Unless you’re new to this scene, you might have noticed that Money Diaries have been making a very regular appearance on R29 recently. Since January, we’ve been publishing Money Diaries daily. We’re also bringing back Money Diaries Monday, where we’ll take a deep dive into Money Diaries in a variety of ways, from recurring articles as well as fresh pieces for the MD community at the start of each week.
Because no Money Diary reading experience is complete without input from the MD Commentariat, we’re sharing some of the comments that have made us think or smile. Feel free to share your favorite Money Diaries moments, too … in the comments.
We want to give you a wider sense of how diarists across the country — and across the world — are spending, saving, splurging, or just dipping their toe into their finances for the very first time. So, keep reading, keep submitting — and keep commenting.
This Money Diary of a new mom in Long Beach, California easing back into work post-baby drew a lot of comments about her work-life balance. Several commenters rushed to defend her work ethic, noting that on International Women’s Day, of all days, we should be lifting up other women instead of knocking them down. This sparked a productive conversation about the way we talk about career and the realities of returning to work after maternity leave.
When this diarist shared that she’d recently found out her boyfriend of two years had been cheating on her, and that, to make matters worse, they still worked in the same office building post-breakup, several Money Diaries commenters jumped in to offer her kind words of support, encouragement, and wisdom. Our favorite, written by Magic Martini:
“Oh, hun. Breakups due to cheating are quite possibly the worst ones. Most of us have been through it and understand the pain (myself included). It will get better, it just takes a little time. It’s good to lean on your family and friends until then. And one day, you’re going to find someone who’ll chase away every memory of a loser who clearly never deserved you in the first place. Not that it may make a difference, coming from a stranger on the Internet, but from reading your diary, you seem like a lovely girl who’s got her act completely together. I promise you that your ex will be rueing the day he lost you for many years to come.”
“The real entertainment of this series is reading all these rude a$$ comments and then complaining to myself about it. LOL.”
Let’s start out with Toru9, who aptly addressed the elephant in the room in this diary from March, with a New York City-based content editor making $50,000 per year: The comment section can take on a life of its own.
We do plan to continue moderating the comments and making sure that it’s a safe space for people to share their (non abusive!) views. We also love the community that has formed, and we want it to keep going! Thanks for being part of that.
” Don’t sign any contract just because person pitching it to you seems like a nice lady and you just want to make her happy. Ugh, this is something I am constantly learning. I never want to disappoint people and that can lead to some seriously unnecessary spending,” JustinaMoniz wrote in March, in response to our Austin, Texas diarist — an editor working in environmental consulting who makes $35,000 per year.
It seems silly, but pressure to spend can come from people you don’t even know, often because saying “yes” can feel nicer than saying “no.” The problem is one that a lot of people, particularly women, face.
“As the daughter of a single mom, I commend you on everything and every choice you are making. Your choices are valid, we don’t know your life, and your kid is loved and protected. I ate junk bc my mom worked long hours to give me the life I wanted. Guess what happened to this non vegan child?
“Ivy League graduate living in Europe, worked at 9 huge media companies as an intern before graduating – a brag not on behalf of me but on behalf of my MOM who made choices as she saw fit. You go girl,” Heroic Java wrote in March.
In this New York City entry, a financial coordinator making $43,000 per year wrote about her dating struggles (constantly paying for cabs) and life as a single parent (who receives very little child support). While some commenters were quick to criticize the meals that the diarist’s son ate during the week, Heroic Java had a different, insightful take, which we appreciated.
The diarist is an avid fisher and reader, who mentioned being on the lookout for wandering moose, something many readers found fascinating.
“Shhh, nooo. I’m just going to pretend O.P. is out with a bag of carrots to feed them like Sven in Frozen, who’s a reindeer, but I’m also going to ignore that part and pretend like it’s the same thing,” Magical Prairie wrote.
In this diary, a social media marketing manager living in Berlin and making roughly $42,600 per year chronicled her housing search, as she hunted for a short-term studio to share with her girlfriend.
Finding a place to live is hard enough without doing it in an unfamiliar location, where you don’t speak the language, and aren’t 100% sure of the customs. This comment zoomed in on that stress with great advice.
