Instead of guessing how much I really spend and what a realistic budget looks like, I decided to track my monthly spending this year in a Google Sheet.

Photo by Erik Witsoe on Unsplash

Monthly Spend Sheet Format Changes

I added Travel since in April I did a weekend trip to Skagit Valley for the tulip festival. Also since I’ll be fully vaccinated by end of May, travel is now more feasible.

April 2021 Spend: $2,796 vs $2,215

Rent: 38% vs 47%

Groceries: 8% vs 11%

Shopping: 0% vs 2%

Dining Out: 16% vs 16%

Health: 0% vs 2%

Transportation: 0% vs 2%

Work: 0% vs 1%

Gifts: 0% vs 1%

Membership: 31% vs 14%

Travel: 8%…


Photo by Keren Levand on Unsplash

My first manager was incredibly sweet and supportive. Margo was structured, providing a clear step by step onboarding plan that mimicked the organized folder structure we used. It wasn’t until she left the company that I realized how fortunate I was to have a manager who would fight for me, helping me get promoted when I was being modest. Margo became my template for what a good manager looks like. When I became a manager, I embodied her principles of treating her direct reports as people and always keeping their best interest at heart.

Since Margo, I had a variety…


Back at it again with another clothing rental review! This year, I’m not buying any clothes, but I’m a sucker to try new clothes. When I heard Banana Republic has a free 30 day trial for their rental clothing service, I had to try it out.

Last month, I tried Express Style Trial. From the UI, I can tell both Express and Banana Republic are using the same service for their rental programs.

How It Works

You can request 3 items at a time for unlimited number of times for the flat fee of $75/mo, which is $9 more than Express Style Trial…


Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

When quarantine hit, I was optimistic, thinking it would be temporary. I figured I would become closer with the guy I was seeing and grateful that work wasn’t too crazy. Fast forward a few weeks into quarantine, I was dumped, crying every night and couldn’t sleep. I had crazy mood swings where one day I’d be happy, proud of how I cleaned my apartment. The next day I’d be crying throughout the day, not sure how to climb out of the hole of wallowing. I was lonely, yearning for people in my life as I went through my first breakup.


I decide this year that I would not buy new clothes, but I still have moments where I would like to mix up my wardrobe. I heard about rental clothing companies and decided to try Express Style Trial since they had a 30 day free trial.


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Instead of guessing how much I really spend and what a realistic budget looks like, I decided to track my monthly spending this year in a Google Sheet.

Monthly Spend Sheet Format Changes

I added a few new categories this month:

  1. Work- Every other month, our product team reviews a book we are assigned. Although we do get reimbursed for the book, I wanted to include it in my spending sheet.
  2. Gifts- Pre-quarantine I rarely spent money on gifts as usually friends would celebrate their birthdays in person with dinner so we would split paying for the birthday person. Since we aren’t able to see…

I’m a sucker for a good deal, and lately, I’ve been lucky enough to score some great deals that I want to share with you.

Photo by rupixen.com on Unsplash

1. Free Trials

For years, I’ve been curious about clothing rental services. From Rent the Runway to Nuuly, there are several companies that allow you to rent a few items at a time for a flat rate. I finally took the plunge and I’m wrapping up my Express Style Trial 30 day free trial. I’ll be publishing a post dedicated to my review of Express Style Trial next month. Overall, it’s been fun to get a constant rotation…


Photo by Amy Ivan on Unsplash

“Are you waiting until marriage to have your first kiss?”

Tammy asked as we sipped on cocktails in a Paris bar. I was 20 at the time and revealed during a game of “Never Have I Ever” that I’ve never been kissed. I don’t recall how I responded but to this day, that memory makes me uncomfortable.

I was never the girl who had her wedding planned out. In fact, I always thought I would never get married. I couldn’t see myself married with kids in the idyllic house in the suburbs. I didn’t date in high school or college. No hookups or flings. I managed to talk my way…


Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Growing up, I loved dinner. It was my favorite meal since that was usually when we would have the chance to eat out. We rarely ate out for breakfast and lunch unless we were running errands or on a trip. I associated eating out as a treat from the norm, a chance to try new cuisines and eat outside our house. I carried this notion to college as Friday nights would be when we sometimes splurged and ate downtown instead of at the dining common or at our apartment.

Post college, I became a fan of brunch. So many options…


Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Instead of guessing how much I really spend and what a realistic budget looks like, I decided to track my monthly spending this year in a Google Sheet.

Monthly Spend Sheet Format Changes

I added “Misc” as a category since I had a few expenses like tax software and a ticket for a trivia night that didn’t fit my existing categories. “Misc” will be a catchall category.

February 2021 Spend: $2,092.40 vs $1,805 budget

Rent: 50% vs 58% budget

Groceries: 24% vs 14% budget

Previously, I spent 11% of my January spend on groceries. It doubled in Feb. since we went to Costco this month. We go to Costco about once a…

Lilly Chan

Hey! I’m a 20-something year old who loves discussing self improvement. I’ve worked in operations and product at tech companies.

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