Spending diaries are BACK, friends. Today we’re hearing from Maggie, who runs blog and Instagram @cadyquotidienne. I’ve followed Maggie for years and I can safely say she is one of THE COOLEST people on the internet. She uses words I didn’t know existed, speaks fluent French, has lived in Paris and London, has a killer sense of style that really delves into the histories of female fashion (rather than scraping the barrel of modern day fast fashion like many persons of the internet) AND is a fellow 9-5er with a suite of side hustles to boot. Follow her on Instagram for the dreamiest imagery that’ll make you want to jump on a place to DC immediately – and of course remind you that nowhere does Christmas, Thanksgiving and Halloween quite like the states!
Known as Margaret or Maggie, this fashion and style powerhouse works full time at a non-profit in Washington DC, and lives with her family. She’s worked and studied in Europe, while side hustling with her blog Cady Quotidienne and freelance social media management. She also works at Anthropologie part time – and yes, I’m jealous of the staff discount! Money wise, she’s debt free with no credit cards *applause* and splits her money between a checking account (aka transaction account for the non-Americans in the audience), a savings account, an investment account, a 401k and a 529. Don’t worry, I’ll translate. A 401k is retirement savings – like a superannuation or a pension, kinda – and a 529 is a savings vehicle to fund higher education in the future. Maggie’s saving to do her Masters degree, y’see, as if we needed another reason to crush on her.
Short term financial goals: move in to a flat in the city, and travel more.
Long term financial goals: Save for her Master’s degree, and scheme her way back to Europe.
Her monthly income varies depending on the month. She started working full tie in November, and her salary goes towards living expenses, building an emergency fund of $3000 USD, saving for a deposit for a new flat, and big travel dreams. 9% of her pre-tax monthly income is automatically put into her 401k, and she transfers $100 to her investment account for long long long term savings like a house or retirement supplement. She splits her side hustle income between business expenses and ‘mad money’ (aka treating yo’self). I personally love the term ‘mad money’ term and will be using it myself! Currently Maggie’s stashing 45-60% of her monthly income (side hustle dependent), while she’s living at home.
Maggie’s spending diary was recorded back in Jan, but as I said, we’re both side hustlers with a 9-5. It’s taken us a while to get this up. Don’t @ me. It’s also written in the first person unlike most of my spending diaries, because Maggie has such a way with words I wasn’t gonna mess with that!
From Sunday January 12th– Saturday January 18th
(Forewarning: in the U.S tax is added to the total so booo our prices aren’t nice and neat which is the bane of my existence since coming back from Europe/anywhere else in the world which includes tax in the price like civilized people)
Sunday January 12th:
- Handover meeting with freelance social media management client, end of three month contract for project of launching Instagram for their interior design company. Plays with client’s adorable yellow lab. Happiness Points +10,000. Deposit closing check: $350 for 10 hours of work.
- Rest of the day was spent around the house writing a blog post and shooting flat lays in my living room, generally making a mess with books, clothes and candles galore. Family dinner costs me zero dollars and is delicious, going to mourn my access to amazing food on the regular when I move out in March.
- Sneaky Sunday Spend: Trial Rent The Runway Unlimited subscription: $104.94 (usually $159/month for Unlimited or $89/month for Update). Each plan lets you rent 4 items at a time, the difference: Unlimited offers access to all of RTR’s +15,000 styles from +650 designers and is at a higher retail price point per item/ is oriented more towards luxury. Update it a smaller selection of pieces and designers at a lower price point. As someone who has a personal and professional interest in fashion, I’ve been looking at different ways to refresh my wardrobe while also reducing my environmental impact and not perpetuate unrealistic expectations of shopping and consumption. I’ve wanted to try Rent the Runway’s subscription services for a while, having used their one-time rental service before for special occasions. When I saw they were doing a discount for 2020 I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to give it a go, as I have a blogging event on the 25th in DC and needed something with a bit more pizzazz than the usual looks in my closet, but I didn’t want to do the mental gymnastics of finding a dress that I could also incorporate into my 9 to 5 wardrobe and everyday life. Will be using the four items (two dresses, a bag and a blazer) in my fashion content creation as well as blog posts reviewing the service, so I’m considering this a business expense.
Monday Jan 13th:
- Back to the 9 to 5! Took the metro to work, using my top up card which had cash on it still from the previous week. Being extra strict about skipping daily Starbucks as I was a bit too enthusiastic about Peppermint Mochas in December and am trying to break myself of the habit. But because I also believe in the joy of being a little fancy, I’ve switched to getting a box of TeaPigs Darjeeling from the Whole Foods around the corner from the office and doctoring it with the free office supply of Half and Half and the massive bottle of honey I buy once a month.
- It was a crazy busy week at work, and we hit the ground running on Monday, prepping for donor meetings and other projects. Lots of email speak and ‘kindly floating this back up to the top of your inbox’ as everyone gets back into the swing of things after Christmas and New Year’s. Ate packed from home lunch at my desk and swapped gossip with cubicle buddies at lunch.
- Freedom! Had to add $15.00 to my card for the metro back home to Alexandria (it’s a huge faff if you get to your destination and have a negative balance, they make you exit, top up, re-enter and then exit through the turnstiles, of all of the underground train systems I’ve used, nothing is as infuriating as the DC Metro)
- Waiting for a carpool pick up home from the metro, it’s freezing and raining so popped into For Five Coffee Roasters for a $6.25 oat milk latte and cookie to perk me up.
