How a 25-year-old Atlanta-based video journalist spends:

  • SALARY:  I make $56,000 per year working as a video journalist in Atlanta, Georgia. I asked for a raise when I had another job offer on the table. My boss couldn't give me a raise immediately but she secured new camera gear for me so in a sense that was the "raise."

  • SAVINGS: I have $9,000 in my savings account.

  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay $1,228 per month for rent. I live by myself and rent an overpriced studio in Midtown but it has great amenities like a gym, pool, fire pit and an actual parking garage. I contribute to a 401(k) and I pay for my own health insurance. I also pay $50 for electric, $50 for water, $120 for car insurance, $75 for gas, $10 for MoviePass, $10 for Spotify and $20 for Weight Watchers each month. My mom and I share Netflix, Hulu, HBO and a cell phone bill. Shepays them each month.

  • DEBT: I am in debt. My minimum payment for this student loan is about $70 a month but I’ve been trying to pay closer to $150 when I can.  

  • INVESTING: I only invest through my 401(k). 

  • SPENDING VICTORY: About a month ago I found a $400 round-trip, non-stop flight to Paris. So my Abuela and I booked the flights and we will be spending a week together in Paris this November. My Abuela is turning 80 years old this year and she's the most experienced traveler I know. This will be my first big trip with her and I'm so excited that we're able to do it.

  • SPENDING REGRET: There's not one big spending regret in particular, but I have been in a bad habit of eating out way too much. At one point I was probably spending upwards of $400 to $500 a month on eating and drinking out. I have recently cut back on that drastically and I try to limit myself to one dining out experience a week. This is very new, so I'm still working towards sticking to it.

  • SIDE HUSTLE:  I do not have a side hustle, but I can get overtime at my job. I'm an hourly employee so I'm overtime eligible and I regularly work a few hours extra a week, which equals about $400 extra month. 

  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I'd take a long and luxurious vacation. I love staying in very nice hotels and I'm desperate to sit on a beach for a week straight. I'd love to be able to pay to bring family members along with me on this vacation.

  • GOALS: I'd like to start saving more money by splitting rent with my boyfriend when we move in together later this year. Hoping to be able to purchase my own condo in the next few years and for sure pay off my student loan debt before I'm 28.

How a 25-year-old Nashville-based government worker spends:

  • SALARY:  I make $34,000 a year as an insurance worker for the government. My husband makes $43,000 per year working in government as well as well. All of our accounts are combined, so including him gives a more realistic picture of our spending! I have asked for a raise before, and I didn't get it. So I'm leaving my employer! I'm worth more than $34,000 per year. I've been job hunting for a bit, and finally got an offer from a different department. I asked my current boss for a raise and was shot down, so I decided to walk. Honestly, even if I didn't have another job lined up, I would've walked after being turned down for a raise. I'm severely underpaid for my insurance job, and the economy has improved a bit. Know your worth, and if your current employer doesn't respect your worth, LEAVE. 

  • SAVINGS: I have $70,000 in my savings account.

  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: My husband and I split housing costs. I pay $418 per month. Mortgage, insurance, and taxes for our three bedroom, two and a half bathroom condo in Nashville is $836. We aim for $200 to $500 per month each into our Roths. We put 10% of income into our 401(k)s. Health insurance comes out of my husband’s check. It is $200 per month for dental, health and vision. Otherwise, we pay $120 per month for utilities, $60 for pets, $130 to insure both of our cars, $350 for a car loan, $10 for Netflix, $15 for Spotify, $180 for phones, $20 for a home alarm and $60 for internet each month.

  • DEBT: My car loan is $350, and we have a mortgage of $120,000. We are not aggressively paying these off since the market offers better returns at this time. My car loan is 0%, so it feels like it isn't real debt (even though it definitely is, whoops!) I'm SO glad my student loans are gone, because those are seriously lord Satan. 

  • INVESTING:   I started with my 401(k). Then, I opened up a Roth IRA with USAA. It was the safest mutual fund, so I got more aggressive and opened a Vanguard. I love Vanguard! I used to put $200 per month in my Roth, but with my husband’s job loss, we have paused this. Investing is so, so important. 

  • SPENDING VICTORY: I paid off $38,000 in student loans in under three years by working two jobs and spending no money. We now have breathing room in our budget, and it feels so good! 

  • SPENDING REGRET: My brand new car. It has 0% interest, so it sounded like a good idea at the time.

  • SIDE HUSTLE:  I can barely show up to my main hustle. But I did work two jobs to pay off my loans and to help buy our condo, SO WORTH IT! 

  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: Grad school. I miss school so much but don't miss the loans. I'd also pay off my mortgage and buy my dad a new house. 

  • GOALS: Live on half our income. Invest in non-tax-deferred accounts, max out our Roths and 401k. Be financially free at 45. 

How a 44-year-old Ann Arbor, Michigan-based accounting manager spends:

  • SALARY:   I make $76,000 per year as an accounting manager based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. My household has a combined yearly income of $131,000. I've only asked for a raise on-cycle, and I have a 50/50 win rate on this. My current place of employment isn't civil about wage discussions, thus I am pursuing my CPA to garner more interviews.
  • SAVINGS: I have $70,000 in my savings account.

