Indiscreet or uncomfortably honest? In recent months, in addition to well-known formats such as "Millenial Money" or "Is it worth it??", a real Youtube trend of openness in money matters from. I try it the other way around and put all expenses on the table.
Funny. This is not the first time that I propose a topic to Nike and afterwards I am shocked myself about what kind of information I actually want to reveal about myself. Completely detached from This Is Jane Wayne, I started already at the beginning of September to note down my expenses. Traditionally with pen and paper. You’ll find out what I noticed over the course of the next seven minutes, but I will reveal one insight right now: While we proclaim to be so open and want to promote transparency, money, even in my circle of friends, is not taboo, but only really reluctant to be the topic of open conversation.
To say how much you earn in a month is one thing. Disclosing what you spent your money on, how many bucks you spent on a new sofa or how much your last vacation cost – that’s where things get a little more difficult. This is not the first time I’ve talked about the ups and downs of the money topic among friends. Couldn’t care less for this week, I thought, but only until the moment I realized that many of the activities that affect my social life are inextricably linked to money. The coffee around the corner, vacations on the farm, Kaiserschmarrn for dessert.
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There one swims with, because one can, there one swims with, because one must and realizes perhaps only a little bit too late that one lived, at least a little bit, beyond its means. But more about that in the conclusion. The following is my Money Diary. As honest as it gets.
The first realization follows promptly. Unfortunately I can not shop. Relatively too good. I’m a sucker for supplies, new recipes, and long forays into supermarkets with lots of time on my hands. I usually buy so much that in the end I know exactly that I could have pulled myself together a little here and there. In the end, I can live on many bulk purchases but also well over a week, without buying huge amounts again.
After work I took a Lime Bike home (despite BVG subscription). Always an unreasonable decision, but you fly over the city streets, you are faster than anyone* else and you don’t have to squeeze around in the stuffy train. The office, where I sit from time to time, is in the Prenzlauerberg, which is a really unspeakable distance with my ladies bike. So when I bravely ride up on the train, I like to treat myself to a ride in the red runabout in the evening sun. The beginning of the week is also a good moment to break down my monthly fixed costs for the week:
Warm rent + wifi& Electricity: 590,00€
Cell phone contract: 15,00€
Annual subscription BVG (already paid) : 58,00€
Is that much? Is that little? Good question. Even if it costs somehow overcoming to write out these numbers here, I have the feeling that it will help my financial decisions in the end only to be mirrored, while I look for an exchange over selbigen for a long time. The feeling of wanting to reduce my spending has also been there frequently. Only knowing exactly where and how to start has been difficult for me. A list seems obvious and is just as staggering. Do I spend this much money on my life every month?
bulk purchase for 1,5 weeks: 40,00€
Pretzel on the way to work: 1,50€
Lime bike on the way home: 4,50€
The next day I first spent money on coffee. I find it impressive how much my social interactions depend on consumption. A walk includes a coffee on the hand, a long awaited date maybe a meal plus two drinks. Of course I can regulate where we want to spend more or less money, but still often think about internal and external pressure when I want to see friends again and we rather rarely end up with a tea in hand on my couch.
Also invitations to my house, basically something I enjoy very much, usually come at a high cost to my billing. Even if everyone very gratefully brings something to eat, I rarely stay below 30,00€ for a vegetarian meal for 3-4 people when shopping. Of course, all extras, because such specials are not always already planned for the bulk purchase.
Coffee at lunch break 3,50€
Shopping for dinner with friends 25,00€
In terms of consumer items, I bought almost nothing this week that wasn’t necessary. I bought underwear at Muji (hot tip) and pulled myself together when visiting other stores. I also harbor a huge love for Kleiderkreisel, which often saves me from useless new purchases. I like to stroll or get inspired on popular online stores and then can spend hours in the evening to find similar pieces on Ubup, Kleiderkreisel or Ebay Kleinanzeigen. The only problem is that I tend to forget that these items will eventually make themselves felt in my wallet if I am not careful.
quilted jacket Kleiderkreisel: 10,00€
This week it was a used quilted jacket that kept me from buying the new model at Arket. So in the end the plan worked out.
I always manage to consciously build in days where I don’t spend anything. This means that I don’t have to get anything that I actually need and on the other hand I also do without the things that cross one’s path on the way to the office, the after work walk or in between. Especially in weeks when I know that a major purchase is coming up or I have special things planned for the weekend, it helps my wallet and my conscience a lot.
