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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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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