  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: We pay $1,065 rent for an apartment with two bedrooms and two bathrooms and an in-unit washer and dryer. I pay for health insurance and contribute to my 401(k) each month. We also pay for Netflix, PS Vue for TV channels, Xfinity for internet, two carports and Audible on a monthly basis. We also pay for annual things like Picmonkey, Public Goods, Amazon Prime and Shipt.

  • DEBT: So, I have a Great Recession story. The short version is that in 2016 and 2017 we were able to sell both houses we owned, one for double what we paid, and the other for half what we paid. We did so to go debt free. So now we rent - still a kind of debt with a signed lease.  We have bought a car at 0% and pixel phones at 0% and pay that off as slowly as they'll allow. But that's also debt.  Still, we could liquidate savings, pay it all, and still have money left.

  • INVESTING:  I started investing in my first 401(k) in 1998, and have continued to do so at each job that offered a match. When there was no match, I rolled everything into a Vanguard Index and put my savings there. My spouse does the same, works at public institution with a 200% match up to 5% - they underpay by about 10% too, so it comes out in the wash. We used to put money into IRA's when we could. (We are 44/45 and currently put away ~$1,350/mo for retirement (including matches) and have ~$250K in our retirement accounts.  We still feel behind! Start early and high. Thrift shop like you mean it. Side hustle FOR retirement, so you can chill in retirement).

  • SPENDING VICTORY: The best thing I’ve ever spent money on was a trip to Paris.

  • SPENDING REGRET: It's all the little things I didn't really need that add up to so much.  

  • CHARITY: The last charity I donated to was RAICES Bond Fund: FREE our Families.

  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: The time of a lottery specialist accountant/lawyer.

  • GOALS: Short Term/Long Term - we want to travel. We'd like to retire at 65 but not take social security until the full amount is available. We'll need to buy a house, hopefully in the next five years, lakefront with a 15 year fixed mortgage so it's paid off before retirement. We'd like not to work in retirement. I want to at least be secure financially (have needs met) in the event of my husband's disability or death.

How a 26-year-old Zionsville, Indiana-based website developer spends:

  • SALARY:  I make $37,500 per year working as a website developer in Zionsville, Indiana. I have not yet asked for a raise.  

  • SAVINGS: I have $35,000 in my savings account. 

  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay $1,300 per month for rent on an apartment. I contribute to a 401(k) and pay for my own healthcare. I pay for Dollar Shave Club every other month, as well as Amazon Prime. I still use my parents' Netflix account.

  • DEBT: I am not in debt. 

  • INVESTING: I tried Acorns for a bit but ultimately I decided that I should put that money toward my car (I owed on it at the time but I've since paid it off) and the amounts getting put into it were too small to really do anything. I am now focusing on maxing out my Roth IRA and will then look further into other investment opportunities.

  • SPENDING VICTORY: The best thing I’ve ever spent money on was My Happy Planner. I know it sounds crazy but having something so bright and colorful really helps me want to leave it open on my desk every day and having all of my tasks and appointments right in front of me really keeps me on track. 

  • SPENDING REGRET: Paying for hosting on a blog that I never really started. While it wasn't a lot of money in the long run ($70) I feel silly knowing that it could've gone toward so many other things. I thought I was committed to it, but I don't think I'm cut out for blogging. 

  • SIDE HUSTLE:  I started selling t-shirts on Redbubble and I'm about to start an Etsy store for planner printables and stickers. I've probably only made about $15 off of Redbubble but it's still $15 I didn't have before. I think I'll be a lot better with the Etsy store. 

  • CHARITY: The last charity I donated to was Riley Hospital for Children. The hospital that saved my life.

  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would buy a house. (We're saving for a down payment right now).

  • GOALS: Someday I'd like for my husband and I to have a net worth of $1,000,000.

How a 29-year-old Salt Lake City-based product designer spends:

  • SALARY:  I make $90,000 per year as a product designer based in Salt Lake City. I have asked for a raise. I was surprised it went really well. I asked for more of a "cost of living" sort of raise but my manager went above and beyond. I was hired by another person and started at a lower rate, my new manager saw that I was paid less and fought to give me a significant increase.

  • SAVINGS: I have $24,000 in savings right now. Some of it is straight emergency cash, other is savings for my husband's school expenses.

  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I lucked out and only pay $800 for rent, utilities are about $60 to $70 per month. I contribute to a 401(k), and our insurance is paid for by my employer! I pay for Netflix, iTunes, and Audible. I have a gym membership that runs about $70 a month but my work reimburses $50 per month.

  • DEBT: I am in debt. I have a car loan and my monthly payments are $250. I have a decent interest rate of 3.99% so since I first took out the loan I have been paying more to try and cut the interest down. I believe it is a six-year car loan but I hope to pay it off in five. Currently, after two years, it is down to half what I originally paid. My husband has accrued student loans but we don't currently pay on those. He should graduate later next year and we hope that we can just take whatever income he has to pay them down before the six-month mark. Since we live off of my income alone, his additional income (after graduation) could go toward his loan repayment and, frankly, my car loan too.

