31-Year-Old Man Records His Spending For a Week, Is Horrified

Amelia Diamond | March 15, 2017

$50.00 for two movie tickets?!

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My name’s John Jannuzzi, I’m 31 and live downtown in New York City. I work for the news, which is a really broad way of explaining what I do, but frankly there aren’t enough hours in the day. Anyway, when it comes to money, I’m not exactly the thriftiest of individuals. It’s not like I live beyond my means, but oftentimes my more indulgent side gets the better of me. What can ya do?

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Already, I can see my creature comforts are wreaking havoc on my savings. My gym membership came through particularly late this month since the previous card it was under was stolen. That was an unpleasant surprise if there ever was one. Speaking of the gym, if my girlfriend stays over at my place (fairly often), I stop to grab her coffee on the way back to the apartment since I keep no such thing in my house. (That’s an additional caffeine expense to my own Starbucks addiction.)

And then, whoop! My monthly donation to Planned Parenthood kicked in. It’s not much, but you know, everything counts. You can sign up here.

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Ahhh, the sweet promise of the weekend where, no doubt, I will spend riotously without the wondrous glory of my office’s free cafeteria and snack situation. Today was actually pretty good, aside from the fact that I inexplicably woke up thinking of Saint Laurent’s Surf Sound collection and felt the need to buy a bleached shirt off Grailed. It’s okay. It’s fine. This is part of the whole SS17 vibe I’m feeling. And vibes, however ridiculous, must be obeyed.

You’ll also note that Sweetgreen is here again. This is basically my default lunch or dinner if I have no plans. It’s by my house, it’s delicious and I love salad. Oh my god do I love salad.

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When I woke up, I discovered I was out of chocolate, which is unacceptable — how am I to create the perfect cookie without the perfect chocolate? So it was off to Gourmet Garage in the freezing cold, where I found not only chocolate, but the breakfast buffet, flour and other ingredients to mess with. I needed to make cookies for my friend’s 30th birthday that evening.

Every other Saturday, I head to Brooklyn to meet with my trainer to discuss what I’ll be working on in the gym for the next two weeks and check in on my form and progress and all that. And since it’s on Broadway and Wythe, it’s not exactly accessible. So it’s always a cab there and back, which is so financially reckless. I won’t blame you for the eye roll there.

Then it’s the usual Saturday stuff: a caffeine injection at Marlow & Sons after the gym, lunch at Sweetgreen, drinks and more food at Cafe Select. Oh, and I bought two tickets for Beauty and the Beast in advance. It’s apparently almost all sold out for opening weekend.

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Sundays are so routine at my place. I grabbed Alex her usual coffee on my way back from the gym, and we order in breakfast from Murray’s Cheese while watching SNL. (FYI, their breakfast burrito is heaven in an oversized tortilla.) The night ends with an early dinner at Cherche Midi at the bar. Maybe a little extravagant on the food spending today, but food makes Sundays so much more digestible.

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A thrifty day! No expenses beyond my own vices really: caffeine and big salads. I am pleased with myself. Perhaps too pleased. This should happen more often I guess.

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It’s not that I don’t know how to do wash-and-fold laundry, but to drop your laundry and dry cleaning off in the morning and pick it up that evening is a singular joy.

The charges at that bakery will be reimbursed, thankfully. I tend to go big for office birthdays. It’s important to go big for those sorts of things. We got so many giant cookies, it was wonderful! After work, I also had drinks with my boss, which she picked up. What good fortune.

Dinner that night wasn’t too crazy, I had binged on Chex Mix and peanut M&Ms at the office earlier that day, so my appetite was low come dinner time. This is not a good financial strategy, though — you may save money but you will absolutely have a sugar high for a few hours and then a terrible comedown.

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An almost carbon copy of Monday. A good note to end on, I think. Now I have to tally up how much I spent in these seven days. I’m not looking forward to that.

TOTAL: $896.94

It’s not like this every week, thank god. But damn. Have to go take a long hard look in the mirror. And maybe sell a ton of shit.

