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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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