  • INVESTING: Well, I invest in my 401(k) plan, where my employer matches 3%, and I recently started investing through my company's ESPP plan. With that being said, I plan on doing same day sales and then putting my increase into my savings. After talking to two different financial advisors they said to build my savings up even more before I start to invest more heavily. However, I am really interested in Ellevest and might just put $100 dollars (or something like that) in there to just start.

  • SPENDING VICTORY: My husband and I saved up and went for a 10-day trip to England. I had once lived there so we visited a bunch of my old friends and people I consider my second family. They were so kind to us and offered to have us stay with them or have dinner with them. We didn't stay with friends the whole time we were there but we did for about half of the trip and it saved us loads of money. Plus, my husband got to see England more through a local's eye. It was the best. We can't wait to go back!

  • SPENDING REGRET: Frivolous things or impulse buying. Every once in a blue moon, I just get really bored and want to go shopping and end up buying things I don't actually need. I often end up returning things but sometimes I just keep them because I like them. As I have gotten older I have become much better about identifying these moods but truly every now and then it still occurs (although more rarely).

  • SIDE HUSTLE: I do freelance work (in graphic/product/UX/UI design or lettering) occasionally. Ideally, I would like to do one big project a year but it probably turns out to be one medium sized one and a couple small things. I make an extra $2000 a year and put that income towards something fun like a trip.

  • CHARITY: I don't know about charity but I donate 10% of my gross income to my church. My church takes those donations and uses it in many ways. They have a huge humanitarian relief fund and an education fund (to help those who can't afford it), but it can also go to building new meetinghouses or purchasing more supplies like hymn books etc.

  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: If I came into a lot of money fast, I would probably invest it after paying off whatever debt I have. Due to life circumstances I just barely started to invest in anything so I feel like I need to catch up.

  • GOALS: I would really like to have a deeper investment and have a stronger emergency fund. Right now, my emergency fund is like three months lush living and six barely scraping through. Ideally, I would like 6 months lush living and a decent "personal" savings too. Personal savings meaning to buy a house or adopt a child kind of thing.

How a 24-year-old Ontario-based bank teller spends:

  • SALARY:  I make C$20,000 (US$15355.15) per year as a bank teller working part-time. I have not yet asked for a raise.
  • SAVINGS: I have C$9,350 in my savings account right now. 

  • MONTHLY EXPENSES:  I am living that millennial life and still living with my mom, so I don't have to pay for rent. I do not contribute to a 401(k) yet, but I do pay for my healthcare. My phone bill is C$65 per month. I also pay C$39 per month to sponsor a child for charity, and I pay C$10 per month for Apple Music.

  • DEBT: I am in debt. I am putting $100 per month toward my student loans. 

  • INVESTING: I have tried investing before, but I lost money doing it. 

  • SPENDING VICTORY: The best thing I've ever spent money on is traveling. 

  • SPENDING REGRET: I regret spending money on toys for children. 

  • CHARITY: The last charity I contributed to was Plan Canada. 
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would buy a house!
  • GOALS: My goals are to be able to afford small luxuries in life and not have to worry about and to be comfortable, rather than just scraping by. I also want to obtain full-time employment 

How a 25-year-old Brooklyn-based financial analyst spends:

  • SALARY:  I make $80,000 per year as a financial analyst at a bank in NYC. I'm in a rotational program, which means I get to work at different offices around the country (or even the world) for a few years before being assigned to a permanent team. I haven't been working in my current job long enough to ask for a raise, but I did recently negotiate for a relocation package since I will be moving for my next job assignment. The location I'm moving to is about half the cost of living of NYC, but I was able to negotiate to keep my salary at the same level as well as negotiate for a relocation package of several thousand dollars. The conversation was intimidating and awkward, but I stood my ground and came prepared to make a case for what the stipend would pay for. 

  • SAVINGS: I have $12,000 in my savings account. I use my savings account as an emergency fund and I've saved up enough to cover six months of expenses should I lose or quit my job for any reason. 

  • MONTHLY EXPENSES:  I rent a bedroom in a 4-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn for $1,200 a month. It's a little high for the area I live in, but the apartment is furnished which saved me a lot of money and hassle, especially with my mobile job. My other monthly bills consist of subscriptions to Spotify ($10) and Planet Fitness ($20), and contributions to my retirement accounts. I've been maxing out my 401k and Roth IRA contributions for the past 2 years, which totals to $24,000 per year. This sounds like a crazy huge amount, but I don't have many other expenses right now and I'm still in my early 20s, so my money has so much time to grow. I also have a high deductible health care plan through work that costs about $100 a month and is automatically taken out of my paycheck. After all these expenses, I have about $800 of disposable income a month, which I spendon food and anything else I want.  

  • DEBT: I was super lucky to have received a scholarship in college that was awarded to me for volunteer efforts in high school. I had really wanted to go out of state for college but decided to stay in state after calculating the costs associated with each option. I'm so happy I made that choice because I graduated with $0 in student loans and was able to immediately start building an emergency fund and contributing to retirement accounts after graduating. 

