Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $150,000 salary

Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $150,000 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 Kylie at This week, I spoke with a 47 year old woman who makes $150,000 a year. Here’s how she spends her money. -Kylie

The basics:

Industry: Banking
Position: Risk Manager
Yearly salary: $150,000
Extra income: My bonus, which tends to be around 15-25% of my salary.
Who do you bank with and why: Wells Fargo – my employer!  Everything is easier being consolidated at one institution. I also keep an account at Capital One for the “just in case” something should happen with Wells Fargo – I did this during the financial crisis in 2007.
Savings: I put 14% of my salary into a 401(k) which is matched 6% by Wells.  My yearly bonus goes directly into savings every year, but I splurge on one item. I don’t even remember what it was last year! I also move extra money from my checking account into my savings account at the end of the month and keep $1-2k in my checking account at any given time since I do direct debit for all of my bills, credit cards, etc.
Age: 47

Monthly expenses:

Mortgage: $1,057.44. I have 10 years left on a 15-year mortgage.
Number of roommates: 0
Neighborhood: Highland Creek

Electric/Gas – $200
Cable/Internet – $200
Water – $30

Student loans: None. My parents refused to allow us to use our money for school, as they believed it was their burden to bear. I thank my lucky stars every day for allowing me to start life without that weight on my shoulders, because I have friends my age who are still paying them off.
Car payment: $405 a month for my lease
Car insurance: $80
Transportation costs: My car is very efficient, and I only spend about $60 a month on gas.
Phone bill: $60
Insurance: Home insurance is about $1,600 a year.

Three financial goals

Retirement, retirement, retirement. 

Actually, I also want to ensure that I have sufficient extra money for yearly vacations and get-away weekends. Life is too short not to enjoy fully, but I also have longevity in my family so I need to ensure that I am covered should I reach my 90’s. Hopefully, in good health.  

Money Diary: How I spent my money last week

Day one: Monday

It’s a federal holiday, so I don’t have work today and instead lazed around the house, did chores, worked out at the Y and did my weekly food shopping at Bi-Lo, where I bought enough ingredients to make healthy salads for the week ($41.40).

I had ham for lunch and dinner with food that was already in the house – lots of leftovers.

Total spent: $41.40

Day two: Tuesday

I started the day off with a credit! I received a $25 award at work, which I turned into an Amazon gift card and immediately added it to my account.

I bought tickets for the BBQ, Beer and Bourbon and Wine Festivals later this year for $148.17.

Two bills were automatically deducted from my account: my mortgage ($1,057.44) and YMCA membership ($96).

It was another boring day when it came to meals, as everything came from the pantry of refrigerator ($0), but I did go to the dog bar, since the special on Tuesday is a $15 dog wash that includes a free beer, pretzels and mustard. After a $5 tip, I spent $20.

[Lucky Dog is the place to be for weeknight specials. See you there. -Kylie]

Total spent: $1,321.61

Day three: Wednesday

Again, all of my meals today came from the pantry or refrigerator – I eat yogurt at least once a day and plenty of fruits and vegetables. I did make a huge tub of ham hock soup, though. $0

My friend and I bought tickets for a flamenco show next month ($50) and then I hit a yoga class to get balanced.

Total spent: $50

Day four: Thursday

After I had yogurt for breakfast and a salad for lunch, I needed something sweet, so I bought a roll of Life Savers from the vending machine for $0.85.

Dinner was the last of my New Year’s Day leftovers. No more ham!!

Total spent: $0.85

Day five: Friday

I had yogurt for breakfast and snagged a bag of pretzels for lunch ($1) before heading to a local bar with my boyfriend for dinner before we settled in the for the “blizzard.” Together, we had 2 glasses of wine, 3 bottles of beer and shared a buffalo shrimp appetizer and chicken sandwich ($60).

Total spent: $61

Day six: Saturday

I had a toaster strudel for breakfast, which I burned off when I got my workout in by shoveling snow for a couple hours.

For lunch I had a salad, ate some cheese for a snack and threw together a burger, onion rings and corn for dinner. Everything came from my pantry. $0

I paid the AT&T U-Verse bill today. $251.44

Total spent: $251.44

Day seven: Sunday

Again, I had a yogurt for breakfast and cantaloupe and an apple for lunch (yes, I eat fruit for lunch) along with a few potato chips, all from home. $0

I went to Wal-Mart to take care of grocery shopping for the week ($84.24) before making a bolognese sauce for dinner with things I already had ($0).

My AT&T Digital Life bill was due, so I paid by check for $39.99.

Total spent: $124.23

Total spent: $1,850.53
The breakdown:

Food and drink – $2o7.49
Bills – $1,444.87
Miscellaneous – $198.17

What I learned: What have I learned? I’m a boring eater. I never get fast food, and I hate spending money on breakfast or lunch when I can bring it from home. I also have strong self-control over my purchases – while I would love to buy new shoes and clothes every day, I also know when to close my browser. I pretend-buy a lot, and ultimately ask myself, “Do I really need that or would I prefer a weekend getaway during the summer?”

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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