Cash Confessional: a week of spending on a combined $171,500 salary

Cash Confessional: a week of spending on a combined $171,500 salary
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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 Lauren at or fill out our Survey Monkey.

The basics

Age: Her, 27. Husband, 26


Gender: Female

Industry: She works in textiles and he works in adhesives.

Position: She’s a Sales Account Manager, he’s an Operations Manager.

Salary: She makes $91,500 with the potential for a bonus. He makes $75,000 with a potential $5,000 bonus.

Additional income: A $500/month car allowance from her company.

What’s the best thing you’ve ever spent money on? Our house?

What’s the most frivolous thing you’ve ever spent money on? $5,800 earrings for my wedding…that I got converted afterward into more everyday earrings.

If you had to show a friend your checking account you would feel: So embarrassed. I don’t care if people know how much money we do or don’t have, but I spent money on the most ridiculous things sometimes.

Would you rather show a friend your savings account or your Google search history? HAHA savings account.

If money was no object, what’s one thing you would spend it on? A complete renovation/customization of our house.

The biggest expense in our life right now is? My mortgage.

Three financial goals:

  1. Build our emergency fund up to six months worth of salary.
  2. Pay off 20 percent of house so we don’t have mortgage insurance anymore.
  3. Contribute the max allowance each toward Roth IRA.

The expenses

Mortgage: $2,500/month

Number of roommates: The couple, two dogs and a cat.

Neighborhood: Steele Creek.

Credit card debt: $0. We pay it off each month.

Student loans: $0. I had a scholarship to college, and my husband had a mix of grants and a small amount of loans that he paid off within one year of graduating.

Car payment: None. I have a 10-year-old car my parents bought me nine years ago as a gift. My husband had a four-year loan on his car that he finished paying off 1.5 years ago.

Any extra costs:

  • Hulu/Spotify: $10/month
  • Amazon Prime: $129/year
  • Phone bill: $156/month.
  • Pet insurance: $150/month.
  • Cable/Internet: $110/month.
  • Car insurance: $108/month.
  • XM Radio: $5/month.
  • Xbox Live: $8/month.
  • Class Pass $10/month (tried to cancel but they weaseled me into this plan…still don’t go).
  • Workout app: $10/month (actually use this one).
  • Water bill: ~$80/month.
  • Electric bill: ~$200/month.
  • Gas bill: ~$30/month (only use in the winter).
  • Health/dental/vision insurance (both of us): $130/month
  • HOA: $200/quarter
  • HSA/flex spending: $155/month (both of us).
  • 401(k): $1,000/year, 3 percent for spouse (both maxing out our company-matching plans)
  • Savings: $1,000/month.

Money Diary: How we spent our money last week


Husband got up early to go golfing, and I slept in.  I made french toast at home and he had Bojangles but used a gift card so it cost us nothing.  After he golfed, he had lunch at the country club ($20.85).  I decided it was a beautiful day to do yard work, so I headed to Lowe’s for some supplies. $84.64 later and I was ready to critter-proof my garden and pick some weeds.  I stopped for gas on the way home ($46.69). I had a rice cake PB&J for lunch at home in the middle of the yard work. We ate a salmon dinner with vegetables at home that we already had in the fridge. After dinner, I watched “Game of Thrones” while my husband did our weekly grocery shopping ($31.29).  He stopped for gas on the way home ($36.00).  I did some online shopping after GOT for a birthday gift, two lamp shades and a baby pool because I’m already overheated and it’s not even summer… ($121.47, but had a $50 gift card so really only $71.47).  While I was online, I remembered we wanted to see “Avengers: Endgame” on Tuesday, so I bought tickets for us and my brother as part of his birthday present ($21.18).

Total spent: $240.65


My husband got up before me and made himself a smoothie for breakfast.  I also made a smoothie to-go on my way to work. We both packed snacks and lunches for our workday (me – salad, him – leftovers from his golf lunch yesterday). I paid two doctors’ bills and bought an online allergy test on my lunch break ($328.91), but used my HSA account so this didn’t come directly out of our pocket.  On the way home from work, I decided I was craving spaghetti so I swung by Harris Teeter to get bread for garlic bread (who eats spaghetti without garlic bread? Can’t relate.) ($3.05).  We already had the pasta, ground turkey and veggies for the rest of the meal.  My husband stopped at Costco on the way home to stock up on some household items and groceries ($335.48).