Tuesday Jan 14th:
- Wash, rinse, repeat for the job. Added bonus of scrolling through Pinterest on the commute, daydreaming about giant antique mirrors I can’t afford for an apartment I don’t yet have (especially if I’m trying to move back to Europe in a few years’ time. Like that 5ft by 5 ft square of metal and glass isn’t going to magically transport itself across the Atlantic). Packed lunch again, yay self-control!
- Headed down to Gallery Place for drinks and catch ups with two friends at The Smith. We chose the happy hour special ‘make your own Mules’ along with a round of French fries and fried squash rings with chili aioli sauce. Then proceed to switch to martinis all around with another order of fries, feeling very much like the DC versions of Sex in the City as we chat about anything and everything including jobs, dating, politics and pop culture. Venmo $42.00 to my friend for my portion of food, drinks and tip (servers get paid next to nothing in the U.S and so the tipping culture tends to be at 20%). Metro back to Alexandria then Uber to my house from the metro $12.44 (world’s most complicated journey home, yes, but it’s cheaper than Ubering from downtown).
Wednesday Jan 16th:
- Getting in late after drinks with friends meant I didn’t have time to pack a proper breakfast and lunch like I usually do. Went to Cava for lunch and got a pita wrap with falafel, olives, cabbage, roasted vegetables and eggplant red-pepper tapenade sauce $12.14. Co-worker bought me a brownie as thanks for help on a project.
- Roped one of my friends into signing up for a half marathon in May with me. I’m a big runner but having a focused goal really helps to motivate my fitness, and I’ve been itching to do a half marathon since my last big race, the Paris marathon in 2018. $83.49 race fee as we signed up a bit late but spread over 12 weeks of training that’s the equivalent of a $1.06/day gym membership. Also, the race is partnered with the American Heart Association to raise money, so it’s a feel good purchase all around.
Thursday Jan 17th
- Wore my first RTR look, a leopard silk dress from The Kooples (usually retails for $498, I’m renting it for the equivalent of $19.98 for a full month of wear)
- Reigned it back in and packed my meals today, because I knew that after work, I’d be heading to a nail appointment that I had been looking forward to all week. I was meant to pop by a happy hour with a bunch of people from my University but had to stay late at work to finish up a briefing. Instead of Ubering during rush hour to the bar only to turn around five minutes after arriving, I skipped drinks and took the metro straight to my appointment at Sugar House. It’s a little spenny as far as salons go, but it’s a local business and I feel confident the technicians are paid well. Plus, they serve complimentary wine. $57.60 for gel removal + gel manicure, which usually lasts me 3-4 weeks.
- Got home and shared my RTR picks on Stories before eating leftovers for diner and settled in to write a blog post. Also was pay day from my job at Anthropologie so a lovely little $115 showed up in my bank account this morning.
Friday Jan 18th
- Full time pay day! My goal is to always have a few hundred dollars left in my checking before my direct deposit comes in bi-weekly. So then once that’s deposited, whatever amount is over $1000 in my checking is transferred straight into my savings account. It’s not very scientific but I’ve found it gives me a lot of flexibility and I haven’t had to dip into my savings since I started using this system. Moved $911 dollars to savings from the comfort of my own bed, got to love mobile banking.
- Wore second RTR piece, a plaid blazer from Tanya Taylor (retails $595, renting for equivalent of $19.98 for the month)
- Drove to work today as it was freezing, and I had plans to head straight to the cinema to go see Little Women with my friend that evening. Though I brought a lunch, I stepped out to Whole Foods to restock my Emergency Snack Drawer™ and to find some bougie nibbles to bring to the cinema. I bought a dark chocolate bar with crystallised ginger, Justin’s peanut butter cups, Love Corn in BBQ, parmesan crisps, peppermint tea, three Kind Bars, chocolate pretzel bites and two packs of champagne flavoured gummies for $24.62.
- Brought the champagne gummies, parmesan crisps and chocolate pretzel bites to the cinema, my friend ordered the tickets online as I was running late, and we were able to reserve seats. Sent her $14.88 on Venmo and spent $6.00 for parking. Left the film absolutely head over heels, Little Women has jumped to the top of my favourites list. I’m insisting every woman (and every man for good measure) that I know go and see it as soon as possible.
Saturday Jan 19th:
- No Spend Day! Hallelujah it took her the whole week but here we go. Lazy morning at home before driving into town for a midday shift at Anthropologie. Refrained from adding to my already ridiculous candle collection. Between the clothes, homeware and the employee discount, working there and not spending every penny I earn is a herculean struggle.
- Final touches on a blog post set to go live Sunday evening and photo edits for a freelance client. Leftovers for dinner.
- Quiet evening at home, doing a huge clear out in anticipation of downsizing/moving into the city and starting the new season of Sex Education on Netflix, I share my monthly subscription with my sisters.
TOTAL SPEND: $USD 379.36
TBG says: Maggie strikes the perfect balance between making sure she’s stashing some savings, and still living her life on purpose. The small tweaks she makes like getting the metro most of the way home and only Ubering for the last bit makes a huge difference – so often we’re tempted to Uber the whole way for convenience, but especially for after work events when you’ve already got public transport credit, you can save big by splitting the journey between rideshare and public transport.