Here at The Money Manual we strongly believe that talking about money shouldn’t be taboo. That’s why we are enlisting people in a wide range of professions, living around the country, to tell us how they spend their money.
In this installment, we follow Michael* a 25-year-old New York City-based accountant working at a small advertising company. Because of his job, Michael prides himself on being financially prudent and says his biggest expenses are his rent, food, and his weekly date night with his girlfriend.
“I’ve learned to be frugal because of my profession,” he told The Money Manual. “I manage budgets and see the amount that my company has in the bank on a daily basis. I know how important it is to have a buffer.”
He’s also set some pretty ambitious financial goals for himself. “When I was 23 I read somewhere that when you turn 25 that you should have $15,000 in your bank account. Now, my target is to hit the $30,000 mark by 2019.”
His ultimate goal? “My brother and I want to invest a in a condo [together]. We are already crunching the numbers.”
Here, what this accountant and budding real estate investor spent over the course of a recent week.
“I usually start my day with a $3.81 coffee. I got carrots for a snack at Foragers [a local supermarket] during the day and I went to Starbucks. Usually at night, I’ll eat whatever is in the fridge, or I’ll order Seamless [takeout food], which is what I did tonight. That came out to $13.
One of my biggest transportation expenses is the Uber rides that I take to visit my girlfriend. It takes 24 minutes by Uber to get to her. Today, because of a special promotion, I only spent $8.”
Total Spent: $60.33
“Besides my student loans, my biggest expense every month is rent. I get two paychecks a month, and one goes to pay my rent and students loans and the other one is what live off of and save with.
My parents live in Colorado and pay $1,050 for house with two king-size bedrooms, its own laundry and a full-size kitchen. My brother and I split a $1,800 a month apartment in Long Island City. My share comes to $900, and we have two queen-size bedrooms, a small living room, and an eight-by-eight-foot kitchen that we squeeze through. It hurts me to pay that every month.
Besides my food and commuter expenses, I also bought a $35 pair of sneakers and cigarettes for $15.”
Total Spent: $988.72
“Food is really my main recurring expense [and the only thing I spent money on today]. I really try to control this aspect of my spending, I always think to myself that I can’t just go to a fancy Italian restaurant and order wine, that will blow my budget.”
Total Spent: $23.94
“Besides a coffee, and money on Uber, I spent $15 on a pack of cigarettes. I limit myself to two packs a week. If I run out, I just don’t smoke.”
Total Spent: $28.29
“Every Friday night my big expense is date night. I take my girlfriend to dinner and a movie every week. My father taught me when you go on a date, and your a guy, you pay.
I also spent $40.90 on a toy for my girlfriend’s dog.”
Total Spent: $137.21
Five Day Spend Total: $1,238.49
*Names have been changed for the sake of privacy.
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Feature Illustration: Laura Caseley For The Money Manual