A Week in Fremont on a $96,000 Salary

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

Today: a software engineer who makes $96,000 a year

Occupation: software engineer

Age: 50

Location: Fremont, CA

Salary: $96,000 (approx. $3,692 per pay period)

Photo by mentatdgt from Pexels

Day One

I work for an energy company as a software engineer, but that isn’t my biggest source of excitement today. It’s actually a package that was in the mailroom when I woke up. My girlfriend, G., picked out a luxury watch for me from the WatchBox GMT selections, and it’s finally arrived! I feel like I really look the part of an accomplished engineer in the Bay Area when I’m wearing something like this, and G. did a great job of picking out a good one. I grab a latte and pastry before heading into the office. I get lots of free snacks from work, so I skip lunch as usual and grab a sandwich on my way home for the night. After, I sit down to work on my side business, a blog I run anonymously.

Total: $26.50

Day Two

This morning is less exciting than the last without any surprise packages waiting for me. The rest of the day is also pretty uneventful, at least until I head home for the day. I’ll be working remotely the rest of the week while spending time with G. and our son, X., out in the middle of nowhere. I make the most of my last day in the city for a bit and get a hefty meal from a Vietnamese place. Then, I head home to pack. My most important luggage is my cell signal booster, an absolute must for working remotely. The last thing I want is to leave for a week and not be able to get in touch with the office!

Total: $37

Day Three

I start my Wednesday by double-checking my car’s charge, then hit the road to meet G. and X. On the way to the cabin, I grab us something to eat. I take the time to greet them before setting up my laptop and making sure my cell signal is good to go.

Total: $52

Day Four

I’m up early to work but desperately need my morning cup of joe. G. and X. are still asleep, so I head out to my truck and get back on the main road until I find a half-decent cup. It ends up being from a fast food place, but it’s better than nothing. I get a second cup for G. and a donut to surprise X. with an unusual breakfast. I head back and get to work, coffee and donut delivered.

Total: $12.50

Day Five

I’m able to get away for the first half of today, heading out for a walk with G. and X. It was her idea—I’m more of an inside kind of guy—but it’s nice to see X. exploring the trail. After a while, we head back and eat some simple sandwiches, and then I go back to work for a while. Before I sign off for the night, I send out some payments, too, for X.’s nanny, our cleaners, and some similar services.

Total: $724

Day Six

The weekend doesn’t always mean a day off, especially when you’re working with a major company like mine. I’m glad there’s an internet connection on my cell phone and hotspot, though, since there’s no reliable Wi-Fi out here! I spend the evening with G. and X. eating snacks in front of the fire.

Total: $0

Day Seven

I’m heading back to the city today, and G. and X. head back to their place—I’ll spend the next weekend with them there. I get a bite to eat, glad to be back in the city with decent food, and then head to bed for an early start tomorrow.

Total: $34

Total for the week: $886

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