How a 22-year-old mid-level manager for a political campaign spends:

  • SALARY: I make $3,500 per month for a 10-month contract, plus a travel stipend of about $500. Because I work on campaigns, I usually work for 3 to 6 months at a time and am then unemployed for several months so my annual income varies a lot. This will be the longest I've had the same job. My current role is as a mid-level manager for a political campaign in a small city in the midwest. 
  • SAVINGS: I have $75.91 in my Digit online savings account (the app saves small amounts of money for me without me noticing).
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay $805 per month for rent. I do not contribute to a 401(k), and I’m on my parents’ health insurance plan. I pay electricity and Wi-Fi. Other than that, my major expenses are car insurance ($145/month), phone ($95/month), credit card bill ($350/month), Audible ($35/month), Netflix and Hulu (about $20 total).
  • DEBT: I am in debt. I have student loans and credit card debt, but right now I'm just paying the minimums. Building up a savings account is a higher priority for me right now than paying off debt.
  • INVESTING: I have not started investing yet.
  • SPENDING VICTORY: I went on a class trip to Paris, with solo stops in London and Barcelona, in spring 2016. I spent about six months planning the whole thing, hunting for deals and figuring out how to get the most for my money, and I was really proud of myself for pulling the whole thing off.
  • SPENDING REGRET: After my first campaign, I was unemployed for six months and finishing up school, and ended up maxing out my credit card to the tune of $15,000 (some of that was expensive car repairs and other expenses I couldn't avoid, but a good amount was just frivolous spending). I naively thought that the minimum payments would stay low enough to manage until I was more financially stable. I don't necessarily regret any specific purchases, but I do wish I'd been more mindful about not putting so much on credit cards.
  • CHARITY: I give to EMILY's List and Run for Something (an organization that helps young people run for office) whenever I can. I also try and help out individual candidates I hear about who are running for local office, especially young people, women and candidates with diverse professional backgrounds. I give to charity when asked, but I believe strongly that electing people who will work for long-term institutional change is a more sustainable solution to most of the problems our country faces. Also, I know from personal experience how hard it is for campaigns and political action committees to raise enough to pay the bills. 
  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would buy a small house on the beach in my hometown that I could rent out when I'm on a campaign and live in when I'm between jobs. 
  • GOALS: I want to save enough to comfortably ride out periods of unemployment and not have to deal with the stress of being broke and overdrawn ever again, pay off my credit card debt and maybe buy a better car in a couple years.

- She Spends / Issue #56