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A Week in Illinois on a $60,000 Salary

A Week in Illinois on a $60,000 Salary

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

Today: a small business owner who makes $60,000

Occupation: small business owner

Age: 41

Location: Illinois

Salary: $60,000 (approx. $1,900 per pay period)

Day One


I own an independent bookstore in Illinois and have been operating it for nearly 10 years. It’s a small business that I am quite proud of and spend a lot of my time in. As the owner, I’m also the manager and am constantly working to compete with online retailers. The last year and a half has been difficult for a lot of small businesses, but the community has really come out and supported us. I’ve seen a lot of other brick-and-mortar stores close. Luckily, we are doing okay. On my commute to work, I got a cup of coffee.

Total: $3.25

Day Two


For several months, I have been planning to move the store to a new location. I’ve found one that is smaller but more central and tends to have higher foot traffic than our current location. It isn’t too far from the current store either. I will need a cargo van to move our products to the new location with the help of one of our booksellers, F. He suggested using a company like Fluid Truck, which is a cargo van rental company you access on an app. It’s a lot easier to drive a van than it is to drive a truck. As long as the cargo van will function well and has automatic transmission, I don’t really care if it’s a sprinter van, cargo van, or even a passenger van. Anything larger than my smart car will work just fine. I looked online for a few cargo van rental options.

Total: $0

Day Three


Now that the team has finished taking inventory, I can assess what’s coming to the new store and what’s going in storage. Last week, I looked into Illinois self storage just to browse the options within the area and ended up reserving a storage unit. It was easy to find a storage facility close to the new location. I went out for dinner with my friend S. We went to a sushi restaurant because she loves Japanese cuisine.

Total: $27

Day Four


I had a dentist appointment this morning and went to work after. There was no copay for my routine cleaning. We are planning to close the store for a few days at the end of this week to start packing things up and moving. One of my booksellers, N., is helping me compile a list of what we’re transporting first. Because it required a lot of heavy boxes, I bought us lunch. N. chose a falafel shop, which I think was a great choice.

Total: $14

Day Five


Because of how much work is involved, I didn’t leave the store until late at night. So, I decided to sleep in and go in later than usual. F. is opening the store and has a key. We are a tight-knit team and have been working closely for several years. I made sure to get enough rest for moving day and close up early.

Total: $0

Day Six


The store is closed for the next few days. I came in early and brought breakfast sandwiches and coffee for everyone. The goal is to physically pack up the entire store and divide it up into what’s going to the new location and what’s going to storage. Having a list really made things efficient.

Total: $39

Day Seven


We all have the day off today, but tomorrow is moving day. With two cargo vans in tow, N. and F. will be driving one over to the new store. I’ll be driving the other to a self-storage facility. I preordered some sandwiches and drinks for tomorrow from a local restaurant.

Total: $46

Total for the week: $129.25

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