How a 31-year-old Boston-based partner manager spends:

  • SALARY: I make $90,000 per year as a partner manager at a tech company based in Boston. I've been able to receive a raise every time I've negotiated. I highly recommend reading 'Women Don't Ask' by Linda Babcock for tips on how to negotiate and the long term cost of *not* negotiating.  

  • SAVINGS: I have $17,000 in my savings account right now. 

  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay $800 per month to rent an apartment with two other people. I contribute to my 401(k) and pay for my own health insurance. My other monthly expenses include tithing $600 to my church, giving $50 to charity, $300 for my car payment, $225 for car and renter's insurance, $100 for utilities, $700 for groceries, dining out and coffee, $84 for my monthly train pass, $80 for four therapy sessions, $70 for my phone bill, $100 for shopping, toiletries and makeup and $30 for Netflix, Hulu and Spotify.  

  • DEBT: I still owe $4,000 on my car but I could pay that off from my savings account. I've paid off my student loans and credit card debt (about $50k total) and now paying off my car - minimum payment is $211, I pay $300.

  • INVESTING: I contribute to my 401(k) monthly. I have also purchased stock in the company I work for.

  • SPENDING VICTORY:  Travel! Those are experiences that are worth every penny.

  • SPENDING REGRET: Food - I spend waaaaaaay too much money on dining out/coffee/eating in general. 

  • CHARITY: I tithe regularly to my church and I also support campus ministers and missionaries in our church network. I donate to disaster relief funds as events come up, I volunteer with Big Sister/Little Sister and donate to that organization, and also support the Boston Center for Pregnancy Choices. 

  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: Pretty stereotypical, but I would buy my own house/condo.

  • GOALS: I would like to pay off my car and be completely debt free for the first time in my life, have an emergency fund of $20,000, and start to save for a house. 

How a 30-year-old Bethesda-based legal marketer spends:

  • SALARY: I make $90,000 per year working in legal marketing in Washington, D.C. I have never asked for a raise. 

  • SAVINGS: I have $10,000 in my savings account right now. 

  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay $1000 for my half of the rent. My boyfriend and I live together in Bethesda, which is close to D.C. I contribute to a 401(k) and pay for my own health insurance. I pay $550 per month for a personal trainer and $10 per month for Google music. 

  • DEBT: I am not in debt. 

  • INVESTING: I contribute to my 401(k) and invest outside of that via TD Ameritrade. 

  • SPENDING VICTORY:  The best thing I ever spent money on was my Saint Laurent bag. 

  • SPENDING REGRET: I regret spending on designer clothes that I don’t wear because they don’t fit my lifestyle.

  • CHARITY: The last charity I donated to was the ACLU.

  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I’d dump it into my brokerage account.

  • GOALS: I want to save $1.2 million for early retirement.

How a 23-year-old Pennsylvania-based teacher spends:

SALARY: I make $50,000 per year as an elementary school music teacher based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As a teacher your salary is non-negotiable. 

  • SAVINGS: I have $12,500 in my savings account right now. 

  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I live with my parents, so I don't pay rent. I contribute to a 401(k) and I'm on my parents' healthcare plan still. I go to weekly Pure Barre classes that cost me $100 a month. I pay $40 a month for FabFitFun Membership, $10 for Spotify and $40 for manicures each month.

  • DEBT: I am in debt. I only have $10,000 left in student loans, so I make extra payments every month to hopefully pay it off in the next few years.

  • INVESTING: I contribute to my Roth IRA every month.

  • SPENDING VICTORY:  The best thing I ever spent money on was going to Europe in college - we traveled to Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. 

  • SPENDING REGRET: I regret leasing my first car rather than buying it.

  • SIDE HUSTLE: I teach private voice and piano lessons, bringing in an extra $400 a month. 

  • CHARITY: The last charity I donated to was Make-A-Wish.

  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would pay for a vacation for my entire family! (Then I'd probably pay off my student loans....) 

  • GOALS: I want to be out of debt and save for a down payment of a house.

How a 25-year-old Virginia-based partner marketing manager spends

  • SALARY: I make $60,000 per year as a partner marketing manager in Stafford, Virginia. I have asked for — and received — a raise before.

  • SAVINGS: I have $10,301 in my savings account right now.

  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: My mortgage payment each month is $2282. That includes the private mortgage insurance payment and taxes. I contribute to my 401(k), but I'm still on my parents' healthcare plan. My husband and I share a gym membership with a friend. It costs a total of $150 per month, which we split.

  • DEBT: I am in debt. I have $1,000 in credit card debt and a $2,000 car loan. I'm lucky to have no student loans. My interest rate on my car is so low so I only occasionally make an extra payment. For my credit card, I pay about $300 per month towards it, so it should be gone soon!

