How a 25-year-old Maryland-based program specialist spends:

  • SALARY: I make $54,000 per year as a program specialist for an agricultural nonprofit. I asked for my first raise two weeks ago and my boss was enthusiastic, but it has to be approved by our board.

  • SAVINGS: I have $500 in my savings account right now.

  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay $500 per month for rent. I contribute to a 401(k) and pay for my own healthcare. I also pay $10 for Spotify each month, and I split a $20 payment for Peloton with my partner. 

  • DEBT: I have two vehicle loans, on which I pay $550 per month. I have a total of $15,000 left on those loans. I have two credit cards that I pay $300 per month on. I have roughly $7,000 left to pay back on those. I pay the minimum on my vehicle loans and paying off my credit cards at much more than the minimum. I have no student loans. 

  • SIDE HUSTLE: I side-hustle as a tasting room server at a local winery every other weekend. I also occasionally do pet sitting. This brings in an extra $200 to $300 per month with tips. 

  • SPENDING VICTORY:  Weekend solo trips every three to four months, buying from local farms and businesses, and buying consignment/thrift store clothes are some of my spending victories. 

  • SPENDING REGRET: Most definitely eating out. I love to splurge on coffee and sushi, both wonderful things, but eating out gets very expensive.

  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: I would buy a new car for my parents.

  • CHARITY: The last charity I donated to was St. Jude. 

  • GOALS: I want to pay off both of my credit cards this year and pay off my vehicles in two years. I also want to start investing slowly and putting more money away in savings.