Mint Money Diary: Impulsive Spending

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Occupation: Data Analyst

Industry: Digital Marketing

Age: 31

Location: Menlo Park, CA

Paycheck (BiWeekly): $1,700 after auto-savings, 401k, ESPP purchase, renters & auto insurance and health care removed

I have everything removed automatically as I have trouble with in-the-moment spending. It is better for it to never hit my debit account at all.

Monthly Expenses

  • Rent: Split rent, inc utilities. Usually around ~$1,300
  • Car lease: $296

All other expenses

  • Utilities: $35
  • Pet Supplies: ~$100/mo, cat & dog food, prescription meds
  • Phone: Covered by work
  • Streaming services: $18/mo
  • Digital Savings (Acorns): ~$80
  • Credit Card: $1,000 pay off in full every month

A Day in My Mint Money Diary

7:15 am – woke up late, roommate was nice enough to walk the dog this morning

7:20 am – drinking my morning coffee, I start browsing my favorite retail app. I add new items into the shopping cart as I browse. I eventually start to feel an internal nag. A little background: I spent my entire 20’s in debt. Once I got out of debt, I became 100% resolved to never carry any credit card debt again. So I still use cards, but I pay it off in full every month – no exceptions. Last month, I put about $1,000 on my card (mostly clothing) and then this week, another ~$150 registration fee for my boyfriend and I to do a 5k. Knowing I have $1,150 to pay off my credit card this month, I go back to the shopping cart and one by one talk myself out of each item. I eventually remove everything and move on to other reading.

8:15 am – Head to work. I need gas but decide not to get it, still have about 30 miles left.

8:45 am – At work, I walk to our little café area and grab my morning breakfast – two hard boiled eggs. When the barista asks me if that’s all I want, I surprise myself by blurting out, “I’ll have a tall caramel latte.” Didn’t even think about it. I’m annoyed with myself from the perspective of the spend and the sugar, but I don’t do anything about it and drink it anyway. Total Spend $4.37

9:00 am – 11:50 am – In meetings.

11:50 am – I head out for some quick errands at lunch. I stop at the gas station and fill up. Then I go to pick up some shoes from the shoe repair. These are heels I wear often and I’ve had for a couple years, so I see this as a spending win that I didn’t just replace them. Total for gas ($28.80) & shoe repair ($12): $40.80

12: 15 pm – Consider going to get my car washed, but I just got it washed a week ago (I park outside, so there’s always a layer of annoying dust) and I have a folding chair in the back I don’t want to deal with so I decided against it. Still go to the restaurant next door and pick up a salad for lunch, add on chicken plus a soda. Total spend: $16.27

1 pm – Head back to work

2:45 pm – I mention the 5k we signed up for to a coworker and then realize I didn’t buy the shuttle tickets to get to the starting point. Go to their website and purchase two shuttle seats. After purchasing, I remember I had decided not to get them earlier because I was going to look into other (less expensive) options. They’re non refundable, so I just locked myself in without even thinking about it. Total spend: $53.12

5:15 pm – Head to the company gym for a run.

6:15 pm – Drive home.

6:45 – 8 pm – Walk the dog and cook dinner. We make lentil soup and use ingredients we typically always have on hand (onion, carrots, peas, etc).

8 – 9:30 pm – Answer some emails while chatting with my roommate.

10 pm – Bedtime

Daily total: $114.56


I’m a little horrified as I did not start today expecting to spend over $100. Several times, I spent without even thinking – had I taken a brief moment to consider, I likely would have been able to talk myself out of it or make a better decision. Tracking my spending for the day was extremely beneficial, I think I’ll do it more frequently.


Whether you’re a super saver or supreme spender, the accountability of tracking your money will get you thinking about how you’re spending. Send us your Money Diary and get it published anonymously on the Mint Life Blog!

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