Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $64,000 salary

Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $64,000 salary
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This is part of our Cash Confessional series that takes a deeply 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.

If you’re interested in keeping track of your own spending and having it featured, email Kylie at [email protected].

This week, I spoke with a 27-year-old woman who makes $64,000 a year. Here’s how she spends her money. -Kylie

The basics:

Industry: Currently working for a large plumbing supply retailer
Occupation: Compensation Analyst
Salary: $64,000
Bank: I actually still bank with my hometown bank, Union First. There are no local branches in Charlotte. I should probably open an account with Bank of America… maybe.
Age: 27
Gender: Female

Monthly expenses:

Rent: $762.50 (my half)
Number of Roommates: 1 lovely lady, whom I have known for 20 years.
Neighborhood: SouthPark
Utilities:  $134.67 (My half of gas, electric, cable/internet)
Health Insurance: $141.31 (Medical, Dental, Vision)
Student Loans: Fortunate not to have any
Car Payment: $0 (all paid off! My baby is 10 years old)
Transportation costs: Approximately $60 for gas
Car Insurance/Renters Insurance: $92.35
Phone bill: $86.34
Savings per month: $373.33 (this goes into my 401k)

Additional expenses:

Netflix: $7.99
Spotify: $12.99
Hulu: $7.99 $34.99 (I have cancelled this week, yay!)

Money Diary: How I spent my money last week

Day one: Sunday
9:30 a.m. – Breakfast. McDonald’s Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit meal (the whole time thinking “why is Chick-fil-a closed on Sundays?!). $4.85
11:30 a.m. – Head to TJ Maxx and purchase some containers for my new office plants and new decorations for my coffee table. $19.29, but rounded up for charity- $20.00
1:00 p.m. – Go to Michaels and get paint and some wooden boxes to create some storage in my bathroom and a display for my office. $43.15

Money Diary Boxes
2:30 p.m. – Lunch at Chop’t. My roommate highly recommended the Santa Fe salad. $9.30

6:30 p.m. – For dinner, I have the second half of my salad from Chop’t and some hummus with pretzels. $0

Total: $77.30

Day two: Monday
7:00 a.m. Breakfast sandwich made of sandwich flats, fried egg, and some avocado.
9:30 a.m. Purchased my Dad’s birthday present for $116.85 and split it with my brother for $58.43.
10:00 a.m. Donated to a co-worker’s charity: $25.
4:30 p.m. Stopped to get gas on my way home: $27.00 (this gas should last 1.5 weeks).
4:45 p.m. Hit up the grocery store to stock up for the week: $41.91 (but got the parmesan cheese for the roommate so she will pay me back). $36.62.


Total spent: $147.05

Day three: Tuesday
7:00 a.m. Breakfast sandwich again!
12:00 p.m. Protein shake for lunch.
5:00 p.m. Vented about work with the roommate, enjoyed a glass of wine while doing so.
6:00 p.m. Made “Healthy Tacos” (with lettuce as the vessel) with the ingredients bought on Monday.
6:30 p.m. Took a nice long walk to work off those tacos.

Total spent: $0

Day four: Wednesday
6:30 a.m. Working from home today so I made an egg and avocado sandwich and then hit the pavement for a 3-mile walk before work.
12 p.m. Protein shake for lunch.
2:30 p.m. Take my car to the dealership to have the airbags replaced; this was a recall, so free! $0.
6:00 p.m. Leftover tacos for dinner!

Total spent: $0

Day five: Thursday
7:00 a.m. I had my traditional breakfast sandwich again this morning, egg and avocado. This is the last of my avocado, so I wonder what I will do tomorrow – I hadn’t planned on going to the grocery store again.
12 p.m. Protein shake for lunch! I am surprisingly not tired of these yet this week. It must be the chocolate taste, or that fact I will let myself splurge tonight on my date.
4:08 p.m. My date for tonight (this is our second date) CALLS ME (yeah, calls me, doesn’t text. Men, take notes) to let me know he is going to be running late tonight but he will keep me informed (he is supposed to pick me up at 5:30 to head uptown to Alive After five and then to a movie).
4:59 p.m. My date for tonight CALLS ME, again, to update me on his status. Still running late, but we should be able to make it to the movie at 7, so no Alive After Five.
5:19 p.m. He calls again. Okay, now it’s a lot of calling going on. Oh well. He isn’t going to make it to pick me up, so would I mind meeting him Uptown around 6:45? Sure, this shall be my first experience driving into Uptown.
5:22 p.m. I begin thinking… I don’t want to drive to uptown. It’s going to be crazy and I don’t want to pay $10 for parking.
5:31 p.m. I google the theater and they validate parking, so crisis avoided.
6:20 p.m. I head to Uptown successfully and park in the parking garage at the EpiCentre.

