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Money Journal: One Week In Minneapolis’s Holland Neighborhood On a $128K Salary

See how far the dollars of a 33-year-old design program manager go.

Pawel Czerwinski via Unsplash

Welcome to Racket’s new Money Journal series, where you can snoop on the finances of an anonymous Twin Cities neighbor. Interested in submitting your own? Email jay@racketmn.com for instructions on over-sharing the monetary details of your life! H/T to Refinery29 for pioneering a tremendous concept that we’re excited to localize.

Personal Info

Job: Design program manager
Age: 33
Neighborhood: Holland neighborhood in northeast Minneapolis
Education: Master’s Degree
Salary: $128,000
Partner’s salary: $89,000
Estimated net worth: -$55,000 (total debt $337,000; total assets $282,000)

Debt

  • Student Loans: $86,000
  • Personal Loans: $47,000
  • HELOC: $10,000
  • House: $194,000

Monthly Expenses

Paycheck amount: $11,820 per month total (spouse gets paid bi-weekly, I get paid monthly)

Family assistance: $0

Rent/mortgage: $657 paid every other week

Insurance:

  • Health: $225 (pre-tax from my paycheck) 
  • Dental: $28 (pre-tax from my paycheck)
  • Life: $845 term life, which will be used for retirement (Ed. note: We double-checked with the journal keeper—this is, in fact, the monthly amount.)
  • Car: $81
  • House: Home is paid bi-yearly out of the mortgage account, but we pay an additional $10 a month for a $1 million dollar umbrella policy which covers anything; it’s more like a personal liability policy. 
  • Pet: $126

401K/retirement: $429.33 from me, $65.38 from my husband

Student loans: $795

Phone: $111

Subscriptions:

  • Spotify 
  • Hulu/HBO 
  • Apple TV
  • Netflix

Money Talk Q&A

Did your family talk about money growing up?

No, it was just me and my mom growing up. We did not have a lot of money. I think I remember seeing a W2 one year, and it was like… $24,000 in 2005. We were pretty poor.

Did you worry about money growing up?

I knew we didn’t have money, but I personally never worried about it because I had the basics. When I was 16 I got my first job and I was terrible with money. I got credit cards at 18 and DID NOT know how to use them correctly. On top of that, in my late 20s, I learned my mom took a credit card out in my name and had ruined my credit.

At what age did you become financially independent?

I went to college and my mom moved out of the state—at that point I lived at college during the year and with my sister during the summer. I would say that’s when I was financially independent, at about 19 years old. But I started buying my own clothes at 16. I didn’t own a car until I was 23.

How did you learn how to budget your life?

I’m still bad with money. I’ve made dumb decisions with money and I should be in a better financial state.

Have you ever received inherited income, major financial gifts, or large insurance payouts?

Nope. I have never received inheritance or insurance payouts. I’ve never been gifted more than $100 on holidays, either.

Do you worry about money now?

I try not to. I still have a lot of working years left to save for retirement, and I’m only going to continue to make more money. Growing up with nothing didn’t help me though—I buy the dumbest stuff. But we’re working with a financial planner now on this.

How much do you think a person or household needs to earn to live comfortably in the Twin Cities?

I’d say $78,000 per year. A good apartment is around $2,000 and I’ve always been told that housing should be 30% of your paycheck. But also, I think it really depends on your debt, loans, and payments. If I didn’t have student-private loans, I’d be really well off. I think about the $4,700 I pay toward my various loans each month and think—wow, what I could do with that? My personal loan is set to be paid off in 10 months. That will be a BIG relief. But we also want to re-do our kitchen and that’ll cost $60,000, so there’s always money to spend in my head.

Day 1 

10 a.m.: Target run for groceries and some Halloween decorations. $172.

11 a.m.: Starbucks. $5.

11:15 a.m.: I wanted to get burrata, but Target didn’t have it. I ended up with ricotta and ice cream bars. $18.

11:55 a.m.: Car wash. $15.

Noon: Went to Home Depot for paint and primer for outdoor window trim and a new back door light. $196.

5:30 p.m. We use Imperfect Foods to supplement our regular groceries. $50.

5:45 p.m.: Every six weeks Chewy sends out our auto-ship dog food, cat food, and litter. $105.

Total: $561

Day 2

Nothing!

Total: $0

Day 3

8 a.m.: Pre-nail appointment Starbucks, I grab one for myself and one for my nail artist. $12.04.

10 a.m. Nail appointment. $108.

11 a.m.: Post-nail Starbucks, grabbed one for myself and husband! $12.47.

3 p.m.: Amazon. Needed some stuff for cakes I’m making for friend’s kids birthdays, and also a book for my 13-year-old niece who says she wants to be a quantum physicist. I’m going to support that dream until the day she has another. Then I’ll support that one. $79.02.

Total: $221.53

Day 4

10:42 a.m.: Amazon again, this time for ingredients for a fondant for a cake I’m making. $15.28.

Total: $15.28

Day 5

9:20 p.m. Wine and cheese flight with a friend at Sister Sludge while our other friend was working. $37.

11:15 p.m.: Traveling to L.A. next month and buying tickets to the Comedy Store $57.76.

Total: $94.76

Day 6

9:10 a.m. A to Z Creamery, this very exclusive ice cream place that sells online and you have to pick up in Hopkins. It’s so expensive but so good. $15.20

Total: $15.20

Day 7

10:11 a.m.: Lattes at Amy’s Cupcake Shoppe in Hopkins. Needed to pick up the ice cream I bought yesterday. $12.68.

1:06 p.m.: A few groceries for baking from Cub. $63.48.

8:15 p.m.: After baking all day I really didn’t want to cook dinner, so my husband and I went to get burgers at Blue Door Pub. $50.62.

Total: $174.30

Weekly total: $1,082.07