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. 


Occupation: Lead Swim Instructor/Clothing Designer

Industry: Sports & Recreation/ Fashion

Age: 24

Location: Jersey City

Salary: $30,000

Net Worth: Not sure 

Debt: $41,000 (school debt) 

Paycheck Amount (and how often): At least $1,300.00 every 2 weeks

Pronouns: he/him

Monthly Expenses/Subscriptions 

Rent: I don’t pay full rent but I contribute $200 each month 

Metrocard/Smartlink: $80

Dental Insurance: $70

Netflix: $12.99

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

Yes, growing up I was expected to go to and complete college as not many people in my family have done so.

I did attend and finished with my bachelor’s in business management with an entrepreneurship focus.

My mother (bless her) helped with all the major bills that needed to be paid. I paid for all the smaller things like books, food, and etc.

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

In the beginning, we struggled as my parents divorced and my mom took care of me mainly herself. But fortunately, it was not a long-term struggle and my mom was able to support me.

Also, my father was a very present figure in my life despite the separation of my parents.

Many conversations about money happened primarily of credit and credit utilization and how credit is not real money and shouldn’t be treated as such.

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

Around 21 is when I started to learn more about money and how to maintain it.

I primarily taught myself about finance.

My interest came when I started taking more finance classes for running a business and I took some of the important lessons from that and applied them in my own life.

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

I do have a savings account and I opened it when I was 18.

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

My first job was working at the computer lab in my school helping and assisting people. I wanted something to do on the college campus and I desperately wanted money of my own to buy things I want and save for myself.

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

Around the age of 20, while my mom was still paying for college I paid for most if not all my expenses. With my personal income, I do not worry.

However, for my business of course I’m always thinking about the next thing we can do with the profit we made.

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

Yes, I have a rainy day fund Separate from my savings.

Spending (Sunday-Saturday)

Day One: 

My birthday was a few days earlier so I was still celebrating but first I still had work so I took the path train to get there. $2.75

Had to get my day started with a nice cup of coffee. $4.39

Ubered to get home to shower and get ready for the day. $10.57

Then my friends and I got Korean corn dogs. $32

After, we went to VR world. $40

  • Daily Total: $89.71

Day Two:

I work a double shift on my Monday’s so I do not usually spend much money but still need to taker the train to get there. $2.75 

A quick Dunkin’ run to kickstart the day. $4.23

For lunch, I went to Quick Check today. Trying to stay away from unhealthy choices as a healthy body leads to a healthy mind. $12.99

After the shift, I headed home. $2.75

  • Daily Total: $22.72

Day Three: 

I started the day by placing an order for a few things we needed for the upcoming pop-up event for Fushimo so I ordered stickers and a table banner, $43 & $32

After, I take the bus to meet the managers at the office which is near my house for our weekly meeting. $1.75 

After work, my girlfriend and I planned to go to the gym so I took an Uber to get there. $14.67

We got some chipotle after cause we deserve it after a good work out. $33.82

  • Daily Total: $125.24

Day Four:

Dunkin Run!!! $7.36 this time because I got some food too.

Netflix charged my account early in the morning. $12.99

  • Daily Total: $20.35

Day Five: 

I wanted to spend some time with my family so I took the train to go see them. $8.99

Before hopping on the train, I stopped to pick up some food for the trip, $4.87

Daily Total: $13.86

Day Six: 

No spending this day!!

Just had a delicious home-cooked meal and played with my dog.

  • Daily Total: $0

Day Seven: 

Took the train back home. $8.99

Also picked up some food for on the way back. $11.39

  • Daily Total: $20.38

Graphic by Alexis Morales
Is this what a typical week of spending looks like for you?

Not usually, but my spending can vary as I have to make purchases for the brand or maybe take a trip.

*Disclaimer: This series and questions were inspired by Refinery 29’s Money Diaries.

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