Parking at EpiCentre
6:59 p.m. My date finds me and we head into the movie. We saw the Huntsman. It was pretty good, and Chris Hemsworth is worth everything. We order food and wine during the movie, but my date pays for this experience. $0.
9:30 p.m. Head downstairs to validate our parking. $0.
9:40 p.m. He has locked his keys in his car, but I feel this is all a ploy to spend more time with him. I end up driving him to his house in NoDa to get his spare keys and then back to Uptown.
10:30 p.m. FINALLY make it home and hit the sack!

Total spent: $0

Day six: Friday
7:45 a.m. I couldn’t handle the thought of another of my homemade breakfast sandwiches, especially without the avocado. Stopped by Chick-Fil-A and treated myself to one of their sandwiches and bottle of water. $4.52.
12 p.m. You guessed it – a protein shake! But it’s okay. I’ve told myself to be good because I will be drinking tonight.
4:58 p.m. Stop by Whole Foods and purchase one of their amazing salmon filets. I go with the bourbon pecan to pair with the veggies I have at home. $9.41.
6:30 p.m. Eat my delicious dinner, have a glass of wine.

8:00 p.m. My date from last night picks me up, we are going out again.
8:30 p.m. Arrive at a bar for his old Rugby team’s fundraiser. I cannot for the life of me remember the name, it’s not somewhere I’ve ever been. Order a Jack and Coke…  It’s been a long week. My date picks up the bill. $0.
9:30 p.m. We head to Workman’s Friend to meet up with some of his other friends. All of his friends are super cool and I lose track of how many drinks I have there. Whoops.  He pays for the vast majority of the drinks, but we got separated at some point so I did buy a couple for myself. $12.00 (plus $3.00 tip), $15. 

Total spent: $28.93

Day seven: Saturday
2:00 a.m. We shut. It. Down. I hardly EVER stay out until closing anymore, but I was having such a good time meeting new people! We head to Benny’s for some late-night pizza; again he picks up the bill. $0.
3:30 a.m. I decide I really need to make my way home and call an Uber. Surcharge of 1.5x, I don’t care, I want my bed! $16.80.
4:15 a.m. My bed finally greets me!
9:00 a.m. I wake up and my first reaction is no, this isn’t happening, roll over and go back to sleep.
11:30 a.m. Wake up for the second time. Fine, I’ll get up!
12:30 p.m. Eat some leftover veggies for lunch/breakfast and a protein shake.
1:00 p.m. Realize I REALLY need to buy my brother’s college graduation/birthday presents (he is graduating in 2 weeks!). Decide to buy him a couple of canvas prints of his recent engagement and a favorite picture from his time at Duke. $210.48 (ouch, but it is combo graduation and birthday)
7:01 p.m. Hungry again. I give up, I’m ordering Jet’s Pizza because I am not fit to be seen in public.
7:48 p.m. Jet’s arrives, that was fast! $14.61 (plus $3.00 tip), $17.61.

Total spent: $244.89

Week total: $498.17
The breakdown:
Food and drink – $97.31
Transportation – $43.80
Decor – $63.15
Gifts – $268.91
Other – $25
What I learned: Having multiple birthdays, graduations and Mother’s Day all within a week of each other is expensive, but being able to purchase gifts that I know my family members will love and appreciate brings me joy.  Some of my set monthly expenses probably need to be reviewed; do I really need both Hulu and Netflix? How often do I really use my Spotify account? Overall, I knew going in that I don’t strongly monitor my expenses, but for the most part I am pretty good about planning my expenses during the week. The weekend, however, is a bit of a free-for-all.

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