A Week in New Haven on a $60,000 Salary

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

Today: a teacher who makes $60,000

Occupation: teacher

Age: 42

Location: New Haven, CT

Salary: $60,000 (approx. $2,500 per pay period)

Day One


I absolutely love my job and the third graders who make sure I never have a dull day. But lately, I’ve been feeling worn out to the point that my therapist recommended I take a few days off to focus on myself. Today, I’m doing so by calling a local pool company to estimate the cost of adding a pool to my backyard next spring. Before my husband passed away last year, he’d always talked about adding an in-ground pool to our yard. Since losing him, pool installation was hardly at the top of my to-do list. But, now that I’ve talked to the pool contractor and discussed the options available, I’m finally excited again about getting a swimming pool! Once the pool company rep left, I called my best friend and chatted for a while, then ordered a cheeseburger and fries for dinner—delivery counts as treating myself, right?

Total: $24

Day Two


While I’m off this week, I’m still planning to work on the school’s winter carnival, an event I’ve been in charge of for the past 12 years. We decorate the gymnasium and go all out with games and entertainment—it’s always the kids’ favorite day of the year! This year, I’m looking into renting Ice ball skee ball for the students—and us teachers—to enjoy. I came across a company that offers not just skee ball but all sorts of classic arcade games and entertainers that I know the kids will love. Otherwise, I pay my cellphone bill, heat up some leftovers, and head to bed rather early.

Total: $57

Day Three


When I woke up this morning, I immediately thought about the fact that our wedding anniversary was coming up in just a few days. The more I thought about it, the more I felt like I should mark the occasion with something special, something that goes beyond me. That’s what A. would have wanted. I decide to have some friends over for a potluck and order a cake for the occasion.

Total: $56

Day Four


I have an appointment with my therapist early this morning, and we talk about my upcoming anniversary. I knew that my husband’s accident was just hours after our anniversary, but I didn’t realize that this could be why the date is affecting me so much this year. If anything, I thought I was focusing on our anniversary to ignore the other, sadder thoughts! Instead, F., my therapist, tells me about anniversary reactions, a type of trauma response that definitely explains my feelings.

Total: $150

Day Five


This morning, I take some time to invite some friends and family to the get-together I’m planning. Then, I call a local spa and learn that they have plenty of appointments available today, meaning I can enjoy a luxurious spa day to finish my week off! The relaxing treatments are the perfect way to spend a Friday.

Total: $212

Day Six


I spend most Saturday mornings grading assignments or working on lesson plans and do the same today before moving on to more carnival preparations. Since I found the skee ball rentals, everything else seems to be falling into place! In the evening, my mother-in-law calls and tells me she’ll not only be flying in for my anniversary get-together, but she and my father-in-law will be spending a few days prior in Manhattan on their way here. I recommend a few must-see NYC attractions, which remind me of my favorite deli in the city. A. and I used to go all the time! I make a quick supermarket run to get the fixings for his favorite sandwich and treat myself to it for dinner—complete with the all-so-necessary pickle.

Total: $13

Day Seven


To finish up the week, I run a few errands in the morning. My best friend and I meet up at a local cafe in the afternoon, and then I take the evening to unwind a bit more before heading back to work tomorrow.

Total: $42.50

Total for the week: $554.50