How a 23-year-old Indianapolis-based social media specialist spends:

  • SALARY: I make $35,000 as a social media specialist based in Indianapolis. I have not yet asked for a raise. 
  • SAVINGS: I have $800 in my savings account.
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay $960 for rent, not including utilities. My employer doesn't offer a 401(k), so I opened a simple IRA. My employer covers 98% of my healthcare costs. The only subscription I pay for is Orangetheory, which is $99 a month and so worth it in my opinion. I don't have cable, just internet and use streaming logins from various family members. 
  • DEBT: I have student loans in my name, but I am fortunate that my parents are paying for them. I also have a car loan. I make the monthly payments on time as far as the car loan goes.
  • SPENDING VICTORY: Honestly, upgrading to a nicer apartment when I moved. The rent is $150 more, but the apartment overall is 100x nicer as far as just general aesthetic. Add in the fact that I have more square footage, a laundry room, an open floor plan and a balcony, I don't mind paying more for it because I'm also getting a lot in return. My former apartment in Arizona cost $820 per month for a 650-square-foot one-bedroom in a nice area of Phoenix. It was built in the ‘70s, which was a plus because it meant I couldn't hear my neighbors (new construction in Phoenix uses paper thin walls, apparently). I never enjoyed being in the apartment because all of the furnishings were very old and it was very dark and dingy. Other options in the area of Phoenix where I lived were either much higher rent for a nicer place (more than $1,000 for a studio), or the same rent I was paying (or less) for a bedbug-ridden home. No thanks. Moving to a new city across the country where there is a lower cost of living definitely allowed me to upgrade my living space. I am now paying $960 (I also got a pay increase with this new job) for a 750-square-foot one-bedroom and it's a totally different feel than my last one. It is kind of a weird spending victory, but it's something I'm really happy to spend money on. It is more money than my last apartment, but the ratio of rent paid to my paycheck is about equal. 
  • SPENDING REGRET: I spent about $350 on a new Tory Burch handbag a couple months back. I was in the market for a new purse when she was having a sale and I fell in love with this style of bag, but of course, the color I really wanted wasn't included in the sale. I ended up getting the bag in a different color than I wanted. Part of this reason was that it was one of those sales where if you spend more, the percent discount gets larger, and my mom was getting a few items as well to get us to the highest discount. Sheprobably wouldn't have cared if I pulled out because she didn't need anything from the sale either, but I did feel a bit bad. I do wish I had said something now because I want a different bag I actually love. 
  • CHARITY: No major contributions as of late. It's something I want to add to my budget once I get real savings habits down. 
  • SIDE HUSTLE: In addition to my full-time job, I am also a remote social media manager for a government organization. This is something that takes barely any of my time and was something I found almost immediately after I graduated college and hadn't found a full-time job. I took it so I wouldn't have a gap in my resume and I have stuck with it. I also work at a retail job two or three times per week. I actually really enjoy it and I get a great discount.
  • GOALS: My money goals are to get better at saving, both for the long term and for the short term. I kind of live paycheck to paycheck in a way, but there's no reason for me to. I just need to come up with a system of determining how much money I am going to put into different accounts every month, like a short-term travel spending account and a long-term savings account. I want to know more about investing. I've been reading a lot of personal finance blogs and all of them, for the most part, talk about investing. But they also all have salaries that are at least $20,000 more than mine, but more often that number is closer to $40,000. For that reason, it seems like it's only worth it to invest if you have at least like $1,000 that you can part with for the purpose, as well as add rather substantial amounts every month. I can't do that.

- She Spends / Issue #22

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