May 16, 2016 - Things to Do

Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $33,000 salary

km skyline romare bearden cash confessional

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 25-year-old woman who makes $33,000 a year. Here’s how she spends her money. -Kylie

The basics:

Occupation: I work in communications and events for a regulatory agency of the state of North Carolina. It’s a nonprofit with about 5,000 members.
Salary: $33,000
Additional income: I make some additional income as a independent contractor for a sportswear agency selling to high schools in North Carolina. It’s straight commission, and last year I made about $2,500.
Bank: Wells Fargo, because my dad was with Wachovia back in the day so I stuck with them.
Age: 25
Gender: Female

Monthly expenses:

Rent: $852 (includes cable, internet and water)
Number of Roommates: 1
Neighborhood: South End
Utilities: $32
Health Insurance: I have a great insurance plan through work at no cost to me.
Student Loans: $54
Car Payment: My car was a graduation gift, so my mom is making the payments until it is paid off.
Transportation costs: Just gas and Uber as needed.

Additional expenses:

XM Radio: $12

Money Diary: How I spent my money last week

Day one: Monday

Went to work. I usually only do coffee for breakfast, even though I know it’s the most important meal of the day and blah blah blah. I made some chicken in the crockpot on Sunday, so I brought leftovers to eat on a salad for lunch. For dinner, I ate the same chicken on tacos. $0

I’ve been on the hunt for some new work pants recently. Some pants I ordered on Amazon came in and didn’t fit quite as expected, so I went back on the hunt. Ordered a pair from Kohl’s that were originally $49.99 and on sale for $29.99. Then I found a coupon code that knocked off another $4.50, and my total with shipping and tax came to $36.94. I returned the Amazon pair ($29.92) so I’m out $7.02.

Total spent: $7.02

Day two: Tuesday

Long day at work! Gearing up for a big event on Friday.

Coffee for breakfast. $0

I couldn’t bring myself to eat the leftover chicken for the fourth meal in a row, so I brought some soup to work. $0

I was right back at later though, making a quesadilla with the chicken for dinner. $0

Total spent: $0

Day three: Wednesday

Barely had time to think at work, let alone eat. I made a sandwich and snacked on some popcorn on the side. I came home and made some Italian sausage that I can eat for the next few days (I’m very pro-leftovers if you haven’t noticed). $0

Headed to Trader Joe’s after eating, and decided it definitely a requirement for TJ’s parking lots to be as small and scary as possible. I have a good friend and coworker whose last day is Friday, so I picked her up some flowers, wine and a card. Also grabbed some flowers for my mom, who is coming up for the day Sunday (Will I keep them alive until then? Stay tuned). Also got some produce and frozen food for me. And wine, because duh. Total came to $83.72, which is more than I planned to spend, but the flowers and wine added up quickly.

Total spent: $83.72

Day four: Thursday

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Busted some ass today at work prepping for an event tomorrow. Work bought us lunch in celebration of a our coworkers last day tomorrow – a free meal is the best kind of meal. $0

After work, I rode the light rail Uptown to Alive After Five to meet friends and have a few drinks. $4.40 for a light rail round trip ticket.

Two beers and two pieces of pizza (not very Cinco de Mayo, I know.) I did buy one margarita because I think you’re pretty much required. The drinks came to $18 and the pizza was $7.50. I have plenty of food at home so I really shouldn’t have eaten out, but the pizza smell was just too inviting.

Total spent: $29.90

Day five: Friday

Treated myself to Dunkin this morning, because it’s FRIDAY. I had a rewards credit for a free drink of my choice, so obviously I went for a large iced coffee. $0

The big work event we’ve been working for all week finally arrived, so lunch was provided there. It went off without a hitch, thankfully, and the lunch was yummy. $0

It was my coworker’s last day, so I we went out for drinks after work (SEIS DE MAYO!). I spent $16.45 on a house marg, a chicken quesadilla and a side of beans.

Afterwards, I met some other friends at Triple C. Had two beers there and went to Sycamore… two more beers. $4.50 each at Triple C and $5.50 each at Sycamore, plus tip, $24.

Total spent: $40.45

Day six: Saturday

I slept in and made a sandwich at home for lunch before heading out to the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival in Symphony Park. Open sampling and all the beer and bourbon you can drink! The ticket was purchased a few weeks back. $0

I did buy a plate of BBQ, which sadly wasn’t included in my ticket. $12, and worth every penny.

My main expense was the Ubers there and back… safety first. $5.81 and $10.64 (why is Uber surging in the middle of the afternoon? Damn you Wells Fargo Championship).

I got and made dinner – frozen vegetable pad thai from Trader Joe’s. I took a nap, but after a few hours I was convinced to rally and head Uptown with some friends. I Uber-ed to a friend’s apartment and had some beers by their pool, $8.22 for that ride.

We walked to Connolly’s, where I bought another two beers (plus tip) for $9. A friend was nice enough to pick up the Uber home.

I would like to thank Uber for making this day possible.

Total spent: $45.67

Day seven: Sunday

Mother’s Day! So happy to have my mom in Charlotte for the day. All she asked for was a good meal and my patience at a trip to IKEA, so we did just that.

I bought brunch at Leroy Fox, which came to $30.44. We tore up IKEA afterwards, but she footed the bill since she’s buying furniture for an upcoming move.

Had brunch leftovers for dinner. $0

Total spent: $30.44

Week total: $237.20

The breakdown:
Food and drink – $201.11
Transportation – $29.07
Clothing – $7.02
What I learned: I already knew that majority of my money goes to drinks or food, so that wasn’t really a surprise. I also noticed I usually start off well towards the beginning of the week but once the weekend comes I feel like I’m just throwing money around. I love spending time with my friends and experiencing all Charlotte has to offer, but I think with my limited income it would be beneficial to start looking into free (or at least cheaper) activities. That, or try to find someone to start buying me drinks!


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