Feb 1, 2017

Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a combined $240,000 salary



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 26- and 30-year old couple that makes a combined $240,000 a year. Here’s how they spend their money. -Kylie

The basics


Him – Healthcare
Her – Finance Consulting


Him – Medical Physicist
Her – Risk Management Consultant

Yearly salary: A combined 240,000, excluding bonuses, which would take us to $246,500.
Extra income: We have four investment houses in Atlanta that we collect rent on. It brings in around $40,000 of profit after all expenses.
Who you bank with and why: Bank of America. Not because they are good for any particular reason, but because we live in Charlotte and it is just the most convenient Bank since the city is dominated by BoA. We also have a stock account with TD Ameritrade.
Savings: He maxes out his 401(k) and I put 9% of my paycheck into one. We also have a Roth IRA account, but can’t contribute any more due to our income restrictions.

Him – 30
Her – 26

Monthly expenses:

Rent: Around $1,470 a month. This includes water and sewer fees.
Mortgage: We bought a piece of land in South End that we plan to build a modern house on this year. The mortgage for this is $1,040. We also took out an equity loan on one of our investment condos to buy more investment houses, so we’re paying $820 on that loan monthly.
Number of roommates: We’ve got a Shiba Inu.
Neighborhood: South End

Electricity – Around $60 a month
Internet – $50. TWC is the absolute worst.

Car payments: $460
Car insurance: $110
Insurance: Paid for by both of our employers. I think our premiums are around $20 a pay period since we only cover ourselves.
Transportation costs: $30. This is purely Uber. I take the light rail to work usually, but almost never pay (and somehow always get away with it) while my husband drives to work but gets reimbursed for gas.
Phone bill: $30. We’re on a shared plan with my family, but my dad only pays for my portion of the bill (not my husband’s, HAHA).
Any extra costs not previously mentioned: We spend $50 a month on fitness and have a maid that comes biweekly to clean the apartment for around $100 a month.

Three financial goals:

Become financially independent (be able to maintain current standard of living without paychecks from a 9-5 job) by the time we are in our 40s by saving up, investing and accumulating more investment homes. Most importantly, I really don’t want to have to work and report to a boss for the rest of my life.

Become a private banking client with Goldman Sachs or JPMC.

Provide as much wealth for our offspring as possible (things like private schools, a good education without debt, etc.).

Money Diary: How we spent our money last week

Day one: Saturday

We made omelets for brunch at home ($0) and since we’re having friends over dinner, went to Super G Mart and bought groceries for Korean BBQ. Our entire apartment will smell like bacon for the next few days… Yummy! $90.25

Bought some vegetables to make homemade juice – got to cleanse some of that meat out, y’know? $16.18

Got gas on the way home $31.00

Total spent: $137.43

Day two: Sunday

We were originally going to make omelets for breakfast again but our buddy Greg was super depressed about the Panthers not making the playoffs, so we decided to take him out for brunch at BrickTop’s. Sike – I totally acted like a fan girl and asked for a pic at the Bloody Mary bar. $29.40

Went to buy some groceries to make dinner for $17.36.

Total spent: $46.76

Day three: Monday

My husband and I both brought our own lunches to work. $0

My performance manager came into town and took me to Chima Brazilian Steakhouse for dinner. #win. $0

My husband bought some groceries from Harris Teeters for dinner ($24.90) and I got some stuff from Sephora – gotta invest in the money maker. $72.66

Total spent: $97.56

Day four: Tuesday

My husband brought his own lunch to work ($0) while I snagged Grabbagreen for $10.73.

We went on a double date with my coworker and her boyfriend at Lumiere during Restaurant Week – it was surprisingly good! $89.78

Got some milk from Harris Teeter on the way home for $3.68.

Total spent: $104.19

Day five: Wednesday

My husband brought his own lunch to work ($0) and I went to Panera ($8.42).

Bought some groceries from Harris Teeter to make dinner ($9.52) before going to Dave and Buster’s to play some games and eat some wings. I know we need to grow up, but they’ve got half-price games on Wednesdays. $43

Between the dog’s and my husband’s flatulence, I need something to keep from choking on farts, so I bought an air purifier on Amazon for $107.24.

Total spent: $168.18

Day six: Thursday

My husband brought his own lunch to work and since I worked from home, I ate what we already had on hand. $0

Bought some groceries from Harris Teeters to make dinner for $15.69.

Total spent: $15.69

Day seven: Friday

My husband brought his own lunch to work ($0) and I got Grabbagreen for $10.73.

Took Lyft to the Airport ($12.92) and got some chips and guac before leaving to visit my parents in Chicago for Chinese New Year ($14.05).

My parents paid for dinner when we got there (Happy Chinese New Year!) and we got some bubble tea after dinner for $4.96.

We went out with college friends for drinks for $82.76 and a friend gave us a ride home.

Total spent: $125.42

Total spent: $695.23
The breakdown:

Food and drink – $471.41
Transportation – $43.92
Shopping – $179.90

What we learned:  Overall, we did really well this week. Normally every month there is some sort of large expense that is unexpected – for instance, earlier in the month we had to pay for a board exam that’s crucial for my husband’s career, and that ran us $800.

I seem to spend more on lunch than my husband, but I can’t eat the same thing every day. He’s been focused on being more healthy lately and meal preps on Sunday which, brings down the lunch bill. We’ve also made a conscious effort to reduce our restaurant bill, and it seems to be working.

Because of the huge down payment we are putting up soon to build the house we are tightening our belts wherever we can. The only thing I see that we could possibly cut down on more is the miscellaneous stuff, but I do think it is important to spend a little bit on these random things that make us happy.

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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