  • INVESTING:   I invest through my retirement accounts and just opened an investment account through Schwab. I invest in target-date funds, which automatically adjust the composition of your investments over time. So they start out riskier and become less risky as you get older. They are so easy to invest in because I don't have to do anything to maintain them. I just chose the funds with my target retirement year and watched my money grow.

  • SPENDING VICTORY:  I'm about to put $5,000 down from savings to purchase my very first car! I'll be moving out of the city for my job next year, so I'll need a vehicle. Deciding to put such a large down payment on the car and taking money from my savings was a hard decision because I've worked hard to save a six-month emergency fund for myself over the past few years, but it will significantly lower my monthly payments and got me a better interest rate.

  • SPENDING REGRET: I've never regretted spending money on anything, but I do regret not contributing to my retirement accounts sooner. Contributing to retirement just five years earlier equates to hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings over time. I started contributing when I graduated college, but I had jobs and internships in high school and college and I really wish I had started contributed as soon as I was eligible.

  • CHARITY: I haven't contributed to a charity recently, but I do donate to local initiatives pretty often through crowdfunding sites and I donate money to my church, which uses funds for some really awesome and charitable projects in our community. I recently contributed to an organization called iMentor which pairs college-educated mentors with at-risk high school students to help them get into college. I am a mentor for this program and highly recommend it! I also contributed several hundred dollars to help build a community garden in my hometown. 
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would first pay off my parents' debts and help my brother out with medical expenses (he's Autistic and also has some health issues from being born prematurely). I would then donate most of the remaining amount to charities that I'm passionate about and invest the rest so that I could eventually stop working in a few years to raise a family.   
  • GOALS: My plan is to continue working in corporate for the next few years to take advantage of my 401k and retirement matching. Then, I'd love to start working part time, making enough to live by so that I can start a family.

- She Spends Issue #63

How a 23-year-old Maryland-based engineer spends:

  • SAVINGS: I have $8,000 in savings right now.
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay $1,200 each month toward my mortgage and $620 toward my homeowner's association fees. I contribute to a 401(k) and pay for health insurance. I also pay $12 for a Hulu subscription, $20 for a gym membership and $50 for the internet for the internet each month.

  • DEBT: I have student loans that I put $250 toward each month.

  • INVESTING:  I have not started investing yet.

  • SPENDING VICTORY:  The best thing I have ever spent money on is travel. I recently saved enough to buy a very cheap ticket to Paris ($500 round trip) and I want to keep saving for more trips like this.

  • SPENDING REGRET: I bought a car while in college because my old car died, but my job straight out of college gave me a company car. I love it, but I wasted a lot of money buying a car that I didn’t need. My mom now pays the monthly payment on the car so that my sister will have something to drive, but I did put a good bit of money down when I bought the car.

  • SIDE HUSTLE: I act as a landlord, renting out an extra room in my house for $800 each month.

  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would pay off my debt, as well as the debt of my mom and my sister.

  • GOALS: I want to invest and save so I can feel secure. Right now I am focusing on beefing up my savings a bit so I have a few months of bills saved in case of emergency.

  • SALARY:  I make $69,000 per year as an engineer based in Silver Spring, Maryland. I just received a 3% raise after a very short time at the company. All raises are at the same time and are very structured. Not everyone gets the same raise but there is no negotiating because it’s so structured. We also have a corporate policy for vacation so I can’t negotiate more paid time off. I already have plenty of PTO so I don’t have any reason to bargain anyway. 

How a 27-year-old College Park, Md.-based marketing manager for a publishing company spends

  • SALARY: I make $50,000 per year as a marketing manager for a publishing company. 
  • SAVINGS: I have $3,000 in my savings account.
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay $800 per month in rent and $100 per month in utilities. I pay for healthcare and contribute to my retirement account monthly. I don’t pay for any subscription services. 
  • DEBT: I am in debt. I am working to pay it off. I pay $180 per month on my student loans. 
  • INVESTING: I have not started investing yet.
  • SPENDING VICTORY: The best thing I ever spent money on was the Disney Princess Half Marathon race and a weekend in Orlando.
  • SPENDING REGRET: My regret is trying out living in D.C. proper. 
  • SIDE HUSTLE: I make $50 each week working as a fitness instructor. 
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: If I won the lottery, I would buy a house. 
  • GOALS: I want to save more money and to find cheaper rental options.

How a 30-year-old Raleigh, North Carolina-based sales support representative spends:

