A Week In Portland, OR, On A $89,700 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking women how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.

Today: a Product Manager working in Real Estate who makes $89,700 per year and spends some of her money this week on a pregnancy test.
Occupation: Product Manager
Industry: Real Estate
Age: 31
Location: Portland, OR
Salary: $89,700
Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,288.91
Gender: Woman

Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $2,256, includes property taxes and insurance. (My live-in boyfriend pays $1,100. I am still on a mortgage with my ex-husband and am trying to buy him out.)
Car Payment: $355
Student Loans: $123 ($700 payment deferred until I pay down credit card debt)
Spotify: $10
Cell Phone: $99.97
Car Insurance: $82.41
Cable/Internet: $97
Utilities: $350-$400 (split evenly with my boyfriend (R.) a month for gas, water, garbage, sewer, and electric)
Credit Card Debt: $800-$1,000 (my ex left me with $30,000 in his debt in exchange for me keeping the house)
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Day One

8 a.m. — I wake up and realize I forgot a key part of the chicken and waffles (the chicken) I'm supposed to make this morning for a brunch my boyfriend R. and I are hosting at our house. Run to the store for chicken and decide everyone needs donuts too. $16.73
10 a.m. — We have four of our friends over and we all pitched in to bring breakfast items so the spread is great! Taco breakfast casserole (that they made on a Traeger, what?!), donuts, mini waffles, mini chicken, and a wide range of mimosa options. We eat, talk, and play Code Names, which is our new favorite game! I lounge around with our dog after everyone leaves while R. does some yard work.
7 p.m. — We spend some time putting together a gallery wall for R.'s in-home music studio. He just moved in with me in November and we are creating a space where he can teach music lessons. We map it out, make a list of the frames we need for his artwork and music achievements, and head out to the craft store.
8 p.m. — We grab four frames and candy (he pays) with the intention of watching a movie after we hang the frames. We then realize it's margarita day and we want to partake so we swing by a close place to get some al pastor tacos and a margarita each. I pay. We tend to take turns when going out but don't pay too much attention — I try to chip in a bit more as I make more. $53
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12:30 a.m. — Hanging that wall took way longer than planned because I am very precise with spacing. It looks amazing, but we know we can't stay awake for a movie so we crash.
Daily Total: $69.73

Day Two

8:30 a.m. — Awake, feed the dog, quick shower, and apply makeup. I wear more than I should, but it's always the same — vitamin c serum, moisturizer, foundation, concealer, blush, liner, and mascara. I hate my skin, so it feels necessary but I should probably just figure out my skin issues. We head out the door at 9:30 to catch a brunch The Office trivia with our friend's trivia company!
10 a.m. — We arrive to meet our friends and realize it's a $5 buy-in and cash only, each. Oops! I never remember to carry cash, but we luckily scrounge enough up. We all order breakfast — French toast and mimosas for both of us and biscuits and gravy and bloodies for the other couple we are with — and split it right down the middle. R. pays since I bought dinner last night and our buy-in. $10
6 p.m. — I've been painting my staircase banister since we got home at about 2...this project is my nightmare, but so is builder grade oak. My stomach starts to hurt, likely from the fumes as I'm too cold to crack a window. I lay down for a bit and by 7, I'm still not feeling well. Lesson learned! I've lost my motivation to cook despite telling myself I would do better about spending on food, and R. suggests we order pizza. Our total comes to $27+ $6 tip. I Venmo him for roughly half. $17
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7:45 p.m. — We settle in with some pizza and watch Jojo Rabbit. I highly recommend this movie. We both laugh. We both cry. We are an emotional couple. End the day with a quick shower and some cuddling up with my guy while we talk about a potential future engagement and the possibility of a trip to Minnesota in June to visit his parents and see Elton John together (a dream concert for both of us).
Daily Total: $27

