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.
This week, I spoke with a 27-year-old man who makes $37,000 a year. Here’s how he spends his money. -Kylie
Position: Content Marketer
Yearly salary: $37,000
Extra income: I took in my little sister after she graduated college and she pays me $100 a month. Our family has always kind of struggled, so we try and help each other out.
Who do you bank with and why? NCSECU. I started banking with them when I was a teacher and just never switched. They’re friendly and their rates are low.
Savings: $50 a month whenever I can, but this needs to be more consistent.
Number of roommates: 1, kind of. My sister doesn’t pay a clean half, but she does pay $100 a month and she contributes to groceries.
Neighborhood: Ballantyne. My mom always told me you sacrifice for what you care about, and after getting robbed at my last two living places, I’m willing to pay a little extra to live in a safe neighborhood.
Utilities: Cable, internet, water and power totals to about $200 a month.
Student loans: In forbearance.
Car payments: $399
Car insurance: $120. I’m excited for two speeding tickets to clear this November!
Transportation costs: Probably $120 a month for gas. I work across town from where I live.
Phone bill: $164. I pay for my dad’s phone and split the total bill with my brother.
Insurance: Paid for by my employer.
Three financial goals:
Pay off my two credit cards. The combined total is about $3,000.
Tithe at my church. This will create an additional $240 per month.
Take my student loans out of forbearance. This will create another additional $200 per month.
Monday Diary: How I spent my money last week
Day one: Sunday
I meal prep on Sundays because it helps me track calories and control spending. I bought pork chops from Walmart, which were on sale for $5.18.
My little sister taught me about Walmart meat sales. I used to think she was a hinderance on me financially (“I have to pay for an extra room and she can’t split the bill?”), but I’ve learned a few things about saving from her.
I cooked and froze four meals along with some broccoli I already had.
Total spent: $5.18
Day two: Monday
I ate a pastry at work for breakfast. $1.25
Indulged in one of my frozen meals for lunch, so $0.
My girlfriend bought pizza for dinner. Solid day.
Total spent: $1.25
Day three: Tuesday
Another pastry at work for breakfast. $1.25
When lunch rolls around, I realize I forgot mine. Frustrating! I do this like once a week. I went to Chipotle with some coworkers instead. $11.26
I bought gas for $15, which doesn’t fill up my tank, but it’s all I have patience for. Plus, my girlfriend lives near South Carolina, and I always feel like I’m wasting money if I don’t fill up near her place.
I also went thrifting and spent $12.83. I’ve been selling vintage clothes online for a few weeks now and will sell these items, too. Hopefully this thirteen bucks turns into fifty bucks in the future.
Total spent: $40.34
Day four: Wednesday
I need coffee, but know we’re out of cream and sugar at work. I felt like giving myself a treat, so I stopped by a gas station and grabbed coffee along with a pastry there instead of getting it at the office. $3
My plastic fork broke in my lunch and I couldn’t find the broken piece, so I threw it out and bought a bag of chips from the grill downstairs to compensate. $1.25
I went to church so late that I skipped dinner.
Total spent: $4.25
Day five: Thursday
Breakfast was a pastry, as always. $1.25
Finally, no lunch disasters! $0
$15 on gas. I normally wouldn’t have to get gas so soon, but church has me driving all over town this week. After, I grabbed some groceries: paper towels, cat food, cat litter, soap and garlic powder. I literally CAN’T cook without garlic powder, and we’re getting close to another meal prep day. $25.13
When I was checking out, I mentioned to the cashier that I was tracking my spending and she said needs to try and do it in the future.
Total spent: $41.38
Day six: Friday
I had a breakfast pastry again. $1.25
My coworker told me the grill downstairs had clam chowder and I haven’t had a good clam chowder in a while. I couldn’t resist. $3.25
I reheated some pizza for dinner. $0
Total spent: $4.50
Day seven: Saturday
My buddy bought me Starbucks for breakfast and then I grabbed a salad for lunch. $4.34
I grabbed a six pack for the weekend and cooked dinner that night with things I already had at home. $9.53
Total spent: $13.87
Total spent: $110.77
Food and drink – $67.94
Transportation – $30
Shopping – $12.83
What I learned:
I learned that I could probably save more if I did some kind of meal prep on my breakfasts instead of just buying muffins from the grill at my job.
In the moment, I didn’t realize how much money I spent on Tuesday. Admittedly, the thrifting is just as much a hobby for me as it is a side gig, so maybe I could put them to the side on weeks when I have extra travel or on days when I go out for lunch.
One of my major goals for the year was to really limit how much money I spent eating out and this is the first time I’m noticing that I almost didn’t eat out at all. I used to view eating out as a treat, but now I’ve found less expensive ways to treat myself.
I really appreciate having friends that don’t always want to do stuff that costs money, because I did a lot of hopping around town this week and spending time with friends, but all it really seemed to cost me was gas.
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.