Monday Check-In

Good morning! How were your holidays and weekends? Let’s check in.

On Thanksgiving, there were so many volunteers eager to work a shift serving Thanksgiving dinner to the homeless and displaced (or cleaning up after dinner) that people were turned away. I decided to go home and divert my time to helping homeowners in the Rockaways over the weekend, where turnout was lower than previous weekends because of the holiday ($5 for my share of a van rental to get out there, $9.78 at Ace Hardware to re-up on some supplies, and $23 on Chinese takeout after a long day of tearing down moldy walls).

Last Thanksgiving, I spent more than $100 on groceries making Thanksgiving dinner for myself. It was great (thanks to most recipes from Ina Garten), but I quickly tired of leftovers. This year, I ended up spending $45.41 on pre-made stuff at various grocery stores in my neighborhood (stuffing from Citarella > stuffing from Zabar’s). I was also persuaded (guilted) by the cashier to donate $5 to the food bank. Total spent over the four days was $88.19, and even I’m surprised by how under budget I went.

How were your Thanksgivings and weekends? I didn’t do any shopping, but I did peek at the deals online. Did anyone score anything great? Brian has been updating The Wirecutter with some of the best deals he’s found.

Photo: dtknj


17 Comments / Post A Comment

Pumpkin (#2,153)

$95.50, roughly. Ingredients to make macaroni and cheese and chocolate truffles for thanksgiving, a bit of Xmas shopping (almost done! Just need to pick up some booze and gift cards and make cookies!) and some take out to treat my boyfriend, who worked about 11 hours/day over the weekend.

I need to get obsessive about this budgeting thing again. Been slacking lately. :(

Dancercise (#94)

Ooooh, would you share your recipe for chocolate truffles?

Pumpkin (#2,153)

@Dancercise Sure! :) They’re actually cake bites but everyone who has them just calls them truffles because I add extra stuff in so I roll with it. Alton whatshisname has a good traditional truffle recipe that I’ve tasted, but never made.

I basically make Bakerella’s cake balls (, but throw in a box of pudding mix into fudge cake, add in some extra frosting, and double dip them in dark chocolate. They’re fairly simple and they impressed my boyfriend’s family, so it worked! Also, somewhat thrifty since I can find cake mix and frosting for a buck each this time of year.

Sorry I’m not more impressive!

I went to the mall on Black Friday for the first time in my life, but as an employee–I started my seasonal job at a department store on Friday (luckily not till noon). I worked Friday and Saturday, and spent $10ish on snacks, drinks, and 5-hour energy shots for those two days (store provided lunch for us). Then I spent about $30 on groceries/pre-made dinner Saturday night because I couldn’t bear to be on my feet long enough to cook.

Sunday I spent $11 on compost supplies (fencing, activator), and another $20 at Target on closet organizers, tea, and patches for my jeans.

So $70 on day to day things. Not bad. But then my furnace ran out of oil, which is dumb, and I got to pay $700 for the oil company to come put some more in my tank. I think I will be upgrading to a heat pump sooner than expected–I was going to save up for that for a year or two, but it’s not even December and my roommate is cold-natured and I can’t pay $700 a month for oil (which is about how long they think the 100 gallons will last me). Oh homeownership, you’re bringing me down. Weekend total $770.

eagerber (#1,958)

My holiday weekend was expensive! No fault but my own.

My boyfriend paid for the gas to NJ, which was awesome. My dad asked us to pick up some last minute Thanksgiving supplies at the grocery store ($12).

We went black Friday shopping for new work clothes — total: $142 spent on 7 new button down shirts, a bottle of perfume, and 3 pair of underwear — and then we went to my hometown (coffee, $2). I bought us both of our roundtrip NJ Transit tickets ($37) and we split dinner in Little Italy ($20). NYC Metrofare $10 and a drink $12 with a good friend in Astoria.

I bought our gas home to DC($36) and we stopped once for coffee ($2). I worked my part-time job Sunday afternoon and also bought coffee once during my shift ($2) and bought some small, discounted Christmas gifts ($14)

TOTAL = $289. Pricey! Without black Friday spending (on myself), it would have been $147.

Blondsak (#2,299)

Fairly inexpensive weekend!

On Friday night we traveled to my boyfriend’s parent’s house, two hours away. $12 on dinner and snacks at a Wawa gas station.

Saturday was our Thanksgiving, which was cooked entirely by my boyfriend’s mom, so nothing.

Traveled home on Sunday – $10 on dinner on the way home. We also stopped by a favorite cheap liquor store along the way, where I spent $22 on a bottle of Merlot.

My boyfriend paid for all the gas and tolls there and back, which I suspect he will halve them with me once he totals it up and which I suspect will be around $20. Also, I meant to go grocery shopping last night but we were slowed down due to an interstate accident, so I am going tonight instead and estimate $60.

Total: $122, if you count the groceries – not bad at all!

ATF@twitter (#1,471)

Not a lot over the long weekend.

$33 for the Zipcar on Thanksgiving, $30ish on last minute TDay groceries, $30 for dinner Friday night, $5 for Starbucks Friday, $6.50 on a pair of fleece gloves, and I think $0 both Saturday and Sunday. Didn’t bother doing any Christmas shopping either.

So about $100 or so.

