A Week In Portland, OR, On A $50,000 Salary

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.
Today, as part of Your Spending In Your State: an HR manager working in sports and entertainment who makes $50,000 per year and spends some of her paycheck this week on a Glossier Balm Dotcom Trio.
Occupation: HR Manager
Industry: Sports & Entertainment
Age: 22
Location: Portland, OR
Salary: $50,000
Paycheck Amount (Biweekly): $1,436.36.
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $795, split evenly between me and my boyfriend. (We currently live in a small two-bedroom apartment outside of Portland. When my boyfriend finishes school in May, we'll be making the move up to Portland and trading in our cheap housing for a shorter commute!)
Student Loan Payment: $0. (My parents very generously made sure I was able to graduate college with no student loans.)
Spotify: $15. (I cover my 16-year-old sister on my family plan, and in return, I use my parents' credit card every so often for little things.)
Health Insurance: $0. (I'm on my parents' health insurance.)
401(k): I don't have one yet, but it will become active after 90 days of employment.
Utilities: $0. (My boyfriend plays for electricity and our cable/internet, and I pay for groceries. Once we move into an apartment in Portland, we'll set up a real budget, but since we're only in our current place for three months, we're being pretty flexible.)
Netflix: $0. (I use my parents' account.)
Hulu: $0. (Luckily, my boyfriend gets Hulu for free through his Spotify subscription. I have no shame in my mooching game.)
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Day One

8 a.m. — I wake up and get ready for work. This week is a weird one, as I just started my new job last week. My company is the food and beverage provider for a few major sports teams, and today is my first game day! I get ready and head downstairs to make my coffee, and see that it is snowing AGAIN. I have lived in Oregon for a month and a half, and we've already had four snow days! Coming from California, that's a big deal. I chug my coffee and head to the car, correctly predicting that my commute will be worse than usual.
10:05 a.m. — I get to work a little late, which is impressive considering the amount of traffic there was on the freeway. Because today is a game day, I have to park further away. After walking in the wrong direction, I finally make it to the employee entrance. I make it into my temporary office and begin processing all of the new hires that came to our orientation yesterday.
12 p.m. — Lunchtime! There are so many perks about my job (seriously, I have not stopped talking about how amazing my job is since I started), but one of my favorites is that while I'm at this location, I get free food! The culinary team is great and makes food for all our employees, and I load up my plate with a burrito, potatoes, corn salad, and braised chicken. Inputting new hire information is a lot more fun when free food is involved!
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3:30 p.m. — It's finally time for the employees to come check in and get their assignments for the game, and I'm so excited! We finish with just enough time for me to run back into my office and grab my stuff for the game. My boyfriend got free tickets from a friend, and my boss is setting us up with a free meal. Needless to say, I'm pretty psyched.
5:45 p.m. — Dinnertime! My boyfriend brings his friend, and we all enjoy amazing food and great drinks from a local brewery. We tip $20, partly because my company paid for the rest of the meal, and partly because I know these servers rely on great tips from their customers! My boyfriend pays.
10 p.m. — Finally home! The game was great, and the drive home was better than expected. The employee parking lot isn't super convenient to get to, but it sure makes avoiding post-game traffic easy. I go through my nighttime routine of cleansing with micellar water and putting on moisturizer. I recently got really into my skincare, but my routine is pretty low-key and basic.
Daily Total: $0

Day Two

9 a.m. — Another exciting day! It's our first hiring event for our new location, and my first hiring event with this company! I'm heading to my main office to pick up supplies and my administrative assistant. I stop for gas on the way and fill up my tank so I'm not stranded in Portland with no gas. I intend to run into Starbucks and grab drinks and breakfast for the both of us, but in the stress of loading up my tiny car in the rain, I forget. Oh well, tomorrow's a brand new day! $19.76
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11 a.m. — We make it to the university where we're hosting our hiring event. We'd normally hold it in our offices, but they are under construction, and we don't have space to hold that many people at the moment. We set up much quicker than anticipated, and enjoy chatting with our HR team from the other office.
12 p.m. — Lunchtime! My boss runs out to grab everyone lunches from a cafe nearby. My rice bowl with avocado, cheese, olives, tomatoes, and sour cream isn't the most satisfying, but it does hold me over through the event!
7 p.m. — Finally home for five minutes. Tonight my boyfriend and I are attending the last of the six-week communication course we have been taking at our local Chabad house. I have just enough time before the class to run home to grab a package my mom sent. I open it and am so excited to find all sorts of goodies from California! On Purim, one of the things people do is give baskets or bags of goodies to people, and I'm so happy to have this special gift on my first real Purim away from home. We quickly head over to the rabbi's, where we attend our class (he does a special reading for the two of us) and eat homemade hamentaschen. Purim is one of my favorite Jewish holidays. We celebrate Queen Esther, who stood up to the King on behalf of the Jewish people and saved the Jews from Haman (boo!), who had plotted to kill all the Jews because he had major ego issues.
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9:45 p.m. — On our way back from the rabbi's, I remember that I haven't eaten real food since noon, and have a sudden craving for a sandwich. My boyfriend drives me to Jimmy John's, where I get a turkey sandwich ($8) and a drink for my boyfriend ($2) as payment for going out of the way to feed me. We head home and go to bed. $10
Daily Total: $29.76

