Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $62,900 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 33-year-old woman that makes $62,900 a year. Here’s how she spends her money. -Kylie

The basics:

Industry: Corporate Health and Wellness
Position: Team Lead/Supervisor for the onsite health coaching department
Salary: $62,900
Savings: I contribute 7% to my 401(k) and roughly $100-$200 per paycheck to savings. I’m also currently putting $300-$500 per paycheck toward our wedding fund, but this will stop after our May 19 wedding.
Age: 33

Monthly expenses:

Rent: $612 for my half
Number of roommates: 1, my fiancé
Neighborhood: Cornelius
Utilities: My half is roughly $210 per month
Student loans: $225
Car payments: $400, but this will be paid off in August of this year!
Car insurance: $70
Transportation costs: $0 – I work from home full-time.
Phone bill: $65, but my mom is currently taking care of this so I can contribute more to the wedding. I will start paying this again in June (yes, I’m still on mom’s family plan!).
Insurance: I contribute $180 per month to my HSA, and roughly $60 per paycheck for dental, eye and health insurance
Ipsy: $10
Gym: $10. Thankfully my fiancé owns a fitness studio that I go to for free. We have our big gym membership for days when he needs a change of scenery.

Note from the participant: It is important to note that I do get to write off a lot of my living expenses since I work from home, which helps big time with taxes.

Three financial goals

Pay off my student loans.

Pay off credit card debt from my May 19 wedding.

Save for a down payment to purchase a house within the next year.

Money Diary: How I spent my money last week

Day one: Sunday

We spent the weekend in Raleigh visiting my fiancé’s family, so Sunday we spent driving back home to Charlotte. We stopped in Chapel Hill for coffee at a place called Joe Van Gogh (the coffee was AMAZING…) and I grabbed a large light roast coffee and a scone for the ride. My fiancé picked up the coffee tab! $0

My brother’s birthday is Tuesday, so I stopped into the Rite Aid next door to grab him a card. We also grabbed two huge waters and a pack of gum for the trip home. The cost came to $9.74.

Since my brother lives in Greensboro (and we pass Greensboro on the way home), we met him for lunch at a place called Saladworks. My fiancé and I bought my brother’s lunch and split the cost ($44.81, so my half was $22.41). I ended up eating half of the salad and taking the other half with us for dinner.

My brother also asked for cash for his birthday to put towards an upcoming tattoo, so I gave him his card and $30.

We finally got home and went immediately to the grocery store. We shop and food prep for the week on Sundays so that when we get home late from the gym (me) and work (him), we can just eat and not have to worry about cooking. My portion of the grocery bill was $70, which will cover most of my food expenses for the week.

For dinner, I had the leftovers from my salad from lunch and fiancé and I split a DiGiorno pizza from the grocery store (it was included in cost above). Sunday nights tend to be our cheat night!

Total spent: $132.15

Day two: Monday

The common trend in our house is that we are pretty boring when it comes to eating, as you will see throughout the week.

During the week, I participate in intermittent fasting (with the exception of my coffee), so I woke up, made a pot of coffee and got to work (benefits of working from home). I use unsweetened coconut milk in my coffee.

I was out of both my bone broth protein powder and probiotics, so I ordered both on Amazon. The probiotics came with a 40% off coupon, so the total for both was just $55.64. This expense only happens once every other month.

For lunch, almost every day I make a protein shake with unsweetened almond milk, bone broth protein powder, frozen blueberries and strawberries, a scoop of peanut butter and ice. All ingredients were purchased yesterday.

For a snack for the day, I had a Quest bar, a handful of nuts and an apple, all found at the house, so, again, no cost.

I wrapped up work late, so I ended up just doing cardio at our apartment gym and was home around 7:45. The fiancé and I ate what we had food prepped for the week yesterday. This week, we are having ground turkey with peppers and onions, roasted carrots, brussels sprouts and white potatoes.

Total spent: $55.64

Day three: Tuesday

I woke up and made coffee to get the day going. Added coconut milk and cinnamon, and it makes me happy.

For lunch today, I went to meet an old client in the Northlake area (this happens about once every 2 months). We ate at China a GOGO where I ordered the hibachi chicken with extra veggies and no rice with a water. Bonus: There was so much, I brought home enough for dinner. $9.85

I stopped at the gas station on the way home to grab an indulgent Diet Coke for the afternoon. $1.71 

Tuesdays are the one night my fiancé gets off work early (and I had a rough workday), so we headed over to Davidson College for a track workout.

After we finished, we treated ourselves to a small cup of Carolina Cones (seriously the best ice cream – try the salted cookies and cream), and then came home to eat, you guessed it, ground turkey with peppers and onions, roasted carrots, brussels sprouts and white potatoes. My fiancé picked up the ice cream since I had a bad work day. $0

Total spent: $11.56

Day four: Wednesday

Back to being boring for the day…

I woke up and made my coffee with coconut milk and cinnamon, then fasted until lunchtime when I made a protein shake with ingredients from the house. For a snack, I had nuts and Quest bar before my mom showed up as a surprise with a Diet Coke to get me through the afternoon. $0

I finally made it to the 6:30 pm HIIT class at my fiancé’s studio and was starving when I got home. We, of course, had ground turkey with peppers and onions, roasted carrots, brussels sprouts and white potatoes. Tonight, I also added half an avocado for a little bit more substance and fat.

