A Week In Portland, OR, On A $60,000 Salary

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Today: a graphic designer who makes $60,000 per year and spends some of her paycheck this week on strawberries.
Occupation: Graphic Designer
Industry: Graphic Design
Age: 32
Location: Portland, OR
Salary: $60,000
Paycheck Amount (Monthly): $3,670
Monthly Expenses
Housing: $720 for my share (I split with boyfriend. My mom and I bought a house last year in cash — some family farm money materialized. So there's no mortgage, but my boyfriend and I put money into an account for maintenance, taxes, and savings. It's very weird and lucky. We don't have a plan for the future of this house. Maybe my mom will move to Portland and live here, and boyfriend and I will buy another place of our own. We'll see.)
Student Loan Payment: $400
Health Insurance: $110 (The total is $390, but I get a $280 credit from my employer.)
Car Payment, Insurance & Gas: $186 for my share
Phone, Internet, Spotify, HBO & Netflix: $160 for my share
Utilities: $50
Yoga & Gym Membership: $100
Transit Passes: ~$80-100
Life Insurance: $40 (I have a financial planner, and she convinced me to buy this!)
Pet Supplies: $120 (We have two cats who are on expensive prescription food.)
Savings: $600 (My financial planner set up some savings accounts for me.)

Day One

8 a.m. — It's Saturday, but I get up super early. It's been sunny and hot in Portland, and it's making me feel so good and positive! I read in bed for a loooong time before getting up to make coffee. Then I do a quick clean of the bathroom, put in laundry, and take a shower. I hop on my computer to finish sending files and notes for a pro bono project I'm working on, which takes longer than I thought it would. Boyfriend is finally awake, so we hop on our bikes and head to the farmer's market two miles away. Before we start shopping, we get a bite to eat from one of the vendors. I order a bowl of scrambled eggs, beans, chorizo, and collards. $7.50
11 a.m. — We browse the market and buy potatoes, kale, basil, cauliflower, snap peas. A light market day for us. $15
2:30 p.m. — Back home and it's time for yard work. I pull a bunch of weeds in our garden bed, deal with overgrown raspberries, and harvest arugula. Then, my boyfriend and I clean the house. We're both hungry and have been craving hamburgers, so we go to Killer Burger to eat. I order a mushroom and Swiss burger with fries, and it hits the spot. Boyfriend has a cheeseburger. I pay for both of us. $25.68
3:30 p.m. — While we're out, we go to the hardware store for tomato cages, cleaning supplies, and garden twine ($24.63). Then we gas up the car ($33). $57.63
4 p.m. — Boyfriend convinces me to run an errand I've been putting off, which is to investigate the Saddle Library at a bike shop across town. I got a new bike last year, but the seat hurts. This shop specializes in women's bikes and lets you rent a saddle for a week before you buy to see if you like it. My boyfriend reminds me that I'll save money on transit if I bike every day, which is a good point! The saddle “library card” is $25, but the only saddle they have available in my hip-size is a very expensive one. I borrow it anyway to test it out. $25
7 p.m. — I install the saddle and take it for a spin. It feels…hard. Haha. I do more work on the pro bono project, and then research places to stay in Paris and London later this year. My tummy hurts after eating that hamburger, and now I don't want dinner! I make peppermint tea and curl up on the couch with a book.
Daily Total: $130.81

Day Two

7 a.m. — Awake so early again. I make coffee, feed the cats, and then read in bed. I finish the book I've been reading, which is due back tomorrow at the library. This never happens, so I'm stoked. Then it's time for yoga — Sunday morning vinyasa flow with my favorite instructor, which is one of the highlights of my week. Afterwards, I drop off a few books at the library and pick up two more that I have on hold. Then I swing by Whole Foods for breakfast sausage, blueberries, and strawberries. $14.97
12 p.m. — Home, and my boyfriend's started making breakfast. We have potatoes, sausage, fried eggs, and more coffee. I feel eager to get started on meal prepping for the week, so I roast a bunch of cauliflower and make pesto. I walk to a coffee shop around the corner to catch up on email and reading, and buy a turmeric latte. $4.50
4 p.m. — On the walk home, my friend, T., texts me and asks if my boyfriend and I want to cook dinner at her place. Yes! Since I'm not cooking at home tonight, I do extra meal prep for the week, and cook a bunch of brown rice with lemon, peanuts, and curry leaves that I have on hand.
6:30 p.m. — We stop and pick up pasta. I bring over the pesto I made earlier, as well as leaves from my garden. On our way, another friend texts my boyfriend and me and asks if we want free tickets to see Yo La Tengo later tonight. Uh, yes! $15.17
9 p.m. — At T.'s we eat pasta, pesto, peas, tomatoes, and salad, and catch up. Then it's off to see YLT. We catch the second half of their two and a half hour set.
11:30 p.m. — Shower and bed!
Daily Total: $34.64