  • SALARY: I make $49,485 pre-tax each year as a sales support representative based in Raleigh, North Carolina. I have asked for a raise in previous careers. I was managing a child center at a gym part time, and I asked my boss for a meager 25 cents an hour raise. He told me I would get it, but left the company a month later. The new boss came in and was not a fan of me. I had to explain the situation to him and asked for a 50 cents an hour raise. I got it and luckily left the job about three months later. It felt ridiculous arguing over such a small amount of pay.
  • SAVINGS: I have three different savings accounts. Combined, they have $24,800. 
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay $400 for rent. I have one roommate. I contribute to a 401(k), and my employer pays 100% of my health insurance, so I accepted a lower salary. I pay $134 each month for o2 and ClassPass, roughly $80 for my half of internet/utilities, $110 for my cell phone bill, $88 for car insurance, $200 to my Roth IRA, and a decent amount to savings each month.
  • DEBT: I am not in debt.
  • INVESTING: Before I found a job offering a 401(k), I saved 10% of my income and used that to buy individual stocks.
  • SPENDING VICTORY:  I just finished paying off Invisalign braces. I had braces as a child, but my wisdom teeth came in and ruined my bite. In total, I spent $4,950 on the braces and $800 to get my wisdom teeth removed. I maxed out my FSA at $2,600 so I could save taxes on that portion. I paid the remaining balance over the past year. I still have about five more months of braces, but hopefully, it will have been worth it in the end! Honestly, though, the best thing I've ever spent money on is my rescue cat.
  • SPENDING REGRET: A laptop. After my college laptop died, I researched different laptops with my mom's advice (she works on computers and is knowledgeable about them). I had previously owned and liked a Dell, but decided to go for less expensive HP at $450. That laptop is a piece of junk. It's so slow that it’s almost useless, and I never even transferred all my files to it! I wish I would've just spent more money on a higher quality laptop.
  • SIDE HUSTLE: I used to babysit a lot when I worked in childcare. All of that money went straight to funding my travels!
  • CHARITY: The last charity I supported was a local animal rescue called Ruff Love Rescue. I prefer to donate to smaller, local charities.
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I’d buy a house; security is very important to me. Of course, I'd also blow some on a kick-ass vacation and a dog.
  • GOALS: I have been very slowly saving for a down payment for a house, but my boyfriend beat me to it and is closing on a house next month. I will continue to save and hope to now use that money for our future wedding instead. Additionally, I hope to increase my income without increasing my lifestyle spending.

How a 28-year-old Virginia-based associate director of admissions verification at a university spends:

  • SALARY:  I make $40,000 per year as the associate director of admissions verification at a university in Virginia. I have not asked for a raise yet because my employer has a very standardized annual review/performance-based pay increase schedule. I have earned an appropriate pay increase at each new position I have worked over the last three years.
  • SAVINGS: I have $2,000 in savings, plus roughly $3,500 in a separate account that we consider an emergency fund.
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: My husband and I have a base mortgage payment of $515 per month, but we pay $740 per month in an effort to pay it off sooner. I do not contribute to a 401(k) but I do pay for health insurance. We use family members' Hulu/Netflix passwords. We subscribe to Amazon Prime and use that for video occasionally. We spend roughly $350/month on utilities, cell service and Dish service (my husband is very attached to his DVR, but it will be the first to go if money ever tightens up).
  • DEBT: Excluding our mortgage, our debt is in student loans. We have roughly $4,000 remaining to pay off, and make payments of about $500 a month.
  • INVESTING:  I have not started investing yet.
  • SPENDING VICTORY:  We recently paid off the Prius that we bought new in 2013, and paid it off four months early. It has been an incredible investment and permitted us to spend less on fuel when traveling to visit my family in the south and my husband's in the midwest, as well as some vacations.
  • SPENDING REGRET: My regret is more of a wish that we began investing sooner. We were broke when we got married six years ago, though, and we simply weren't looking ahead. Now that we're older and wiser, we don't know where to begin!
  • CHARITY: We give monthly at our church (usually a little more than 10% of our salaries).
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would pay off our home and student debt, then call up a financial planner friend to help us start investing! (I know, definitely a boring married person response.)
  • GOALS: We need to begin investing, but something always seems to hold us back (such as a necessary repair on our second vehicle, moving, etc.), in addition to simply not knowing where to begin. I would also like to live simpler by cutting some unnecessary spending (such as our Dish service) so that we can throw more at our student debt.

- She Spends Issue #59

How a 27-year-old Houston-based marketing manager spends:

  • SALARY: I make $65,000 per year as a marketing manager based in Houston. I have asked for a raise. I felt very powerful and proud. I was in an annual review with my manager, and he offered me a raise, which I countered and backed up with proof on why I was worth more. He was impressed and went back to our CEO and asked for more for me. It was a defining moment in my career where I realized how important it is to stand for your worth. 
  • SAVINGS:  I have $8,000 in my savings account. 
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay $900 for rent each month. I contribute to a 401(k) and I pay for health insurance. I freeload off my family's Netflix account, and I teach at my gym in exchange for free membership. It's a great perk! I spendabout $100 on utility bills a month (gas, electric, internet, etc).
  • DEBT:  I am not in debt. 
  • INVESTING: I currently invest in impact funds that make a difference in green tech, clean water, renewable energy and healthy living. They are actively managed portfolios, so I have a recurring monthly investment and I watch my money grow and make a difference.
  • SPENDING VICTORY: Trips! I love to travel and all of my big purchases have been on memorable trips around the world. I'd rather have stamps in my passport then things in my house. To me, those memories will last a lifetime. 
  • SPENDING REGRET: I regret not saving earlier. During my first couple of years out of college, my salary was low and living expenses were high. I wish I had found cheaper rent and started saving more. 
  • CHARITY: The last charity I donated to was a local group called GenerationOne, which helps bring quality childhood education to underfunded communities. 
  • SIDE HUSTLE: I teach yoga on the side. I make between $5,000 and $10,000 a year.
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY:  I'd pay for a trip! Probably a year-long one. 
  • GOALS: I'm currently saving for a house and a trip to Ireland.

