About this week’s author:

I am a work at home mom of two from and living in San Francisco. San Francisco has a notoriously high cost of living, but there are lots of free family events and cheap eats if you look for them. I work for Fambassador, a mom influencer agency. My husband works for Razer, a gaming peripheral company.

In 2019 we are striving to carve out a little time to help me find more balance, which also makes room for papa and son bonding time. We try to live simply, and another goal for this year is to try eating out less so we can save for purchasing a home. Particularly on the weekend the convenience of eating out creeps in. And in San Francisco, eating out is a form of entertainment. Let’s see how we do this weekend.

Friday:

My job is super flexible so I have the kids all day, and work from home at night. On Fridays we usually visit my husband at his office downtown for lunch. My son always looks forward to it. He makes the rounds greeting coworkers, and plays Nerf gun with Papa after eating the dinner leftovers I pack him for lunch. I get a little down time and make a plate from the office’s leftover catered lunch. Today I check work email, and purchase a gift for a friend with twin babies. I redeem my $35 Home Chef credit purchased with 3 Pearachute credits. I select a salad kit, a taco kit, and a wrap kit (all 2 servings each) for my friend and pay the difference ($16.86). Since it’s food I’ll add this to our expenditures.

Nap time can be hit or miss, but today my son falls asleep in the stroller on our walk home. I do a little internal dance and pop into Starbucks. I buy him a fruit pouch ($2.25) for a special treat to enjoy when he wakes up. I sip hot water and look at real estate and preschools on my phone. When he wakes up we head to a free community playroom nearby. We play and read books, and they give him some cookies to snack on.

At home as a rainy day treat my son enjoys a few YouTube videos and juice. We usually have dinner at a nearby Chinese hole in the wall restaurant as a Friday treat. Since it’s raining my husband comes home with our takeout. My roast duck and rice plate and their two orders of chow fun is $28.

In the evening after the kids’ bedtime, I let myself veg out and binge watch Friends From College on Netflix (free trial). My husband is exhausted and crashes early.

Total Friday Spend: $47.11 + 3 Pearachute credits

Saturday

My son wakes up around 5am — 6am usually. It always feels like there’s so much time before an activity, and yet we are always running late out the door. We have a kid’s birthday party in the morning today. I make cupcakes to pack for my milk allergic son to have at the party (I’ll estimate $0.50 for pantry ingredients since the recipe is eggless and butterless). I also make egg salad sandwiches so we can have lunch to eat in the car when the party ends at noon. Breakfast for the weekend is a batch of steel cut oats I made in advance (I’ll estimate $1).

The party is a lovely brunch. I manage to have a few mini conversations with various friends between tending to my son. Our gift and card are $30. The host sends us out the door with a few pastries and waffles that will be good for snacks/breakfast.

We eat our brown bagged lunch in the car en route to our next activity. I’d estimate it costs $3 of groceries to make the 3 sandwiches, so I add that to my total. My husband drops me and the baby off at a newish trendy matcha cafe. I embarrassingly don’t have much of a social life since baby #2, so I’m happy have a catch up date with a friend from high school. The place is packed and I marvel at what life used to be like before kids. I make a mental note that my husband would like this place for a date day. I pay $20 for our matcha latte, hojicha latte, and a slice matcha roll cake to share. The cake is a splurge but I enjoy the buzz of caffeine and conversation.

While I’m with my friend, my husband takes our son to the playground. Unbeknownst to me he finds free parking at the playground near where I am hanging out. His intends to be available to pick me up when I’m done, but he’s busy on the playground and doesn’t get a chance to text me. I hop onto public transportation to get home. I pay $2 extra to transfer from one transportation company to another which cuts my commute time in half ($4.50 total). Between the commute and arriving home slightly earlier than they do, I get about 40 minutes of time “me” which maybe makes the expense worth it. On the way in I run into a neighbor who has some hand me down books for my son. I check work email when I get home to unwind. When everyone else gets back we eat leftovers for dinner. Before bed my husband plays a free online computer game, and I read articles online and catch up on Instagram.

Total Saturday Spend: $59

Sunday

We’ve been checking out a church near us, so this is where we head Sunday morning. After service we go to the nearby Contemporary Jewish Museum, because I saw on Pearachute that they are having a Family Day. First for lunch we eat some leftovers I grabbed from the fridge, but my husband is still hungry after and gets coffee and a sandwich ($18 ouch) from the museum cafe. The event is fun and has legos, arts and crafts, storytime, music, and more, for free!

My son takes a nap on the walk home, and then we go out for an early dinner at a sushi boat restaurant. My son enjoys a bowl of udon, his favorite dish. My husband and I conservatively select eleven little plates of sushi from the conveyor belt of boats. It’s a splurge ($50), but we enjoy ourselves. Afterwards we have a short playdate at a friend’s house, and then go home to get the kids ready for bed. My husband and I discuss some family administrative matters (family goals, our son’s development, etc.). We marvel at how enjoyable our low-key family weekend was before going to bed.

Total Sunday Spend: $68

I did a decent job packing lunches this weekend, and the select splurges felt worth it. We also spent quality time with friends which is another focus for us right now. Hopefully we can keep this up for the rest of the year. My husband and I could definitely use a date day or night, though!

Total Weekend Spend: $174.11

Gifts $46.86

Transportation $4.50 without calculating gas

Eating out $118.25 (2 snacks, lunch for 1, and 2 family dinners)

Cooking $4.50 (2 breakfasts, dessert, and lunch)