Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a combined $98,000 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 couple in their late twenties that makes a combined $98,000 a year. Here’s how they spend their money. -Kylie

The basics:

Industry: Marketing (both of us)
Position: 

Her – Graphic Designer
Him – Digital Marketing Specialist

Yearly salary:

Her – $60,000
Him – $38,000

Extra income: 

Her – Bonus upon merit, plus freelance work (around an extra $2,000-3,000 annually)
Him – Freelance work, dog walking and pet sitting ($30-$40 per week on average)

Savings: 

Her – I used to put away $150 per paycheck but I haven’t been able to in months. I do put $148.96 into a 401(K) each month.
Him – Not putting anything away besides $128 into a 401(K).

Ages:

Her – 27
Him – 29

Monthly expenses:

Rent: $1,250 – we split this in half.
Number of roommates: Just each other and our two dogs. We’re married.
Neighborhood: Wesley Heights
Utilities: 

Electric – $90
Internet – $84
Netflix – $7.99
Playstation Vue – $30

Student loans: 

Her – $400
Him – $800

Car payments: 

Her – $290
Him – $164

Car Insurance: $146 (both cars + renters insurance combined). We have a great deal!
Transportation costs: 

Her – $50 (Fills up every other week for $25)
Him – $20. He doesn’t drive to work.

Phone bill: None. Her company pays for hers, and he’s still on his family plan (thank God!).
Insurance: 

Her – $22.22 for medical, dental and vision
Him – $79.69 for medical, dental and vision

Credit cards: $450 total
Ring payments: $84 + $23.61
Gym memberships:

Her – $54
Him – $20

Three financial goals

Lower our debt to income ratio.

Replenish our savings account.

Eventually save for a down payment on a house in the next few years.

Money Diary: How we spent our money last week

Day one: Sunday

Her: $180 for 2 tickets to the Panthers vs. Falcons game. We tailgated with friends with food/drinks we bought the day before, so no extra cost there.

I bought us beers in the stadium for $20.

(Husband here: I’d like to thank my wife for footing the bill on this day… I took over most of the cooking this week to show my appreciation – because not every wife will buy you Panthers tickets on a whim!)

Him: Bottle of water to share at the Panthers game for $4.

Rent is due: $1,250 – we split 50/50.

Total spent: $1,454

Day two: Monday

Her: $7.35 on an egg white grill for breakfast from Chick-fil-A + a large vanilla iced coffee, which are both much needed after a Sunday of beers and football. The mobile app is great, you get free stuff for buying meals through it, plus no wait!

I’m too tired to get up to pack lunch, so I bought a grilled chicken salad with a side pasta salad for $11.89 at Reid’s.

Him: $3.22 on an iced coffee. I packed yogurt from last week’s grocery trip for breakfast, and lunch was leftovers from our tailgate. Paid $164.95 for my monthly car payment.

He made some comfort food for dinner with a box of mac and cheese that we attempted to adult up with some gouda-stuffed chicken sausages and steamed veggies. All of this was bought on last week’s grocery trip.

We made a Harris Teeter run to get us through the work week for $58.63 –cheaper trip than normal to compensate for some bigger payments due this week.

Total spent: $246.04

Day three: Tuesday

Her: I made coffee for both of us at home and brought breakfast and lunch to work today. I hit the gym at lunch and managed to leave without buying any extra protein snacks. 

My car payment auto-draft hit – $290. Less than 2 years until it’s paid off, hallelujah!

Him: Brought breakfast and lunch to work, because I’m really trying to lower my eating out costs this week. Auto-draft for Playstation Vue hit ($30).

Taco Tuesday! He made tacos at home with ingredients from grocery trip so she could go to a yoga class.

Total spent: $320

Day four: Wednesday

Her: There were Amélie’s coffee & sandwiches for breakfast at work (YASSS!). I’m starting to feel guilty about all the carbs this week, so I only ate the egg and sausage. I did get a lunchtime yoga session in, but it was courtesy of my company. $0

Avoiding any unnecessary spending is starting to get to me. I online window shopped for new booties (because Nordstrom Sale!), but stayed strong.

Him: I spent nothing on breakfast on lunch by bringing them to work, but I did spend $10 on beer at work happy hour. I’ll surrender that this was unneccessary, I’m working on it…

We didn’t spend anything on dinner. She made an awesome stew that will feed us the rest of the week with groceries from our Harris Teeter trip.

Total spent: $10

Day five: Thursdsay

Her: I made a latte at work, snagged half a Krispy Kreme donut and followed it up with a greek yogurt for protein. I volunteered with my company during lunch to help feed the homeless, and they treated us to a fajita bar for lunch… my job is the BEST!

Him: Spent $3.98 on a McChicken Biscuit, 2 hash browns and a small coffee for breakfast, because I’m weak and didn’t bring anything. I tried to redeem myself by biking home for lunch ($0) but I grabbed a bag of chips for $1.89… I told you I’m weak.

He made pizza chicken while she whipped up some salads for dinner with groceries from this week’s trip. It tastes just like pizza – AMAZING – and the recipe has killer macros.

Total spent: $5.87

Day six: Friday

Her: I made a latte at work and brought breakfast.

Left work mid-day to fill up on gas at lunch ($22 even!), and ended up exploring Michael’s. I convinced myself not to buy a vinyl cutter and 1,000 other cool things, and ended up buying a grilled nugget meal for $8.37 at Chick-fil-A instead.

Him: I skipped breakfast and had leftovers for lunch. Snagged vending machine chips as a snack for $1.10. I love chips.

It’s leftover night for dinner instead of our usual Pizza Friday and split a bottle of wine we had received as a gift.

Total spent: $31.47

Day seven: Saturday

Her: Went to my hair appointment for a cut, color and gloss ($180.00 + $35.00 for a tip), and it was worth every penny!

I grabbed a quick salad for lunch from Rhino Market ($10.81) and followed it up with a Harris Teeter trip for $8.73 worth of snacks and ingredients to make Sunday brunch, courtesy of my chef husband.

Back to Rhino because we ran out of wine for our Stranger Things Netflix binge. $13

Him: I bought a lighter for $1.89, my gym membership auto-drafted ($20) and went to Harris Teeter to redeem my free sub.

Total spent: $269.43

Total spent: $2,336.81
The breakdown:

Food and drink – $162.97
Bills – $1,754.95
Transportation – $22
Miscellaneous – $396.89

What we learned:

Her – I spent more than normal ($1,470.78) on big purchases like a hair appointment and Panthers tickets this week. I also took on our grocery costs because I had gotten paid the most recently.

Him – Ugh… I think I may be sick after seeing the total ($862.03). (Wife here – Husband is a bit dramatic, his version of saving money is living as uncomfortably as possible… I’m not about that life.) Luckily that next paycheck is right around the corner, and you can bet I’ll be taking point on our next grocery store trip.

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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.