Day Three

7:15 a.m. — Begrudgingly roll out of bed after hitting snooze twice. The thing about my job is that I hate it, so being motivated to get up and go is tough. More on that later. I pull out some frozen dog food for my dog, C., to thaw out while I make my coffee. I've moved him to raw food because his tummy wasn't doing well with dry. I rescued him last year and it's taking some time to learn what works for him. I let him play in the backyard while I run back upstairs to do my makeup and throw my hair up in a lazy bun. My routine is down to about 20 minutes if I shower the night before and don't straighten my hair. I throw on a fairly casual outfit (a perk of my job) because I will be meeting a friend for dinner tonight. Say goodbye to the pup, and I'm on my one hour commute (groan) listening to the audiobook of The Giver of Stars on the way. So far, it's pretty good and helps the stress of my long commute, a little bit. Coffee and a granola bar on the go from home.
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8:59 a.m. — Arrive at work late, the commute was an hour and 15 today. Portland is experiencing a population crisis and it's impacting our commutes and home prices and there's no way around it — it sucks. For people that grew up here, it's hard to not scream "please stop moving here!" Not because we are snobs, but because we want reasonable commute times and to be able to afford housing.
10 a.m. — I do my every Monday routine of making sure my paycheck is accurate and charges from the weekend came through accurately. After years of working in overdraft, I'm primed for obsessively checking in on finances. I notice I got my annual bonus for $2,100. I apply the entire thing to my credit card debt and consider it a net-zero. I do a quick check on my credit card utilization and that brought it down to 69%, still really high but it should bump my credit score a few points. I got a divorce two years ago and am still trying to refinance my ex-husband off my mortgage loan. I have to do this by June and my credit score is struggling due to the debt he left me with. Every little bit helps, and I'm throwing any extra I have at this balance.
12:30 p.m. — I head out for lunch and realize I need gas. Because I was sick last night and didn't cook, I don't have lunch leftovers like I try to bring. This is how I get into spending trouble. I order a chicken wrap to go from Red Robin and stop for gas, I make a grocery list in my car while eating lunch before I go back into my office so I can stop on the way home tonight and get out of this cycle! $14.36 for lunch, $39.06 for gas. $53.42
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3:30 p.m. — Take a break to literally cry. A huge project I conceptualized and have worked so hard on just got swiped and handed to someone else, despite getting assurance this wouldn't happen. This is why I hate my job, in addition to the commute and being isolated all day. I take a short walk, play some phone Yahtzee, cry to R., and come back to eat my feelings with some emergency Skittles from my desk. I keep a stash, so this is an infrequent purchase for these moments. I open my email and see I got an interview for an internal position. Literally anything to get me out of this one, please.
5 p.m. — I couldn't get out of the office faster. I head to a Thai bbq place to meet my childhood best friend, L., for our monthly dinner. We go to one new place per month together — it's been a fun tradition for the last five years! It takes about an hour to get there, but I finish my audiobook on the way. I find free street parking (score) when I arrive and text R. to see if he wants me to bring food home for him. He's gonna go with leftovers and hang with the pup! This place is more tapas style and is intended to be shared — we go with bbq fried rice, pork, and fried chicken. I love the fried rice, but everything else is just okay. I realize I never took L. out for her birthday because she wanted to stay in so I pay for this and cringe a little at how much I've spent today. $51
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8:40 p.m. — I swing through Trader Joe's on the way home and grab a few frozen options to stave off the Postmates temptation — chicken parm, a few things to make chicken fajita lunch bowls, yogurt, guacamole, salsa, and some mini chocolate chips for R. I pay for groceries for the most part. R. insists on splitting bills 50/50 despite making half of what I do, so I try to help out in other ways so he doesn't feel too stressed about money. I get home and one of my paper bags rips (I know I can use reusable, I literally always forget them) and spills out a full bag of groceries. It's been a DAY. Once I get in, despite wanting to cry and melt into my couch, I make one of the frozen meals (teriyaki chicken and fried rice) for the next 2-3 days so I don't keep up the cycle of going out. R. had a bad day too, and we both feel so lucky to have each other to complain and boost each other up. $71.09
9:30 p.m. — After cooking and lounging on the couch with a few mini cookies, I take a shower and call it a night. It's been a tough day and I'm emotionally spent.
Daily Total: $175.51

