A Week In Boise, ID, On A $65,000 Salary

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Today: a sales manager working in medical device manufacturing who makes $65,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a slushie.
Occupation: Sales Manager
Industry: Medical Device Manufacturing
Age: 26
Location: Boise, ID
Salary: $65,000
Paycheck Amount (Monthly): $2,400-4,500 (I get 100% commission, so my paychecks fluctuate.)
Additional Monthly Income: $250 from our tenant, which we put towards paying off house projects
Monthly Expenses
Housing Cost: ~$200. My boyfriend, M., purchased a home after receiving money from an inheritance. There's no mortgage, but we split home projects and fees (insurance, property taxes, etc.).
Student Loan Payment: $380 (and I don't like looking at how much is left!)
Car Payment: $230
Utilities: ~$170
Health & Dental Insurance: ~$160
401(k): $300 (my employer matches up to 3%)
Roth IRA: $50
Car Insurance: $95
Line Of Credit Payment: $300-400 (I was careless with credit cards in the past, but I recently opened a line of credit with my bank that has a lower interest rate than my credit card, so I transferred the outstanding amount to the LOC. I have around $3,000 left to pay.)
Investments: ~$60 (I use Acorns and have a recurring investment, plus I have it set up to round up my purchases.)
Coworking Space: $35
Phone: $0 (My work covers the phone and bill.)
Pet Health Plan: $26 (I split the $52 fee with my boyfriend.)
Gym: $10
Feminine Care: $9 (I get Cora tampons every month.)
Netflix: $0 (Thanks, Sister!)
Spotify: $9.99
Sirius XM radio: $10.99
Savings: $400-1,000, depending on my income for the month
Additional Expenses
Quip Toothbrush Subscription: $10, every three months

Day One

7:20 a.m. — My dog alarm clock wakes me up — he's ready to start his day, and makes it known as he jumps on the bed and starts licking my face. We get up and get dressed. As is the case on most days, I don't do a hair and makeup routine besides mascara and a pony tail. We load the dog in the car and drive to the dog park a few blocks away. No one else is there yet this morning (I guess we're early) and our dog is happy that no one else is chasing after his ball. We just returned from a two-week vacation in Myanmar, so we're happy to be reunited with him again and to not have to deal with dog park drama/gossip.
9 a.m. — Back at home, I make coffee in our French press and cook up a breakfast of scrambled eggs with mozzarella and toast with butter. We watch a little Late Show with Stephen Colbert while we eat and then I start my work day. M. and I both work from home, though he's about to begin a new job that will require him to be in a downtown office most days. This will probably be a good change, as it's difficult to balance both being home around each other all the time! We share a home office, but for the most part we try to work in separate parts of the house during the day. I travel to Asia and Canada (I know, not the most logical division of territories) to work with customers nearly 50% of the year, so while that provides some separation, it's still a lot of time together when we're both home.
12:30 p.m. — Another downside to working from home is that I get SO snacky, but I'm good at limiting my munching between meals. I bring my laptop into the kitchen and read blogs while eating re-heated homemade arugula and asparagus pizza with a side of a Trader Joe's salad kit. I feed the puppy and then head to my couch office. Tomorrow I'll kick this habit and go back to my real desk. I get a text from that they're offering me a free 30-minute dog walk today. I happily accept the offer and book a walk with a woman who has walked our dog before. I take a break from work to let her in and she heads off with our dog for an afternoon walk. When she returns, she is happy to report they had a great time and that he barked at a stone statue in someone's yard. Ha! I tip $4 through the app. $4
5 p.m. — Work-wise, I'm at a good stopping point for the day, as I've been trying to get my post-vacation inbox down to zero and I've made good progress so far. I shut things down, get changed into running clothes, and load the dog into the car. I'm currently training for a 25K trail race in two months, which is far longer and more difficult than anything I've ever run. I'm totally not a naturally gifted runner, so I'm trying hard to stick to my training plan, though I'm still struggling through the shorter distances. Today I have to do five miles, but after coming off of two weeks of minimal training, I know it's going to be tough. I drive to a trailhead in the foothills and start off with my dog running laps around me along the way. The hilly run is hellish, but I make it 4.6 miles with minimal uphill walking breaks, which is good enough for me! On the way home, I stop to fill up my empty tank. $34.05
6:45 p.m. — Back at home, I meet up with my friend who rents the tiny studio apartment attached to our garage. She's been living there for a few months, and it's been fun having her so close, plus our dogs love to play together. We drive downtown to a brewery together to meet up with another friend for a Kegfit class. I'm new to this scene, but Kegfit is exactly what it sounds like – crossfit with kegs! They partner with a brewery, and for $8, you get a class in the back of the brewery and a free pint of beer after. The class is crazy fun, but I know I'll be sore for days after. The recovery beer helps a bit. $8
8 p.m. — M. and I go out to get tacos at a little Mexican grocery store nearby. I get five mini tacos and a Corona, and M. gets a Tecate and a torta. I pay and tip, and he Venmos me his half. We get home, and I shower and put on my Costco flannel penguin jammies. I read my book (Hotel Kerobokan, about a prison in Bali — not my usual genre of choice, but I found it abandoned on a table in Myanmar and had nothing else to read at the time) and then fall asleep with the puppy at my feet. $10.20
Daily Total: $56.25

