2.9.20 1

How I Spent My Money in 2019

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may remember back in 2017 and early 2018, I used to work with a financial planner at LearnVest and during that time, used their money tracking software pretty religiously. Since I knew where every dollar was going, it was pretty easy for me to write a post about how I spent my money in 2017. Shortly after I wrote that post, I stopped using LearnVest and instead just practiced their budgeting philosophies on my own. After stopping LearnVest, since I didn’t have a budgeting app I was using regularly, I lacked a good way to track how I spent my money other than manually coding everything. So last year, I didn’t write a similar post recapping how I spent my money in 2018—I love the blog, but hand coding hundreds of transactions didn’t exactly scream “fun times” to me.

A week or so ago, I was reviewing my recent credit card charges and had a notification saying that my year-end spending report was ready. Other than rent, I put 99.9% of my expenses on a credit card, so this report made it really easy for me to see where my money went in 2019. To round out my full financial picture, I calculated how much I spent on rent and how much money I saved, and then calculated the percentage I spent in each category, which you’ll see below.

Looking at where I spent the majority of my money last year—rent, savings, travel, food + drink—was not a surprise to me at all, and I consider that to be a good thing since it means I have pretty good self awareness when it comes to my finances. I am sure my financial priorities will change over time, but for where I am at right now with a very “lock and leave” lifestyle, I’m happy to spend my money on traveling to new places and enjoying good food and drink with friends (and not cooking for one, hah!). One thing I have really tried to double down on the past couple of years is saving—I’ve slowly increased my 401(K) contributions, take advantage of the company stock plan, and squirrel away money into my emergency savings fund. I am really good at spending money, so saving is something I really have to work at—but I know it will pay off in the long run, and since I have a ~lifestyle~ I love, I want to make sure I can afford such luxuries in the retirement home one day.

Before we dive in, I want to disclaim that I am not financial planner or expert, and I’m simply sharing the below since I thought it would be an interesting read. I have a financial planner who helps me manage my money, and I’d totally recommend finding one to help you, too! You don’t have to be rich, own a home, or even make a ton of money to meet with one, and they can help you be so much smarter about your money. So with that said, here’s how I spent my money in 2019:

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2.7.20 10

Are You a Morning Person?

Ok y’all—today’s post is admittedly a little bit random and probably will be more stream of consciousness more than anything, but it’s been on my mind all week, so I wanted to write about it.

Last week, I was at happy hour with my old coworkers, Gabby and Olivia, and we were talking about our daily routines. It’s funny because I used to work with both of them, and when you spend upwards of 40 hours a week with people, you learn a lot about their lives. Now that we no longer work together, we were all curious how we structure our days, what our workout routines are now, and the hottest lunch places near our respective offices. During this conversation, we started talking about what time we get up every morning, if we hit snooze, what our morning routines look like, and if we make our beds.

It was such an interesting conversation because we started talking a lot about how our culture celebrates the early bird. I mean, have you ever seen an article or blog post that is titled ‘How to Become a Night Owl’? Yet, conversely, I can think of at least a dozen off the top of my head providing advice on how to become a morning person. And it turns out, we had all read The Atlantic article from December entitled The False Promise of Morning Routines, which reads:

“Morning-routine stories are a relatively new trend in the undying genre of self-help. In voyeuristic glimpses into a typically private time of day, the rich and the famous reveal how they are almost invariably superhumanly energetic. They meditate, run several miles, make matcha tea, do some yoga—all before 8 o’clock. Some dive into their email right away. Others ban phones at breakfast. But the through line is the same: A carefully choreographed morning routine is the key to a productive day. These people have it together, the stories seem to imply, and so can you, if you just wake up at 5:30 a.m.”

If you’ve read my blog for any period of time, you’ll know with certainty that I am not a morning person. At all! In my dream world, I could stay up until 2am everyday, sleep until 10am, and then go about my day. (Sadly that lifestyle doesn’t jive with my corporate job!) And I’ve also never desired to be a morning person because I know I am truly wired as a night owl. Read more “Are You a Morning Person?”

2.5.20 2

DC Dinner Club: January 2020

Happy hump day, y’all! I hope everyone’s week is going well—mine is going well, even though I feel like it’s always hard to go into the week fresh after Super Bowl Sunday. Luckily, I haven’t had too many things going on this week, so it’s been easy to get back in my routine of sleeping well and working out. It’s also been pretty mild for February in DC this week and it’s done wonders for my mood; I just don’t think I am the best version of myself when I have to basically wear a sleeping bag to walk around outside! Let’s just say, my trip to Miami two weeks from today can’t come soon enough.

Anyway—I am excited to get today’s post up as I shared a while back I was thinking about reformatting dinner club posts for 2020. While I love the idea of writing a dinner club post about each restaurant in theory, I felt like I had to write a book report on every restaurant I went to, and since I often dine out at night, the photos I snap on my iPhone aren’t always the highest quality. That being said, I do want to share the restaurants I’m trying around DC since a lot of people ask me for recs and I want to make sure I’m sharing new ones as they pop up vs. making folks wait for a full neighborhood guide. (And then there are some neighborhoods I just don’t get to often enough to write a full guide about!)

So today, I wanted to try a new format I thought might work well—rounding up the restaurants I try or visit on a monthly basis. Y’all still get my DC restaurant recs on a pretty frequent basis, but I don’t feel as much pressure to get a ton of great shots or document my whole meal from start to finish. The great thing about blogging, unlike a book or a printed magazine that has a publish date, is that you can try things as you go. I’ve tried a lot of things on TOT that have gone the way of the buffalo, but I’ve also tried a lot of things that worked. So, we’ll see how this goes!

Read more “DC Dinner Club: January 2020”