Food Diary: How a 50-Year-Old Carpenter and Real Estate Investor Eats on $815K in Eugene, OR

Bon Appétit

Welcome to The Receipt, a series documenting how Bon Appétit readers eat and what they spend doing it. Each food diary follows one anonymous reader’s week of expenses related to groceries, restaurant meals, coffee runs, and every bite in between. In this time of rising food costs, The Receipt reveals how folks—from different cities, with different incomes, on different schedules—are figuring out their food budgets.

In today’s Receipt, a 50-year-old carpenter and real estate investor buys corn from a beloved produce stand, makes “no-peekies,” and eats McDonald’s after a long travel day. In his double-income household, he makes $315,000 and his wife, an executive at a retail company, makes $500,000. Keep reading for his receipts.

Jump ahead:

The finances

What are your pronouns? He/Him

What is your occupation? Carpenter, general contractor, and real estate investor.

How old are you? 50

What city and state do you live in? Eugene, Oregon. My wife and I have been married over 28 years and live a bit of a crazy, busy lifestyle; we are constantly on the go. We have a primary home in one city but also rent a townhouse in a second city where my wife works. I travel between the two and manage our rental properties. We are also building a house for retirement in Canada, so I have been making trips there all summer.

What’s your household size? We have two grown daughters, one who is living at home during college break and one who lives and works in Colorado. We have two spoiled dogs, a rat terrier and a black lab, and our grand-dog corgi that visits often.

What is your annual salary, if you have one? I make $315,000 from my construction business and rental real estate income. My wife’s salary is roughly $500,000 including stock options and bonuses. She is an executive for a large retail company.

How much is one paycheck, after taxes? Mine is $9,000 after rental expenses; wife’s is $6,000, plus an annual payout of bonus and stocks of $250,000 after tax.

How often are you paid? (e.g., weekly) Monthly for the both of us.

How much money do you have in savings? $1.5 million

What are your approximate fixed monthly expenses beyond food? (i.e., rent, subscriptions, bills)

  • Mortgage (Including property tax and insurance): $3,647
  • Electricity/Water: $250
  • Natural gas: $65
  • Cell phone: $150
  • Wi-Fi/Cable: $250
  • Car payment: $1,300
  • Yard care: $250
  • Garbage service: $100
  • Streaming services (Netflix, Disney+, Apple TV): $40
  • Total: $6,052

The diet

Do you follow a certain diet or have dietary restrictions? No

What are the grocery staples you always buy, if any? Kirkland Signature olive oil, Kerrygold butter, fleur de sel French salt, Costco steaks and meat, flour, sugar, rice, noodles, pasta, and whatever fruits and vegetables are in season. Costco is where we do the majority of our shopping. I don’t think the prices and quality can be beat! I also go to the local farmers market or a farmstand once a week.

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