A Week in Charleston on a $72,000 Salary

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

Today: a business executive who makes $72,000 a year

Occupation: business executive

Age: 34

Location: Charleston, SC 

Salary: $72,000 (approx. $2,769 per pay period)

Day One

Thanks to a long weekend, I’m home with my family today. In particular, I’m helping my 16-year-old stepdaughter, K., prepare for the stress of college application season. I was a first-generation student myself and hope she won’t have to struggle through like I did. To further protect her from that outcome, I do some research into professional college application help. As it turns out, there are counselors who specialize in just that! We schedule a free consultation for late next week, then go get some ice cream to celebrate.

Total: $12.50

Day Two

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Back to work today, and I’m starting things off by meeting with an outsourced CMO. You see, our organization as a whole is so small that it wouldn’t make sense to have a formal in-house chief marketing officer. Instead, we’re able to bring in a part-time addition to the team who can fulfill the CMO’s role in a short-term capacity, offering the marketing expertise we need with a lower cost, which is perfect for our relatively small business. I grabbed a quick lunch from a break room vending machine and then made my way home, where my husband, L., had dinner waiting already.

Total: $5

Day Three

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Our part-time CMO isn’t the only way outsourcing lends a hand in my workplace. In fact, freelancers handle a lot of our new initiatives and task-oriented projects! That’s my focus as I try to move our digital marketing efforts forward. I join a few colleagues for dinner at a nearby restaurant—it was my coworker Q.’s birthday—and finish the afternoon off by connecting with a few more of our freelance contractors. After work, L. and I heat up leftovers.

Total: $27.50

Day Four

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As part of the company’s executive team, I support our overall business growth alongside each member of our team, from my co-founders to the team of experts that join us on a part-time basis. Today, I’m troubleshooting potential obstacles that we might face as we amp up customer acquisition long-term. There’s a lot of forecasting to be done, but I’ll pass the insights along to the rest of our leadership team so we can reach our growth goals. After work, I stop for gas, then head home, where L. has spaghetti bolognese waiting—an especially welcome addition after skipping my lunch break.

Total: $25

Day Five

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It’s payday, so I start paying some bills before heading into the office. Then, I request some last-minute vacation time before the holiday season arrives. Since we can only roll over a few hours in the new year, I’d much rather use these paid days off while I can! Since L. is retired, this also means we’ll get to spend some time together. After lunch (burgers from the nearest fast food shop), I connect with some of our freelance hires and in-house team members before signing off for the weekend. K. is coming to stay with us again this weekend, so she joins L. and me for dinner at home.

Total: $734.50

Day Six

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L. and I sleep in, but we’re still up over an hour before K. Oh, to be a teenager again! With the day ahead of us, I run a few errands and tidy up around the house. The three of us go to a local steakhouse for dinner, where we enjoy our entrees and the restaurant’s generous salad bar.

Total: $63.50

Day Seven 

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I never used to go to church, but L. always has, so the three of us make our way to Sunday morning mass. We tithe during the service, then enjoy a homestyle meal as a late lunch.

Total: $57

Total for the week: $925

A Week in Charleston on a $72,000 Salary
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