How a 23-year-old Texas-based broadcast journalist spends:

  • SALARY: I make $40,000 as a broadcast journalist based in Central Texas. I have not yet negotiated my salary, but I plan to soon! 
  • SAVINGS: I have $5,500 split between two savings accounts to get the most out of my credit unions' rates.
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I live at home, so I pay nothing for rent. I contribute to a Simple IRA each month, and my employer pays for health insurance. I enrolled in a Health Savings Account to take care of vision and dental, which aren’t included in my employer’s plan. I’m also on my parents’ healthcare plan as backup. I also pay for Spotify, HBO Now, ipsy, Bulu Box and a gym membership. Additionally, I annually pay for Amazon Prime, Audible and my personal website domain. I recently bought a lifetime subscription to the Headspace meditation app for $400. 
  • DEBT: I have student loans, but I’m using my salaried job to pay them off. 
  • SPENDING VICTORY: I am obsessed with Amazon Prime. I waited pretty far into my college career to get Amazon Prime Student. Far, meaning my senior year because signing up earlier would have made spending too easy! After the free six-month trial, the cost is $49 a year. I am still technically under student status a year out of college and saving 50% on membership. There are plenty of Prime benefits that people don't know about: free access to Audible channels and original content, unlimited photo storage, discounted subscription to The Washington Post, and pretty soon, benefits at Whole Foods. Understanding that Amazon as a company is aggressively growing to monopolize the online marketplace, branching into more industries, and probably data-mining my personal habits, I think it's only a matter of time until they start charging more as well. 
  • SPENDING REGRET: I used PayPal credit to pay for clothes at online retailers once, which I completely regret. 
  • CHARITY: The last charity I contributed to was Meals on Wheels.
  • SIDE HUSTLE: No, but I plan to start selling the things my ex gave me!
  • GOALS: This seems very unconventional but a short-term goal for me right after I got my first "big girl" job was to have one year of "whatever" spending. I did this for two reasons. 1) Growing credit early: My personal credit limit grew by $15,000, from $1,000 to $16,000, in one year. As with many post-recession women, I grew up with skepticism about borrowing on credit and even the word "credit" seems like a confusing concept and such an adult thing to have. I actually had to take out my first card in 2014 from my credit union to pay for a ticket to the Salzburg Academy on a cash advance, since funding from my school would not have let me pay for the flight in a timely way. After careful management of the low-interest rate card for a few years, I did more research and took the plunge into rewards cards. 2) It's a good chance to get bad spending habits out of my system, allow me to celebrate earning a salary with benefits and investments and figure out the true cost and value behind the lifestyle I prefer to have. I signed up for subscription boxes, took trips across the country on a whim and bought my family awesome presents for Christmas. This short-term goal ends in October on my one-year work anniversary. After this, I will still travel as I like but will need to plan further out and around certain responsibilities. I use the Mint app to help me keep track of multiple accounts and track budgets. I look at the value of a material item and how long I can see myself keeping it rather than giving into the impulse to get it in the first place. Long term, I plan to pay off the students loans in my parents' names (Federal Parent PLUS loans) on track over the next 10 years. Currently, I pay more than $300 a month. Even if I go through a period of time being unemployed or leave the workplace to pursue a higher degree, this timeline is a commitment I made for myself out of respect for my family's sacrifices to help me get an education. Also, the next sibling is set to graduate from college in 10 years. Finishing within the terms of the loan would avoid any borrowing overlap for my parents on paper.

- She Spends / Issue #23

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