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

Today: an insurance adjuster who makes $55,000

Occupation: insurance adjuster

Age: 43

Location: Summerlin, NV

Salary: $55,000 (approx. $2,115 per pay period)

Day One


Next weekend, I’m celebrating my 44th birthday with friends, throwing a party here at the house. I know this will be a fun way to mark a special occasion, but I’m regretting my great idea a bit as I work to clean the house in preparation. I head to the nearest store for extra cleaning supplies, then head back home to put them to use. As I tidy, I notice a particular smell that doesn’t seem to be fading. After some research, I find a list of offensive AC odors that may linger in your Summerlin, NV, home. As it turns out, that list applies perfectly to my own Nevada home! I make a note to call my go-to service company ASAP and keep my special day odor-free.

Total: $21

Day Two


Today is my actual birthday, though the party isn’t for another week and a half. So I take the day off of work and think up the perfect way to celebrate solo. When you’ve made as many trips around the sun as I have, you learn how to pamper yourself on your birthday, even if you’re doing so on your own. This year, I celebrate with a trip to my favorite clothing store, picking out a few splurge-worthy items to head into 44 more stylishly.

Total: $362

Day Three


Talking to my friends, we decide that a party with an ’80s theme is the perfect way to celebrate my special day. After all, I came of age amidst cassette tapes and big hair! So, once I’m finished with work for the day, I head to the store to find a vintage-style Pac-Man game, lots of hairspray, and some ’80s party decor.

Total: $142

Day Four


After work, I decide to take a break from planning my birthday celebration. So instead, I take my own trip back to the awesome ’80s with a movie marathon. Armed with plenty of takeout, I sit through The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and When Harry Met Sally. It might not be planning for the party in a literal sense, but it’s certainly getting me in the mood for the theme!

Total: $0

Day Five


Today calls for some more birthday party prep! Once I’m done with work for the day, I head to a local bakery and place an order for cupcakes, letting them know they’re for an ’80s birthday party. Then, I look for potential party favors, ultimately settling on Rubik’s cube keychains and some chunky plastic jewelry in neon colors. Finally, I sit down to a microwave dinner and make a playlist for the big day, filled with plenty of Madonna, Prince, and Duran Duran. If only I had a boom box at the ready!

Total: $64

Day Six


After a busy evening of party planning yesterday, I decide to take it easy this Saturday. First, I head to the laundromat to wash a load of clothes, then take it back home to fold and eventually put them away—it’s practically required to let them languish in the basket for a while first! Then, I sit down to scroll through social media a bit, and a Pinterest ad for a lovely bookshelf catches my eye. So I make the impulsive decision to order one before making some popcorn and turning to Netflix for the rest of the night.

Total: $42

Day Seven


This morning, I meet up with some of my friends over brunch. We embrace the stereotype, with piles of waffles and bacon washed down by bottomless mimosas and plenty of gossip. After, we head to a department store and browse for a while. I get through our shopping excursion without any unnecessary purchases but have to head to the grocery store afterward. Finally, with a few necessities bagged and ready to go, I head home to prepare for the coming week and the last-minute party planning still to come.

Total: $53

Total for the week: $674