How a 24-year-old Washington, D.C., Communications Coordinator Spends:

  • SALARY: I make $44,820 per month as a communications coordinator at a nonprofit. I have not yet asked for a raise.
  • SAVINGS: I have $5000 in my savings account right now. 
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I spend $900 on rent in a Washington, D.C., apartment. I contribute to a 401(k) and pay for my own health insurance. I also pay $10 per month for a Spotify Premium membership
  • DEBT: I am in debt. I make monthly payments and contribute more as I can. If I won the lottery, I’d pay off my student loans.
  • SPENDING VICTORY: My spending victory is a small one, but it makes me happy every time I look at it, so I definitely consider it a victory. I bought a pair of antique theatre seats for $75. With the cost of a shared flatbed truck rental, they were about $100 all together. One of my friends is the managing director of the theater. She posted to Facebook that they were selling them and I reached out almost immediately. It was truthfully very close to an impulse buy, but because I love theatre and at the time was looking for another furniture piece or two, I snapped it up. I didn't have a strict furniture line item in my budget, but I shifted things around. Looking ahead, they're in great shape, but could use reupholstering, so eventually I'll have to put money into that.
  • SPENDING REGRET: My biggest spending regret is not paying attention to my budget and anticipating large payments coming up. I use You Need a Budget (YNAB.com) and highly recommend it! They encourage people to look at the budget lines instead of the total account number and to only budget with the money in your account right now, rather than forecasting all inflow and outflow you'll have each month. It works well for me, but when I get out of the habit of keeping track and regularly updating my budget, I think I have more money in my account than I actually do and let myself spend more money than I actually should. By sheer luck, I've kept myself out of any seriously bad financial situations, but I've definitely had days filled with anxiety until my next paycheck because rent, health insurance, and a credit card payment all cleared my account at the same time and the balance dropped to scary levels.
  • SIDE HUSTLE: I do not have a side hustle.
  • GOALS: My short-term goals are to consistently stick to my budget and to have at least a month's buffer (essentially, that I'll be paying for July's expenses with June's income). Beyond that, I want to build back up my emergency fund (quitting your job will exhaust it more quickly than you think!!). I want to keep setting money aside to fund my Roth IRA and start investing more. I also want to travel more, which is somewhat easier because I work remotely (but somewhat harder because I have a cat!). Once I'm feeling like I'm back in a good place financially, I'm really looking forward to planning a trip to someplace new, even just a weekend getaway.

- She Spends / Issue #14