Day Two

7:45 a.m. — This morning, M. woke up early to go backcountry skiing with a friend, so I'm on dog duty. We get to the dog park a bit later, so some of the other regulars are there and we catch up while our dogs chase each other around. After my dog is sufficiently worn out, we head home to start the day. I make a gourmet meal of instant oatmeal and add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt and agave sweetener. I eat my breakfast with coffee and the New York Times app, wondering what horrifying shenanigans the GOP has been up to overnight. I start my work day at the kitchen table as I eat, but soon move to the office with a second cup of coffee and a Yo-Yo Ma Spotify playlist.
11:30 a.m. — I'm feeling productive today, working through a challenging task of trying to get customers to buy a bunch of inventory that we overproduced. Eventually M. gets home, excited to tell me about his morning in the backcountry. I make us both TJ's frozen turkey burgers with arugula and mozzarella (I only set the smoke detectors off three times in the process) and head back to the office after eating.
3 p.m. — Today is my sister's birthday, and while I remembered to mail her a card, I still haven't gotten her a gift. I browse Amazon and look at Portland restaurant gift cards, but I want to make sure I get her something she'd actually use. I know she has an upcoming trip to Portugal, so I decide to hold off on a gift and offer her some of my Expedia hotel points for her trip instead.
4 p.m. — Finish planning my upcoming work trip that begins next weekend. My travel schedule has been crazy this year, so I'm really glad for these few slow weeks in one place. While traveling on someone else's expense (hello, long-haul business class!) and collecting frequent flyer miles is exciting, being away so much is exhausting. I close my computer and contemplate skipping my run for today since I'm feeling so lethargic, but I compromise with myself and do three grueling miles around the neighborhood instead of my planned five. Not sure how I'm going to do this race but…whatever.
5:30 p.m. — After an afternoon glass of wine on the back porch with my friend while we watch our dogs play, M. and I go around the block for dinner with a couple we met at church. We're both not particularly religious, but I grew up going to church and have known it to be one of the best ways to connect with people in the community. So far, so good! We eat tortellini soup, asparagus, and bread while chatting about our lives, swooning over their new baby girl, and finishing things off with homemade rhubarb pie. After a few rounds of the board game "Codenames," we leave them to put their baby to bed and meet up with our friend and her dog to go to one of the many Boise bars that allow dogs. We talk about our dreams of investing in tiny homes and a mutual friend's upcoming baby shower. We get Stone IPAs, which I put on my tab because I'm feeling extra generous. Home and in bed by 10:30. $31.55
Daily Total: $31.55

