1.15.18 14

Money Diary: A Week in Arlington, VA

Happy Monday, friends! If you have today off work, I am incredibly jealous!

The idea for this post came last week when I was binge-reading Refinery29 Money Diaries after my friend Diana posted this outrageous one to her Twitter: A Week in New York City on $1.5 Million Salary. I’ve long loved these Money Diaries, and have thought several times about writing and submitting one to the site. But after so many of you enjoyed reading how I spent my money in 2017, I thought it would be more fun to share a similar version here.

Because this is not anonymous like the real Refinery29 Money Diaries, I’m going to omit my salary, paycheck, and monthly expenses to protect my privacy, and instead focus this post on what I spent over the last week. For those of you that don’t know, I’m 27 and do marketing for a real estate developer in Arlington, Virginia.

A couple of notes before we dive in. First, for ease, I rounded up to the closest dollar. Second, I’m doing Dry January so I probably would have spent $20-40 more had I been drinking. And lastly, though I pay for my exercise classes in large chunks, but broke them down by class cost below so you’d get a sense of how much each one costs. 

Day One — Sunday, January 8

11 a.m. — I wake up, toast a frozen Bodo’s bagel, and sit down to do a couple of hours of blog work while watching Hart of Dixie, which I’m re-watching on Netflix. I forgot how much I love this show!

1:45 p.m. — My sister picks me up and we head to a movie theater near my apartment that has those amazing reclining seats. We settle in for an afternoon showing of I, Tonya and manage to avoid any temptation from the snack bar. $15

4:15 p.m. — After the movie’s over, I run across the street to pick up my favorite Mexican salad for an early dinner. I really should just eat something I have at home since I have a stocked fridge, but the temptation is all too real. $12

6:00 p.m. — I meet my friend for Mass and we sang Christmas carols one last time this season in honor of the Feast of the Epiphany.

7:15 p.m. — I swing by the grocery store to pick up some fruit and vegetables for the week to go with the turkey meatballs, Italian meatloaf, and cajun meatloaf I meal prepped over last week. $15

Daily Total: $42


Day Two — Monday, January 9

9:30 a.m. — I arrive at work and heat up my favorite breakfast: the Skinnytaste egg nests. I make these in a huge batch and then freeze them in pairs for an easy weekday breakfast that is also very affordable. I dip mine in Cholula—delicious! I then dig into the Monday morning grind of catching up on my emails and heading to my first meetings of the week.

12:30 p.m. — I have a work lunch at the restaurant next door to our office, and I take advantage of their executive lunch special and opt for the house side salad and chicken sandwich. Since it’s for business, the cost of my lunch was expensed.

2:00 p.m. — Our office closed early due to impending ice during rush hour, so I pack up my laptop and head home to work the rest of the afternoon.

5:50 p.m. — It hasn’t started to ice yet, so I decide to head to spin class. Since I’m home, I decide to drive since I can park for free after 6pm and I avoid any Metro fees.

6:15 p.m. — I check into spin class and rent shoes for $2, kicking myself for not having made the investment in my own pair yet. I spend the next hour riding a bike that goes nowhere in a dark room and loving every minute of it. $19

7:30 p.m. — I head home after spin class and make myself a homemade dinner and enjoy it with a La Croix. I then settle in to switch back and forth between the National Championship and Hart of Dixie.

Daily Total: $19


Day Three — Tuesday, January 9

9:00 a.m. — I head to work and heat up my Skinnytaste egg nests and prepare for a full morning of meetings and working sessions.

12:45 p.m. — With my morning meetings over, I’ve had a chance to catch up on my inbox and shoot off a few quick responses. I then heat up some turkey meatballs and roasted broccoli I brought from home to enjoy while catching up on some of my favorite blogs.

