How A 25-Year-Old D.C. Communications Manager Spends:

  • SALARY: I make $47,500 per year working as a communications manager in Washington, D.C. I have not yet asked for a raise. I also have shares from the startup I work at, but I'm not sure how they work just yet.
  • SAVINGS: I have $25,000 in my savings account. This does not include what I set aside each month for my Roth IRA. I obviously have these savings because I was lucky enough to have parents who provided me with everything when I was growing up and in college. I did have a part-time job in high school and all throughout college, which helped a little, but it would be nothing without having had my college tuition and room/board paid for.
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: Right now I pay $1,163. I live with my boyfriend and our total rent is $1995 - we split it up proportionally to our income. My work doesn't have 401K matching, so I just contribute the monthly max to my IRA. I choose the lowest possible healthcare plan at work, so I pay $0 per month on healthcare coverage. I also pay $59 per month for ClassPass, $4 per month for Amazon music, $26 per month for cable and $10 per month for Birchbox. I paid a lump sum up front for Birchbox. 
  • DEBT: I don't have any student loans or credit card debt. 
  • SPENDING VICTORY: I just took a trip to Paris with my boyfriend for 7 days in April. It was the first real vacation I've ever taken without my family that I paid for 100%. The tickets were super cheap and we bought them back in October - it was $400 round trip, each. Then we spent $500 total on the Airbnb, which was in a great neighborhood and made it easy for us to walk everywhere when we got there. The thing I think is the biggest victory for me overall is that I have a hard time spending my money without feeling bad about it - but if I'm not saving it to spend on a trip to Paris, what am I saving it for? So I tried when we were there to not feel bad about spending our money, and we ended up not spending as much as I feared. All in all, I personally spent under $1000 and had the best week of my life.
  • SPENDING REGRET: When I was staying in my first apartment post-grad, I handled moving out TERRIBLY. My roommate and I both didn't realize that we had to give notice when we were moving out, and the management company never contacted us about renewing the lease, so we just assumed (like idiots) that we were all on the same page about moving out once it was over. Obviously that wasn't the case, and we had to give two months' notice, but I had already found a new apartment. Which was a studio with an exorbitantly high rent to live in basically a very tiny box. Which meant that for a two-month period of time, I was paying BOTH RENTS. $1000 to a two-bedroom in Bethesda, and $1500 to a studio in D.C. The only people who know about this are my roommate at the time (because she had to do the same thing, except she was moving back in with her parents so didn't have double rent), my mom and my boyfriend. It was extremely embarrassing.
  • CHARITY: The last charity I contributed to was the National Eating Disorder Association. 
  • SIDE HUSTLE: I do not have a side hustle. 
  • GOALS: I have a few money goals. One is to be more concrete about what I'm saving for. Right now I don't have any specific goals, and for a while just had one big savings account. This wasn't great because that made me feel bad any time I was spending money, because I could have been saving it -- but for what? I want to really nail down some buckets — an emergency fund, travel savings, eventual-house savings — and decide what to be saving for so I can stop being so uptight.

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She Spends Issue #7