Day Three

7:30 a.m. — I'm up! Make coffee, feed the cats, put on sausage for breakfast, and pack lunch.
8:30 a.m. — Bike ride to work! It's six miles to downtown and mostly downhill — a super chill morning ride.
12 p.m. — Heat up my rice for lunch. I see that Liz Phair tickets are on sale (!!), so I buy two. $67.88
2 p.m. — Take a break and get a coffee downstairs. $3
3 p.m. — Boss has changes to something we're presenting tomorrow. Nothing major, but for some reason I can't focus and it takes me a long time.
7:15 p.m. — Finally leave work SO late. The latest ever. I don't feel like biking, so I buy a two-hour pass and take the train home. $2.50
8 p.m. — Boyfriend made more sausage (we're on a sausage kick) and a kale salad. Meanwhile, that pro bono project I'm working on is going off the rails — it's going to print tomorrow, and one of the other designers drops out. She sends me her files to wrap up. I am so annoyed, but also always get stuck with the work. I'm too nice. Grr.
11 p.m. — Finally done and in bed.
Daily Total: $73.38

Day Four

6:45 a.m. — Wake up before my alarm because cats are crawling all over me. Somehow, another designer and client on this thing have done another round of review and notes. I would normally be better about boundaries, but I feel eager to get this done, so I bring my laptop into bed and quickly update and export two new files.
7:15 a.m. — Put on coffee, shower, and eat oatmeal. Pack more rice and cauliflower. I take the train to work today, since I left my bike at the office. $2.50
9:30 a.m. — Client meeting is fine, but I feel like I didn't embody my most articulate self during the presentation. Feel a little bummed about it. I go into a work hole and put on a skincare podcast to cheer myself up. Dumb, but I love it.
12 p.m. — Lunchtime haircut!! I just started going to a real hairstylist, one who gives me a standing appointment, and it is so, so, so great. I used to always forget about haircuts until my bangs would drive me nuts. Now it's a fun thing I get done on a schedule. Hairstylist has a new boyfriend who she tells me all about, and there's a cute dog in the salon. It's beautiful inside — full of plants and windows. Ahhh. Expensive, but worth it. $60
5 p.m. — Time to bike home! It's hot and I'm hangry. Once I'm home, I immediately put water on to boil capellini, and then make a big pan of noodles with brown butter and sage (from the garden!!). Dude and I scarf it down.
7 p.m. — I'm doing a couple design-related research projects, and tuck into reading and writing all night long.
10 p.m. — Shower, snuggles, and bed!
Daily Total: $62.50

Day Five

6:30 a.m. — I'm up early again! I'm in a good cooking groove lately, so I decide to cook something for lunch later. I put lentils, ginger, and spices on to boil, and steam broccoli while I take a quick shower. Then it's time for coffee, cat feeding, and catching up on a few emails. Boyfriend gets up, and I make us both smoothies with frozen blueberries, banana, and leftover kale.
9 a.m. — Bike ride to work. I get some great work news today — some clients got us content and feedback that we've been waiting on. This means I get a full day in my creative zone moving the project forward. No meetings, all design time. Yay.
12 p.m. — Eat my lentils and then take a walking break for coffee. $3
5:30 p.m. — Bike ride home. I have to stop by the library for two more (!) books on hold. I swear, they always become available at the same time. I am so tired today and take my sweet time biking the last few miles home. The bike seat is not feeling so great today.
7:30 p.m. — Somehow I get a fire under my butt and scramble to yoga class. I plop down next to the giant palm and monstera. The instructor makes us do a lot of planks and core stuff, but class is still relaxing.
9:30 p.m. — Home. Heat up more lentils and broccoli. Dude is out watching basketball, so I decide to make hummus! Then it's shower and bedtime.
Daily Total: $3

Day Six

6:30 a.m. — I'm up. Nobody watered the garden yesterday, so do it in my PJs and harvest a bunch of raspberries. I have a fun morning — I'm going to Portland State to review some design students' thesis projects. I have to be there at 9, so I make a smoothie, pack a weird lunch of miscellaneous fridge veggies, and hop on the train. I have a day pass saved from a couple weeks ago, so I don't have to buy a ticket.
12 p.m. — Thesis reviews were FUN! Feeling very inspired by the students and their project ideas. The instructor, two other reviewers, and I all decide to get lunch. We go to a cart next door and I get a bowl with pork, kimchi, and rice. $11
3 p.m. — A (challenging) client puts a hold on a launch we were planning to do next week, which throws us all for a loop. I can't focus on much else after this.
6 p.m. — Home and everything's a mess: the kitchen drain is stopped up and the sink is full of water (?!), and one of the cats peed on the floor next to their litter box — ahhh. I furiously clean the cat zones and litter boxes. Dude picks up Thai food for dinner and pays.
9 p.m. — I am in a bad mood and over this day! Go to bed super early.
Daily Total: $11

Day Seven

7 a.m. — Wake up to the news of Anthony Bourdain's passing. This breaks my heart — I am a huge fan. I actually cry (!!) in bed, and then suck it up and call a plumber to deal with our sink.
9 a.m. — It's a work-from-home Friday, which my office tries to do in the summer. So thankfully I get to laze around, and the plumber is able to come immediately! He de-clogs our sink quickly ($209) and gives me a quote for other work we need done in the basement. $209
12 p.m. — It's time to break for lunch. Whenever I work from home, I like to go to this special, extremely delicious Vietnamese soup place that's packed on the weekend. I order chicken pho, and it's soooooo good. $11
6 p.m. — Got tons of work done today! Feeling good and ready for the weekend.
8 p.m. — Boyfriend's home and we decide to watch all the episodes of Parts Unknown that we haven't seen, to honor Tony B. I make a big pot of spaghetti and tomato sauce with butter and onion, plus salad from the garden. We eat on the couch and snuggle.
Daily Total: $220
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