Total spent: $0

Day five: Thursday

On Thursday, I had to travel for work to Greensboro to host a diabetes prevention class for a client. Before I left, I finally picked out a wedding day present for my fiancé, which set me back $294.94. I’m so ready for the wedding to be here because the costs add up.

Thankfully, when I travel like this, work picks up the tab on most things. I obviously stopped for a Starbucks on the way out of town and grabbed a venti blonde roast and a large water for the drive. $0

I made a shake before leaving to keep me on track (we are officially one week and one month away from the wedding), so I ate that for lunch. $0

I grabbed a Kind bar and an apple from the client’s cafeteria for the way home, but work pays for it, so $0.

I stopped just outside of Charlotte to get gas and picked up a pack of gum that I will pay for myself. $1.27 (work paid for gas).

I made it home in time for more meetings, and since it was pretty outside, I opted to go for a long run before dinner. Again, we had ground turkey with peppers and onions, roasted carrots, brussels sprouts and white potatoes… told you we were boring. We also opened a bottle of wine that my dad had given us for Easter.

Total spent: $296.21

Day six: Friday

Friday mornings, I attempt to make it to the 9 a.m. HIIT class at my fiancé’s studio so that I don’t have to worry about trying to fit in exercise after work and can enjoy the start of the weekend! Post-workout, I treat myself to a venti blonde coffee and a reduced fat turkey bacon sandwich to refuel, plus a grande coffee that I took back to my fiancé. I had free rewards from the Starbucks app, which covered the cost of the sandwich, but the cost for the two coffees was $5.09.

For lunch I made my typical protein shake with ingredients from the house.

Friday was gorgeous, and I couldn’t stand to be in the apartment any longer, so the fiancé and I headed to Hello Sailor for happy hour. We got there early enough to beat the rush and grab a table on the deck overlooking the lake. We had 2 tequila, agave syrup, lime and salt drinks each and split some wings and pickles. We also had $20 left on a gift card from Christmas, so we used the rest of that and ended up spending $40.24, with my half coming to $20.12.

After happy hour, we grabbed a double kale salad from Fresh Chef to split for dinner. My half was $4.

I was in the mood for a sweet treat, so we went into Fresh Market to grab two pillow cookies to go with our kale and the super sweet cashier gave them to us for free! Score. $0

We weren’t quite ready to head home yet, so we wandered into winestore. to sample of few of their wines. We had a little over $3 left on our card from the months ago, so we used that. We ended up each being able to taste 2 wines.

We then headed home to eat and watch a movie (we rented Jumanji from RedBox and the fiancé picked up the movie). My dinner consisted of the kale salad with a fried egg and leftover ground turkey, plus a glass of the wine we opened the night before. Solid and successful Friday night!

Total spent: $29.21

Day seven: Saturday

My fiancé had to work on Saturday, so I forced myself to get up and make it to the 9 a.m. group class (he hardly ever teaches these, so it’s fun to go when he does). Post-workout, I grabbed another venti blonde from Starbucks and ate a Perfect bar I had at the house. $2.65

For lunch, I used the last of my protein shake ingredients to make a smoothie.

One of my best friends had a baby girl 2 weeks ago, so for the afternoon, we ventured down to Belmont to meet the sweet baby. Since we had not been to Belmont before, we decided to explore the local downtown area for dinner and ended up deciding to go to Nellie’s Southern Kitchen.

As we were walking up through a back alley, we noticed a group of people loading into a van and realized it was Joe Jonas himself (the Jonas family owns Nellie’s). Had we been 20 seconds earlier, we would have been able to see Sophie Turner and the rest of DNCE as well, but regardless, our night was made.

For dinner, we split the jalapeño pimento cheese appetizer, the meatloaf with green beans and the chicken and waffles. We both also ordered a glass of cab and two side salads. Y’all, the food was DELICIOUS. We will be back soon! My half was $39.06.

After dinner, we drove back up to the lake and made a stop at D9 for a Coconut Chocolate Cake Stout and to enjoy the rest of another beautiful evening. My beer was $8.58.

Total spent: $50.29

Total spent: $575.06
The breakdown:

Food and drink – $194.48
Shopping – $350.58
Miscellaneous – $30

What I learned: I think this week was actually a pretty good week.

We have worked really hard on food prepping and making sure we eat all of the food we have in the house before going out. We are also very cognizant of spending right now due to our impending wedding in a month. The food and drink portion was actually low in my opinion, and we have been doing a really great job of attempting to use gift cards we have as well as eating at the house. The shopping section was high, but they are things that are one-time occurrences (like my fiancé’s wedding present). After May, these expenses will be back down as well. Overall, we have really tightened up our spending.

Lessons learned: The warmer weather really made us want to get out of the house and enjoy the weather. I think this increased our spending slightly as we normally would have just stayed in Friday night. I also know I can do a better job of not having Starbucks 3 times a week and need to cut back on this habit (I just love coffee and can’t help it).

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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.