Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $70,000 salary

Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $70,000 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 24-year-old woman that makes $70,000 a year. Here’s how she spends her money. -Kylie

The basics:

Industry: Banking
Position: Financial Analyst
Yearly salary: $70,000
Extra income: Annual bonuses and raises (it’s almost that time!)
Savings: I put 20% of my paycheck each month into my Capital One savings account (it earns more interest than my BofA savings account, and I never touch this money unless for an emergency). I also put 5% in a Roth IRA and 5% in a traditional IRA.
Age: 24

Monthly expenses:

Mortgage: $950 + $205 for HOA fees. I bought my first condo in April!
Number of roommates: 0 humans, 1 puppy 🙂
Neighborhood: First Ward, Uptown
Utilities: Typically $75 for electric and $50 for internet. Water is included in HOA.
Student loans: $0. I paid for undergrad with my own money and scholarships. I am thinking of starting my MBA in the next year or so, but plan to get my company to reimburse as much of my tuition as possible.
Car payments: $0. I bought my first car before I went to college, and since I live Uptown and really don’t need a new car, I will use this one for the foreseeable future.
Car Insurance:$80
Phone bill: $90 (WHY is this so expensive…)
Insurance: $0. My mom still has my two younger sisters on her plan and it doesn’t cost any extra to keep me on it as well, until of course I get old (26) and can’t be on her plan anymore.
Gym membership: $36. I just joined MCAC Uptown, which is the best. I swim a couple times a week and they have a weights room too.

Three financial goals

Increase the amount I put into savings each month to $500+ within the next 8-12 months. I’ve had medical bills to pay off and puppy vet visits aren’t cheap – I haven’t been saving as much as usual.

Start a travel savings account. I really want to see the world and haven’t set money aside for lavish/expensive abroad trips.

Start an investment/trading account and be more comfortable investing in the stock market.

Money Diary: How I spent my money last week

Day one: Sunday

Woke up relatively early for a Sunday (especially after the Halloween festivities last night) and was starving, so I went to Owen’s Bagels for the Phish (best menu item there by far!) and coffee. $11

After my soccer game, I went to Aldi to do some grocery shopping. Shopping there seriously saves me so much money on food, and honestly I don’t mind bringing my own bags and packing my own groceries! The cashier also used a $5 off coupon that she had, so YASSS more money saved! $28.34

I went home and meal-prepped some turkey burgers, acorn squash and sweet potatoes for the week and ate some of it for dinner as well.

Total spent: $39.34

Day two: Monday

Ugh. Mondays…

I had some Mini Wheats with a banana that I bought yesterday and then grabbed coffee in the office. Our office has Starbucks coffee, creamer – everything all provided!

I go home during lunch to walk my puppy and to eat lunch. Since I already had it, I just ate what I had prepped for the week.

I have soccer tonight, so I’ve got to eat dinner early – hello, whatever was in my fridge.

Total spent: $0

Day three: Tuesday

I’m so tired from soccer last night – we had a double header and I wasn’t in bed ’til midnight! I was so tempted to stop at Starbucks and get something strong on my way to work, but stuck with my normal cereal-and-free-coffee-from-the-office morning.

Went home for lunch, as per usual, and ate a turkey burger and acorn squash.

I had a soccer game at 8 (yes, I play soccer a lot…), then came home and made a protein shake before going to bed.

Total spent: $0

Day four: Wednesday

Got up bright and early to hit the gym for leg day!

I stopped at Dunkin Donuts after my work out for an iced coffee, and bought a pound of coffee so I can brew it at home next time (Aldi does not have a great coffee selection) and ate breakfast at home. $13.54

Had to come home early today to walk the pup and brought lunch back to work with me.

I’m going on vacation to California for 7 days in less than 2 weeks (YAY!) and I needed a bunch of travel sized items. Yes, I have already started packing. So I went to Target to pick up a few things. It is very true that you can’t get out of Target without spending at least $50. ($60.83)

Met my friend out for a couple beers at Jack Beagles ($12) and then we wandered over to Solstice, where we were roped into playing trivia and drinking more beer ($12).

Then I went home, made a quesadilla for dinner and called it a night.

Total spent: $98.37

Day five: Thursday

Breakfast was per usual, cereal, a banana and work coffee.

For lunch, I went home and made a quesadilla before rushing back to work to deal with month end deliverables (there is a lot to do!).

I paid off my secondary credit card today. It’s linked to a bunch of monthly expenses, like my cell phone bill, Spotify account, auto insurance and Uber. ($153.64)

I’ve been dating a guy for a few weeks, and he came over with takeout. I went out beforehand and grabbed a bottle of wine to share as well for $12.88.

Total spent: $166.52

Day six: Friday

Thank god it’s Friday!

I made some coffee at home and had the usual banana and cereal at work. Lunch was leftovers from last night followed by playtime with the pup!

My mom, her boyfriend and some of their hiking friends are all meeting at Southbound for dinner, and I told her I would gladly meet up and drink a margarita with them. She covered the bill (thanks, Mom!).

Friday night is always a good time to have a girls night! My best girlfriends and I met at Vin Master (the BEST place to drink in South End by FAR!) for wine and good conversation ($43.98).

My friends wanted to go out after, but I decided to call it a night and take a Lyft home ($1.18 – I had credit that applied).

Total spent: $45.16

Day seven: Saturday

I woke up and went for a run and then took my pup on a long walk as well.

After, I met up with my sister to do a little shopping at South Park Mall, but I only ended up buying some stuff from Victoria’s Secret ($52.50) and used about $30 in coupons, so that was definitely a win. I was trying so hard to find some new clothes for my vacation but just didn’t find anything worth buying.

My neighbor was having a surprise party for her roommate, so I went over there to pregame before going out. They had a ton of food, sangria and a keg, so it was a pretty great party. Plus I didn’t know anyone there other than my neighbor, so mingling was fun too!

The guy I’m seeing invited me out with his friends in NoDa, so I took a Lyft to the Blind Pig around 9ish ($7.02). As soon as I got there, he ordered me a drink and we went and played cornhole for a while – not the best way for me to impress a guy…

We were there until about 1 and decided to go to that pizza place next to Heist for a late night snack. HOLY COW, those pizza slices were huge! Once we wrapped up there, he ordered us an Uber and we called it a night.

(Editor’s note: It’s Benny Pennello’s, where the slices are as big as your face.)

Total spent: $59.52

Total spent: $408.91
The breakdown:

Food and drink – $133.74
Bills – $153.64
Transportation – $8.20
Shopping – $113.33

What I learned: I think I’m finally building the habit of not going out at all during the week for lunch, which I definitely noticed while writing this. If I’m trying to save more money each month, saving money on food will definitely take me there, since eating out is SO EXPENSIVE and really adds up quickly. I’ve especially been trying to be frugal recently so I can spend more money when I’m in Las Vegas/Cali for the first time in mid-November. I worked so much in college (2 jobs, school and an internship) and was so obsessed with saving, but now that I have a steady income, I’m realizing life isn’t all about saving money all the time. If I can afford to have fun here in Charlotte, live it up across the country, take more elaborate vacations, I should!

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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