Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $42,000 salary

Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $42,000 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 woman that makes $42,000 a year. Here’s how she spends her money. -Kylie

The basics:

Industry: Marketing
Position: Corporate Marketing Assistant
Yearly salary: $42,000
Extra income: Yearly bonus – won’t know until December.
Savings: I put $100 per paycheck away, so $200 per month.
Age: 23

Monthly expenses:

Rent: $812
Number of roommates: 1
Neighborhood: Uptown
Utilities: Usually around $85 a month for cable, internet and electricity split with my boyfriend
Student loans: NONE! Thank you, mom and dad.
Car payments: None. I’ve had the same car since I was 16.
Car Insurance: $82
Transportation costs: I’d say around $100 for gas and Ubers.
Phone bill: I’m still under my parents’ plan
Insurance: I only pay for dental insurance through my company and the rest is still under my parents. So $10.
YMCA: $33

Three financial goals

Put more money away per paycheck and build up my savings in case of an emergency.

Save up for a new car. I would love a Jeep.

Save enough to go on an out-of-the-country trip with my boyfriend.

Money Diary: How I spent my money last week

Day one: Sunday

We went camping in the mountains last night so Bojangle’s was 100% necessary. I got my normal cajun chicken biscuit. My boyfriend bought breakfast.

After we got home, we decided to break out some of the leftover beer and champagne from the camping trip to watch the Panthers. Around half time we decide we need some good luck and head to Draught to watch the remainder of the game. We split a bucket of beer but when you’re losing to the Bears, it’s not much fun. At the end of the game I order corn beef hash to go. $24.19

Total spent: $24.19

Day two: Monday

I wake up and head to work. On my way out, I grab a protein bar, a coffee and my leftover corn beef hash that I’ll have for lunch.

After work, my boyfriend and I head to Publix for groceries. I always go to the store with a list so that I don’t forget anything or don’t buy unnecessary things. We split the groceries and my half comes out to $78. This is a little higher than normal, but we had to buy other things like cleaning supplies.

Total spent: $78

Day three: Tuesday

I grab another protein bar, yogurt and K-cup as I leave the house. For lunch, I packed a salad from the stuff we got from Publix last night.

During lunch, I head to put air in my tires. I go to QT because someone at work told me it was free there. Of course when I arrive, there’s a line and I’m the most impatient. So I head across the street to another gas station where I spend $1.50 on air.

Afterwards I run to the post office to send a package and pick up some more stamps. All my family is out of state, so I send a lot of cards. Total for the package and a new book of stamps: $17.00

On my way out of the post office a woman approaches me asking me for money, and I give her the only cash I have, $1, and head back to work.

After work we head to the gym and then make a baked chicken dish for dinner. $0

Total spent: $19.50

Day four: Wednesday

I grab my usual protein bar, yogurt and granola, along with leftovers from the night before, for lunch. I’m really big on bringing my lunch at least 4 days a week & I’m pretty loyal to it.

After work, I head to the YMCA with my friend and come home to a cooked dinner from my boyfriend- tonight it’s Jambalaya and veggies! All stuff we got from the store on Monday.

Total spent: $0

Day five: Thursday

You guys know the drill by now: I grab my usual breakfast (I know I need to switch it up, but these are the easiest) and a salad I made the night before. I hate waking up early so I always try to pack the night before so I don’t give myself any excuses.

My girlfriend Brittany wants to grab drinks after work so we head to The Wooden Vine in Uptown. It was both our first time there and I highly recommend! It had a great atmosphere, food and even better wine. We both get two glasses of wine and split two appetizers (fried zucchini is the bomb!), which comes out to $34.79 with tip.

Total spent: $34.79

Day six: Friday

As I’m leaving for work, my apartment complex is giving out free Chick-fil-A breakfast – how can I resist? I grab my chicken biscuit and head to work!

For lunch, a couple of my coworkers and I head to Niko’s, a really great Greek-American restaurant. I get a Greek salad with chicken and water for $8.12.

After work, I head home. We’ve had plans to order a pizza and watch scary movies. We get the pistachio pizza from Inizio, it’s a 10. My boyfriend pays for this, so $0.

Total spent: $8.12

Day seven: Saturday

I wake up around 8 a.m. and make a coffee. I REALLY want Starbucks but I’m also too lazy to walk there. Shocking.

I need to head to the mall to return some things I ordered online the other week, and on my way I stop at Tropical Smoothie and get a chicken caesar wrap and a smoothie. $11.57

Once I get to Northlake Mall, I head to the store to return the item. Of course I find something more expensive to exchange it for. The new top costs me a $7.51 difference.

On my way out of the mall, I see a Bath and Body Works and decide I just have to have a new car air freshener. I get a new visor clip and 2 scents for $12.33. Not a steal.

By this time, it’s around 5:00, so I know we need to figure out what’s for dinner. I stop by Publix and pick up a bottle of wine and frozen dinner. I really want to go out but I’m not much of a Halloween person, so I decide to be lame and just call it a night. $14.78

Total spent: $46.19

Total spent: $210.79
The breakdown:

Food and drink – $171.45
Shopping – $19.84
Miscellaneous – $19.50

What I learned: Overall, this was such a cool experience. I’m usually pretty good at keeping track of my money but not this in depth. This week was pretty representative of an average week of spending for me too! I’ll definitely be keeping track like this more in depth now and continue to ask myself, do I really need this?

Hopefully, you’ll see me driving around in my new Jeep next year!

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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