A Week In Eugene, OR, On A $58,000 Salary

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Today: a development analyst working in government who makes $58,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on cocktails.
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Occupation: Development Analyst
Industry: Government
Age: 29
Location: Eugene, OR
Salary: $58,000
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $1,481.30
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $712 (15-year fixed mortgage for a 840-square-foot bungalow. This includes homeowner's insurance. I live by myself.)
Student Loan Payment: $388 (PSLF, income-based repayment plan)
Home Equity Line of Credit: $350
Car Payment: $156
Health Insurance: $57.84
Retirement: $155 (My employer matches 3% of my salary.)
Life Insurance: $5
Utilities: $100, plus $70 towards an upgraded heating/cooling system
Trash & Recycling: $22
Internet: $60.99
Car Insurance: $40
Phone: $0 (Thanks, Dad.)
Pet insurance: $42.99
Netflix & ITunes: $10.98

Day One

6:30 a.m. — I wake up to two hungry cats, a hungry dog, and a news alert — a cougar was spotted in my neighborhood two blocks from my house.
7 a.m. — After making coffee, I head out to the backyard to sit on the patio. I see a ton of weeds starting to poke up, and start to pull them. I have a fenced backyard, so I am allowed to pull weeds in my pajamas.
8:30 a.m. — I walk my dog with apprehension. We walk in the opposite direction of the cougar sighting.
9:30 a.m. — I make two eggs and a piece of toast for breakfast. It's time to get ready for the day. My friend texts me that she is back from her trip home and wants to meet up for Bloody Marys at noon. We're both from Pennsylvania, so I'm excited to hear about her trip.
11 a.m. — Oregon has a 10-cent fee associated with bottles and cans. If you return them, you get your money back. I finally go to the bottle drop facility to sign up, but my ID won't scan at the kiosk. No one is around to help, so I leave. I'll save my cans for another day. I anticipate the day that I'll have a bottle drop balance big enough to do something fun with!
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12 p.m. — I meet my friend at a local distillery. They have a whole setup of Bloody Mary toppings, and the drinks are delicious. We have one and decide to walk to a taco place nearby for lunch. I cover the food ($24), she covers the Bloody Marys. She brings me two beers from the homeland — sweet, sweet Yuengling. $24
3:30 p.m. — I procrastinate going to the grocery store all day and convince myself that I have plenty in my fridge, but I end up making a quick stop at Grocery Outlet for eggs and trash bags. I also find a hammock and stand there ($49.99)! Last weekend, I searched six stores for a hammock and stand to no avail. All of my friends make fun of me for shopping there, but this is yet another win for Grocery O. $55.17
4:30 p.m. — G., a guy I've gone on some dates with, arrives at my house to go floating down the river. He gets off work at 4:30, and 4 to 6 is the hottest time of the day in Oregon, so we gladly soak in the sun and coolness of the river. We park my car at the end and take his to the start. G.'s excited about his new tube with cup holders. I've had a tube with cup holders for years...this isn't my first floating rodeo.
5:30 p.m. — It takes us about an hour to park the cars, blow up the tubes, sunscreen up, and finally plop in the water. We crack open a few beers and enjoy the float.
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7:30 p.m. — We reach my car and hang out for a little bit. We finally call it a day, and I drive him back to his car and head home.
8 p.m. — I set up the hammock in the backyard despite being hungry, because I know tomorrow is going to be blazing hot and I don't want to be wrestling with it tomorrow after work. I double check all of the corners of the backyard for the cougar and water the plants. Everything is drying up due to the heat.
8:45 p.m. — I make a salad with salmon for dinner and listen to Celebrity Family Feud while I cook. I have a set of Rabbit Ears that gets me a few channels.
9:30 p.m. — I scroll Instagram for way too long and eventually call it a night.
Daily Total: $79.17

