Cash Confessional: A week of spending on a $72,500 salary

Cash Confessional: A week of spending on a $72,500 salary
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Our Cash Confessional series, in partnership with Bank of America, takes a personal and anonymous look into how people of all ages and incomes spend their money in the span of seven days.

To see the other installments of Cash Confessional, click here. This series is completely volunteer-based; if you’re interested in keeping track of your own spending and having it featured, email Kylie at This week, I spoke with a 26-year-old woman that makes $72,500 a year. Here’s how she spends her money. -Kylie

The basics:

Industry: Manufacturing
Position: Marketing Communications Manager
Yearly salary: $72,500
Who you bank with: Bank of America
Savings: I recently started at a new company where there is a waiting period before I can do my 401(k), but when I am able to, I will put 10% into my 401(k) with my company matching. Currently, I try to put away at least $100 from each pay check, sometimes it’s more sometimes it’s less.

I also use an app called Acorns, which is a keep-the-change program, but instead of putting the change into a savings account, it invests it into a stock portfolio (highly recommend, you would be surprised how fast you save money this way. You can attach not only your bank account, but your credit cards as well).
Age: 26


Monthly expenses:

Rent: $1,010
Number of roommates: 0
Neighborhood: Montford Park
Utilities: It depends on the month, but it averages around $150.
Student loans: None. I was blessed that I had some scholarships and that my parents were willing and able to pay for the rest.
Car payments: $275
Car insurance: $66.98
Transportation: I always Uber on nights and weekends when I go out, but I generally split them with friends, so I’d say about $50 or less.
Phone: $0 – company paid.
Insurance: $0 – company paid.
One UNC Charlotte course: $1,166 per month. This money comes out of a designated education fund of mine, so it doesn’t impact my regular finances.

Three financial goals:

In the next few years, I’d like to buy property, do more with investing and get a more diversified portfolio. I’d also like to cut down to having only 1 or 2 credit cards.

Money Diary: How I spent my money this week

Day one: Monday

I woke up and grabbed a Soylent Vanilla Café out of the fridge for breakfast and went to work. I brought my lunch from home today, so neither meal cost me anything.

I did get an e-mail with a 30% off coupon for Soylent, so I ordered a new box for $25.99.

I have a free week of Blue Apron, so I cooked one of those meals for dinner.

Total spent: $25.99

Day two: Tuesday

I’m starting a six month course through UNC Charlotte after work and on weekends and part of the tuition was drafted out of my account this morning. $1,167

I made overnight oats last night and ate them for breakfast at the office before eating lunch that I brought from home. This is a recent change for me, but I’ve officially brought my lunch to work every day for almost four weeks. $0

I have class tonight and won’t be able to go home to cook dinner, but I don’t want to eat out, so I grabbed a bottle of Soylent and threw it in my bag. $0

Total spent: $1,167

Day three: Wednesday

I had my first 3-hour class last night and was dragging too much this morning to put breakfast together but was in desperate need for coffee. I ended up stopping at Chick-Fil-A and got a 4-count chicken mini with a large iced coffee. The meal itself was $6.37, but I added $10 to my app to pay for it.

I ordered Oats Overnight. They’re healthy, pre-combined oats that are loaded with protein and other things that are great for mornings. It’s weird to drink oats, but it turned out to be pretty good! I’ll definitely be ordering more. $18

I packed a light lunch from home and made another Blue Apron meal for dinner. $0

Total spent: $28

Day four: Thursday

I made more overnight oats and brought them into the office, along with leftover from last night’s Blue Apron meal.

I have class tonight, so even though I hate leftovers, I ate them for dinner because I was rushed.

Total spent: $0

Day five: Friday

I snagged some prepackaged oatmeal at the office for breakfast and drank a Soylent I brought from home for lunch before snacking on a yogurt.

I donated $10 to Represent.Us today. It’s a political group whose focus is to bring together the two opposing sides so that we can move forward and create a better, less corrupt political system.

A friend came over after work, so we went to the gym and came back and watched a movie. Instead of ordering in (which usually happens!), I made a Blue Apron meal for the both of us.

Total spent: $10

Day six: Saturday

I had a pack of Oats Overnight, the drinkable oats that I ordered earlier this week, for breakfast before grabbing a Berry Acai Bowl from Rico’s at 7th Street Public Market during my class break ($11).

For dinner, I went to Hot Taco and had chips, salsa and a margarita with friends ($12) before we went out for more drinks Uptown, which they covered. I took an Uber there and back for $16.72.

Total spent: $39.72

Day seven: Sunday

I had both breakfast and lunch at home.

Sunday is when I go grocery shopping, so I went to Harris Teeter and grabbed swordfish, chicken, turkey, veggies, yogurt, cottage cheese, water, whole wheat pasta and farro for $65.

Dinner was my final free Blue Apron meal. $0

Total spent: $65

Total spent: $1,335.71
The breakdown:

Food and drink – $141.99
Transportation – $16.72
Education – $1,167
Miscellaneous – $10

What I learned: This week was an unusual week in that I didn’t have any bills due.

I’ve been trying to spend less, especially when it comes to going out to eat and shopping online. This week, by keeping track, I was able to cut back significantly on shopping online as well as eating out. However, it was eye opening to see how much I still spent on food for just a week. Taking out the money for tuition, which was taken out of my school fund, I still spent a total of $168.71 in a week, it makes me really wonder how much I normally spend in a normal week when I’m not consciously keeping track and significantly cutting back.

Moving forward, I think I will continue keep track of my daily spending, and obviously continuing trying to cut back where I can.

Build your financial know-how with free tools and information to help you make more confident decisions. Visit the Bank of America Better Money Habits site today.

Need 1:1 guidance on getting your finances in order? Schedule an appointment with a Bank of America specialist today or stop in your local financial center.

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