Cash Confessional: A week of spending on a 36-year-old mother’s $54,000 salary

Cash Confessional: A week of spending on a 36-year-old mother’s $54,000 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

Age: 36-year-old female

Job: Customer success professional at a large supply retailer

Income: $54,000 salary

Extra income: $650/month in child support

Living situation: I live in South Charlotte with three roommates and one dog. My portion of rent is $400 a month.

Are you putting anything in savings?  No

Credit card debt: $2,950.25 across three cards — Zulily credit card: $350 (payment $40 a month); Ulta credit card: $579.16 (payment $40 a month); Credit One credit card: $2,021.09 (payment $200 a month).

Most frivolous thing you’ve ever spent money on? Starbucks coffee.

If you had to show a friend your checking account, how would you feel? Anxious.


Monthly Expenses

Car payment: $454.00

Daughter’s dance class: $68

Daughter’s gymnastics class: $74

Car insurance: $151.00

401(k) loan payment: $315.00

Massage Envy membership: $65

Planet Fitness membership: $10

Parent counseling: $40

Lifetime Fitness: $129

Phone bill: $186

Waxing: $60

Sirius XM radio: $9.38

Netflix/Hulu: $17.88

Health Insurance for myself and child: $281.23 ($150.02 health care reimbursement deduction and $58.33 dependent reimbursement deduction)

Dental Insurance for myself and child: $30.25

Vision Insurance for myself and child: $12.87

Life insurance: $0.91 for dependent and $1.39 for myself


Three financial goals

(1) Pay off 401(k) loan (owe $2,000)

(2) Start saving

(3) Pay off credit card (owe $2,950.25)


How I spent my money this week

Sunday

Woke up in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina on a trip.

We needed OJ for our mimosas and Zyrtec, so we headed to the gas station for essentials ($13.49).

A friend asked me to order a pizza for him and his kids at Domino’s. I bought two medium pizzas (used a coupon). With delivery charge and tip I spent $20.23.

I also purchased a massage for a close friend who deserved an hour of relaxation ($55.00).

I placed an order for essential oils at Fabulous Frannie  ($26.50).

Total spent: $115.22

Monday

I drove back to Charlotte and bought lunch for my mom and me at Smithfield’s BBQ ($14.86).

I ordered clothes for my child from Zulily ($23.57).

Had dinner at home.

Total spent: $38.43

Tuesday

Dropped my child off at school, then worked from home.

I ate dinner at home then had a massage at 7 p.m. With tip the massage was ($65).

My “Keep the Change” transfer $7.02 was moved from my checking account to my savings account.

iTunes charged my account ($14.98) for Apple Music and Pandora subscriptions.

My Zulily credit card payment was also deducted from my account ($40.00).

Total spent: $125.98

Wednesday

I dropped my child off at school and took my mom to pick up her car.

On the way home to work I stopped by Burger King and got a sweet tea and French toast ($3.30).

I had a hair appointment at 4:15 p.m. With tip it was ($100). I unexpectedly had to bring my child to my hair appointment, so I bought dinner for ($19.92).

Total spent: $123.22

Thursday

I dropped my child off at school, worked from home, and went to a nail appointment. With a 20 percent off coupon (plus tip) the total came to ($35).

I placed an order on Amazon for items needed, including a budget planner, chalkboard markers, and elderberry gummies for my child ($29.85).

I grabbed lunch to-go at Brown Bag next to my nail appointment ($10.78).

I finished working, ate dinner at home, and then dropped my child off at dance class. I stopped at CVS to pick up some things – moisturizer, candy, trail mix, and a Red Bull ($39.17).

Headed to bible study, then came home.

Total spent: $114.80

Friday

Dropped my daughter off at school, worked from home, and then went to a dentist appointment.

Then I made a Starbucks run for egg bites and a grande vanilla chai tea (I used a gift card).

My “Keep the Change” transfer $2.59 was moved from my checking account to my savings account.

I got gas before heading to Boone ($33.37).

Total spent: $30.78

Saturday

I woke up in Boone, and went to have breakfast at Cracker Barrel. I paid for myself and someone else ($36.97). I found a red N.C. State hat that was 70 percent off that I had to buy while I was there ($13.88).

I stopped at Burke’s Outlet on the way home to pick up an outfit for my child, nail polish, and a birthday present ($25.59).

I drove back to Charlotte to meet a friend for dinner and drinks at Hickory Tavern ($34.33).

Total spent: $110.77

Weekly total spent: $655.79


What I learned

I need to put more thought into planning ahead to save money.

Honestly, this week was very low-key for a normal week. Groceries are usually a big Sunday thing, but that didn’t happen this week.

I also need to cancel my Planet Fitness gym membership. I did review Netflix, Hulu, Apple subscriptions, and Sirius XM to see if I could lower that bill each month.

I don’t need to buy anything unless it’s necessary.

I should be able to put away money once a week for savings for sure.


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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