“Hey, great diary. Quick hot tip regarding your landlord – I lived in Brussels for 2 years and had a similar experience with my landlord and was afraid of losing my deposit. Berlin has such a huge expat community so hopefully there are legal documents on renters’ rights available online in English.
“Educate yourself and don’t be afraid to stand up for your rights! Ask any local friends and/coworkers about anything that feels unfair or iffy. I didn’t speak French well enough to advocate for myself so I asked a Belgian friend to be present and he was [not only] able to not properly converse, but knew what was ‘normal’ in Belgium and how the landlord was trying to take advantage. Good luck!” wrote Heroic Drink.
“[When] I was in high school, cell phones were new, basically useless, and weren’t as “necessary” as they are now, so my parents made me pay for it myself. Also, family plans didn’t exist when I got my first cell phone. Once the precedent was set that I paid for it myself, there was no going back.
“On the other hand, I’m pretty sure my high school aged nieces will never see a cell phone bill in their lives,” Peaceful Avocado wrote in March.
After reading this Los Angeles diary from a biomedical research analyst making $56,000 per year, Money Diaries commenters started an interesting discussion about the evolution of cell phone ownership — and, more pointedly, who pays for it. It’s safe to say that most diarists are on some form of a family plan, either paying their fair share or, in some cases, having a parent or relative handle it, while they take on another expense.
Whether that indicates freeloading or ease seems to be a generational judgment.
” I leave work and have to decide which house to go to — mine or my boyfriend’s. I haven’t seen him in a few days, but I’m so tired after the long workday, and I’d like to go to my work out tomorrow. He’s not happy about it, but I’m trying to get better at standing my ground with things like this. THIS x 1000.
In this diary from a Salt Lake City auditor (who spent a significant amount of money on car trouble), the diarist discussed her decision to sleep in her own bed — instead of her boyfriend’s — after a long day. We thought the moment was refreshing and honest, too, and were happy to see that others felt the same way.
Want to avoid paying for a drink just to use the bathroom? Keep calm and look like you know what you’re doing. Here’s some good advice from Heroic Wine in the comments section of this diary from a New York City financial analyst making $90,000 per year:
“When I worked in a restaurant, people would come in all the time just to use the bathroom. And what the hell am I gonna do chase them down and drag them out? No. Lol. Nobody’s gonna stop you if you go in quickly and leave quickly. Just don’t poop all over the walls.”
Many commenters were surprised about the grueling schedule described by this diarist, a pediatric fellow living on the Upper East Side of New York City and making roughly $76,600 a year. However, some commenters, like Daring Shoe, could relate firsthand.
“As a doctor now in practice this is SO real. No time, stressed, not eating or cooking. This is sacrifice we all go through. Reform is needed. Prevent physician burnout.”
Some diaries inspire a lot of envy from readers; others generate a lot of criticism. This diarist, a multimedia manager making roughly $75,500 per year inspired both in the best possible ways.
The system she created for herself to manage her finances was a hit among readers, but so was her dedication to taking care of her health.
“I started this diary desperately wishing I had a job that started at 10:15 (I’d work out every morning! I’d sleep three more hours!) and then ended it feeling really grateful that I don’t have chronic joint pain with my autoimmune disease,” wrote Daring Watermelon. “Props for being proactive about your overall health, and not letting the paperwork/insurance complications scare you out of it!”
It’s not every day that we hear from diarists in the startup trenches. That’s probably why this one, from a San Francisco-based diarist making $17,500 per year, inspired so many of our readers, or resonated with fellow entrepreneurs.
“Yes! As a fellow freelancer/entrepreneur, it’s great to read about other people’s money diaries. We hear so much about these stories after people have made it big, but it’s comforting to hear from someone who’s just as deep in the trenches as I am. It’s tough but I feel so much stronger knowing there are others fighting in the same spot,” Hi_Lemon5 wrote. Hear, hear!
Money Diaries is a chance to learn the nitty-gritty financial details most people don’t share every day. Salary? Check! Loan payments? Check! Credit card debt? It’s all there for the world to read.
But why do we still feel so uncomfortable talking about our finances? It’s hard to learn how to manage money if you’re not talking about it in the first place.
We want to know: Who do you talk to about money? Your parents? Your partner? Your best friend? And how much info do you feel comfortable sharing? Tell us, and we’ll publish the best responses in an upcoming story on Refinery29!
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