Megano! (#124)

It wasn’t a holiday, so I think I spent about 30 bucks? I bought like $20-something dollars worth of groceries on Friday, had a party to attend/work on Saturday that I brought $20 to spent on drinks, but only had time to buy and drink two. Yesterday I did not get up until like 2pm because I didn’t make it to bed until like, 3am, so I did not spend any money, though I thought about ordering a pizza and ultimately decided it would be too much hassle.

LizF (#1,399)

I spent a lot more than I planned this weekend- but I was on vacation with my mother and she also gave me a few gifts that I really needed – new work-appropriate shoes, some work clothes. I got more work clothes, new snow boots and new sneakers. (I was in the throes of a footwear crisis before this weekend. The soles were falling off my ballet flats and my sneakers were from college and my winter boots had a hole in them) All of the outlet stores were having amazing sales, though! All told I spent 200$ and will now be set on work clothes and shoes for a long while!! I should have planned these purchases into my weekend budget beforehand but I did have the ability to fit them into my budget retroactively thank goodness.

I didn’t do much over the weekend – I spent $6 on fleece lined tights, $9 on Girl Scout stamps, and $32 to mail my grandmother’s fabric stash to my apartment.

And then $162 for airport parking :/ So, $209.

thenotestaken (#542)

No thanksgiving in Canada, and a super cheap weekend in general.
Friday I drank for free all night–visited a friend at his brewery and got to take a ton of beer, which I drank the rest of the night/my friend bought me drinks at a bar. Woke up with a sore throat so on Saturday stayed in with board games and only spent $3 at a cafe. On Sunday I spent $8 on pizza, but that was it. An $11 weekend is exciting, even if it is due to illness! Even if I throw in the $20 I spent on a show on Thursday night I’m still coming in way ahead of budget.

Dancercise (#94)

I spent the majority of the weekend eating stuffing omelets, watching Doctor Who, and decorating for Christmas. But the couple of times I ventured out were to spend money.

$27 on ingredients for my portion of Thanksgiving dishes
$22 for sushi and Skyfall with a group of friends
$137 at Costco to stock up on food for the long, dark winter ahead

kellyography (#250)

I came in about $40 under budget for the weekend. Went to Brooklyn on Thanksgiving ($5), did nothing on Friday, went to Target for sundries and a Christmas present for my littlest sister ($105 total), ate a bunch of leftovers and re-watched seasons 5 and 6 of Doctor Who.

$80.65, or $52.96 if I don’t count the grocery shopping I did for this coming week. My first expenses since 11/17, amazingly:

$15.00 – sushi (16pc salmon sashimi) with hot tea + tip
$31.36 – Target (scented candles, a box of tree ornaments, hair mousse, lipstick)
$6.60 – coffee for me and my mother before she dropped me and my stuff back at my apartment, post-holiday
$27.69 – grocery shopping on Sunday

I’m so grateful to have been able to go home on Wednesday and then depend on my parents to provide everything I needed. <3

sparrow303 (#1,641)

I spent a truly horrifying amount of money on discretionary purchases.

Thurs: $0– spent the day at home with boyfriend and many friends over for dinner

Fri: $110 on my first record store day– I just bought a turntable and I only owned 3 records. Now I own 9, 2 of which are limited press. Whee!
$50 on brunch for me and the bf as a thank-you to him for driving me around

Sat: $30 for my share of brunch/beer to watch my football team lose an important game :(
$0 LOTR marathon and cheer-up egg salad

Sun: $110– two new pairs of Toms. Was using a coupon (and being irresponsible, let’s not front)

Total= $300. Yikes! Gotta reign myself in from now until Christmas.

selenana (#673)

Thursday – Bought booze to take to the first Txgvg I was invited to, 2000 yen.
Friday – Bought 4000 yen of ingredients and cooked up a storm for the 2nd dinner party – made lentil shepherd’s pie (from Edith’s Food 52 link), stuffing, and apple pie to take. Didn’t use all the ingredients.
Saturday – did a dog adoption. 2000 yen on gas/tolls and 1000 on lunch.
Sunday – movie, about 1500 on tix/snacks. Bought two birthday gifts, 2600 yen. Went to a birthday dinner, 2000 yen. Another 1000 on train fare.
16,100 yen, or about $200. Pretty expensive if it was a regular weekend.

Maladydee (#909)

On the one hand, doing these estimates has made me more diligent about tracking my spending. On the other hand I am always HORRIFIED by how much I seem to spend each weekend. I spent more than I estimated, mostly because I underestimated how much I needed to spend this weekend, not because I went nuts buying unnecessary stuff. (No, that was last month).

I had planned for therapy, groceries, and some coffee at work. I forgot about laundry money ($35 for a roll of loonies, and a roll of quarters.. I should at least be set for a while), And $40misc spending cash, because i am not paying my bank’s debit fees to buy milk at the corner store. Ad because I am the worst at tracking where my cash goes, that just…. Went. Not sure where, but at least some of it was beer. I count it as spent when I withdraw it, for pretty much that reason.

I also had to buy a USB key on short notice ($35, don’t ask, you’ll get a rant on DVD-rw compatibility) , forgot that I would need to et lunch while I was out running errands, and also donated $5 to Desert Bus.

But I came in under $10 under budget on groceries, so that’s a win. All told, I estimated $140 and spent about $235. So I was off by $95, and most of that was laundry money and that USB key. (I had to, it’s part of a Christmas gift!) I’m getting better at these estimates at least.

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