Day Three

6 a.m. — Ugh... I hate being up this early. I jump in the shower, do my morning skincare routine (Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser in the shower and then Glossier Solution and Priming Moisturizer). Since I started using the Solution about a month ago, I have noticed such a big difference in the my overall skin. I drink a coffee while scrolling through social media before I have to head out. This is my first day going in at my new time, and I'm pleasantly surprised when my GPS is wrong and I get in 15 minutes earlier than expected.
12:30 p.m. — I am starving after not eating any breakfast, but manage to make it until my admin assistant's lunch break so we can head over to Fred Meyer together. I recently discovered this behemoth of a grocery store, and I am OBSESSED. I grab really good sushi from the sushi bar and a little triangle of brie (the best grocery store combo I've ever purchased). I get crackers once I'm back in the office, and eat while reading over the bunch of emails that came in while I was out. $13.79
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3:30 p.m. — And I'm off! After a fun hour of rearranging office furniture, I sneak out early to head to a Purim party. I accidentally leave my admin assistant's keys on my desk. (I am using hers while mine are being made, because I come in so much earlier than her.) I'll have to come in later tomorrow so that someone else can let me in, which bums me out because I was so excited to stick to an early schedule. Oh well. I make it home just in time for the party, where I eat great food and hang out with great people, most of them under the age of five. (I'm a sucker for kids, especially when I don't know many other people at the party!)
Daily Total: $13.79

Day Four

7:45 a.m. — Up and on my way to work! I'd usually be in by now, but I forgot the keys to my office, and the guy who can let me in doesn't usually get in until 9. I fill up my car for what feels like the millionth time this week, and head on up to Portland! $18.67
9:45 a.m. — My admin assistant and our controller are here, and we're switching desks around so that I can finally have an office! We finish just in time for my first area HR call with our regional director. I successfully sound like a responsible professional while sitting in a broken chair surrounded by computer boxes. Then it's back to work setting up my office and getting stuff done. Except I decide I absolutely need to order a three-pack of Glossier's Balm Dotcom. I love the flavor I already have. Now I'll have one in my office, one in my car, and two in my bag! I choose Birthday, Mint, and Cherry for my trio, and pray that they ship soon so that my fingers and lips stop peeling from the cold! $30
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11:45 a.m. — I'm way too hungry to get any more work done, and venture out into the cold to try a food truck outside my office. It's a Korean fusion truck that everyone raves about, and I get a beef bulgogi rice bowl. I'm a little disappointed, but then again, my food standards are pretty high after growing up in the Bay Area. $9.78
4 p.m. — It's the weekend! I head out after running around like a crazy person trying to make sure everything that needed to get done before Monday has been done, and make an attempt to leave before the Friday traffic gets too bad. I make it back and have about 45 minutes before my boyfriend and I have to head to Shabbat dinner. I crawl right into bed and lie down for as long as humanly possible before putting my shoes back on and heading out the door.
10:30 p.m. — My boyfriend and I try to go to Shabbat dinner every Friday at the rabbi's house, and this will be the last one for a couple weeks because the rabbi is going to Israel! We're all very excited about the group going, and dinner is so much fun. We eat tons of delicious food, and I spend the second half of dinner playing with their two-year-old. We head out fairly early for us, and watch Netflix in bed until we fall asleep.
Daily Total: $58.45

