Tracking Every Dollar I Spent in February

One of my favourite things to read online is Refinery29’s Money Diaries. This ongoing series features a different subject each time, recounting a week’s worth of expenses in their city of residence. A week in London on a 50k salary; a week in NYC on a 12k salary; a week in Dallas on a 200k salary, and so on. From the good (detailed budgeting from people with similar jobs and incomes as me!), the bad (the people who’s parents/partners/gift cards pay for everything so they don’t “count” those expenses), and the lol (that writer who spent 70 quid on cocaine and then got her credit card declined at a takeaway), it’s always interesting to get a glimpse behind the curtain of someone’s financial life.

When I moved to New Zealand, I sadly had to mostly give up on using my favourite budget tracker, Mint. While I can still log in to keep an eye on my American accounts, my New Zealand bank is not supported on their interface and so I can’t connect it for all-in-one account-monitoring convenience. The exchange rate also makes the budgeting feature fairly useless. However, as tempting as it is to use this as an excuse to let my expenses be a free-for-all, I decided to track my spending the old fashioned way and see where things were at.

So for the month of February, I made a list in my bujo of every single dollar I spent. Whether it was several hundred dollars for rent or a single dollar to contribute to the work lotto pool, I accounted for all my spending. Now, unlike R29’s Money Diaries, this isn’t an anonymous post, so I’m not going to share every single detail of where my money went, but here’s a look into the cost of living in Wellington, NZ (all numbers in NZD unless otherwise noted).

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