Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $47,000 salary

Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $47,000 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 24-year-old woman that makes $47,000 a year. Here’s how she spends her money.

The basics:

Industry: Architecture
Position: Workplace Interior Designer
Salary: $47,000
Savings: Save As You Go for my checking account, 7% of paycheck to a 401(k), $63 every paycheck to my FSA account and $11 every paycheck to a HSA account
Age: 24

Monthly expenses:

Rent: $525 for my half
Number of roommates: 1
Neighborhood: South Charlotte
Utilities (electric, gas, cable, water, internet, etc.): $55-$60
Student loans: $685
Car payments: $185
Car insurance: $137.95
Transportation costs: $100 for gas and Uber
Phone bill: $57.21
Insurance: $35 every paycheck
Gym: $10
Spotify: $10
CareCredit card: $36
Groceries: $120 ($60 twice a month)


Three financial goals

Move closer to the city after my next leasing year.

Work on paying off my CareCredit card.

Balance my spending better once I get Invisalign. I’ll use part of my FSA to help start the payments.

Money Diary: How I spent my money last week

Day one: Monday

I went to the gym since it’s right down the street from me and convenient, then ate breakfast and made my protein shake at home.

Got to work just in time for our Monday meeting, and had my protein shake during the meeting, which usually fills my appetite until lunch.

I had a lunch meeting with my sales rep (and close friend from college). We always try to have a lunch date every month, so we went to Firebirds. SouthPark is usually our best spot for lunches, considering it’s close to our jobs. We count our lunches as meetings, so thankfully I didn’t have to pay.

Over the weekend, my cat tore apart my headphones and my yoga mat, and I simply cannot survive without my earphones. I use them for the gym and at work, so I ordered new ones from Amazon along with a new, extra thick yoga mat. $40

Had to work some more once I got home, so I posted up on the couch and ate leftover pasta salad for dinner.

Total spent: $40

Day two: Tuesday

I woke up, skipped the gym, made my lunch and had a bagel for breakfast.

At work, I had the salad I made at home for lunch.

I finally leave work, where I had to stay late to meet my deadline for the next morning. Once I was home, I had leftover pasta salad again.

Total spent: $0

Day three: Wednesday

Typical gym morning, with a bagel for breakfast and another protein shake for the office. I made a sandwich for lunch, then spent most of the day in meetings (yay, super fun).

Left work a little early to head up to South End to fill up one of my growlers at Lenny Boy. At least one Friday every month, my work team will host Pour@4, where we drink some new brews and watch a TED Talk at 4:00. This Friday is my turn to provide the beer and choose a TED Talk, so I’m filling up three growlers that I have. The one I filled at Lenny Boy was for a kombucha (Lavenderade, yummmm). $13

I made plans with a friend to watch the new Avengers movie, but we realized that a lot of the nearby theaters were sold out. The plan was to grab dinner beforehand, but since we were so limited on time, we just stopped at McDonald’s. $5

In the midst of finding a movie theater and getting food, my roommate reminded me that rent was due, so, I sent her my share of the rent, gas and utilities due through Venmo. $596

We end up going to Cinebar for the movie. Not that many people were there, so we got awesome seats! We got some popcorn, cookies and beer while watching the movie and split everything. $28

Total spent: $642

Day four: Thursday

Got in late last night because of the movie, so I slept in. I had Toaster Strudels for breakfast – those things don’t last long in my possession.

I had another lunch meeting with one of my sales reps, so we went to Burtons at Park Road Shopping Center. I had never been there before, but it was amazing! I had the stuffed zucchini rolls and maple chicken sandwich. If you haven’t gone before, I highly recommend it! Another wonderful lunch for the week. $0

Went to Triple C for yoga, which was much needed after a tough work week ($5) and stopped by Unknown Brewing to fill my other two growlers for work. I got the Feather Light and Mad Pour, two of my favorites. $36

Total spent: $41

Day five: Friday

PAY DAY! +$1,200

I skipped the gym, but brought my gym bag for after work. I had a bagel for breakfast and got to work a little late considering I had to figure out how to carry three growlers in.

Every week, our team has Lunch and Learns, during which sales reps will come in for an hour to talk about their company or their new products. They always bring catered lunch in. $0

In honor of May the Fourth, I purchased my tickets for Solo. Big Star Wars fan, so I could not resist. Got good seats too! $28

I went to the gym after work, and once I got home I stayed in and relaxed, and had my last serving of pasta salad for dinner. Our water bill was due, so I Vemnoed my roommate my half. $17

Total spent: $45

Day six: Saturday

I got invited to go to the Wells Fargo Championship with my good friend. I had never been before, so it was a lot of fun! Ended up buying a new hat ($26) and a beer ($8) while there.

We didn’t eat while at Quail Hollow, so we went to Moosehead. I got the traditional potato skins ($10). I also Venmoed my friend for the Ubers we took to get everywhere. $15

To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, the roomie and I went out to South End. We started at Seoul Food Meat Company, where we got two rum and cokes and a giant pineapple drink to share. $24

After Seoul Food, we went to Unknown where we both got a free beer. I know the manager and he didn’t make me pay – awesome people there.

Then we hopped over to Tyber Creek to get some food. I got the lamb sliders which were awesome! I typically don’t like lamb, but those were good. We both got a tequila shot and a margarita. $27

Our friend met us at Tyber, so we stayed there for a bit, then went to Brickyard, where he bought us our next few beers. We stayed out till about 2 or so, but I was dog tired and stopped drinking earlier on.

Total spent: $110

Day seven: Sunday

Finally got out of bed around 11 a.m. and had another Toaster Strudel. Had a bit of a hangover, but nothing I couldn’t handle.

Went to the pool for a couple of hours, so I packed some books and snacks. Perfect Sunday for lounging and the weather was awesome, so we took advantage of that!

I got home and did some chores around the apartment and spent the rest of the day on the couch finishing up some work that I had to complete before Monday. Just ate a sandwich for dinner.

Total spent: $0

Total spent: $878
The breakdown:

Bills – $613
Transportation – $15
Food and drink – $151
Fitness – $5
Miscellaneous – $94

What I learned:  I learned to be a little more careful with spending money during rent week. I did get paid, but I still have three big bills heading my way in the next two weeks (car and loans mostly).

But I also learned that I am lucky to have such a low rent bill, considering a lot of other friends I know pay much more than we do. We don’t live in the best location, but the apartment is big and kept up with. If I had to pay $1,000 or more for rent every month, I would stay in more to save money.

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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