A Week In Toronto, ON, On A $60,000 Salary

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Today: an account executive working in advertising who makes $60,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on prosecco.

Occupation: Account Executive
Industry: Advertising
Age: 26
Location: Toronto, ON
Salary: $60,000
Net Worth: $35,000 (I'm debt-free thanks to my parents, who paid for my bachelor's degree, and a scholarship that covered my master's. I have about $500 in a TFSA, $7,500 in my emergency fund, and the rest is invested in my brokerage account in Germany, my home country.)
Debt: $0
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $1,874
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $1,900 (I live alone in a studio, and I just negotiated down my rent, so it will be $1,600 a month starting in March.)
Hydro: About $40
Renter's Insurance: $18.92
Phone: $0 (I'm on a company plan.)
Internet: $56
Health & Dental Benefits: $56 (deducted from my paycheque)
Netflix: $9.99
Spotify: $9.99
Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop: $9.99
TFSA: $100 (This is low right now because I'm building up my emergency fund.)
Emergency Fund: $600–1,000 (I'm aiming for $13,200, which would cover six months of basic expenses. I'm currently on track to reach this goal in May 2021.)
Macbook Fund: $50 (I've had mine since 2016, so I know I'll have to buy a new one in the next few years. Putting away $50 a month isn't a lot for me right now, but it will help when I face that large expense.)

Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
My parents were always clear that I could do whatever I wanted with our lives but encouraged me to get a degree as a backup. I chose to study in the UK, which is much more expensive than in Germany. My undergraduate degree was paid for by a trust fund I received when I was 18. For my master's, some of my living expenses were still covered by the trust fund, but I also had a scholarship and a part-time job.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
My parents didn't actively educate me about money, and I didn't get "good" with it until after university when I started working full-time and reading about personal finance. However, I believe my general mindset regarding money was positively influenced by the fact that I never had to worry about it, so I've always been able to see money as something that you can make work for you rather than something that's scarce.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
My first job was in university, working at a tourist attraction. I got it to help pay for my living expenses but also because I wanted to be more independent.

Did you worry about money growing up?
I'm very lucky that I never had to worry about money. In fact, I don't think I ever thought about it at all.

Do you worry about money now?
At the beginning of the pandemic, I spent a large portion of my savings to move to Canada, and I was aware that if I lost my job I wouldn't have any of my own money to fall back on, so I threw everything I could at my emergency fund. Now that it's almost fully funded, I feel a lot better.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
I became financially responsible for myself at age 22. That's when my trust funds ran out, and I started working full-time. My parents thought I wouldn't be able to live on my salary and would be asking them for money six months in, but thankfully I didn't. I definitely have a safety net in the form of my parents. However, I will do my best to avoid that.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
I received the trust fund, which I used to pay for university. I also sometimes receive monetary gifts from my parents, which my dad invests for me (contributing to my net worth). My parents have also gifted me real estate, but I won't have access to it or the profits from it until they pass away.

Day One

8:10 a.m. — I slept surprisingly well. I usually wake up a million times when my boyfriend, N., is here. I get up and sit on the couch to read gossip about YouTubers (my guilty pleasure) while he snoozes away in bed. I love this time for myself.
9:20 a.m. — I crawl back into bed for cuddles before we get ready. I put on a jumper and jeans but no bra because screw that. We leave to get coffee and baking supplies, because I totally got all the numbers wrong on the cookie recipe we were going to make last night. I don't want to walk to the grocery store so I get butter from the convenience store in my building ($6.99), and we go to a local café for our morning coffee. The barista is grumpy, but the coffee is amazing. I get a vanilla latte, and N. pays. $6.99
10:30 a.m. — Back at my condo, I knead the dough for our cookies. After we're done, and the dough is resting, we watch Matty Matheson videos on YouTube, which is our Sunday ritual — we love him! N. goes home, and I pick up his Christmas present, Booze & Vinyl, a book that matches up cocktail recipes with popular records. $36.73
3:30 p.m. — I have an early dinner: Italian sausage with peas and pasta. I stole the idea from an Italian restaurant called Terroni, and it's one of my favourite meals.
7:30 p.m. — I watch both Happiest Season and Noelle, which I've been meaning to do for a while. I don't love Happiest Season. It makes the traumatic experience of hiding your sexuality — especially after you've already come out — seem normal. I also don't like that the main character completely denies her relationship in front of everyone, after also hiding it for over a year without her partner knowing — with no consequences in the end! Noelle, however, is lovely, easy watching. I spend the rest of the evening filling out a bridging work permit application because my current work permit runs out soon, and I need to bridge the gap between that and my permanent residence application. I've been putting off this task for ages, so it feels good to finally submit the application, even though paying the fee hurts. $255
Daily Total: $298.72