Day Four

7:30 a.m. — R. is staying home, his stomach is bothering him and he needs a mental health day so I snooze until 7:30. I quickly do my hair and makeup and throw on some skinny jeans, a black sweater, and flats. I make coffee, grab a green juice, grab the lunch I made last night along with some hummus and pretzel chips for a snack (all stuff I had from last week's grocery haul), and head out the door.
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9 a.m. — I arrive at work. I didn't have any audiobooks available on Libby (I frequently use this to subsidize purchased books because my spending habit on books was getting out of control) so I listened to the pre-generated Your Daily Drive playlist on Spotify and it's filled with the '90s jams R. and I love so I save the songs to share the playlist with him later. I check in on my emails while drinking my smoothie once I arrive.
10 a.m. — I get an email that HelloFresh is doing a promotion if I come back. I sign up for meal delivery for short periods of time when I know I will be overwhelmed. With all the stress going on in my life, it seems like a good time to cut myself a break. It also tends to cost me less as I somehow never get out of the grocery store under $100/week and it saves me from ordering delivery when I don't know what to make for dinner. I won't be charged until next week when the first delivery goes out, but it will be $50/week for four weeks for four meals for two. I will likely cancel again when the promo is over since I don't love all the packaging.
12 p.m. — It's lunchtime and I'm so incredibly bored. My boss has been reassigning my work and I'm waiting for new tasks. Nothing to do. No one is in today around me so I head home to finish the day because I can't take the silence anymore. I heat up leftover pizza from Sunday instead of the lunch I brought and settle in with some Gilmore Girls while I finish my workday and browse resume templates on Etsy while R. watches Stranger Things (for the first time!) on Netflix downstairs.
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3 p.m. — I head downstairs to make coffee and grab the hummus and pretzel chips I brought to work earlier to snack on. Weird combo, but it works. As much as I hate my job, I appreciate the flexibility to work from home. I throw in a load of laundry while I'm up. I try to maximize my work from home days by getting through as much laundry as possible between tasks.
5 p.m. — I sign off right at 5 as everyone else is offline and I have nothing left to do. I have my internal interview tomorrow, so I spend the next few hours grooming. For me, this includes replacing my tape-in extensions. I know every stylist is probably cringing, but my hair is thin and made me so insecure I had to do something and it was too expensive to upkeep in-salon extensions at this point. I order them on Amazon every 8-12 weeks for $35. The process takes about three hours.
7:35 p.m. — I go downstairs, not quite done with my hair, to start making the chicken parmesan I picked up at TJ's last night with noodles we have in the cupboard and broccoli I have from last week. We make a point to eat dinners at the table together so we can talk and spend time together. It's cheesy and I hate to say it out loud but he's truly my best friend and I love talking to him at the end of the day. Once we finish eating, I paint my nails while he cleans up the kitchen. I do most of the cooking and grocery shopping and he does most of the dishes and trash duty. It works for us because I hate cleaning.
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8:15 p.m. — Once I finish with my hair, I pull out my best blazer and pants for my interview tomorrow and lay it out to speed up my morning. We decide to get in bed earlier than normal so we actually have time for sexy time. It's so hard during the week. We are always sleepy. We make a little time to read as well and crash out by 11.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

