A Week in Santa Fe on a $45,000 Salary

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

Today: a restaurant owner who makes $45,000 a year

Occupation: restaurant owner

Age: 36

Location: Santa Fe, NM

Salary: $45,000 (approx. $1,731 per pay period)

Day One

Day One

When people hear that you’re a restaurant owner, they tend to have some pretty flashy ideas come to mind. In reality, though, we wear a lot of hats, and few of them are formal wear. Professional presentation is key, both for you and for the final results of your work. From your ingredients to your business cards, you have a lot to worry about! Today, my top concern is for the upcoming tax season. I settle on a set of tax return folders, much like the ones tax preparers would use. It’s funny, but these folders really are an excellent solution for that big annual deliverable! I’m debating between two styles of custom folders, but in the meantime, I buy some heavyweight paper for an even more elegant presentation.

Total: $23.50

Day Two

Day Two

I’ve had my restaurant for six years now, and our collection of aluminum foil and other supplies has only grown in that time. So much so that there’s no room left! So, I’m taking time today to search various spots that offer storage in Santa Fe, NM. There are quite a few options, but one, in particular, catches my eye. They’re not only affordable but make the process quick and easy, too! I send the details to my general manager so she’ll arrange the details and start getting us set up with storage. Then, I take off a bit early to take my partner, L., out for dinner.

Total: $56

Day Three

Day Three

I took the day off today, so I don’t have to worry about tax returns or storage facilities for a little while (at least as much as I normally do). Instead, L. and I take the day to reorganize our kitchen at home. They talk me into a Target run to stock up on some storage must-haves. What can I say? They spend a lot of time on TikTok!

Total: $182

Day Four

Day Four

This morning, I spend some time stuffing my employees’ paychecks in individual envelopes. I got word that we have a big-name critic coming to the restaurant tomorrow night, so we’re taking some time to go over every element possible with the team. After, L. and I head to a 24-hour diner for a bite to eat before we go to bed.

Total: $29

Day Five

Day Five

Since the critic is allegedly coming tonight, it’s especially important that we all take time to study a little extra. I meet with each waiter, line cook, and busboy to go over the menu, our specials for tonight, and every element of our procedure. I can’t know for sure, but it looks pretty successful! L. and I celebrate with a drink once I sign off for the night.

Total: $31.50

Day Six

Day Six

I’ll be spending most of the weekend at the restaurant, so L. and I go out for breakfast early Saturday morning. They surprise me, then, by stopping and picking up an extra meal I can take in to eat when I get a moment free. I’m grateful that they realize how important it is that I don’t eat my own food for every meal!

Total: $27

Day Seven

Another day at the restaurant. I’m working at my desk in the back most of today, balancing the books and managing schedules for the weeks ahead. Save for a quick coffee run around 3 P.M., I spend the entire day right there! I fall asleep quickly once I get home around one in the morning.

Total: $7.50

Total for the week: $356.50

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