Day Two

5:20 a.m. — I pop right out of bed and start to get ready for work. I realize I'm out of coffee because I didn't grocery shop yesterday, so I make a cup of tea, which should power me through until I get to work.
7:05 p.m. — My dog looks super cute this morning, so I post a photo to his Instagram. I pack a banana and a nectarine for breakfast. Then I hop on my bike to work. Today will be 97 degrees, and I bring a change of clothes to bike home in. I listen to favorite podcast, Young House Love Has A Podcast, on my way to work.
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7:35 p.m. — I settle in at my desk, check emails, and then head across the street for a coffee at the cafe in the public library ($1). $1
10 a.m. — Work is quiet — everyone is on vacation. I like to use my vacation during the winter greyness. Summer in Oregon is the best time to stay local.
12 p.m. — I run at the work gym. It's free for employees and actually quite nice. I listen to a podcast about serial killers to drown out the dullness of running on the treadmill.
1 p.m. — I eat the lunch I brought from home: salad with leftover salmon and a diet ginger ale...my new treat.
4:30 p.m. — Time to bike home. It's hot, and the smoke from adjacent forest fires is starting to creep into the valley. I change, throw on music, and pedal the five miles home, which usually takes me about 30 minutes.
5:30 p.m. — Finally, I get to relax in a hammock in my backyard! I teach my dog how to jump in, which eventually becomes a game for him. I get up to water the plants.
6 p.m. — I go inside to watch the news. I entered a local news contest for a new grill plus a $500 gift card to the local butcher shop, and it looks like I didn't win. I am legitimately upset — I love the local news and watch/listen in the background every morning and evening.
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6:30 p.m. — I make a pit stop at the fancy grocery store to pick up coffee and a gift for my boss's birthday. I end up with two pounds of coffee, a loaf of bread, and a mug that says "The Boss." I couldn't resist. $31.57
6:45 p.m. — I go back to work this evening for a city council meeting at 7:30 p.m. I arrive early to print last minute items and get a good seat, just in case the council has questions for me or my boss. The meeting has a public forum and 17 people sign up to speak for three minutes each. It takes the first hour of the meeting. It's the usual — people talk about bees, recycling, and climate goals. Two big decisions are made that I am very glad about with regards to a new development project I'm working on.
9:10 p.m. — My meeting items are done, so I head home. My car smells like coffee beans.
9:20 p.m. — I make a quick dinner of scrambled eggs and toast, watch a bit of TV, and call it a night.
Daily Total: $32.57

Day Three

5:20 a.m. — An effortless wakeup — awesome. I get ready for work, make coffee, water the plants, and walk the dog. We keep an eye out for the cougar. It will be another hot day, so I bring a change of clothes to bike home in again.
7:05 a.m. — I hop on my bike to work and listen to Cardi B. It makes me feel pretty out of touch with regards to pop music nowadays.
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7:35 a.m. — I hit the ground running at work. Last night's decisions spurred the final avalanche of work for this portion of the project. I eat a banana while working. Then I modestly decorate my boss's office for his birthday today. My work division is very into decorations. I throw up one streamer in a sarcastic yet caring manner and put the coffee and mug on his desk.
12 p.m. — I attend the 20-minute HIIT classes at the work gym. I've been doing this class since January, and I still get sore regularly!
1 p.m. — I return to my desk to eat my packed lunch of snacks. I'm low on groceries, so I just brought a random mish-mash of stuff to dip into hummus. I check the news and see that the cougar has been spotted again!
4:30 p.m. — Time to change and bike home. I'm eager to get home to see my dog! I have two cats, too, but they are less excited to see me in general.
5:05 p.m. — It's hot out — like, melt-your-makeup-off hot. I grab a ginger ale, chips, and my bluetooth speaker and head outside to the hammock to relax a little bit and keep the dog company outside. Then I set up the sprinkler for him, because he goes nuts for it. It's too hot to take him on a walk right now, so the sprinkler gives him some play and exercise time.
6 p.m. — I catch the first bit of the 6 p.m. news. The cougar was found in a backyard with children, and it has been shot because it was deemed a risk to the public. RIP cougar. I quickly unload the dishwasher. I didn't have a dishwasher for the last five years, and having one now makes me feel like a damn queen.
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6:15 p.m. — I bike down to a new neighborhood bar for trivia with folks from my neighborhood. The cougar is the talk of the town. There are a few food carts here, but I hold out to save some money. I have a cocktail ($7), play a few rounds of trivia, and bike home. $7
8:15 p.m. — I arrive home to a dog who clearly drank too much sprinkler water. I instantly feel guilty. I knew this would happen. Dog mom guilt is real, and I really let it get to me. I clean up the result of the sprinkler over-consumption, make a quick bite to eat, and take the dog on a forgiveness walk in the cooler evening temperature. A guy with another dog is about a block away. I cross the street, look over my shoulder, and see his hand up. I think he's waving at me, so I wave back. I realize he is taking a video or photo of me with his phone...weird.
9:15 p.m. — My dog snuggles up to me on the couch and we watch an episode of Arrested Development. He clearly holds no grudges. I start to drift off to sleep, so I get up and go to bed. My dog and one of my cats snuggle up close to me.
Daily Total: $7

