A Week In Portland, OR, On $12/Hour

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.
Ahead of National Twins Day, we present Twin Week, where we’re tracking the spending of five sets of twins. Just because twins share the same DNA, doesn’t mean they share the same money habits, so we thought it’d be a fun experiment to compare and contrast the way millennial twins are saving and spending. To kick off the week: Here’s a set of twins living in Portland, OR, and San Francisco, CA, respectively.
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This diary: A server and barista working in food service who makes $12 per hour and spends some of her money this week on eyelash glue. Her twin is a merchandise coordinator who works in fashion.
Occupation: Server/Barista
Industry: Food Service
Age: 21
Location: Portland, OR
Income: $12/hour plus tips
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $745 from Job #1 and $650 from Job #2 (I work four shifts at Job #1 per week and make $100-200 in tips per shift. I also receive cash tip-outs weekly from Job #2 that are calculated by hours and each day's busyness, which usually adds up to an extra $100 per week.)
Additional Income: My father gives me $200/month, but sometimes forgets, and when he does I don't bug him for it.
Monthly Expenses
Rent: My share is $545 for my own room in a four-bedroom house. Our rent is low because our landlords specifically rent to college students who attend the nearby university.
Student Loan Payment: $0 (I'm still in school, so I'll start paying them off next fall.)
Health Insurance: $0 (I'm on my dad and stepmom's plan.)
Spotify: $10
Hulu: $12
Netflix: $0 (Thanks, Dad.)
Phone Bill: $117 (I am the only kid in my family who pays for their own phone bill, out of five kids ranging in ages 19-23.)
Car Insurance: $123 (Again, I'm the only one who pays for their own car insurance between all five kids.)
Imperfect Produce: ~$60 (I receive this weekly and each box differs in price, but stays around $13-$17)

Day One

6:15 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I roll over to snooze. I am not happy about waking up this early today. Wednesdays are my rough days — I work 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at my coffee job, and then 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. at my serving job. I snooze the alarm three times before getting up.
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6:45 a.m. — I pull myself out of bed, throw on a sweater, and start getting ready. This takes about 20 minutes. I wear minimal makeup, but refuse to forget about eyelashes or highlighter. I straighten up my hair and throw on some clothes. On a good day I'll only change once or twice before getting out the door.
7:15 a.m. — Still half asleep (I haven't had my coffee yet), I drive into town — I should take the bus, but that takes over 45 minutes instead of the 15 it takes the drive. Parking costs should make me want to deal with the extra 30 minutes, but I'm too tired to care.
7:30 a.m. — I arrive downtown and pay my first round of parking for the day ($4). It costs $2 an hour, and you can pay for four hours at a time. I meet my friend for coffee at the place I work before clocking in. I get my cappuccino for free and pay $1 for a chocolate croissant. $5
8 a.m. — I get to work, which is pretty mellow. (It's more laid-back than my other job, so I'd say it's a good balance.) It stays fairly busy, though, especially in the summer, and I really enjoy being a barista.
9:30 a.m. — Pay for parking, and then again at 11:30. $8
11:35 a.m. — Time for my 30-minute paid (bless) lunch break. I head over to a nearby food court called Pine Street Market and order a fancy bibimbap bowl from a smokehouse that I've been dying to try. It's a little pricier than what I normally spend on lunch, but I'm excited for it. But OH MY GOD it is terrible. It's nothing like what I had hoped for. I am so disappointed. My friend buys me a slice of pizza instead since she feels bad. $18
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12:05 p.m. — I return to work. It's fairly uneventful — we just hang out and then serve people when they come in.
1:30 p.m. — Pay for parking. (See how brutal this is? If my lazy ass would just take the bus for $5 instead...) $3.50
3:04 p.m. — I leave and try to get home ASAP so I can have as much downtime in between my jobs as possible.
3:25 p.m. — I lay in bed for a bit. I'm exhausted from work, tired from waking up early, and unhappy about having to serve tonight. Every week I ask myself why I work doubles like this.
4:45 p.m. — Time to pull myself together and get ready for Job #2. I change into proper clothes for my serving job and touch up my makeup.
4:55 p.m. — I leave for work. Most days it takes about six minutes to get to work, but around this time there's so much traffic that I have to leave earlier.
5:15 p.m. — I clock in, put on my apron, write down all the specials, and get going. I hope work isn't too hectic tonight, but I still hope to make good money.
10:24 p.m. — I finish up and do my check out report. Work was steady, but not unbearable. I'm ready for bed. Thank god tomorrow is my one day off. I end up with an additional $120 in my pocket from tips tonight, but I have to declare them and they're taxed. I enjoy my free post-shift margarita and head home.
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10:42 p.m. — I pull my eyelashes off, put on an oversized t-shirt, and go straight to bed. What a day.
Daily Total: $34.50

