Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $74,000 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 24-year-old woman that makes $74,000 a year. Here’s how she spends her money.

The basics:

Industry: Consumer Products
Position: Engineer
Salary: $74,000
Savings: 15%
Age: 24

Monthly expenses:

Rent: $1,355
Number of roommates: 0
Neighborhood: South End
Electric + gas: $45ish
Internet/cable: $70
Student loans: None
Car payment: None
Car insurance: $181.72
Transportation costs: $125ish
Phone bill: None
Insurance: None (thanks to my parents)
Gym: ClassPass membership for $90/month

Three financial goals

Save for a down payment on a house.

Put more into my “giving” budget.

Save for a trip abroad.

Money Diary: How I spent my money last week

Day one: Sunday

Woke up early and had a yogurt and banana at home for breakfast before going to the gym.

Went to church and put ($10) in the offering plate. On the way home from church, we walked to the Girl Tribe Pop Up. I managed to stay strong and not buy anything! Plus, they were giving away free bowls of Jeni’s ice cream, score! $0

I went to the grocery store to buy the items I needed to meal prep for the week ($68). I try to prep lunches ahead of time and eat dinners at home during the week to stay healthy and save money! Went home after the grocery store and had leftovers of what I cooked yesterday for a late lunch ($0).

I was feeling antsy and needed to get out of my apartment, so I went and made a return at Target (+$94.66). I was feeling so good after finally taking those items back that I went across the street to Marshalls and pretty much spent it all back. Two pairs of shoes and a top later… ($73.99)

For dinner, I made Asian-inspired chicken and veggie bowls and I made up a few extra for work week lunches. Finished out my evening watching a rom-com and went to bed early.

Total spent: $151.99

Day two: Monday

I made breakfast at work – my go-to is either peanut butter banana toast or avocado toast. Today it was avocado toast and strawberries. For lunch, I had a veggie bowl that I prepped the night before and some chocolate Easter candy for a little dessert.

Post-lunch internet surfing, I found a deal on Groupon for workout classes that I couldn’t pass up ($44 for 10 cycling classes).

After work, I went to the gym in my apartment building for a good sweat session.

I had leftover Mexican casserole for dinner that I’d had in the freezer from the week before because I made way too much – the struggle of cooking for 1.

Total spent: $44

Day three: Tuesday

For breakfast, I had avocado toast and a banana, and then had another veggie bowl and a kombucha for lunch.

I went to a cycling class after work and then made a salad for dinner. Since I used my ClassPass membership for cycling and dinner was made from groceries I bought on Sunday, I spent $0.

I ended the night browsing the internet for a cute outfit to wear to a music festival that I am going to in a couple of weeks and bought some tassel earrings on Amazon ($6.98). Basic, I know.

Total spent: $6.98

Day four: Wednesday

Stopped for gas on the way to work ($27.36).

Breakfast was brought in by the office for an early meeting, so I scarfed down an everything bagel. $0

For lunch, I had the last serving of my veggie bowls. This recipe was delicious – I’m not even mad about eating it 3 days in a row. Went window shopping during the rest of my lunch break and managed to not buy anything! $0

Went to a cycling class after work and then headed home to fix dinner. Dinner was a smorgasbord of things that I pulled out of my fridge: carrots and hummus, strawberries, cheese and crackers ($0).

I spent the evening baking a batch of brownies that I am going to take to our last softball game of the season tomorrow night. We are probably going to lose, so I thought brownies for the team would be a nice consolation prize.

Total spent: $27.36

Day five: Thursday

Breakfast, as per usual, was avocado toast and strawberries plus some free coffee from the office. I brought my lunch to work again and had a peanut butter and banana sandwich with some hummus and pretzels.

Sadly our softball game was canceled due to rain, but we weren’t going to let that stop us from getting drinks and dinner as a team. I got an appetizer for our table since my friend got it last time, plus a burrito and a few drinks ($34.14). The brownies were a huge hit as well! Afterward, we decided to go next door for another couple of drinks to watch the NFL draft ($10.62).

Total spent: $44.76

Day six: Friday

Yay, Friday! I wake up and decide that I am going to make a conscious effort to not spend any money today! We shall see how this goes…

I skip breakfast because I am still full from everything I consumed last night and I just have coffee at the office. I’m still not feeling well at lunch, so I keep it simple: Strawberries, Greek yogurt and hummus with pretzel chips ($0).

3:00. Welp, that lunch didn’t cut it – afternoon snack time it is. I find almonds and a granola bar in my desk to hold me over until I get off work.

I wasn’t feeling a spin class today, so I went to the gym in my apartment after work and had a light workout.

I finished the second half of my Mexican from last night for dinner and had some Halo Top for dessert. Spent the rest of the evening watching Gilmore Girls reruns and scrolling through Instagram.

Total spent: $0. WOOP I DID IT!

Day seven: Saturday

I wake up pretty hungry but decide to wait for breakfast until after my run. I hit the treadmill and get a few miles in.

Post-workout, I head back up to my apartment only to realize I have pretty much cleared out everything from my fridge. I head to the grocery store to pick up a few essentials: Hummus, bananas, avocados, carrots, coffee, yogurt and peanut butter for $23.30. I come home and make an omelet and some toast.

It’s a beautiful day out, so I go to the pool with some friends and tan for a while and spend the rest of the afternoon cleaning up my apartment, showering and getting ready to go out for the night.

A few of my friends are having a pregame, so I stop by the grocery store to pick up some beer and pretzels ($12.74) before heading over to my friend’s house to pick her up. We have a great time hanging out with friends and end up going to Dandelion, where I spent $5 for the cover and then $4.06 on a beer while I am there. I manage to not drunk eat afterward, and I call the night a success.

Total spent: $45.10

Total spent: $320.19
The breakdown:

Food and drink – $157.86
Transportation – $27.36
Shopping – $80.97
Fitness – $44
Charity – $10

What I learned: Eating so many meals from my grocery shopping really kept my food costs low. I typically eat out another time or two on the weekends and we almost always eat lunch out on Fridays. I really like seeing the savings here!

I also learned that my random shopping online and shopping out of boredom can really add up. Being mindful of every purchase this week really opened my eyes. I’m going to challenge myself to have more “no spend” days so I can put more into saving for a down payment on a house!

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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.