a plate of food

A Week in North Carolina on a $95,000 Salary

Welcome to Spending Notes, where we do a weekly deep dive into how our

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

Today: a curator who makes $95,000 a year

Occupation: curator

Age: 47

Location: Durham, NC

Salary: $95,000 (approx. $3,958 per pay period)

Day One


When I first moved to Durham three years ago, I spent a ridiculous amount of time researching Raleigh storage facilities. I lived in Raleigh for a lifetime beforehand and knew I wouldn’t need all my old memorabilia when I left. Downtown Durham has so much to offer—the last thing I’ll want to do is sort through my old high school yearbooks and trophies! As I set up my planner for the month ahead, I add a trip to my storage unit to my list of things to do soon. Every so often, I like to declutter! As I finish up this month’s planning, I check the price of the book I’ve got my eye on for 2022. It’s on sale, so I go ahead and order it, plus some stickers.

Total: $37.50

Day Two


The coronavirus obviously took its toll on tourism in Durham and beyond, but there’s one nice aspect: Virtual tour options bring fun to visitors like you in the comfort of your home! Even as masks and vaccines get to a “new normal,” we’re still bringing activities like these to people throughout North Carolina and around the world. Today, I spent most of my day working on one of these projects. Then, I chat with our IT technicians to get their advice on what kind of computer I should buy. I’ve needed a replacement for personal use for ages and have set aside quite a bit of spare funds. As a result, I’m able to buy a really nice laptop while saving some of my extra cash! With that extra money, I’m saving for my next big purchase: hiring some professional Durham, NC, window cleaners to get my glass sparkling.

Total: $1250

Day Three


Another day here in Durham NC! Two classrooms of students have reservations at the museum today, so I’m excited to guide them through our exhibits. Then, after giving them what I hope was a great experience, I head down to the storage space in the basement, where we store older exhibits and records. I spend some time tidying up the space—it’s crucial that we maintain a clean facility to keep everything in mint condition—then head home, where I make a spaghetti dinner.

Total: $0

Day Four


I’m working on a bit of renovation at home, so I’m researching local contractors to help me through the whole process of remodeling my place. I might actually take advantage of my Raleigh storage facility for some of my current belongings, too! For now, though, I stop by the supermarket and pick up a bit of dinner from the hot bar while I’m at it.

Total: $42

Day Five


Today, I’m reminded what a great location I’m in, with the museum and the Durham area more broadly. Don’t get me wrong, I always loved living in the Raleigh area. But there just seems to be something extra special about Durham. For instance, there’s my favorite Chinese restaurant—as I thought about my love for the city of Durham, I decided to treat myself to dinner there (and leftovers for lunch tomorrow) in honor of my adoptive home.

Total: $47

Day Six


Saturdays are our busiest days at the museum, so I stop and get an extra-large latte before heading in. Once there, the day flies by between tour groups, customer service, and even a visit from a few members of our board of directors. I never did have time to eat my leftover takeout for lunch, so it’s just as easily turned into tonight’s dinner.

Total: $8.50

Day Seven


This morning, I promised a few friends I’d meet them for brunch. As always, I make sure to follow through. We catch up over mimosas and avocado toast, then head to a local gallery to catch a mutual friend’s photography exhibition. By the time I head home, I’m exhausted, and extra grateful that I have tomorrow off.

Total: $43

Total for the week: $1,428

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