Day Two

7:20 a.m. — It's the second-to-last day before my holiday break, and most of my coworkers are already off, so it should be a pretty chill two days. I get out of bed and start my morning routine: I have my Google Home tell me the weather and about my meetings for the day, then play news from CBC and ZDF (a German news channel) while I make my bed, make coffee, and plop myself down on the sofa.
12:30 p.m. — It's been a busy day, although not a stressful one, thankfully. I take a quick break and make pasta with tomato sauce and cheese, which I eat while watching DIY thrift flip decor videos from XO, MaCenna.
5:30 p.m. — I'm done with work, so I sit down on the sofa with a glass of wine and catch up on Vlogmas videos from a few influencers I watch. My property manager called me earlier saying he'd come by with my new lease agreement tomorrow. I negotiated a rent reduction for next year after my lease expires. I cannot justify paying $1,900 for a studio when prices are so much lower now than before COVID. I dig out my cheque book, Google how to fill out a cheque (it's honestly needlessly complicated), and write out all my post-dated rent cheques for the next year. It's tedious but also nice to know I won't have to worry about paying rent for the next 12 months now.
7:15 p.m. — I haven't had dinner, so I make myself carbonara minus the pancetta. So basically pasta with eggs and cheese. I know it's my second pasta dish of the day; I need to get groceries tomorrow.
8 p.m. — I have a sudden burst of motivation so I put on my coat and mask and walk to the grocery store. I haven't been outside yet, and it's nice to get fresh air, even though it's drizzling. I'm mainly going to get milk for my coffee, but I also end up picking up ingredients for my Christmas dinner: carrots, Brussels sprouts, chestnuts, potatoes, and maple syrup, as well as a frozen pizza to celebrate the beginning of my time off tomorrow ($32.76). I also pick up a bottle of cabernet merlot ($17.95) from the wine store downstairs. $50.71
Daily Total: $50.71

Day Three

7:20 a.m. — Getting out of bed is really quite hard today, but it's the last day of work before the break! I go through my usual morning routine and settle on the sofa with my coffee. I have an email from EQ3 saying the lamp I want is back in stock, and it's currently 20% off, so I immediately order. My grandma gave me money for Christmas, so I'm spending some of it on the lamp and putting the rest towards my emergency fund. $188.68
8:30 a.m. — I'm cancelling my 9 a.m. meeting with clients because there's nothing we need to talk about. I put on sweatpants and a black Uniqlo jumper, put my hair in a bun, and apply minimal makeup (concealer, eyebrows, and mascara) before sitting down at my desk/dining table to work.
10:15 a.m. — My property manager is here, so I go downstairs to sign my new lease. I'm glad we could come to a mutually beneficial agreement.
5:30 p.m. — I'm done with work! The OOO is on, and I'm packing away my laptop, charger, and anything that could remind me of work. I'm also switching off all the work notifications on my phone, so I'm not distracted by any emails during the next few weeks. I pour myself a glass of wine, pop the frozen pizza in the oven, and get ready to watch Christmas movies!
Daily Total: $188.68

Day Four

9:40 a.m. — Something must've been wrong with the pizza because I woke up in the middle of the night throwing up. I let myself have a lie-in, and I do feel much better now. I make coffee and proceed to spend the next two hours on the sofa watching YouTube videos.
11:30 a.m. — I pop chestnuts in the oven because I need them for my Christmas dinner but don't want to peel chestnuts (one of my least favourite things) on Christmas Eve. After they're done, I leave them to cool and head out to the grocery store to buy the last few bits for dinner — namely the beef for my roast! I also pick up mozzarella sticks and pasta because eating whatever you want is what Christmas is all about. $40.16
1 p.m. — I go out again, this time to the LCBO for a bottle of prosecco and a cabernet sauvignon. I add a $5 donation to SickKids hospital and use a $25 gift card that I got from work as a Christmas present. $13.90
3 p.m. — Back home, I give my place a clean, so it's nice for Christmas. Is there anything more satisfying than cleaning your vacuum and having it work so much better after? No, just me? Alrighty then. After cleaning, I put on some terrible Christmas movie in the background, throw mozzarella sticks in the oven, and continue working on a cushion cover I'm embroidering for my grandma.
10:50 p.m. — Cushion cover finished! I'm happy with how it turned out and hope she loves it! I'll be showing it to her on Zoom tomorrow before I send it. It's time to go to bed for me, so I do a super-quick skin-care routine with cleanser, retinol serum, and moisturizer before falling into bed.
Daily Total: $54.06

