Welcome to Spending Notes, where we do a weekly deep dive into how our readers spend their cash.

Today: a behavioral and social scientist who makes $60,000

Occupation: work/life specialist

Age: 34

Location: Sumter, SC

Salary: $60,000 (approx. $2,308 per pay period)

Day One


Most people aren’t familiar with a work/life specialist, but my job manages to inspire me every day. I spend the day helping people manage vital social services and less severe issues alike. I’m the person they come to for answers, whether it’s where to go to find a housing subsidy or who to call to extend the life of your Sumter, SC, cooling system. I recently had to deal with something similar not too long ago, so questions about HVAC systems are some of my favorites as of late. Across the United States, few places could compete with South Carolina and the surrounding states for having the most need for an air conditioner! The sandwich I had at lunchtime didn’t fill me up for long, so I pick up a heartier dinner for my sister, T., and me to eat after work.

Total: $42

Day Two


I have a reasonably standard workday but have to answer all new questions after my shift. My younger sister wants to become a hair stylist, so I’m trying to help her figure out the best way to go about doing so. She wants to open her own salon one day but is comparing beauty school and cosmetology programs at a local community college that could help her get there. For my hairstylist-to-be, I think she’ll find that skills and years of experience will ultimately be more important than the training program she chooses now. So long as she‘s a talented stylist and gets her cosmetology license, I have no doubt she’ll be a great hairdresser. We chat about her future in the beauty industry while making our way through a pizza.

Total: $28

Day Three


After work, I stop by the drug store for a box of hair dye. My roots are starting to show, and T. is happy to practice by coloring my hair! So our bathroom temporarily becomes a salon, with her favorite K-pop playlist in the background and the smell of hair color wafting through the house.

Total: $14

Day Four


I left the office early today to head to the local garage—my car is painfully overdue for an oil change. To keep the little Volkswagen running at peak efficiency, regular maintenance like this is critical. Once that is complete, I head home and make a box of macaroni and cheese for T. and me.

Total: $47

Day Five


Today’s a pretty standard day at work, and I meet with some friends for our Friday night girls’ night out. I come home to T. after, and we chat over a pint of ice cream before heading to bed. I make a point of letting her know how much the girls liked my hair!

Total: $32

Day Six


One of the best things about living in South Carolina is the number of great activities for nature lovers you’ll find here. I would never have thought I’d grow up to be a nature lover, with the best moments of my life taking place in the great outdoors. From kayaking and hiking to horseback riding and the pure fresh air, I’ve learned to love this great place, its miles of trails, and the beauty throughout it. So with that in mind, my sister and I take to the lake and rent kayaks for the day, a great way to spend any South Carolina Saturday.

Total: $110

Day Seven


Unlike the fun of yesterday’s outdoor activities, today is spent very much inside. I do some grocery shopping early on, then head home to handle some chores throughout the house. It’s a quiet Sunday overall, leaving me well prepared for the week ahead.

Total: $54

Total for the week: $327