How a Washington, D.C. Grants Management Specialist Spends:

  • SALARY: I make $62,000 per year working as a grants management specialist. I have asked for a raise in the past, but I'm still waiting on it. 
  • SAVINGS: I currently have $3,000 in savings. 
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay $1200 per month for rent on an apartment in D.C. Beyond that, I pay for a gym membership, music service, financial planning and professional development services monthly. I also pay for utilities. 
  • DEBT: I have student debt that I have taken on side hustles to aggressively pay off. 
  • SPENDING VICTORY: I would like to be able to have an unending list of successful spending accolades but, not coincidentally, I think that I feel the most victorious when I am spending to save. This year I invested in a personal finance advising service. Investing in my financial future is a long term goal with an observable return on investment. I spent approximately $100 up front for the service, and negotiated the monthly membership rate down to $19 monthly. My plan is to advance my finance and budgeting knowledge to the point where I can cut back if not eliminate this service by next year.
  • SPENDING REGRET: I was not brought up in a family whose financial situation afforded me unfettered access to higher education. And so, I regret not asking more questions and gathering more information prior to taking out the various student loans I needed to put myself through college and graduate school. Neither of my parents knew or understood how to help me in the federal and private student lending process so it was a steep learning curve for me at a young age. Had I know the magnitude of my lack of knowledge I might have thought to gather more expertise before signing my life away! 
  • CHARITY: The last charity I contributed to was the D.C. Abortion Fund. I also volunteer with a group called Ladies Get Paid. I firmly believe that we will not eradicate income inequalities until all women (and especially young girls) have access and knowledge about personal finance, investment, saving, and budgeting. I have seen how that has personally impacted my financial health from a young age as compared to my male counterparts and it is a problem I am motivated to address before the next generation of women enter the workforce.  This is why I am involved with the DC committee of Ladies Get Paid.  We believe we can change this if we strategize, organize and support one another. Our goal is to facilitate female leadership through community, education and advocacy. We host town halls, workshops, and webinars and also partner with companies to help create an inclusive and welcoming culture.
  • SIDE HUSTLE: I dog sit in my free time to make extra cash, which I use to pay off some student debt. 
  • GOALS: My short term goal is to build my emergency savings and a small nest egg for career and personal development whilst slowly paying down current debt at stasis. Once I have met that goal I would like to get more aggressive in investing for retirement as well as eradicating remaining debt to the point where I can feel comfortable buying a home and potentially starting my own entrepreneurial endeavors. I want to know how to prioritize my budget. There are just SO many things I have to pay for on a limited income. I am doing the work to raise my salary but it just seems that there is always something else that I neither want or need but must pay for (i.e. drinks at a networking happy hour, cable internet, bus/taxi fare, etc). Would love to be able to lower the costs of necessities like rent and utilities but, living in a city like Washington DC puts a lot of pressure on me to maintain a price of living at or below 30% of my budget (I am much closer to 40-50% of my income going toward necessities rather than savings).

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She Spends Issue #6