- SALARY: I make $70,000 per year as a senior account executive at a press relations firm based in Manhattan.
- SAVINGS: I hide my money from myself every chance I get — it’s the banking equivalent of leaving cash in old coat pockets. I put $50 in a “dog fund” every month that is in a high yield savings account, $350 into another high yield savings account with another bank and then $550 into my everyday “savings” account which is a combination of where I keep my rent money and where I keep my emergency fund (I only make withdrawals to pay rent). The rest of my money goes into my checking account — since I’m also contributing 10% of my income to my 401K with bi-annual matching from my company, I feel like for now I’m doing okay. I’m looking forward to spending less on rent and putting that money into savings.
- MONTHLY EXPENSES: Obviously rent is the biggest monthly expense, because I live in Brooklyn. Since my boyfriend and I pay 60% of the rent on our two bedroom apartment that we share with a roommate, it ends up being only 30% individually. At $855.60 feels pretty worth it for the kind of apartment we have. I have pretty minimal monthly subscriptions — I mooch for Netflix, Hulu and HBO, and utilities and internet are split 3 ways between myself, my boyfriend and our roommate. I usually end up spending $100 in total for internet and utilities.
- DEBT: I am not in debt. I don’t have any student loans. I was really lucky to have my grandmother pay for my education, and I worked really hard to keep that cost as low as possible for her. I earned a $15,000 per year academic scholarship through my college and was awarded several other scholarships while I was in school, ranging from the Washington Media Scholars program to other small scholarships. I also graduated college in six semesters and saved a ton of money by not needing to pay for a fourth year of school. I also used funds from my job as a lifeguard (high school) my job as a retail shop manager (during college) and my job as the advertising sales lead for my college’s newspaper (during college) to keep costs down.
- SPENDING VICTORY: The best thing I ever spent money on are any vacations I have taken. Being able to afford travel is so, so exhilarating. I went to Morocco several years ago and having the freedom to take time off work, have paid time off and book a flight and still be able to afford rent was the coolest feeling. The trip itself was amazing, obviously, but being financially stable enough to know I could buy a flight right now without having to go into debt or sacrifice my longer term goals feels like a huge spending victory.
- SPENDING REGRET: My biggest spending regret is my boob job. It was $7,000 I should have spent on literally anything else.
- CHARITY: I make monthly donations to Emily’s List, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, those are $10 each. I put larger donations in when major political events happen, those are one-offs.
- SIDE HUSTLE: I have a blog and an Instagram that have performed pretty well over the last few years, but I’m definitely a micro-influencer at best. As a result, I get a lot of free products. I don’t do paid posts on behalf of brands, but I do post product reviews and share my travels, photography and, let’s be real, selfies. Is it worth it? Maybe. You have to blog about things you care about. If you don’t care about it, it’s not sustainable — and it’s exhausting to try to maintain an image that isn’t you. I don’t think being an influencer is the healthiest thing, and I’ve been taking a step back from my social media lately.
- GOALS: I’d like to save more, but the real answer there is that I’d like to make more. Every time you get a raise, the number represented by 10% or 20% or even 30% of your income increases hugely — and sometimes it can be more worth it to buckle down and do what it takes to get a raise than it is to spend the time investing into a side hustle. Sometimes. Eventually I’d like to have the financial freedom to travel more, or take a short sabbatical from work — and I want to retire early, so I need to be cognizant of where my spending is going. I definitely want to buy property somewhere, but I don’t know where. I think I might feel too much like a real adult if I become a property owner, especially living in New York.
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She Spends Issue #5