Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $120,000 salary

Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $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. 

To see the other installments of Cash Confessional, click here. If you’re interested in keeping track of your own spending and having it featured, email Kylie at

This week, I spoke with a 35-year-old man who makes $120,000 a year. Here’s how he spends his money. -Kylie

The basics:

Industry: Finance and Accounting
Position: Associate Director
Yearly salary: $120,000
Who do you bank with and why? Wells Fargo, as they are the latest iteration of Wachovia, with whom I opened an account with before heading off to UNC-Chapel Hill because they had Tarheel checks.
Savings: 10% of every paycheck
Age: 35
Gender: Male

Monthly expenses:

Mortgage: $1,560
Number of roommates: 1, my girlfriend
Neighborhood: Cherry/Elizabeth
Electric – $100 to Duke Energy
Gas – $40 to Piedmont
Cable – $0, thanks to Cord-Cutters
Internet – $40 to AT&T U-Verse
Student loans: $125
Car payments: $350 until February 2017
Car insurance: $65
Transportation costs: $0 – all travel is reimbursed by my employer.
Phone bill: $150
Insurance: $110
Credit card debt: $1,000

Three financial goals:

Be debt-free by the end of next year. This includes my student debt.

Have the house paid off in five years. I just re-financed from 30 years to 15 years this year.

Have 6 months’ salary in savings by the end of next year.

Monday Diary: How I spent my money last week

Day one: Sunday

After a great night out with friends watching the Heels win their first football game of the year, we went to Passion8 for brunch. Great spot, reasonable food prices. Reasonable drink prices as well, so we had 3 carafes of Mimosas and a Bloody Mary along with Steak and Eggs and a BLT Salad with shrimp added. With tip included, it ran us $95.

Welp, that was fun and filling. So for dinner, we went to her cousin’s house (he’s new to Charlotte and single, ladies!!!) and grilled out. He provided the filet for the grill and the beer. My turn next time$0

Total spent: $95

Day two: Monday

I’m working in Gastonia for the week, so I met a member of my team for coffee in Belmont at Caravan Coffee, as I read about it in the Charlotte Agenda and it seemed great. Feeling generous after my free eats last night, I picked up my Peanut Butter Mocha (with a 3rd shot of espresso) and my buddy’s Lavender Latte. Both were great. $10. (Editor’s note: Read about Caravan here.)

For lunch, my co-worker and I went to Lily’s Italian Bistro in Downtown Gastonia. I had the special of the day, which was Blackened Chicken with corn and black bean salsa and on the side, sautéed spinach. With tip, $14.

We decided to make a trip to Chapel Hill for the football game this weekend. 2 tickets ran us $124.

Obviously, we needed new shirts for the Game. Ordered some from Johnny T-shirt in Chapel Hill to be delivered Thursday. $60

Dinner was from Plated and was paid for with the shipment last week. Blackened Cod and Corn Salsa. $24 for 2, but this was paid last week. $0

Total spent: $208

Day three: Tuesday

Breakfast was raspberries from the Kings Drive Framers Market that I purchased Saturday and some Concord Grapes from the same locale. $0

I am a guy. Guys like Subway. It’s cheap, quick and doesn’t taste terrible. Lunch was, obviously, a sandwich from Subway. $6

For dinner, we’re celebrating my brother’s birthday. To celebrate for him in Charlotte (he lives in New Orleans), I met his college roommate and we had some drinks and apps at Foxcroft Wine Bar in his honor. $120

Total spent: $126

Day four: Wednesday

For breakfast, I had some more delicious Concord Grapes from the farmers market. $0

When lunch rolled around, we headed to Red Bridges Barbecue’s brother, Alston Bridges, in Shelby. Yum. $13

I picked up dry cleaning. $15.

For Dinner, we had chicken avocado burgers, baked zucchini and squash made with items we had already had in the house. $0

Total spent: $28

Day five: Thursday

Nothing new to report Thursday really… for breakfast, I had some more grapes and some Pure Leaf Tea I snagged at work. $0

Wouldn’t you know, lunch was pretty tame as well? Another chicken avocado burger from last night with zucchini and an added tomato. $0

Had a work-sponsored happy hour at Brixx and kept the party going to Fitzgerlad’s. Thanks, work! $0

Total spent: $0

Day six: Friday

It’s a slow Friday morning with some coffee from the work pantry. $0

Lunch was with the Jonas Brothers (in spirit) at Nellie’s Southern Kitchen in Belmont. I had fried green tomatoes and a grilled chicken salad for $25.

Dinner was just sushi at Sushi Guru for $40. Not my favorite. It was pretty and good, but I actually prefer Sushi 101 off of Park Road. It’s an early night in, since we’re headed to the UNC Tarheels game on Saturday. Game time is 3:30pm.

Total spent: $65

Day seven: Saturday

Woke up early and headed up to Chapel Hill and hit up Starbucks and Chick Fil A to make the trip go by easy. Our Starbucks order was 2 Pelligrinos and 2 Double espressos over ice for $15. Chick Fil A was a chicken biscuit. $4.

Once in Chapel Hill, we parked and went to the Carolina Inn for some walking beverages. $24

Tickets to the game included food and drinks during game time. Score. $160

After the game we went to Top of the Hill and enjoyed some more beverages for $40.

Lastly, we ate (and drank) at Mellow Mushroom. $50

Long week. Great week.

Total spent: $293

Total spent: $815
The breakdown:
Food and drink – $616
Football – $124
Clothing – $60
Miscellaneous  $15

What I learned:

We had a lot of fun this week, but we obviously spend a lot. I think it’s because we’re very spontaneous, but it’s the only way to live!

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