A Week in Abilene, TX, on a $40,00 Salary

Welcome to Spending Notes, where we do a weekly deep dive into how our readers spend their cash. Today:…
a city skyline at night

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

Today: a freelancer who makes $40,000 a year

Occupation: freelance social media specialist

Age: 28

Location: Abilene, TX

Salary: $40,000 (approx. $1,538 per pay period)

Day One


My divorce was only recently finalized, but I’m already trying to make my new place feel more like it’s mine. I mean, a bachelor pad should feel like it’s a bachelor pad, right? So, after working on client projects through the morning, I take the afternoon to buy darts for my new den. I always loved playing with the guys when we’d go out, so why not bring that fun home? I might’ve gone a little bit overboard with the accessories, but it’s worth it to know I’ll have such an exciting detail to make this condo my own.

Total: $173.50

Day Two


I write companies’ social media posts for a living, and today’s a fun one. A local client wants to highlight other area businesses, so I start by mentioning my favorite roofers in Abilene, TX. They put a new roof on the house my ex and I will be selling, with outstanding results. I never thought a roofing company would be so easy to work with! Once I’ve used a few posts to spread the word about the roofers, I move on to an insurance company and a few other business owners throughout Abilene and the surrounding area. After work, I call in some food for delivery. It’s like another way to support a local business!

Total: $37

Day Three


Since it’s the middle of the week, I decided to do some holiday shopping today. The crowds might be a little more bearable, or so I hope! I manage to find items for both my parents, my three siblings, and the family dog. I stop to buy a bottle of wine for a friend and grab myself some rum while I’m there.

Total: $234

Day Four


I’m working on some more client projects today, specifically for a company that handles online background checks. These don’t excite me as much, but it’s still honest work, right? With that part of my project done, I pay a few bills and hang out on the couch for the evening.

Total: $792

Day Five


A friend of mine invited me to a “little dinner party” at his place tonight, and since I don’t have anything else going on, I thought, “Why not?” I take the bottle of wine I bought earlier in the week and head to his home, where his wife and three kids are mingling with some other guests. I don’t really talk to many people besides my friend and his family, but at least it got me out of the house for a while. Plus, a free meal never hurt!

Total: $0

Day Six


I spend my day running some errands, then decide to stop by a local sports bar to catch the game. A few drinks and a burger later, I honestly can’t tell you which team won. But, again, it got me out of the house, and I’ve got plenty of leftovers this time.

Total: $39.50

Day Seven


It’s a pretty boring Sunday here, really. I play my good ol’ Grand Theft Auto game for a few hours, then decide to go pick up some groceries. I’ve got a credit card payment due, too, so I take a few minutes to transfer those funds. I grab some tacos for dinner, then head home and call it a night.

Total: $128

Total for the week: $1,404