Cash Confessional: A week of spending on a combined $138,000 salary

Cash Confessional: A week of spending on a combined $138,000 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 couple in their twenties. They’re focused on paying off their debt, while also boosting their savings and beginning to invest. Here’s how they spent their money:

The basics

Industry

Him: Electric Power

Her: Government

Position

Him: Lineman

Her: Manager

Annual salary

Him: $50,000

Her: $88,000

Extra Income

Him: $5,000-$10,000 a year in overtime

Her: $1,000 a year filling in occasionally at a part-time job

Age

Him: 26

Her: 29

Savings

We put $2,500 per month into a savings account. He contributes 13 percent to 401k, with his company contributing another 3 percent. Her organization contributes 3 percent to her 401k, and she contributes 6 percent toward her retirement. Together, they add $100 to a separate Roth IRA monthly.

Expenses

Mortgage: $725, with an additional $200 monthly toward the principal, for a total of $925.

Roommates: Each other and a Yorkie-poo

Neighborhood: Rock Hill, SC

Utilities

Water: $55
Internet: $65
Electric: $80
Gas: $100. Most of this is her expense with a longer commute.
Subscriptions: Netflix, $15. Audible, $15
Car Payments: $0, three vehicles are paid off.
Car Insurance: $250 for three vehicles and a recreational vehicle.
Student Loans: Hers, $580
Phone: His, $150. She is still on her parents’ plan.
Insurance: Both are covered under his health insurance, which is fully funded by his company. $0
Tithes: $500

Three Financial Goals

1.) Pay off all debt within the next five years.

2.) Have at least $100,000 in our savings account to be able to capitalize on opportunities.

3.) Begin investing money in addition to saving to diversify our assets.

How we spent our money:

Sunday:

We had a busy weekend, so we slept in on Sunday and ate a late breakfast at home. After taking the dog for a walk, we went to the grocery store to grab a few things for the week. Normally I do a grocery pick-up at Walmart on Friday afternoon or Saturday, but our plans didn’t allow for that this week. We bought things for most of the meals for the week. ($89.02)

On the way home, we stopped at Subway for a late lunch. ($16.11)

Since we ate lunch so late, we didn’t cook anything for dinner.

Daily Spend: $105.13

Monday:

We both ate breakfast and had coffee at home. We took our lunches to work. This is boring, I know, but it keeps us from having to spend unnecessary money on food. (At least most of the time.)

For dinner, we had a pork roast that I put in the slow cooker before leaving for work.

Daily Spend: $0

Tuesday:

We had breakfast and coffee before leaving. We both took last night’s leftovers to work for lunch. I stopped at Walgreens on the way home to pick up greeting cards for two friends ($9.61) and a gift card for $20.00. I was able to use $4.00 worth of Walgreens points toward the total cost of the items.

Daily Spend: $25.61

Wednesday:

Again, breakfast at home and we took our lunches to work. We cooked spaghetti and meatballs for dinner.

Daily Spend: $0

Thursday:

I had to get gas on the way to work. ($27.57)

We both took our lunches again. I had dinner with co-workers at Big Ben Pub, spending $20.38, including tip. He was left to fend for himself, so he had spaghetti leftovers.

Our Internet payment was drafted from our account today. ($79.94)

Daily Spend: $127.89

Friday:

We had breakfast at home. Shocker, I know. He had Zaxby’s for lunch, spending $8.63. Normally on Fridays we both eat out, but I decided not to since I went out to dinner on Thursday. He went to O’Reilly’s to get the materials to change the oil in one of his vehicles over the weekend. ($54.50)

Typically on Friday nights we go out for dinner. It was rainy and cold, so we decided on the Mexican restaurant near our house. He tried chimichangas and I had a taco salad. It was Happy Hour, so we both had a margarita. ($40 with tip.)

Daily Spend: $103.13

Saturday:

I woke up early and went to Walmart to get groceries for the week. ($89.12) Wal-Mart didn’t have a few things on the list, so I stopped by Bi-Lo to get those last items. ($21.44)

He put gas in his truck. ($20.00)

We made potato soup for dinner because again, cold and rainy.

Daily Spend: $130.56

Total weekly spending: $492.32

What we learned:

Her: Wow, even though most of the spending included things we budget for, like groceries, gas, and the internet payment, looking at it on daily level makes it seem much more significant. It’s rare that I go out to eat without him during the week, but there are many times that I would spend money to grab us takeout on the way home from work instead of cooking. We both know that eating out is an unnecessary expense that we should limit in order to save more money.

Him: We need to limit expenditures that aren’t necessary to daily life. My cell phone bill is high. I need to investigate ways to get it lowered or switch carriers.


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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