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

Today: a mining engineer who makes $55,000 a year

Occupation: mining engineer

Age: 36

Location: Hoboken, NJ

Salary: $55,000 (approx. $2,115 per pay period)

Day One


Lately, I’ve been feeling underappreciated in my current role, which is relatively thankless and pays less than the industry standard. So, with a day off this Monday, I’m doing some research into potential job opportunities. One company in my field that keeps coming up is Alamos Gold, a diversified Canadian gold producer. I’ve long since wanted to return to my hometown of Toronto, and some of these roles seem right up my alley. Guess it’s time to polish my resume! To be safe, I send it off to a professional for some touch-ups.

Total: $250

Day Two


Back to work today, and I grab a drink immediately after. Looking at those Alamos jobs has really got me thinking about the future and the opportunities that could await me, if I play my cards right. To start, I‘m going to browse some New Jersey storage units. I may very well need to move back to Toronto quickly if a role like this plays out, so it will help to have a safe place to keep my excess belongings until I can get settled and send for them.

Total: $16

Day Three


I work overtime today on our current project and go straight through lunch, so by the time I get home for the night, I’m both starving and exhausted. I order a burger and fries for delivery and give a few bites to the dog, then settle in for what I’m sure will be a deep sleep.

Total: $24.50

Day Four


It’s another workday but fortunately a relatively relaxed one, at least compared to yesterday. I meet the day’s deadlines and just about my ideal quitting time and head to a local bar for a beer and their happy hour hot wings. I start talking to a really nice girl, and we head back to my place—turns out she’s afraid of dogs and leaves after seeing B. If she only knew that he’s just a big softie!

Total: $32

Day Five


With the workweek just about over, I’m cutting it close to the wire with my final deadlines. I stay about three hours later than a standard nine-to-five worker might, then make my way home to B. I order a pizza (and offer him some crust and pepperoni, of course) and call it a night.

Total: $21.50

Day Six


My first task of the day is taking B. to the vet for his regular nail trim. Forty dollars later, we head to a coffee shop, where he gets a special whipped cream treat (I stick to drip coffee, black). I take him home afterward and put reruns of an old TV show on in the background while I handle some general household maintenance—cleaning up, throwing in a load of laundry, paying bills, and all of those fun requirements of adulthood. Once all that is out of the way, I spend about an hour choosing a movie to watch before settling on the latest superhero flick to be released for streaming.

Total: $739

Day Seven


Sunday morning, I’m up early and make it to the grocery store before the crowds get too ridiculous. It takes me about half an hour to pick up the necessary groceries, then I stop by a nearby Mexican place for my favorite steak fajitas as a lunchtime treat. I head home after and take a long nap, followed by some Netflix with B.

Total: $68.50

Total for the week: $1,151.50