So while I can still live off my purchases and spend most of the day at my desk at home, my head also calms down a bit, because I can prepare for the expenses that may follow and practice not to consume incessantly just because there is the possibility.
Today is of course the weekend. The fridge is holding steady, so I don’t think anything more will be needed in the way of groceries up to and including Sundays. However, I have a birthday coming up, hence a paypal transfer for a community gift and some flowers for the birthday boy or girl.
It often becomes difficult when I realize that many important birthdays coincide and the expectations, besides a small or medium attention, go beyond the achievable. A visit to the restaurant including two courses and drinks is ok for me – but not every month to the same measures and equally gladly. These occasions seem to pile up more and more depending on the time of year. I myself often want to make sure that everyone can participate in such beautiful occasions, regardless of how full the wallet is. The responsibility to weigh all eventualities and thus anticipate that it might be too expensive for some girlfriends to go out for dinner to celebrate the day, I like to put all possible options in the room and put a lot of emphasis on establishing this behavior, simply so that no one has to veto it on their own because a meal together on this or that day might not be possible.
Group gift for birthday: 12,00€
Flowers for the birthday child: 5,00€
Birthday party with food and drinks: 30,00€
Saturday and Sunday
Since I read the text about Saturday Sprials on Man Repeller and felt 100% understood, I try to schedule as few appointments as possible for the weekend, in order to listen to my social needs first, before I rush into appointments that might feel like appointments so soon beforehand. In addition to walks, tea in bed and series on the TV, there were also a few activities that were not "free". I went to a soccer game with my niece and some friends, ordered dinner at a snack bar in the evening, bought a small bunch of lilies for home on Sunday and strolled through the flea market. All in all, nothing extreme, yet directly related to need satisfaction and thoughtless spending that on second thought, especially if you want to watch the money for once, might not have been so necessary after all.
Not that I have any regrets, but I always feel guilty when I spend more than planned at the ATM on these two days.
Soccer for two including shandy and bratwurst: €16.00
Lilies for the dining table: 8,00€
Ordered meal for two: 17,00€
Flea Market Fund: 5,00€
This week I have spent 207,00€. For me it was in any case on the more expensive side. Some purchases had to be made and now and then I let myself go too much in the heat of the moment and in the rush to the ATM. I know that this is totally ok, but I am also aware that it should not look like this every week in the best case scenario. Now this sum may be extremely high for some people, for others rather low.
I realize, however, that transparency in money matters totally helps me to judge whether I am too lesefair with my expenses, whether it is a stupid coincidence or just a permanently expensive matter that all birthdays are gradually moved to the Brasserie. I still allow myself some time to find a rhythm with my non-fixed salary and especially not to be too strict with myself in the wake of a still quite fresh move.
About saving tips and tricks from the community or maybe even numbers that you want to share with us, I would be very happy though. However, I will continue to get in the habit of tracking my spending at least a little bit. Simply reflecting on what the money was spent on this week is not only fun, but keeps me from repeating mistakes in the end.
- Sarah 02.10.2020 at 8.54
Super report – many thanks for your openness! Small remark and maybe a very personal perception: the GIFs totally strain my eyes and rather distract from reading the nice text.
Thanks for your candor and this little eye opener. I am always surprised how different the cost of living is in Germany compared to Switzerland. Ordering food for 2 for 17 € would probably be impossible here! I think I should also keep a record of my expenses for a week.
Very exciting! When I was still consuming Refinery29, I was always totally fascinated by the Money Diaries of various readers, but I always found it a shame that most of the diarists were based in the States, which always made tracking expenses a bit difficult for me. I also think that too little is said about money, especially because you can learn a lot of new things if you keep an eye on your own spending and also follow the habits of others. I think you could also understand the circle of friends a little better if you talked more about this kind of thing. The one friend who always wants to count to the cent, why is that so when she counts, but not when someone else counts? Why does XY earn less, but still has enough money at the end of the month to cook for us at home?? Or with strangers who share like you: Mhm, the person also lives there and there, but I spend almost twice as much on food, what do we do differently?? Or wow, the person always has the hottest clothes, it must have thick or a blatant credit card limit have. Turns out: the buys only used, I can also try times.
