Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $105,000 salary

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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 This week, I spoke with a 23-year-old man that makes $105,000 a year. Here’s how he spends his money. -Kylie

The basics:

Industry: Banking
Position: Business Analyst
Yearly salary: $105,000
Extra income: $5,000-$10,000 from investments
Who you bank with: Charles Schwab, Goldman Sachs and TD Amertitrade. I use Robinhood as my fun account, where I buy and sell stocks daily since it’s free.
Savings: I put $1,000 per month into my savings account, $700 into my brokerage account, $500 into my Robinhood account and max out my Roth IRA. My checking balance is always low, but my money isn’t making me more money in there.
Age: 23

Monthly expenses:

Rent: $750 (my half)
Number of roommates: 1
Neighborhood: South End
Utilities: Electric, water and cable come out to be about $90 per month.
Car payment: $0. My lease was up a few months ago and I decided not to get a new car. I never used it much anyway, living in South End and working in Uptown.
Transportation costs: I’d guess around $50 per month on Uber.
Phone bill: I pay my parents $150 per month for my phone. My portion is less, but whatever. I probably owe them for something else anyway.
Insurance: $150 per month for health insurance and $8 per month for renters.
Amazon Prime: I paid $50 to split it with my roommate for the year.
Spotify Premium: $10.71
Barstool’s Shirt of the Month Club: $26
Robinhood Gold: $6
Chase Sapphire Preferred: $95 for the year

Three financial goals:

Save up enough money for a down payment on a house. I want to live around South End or near Uptown in a house, so I know it’s not going to be cheap. I want to put 20% down so I’m assuming I’ll need $80,000 on the high end. Hopefully the market blows up soon and prices will fall.

Cut back on eating out and drinking. As you’ll see, I eat out a good amount. I used to convince myself that it was just as cheap for me to eat out as cooking at home since it was only me, but my girlfriend moved here so now most meals are double the price.

Continue to build up my savings. Outside of saving for a house I also want to continue building up my savings in case of unexpected expenses and for if and when I decide to buy a car.

Money Diary: How I spent my money last week

Day one: Sunday

I skip breakfast and my girlfriend and I get Common Market for lunch. We both got a breakfast sandwich and drink. I spend $15.19.

I’m getting over being sick so I opt for a super lazy Sunday. I watch a lot of Netflix and buy a golf shirt online for $32.56.

For dinner, I make a frozen pizza that I had in my freezer already and cap the wild night off with a glass of bourbon that I already had.

Total spent: $47.75

Day two: Monday

After about an hour of work, I get hungry, so I go down to the convenience store for breakfast. I get a Poptart and Coke, but there is a $5 minimum for credit cards so I buy a pack of gum to bring it to $5.35 and make my breath not smell like Poptart and Coke.

I go to one of my favorite spots for lunch: Pho Plus. I get a Banh Mi, which runs me $5.95.

Later in the day, I got a haircut and spent $30. I recently changed barbers and spend $20 less for the same cut. Pretty proud of myself for that one.

I didn’t eat dinner because I was going to my girlfriend’s place and planned on eating food, but she had nothing I liked. I did stop at Bulldog on my way over and bought a 6-pack of beer for $12.95.

I also paid my roommate $766.69 for rent, water and trash.

Total spent: $820.94

Day three: Tuesday

I usually don’t eat breakfast, and Tuesday was no exception. Instead, my first expense of the day was for Johnny Burrito at lunch. A regular white runs me $8.75.

I was walking back from a meeting later in the afternoon and stopped at Rush for an iced coffee for $2.77.

I went home and made some Velveeta shells and cheese for dinner then met friends at Brass Tap for a couple beers. I spent $6.50 there before we went to Bulldog for bingo, where I dropped $10.79 there for two more beers before calling it a night.

Total spent: $28.81

Day four: Wednesday

I woke up super hungry, so I stop at Rush before work for a coffee and a muffin. If you haven’t had their muffins, I highly recommend and my recommendations should not be treated lightly. $5.85

I went to meet a friend for lunch at Taste, where I got a bowl that I didn’t like at all and a Coke. I spend $10.27 for lunch.

There was a happy hour after work so I got free appetizers for dinner and several free drinks. HUGE WIN!

Total spent: $16.12

Day five: Thursday

Back to not eating breakfast… I get a Philly Cheesesteak and fries for a late lunch at Clover Joe’s and spent $10.27. Worth every penny.

I was getting tired later in the day, so I went to Rush for a wake-me-up coffee. $3.00

After work, I go to Harris Teeter to stock up on snacks for my trip to the beach this weekend. I buy a bunch of chips, cookies, etc. and snag a sub for dinner. In total, I spend $60.21, and I eat my sub with a glass of bourbon and follow it up with a beer that I already had.

Total spent: $73.48

Day six: Friday

No breakfast. I stop at Johnny B again for lunch and get the usual for $8.75 before I pick up my dry cleaning for $14.08.

My sister and brother in law are visiting for the night so we all go to Haberdish for dinner. I paid for our dinner of chicken, mac ‘n cheese, pickles, tots and hushpuppies. $36.81

We jumped around to get drinks afterward. Our first stop was NoDa Company Store where my girlfriend bought my beer. After that, we go to The Blind Pig where I pick up the tab for $24. I also spend $2 to play the jumbo Space Invaders game, which turned out not to be fun at all.

We head back to South End after for Wooden Robot where I spend an even $15 for a couple of beers.

Total spent: $100.64

Day seven: Saturday

We go to Duck Donuts for breakfast where I buy everyone’s food again. A dozen donuts and coffees run me $24.37.

My girlfriend and I start our drive to the beach later and stop for gas on the way. She paid for the gas and I went in to get a hot dog, Mountain Dew, sunflower seeds and Combos ($5.35). The only other expense that day was the $6 toll to get onto the island we were going to.

Total spent: $35.72

Total spent: $1,123.46
The breakdown:

Food and drink – $272.13
Bills – $766.69
Miscellaneous – $84.64

What I learned: This week was also a little out of the ordinary because my sister was visiting on Friday night so I bought most of her food and drinks and we also left for the beach on Saturday.

The majority of my money goes toward food and beer, but I’m a simple man who doesn’t need fancy food and I drink cheap beer more often than not. Not having a car is actually pretty great, and I don’t think I’ll buy one until I absolutely need one to survive because I like the cost savings so much.

I really want to focus on aggressively saving and investing now because “technically” I’m an adult now and have to do adult things. Overall, I think my spending is fairly under control. I do pretty well at avoiding impulse buys and things I don’t need.

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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