Spending Diaries, Women + Finances

Spending Diary: A Week in Orange County on a $57,000 Paralegal Salary

Crystal tracked her spending over the holidays (ekkk!) yet still managed to have a frugal, relaxing week. Beach runs, short workdays and time with family. What more can you ask for? Want to be part of the next Spending Diaries? Email me: taylor@thefreedomfrommoney.com (You can be anonymous!)

 

Name: Crystal Byrum

Age: 36

Occupation: Litigation Paralegal

Location: Orange County, CA

Annual Salary: $57,200 ($3,520 net a month)

Current monthly expenses: $2,266.15

 

A few of my financial goals for 2017 are:

  1. Max out my Roth IRA;
  2. Save 10% of my gross income in my employer’s 401(k); and
  3. Rebuild my emergency fund to $10,000.

 

Spending Diary for Sunday, December 18, 2016 to December 24, 2016

 

Sunday, December 18th

 

8:00 a.m.

Wake up. Sundays are the only days that I get to sleep in.

 

10:00 a.m.

Nick (the boyfriend) and I have breakfast at our favorite Jewish deli, Benjie’s. I buy a $30.00 gift certificate for my future father-in-law and his wife. ($30.00).

 

1:00 p.m.

Nick and I run errands. I buy Christmas gifts for my grams, dad and stepmom, and Nick’s stepsister and her boyfriend. ($63.88).

 

5:00 p.m.

Workout time! I do a new Zumba workout video I just got.

 

7:00 p.m.

I watch a documentary on Netflix called Minimalism.

 

9:00 p.m.

Lights out.

 

Monday, December 19th

 

5:45 a.m.

Wake up. I hate getting up early.

 

7:45 a.m.

Time for work. I send my niece and nephew $40 each for Christmas. ($80.00).

 

12:00 p.m.

Lunch time a/k/a quiet reading time in my car.

 

4:45 p.m.

Work time is done. Time for my daily phone call with Nick on my way home.

 

5:30 p.m.

I do another Zumba workout video.

 

6:30 p.m.

I watch TV and finish a book that I need to return to the library soon.

 

9:00 p.m.

Lights out.

 

Tuesday, December 20th

 

5:45 a.m.

Wake up.

 

7:45 a.m.

Time for work.

 

12:00 p.m.

Lunch/quiet reading time.

 

4:45 p.m.

Work time is done. Time for my daily phone call with Nick on my way home.

 

5:30 p.m.

I go for a run. I love the way I feel afterwards.

 

7:00 p.m.

I watch TV. There’s not much on.

 

9:00 p.m.

Lights out.

 

Wednesday, December 21st

 

5:15 a.m.

Wake up. I do my weight circuit workout. I’m proud of myself for working out this morning.

 

7:45 a.m.

Time for work.

 

10:30 a.m.

I do a one hour webinar on new changes to filing documents electronically with courts in California. I buy a sandwich from Lori’s Kitchen. ($6.00).

 

12:00 p.m.

Lunch/quiet reading time.

 

4:45 p.m.

Work time is done.

 

5:30 p.m.

Nick comes over and we go to dinner at a new restaurant in Huntington Beach. ($34.95). We get yogurt after dinner.

 

7:30 p.m.

Nick heads homes and I watch some TV before bed.

 

9:00 p.m.

Lights out.

 

Thursday, December 22nd

 

5:45 a.m.

Wake up.

 

7:45 a.m.

Time for work.

 

12:00 p.m.

Lunch/quiet reading time.

 

4:45 p.m.

Work time is done.

 

5:30 p.m.

I go for a run.

 

7:00 p.m.

Daily phone call with Nick.  After, I watch TV and do some reading.

 

9:00 p.m.

Lights out.

 

Friday, December 23rd

 

5:45 a.m.

Wake up. TGIF!

 

7:45 a.m.

Time for work. I hope we get off early.

 

12:00 p.m.

Lunch/quiet reading time.

 

2:30 p.m.

I get off work early! Yeah! I run some errands. I buy some last minute Christmas gifts for Nick’s mom and grandmother. ($53.60).

 

4:00 p.m.

Work out time. I do my weight circuit training.

 

6:00 p.m.

Friday night is laundry night. I relax and watch TV and do some reading.

 

9:30 p.m.

Lights out. I like to get up early on Saturday mornings to get gas and hit the grocery store before heading down to the beach to run.

 

Saturday, December 24th

 

6:00 a.m.

Wake up, get gas, and buy groceries. (Gas: $14.51 and groceries: $45.48 = $59.98).

 

7:00 a.m.

I hit the beach to run. I love doing my long runs early on Saturday mornings.

 

10:30 a.m.

I leave for Nick’s house for the weekend.

 

1:30 p.m.

I take a nap since I’ll be up late tonight.

 

5:00 p.m.

Christmas Eve dinner at Nick’s mom’s house.

 

10:00 p.m.

It’s time for the annual Christmas Eve get together at Uncle Alex’s house. I’ve been doing this for 20 years with my friend’s family.

 

1:30 a.m.

Bedtime finally!

 

Christmas Gifts: $227.48

Gas: $14.51

Groceries: $45.48

Eating Out: $46.95

Total Spending: $334.41

 

What I Learned:

This week was a little unusual in that I had to buy all my Christmas gifts which accounts for most of my spending this week. Normally, I don’t spend that much every week. One thing that helps control my spending is paying cash for things such as gas, groceries, eating out. etc. I’ve found that I spend less money paying for things with cash. Tracking my spending this week was helpful to show me what I spent my money on. Tracking my spending for a longer duration would be even more telling. I work to keep my expenses low so that I can save a good percentage of my income every month for things such as retirement.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Mrs. Picky Pincher January 17, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    That’s not shabby at all for a week in Orange County. 🙂 It’s all about keeping a frugal mindset in the forefront and drowning out the noise. The holidays are a budget-killer, so I applaud you for being cautious, especially in such a spendy area of the country.
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…What A Frugal Weekend!My Profile

  • Reply ZJ Thorne January 17, 2017 at 10:12 pm

    That’s a great low number considering the uncommon expense of presents. Well done!
    ZJ Thorne recently posted…Net Worth Week 40 – Birthday EditionMy Profile

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