Cash Confessional: A week of spending on a $50,000 nurse’s 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 Charlotte newbie in her 20s who serves as a pediatric RN. Her financial goals include saving to purchase a home and opening a Roth IRA. Here’s how she spends her money.

The Basics

Industry: Healthcare

Position: Pediatric Registered Nurse

Annual salary: $50,000

Age: 24

Savings: Since moving to Charlotte a couple months ago, I haven’t been able to save as much as I would like. But $25 per month goes into my savings account. I also put 13 percent of my paycheck into a 401(k).

Monthly Expenses:

Rent: $700
Neighborhood: Dilworth
Number of roommates: Two and a dog
Utilities and cable: Approximately $60
Student loans: $129
Car payment: $183.97
Car insurance: $115.52
Phone bill: $102
Insurance: Free. I’m still on my parents’ plan.
Gym membership: $36
Spotify: $10.59
Medicine for my dog: $20

Three financial goals:

  1. Open up a Roth IRA and get all of my 401(k)s combined into one account.
  2. Once I get settled in Charlotte, I want to start putting more into my savings account.
  3. Start saving for a house/townhome.

Money Diary: How I spent my money last week

Sunday:

My amazing roommate woke me up with a bagel from Common Market. ($5)

I slept most of the day after eating breakfast because I had to work the night shift. I go in at 7 p.m., so usually I don’t eat again until I get to work.

One of the doctors bought pizza for everyone, so dinner was free!

Total Spent: $5

Monday:

I slept most of the day after getting off work at 7 a.m.

When I woke up at 4 p.m. I made a cheese quesadilla with some groceries I had bought the previous week. I then went on a walk with my dog.

Going into work, I got a skinny vanilla latte from Starbucks. I usually don’t splurge on coffee, but I didn’t sleep very well so I needed a pick-me-up to make it through the night. ($4.06) I didn’t get to eat dinner at work because we were so busy.

Total Spent: $4.06

Tuesday:

When I got home from work, I ate the taco salad I originally was supposed to eat for dinner the night before at work. I chased it down with a White Zombie beer I found in the fridge. After long nights at work, I need a beer or a glass of wine to help me relax before going to sleep.

I slept all day and woke up around 4 p.m.

I went to the grocery store down the street to buy groceries for the week. I went a little overboard and bought a little bit more than I usually do. ($79.02)

I made a smoothie for dinner and then went to a workout class at the Dowd (Athletic Conditioning. Highly recommend.)

I went to Ed’s after to grab a beer and an appetizer with my roommate. We got the wings, then decided to get tater tots as well. We worked out, so it was okay. ($19.05)

Total Spent: $98.07

Wednesday:

I went to a barre class at the Dowd with my roommate, then came home and made a shrimp salad for lunch with groceries I bought Tuesday.

I filled my car up with gas. ($31.07)

I went on a hike with my dog at McDowell Nature Park and let him swim for a couple hours.

For dinner, I went on a date with my boyfriend to Kid Cashew. Dinner was on him. We got the salmon, Brussels sprouts, and mac and cheese. Everything was very delicious and we will be going back again!

Total Spent: $31.07

Thursday:

I slept all day because I had to work that night.

I woke up around 5 p.m. and made dinner with the groceries I bought the other day.

Total Spent: $0

Friday:

After work, I slept all day and then woke up at 3pm to go to a barre class.

I went to dinner at O-Ku with some girlfriends. ($29.27)

After dinner, I got convinced to go out and get some drinks. We started out at Gin Mill (my friend paid for my drinks), listened to the band for a while, and then decided to meet up with one of my roommates at Angry Ales. ($7.49) After Angry Ales, we went to get late night pizza at Carmella’s. That was the best decision I made that night. ($6.32)

In total, I paid for three different Ubers. ($21.05)

Total Spent: $64.13

Saturday:

I woke up Saturday morning in the mood to online shop. I saw that Victoria’s Secret was having a sale and I spent a little more than I expected to. I regretted it as soon as I hit “confirm purchase.” ($117.44)

My roommate and I made French toast and bacon for our boyfriends for breakfast. ($9.66) We then watched the USC vs. Florida game.

After the game, I went to a Friendsgiving with my boyfriend and my roommate. I made apple cobbler in the crockpot and brought vanilla ice cream to go with it. I bought the ingredients at the grocery store when I went to go get the items to make French toast earlier that day. I was so full from dinner I didn’t even get to try the cobbler I made.

My roommate and I left the Friendsgiving early to go get drinks with some of our friends. We started at Selwyn Pub. I bought us both transfusions. ($11.91) After Selwyn, we went to a gas station to buy some White Claws to take to a pregame. ($16.07) I offered to buy, thinking I would request money on Venmo from everyone. I still have yet to request the money from everyone, so I’ll probably just let it slide.

We took an Uber to the pregame. ($4.75)

We ended up not going out and just heading home around 1:30 a.m.

Total Spent: $159.83

Weekly total: $362.16

What I learned:

After reading over everything I spent money on this week, I realized that the weekends are when I spend most of my money. During the week, I’m pretty good at eating whatever I have in the house and not buying unnecessary items. I also realized that the nights I work, I don’t spend any money at all because I’m sleeping most of the day and don’t even have time to think about spending money.

I also learned that I spend a whole lot of money on Ubers. I never realized before that Ubers are so expensive. I’ve always thought of them as being a low expense, but when you add them all up, it’s actually a good bit of money. I will definitely be more aware of my Uber rides from now on.


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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