Jul 12, 2017 - Things to Do

Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $60,000 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 25-year-old man that makes $60,000 per year. Here’s how he spends his money. -Kylie

The basics:

Industry: Industrial Equipment Sales
Position: Inside Sales
Yearly salary: $60,000 with a 10% performance bonus
Extra income: I make about $1,000-$1,500 per month as an Uber/Lyft driver.
Who you bank with: Ally
Savings: I hard-save $100 in cash per month (meaning I transfer this to a savings account with restrictions on when to spend it) and contribute $300 to my 401(k). By spending less, I see my balance in checking grow and will periodically transfer money into savings beyond $100 per month when it’s appropriate.
Age: 25

Monthly expenses:

Rent: $1,103 ($3 convenience fee for paying on my credit card for the points)
Number of roommates: None, but my fiancée will be moving in this summer
Neighborhood: Cornelius

Electric – Varies, but usually $55 to $70
Gas – $25
Cable/Internet – $140 per month
Water – Included in rent

Student loans: $200 per month at a minimum
Personal loan: $99 per month for a small Lending Club loan I took out to cover moving expenses (there’s not as much interest as credit card debt)
Car payment: $479
Car insurance: I pay annually at $1,700 to save, which equates to about $142 per month
Cell phone: $135 for Verizon’s 8GB plan, which includes the payment for the new phone
Insurance: Health insurance ($115) and vision and dental ($15) through my employer
Netflix: $10
Amazon Prime: $99 per year
Skype International: $143 per year
Office 365: $107 per year
Groove Music: $106. It’s like Spotify, but by Microsoft
Sam’s Xpress Car Wash “Top Wash Club”: $26 per month

Three financial goals:

Acquire a rental property. And then find a paying tenant by the end of 2020.

Reach a positive net worth. It’s been in the negative due to student loans, my car loan, etc.

Become a millionaire by 2032.

Money Diary: How I spent my money last week

Day one: Sunday

Saturday is my heavy Uber day, so I make as much as I can and then sleep in on Sunday.

I woke up and ordered Jimmy John’s for lunch ($17.50 with tip).

Did laundry at home then went out to pick up a package. I wasn’t going to have dinner out, but in the same lot is that Verde Mexican Fusion place I had been dying to try, and it wasn’t busy. I had some empanadas, tacos and dessert along with some delicious chipotle margaritas ($60 with tip).

Then, I went to Walmart to deposit my tips from the week ($37.09) and buy toothpaste ($5.27).

Total spent: $82.77

Day two: Monday

Last week, I opened up an account trading binary options – I’ve discovered over the course of these past few days that it’s basically gambling. I lost my initial deposit so this morning I put in $500 and I’m hoping to recoup some of my losses. They also don’t let you withdraw the money without a statement showing their deduction, so I can’t close the account and get any remaining money out until next month.

Stressed about the lost $350 from last week and the $500 held hostage, I did what any normal person would do – I bought an expensive bottle of tequila ($55), went grocery shopping ($80) and ordered pizza ($30).

I also spent $5 on a snack and coffee drink at work this afternoon because I was supposed to go out and Uber, but I’m so exhausted from all the driving this weekend that I decide against driving in my current state (clearly being tired has contributed to poorer decision-making). I did, however, need to buy gas ($21).

At least the grocery shopping means I now have breakfast for the week and a few things for lunch. And I ran some errands on my lunch hour but nothing that involved spending any money, thankfully.

Total spent: $191 + the $500 deposit that I can hopefully recover

Day three: Tuesday

This morning I had breakfast at home from groceries, got ready for work and left for the day.

I read a news story about a Charlotte Uber driver who left on Saturday night to work and never came home and decide that maybe I don’t need to do an Uber shift on my birthday – that’s a pretty workaholic decision, anyway.

I also had lunch and dinner at home, commemorating the occasion with a little more of the tequila I bought yesterday and a flavored cigar I received as a tip from a passenger (it was sealed or else I wouldn’t have smoked it).

At work, they decorated my desk and I got a $5 gift card for Starbucks. My family sent me $150 in birthday money because being an independent adult is overrated – who doesn’t like money?

Total spent: $0

Day four: Wednesday

Every Wednesday, Uber and Lyft deposit my earnings from last week. They let you do an immediate payout for a $0.50 fee, but it’s free if you take weekly pay. I earned $262 on Lyft and $282 on Uber.

Woke up and had breakfast at home with groceries from Monday ($0) and came home for lunch to make a sandwich with cold cuts and bread I bought Monday ($0).

My SiriusXM subscription renewed today ($145), but part of it is tax-deductible since I use it to entertain passengers. My $99 Lending Club loan payment auto-deducted from my account as well.