6:45 a.m. — Wake up early with a kiss from R. and roll out of bed early so I can spend time playing with C. and doing a long makeup routine for my interview. Feed C. his food after it thaws and make coffee while he gets a little tug of war action. Do full makeup and head out the door with another green juice, pretzel chips, hummus, and a few granola bars to stash in my desk from a Costco haul I picked up a few weeks ago.
8:45 a.m. — I arrive at work and realize right away I forgot to bring my meal prepped lunch from Sunday and also left the juice in my car, which is a half-mile walk away so I don't have time to grab it. Ugh. I snack on a granola bar and drink my coffee. I check my emails and browse a few home listings on Zillow. I do some calculations and realize I'm only $10/month in DTI off from being able to refinance my house after my last big debt payment. I'll pay off one of my small student loans ($800 is the smallest one) when I get paid next Friday and then I should be free of my ex-husband on this loan! My boyfriend pays half the mortgage so I'm technically fine with that income, but they won't count it until he's been there a year, and I refuse to add a partner to my mortgage until we are married. I've worked too hard for this house.
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10:54 a.m. — I catch myself in an anxiety attack. This has been happening sporadically over the last few weeks, usually out of nowhere or in the middle of the night. I decide to take a break away from my desk. Walk a bit, sit and look at more resume templates, and scroll through social media until my breathing feels normal. I try to grab a small coffee from the downstairs cafe on my way back to my desk but it closed early. Caffeine is probably a bad choice when I'm having anxiety, but I'm exhausted and holding a warm drink sounded calming. I settle for free tea in the break room and listen to Armchair Expert at my desk while I shuffle through some minor tasks I have on my plate.
12:24 p.m. — I head out for lunch. I sit in my car for a few minutes to send an email to my loan officer to make sure I'm as close to being ready as I think I am. I ask a few questions about getting creative with my loan as well. Mortgages are not as cut and dry as they seem and there are a lot of ways to get creative with making it affordable. I head off to a local Vietnamese spot and order a vermicelli bowl and a side of salad rolls. It's more expensive than I'd like but I justify that it's at least better for me than fast food, probably? $16.78
1:10 p.m. — I cave on my way back to the office and get that coffee I was craving. Self-destructing my budget, but it's been a shit week. I drink my coffee and read a few pages of On the Come Up in my car before I head back in. I text with R. about our future goals while I sip on my coffee and update my resume. $4.35
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6 p.m. — What a day. I get home after my interview and make a large batch of chicken fajitas with the TJ's ingredients I grabbed the other day and a large batch of quinoa (already had it on hand). We eat it for dinner and have enough for two more meals each, which was the goal! The last half of the day went by so fast. I think my interview went well, but I don't want to get my hopes up. I will know by Monday or Tuesday if I have a second interview. I finally sit on the couch for the first time since I got home and I'm wiped out. I had high hopes of fitting in some yoga tonight but my neck is in pain and I'm exhausted. I watch a little basketball with my guy while casually scrolling through Instagram.
9:16 p.m. — Already in bed with a cup of Moroccan mint tea from TJ's (we literally always have a stash — it's the best) after a long face wash and my skincare routine. I have a fundraiser with a work friend in the morning so it's going to be an early and long day tomorrow.
Daily Total: $21.13

