Money Moves: I Live in Alabama and Work as a Nurse. Here’s How I Spend My Weekends

Introducing Money Moves, a series of real stories from real Chime members looking to get some deeper insight into their weekend spending.  

We’re asking our members how they’ve spent their weekend (from their wallet’s POV), their thoughts on what went down, and how it ultimately ladders up to their money goals. 

This month’s story takes us to Birmingham, Alabama!  

Expenses breakdown

Before we get started, here’s a breakdown of the total weekend expenses:

Almost half of the budget was spent on Food/Drink, followed by Phone/electronics, an expense that wasn’t 100% planned.

Curious to find out exactly what happened? Keep reading.

Friday

Q: Before we get started, do you have any short-term or long-term money goals?

Yes, my short-term goal is to have enough money to pay my bills, while my long-term goal is to build a savings account for emergencies.

Q: Let’s get to it! Tell us a bit about your morning. What were your expenses from the moment you woke up until 12:00 p.m? 

This morning started off on a bad foot. I woke up late for work. The previous night, I was at my second job and didn’t leave work until 11:30 p.m., and had to be right back up at 5:30 a.m.. So yeah, I overslept.

While I was rushing to get ready for work, my allergies started acting up. I’m talking red, itchy, watery eyes and the absolute inability to stop sneezing – it was awful. I ran around my apartment trying to find my Claritin, and came to the horrifying realization that I was out. I stopped by Walgreens on my way to work – with itchy eyes and sneezing. I picked up some allergy medicine. Unfortunately, they had the Claritin under lock and key and I didn’t have time to wait for someone to open the case. So I grabbed the store brand allergy medicine, along with a small Red Bull and a cranberry juice.

Q: How much were your total expenses for this morning?

$22

Q: Tell us about your afternoon! What were you up to from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.?

Because I work 12 hour shifts, I’m usually at work during this time. I’d also been working every single day, so I didn’t have the chance to go to the grocery store yet. I ran by Zaxby’s, and bought lunch for me and my daughter.

Q: How much were your total expenses for this afternoon?

$18

Q: Now tell us about your evening. What were your expenses from 5:00 p.m. until sleep?

Ok, I get off from my first job at 7 p.m., and have another job starting at 11 p.m. Only having a few precious hours to sleep, I stop by Walgreens again, since it’s on the way my home. I buy some snacks for my daughter and another Red Bull – the big can this time. I stop by Popeye’s for dinner because I don’t have much time to cook.

Q: How much were your total expenses for your evening?

$38

Q: Let’s reflect. What did you learn about your expenses from today? 

Although the store brand medicine took longer to work, it was just as effective as Claritin, and cheaper! I also need to go to the grocery store to avoid spending on fast food.

Q: Were your expenses aligned with your initial money goals? 

No, I’ve been trying to eat out less to save money, but it’s difficult with how much I’ve been working. 

Saturday

Q: Good morning! What were your expenses today, from the moment you woke up until 12:00 p.m.?

Today was payday! Woo-hoo! However, I recently changed jobs (yet again), and instead of giving us a paper check, my employer issues a pay card. My first two paychecks were deposited on the pay card.

Q: How much were your total expenses for this morning?

$0

Q: Tell us about your afternoon! What were you up to from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.?

I spent the entire afternoon at work. For lunch, I bought pasta and savored every last bit of it! I spent the rest of the day working, with a little snack break around the end of my shift. While my residents were having dinner, I snuck off to the vending machine. I felt really tired at this point and needed a little pick me up. I got a bag of chips, some M&M’s, and a bottle of water. It wasn’t the healthiest snack, but I didn’t pack anything to bring with me. It was just one of those days where I had to make due with what was available. 

Q: How much were your total expenses for this afternoon?

$11

Q: Now tell us about your evening. What were your expenses from 5:00 p.m. until sleep?

Today felt like it was never going to end, but finally, 7 p.m. rolls around and my relief shows up on time. That means I’m free to go! Current mood though: dead tired.

Should I make a home-cooked meal for dinner? Nope, not happening after a 12 hour shift, which consisted of monitoring a resident who was at a high risk for falling (that was exhausting!) I made it home, kicked off my shoes, stripped out of my scrubs, and instantly felt better. What’s the first thing I do after getting into my pj’s? I hit up my local pizza place for a much needed delivery.

Q: How much were your total expenses for your evening?

$29

Q: Did you learn anything today about your expenses? 

I learned how invaluable my Chime account is to me. Automatically saving is helpful, as well as having fee-free ATMs. I also learned that I should really try to meal prep at home to save money on eating out.

Q: Were your expenses aligned with your initial goals? 

No, unfortunately. I would really like to cut back on how much I spend on eating out. I’d be about $40 richer today if I had pre-planned my lunch and dinner.

