Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a combined $275,000 salary

Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a combined $275,000 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 [email protected]. This week, I spoke with a couple who makes a combined $275,000 a year. Here’s how they spend their money. -Kylie

The basics:


Him – Automotive
Her – IT


Him – Manager
Her – Outside Sales

Yearly salary: $275,000
Who do you bank with and why: We moved to Charlotte from out of state about eight months ago for a job opportunity and have stuck with our out-of-state hometown bank because we haven’t ever found a reason to change. Mobile and direct deposits make it so easy – we never went to the bank anyway.

Monthly expenses:

Rent: $2,500 per month for a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom, 2,100-square-foot house in the Southpark/Barclay Downs area
Renters insurance: $80
Student loans: $280
Car payment: $800
Car insurance: $400
Phone bill: $300 for 4 lines
Life insurance: $75
Tax debt: $266
Gym membership and kids’ sports: $150
Netflix: $8
Spotify: $24
Hulu: $8
Birchbox: $10
Miscellaneous (utilities, internet, etc.): $700

Three financial goals

We currently have about $8,000 in credit card debt that we think we can pay off in the next two months. Beyond that, our financial goals are to:

Pay off our rental property in the next five years.

Pay off our tax debt in the next year.

Save enough to take our annual family vacation next year without using a credit card.

Our other goals are to sit down and actually make some goals, instead of just coming up with them on the fly for Cash Confessional.

Money Diary: How we spent our money last week

Day one: Sunday

7 a.m. We spent the night in Asheville last night to drive the Blue Ridge Parkway this morning and IHOP was the only place open this early. We really wanted to try Early Girl, but even Early Girl isn’t that early, since she doesn’t open until 9 on Sunday. $50.25

8:30 a.m. My husband sent me into the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center to get a free map, and I bought all three kids stuffed animals that were Blue Ridge Parkway-ish because #memories. I also bought three bottled waters and a Blue Ridge Parkway magnet. Also, the map wasn’t free. $45.76

10:13 a.m. I pay the babysitter in advance for the hours she’ll work this week and send her $250.

10:58 a.m. We realize we are really late in driving this parkway since nothing is open anymore. We considered pooping in the woods, but finally stumble into the Little Switzerland hotel lobby and find a bathroom. While there, we stocked up on chips and popcorn for snacks on the road. $16.01

6:30 p.m. Back in Charlotte. We took the kids to Park Lanes Bowling for a few games and spent $62 for the lane rental and shoes and $80 for drinks and food.

Total spent: $504.02

Day two: Monday

6:45 a.m. I make egg sandwiches and yogurt for the family for breakfast and drank coffee at home, and my husband stopped and got an energy drink on the way to work. $2.56

12:20 p.m. We both ate stuff from home for lunch: I ate a sweet potato, he ate stuff he packed. $0

4:30 p.m. I snagged a used Tumi laptop bag at JT Posh in Dilworth – the best consignment shop in the city! $44.12

5:16 p.m. My husband bought a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup out of the vending machine for a snack. $1.25

8:30 p.m. On his way home, he stopped and got some groceries from Harris Teeter. One of our kids got a bad grade that she was upset about, so he picked up some ice cream, too. $29.21

Total spent: $77.14

Day three: Tuesday

7:15 a.m. I ate oatmeal and drank coffee at home for breakfast while he skipped the meal entirely. $0

7:45 a.m. I filled up the car for $37.81 and my husband picked up his dry cleaning for $16.09.

1:12 p.m. My husband ate lunch at McAllister’s Deli for $16.24 and at 1:30, I ate lunch out of town with clients and paid for it using my corporate credit card.

5:30 p.m. The kids ate taquitos and green beans with the babysitter made from stuff we already had at home. $0

9:15 p.. Both parents ate frozen chicken pot pies for dinner after work – it pains us to admit that. $0

A lot of payments cleared today: life insurance premium ($68.24), tax payment ($266), student loan payment ($188), renter’s insurance ($45.76) and the YMCA membership ($145).

Total spent: $783.14

Day four: Wednesday

7 a.m. I made banana bread at home for breakfast to impress the people reading this Cash Confessional and my husband stopped and got an energy drink on the way to work. $2.56

8 a.m. There were a couple of things I needed to order from Amazon (guitar strings and a hand steamer) that came to $61.20.

