1 My Last Hundred Bucks: Necessities, More Necessities, and More Necessities | The Billfold

My Last Hundred Bucks: Necessities, More Necessities, and More Necessities

$100! It is a lot of money, and yet, it is also not a lot of money at all. Here’s where my (literal, actual) last hundred bucks went. Where did your last hundred bucks go?

$29: Unlimited weekly MetroCard (I usually do the monthly, but then this one item would have been my last hundred bucks, so.)

$20: Target, 90 day supply of fluoxetine. (Target is the only pharmacy in the city I could find that does reasonable generic pricing without making you pay money to join a savings club—ahem, Duane Reade. For the record, this prescription at Duane Reade without joining that club is over $100. Compare pharmacies, is the lesson there.) (But if I had bought anything else at Target during my 20 minute wait, I would have had to integrate it into the price of the prescription, obviously. But I put on my game face and abstained, as I am all about Cost Saving Measures.)

$3: Bodega, iced coffee on walk back to Williamsburg from Target. (This was actually whatever the Hasidic equivalent of a Bodega is, and maybe it was actually more like a restaurant with a drink case in it than a Bodega. I walked in and I was the only woman and the only customer not wearing a full black suit and the only person with my legs showing and definitely the only person who was not made uncomfortable by my presence. They still sold me a coffee, though.)

$30: Prune, share of cocktails and delicious things. (Subsidized by my generous and beautiful friends, thank you.) (Also I would consider only eating one meal a week if that meal could be here.) (I suppose I could actually pull that off, actually.) (Did you know, you can spend your money on whatever you want as long as you don’t spend money you don’t have?) (Spending over half of your remaining dollars on fancy food feels really decadent and lovely.) (Maybe only rivaled by spending your last dollars on flowers.) (Though I’ve done that, too.)

$4: Bodega, large iced coffee and two bananas (“Do you eat for pleasure or fuel? I eat for fuel.”)

$5.42: Duane Reade, box of store-brand tampons

$4: Bodega, large iced coffee and two bananas

$6: A happy hour drink tonight in celebration of getting a check in the mail (anticipated)


Photo: Anne Parker


45 Comments / Post A Comment

melis (#42)

Someone’s going to leave this here, so I suppose it might as well be me.

Mike Dang (#2)

@melis YES!

bgprincipessa (#699)

@melis So does this work well? I’ve tried such things in the past and failed. Tips?? (For ICED I mean.)

krumpies (#503)

@melis You can also, if you’re not horrified by such things, make regular coffee the night before and refrigerate it overnight. Options!

Mike Dang (#2)

According to the accompanying article, Cold-brewed iced coffee is supposed to draw out a natural sweetness, while coffee brewed with hot water is more bitter. I just cold brew overnight in a French press—wake up, press the press, pour over ice cubes. Enjoy.

melis (#42)

It’s quite good, albeit a little bit time-consuming and messy if you don’t have much in the way of a filtering apparatus. If you get in the habit/have a portable reusable iced-drink container, it’s pretty convenient! That said, I totally understand the appeal of just popping in the nearest coffee dispensary and buying one.

bibliostitute (#285)

@melis I like the notion of a coffee dispensary: did you get your caffeine card from the doctor yet?

editrickster (#279)

@Mike Dang WHAT i am trying this tonight!

sony_b (#225)

@bgprincipessa Yes. I’ve been doing this for years, and it really is not as bitter or acidic as regularly brewed coffee. Sometimes we make a batch of concentrate and add hot water to it to make a regular cup of hot coffee too. This is great for camping. :)

Lily Rowan (#70)

I tried the cold brew, and didn’t like it! I guess I really do like my coffee like I like my men: cold and bitter.

Mike Baker (#915)

No one has said Toddy Coffee? This is a method that maybe originated in New Orleans? And they sell a kind of kit that’s basically a bucket that mounts on a pitcher, with a super-dense reusable filter, so it takes overnight for maybe a half gallon of water to perk through a pound of coffee. And it comes out like syrup, and you can do like an ounce in boiling water for a regular cup of coffee, but the popular local thing is to put it in hot milk and it is seriously delicious.

But do not go buy the ($50!) rig. Improvise!

NoReally (#45)

Logan honey, how much do you spend in a week on coffee by the cup?

CheeseLouise (#54)

@NoReally Are you Logan’s mom? If not, it’s super obnoxious to call people honey. If so, I apologize.

bibliostitute (#285)

@CheeseLouise unless she is Sugar, in which case–100% acceptable.

NoReally (#45)

Logan, Sweet Pea, you are really putting yourself out there, exposing yourself to these strangers, inviting their comments. You’re getting advice good and bad, and judgement, and some support, and some reinforcement of your old shitty self-destructive practices. People are responding to you while looking in the mirror at themselves.

To do this thing you’re trying to do, you’re going to have to keep hold of everything you know about yourself, and remember that nothing a bunch of bored strangers says makes any difference at all. But you are going to have to stop spending $80 a month on coffee. and probably cut out the bottled water too.


bibliostitute (#285)

@NoReally I knew it!

Well it was $1 a day until it got hot out, and now it’s $3 a day because iced coffee costs more (my friend Greg considers this part of the life tax for living in NYC, ha). And yes, making my own coffee is one of those things I am going to start doing! But: There are startup costs! Like: coffee. And: cups.

RosemaryF (#345)

@Logan Sachon I just made my latest batch of cold brew this morning! I generally go through about a gallon a month and it has saved so much money I can’t even comprehend.

