- Jerry Brown, an Uber driver and government employee in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, spends and saves his $US48,000 salary very cautiously.
- In addition to driving, he runs a personal-finance blog in his spare time called Peerless Money Mentor, where he describes his journey from “Broke Phi Broke to financially woke.”
- For Business Insider’s “Real Money” series, he shared how much he spends on food and fuel, and how he’s saving money for his next vacation.
- Want to share a week of your spending? Email [email protected]
At this point in my financial life, my money strategy is simple: kill debt to build wealth.
After graduating from college with two business degrees, I made a few bad financial decisions and bought a car I couldn’t afford. My main focus right now is to eliminate all of my consumer debts, including my car loan and two personal loans. After knocking those out, I will focus on knocking out my $US6,000 in student loans, increasing my cash flow.
I still manage to save plenty of money every month from my paycheck. I deposit $US25 a month into a vacation fund and use my credit-card points for flights. Last year I used the Chase Sapphire credit card reward bonus of $US200 to fly to Miami for free. This year I plan to use my $US600 Southwest credit card reward bonus to travel to San Diego or some other place I have not been before.
My daily food budget is still something I need to work on. Not being the greatest cook, I tend to eat out a lot, which is not healthy and generally more expensive than preparing your own meal.
Here’s a closer look at how I spend my money.
I make about $US48,000 a year, but my take-home pay varies based on my side-hustle income. I spend 19% of my monthly budget on car expenses — here’s how the rest breaks down.
My brother, my cousin, and I live in a house my mum owns. The mortgage on the house is $US633. Living with others gives me an advantage over other people who are struggling to eliminate debt.
My student debt is $US6,000. Most of my education was paid for by grants, but I took out a small loan to cover housing one year. This loan has been with me for almost a decade now. Time to break up with Sallie Mae!
Here’s how much I spend in a typical week.
No matter what, I spend my money on gas; I cannot get to and from work without it!
I also spend a good amount of money eating out, as I’m not a great chef.
On Friday, I was running a little late, so I was unable to fix breakfast at home. Instead, I stopped by the Racetrac convenience store to grab some breakfast.
I grabbed an orange juice and a Southern-style chicken biscuit for $US4.71.
While on my lunch break, I went to Walmart, where I purchased a new USB charging cable for my phone, some Dasani water, and Febreze spray for $US18.40.
Later on, I grabbed some cinnamon-apple Nutrigrain bars and some gummy snacks from Family Dollar for $US5.25.
On Saturday morning, I went to a matinee of “Avengers: Infinity War.”
After going to the movies, I grabbed lunch from Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers. A three-chicken-finger combo with fries cost $US7.12.
Once I was done with lunch, I remembered I had to put some gas in my car – I was riding around on a quarter tank. To fill up, I purchased $US33.19 worth of gas. I now had a full tank, but my car was dirty, so I headed to Benny’s car wash, where I spent $US6.
Sunday was a very light spending day for me.
After picking up a couple of Uber passengers, I stopped at Whole Foods to pick up a slice of Chantilly cake. This is one expensive but delicious piece of cake – it cost $US3.50!
Monday was another light spending day.
One area I struggle to save money in is my food budget. I eat fast food probably three times a week.
On Monday, I purchased a small shrimp po’boy from Nola Cajun Seafood with fries and a bottle of lemonade for $US5.81.
On Tuesday, I forgot to pack my lunch again.
Once again, this is poor planning on my behalf. I opted to buy an eight-piece chicken-nugget meal from Chick-fil-A instead for $US7.21.
My only other purchase was a Hershey’s milk-chocolate candy from the convenience store for $US1.10.
On Wednesday, I woke up to brush my teeth and noticed the toothpaste tube was empty.
I replaced the toothpaste and bought some Listerine from the dollar store for $US5.25.
For lunch, I decided to get a calzone from Rotolo’s Pizzeria because it was $US5 Calzone Wednesday. With tax, the total ended up being $US5.50.
After eating at Rotolo’s, I went to the gas station to purchase a fountain drink for $US0.75.
On Thursday, I decided to purchase a Stouffer’s frozen spaghetti dinner for lunch.
Perhaps it is time to learn how to cook, because it was disgusting.
In addition to purchasing the gross spaghetti, I purchased oatmeal-raisin cookies for the break room at work. The total for these items was $US7.90.
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