public transportation in Boston, so that’s usually a totally fine option, but Lyft is a good backup option if I need to get somewhere super fast.

    Yay, it’s crock pot season! I’m excited to start using mine again. 🙂


  4. moneycorgi says:

    Hi Taylor

    I used to do things like this when I started trying to save money. It’s one of the best ways to identify where big chunks of your money are going. you don’t realise how much all the little items add up until you sit down and actually calculate it.


  5. Raj@finance nize says:

    Damn, I’m really impressed with the format of the details, By the way, can I know why did you take Uber rides instead of some other services like lyft? I guess you’ve got some extra workload or might be busy in some other things which is why you didn’t do cycling on Tuesday. And is there any specific reason for choosing uber over Lyft? No doubt that Uber is good but lyft is the best when you really wants to reach the destination super fast.


  6. Sanjib says:

    Wow, this was one of the most amazing formats of writing an article that I came across. Being in the field of digital marketing myself, I can totally relate to this. Always keep up the positive approach that you are moving with as it will help you in your path to success. And no matter how much you earn, always keep your savings hefty.

    PS: Taking your inspiration, I will also start learning how to cook.


  7. Rajkumar says:

    Hi Taylor,
    Wow, I must agree that you have been calculating everything. I should give it a try. The idea to know where am I spending the most and maybe I can come with a solution, which can help me save money. There are many techniques which I have applied, and yes, some of them worked well, and I was able to see my bad spending habits, thank you for sharing the information with us Taylor.


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