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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week, I chatted with a woman in her twenties who works in marketing, while also serving as a freelance wedding coordinator and graphic designer. She’s focused on becoming debt free by age 30, as well as buying a house in the next few years. Here’s how she spends her money.
Position: Public Relations and Social Media Manager
Extra Income: $5,000/year in wedding coordination and freelance graphic design
Savings: $200 a month
Rent: $529 for my share (includes “rent” for my dogs)
Number of roommates: 3 hoomans and 4 dogs (2 are mine)
Utilities: approx. $50
Student loans: $200
Car payments: $100 to the bank of Dad. He even charges me interest…
Car insurance: $113.55
Transportation costs: About $40 in gas; $90 for my parking spot Uptown (don’t get me started on that cost…)
Phone bill: $100
Car Insurance: $115.24
Rental Insurance: $11.44
Spotify Premium: $10.71
Three financial goals
1. Debt free by 30. Pay off student loan and car. I only have about $6,000 left on my student loan and $2,000 on my car. I started at $23,000 total 2 years ago (so yeah, humble brag about working my butt off to do that)
2. Build up emergency savings.
3. Buy a home in the next 3-5 years.
Money Diary: How I spent my money last week
8:45 a.m: I had gotten in from hiking in Boone laaaaate Sunday night so #mealprep didn’t happen. My stomach is killing me (I may or may not have eaten a huge brunch at Proper before hiking Snake Mountain and puked at the top) so I grab this on my way out to work as my breakfast.
12:30 p.m.: Since #mealprep didn’t happen and I had LaCroix for breakfast, it’s time to put some real food in my belly. I head over to the 7th Street Public Market since I am craving some soup. I get the soup/salad deal at Zia Pia for $12.18. Pricey but man that prosciutto and wedding soup was #worthit.
3:40 p.m.:This purchase requires explaining. Every time one of my best friends and her husband hit a major milestone, I buy them a Potato Parcel and send it. If you haven’t heard of them, please Google. I got one for their wedding anniversary, for their birthdays – whatever occasion, I get it. It’s our thing and it’s weird, but this is anonymous so you can’t judge us! This time she got a new job offer, so I literally bought a potato with a picture of pug on it that says, “Congrats on the new job! This warrants a pugtato” and it cost $15.89. Like I said, you can’t judge.
After work, I run home to let my dogs go pee and grab some groceries for the week totaling $44.19. At this point, I am tired, so I grab a can of tomato soup from my haul and some popcorn – voila! Dinner.
Total spent: $72.26
Total “ChangEd” towards student loan: $1.74
9:15 a.m.: I keep peanut butter and bananas at my desk for breakfast. I actually stole this idea from an old coworker, who I know reads these religiously (thanks girl). I also brew coffee at my desk.
1 p.m.: Ate a salad from the grocery haul. It was on major sale, but still fresh!
Sometime during the day, my autopay goes through for my car insurance for $115.24
6:30 p.m.: My friend needs to me to go with him to Costco to buy a new phone because he doesn’t have a membership and I do. Y’all, I live for my Costco membership. He buys me a hot dog as a thank you. If you haven’t had a Costco hot dog, you haven’t lived. We then head back to his place so he can show me how to make dumplings. We make a huge batch (#mealprep) and obviously taste test a few.
No money spent today thanks to my well-earned hot dog.
Total spent: $115.24
Total “ChangEd” towards student loan: $0
9:15 a.m.: Yep. Banana and peanut butter with coffee at my desk.
Sometime during the day my Spotify Premium membership charges comes through at $10.71.
That stomachache from Monday morning is back and even worse. I decide to skip lunch and keep pumping water instead.
5:00 p.m.: My roommates agreed to babysit the furbabies, so I head to a hair appointment scheduled for 5:45. It takes me an hour fighting Independence Blvd so I’m late. I have been growing out a pixie cut and haven’t had a haircut in months. I also have a babysitter for the furbabies, so momma decides to TREAT herself. I literally tell my hairdresser I am tired of having a mop on my head and want the works. She gives me a partial balayage. Buy some shampoo while I am there, so the total with tip comes to $216.05.
