A Week in Portland, OR, on a $100,000 Salary

a city next to a body of water

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

Today: a medical administrator who makes $100,000

Occupation: medical administrator

Age: 29

Location: Portland, OR

Salary: $100,000 (approx. $3,846 per pay period)

Day One


I’ve been living and working on the west coast for several years, but I’ve just accepted a job offer on the opposite side of the country. I’m leaving in just over a week! So, for now, I’m grabbing a quick lunch on the go and asking around for recommendations of where I can find a storage unit in Portland, Oregon, that will keep my belongings safe until I send for them. A few old friends recommend a nationwide chain of storage facilities that seem to be a great fit, with plenty of storage space for everything I own and then some.

Total: $12

Day Two


Today’s primary task is working around the home and hiring professionals where needed. As a homeowner, they say there are some sounds your AC makes that you can’t ignore. Unfortunately, my landlord didn’t get that memo. My subletter, though, will notice those humming, hissing, rattling, and whistling noises coming from the HVAC system. I‘m not sure what’s causing these strange sounds, so I‘ll call someone to look at the air conditioner and vents before the rental switches hands. I’ll budget for that later, rather than going through the landlord. For now, the only cost of the day is my spare time.

Total: $0

Day Three


Moving soon or not, I still have to finish up my current projects here. So, that’s today’s focus, heading into work for most of the day. Of course, that means an awful lot of paperwork, in this case. I’m sure this is one of those factors that will stay the same about my field no matter my zip code. After work, I grab a tomato pie and ginger beer from my favorite local joint, then eat that for dinner while packing some clothes and other belongings I won’t wear between now and moving day.

Total: $18

Day Four


Another day, another pile of paperwork. After work, I pay my credit card bill, then budget for the rental repairs, my self-storage unit, the upcoming move, and the first month or so I’ll be in my new city. Fortunately, there’s plenty of space left over, meaning I can splurge a bit on dinner tonight. I order some pork vindaloo, spicy fried potatoes, dum aloo, and naan from my favorite Indian restaurant, then relax in front of the TV before heading to bed.

Total: $98

Day Five


I took today off to use up some PTO, so I’m working on packing and cleaning the house today. I order a pizza to eat throughout the day, grabbing a slice after every box or two that’s completed. Once I’ve made some progress, I finish off my pizza, grab a beer, then watch a movie to end the night.

Total: $16

Day Six


We’re entering crunch-time in terms of packing since I’m leaving next week. I’ve got just about everything ready for the storage unit (I’ll take that over some time over the next few days) and have a decent chunk of my other belongings stashed in cardboard boxes and duffel bags. After a day surrounded by boxes and luggage, it’s nice to meet up with some friends at a nearby bar. Since it’s my last weekend here, they insist on paying for my drinks—can’t turn that down!

Total: $0

Day Seven


Of course, I want to have the fridge emptied before the subletter takes over, but I also need to eat in the meantime. So, I head to Whole Foods and get a few staples to last me the next few days. After, I head back to the house and make myself some dinner. I think I deserve a quiet night in after so much effort spent packing!

Total: $36

Total for the week: $180