How An Ohio Student & Store Manager Spends Her Money

  • SALARY: I am taking classes while working full time as a manager at a record store. I get paid $28,000 yearly (or $14 per hour). I've been working for the same company for seven years and I'm a store manager, which is one of the higher paid retail positions. Right now, I'm at $14 an hour, so I have to work over 40 hours a week in addition to going to school full time just to pay my rent and bills. It's very discouraging. I've asked for a raise multiple times and it's been turned down each time. 
  • SAVINGS: $0
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: My boyfriend and I split rent for a one bedroom apartment, which costs $765 per month. We pay utilities on top of that which is usually about $100. Rent and utilities by themselves aren't bad, but we also each have a monthly car payment. Mine is $240 and his is $300. I have more credit cards than he does, but together our credit card payments average out to about $150 per month. We also pay for Spotify ($4.99 per month for students) and Netflix ($10 per month). Add in other expenses like gas and groceries, and it leaves very little extra money to do anything fun. We went out to dinner for the first time in months a few weeks ago and we legitimately felt guilty about it afterward because it was $30 we probably shouldn't have spent. 
  • DEBT: This one is tough. I owe probably about $20,000 in school loans and about $3,700 in credit card debt.
  • SPENDING VICTORY: I don't even know that I have a biggest spending victory to be honest with you. Growing up, my mother was very fearful and controlling with money, so I've developed this intense guilt anytime I buy something nice for myself, even things that I need, like clothes (which I do not buy often because I cannot afford them).
  • SPENDING REGRET: I deeply regret not being more responsible with my tax return this year. I should have just used it to pay down my credit card debt, but at this point, it wouldn't have made a very big dent. I feel that with the economy is today I'm very likely going to be in debt for the rest of my life. I'm a little fearful for our future because we're just barely scraping by. My boyfriend and I both work very hard and it's discouraging that we don't have anything to show for it. Another thing that is giving me major anxiety lately is my credit score, which I'm told is "very poor." But right now, I just don't have the means to raise it or to make more than the minimum payments on my credit cards. I deeply regret taking out credit cards in the first place, but it seemed like the only way to make sure I had a contingency plan in case a paycheck was smaller than expected. Now I'm drowning in debt that I likely won't even be able to start paying off until I graduate, assuming I get a job, which is a big unknown. I think that older people have this idea that "millennials" are entitled brats who don't work hard for their money, and spend it without batting an eye. In my experience that's just not true. I read an article recently about a millionaire that said that the reason so many millennials are broke is because they're eating too much avocado toast and buying expensive lattes. That's bullshit. We are broke because we're fighting a losing battle. Trust me, I'm not struggling to pay rent because I sometimes I eat a fancy breakfast or bring home Chipotle for my boyfriend and I once a month. People who choose to go to school spend tens of thousands of dollars on their education, and take out loans with high interest rates to do it. And, it's becoming very likely that you will not get a job right out of college. So, you just spent all this money to better yourself, and you wind up in the same place you were before, working a terrible retail job or waiting tables, but now you have debt collectors breathing down your neck. It's infuriating.
  • SIDE HUSTLE: I'm going to have to take on a bar tending or serving job at nights to go to after my store closes. So most days I'll have class, work at my first job, and then close a bar. That leaves no time for studying, doing homework, or even sleeping. But please tell me how I'm wasteful and not a hard worker. 
  • GOALS: I would say that my my long term money goals would be to stop living paycheck to paycheck, start a savings account, and buy a house. I just want to be able to live comfortably and not be scared of finances. But at this point, I feel like my debt and low wages are going to haunt me for the rest of my life.

Click here to take our anonymous survey on spending habits.

She Spends Issue #4