This is a very RARE spend for me but she talked me into a balayge because it’s low maintenance and I will only have to get it redone like twice a year. And like I said, momma needed it.
I grab some pesto chicken with veggies when I get home from the fridge.
Total spent: $226.76
Total “ChangEd” towards student loan: $1.24
Today is another rarity.
I have an early meeting and my car is FINALLY done in the shop. I was in a car accident a month ago, but since I drive a Volvo and had to go through the person who hit me’s insurance, it took forever and a day.
I need to return the rental, and I hike a lot, so this car is looking rough. I take it to AutoBell and tell them I need it to look like I was never in this car. The manager’s special cost me $36.45, but was worth every penny. They even hit it with the new car scent.
Not Just Coffee at the Market is done with renovations, so naturally I celebrate with a vanilla latte (my weakness) $5.52 before heading back into work. There I finally eat my banana with peanut butter for a late breakfast.
12:30 p.m.: Another salad from the grocery haul!
5:00 p.m.: I head home to hang out with my furbabies and grab some dinner. My throat is killing me so I slurp down some soup. My roommate Venmo’ed me for my portion of the rental insurance, so I send that over ($11.44)
8:00 p.m. My friend and I go to see “The Daffodil Girls” presented by Three Bones Theatre. Hilarious. Tickets were $28 at the door.
Total spent: $81.41
Total “ChangEd” towards student loan: $1.69
10:30: I had an event in the morning and it’s a crap day outside, so I stop by the 7th Street Public Market on my way into work for a crepe and some coffee. It’s now coming to my attention I basically live at this place… $15.57
It’s been a long day at work, so I head home. My throat is still hurting so, you guessed it, soup for dinner. I have a lot to do tomorrow so I hang out with the furbabies and call it night early.
Total spent: $15.57
Total “ChangEd” towards student loan: $0.43
I sleep forever, then head to my friend’s baby shower in Gastonia. It is mermaid themed and wonderful. I got a gift off the Amazon registry, as well as a keepsake ($25 for gift, keepsake: priceless)
I need fuel, and so does my car to make it back home. Starbucks plus gas totals $56.08
That exhausts the rest of my energy, so I go home and binge the entire 6th season of House of Cards.
Total spent: $81.08
Total “ChangEd” towards student loan: $0.92
We have an event for work all morning. Can’t give you the deets because then this wouldn’t be anonymous. I grab some soup and grilled cheese with my boss after before heading home. $10
There I spend the rest of the day cleaning and napping and eating soup to try and get rid of whatever is making me feel so sick.
Total spent: $10
Total “ChangEd” towards student loan: $0
Weekly total spent: $602.32
Weekly total “ChangEd” towards student loan: $6.02
Bills – $137.39 (I count Spotify as a necessity)
Food and drink – $93.54
Transportation – $40
Miscellaneous – $321.39
What I learned:
This was a uncharacteristically HEAVY spending week. I will say that I did stay under budget for food and drink – I allot myself about $100 each week. I would like to start meal prepping more and see if I bring that down to $60-$70. That would help me set aside over $100 more towards my debt each month.
I also feel like I didn’t spend too frivolously. It’s not every week I have these insane purchases like a PUG-tato, car detailing for a rental, or bothering to get my hair done. So this week is almost an outlier for me. It’s really nice actually to have documented this week of all weeks so I can be mindful for the rest of the month. I also worked a wedding recently that will cover the hairdo, so I am not having to budget for that. Other purchases were for gifts and to support a coworker’s theatre company, so those purchases to me are worthwhile.
I also loved tracking what I am putting towards my loan using ChangEd. It’s so mindless for me that I didn’t realize I am putting up to $6 extra a week. Like I said before, it adds up! That is about $25 extra a month, making it about $300 extra a year! I feel confident that I am going to hit my goal of being debt free by 30.
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.