What I Spend in a Month as a 22-Year-Old Software Engineer: March 2022

I realized that recently I have been making a lot of unnecessary purchases. I want to hold myself accountable and see where I can cut costs. This article will focus on my spending in the month of March 2022. A little about my occupation: I work at Microsoft as a software engineer and I am currently working remotely.

The first calculation I would like to share is what I made in a month after withholdings, taxes, and my deductions for my 401k. In the month of March, I received two payments from Microsoft, one payment from Medium, 1 payment from Wells Fargo, and three payments from Rover.

From Microsoft, I received a total of $6354.56. From Medium, I got a wonderful $15.87 (thank you to everyone who reads my articles!), and from Wells Fargo, I received $25 from credit card rewards. I do dogsitting on the side for some extra company (and money) when working remotely and I made $92 in the month of March from Rover. That means I made in total $6,487.43.

The second calculation I will make is the necessary spending calculation. This includes rent, utilities/gas, wifi, health insurance, gas, and groceries. My rent fluctuates a little bit month-to-month. I live in Austin, but ~17 minutes away from the downtown area when there is no I-35 traffic (there is ALWAYS traffic). My rent for my 1 bed, 1 bath apartment was $1,132.98 in March. I owed $20 in utilities this month to the city of Austin as well. Gas came out to be $54.27. Microsoft pays my health insurance fully so that costed me $0! My wifi per month is $50 and I spent $58.72 for gas.

Groceries are a little tougher to calculate. From what I can gather, I have spent $270.44 at Trader Joe’s, Sam’s Club, H-E-B, Ranch 99 and Walmart. There are times that I will pay for my boyfriend as well as me or I buy something that is not grocery related (non-essentials such as flowers or dog treats, essentially). This calculation seems pretty high for one person, averaging $67.61 each week.

That means that for my necessary spending in March, I spent a total of $1,586.41.

For reoccurring monthly payments such as subscription services, I have a google one membership ($1.99/month), Lemonade ($8.25/month), Spotify ($10.65/month), HBOmax ($14.99/month), and my gym membership (a whopping $139.80/month). Reoccurring payments add up to $175.68 for March.

Okay, deep breath here. Now I have to look at my unnecessary spending. So, off the bat, I have a credit card that is only unnecessary spending and that payment for March came out to be $576.49. All I can say is yikes, what was I spending it on? As it turns out, I paid for my parent’s poodle’s grooming (would you believe me if I told you that his grooming costs $147.72?) and I ordered Grubhub twice to come out to be $23.76. The absolute worst thing to happen to me was I ordered from a restaurant that was walking distance from my apartment. That was entirely by accident.

The other credit card that I religiously use had a lot of unnecessary restaurant spending. My friend visited me from out of town in March and so we went out to eat quite a bit. I spent on this card $832.18 on unnecessary spending. This included my Daiso run ($31.93… I cannot resist Daiso) and the large Ikea order I made ($208.35). To be honest, I did need a bedframe from Ikea, but I will count that in unnecessary spending as I am planning on moving soon.

My restaurant costs were a little out of pocket for myself in March. Since my friend visited, we went out to lots of cool places that were totally overpriced and not worth it. I spent at restaurants $329.34 total. All that said, the experience was worth it (questionable at best).

For my unnecessary spending, my total comes out to be $1,408.67.

The total of how much I spent goes as follows: necessary payments + reoccurring payments + unnecessary stuff = 1586.41 + 175.68 + 1408.67 = $3,170.76 total payments made in March.

Removing what I received in payments versus what I spent gives me the following: payments received — money spent = 6847.43–3170.76 = $3676.67 leftover for savings and investments.

I believe that this is where I f’ed up. Because in my bank statement, it turns out for the month of March, I am -$1,339.42 for the month of March. Which I am thinking, how is this possible? Did I transfer a ton of money on Venmo? Did I accidentally pay my rent twice? As it turns out, they did charge me for April rent on the 31st of March, which is why I am down horrendously.

I deposited $3000 into my investment accounts. So that should bring me to $676.67 left for the month of March. There are a lot of purchases that I made on Amazon, Cider, Target, and otherwise, that I typically would not need to spend at all.

The best way to tackle my spending is to really cut down on the costs of eating out, or when eating out, maybe not go to some sh*tty, expensive restaurant? I remember I went to this place that charged me $26 for a charcuterie board with 4 items on it. Not. worth. it. I would like to switch my spending mentality into spending money on experiences, not material goods. I also recently removed my HBOMax subscription and I am thinking of downgrading my Spotify.

In reality, removing reoccurring subscriptions help overtime, but my main issue from what I can tell from March is spending too much on eating out and buying just way too many material goods that I have not worn or used yet (and I am writing this at the end of April!). I am hoping that this salary transparency / money diary will help you with your budgeting needs as this has enlightened me on what I need to fix in my future spending.

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Software engineer @ Microsoft. Exploring tech, financial freedom, and everything in between.

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Constance Xu

Constance Xu

Software engineer @ Microsoft. Exploring tech, financial freedom, and everything in between.

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