Day Two

9:37 a.m. — My! Day! Off! I sleep in with no alarms. Getting up is still hard — I love my bed so much and without any obligations, leaving my bed just seems unreasonable.
10 a.m. — I finally do get up, throw on comfy clothes, and fix my hair just a little bit. No lashes for me today. I'm too lazy to do my makeup.
10:17 a.m. — I head downtown to grab coffee with a friend. (It's hard to pass up when it's free.) I pay for parking once I get into town. I'm not sure how long we'll be, so I pay the full two hours. I always overpay for parking. UGH. $4
11:30 a.m. — We finally leave the coffee place and decide it's time for lunch, so we walk over to Killer Burger. I'm feeling generous and pay for my friend's lunch. $25
12:20 p.m. — I pay for parking again ($4) and we walk to the photo store so I can drop off some film and buy a camera strap for my friend as a late birthday present. Then we hang out downtown until the film is ready before heading back to my house. $21
1:30 p.m. — My film scanner isn't working and it turns out I need a new memory card for it. I panic and run to Rite Aid to buy one. Of course, they're out of the cheapest one and I have to spend $32…I could've just Amazon Prime'd one for cheaper, but I'm impatient about my film. I buy three Kit Kat's while we're there (since it's buy two, get the third free). $34
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1:56 p.m. — I'm DONE spending money for the day. I hang out at my house with my friend — it's over 100 degrees today and going outside again seems unpleasant.
6 p.m. — I make dinner at home with veggies from Imperfect Produce and then watch TV until I fall asleep.
Daily Total: $84

Day Three

9:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off…not early, but I still don't enjoy waking up by alarm. I don't have work until 12:15, but I want to get ready and have time to eat beforehand. I head downtown, again by driving… Why do I do this to myself?
10:22 a.m. — I stop at my coffee shop to get coffee, even though I'm not working there today. I pay for parking, again…today will be a pricey one. $4
11 a.m. — I go to Garden Bar to pick up a salad. I'll eat half now and the rest on my lunch break. $10
11:28 a.m. — I drive over to the cafe that I'm working at today. It's hot, I'm lazy, and I'm not stoked to work until 8 p.m. tonight.
11:35 a.m. — I realize my eyelashes are falling off and panic because I don't have eyelash glue with me. My sister has always told me to keep eyelash glue in my bag, but I never do and hate myself every time I have a lash emergency. There's time before I have to clock in, so I walk to the CityTarget only a few blocks away and buy eyelash glue. I know my sister would be proud. $6.50
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11:47 a.m. — On my way back, I stop into a store and purchase an enamel pin my friend has been wanting for awhile. (I'm a true gift giver.) $15
12 p.m. — I get back to work, fix my eyelash in the bathroom, and get ready to start work.
12:20 p.m. — Good ol' parking! It really is the death of me. I pay, and then again at 2:20. $8
3:35 p.m. — Time for my lunch break. Work has been slow for an afternoon, but not unbearable. I eat the rest of my salad from this morning. It's not as great as it was, but I refuse to go pay for something else.
4:20 p.m. — You guessed it, I pay for parking ($4). And then again at 6:20, but parking ends at 7, so I only have to pay for 40 minutes this time ($1). BLESS. $5
7:52 p.m. — We get out a little early today. I head out and go to dinner with a friend, who pays for us both. (We have a great paying switch-off going on at the moment.) I'm exhausted from work, even though it wasn't that busy today. My life is constant fatigue. We eat wings, fries, and fried pickles, and then go to the bluffs to watch the sunset. I head home afterwards and go right to bed.
Daily Total: $48.50

