Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a combined $88,000 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 making a combined $88,000 salary. Here’s how they spend their money. -Kylie

The basics:

Position: 

Him – Sales Manager
Her – Payroll Specialist

Salary: 

Him – $43,000 + about $1,800 each month in commission
Her – $45,000

Extra income: 

Him – Shift bonuses, about $510 a month
Her – Quarterly bonuses and commission for house sales a realtor

Savings: We have an emergency fund and sinking funds for house and car repairs, which is about $75-$100 each month
Age:

Him – 31
Her – 30

Monthly expenses:

Rent: $909
Number of roommates: Each other
Neighborhood: Toddville
Utilities: 

Gas – $65
Water – $50
Electric – $120
Internet – $62
AC maintenance plan – $25

Student loans: $145
Car payments: $507 for two cars
Car insurance: $155
Insurance: $70 for life, health is covered by employer
Dog insurance: $46.95
Transportation costs: $70 a week in gas, so $280 a month
Phone bill: $135 for 2 phones
Doggie daycare: $25 per week (she gets to go one day a week)

Three financial goals

We were able to finish paying off all our credit cards earlier this year, so now we’re focused on the rest of our debt. Our goals are:

Save for the baby.

Pay off both cars by the end of the year.

Pay off student loans in the next 4 years (hers, specifically, next year).

Money Diary: How I spent my money last week

Day one: Sunday

We ate breakfast for $7.50, which also supports the church so it’s win-win. We had scrambled eggs, grits, sausage and a biscuit.

We had food left over from a cookout so we ate that for dinner. She had some BBQ chicken and a pork chop with green beans. I ate a couple of smoked sausage dogs and a pork chop.

I filled up her car so she didn’t have stop after work ($29) and I got myself a Slurpee as a reward for being a decent husband ($1.83).

Total spent: $38.33

Day two: Monday

Her: I had oatmeal with strawberries from home for breakfast.

I stopped by the store for a few things after work ($17.71) and had a steak that he didn’t cook for our cookout for dinner with some green beans.

Him: I work what would be second shift, so I don’t go in to work until lunchtime. I sleep in and usually drink my breakfast in the form of my favorite energy drink (terrible for my health, but so delicious and it makes me like people). I ate at work and had a Philly cheesesteak and fries with a bottle of water ($5) and later got another bottle of water and some frozen yogurt ($3).

Total spent: $25.71

Day three: Tuesday

Her: I had leftover BBQ chicken for lunch and frozen pizza, which was part of the groceries I bought yesterday, for dinner.

Him: I started my day off with some leftover steak and orange juice for breakfast. I grabbed 2 energy drinks at the gas station on the way to work ($3.22). For lunch, I got a burrito and fries with a bottle of water at work ($5).

I had to stop and get gas on the way home ($35) and our iTunes subscription drafted today ($14.99).

Total spent: $58.21

Day four: Wednesday

Her: I had oatmeal at home for breakfast and I got Chipotle for lunch, which was the first time in about a month, but I was craving it ($8.50). My sister surprised me with a shrimp dinner from Showmars.

Him: Started my day with a pickle and an energy drink (2nd of the 2 I bought yesterday).

I grabbed a bag of Kind granola that I bought a couple months ago for my wife, because I’m going to try out healthy snacking throughout the day. I know that’s a weird combo, but it was awesome and I regret nothing!

Ate lunch at work – BBQ chicken, roasted veggies, corn on the cob and a bottle of water ($5). I love that the food is super cheap at work. Although it can get old eating here every day, I try to eat here or at home more than getting regular takeout most days.

I also ate dinner at work – chicken quesadilla, 2 egg rolls, a smoothie and bottle of water ($8).

With my schedule, there isn’t much time to do anything extra before or after work, so I usually just go home and sleep.

We got plane tickets for our babymoon in July ($806.31).

Total spent: $827.81

Day five: Thursday

Her: Since I finally ran out of oatmeal and strawberries today, I’ll have to pick some more up.

Him: Today is normally my one day off during the week, but I switched for a doctor’s appointment and started the day off with my favorite energy drink, picking up 2 for $3.22 at the gas station down the road.

I stopped at Freddy’s for a triple steak burger and mini banana shake for lunch ($11.31) and for dinner had a chicken quesadilla and chips ($5). I have granola to hold me over for the rest of the day.

Ordered our nephew some new books (Ender’s Game series) from Amazon, since he’s not ready for Twilight yet. $26.51

Bills: Doggie insurance came out today ($46.95), but we’re really thinking about canceling this.

Total spent: $92.99

Day six: Friday

Her: I got some Bojangles’ for breakfast and headed to my doctor’s appointment ($7.65).

It’s a girl.

Him: Today being my day off, I went and got my hair cut ($25) and Japanese (steak and chicken hibachi) at my favorite place Tin Tin Café ($14.53).

We had Open Kitchen for dinner ($39.43 including tip).

Bills: Paid the auto insurance ($154.56), phone bill ($135) and for Netflix ($11.79). Moved some money to savings for car and home maintenance ($28.43), as well as the stork fund ($21.95).

Total spent: $438.34

Day seven: Saturday

Her: I went and got my hair done ($50) and picked up some Chick-fil-A ($9.65).

Him: I ate some leftover lasagna for breakfast.

Since I was in a car accident yesterday, I was pretty sore and stayed in the house for most of the day. We had to go by the tow yard to get the rest of my stuff out the car, so we stopped at Dairy Queen on the way back home and got 2 chili dogs, a sundae and a smoothie for my wife ($10.06).

Total spent: $69.71

Total spent: $1,551.10
The breakdown:

Bills – $363.29
Savings – $50.38
Food and drink – $165.61
Transportation – $64
Travel – $806.31
Miscellaneous – $101.51

What we learned: We eat out for most of our meals because our schedules are so different and her food desires change at the drop of the hat, so we usually just budget around $50 each for the week on our individual meals. We spend a little more when we are both off because it’s the only time we get to spend together.

I’m working on meal prepping, but food tends to go to waste. With the new addition coming, we will put a hold on paying off our cars until she is born, but hopefully still be able to pay both cars off by the end of the year. Especially if my car is totaled from the accident, I will try and replace it with something cheaper.

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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.