In short: I would really like a recurring format, don’t you want to bring something like that?? Would also find it super if it was over a longer period of time. One week is exciting, but shows little of the struggles we have monthly like this. The week you wrote about, Fabienne, was ne week in which you have spent much? How did it affect the rest of the month or even the next one? It would be better to keep track in a monthly report.
I like to make myself available, as cutes guinea pig
- Fabienne Sand Article author 02.10.2020 by 16.47
Mega! Thanks for the suggestion. I find really good and I like to suggest this sometimes!
I find the topic of grocery shopping exciting…. Can you really buy at Biocaompany for 40 euros and then 1.5 weeks live on it? That goes but only as a patchwork carpet in connection with Aldi, Lidl, Penny, etc.?
- Fabienne Sand article author 02.10.2020 at 16.46
Hey you! Justified question. In fact, I am a hoarder. I like to have many things at home. Things I cook up a lot like pasta, chopped tomatoes, lentils or rice are actually always in the cupboard. I often buy in such a way that (mind you, for one person) always easy something crass cheap can cook. What saves a lot of money is to minimize animal products. I can not do well without eggs and also buy a Parmesan sometimes. Otherwise, there is rarely anything animal in my fridge, which minimizes the purchase price just blatant. But that simply depends on personal preferences or whether a person is a strict vegetarian / vegan or likes to treat himself consciously or unconsciously something more expensive. And of course: I also shop at discounters. If the money is tighter at the end of the month or I’m just on the road and it is suitable. That happens every now and then in the second week when I want to top up.
Hi, I find this topic super interesting too and have often been annoyed that money is "not talked about". I think this is also a reason why many young people/graduates sell themselves short, as no one knows what a decent salary is. After university, any job that pays at all is great at first. Since actually only rigorous exchange helps further. But of course you don’t want to give anyone a bad feeling, because you have much more (or much less) money!) than the person earns.
So it’s also always important to put expenses in relation to income (and average cost of living locally, z.B. USA vs. Germany, or Brandenburg vs. Berlin). This can be a hurdle for open communication, because often employment contracts still contain a clause that requires silence about the salary – by the way, the next point that should be discussed, because this is actually against the law for quite some time now!
If you want to do a recurring format on this, I’d also be happy to offer myself as a participant&
Thanks for the great post! Every now and then (when I feel like I’m just blowing my money) I track my spending for a whole month with the app Monefy. Honestly don’t have an overview how it stands there with data protection, but it works well for me. It helps me a lot to realize where I spend a lot and where I live over my budget.
I’ve been a Hartz IV recipient for three months now, after having had a quite well-paid part-time job as a student before that. Now it’s sometimes funny that I ask friends* to give me back borrowed 5€ or to meet at home. I love that you do this at birthday parties, etc. on the screen! Ultimately, we actually talk too little about money to notice if it is just at someone tight.
so nicely formulated I would say: the idea is REMOVED from "Die Zeit". 590€ warm rent? Best regards from Stuttgart&
- Klara 02.10.2020 at 19.50
So the concept is certainly not new, but "Die Zeit" has not invented it either, see e.g.B. Refinery29, Manrepeller… And yes, 590€ warm is supposed to be there. Since the rent cap in Berlin even more frequently again&
Thanks for the great post!!
Find the topic mega exciting, take me also immet again to lead times a budget book but so far then but always postponed&
Fand also more articles in the direction class! Gladly also as a series!!
Thank you for this open report. So many times I’ve decided to keep track of my expenses, but I’ve never done it consistently. Now that was a little motivating reminder again. Would be happy to read more about finances and saving here.
That is so interesting!! Please more of it&
Thanks for the post! I find money diaries always totally interesting, just because of the transparency topic.
I would also like to know more about the (financial) side of This is Jane Wayne as a company. How does it actually work as a blog currently – collaborations vs banner ads? How are your employees actually employed?Not that you owe us such reports as readers or should reveal your "trade secrets" in a big way& But as a consumer of online media I catch myself again and again that I actually can’t assess very well how the business works exactly, what models there are and what my role as reader is. I would find an open, enlightening approach to this by media professionals super enlightening
Exciting topic! One question (maybe also a point where you can optimize): your payment for insurance, what does that include? Health insurance, unemployed, care etc since independent? And of course the hint that some of the money saved should be invested&