Cash Confessional: A week of spending on a 27-year-old financial advisor’s $120,000 salary

Cash Confessional: A week of spending on a 27-year-old financial advisor’s $120,000 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.

NEW! Want to be featured? Go take this new 28 question, anonymous survey. We’ve recently redone the survey to give participants more freedom to showcase their financial decisions and personality — without having to track weekly expenses. To see the other installments of Cash Confessional, click here


The basics

Gender: Male

Age: 27

Job: Financial advisor

Income: $120,000

Living situation: I live in Plaza Midwood, and it’s just me and my dog. My mortgage is $1,005 a month.

Monthly expenses: 

  • Mortgage: $1,005
  • HOA (monthly): $205
  • Car payment: $323
  • Student loan: $267 ($40,000 total)
  • Car Insurance: $69.19
  • Phone: $50
  • Internet: $50
  • Gym: $20
  • Education (CFP): $750 for 6 months
  • Electric bill: $60
  • Power bill: $30

Are you putting anything into savings?

  • 10% in 401(k)
  • $300 a month into investments
  • Income adjusted Roth max contribution

Three financial goals:

  • Max out my 401(k)
  • Pay off debt (car/student loan)
  • Redo my downstairs floors

How I spent my money this week

Sunday

My girlfriend and I slept in because we had a late night out on Saturday. We made breakfast with what I already had in the fridge. Lazy day full of football and naps. My girlfriend made shrimp tacos for lunch. We had friends over for dinner. My girlfriend made the food, and I brought the booze, $23.

Total spent: $23

Monday

I slept in and stopped for breakfast at Bruegger’s bagels ($6.) I usually try to make my breakfast, but sometimes I snooze the alarm one too many times. Even though I brought my lunch, I had to leave the office for some fresh air and a break. I was having a rough Monday, so I got an energy drink and some chapstick ($5) and gas for the week ($32). I had leftovers for lunch. For dinner I had soup. I have a snowboard trip planned for the end of January, so I booked my flight ($225).

Total spent: $268

Tuesday

I actually got up before my alarm, so I made myself eggs and oatmeal for breakfast. Lunch was paid for by a co-worker, which isn’t uncommon as we usually trade off. My car insurance auto-pay hit my account, which was $69. My power bill hit my account later in the day ($30). For dinner I had a frozen pizza, my guilty pleasure. My girlfriend came over after work and brought a bottle of wine.

Total spent: $99

Wednesday

I had Wednesday off, so naturally I went golfing ($44). We got food and beer at the turn ($12). For dinner I made chicken, rice, and green beans and made it a double portion for lunch tomorrow. I was craving ice cream badly, so I went to the gas station and got a cookie ice cream sandwich ($3).

Total spent: $59

Thursday

I made eggs and hash browns for breakfast. Another staple in my diet. Lunch I had prepped from the night before, so it was chicken, rice, and green beans. I caved when a co-worker said he was going to Smoothie King, so I put an order in ($6). For dinner, my girlfriend came over and made her famous shrimp tacos again. They’re amazing. I have a flight tomorrow, so I check in and notice I don’t have a carry-on option, so I pay for a checked bag ($30). 

Total spent: $36

Friday

I’m going out of town for the weekend to see the Panthers game. When I land, my friends come and pick me up and we go to lunch. I have a free place to stay for the night so I pay for lunch ($75). My friend throws a party and has everyone bring an appetizer and drink to share, so the rest of my day was covered.

Total spent: $75

Saturday

We wake up and immediately go to get food for recovery purposes ($20). Afterward, we head to the bowling alley to hang out and meet some people, but I didn’t get anything except some water. We decided it’s going to be best to get a hotel for the night in the city so we’re only a short walk from the stadium, split four ways it was $45 a person. We went out for dinner and I spent $40. We go out on the town afterward and I spent another $20 on drinks.

Total spent: $125

Weekly total spent: $685


What I learned

I spent a lot of money this week. As much as I’d like to say it’s a one-off, it’s not. Everyone wants their expenses to be as low as possible, but in reality that happens less than half of the time because you need an oil change, or you have to buy dog food, or your vehicle registration is due. What I’m saying is a lot of “unexpected” expenses aren’t really unexpected, they constantly happen! So make sure your budget has some breathing room.

Basically I break all people into one of three categories:

  • Spenders – These are the people you want to be friends with. They spend most of what they make and are always down to do anything and everything. They are awesome.
  • Savers – These are the people who save everything they can. They find peace in knowing that they’ll be prepared for anything, but I feel they give up some experiences in order to save what makes them feel comfortable.
  • Hybrid– I’d like to think I’m in this category. I save, but I live as best as I can. Could I put more in my 401(k)? Sure. Can I save more? Absolutely. But do I want to give up weekend trips and the experiences? No chance. I’ll be fine. People are resourceful (as a whole) and always find a way. I’m sure I will too.

My advice would be to identify which one you are and don’t let other people change you and what makes you happy! You’ll be fine, you are now, and you will be in the future.

Save what you can. Prepare for the future. And live life when you can!


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.

NEW! Want to be featured? Go take this new 28 question, anonymous survey. We’ve recently redone the survey to give participants more freedom to showcase their financial decisions and personality — without having to track weekly expenses. To see the other installments of Cash Confessional, click here

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