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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How a 46-year-old San Diego-based maintenance planning senior coordinator spends:

  • SALARY: I make $98,000 per year as a maintenance planning senior coordinator living in San Diego. I have never asked for a raise. 
  • SAVINGS: I have $0 in my savings account.
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I spend $2,100 each month on my mortgage. I contribute to my 401(k) at work, but I do not pay for health care. Other monthly expenses include $10 for the gym, $20 for the newspaper and $210 for cable.
  • DEBT: I am in debt. I make monthly payments of $500 to $700.
  • INVESTING: I invest through mutual funds with a financial planner.
  • SPENDING VICTORY:  The best things I’ve ever spent money on are my car and my house. 
  • SPENDING REGRET: I always regret spending beyond my means.
  • CHARITY: The last charities I donated to were NPR, a local investigative reporting nonprofit and the Peace Resource Center.
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would pay off my debts and pay off my house.
  • GOALS: I want to pay off debts and create a savings account.

- Alicia McElhaney / She Spends Issue #49

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How a 23-year-old Baltimore-based associate dean of student life spends:

  • SALARY: I make $55,000 per year as an associate dean of student life at a school in Baltimore, Md. I have not yet asked for a raise.
  • SAVINGS: I have $1,724 in my savings account.
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I spend $775 on rent each month. I contribute to my 401(k) and I'm still on my parents' health care plan. I also pay for a gym membership and SiriusXM radio each month.
  • DEBT: I am not in debt.
  • INVESTING: I invest through my job's retirement plan.
  • SPENDING VICTORY:  The best thing I ever spent money on was a new mattress.
  • SPENDING REGRET: I always regret buying things out of convenience when I know I could've gotten it for cheaper if I'd planned better.
  • CHARITY: The last charity I donated to was St. Jude's Children’s Hospital.
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would buy a really expensive dinner.
  • GOALS: I want to save enough to "make" $6,000 per month in retirement.
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How a 26-year-old New York-based junior art director spends:

  • SALARY: I make $65,000 as a junior art director based in New York, N.Y. I have asked for a raise before. It went great. My manager at my previous job knew how underpaid my entire team was and vouched for a $20,000 cost of living raise.
  • SAVINGS: I have $377.38 in my savings account. 
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I spend $1,225 per month on rent to live on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. I do not contribute to a 401(k) but I do pay for health insurance each month. My monthly spending includes $120 for a phone bill (including the iPhone payment plan), $140 for a gym membership, $40 for a ClassPass, roughly $50 for ConEdison (plus $25 for a payment plan), $60 for Spectrum Internet, $26 for HBOGo and Hulu, and $10 for Spotify. 
  • DEBT: I am in debt. I have a monthly ConEdison payment of $25 and I try to put about $300 per month toward my credit card debt, but I'm going to wipe it out with my tax returns this year.
  • INVESTING: I have not yet started investing. 
  • SPENDING VICTORY: The best thing I ever spent money on was my gym membership. 
  • SPENDING REGRET: Getting myself into debt. I often have to float my work expenses which gets me behind on bills, so my credit card debt and late payment fees really add up. It's a never-ending cycle.
  • CHARITY: The last charity I donated to was St. Jude's Children’s Hospital.
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would buy an apartment! Rent is SUCH a hassle.
  • GOALS: I want to save a "F*ck off" fund, start investing, make $100,000 per year and stop living paycheck to paycheck!

- She Spends / Issue #47

How a 29-year-old New York-based journalist spends:

  • SALARY: I make $170,000 per year as a senior writer at a business publication based in New York. I have negotiated for a raise. My boss said “make me” – essentially give him leverage to budget for it. And then I got an unsolicited job offer (which I made sure was in writing) for 25% more, and he was good to his word, and matched it.  
  • SAVINGS: I have about $102,000 in my savings account. 
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I spend $400 per month on my half of rent for a Harlem studio apartment. I contribute to a 401(k) but I do not pay for health insurance, as I’m on my husband’s plan. I pay for ClassPass, $75, and the digital editions of the New York Times, $15, each month. 
  • DEBT: I am not in debt. 
  • INVESTING: I invest. My portfolio is up 20% net of fees in 2017 – but so is everyone else’s.
  • SPENDING VICTORY: The best thing I ever spent money on was my Fuji Track bicycle, which I paid C$500 for in 2008 and still ride all the time.
  • SPENDING REGRET: The fancy digital camera I bought in college, then lost while drunk. 
  • CHARITY: The last charity I donated to was LSA Family Health Service, which supports women and families in East Harlem.
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would buy a brownstone in Harlem.
  • GOALS: My main goal is to not have to leave Manhattan if/when we have a family (gulp).

