stuff i bought in january

a few people i know started doing this thing where they write down everything they spend money on in a week & blog about it, i guess to kind of explore their relationship with money or something? for several years now, i have been tracking everything i spend, but i haven’t been really specific about it. i don’t write down, you know, “spent $3.60 on a fancy coffee drink, spent $31.23 on gas for the car.” i divided things up in categories instead. there’s a car category, rent, electric bill, baby expenses (that one is new, obviously), groceries, etc. all the things like fancy coffee drinks & new shoes & lunch out on the town with jared fall into a general “allowance” category. i also try to budget for all these different categories. for example, i give myself $100 a month to spend on baby expenses (which can include anything from a cute outfit for ramona to the rental cost of my breast pump). the general allowance category is $10 a day, so if i drop $50 one day on a new pair of shoes…well. i need to watch it for the rest of the week. though the budget is more of an estimate. sometimes i go over, sometimes i go under. at the end of the year, i adjust the budget accordingly & start over.

i’ve mentioned before that i have pretty significant OCD tendencies, right? i think this illustrates the point nicely.

anyway, i decided to spend one week a month & actually track my spending in detail. so this is one week in my financial life.

$6.57 on DVD rental from liberty hall.

jared & i started watching “breaking bad” because, you know, why not watch a surprisingly violent television show about a science teacher-turned cancer patient-turned methamphetamine manufacturer in between diaper changes, right? ramona is really too young to know what the fuck is going on anyway. we actually haven’t watched any episodes in a while because we are both feeling like we’d rather read in the evenings if ramona is willing to give us some downtime, but it was entertaining for a while. especially for jared. he has very strange taste in television & will sometimes laugh at things that i don’t find remotely funny. “breaking bad” cracks him up completely. sometimes i want to say, “you know that some of these characters are probably going to die really violent deaths, right? this isn’t really a comedy.” but it’s not like i have never laughed at really inappropriate moments before.

i started watching “parks & recreation” on my own to take my mind off charlotte’s death. i found that if i was awake in the middle of the night, giving ramona a bottle & allowing my mind to wander, i would start replaying the last few weeks of charlotte’s life, thinking about how sick she got, how rapidly she lost weight, how confused she looked at the animal hospital when i was crying & crying…i just couldn’t bear to think about it & i needed something light & joyful to take my mind off it. “parks & recreation” fit the bill perfectly.

$14.15 on a baby bathtub from doodlebugs, the baby consignment store around the corner.


i had just been drawing a shallow bath & getting in the tub with ramona. i’d hold her on my lap & bathe her. but she SCREAMED through the whole thing, so i started wondering if maybe she felt insecure being on my lap. i thought maybe being in an enclosed tub of her own might make her more comfortable. it does, kind of. but she still screams a lot. it’s fun, though, to watch her go from hysterical shrieking during the bathing process to happy little gurgles & coos once she’s all clean, dry, & in a fresh outfit. & i love how fuzzy her hair gets after a shampoo.

$5.06 on a large iced latte from starbucks with an extra shot.
i don’t have a photo of this. i chugged it before i remembered to take a photo. when you’re caring for a baby, you need a lot of caffeine.

$57.94 on groceries.

this is just a photo of our pantry, not all the stuff i happened to get at the store. so what does $57.74 buy a person these days? a dozen eggs, a tub of quick oats, fresh broccoli, a bag of oranges, two tubes of toothpaste, a package of bacon, ginger newman-os, a quart of heavy cream, a butternut sqash, a couple of sweet potatoes, a container of deviled egg potato salad, & three gallons of milk. more or less.

$2.99 on a medium iced latte from starbucks.
see above re: babies & caffeine.

$14.40 on stamps.

we needed stamps in order to mail the birth announcements jared made. which, by the way, we still haven’t done. jared has been working on writing thank you notes to everyone, & it is taking forever. which is understandable, because we also have a baby to look after & jared has a dissertation to outline. anyway, i thought these stamps were a good choice because jared is an environmental historian, & i was amused by how bossy they are. like, “hey, loser! choose to walk! also, thanks for the onesie.”

$4.25 on a large iced latte with an extra shot from starbucks.

i remembered to take a photo of this one before i sucked it down. here it is, on top of my car. i got a new barista who forgot to charge me for the extra shot. yay! also, i drink iced coffee drinks exclusively. even at home.

$49.29 on groceries. again.

in their shameful plastic bags on top of my car. we have some reusable bags. i just never remember to bring them with me when i go to the store. i bought bananas, english muffins, ginger newman o’s (don’t judge me), generic nyquil, creme fraiche, heavy cream (again, don’t judge me–we use it in cooking A LOT), shampoo, & conditioner.

$2.40 on my library overdue fees from 2012.

i bust my hump to return books on time so i rarely accrue fees. the lawrence public library lets you check out books until you have $10 in fees, so i can generally get away with only paying them off once a year. or once every five years, really. the library is also undergoing some new construction, so they have moved into the former borders bookstore across the street from our house. it had been sitting empty for a couple of years. hence the “i can’t believe it’s not borders” joke, which took me an embarrassingly long time to get.

$1.34 on a chocolate chip cookie from wheatfields.

i was having a bad day, so jared suggested we get cookies. it did make me feel better.

if my math is correct (which it might not be), i spent $158.19. mainly on groceries. we eat like kings in the xyerra-taber household. damn hell ass kings!


Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

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