Mar 29, 2017 - Things to Do

Cash Confessional: A week of spending on a combined $210,000 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 couple, ages 33 and 34, that makes a combined $210,000 a year. Here’s how they spend their money. -Kylie

The basics:


Her – Healthcare
Him – Insurance

Your position:

Her – Contract Manager
Him – Data Analyst

Yearly salary: A combined $210,000
Extra income: We make $12,000 per year from a rental property.
Who you bank with and why: We use Wells Fargo for primary checking and mortgage needs because they have countrywide ATM access and easy mobile banking. We’re also Ally customers – our emergency savings is parked in an Ally savings account since their 1% rate accrues slightly more than having it buried in the backyard.
Savings: We put 12% of our annual income into retirement savings, have an $18,000 emergency fund and a $4,800 health savings account.

Her – 34
Him – 33

Monthly expenses:

Mortgage: $1,424
Rental mortgage: $1,120
Number of roommates: Two – one 15-month old human baby and one 33-month old Golden baby.
Neighborhood: Blakeney

Electricity – $95
Natural gas – $81
Internet – $33
Cable – $0. We dumped cable in favor of a digital antenna and Netflix.
Water/Sewer/Trash – $55

Student loans: $0. We dispatched these a couple of years back.
Car payment: $0. We unashamedly operate a one car household with a paid-for car that has 110,000+ miles. Coworkers think we’re weird and/or cheap, but we think that making payments on a rapidly depreciating asset is even more questionable.
Car insurance: $56
Transportation costs: $100. We live, work and go to school in a fairly tight radius, but do venture out on weekends. On average, our gas, maintenance and occasional ride-share totals about $100 per month.
Phone bill: $80. We cover her dad, but he reimburses us for his portion.
Insurance: We’ve got a high deductible health plan ($217) and a $42 dental insurance plan.
Any extra costs not previously mentioned:

Childcare – $1,140
Groceries – $400
Amazon Subscribe/Save – $140 for baby supplies, dog food and other miscellaneous household items
Netflix – $11

Three financial goals:

Never borrow money again after paying off the remainder of our mortgage debt. We plan to accomplish this by the summer of 2019.

By age 45, generate sufficient baseline wealth through the accumulation of residential real estate. We’re looking to have the freedom to work non-traditional careers while collecting life experiences rather than “Keeping up with the Joneses.”

Live generously and kindly.

Money Diary: How we spent our money last week

Day one: Monday

For breakfast, we had oatmeal at home ($0), her lunch was covered by work and he had soup ($0) and for dinner, it was taco night with ingredients we already had ($0).

The day was spent at work and daycare, but we were dealing with a sick kid, so the gloomy night was spent inside with tacos, the Bachelor finale and laundry. He made a trip to the grocery store to grab meal essentials for the week ($73.28) and the Verizon auto-draft ($180.11) also hit the account today.

Total spent: $253.39

Day two: Tuesday

Her hopes of a work dinner featuring steak and wine were dashed by last-minute cancellations due to weather, but she was able to enjoy leftover tacos instead ($0).  After getting the baby to bed, she completed a video interview and he went for a training run. All in all, a very low cost day with the only outflow being the Netflix auto-draft ($10.71) and a quick caffeine pick-me-up from the work vending machine ($0.85) – all meals were made at and brought from home.

Total spent: $11.56

Day three: Wednesday

Breakfast, lunch and dinner were all made at home ($0).

We had an ENT appointment for the baby today, with no upfront payment due at the appointment. Given that we are on a high deductible health plan, we anticipate a $100-200 bill in the next couple weeks.

She was asked to substitute for a volleyball league at VBGB. There is a fee for the team but no fee to sub in for friends on an as needed basis ($0). However, a couple pre/post game social beverages were in order ($20).

We ordered full size body wipes as they are an absolute necessity for the 9-person running relay race from Chattanooga to Nashville that we are competing in next weekend ($22.35).

Auto-draft hit – $1,921.38 for the credit card and monthly daycare.

Total spent: $1,963.73

Day four: Thursday

All of our meals today were from home, which has been key to keeping costs under control for the week. She did grab some Cheez-its and Diet Pepsi from the vending machine at work ($1.60).

In the evening, he participated in the Charlotte Runners Meet-up 10 Annual Beer Mile. The goal is to consume 4 beers and run a mile (drinking the beer at each quarter mile mark) as fast as possible. He survived the event with no ‘reversal of fortune’ and a time of 9 minutes. She was available to serve as a trusty DD and laugh at his struggles. $28.46

We managed to grab a post event beverage at Legion Brewing ($14) and then had a frozen pizza that night at home while watching March Madness.

Other purchases include a $40 baby shower gift for the baby’s daycare teacher and $28 worth of gas.

Total spent: $112.06

Day five: Friday

We have a Friday tradition of stopping for coffee for a morning date to catch up on life after we drop the baby at daycare. Today got a little out of control, so we only had time to grab our coffee on the go and talk in the car ($7.39). Next week we need to get up a bit earlier to keep the tradition alive!

We did not feel like cooking dinner and went out for Mexican food, but leverage a BOGO coupon to mitigate costs ($25.43). We closed out the night at home watching some more basketball.

We paid the additional principal payment for the rental mortgage ($3,400) and also had a bi-annual HVAC tuneup ($24.95).

Total spent: $3,457.77

Day six: Saturday

She started the morning by running the Shamrock 4 Miler and stopped at Chick-fil-A to recharge after the race ($4.97) and he went for an 8-mile training run while the baby snuck in his nap.

Friends had us over to their house for dinner, so we stopped at the store to buy beverages ($22.50). After dinner he met up with a friend for drinks ($40) and basketball, utilizing Lyft to get to and from South End ($49.66).

Total spent: $117.13

Day seven: Sunday

We spent the day at home and had a friend over to watch basketball games. We ordered pizza ($29) for lunch and will have leftovers for a few meals.

Total spent: $29

Total spent: $5,944.64
The breakdown:

Food and drink – $267.48
Bills – $5,512.20
Transportation – $102.61
Miscellaneous – $62.35

What we learned: 

She learned that she needs to keep a closer eye on her accounts. In doing this exercise, she found a recurring Amazon charge for digital services that she did not subscribe and it had been ongoing for 5 months. She was able to get these charges refunded, but it served as a good reminder to be a bit more conscientious in this regard.

He learned that you can really save a lot of money by planning ahead and bringing meals from home to work. This has not always been a strength, but the savings are really huge. He was also reminded that going out is expensive. His journey out to meet up with his friend was fun, but expensive when factoring in rides and drinks.

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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