Day Five

9:45 a.m. — I had planned for a relaxing weekend because I've had such a busy week, but end up having to take my car in for repairs. My car is 11 years old, and is requiring much more maintenance than I expected. I get to the dealer, where they promptly tell me that someone must have hit my car and driven off. I leave with instructions to call a body shop on Monday and a warning to call a tow truck if any fluid leaks out. I proceed to freak out and refuse to drive my car for the rest of the day, even though I've driven to Portland and back for three days since I noticed the part and clearly have survived.
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11:45 a.m. — My boyfriend decides to be productive and take us to Safeway so I can pick up coffee pods for my office. I get frustrated with the selection (why spend $10 on 10 capsules when I can go to Costco and spend $25 on 60?!). We pick up a butternut squash and bread so I can roast the veggies we already have in the fridge and round the mixture out with something new. (My boyfriend pays.) We also stop at a Russian store so my boyfriend can pick up a cake for an International Student Dinner we have tonight. (Boyfriend pays.) Then we head to Costco, and I somehow manage to go through all the aisles and only stop for a few samples. I grab coffee pods, a peanut butter trail mix we're obsessed with, and Tillamook snacking cheese ($53.57). While I pay, my boyfriend gets us two hot dogs. Score! $53.57
4:30 p.m. — I spend way too much time prepping the vegetables I'm trying to roast, but the end result is totally worth it — there is nothing better than vegetables roasted slowly with olive oil and garlic.
6 p.m. — We get to the dinner, even though I have last minute thoughts about going. I love my boyfriend's postgrad program, but deep down, I'm an introvert who hates meeting new people. In the end, I'm glad I went – it's really cool that the school puts on this potluck dinner every year to celebrate the different countries their students come from. Everyone brought a dish (or dishes) from their home country or culture. We eat until it is physically impossible to eat any more, and somehow get coerced into going out and getting drinks afterwards.
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9 p.m. — The only reason I agreed to go out is because we're going to go to this bar that makes the BEST gin and tonic I have ever had. The bar is packed, so we head over to another cool bar that has really good drinks. I'm still hopeful, and order a gin and tonic while my boyfriend orders a Moscow Mule. I end up being seriously disappointed and also way too full to drink my drink quickly. My boyfriend teaches me how to play shuffleboard in the meantime, and I (surprisingly) don't suck! I make it until 10:30, when the mediocre alcohol hits me, and I start to get sleepy. We get home and dream of having a relaxing Sunday. $16
Daily Total: $69.57

Day Six

10 a.m. — Off to the gym! I don't have a membership, but I do use my boyfriend's student card to get me in to his campus gym (shh, don't tell anyone). I do 45 minutes on the bike and 15 minutes on the adaptive motion trainer, too. I'm really trying to get in the habit of working out five days a week. The biggest struggle is just motivating myself to get there. After the gym, I put on a face mask (Pores Be Pure Mud Mask from Formula 10.0.6 – I own almost all of their masks, and I'm obsessed) and jump in the shower.
11:45 a.m. — I head to Target to grab more micellar water, a ladle, a Harry's razor and shaving cream for my boyfriend, and a small set of Tupperware ($39.30). I've been bugging my boyfriend for months to try using Harry's. Last night, in his sleep, he told me he wanted it, so I figure it's finally time to bite the bullet and buy the thing. As soon as I get in the car, my boyfriend calls me and tells me his phone broke. I head across the street to Best Buy and buy him a phone case using a gift card of his that I've been holding on to. ($30 on gift card, $9.99 on my card. He'll pay me back.) Then, it's off to Trader Joe's! I grab milk, cauliflower, chickpeas, lemons, cherry tomatoes, greens, cooked chicken breasts, tahini, pasta, onions, and ground beef ($48.79). I'm trying new recipes this week, and I hope that they work out! $98.08
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6:30 p.m. — I start making dinner (ground beef bulgogi over rice), and halfway through, my boyfriend asks if he can invite our friend for dinner. Normally I'd be super excited, but I was planning on getting two days of lunches out of the leftovers! I say "of course," because I'm not coldhearted, and we enjoy the dinner and company. I get my boyfriend to try these ginger chews that my mom sent. They're terrible, but we all laugh and enjoy it anyways. I even have enough leftovers for one day of lunch!
Daily Total: $98.08

Day Seven

6 a.m. — Up and off to work! This is the first time in a long time that I didn't have the Sunday scaries before heading to work. I get into the office early and get to work on super fun training videos. I can't tell if time moves faster or slower with these videos, but sooner or later I get caught up and am almost late for a webinar!
2 p.m. — I finally get a call from the auto body shop, and they tell me to stop in when they open tomorrow morning. They should be able to take a look and get me a quote quickly. I let our Director of Operations know that I'll be in late, and start planning for tomorrow.
5:15 p.m. — Home and hungry! Boyfriend has class until 9, so I make dinner for myself and leave some for him. Lately I've been waiting for him, but today was long and I'm starving. I make a quick spicy udon stir fry using frozen udon noodles I bought last time I went to the big Asian market near Portland. It's delicious, and I sit on the couch rewatching Grey's Anatomy and decompressing while eating.
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9:30 p.m. — Boyfriend gets home and our neighbor comes over to watch SNL. I'm too tired, but he convinces me to stay up and watch with them. We make it halfway through the episode and then our Chromecast decides that we need to watch the beginning over and over and over again. We call it a night. Nothing is better than crawling into my nice warm bed when it's in the 30s outside!
Daily Total: $0
Money Diaries are meant to reflect individual women's experiences and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.
The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day. For more money diaries, click here.
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