A Week in California’s Bay Area on a $100,000 Salary

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

Today: a financial planner who makes $100,000

Occupation: retirement planner

Age: 55

Location: San Francisco, CA

Salary: $100,000 (approx. $3,846 per pay period)

Day One


I’ve lived in this house for about 30 years, and it’s filled to the brim. So my wife, L., and I have decided to start browsing cheap storage units in San Francisco as a way to keep our belongings safe without them overrunning the house. We’re searching for the best storage facility for our budget and storage needs, but we’ve already started setting aside some non-essential pieces we plan to move to our storage unit when the time comes. In the meantime, we’ll be doing a bit of decluttering. Then, we head to Target for groceries, where I pick up a book on organizing, too.

Total: $62

Day Two


Today, I’ll be meeting with a few clients, then stopping by the local pharmacy drive-through to pick up some medication. Getting a prescription through telemedicine appointments has been life-changing! I can’t be the only person who doesn’t have time for in-person visits whenever I need a refill or an antibiotic. With telemedicine and virtual visits, I can access the medicine I need without the stress of a typical office visit. I also purchased a salad while taking my lunch break.

Total: $27

Day Three


I have another day off—the benefits of being your own boss—so I’m tackling part of our decluttering project. According to that book I bought, our first step is to empty the closet and remove the items we don’t wear or don’t like. I order a pizza for my wife and me, and we work on sorting through all of our clothing. We have some nice stuff, so maybe we can even sell some pieces to make some extra funds!

Total: $28

Day Four


Back to work today, mapping out some potential paths to retirement for my clients. Today is one of those days where working on client plans leads me to think about my own retirement goals. Sometimes, it feels like retirement is a lifetime away; other days, it seems to be approaching at the speed of light. It’s the former today. I grab a sandwich at lunchtime and coffee to help me through the afternoon slump.

Total: $17

Day Five


I woke up with a bit of a tickle in my throat today, so I check in with my virtual healthcare provider—another win for telemedicine. Post-consult, I have some home care suggestions to implement before considering more targeted medical care, should my symptoms worsen. I drink some tea, then return to sorting items to move into our storage space. This might be the first time I’ve cleared off the bookshelves since we moved in! Later, my wife and I head to a nearby Italian restaurant for an easy, delicious dinner. A few plates of pasta later, we’re home and heading to bed.

Total: $64

Day Six


Fortunately, I’m feeling much better today. Still, I’m glad I have the chance to work from home. I have some phone calls and video chats with clients through the afternoon, and my wife brings me a delicious burger and fries for lunch. I spend some time tidying up my work files and filling out some paperwork I’ve been putting off in the afternoon. L. and I eat dinner together, then watch an old favorite film that happens to be airing tonight. We’re starting to doze off on the couch by the movie’s end!

Total: $0

Day Seven


My wife and I head to church this morning, then join a few of her friends for breakfast at a nearby diner—our standard Sunday morning routine. Afterward, we go to the local market for fresh produce, meat, and surprise flea market finds. Finally, with steak and potatoes for dinner, we’re ending the week on a high note.

Total: $92

Total for the week: $290