Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $60,000 salary

Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $60,000 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 kylie@charlotteagenda.com. This week, I spoke with a 25-year-old woman that makes $60,000 per year. Here’s how she spends her money. -Kylie

The basics:

Industry: Banking
Position: Reporting and Governance Analyst
Yearly salary: $60,000
Who you bank with: Bank of America
Savings: As much as I hate to admit this, I am currently putting nothing in either of my savings account on any regular basis. I’ve lived in the “YOLO” phase of my life probably a little longer than I should have, so all of my extra money in the last 3 years since graduating college has gone towards traveling. I do, however, put 5% pre-tax of each paycheck into a 401(k) account.

Monthly expenses:

Rent: $600
Number of roommates: One
Neighborhood: Montford
Utilities: Around $250 per month that’s split between the two of us
Student loans: $101
Car payments: $389
Car insurance: $80
Transportation costs: $100-$150 in gas
Phone bill: $105
Credit card: $600 per month goes on my State Employees credit card, which is currently going toward paying off my last two big trips. My other two credit cards are paid off in full each month, which tends to be around $100 to $150 each.
Uptown parking: $80
Class Pass: $90 per month for ten classes
Spotify: $10
Health insurance: $50 per month for health and dental. Both are taken out of my paychecks pre-tax.

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Three financial goals:

Pay off my credit cards. I’d like to pay all outstanding balances on my credit cards before the end of 2017.

Save, save, save.  Use the money I’m currently putting towards credit card balances to create a sufficient savings account. I’d also like to save enough money to help pay for my wedding and have a decent down payment for a house within the next three years.

Start investing. Once I get the ball rolling on savings, I’d like to start investing while I’m young. This will require more research and conversations with a few different people, but it’s a near future goal.

Money Diary: How I spent my money last week

Day one: Sunday

This weekend was spent in Asheville, so Sunday morning consisted of breakfast at my Mom’s house. After spending some QT with both my family and my boyfriend’s, we decided to not let the dreary weather get the best of us and ventured out to do a little shopping.

We had lunch at a local Mexican restaurant which he so graciously picked up the tab for ($0) and then made our way to TJ Maxx to see what we could find. I picked up a few things in preparation for our trip to Charleston Memorial Day weekend and a couple of things for my brother ($36.25). I stopped to fill up on gas so I wouldn’t have to worry about it in the morning ($20.38).

We spent the rest of this rainy Sunday watching movies and made sandwiches for dinner with stuff we had at home.

Total spent: $56.63

Day two: Monday

Just as I do every morning, I checked my bank account shortly after waking up. My car payment had been auto-drafted over the weekend ($389).

Before heading back to Charlotte for work, I stopped and met my mom at a local coffee shop. We shared two scones and got a cup of coffee which she thankfully picked up the tab for.

The Mexican leftovers from Sunday which I had planned to eat for lunch Monday didn’t hold up as well as I had hoped, so they were tossed in the trash. I decided to grab lunch at Aria with an old co-worker which came to ($11.73) after tip (the Express Lunch is where it’s at).

I offered to watch my friend’s kids tonight so she was able to pick up a shift at work, so my work day was cut short and I left around 4. I stopped by Harris Teeter on the way home to pick up a couple things for dinner ($9.70). We made spaghetti for dinner and then stopped to get ice cream on the way to take them home to Fort Mill. Thankfully, my boyfriend picked up the tab.

Total spent: $410.43

Day three: Tuesday

We had a learning event at work this morning which required me to get into the office a bit earlier than normal, so breakfast was a quick grab-and-go of coffee and yogurt both from home.

My calendar for today was busier than usual, so I made a quick Caribou Coffee stop in between morning meetings ($2.15).

Lunch was spent at my desk in between meetings and consisted of a salad with smoked turkey and watermelon brought from home.

I grabbed a snack out of the vending machine before leaving the office for my 5:30 spin class ($1). For dinner, I continued on the “food-at-home” train and had a veggie burger and a salad.

Total spent: $3.15

Day four: Wednesday

In an effort to save money for the beach this weekend, I packed breakfast and lunch at home to bring to work. In between morning meetings, I met a friend at Starbucks to catch up over a cup of coffee ($2.27).

After work I took a 5:30 class at Flywheel and then went home where I had planned to eat leftover spaghetti for dinner. No surprise, that didn’t happen. I went to YAFO and decided on the chicken skewer special with their cauliflower and the Israeli salad for dinner instead. I also couldn’t pass up on the dessert selection (have you guys seen the options?!) and grabbed an oatmeal raisin cookie for the late night ($13.51).

Total spent: $15.78

Day five: Thursday

This morning, yet again, was coffee and yogurt from home (might be boring, but it saves me money).

I brought lunch again today knowing that I’ll be spending money this weekend at the beach – salad with the leftover spaghetti for the win. After eating lunch at my desk, I ran to a quick hair appointment on my lunch hour. After a standard cut and tip, it was $31.

Today was busy, so I didn’t have an opportunity to leave my desk for coffee, which saved a couple bucks too. After work, I left Charlotte to head back to Asheville for a couple days before leaving for Charleston on Sunday. On the way out of town, I remembered I had a free drink from Starbucks (I’m part of the Rewards program) and stopped to grab a Dirty Chai Latte for the road ($0). Dinner was smoked chicken with a salad that my boyfriend had brought home from a local BBQ joint.

Total spent: $31

Day six: Friday

Today I was able to work remotely, and worked at my mom’s house. For breakfast I pulled together some stuff she had in the refrigerator and made some coffee. For lunch I threw together a salad with some ingredients I had at home.

I ran to the vet’s office during lunch time and picked up some Heartworm and flea medicine for my dogs ($232.72). Boy, is it expensive being a dog mom. I also stopped and filled up on gas so I wouldn’t have to worry about it later ($34.18).

After finishing up my work day, I went to see a few friends. We went to dinner at a pizza spot and after a few beers, dinner and tip I spent ($22.50).

Total spent: $289.40

Day seven: Saturday

It’s Memorial Day weekend and there are sales EVERYWHERE. It only felt right to see what we could find, so after grabbing coffee and a green smoothie on the way out of town ($9.36), my mom and I went shopping. I was able to find a few things and thankfully she offered to pay.

I ran by the grocery store to grab a few snacks and drinks for the beach and when all was said and done, I had spent ($35.36).

Dinner was a salad at home with ingredients we had in the refrigerator. Since we are leaving for the beach at 7 tomorrow morning, I stayed in and relaxed this evening.

Total spent: $44.72

Total spent: $851.11
The breakdown:

Bills – $389
Transportation – $54.56
Food and drink – $107.58
Shopping – $36.25
Miscellaneous – $263.72

What I learned: This was a good week because it wasn’t bill-heavy. Next week, when rent is due, will look a little worse. On the other hand, I did realize that I’ve gotten a lot better with my money (like I was hoping). It’s expensive to have dogs, but it’s also necessary to make sure they stay healthy. I know it could have been an even lighter week if I wasn’t going on vacation this weekend, but hopefully the early preparation will help to save money once I’m there. Overall, I’m not too surprised with my spending.

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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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