Life Advice

A Week in Pennsylvania on a $75,000 Salary

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

Today: a truck driver who makes $75,000

Occupation: commercial driver

Age: 42

Location: Bellefonte, PA

Salary: $75,000 (approx. $2,885 per pay period)

Day One

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I’m not on the road this week. Instead, I’m taking care of errands and tasks around the house. First up is some research into how to upgrade or replace your Bellefonte, PA commercial HVAC system. My parents run a business and were running into issues with the heating and cooling system. They weren’t sure of what to expect, and I offered to do some digging on their behalf. I find a company that’s well-reviewed by homeowners throughout the State College area and print off the contact information to drop off at Mom and Dad’s. Then, I unwind with a book of sudoku puzzles, with Netflix streaming in the background.

Total: $0

Day Two

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If I were to find out what the most popular home renovation projects are at this given moment, I’d see my current to-do list. I recently removed the carpet in the living room, so I’m painting the floor today amidst a few other home improvements and upgrades. After a quick trip to the hardware store, I’m feeling like a renovation pro. Next up, I make some plans for the roof, bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen. With that list in hand, I’m ready to relax for some time before hitting the hay.

Total: $27

Day Three

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My boyfriend, D., and I are spending today together, a nice change from the time I’d spend on the road usually. We head to our favorite coffee shop and reminisce about having fun on a blind date almost two years ago. Mutual friends set us up way back then, and we had a surprisingly great first impression. I dreaded that date until it came but had more fun over that latte than I’d had in a long time. He’s been by my side ever since, even riding shotgun on a few of my transports over the last year. If I’d known that my first time agreeing to a blind date would be a great way to meet a fantastic guy, I would have said yes much earlier.

Total: $22

Day Four

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D. and I wake up, and he makes us pancakes. We chat over breakfast and consider a few different things we could do to stay connected when I get back to work next week. We’re considering some hobbies that raise your IQ, from painting and reading to exercise and playing a musical instrument. We haven’t settled on any particular choice just yet, but the conversation leads to plenty of insight into what we might take on. After breakfast, we take a trip to the grocery store and enjoy a delicious dinner made from those groceries. D. jokes that cooking could be our new hobby, but I remind him we can’t stick a kitchen in my rig.

Total: $81

Day Five

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I’ve got to head to my parents’ place today, with the HVAC printouts from earlier this week waiting in the passenger’s seat. I stop by the gas station on the way, grabbing a soft drink and snacks for the road. It’s not a very long trip, but long enough to warrant something to munch on! By the time I arrive, the seat next to me has candy wrappers scattered over the papers for my parents. I pull into the driveway and push those wrappers into the glove compartment so Mom won’t question me. Even in her 70s, my mother is ready to feed anyone who comes her way, especially if that’s my sister or me. We enjoy Mom’s famous meatloaf while I tell them about this HVAC company. Then she sends me on my way with leftovers to last all weekend or even longer.

Total: $9

Day Six

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I start my Saturday by drinking a cup of coffee on the patio. I sit there with a book for a while, then heat up some of Mom’s meatloaf for lunch. D. and I meet up for dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant, chatting about his day at work yesterday and my day trip to see Mom and Dad. I promise him some of Mom’s meatloaf when he comes by my home tomorrow but, for now, we head to his place for the night.

Total: $29

Day Seven

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D. brings me home by way of the nearest coffee shop, and I pass on some of Mom’s meatloaf as promised. He has to head into work a short time after, and I reload the dishwasher and do some more cleaning through the house for a few hours. After that, I treat myself to the rest of the meatloaf as a sort of late lunch or early dinner, then pack my bag to get back on the road first thing tomorrow.

Total: $13.50

Total for the week: $181.50

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