- She Spends / Issue #46

How a 26-year-old San Francisco-based account manager spends:

  • SALARY: I make $80,000 a year as an account manager based in San Francisco. I have never asked for a raise. 
  • SAVINGS: I have about $21,000 between my savings account and 401(k).
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I spend $1,570 each month on rent. I contribute to a 401(k) and I pay for my health insurance. I share Netflix with my sister so I only pay $5 each month. I’m on the Spotify family plan, which also cuts costs. I pay $90 per month for a gym membership. My phone plan, which is $60 per month, is reimbursed by my employer. I pay $50 per month in gas, power and internet bills.
  • DEBT: I am not in debt. 
  • INVESTING: I invest. I have a 401(k), an account with Betterment that automatically invests my money, and about $500 in stocks that I picked and invested in myself. 
  • SPENDING VICTORY: Travel, always. I recently spent almost a month traveling around Spain!
  • SPENDING REGRET: Cheap clothes. I tend to impulse buy clothes I like and ended up only wearing them once or twice and donating. I am working on becoming a minimalist, though. 
  • CHARITY: I donate to KCRW and to my friend’s theater class. My friend is a theater teacher in Brooklyn and they always need money for costumes and supplies so I send $10 a month.
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would buy a Tempur-Pedic mattress and a Tesla Model 3.
  • GOALS: I want to get $15,000 in my emergency savings and build a travel fund.

- She Spends / Issue #45

How a 32-year-old Indianapolis-based consultant spends:

  • SALARY: I make $60,000 a year as a consultant based in Indianapolis, Indiana. I have never asked for a raise. 
  • SAVINGS: I have about $4,000 in my savings account. 
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I spend $700 on my mortgage and $220 on utilities. I pay for my own health care and contribute to a 401(k) each month. I also pay $8 for Netflix, $11 for Hulu, $7 for Amazon Unlimited, $70 for cell service and my phone lease, and $400 for my car and insurance each month. 
  • DEBT: I am in debt. My student loan payments are $535. I've accumulated $4,000 of credit card debt and am making three times the minimum payment each month in an attempt to pay it down quickly.
  • INVESTING: I invest. I read the advice on the personal finance reddit and then used the tools available with my employer 401(k) to select a retirement end-date fund and an IRA.
  • SPENDING VICTORY: The best things I have spent money on has always been travel. I never regret money spent on these experiences. I'm a big deal hunter and I take advantage of credit card points and miles to make it more affordable to travel frequently.
  • SPENDING REGRET: I impulse buy too much food each week at the grocery store and feel it is wasteful to both my finances and the environment.
  • CHARITY: The last charity I donated to was Planned Parenthood.
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would pay off my mortgage and car loans. 
  • GOALS: I want to build up a six- to 12-month emergency fund, pay off my credit cards and keep them paid off monthly, and make additional payments on my student loans to pay them off faster.

- She Spends / Issue #44

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How a 24-year-old New York-based woman working in entertainment PR spends:

  • SALARY: I make $36,000 per year working in entertainment press relations in New York. I have never asked for a raise.  
  • SAVINGS: I have about $17,000 in my savings account right now. 
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I spend $1,350 per month on rent. I do not contribute to a 401(k), and I'm still on my parents' healthcare plan. I pay $50 for utilities each month and $4 per month for a New York Times subscription. 
  • DEBT: I am not in debt. 
  • INVESTING: I have not yet started investing. 
  • SPENDING VICTORY: The best things I have spent money on were show tickets.
  • SPENDING REGRET: I regret spending money on clothes I don't wear. 
  • CHARITY: The last charity I donated to was Terp Thon.
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would pay for a vacation for my parents. 
  • GOALS: I want to be able to have an apartment in the city and to send the kids I eventually have to college. 

