Carla Sanchez is the mind behind the lifestyle blog Spicy Candy DC. Her Instagram page of the same name boasts more than 20,000 followers.
Carla, 35, started blogging six years ago while working for the government. “I wanted a creative outlet,” she said.
Spicy Candy DC began as a fashion blog. Now, Bolivian-born Carla also writes about travel, shopping, food and local events. Brands also pay her to review their companies.
“They see my followers, so brands will reach out and ask me to promote them,” the blogger said. The occasional press trip allows Carla to vacation for almost nothing.
In 2015, Spicy Candy DC was bringing in enough money for Carla to quit her job and blog full-time.
Carla said she makes anywhere from $700 to $1,000 per month just from blogging.
“I try to bring in at least $500 a month with the blog and Instagram posts,” she said. “I’m always networking and looking for collaborations.”
She recently partnered with the dockless bike sharing company ofo to promote its shiny, yellow bikes which were recently introduced to D.C.
But, blogging doesn’t come without challenges. In fact, Carla calls it “stressful.”
Companies sometimes delay payment. Others never pay her at all.
“I’m basically freelancing services to promote brands,” she said. “You don’t know when those paychecks are going to come.”
To get a better idea of how millennials are using their money, we’re skipping the survey data and getting straight to the source. We’re challenging young people in the D.C. area to keep a spending log for just one weekend.
Carla saves her receipts and keeps a monthly spreadsheet to keep track of her finances.
Carla tracks her expenses in a spreadsheet to see where she spends the most. “Right now it’s Uber,” Carla said.
Carla also pours money into her blog to pay photographers and website domain fees.
Since picking up a full-time public relations job, she said, “Blogging puts me at ease with splurging here and there.”
Carla said her favorite purchase from last weekend was a $15 winter jacket that was originally five times the price. “My biggest regret would have to be all the Ubers,” Carla said.
Here’s what else she said she spent:
Uber - $5
I took an Uber to work. I live close to my job so it was only about $5.
Breakfast at Dunkin Donuts - $6
Postmates - $15
It was Thai food. There’s really nothing around my job [to eat] so I spend a lot of money using Postmates.
Uber - $5
I took an Uber back home in the Brookland/Catholic University area. I made food at home so I didn’t spend any money.
Uber Pool to Metro Center - $8
I ended up having breakfast at home, then I left the house to shop for my friend’s housewarming party.
Housewarming party gift - $30
Wine - $20
I grabbed two bottles of wine and [my friend’s] housewarming gift.
Lunch at District Taco- $13
Winter coat - $15
I usually budget about $80-100 for a winter coat, but I found one on sale at H&M for only $15. It was originally $80.
Uber Pool back home - $8
Uber Pool to friend’s house - $6
Uber Pool back home - $6
Lunch at &pizza - $14
Rent - $800
I live with my best friend, who owns a home. I only pay $800 to live in an English basement. I know it’s rare for D.C.
Uber to Arlington -$15
I took an Uber to meet my boyfriend.
Uber back to Brookland - $23
It was a surcharge, so I paid a lot more than I expected.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for length and clarity.