A Week in Chicago on a $50,000 Salary

a city with tall buildings

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

Today: an executive assistant who makes $50,000 a year

Occupation: executive assistant

Age: 28

Location: Chicago, IL

Salary: $50,000 (approx. $1,600 per pay period)

Day One


I do administrative support for a PR firm in Chicago. It’s my job to keep track of any media lists and calendars for any events or press conferences. Today, I did some research for the main PR team and made a presentation according to their guidelines. These are just some of the general tasks I have to do at work. It’s a fun job, and I get to meet a lot of people.

Total: $0

Day Two


My fiance, P., and I have been living together for three years now. Next year, we are getting married in the fall. Until then, we’re working on keeping our home in tip-top shape. P. was looking for a company that does furnace repair in Chicago and found King Heating. Not only do we need furnace maintenance, but we also need our entire heating system checked just to make sure we’ll get through the Illinois winter just fine. King Heating has great customer service and is great at preventive maintenance and furnace repairs. We want to make sure that our system is running at peak condition and isn’t messing with our indoor air quality. They agreed to send over their professionals later this week.

Total: $0

Day Three


One of the specialists on the PR team, A., asked me to distribute some press releases and newsletters. I like to look them over a couple of times before sending them out just to make sure. A. and I have gotten pretty close over the last few months because she likes to work late, and I just ended up having to work a little longer to make sure everyone else is gone. We went out to lunch together and got some salad. She asked me how all of my wedding planning is going. I told her about how I am trying to stick to a small budget.

Total: $13

Day Four


Since weddings are expensive, I’ve been trying to make money on the side through Instacart jobs. My fiance works in health care, so his shifts tend to be long. I like to keep busy when he’s not home. Plus, doing someone else’s grocery shopping is a lot of fun. Instacart is a grocery delivery service done through an app. Customers can add their everyday essentials on the app, then store shoppers like myself go to the grocery store and buy it. Truthfully, it’s a great way to kill time and perfect for a new side hustle! I ended up picking up some cupcakes on my way home.

Total: $6

Day Five


Some of the PR specialists were out today, so I ended up having to handle some media-related tasks. It takes a lot of confidence to talk to media sources, but I find it really exhilarating. Later in the evening, I went to the local craft store to buy some craft supplies. I am trying to test out a couple of options for a DIY centerpiece for the wedding. Our venue charges for every little thing. If I can figure out how to make wildflowers out of crepe paper, then I may just save money.

Total: $31

Day Six


A. and I went out to lunch, and we ordered a ton of food! It was nice to indulge a little after a long week.

Total: $39.02

Day Seven


The DIY crepe paper flowers looked great! With the addition of one or two real flowers and some faux greenery, it could totally work. I stopped by the craft store to get some fake eucalyptus leaves. King Heating is coming tomorrow to do the furnace repair. So, our heating system will be running perfectly soon.

Total: $8

Total for the week: $97.02

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