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

Today: a corporate interpreter who makes $85,000

Occupation: corporate interpreter

Age: 44

Location: Madison, WI

Salary: $85,000 (approx. $3,269 per pay period)

Day One


Today is a relatively slow day at work, so I take my lunch break to brush up on some of my language learning efforts. I’m technically fluent in several foreign languages, but I mix up or forget words from time to time—I may be a professional, but I’m still human! To compensate, I like to use an app from belatone.com to chat with native speakers and keep the common words and phrases from each language fresh in my mind. You never really know when you might need to have a certain skill at the ready! After work, I head to the gym, renew my membership for the month, then go home to shower and eat a light dinner.

Total: $45

Day Two


After work today, I head straight to my in-laws’ house, where they’re working through a pretty major renovation project. I’m helping them work with their remodeler to make sure everything goes smoothly. That would have been my late husband’s job years ago, but now I’ve taken over these sorts of family responsibilities. The contractor recommends a local company, Mad City Windows Madison, as a great group to work with as we move forward. I thank him for the suggestion—I’ll do more research before giving them a call, but I trust his judgment. Mom invites me to stay for dinner, so I don’t have to stop for food during the drive, making today an unintentional no-spend day.

Total: $0

Day Three


Between working full-time, helping with the remodel, and keeping up with all the other responsibilities of life, I’ve been struggling to make it to the salon for my regular manicure as of late. Instead, I found a gel press on nail option that looks just as good (if not even better) and goes on in just a few minutes at home! This morning, I change my nails before grabbing a pop-tart and heading into the office. It’s a busy day, but a productive one. Plus, I even get a few compliments on my nail art! After work, I head to a local restaurant. They have a delicious special every Wednesday, and the fries are to die for!

Total: $21

Day Four


Today’s my least favorite day of the month. While most people have bills spread out across the entire month, a majority of mine fall on today’s date. It’s worst when today falls just before payday and, as luck should have it, my direct deposit will drop tomorrow. In the meantime, I have to pay my mortgage, cell phone bill, and a few other payments in one fell swoop. In the process, though, I find a digital gift card and take that to a fast food place for a burger and fries.

Total: $1,783

Day Five


It’s Friday and, even more importantly, it’s payday! I head straight to the gym from work, then make my way to the grocery store. Once there, I think the same thing that comes to mind with every week’s visit: I really should have eaten first. Instead, I do what I always do and pile a little too much food and far too many snacks in my cart. What can I say, I could star in my very own Snickers commercials! Then, I go home to unload my haul, then cook dinner and dessert from the pile—salmon and baked apples, to be exact.

Total: $82

Day Six


In celebration of my #SelfCareSaturday, I set out to have the best day ever. I’m going to start with a workout, then go explore a local museum for a few hours. After that, I’ll treat myself to lunch in the city, then head home for a bubble bath with an extra-large glass of wine and a good book (thankfully, my Kindle is waterproof!). If I’m feeling particularly fancy, I might even light a few candles and turn on some relaxing nature sounds to really set the mood for relaxation.

Total: $43

Day Seven


As usual, Sunday begins with meeting my in-laws for mass. I’m not particularly religious, but it makes them happy when I go to church with them. Then, we head to our typical Italian restaurant, where Dad insists on buying everyone’s meal, as always. From there, I have to stop at the gas station and fill up for the upcoming work week. Then, I go home with a generous portion of leftovers and finish the day getting organized for the week ahead. Planner set up, to-do list written out, and calendar double-checked, I’m all too ready to go to bed.

Total: $10

Total for the week: $1,984