Day Three

8 a.m. — Feeling super out of it this Friday morning. I guess I haven't been drinking much lately, so it's really hitting me! M. lets me sleep a bit longer while he does solo dog park duty and I eventually get my bum out of bed, make coffee, and collect the trash, recycling, and compost for pickup. When M. and the dog get back, I make us eggs fried in coconut oil and toast with peanut butter. Not the best combination, but it works! I'm always extremely hungry from the moment I wake up, so breakfast is non-negotiable for me.
11 a.m. — After a few hours of work, we realize that it's the first Friday of the month, which means our local co-op has deals, deals, deals! We always shop there on sale days or whenever we want to stock up on locally-sourced meat. Today we buy a dog toy for our angel child (dog toys are sooo expensive, and he destroys everything, so we spend about 10 minutes trying to decide which toy to invest in), two bottles of wine, local steelhead trout, two NY strip steaks, eggs, romaine lettuce, quick oats, Bubbies pickles (the BEST), Siggi's yogurt, and two cans of Blue Sky soda. We use our monthly 10% member discount and split the total. $39.52
12:30 p.m. — Speaking of expensive pet stuff, our dog needs a new collar, since he's grown out of his current one. We take a measurement and I order one off Wilderdog's site. M. Venmos me half. I stick two more turkey burgers in the oven and try to avoid repeating yesterday's smoke detector mishap. We load the burgers with mozzarella, pickles, and mustard, and wrap them in lettuce. Halfway through lunch, M. informs me that I have mustard on my face, per usual. I'm a messy eater, what can I say? $15.50
4:30 p.m. — I finish some compliance trainings for work and am too much in Friday mode to start another big project I have this month. I promise myself I'll begin on Monday, and log off for the day. M. gets back from a run and I change into shorts and a t-shirt so we can get to work weeding the front yard. We take a quick water and peanut butter Clif Bar break somewhere in between pulling weeds and cleaning debris. The neighbors from next door stop by and invite us to take a tour of the new house they're building in the lot next to ours. It's modern, beautifully built, and absolutely huge — it feels like it's towering over our house! They were really lucky to snag this property (as were we with our house!) because Californians keep “discovering” the cheap cost of living in Boise, buying property, and driving our costs up! (Sorry, CA – I love you, but you can go home after you visit!)
6:45 p.m. — M. moves to the backyard where he weed whacks and mows, and I help by picking up all the dog poo that has accumulated. When I'm finished, I wash up and start making mashed potatoes to go with dinner. I season asparagus with TJ's garlic salt and olive oil, salt and pepper the strip steaks, and toss together a simple green salad with romaine, arugula, and TJ's champagne pear dressing. M. tosses the asparagus and steak on the grill when he finishes with the yard, and then we sit down for a wonderful summer-y meal, all washed down with a small pour of chilled Sauvignon Blanc.
8 p.m. — Kiss the pup goodbye and head off for a hot Friday night date at the gym. Unsurprisingly, we have almost the whole place to ourselves! I do leg and arm machines and end the session with a few partner ab exercises. We consider stopping by a nearby bar to say hi to a friend who picked up a shift there tonight, but instead go to Albertsons, where M. gets a six-pack of PBR and I get birthday cake Halo Top. We end the night tossing the ball to our dog in the backyard while I read several articles on my phone about the illusion behind Halo Top being considered “healthy.” $4.99
Daily Total: $60.01

Day Four

7:30 a.m. — Dog needs to pee. I open the door to the backyard, let him out, and then lure him back to bed with a toy. We eventually both pass out.
10:30 a.m. — WOW. I can't remember the last time we all slept in like this — I guess we needed it. It's a rainy morning, so we skip the dog park and play for a bit inside instead. I make whole wheat pancakes and M. makes coffee, and we eat the pancakes smothered in peanut butter, vanilla Siggi's, and syrup. Then we get the dog ready to go to a nearby greenhouse, where we load up on garden essentials. It's packed today, since everyone is starting planting season. We get a variety of lettuces, kale, arugula, chard, brussels sprouts, broccoli, chives, and oregano. I also get 15 cubic feet of organic raised bed soil. We had a gift card to this greenhouse, but we can't locate it, so we have no choice but to pay ourselves. I pay, since it will be primarily my project. $97.98
12:30 p.m. — I spend a few hours putting together our new raised plant bed to go along with our existing one (the directions are SO complicated, and it takes me much longer than expected) while M. cleans the grill. I divide the soil between the two beds, adding organic fertilizer that I have leftover from last year. I see a big storm cloud overhead, so I quickly do the planting. Soon it's pouring and I'm hungry, so I heat up leftover steak and mashed potatoes, and mix together a salad. M. and I had an argument during the gardening process and I'm still a little salty, so I eat alone at the table and then head to the bedroom to read for a while. After a few minutes, I start dozing, and then wake up to sunny skies. I grab gardening tools and a few packages of seeds and take the dog to the front yard to plant a variety of edible flowers, poppies, and Black-eyed Susans. When I get back inside, M. is ready to talk about our argument. We make up and then cuddle with the puppy on the couch for a bit.
4 p.m. — Both M. and I have scheduled runs today, and luckily the rain hasn't been as aggressive as the forecast promised. I get into running clothes and make my way to the Greenbelt (a bike/pedestrian path that winds along the river) for my six-mile run. It's a bit painful, but I get through it with help from Anna Faris's Unqualified podcast! When I get back, I play with the dog for a while until M. returns and we discuss dinner. We're both too exhausted (he ran almost 12 miles) to cook, so we pre-order a pizza from a place downtown and invite our friend/tenant to join us. When we get there, she buys beers and we pay for the pizza. It's so greasy and perfect. $16
9 p.m. — Our friend informs us that it's National Beer Day, so we figure it's a good excuse to check out a new bicycle-themed taproom downtown. We quickly stop home to pick up our dogs and then make our way to the bar where we each buy our own beers. I drink a Hefeweizen while we socialize our dogs. Then we go back home and our friend comes to our house with her dog and a six-pack. The three of us end the evening playing that game called Heads Up! that Ellen Degeneres plays on her show. It's so funny, especially when you're delirious after a long day. $5.50
Daily Total: $119.48

