Money Diary Series

How a 23 Year-Old Upcoming
College Graduate Spent Her Week

Purse Strings | Student Loans | Debt

Age: 23

Salary: $14000

Location: Chicago

I also remind myself how spending money on coffee is dumb and I should just make it myself.

I’m a 23 year-old who will soon be graduating college. I’m fortunate that a lot of my larger bills are paid by my parents while I’m in school. They take care of my dog expenses, phone, and rent. I do have college loans and will have to address those when I’m out of school.

My spending is on utilities, food, transportation, clothes and other miscellaneous expenses. I’m in school two days and my internship is three days. My internship pays me $270 a week (minus taxes). Here’s how I spent my money this week.


Spent: $0

I like to cook and in the winter I use my crockpot. I realized it always makes enough leftovers so I can bring my lunch to work.

Train: Free (built into college payments)

Coffee: $0


Spent: $25

Food: Trader Joe’s


Spent: $18

I felt accomplished and bought a chocolate old-fashioned doughnut $3

Gas: $10

Walgreens: $5


Spent: $15

Pizza: Love Chicago Pizza! (Best decision all week.)


Spent: $50

Going out: Lovin’ Chicago life.


Spent: $10

Coffee/Something Cheap: Still getting out with friends.


Spent: $200

Jewelry: $50

Started to “meal prep” (aka find 3 crock pot to meals on Pinterest) and those are the meals for the week.

Something random I need/want that I never planned for.

This week: Cap and gown ($60) YEAH!

Other examples: Need new work clothes (or found something I must have!), medication, and essentials ($30 even cough and cold meds are expensive), toilette paper, tampons)

Makeup/lotion/washes/scrubs (girl you know)

House supplies (cleaners, rugs, hooks, pots)


Spent: $318

Reflections on keeping a money diary 

I’m getting better at making meals which has helped me save money. I also remind myself daily how spending money on coffee is dumb and I should just make it myself. I know it’s not as good but I could use an extra $15 for fun. Being a Shark Tank fan, the video below also helped cutting spending.

I could be better at saving money when going out but it’s hard when you want to take in all Chicago has to offer, hanging with friends, and being single and 23. I want to be able to save more money because I’ve realized “pop-up” expenses get more expensive the older I get (loving it).

I’d like to start saving more and investing more. I’d love to learn how to invest with only $1,000. Additionally, I want to learn how much I should be saving right now and what things I should start planning for now. Like do I actually need to save for my 401k now? If a job gives me 401K matching, how should I approach that later?

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