After I asked readers to share their own spending diaries, Veronica, a 24-year-old graduate student in Brooklyn, N.Y. (her last name is omitted to protect her privacy), offered to keep track of her expenditures. I was curious to learn about people's different saving strategies, and her diary did not disappoint. As you can see below, Veronica used a combination of comparison shopping, packing her lunches, and close relationships (you can't split a hot dog with a stranger, after all) to keep her spending in check. Veronica's diary:
I went to three different grocery stores in one day because they all had sale items I was interested in. While it took longer, I probably saved money because I wasn't buying nonsale items in any store, with the exception of the bananas and the milk. This probably isn't a viable strategy unless, like me, you have three grocery stores on the same street within 10 blocks of one another.
Just to explain the MTA charges, the machine at my station wasn't accepting credit cards that morning, so I felt the best bet was to buy the $7 MetroCard that actually has $8.05 in value.
Even though I did bring my own lunch to work, I was still hungry after eating it.
Surprisingly, I spent nothing else. I managed to pack enough food for my lunch that I did not buy anything to snack on during my night class, even after spending eight hours at work.
I'm not exactly sure who paid what for which concession items, and I'm fairly certain I'm still owed some money, but he'll cover something in the future and it will even out.
Total: $1,073.62. (This is a higher-than-normal spending total for five days, because I bought my monthly MetroCard and paid my rent.)