Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Budgeting 101 : Cash Confessional

Have you heard of Cash Confessional? I hadn't until recently. I saw it mentioned in a comment on Amanda's blog (also linking up with another Amanda) & immediately popped over because I'm nosy curious. Essentially each week a different person anonymously shares their salary, sector of the workforce, and where they're spending their money. It's fascinating.

You'll see $33,000 salaries spending with wild abandon, while those making $100,000 are frugal as can be. It's a Charlotte based website, which I find great for a cost comparison basis. But, I thought, given my current little budgeting series, it would be fun to track my spending for a whole week & do my own Cash Confessional.

If you missed it, I've already talked about 6 steps to making a budget that works + I shared my REAL budget - with real numbers, not just percentages.

If money makes you uncomfortable you can just dip on out now & I'll be back on Friday with my Friday Five, but, if it does make you uncomfortable, you're probably one of the people that needs to devote some time to your budget. Go ahead, think that one through.

The basics:
Industry: Materials Manufacturing
Position: Supply Chain // Warehousing
Yearly salary: About $61,000 + hard to guesstimate year end bonuses
Extra income: None
Who do you bank with and why? PNC for checking (easy to find physical locations in PGH)  + Capital One for savings (high interest rate for a savings account)
Savings: $1550 per month
Age: 26
Gender: Female

Monthly Expenses :
Rent: $350 (includes water, trash, sewage & Internet)
Number of roommates: 1
Neighborhood: West of the City
Utilities: $25 - $50 - we racked up a credit on our gas bill on the budget plan, so right now it's just electric.
Student loans (if applicable): None, I went hard on those student loan payments & was done in 2.5 years
Car payments: None!
Car insurance: $77
Transportation costs: $120 on gas
Phone bill: $0 - my Mom keeps threatening to make me pay & then never follows through
Health -- $35 per month
Renters – $150 a year, which is paid all at once.
Any extra costs not previously mentioned:
LA Fitness membership - $30
Monthly Massage - $40 (including tip)

Three financial goals:

1. Holler at that early ass retirement. The BF can retire from his job when he's 50 - but there are benefits to grinding it out & waiting until he's 53. Either way. I want to be on track to retire at that age (or earlier)!

2. Truck + trailer for cash in hand. I have dreams of a big pick-up truck that will tow my tricked out camper around the US to see all the National Parks - I want to pay cash for it all.

3. $1M net worth. I would love to say one day that I'm a millionaire, and it'll take a while, but I'm on my way!

Money Diary: How I spent my money last week

Day One : Monday

7:27 AM - After my 4th alarm has gone off, it's time to get out of bed. Rush around, leave late for work.

8:45 AM - Eat a black cherry yogurt I stole from the BF's house since I forgot my breakfast. It's meh. Drink free coffee from work. $0

11:01 AM - Considered eating lunch at 10, decided to hold out. As always, I packed my lunch. Penne + homemade pasta sauce (with tomatoes from the garden!) + chicken. $0

11:38 AM - Order 6 x 4x4" pictures from Walgreens from my New Zealand trip - Walgreens has 2 hour pickup, so I make the BF grab them on his way home from work. $2.50

5:01 PM - I am outta this joint. And hungry. I rush home & scarf down some leftovers before I start my meal prep for the week.

Total Spent : $2.50

Day Two : Tuesday

6:11 AM - Okay, gym time today. Hard boiled egg eaten on the way to the gym. $0

8:30 AM - Strawberry Banana smoothie for breakfast this morning. I make two at a time & freeze them. I would make 4 at a time, but I only have two blender cups. $0

12:00 PM - El Campesino. Boss Man took us out to Mexican since it was our intern's last week. Free lunch? Why yes please. $0

2:00 - More coffee. Because a belly full of chimichangas and siestas go hand in hand.

5:01 PM - Head home & eat dinner, can't remember what, probably some of the orzo salad I prepped Monday night. Orzo, edamame, blackened corn, tomatoes, peppers & cilantro + some chicken. $0

Total Spent : $0

Day Three : Wednesday

6:11 AM - Wake up for the gym

6:27 AM - Decide I don't want to go to the gym, get back in bed.