- She Spends / Issue #43

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How a 25-year-old Los Angeles-based consumer insights senior associate spends:

  • SALARY: I make $75,000 per year as a consumer insights senior associate in Los Angeles. I have never asked for a raise. 
  • SAVINGS: I have $14,000 between two savings accounts (one is attached to my checking and one is for long-term savings).
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I spend $1,050 per month on rent. I contribute to a 401(k), but I’m still on my parents’ healthcare plan. I pay $115 per month for ClassPass. I use my parents’ or friends’ streaming services. 
  • INVESTING: I have an investment account but currently it's all invested in ETFs. I have some unallocated funds that are set aside for company-specific investments but I don't know where to start. 
  • DEBT: I have a car payment, that counts right? I pay about $300 a month. 
  • SPENDING VICTORY: The best thing I have spent money was my car! It's the first big purchase I made and really made me feel like an adult (even though dealing with car salespeople made me want to scream!).
  • SPENDING REGRET: I regret blowing through my allowance in college with trendy clothing purchases.
  • CHARITY: The last place I donated to was Girls on the Run. It’s a great organization empowering young girls! I'm on a fundraising board and LOVE IT!
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would buy out the existing loan I have on my car, pay for business school, maybe buy some land and build a house (one of my goals in life is to design my home).

- She Spends / Issue #42

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How a 23-year-old Florida-based summer camp program coordinator spends:

  • SALARY: I make $30,000 per year as a summer camp program coordinator in Florida. My employer also pays for my housing. I have asked for a raise before. I was promoted, but only after interviewing somewhere else to show them I was for real. 
  • SAVINGS: I have about $1,000 in my savings account now, but I just started working. I’m planning on growing my savings by a lot in the next year.
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I spend nothing on rent. #workperk! I contribute to my 401(k) and my healthcare plan. I pay for a gym membership, Audible, Ipsy, Spotify and car insurance. My rent, utilities, cable and internet are all free from work! 
  • DEBT: I am not in debt. 
  • INVESTING: I have not yet started investing.
  • SPENDING VICTORY: The best thing I have spent money on was a trip to California to reconnect with an old friend. 
  • SPENDING REGRET: I regret any of the thoughtful, nice ass presents I got my ex-boyfriend!
  • CHARITY: The last place I donated to was the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
  • SIDE HUSTLE: I occasionally babysit for extra cash. 
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would buy, like, six more pairs of jeans from Old Navy. 

- She Spends / Issue #41

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How a 29-year-old New York-based STEM program assistant spends:

  • SALARY: I make the equivalent of $51,000 per year working as a STEM program assistant. I’ll only be at the gig for seven months, though. They had originally offered me $25 an hour and I asked for $28. It's a contract position that started in mid-November and ends in mid-June 2018. I lost my previous nonprofit job in July due to funding cuts so I'm really happy to be back to work.
  • SAVINGS: I have about $2,200 in savings. I feel very proud that I never touched it while I was unemployed.
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I spend nothing currently on rent. My former partner owns our apartment. We've broken up and he's about to move out of the country, and I'll continue to live here rent-free for a while. I've never had a 401(k) before, but my new job requires that all employees have one, so I started to contribute in November. I have inexpensive health insurance through my employer as well. 
  • DEBT: I have just over $21,000 worth of student loan debt. I started paying it off in 2012 when I moved in with my partner and stopped paying rent, and I've made a sizable dent in it. I pay about $385 toward it a month, slightly over the minimum payment.
  • INVESTING: I have not yet started investing.
  • SPENDING VICTORY: I bought a leather jacket on Cyber Monday four years ago. It's one of my favorite things and I get so many compliments on it. 
  • SPENDING REGRET I spend way too much money on food, eating out and delivery. Starting to make meals regularly is my big goal for 2018. 
  • CHARITY: I most recently donated to the LGBT Community Center in New York.
  • GOALS: I want to own real estate in New York one day.

