A Week in Houston on a $45,000 Salary

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

Today: an assistant project manager who makes $45,000 a year

Occupation: assistant project manager

Age: 45

Location: Houston, TX

Salary: $45,000 (approx. $1,500 per pay period)

Day One

A Week in Houston Day One

My family and I have been living in Houston for over 10 years. For the better part of those years, I’ve been working under a project management professional. After several years, I’ve finally decided to start seeking ways to further my career. At my job, I support the project manager in organizing projects and trying to automate parts of the production process. We tend to work on engineering projects and in the manufacturing industry. Following my workday, I went home.

Total: $0

Day Two

A Week in Houston Day Two

Work started late for me today, so I went out for breakfast with my family. My daughters, J. and B., are off for break. My spouse, L., suggested going to a diner. We ordered pancakes, hash browns, and omelets. It was a great spread, and it’s always nice getting to spend mornings with them before going to work.

Total: $48

Day Three

A Week in Houston Day Three

After a long day at work, I decided to look for a PMP class in Houston. I’m really looking to get a PMP certificate to advance my career. The main differences between uncertified project managers and certified managers are a higher salary and more job opportunities. I’m looking to complete an online course and found Project Vanguards, which offers exam prep courses. They do a live online PMP exam prep course for just over $200 a month for six months. I went ahead and signed up. Then, I spent the rest of the night folding the laundry while L. watched some true-crime show on TV.

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Total: $262.50

Day Four

A Week in Houston Day Four

I picked up pizza for the family on my way home. Over dinner, my eldest daughter, B., talked to L. and me about hiring a mentor to help her get into her dream school, Duke University. She wants to find the best college counseling services, and we came across Empowerly. It’s a service where admission consultants and counselors give high school students college counseling. I’m all for giving her the best shot at preparing for college. So, we plan on signing her up for college counseling services from Empowerly within the coming weeks.

Total: $21

Day Five

A Week in Houston Day Five

When I become a certified PMP, I’ll be doing more planning as opposed to just monitoring a project under the current manager. Completing a project is all about finishing on time with the resources that you have. There’s a lot of communication involved. The best part about my job is probably getting to talk to a lot of people and helping everyone accomplish what they need to do in their roles. L. made beef stew for our family dinner.

Total: $0

Day Six

A Week in Houston Day Six

L. is a registered nurse and works a long 12-hour shift today. She’s been picking up more shifts because it’s been busy. So, I decided to make her favorite meal for when she gets off at 11 P.M. I went to the grocery store to buy ingredients for lasagna and garlic bread. L. loves both bechamel and ricotta in her lasagna. I got the best lasagna noodles the store had and decided to make the marinara from scratch, too.

Total: $36

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Day Seven

A Week in Houston Day Seven

I worked for half the day and went to one of our project sites to check on the progress. After that, the girls wanted to go to a bath store where they sell clean beauty products like bath bombs and shampoos. So, we all went there and made dinner at home afterward.

Total: $0

Total for the week: $367.50

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