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A Week in Portland on a $65,000 Salary

Welcome to Spending Notes, where we do a weekly deep dive into how our readers spend their cash.

Today: a graphic designer who makes $65,000

Occupation: graphic designer

Age: 35

Location: Portland, Oregon

Salary: $65,000 (approx. $2,500 per pay period)

Day One

Most of my workday is spent exploring the new Canva Enterprise alternative my company’s invested in. This design tool should be a great help in creating updated brand kits, templates, and other projects! After, though, I head home to my fiancee, V. She works from home in our apartment and gets dinner ready most nights. Tonight, it’s my favorite, meatloaf. My only spending for this Monday was our Netflix subscription, which renews automatically.

Total: $9

Day Two

While on my lunch break, I get a text from V. reminding me about her brother’s wedding this weekend. I promised I’d get a gift prepared and, while I’ve put it off a while, I do know just what I’m ordering. He and his wife are moving into a brand-new house when they return from their honeymoon, so I’ve picked out a house plant gift to have delivered just after they arrive. They seem like the sort of people who’ll appreciate some greenery, and I think it’s a pretty cool idea. I even made sure to pick out a pet-friendly plant so their dog won’t accidentally ingest something toxic.

Total: $68

Day Three

I found out this morning that I’ll be making a major last-minute presentation first thing tomorrow, so I spend most of the day working in CHILI publisher, our new Canva alternative. Fortunately, it’s really intuitive, so I can put together my graphics without too much extra stress. After work, I meet V. at the grocery store, where we stock up on what we’ll need for the rest of this week.

Total: $57.50

Day Four

My presentation went really well this morning, so I head out for a celebratory lunch with a team member who gave a great presentation of their own. Then, I finish up my workday and join V. at home for butter chicken and plenty of homemade naan. I’ve got to say, her cooking is better than the food I had at the restaurant earlier in the day! It’s a nice reminder of just how lucky I am.

Total: $27

Day Five

Rent’s due today, so that’s my top priority, dropping off the check on the way to work. God, I wish our property manager would upgrade to a digital platform! It’s a pretty typical day at work, then I head home where V. and I have to pack for the wedding tomorrow. We’re hitting the road early in the morning!

Total: $1,454

Day Six

We get out the door as planned and start driving to V.’s brother’s wedding. It’s the first big event we’re really attending, so it’s extra exciting! We arrive with plenty of time to spare and enjoy the day. There’s plenty of food and an open bar, so we don’t end up having to spend anything extra while we’re there. Afterward, we spend the night in V.’s parents’ guest room.

Total: $0

Day Seven

Once again, we’re on the road early, stopping for gas around the halfway point of the trip. We arrive back home in the early afternoon and decide we’ll wait to enjoy a late lunch/early dinner—it’s worth it to splurge on some takeout. V. and I tackle some chores around the apartment until our food arrives, then enjoy our meal while catching up on our favorite show. I pack up my leftovers for lunch tomorrow, and soon enough, we head to bed.

Total: $65

Total for the week: $1,630.50

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