Jul 19, 2017 - Things to Do

Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $35,000 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 31-year-old woman that makes $35,000 a year. Here’s how she spends her money. -Kylie

The basics:

Industry: Craft beer/hospitality
Position: Marketing Manager
Yearly salary: $35,000
Extra income: $7,000 from bar shifts and the freelancing gigs I have managing social media accounts
Who you bank with: BB&T
Savings: I try to put $100 a month into savings, but recently wiped it out with an unexpected move.
Age: 31

Monthly expenses:

Rent: $650
Number of roommates: 1
Neighborhood: Plaza Midwood
Utilities: My half of gas, electric and internet is typically $100
Student loans: $400 per month between the two
Car payments: $0. I’m driving my car, which I paid for in cash, until it falls apart (unfortunately, that will be sooner rather than later).
Car insurance: $55
Transportation costs: I Uber whenever I’m drinking, so I’d say about $40 a month.
Phone bill: $130
Insurance: $140 for health insurance (my company pays the other half) and $15 for life insurance.
Any extra costs not previously mentioned: I had some old tax debt that I’m paying off monthly that adds up to $184 a month between the two.

Three financial goals:

Pay off my student loans within ten years.

Be able to put down a decent down payment on a new car.

Have a $2,000 savings cushion.

Money Diary: How I spent my money last week

Day one: Monday

I started the day off with a $24.56 Uber ride back to Charlotte from Concord, as I went out with a friend and ended up at their house without my car.

Coffee is my main breakfast staple, and thankfully I am in a pretty good habit of making it at home. I had a morning full of meetings that didn’t allow much time for anything else.

I’m thankful to live really close to Common Market, and rely on it quite a bit for a quick lunch. I grab the grilled cheese and soup special, along with a club soda for $12.16.

For dinner, I finished the rest of my grilled cheese from lunch, and snacked on some things we had at the house.

My Verizon bill came out of my checking account on this day – $130.

Total spent: $166.72

Day two: Tuesday

Breakfast was coffee and fruit, both of which I had at home. By the time lunch rolled around, Bojangles’ was calling my name, so I dropped $7.34 there.

I worked a bar shift tonight, so I grazed on food that my co-workers brought but did stop by Harris Teeter to grab some groceries, which added up to $57.90.

I paid my Axios Charlotte Member monthly fee ($5) and made the LAST PAYMENT (!) on one of my student loans ($100).

[Editor’s note: Want to become an Agenda Member? Details. It’s worth it.]

Total spent: $170.24

Day three: Wednesday

Breakfast was coffee and fruit at home again, but when it came time for lunch, I wasn’t feeling great, so I skipped.

I made lasagna with the groceries I bought yesterday and washed it down with a bottle of champagne that I found deep in the fridge, plus some Jim Beam that my roommate shared.

Total spent: $0

Day four: Thursday

I made avocado toast and coffee at home for breakfast and ate leftover lasagna for lunch.

When it came time for dinner, I stuck with a liquid beer diet – a perk of my job is free beer, and I take advantage of it often. I ended up playing dice with my friends who came to visit the taproom, and we stopped at McDonald’s on the way home, which set me back $6.78.

Total spent: $6.78

Day five: Friday

I scrambled some eggs and brewed a cup of coffee for breakfast and ate a spinach salad from home for lunch.

I planned on eating leftovers for dinner, but out power went out and I couldn’t heat anything up, which means I had to stop at Common Market. I got a Turkey Capri Wrap, Mozzarella Pasta Salad and a Naked Juice for $15.89.

I had to stop for gas, which is something I typically only do once a month, as my commute to work is short. $26.90

My rent came out of my account today, which totaled $650.

After work, I had a beer and listened to a local band that I really enjoy play. $0

Total spent: $692.79

Day six: Saturday

I always try to make my roommate something for breakfast, even if it’s easy, on Saturday mornings, so I whipped up cinnamon rolls and coffee.

I was busy in the neighborhood this morning and didn’t make time for lunch, but I also didn’t have an appetite in the hot weather.

This afternoon, my roommate and I went to a brewery and split a few small pours, so my total, including tip, was $15.

Dinner was more lasagna – finally finished the pan! I also made a late-night pit stop at Wendy’s for chicken nuggets ($7.98).

Total spent: $22.98

Day seven: Sunday

Brunch was coffee, Sun Chips and a sugar cookie. I’m not a great adult.

I went to NoDa for dinner, but the man I’m going with is paying, which means I’ll spend $0.

Total spent: $0

Total spent: $1,059.51
The breakdown:

Food and drink – $123.05
Bills – $885
Transportation – $51.46

What I learned:

While bills make up the majority of what I spend, I need to do better at planning ahead for meals. I tend to skip or graze and then binge eat really terrible food later on when I’m too tired or tipsy to cook, and it adds up super fast. I am always thankful for free beer – the $15 I spent at another brewery on Saturday is more than I usually spend in an entire month! Also, taking an Uber long distances definitely add up. I spent more than half of what I typically spend in a month on one trip.

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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