Cash Confessional: A week of spending on a combined $170,000 salary

Cash Confessional: A week of spending on a combined $170,000 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 Lauren at lauren@charlotteagenda.com. This week, I chatted with a married couple in their 30s. They’re raising a toddler and are prepping to expand their family. Here’s how they spend their money:

Basics

Industry

Him – Engineering
Her – Nonprofit

Position:

Him – Consultant
Her – Program Director

Yearly salary: A combined $170,000

Him — $100,000
Her — $70,000

Age:

Him – 34
Her – 31

Savings: He puts in 10 percent of his salary into a 401(k) and gets matched at 6 percent. She isn’t offered retirement matching, so is banking on his savings to cover her. They also contribute $236 a month into a health savings account. They put in $192 a month into an FSA to pay for daycare.

Monthly expenses:

Mortgage: $1,800
Number of roommates: 1 toddler (aka the boss) and two cats
Neighborhood: Plaza Midwood

Utilities:

Electricity – Around $60 a month
Internet – $65
YouTube TV – $39
Water – $50-$60 a month. We run the dishwasher a lot.
Gas – $100 a month. We both drive quite a bit and our daycare is a little far from our house.

Car payments: $0
Car insurance: $140 for two cars
Insurance: The whole family is on his plan since her work doesn’t offer insurance, but she does get an extra $250 a month in her paycheck to cover the spouse and child rate for his insurance. Total employee rate is $455 a month for dental, vision and medical.
Phone bill: $180. We both have new phones and share 8 gigs of data. Her work reimburses her for her portion of the plan.
Daycare: $1,290 a month. It’s expensive but so worth it.
Gym: She goes to Burn Bootcamp 4-5 times a week. Monthly fee is $159. Best workout ever.
Lawn care: $70 a month
Monthly Subscriptions: Netflix $15, Spotify $10, Audible $15, XBox Live $8

Any extra costs not previously mentioned: We have a house cleaner that comes once a month for $160 (best money spent), $120 a month for church pledge.

Three Financial Goals:

  1. We’re looking to expand our family in the next year or so and are working on bulking up savings to be able to afford a second daycare payment.
  2. We’re planning on meeting with a financial advisor to help us to develop our retirement plan.
  3. We try to only eat out a few times during the week so we can eat out more on the weekend, which is an easy to way to cut back on spending.

How we spent our money

Sunday:

We woke up and meal planned, then went to Harris Teeter to grocery shop. Normally we order online and pick up on Sunday to save time, but I forgot to do it and missed the pickup window. I always plan all meals prior to shopping. We try to eat most meals from home during the week (with the exception of those work pays for). ($101)

It’s fall, y’all. We went to Wise Acres pumpkin patch only to realize that it was mayhem and they were out of pumpkins. We took photos of our toddler in front of one pumpkin for the grandparents and left within 30 minutes. ($0)

Went to Viva Chicken for lunch and toddler threw Arroz Chafua all over the floor. Oops. ($22)

I  made a breakfast frittata and crockpot pot roast from my new cookbook and spent the rest of the day hanging out at home.

Total: $123

Monday:

Toddler woke up at 6:30 a.m., and the working parent grind begins. I heated up breakfast (frittata for adults and yogurt/fruit for toddler) and my husband took the toddler to daycare. I went to Burn Bootcamp. ($0)

I brought a turkey wrap for lunch, and he had lunch provided by work. ($0)

We both ate leftover pot roast for dinner and the toddler ate noodles because it’s the only thing she feels like eating right now (shrugs). ($0)

Total: $0

Tuesday:

Toddler’s up at 6:30 a.m. and frittata for breakfast for all three. JK toddler didn’t eat anything. They left for daycare and I went to Burn Bootcamp. ($0)

We both brought turkey wraps for lunch. ($0)

My husband gets gas ($30) and lottery tickets ($20) on the way home and we both eat leftover pot roast. ($0)

Total: $50

Wednesday:

Well, we didn’t win the lottery so I guess we will carry on with our normal routine. Toddler’s up at 6:30 a.m. again, and this morning she ate frozen pancakes. We had the last pieces of the frittata, and we leave for daycare/Burn Bootcamp. ($0)

The house cleaners come today (PRAISE!) and I leave a check for them. ($160)

I stop at Harris Teeter on the way home to pick up a few things we ran out of. ($30)

My book club is doing a lunch book talk about “The Great Alone” (if you haven’t read it, DO IT!) at Ru Sans. All-you-can-eat sushi bar is always a good idea. ($14)

I meet an acquaintance for an after-work drink at Summit Room to give some career advice. ($12)

The lawn crew comes today and does the fall routine of aerating, seedings, etc. ($225)

Toddler eats noodles (again) and we make a random dinner of whatever is in the fridge. ($0)

Total: $441

Thursday

Well, we didn’t win the lottery AGAIN. UGH. Everyone is up by 6:30 a.m., and we eat some scrambled eggs and fruit. Dad and toddler are off to daycare, and I go to Burn Bootcamp. ($0)

Daycare payment No. 2 is auto-drafted today. ($645)

Lunch is a turkey wrap from home for everyone. ($0)

I place a drive-up order at Target (best service ever and the bags are great) of cat food and misc. stuff. Drive-up orders help with impulse purchases at Target. ($32)

Thursdays are his night to work late and hang out with friends, so he goes to Whole Foods for a sandwich and 6-pack of beer and goes back to the office. ($18)

I pick up the toddler and we make a sheet pan chicken and veggie dish. ($0)

Total: $695

Friday

I meet a friend for an early cup of coffee at Undercurrent before heading to Burn Bootcamp. Husband and toddler are off to daycare in the rain. ($6)

He picked up the toddler early to nap at home to avoid the Trump chaos later in the day. I have a turkey wrap for lunch and his work brings in Chinese food. ($0)

We Uber Eats Sabor for dinner to avoid the rain. ($25)

Total: $31

Saturday

After a breakfast at home, the toddler and I head to Harris Teeter for the third time this week to pick up groceries for the weekend/upcoming week. ($85)

Today is Plaza Midwood Fall Crawl, so we participate in the costume parade and walk around the festival. ($0)

I go to a friend’s birthday party. Drinks and food are covered. ($0)

We actually have a babysitter for the night, so we go to Bakersfield for dinner and drinks ($50) and then see a movie at Manor Theatre ($25) and pay the babysitter ($60). Nights out aren’t cheap but they are soooo needed.

Total: $220

Total weekly spending: $1,560

What we learned:

This was a pretty normal week for us, outside of some of the homeowner expenses.  We usually only get a babysitter once a month, so we like to enjoy ourselves when that time comes. We are definitely mindful of eating out despite all the amazing restaurants in Charlotte. We are grateful that we both have great paying jobs that we love and try to live within our means whenever possible.


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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