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A Week in San Diego on a $60,000 Salary



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

Today: an executive assistant who makes $60,000

Occupation: executive assistant

Age: 29

Location: San Diego, CA

Salary: $60,000 (approx. $2,308 per pay period)

Day One

Today, I have more on my mind than work. In between tasks my boss asks of me, I’m researching divorce attorneys in San Diego. I like to think that my divorce case is a simple one (we don’t have to worry about child custody or property division), but I really have no idea what I’m getting into. So, I’m hoping to find the best possible legal representation, so they’ll know what they’re talking about when I don’t! I leave a message for a divorce lawyer with extensive experience and lots of favorable outcomes, then make some phone calls on the company’s behalf for the rest of the workday. Come sundown, I meet some friends at a local nightclub.

Total: $42.50

Day Two

The next day, I’m feeling better about things, albeit a bit hungover. Fortunately, I have a busy day to focus on, rather than worrying about my personal life! My boss has a big client moving to the city, and she wants to make sure they’re well taken care of. So, I spend most of the workday searching phrases like “send plants to someone” and browsing what kinds of houseplants are low-maintenance enough for just about anybody. Then, it’s another night out on the town with friends.

Total: $37

Day Three

It’s a quiet day at the office today since my boss isn’t in. I do some filing, make myself a cup of coffee, and, if I’m being quite honest, scroll through Instagram for most of my shift. After work, my friends and I follow our usual ritual, hitting up a great cocktail bar and yet another club.

Total: $48.50

Day Four

I finally remembered to return the divorce attorney’s call and we set up a proper meeting for early next week. It’s a pretty quiet day otherwise, followed by meeting the crew for drinks. No dancing tonight, just Moscow mules and conversation. It’s a nice change, and I get to hear about my friends’ lives, which tend to be even more dramatic than mine.

Total: $26.50

Day Five

Today happens to be a holiday, so I don’t need to go into the office. Instead, I spend a chunk of the day adulting, as they say. First, I tackle cleaning the apartment, then I sit down to pay my next couple of bills. I make myself a cup of noodles for lunch (add a little bit of peanut butter, trust me) then go to the grocery store so there’s a little more food in my cupboards.

Total: $182

Day Six

I sleep in a while, simply because I can, then I meet up with some friends. After we’ve all congregated in one central place, the group heads to a Flamenco show, which is pretty freaking cool. That’s what I love about living in San Diego. There’s always something new to try! Afterward, we head to our favorite local club and, as usual, dance the night away.

Total: $72.50

Day Seven 

Sunday morning can only mean one thing when you’re a twenty-something living in the city. It’s brunch time! Some friends and I drink mimosas and bloody marys between bites of quiche, strips of bacon, and chunks of fresh fruit. Afterward, my friend K. and I go window shopping, passing the time until we can reasonably head home for the night. We only spend an hour or two browsing, then she comes back to my place to chill. Once she heads home later that night, I get myself to bed.

Total: $27

Total for the week: $397

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