Sep 7, 2016 - Money

Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $50,000 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 25-year-old man who makes $50,000 a year. Here’s how he spends his money. -Kylie

The basics:

Industry: Finance
Position: Client Associate
Yearly salary: $50,000
Extra income: $5,000 from a part-time job.
Who do you bank with and why? I bank with Charles Schwab because I can use any ATM and get reimbursed on ATM fees.  I also have two credit cards, one with Chase (for the travel rewards) and one with Citi (but I rarely use this one).
Savings: The money from my part-time job goes right into my Roth IRA so I don’t get an opportunity to spend it. I also put 10% of my paycheck into short-term savings and 6% into a Roth 401(K) with a 6% employer match.
Age: 25
Gender: Male

Monthly expenses:

Rent: $580
Number of roommates: 2
Neighborhood: Montford
Utilities: Roughly $100, depending on the energy bill.
Student loans: I’m lucky enough not to have any.
Car payments: My car is paid off, but I’m not looking forward to getting a new one here shortly.
Car insurance: $80 a month
Transportation costs: $100 a month, give or take.
Phone bill: $35. I’m still on the family plan – you can’t beat unlimited data these days.
Renters insurance: $200 yearly lump sum
Gym: $70
Recurring donation to school: $20

Three financial goals:

In the short-term, I want to bulk up my short-term savings.

Long-term, I’m looking to put away enough for a down payment on a house. Probably five or so years from now.

Long, long, long-term, I want to buy a mountain house.

Money Diary: How I spent my money last week

Day one: Sunday

I picked up a bagel from Brueggers and took it home to top it with eggs. $1.40

Left from there to grab groceries for the week for $56.64. I racked up $12.78 in savings and another $1.25 with Ibotta. It’s a great app.

I also had to fill up the tank ($39.65) and heard Chipotle calling my name. $10.23 with chips and salsa.

Total spent: $107.92

Day two: Monday

I managed to spent nothing today. Breakfast, snack, lunch and dinner all came from my own kitchen. When I went to Mr. K’s Soft Serve with some buddies, I had enough will power not to get anything.

Total spent: $0

Day three: Tuesday

Made all three meals, plus a snack, smoothie and protein shake for rock climbing (I have a membership, so this trip was free) with stuff I already had at home.

Total spent: $0

Day four: Wednesday

I made breakfast, a mid-morning snack, lunch and afternoon smoothie with things I had at home again.

For dinner, I had a date, so I cooked dinner. $16

Total spent: $16

Day five: Thursday

As usual, breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch and smoothie were all made at home.

Dinner was at Moosehead. I had some of the best wings in town and a few beers for $18.64.

Total spent: $18.64

Day six: Friday

Breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch and afternoon smoothie were all, as usual, from home.

On my lunch break I went to Harris Teeter for some food for the Panthers vs. Patriots tailgate. $34.79

Speaking of Panthers vs. Patriots, I had four beers at the game ($31) and drinks after the game ($27.67).

Total spent: $93.46

Day seven: Saturday

I grabbed breakfast from Laurel Market ($11.78) before working out and finishing with a protein shake I made at home.

I spent all day hanging by the pool before picking up a six-pack for tonight’s pregame ($9.79).

Total spent: $21.57

Total spent: $257.59
The breakdown:
Food and drink – $217.94
Transportation – $39.65

What I learned:

This was a pretty standard week for me, but I did learn that pretty much all of my money goes towards either food or alcohol. Not a great habit, but I’m young and my liver and I can take it for now. My savings goals are being reached and I still have some spending money, so things seem to be on track.

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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