6:15 p.m. — I run across the street from my office to grab a Chipotle burrito bowl for dinner. I typically leave work around this time, but since a few of my coworkers and I were going to see a movie after work, I decided it didn’t make sense to head home. $8

7:15 p.m.  — My coworkers and I decide to see The Greatest Showman on a whim, making this my second movie in a week. I’ve since become obsessed with the soundtrack. $15

9:15 p.m. — After our early evening showing, I walk home and settle in for the night, watching the newest episode of This is Us I recorded on my DVR.

Daily Total: $23


Day Four — Wednesday, January 10

8:45 a.m. — I arrive at work a little earlier than usual to assist with a reporter call. I grab a yogurt and granola from the office, which is provided to use for free as an employee benefit.

1:00 p.m. — On Wednesdays, the office caters lunch in for everyone. This week, it’s my favorite caterer—GRK. They bring us the best Mediterranean chicken, pita bread, salad, and tzatziki. This is the one lunch a week my coworkers and I typically eat together, so it’s fun to catch up on how everyone’s weeks are going.

3:30 p.m. — I’m really craving a piece of gum, and there’s none to be found in the office, so I walk down the street to buy a pack of Trident Layers. $2

6:15 p.m. — I hope on the Metro for the quick ride from my office to spin class. $3

6:30 p.m. — I arrive at the studio and, yet again, pay the $2 shoe rental fee. $19

7:30 p.m. — As a hump day treat, I head to sweetgreen after class to pick up one of my favorite salads. Luckily, I still have a gift card from Christmas, so this dinner was on Santa.

7:40 p.m. — I head back home on the Metro, and since it’s not a peak time anymore, the fare is a little bit cheaper than my earlier ride. $2

9:30 p.m. — Even though I said I wasn’t going to do any online shopping during the month of January, I let temptation get the best of me. I pick up this rug for under my dining room table and this faux palm plant for a corner of my apartment that doesn’t get a ton of natural light. $382

Daily Total: $408


Day Five — Thursday, January 11

9:15 a.m. — I kick the day off at work with some turkey sausage I brought from home—can you tell I always eat breakfast at work?—and then dive right into my hardest work of the day.

12:30 p.m. — My company buys us Galley DC meals for dinner on Wednesday nights, but since I exercise right after work and there’s never a good way to store it for that hour, I always eat mine for Thursday lunch. On the menu for me this week is a beef taco bowl with a side salad.

5:55 p.m. — My former coworker stops by the office to tell us about architecture school and her holiday break proposal. We then Uber down to 14th Street for happy hour, which my boss picked up.

6:30 p.m. — Our team enjoys a nice meal at Ghibellina, and while I am *so* tempted to break dry January, I settle for a ginger ale to complement my salad and classic margherita pizza. Since this was a team building event, my meal was expensed.

8:00 p.m. — After dinner, we headed to the new Jeni’s Ice Cream on 14th Street. Though it was uncharacteristically warm, I skipped the ice cream, but hung around to catch up with my coworkers a bit longer.

8:30 p.m. — Once we were done at Jeni’s, a coworker and I split an Uber home. $7

10:00 p.m. — Before I call it a day, I grab this beautiful Halogen dress for work using a Nordstrom giftcard I was given for my birthday—it covers all but a dollar of the purchase. $1

Daily Total: $8


Day Six — Friday, January 12

9:30 a.m. — I sneak into work a little bit on the later side this morning and heat up some turkey sausage and a blueberry muffin I brought from home. I have several high-priority tasks I want to get to this morning before I hit that Friday afternoon slump.

12:45 p.m. — I heat up a piece of cajun meatloaf and some roasted broccoli I brought from home for lunch and catch up on one of my favorite guilty pleasure reads, People.com.

6:30 p.m. — I head to one of my favorite Friday night activities, Orangetheory. There’s a regular crowd on Friday and the instructor is one of my favorites (*cough he’s hot cough*), so it’s a good way to kick off the weekend. $15

7:30 p.m. — After a great sweat session, I head to sweetgreen to pick up a salad for dinner. That giftcard I mentioned before is still going strong, so this salad is also free for me. I then walk back to my apartment and enjoy a chill Friday night at home laying out the rug I bought earlier this week and watching Kate & Leopold, which I was able to find for free on Fios On Demand.

