How a 25-year-old Nashville-based government worker spends:

  • SALARY:  I make $34,000 a year as an insurance worker for the government. My husband makes $43,000 per year working in government as well as well. All of our accounts are combined, so including him gives a more realistic picture of our spending! I have asked for a raise before, and I didn't get it. So I'm leaving my employer! I'm worth more than $34,000 per year. I've been job hunting for a bit, and finally got an offer from a different department. I asked my current boss for a raise and was shot down, so I decided to walk. Honestly, even if I didn't have another job lined up, I would've walked after being turned down for a raise. I'm severely underpaid for my insurance job, and the economy has improved a bit. Know your worth, and if your current employer doesn't respect your worth, LEAVE. 

  • SAVINGS: I have $70,000 in my savings account.

  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: My husband and I split housing costs. I pay $418 per month. Mortgage, insurance, and taxes for our three bedroom, two and a half bathroom condo in Nashville is $836. We aim for $200 to $500 per month each into our Roths. We put 10% of income into our 401(k)s. Health insurance comes out of my husband’s check. It is $200 per month for dental, health and vision. Otherwise, we pay $120 per month for utilities, $60 for pets, $130 to insure both of our cars, $350 for a car loan, $10 for Netflix, $15 for Spotify, $180 for phones, $20 for a home alarm and $60 for internet each month.

  • DEBT: My car loan is $350, and we have a mortgage of $120,000. We are not aggressively paying these off since the market offers better returns at this time. My car loan is 0%, so it feels like it isn't real debt (even though it definitely is, whoops!) I'm SO glad my student loans are gone, because those are seriously lord Satan. 

  • INVESTING:   I started with my 401(k). Then, I opened up a Roth IRA with USAA. It was the safest mutual fund, so I got more aggressive and opened a Vanguard. I love Vanguard! I used to put $200 per month in my Roth, but with my husband’s job loss, we have paused this. Investing is so, so important. 

  • SPENDING VICTORY: I paid off $38,000 in student loans in under three years by working two jobs and spending no money. We now have breathing room in our budget, and it feels so good! 

  • SPENDING REGRET: My brand new car. It has 0% interest, so it sounded like a good idea at the time.

  • SIDE HUSTLE:  I can barely show up to my main hustle. But I did work two jobs to pay off my loans and to help buy our condo, SO WORTH IT! 

  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: Grad school. I miss school so much but don't miss the loans. I'd also pay off my mortgage and buy my dad a new house. 

  • GOALS: Live on half our income. Invest in non-tax-deferred accounts, max out our Roths and 401k. Be financially free at 45.