A Week in Ohio on A $65,000 Salary

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

Today: a professor who makes $65,000

Occupation: college professor

Age: 33

Location: Lakewood, OH

Salary: $65,000 (approx. $2,500 per pay period)

Day One

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My week is starting with a Monday morning class—the pitfall of not yet having tenure. Today, we’re talking about the blues in literature, moving from song lyrics to creative writing in each discussion and workshop. Next week, we’ll be taking a trip to the Gateway to the Blues museum down in Mississippi. But, for now, our literary music lovers are bringing the Mississippi Delta up here to Cleveland. After class, I head to the campus dining hall for a bite to eat before heading to another class, then back to planning our blues highway trip further.

Total: $6

Day Two

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No classes today, so I get to share breakfast with my girlfriend, A., before she sits down to work for the day. She’s taking off for a few days to join us on the Gateway trip down south, so she’s cramming in some extra freelance work to make up for it. Before we met, she had a short-lived music career, so I can’t help but tease her about returning to a recording studio! Once she moves into the second bedroom—her self-proclaimed “office”—to work, I head to a doctor’s appointment. It‘s just a standard physical, Then, I chat with the receptionist, an old high school friend, before heading to pick up A. for dinner.

Total: $83.50

Day Three

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Just one class this afternoon, so I head to a local music shop after breakfast. Despite my chaffing, I know A.’s been missing having music in her life. So what better way to cheer her up than with a guitar? I lock it in my office during class, and it’s a great conversation starter with students who come to my office hours after. Then, I head home to surprise A. Luckily, she’s thrilled with it and starts to play a song almost immediately. I could never quite get the hang of instruments myself, but I do like seeing her happy.

Total: $632

Day Four

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I had plans for the day, but they were thrown out the window (along with my cellphone) when a car rammed into mine this morning. Unfortunately, my phone wasn’t the only casualty—one of my teeth was damaged in the accident, too. Nevertheless, the pain isn’t too terrible. I’ll call my local oral health clinic—the top spot for root canal treatment in Lakewood, OH—early next week and see what we can do about the discomfort. I’m sure one of my fellow professors will cover for me with a bit of warning. In the meantime, I stop by the nearest drugstore for some OTC painkillers and orthodontic wax to protect my tooth for now.

Total: $11

Day Five

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Fortunately, the meds are keeping the swelling down, for the most part. My gums are killing, though. I head back to the drugstore for a tube of analgesic to help and stick to soft foods for now. I stop by a local fast food joint for a tub of mashed potatoes and gravy, then head home to try and sleep it off for now. When A. gets done with work for the day, she makes smoothies for dinner.

Total: $16

Day Six

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The tooth pain’s a little better today, but I’m still limiting myself to soft foods until Monday’s appointment. Fortunately, the dentist says I should be fine to go on our trip next weekend! Otherwise, my top priority for today is to research a paper I’m writing. Having long since declared herself my research assistant, A. lends a hand through the afternoon. After, she makes some soup, and we put on a movie.

Total: $0

Day Seven

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Dental pain hasn’t gotten any worse, but it hasn’t gotten any better. It seems like the analgesic is the best way to cope for now, so I stick with that and some more soft foods. A.’s on her guitar most of the afternoon, then we order in some Indian food—a soft, not-too-spicy curry for the sake of my tooth.

Total: $31

Total for the week: $779.50

Caroline Miller

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