A Week in Florida on a $75,000 Salary

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

Today: an engineer who makes $75,000 a year

Occupation: engineer

Age: 28

Location: Cocoa Beach, FL

Salary: $75,000 (approx. $2,885 per pay period)

Day One


My job is pretty high-stakes, so I typically work through my lunch hour. Today, though, I’ve another errand to accomplish! I recently bought my first house, and it’s close to perfect. But it needs a roof replacement pretty badly. I order a salad to munch on while I search and come across a nearby roofer. They specialize in roof repair in Merritt Island, FL, but serve the Cocoa area, too! I shoot them a quick message on their contact form, stab the last few pieces of lettuce with my fork, then get back to work.

Total: $12.50

Day Two


I’ve been living here in Cocoa Beach for about four months now, and I’m still not used to the weather. I grew up in Minnesota, so this is a whole new world! Fortunately, the house has a pool, so I can lounge by the water every weekend. The sun can make that a bit difficult, though. I was telling a colleague about my struggle, and they recommended Sun Defender’s floating shade for the pool. It’s a floating umbrella that helps to block the sun’s rays. Pretty cool! For now, though, I’ll stick to hanging out indoors. I call this girl I’ve been seeing, and she comes over to split a pizza and a bottle of wine.

Total: $27

Day Three


It’s another long workday, but I thought ahead! I’ve brought my shopping bag along to stop for groceries on my way home. If I grab some essentials tonight, I won’t have to spend my weekend buying groceries. Smart, right?

Total: $49

Day Four


I get up early so I can stop and check my PO box before heading into work. My grandparents sent me a note and a check—I call them on my way in to say thank you and check-in. None of my family members live in Florida, so it can get a bit lonely. These calls help keep me from missing them too much. Gran reminds me that my dad’s birthday is coming up, so I make sure to order a gift. It’s kind of sad to see the shipping method and destination going so far away, but I know he’ll enjoy his new graphic T-shirt and sweatshirt.

Total: $52.50

Day Five


We get every other Friday off at work—we work hard enough the rest of the week! It’s extra lucky this week since I’ve got a doctor’s appointment on the calendar. I don’t have any kind of nagging medical condition, but I haven’t gone in for a checkup since before the coronavirus pandemic began. I get a clean bill of health—just a reminder to watch my sun exposure since this is a new climate for me—then pay my co-pay and head home.

Total: $45

Day Six


Don’t get me wrong, I love my work. I have a great job and I’m all too aware of my privilege being a female engineer for a major organization. I’m still grateful for weekends, though. We work long hours, and it’s tiring! So I decide to make today a lazy day. I order some food for delivery and scroll through HBO Max and social media simultaneously.

Total: $43

Day Seven


No one told me that being a homeowner would come with so many side jobs! Today, I’m off to the hardware store for some supplies to clear my gutters of debris. It’s a simple repair, supposedly, but I’m still pretty intimidated. I stop on the way home for a sandwich and dig into some research on the best way to get those gutters sparkly clean.

Total: $27

Total for the week: $256