Sunday

Q: Okay last day! What were your expenses this morning from the moment you woke up until 12:00 p.m.? 

It’s Sunday! I don’t have to work on this blessed day. I slept in. It isn’t until about 11 a.m when my phone wakes me up. My brother’s wife invited me to a birthday dinner for my nephew at a steakhouse.

Q: How much were your total expenses for this morning?

$0

Q: Tell us about your afternoon! What were you up to from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.?

Since I’m now going to my nephew’s birthday dinner, I skipped out on eating breakfast. I lounged around until noon, and then woke up my 12 year-old. 

Let’s backtrack a bit: A few days earlier, I bought a Samsung Galaxy S9 without a case. Since then, I was constantly worried about dropping my new phone and cracking the screen. I finally decided to stop at T-Mobile before dinner to get a case. 

Once I was in the store, my daughter convinced me to get her a new screen protector. I caved. 

When the T-Mobile associate rung up the price for a new case and tempered glass for both phones, I felt like could have passed out right there. It was $137.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy that my phone is now protected, but I’m still feeling the sting of paying that much for a phone case and tempered glass screen protector. Despite all those things, I made my way down the road to my nephew’s birthday dinner.

We get to the restaurant and get seated. I order a glass of tea and my daughter orders lemonade. We’re given menus and of course, the first thing I look at are the prices. My eyes nearly bug out of my head – $29 for a surf and turf with ONE side! The cheapest meal on the menu was like $20. 

At this point I just have to deal with it. It’s not like I can just tell my little nephew, “Bye, this place is too expensive!” 

My daughter and I order our food. I try to make myself feel better by thinking that the food is going to be delicious. But nope, wishful thinking. The food wasn’t terrible, but it definitely wasn’t great either. My daughter didn’t even eat her sides, which hurt me a lot considering how expensive these meals were.

As the dinner came to an end, the waiter came with everyone’s check. He went around collecting payments but somehow managed to skip over me. He thanked us all for coming and said good-bye. For one quick instant, the devil on my shoulder told me to just walk out with everyone and consider it a blessing. But nope, I did the right thing and reminded him that he didn’t collect my payment. The total price of our meal was $59.47.

Q: How much were your total expenses for this afternoon?

Almost $200

Q: Now tell us about your evening 5 p.m. – sleep! What were your expenses for this evening and why?

After dinner, my daughter says to me in the sweetest voice, “You know, Mommy, Kohl’s isn’t too far from here. I really need some new summer clothes.”

Ugh. There is truth in this statement. And Kohl’s really is right down the road. So we go to Kohl’s. Despite the damage done at dinner, I let my daughter walk around and pick outfits. I even let her try them on.

She picked out her favorite items and hands them to me. I pulled out my cell phone and start calculating. I looked at her and firmly shook my head. I told her that she can only get one outfit that she really liked, and promised to take her back later when I get a full paycheck from my new job. So she picks the one she likes and we go to pay. 

At this point, I think I’m numb to the cost of spending. She only got one pair of overall shorts. That’s it – we didn’t even get a shirt to wear with it, but that one pair of overall shorts cost me a grand total of $52.

At that point, I tell her we’re going straight home. No more detours. Literally straight home. 

As we walk through the door to my apartment, it’s roughly around 8 p.m. My nephew’s dinner ended around 6 p.m., so you’d think we wouldn’t be hungry just yet. But of course, we were starving again. Thank goodness my brother had ordered and paid for a pizza. 

Way to save the day, little bro!

Q: How much were your total expenses for your evening?

$52

Q: Did you learn anything today about your expenses? 

I learned that I tend to pay extra for convenience. I’m almost positive I could

 have gotten a phone case and a screen protector for much cheaper, but instead of waiting for it to come in the mail or standing in line for what feels like hours at Wal-Mart, I decided to go directly to T-Mobile because I knew I could get what I needed much faster. In fact, a little patience could have saved me quite a bit.

Q: Were your expenses aligned with your initial goals? 

Definitely not! I didn’t intend to spend that much on my phone case, let alone spend that much at my nephew’s birthday dinner. I definitely didn’t budget for these things. However, the only thing that did align with my goals today is the one pair of overall shorts I bought for my daughter. I think it’s more economical to spend a little more on good quality clothes, rather than buying cheaply made clothes that tear up after a few washes.

Total expenses for the weekend?

Approximately $370

Q: Last question! Do you have any advice for someone who may have the same money goals as you?

If you have the same money goals as me, I suggest opening a high-yield savings account. A high-yield savings account will allow you to earn more interest on your money versus a traditional savings account. Remember, you always want your money to make you money.

Also, contribute to either a Traditional IRA or a Roth IRA. With the age of retirement going up, and the future of social security benefits looking bleak, you can never have too much money saved up.

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