- She Spends / Issue #40

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How a 23-year-old New Jersey-based assistant apparel technical designer at a tech startup spends:

  • SALARY: I make a $48,000 as an assistant apparel technical designer in New York. I did not ask for a raise, but I received one after my yearly review.
  • SAVINGS: I have $6,000 in my savings account right now. 
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I currently live with my parents, so I have no housing expenses. I do not contribute to a 401(k) but I do pay for my health insurance. I pay $10.68 for Netflix, $136 for membership to a gym with a pool, $267 for the train, $90 for the subway and $53 for Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.
  • DEBT: I am in debt. I’m paying back my student loans, so I try to pay $400 per month. My monthly amount due is $270.
  • INVESTING: I signed up for a Schwab account to start investing.
  • SPENDING VICTORY: The best thing I’ve ever spent money on is a vacation with my best friend.
  • SPENDING REGRET: I buy lunch way too often, so I need to get better at meal prep.
  • CHARITY: I most recently donated items to Lupus Foundation.
  • GOALS: I dream of owning property.

- She Spends / Issue #39

How a 25-year-old Atlanta-based supervisor at a tech startup spends:

  • SALARY: I make a $42,000 per year as a supervisor at a tech startup in Atlanta, Georgia. I asked for a raise before, but my request was declined multiple times.
  • SAVINGS: I have $5,400 in my savings account right now. 
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I spend $550 per month on rent. I contribute to a 401(k) and pay for my health insurance each month. 
  • DEBT: I am in debt. I’m in credit counseling to assist in paying off my credit card debt and student loans.
  • INVESTING: I typically invest in the company I work for. I have company shares and have the option to purchase more, so I do.
  • SPENDING VICTORY: The best thing I’ve ever spent money on is my investments, which are in the tech startup I work for.
  • SPENDING REGRET: My biggest spending regret is spending college refund checks rather than investing or saving them. 
  • CHARITY: I most recently donated to the Sierra Club.
  • SIDE HUSTLE: I work as an artist on the side.
  • MONEY GOALS: I dream of having a fully-paid-for house. 

- She Spends / Issue #38

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How a 37-year-old Brooklyn-based social worker spends:

  • SALARY: I make a $63,000 per year as a social worker based in Brooklyn, N.Y. I pivoted to social work from a career in political organizing. I have asked for a raise previously and got it. I also went in to negotiations for my current position with an ask that was way more than they put in the ad and made my case; I got $7,000 more than they wanted to pay.
  • SAVINGS: Not enough. This is a really big issue. I am side hustling for this alone.
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I spend $650 per month on rent. I contribute to my 401(k) and I don’t have to pay for health insurance. I also have monthly bills for my student loans, phone, electric, utilities, credit card, Metrocard via Transitchek and gym. I subscribe to a vegan beauty box, Hulu, Netflix and Spotify.  
  • INVESTING: I have not yet started investing.
  • DEBT: My monthly student loan payments are more than my rent. I went to grad school twice in fields that don't have paid programs. I'm on an income-driven plan and in a field that means I may one day be eligible for loan forgiveness, but that is tricky. However it shakes out, I got this. I have paid off most of my undergrad debt so I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
  • SPENDING VICTORY: I bought my mom a DNA test. She was adopted and now at 65 is meeting blood relatives for the first time. Well worth $100.
  • SPENDING REGRET: Meh. I feel like there is so much in my spending history that could be a regret but my mistakes got me here. If I'm really going to regret something, it's probably not spending more on a good mattress.
  • CHARITY: The last 501(c)3 I gave to was Mission Access Fund's scholarship drive for Dreamers. I do charitable giving twice a month; I tend to stay away from big organizations and give smaller. 
  • SIDE HUSTLE: I have a few. I am dog sitting, offering fee-for-service programs in my field and building my private practice.
  • MONEY GOALS: Short term, I would like a new couch and to travel twice this year. I would also like to start building savings so I have a safety net and can make moves toward opening a private practice. I want $20,000 in the bank by age 50. 

