I am obsessed with those “What I spend in a week living in x” videos on YouTube, mostly to roll my eyes at people’s outrageous spending habits (like fellow Seattlite Monica Church spending $400 on her hair) or misrepresenting their costs (like not including rent, bills, subscriptions, etc.). And also, I’m trying to be more fluent in personal finance and… I’m nosey. I can admit that, can you?
Before we start, a few disclaimers:
- I live in a house in the Fremont neighborhood with three other people. Check out my space in this tour.
- All my loans are personal loans from my dad (meaning no interest, pay back at my own leisure, etc.).
- My dad pays my car insurance and phone bill (but when I was living in the UK, I paid my own which was $15 a month).
- We are on a family Spotify plan and I use my family’s Netflix and Disney+ and my boyfriend’s Hulu.
- My daily driving route is about 8 miles, takes less than twenty minutes and I drive a Honda Civic.
Finally before we start, here’s how I calculated my spending:
- I keep an Excel spreadsheet sorted by month of what I spend, where and what category it falls into.
- I keep a rolling average of what I spend in each category.
- I divided my rolling average for February (when I was settled into my Seattle home and making money) to May by 18 as 2/1-5/31 was exactly 18 weeks.
Alright, let’s get it.
In this category, I lump appointments (haircuts, dyes, waxing) and any products I buy that aren’t from drugstores such as Lush items and my leave-in conditioner.
Room for improvement: This average will almost certainly go down a bit. I made the mistake of getting my hair dyed at a salon which took four hours and cost over $100 for more or less the same result as I’ve gotten at home, which takes two hours and only costs $10 for the dye. I’ve also gone on a Lush rampage recently and not totally crazy about all the products I’ve bought. Finally, I’ll save a bit of coin by doing Nair on my upper lip rather than waxing. I hope to see this down to $10/week by the end of the year.
This is what I invest and pay off to my dad.
Room for improvement: I’m at a pretty sweet spot right now using almost exactly 30% of my spending for debt/investment.
This is what I’ve spent so far for upcoming gigs.
Room for improvement: I’m afraid with COVID lifting, this is going to increase.
This category contains most everything you’d find in your typical Kroger: food, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, coffee filters, candles, cards, etc. This is also before splitting the bill with my partner, usually he’ll owe me about $10 a week in things I buy for the house/him.
Room for improvement: Although this encompasses a lot of products and pre-split cost, this number is still kind of shocking. I will have to look closely at my receipts and see where I’m going wrong. I hope to see this down to $90/week by the end of the year.
This is what I spend to have a roof over my head. Obviously these are more or less fixed costs and there is nothing I can do to change them. My rent is about as cheap as you can possibly find in Seattle ($600) and my utilities are what they are (~$160 a month). I also built my deposit into this price because although I full plan on getting it back, that’s still money out of my bank.
Takeaway/dining out: $35.05
Anything delivered or now that things are opening up, drinks and food out!
Room for improvement: Yikers. Well, we all know that those delivery apps absolutely gouge you in fees. With things opening up again, I’d rather spend money sitting down somewhere. If I’m having a lazy night in, I’ll drive to pick something up. Most places in Seattle now have a special spot outside the restaurant just for pick-up. I hope to see this down to $30/week by the end of the year.
This includes gas for my car, ferries, tolls, parking, bus (public transit is no longer free in Seattle sadly).
Room for improvement: I’m pretty happy with this, especially since I don’t use Uber often.
This includes flights, parking at the airport, food on travel and camp site reservations.
Room for improvement: This will most certainly go up with things opening up again. Can’t say I’m sorry.
Gifts, clothes, books, charity: $20.66
These were all small numbers so I just lumped them together: birthday gifts, clothes (I’ve only bought a pair of boots and a t-shirt so far this year, both with my work discount), books and charity donations.
Room for improvement: With Christmas and the inevitability of needing new clothes at some point this year, I can see this number going up, but I’d still like to keep it under $35/week.
My gym costs $69 a month, which includes the $99 joining fee, key deposit and parking. I go 2-4 times a week and love it, I can just zone out to YouTube on the elliptical for an hour.
This is just kind of a cluster of other things I mostly needed but also could have probably survived without: exampled include a space heater (actually this one I could not have survived without), plants, Washington driver’s license, domain fee for this blog and a vacuum.
Room for improvement: This will likely stay about the same, but I could probably get it down to around $30/week.
Online shopping: $23.56
I love me some small business buys. I’ve bought funky earrings, stickers, posters, rolling tray, pins… you name it. I’d love to do a blog post on them!
Room for improvement: Although I don’t regret any of these purchases, I could definitely do with less of them. I’ll have to mute some Twitter accounts to not impulse buy and hope to get this down to $15/week.
Grand total: $684.60
Wow, I’m really glad I did this because that number is a bit higher than I would have expected per week, even though I keep on top of my finances. With this current average, that’s about my whole paycheck. Granted, this is literally everything (and then some) I spend my money on and there’s room for flexibility. Now that things are opening up again and travel is on the horizon, I want to prioritize that over takeaway and online shopping.
What do you spend in a week? Do any of my habits make you cringe?