Aug 10, 2016 - Money

Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a combined $132,000 salary

km skyline romare bearden cash confessional

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. 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 young married couple who makes a combined $132,000 a year. Here’s how they spend their money. -Kylie

The basics:

Him – Marketing
Her – PR/Advertising
Him – Operations Associate
Her – Account Manager
Yearly salary: $132,000 combined
Him – $90,000
Her – $42,000
Extra income: She has sporadic freelance work that brings in some extra money every year.
Who do you bank with and why?
Him –  Bank of America, because that’s who my family has always had. I also have a Vanguard IRA and 401(k) through work and a Robinhood investment account.
Her – Chase – I’ve had them for as long as I can remember and use them for my checking, savings and credit card. I also have investment accounts with Merrill Edge for index funds/stocks and an IRA.
Him – I put in all of a quarterly payout from work ($2,250) and then another $500 per month.
Her – I try to save about $600 a month. Since I don’t have a lot of extra bills – like student loans or car payments – this is pretty easy.
Him – 24
Her – 25

Monthly expenses:

Mortgage: $1,342
Number of roommates: Each other
Neighborhood: South End
Electric – $60
Water – $20
Internet – $70
We don’t have cable, but we use Sling ($20 a month) and Hulu ($8 a month).
Student loans:
Him – $165
Her – None
Insurance: Comes out of of both of our paychecks automatically.
Car payments:
Him – $420
Her – None
Car Insurance:
Him – $77
Her – I pay every six months; it was about $200 for the last one. My car is over 10 years old, so I don’t have collision insurance, which keeps the cost down.
Transportation costs:
Him – $150
Her – Maybe $40. I live less than a mile from work, so I like to walk, weather permitting.
Phone bill:
Him – Still on my parents’.
Her – None. I think my parents forgot I’m on it because we have a family plan. Shh…
Any extra costs not previously mentioned:
Him – Some automated donations, Spotify ($9.99) and Sirius XM Radio ($19 – I need to cancel this).
Her – I give $10 a month to The Writer’s Almanac and get Spotify ($9.99).

Three financial goals:


Save for a down payment on a house.

Keep credit debt at $0 month-to-month.

Be able to buy one ‘treat’ per month.


Fully pay for (future) children’s college educations.

Own a lake house.

Be able to have a comfortable retirement of $100,000+ a year.

Money Diary: How we spent our money last week

Day one: Monday

We had to pay rent today ($1,342) and he bought lunch at work for $5. We made dinner at home, which is good since we’re definitely going to eat out later in the week.

Total spent: $1,347

Day two: Tuesday

He got coffee on the way to work ($3.74) and ate lunch at work ($5). Her Spotify payment autodrafted ($9.99) and we stopped off for some groceries ($28.14).

Total spent: $46.87

Day three: Wednesday

$5 lunch at work for him along with a tank of gas ($42.36). Her donation to the Writer’s Almanac autodrafted today ($10) and she volunteered at the Junior League Warehouse and found a cute J. Crew skirt and Ann Taylor Loft sweater for $6.44.

Cash Confessional

Total spent: $63.80

Day four: Thursday

She went to Midwood Smokehouse for her intern’s last day ($12.83), bought some makeup from Glossier ($43) and went to Foxcroft Wine Co. with some friends ($13.99).

Foxcroft Wine Co

He ate lunch at work ($5) and went to Walmart for some cleaning supplies and medicine ($105.54).

We went to Ed’s for trivia, dinner and drinks ($45.39).

Total spent: $225.75

Day five: Friday

He ate lunch at work ($5) and then had a therapy session ($40). We both felt pretty tired after the week, so we ordered Bad Daddy’s through Postmates ($34.82).

Total spent: $79.82

Day six: Saturday

We met some friends at Wooden Robot ($25.65), then went to dinner at Bakersfield for tacos and margaritas ($62.95) before going out in Uptown. We paid for Ubers to and from ($12.90).

Wooden Robot

Total spent: $101.50

Day seven: Sunday

Really needed Sunflour this morning, so we got two breakfast sandwiches, two coffees (plus a refill), a Diet Coke and a vegan brownie ($17.54). If you haven’t been there, you need to.

We hit up the outlets for new running shoes and socks for her ($78.39), and some shoes and clothes for him ($124.20).

Stopped by the grocery store for a few things ($44) and he got Chipotle ($7.04). She felt she deserved Bad Daddy’s (again), and is lazy so clearly used Postmates (again) for $16.57.

Total: $287.74

Total spent: $2,152.48 (yikes.)
The breakdown:

Food and drink – $337.66
Transportation  $55.26
Shopping  $252.03
Bills – $1,351.99
Miscellaneous – $155.54

What we learned:
Him – There are a number of ways I could be smarter about my money, but overall I feel like we do pretty well. There are a few autodrafts I should cancel and I could be better about eating at home.
Her – Dang, we spend a lot on food! I definitely don’t need to eat out this much. I think I could feasibly put at least $100 more into savings per month if I cut out a few meals out on the weekend, which would be great toward my lake house goal.

Need personal finance education? Visit Better Money Habits. Build your financial know-how with free tools and information to help you make more confident decisions. It’s a simple way of getting real, practical knowledge, brought to you by Bank of America in partnership with Khan Academy.


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