How a 28-year-old Chicago-based program associate at a philanthropy consulting firm spends:

  • SALARY: I make $48,500 per year as a program associate at a philanthropy consulting firm. I have asked for a raise before. It didn’t go well. My boss didn't feel like it was necessary. 
  • SAVINGS: I have less than $1,000 in savings right now. 
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: My rent is $1,285 with an additional $120 for internet, gas and electric. I contribute to a 401(k) and I pay for health insurance. I have a Hulu account and a gym membership (work reimburses me for the gym).
  • DEBT: I am in debt. I have roughly $9,000 in credit card debt, which I have been working toward paying off. I'm using the snowball method. I also have more than $50,000 in student loan debt which I've accepted will take a long time to pay back. 
  • INVESTING: I invest through my job's retirement plan.
  • SPENDING VICTORY:  The best thing I ever spent money on was a move to and from San Francisco. I moved out there for a job (after only having lived in the Midwest), spent a year and a half there, and then realized I was unhappy out there so moved back to the Midwest. I'm so glad I went out there, though.
  • SPENDING REGRET: I bought a beautiful bed frame, but I'm realizing that I could have gone without.
  • SIDE HUSTLE: I recently started a weekend retail job which pays $13 an hour. It's not much, but it helps me make extra payments toward my credit cards.
  • CHARITY: One of my former employers: a children's music organization.
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would pay off my student loan debt, then I'd buy a condo.
  • GOALS: I want to pay off my debt, have an emergency fund and purchase my own home.