Day Five

9:30 a.m. — I think M. got up at one point to let the dog out last night, but we're all three still in bed at 9:30 and I can't believe it, again. Good thing we got so much sleep this weekend, because I leave for another work trip next week and will be glad to be so rested. We all lazily get up, M. and I get dressed, and we drive to the dog park. It's more crowded today than I've ever seen it — there are probably more than 50 dogs there, all chasing each other, pooping, and running after toys. Our dog is pretty focused on his ball, so we toss it to him, chat with a few other dog owners, and leave by 10, which is when the off-leash time ends.
10:15 a.m. — Breakfast today is a mixture of vanilla Siggi's, plain TJ's Greek yogurt, peanut butter toast, and coffee. After we eat, we fill up the bathtub for the pup's bath time. He hates it, but is cooperative anyway. While he runs around trying to get dry, we clean the bathroom and get ready to head out to go shopping.
11:30 a.m. — We drive to the Pendleton outlet to see what kind of bath towels they have in stock. M. recently visited his sister's house and raved about the Pendleton towels they have, but they're too expensive online. The outlet only has one style in stock and they're still $40, so we decide to pass. We stop by the Eddie Bauer outlet where we each buy something from their 50% off sale — M. gets a running shirt and I snag a windbreaker. $26.50
12:30 p.m. — Our fridge is looking a bit sparse, so we go to WinCo to pick up a few groceries. I prefer Trader Joe's, but WinCo has an amazing bulk section, so it's our store of choice today. We get milk, eggs, carrots, bananas, apples, clementines, cilantro, an onion, potatoes, brussels sprouts, coffee beans, bulk curry powder and turmeric, cheese sticks, turkey lunch meat, Tillamook yogurts, salsa, and protein bars. On the way out, we each get a Shasta soda from the vending machine. M. pays, and I Venmo him for half. $26.35
3:30 p.m. — Lunch was apple slices and cheddar with a piece of toast and TJ's Everything But The Bagel seasoning. After eating, I clean my car (I love my dog, but I can't stand dog hair) before falling asleep on the couch with M. — I blame too much sleep…it always makes me more tired! I read my book for a bit, and then we take the dog for a walk around the neighborhood. A.k.a. my time to snoop on other people's gardens.
5 p.m. — I get dressed for my final run of the week. I'm scheduled to do another six miles, but I settle on five with a decent incline. I try a new gradual uphill trail and I feel it big time in my quads! I thought the way down would be a breeze, but I get a stomach cramp, and it's not as easy as I thought it would be. The beautiful view of Boise at dusk distracts me a bit. After the five miles, I've done 21.6 of the 25 miles I was planning to do this week, which I consider sufficient.
7 p.m. — M. has dinner just about ready, but there's something wrong with the grill, so I help him transfer things to the oven. We have roasted brussels sprouts, grilled and baked steelhead trout, and leftover mashed potatoes, washed down with cheap Trader Joe's red wine. It's really hitting the spot. We watch a climbing group's documentary about their trip to Myanmar and then I watch This Is Us before passing out at 11.
Daily Total: $52.85