7:45 AM - Wake up for real this time.

8:35 AM - Late to work, head straight to the Keurig, it's gonna be a rough day. $0

9:00 AM - My breakfast smoothie is still frozen solid. Set it on the window sill in the sunshine to thaw. $0

11:53 AM - LUNCH TIME. My 11-1130 meeting ran long, but I had another at 1PM. So, I shoveled in a salad from home. $0

12:00 PM - Had to make a return to Payless @ the mall, but poked around JC Pennys on my way out & found some cute stuff. Including something called "Ponte Pants"? Apparently they're a thing. Think super thick leggings that you wouldn't feel weird wearing to work. +$17.00 from Payless - $71.98 from Pennys = $54.98

1:00 PM - More meetings.

5:05 PM - Leave work.

5:07 PM - 6:09 PM - Sit in traffic. $0 My sanity.

6:13 PM - Have a toddler style meltdown (read : Why the BF is the best)

6:20 PM - Drink wine. $0

Total Spent : $54.98

Day Four : Thursday

6:30 AM - Head for a run at North Park.

6:45 AM - Remember I have to stop at Panera for Bagel Club.

8:20 AM - We have "Bagel Club" at work, every Thursday someone from the club brings in bagels. There are 12 of us, so I'm on bagel duty once a quarter. $15.99

11:15 AM - There are 3 extra bagels this week. SCORE. People must be out on vacation. Pull out some baggies & freeze them for days when I'm feeling lazy.

12:00 PM - Time for a lunch salad. $0

2:00 PM - Mandatory "Competency Training" - I still don't know what this means. But at least there are cookies. Including toffee chip cookies, my favorite. I take two + a bottle of water. $0

5:30 PM - Get stuck at work late. My laptop won't connect to the Internet which means I can't really take it to meetings. IT can't figure out the issue.

6:30 PM - Hot dogs for dinner #lazy. $0

7:15 PM - Bake chocolate chip zucchini muffins with zucchini from the garden. Tomorrow is the intern's last day. $0

Total Spent : $15.99

Day Five : Friday

6:30 AM - Drive to the gym.

8:35 AM - Coffee. Eat one of my homemade muffins. Another lady from work brought in kolache. Yum. I scored one with bacon, egg & cheese. $0

10:00 AM - Another zucchini muffin. I do good work.

12:45 PM - Orzo salad + chicken for lunch. Still surprisingly good & fresh 4 days later! $0

5:15 PM - Stop for gas on the way home. Luckily the station on my route home usually has the best prices. $24.69

5:45 PM - Salad for dinner, topped with some orzo salad, chicken, HB egg, feta, this is a souped up salad! $0

Total Spent : $24.69

Day Six : Saturday

6:35 AM - Wake up, time to go running!

7:30 AM - Time for a group run with Pro Bike + Run. I debate between 5.5 & 8.5 miles.

8:05 AM - Get to the 5.5 mile turn around, decide 5.5 miles is good enough for me.

9:00 AM - Aldi run. End up with lots of impulse buys, and spend 25% of my total grocery $ on watermelons. #NoShame. $21.69 for groceries + $40 cash back for my massage next week. $61.69

11:42 AM - Write this post.

12:30 PM - Run to the Dollar Tree for a wedding card. My friend gets married today! $.54

1:45 PM - Write heartfelt things in said wedding card. Write check. Seal envelope. $50

3:15 PM - Drive to ceremony - it's hot out, and the ceremony is outside. Fan myself with random magazine from the floor of my car.

4:30 PM - Ceremony = done. My house is near the reception venue, so I head home to lay around for an hour & avoid a pricey drink at the hotel bar.

6:00 PM - Let the reception BEGIN! The BF & I take turns DD'ing. He had to work at 7AM the next morning anyways, so I don't feel bad that he took this one for the team. $0

8:00 PM - Dance, drink, dance.

