Times they are a changin’

I’ve decided to switch up the frequency and structure of my reporting. The first 10 days kept me in the habit of writing and committing to my budget. It even pushed me to tell a few coworkers about the habit I’m looking to build. Now that repetition has set in, I think it would be a better reader experience to have an easier to digest weekly structure with more interesting experiential callouts rather than me commenting on the daily grind of eating Amazing Turkey Sandwiches. After the callouts, I’ll follow up with a quick summary of my spending. …

Day 10: Lobsters, foie gras, and friends on the cheap
Days Remaining: 21
Budget remaining: $754.32

Today’s Expenses: $168.13
Metrocard: $116.50
Lobster and a foie gras burger: $51.63


BEEEEEEEEEP pay me or walk to work yells the turnstile blocking me from the L train on 1st and 14th. Great…my unlimited Metrocard just ran out. Lucky for me, I carry around my trusty WageWorks card, which let’s me put pretax dollars towards getting around the city. Again, a nice little perk from work. I take the train twice a day at a minimum going to and from the office during the…

Day 9: I planned my lunches incorrectly, and my fifth zero dollar day
Days Remaining: 22
Budget remaining: $922.45

Today’s Expenses: $0

Coffee: $0

Cereal at work: $0

Yeah, so I knew this was going happen. Usually I will swap out sandwiches for salads made at home every so often, but my girlfriend usually takes care of that, but didn’t get around to it this week. The financial cost for eating cereal at work may been zero, but damn do you feel like a kid walking around in grown up clothing, when you are eating Honey Nut Cheerios…

Day 8: My fourth zero dollar day
Days Remaining: 23
Budget remaining: $922.45

Today’s Expenses: $0

Breakfast / Lunch
Coffee: $0
ATS: $4.45
Pizza: $0

Not much to report on today. We had a company sponsored happy hour for a few folks that are headed off to other opportunities. It’s funny how easy it is to take the daily interactions with your work family for granted. One day they’re just down the hall and the next they turn into Facebook friends you only get messages from on your birthday. Of the five that started with me a little over…

Day 7: Don’t buy low end convenience food
Days Remaining: 24
Budget remaining: $922.45

Today’s Expenses: $4.25
2 slices of pizza: $4.25

Coffee: $0 thanks to my homies in the office.

ATS: $4.30

Dinner / Mindset New York’s pizza is probably one of the best things you can experience as a resident of the five boroughs…and I’ve never been so disappointed. 2 slices (one plain and one pepperoni) from Krust on 3rd and 19th are normally my saving grace when I work late on Tuesdays. But I now realize that if I’m forking over close to $5.00 bucks…

Day 6: The magic of Thai curry and my third zero dollar day
Days Remaining: 25
Budget remaining: $926.70

Today’s Expenses: $0

Coffee: $0 thanks to my homies in the office.

ATS: $4.30

A few people around the office are definitely starting to notice I’m eating the same thing everyday.


  • 365 Organic Extra Firm Tofu (14oz): $1.99
  • 1 red pepper: $1.40
  • 1 green pepper: $1.14
  • Trade Joe’s Red Thai Curry: $2.69
  • Quinoa (1 cup): TBD
    Ingredient total: $7.22*

The above can easily serve three portions, but I went HAAM on this delicious dish and ended up splitting…

Day 5: Emergency donuts and the hidden subscription
Days Remaining: 26
Budget remaining: $926.70

Today’s Expenses: $32.82
Audible: $14.95
“Emergency” Donuts: $6.00
Gracefully (Groceries): $11.87


Audible you sneaky son of a bitch how could you? So many nights you’ve whispered me to sleep, and now I find you sneaking into my AmEx expenditure alerts at 12:00am?! I thought you were better than that… I thought we had something special.

All kidding aside, I’m a big Audible fan. I can walk to work with my favorite books or stoic philosophy guiding me through the streets of Manhattan. And since I…

Day 4: Groceries and the on-demand economy
Days Remaining: 27
Budget remaining: $959.52

Today’s Expenses: $132.15
Instacart: $132.15

I try to save Saturdays for all of my “be a real person / adult” stuff like doing laundry, shopping for groceries, and general tidying up of the apartment. And by “be a real person”, I mean be an on-demand economy (ODE) powered millennial (1984 still counts), and outsource a few of these things. My girlfriend and I divide a few costs around the apartment. She takes care of the laundry, and I take care of the food shopping.

Laundry: $0 (for…

Day 3: My second zero dollar day and a night out
Days Remaining: 28
Budget remaining: $1,091.67

Today’s Expenses: $0

Free coffee from work. $0

Every other Friday we have a catered team lunch, so that was a lucky break considering I’m almost out of food. $0

Tofurkey sausages w/ pasta and marinara sauce from the Feb 19th order. $0

Estimated cost of the dinner:

  • Tofurkey Andouille sausages: $4.99
  • Whole peeled tomatoes: $1.69
  • 365 Spaghetti: $1.09

Ingredient total: $7.77

My girlfriend and I split the food evenly, and we only used half the sausages, so my one…

Day 2: First zero dollar day
Days Remaining: 29
Budget remaining: $1,091.67

Today’s Expenses: $0

I managed to go the whole day without spending anything.

Breakfast & lunch were the same as yesterday (coffee and an ATS), because I’m still living off of groceries from my Feb. 19th order. Yay for accounting.

I ended up working late and wasn’t able to make it home in time to cook (read: I was too damn tired, and I didn’t feel like it). Instead, I had a bachelors dinner: 3 cold hard boiled eggs and a bowl of cereal. If I wasn’t on…

David Salsone

U.S. Navy veteran, tech enthusiast, Brown University alum living in the tail of the distribution

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