After work, I went to Home Depot to buy a new pot as my lemon tree on my balcony had roots growing out of the soil. I bought more potting soil and a large pot – about three times the size ($36) before heading home and making dinner out of what was in the freezer.

I have been looking into cryptocurrencies this week. I spend $160 after fees to buy about 0.05 BTC. My brother’s friend has a massive computer rig in his basement that makes him thousands of dollars a month, and I’m trying to get my feet wet before I start deciding to spend thousands of dollars on computer equipment to mine cryptocurrency.

Total spent: $440

Day five: Thursday

I woke up and made breakfast from what was in the refrigerator and log into Lending Club to see one of the loans I own was paid off early, so I reinvest that $25 into another loan (not really “spending”).

My shower was fixed by the landlord yesterday ($0), so I get ready for work and leave on time. My lemon tree is looking better in its new home, with perkier leaves than I’ve seen for a while.

My earphones that I use at work broke (I’ve broken both of the free pairs I had – one that came with work phone and other with personal). I thought I had another free set but I can’t find it, so I go on Amazon and buy myself the pair I bought my fiancée for Christmas ($12, but free because I got an Amazon gift card for my birthday). They should be here in two days.

I decide to invest my birthday money in Bitcoin, $150 worth plus the $10 fee ($160).

My friend who grows citrus trees tells me I have to put drainage holes in this pot I got, but I don’t have a power drill and I don’t know anyone with one – so, Amazon to the rescue. I got a power drill, some drill bits and a 4-year protection plan and it was only $25 because of that aforementioned gift card (now depleted).

After work, I get in the car and do some driving for Uber. My first passenger is crazy and keeps texting me where to meet her and then moving – it was all along 115 in Davidson during rush hour, so we never met up and I had to cancel the ride. Pro tip, guys – don’t do that! I made $56 on Uber and was home by 10 PM, somewhat unusually my third ride took me all the way to Indian Trail so it was a bit of a drive to get back. On the drive back, I stop at the grocery store to pick up a few odds and ends that had run low ($35). They had a special on the Publix spinach dip that I like!

Total spent: $220

Day six: Friday

With my dad’s birthday coming up this month, I poke around on the internet sort of doing some prep to figure out what to get him. I come across a friend of a friend who does some handmade custom woodwork that tributes police officers that would be a great decoration for his office or the garage. I put down a $50 deposit on it plus a $2 PayPal fee (it’s $150 total).

I brought lunch made with the stuff I already had – bread I bought last night and lunch meats left over from Monday.

I get out of work and drive around everywhere from China Grove to Ballantyne from 5 p.m. to midnight. I stop to use the restroom at a Burger King and decide to get a Whopper Jr. & a small drink ($5), then it’s back on the road. I made $108 on Uber and made it home about 12:30 AM.

Total spent: $57

Day seven: Saturday

I have a pretty normal afternoon driving and stop around 4:30 p.m. to get Chick-Fil-A quickly ($7.24). I have to get dinner before other people start going to dinner so I don’t end up stopping when there is demand.

Around 7, I stop at a gas station to grab a Slim Jim and an energy drink as I plan to keep going for at least a few more hours ($5.31). Usually on Saturdays I go until 2 or 3 a.m., but Charlotte was really quiet today. I think a lot of people may have left to go to other places for their Memorial Day, as none of the usual places had any traffic at all.

So, since I wasn’t on track to hit my usual $200 goal by 2 AM, I call it a night at midnight so I can work a little between tomorrow and Monday to hit my three-day-weekend goal.

Total spent: $12.55

Total spent: $1,503.32
The breakdown:

Food and drink – $300.05
Transportation – $21
Bills – $1,064
Miscellaneous – $118.27

What I learned:

My birthday was the Tuesday of this week. Sometimes I get a little crazy around my birthday for whatever reason, whether it’s being depressed, drinking too much or something like that. This year for some reason my birthday caused me to make really speculative investments in a time when my cash flow is finally recovering. I burned through a lot of cash to move here, so it is silly of me to throw away money on stupid things like that instead of doing things I want to do like do cool things in my new hometown or save up for my own goals. I should be more mindful of that.

I also learned that I can’t fire both jobs on all cylinders every week. I did two big weeks on Uber/Lyft before this week and my plan was to do another one this week but I ended up groggy Monday through Wednesday with no desire to do any driving. So, I have to figure out a way to come up with a strategy to keep it more balanced/sustainable. I thought I was doing that but this particular month I got away from that.

I have some pretty lofty and multifaceted financial goals and a lot of them are kind of difficult to plan for. So I have to come up with a way to divide them into smaller, measurable steps rather than shuffling things around week to week and telling myself I’m making progress.

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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