Cash Confessional: a week of spending on 25-year-old insurance coordinator’s $40,000 salary

Cash Confessional: a week of spending on 25-year-old insurance coordinator’s $40,000 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 or fill out our Survey Monkey.

 


The basics

Age: 25

Industry: Insurance

Salary: $40,000

Living situation: A boyfriend

Neighborhood: NoDa

Rent: My portion, $650 – this includes all utilities (except power), wifi and cable. We really lucked out here.

Credit card debt: $400

Car payment: $263.86

Car insurance: $140.00

Insurance: $14.00 – I’ll have health insurance under my mom until I turn 26, but my employer pays 100 percent of my health insurance and I just pay for the vision and dental.

Cell phone: $81

Power bill: $25 – my half

Hulu: $12.82

Spotify: $10.66

Hospital bills: $400 – I had a recent routine surgery and I’m down to the finish line for payments.

What’s the best thing you’ve ever spent money on?

Kanye West concert ticket.

What’s the most frivolous thing you spend money on?

Kanye West concert ticket. I spent almost $300 for the ticket, then I had to drive to Atlanta alone because my friends were not spending that much money on a ticket to see Kanye. Yolo, right?

How would you feel if you had to show a friend your checking account?

Like they understand, since we are all in the same boat financially. They would for sure question all my Amazon purchases.

What’s the biggest expense in your life right now?

Rent. My boyfriend and I just moved into a condo in NoDa. We were lucky enough to be living with my parents in Mooresville while we build up some money, so being back in the real world paying rent isn’t as fun as I remembered.

Would you rather show a friend your savings account or your Google search history? 

My Google account, definitely. It’s pretty much a compilation of me looking up new K Pop artists.


Three financial goals:

  1. Pay my car off in four years, not five. I got a brand new car last October and I was shocked at the timeline they gave me to pay it off.
  2. Start a 401(k). Every job I’ve had has offered one, I just haven’t been in a financially stable situation to actually put forth money and not suffer on the back end from it.
  3. Start saving for an international trip. I am adopted from another country, and I have always wanted to go visit for a week or two. I just want to make sure all of my normal expenses are covered so I can enjoy a stress-free trip.

How I spent my money this week

Sunday

I woke up late, like 11:30 late. I don’t really like eating when I first wake up so I won’t eat until dinner time. We just recently moved into our condo, and it really shows in our living room. We are slowly but surely working on stocking up the place with furniture.

We decided that we needed to order a couch today. My boyfriend got a HUGE tax refund back, so he offered to buy the couch since I’ve furnished almost everything else for our new place. While looking for couches I remembered that I needed to pay my cell phone bill ($81), car payment ($263.86) and my car insurance today ($140). 

We then had to make a Target run for a mop and some other things. After two days with my gas light on, I filled up, something I won’t do for another two weeks or so ($27.32). We went to Target and for the first time in my life only bought what we came in for ($24.13). We saw an IHOP close by and decided we needed pancakes. Breakfast for dinner is the best, especially when he pays.

We go home and cozy up for the rest of the day and let the Sunday scaries kick in.

Total spent: $536.31

Monday

I woke up late and had to fight my boyfriend for bathroom time. I grab a banana and a sandwich and run out the door.

As I get onto the Light Rail my headphones totally crap out. I stop at the Walgreens in uptown and grab a new pair of headphones, along with a Red Bull and a two-pack of 5-Hour Energy (I have a real caffeine problem). This sets me back $30.32.

One of the great things about my office is that we have loads of snacks and drinks stocked for us. For lunch, I grab a bag of pretzels and enjoy my sandwich while looking out at the skyline.

I get home and cook dinner with things we already have.

Total spent: $30.32

Tuesday

Had my usual for breakfast, a banana and coffee. Around lunch, I decide that I’m not too hungry and I would rather have a bagel from the Dunkin’ downstairs than my leftovers. $2.70 later I’m back upstairs eating lunch.

I get home and my boyfriend and I decided that neither of us wants to cook, so we order take out instead. He buys takeout, then it’s Netflix and bedtime.

Total spent: $2.70

Wednesday

Another day, another banana and coffee for breakfast. For lunch, I grab my sandwich and a Diet Coke from the kitchen and read my book.

After work, I pick up my friend and we head to the Super G Mart off Independence. This place is great, you can get all your international groceries. I pick up some pears, yogurt, soju and some dumpling wrappers ($21) I then finished my day off with a hot bowl of jajangmyeon, a Korean noodle dish ($8). 

Total spent $9

Thursday

I’m out of bananas, but luckily for me today is payday. We get paid on the 15th and the last day of the month. For breakfast, I grab a granola bar out of the kitchen and my usual cup of coffee. I start feeling a little crummy around lunchtime, so I go Walgreens and grab some Dayquil, a Red Bull and two more 5-Hour Energys (I told you I have a caffeine problem) ($20.35). For lunch, it’s another sandwich and Diet Coke.

My boyfriend has the day off and our landlord is coming to change out the kitchen fixture, so we decide to give him the rent check a day early ($650). Good thing today was payday. I get home and cook dinner using stuff we already have under my newly changed kitchen fixture.

Total spent $670.35

Friday

Still out of bananas, so granola and coffee it is! I forgot my lunch so I order Chick-fil-A ($7.83). While ordering lunch I go on a bit of an online shopping spree ($276.76) – in my defense, I got things for our home, too.

After work, I meet my parents and my older brother for dinner. He’s moving down here from up North. It was nice to catch up for the first time in six months. My dad paid for dinner and drinks, so no money spent tonight.

Total spent $284.59

Saturday

My boyfriend works at a bank, so it’s mandatory for him to work on Saturdays. I enjoy it because I can get a bunch of cleaning done and not worry about him being in the way.

He comes home and we go and pick up a TV stand from Target that we’ve been meaning to buy for the past two weeks. You can never buy just one thing when you go to Target, so we pick up bananas for breakfast, some snacks and beer. ($50.76) 

That night we have friends come over and they bring beer and food as well, we spend the rest of the night playing games.

Total spent $50.76

Weekly total: $1,584.03


What I learned

This was a super abnormal week. I spent money on things super out of the norm.

I’ve realized that we’ve been spending less on eating out, but I’ve been overcompensating by online shopping, which is a habit I really need to kick.

I learned that tracking your money isn’t as difficult and time-consuming as I thought it was. I can really see myself working on a budget to better myself in the future.


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 yourlocal financial center.

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