 

- She Spends / Issue #58

How a 29-year-old Brooklyn-based editor spends:

  • SALARY: I make $89,000 as an editor in Brooklyn. I have asked for a raise before. I was given more responsibilities (like, a lot more) at my job and asked about compensation. I kept hearing there was a delay and they were waiting for approval. I spent a lot of time thinking about how much the new work was "worth" and I came up with a number that was about a 30% increase. I wrote an email to my boss saying as much and they gave it to me. Of course I kicked myself afterward for not asking for enough, but in the end I was happy with the number. 
  • SAVINGS: It's almost time to pay my taxes and I think I'm going to owe because of my freelance income, so my savings account is a little fat right now. I usually keep $5,000 in a high-yield savings account that I don't touch. The rule of thumb is three to six months of living expenses, but I also like to use my Roth IRA as backup savings (you can withdraw anything you put in there within a year without penalty).
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay $1,000 in rent. I'm lucky to split it with my boyfriend. I contribute to a 401(k), but I don’t have to pay for health insurance. I also pay $140 for ClassPass, $10 for Birchbox, $100 for my cell phone bill and $35 per month for web storage and my personal website. 
  • DEBT: I am not in debt. 
  • INVESTING: The first $1,000 was terrifying. I think a lot of people don't count contributing to their 401(k) at work as investing. That is most certainly investing. So I've been investing since I was 22. But beyond that it took me well into my 20s to start moving my own post-tax money into the market. I do the $5,500 Roth contribution every year and contribute $500 each month to a regular taxable investment account at Vanguard. I have a mix of index funds and ETFs in there that I revisit about every six months. I also have money with a robo-adviser that I contribute $300 to a month, but I may move that out next year so I save on the management fee. 
  • SPENDING VICTORY: Spending a little extra to shop at my local independent bookstore, grocery store or beauty supply store to support local businesses and not contribute to big evil corporations. 
  • SPENDING REGRET: Clothes that I bought after college. I'm not sure what sort of career/life I was shopping for but I bought a lot of clothes that I thought were business appropriate. My style changed and I became more confident in myself so I kinda wasted $3,000 to $5,000 on a lot of pencil skirts (I have only worn a pencil skirt once). 
  • CHARITY: The last charity I donated to was Hurricane Maria relief efforts.
  • SIDE HUSTLE: I am able to make $5,000 to $10,000 per year freelance writing. I take whatever I can get! I do freelance writing and editing on the side when it doesn't conflict with my day job. I get paid between $400 and $1,000 a piece. The number of pieces varies from five to 20 a year.   
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I’d pay for technology classes for my mom so I don't get frantic texts about how to post to Facebook all day! (kidding, sorta). I'd probably buy a plane ticket to one of my bucket list countries: Korea, Russia or China! But that would be it because I wouldn't take the lump sum! 
  • GOALS: I started a business this year so I hope to grow that quickly. I just quit my full-time job, and I'm hoping to build back up to my current salary in three to five years. I want to grow that business throughout my 30s and be financially independent around age 45. That's when I'll detach from the business and consult, teach and write! I love working so I don't have plans to stop, but it would be nice to fly first class once in a while. 

- She Spends / Issue #57

How a 22-year-old mid-level manager for a political campaign spends:

  • SALARY: I make $3,500 per month for a 10-month contract, plus a travel stipend of about $500. Because I work on campaigns, I usually work for 3 to 6 months at a time and am then unemployed for several months so my annual income varies a lot. This will be the longest I've had the same job. My current role is as a mid-level manager for a political campaign in a small city in the midwest. 
  • SAVINGS: I have $75.91 in my Digit online savings account (the app saves small amounts of money for me without me noticing).
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay $805 per month for rent. I do not contribute to a 401(k), and I’m on my parents’ health insurance plan. I pay electricity and Wi-Fi. Other than that, my major expenses are car insurance ($145/month), phone ($95/month), credit card bill ($350/month), Audible ($35/month), Netflix and Hulu (about $20 total).
  • DEBT: I am in debt. I have student loans and credit card debt, but right now I'm just paying the minimums. Building up a savings account is a higher priority for me right now than paying off debt.
  • INVESTING: I have not started investing yet.
  • SPENDING VICTORY: I went on a class trip to Paris, with solo stops in London and Barcelona, in spring 2016. I spent about six months planning the whole thing, hunting for deals and figuring out how to get the most for my money, and I was really proud of myself for pulling the whole thing off.
  • SPENDING REGRET: After my first campaign, I was unemployed for six months and finishing up school, and ended up maxing out my credit card to the tune of $15,000 (some of that was expensive car repairs and other expenses I couldn't avoid, but a good amount was just frivolous spending). I naively thought that the minimum payments would stay low enough to manage until I was more financially stable. I don't necessarily regret any specific purchases, but I do wish I'd been more mindful about not putting so much on credit cards.
  • CHARITY: I give to EMILY's List and Run for Something (an organization that helps young people run for office) whenever I can. I also try and help out individual candidates I hear about who are running for local office, especially young people, women and candidates with diverse professional backgrounds. I give to charity when asked, but I believe strongly that electing people who will work for long-term institutional change is a more sustainable solution to most of the problems our country faces. Also, I know from personal experience how hard it is for campaigns and political action committees to raise enough to pay the bills. 
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would buy a small house on the beach in my hometown that I could rent out when I'm on a campaign and live in when I'm between jobs. 
  • GOALS: I want to save enough to comfortably ride out periods of unemployment and not have to deal with the stress of being broke and overdrawn ever again, pay off my credit card debt and maybe buy a better car in a couple years.