2oz grounds per quart of water, let soak 8-12 hours & strain. I’ve learned I have to cut it with water or else I bounce around like a speed freak. (1 part water to 3 parts coffee.)


lalaland (#437)

@Logan Sachon NYMag did an “expose” on why iced cofee costs more – even starting with the plastic straw & cup that regular coffee doesn’t require. Also, ice costs money.

I am semi-fortunate to work in an office setting where our caffeine is subsidized by the company. I drink a lot of iced coffee here.

thejacqueline (#799)

@RosemaryF How much are you drinking a day? Because I’ve considered this method and then I’m like…will I really even be saving money? Because it takes SO much coffee to cold brew.

slammysosa (#892)

@Logan Sachon http://www.food52.com/recipes/2018_magical_coffee

You’ll never need to buy another cup of coffee, ever. I had a bad emergency fancy coffee habit, but this stuff seriously is magical.

um that sounds amazing THANK YOU

RosemaryF (#345)

@thejacqueline One 16oz tumbler in the mornings, usually around six days a week. Coffee runs around $4-8 a pound, and a pound gets me two gallons. (2 ounces per quart, four quarts in a gallon.) Even though that lasts me 6-8 weeks, to be tidy I’ll say $6 per month on the actual coffee.

Sure, the cost goes up when you include the fact that I have to spend $1.25 per pint for half & half, but that lasts me a month, so now we’re up to $7.25 per month. (Half & half has CRAZY long shelf life in the fridge.) Add in six cents per splenda packet (I use two per drink) and we’re up to $9.05 per month.

Or, three iced coffees from a regular shop.

Now, there is the cost of the supplies to make the coffee. I was able to get a couple of two gallon food tubs at a local supply store for around $20. I use paper towels for filters laid in the bottom of my colander.

Also, I am lucky enough to have the storage space for a gallon of coffee in my fridge and two big food buckets in the garage.

(I’m a librarian, I have to cite my sources.)


chic noir (#713)


(I’m a librarian, I have to cite my sources.)

I love librarians, you guys( and ladies) are so underrated and thanks for breaking down the cost. Now I feel so stupid for buying coffee on the street.

@RosemaryF Because we have the same name, I find you the most credible commenter, and I am going to try this.

RosemaryF (#345)

Also, get one of those giant plastic cups with the straw that all the soccer moms use. They are lame in concept, but amazing in execution.


slammysosa (#892)

@RosemaryF I call it my adult sippy cup.

Sarah H. (#408)

@RosemaryF Real talk: What’s the best way to clean the straw in that cup? I have one that I really enjoy using, but even putting it in the dishwasher, it never seems like the straw gets 100% clean. :\

RosemaryF (#345)

@Sarah H. I wash mine in the dishwasher, too. I still haven’t contracted typhoid or anything, so I figure I’m fine.

chic noir (#713)

The one thing I’ve noticed about most of us under 30, we spend too much money eating out. Thirty bucks could pay for a week’s groceries.

I wonder how many of us can cook well from scratch?

Well Logan, how about it.

Maybe we should have a “Fix all meals at home for a week” challenge. I’m sure some of us would save at least 50 bucks.

dotcommie (#662)

@chic noir yeah, i love to cook and i still think most of my wasted income goes to eating out. it’s just become the default way to socialize with a lot of my friends.

quatsch (#582)

@chic noir I rarely eat out, but I still spend way too much money on fancy groceries as a reward for not eating out.

sox (#246)

@quatsch The worst is when you spend too much money on fancy groceries without thinking through your calendar that week and end up eating out a bunch while your organic tomatoes go soft at home!

chic noir (#713)

@sox -Oh I’ve done this with a cart of organic vegetables. I was just to lazy to try out those recipes I had. I think it was 25 bucks down the drain.

chic noir (#713)

@dotcommie Can you guys just BOB and have pot luck dinner at each others home? Maybe make it a once a month thing.

chic noir (#713)

Oh and I cary a water bottle. When water and coffee costs 2 bucks a pop, it adds up.

dotcommie (#662)

Drinking iced coffee/tea at work: I do most of my caffeine consumption in the office and would like to store some homemade iced tea at work. Has anyone discovered a sick container? I would just use a pitcher at home but I don’t trust open containers in the office fridge

sox (#246)

@dotcommie Or if you don’t want to get fancy…usually hardware stores like Ace have these individually. Target might too?

@dotcommie This is my conundrum. I bring an aluminum bottle with iced coffee every day but that only lasts me till 10:30, maybe.

Aunt Ada Doom (#678)

It’s ok, there are librarians in the same boat as you!.

Seriously, folks. How can I have my iced coffee in the afternoon when there is a fridge with no freezer? HELP A LIBRARIAN OUT–they don’t believe in air conditioning the books in the summer in Maine.

Aunt Ada Doom (#678)

@Aunt Ada Doom Ok, that was supposed to be reply to @chic noir. Whoops!

chic noir (#713)

@Aunt Ada Doom – How late inthe afternoon are we talking? I have a Starbucks water bottle that keep cold things cold for hours.

@Aunt Ada Doom My boss has a crazy-insulated waterbottle (don’t know the brand, sorry, but it’s one of the metal ones!) She said her ice stays solid allll day in the summer and for 3-4 days in the winter (crazy talk). So maybe seek one of those out?

yankeepeach (#276)

I just want to give Logan some serious props for going to Target — what is it, at least twice now? — and not buying any stupid stuff in addition to the necessary stuff. This is one of my life goals and a 2012 New Year’s resolution. I’m getting better, but they really need to stop putting those Pepperidge Farm goldfish next to the Diet Coke in the checkout lanes.

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