Day Four

8 a.m. — Another day, another alarm snooze. I do not want to get up today. I do not want to work today, but luckily it's at the laid-back coffee place.
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8:15 a.m. — I tell myself to get up, and that I won't have enough time to enjoy my daily coffee-before-work with friends, so I start to get ready. I'm quick today and don't care too much about what I look like.
8:47 a.m. — Still half asleep, I contemplate making a pour-over before I leave, but I decide against it and will just get two drinks before starting my shift, and then maybe more once I'm on. I drive into town.
9:04 a.m. — Another day of me paying for parking. I lose so much of my day's check this way. I really need to start taking the bus. My friend is late this morning, but I get coffee anyways, since I'm dying. I get a pastry too, but they don't charge me today. $4
9:12 a.m. — My friend finally arrives and I'm already halfway through my cappuccino, so I order an iced americano to drink with her.
10 a.m. — I say goodbye and clock on. I'm feeling a little more awake, but I know I'll be hungry soon and then will just feel gross from all the coffee I've had. Oh well, story of my life.
11 a.m. — Pay for parking at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. $8
1:30 p.m. — I go on my lunch break and head over to the food court again. Definitely not taking my chances with a $20 lunch, so I get a slice of pizza with ranch instead. The pizza never fails. me. $4.50
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2 p.m. — I return back from lunch and am feeling good. Time for more coffee! Just a little bit of drip to get me through the next two hours. It's an addiction. That's what happens when you work as a barista for six years.
3 p.m. — P A R K I N G (only an hour though). $2
4 p.m. — I tidy things up and clock out. Normally I go to my serving job at 5 p.m., but I'm not on the schedule today, thank god. I stop into Urban Outfitters in the hopes of finding a hat I've been wanting. Urban is downtown, so yes, I pay for parking :). I limit myself to only an hour, though. $2
5 p.m. — I leave Urban with the hat (yay), a pair of earrings, a book, and a birthday card for my stepmom. I'm a shopaholic, but also a workaholic, so I think it levels out. $87
5:05 p.m. — I decide to go home. I've had clean clothes that have needed to be put away for almost a week now, so I figure it's a good time to finally do it.
5:32 p.m. — There's a lot of traffic getting home. It's hot out and my car doesn't have A/C. I really need to get it fixed. I throw my clothes in the dryer again to get rid of any wrinkles and lay in bed for a good 45 minutes before making myself get up to actually put my clothes away and clean up my room.
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6:40 p.m. — I change into something more fitting for tonight, since I'm meeting up with friends. Nothing fancy, we're just going to get dessert and maybe a drink. I get a text saying not to come over to my friend's house until closer to 8, so I wait it out and then drive over.
7:57 p.m. — I arrive at my friend's house and we walk over to a cafe. I'm starving, but this place only sells dessert…so I order a brownie sundae and a pear cider. Our server is a friend of one of the girls I'm with, so she gives us half off of everything. It's cash-only and no one has cash except for me and one of my friends, so I pay with a $20 and only get $5 back. Oh well, I know my friends will get me back sooner or later. We stay for about two hours chatting and laughing. The temperature has cooled, so it's tolerable out. I'm not mad about it. $15
10:12 p.m. — We decide to get pizza. Oh, I love pizza. My friends pay for my slice, so I guess we can call it even now. I'm tired, but enjoying time with friends and feeling overall at peace. I don't work until 2 p.m. tomorrow, so I'm happy.
Daily Total: $122.50

Day Five

11:16 a.m. — I sleep in really late today. I still feel exhausted from previous days' work, but I need to pull it together before working in a few hours. I lay in bed until past noon. I'm not feeling too great today.
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12:32 p.m. — I finally get myself out of bed, throw on clothes, and go upstairs to make coffee. Iced pour-over today, since it's so hot out, but I leave it for a bit before drinking it.
1:30 p.m. — I finally start drinking my coffee, knowing that if I don't, work will be a living hell. I'm the first night server on, but everyone else is on doubles, so I'm working 2 to 10:30 p.m. with no break. Normally these are my best nights tip-wise, though.
2 p.m. — I get to work and still am feeling pretty groggy. My roommate offers to buy me a coffee from Peet's. (Yuck! But I'm in desperate need of caffeine.) I agree, and she doesn't make me pay her back. But then I feel a migraine coming on, so I chuck the iced latte. This is not going to be good.
3:47 p.m. — My migraine has really started to set in…so I take my medication and hope it starts working quickly. We have four servers plus a bartender tonight and it has been slow, so hopefully my manager will let me go early if I'm not really needed. She doesn't, though, because she's scared of getting a rush after a nearby concert in the park gets out. I keep drinking water and hope for the best. Luckily I don't have many tables, since there are so many of us.
6:45 p.m. — The nearby concert in the park gets out and my manager is still not letting me leave. All our servers are bored and I can barely see straight. Normally I just try to sleep when I have a migraine, but I obviously can't right now. I start giving my tables to other servers. I know I'm losing money this way, but I wouldn't be able to give good service with this migraine. I start working on side work so that I can leave as soon as my manager gives me the green light.
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8:15 p.m. — My manager said she'd cut me at 7:45 p.m., but she hasn't been out of her office. We never even got a rush of customers. My migraine is still pretty bad, but I'm definitely functioning better now. I still want to leave. Why isn't my medication working????
8:33 p.m. — The bar manager finally goes to talk to the floor manager about cutting me, and she lets me go. My migraine has calmed a bit and is just lingering now. Now I feel like I can actually stay, but we close in 30 minutes anyways. I'm annoyed, but I still just decide to leave. I do my check out report and get the hell out of there. Surprisingly, I still walk away with $102 in tips.
8:45 p.m. — I go home, get straight into bed, and sleep. Ugh.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