Day Six

6 a.m. — Begrudgingly wake up and very quickly get ready. My friend sponsored a table at a fundraiser breakfast this morning and I have to be there by 7:15 a.m. It's for a girls' choir and I am all about supporting the arts and young women! Quickly feed C. and let him in the backyard to play while I get ready. Out the door by 6:45. She paid for this so breakfast will cost me nothing, but if the cause speaks to me, I'll make a donation within the next few weeks.
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9:04 a.m. — Well that was the most adorable performance I've ever seen, and very motivating for young women! I make a note to make a donation in the next few weeks. I arrive back home to let C. get a bit more playtime before I head to the office. Usually, R gets home to him by 4 so he's only alone from 8:30-4 (he has a dog door). I make a coffee to go, grab the leftovers from dinner last night, and head in a few hours late. Less time being trapped in the office today!
2:09 p.m. — Finally stepping away from my desk for the first time since I got in around 10:30. I spent the morning catching up on some boring tasks, updating R.'s resume for him, and checking my email every five minutes to see if I got a second interview (It will be at least Tuesday before I hear). The hiring manager is great, and open to a lot more remote work — cutting out my two-hour round trip commute a few days a week would do wonders for my stress and life management and would be much better for C. and my ability to ever go to the gym or do anything outside of home after work. When I adopted C., I worked 15 minutes away and it was easy to manage, it's been really hard since my office relocated. I browse through some meatless Monday ideas while eating. R. and I have been texting about how to incorporate this to be a little more environmentally friendly. He doesn't eat cheese either so I have to be more creative than my fallbacks for this (read: quesadillas).
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6:09 p.m. — Get home and get dinner prepped! R. is upstairs teaching a guitar lesson (his first paid one! Yay!) and I want dinner to be done when the lesson is over so we can eat together. Throw together my classic "I want a great tasting dinner that seems like it took forever with minimal effort," which is chicken thighs dredged through flour with an excessive amount of Cajun seasoning, along with Brussels sprouts tossed in truffle oil and the must-have butternut squash ravioli from TJ's. It's about 10 minutes of effort, which I really appreciate. I settle in to watch the new Pete Davidson special and cuddle with C. while everything cooks.
10:38 p.m. — I head upstairs after a few hours of eating dinner, doing dishes, reading The Lying Game, and catching bits of Stranger Things that my boyfriend is still binging. It's a no-spend day and I'm feeling good about that!
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

7:30 a.m. — Wake up! It's a work from home day today so I sleep in a bit and then let C. outside until he starts harassing the neighbor's dog. I do more dishes, throw in a load of laundry, and put the coffee pot on before I start work. Coffee and another green juice from the fridge.
8:40 a.m. — I get a LinkedIn offer for premium for half price for a few months and sign up because I'm actively job hunting. I'm hopeful I'll get the job I interviewed for this week, but I don't want to get my hopes up. $14.99
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12 p.m. — I decide to go get a spray tan on lunch so I can feel more confident in my dress for our date night tomorrow. I have a heavily discounted membership because my friend is the manager. I stop at the pharmacy and pick up a pregnancy test as I'm four days late and I'm never late. I'm on birth control and take it correctly, but it could happen still! We are trying to prevent this for now as we'd like to wait until we are married ideally, but we are also okay with it if it does happen. I have a feeling it's just excessive stress, but better to know for sure. R. sends me a bunch of baby names once I tell him I'm grabbing a test, so I definitely know he's not too worried about it. $16.99
3:30 p.m. — I sell home decor on Etsy and committed to donate some items to a friend's fundraiser. She texts me to confirm the website is live and I let her know I'll grab supplies this weekend and get a prototype up. I spend some time pricing out items so I can go this weekend. I text R. and ask him to grab chicken on the way home for tacos.
4:45 p.m. — By now everyone has logged off for the day so I shut it down and immediately transition to reading more of The Lying Game on the Libby app with a La Croix. I attempt to do an Instacart order from Costco to save the time and stress of going, but the fee is $20 so that's gonna be a hard pass. I'll rally and go out at some point this weekend to stock up on lunch stuff to subsidize our HelloFresh deliveries for the next few weeks.
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6:30 p.m. — R. gets home with taco ingredients and surprises me with margarita ingredients and a few boxes of Girl Scout cookies. It's been a stressful week for both of us, and we are apparently dealing with that with cookies and margaritas but I'm not mad at the idea. We watch the office while we eat dinner and cry at the scene where Pam realizes why her dad wants to divorce her mom.
8:15 p.m. — I throw in a few more loads of laundry and then we settle into more margaritas and Stranger Things. I haven't watched season 3 yet, I'm eagerly awaiting watching with fresh eyes together! We get through two episodes together before we head up to bed around midnight.
Daily Total: $31.98
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