A Week in Austin on a $55,000 Salary

A Week in Austin on a $55,000 Salary

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

Today: an elementary school teacher who makes $55,000 a year

Occupation: elementary school teacher

Age: 30

Location: Austin, TX

Salary: $55,000 (approx. $1,800 per pay period)

Day One

Teaching elementary school kids is one of the most difficult yet important jobs. Mondays are always a little unpredictable because my kids come into the classroom feeling a bit rowdy from the weekend. Sometimes, they come in and aren’t interested in participating because of what lies ahead. I get what that’s like, so I try not to assign them anything on the first day of the week and usually pick a fun activity. I didn’t spend any money today.

Total: $0

Day Two

I decided to send a plant to a friend. She shared some good news about getting offered a new job. Personally, I prefer to send live plants instead of fresh flowers because they last longer. Plus, plants make for a great gift. On the card message, I congratulated her on advancing in her career and gave my best wishes. Lively Root is doing the plant delivery, and they offer free shipping.

Total: $30

Day Three

The kids and I are learning about different types of graphs next week. So, I was looking into using a bar graph maker because I’m no good at programs like Photoshop or Illustrator. Kids love having visual aids, especially when they follow a specific color code. I found a platform called Lucidpress, which allows me to design everything from pie charts to bar charts. It’s a platform that can really be useful for anyone who works in education, whether it’s at an elementary school or a university. Anyone who needs to use data visualization can really benefit from Lucidpress.

Total: $0

Day Four

Because I’m an elementary school teacher at a public school, I teach a wide variety of subjects. Unlike middle school and high school, elementary students don’t go to other teachers for different subjects. I teach them science, language arts, math, and social studies. It’s definitely not an easy job, and sometimes my classroom feels like the Wild West. But I enjoy my work a lot, and the other teachers at my school are friendly. Tonight, I went out to dinner at a new Japanese restaurant with another teacher at my school, P. She’s tapped into the local restaurant scene in Austin, so we’re always trying different things.

Total: $18

Day Five

It’s the end of my workweek. I went out on a date with R., who I met on an online dating app. This was our fourth date, and I think things are going well. He paid for dinner, and I paid for the milk tea that we decided to get afterward. Personally, I love getting bubble tea after a meal just because it’s refreshing and sweet. Even though it’s autumn, the weather in Austin is still pretty warm.

Total: $11

Day Six

I went to a spin class in the morning to get some exercise and also try a new studio. I used to pay for a membership but found that I didn’t go enough to justify the price point. After having a protein-rich breakfast of peanut butter toast, I spent a lot of my weekend hours playing Animal Crossing. No, I’m not ashamed to admit that.

Total: $24

Day Seven

R. and I decided to go out again and see a movie. We watched a new animated film about a girl whose entire family has special gifts. I think it’s a movie that my students would really enjoy. One good benefit of being an elementary school teacher is getting to relive some of the best parts of childhood and watching kids experience them, too.

Total: $9

Total for the week: $92

Bonnie Baldwin