John Januzzi is the US Lead @TwitterMoments; follow him on Twitter @johnjanuzzi and Instagram @johnjanuzzi. Feature photo by Tory Rust; follow her on Instagram @toryrust.

  • Holly Laine Mascaro

    This guy’s general expenses are not crazy at all to me, it’s the random pricey splurge purchases like the Saint Laurent tshirt that are driving it up. And he prioritizes spending on the gym and on trainers, which is totally fine but that is expensive. But I definitely don’t eat or cab around as cheaply as this — where are these $9 cabs?! It costs me that much to go 5 blocks.

    • Aydan

      right! I feel like my spending gets totally out of wack with lyfts! Currently live in the east village and seeing someone who lives in bushwick. My laziness is now destroying my wallet!

    • CatMom

      Yeah, but I mean, spend the money on the trainer, not the gym! Most trainers will meet you wherever you work out and most gyms have the basic equipment you need to do most exercise.

  • jw if I can be Alex? Like coffee everyday delivered???

    • elpug

      that passed through my mind each time i read “coffee for alex”

  • grace

    lol sweetgreens literally every day

  • Wow! That is really interesting, kinda wanna try it myself x

    http://www.wonkylauren.com

  • RattlesnakeKate

    Wow. He spent more in one week than my monthly mortgage payment! I would be interested to see spending in relation to monthly income.

    • emma

      Same, I make a pretty comfortable income and always thought I spent way too much but I definitely spend way less than this

  • laraerae

    These are SO INTERESTING to read. But it is incomprehensible to me to spend nearly $40 a week on tea and coffee!

  • belle

    I know this is like the quintessential “money saving” tip, but loose leaf or bagged tea could save nearly $100 a month in this situation, even if still purchasing the coffees. Getting drinks/snacks and going out to eat as a regular part of your routine adds up – I avoid this in order to justify buying $70 candles. All this to say….we all have our vices.

  • s_knucks

    note to self: buy bleach tonight to bootleg designer t-shirts

  • LaurenG

    I’m curious to see what mine is now, because everything you’re spending seems pretty normal… But, J train to Marcy: I just shaved $20 off your Saturday.

  • s_knucks

    also, i get it; fitness in nyc is expensive, sweetgreen is delicious, that avocado adds up–but good sir i walk to broadway and wythe from the marcy ave stop *all the time*; it’s only 5 blocks. and i frequently walk there from (gasp) the B44+ bus stop, which is at willyb bridge plaza. it should be noted i often do tis on the way to a very expensive dinner, so.

  • Nicole

    I think your girlfriend could maybe get her own coffee every once and a while….

  • Cole

    John, what the KALE HELLSCAPE makes your $17 sg salad?! I cringe when I’m over $10 for a warm bowl?

  • Merrynell

    Sweet G, if you’re listening, please sponsor this man’s lunch for, like, life. He earned it.

    • Merrynell

      PS I love me some Sweet G but now I just make their bowls at home (so easy, and cheaper obv!), and bring lunch to work! Meal prep FTW.

      • Aydan

        MEAL PREP SAVES LIVES…(not literally, but you know, it saves mine)

  • Ottavia

    You spend 120$ every two weeks for a chat with your trainer? Lol. Crazy people

  • Everything is justifiable at the moment, it’s looking back and seeing whether or not that membership/cab ride/coffee was worth it!

    http://thedianaedition.com

  • Abby

    Damn dude, you need a coffee maker!

  • Annie Fichtner

    Sorry, but where’s the PP donation? Don’t actually see it anywhere.

    • elpug

      My guess is that it was a “keep this part to self to not be self righteous” thing

  • Ashley Steenson

    Honest question: does city living require this sort of dependence? I’ve lived in a city before, but it was obviously nothing compared to NYC. Also, I’m southern, so there could be differences there. I often hear how the fast pace discourages one to, in cases like this, cook one’s own dinner, train/do physical activity oneself, go to a regular laundromat and do one’s own laundry, walk instead of taxi, make a pot of coffee and buy some tea bags, etc. I see NYC as a place that would foster independence, yet I hear it may require an almost constant dependence on the services of others. What are your thoughts?

