What I spend in a week living in Seattle

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:

  1. I live in a house in the Fremont neighborhood with three other people. Check out my space in this tour.
  2. All my loans are personal loans from my dad (meaning no interest, pay back at my own leisure, etc.).
  3. 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).
  4. We are on a family Spotify plan and I use my family’s Netflix and Disney+ and my boyfriend’s Hulu.
  5. 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:

  1. I keep an Excel spreadsheet sorted by month of what I spend, where and what category it falls into.
  2. I keep a rolling average of what I spend in each category.
  3. 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.

Beauty: $17.50

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.

Debt/savings: $205.78

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.

Events: $10.11

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.

Food: $103.16

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.

House: $173.22

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.

Transport: $13.44

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.

Travel: $36.67

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.

Gym: $7.67

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.

Miscellaneous: $37.78

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?


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: