A Week in Minnetonka on a $49,000 Salary

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

Today: a small business owner who makes $49,000 a year

Occupation: small business owner

Age: 43

Location: Minnetonka, MN

Salary: $49,000 (approx. $1,885 per pay period)

Day One


As someone who owns a small business, I tend to wear a lot of different hats, so to speak. Today, my hat is that of a reputation specialist. Our business recently had a bit of a crisis, which starts to snowball quickly if it isn’t handled. With the help of The Mather Group, LLC, we’re addressing customer concerns, making changes, and conducting a full-scale risk assessment to determine how we can correct current issues and prevent new problems from popping up in the future. Outside of the workday and putting out metaphorical fires throughout it, it’s a pretty calm day. I bought lunch for my assistant and me and had plenty of leftovers for dinner.

Total: $42.50

Day Two


Like most days, I’m handling quite a few business tasks this morning. After work, though, I’ve got another task—helping my younger half brother work through his college application preparation. We order takeout and make a long list of his own criteria for an ideal school and rankings of the top choices he’s considering. As much as I want to help him out, though, I never did the traditional college path myself. So, to help him have a greater chance of success, I help arrange an appointment with a professional application counselor who truly understands the ins and outs of the application process.

Total: $37

Day Three


We’re coming up on the end of this year, which means lots of busywork behind the scenes at my LLC. In addition to working with The Mather Group, I’ve got meetings with a financial advisory firm, our house CPAs, and the tax preparation pro who handles our annual taxes. It’s a lot of virtual meetings, but at the end of the day, I’m happy to work with teams that take such great care of our people within my little company. In that same vein, I decided to treat my in-person team to lunch at a local Italian place to celebrate the upcoming holiday season.

Total: $112

Day Four


It’s our last official workday for the week, thanks to the holiday, though I’ll surely spend time working the next few days anyway. For now, though, I’m trying to finish up as much as I can to at least try to take a day or two off entirely. So, I’m shredding some old documents, clearing my desk, and setting up my out-of-office message. Afterward, I head to the grocery store to stock up for the coming days, including tonight’s dinner, made up of some choices from their hot bar.

Total: $79

Day Five


Since the business is officially closed today, I’m only handling a few backend tasks for the most part. Otherwise, I spend the day cleaning my house and putting up a few last-minute decorations. I also pay some bills just in time—I hate late fees, so I usually try to be more organized!

Total: $524

Day Six


Today’s a holiday but, as is usual for me, I’m spending it on my own. It’s not a bad thing, though! I simply prefer my own company. I make myself a nice dinner, say some prayers over the plate, and enjoy.

Total: $0

Day Seven


This morning, I’m heading to a few local shops to take advantage of their post-holiday sales. There are some great deals on everything from candy to gift sets, so it’s a yearly tradition to take advantage of these offers!

Total: $75.50

Total for the week: $870