Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a combined $92,000 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 married couple in their late 20s; he’s in the racing world and she works for an automotive company. Here’s how they spend their money.

The basics:

Industry: 

Him – Racing/NASCAR
Her – Automotive

Position: 

Him – Front End Mechanic/Road Crew
Her – Executive Assistance

Salary: 

Him – $56,000
Her – $36,000

Extra income: She has an Etsy shop, but all income goes toward more supplies or is kept in a savings account and not touched.
Savings: We aren’t saving consistently. We were good about it before we moved into our house, but since we’ve moved in, we’ve put more money toward projects than savings.
Ages:

Him – 28
Her – 29

Monthly expenses:

Mortgage: $1,675
HOA fees: $350 twice a year
Neighborhood: University
Number of roommates: Each other and our 2 dogs
Utilities:

Electric – Varies monthly, but usually around $120
Water – Varies monthly, but usually around $70
Internet – $70
Hulu – $58

Student loans: We were both lucky enough to have our parents pay for our schooling
Car payments: 

Him – $338
Her – $308

Car insurance: 

Him – $93 monthly
Her – $450 every six months

Transportation: 

Him – $150 for gas
Her – $120 for gas

Phone bill: $213
Insurance: 

Him – Health insurance is taken out of his paycheck, $40 twice a month
Her – Health insurance is completely paid for by her employer

Credit cards:

Him – $106
Her – $100. She likes to pay more than the minimum.
Joint – $200. We pay more than the minimum each month, and we’re still paying off our honeymoon.
Diamonds Direct – $162

CPI Security: $60

Three financial goals

Build up 6 months’ worth of savings.

Pay off all of our credit cards.

Contribute more to her 401(k) and start one for him.

Money Diary: How we spent our money last week

Day one: Sunday

My alarm goes off at 7, but I turn it off and go back to sleep. I wake back up around 7:30 and head downstairs, where I take the dogs out, feed them and then head out to walk them. When we get back, I eat a Pop Tart for breakfast. My husband is in Indianapolis this weekend for work and eats eggs, bacon, sausage and potatoes for breakfast at the track, but work pays.

I sit on the couch and watch TV for a while, and the dogs and I both end up falling asleep for about an hour. After I wake up, I take them out and feed them lunch. I went grocery shopping yesterday, so I eat a Hot Pocket and some Lay’s Poppables for lunch. My husband grabs chicken, brisket and a salad for lunch at the track before the race starts, but work pays.

I decide it’s time to actually do something with my day and start cleaning downstairs (I seriously contemplate a cleaning service coming once a month, because who likes to do all the hard stuff like cleaning baseboards?). After the kitchen is cleaned, I finish up some signs I’m working on for the Etsy business I run with my mom. While I’m finishing those up, I get a text from my husband saying the race has been delayed until tomorrow. I sulk for a little, then head upstairs to throw some laundry in.

I contemplated taking the dogs to the park to get some energy out, but it started raining. I feed them dinner, then start the oven for my own dinner: frozen mini tacos from Trader Joe’s. My husband has a sandwich, chips and a soda for dinner ($9.59).

Watch the Panthers game and fold some laundry, and then head to bed around 8:45.

Total spent: $9.59

Day two: Monday

My alarm goes off at 5, which is earlier than normal since my husband isn’t home to take care of the dogs. I get myself ready and head downstairs at 6 to take the dogs out. No accidents last night! We are working on potty training them, and ‘no accidents’ means ‘no cleanup’. I feed them and heat up my breakfast, a turkey sausage burrito. Let the dogs out again and head to work around 6:15.

Get out of a meeting around 10:45 and I’m hungry, so I grab the bag of Cheerios I brought as a snack. Head into another meeting and then home for lunch after that. Normally my husband is home on Mondays, but he isn’t today, so I’m on dog duty. Feed them and take them out, then heat up leftover tacos from last night’s dinner.

A coworker is talking about the impending hurricane and while talking to my mom on my way home, I decide to stop at the store. I just want to pick up some water, and the shelves are pretty much cleared. I grab 2 packs of water and get $20 cash back (just in case) ($32.19). My mom also ordered a case of water and a flashlight for us on Amazon (I’m nearly 30 and have it covered, but she says she’s just being a mom).

I get home and take the dogs for a walk and scroll through Instagram some, then get hungry. Since my husband isn’t home yet and I don’t want to cook for just myself, I heat up a frozen Birds Eye Cheddar Pasta.

I check our account and our phone bill has just gotten taken out ($213.66).

My husband stops and gets gas on his way home from the airport ($54.59).

