Jul 23, 2019 - Money

Cash Confessional: A week of spending on a 29-year-old preschool teacher’s $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 Lauren at [email protected] or fill out our Survey Monkey.

The basics

Age: 29

Gender: Female

Industry: Education

Position: Preschool teacher

Salary: $30,000

Additional income: I work at a doggie daycare on Sundays (full shift) making $10 an hour.

Living situation: I have one roommate and live uptown.

Rent: $700

Car payment and insurance: $400

Student loans: $170 for a total of $35,000 from private school. I’m on a pay as I earn plan.

Gym membership: $22

Credit card: I don’t touch my credit card, besides to make payments. Roughly $2,500 left to go.

Phone bill: A family member pays my phone bill

Are you putting anything into savings?

I started a savings account once I was out of college and never dip into it. Right now all of the money from my side job goes into savings.

What’s the best thing you’ve ever spent money on?

Definitely vacations and equipment for vacations. I take a trip to multiple national parks each year, and the hiking and camping equipment gets pricey but worth it. Also, my bed. My bed was so expensive but is the most amazing bed in the world.

What’s the most frivolous thing you spend money on?

Unnecessary trips to Sonic, Cookout, Dairy Queen and other places for a late-night sweet treat.

How would you feel if you had to show a friend your checking account? 

I’m not afraid to show a friend my checking account. We are all young professionals with mega student loans, living in expensive cities with expensive taste who like to have fun.

Would you rather show a friend your savings account or your Google search history?

Google search history.

What’s something you’d love to purchase but can’t afford to yet?

I’m not very materialistic, so I can’t say that I really want anything that I absolutely cannot afford. Although, I’d like my house to be decorated from floor to ceiling with Anthropologie. It’s getting there!

If money was no object, what would you buy?

I’d love to be able to take my sister or mother/father on an extravagant fully paid vacation, as they all have done that for me.

What’s the biggest expense in your life right now?

Rent, and my sister is getting married this year so I’m trying to throw her the best bachelorette party New Orleans has ever seen.

In my opinion, the average American spends too much money on:

Definitely coffee, alcohol and unnecessary dining out.

My financial goals:

  • Never touch my savings
  • Always pay bills on time
  • Pay a little extra on student loans and car payment each month
  • Never ask my parents for money!

Money diary

How I spent my money this week


I spent $10 at Walgreens for classroom supplies that I will not get reimbursed for. I typically go to the grocery store (Aldi) every other Monday and spend roughly $50. I only eat out on paydays and the weekend. If I don’t have a lunch that day, school lunch will suffice and it’s free for teachers.


I spent $2.96 on an iced coffee from Starbucks for lunch and $25 at Target for a few last minute things for a co-worker’s birthday.


$0 spent.


I spent $10 at Starbucks coffee for myself and a coworker.


Today was payday. $10 for lunch at Maddio’s and $40 at Harris Teeter on food and alcohol for the weekend.


$0 spent


 $10 on American Burger Co for dinner.

Total spent:


What I learned

This week’s expenses actually added up to be more than expected.

Looking at my spending this week, a pattern occurs that a good amount of my money spent goes towards other people, which I kind of already knew. I like to surprise coworkers with snacks and gifts. It makes the day brighter.

I definitely noticed when I was at the store that I look for items on markdown or the cheapest option.

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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