Day Five

7:40 a.m. — I'm German so I celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, and today is the day for me! I'm wide awake even though I don't have to be, so I get up, turn on all my Christmas lights, light my candle, and get myself a coffee.
11:30 a.m. — I put on makeup, pop open the bubbly, and get ready to video chat with my family! It's an odd feeling sitting in my living room and seeing them through a screen while we all unwrap our presents, but it's so nice to see everyone together and see their reactions to their gifts! My grandma absolutely loves her cushion. I made my mum a logo for her sculpture collection, which she's going to have made into a stamp. Everyone else is happy, too, so I'm very content! They got me beautiful wine glasses, a camera strap, perfume, and a diffuser, which is all so thoughtful!
1:10 p.m. — I'm off the call with my family, so I prep dinner for tonight. I'm making roast beef, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts with maple syrup and chestnuts, and glazed carrots, as well as brie and cranberry bites as a starter. I previously wrote out all the timings to make sure everything is ready at the correct time, and my kitchen isn't a mess when we eat, so I'm feeling good. I put on Christmas episodes of Friends in the background as I cook.
3:45 p.m. — The roast is in the oven, and the table is set, so I put on my Christmas dress that my mum got for me last year. It's plaid and has cool pearl detailing on the sleeves and hem that I love. I told N. to wear a collared shirt as well. My family is quite formal on Christmas, and I want to keep that tradition going. He arrives a little after 4 p.m., so we have prosecco and brie bites while unwrapping presents. He spoils me with an art print and an amazing mixing bowl I've been eyeing up for a while! He also loves his gift, so I'm happy. I'm so lucky to have N. I don't know how I would've gotten through this year without him. I probably would've given up and moved back home if it hadn't been for him.
5:30 p.m. — Dinner is finished, so we clean up and change into our comfy clothes to watch a movie. We both choose one: Love Actually (my choice) and Die Hard (his choice). Neither of us has seen Die Hard before, and I actually enjoy it, but we end up being too tired to finish it and go to bed at 10 p.m.
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

8:45 a.m. — I'm so sleepy and would love to stay in bed, but my aunt is visiting my other grandma and wants to quickly FaceTime with me, so I get up and talk to them, which is nice. I haven't seen or spoken to my grandma since last Christmas. After the call, I get back into bed, and N. and I cuddle.
10 a.m. — Our nearest Starbucks is open, so we go out for coffee. It snowed overnight, which makes me so happy — a white Christmas! I get a vanilla latte, and N. pays. When we get back, we watch the rest of Die Hard and chill on the sofa before he goes home.
2:10 p.m. — I don't plan to leave the sofa any time soon. I've sent Merry Christmas messages to all my friends in the UK who celebrate today. I don't think I'll hear much from them for the rest of the day, because they're all with their friends or partners (as much as the rules allow; I have very responsible friends). I snack on leftover brie while looking up nearby custom framing shops and enquiring about the cost to frame my new art print. Is this what adulthood is?
3 p.m. — I'm feeling very spoiled from yesterday, so I pass some of that along. I make a one-time donation to my local food bank and also finally become a SickKids monthly donor, which I've been meaning to do for a while. $65
5:45 p.m. — I've recently watched The Mandalorian with N., so I'm back on the Star Wars bandwagon. I haven't watched the latest film, The Rise of Skywalker, yet because I was busy moving to a different continent when it came out and then, you know, pandemic. So I put it on while eating leftovers with canned gravy and a glass (or three) of wine.
7:40 p.m. — I receive an email from Canadian immigration saying my application status has changed. This happens a lot, and it always causes me a mini heart attack. However, once again, it's a false alarm and nothing has changed. This whole application experience has shown me how lucky I was to be part of the EU when I lived in the UK (pre-Brexit) because I didn't have to deal with any of this.
9:30 p.m. — I'm really tired for some reason, so I do a quick tidy of my living room and kitchen (the best habit I picked up in 2020) before watching TikTok in bed and falling asleep.
Daily Total: $65

Day Seven

9:20 a.m. — Oh glorious lie-in! I keep thinking "the weekend is over soon," then remembering that I have another whole week off! Such luxury. I make my bed, listen to the news, and treat myself to maple syrup in my coffee, which is so yum!
11:50 a.m. — Not sure if grocery stores are open today, but I go out anyway because I want a walk in the snow. Thankfully, the grocery store is open, so I get tortellini, potatoes, wine, and lavender essential oil for my new diffuser. $43.65
2 p.m. — I make the tortellini (three cheese, the superior filling) with butter and additional cheese. All food between Christmas and New Year's has to be beige — it's a rule. I start two movies (Bridget Jones's Diary and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again) but get bored and settle for watching more of The Good Place.
6:25 p.m. — For dinner, I make fish and chips with homemade fries and frozen battered fish. The fries are yum, but the fish tastes weird, so I don't eat much of it. More The Good Place and wine. I definitely think I'd be the kind of person to end up in The Medium Place.
9 p.m. — I'm tired so I unload the dishwasher and tidy up before lying down in bed to watch TikTok and get an early night.
Daily Total: $43.65
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