Welcome to the “My 2 Cents Transaction” Series, a money diary log written by contributors of all different income levels, locations, and occupations. Each contributor will be logging their weekly expenses in either food, lifestyle, or activities/entertainment. This is not meant to flaunt what other people are doing or how much they are spending but to open the eyes of individuals about money and how to take control of your future finances. Thanks so much for reading as always & if you’d like to be an anonymous contributor feel free to email me at email@example.com or message me on Insta/Twitter. xx Rae[line]Occupation: Senior Program Manager
Location: San Francisco/NOLA
Total Spent This Week: $307
On Friday I had the day off from work for an extended weekend in New Orleans for my cousin's graduation. I ordered my Lyft line for $16 (with tip, always tip your drivers, especially for shared rides!). I had an overpriced and underwhelming turkey wrap at the airport for $13 and was on my way. When I touched down in NOLA, our group went to a wine bar with tapas plates. My cousins got the drinks and I got the food ($55). Not bad considering it fed 6 of us.
Total Spent: $84
Saturday was the graduation day. Side note: I've been to several graduations before but this one was one of the most unique and entertaining. Even though I fell asleep through some of the speeches due to jetlag, the live jazz, celebrity keynote, fireworks and glitter really set it apart. Between the general commencement and the specific school ceremony, we each got lunch from the cafeteria. $7 for a rice bowl. After all of the festivities, we took a stroll into the French Quarters and ended up at the Carousel Bar. That's right, there's a bar that literally rotates while you enjoy your cocktail(s). It's quite the experience and the drinks are high quality. I got the first round for my cousins at $55. After a delicious BBQ dinner that my uncle treated, we went to a dueling piano bar where my cousins got the 2nd round and on the way back to the hotel, we made an impromptu drunk food stop at Halal Guys for $10.
Total Spent: $72
Sunday was our last day in New Orleans so we did some toursity things and walked through the French Market. I picked up some souveniers for a total of $22. My mom treated me to the quintissential raw and baked oyster lunch at Acme which was amazing. After walking around more through the French Quarter, we met up with my cousins for one more round at the Carousel. $18 for 2 drinks and we were ready for dinner. By the way, at this time, I got an email from my airlines that my flight had been canceled and rebooked for the next day. After the initial shock, I remembered I had travel protection with my Chase Sapphire Reserve card (the best credit card you can get by the way!) and called them up to check. Since it was the airlines fault (mechanical issues), I was covered for up to $500 for hotel, food, taxi, etc. So, that night, I treated the group to dinner at this nice French restaurant.
Total Spent: $39
Thanks to American Airlines and Chase, my mom and I got to stay an extra night at the JW Marriott (normally $220 a night). Since my mom is an Elite member, we got some really good complimentary breakfast. Since this delay was unexpected, I had to "work from home" so we didn't do too much more sight seeing. Mom treated for lunch and we headed out to the airport. Since American had canceled our flight, they gave us about $60 in meal vouchers. I split half with my cousins who left on an earlier flight, and then used the rest to buy dinner and a lot of Naked juices. Free money, yo! The flight was uneventful, and I when I got to SFO, I was pleasantly surprised for my Lyft line to only cost $10. But all the freebies finally caught up to me when I realized the 1 day delay resulted in a $71 parking ticket for street cleaning. UGH!
Total Spent: $81
On Tuesday, it was back to work. I usually drive to my company's shuttle stop about 30 minutes away and then take the shuttle for another hour. I think that qualifies as a 'super commute'. Unfortunately, nothing to be proud of. At work, they serve free breafast and lunch (Tech company perks are awesome). After a long day at work, my coworker wanted to treat me to dinner for my belated birthday so we got soup dumplings after the bus ride.
Total Spent: $0
On Wednesday, it was another typical day of commuting and working. For dinner, I had my left over grilled chicken sandwhich from the airport. No point in wasting food, right? Plus, I felt like I had spent a lot in New Orleans so it was time to be a little frugal.
Total Spent: $0
Thursday was yet another normal work day. I don't remember much of what happened other than a lot of meetings and saving a sandwhich from lunch for dinner. I typically don't do this but the pulled pork sandwhich was too hard to pass up. Also, it felt pretty awesome to not spend any money on food for 3 days straight. I did have to fill up my gas tank though, but luckily I have a small car.
Total Spent: $31
I was a little worried about tracking my expenses during my trip to NOLA but it turned out to be fine. Actually, the subtotals are pretty representative of my lifestyle. I tend to live pretty humbly and frugally on a regular basis but like to enjoy my time off the clock. I have also realized that while buying rounds of food or drinks for groups can be expensive, I find joy in sharing that experience with people I care about. I'm thankful that I have the financial means. I also realized that I "play the system" a lot. Meaning, I tend to take advantage of corporate benefits whenever possible. Whether that's filing a $500 insurance claim with my credit card company, working remotely from my 40th floor hotel room, or a taking "free" sandwhich from work. My motto is, if you don't play the system, the system will play you! All in all, I enjoyed this exercise. I may try it on my own from time to time to keep myself in check.