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

Today: a phlebotomist who makes $30,000 a year

Occupation: phlebotomist

Age: 30

Location: Mesa, AZ

Salary: $30,000 (approx. $1,154 per pay period)

Day One


I only recently started my new job here in Mesa working as a phlebotomist. Of course, that means I have a lot to get set up in my new city. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent searching “dentist in Mesa, AZ” to find the right fit! I’ve got a dentist appointment set up for the week after next now, but oral health isn’t the only thing on my to-do list. I still have to find all my other must-haves in Mesa, from my new favorite coffee shop to my new GP. Today, I’m crossing pizzeria off my list after eating a delicious pie from a local family-owned shop.

Total: $24.50

Day Two


Next up, I’m looking for hair products in the area. A few folks have recommended a particular salon that specializes in Black hair, but I still haven’t found my regular everyday natural hair care products. I really like 9Ether’s products, though, so I might just order from their website instead. Before I can place an order, though, I learn that they have an ambassador program, so I spend the rest of my lunch break filling out that application. After work, I grab some fast food, knowing it’s tried and true and consistent in just about any city.

Total: $17.50

Day Three


As a phlebotomist, I draw blood and work with the samples. But it’s just as important that I make sure the patient feels comfortable through the process, too. I mean, the whole staff has to do so, but I’m in a unique position to guide them and create a comfortable environment. One easy way to do that, at least when working with little ones? Keep some stuffed animal friends nearby! Every so often, I try to buy a new plush so that any kids with chronic conditions have a new friendly face nearby. Today is no exception—I‘m ordering a mystery pack of four stuffed animals to add to our office menagerie.

Total: $40

Day Four


Since I’ll be heading to my dentist’s office soon, I realize I should probably step up my oral hygiene habits and make a good impression. So, I stop at a store after work to pick up a new toothbrush, floss picks, and some extra-fancy mouthwash. It’s not the same as being diligent for a lifetime, but I think it will still make a difference!

Total: $16.50

Day Five


It’s a coworker’s birthday next week, so we’re all pitching in for the “party fund,” as the colleague who’s planning the event calls it. We’ll be getting them a gift, of course, but we’ll get to enjoy a cake and other treats, too! After work, I stop to fill up my gas tank and grab a snack.

Total: $63

Day Six


Today, I’ll be making my first visit to Scottsdale! A patient recommended a particular cafe as the single best eatery in the area. It’s a bit of a splurge, but I’m treating this multicourse meal as a sort of celebration of my “adulting” and moving here to Arizona all on my own.

Total: $163

Day Seven


I try to start my Sundays by paying my bills and running any necessary errands, so I do just that this morning. After a visit to the pharmacy and a local grocery store, I grab a sandwich from my new favorite pizza place and then settle in for a quiet night of rewatching “The Office.”

Total: $432

Total for the week: $756.50