12:45 p.m. I was working in Columbia and rushed home for a conference call. So I could work through lunch, I ordered a Chopt Mexican Caesar Salad via Postmates. The driver said he would never go to Chopt again because he had to wait 45 minutes for a salad. It’s worth it, dude, I promise. He also got overtipped. $21.49

6:14 p.m. The kids had breakfast for dinner and later, the adults got chicken, rice and milkshakes – all using stuff we already had. $0

Hello Digit, an app I use to automate savings – they use an algorithm to save the perfect daily amount so that I don’t even feel it – put away $31.36.

Total spent: $116.61

Day five: Thursday

My husband is off work today – watch out, Charlotte!

I drank coffee and ate banana bread for breakfast ($0) while my husband went to Laurel Market in Eastover for their bacon, sausage, egg and cheese sandwich. $4.75

9:15 a.m. My husband hit Starbucks for a pick-me-up. $5.90

9:45 a.m. I receive the following text message from my husband: “I bought some cool fish!” #ihopetheywerecheap

9:50 a.m. I learn that a Knife fish, three frogs, one Russian Suckerfish and snails ran us $71.80. He’s now giving the existing fish a pep talk about accepting their new family members.

I’m a little worried that it’s only 9:50 a.m. and he’s already been to four places.

9:55 a.m. I see that someone has posted a camper on the Facebook Marketplace for $700 and I want to buy and fix it up. I’ll pitch it to my husband later today. I mean, it sleeps six! Think of the money we could save on hotel costs!

10:40 a.m. My husband gets a haircut at Sportsclips for $40.

12:45 p.m. We eat lunch together at Chopt. I got the Po Boy, he got the Mexican Caesar. $24.20

12:55 p.m. He said no to the camper and looked at me like I had an alien growing out of my face.

5 p.m. I got my eyelashes done at Poza Salon for $90.

7 p.m. I got dinner out with a few customers at Dogwood Southern Table and put it on the company card. $0

7:15 p.m. The kids get McDonald’s for dinner. $21.70

More payments cleared today: School pictures ($70), cell phone bill ($228), car insurance ($376 – I yelled at him, asking why it was so much, but it’s apparently because of my accidents. Oops).

Total spent: $932.35

Day six: Friday

We both worked long hours today and didn’t spend any money for breakfast, lunch or snacks. When dinner rolled around, I ordered pizza from Portofino’s for the family at 7 p.m. $26.90

A student loan payment cleared today for $283.

Total spent: $309.90

Day seven: Saturday

7:45 a.m. The house was clean and I didn’t want to make breakfast, so we ordered Flying Biscuit via Postmates. $36.75

10:30 a.m. I filled up the car with gas for $36.02.

12:45 p.m. The oldest kid is going to visit relatives, so I took him to the airport and ate Wendy’s while waiting for the plane ($17.52). Before he left, I gave him some spending money ($30).

1:15 p.m. The middle child got signed up for soccer camp at Queens University for Christmas break. $115

2:30 p.m. I got a pedicure at Q Nails for $40.

6 p.m. The kids weren’t being very fun, so I ordered groceries from Harris Teeter using Shipt for $118.92 with tip.

7:30 p.m. My husband also picked up some extras from Harris Teeter for $12.48.

Total spent: $406.69

Total spent: $3,129.85
The breakdown:

Food and drink – $488.69
Bills – $1,670
Transportation – $73.83
Miscellaneous – $897.33

What I learned: I use Postmates too much. The kids are eating all of our money! We keep wondering how we make good money yet never have any, but writing it all down really makes it make sense. I could probably spend less on groceries and food if I planned for the week better, but life is hard. I spend more than him, but most of the time it’s on the kids. Except lashes. Which are worth it. Hahaha. I think we can justify the cost to get a cleaning person, I thought all of this would help show that. He thinks the opposite! How many hours do we need to work and how much expendable income should we have to justify the extra expense? Also, we did really good on Tuesday.

What my husband learned: I don’t spend much money. She spends a lot of money. I think my conservative spending has definitely helped my favorite college team to a big halftime lead. Karma is a thing.

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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"It's good. I promise." - Emma   Emma Way