Cash Confessional: A week of spending on a 28-year-old HR professional’s $70,000 salary

Cash Confessional: A week of spending on a 28-year-old HR professional’s $70,000 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

Gender: Female

Age: 28

Position: Human resources professional for a company in the marketing industry

Income: $70,000

Are you putting anything into savings? $1,000/month goes directly into savings, $200/month into 401k, $50/month into my HSA account, and I have an Acorns account where I invest $15/week plus round-ups.

Living situation: Just me. I rent in SouthPark.

Student loans: $40,000 total

Credit card: None and I’m proud of this. I got myself into quite a bit of credit card debt and was able to pay it all off at the beginning of the year. Now I charge almost everything just to get the points and pay it off every month

Car payment: $0, also proud of this. I paid my car off in two years (three years early)!

Recurring expenses: Gym membership ($22/month), Netflix ($12.99/month), Spotify ($9.99/month), phone bill ($25/month), internet ($34.99/month), utilities (roughly $115/month), gas ($120/month), groceries ($250/month), water ($25ish).

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

Travel.

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

Name brand purses – I’m very thankful I’m over the stage of obsessing over material items (and my bank account is too!)

If money was no object, what would you buy?

Investment properties and a trip to Europe.

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

Google search history – would definitely be more interesting than my savings account, too.

The biggest expense in your life?

Student loans since I’m paying five to six times the minimum payment right now (more than I pay in rent).

What’s the most expensive night out you’ve had in the last month?

Vegas a few weekends ago – Sin City is not cheap but it was totally worth it.

What’s one thing you bought that just wasn’t worth it?

Any type of fast food.

What’s your strategy for budgeting/managing your finances

I’ve created a budget, but have a hard time sticking to it. I don’t feel I’m in a bad place financially, but if I want to reach the lofty financial goals that I’ve set for myself, I need to be more strict about sticking to a realistic budget and cutting out some of the “extras.”

Who taught you how to approach money management?

My dad and stepmom have been great influences, but I feel like I taught myself about money management for the most part, and had to learn some lessons the hard way (like getting myself into massive amounts of credit card debt at a young age).

Favorite purchase under $500?

Skydiving – such a fun experience and a memory that will stay with me forever.


Three financial goals:

  • Pay off my student loans within the next 5 years
  • Pay for my Master’s degree myself while I’m earning it (within the next 2-3 years)
  • Buy a house or duplex (as an investment property) within the next 2-3 years

How I spent my money this weekend

Sunday

Started the day off strong by breaking my phone while my boyfriend and I made coffee. I dropped a jar of peanut butter from a second shelf and ended up noticing 10 minutes later that my phone was shattered. Spent the afternoon at the Sprint store and walked out with a pre-owned iPhone 8 that is now all mine ($348.55). During our wait, we walked next door to Whole Foods and got black beans for the black bean burgers we planned to make later ($3.03). The BF bought us lunch at Jimmy John’s and kept me calm during the tragic events at the Sprint store (shout out to him!). Finally, we made our way back to my place to meal prep for the week, drink some beers and watch football. Ended up being a very productive Sunday!

The iCloud storage plan I pay for on my phone also drafted today ($0.99).

Total spent $352.57

Monday

Opted for sleep over a morning workout today. Grabbed some fall treats and cider for the office on my way into work. I get reimbursed for work-related expenses though, so this was ultimately at no cost to me. My office also provides all the coffee my heart could ever desire and I meal prepped overnight oats for breakfast.

I check my account and my recurring weekly Acorns investment drafted today ($15.00).

Lunch was from yesterday’s meal prep, along with dinner. Worked late and spent the night deep-cleaning my apartment, working out and reading (my exciting life).

Total spent $15.00

Tuesday

Up at 4:15 a.m. today to get a good workout in and make it to work early. Left the office around lunchtime to get my car window fixed at the dealership – a certifiable rip-off that ran me about $116.67. Obviously, to make myself feel better about the expense, I posted up at Starbucks to finish some work and treated myself to an iced coffee with coconut milk ($2.98). After work, I ran a few errands – Bath & Body Works for some hand sanitizer and lotion ($6.44) and Harris Teeter for a few last-minute food items ($4.07).

The rest of the night is free from spending as the boyfriend and I check out a new greenway and get a solid run in, then spend the night relaxing and eating prepped food from Sunday for dinner.

Total spent $130.16

Wednesday

Hump day! Another morning workout and ALL the meetings at work. Today is also catered lunch day at work, so I enjoy some YAFO free of charge. Breakfast and dinner come from my lovely prepped food from Sunday. I get a quick run in after work, then eat dinner and watch cooking shows with my boyfriend. No money spent and I ain’t mad about it!

Total spent $0

Thursday

You guessed it – early morning for another workout (anyone see a theme here?). I have a doctor’s appointment in the morning and fill up my gas tank on my way into work ($30.90 – I use the GetUpSide app to get cashback on gas purchases at qualifying stations so I’ll get 9 cents a gallon back on this purchase). I end up in the office just before lunch. All meals today come from Sunday’s prep/yesterday’s leftover catered lunch.

I check my bank account and my Acorns round-up drafted yesterday ($6.15).

After work, I get the screen on my old phone fixed ($65) and fit in a quick Brazilian wax ($38) then hit a spin class and head over to Bakersfield for a couple margs and tacos and to catch up with one of my girlfriends ($34.87).

Total spent $174.92

Friday

FriYAY and opted for some extra sleep over the gym this morning. Also, a CLEAR calendar at work (what a miracle) so I knock out some projects.

I also pay my rent and water for October today – ugh ($976.65). I get a longer run in at the gym, then the boyfriend and I walk to Intermezzo for dinner and drinks since it’s across the street from his new place. He covers our app, pizza and martinis and I say a little prayer of praise (this week’s spending has been a bit crazy due to my car and phone debacles).

Total spent $976.65

Saturday

We sleep in just a little and then head to the gym right away for a solid workout. After, we swing by the tennis courts close to his new place and get some quick practice in (we just picked up tennis so we’re still learning). We’re starving so we decide to walk to Moo & Brew for burgers and beer (he buys), then hit up Pilot Brewing for another beer (I buy – $15.59). It’s HOT today and after our activity-filled morning and a couple of beers, we’re exhausted, so we take a nap. Once we’re refreshed, we head to Trader Joe’s for grocery shopping. I pay, but he Venmos me for half (my half is $54.25). We then head to my place to make dinner and rent John Wick 2 on Amazon (again, he Venmos me for half so it’s about $2.00). Saturday well spent.

Total spent $71.84

Weekly total spent: $1,721.14


What I learned

This week was definitely a bit abnormal with the phone and car issues. Aside from that, my spending pretty much fell in line where I thought it would. I know there are areas I can cut back in order to reach my goals, and I have a budget and plan in place in order to do that.

This experience was definitely helpful, and I plan to better track my spending going forward. I just linked all my accounts to Mint and am going to use that along with my personal budget spreadsheet!


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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