    • Cay

      I wouldn’t define “independence” as not relying on services provided by others, i.e. a laundromat or food delivery. It’s your money, you’re earning it, so if that is how you chose to spend, it’s your prerogative to do so.

      I like the stops at my local coffee shop or bodega or laundromat – all of those people are part of my community and know me, so if that’s “dependence” (as opposed to independence being not utilizing the businesses in your neighborhood), I prefer dependence.

      Also, NYC can make it difficult – work hours are very long here, many buildings do not have laundry, kitchens have no storage. I think that a lot of us view the situation as “we’re paying rent to live in a place with these conveniences, so yes, I will Seamless that incredible Thai food for dinner.”

      • Ashley Steenson

        I hope “dependence” didn’t come off with a negative connotation. As aforementioned, I had thought about the pace and nature of the city affecting this but did not consider the sense of community you feel in your neighborhood! Thank you for elaborating on this for me.

      • Kate Sexton

        Yes – completely agree with you. It’s amazing to live within 5 minutes of my laundromat, post office, grocery store and library.

    • Kate Sexton

      That’s such an interesting point! I think New Yorkers (I’ve lived in Manhattan/BK for 4 years) definitely get used to all the convenient services. I order Seamless waayy too much because it’s just so easy! Same with using car services – just a click away. I also think that it’s common to work late hours and there’s just something so exhausting about being around so many people all day (especially on a commute). I think we take advantage of the luxuries that are present in NY, because without them, living here seems pretty pointless – since rents are so high and it can be a difficult and stressful place to live.

      • Meg S

        I live further south (much), but I live in one of the higher priced areas spitting distance from the more expensive city. I have a car so I don’t take an uber unless drinking will happen (I wouldn’t have one if the train was an option, but we only have buses that run through my area), in which case no one wants to drive. But little things like coffee on the way to work, placing a food order and picking it up rather than cooking on the way home from a meeting that extended my work day by 2 hours make it bearable. I don’t pay for a gym membership because I pay condo fees, and part of that $250 includes access to the pool & work out rooms. Those benefits might be the only thing I actually see, other than landscapers putting out mulch and cutting the grass once winter is over for good.

        That said, if there was a laundry service that would take it in the morning, and have it done by the time I left work for that price, I would be all over it. I also spend more on my daily coffee than the author does. (I only pay into the coffee club at work if someone buys Starbucks at the store. I refuse to pay for Folgers.)

    • CatMom

      Not really. I think that city living *encourages* this kind of spending if you have the resources – which this person CLEARLY does – but there are a lot of broke people here and if you don’t have the money, you don’t have the money.

      Taking a cab anywhere unless it is literally the only option is just anathema to my NYC life and many people I know feel this way. My boyfriend won’t even take a cab to the airport – even Newark. My monthly unlimited metrocard costs something like $116. I have a waaaaaaaaaaay cheaper gym membership (like less than 10% of Jannuzzi’s), but I also get a lot of physical exercise in my daily life because, you know, I don’t take cars.

      I do my own laundry (it costs me $7.50 and I do it once a week) and I intentionally don’t buy a lot of things that require dry cleaning, not because I am broke but because I am forgetful, but I imagine that if you have to wear a suit to work that would be a necessary expense.

      I cook my own meals apart from lunch, but I *do* get my groceries delivered (let’s hear it for FreshDirect and FoodKick). I haven’t found it to be a significant burden of time, but a lot of people I know use meal delivery services like Blue Apron, which I think is slightly cheaper than ordering out.

      My only real, regular indulgences are some takeout (because sometimes you want poké, you know?), cocktails (which admittedly can regularly run $15/each here), and a cleaning service every other week ($80).

      I would not call this guy’s expenses typical. He’s clearly pretty well-off, based upon where he lives and the amount of money he spends on non-necessities (counting coffee and lunch as necessities here). Also the places he chooses to spend his money. If I had enough money to spend almost $200 on a t shirt without batting an eye, I would. But I don’t. So I think that NYC encourages you to spend as much money as you reasonably can.