8 a.m. — My alarm goes off and I'm feeling better, but the headache is still lingering. I work a double at my serving job today and I'm hoping I'll make it through. I snooze a few times before getting up.
8:30 a.m. — Throw something on, do my makeup, and head out to get coffee before work.
8:55 a.m. — I get downtown and pay for parking. My friend is already waiting for me at my coffee bar, so we get free coffee and hang out for a bit. $2
10 a.m. — We say our goodbyes and I head to work. Im feeling a lot better and hoping work will be good. Monday's are usually slower, but I still end up making decent money because it's only me and bar.
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11:30 a.m. — A second server comes in, and I'm confused. It's always been just me and the bartender on Monday mornings. Now we have to split the few tables there are between the three of us. I'm not going to make any money. It's slow today and it's not looking like we're going to pick up.
1:30 p.m. — They phase me early so that I can actually get a break in before coming back on at 4:30. Normally I get phased at 3:30, do my side work and check out report, and only get about 25 to 30 minutes before coming back on, so I'm happy about this, except that I've only earned about $40 in tips so far…
1:42 p.m. — After tipping out the bar/support/kitchen, I'm left with $36 in tips. The lowest I've ever made. I'm bummed. Why did this second server come in?? I leave and head home to get a nap in before heading back to work.
4:15 p.m. — I am about to head back, and I get a text saying to contact the manager at 5 to see if they'll need me. It never picked up, and they don't think it will tonight either. I'm tired, so I'm not particularly concerned, but I'm also mad because of the tip situation this morning.
5:06 p.m. — I get another text saying to wait until 5:30 p.m…
5:42 p.m. — I'm not needed. Kind of disappointed, yet also not really. I open at my coffee job tomorrow and have to be up earrrrllyyy. I stay in bed for the rest of the night.
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9:15 p.m. — I take Advil PM to help me fall asleep, set my alarm, and go to bed.
Daily Total: $2

Day Seven

4 a.m. — I can't believe my alarm is going off right now. I slept terribly last night. The Advil PM did not help, but normally it knocks me out. I snooze until about 4:30 a.m. until finally getting myself out of bed.
4:55 a.m.— I leave for work. Something about taking the bus at 4:30 a.m. really doesn't settle well with me, and parking doesn't start until 8 a.m., so I tell myself I'm better off driving.
5:08 a.m. — I arrive a few minutes early and sit in my car and wait until I have to walk in.
8 a.m. — Pay for parking as usual, at 8 and 10 a.m. $8
11:06 a.m. — I run to Garden Bar again to get a salad. Mmm, their salads are so good and actually filling. $10
12 p.m. — Parking!!!! $4.50
12:30 p.m. — I'm off work! Opening is hard but also nice, because I feel like I still have my whole day when I get off. I get in my truck and turn on the car. The gas light is on. Ugh. I find the nearest gas station. $30
12:41 p.m. — It's now time for me to run to my fairly last-minute tattoo appointment. A girl had an opening, and I was lucky enough to get the spot. A little pricier than what I usually do, but I'm just going with it.
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1 p.m. — I get to the shop and she's ready for me. Thank god! I lay down and we get going. It takes about two hours — longer than I expected. And it hurts more than expected — my arm is sore. Even after so many tattoos, this one is a little more painful. She quoted me between $250 and $300, but ends up only charging me $200. I tip her $50 anyways, since she was such an angel and did a phenomenal job. I also buy a t-shirt while I'm there — it says, “But he makes such bad art,” and I just had to buy it. $272
5:15 p.m. — I rush home and then rush to my serving job. Normally I don't work here on Tuesdays, but today I am. Hoping it won't be too bad of a night.
10:39 p.m. — It was a bad night. The hostess didn't tell me when she sat my section, and then she triple-sat my section even after I told her not to. Customers were mad at me before I even came to their table, when it wasn't my fault. Then I had several battles with the kitchen about food arriving up late and them messing things up that I needed on the fly. It was brutal and I was on the verge of breakdown. My worst night serving yet. One table was so mad at me (for reasons out of my control) that they didn't tip. The bill was $45.25 and they only gave me $45 in cash — they actually shorted me $0.25. That was a rough one, and things only continued to go downhill after.
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11 p.m. — Get home and instantly pass out.
Daily Total: $324.50
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