Mar 22, 2017 - Things to Do

Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $69,000 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. 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 24-year-old man that makes $69,000 a year. Here’s how he spends his money. -Kylie

The basics:

Industry: Construction
Position: Assistant Project Manager
Salary: $69,000
Who do you bank with and why: Bank of America. I opened an account there when I was 18 because it was who my sister banked with. I use their mobile and online banking almost exclusively.
Savings: 6% to my 401(k) and I usually save $40/week for vacation funding.
Age: 24

Monthly expenses:

Rent: It ranges from $800-$900 depending on how the utilities shake out for the month
Number of roommates: 1
Neighborhood: Uptown
Utilities: Included in rent
Phone bill: Yes, I’m one of those who are still on their parents’ plan, but it works out to be cheaper for them, too, with their business plan. I usually pay for lunch or something when I see them.
Health insurance: $80 through my work
Health savings account: $30
Car payment: $530
Car insurance: About $100 per month
Gym: $56 for the Y
Netflix: $8
Student loans: I pay $200 toward it per month. The minimum payment was $150, but I just recently paid one off with my tax return, so I’m assuming the minimum payment will go down to $100. I still plan on putting $200 toward it to be rid of student loans within the next three years, though.

Three financial goals:

Pay off my student loans. While not a huge balance or monthly expense, I would like to have one less thing to pay for each month.

Start investing. I would really like to start investing more while I am young. I’m currently looking into IRAs, mutual funds or stocks. Just got to find the right fit for me.

Buy a house. I would like to buy one within the next three years. Hopefully the market prices will go down over the next two years before I start looking. Charlotte’s housing market is crazy right now and I cannot afford what I want which has turned me off from buying this past year.

Money Diary: How I spent my money last week

Day one: Sunday

I went to the driving range for a little stress relief and a bucket of balls ran me $12, which was definitely worth it. I also hit the gym and then Chipotle for a steak burrito because #gainz ($8.12).

Total spent: $20.12

Day two: Monday

My car payment auto-drafted from my account ($530). It’s a necessary evil for me – a large monthly expense, but I like to have a nice car to drive.

I went to Harris Teeter for lunch and since I’ve been trying to eat healthier, I had the salad bar and also decided to try the fad of drinking Kombucha. Not a fan. $12.89

The SUV needed filling up after work – $47.35 at the Quik Trip.

I met some friends at Midwood Smokehouse for supper to kick off the week and got a BBQ sandwich and some wings for $24.40.

Total spent: $614.64

Day three: Tuesday

I had coffee for breakfast at work ($0) and Pinky’s for lunch with coworkers. I got a not-so-healthy burger and fries for $12.01 after tip.

Met up with some friends at Hawthorne’s for pizza because all of the Taco Tuesday places were packed. Small pizza, salad and a tip – $19.73.

I had to pick some dog food up for the pup after dinner. Target was the closest place, so I grabbed a small bag to last us the week until I can order some from Amazon or something. $22.46

Total spent: $54.20

Day four: Wednesday

Since I’m trying to eat healthier, I went to Clean Eatz for lunch and got a BBQ chicken sandwich. While I was there, I got ten meals to eat over the next week. Not only do they work out to be cheaper, but they’re also healthier than eating out. $78.36

Some friends talked me into going to Rhino Market for supper and knowing that I had a bunch of meals to eat at home, I only got a soup ($4.32) and ate one of my Clean Eatz meals when I got home.

Total spent: $82.68

Day five: Thursday

Needed a pick me up on my way back from a meeting, so I ran by Starbucks and got a cold brew for $2.98. For lunch, I ate one of my Clean Eatz meals ($0).

The weather was so nice that I wanted to go out for supper somewhere so that we could sit outside, so my friends and I decided on Moo & Brew. They have some of the best burgers in Charlotte. A burger, OMB Copper and tip ran me $18.24.

Total spent: $21.22

Day six: Friday

It’s almost the weekend, so I celebrate by getting Starbucks ($2.98) for breakfast and some Chick-fil-A, which I Venmoed a co-work for. Worth it. $4

My coworkers and I go out for lunch since it’s Friday and choose Akahana, where we split an appetizer. I got sesame chicken and a water. $22.89

To celebrate the weekend, friends and I go out to Basil for supper. You can’t beat their Pad Thai – best in Charlotte. I had a gift card from Christmas that I hadn’t used yet, so I spent $0.

Total spent: $29.87

Day seven: Saturday

I decided to go see my parents for the day and go the chiropractor in Lae Norman. On the way, I stopped by the Human Bean for coffee. $3.02

A much-needed adjustment from the chiropractor ran me $45, and this came from the health savings account that I pay all associated medical bills with.

Afterward, I drop in to my old Crossfit gym for a workout with old friends. $20

I was starving after Crossfit, so I went to Chick-fil-A and got some grilled chicken nuggets with a fruit cup. $8.12.

My parents fixed supper that night (you can’t beat some home cooking), so it was free.

Total spent: $76.14

Total spent: $898.87
The breakdown:

Food and drink – $222.06
Transportation – $577.35
Health – $65
Miscellaneous – $34.46

What I learned: I spend WAY too much money on food, but I consider it more of a social event than anything and it’s my biggest expense per month by far. While I doubt that is likely to change, I do think I could order cheaper meals and/or limit drinks with meals to only the weekends and special occasions to help cut down on costs.


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