How a 23-year-old Maryland-based engineer spends:

  • SAVINGS: I have $8,000 in savings right now.
  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay $1,200 each month toward my mortgage and $620 toward my homeowner's association fees. I contribute to a 401(k) and pay for health insurance. I also pay $12 for a Hulu subscription, $20 for a gym membership and $50 for the internet for the internet each month.

  • DEBT: I have student loans that I put $250 toward each month.

  • INVESTING:  I have not started investing yet.

  • SPENDING VICTORY:  The best thing I have ever spent money on is travel. I recently saved enough to buy a very cheap ticket to Paris ($500 round trip) and I want to keep saving for more trips like this.

  • SPENDING REGRET: I bought a car while in college because my old car died, but my job straight out of college gave me a company car. I love it, but I wasted a lot of money buying a car that I didn’t need. My mom now pays the monthly payment on the car so that my sister will have something to drive, but I did put a good bit of money down when I bought the car.

  • SIDE HUSTLE: I act as a landlord, renting out an extra room in my house for $800 each month.

  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would pay off my debt, as well as the debt of my mom and my sister.

  • GOALS: I want to invest and save so I can feel secure. Right now I am focusing on beefing up my savings a bit so I have a few months of bills saved in case of emergency.

  • SALARY:  I make $69,000 per year as an engineer based in Silver Spring, Maryland. I just received a 3% raise after a very short time at the company. All raises are at the same time and are very structured. Not everyone gets the same raise but there is no negotiating because it’s so structured. We also have a corporate policy for vacation so I can’t negotiate more paid time off. I already have plenty of PTO so I don’t have any reason to bargain anyway.