A Week in Houston on a $70,000 Salary

a road with a city in the background

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

Today: an IT consultant who makes $70,000 a year

Occupation: IT consultant

Age: 30

Location: Houston, TX

Salary: $70,000 (approx. $2,300 per pay period)

Day One


As a senior IT consultant, I tend to partner up with clients and advise them on any technological needs for their business. I have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, and my job requires a lot of analytical skills. Once in a while, I have to travel for work, but it’s always fun and exciting to go on business trips. I resolved a few project issues at work today, then went home and made dinner.

Total: $0

Day Two


My friends J. and P. are getting married this weekend. I am attending the wedding with my best friend A. as my wedding date. We are all mutual friends. She mentioned that I need to buy a nice tie. I have one regular tie, and it’s dark grey. It’s a nice accessory that I never really use. I decided to listen to A. and shop for bespoke ties online at Tie Deals. A nice tie has always been on my wishlist. I was considering a slate blue or burgundy tie but ultimately chose one with a jacquard pattern. I figured it would be fun. I sent a photo to A., and she gave it her approval.

Total: $85

Day Three


I went to an early morning workout class with my friend J. We talked about the rehearsal dinner this weekend over breakfast. Then, I went to work and had to answer some emails and plan a few timelines for a project. I looked over some project status reports.

Total: $32

Day Four


While I’ve been with my company for a few years, I’ve been thinking about my professional development and where to go from here. I have been considering getting a PMP certification in Houston. A lot of higher-paying IT jobs actually prefer candidates with PMP certification on top of IT certification. So, I’m thinking that I could potentially take some online courses. I decided to browse online for accredited programs.

Total: $0

Day Five


Work went by quickly today, and I had lunch with my coworker P. We had hamburgers, which was a nice change for me. I’ve been trying to eat healthy lately, so having a cheese-filled hamburger felt like a real treat. After work, A. came over to my place with snacks. We watched a horror movie and played Scrabble. She told me she is looking into new career opportunities for the new year. Later, we made a late-night trip to the grocery store for ice cream.

Total: $6.75

Day Six


Tonight is the wedding rehearsal for J. and P. At noon, I had lunch with A., and we just went to the park and hung out until we had to get ready for the rehearsal. The rehearsal was a lot of fun and made me excited for the actual ceremony the next day.

Total: $17

Day Seven


In the morning, I just did some grocery shopping. I also FaceTimed with my mom and sister. We caught up on the latest. Around three o’clock, I started getting ready for the ceremony because it was going to be around five. I figured that was plenty of time for me to get ready, pick up A., and head to the venue. The ceremony took place outdoors under a big arch, but the reception was indoors. I wore my new tie and had a great time with friends. A. and I were very happy for J. and P.

Total: $38

Total for the week: $178.75

Ebonie Barden works across OI's platforms and deparments, developing content that reflects our readers' inquiries and needs in order to best engage and serve our diverse audiences on the topics that matter.

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