Daily Total: $15


Day Seven — Saturday, January 13

10:00 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I toast a frozen Bodo’s bagel. I immediately regret my decision since I’m just a few hours away from hopping on a bike at SoulCycle, but, hey, that’s what weekends are for!

10:40 a.m. — I leave my apartment and head to SoulCycle Georgetown to meet up with Ashlee, Kristyn, and Laura for a sweat date. I’m aiming to arrive at the studio a little bit early to help Ashlee take some photos for a collaboration. I toy with the idea of searching for street parking in Georgetown, but decide to save my sanity and park at my favorite garage down there. $13

11:45 a.m. — We’re clipped in and ready to ride with Jonas! Laura invited our group since she had a free SoulCycle party, so my class and shoes were complimentary.

12:30 p.m. — After class, we head next door to South Block for a post-class pick-me-up. Since I shot photos for Ashlee, she was kind enough to pick up my super green smoothie.

1:30 p.m. — I hit up Target for a random sundry of items I need—Cetaphil, nailpolish top coat. mouthwash, La Croix—and end up doing my grocery shopping for the week here, too. Of course, I can’t help myself, and come home with a new wire gold basket for my kitchen and two packs of faux orange vase fillers to put in it, because, let’s be real, I’m not at the place in life where I can buy real fruit as decor. Because I have a Target Credit Card, I was able to save 5% of my purchases, which is essentially the Virginia sales tax. $110

6:30 p.m. — After a lazy afternoon on my couch, I head to my best friend’s house for a cozy movie night on this cold night. There’s free parking at her house, so I drive over there. We order Chinese food, which is such a treat for me since I hate ordering it just for one person—I can’t eat all that food! $25

11:00 p.m. — Our feature film, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, ends and I decide to head home and call it an early (for me) night.

Daily Total: $148


In total, I spent $663 this week, which is probably on the higher side for me since I don’t typically drop nearly $400 in home goods. Whenever I overspend one week, though, I make sure to cut back the next week so that it all evens out.

If you have any favorite money diaries—send them my way! I love reading them. x

Leave a Comment


  1. This was such an interesting post- I like getting a peek into how others spend their money (you and I have so many similar habits!) thanks for opening up to us!

    Published 1.15.18
    • Katie wrote:

      I am so glad it was interesting :] It was really fun to put together!

      Published 1.18.18
  2. I love this post Katie!! So happy to have served as a partial inspiration 🙂 Hahah. And I also cannot stop listening to the Greatest Showman soundtrack. It’s amazing!!

    Published 1.15.18
    • Katie wrote:

      Thanks so much! So glad you appreciate the Greatest Showman as much as me!

      Published 1.18.18
  3. Ok I LOVE reading these type of posts and may have to steal this idea! I’d be right there with you with all the homegoods right now haha!


    Published 1.16.18
    • Katie wrote:

      You should do it! I’m nosy and enjoy reading stuff like this :]

      Published 1.18.18
  4. Kristin wrote:

    This was such a fun post! I love seeing what other people do in a regular day because I’m nosey haha, but I feel like I have some of the same spending habits!


    Published 1.16.18
    • Katie wrote:

      Yes! I am nosey, too :] Glad you enjoyed it!

      Published 1.18.18
  5. Emily wrote:

    Girl – I live in Arlington as well! <3 Let's be friends! Haha! Washington DC is honestly the best. I absolutely loved this play-by-play of your week – you are adorable!
    xoxo, Emily


    Published 1.17.18
  6. I loved this post! And I am envious of how well you are at budgeting!

    Xx Taylor

    Published 1.18.18
    • Katie wrote:

      Thanks so much, Taylor :]

      Published 1.18.18
  7. Rachel wrote:

    I love money diaries! Spending is definitely in flux from week to week but it’s really cool to get a look at a day in the life from a financial perspective!

    Published 1.26.18
  8. Anon wrote:

    Katie, you inspired me to start my own daily money diary!


    Published 3.30.22