- She Spends / Issue #56

How a 35-year-old Vancouver-based graduate student spends:

  • SALARY: I make C$18,000 as a graduate student in Greater Vancouver, Canada. My wife makes about C$40,000. 
  • SAVINGS: I have C$4,750 in savings. This includes an emergency fund and part of future months' expenses because I get "paid" every four months.
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay C$990 to rent a two-bedroom apartment. I do not have health insurance, and I don’t contribute to an RRSP (the Canadian equivalent of a 401(k)). I do pay for Netflix and a student Spotify account. 
  • DEBT: I am in debt. I am paying C$300 to C$500 per month and should be done later this year. Student loans are in interest-free status, and those come next.
  • INVESTING: Dad wanted to gift money to invest into Canada's tax-free savings account, but it ended up being sucked back out to use for school tuition.
  • SPENDING VICTORY: The classic young person trip to Europe: nine weeks of joy with my bestie just before the end of college.
  • SPENDING REGRET: Blindly using a credit card to pay for the repairs needed to insure a car in a new province (and paying WAY more than the value of the car).
  • CHARITY: Back when I was working, I made a paycheck contribution to United Way.
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I’d pay for housing. (OK, I'd probably pay off all my debt first).
  • GOALS: I owe my partner $5 million from a bet we made and that's meant to be our "high" retirement goal. We want to build a tiny house, although I might be aging out of that.
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How a 25-year-old Boston-based middle school teacher spends:

  • SALARY: I make $57,000 per year as a middle school teacher based in Boston. My contract is negotiated by the local teachers’ union. I don't have the ability to ask for a raise.
  • SAVINGS: Honestly? Like $3.63 is in my account right now. It's tough for me to save right now, although I'm hoping to begin once my contract ends and I move to a different salary step next year. 
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay $875 for rent, plus another $140ish for utilities (I live with my best friend!). Teachers in Massachusetts don't get social security benefits, so we have a separate retirement plan that I pay into each paycheck. I'm still on my parents' health care plan. I pay for Netflix, Hulu, the New York Times and Spotify, which averages to about $50 per month. My phone plan is $100. I have USAA insurance (renters, car) that's $160. My car payment is $207 a month. 
  • DEBT: I have some credit card debt, but the biggest challenge is my student loan debt. My payments are around $1,300 a month. I knew they'd be big and had savings set aside so that I only pay about $500 out-of-pocket a month.
  • INVESTING: I have not started investing yet.
  • SPENDING VICTORY:  My best friend and I went on a vacation to London and Dublin over the Christmas/January break and it was so much fun and worth every penny.
  • SPENDING REGRET: I eat out too much. Like, waaaay too much.
  • CHARITY:  I make monthly donations to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU.
  • SIDE HUSTLE: I do school-related things. I coach cheerleading and work summer school. I also teach over some vacations. I make about $14,000 a year from side-hustle stuff. 
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I'd pay off my student loans and then I'd pay off my parents' mortgage.
  • GOALS: Obviously, getting my student loans squared away, but I'd definitely like to own a house at some point. I think ideally I'd like to be comfortable enough to make monthly contributions to my savings account and also be able to take the summer to travel and relax instead of teach!

- She Spends Issue #54

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How a 23-year-old Chicago-based public relations practitioner spends:

  • SALARY: I make $45,000 each year as a public relations practitioner. I have not yet asked for a raise. 
    SAVINGS: I have $4,194.54 in my savings account right now. 
    MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay $1,145 for rent, and my utilities even out to about $150. I contribute to a 401(k), and my company covers almost all of my health care plan. I also pay for Netflix ($11), Spotify ($11) and a gym membership ($27) each month. 
    DEBT: I am in debt. I have student loans that I pay $400/month, but the minimum payment is $316. I overpay so I can be done in six years rather than 10. I also have some credit card debt, but I am paying that off quickly in large chunks each month.
    INVESTING: I use M1 Finance because I did PR for them for a while and loved them and it’s free, so I can invest without paying fees. I have almost $3,000 saved in my investment account now.
    SPENDING VICTORY: Last year I decided to put money toward experiences rather than things. I didn't buy any new clothes, shoes or other fun things, but rather I would go to shows or do an escape room with friends. It was amazing. 
    SPENDING REGRET: January was tough because I needed to dip into my savings to buy a new phone when mine broke. This happened one week after I purchased a plane ticket to visit my best friend in Denver. I ended up being sick the whole weekend and didn't do anything fun in Denver, and now I have to pay off the ticket on my credit card. I should have waited until I had more money to visit.
    CHARITY: The last charity I donated to was the Red Cross (I volunteered there for about six months).
    IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I'm boring. I'd pay off my credit card and then put the rest toward student loans and rent. If anything is left over, maybe I’d spend a bit to buy some new shoes. 
    GOALS: I want to build up my savings and potentially buy a condo with my long-term boyfriend next year. 

