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 email@example.com or fill out our Survey Monkey.
Industry: Digital Marketing
Additional income: $11,000-$14,000 doing offhand consulting
Are you putting anything into savings? 7% 401(k), $50 per month in savings.
Living situation: A fiancee and a puppy. We pay $759 in total for our apartment in a suburb of Charlotte. We split this two ways.
Student loans: $260/month
Credit card: Vomit-worthy. Monthly payments total over $1,250.
Monthly Bills: Electric $35, water $13, internet $25, car insurance $77, phone $55 and my gas expense is $180.
Three financial goals:
- Build a three-month emergency fund.
- Start a new car fund/down-payment fund. I strongly oppose (and quite frankly can’t afford) a car payment, but my old Kia only has so much life left in it.
- Debt-free by 35.
Here’s how I spent my money this week:
Starting off the week being philanthropic. I donated $55 to support music education. Music changed my life as a teen and helped me find community and identity. It’s an honor to be apart of that for pre-teens in our city. Also paid my part for some décor in our apartment, spending $25 at Michael’s. Leftovers for lunch and dinner, a wonderful $0.
Total spent: $80
Scootered to an early lunch and spent $15.10. Spotify also hits today, $5. Avoided the temptation to Postmates pizza while working late. Trader Joe’s mac ‘n cheese hits the spot instead for $0!
Total spent: $20.10
My car insurance hits first thing this morning, $77. A few of us at the office play the CAVA versus Yafo game for lunch. We head to CAVA. $12.25. Midday slump was extra strong today and the office coffee just wasn’t doing it. A trip to Starbucks fixes that for $2.90.
Taco Bell hits the spot for a quick late-night dinner for us for $15.46.
Total spent: $107.61
It was a day at the doctor’s office. Dental office copay and filling: $40. Vision copay (with a fancy machine I did not ask them to use): $59. Chipotle for a quick lunch (craving chorizo, honestly) $10.34. Checked out a new Mexican restaurant by our house for a night out for $47.73. Skipped the guac, but queso and horchata are my weakness.
Total spent: $157.07
Traveling between client sites today leads me to a Banh Mi spot I’ve never seen on South Boulevard. AMAZING. AMAZING. Sets me back $10.50.
Reload on dog treats and food: $19.90.
Total spent: $30.40
I took a Skillpop class for professional development purposes. $30. Running errands all day means Chick-fil-A for lunch, $9.05.
Total spent: $39.05
Today was an Amazon day. We’re slowly adding household essentials as we can. This includes a mini food processor (mostly for our pup’s food) $12 and assorted office supplies ($70). We’re holding off on the more expensive items until next year. I reloaded my Starbucks app $25.00 (ugh, why?). Grabbed soup at Food Lion for $3.21.
Total spent: $110.21
Weekly total spent: $544.44
What I learned
Food is my weakness, particularly lunches. I don’t know what it, is but I hate bringing lunch and eating in. Getting out of the office for an hour-ish really helps clear my mind and stay productive. A little walk around the block or scooter ride with this beautiful weather is my favorite pick-me-up.
I make breakfast every morning and drink office coffee for my caffeine fix, so I save on those splurges. This is my biggest area for improvement, as every extra dollar I can put toward my debt burden is valuable. Eating out is tearing up my wallet, especially since scootering places around South End/Uptown adds another $3 round-trip.
My debt to income ratio is right around 130% (I’m drowning, but the extra cash makes a slight tiny light at the end of the tunnel). I question things like my 401(k) contribution and minimal savings contribution, but I feel there’s no explicit right or wrong answer. The small savings will hopefully allow me to wean off credit card dependency for the next major curveball life throws.
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.