Day Four

5:38 a.m. — I hit the snooze button twice this morning. Eventually, I get up, feed the animals, get ready for work, and take my dog on our regular morning walk.
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7:07 a.m. — On my bike to work I listen to the most recent This American Life podcast. The podcast in combination with the eleven earthquakes off the coast of southern Oregon and the wildfires throughout the state are really starting to get me down.
10 a.m. — I dig into a sleuthing project that involves old property deeds and agreements and get lost in deep thought. I don't get the chance to do too much deep thinking at work, so this feels good. I am startled when I realize it's nearly noon!
12 p.m. — City council meets for a work session, so I don't go to the work gym today. I am still sore from that class, so I'm okay with taking a day off. One of the other division's interns asks to come with me. Ironically, we both have the same color blue shirts, black skirts, and Ray-Bans on. She's 19 and very stylish, so needless to say, I feel like my style is on point, too. I love working with interns — I was an intern once. It's a small town, so if I can help her get a leg up into our field of work, I totally want to. She says I seem cool, which makes me feel awesome.
1 p.m. — I eat a snack lunch again, plus a mini Reese's my boss gave me.
3:50 p.m. — I bike home a little early because I worked through lunch and scheduled a vet appointment for my dog this evening. I am salaried, but try not to work over 80 hours in a two-week period. It happens sometimes, though. My company has a really good employee retention rate because they actually understand work-life balance, so if I need time, I'm allowed to take it.
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4:20 p.m. — Arrive home, and I'm stressed about the time crunch. I eat a few tortilla chips and crack open a ginger ale while whizzing around to get things together.
4:45 p.m. — I load my dog into the car and take him to the vet. We have a friend who works there, and they offer pet insurance that provides us with unlimited visits a year, plus a whole slew of tests and vaccinations. The dog has been a little off lately (unrelated to last night's sprinkler incident), so I figure I might as well.
6:45 p.m. — The vet takes way longer than I expected. We're sent home with a probiotic and an antibiotic ($73.65), but I pay nothing for the visit or the tests, thanks to insurance. Tonight was going to be my night to go to the grocery store, but I'm feeling lazy. $73.65
7:05 p.m. — We get home, and I am enjoying a relatively unplanned evening. I don't get too many of these with work meetings, volunteer commitments, and social engagements. I catch up on a few house chores — folding laundry, cleaning up the yard, sweeping spider webs off of the front porch, and vacuuming. Then I throw on the oven to cook bacon, make a BLT and a salad for dinner, and stash the rest of the bacon in the fridge for later.
8:30 p.m. — I hang out with my dog in the backyard for a little, and I fall into an Instagram black hole of antique rugs — they are so beautiful. I bookmark a few to keep an eye on just in case they go on sale.
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9:15 p.m. — I turn on an episode of Arrested Development and end up falling asleep on the couch. At some point I wake up and head to bed.
Daily Total: $73.65

Day Five

5:29 a.m. — I hit the snooze button once this morning. I make some of the good coffee I bought at the fancy grocery store the other day and drink it black. Then I finish getting ready, watch a bit of the morning news, and take my dog on a walk.
7:05 a.m. — Time to bike to work. I leave the house in a tank top, skinny jeans, and sandals. It will be nearly 100 degrees again this afternoon, so I packed shorts to bike home in.
7:35 a.m. — I settle into work, read the news, and plan out my day. I packed a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast, and it's soggy by the time I get to work.
10:45 a.m. — One of my favorite coworkers returns from vacation. She's one of those brutally honest people, and when she gives us an update about our project, it feels like a soap opera. We're in a holding pattern until things get ironed out. I can still chip away at my portion of the project, though, which makes me happy.
1 p.m. — Snack lunch again — tortillas, cucumber slices, bell pepper slices, celery, and hummus.
4:30 p.m. — I change and leave work to bike home. I listen to Florence and the Machine on the way.
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5:30 p.m. — Instead of relaxing in the hammock, I take my dog on a quick walk and give him a bath. We have a photo shoot for a community calendar tomorrow, and he probably shouldn't be filthy for it.
6 p.m. — G. arrives at my house for dinner and brings a take-and-bake pizza! I just redid my kitchen...like gutted it (floors, cabinets, counters, sink, walls, the works!), and I am really enjoying having folks over to cook, eat, and hang out. It was a big expense, but my living cost for owning a home is incredibly low, thanks to a killer deal on my house four and a half years ago. I have a lot of equity in it, so I took out a home equity line of credit to fund the kitchen remodel. I plan to be here for a while, so I might as well make it awesome. I regularly thank my 24-year-old self for having the foresight to move slightly further away for a great deal in an up-and-coming neighborhood...albeit with cougars.
7 p.m. — We eat pizza and hang out outside while the dog rolls in dirt (awesome). G. and I have good conversation about what to divulge about your life in an online dating profile.
8:30 p.m. — We take the dog on a walk around the neighborhood. The good conversation continues. He is super easy to talk to. Another new pub opened up downtown, and we walk by to catch a glimpse.
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9:15 p.m. — We hang out in the hammock, and I plug in the string lights in the backyard. I never put them on for myself, and I forgot how awesome they look.
10:45 p.m. — G. leaves. This is way later than I usually stay up. I barely make it through my Insta Stories before falling asleep.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

