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

Today: a house flipper who makes $78,000

Occupation: flipper

Age: 42

Location: Milwaukee, WI

Salary: $78,000 (approx. $3,000 per pay period)

Day One


About three times a year, I sell a house I’ve bought and fixed up. Right now, though, I’m in the depths of a remodel. Home remodeling in Milwaukee depends on a quality team of professionals working behind the scenes. My go-to contractor has years of experience working in the local community and can always recommend a particular expert for any part of a job. I order some pizza for us to split, and we discuss the next project in our renovation, replacing windows in the house.

Total: $18

Day Two


Today, I’m planning ahead for the house’s eventual staging. I always purchase fresh flowers the day before, and I like to include a few houseplants around the home so that the space comes alive. I use a live plant delivery service to make sure the live plants are alive before prospective buyers arrive, but I do like to look ahead to see what sorts of plants would work for the house I’m currently flipping. I remember that I wanted to buy a money tree for my sister’s birthday as I’m browsing. She’s a devoted plant parent who’s sure to love it! However, I won’t be purchasing just yet—her birthday isn’t until the weekend, and I don’t trust myself to keep it alive until then. So, with a plan for the staging and all the houseplants I’ll want to add, I head to a local diner for a bite to eat before calling it a night.

Total: $26.50

Day Three


I’m back at the house this morning, working through our simultaneous kitchen remodel and bathroom remodel. Then, the contractor and I head to the local deli at lunchtime and enjoy some sandwiches while discussing what’s still to come for the house. Right now, it looks like the master suite will offer the most significant challenge moving forward. I’ll just say I’m glad I didn’t pick up this project as a beginner.

Total: $12

Day Four


The contractors and builders have our current home remodeling projects more or less under control, so I’ve decided to take a long weekend starting today. First, I’m doing a bit of work in my own living room. We’ve got a tight schedule on the flip, so I’ve been neglecting my house along the way. Next, I run to the store for supplies, then come home and finish a few repairs.

Total: $29

Day Five


Remodels always present a challenge. That’s part of why I love my job—you know you always have a great experience ahead of you. So, it’s no surprise when I end up having to run to the house despite meaning to take today off. Crisis averted, I grab a bite to eat and head home.

Total: $7.50

Day Six


My sister’s birthday is finally here, so I’m heading to the nursery first thing to pick out her money tree. I always wish I had her green thumb when I come here and walk among the plant varieties. I pick out her new plant and then head off to deliver it to its new home. She’s grateful for what she calls the “perfect plant” and reminds me that our parents have invited us to dinner to celebrate. So I grab a hot dog for something light, then kill some time until driving over to my parents’ house.

Total: $52

Day Seven


Last night, my sister and I talked about taking a trip to New York City. It’s been a while, but we both remember it being a great place. So, I spend part of my day browsing transportation and amenities and shoot her a text with the information before heading out for dinner.

Total: $13.50

Total for the week: $158.50

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