How a 28-year-old Minneapolis-based cafe manager spends:

  • SALARY: I make $26,000 per year as a cafe manager in a bicycle retail shop. I know it sounds like an odd position, but quite common in the industry. This amount is soon to be zero, though. I'm quitting my job, which I hate, in order to give myself some mental respite and continue applying to work in the field of my degree. I have been unsuccessful at juggling work and finding a new job, so after several tipping point factors at my current position, I decided to quit. I have asked for a raise before at this job. I received my raise and was also able to express other concerns I had about my job. Getting the raise was barely part of the conversation, so I feel lucky in that regard. But, I also feel I didn't ask a high enough starting wage.

  • SAVINGS: I don't have a savings account, but I have $12,000 in checking as my emergency fund/savings. I don't want to put any portion of the money in savings or invest it because I simply do not make enough to give me room in an emergency if I tie the money up elsewhere.

  • MONTHLY EXPENSES: I pay roughly $500 per month for rent. I have paid around this amount for the past three years renting a room and now splitting rent with my boyfriend. We pay proportionate amounts to our incomes. We do this for rent, utilities, internet and laundry. I do pay for my own health insurance through my work's plan. When my job ends, I will be applying for my state's care program. I pay for Netflix, an auto-ship protein powder, cell phone and student loan payment each month. I also have biannual payments for car and renter's insurance. 

  • INVESTING: I went to grad school out of my own pocket. That was an investment. I inherited a small amount of money, enough to cushion a part time job and rent for a year, after my mother's death. I then decided to use it to support further education.

  • DEBT: I am in debt. I pay $179.00 per month, which covers interest. I have that on autopay. Otherwise I'm waiting to have enough income to drop some of my money in checking into the student loan.

  • SPENDING VICTORY:  Since I've been financially independent (i.e. I'm not counting study abroad travel in college), I have best spent my money on my bicycles. Riding bikes is a huge component of my mental health and physical well-being, plus I obviously love riding itself. I've bought two bikes in the past two years and put money into each changing their components.

  • SPENDING REGRET: Some clothing items that were really out of my price range.

  • IF I WON THE LOTTERY: Bye-bye student loan. Then I would buy property or land.

  • GOALS: Find a job with adequate income. Pay off my student loan in three years after that point (or sooner). Invest in employer retirement, Roth IRA, and index or mutual funds.