Jan 15, 2019 - Money

Cash Confessional: A week of spending on a receptionist’s $30,500 salary

cash confessional

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 Lauren at [email protected]. Click here to complete the diary anonymously via Survey Monkey.

This week, I chatted with a woman in her twenties who works as a receptionist in the textile industry.

She’s focused on paying off her student loans and reducing her spending so she can boost her savings. Here’s how she spends her money.

The basics

Industry: Textiles

Position: Receptionist

Salary: $30,500, plus up to $100 a month selling clothing on Poshmark

Savings: Putting $200 a month into a savings account

Age: 26

Monthly expenses

Rent: $350
Number of roommates: 2
Neighborhood: Rock Hill
Utilities: Roughly $70 a month
Student loans: $94.96 a month

Two Financial goals

  1. Pay off my student loans faster
  2. Cut my spending so I’m able to put more into savings each month

Money Diary: How I spent my money last week


It’s Christmas Eve! I woke up early and went to Michael’s with my roommate for this egg white powder we needed in an icing recipe. ($5.99). We also went to TJ Maxx, but I didn’t buy anything. I started using the ChangEd app to round up my spending to pay off my student loans. It only comes out of my account at roughly $10 at a time. Today $9.37 came out. I also stopped at the store for my mom to buy crackers for a Christmas Eve dinner we were going to. ($5.52)

Total: $20.88


It was Christmas Day, so I spent the day with my family and didn’t spend any money.

Total spent: $0


I took off work today and went to breakfast with my sister and a friend from college who was in town. ($9.63)

I thought I’d go get my car washed and vacuumed since I was off and it was nice outside. Apparently everyone in Fort Mill had the exact same idea! I paid $9.00 for the car wash, but every vacuum station was taken and I got nervous waiting, so the outside of my car is clean but the inside is not. Oh well. I ate ice cream from my freezer for lunch. Yum! ($0). I ended up going out to dinner with friends and spent $13.90

Total spent: $32.53


This morning I was sad I had to go back to work after the long weekend, so I stopped at Harris Teeter on my way to work to grab something for lunch. I was going to get their pre-made chicken salad but they were out, so I got pimento cheese and crackers instead! Healthy! ($8.88) I also got a coffee at Starbucks. I had money on my app, but even if I didn’t I would have spent it anyway, so I’m gonna log it. ($2.46)

A ChangEd roundup came out of my account today. ($9.48)

I’m addicted to caffeine, so I needed a 2 pm pick-me-up. I spent $1.25 on a coke at the vending machine at work. 

My friends and I are big Axios Charlotte fans and saw a restaurant featured a couple weeks ago, Providence Rd. Sundries,. It’s been on our to-do list for a while. We ended up going tonight, and I would 110% recommend the Cowboy Hotdog to everyone. ($10.31)

I filled up my tank for $20.72.

Total spent: $53.10


Another ChangEd round-up came out of my account. ($7.85) I feel like three times in one week is a lot, so if someone can explain this to me let me know.

I ate pimento cheese and crackers for lunch again and don’t regret it.  ($0.00)

I also got another Coke because I have a caffeine problem, but I almost always drink my coffee at home in the mornings, so I think this is okay. ($1.25)

I went out to dinner again with friends at my FAVORITE pizza place. Three nights in a row. I’m not a cook and I’ll admit it. (8.45)

Total spent: $17.55


I took New Year’s Eve off of work, so my friends and I were going to spend the long weekend in the mountains. I had coffee from home to-go and then we were off at 7:30 am.

We stopped at a gas station once for a Coke and some chips. ($3.74)

We also stopped at the grocery store before we got to the cabin for the weekend and split the bill four ways. ($25)

We watched football all day and never left the cabin

Total spent: $28.74


Today we went into town and had lunch at Paula Dean’s restaurant. ($25)

We piddled around town because it’s adorable, then headed back to the cabin for the night. S’mores and hotdogs on the fire!

Total spent: $25

Grand total: $177.80

What I learned

I’m not really sure how much I thought I was going to spend. It was a two-day work week for me and I went out of town, so I do think that probably altered my spending habits. Nothing major drafted out of my account this week, so I’m gonna say for just food this is a lot of money. It’s not a surprise to me that I eat out too much, but it is a habit I want to change!

Liked reading this Cash Confessional? Want to do one of your own? E-mail Lauren at [email protected], or click here to complete the diary anonymously.

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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