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Money Feels: How This 25 Year Old With A $34.5k Salary Saves $200 A Month

No, he doesn’t live with his parents.

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You’ve made it to Money Feels, where we smash taboos by just ...talking…about money. It’s that easy.

If you ever wonder how much other people your age earn, save, or spend, this is the series for you.

We’ll be taking an honest look at how Gen Z and millennials all over America do money.

This whole segment is a no judgment zone btw. It’s 2022 and times are weird.

Who’s got the money mic this time?

This week, we’re talking to David*, a 25 year-old Marketing Coordinator living in Upstate New York.

An important bit: David’s spends for the week are over here in a blog we released this week. If you haven’t already, open that up in a new tab and get to know David’s habits.

*David exists for real, but his name ain’t David. It’s nothing close. We’ve changed his partner’s name too. So if you think you know them, probs not.

Here's a recap of his details

Pronouns: He/him

Location: Upstate NY

Yearly salary: $34,500

Monthly expenses

Rent: $725 (I share a one bedroom apartment with my partner Britney. She Pays $725, too)

Credit Cards: Don’t have one.

Gym: $24.99

Car insurance: $250

Electricity: $300

Streaming: me and  my partner spilt these. I cover Hulu and Paramount. She covers HBO.

We use my family’s Netflix and Prime video accounts.

How the conversation went down

Thanks for telling us your salary, David. Do you think you’re paid fairly within your industry?

No. I worked out that the average pay in my area for a a Marketing Coordinator with 1-3 years experience is $67k. The absolute base was $34.

I have a Degree, 3 years experience, and I’m paid $34.5k if I don’t work over time.

Do you save any money each month?

I always try and put money away for rainy day.

When it rains, it pours. I save $200-$250 a month if I'm lucky. But if something comes up, that’s the first lump sum that gets drained.

A while ago, I got back from a work trip to Florida and somebody had run into my car. Insurance said nope because it was a hit and run.

My $800 of savings went in one go.

Damn. How did that make you feel?

Like, how can I get to the next stage in life? At 25, you should be looking for ways to afford a house, increase your assets and equity.

You just can’t do that with $250 savings a month, never mind when something comes along in life and that goes instantly. That’s why medical bills get you, too.

To be saving anything right now is impressive though. How do you save that $200 every month?

I don’t give myself the option to spend it. When I get paid (every 2 weeks), first thing I do is put $100-$125 into my savings account.

At the end of that pay period, I hope my balance hasn’t dipped under $300. If it has, I transfer my savings back as my bank needs me to have $400 minimum in the account.

If I don't have $400 in here, I get charged $5 a month.

They’re literally charging to be poor, it seems broken to me. Your bank should be there to help. Not take your money.

Writer’s note: none of you will be surprised to know that the bank in question is…




For David, and a lot of people living in the US, Bank of America is the only option that feels suitable.

Why? Because, like most terrible things in life, it’s everywhere.

In your weekly run-through, you mentioned spending about $600 on stuff for your new dog, and grabbing a coffee every day. Gen Z face a lot of backlash when it comes to buying little things instead of saving for houses.

How do you feel when you spend money that’s not factored into your budget?

I have no problem with it.

Writer’s note: Icon.

A coffee is $1.79. That’s fine to me. You know what, it starts my day off positive and it gets me through the morning.

With expenses like the dog: our generation are gonna spend our careers spending money just as fast as we earn it and it’s really hard to reward yourself.

I've wanted a dog for 3 years. I can now afford to take care of one. Why should I spend less and less when the reason we cant afford a house is no fault of our own.

You work in Real Estate, so I think you’ll have some thoughts on this. Who’s fault is it that our generation can’t buy houses?

In my opinion, it’s the fault of people who own homes. Plus inflation.

I know I work in real estate but… estate agencies also really drives the price up on homes. We’re in a market right now where houses can go for $100k over asking price.

There’s no way an average 25 year old with a degree, never mind without one (that effects how much you get paid…which it shouldn’t), could put down an offer right now.

Anyway, mainly cash offers are being put down.

So yeah. Telling Gen Z to save $20 a week so we can buy property is a mortgage. It’s like putting a bandaid over a hole in a ship.

Do you and Britney have any financial goals?

We’re not in a place to set goals yet.

We do have a joint bank account, and Britney’s got a damn good credit score.

But she’s still a Masters student, she does 40 hours of practical training each week and works 20 hours on top of that to cover her part of rent. So right now we get by and I cover most of our expenses.

She’s studying something mega though, so when she graduates, her starting salary will be, like, double what mine is.

At that point, we’ll be able to set some goals and put money towards the right things. We’re not fully stable financially, so we don’t want to put away money we need now.

We’ll get there though.

Do you have a credit score?

No. Too much on my plate right now.

I tried to go get a credit card with Bank of America. They laid down a plan for me for beginner credit. But they wanted $300 up front as a deposit.

The conversation went like this:

Me: “you can see that i’ve got money coming in, why do you need a direct deposit?”

BOA: “oh dw, it’s standard when the credit score’s bad like this’

Me: “you can see that I’m saving money and being responsible. You’re asking for 300 just so I can spend money and pay with your card and pay you guys for it?”

So yeah. I’ll do it eventually. Definitely not with Bank of America though.

Tysm for your time, David. Is there any way you’d like to summarize your money life?

Yeah. Surviving not thriving. That’s the best way I can put it. But at least we’re surviving.

So that was David’s thoughts. Remember, you can go here to see the break down of his week, as well as some personalized tips and tricks for him from all of us at Cleo.

If you’d like to speak to us about your money, go ahead and hit me up at alex.s@meetcleo.com. It’s $60 for your time, and as anonymous as you’d like it to be.

Enjoy this post? Def give it a share or send it along to a friend. You never know, it could make a big difference. And of course, if you want to try the best money app in the world for free, just hit this link right here.

Big love. Cleo 💙

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