Bread, cash, moolah, paper, dollars, money. No matter what you call it, we all know money talks but it’s also a topic that’s often avoided – until now.

Money Talks* is a Slice of Culture series where we ask real people in Hudson County not only how they make their money, but also how they spend it, specifically during a seven day period. 

Background

Occupation: Omnichannel Associate & Sneaker Creative 

Industry: Fashion

Age: 22

Location: Jersey City, NJ the 201

Salary: $14-$16/hour

Net Worth: $25,000 (I should probably point out about $10,000 of this is hanging in my closet)

Debt: $23,000 

Paycheck Amount: ~$530 weekly

Pronouns: He/him

Monthly Expenses/Subscriptions

Rent: $500

Spotify: $5

Netflix: $0, shared account

Apple Care+: $15

Apple Music: $5

Crunchy Roll: $8

Adobe Illustrator: $10

Did your family expect you to attend higher education? Did you attend? If so, how did you pay for it? 

Yes, it was always an expectation from my grandmother more so than my mother. In 2020, I graduated after studying in a field that shocked my grandma when I initially brought up the idea my senior year of high school – Fashion Business. Honestly, I personally have not paid a single dime for school – that was taken care of by grants, loans, my mother and grandmother.

Growing up did you worry about money? Were there conversations about money in your household? 

Growing up I never really worried, because I never seemed to fully grasp the idea of it in my head. This is likely due to the fact that I could obtain nearly anything I asked for; I was really spoiled. That being said, money talk became extremely prevalent as I grew up and began realizing it’s importance in my teens. My parents would constantly explain expenses and how they can’t always get what I want anymore.

At what age did you learn how to manage your finances? Who taught you about finances? 

Sheesh, I’m still in the process of learning how to manage my finances haha. It’s much more difficult than it seems. My grandma reminds me constantly how important it is to budget, etc. However, I’ve taught myself to manage my spending. Utilizing an excel/google sheet, apps like Mint and checking my credit cards/checking account daily were major contributors to this.

Do you have a savings account? If so, when did you open it?

I opened a savings account a few years ago but barely have money in it. That silly 1% is just too slow for me. But my aggressive portfolio on Acorns, which is what I truly consider as my “savings,” was opened in 2017.

What was your first job? What prompted you to begin working?

My first job was interning for Chilltown Collective. They thought I was a good fit for them and I saw it as an opportunity to increase networking and getting hands-on experience with a streetwear brand.

When did you become fully responsible for yourself? Do you worry about money?

I only recently became fully responsible for myself. Well honestly, I don’t pay for my Netflix account I use, so am I truly fully responsible for myself? Anyways, having your own apartment and bills will do that to you. I worry about money nearly every damn day. I hate spending it, but I love shopping. Go figure.

Do you have a financial safety net? Have you ever inherited income? If yes, explain.

I do have several financial safety nets in the form of investments and tangible assets. This includes a whole Bitcoin and several shares of Ethereum stock. Eventually, I will also inherit ownership of the house I’m renting an apartment of.

Spending (Sunday-Saturday)

Day One:

I made breakfast, (eggs, assorted cheeses and toast) for me and my lovely lady. All of this was bought last week in my grocery haul. $0

Later in the day, we made a trip to the nail salon because our nails were way past due to get re-done. Gel manicures aren’t exactly cheap, but well worth it. $56 for us both including tip.

Once night hit, I thought of what I “needed” to buy to add to my ever-growing wardrobe.

Daily Total: $56

Day Two: 

Woke up and had black coffee and nicotine for breakfast. Very nutritious. $0

Drove to work and spent the day dealing with sneakers and comedians for staff. Always fun.

Lunchtime comes around and of course, I was craving one of the most expensive, but delicious sandwich options offered for delivery. Uber Eats hurts my pockets. Mordi’s is always worth it and I highly recommend the Italiano. $25

I worked for a few more hours and then once I returned home, I was greeted by a sausage and pepper sandwich for dinner. Thanks, mom. $0

Daily Total: $25

Day Three: 

At around 3 AM, I found myself in a ravenous shopping spree. Completely unnecessary, but I’m a sucker for retail therapy.

SSENSE always has crazy end of season sales. Issey Miyake Trousers and Rhude Rhodeo Glasses cost me $258 and $330, respectively. $588

I received a notification that Champs received Fear of God New Era fitteds and of course, I got one in black. Nice daily driver and another $65 gone. $65

Work was nearly the same, except Sarku was the lunch move for the day. $10

For dinner, I had rice and chicken again – orange chicken to be exact. My mom has just been reading what I’ve been eating for lunch and toying with me the past couple of days. $0

Daily Total: $663

Day Four: 

I continue my shopping spree in the early morning. My next victim is a 1017 Alyx 9SM necklace. $254 

Again – work per usual, and another $15 for lunch. I really should start meal prepping again. Should. $15

Nighttime comes and I start my binge of Queen’s Gambit. *spoilers ahead* Wine is free since I bought it last week. $0

Daily Total: $269

Day Five: 

Woke up early to dispute a parking ticket, another water, coffee and nicotine breakfast. This time, I included Frosted Flakes and oat milk to the mix. Nice and free.

Grandma comes through with A Quarter Pounder meal for lunch. Tasty, but not exactly good for you. $0

Nighttime shocked me, Beth’s mom really passed, crazy. 

Daily Total: $0

Day Six: 

Coffee, yogurt, nicotine. You see the pattern. $0

I had to switch it up with popcorn chicken, mashed potatoes, and lemonade from KFC for lunch that day. I was coerced by my coworkers. $10

I had a break from shopping yesterday, but today is another story. Fear of God Sweatpants and Black Cat 4’s ran me $120 and $360 respectively. $480

Finished Queen’s Gambit at home, she finally beat Borgov. Taco Bell dinner to accompany that. $20

Daily Total: $510

Day Seven: 

Grocery shopping day, a nightmare to the pockets as always. I link up with my girlfriend and head to Costco. They don’t take Discover so she comes in to save the day. $0

Somehow their liquor department takes Discover. $55 on wine and beer.

We stopped at Target to fulfill what Costco couldn’t. I covered this one. $130

Newport Mall for makeup shopping and Panera bread. They didn’t have the new Selena collection. They did have Panera though. Only cost here was parking. $7 at the south lot.

Daily Total:  $192

Graphic by Alexis Morales

Is this what a typical week of spending looks like for you?

Hell No! I was going crazy this week. I’m honestly in shock I spent that much. Sheesh. Don’t tell my parents. I probably only spend $200-$300 on average. Sometimes much less.

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