11:00 PM - The fun is over, we say our goodbyes, the BF drops me off at home, but I'm stone cold sober, so I follow him back to his house.

Total Spent : $112.23

Day Seven : Sunday

9:01 AM - Wake up to the gentle sound of rain on the roof.

9:40 AM - Stomach won't stop making gurgling noises, so I finally get up.

9:45 AM - The BF left the coffee on for me. Pour a big ol' mug full. Eat leftover cookies from the wedding. $0

10:00 AM - We're hosting a cookout for his family this evening, so I've got to make pasta salad for 20. I get to work boiling water & chopping veggies.

10:15 AM - Dump a bunch of things I find in a pitcher to make sangria. Including a random can of peaches I found. It turned out really well. $0

11:45 AM - Suit up to go for a bike ride, but then the BF stops home for lunch, so my car is blocked in & it's raining again.

12:38 PM - Finally start my ride. I was planning on leisurely, but then this girl on a slick tri bike rides past and I can't help but chase her. I ride my fastest 10 miles in a while. She finishes her ride, so I make my last 5 miles a little lot slower.

2:00 PM - More cookout prep. I realize all I've had to eat is cookies. So I eat a zucchini muffin from earlier in the week & half a cantaloupe. $0

2:15 PM - Shower, and I needed it.

3:30 PM - BF is home from work. We toss drinks in a cooler and use ice we've been stockpiling for weeks, because we're both too cheap to buy a bag from the store. It's just water, after all. Then we drop my car off at the mechanic, this way we'll free up a parking space & save ourselves a headache later. My car needs new brakes.

4:45 PM - We told people they could start heading over around 5, so the first folks show up at 445 (Okay, so the first folks really showed up at 330, but we told them that when we said 5PM we meant it, and that they needed to go away. In what world does 5 or 530 mean 330!?).

5:30 PM - When it's all said and done there are 19 of us. Wow. Things went surprisingly smooth. We had plenty of food, plenty of seating & plenty of booze.

10:22 PM - Finally the last few folks leave. I'm beat. We scurry around to clean up the essentials & then it's bed time.

Total Spent : $0

Weekly Total Spent : $210.39

Am I surprised? Eh. I would say this is not quite a normal week for me. The clothes buying is out of character for me and obviously the wedding is an occasional one time spend. But usually one grocery trip + one tank of gas a week is about on par. I bring the majority of my meals to work, maybe twice a month I'll grab lunch out at Chipotle. But, I usually have gift cards since my Mom likes to gift me things she knows I'll use.

Where does the biggest chunk of your money go each week?
Do you usually go out for lunch // happy hour?
What are some of your money goals?

Also linking with Gretchen & Kristen.


  1. This was honestly, truly fascinating to read. I don't know why. I guess I'm a VERY nosy person and am super interested in how people around my age spend their time and their money. The biggest chunks of my money goes towards my damn car, student loans, and credit card payments. Getting a credit card was easily one of the worst financial decisions I've made in my twenties. I rarely go out for lunch but get maybe two or three small coffees from Dunkin a week. I need to start just brewing my own coffee.
    My biggest money goal currently is to just drag myself out of debt, bit by bit!
    Danielle @ afloat on a full sea

    1. Glad this was interesting, because I'm thinking I would like to do a check in every few months or so. Definitely brew your own coffee, it's such an easy way to save $5-$10 bucks that you could use on something that's not easy to make yourself, or put towards credit cards!

      That's a great goal, because once you get out of debt you can save that money for vacation or retirement or both!

  2. The biggest chunk of my money goes (besides to regular bills like car payment & rent), goes towards coffee at Dunkin Donuts (wait for my currently post tomorrow) - like an astronomical amount that just shouldn't be allowed.. nor can I afford it. So, I bought iced coffee from the grocery store & its $4- for a carton of it which will last me about a week.. $4 a wk vs $12.50+ a wk.. much better decision. thanks for motivating me to actually LOOK at my spending habits.