      • CatMom

        Oh also my hair costs like $600 when I bleach it and $120 when I cut it. That’s definitely a super NYC-based expense. I look great though.

      • Abe Luther

        And comments like these are exactly why I have yet to regret making the move to Paris.

        -Cheap public transportation (if you don’t walk or ride a bike everywhere, $70/month)
        -an above average culinary experience (a public market with fresh fruits and veggies is just outside my apartment door 2 days a week)
        -dining out is relatively inexpensive (with room to afford actually getting drunk on great wine!)

        I’m sorry I can’t help but feel like life in NYC is just one big capitalist game where dollar amounts equal stuff and stuff equates to happiness (?) when I read articles like this.

        Are you working to live or living to work?

        • CatMom

          The major problem with Paris, for me, is simply that it isn’t New York. New York is a city for ambitious people, and I am ambitious – I do, in fact, live to work, and I like it that way.

          I also have no problem with the prices here – I make plenty of money. It’s more a matter of value. $600 is a fair price to pay the people who cut and bleach my hair. They’re artists. I look phenomenal.

          I’ll admit the subway is a rip-off and pretty much everyone here feels that way, but at least it runs 24/7. That was something I couldn’t stand living in Europe.

          I’d rather pay $15 for a cocktail and have it be good than $8 and have it be bad. Cocktails in Europe, France included, I have found to be lacking, and in true American style, I prefer whiskey over wine.

          So while I’m glad you’ve found Paris to be more accommodating, let’s not with the smugness, shall we?

        • CatMom

          And also, specifically with regard to the hair, I love my colorist and stylist, and I’m happy to be able to support a thriving small business owned by a trans person and employing primarily if not exclusively LGBTQ people. I could get my hair cut and colored for less, but I wouldn’t look as good and I wouldn’t be supporting these people I care about and have worked with for years.

          The only prices in New York that are non-negotiable are rent and the subway. Otherwise, you can spend as much or as little money as you want, and you’ll usually find a range of options.

  • Natty

    Cafe Select is my all time favorite

  • I absolutely love these! It makes me feel not so bad about my seemingly daily purchase of ice cream so my fridge is fully stocked in case there is another ice-pocalpyse.

    • Grace B

      i had an older relative who was in her 80s. one day i was at her house and she showed me her freezer — she must have had 20 pints of ice cream! #lifegoals lol.

      • I wanna be her when I grow up!

        • Grace B

          me too, she’s since passed but she was one of the good ones.

  • Cay

    I get that it’s easy to spend this much.

    But dude – gotta call you out on the gym cab excuse. Like 3 trains stop at Marcy. You’re going to the gym. You can walk a few blocks.

  • Jeez! That’s like all of my rent for the month

  • Kim

    Where is the PP donation? Also your total adds to $1,001.67 not 😦

  • What groceries does he use if he eats out for every meal that isn’t his office lunch?

  • ValiantlyVarnished

    Jeez,man. He spent more in one week than my half of rent, train pass and half of cell bill – COMBINED. This makes me feel so much better about my own spending. Which I refuse to tally up for fear that everything I wrote above this sentence is moot. Granted I have a feeling John makes considerably more than I do and spending is relative when compared to monthly expenses and income. I’d be curious to know if he saves and if so how much.

  • Katerina Bal

    I need to learn the same love for salad.
    Used to spend over $10 on coffee every day ( two trips for cappuccino plus tips), but now my boyfriend brews us amazing coffee in the morning which saves me some $$$
    Also, gourmet food stores are to blame for the demise of my bank account.

  • Amber Brown

    I think his mirrors most working New Yorkers lifestyles, especially if you are “single”.It’d probably be a good idea for him to vow to cook on the days Alex comes. I dearly love Sweetgreen too, but you can buy the same ingredients at the grocer’s and make those salads for 2 for way cheaper.

  • Cindy

    “Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.” ― Oscar Wilde.

  • Shahi Biscus

    I’m pretty shocked by these expenses , it’s what I spend in a month !