The Money Diaries: How Much Can You Spend In The City For One Week? We Tested It

Money. The forefront of conversation in San Francisco. Everything from rent to your local coffee shop’s latte—cash is of the loose lipped savants who budget down to the quarter for laundry, but we digress.

To fully take part, we had our editors down to our editorial assistants pen what they spent on for an entire week in San Francisco and beyond. We’re not naming salaries, jobs outside of the magazine, or any underlining pay—we wanted to see what normal, everyday person who lives in the Bay, what they spend their cash on. We asked our team to record any price or payment that gave them two seconds of a pause (not including monthly bills, rent, etc) but an actual day in the life of money. Whether it’s saving, meal prepping or getting the newest coat from a local boutique, some of these diaries will surprise you or won’t be surprising at all.



I’ve really been trying to avoid spending right now, so my list is boring. I spent $63 at Berkeley Bowl. I’ve been eating an inordinate amount of Almond Butter. $30 on Bart Clipper Card East Bay to SF commute, and $80 at Zara getting work clothes. Again, very bland.

Total week spent: roughly $173.



Through the majority of the week, food has been consumed with the occasional shopping. For coffee this week, switching between black coffees and cold brew, $29 bucks had been spent with lunch costs ranging in the $71 range. Food is life. But if Saturdays aren’t for shopping, then I don’t know what they’re there for, totaling in sweet Bay Area shopping we have $516. Take it as you may.

Total week spent: roughly $607.



Monday through Friday was $13 per roundtrip Bart ticket to work that kills my soul for a grand total of $65/week PLUS PARKING brings it up to $80/week. Lunch at The Grove: $15 for a salad… what a time to be alive. Ubers all over the city came out to be $32 altogether. I decide to #treatmyself when the SF Ballet calls (they know I’m a chump so I ball out and spend $200 on tickets (the arts will not die on my watch.) Followed up with $12 for a latte and croissant (yikes).

Total week spent: roughly $404.


AR—Art & Editorial

One of the things I love to drink (and eat) is a 24oz boba from Boba Guys, not nearly everyday but when you get a friends discount of 4.50 and go about 4 times a week, I’ll spend up to $20. And if we’re speaking about the random dinners with old co-workers friends, first dates, and PR media dinners—mama spent a good $187 and that’s Monday through Friday, followed by the wine nights one must-have to obtain any key of a social life (sarcasm) this brought me up on a Thursday to $62. Plus on the lower end of the spectrum, since I’ve been too lazy to renew my clipper card monthly, I’ve been paying on my Muni app—sadly totaling to $37.50.

Total week spent: roughly $374.



Keeping a pretty chill week but also matching commute into the city, I found and live the ultimate truth that BART is $75 a week… Plus parking. Not to mention if you mess up and have to face ticket life, parking citations at BART are $85… Followed by dinners in Pleasanton, those dumpling and rice plates added up to be $60. Mix in a coffee and sandwich combo in San Jose, I reluctantly paid $20 for all of it.  

Total week spent: roughly $240.

Conclusion: could we budget better? Yes. Does SF need to rethink prices for items that it commands with a wave of it’s hand? Probably. Being able to live, afford, and thrive in the Bay Area comes with a steep weekly budget. If you’re not splurging and #treatingyourself, simply buying the groceries or necessary food items becomes daunting.

The Money Diaries: How Much Can You Spend In The City For One Week? We Tested It
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