- She Spends / Issue #37

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How a 27-year-old Washington, D.C.-based sales and business development manager at a startup spends:

  • SALARY: I make a $60,000 base salary as a manager of sales and business development at a startup based in Washington, D.C. I also have income incentives based on team performance. I have asked for a raise before. My current salary and comp structure is the result of a raise negotiation. My company is really small and pre-Series A financing, which means money can be tight. Instead of asking for my market rate value, I asked for a small base salary bump and came up with the commission structure to make up the difference. I now get a percentage of overall sales each month, which can range between $700 and $1,500 per month. It took about a month to negotiate but I'm glad I pushed and didn't let the conversation slide. I stayed on top of my boss (our CEO) until I got him to sit back down and finalize the pay structure. 
  • SAVINGS: I have $35,000 in my savings account. I worked two jobs for the first two and a half years out of college to build up a safety net and contribute a small percentage of my salary. All of my commission and bonus payments go directly to savings. 
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I spend $1,605 per month on rent, although I signed my lease this year and am benefiting from a promotion which brings it to $1,538. All of my utilities are included. I don’t yet contribute to a 401(k) but I do pay for my health insurance. I pay about $9 a month for Hulu, $55 a month for internet (necessity), $15 for Hungry Harvest, a rejected vegetable delivery service, and I have two gym memberships that cost $250 a  month. The gym is what keeps me sane, though, and I wouldn't trade that expense for anything. 
  • INVESTING: I have not started investing yet. 
  • DEBT: I graduated school with about $30,000 in debt. I've managed to pay it down so there’s only about $4,500 left and I'm ahead of my payments by about three years. I typically contribute about $200 a month toward paying that off, but on tight months I am able to skip it, which is a nice cushion. I'm thinking about just paying off the rest in bulk from savings in the next few months just to be done with it. 
  • SPENDING VICTORY: Travel! I made a commitment to myself to cross one country off my bucket list ever year. So far I've been to Thailand and Colombia, and I'm headed to Peru in about two weeks to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. I usually spend between $1,500 to $3,000 per 10 day trip. I can honestly say it's been worth it every time. 
  • SPENDING REGRET: I don't really have any. I spend a lot of money on doing stuff with friends, but honestly I think that's what money is for -- to be able to afford experiences, particularly good food, good drinks and good friends. 
  • CHARITY: I most recently donated to a friend's GoFundMe campaign for medical expenses. A friend of a friend from college was in a terrible accident while traveling so I contributed to the fund to help get him medical transport home. 
  • SIDE HUSTLE: My friend and I are working on building out our consulting practice on the side.

- She Spends Issue #36

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How a 37-year-old Los Angeles-based copywriter and content specialist spends

  • SALARY: I make $115,000 per year as a copywriter and content strategist based in Los Angeles. I live with my husband, who makes a salary and bonuses at work; we both put our money toward the shared expenses listed below. I have negotiated my salary before and have had good and bad reactions. Either way, you're putting yourself out there by making known what you do each day. That too can be good or bad, depending on how you follow up. 
    SAVINGS: I have $100,000 in my savings account right now. I save $675 each month.
    MONTHLY EXPENSES: I spend $4,200 on housing each month. My mortgage is $3,922 monthly, while housing association fees are $310 per month. We also pay $50 for gas and $50 for electric each month. Our childcare monthly expenses are $1,500. I pay $150 for car insurance and I spend roughly $500 on groceries each month. Our phone bill is around $100, and our internet bill is $44. I contribute to my 401(k) and health insurance each month.
    INVESTING: I've used Robinhood and more recently bought into stock portfolios.
    DEBT: I am not in debt. 
    SPENDING VICTORY: My first home, a very modest two bedroom in a growing neighborhood in Pittsburgh, was the best thing I spent money on.
    SPENDING REGRET: A good five-year chunk of my twenties was just stupid. I spent so much on dumb things when I could have been saving and investing. There's no one specific item, but rather a general haze of nearsightedness that haunts me. 
    CHARITY: I most recently donated to Direct Relief.
    SIDE HUSTLE: I occasionally write freelance articles as a side hustle.

- She Spends / Issue #35