Jul 25, 2018 - Things to Do

Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $30,000 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-year-old man that makes $30,000 a year. Here’s how he spends his money. -Kylie

The basics:

Industry: Product Manufacturing
Position: Engineering Apprentice
Salary: $30,000
Extra income: $200 from my mom. Doesn’t every college student get a little help from their parents?
Savings: 6% to my 401(k) and roughly $30 per month with my Keep the Change account at Bank of America
Age: 26

Monthly expenses:

Rent: $753 for my half
Number of roommates: 1
Neighborhood: South End
Utilities: $95
Student loans: None now, and none in the future. My education is 100% paid for by work.
Car payments: None. I paid my car off 3 years ago!
Car insurance: $55, which includes renters insurance
Transportation costs: $130
Phone bill: $135
Insurance: $90

Three financial goals

Graduate debt-free. I graduate in less than a year, so this is my major goal currently.

To not touch my Keep the Change account. I will be going to Europe for over a month next summer for training with my company, and although room, board and travel is all covered, I need extra money to travel to other countries on the weekends while there, so I plan on not touching the account so I can accommodate all of that.

Stick to the monthly budget I set for myself.

Money Diary: How I spent my money last week

Day one: Sunday

I had to help my mom out around her house, so I scored a giant sub from Jersey Mike’s ($0).

Took my weekly trip to the grocery store. I only buy food that’s on the weekly ad, and luckily, I didn’t go to the store hungry this time. My roommate and I split the cost, so I paid $25.

For dinner, I made grilled chicken caesar wraps with things I purchased at the store.

Total spent: $25

Day two: Monday

At breakfast, I brewed a pot of coffee to have for the day. It’s so much cheaper than K Cups. I paired it with a bowl of oatmeal; I was recently told I have extremely high cholesterol, so I gotta get those points down.

I finished the other half of my sub from Sunday for lunch, and then grilled 3 pounds of chicken that I bought at the grocery store for my roommate and me. This should last us all week.

I also Venmo-ed my roommate for my half of this month’s utilities and whatnot ($90).

Total spent: $90

Day three: Tuesday

I woke up to an unexpected autodraft from my account – thanks, satellite radio company. $122

Breakfast was a repeat of yesterday: coffee and oatmeal.

I had to run errands with my mom during my lunch break today, so we went to Chick-Fil-A, and she picked up the bill. The new sliders are phenomenal.

For dinner, I had leftover grilled chicken, and bought a ticket for a Knights game afterward. $10

Total spent: $132

Day four: Wednesday

No shocking surprises for breakfast today – coffee and oatmeal, but it wasn’t enough and mid-morning hunger struck. My company pushes for healthy choices, so we have protein bars on the cheap, so I brag a CLIF Builders Protein Bar for $1. For lunch, I had grilled chicken and a Steamfresh bag of veggies from home.

I knew I needed gas today after work, so I checked prices online for the cheapest in the area and filled up for $28. I also paid my car taxes and registration ($190).

I made Hamburger Helper for dinner, which I bought at the store earlier this week.

Total spent: $218

Day five: Thursday

Coffee and oatmeal for breakfast…

I completely forgot about a coworker’s birthday, so we went out to a Mexican restaurant. I ate a ton of free chips and only bought one quesadilla. $3

My full belly and afternoon meetings drained me, so I bought a coffee from the canteen at work ($.75).

I picked up a sixer so I could get an early start for Thirsty Thursday, then biked to the game. Thanks for the free ride, Ofo. $7

I made a terrible decision and didn’t eat before the game, so dinner and drinks at the game totaled up to $34.

Total spent: $44.75

Day six: Friday

Coffee and oatmeal for breakfast. I feel like my cholesterol has already improved.

I bought a meal replacement bar from the canteen at work for $1 and still had grilled chicken leftovers, so lunch was free.

I went to see the Charlotte Symphony at Romare Bearden Park tonight. It was my first time and who knew you could have alcohol there? We had none… Grabbed dinner from a food truck. $10

Before the show started, I got my friend and myself some gelato for $12.

I came home to a drunk roommate, so he ordered us some pizza, and I split the cost. $9

Total spent: $32

Day seven: Saturday

I went to South Carolina to celebrate a friend’s birthday, so I bought $32 worth of snacks and beer. It was an easy day.

Total spent: $32

Total spent: $574.75
The breakdown:

Food and drink – $134.75
Bills – $402
Transportation – $28
Miscellaneous – $10

What I learned:  I learned that I am pretty solid at ballin’ on a budget.

I do need to stick to my meal prep food a little better than what I’m currently doing.

I had a few setbacks with costs that I never have so I should probably plan a little better for occurrences such as those. Maybe I should contact the radio company to determine when that cost will come out of my account because I’m clueless as to when that is.

As much as I would like to save money, it’s a little tough right now. I want to be able to experience everything that Charlotte has to offer, so I understand saving right now is out of the question (man, I can’t wait to graduate).

All in all, I feel like I do pretty well at keeping my spending to a low. Maybe going to a baseball game in the middle of the week isn’t ideal – but shit happens.

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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