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 or fill out our Survey Monkey.
Industry: Financial services
Position: Senior auditor
Extra income: Target bonus of approx. $5,000
Living situation: One fiancé and one dog
Neighborhood: Madison Park
Rent: My fiancé and I rent a two-bedroom apartment. My half is approximately $1,200 (with utilities).
Student loans: $0. Family support and scholarships allowed me to graduate debt free.
Credit card debt: $0. I put all expenses on my credit card for the points, which I then use to book airline travel. It varies from month to month, but averages around $2,000, and I pay it off in full every month.
Other costs: As stated above, everything goes on my credit card, so these costs are rolled up into that credit card payment, but additional monthly expense would include: dog essentials, dog boarding while we are out of town, weekly groceries, Hulu subscription, CBS subscription, gym subscription, phone bill, gas and a few more.
Are you putting anything into savings?
Annual bonus earned, $250-$300 a month into personal savings, $300 into joint savings with my fiancé.
What’s the best thing you’ve ever spent money on?
What’s the most frivolous thing you spend money on?
Monthly Rent the Runway subscription to supply a wedding guest wardrobe (It was extremely worth it during the time period I was using it, but I can see how ridiculous $150 a month for clothing rental can be).
How would you feel if you had to show a friend your checking account?
What’s the biggest expense in your life right now?
Traveling home for life events (wedding planning, weddings, showers, family).
Three financial goals
- Save enough to buy a house by the end of 2020
- Pay off current debt, which includes medical bills from a prior surgery and a furniture contract
- Travel internationally once a year
How I spent my money this week
Sunday started with breakfast at Amelie’s. My fiancé covered dinner the night before, so I pick up breakfast and coffee. ($32.23)
We spend Sunday preparing for the week ahead: grocery shopping ($159.00) and binge-watching TV. My fiancé and I split a lot of costs down the middle ( groceries, pet expenses, various apartment costs, rent), so my half of the groceries is $79.50. We cook at home at least 4-5 nights a week and I take leftovers to work most days. That total also includes every day essentials (toiletries, paper towels, laundry detergent, Flonase), which were heavy this week, but will last beyond this week’s expenses. We make wholesome meals every night and I think spending money in this category is well worth the costs associated with that.
Sunday total: $111.73
Breakfast at home (toast, PB and banana). Lunch consists of leftovers from Sunday dinner. ($0)
We are attending a wedding next month and need to book flights. I use points to cover half and we split the remainder, which is put on my credit card. ($313.51 total – I pay $156.75)
I donate $50.00 to a charity week I was previously involved with.
Dinner at home with a portion of the Sunday grocery haul. ($0)
Monday total: $206.75
I grab coffee and a Kind bar on my way out the door. Once I’m at work, I grab coffee with my director. She is kind enough to pick up the tab. Lunch consists on Sunday’s leftovers again. ($0)
We had a work event/happy hour tonight, which included dinner on behalf of our department. I bought a beer and made it home around 8:45. ($7.45 with tip)
Tuesday total: $7.45
I eat breakfast at home. It’s also time to admit that I am still on my family’s phone plan. I pay for my share of the plan and it is time to Venmo my dad my monthly portion. ($72.00)
Lunch is leftovers with cheese and crackers as an afternoon snack. ($0)
Dinner at home – salmon, potatoes and carrots. We settle in for Survivor (our family is keeping this franchise alive and it is the sole reason for our monthly CBS subscription – I would kill for Jeff Probst’s job). ($0)
Wednesday total: $72.00
Breakfast is a bag of strawberries and a coffee on my way out the door. ($0)
I ran out of leftovers, so I need to run out and get lunch. I grab a salad at Sabor. ($7.85)
My fiancé and I are heading back to my home state to check off some wedding to-dos and to attend a wedding. My mother is also (ironically) connecting through Charlotte for work travel, so we meet her in the airline lounge prior to our flight. I have the airline’s credit card, which gains me +2 guests access to the lounge free of charge. So drinks and snacks before the flight cost us nothing but tip. ($10)
Once we land, we grab dinner with my mom – she picks up the tab. ($0)
Thursday total: $17.85
Friday was spent in multiple wedding planning meetings with my mom and our planner. Since we live so far from my hometown, every time we go home to visit we usually spend at least one day with our planner getting as much done as possible. The morning starts with breakfast at home and my mom covers our lunches at a local favorite. ($0)
Family from near and far join us for a cookout at my mom’s house. My fiancé and I make a run to a local ice cream and dairy store and supply a variety of ice cream for dessert. ($17.30)
Friday total: $17.30
Trips home are usually marathons of events to make sure we are able to see as many people as possible during our visit. We meet the other side of my family for brunch. My dad covers our meals and mimosas. ($0)
We Uber ($17.17) to a sushi bar near the wedding ceremony to meet up with a close friend for drinks. One of the things I miss most about where I am from is the extremely low cost of living. We are at the restaurant for approximately two hours and our total comes to $120.65 with tip – that included nine cocktails, an appetizer and a sushi roll. I cover the tab.
The rest of the night is spent with close friends and an open bar. We Uber home semi-early to catch our early morning flight. ($13.19)
Saturday total: $151.01
Total spent: $584.09
What I learned
This week’s expenses were slightly skewed due to booking airline travel.
I learned that having to keep track of my expenses day to day impacts additional spending decisions for me.
For example, I considered buying a new dress to wear to the wedding we attended on Saturday and decided to wear something I already had because I didn’t want it to impact my Cash Confessional.
Some costs/payments seem trivial standing alone, but seeing the totals add up day by day puts my spending in perspective. In order to hit my financial goals, I should continue to monitor my spending on a more granular basis and hold myself accountable to a budget.
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.