How do you spend your money? Part 1

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Money. We all have it, and we all spend it. But how much we have and how much we spend varies for everyone. We wanted to see what that looks like in a typical week, so we asked some brave volunteers to track their spending. 

Our first installment of How Do You Spend Your Money? features Mel—a creative professional in her early 30s living in Halifax. Take it away, Mel!

I like to think I’m fairly good with my money, so this challenge is an interesting way to confirm that thought! I have a weekly budget that I try really hard to stick to—every Friday I start off with a set amount of money for groceries, fun, entertainment, and misc. stuff like cat food, bus tickets, and other household related things. Once it’s gone, I’m out of money until the next week. In theory, this should be a great system. But in practice once I run out of cash, I often break out the plastic which is not the most financially responsible thing to do.

Day 1: Monday
Daily Total: $1.65

Idecided I’d treat myself to a cup of licorice mint tea as a way to kick theweek off. However, being an early riser, when I went to the café, it wasclosed.

Iwas successful, however, in spending a whopping $1.65 on a chocolate chipoatmeal cookie later in the day.

Day 2: Tuesday
Daily Total: $77

Drugstore stuff: $39.83
Artsupplies: $28.94

Idon’t really wear a ton of make-up, but I do usually wear mascara every day. Mytube was getting a little crusty so I figured it was time for a new one. I alsostocked up on some vitamins, lip balm and a lip gloss. The lip gloss wastotally a want purchase, not a need purchase, but here we are.

Ihave started doing paper quilling—it involves rolling tiny strips of paper witha tool that you can then shape into other things. I find it very relaxing. OnceI roll the paper, I attach it to canvas to create art. I have a big project onthe go that’s ready to be glued so I had to pick up some canvas at the artstore.

Sinceit was a rainy, dreary day I wanted to make something warm and hearty fordinner. I decided on making butter chicken, but with chickpeas and veggiesinstead of actual chicken. I picked up some naan bread and a sweet potato toround out the recipe as well as a bag of SmartFood to snack on while cooking. 

Day 3: Wednesday
Daily total: $1.60

Todaywas a pretty busy day, I had leftovers for lunch and a surprise cookie from acoworker so I didn’t buy any food. I did however buy a pack of gum which set meback a whole $1.60. Which, is a lot for just a regular pack of gum butwhatever. 

Day 4: Thursday
Daily Total: $13.63


Iusually start the week off well prepared in the food department. I try to cooksomething big on Sunday night to get me through the first few lunches of theweek. Some weeks—ok, most of them—by the time Thursday/Friday roll around mealprep has fallen by the wayside so I end up buying lunch. I opted to get out ofmy office building and stretch my legs and go to a little sandwich shop downthe street. I purchased a delicious wrap and got to take in a little lunchtimesun. 

Summerin Halifax can be pretty fleeting, so any chance I have to enjoy the great outdoorsI usually try to seize, so I went to an outdoor yoga class in the evening. Ihave a monthly yoga membership, but I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to beoutside. Plus, can you really put a price on finding your zen?

Day 5: Friday
Daily total: $46.15


TodayI fully fell off the meal prep wagon and ended up buying breakfast, lunch, anddinner. Not the most fiscally responsible thing, but a girl’s gotta eat.

Sinceit was a busy week I treated myself to a pastry and a tea from my favouritebakery. It’s a little pricey but totally worth it. Their bread, desserts,pastries, everything is the stuff dreams are made of. 

Forlunch, I was in a bit of a hurry, so I had a cinnamon raison bagel with butterand some fruit from the café in the bottom of my office building. 

Afterwork, I met some friends for a drink at a new cider brewery. Halifax is goingthrough a bit of a micro-brew boom right now which means there are lots ofdelicious places to check out. I decided to try a sampler of four differentciders and an order of frites as a snack.

Then,we went to a different place for another drink. I had a delicious glass ofSpanish wine and then we called it a night at a very reasonable and early hour. 

Daily total: $57

Markethaul: $40
Pizza:$17 (including tip)

Oneof my favourite Saturday morning activities is to get up early and hit up mylocal farmers’ market. I was in and out in under 10 minutes and left with: adozen eggs, one bunch of carrots, a head of broccoli, a bag of new potatoes, abag of organic salad greens, one box of strawberries, one box of tomatoes, snappeas, an apple turnover, and two basil plants. 

Iopted for a night in to catch up on some sleep, Netflix, and general lazingabout. Despite having a fridge full of delicious fresh veggies, I ordered apizza. I regret nothing.

Daily total: $48.48

Beachentry/parking: $10
Bottleof water: $2.50

Today,I woke up, ate some leftover pizza and hitched a ride with some friends to thebeach. 

Wewent to a private beach, which means there was an entry fee. Because my frienddrove and bought me some chips I offered to pay. At first, I was on the fenceabout paying to go to the beach—we live in Nova Scotia! There are plenty ofbeaches! But after spending the day lounging on pristine sand, with clear watergently lapping the shore I’ve been converted.

Atthe end of the day I was parched, so I shelled out for a bottle of water. Ihate buying bottled water, but me and my sunburn needed to be quenched.

Inthe evening, I picked up a few more groceries for the week ahead with the hopesmy meal prep skills will be better than they were last week. 

Grand total for theweek: $245.51

Finalthoughts: At the beginning of the week if I were to estimate my weekly spend, Iwould put it at about $150 maximum. This was a little eye opening. I spend alot of my money on food—both at the grocery store and from eating meals out. That’sone area I can definitely improve on.