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

  • SPENDING VICTORY:  The best thing I ever spent money on was my dog's adoption fee! I also love the couch I bought this year. 

  • SPENDING REGRET: I regret all my Amazon impulse purchases. 

  • CHARITY: The last charity I donated to was our local SPCA.

  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would pay off my house! I would also purchase a luxury fashion item.

  • GOALS: I want to pay down my debt and then learn how to invest (and take the risk!) as well as focus on my retirement. Sometimes I wake up in a panic about it.

How a 26-year-old Phoenix, Arizona-based physician assistant spends

  • SALARY: I make about $110,000 per year as a physician assistant based in Phoenix, Arizona. I have asked for a raise before. I was offered an $8000 salary bump when changing jobs this year. My mom always told me "a man would never think twice about asking for more" so I simply asked, and got another $7000, plus a sign on bonus. Thanks, Mom!  

  • SAVINGS: I have $30,000 in savings that is split between a Roth, a 401(k) and an online savings account (Barclays, for the interest rates).

  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay $1384 each month to rent a spacious one bedroom apartment in downtown Phoenix. I contribute to my 401(k) and I pay for my own health insurance. I got Hulu (with commercials) for $0.99 a month on Black Friday! I pay $40 a month for a wine club (that averages to about 12 bottles every 2 months). My monthly internet bill is $43 and my water bill is $35. 

  • DEBT: I am not in debt. 

  • INVESTING: I have invested by myself in the past, but now that I have some more money to play around with, I have established with a financial advisor. He is helping me save for a down payment on a house, max out my retirement allocations, and invest. I was nervous about getting a financial adviser, but he took the time to work through my priorities with me and seems to genuinely have my best interests at heart. 

  • SPENDING VICTORY:  The best thing I ever spent money on was a long beach weekend away with my boyfriend, two cases of canned sparkling rose and every bottomless mimosa brunch we could find. We had both been way overworked and stressed and those three days are the nicest memory of the whole year! 

  • SPENDING REGRET: This is reaching wayyy back, but my limo on prom night. It cost about $150 each and was not a special experience. I think about it every so often when my spending is growing and I could be using the money for things that truly matter. 

  • CHARITY: I contribute regularly to various charities including St. Jude, the Arizona Humane Society, a food bank near me and I just spent a bunch buying an underprivileged family Christmas gifts. That was my favorite Christmas shopping this year!  

  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would pay off my boyfriend's and best friend's student loans, and then buy my mom the beautiful lake house with a wraparound porch that she has always wanted. 

  • GOALS: I am saving toward a down payment on a house and for retirement. And to help my mom move closer to me!

How a 31-year-old Denver-based software developer spends:

  • SALARY: I make $104,000 per year as a software developer in Denver, Colorado. This past year I took on a lot more responsibility at work, so I asked for a 20% raise, they gave me 16% which I am happy with.

  • SAVINGS: I have $10,000 in savings. 

  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: My partner and I pay $2500 per month to rent a two bedroom townhouse. I pay for my own healthcare plan and contribute to a 401(k). I pay $13 per month for Hulu, $42 per month for YouTubeTV, $140 per year for an NHL package, $85 per month for Massage Envy, and roughly $30 per month for a Project Fi phone.

  • INVESTING: I Invested $8,000 over the past few years in stocks, using the app Robinhood. I try to invest in companies where I use their products and understand what they are doing and that has worked well for me.

  • SPENDING VICTORY:  Travel, I try to budget well when I go on a trip, but I think the experience is always worth more than the money.

  • SPENDING REGRET: Late night online shopping, later on, whatever I bought doesn't seem so great or necessary, or I stop using it pretty quick.

  • CHARITY: This year I contributed to several political campaigns, other than that I give to local homeless charity and support artists on Patreon.

  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would buy a house. 

  • GOALS: I want to save up to own property. Not in the city we live since its so expensive, we hope to buy something cheaper for a weekend getaway or place to rent out, somewhere closer to the mountains.

How a 29-year-old Louisville-based television news reporter spends:

  • SALARY: I make $47,000 per year as a television news reporter based in Louisville, Kentucky. I have never asked for a raise. 

  • SAVINGS: I have $3,000 in my savings account right now. 

  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay $400 rent each month. I contribute to a 401(k) and I pay for my own health insurance plan. I spend $200 on utilities, car insurance, and my phone bill.

  • DEBT: I am not in debt.

  • INVESTING: My dad helped me get started with a mutual fund and I recently started an Ellevest account. 

  • SPENDING VICTORY:  Traveling abroad. The experience of travel is well worth the money to me. 

  • SPENDING REGRET: Spending money on drinks and late night eats

  • SIDE HUSTLE: I pick up random transcription work. I charge about $40 per 30 minute interviews. The work doesn't come often enough. 