Total spent: $447.18


I woke up late today, so I reheated some frozen homemade waffles for breakfast.  Hubby had cereal at home.  I worked from home and then made myself a salad for lunch. Husband comes home from work during lunch most days, so he made himself a chicken sandwich.  I went to a meeting and when I got home my husband had dinner started so we could make it to Avengers on time. He had stopped at Harris Teeter on his way home to pick up a few things for dinner ($8.03).  We ate homemade taco bowls with our leftover ground turkey from yesterday and some quinoa with vegetables. At the movies, I bought my brother and I a large water and candy ($11.52).

Total spent: $19.55


Husband had a smoothie at home for breakfast.  I had a bagel while I got ready for work.  While I was in a client meeting, he had a chicken Caesar salad for lunch at home.  I made myself a chicken sandwich for lunch once I drove back from my meeting.  After lunch, I went to UPS and Lowes to do some returns (-$6.30) and while at Lowes I picked up some more paint for a house project I’m working on and a fern because they were on sale ($25.89). We ate dinner at home. We had salmon burgers and homemade fries. Husband’s credit card bill auto-paid today ($1,287.74). Since it was the beginning of the month, we sat down and talked about our budget. I’m horrible about staying on budget, so we created a new budget strategy of just giving me one lump sum each month and my husband turned it into a game.  For every month that I don’t go over budget, I get an extra $20 added to my budget. For every month that I go over budget, I have $10 taken away from my budget.  I married a smart dude who knows me well. I’m competitive and I love a game, so this is our best budget strategy yet.

Total spent: $1,307.33


As usual, my husband got up before me.  He reheated a frozen breakfast burrito for breakfast.  I had cereal. He came home for lunch and we made tacos — veggie for me, chicken for him.  After lunch, I ran out to pick up a birthday present for a friend.  My budget was $35, because I’ve already bought her a few other things, but I ended up spending $40 and $10 on a gift for myself. Whoops.  I also stopped at Trader Joe’s to pick up a few items ($52.66).  For dinner, we ended up making our respective pasta dishes at home — me – lentil pasta with vegetables, him – penne pasta with chicken and vegetables.  He left for a sports league he’s in on Thursdays, and I finally caught up on some TV shows I’ve been neglecting for months.  While I was sitting in the living room watching said TV, I started to get irritated that I’ve done so much work in this room and yet it still hasn’t fully come together.  I went on and almost booked an interior designer, then changed my mind.  After, I got on Facebook where they targeted an ad to me for half-off the price of an interior designer, so I ended up buying it ($35.00).  They really know their audience!

Total spent: $137.66.


My husband rushed through his morning routine so he could leave early and get Chick-fil-A for breakfast ($3.56 but he had a gift card, so it cost us $0).  While I was deciding what to have for breakfast, I noticed an expense report from my company came through yesterday (+$123.93) so I put that toward the credit card I use for work travel expenses.  I also got my car allowance today (+$500.00) which will immediately go toward new tires I had to get last month.  We both had salads at home for lunch. After working from home for a bit, I went to Walmart to pick up some potting soil to freshen up my spring plants ($6.26).  I picked up my friend from the airport and we started pre-gaming for the weekend.  We went to a new bar a few minutes from our house and got drinks ($23.48) and ended up eating dinner there also ($42.38).  We split the Uber back home with our friends ($4.50).

Total spent: $76.62


Husband had cereal at home while I went to breakfast with friends ($7.49).  He made us all homemade tacos for lunch with a few things he had picked up at Harris Teeter ($57.00).  We had a pool day after to celebrate the opening of our neighborhood pool.  It was also my brother’s birthday, so he and my parents came over to celebrate before we went to a family dinner. My parents paid for this to celebrate his birthday. All he wanted for his birthday was money, so I venmoed him $50. My parents drove us back, so no Uber costs.

Total spent: $114.49

Weekly total spent: $2,343.48

What we learned:

  • Tracking your spending every day is a rude awakening. Maybe I should be doing this for myself haha.
  • It’s pretty much me who spends all of our money.  My husband just buys necessary items like groceries.  I need to make sure I’m trying to use our new strategy so that I stay on budget.
  •  If we could stop drinking and eating so much on the weekends we could save a lot of money, but we already knew that before we did this.

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.

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 Lauren at or fill out our Survey Monkey.


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