- She Spends / Issue #53

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How a 29-year-old Chicago-based student services program manager at a medical school spends:

  • SALARY:  I make $60,000 per year as a student services program manager at a medical school. I've never asked for a raise, but when negotiating salary during a job offer, I've asked for more than the advertised salary and received it (about $5,000 more a year).
  • SAVINGS: I have $1,500 in my savings account right now. A year ago we drained our savings ($12,000) to buy a car with cash. It was worth using our savings to not have a car payment!
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay $920 to rent a large one-bedroom on the South Side of Chicago. I contribute to a 401(k) and pay for my own health insurance. My partner and I subscribe to Amazon Prime and SlingTV (in lieu of cable); we recently cancelled Netflix because we weren't watching it much. Monthly bills include internet, cell phone service, gas, electricity and daycare for our 11-month old daughter.
  • DEBT: I am in debt. I'm on an income-based repayment plan for my student loan debt. I pay about $650/month. When we have extra money in our checking at the end of the month, I sometimes throw that at the student loan payment as well. We are lucky to not have credit card debt.
  • INVESTING: I am not yet investing.
  • SPENDING VICTORY:  The best thing I ever spent money on was daycare! Our daughter loves her teachers and friends, and my husband and I love that we get out of the house and contribute to society.
  • SPENDING REGRET: I sometimes consider graduate school a spending regret. I'm not necessarily using my master's degree, and it's given me a lot of debt. I gained a lot of skills and have a lot of clout because of my degree and the institution I attended, but is $70,000 in student loans a benefit? I'm not always sure.
  • CHARITY: The last charities I donated to were the Comer Children's Hospital at the University of Chicago, The Southern Poverty Law Center, Chicago Canine Rescue and the International Rescue Committee. My husband and I donate to charities on each other's behalf, rather than give gifts, for holidays and birthdays.
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would probably pay off my student loans and then put the rest in our "future house" savings account.
  • GOALS: I want to build our savings back up to ideally $10,000 in the next three to four years, and save enough for a down payment on a house.
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How a 29-year-old New Jersey-based contracting manager spends:

  • SALARY: I make $62,500 per year as a contracting manager in New Jersey. When I received my promotion about a year ago I did ask for more. It was a big pay jump and I was happy with it. But I have heard the reason men make more money is because they ask. So I will not stop asking.
  • SAVINGS: I have less than $3,000 in savings right now. I put a $275,000 down payment on my home, so my savings are depleted right now. 
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: My mortgage payment each month is $1,700. I contribute to a 401(k) and pay for my own health care. I also pay $15 per month for Netflix, $15 each month for HBO, $70 per month for my gym membership, $60 per month for a Blue Apron subscription and $500 per month for my car payment. 
  • DEBT: A mortgage is a debt, but I pay off my credit cards each month.
  • INVESTING: I invest through a Roth IRA.
  • SPENDING VICTORY:  The best thing I ever spent money on was my home. It’s building equity, it’s an investment and it’s my home.
  • SPENDING REGRET: My spending regret is also my home. It’s scary: if something breaks, it’s on me.
  • CHARITY: The last charity I donated to was the Lupus Foundation of America. I do all the clothes pickups through them and the yearly walk.
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would buy a reliable car for my significant other. His car troubles are stressful for us.
  • GOALS: I want to build my emergency fund back up. I literally spent all my money on my first home. 

- She Spends Issue 51

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How a 28-year-old Chicago-based program associate at a philanthropy consulting firm spends:

  • SALARY: I make $48,500 per year as a program associate at a philanthropy consulting firm. I have asked for a raise before. It didn’t go well. My boss didn't feel like it was necessary. 
  • SAVINGS: I have less than $1,000 in savings right now. 
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: My rent is $1,285 with an additional $120 for internet, gas and electric. I contribute to a 401(k) and I pay for health insurance. I have a Hulu account and a gym membership (work reimburses me for the gym).
  • DEBT: I am in debt. I have roughly $9,000 in credit card debt, which I have been working toward paying off. I'm using the snowball method. I also have more than $50,000 in student loan debt which I've accepted will take a long time to pay back. 
  • INVESTING: I invest through my job's retirement plan.
  • SPENDING VICTORY:  The best thing I ever spent money on was a move to and from San Francisco. I moved out there for a job (after only having lived in the Midwest), spent a year and a half there, and then realized I was unhappy out there so moved back to the Midwest. I'm so glad I went out there, though.
  • SPENDING REGRET: I bought a beautiful bed frame, but I'm realizing that I could have gone without.
  • SIDE HUSTLE: I recently started a weekend retail job which pays $13 an hour. It's not much, but it helps me make extra payments toward my credit cards.
  • CHARITY: One of my former employers: a children's music organization.
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would pay off my student loan debt, then I'd buy a condo.
  • GOALS: I want to pay off my debt, have an emergency fund and purchase my own home.
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