Day Six

7:30 a.m. — Solo parenting the dog again this morning, since M. has an early meeting downtown. At the dog park, there are four other dogs chasing the ball I throw and my poor babe hardly gets a turn at the action. Back at home, I make instant oats with peanut butter and agave, grab coffee that M. made, and head to the office. I got paid today, so I pay a few bills and pay an extra $100 towards my credit card bill, bringing it down to zero. Now all my debt is consolidated in my line of credit, which has been surprisingly great for my credit score.
11:30 a.m. — Work is slower than usual today, which is good, because I'm about to log off for a few hours. About once or twice a month (if I'm not on a work trip), I volunteer at the women's prison in their education department. I did similar volunteer work during college, so I was excited to find a way to continue it here in Idaho. On my 30-minute drive to the prison I eat a cheese stick, apple, and a Clif Bar and listen to the podcast Run, Selfie, Repeat. This episode really hits home, as she talks about how hard it is to do things you're not good at and work your ass off anyway. This is something I'm working on!
2 p.m. — I help with two classes at the prison today, both in re-entry. Today we work on résumé writing and how to disclose your criminal history to an employer, and take a touch typing test. The women in both class sections are wonderful and bounce great ideas off of each other.
3 p.m. — I log back onto my computer once I get home and respond to a few emails I missed while away. After I've reviewed most items, I heat up more chicken chili and eat at my desk, simultaneously engaging with my dog via pull toy. Eventually I wrap up work and change for the hill repeats on my training schedule. I ask M. to come along and we take the dog to the foothills, choose a manageable-looking hill, and then M. keeps time as I do a variety of distances and paces. I'm pooped at the end.
6:30 p.m. — I have an hour to kill before another Kegfit class, so I eat a banana cinnamon Siggi's and make dinner. I cut up chicken breast and potatoes and throw them into the Instant Pot along with curry, turmeric, cayenne, and a variety of other spices. Instant Pots are magic and the curry is ready in less than 10 minutes. M. eats while I get ready to go.
9 p.m. — Kegfit was, once again, so amazing. It was a lot of leg work, which was brutal after my hills, but I have a great time socializing with the other members over a beer at the end. I decide to buy six classes for a $36 deal, which seems like a crazy bargain to me! Back at home, I heat up curry and TJ's garlic naan, eat on the couch while watching Barry with Bill Hader, and eventually fall asleep. $36
Daily Total: $36

Day Seven

7:15 a.m. — Wake up to a work crisis, which is the worst way to start the day! I do a little damage control and then toss on leggings and boots and head to the dog park. When we get back, I make scrambled eggs with cheese, toast, and pourover coffee, and M. helps me water all of the plants I put in this weekend. I start my workday at the kitchen table, but later move to the office where I have fewer distractions. I consider working at my coworking space downtown, but there's nice lighting in the office right now and I'm not loving the idea of changing out of my leggings. M. eventually joins me at his desk and I turn on a classical Spotify playlist. I come up for air/ bathroom breaks a few times, but otherwise am totally in the zone for the morning. I take a break to eat an apple, too.
12:45 p.m. — Lunchtime! M. takes the dog for a run and I heat up frozen white bean chicken chili that my mom made during her recent visit. I top it with plain yogurt, cilantro, and cheese.
2:30 p.m. — I really need a break. It's a gorgeous day, so I convince M. to take a walk with me and we somehow (I totally planned it) end up at a gas station where I buy him a fountain soda and one of those gas station slushies for me. I always want the biggest size and end up drinking a quarter of it before feeling sick. $3.80
5 p.m. — Work was absolutely draining today. I do a core workout that M. calls “Killer Core” and then FaceTime with my cousin where we talk about how directionless we feel in our careers. At least I'm not alone! I make a pizza with a Trader Joe's whole wheat crust and top it with loads of arugula. M. and I devour the entire thing. For the rest of the night, I bum around on the couch waiting for Netflix to load, take the dog for a walk, and then somehow it's 10:30 and I'm ready for bed!
Daily Total: $3.80
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