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A Week in Illinois on a $70,000 Salary

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

Today: a library director who makes $70,000

Occupation: Library Director

Age: 57

Location: Wilmette, IL

Salary: $70,000 (approx. $2,692 per pay period)

Day One


At 52, I’ve been feeling discouraged lately. My family’s noticed, and my great-niece recommended something called a “glow-up.” From her explanation, this is a sort of makeover for your life as a whole. So, I’m going to give it a try this week! After work, she and I go to Target to pick up a few essentials—a reusable water bottle, some personal care products, a journal, and a pile of produce. I’ll start using these tonight, drinking more water, creating a skincare regimen, journalling the things I’m grateful for, and snacking on fruits and vegetables.

Total: $63

Day Two


To start, I’m working to improve my home. When I come in the door after work, I turn to the internet to search for folks who can install UV light air purification in your Wilmette, IL, home. I know the HVAC system in this old house aggravates my allergies, and a UV air purifier seems like an excellent way to fight that and get me and my house a little healthier. I stop by the hardware store in the meantime to finish a few other tasks around the house.

Total: $27

Day Three


After work today, I’m turning to my own health and wellness. I know that becoming a vegan can improve your health and, while I’m not vegan myself, I’m going to try to eat more fruits and veggies and even some tofu this week. If attempting a vegan diet will offer health benefits while being more sustainable, I‘m ready to try it. The internet says that something called nutritional yeast makes vegan and vegetarian food tastier, so I order some to test it for myself.

Total: $8.50

Day Four


I’m turning back to the internet today, searching for ways to revamp your closet and otherwise improve my look. My wardrobe could use a boost, so I order a closet organizer and some accessories to start creating my own personal style. As I sort through my wardrobe, I find a skirt and some tops that I forgot I owned in the first place!

Total: $52

Day Five


Today, I want to focus on improving my relationships. I decide to start with my coworkers since I’m around them all day. Unfortunately, the books don’t count! I offer to treat the team to lunch, and a few take me up on the offer. After work, I write a letter to my lifelong best friend and call my brother to catch up.

Total: $124

Day Six


I’m off today, and I’m using the time to improve some skills. More specifically, I want to improve my cooking skills, especially as I try to eat more vegan food. It’s nice to know that I can get all the vitamins and nutrients I need without using animal products! A vegan or vegetarian diet seems to incorporate lots of grains, legumes, and soy products, so I stop by the grocery store to grab a few essential vegan ingredients—or so says the internet.

Total: $43

Day Seven


For the last day of my “glow up” week, I turn inward to improve my mind. I go to church in the morning, then come home and fill out my journal for the day. Then, I download a mobile phone application I saw advertised on television. It’s meant to help you learn to meditate and quiet your mind, so I’m looking forward to giving it a try.

Total: $90

Total for the week: $355.50