I'm 27, Live in Atlanta, and Just Became an Attorney

YNAB Money Snapshots


Welcome to YNAB Money Snapshots—where you see a real picture of someone else’s budget and finances. They’re all anonymous, because sharing money is still a squirrelly topic for many, but we think airing them out in the open makes you better with your own money story. 

As you read these budgets, keep in mind that some people make lots of money and some people make a little bit of money, but we know it’s what you do with that money and how you feel about that money that means more than any yearly salary. 

See how an attorney in Atlanta, Georgia making $50,000 a year spent his money in April.

About

  • Name: St. Clair
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Atlanta, Georgia 
  • Job: Attorney
  • Living situation: I live alone with no pets.

Income: $50,000/year

Savings: $5,500

Debt: $152,300

  • Student loans: $148,000
  • Credit card debt: $4,300

April Inflows: $4,484

  • Stimulus check: $1200 (I’m now a month ahead in my budget!)
  • Payroll: $3,284

April Budget

Budget

Catego­ry What
I
Spent
Notes
Monthly Bills
Rent/Water/Sewer (1st) $1,247 Studio apartment in Atlanta city limits
Patreon (1st) $10
Hulu (3rd) $6
Squaretrade (10th) $9
Phone (14th) $85
Electric (17th) $68
Spotify (23rd) $10
Internet (24th) $60
Health Ins (28th) $18 Normally $78/month but insurance co. offers rebates for watching videos about health education
Dental Ins (28th) (MANUAL) $16
NYT News (variable date) $2
Debt
Discover Card Paydown (28th) $131
Student Loan ($50.76/mo) (28th) $51 On income-based repayment (flat 10-year plan would be close to $2k/month)
True Expenses
Groceries $256
Coffee $25 Coffee beans subscription as part of Trade Coffee
Transportation $15 Gas and light rail card
Hair $0 $70 every four months
Health $59 Prescriptions are $51.06 every three months
Clothing $75
Home Maintenance $72
Stuff I Forgot to Budget For $131
Annual Items
Roll20 (Jun 3) $0 $50/year
Nintendo Online (Jul 12) $0 $35/year
Prime (Aug 26) $0 $59/year
Renter's Ins (Nov???) $0 $111.36/year
AAA (Dec 31) $0 $67/year
Car Registration (Dec 31) $0 $70/year
DnD Beyond (Jan 14) $0 $55/year
NYT Cooking (Jan 17) $0 $40/year
YNAB (Apr 17) $84 $83.99/year
Zombies, Run! (Apr 22) $8 $7.99/year
Savings Goals
Emergency Fund $5 Currently have $5K stored in high-yield savings
Auto Insurance $0
Auto Maintenance $0
Vision $0
Vacation $0
Electronics Replacement $0
Just for Fun
Fun Money $8
Dining Out $18
Gaming $135
Gifts $104
Giving $0
Music $0
Education $0
Fitness $0
Wish List
Sewing Kit ($20) $0
Ice Cube Trays ($25) $0
Offset Spatula ($25) $0
Williams-Sonoma 8×8 Pan x2 ($60) $0
Nakiri ($120) $0
Pourover Coffee Setup ($200) $0
Zojirushi ($200) $0
Sewing Machine ($200) $0
Boos Block ($240) $0
Credit Card Payments
Discover Card (Balance Transfer) $0
Citi Credit (General) $9
USBank Credit (TV Phone & Streaming) $6
USAA Credit (Gas) $0
Chase Credit (Amazon) $0
USBank Old Shitty Card $0
Total Expenses $2,723

My Savings Categories

Right now my top savings goals are:

  1. $10,000 emergency fund
  2. Tackle my credit card debt (currently on a 0% APR balance transfer card)
  3. Save for a car

My Month

In April, I was definitely less tempted to eat out! I kept it under $20. I’ve been working from home and saved a fair bit on transportation, which I’m just carrying over to future months. My cell phone bill was about $50 cheaper than normal because I used next to no data all month (it’s normally $85, this month was around $30).

I spent way more on video games this month so me and my friends could play together remotely while distancing. The “gifts” was also a piece of this: three of our four-person friend/gaming group split the cost of a Nintendo Switch and the new Animal Crossing game for the fourth person.

Clothing and Home Maintenance aren’t usually as high as they were this month, usually in the $40-$50 range for Home and frequently $0 for clothing. True expenses happen though, ya know?

My Story

When I was in undergrad I lived off of scholarships which were deposited at the start of the semester and were usually gone within two months of receiving them, at which point I would live exclusively off of my pre-paid meal plan and free pizza from college events.

After graduation, I would “rubber band” my spending based on how much was in my checking account—lots of money, lots of spending! I didn’t save for large expenses or anything. It was honestly dumb luck and the occasional “pity-payment” from my mom that kept me afloat.

At the beginning of this year, I was studying for the bar exam, and that’s when I racked up my credit card debt, since I had no income. I became really uncomfortable with the fact that I didn’t know where any of my money was, how much I had, and whether I was spending in line with my means. That stress, combined with my very-long-term aspiration of “I’ll budget when I get a ‘real adult’ job” sealed the deal. 

Now I have my regular salaried job and have started budgeting. I tried Mint but hated the UI and the fact that I was advertised to. People on various money-related subreddits recommended YNAB so I gave the free trial a spin. I definitely went through the honeymoon phase of looking at my budget all the time, reading all the old blog posts, watching the videos, etc., so even though I’m new to this, I’ve devoted a lot of time to it.

Now with my steady salary, I have $1,000 direct-deposited into a high-yield savings account for my emergency fund and live off of the rest. My student loans are on an income-dependent plan right now. I’ll look into how best to pay them off once my emergency fund is funded and my credit cards are paid off, but right now, they’re just on life support.

My budget is still evolving! Especially when setting up a budget for the first time, the philosophy of only dealing with the “now” and not trying to forecast, along with a general acceptance to modifying the budget as you go made it easier for me to get started. It let me get going without the pressure of getting it exactly right from the get-go.

My Financial Goals

  • Establish my emergency fund ($10K)
  • Pay off my credit card
  • Start funding an IRA
  • Save for a car

I hope to get a raise at the end of the year, which I will use to start funding things like electronics replacements, vacations, and other long-term “nice-to-haves” since my budget is limited to just the essentials right now!

I would rate my current financial situation: 4/5

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