Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $100,000 salary

Cash Confessional: A week of spending in Charlotte on a $100,000 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 34-year-old woman that makes $100,000 per year. Here’s how she spends her money. -Kylie

The basics:

Industry: Food & Beverage
Position: Talent Advisor
Yearly salary: $100,000
Extra income: I house-, dog- and babysit for two families and bring in an extra $2,000 a year. I still do this because I enjoy it, it’s fun and it’s easy money but I also do it to keep a second stream of income because I think that’s important in order to meet financial goals. I also believe in hard work and never feeling like certain work is “beneath me.”
Who you bank with and why: BB&T, it’s the best small big bank! I’ve been with them since I was 12 years old.
Savings: I put 12% per month away, plus a company match. 6% goes into a 401(k) with a company match of thirty cents to the dollar up to 6% and another 6% goes into an online high interest savings account with HSBC. I always keep $2,000-$3,000 in my regular BB&T savings account to cover monthly bills and spending.
Age: 34

Monthly expenses:

Mortgage: $831.09
HOA: $222.79, which brings my monthly total to $1,053.88. I’ve owned a two-bedroom, two-bath condo for almost eight years. I received the first-time home buyer credit ($8,000) and put it toward the down payment I put down (35%) and didn’t need a co-signer at 26. This was an important goal for me – to be able to do it on my own. With our current market and appreciation, I’ll make $95,000 off condo after selling and paying off the mortgage.
Number of roommates: 0. This is the first year I’ve not had a roommate my entire adult life – they’re a great way to offset costs and pay for half of your mortgage.
Neighborhood: Madison Park
Utilities: Duke Energy is $80-$100 a month. I don’t have cable, my internet is paid for by my work (consider negotiating this with your next job if you work from home) as is my cell phone.
Student loans: I’m blessed in that my parents paid for my education
Car payment: $470.51. I’ll pay it off in three years’ time. This is the first car payment I’ve had in 10 year, and I didn’t pull the trigger on a new one until I had everything financially in line.
Car and condo insurance: I insure my belongings with Liberty Mutual and a bundled package is cheaper, so $159.04.

A few side notes about my monthly expenses:

I have an 800 credit score and $15,000 available credit limit on my MasterCard, which I use for all of my purchases. I pay it off in full every month and gain enough ‘thank you’ points for airline miles to make at least 1 free round trip flight every year.

I tithe weekly to my church and make monthly/annual donations to non-profits.

I participate in work competitions and hit hard metrics and goals to earn $100 Target gift cards, trip and other perks on occasion. Every little bit helps!

Financial goals:

Increase my total savings by 2% each year for the next four years until I hit at least 20% in monthly savings.

Save, save, save to buy the “big house.” This is savings separate from retirement and the 6+ month reserve that everyone should have in case of an emergency.

Money Diary: How I spent my money last week

I ate a bowl of cereal for breakfast Monday through Friday, which came to $4.50, and when it comes to lunch, all are from home since I work remotely. I either pack a lunch or eat leftovers unless I have a board meeting lunch, but in that case, they’re free.

Day one: Sunday

For breakfast, I had a peach yogurt and OJ for $1.80.

I attended a church service on Easter Sunday and gave an extra $20 to the offering plate on top of my automatic electronic donations and then picked up lunch for $16 to go eat with and visit my grandmother in the nursing home.

For dinner, I had last night’s leftover pasta.

Total spent: $37.80

Day two: Monday

I ate breakfast at home before having a bowl of lima beans and an egg roll for lunch ($3). 

Went downtown for dinner where I bought several peoples’ dinners and drinks before the Red Hot Chili Peppers concert. $140.16 for dinner, $250.92 for two concert tickets (!!!).

Total spent: $394.08

Day three: Tuesday

I ate a bowl of cooked carrots and had a small can of beanie weenies for lunch ($2) and my boyfriend picked up dinner at Harris Teeter for us to cook at the condo.

Total spent: $2

Day four: Wednesday

I had a board lunch meeting and an evening networking event where I had food and drink, and both were free.

Total spent: $0

Day five: Thursday

There was another board lunch  meeting (free!) and for dinner, I went for a walk in the neighborhood to a new sub shop with my boyfriend, who picked up the tab.

Total spent: $0

Day six: Friday

I attended an awards luncheon where I won an award and had free lunch. To celebrate winning the award, my boyfriend took me out to dinner.

Total spent: $0

Day seven: Saturday

For breakfast, I made an egg, two pieces of bacon, had half an english muffin and an OJ for $2.50.

My boyfriend and I grabbed hot dogs for lunch, which he bought, before attending a sporting event where we were given free tickets, dinner and drinks.

Total spent: $2.50

Total spent: $440.88
The breakdown:

Food and drink – $169.96
Miscellaneous – $270.92

What I learned: I learned five things:

  1. As you make more money, your expenses go up, but so do your savings. And you still live paycheck-to-paycheck.
  2. As you make more money, you can still cut corners and be frugal.
  3. You can be smart financially and still have fun.
  4. All of my networking and volunteering over the past 10+ years has really paid off. You get extra perks, too, like free tickets to and food at awesome events!
  5. It helps having a boyfriend who pays for some of the activities, which helps me save more money.

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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