5:29 a.m. — I manage to only hit the snooze button once. I get ready for work, make a smoothie, throw it in the freezer until it's time to leave, watch a bit of morning news, and walk the dog. I manage to touch up my toenail paint quickly, too.
7:05 a.m. — I hop on my bike to head to work. Today, I listen to Sia on the way.
7:35 a.m. — My smoothie is still kind of frozen by the time I arrive, and it doesn't taste very good.
10:30 a.m. — It's a slow day at work. so I take care of some volunteer commitments. I sit on two committees as chair or vice chair and was just asked to join a Board of Directors for an organization where I volunteer as a running coach for young girls. Sometimes I wonder why I commit to so many things, but I couldn't imagine not having these to fill my time and challenge my brain.
12:30 p.m. — It is the first day below 90 degrees all week, and I decide to bike in my jeans. Bad idea — I get very sweaty.
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1 p.m. — I make a quick lunch of the most delicious blackberries and crackers with cream cheese and pepper jelly and then get my dog's stuff together.
1:30 p.m. — We arrive at the location for the photo shoot. My dog was selected to be in our community's calendar to promote clean water. He does great with the woman taking his photo. She even takes a few of the two of us, which is nice.
2 p.m. — Back at home, we relax for a bit. I watch daytime TV, which gives me the nostalgia of staying home sick from school.
2:45 p.m. — My friend and I made plans to meet up at the fancy bar in town — it has the best happy hour deals. I stop to get gas on the way ($20). We get two cocktails each, a shared order of fried oysters and fries, and two oyster shooters each ($27). Then we browse some of the fancy shops nearby. $47
6 p.m. — After dropping my friend off, I make a stop at the pet store. The vet recommended that my dog start on a new food. I grab a 25-pound bag of a new brand and get irrationally upset over how expensive it is ($71.99). But let's be real, I love this dog so much I'd feed him caviar if that was what it took. $71.99
6:30 p.m. — I get home, feed all the animals, and change into my pajamas. Yes, it is 6:30, and I have no shame in this. I'm not going anywhere tonight. I hang in the hammock, catch up on social media, and look over the few photos I received from the photographer today.
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8:30 p.m. — I'm finally getting a little hungry. I go inside, make a salad and a BLT with a dippy egg, and curl up in front of Orange Is the New Black. I fall asleep five minutes in.
Daily Total: $118.99

Day Seven

6:50 a.m. — This is sleeping in, and it feels great. I make a pot of coffee, feed the animals, and watch a bit of the morning news.
7:30 a.m. — I have a sudden itch to clean, and I run with it. I vacuum and mop my floors. I keep a pretty tidy house, but it's only presentable...not mop-the-floors-clean. I have to harness these urges when they come.
8:30 a.m. — Second cup of coffee and out to the hammock. I do committee work, water the plants, and plan for a quick trip to Target. I eventually make two eggs, a piece of toast, and two slices of bacon for breakfast.
10 a.m. — At Target I vow to only buy things on my list! One of these is a swimsuit. I try on a few suits and say a silent prayer that Victoria's Secret will start making swimwear again. Until that day, this new suit will have to do. I text my mom that I bought a gold bikini and she responds: "Flaunt it while you still got it." Thanks, Mom! I also grab sunscreen, dry shampoo, and wipes for when I get too sweaty working out on my lunch break ($35.76). $35.76
12:15 p.m. — My friend arrives at my house to go stand-up paddle boarding. I booked us two hours for today, and she reimburses me with cash ($30 per reservation). It is a beautiful sunny day. We paddle, swim, and hang out in the sun. Stand-up paddle boarding has become one of my favorite summer activities. $30
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4:15 p.m. — We're both hungry, so we walk to yet another cool new spot in my neighborhood. I have a beer from the new tap house and order a plate of fish tacos ($16.50). $16.50
5:30 p.m. — My friend leaves, and I take my dog on a walk. I score an interesting book and three issues of Real Simple from the Little Free Library a few blocks away!
6:15 p.m. — I left my phone at home all day, so I head out to the hammock, respond to text messages, jump into a Real Simple, and relax. While in the hammock, I make a grocery list and vow to go tomorrow morning.
8 p.m. — I come back inside and make popcorn. I am sleepy and sun-drunk from being outside all day, and I put on pajamas and pick up where I left off with Orange Is the New Black. I head to bed at 9.
Daily Total: $82.26
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