A Week in Birmingham, AL, on a $35,000 Salary

a cityscape at night

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

Today: a virtual assistant who makes $35,000 a year

Occupation: virtual assistant

Age: 26

Location: Birmingham, AL

Salary: $35,000 (approx. $1,100 per pay period)

Day One


My job consists of a lot of different tasks, from administrative work to making travel arrangements or even just editing photos for a photography studio with a huge backlog. I am technically self-employed and take on jobs that I find on apps and other virtual assistant websites. It’s just a great position that allows me to stay home with my 1-year-old son, C. We didn’t do much and stayed home today.

Total: $0

Day Two


Today, my girlfriend, B., mentioned we should contact Labor Panes Birmingham. They offer high-quality services for window cleaning and gutter cleaning and are the ultimate professionals. B. and I have been working on home improvement projects. Window cleaning and having our gutters checked are just some of the tasks on our list. We’ve been looking for a service that cleans the inside of the windows, too. It looks like Labor Panes in Birmingham would provide us with a good experience. The Labor Panes site made it easy to contact them for a free quote. I went to a coffee shop with C. on my lunch break.

Total: $2.50

Day Three


B. and I usually split the bills equally except for the mortgage. I make less than she does, so she proposed to pay a higher percentage of it. In turn, she gets the bigger closet and the office area. I use the closet out in the hall. It works out because I tend to keep my wardrobe pretty minimal while she likes to display the best parts of her sneaker collection. Today, we had to pay for both the electricity and the internet bill.

Total: $73

Day Four


For a job today, I had to find a line graph maker for a marketing executive. They needed a program that could create a line graph or a line chart using a template. I came across Lucidpress, which lets you create everything from a pie chart to a bar graph with any set of data. And you can use different fonts and color schemes tailored to your business. Just enter any specific data points and customize as you go to really highlight data value. They’re perfect for my clients’ presentations.

Total: $0

Day Five


Being a virtual assistant really keeps you on your toes. I did some work for a graphic design studio and helped a travel agent. Tonight, B. and I went out to dinner with our friends, T. and J. We brought C. with us, whom T. and J. absolutely love. C. fell asleep instantly after eating. We had dinner at a popular restaurant chain.

Total: $32

Day Six


Every Sunday, my family hosts a brunch where we all bring different components to make a big meal. Then, we catch up and play board games, or we watch a movie and just hang out. This is a weekly ritual that I look forward to a lot. This time around, I plan on making chocolate chip scones for everyone to enjoy. I went to the store and bought ingredients. Then, I spent the night making the scones with C., who wasn’t great at helping but was very amused.

Total: $11

Day Seven


B. and I are taking a morning walk at our local park before heading to the weekly family brunch. Even though we have plenty to eat there, B. always insists on eating something small and having coffee before we go. I’m pretty sure it’s because she’s already far too hungry by the time we meet up at 10 A.M. She paid for coffee, so no expenses today.

Total: $0

Total for the week: $118.50