Total spent: $300.44

Day three: Tuesday

My breakfast is the same as yesterday – and will be all week. My husband is home and eats a Toaster Strudel, then helps with the dogs before we both leave for work.

I packed a lunch, but decided to go out instead. A coworker and I head to Chick-Fil-A ($6.06) and then stop for Starbucks, where I reload my card ($10). It won’t be the first time this week I go to Starbucks anyway.

We stopped at two gas stations to fill up on our way back, but one is out of gas and the other has too long of a line. Third time’s the charm and I spend $28.90 on gas. My husband went home on lunch to take the dogs out and ate leftover chicken from last week.

After work, we took the dogs to the park. Before we left, we ordered dinner from House of Leng and had it delivered ($39.02). We put the dogs to bed and head upstairs, where we watch 3 episodes of Jack Ryan (if you haven’t seen it yet, highly recommend) before we go to sleep.

My husband’s car insurance came out of our account today ($92.13).

Total spent: $176.11

Day four: Wednesday

I struggled hard getting out of bed this morning since we went to bed later than normal last night. Ate my breakfast burrito and I’m out the door for work. My husband is off work today, lucky him!

On my way to work, a coworker texts me and says he’s stopping by Starbucks on his way in (happy dance!). I place my order, but because I loaded money into my card yesterday, it doesn’t technically cost anything.

Lunch is provided by work today, tacos!

My husband went to get his tire patched because he ran over a screw, but it ended up being free. While he waited, he got two slices of pizza ($6).

On his way home, he stopped and got a flashlight and some batteries ($51.06).

For dinner, we ate leftovers from last night and then we head to the dog park again since we will most likely be cooped up all weekend.

Total spent: $57.06

Day five: Thursday

Eat the same breakfast I have been all week, hug and kiss my husband goodbye and head to work. He leaves for Las Vegas for work today, so I’m alone this weekend when Hurricane Florence hits.

My husband stopped at Hardee’s on the way to the airport and got a breakfast sandwich, hash browns and a coffee, but work paid.

Today is a slower day at work, so I hop on Charlotte Agenda to read some articles before starting work. I head home to take the dogs out on my lunch break and heat up a Lean Cuisine. My husband has a Steak and Shake double cheeseburger and fries for lunch, but work pays again.

After work, I stop by Target because we’re out of contact solution. I also picked up some snacks for this weekend, and the shelves were practically cleared ($16.38).

I warmed up the rest of the Chinese food leftovers from the other night for dinner. My husband goes out to get Mexican and has some tacos, and work pays.

Total spent: $16.38

Day six: Friday

Eat my breakfast burrito, feed the dogs and take them out, then head into work a little early. My husband has coffee and a danish from the gas station before he heads to the track ($5).

I picked up lunch for a work meeting – spaghetti and meatballs from Carrabba’s, but work pays so I didn’t spend anything. My husband eats a Philly Cheesesteak and a salad at the track for lunch and work pays.

I head home early today due to the hurricane and end up taking a nap with the dogs. I’m already going crazy with all the energy they have, and it looks like we will be inside all weekend.

I eat the rest of my spaghetti for dinner. My husband went out for Mexican food again and had more tacos, work paid.

Total spent: $5

Day seven: Saturday

Woke up expecting it to be pouring rain, but there were only sprinkles. I ate some Toaster Strudels for breakfast and took the dogs out. My husband had bacon, sausage, eggs and hash browns at the track, which work pays for, and I’m totally jealous. I decided to shower and get myself together early in case we lost power.

Pretty much just laid around all day and napped with the dogs. Ate a late lunch, which was leftover spaghetti from yesterday. My husband had a busy day at the track but managed to eat a burger for lunch, and work pays again.

Laid around some more and watched some football, then had a frozen pretzel from Trader Joe’s that we bought a couple weeks ago for dinner. The rain started to pick up, and the dogs completely despise going to the bathroom outside when it’s raining, but I don’t blame them.

My husband went to Del Taco for dinner, and work pays.

Total spent: $0

Total spent: $564.58
The breakdown:

Bills – $305.79
Food and drink – $124.24
Transportation – $83.49
Miscellaneous – $51.06

What we learned:

I learned that our lives revolve around our dogs, and that we are borderline boring.

I don’t feel like we spent all that much this week, considering most of it was on bills. To be fair, I normally grocery shop on Saturday or Sunday, and I happened to shop the day before I started tracking for the week. I also didn’t go to the store this weekend because of the hurricane. I feel we did pretty good on how much we spent on food. Typically I eat out lunch once a week and this was an off week where we actually ordered dinner out. Normally I cook the nights my husband is home so we can save some money.

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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.