A Week in Cocoa Beach, FL, on a $40,000 Salary

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

    Today: a medical equipment technician who makes $40,000 a year

    Occupation: medical equipment technician

    Age: 26

    Location: Cocoa Beach, FL

    Salary: $40,000 (approx. $1,538 per pay period)

    Day One

    My daughter and I are moving to a new house, still here in Cocoa. We’ll be officially moving in another week or so, but for now, I’m working to get the new place in order, starting with the air conditioning. Since we’ve got warm weather year-round, it’s not hard to find AC repair in Cocoa Beach. I came across a group of AC repair experts who can prepare our AC unit for move-in day. Meanwhile, I’m meeting with my divorce lawyer, then picking up S. from school. We stop by a new pizzeria for the first time because S. loves a good slice of pepperoni. After dinner, we head home to get her ready for bed.

    Total: $20.50

    Day Two

    I take S. to school in the morning, then take to the web to work out a bit more of the move. I’m working from home for now, so I have the freedom to move between planning things like cargo van rentals and tasks for work. I’m excited to learn that I can rent a cargo van for moving day from a site like Fluid Truck, where you can rent without all the stress that would normally go into getting a moving van. Good customer service is great, but I’m even happier when I don’t have to seek them out in the first place, you know? For now, though, I order some more moving boxes to be ready when the big day comes. You wouldn’t know it, but a 6-year-old has a lot of things to be packed!

    Total: $32

    Day Three

    This isn’t my first time becoming a homeowner, but it’s still pretty intimidating to go through all these steps on my own, and with a kid in tow. And in the midst of a divorce? Oof. I’ve always been pretty independent, though, so I don’t stress too much over hiring an HVAC company or other maintenance services. It’s just like when I sit down to work each morning—I have a list of tasks to accomplish and have no choice but to get them done. Speaking of, I really should reorder the packs of small legal pads I use to keep track of tasks both personal and professional. I have a few left but would rather have the peace of mind that I won’t run out. Just a few clicks on the laptop, and I’ve got them set up as a subscription so I will never run out!

    Total: $12

    Day Four

    Today, I’ve got some extra tasks for the workday, so that’s making up a bulk of my day. My job title sounds fancy, but it’s actually pretty simple. Plus, a lot of customers don’t realize that even professional technicians like me sometimes turn to Google for the ins and outs of our products! So, between research and troubleshooting and my actual work for the day, I’m kept busy for a full eight hours. After that, I meet some friends at a local sports bar for burgers, beers, and baseball. S. is with her mom tonight, so I make the most of a night off from parenting.

    Total: $37

    Day Five

    I definitely miss the days where I had more than three rooms to move around in, and I can’t wait to move into the new place. This apartment lease was a lifesaver, but it’s awfully inconvenient nevertheless. At least I can use my hotspot to get work done, plus the various moving tasks that call for emails to be sent and responded to in a timely manner. I run to the nearby coffee shop, then head home to get to work.

    Total: $8

    Day Six

    This morning, I’m taking my mom out to breakfast before being her designated driver for an outpatient surgery. It’s good to catch up, and I’m glad to know right away that her procedure was a success. I get her home and settled, feed her dog, then make my way back to the apartment to get my work done for the afternoon.

    Total: $27.50

    Day Seven 

    Mom insists on going to mass this morning, so I drive her there. She seems tired but okay overall. Afterward, I suggest we get something to eat, so I pick up some sandwiches on the way back to her place. We make our way through the meal, I make sure she takes her pills, and I pick up S. for the week ahead.

    Total: $41

    Total for the week: $178

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