  • CHARITY: The last charity I supported was the Red Cross. 

  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I’d buy a new computer. 

  • GOALS: I want to save enough money to start my own bakery one day. 

How a 28-year-old Saint Paul, Minnesota-based independent book publicist spends:

  • SALARY:  I make $90,000 per year as an independent book publicist. At all of my corporate jobs, I negotiated for promotions with raises and got them.

  • SAVINGS: In our joint savings we have about $10,000.

  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: My husband & I recently bought a house, so my half of the mortgage is about $1,000/month. I pay for my own health insurance. We pay $200 for a family gym membership (split between my husband & I), $150 for pet insurance for our two dogs, roughly $200 on bills & utilities (cable, electric, etc.). I also contribute to a few of my favorite artists' Patreons, which comes out to $50 each month. We use my parents' Netflix account and have been thinking about adding Hulu but haven't done so yet. 

  • DEBT: I actually just fully paid off my student loans this year (YAY!), but am now in debt with my mortgage. We're working to pay extra on top of the monthly bill (of about $2,000) in order to pay it off faster. 

  • INVESTING: I have 401Ks from previous corporate jobs that I need to roll over into a Roth IRA. It's my goal for next year to get my independent retirement accounts in order! 

  • SPENDING VICTORY: Moving! I lived in NYC for a long time, and hit a wall and ended up moving across the country to Seattle. It was expensive for sure, and risky, but I'm SO glad I trusted in myself and made such a major change. Also, any money I've spent on my animals (2 dogs and a cat) is always very well spent! 

  • SPENDING REGRET: A million little things that added up to a lot! I'm glad I went out a lot for dinner & drinks in my post-college years in NYC, but I definitely could have been WAY better with saving and thinking about my future financial goals. 

  • CHARITY: I donate monthly to RAGOM, which is a Golden Retriever rescue based in the Midwest (where I live now) that I volunteer with. I also donate to the other rescue I volunteer with, the Minnesota Newfoundland Rescue.

  • GOALS: Beefing up my retirement account! I started my own independent company a year ago and it's been on my list from the start to get in order. I'm finally making steps to combining all of my individual retirement accounts and getting serious about investing. 

How a 25-year-old Dallas-based financial analyst spends

  • SALARY:  I make $80,000 per year as a base salary as a financial analyst based in Dallas. I also make roughly $5,000 in bonuses. My company gives a 3% cost of living raise to basically everyone each year. We also have biannual reviews where we are evaluated for raises and promotions. I plan to apply for a promotion next summer and that will come with a $10,000 salary increase. 

  • SAVINGS: I have $40,000 in my savings account, but I’m getting ready to contribute $30,000 to my existing investment account and leave $10,000 as an emergency fund.

  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay $1,400 for a 700 square foot one-bedroom apartment in a suburb outside of Dallas. I’m on a high deductible plan at work that costs about $100 a month. I also pay $60 for utilities, $20 for renters' insurance, $100 for car insurance, $300 for car payments, $50 for internet and $56 for my phone bill each month. I use my parents Netflix account and my apartment has a decent gym and pool for exercise. 

  • DEBT: I am in debt. I recently bought a brand new Honda and was approved for a 5-year loan with a $300 monthly payment and a 1.9% rate. I’ve been paying it off for around 6 months now.

  • INVESTING: I’ve maxed out my retirement accounts for the past two years. I also have an investment account with Schwab that I've been slowly transferring most of my savings to since I graduated college. After I get a promotion next year, I plan to make automatic monthly contributions of around $500 a month.

  • SPENDING VICTORY: My best friend and I have taken several big trips overseas which each cost a couple thousand dollars. I also just bought my first car (a new sporty Honda) which I’m pretty proud of. I was previously using public transportation and sometimes borrowing one of my parents’ cars.

  • SPENDING REGRET: Not getting a credit card to build up my credit sooner. I got my first one when I started my first job after college and it has made getting approved for an apartment and a car loan very difficult due to my short credit history. I also wish I started investing in my IRA sooner. You can invest as soon as you are over 18 and have “earned income” and I had several jobs/internships in college that I wish I had invested.

  • CHARITY: I contribute to my church and the Junior League, both of which oversee a lot of local philanthropic initiatives that I believe in. At work, I also contribute one day’s salary pay per year which is donated directly to the Red Cross and gives me an extra vacation day called an “Angel Day."

  • GOALS: I’d love to have my car paid off by age 30 and move back to my home state, where I’d like to buy a house I can raise a family in. I’m also interested in building a passive income stream through rental properties or possibly flipping houses, or contributing aggressively to my investment account so I can retire early. It’s important to me that I work towards having minimal monthly expenses in the future (by paying off my car and my mortgage early) so that I can move into a career I do for fun, not necessarily for the money. 

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