Sometimes Daily

A Week in Chicago on a $55,000 Salary

Week in Chicago

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

Today: A paralegal who makes $55,000 per year.

Occupation: Paralegal

Age: 26

Location: Chicago, IL

Salary: $55,000

Day 1


As a fresh lawyer just out of grad school, I always like to start Monday mornings off right. I treat myself to some coffee as I head into the office to organize the cases for the day. I work with personal injury lawyers Chicago and will often have plenty of communication to get through at the start of the week. I check on long-term cases, consider new clients to take on, and read up on the latest news for the partners at the head of the firm. Because our goal is to always get fair compensation for our clients who have suffered personal injuries or medical malpractice, I want to make sure no stone goes unturned when looking through third-party sources. As a newer addition to the team, I always try to make a good impression by following the best practices. I’m at the office late at the start of the week, so I grab some takeout on the way home to enjoy an evening watching “Dancing With the Stars.”

Total: $22

Day 2


Today, I’m working on a case regarding gold-mining practices and what it takes to mine ounces of gold in different parts of the world. I did a little research on a past case with the Turkish government and Alamos Gold and the changes they underwent to create more sustainable practices. The goal of each miner is to get the island gold they need without ruining the environment they’re in. I ended up taking an analyst out to lunch to pick their brain about the future of this enterprise. The firm should refund me, but I was happy to put my card down to get the information.

Total: $50

Day 3


After another long day at work trying to figure out more about the social responsibility of mineral reserves, I decided to go out with some of my girlfriends for trivia night at a local pub. Dinner and drinks are always a great way to celebrate the middle of the week. Plus, we ended up coming in third place, which is way better than we’ve ever done before.

Total: $37

Day 4


I have to go into court tomorrow for a specific case I’ve been working on for a few weeks, so I wake up early to take my best suit to the dry cleaners. I know it’s a rush job, but I completely forgot about it earlier in the week. After that, I actually get to stay home for the morning and get some more research done from my place. This also gives me time to pay some bills, including my credit card and gym membership. Having a little extra time at home was so needed this morning.

Total: $132

Day 5


It’s court day! And it’s Friday! The week is almost over! To help give a little extra motivation, I grab some coffee on the way from work and treat myself to a pastry. I thought about going out tonight, but after the week I’ve had, it seems like more of a “stay in, order a pizza, and watch Netflix” kind of evening.

Total: $25

Day 6


My best friend and I got to go visit Navy Pier today and see a show at Chicago Shakespeare. It was an awesome production, and I was so glad we got to spend some quality time together! It’s always fun being a tourist in your own city.

Total: $82

Day 7


Sundays are a perfect day to relax. Today I decided to sleep in and then wake up to watch the Bears game. I got some laundry done and went to the grocery store to get ready for another busy week at the office. I also got to catch up with my mom on the phone and snuggle up with my puppy for perfect Sunday vibes.

Total: $54

Total for the week: $402