    1. YES. So not worth spending money on that when you can do it so much cheaper at home & save yourself some time in the morning too!

  3. hell to the yes for early retirement! that's what i'm working on as well. most of our money goes to fitness, both me and my husband :)

    1. Yes, I definitely spend a big chunk on running and other fitness endeavors. But yeah, definitely on the early retirement life.

  4. Oh man, I really need to do a money diary. We go over our monthly budget at the end of every month and I'm always astonished at the money flowing out. I probably would do better to keep track of it more frequently than just the once a month check in.

    1. I try to at least glance at my credit card statement once a week, otherwise it is so easy to forget about little purchases here and there that really add up! It was very eye opening!

  5. I spend WAYYYY too freely. I'd be afraid to break it down.
    My Starbucks & Lunch spending alone would have me freaking out. I spent $13.00 just alone for lunch at Panera yesterday. I need to have you as my spending guru.

    1. The double benefit to not going out for lunch is I can eat at my desk the MOMENT that hunger strikes and that I can also use my lunch break to read a book. :)

  6. I'm the same age as you and have a similar income, so this was really interesting for me!! Thanks for sharing! I still have $54000 worth of student loan debt so I'm focusing on getting that paid off asap. It's a lot, but a year ago I had $84000 so I'm definitely making progress!

    1. That's HUGE progress in just a year! Congrats! Definitely can be discouraging to see the debt, but you're doing such a great job chipping away at it!

  7. WOAH this is so detailed! I love it; and I'm definitely learning from you and your series/posts on budgeting.

    1. So glad! I figure if nothing else, people are nosy about stuff like this, and it has been fun to write, so I think I'll keep it going!

  8. i definitely find things like this super interesting, i'll have to check out cash confessional. i like your goals/dreams. good luck on becoming a millionaire! i think it would be interesting to track my daily expenditure, i'd be embarrassed by all my vending machine trips lol

    1. Pretty much the only good thing about never having cash on me, is I can't go to the vending machines! So I just roam around the office hangry, so not sure that is any better.

  9. I'm am totally obsessed with reading about this kind of stuff on Refinery 29. I think I spent an entire afternoon doing so last week.
    I'm thinking about writing my own, but it's scarrrrrry.

    1. It is scary, but I tell ya what, you could probably nix revealing your income if that made it better, I think the most interesting part is how people are spending their money, regardless of income, though that extra tidbit is helpful. But seriously, all these comments have made me so glad I decided to share.

  10. This is so interesting. Our money mostly goes towards mortgage and student loans, and now Lowe's and Home Depot for house renovations! But I'll admit there's some iced coffee purchases here and there. I'll have to check out Cash Confessionl.

    1. Oh man, I KNOW that once I have house to take care of and renovate that my cash expenditures will go WAY UP.

  11. This is such an interesting way to look at your finances! I love that one of your goals is to have $1M in the bank... I feel like I need that as my goal too :P

    The biggest chunk of our money at the moment goes to private health insurance, acupuncture (for me) and phone bills - but they're all necessary things for us!

    1. It has just always seemed like such a crazy number, but the more I save the more I realize it is 100% attainable. Just gotta keep plugging. The first million will take a while, but after that it'll just keep growing!

  12. Our spending habits are really similar! I try to cook as many meals myself as possible, so the majority of my budget is for groceries as well. Great job with your spending goals!

    1. Sometimes I lose motivation, but I quickly remember I can buy a whole week of groceries for just a little more than the cost of a meal out & I am quickly re-motivated.

  13. Impressive, honest, and a little saddening when I look at my own finances....but we each make different choices in our lives and mine have led me here.

    1. Just don't ever feel like you're stuck. Just like if you eat a "bad" meal when you're trying to eat healthier, you can make a change with the next meal. By no means is it easy, but you have a choice each time you bring out that credit card, or go to make a purchase on whether or not you need it. Feel free to email me if you ever want to chat about this stuff, it's something I'm really passionate about.


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