Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $48,000 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 kylie@charlotteagenda.com. This week, I spoke with a 26-year-old woman that makes $48,000 a year. Here’s how she spends her money. -Kylie

The basics:

Industry: Construction
Position: Marketing Manager
Yearly salary: $48,000
Extra income: I’m a web design freelancer when I’m not working my 9-5. I have completed 2 websites this year, putting me at about $3,000 extra
Savings: I try to save 10% of every paycheck, however it often dwindles down to nothing, like when I recently moved places (it’s expensive to move!) and bought new tires in the same month – over $2,000 spent right there.
Age: 26

Monthly expenses:

Rent: $587.50
Number of roommates:
1
Neighborhood:
South End
Utilities:
Around $110 in the warmer months
Student loans: $235
Car Payment: $263
Car Insurance: $69 (saving over 50% with Geico! :P)
Transportation costs: Uber, Lyft and gas, usually puts me around $150. I drive a lot for work, but we get reimbursed $.50/mile, so with that, I’d say $110.
Phone bill: $104
Health Insurance: $140 for health insurance through work
Gym membership: $40 for YMCA. Pro tip: If you make under a certain amount a year, YMCA will charge you a “fair price” based on income.
Hulu: $8
Spotify: $10.71

Three financial goals:

Pay off student loans. The obvious. At the rate I’m going now, I will have them paid off in 23 years (yay). I don’t want to be that person, but until/unless I get a raise I can’t pay anymore than I am now.

Put 3 months’ worth of paychecks into savings. Again, this is hard when I already spend over half my income in bills. However, I am motivated to continue moving up and be able to do this!

Save up for backpacking in New Zealand/Australia. My biggest goal before 30 (only 4 years away… scary!) is to take a month away to explore/backpack in New Zealand & Australia.

Money Diary: How I spent my money last week

Day one: Sunday

Got a late start and had a protein bar and a banana from home for lunch. For dinner, I went out to eat with my boyfriend and mom for a splurge at Captain Steve’s Seafood Restaurant in Fort Mill. My boyfriend & I split a Captain’s Platter and salad and I drank an unsweet tea, totaling $14.32.

Hulu payment: $12.83

Total spent: $27.15

Day two: Monday

Banana & peanut butter for breakfast from home.

Haven’t done my weekly grocery shopping, so I went to Harris Teeter for their amazing salad bar for lunch. $5.56

Boyfriend & friends take turns making dinner. We made (or attempted to) tuna sushi for dinner – things got messy, but at least the picture looks decent! Since it wasn’t my turn to buy, my total for dinner was $0.

Total spent: $5.56

Day three: Tuesday

Made a peanut butter and banana wrap for breakfast and a salad with leftover burrito fillings for lunch.

It was my stepdad’s birthday, so I bought him a gift from Bed, Bath & Beyond using a 20% off coupon. The gift totaled out to $35.

For dinner, we had a cookout at my brother’s house for my stepdad’s birthday. I was in charge of bringing beer, salad stuff and the birthday cake. $31.23

After the cookout, I went to The Rabbit Hole to see my boyfriend’s band play. I try to limit my drinking to once a week on weekdays and this was my splurge. $20

Total spent: $86.23

Day four: Wednesday

Guess it looks like I’m officially boring… peanut butter & banana wrap for breakfast, 3 days in a row!

I filled up my gas tank on the way to work, totaling $41.

For lunch, I went to Harris teeter to buy sandwich stuff, carrots and hummus for the rest of the work week. $10.71

On Wednesday night I take an art class from 6-9 with CPCC, so I always have a quick and late dinner. I ended up making a sandwich with the stuff I got earlier in the day and called it a night.

Total spent: $51.71

Day five: Thursday

I’m a little tired of peanut butter and bananas, so I stopped by Chick-fil-A on the way to work and got an Egg White Grill. It was well worth the $3.35. For lunch, a sandwich, carrots and hummus.

My boyfriend and I got takeout from Mad Greek Café on South Blvd for dinner. I got a greek salad with chicken. We typically buy groceries & do a meal plan at the beginning of the week to save money, but this week was so busy we just didn’t have the time! $13

the mad greek

Total spent: $16.35

Day six: Friday

The best day of the week: PAY DAY!

(…and the Stranger Things 2 premiere!)

Every Friday, I wake up and transfer $150 into my savings account, then I decide on a budget for the weekend and don’t spend more than that budget (or try not to). This weekend I gave myself a budget of $80, which is higher than normal, but it’s Halloween weekend SO WHATEVA-ER.

For breakfast, I had – you guessed it, a peanut butter and banana wrap. For lunch, I had the rest of my sandwich meat on a bed of spinach with carrots and hummus.

I spent Friday night in, binge watching Stranger Things and making chicken hibachi. Total spent on groceries for dinner was $8.09.

Total spent: $8.09

Day seven: Saturday

Saturday: The day of the bar crawl my friends successfully talked me into going to. Typically, I don’t like the bar crawl scene because it’s way too crowded and there are too many crazies running around. However, this year my friends had a hilarious idea for a group costume and I couldn’t miss out.

🎃👻🍺@richandbennett’s Halloween Bar crawl

A post shared by Charlotte Agenda (@charlotteagenda) on

I spent $9 on a bottle of Fireball for the pregame and by the time we got to the bar crawl I didn’t really need to buy any other drinks. I ended up buying one drink at Flight for $5 and just had a fun time dancing with my friends in our onesies.

Ubered home after the bar crawl for $14.76 – I only live like 2 miles away, but there was, of course, a surcharge on Halloween weekend.

For dinner, I had a coupon for a free pizza from Fuel, so I just paid for the tip and the a side of garlic knots. $8

Venmoed my roommate rent money for November. $587.50

Total spent: $624.26

Total spent: $819.35
The breakdown:

Food and drink – $128.26
Transportation – $55.76
Bills – $600.33
Miscellaneous – $35

What I learned: I’m as stingy as I thought I was. Haha… but really, it is interesting to see how quickly eating out adds up. I would have saved a lot more money this week if I had gone to the grocery store on Sunday and bought all my food for the week.

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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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Kylie Moore
Writer doubling as a travel, wine, and Oxford Comma enthusiast.