A Week In Scarborough, ON, On A $33,240 Salary

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Today: an administrative assistant working in healthcare who makes $33,240 per year and spends some of her money this week on disappointing nachos.
Occupation: Administrative Assistant
Industry: Healthcare
Age: 24
Location: Scarborough, ON
Salary: $33,240
Net Worth: $0
Debt: $39,000 ($38,000 and some change for my student loan and $800 across two credit cards)
Paycheque Amount (Weekly): $505
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $400 (I rent a one-bedroom basement, all-in, for $800, but my mom pays $400 towards my housing. I'm moving in three weeks to a bachelor for $900, where I'll pay for hydro and internet. Mom will continue subsidizing rent.)
Loans: $200 ($80 to OSAP and around $120 for credit cards)
Phone: $45.20
Public Transit Pass: $156
Health & Dental Benefits: $12
Spotify Student: $4.99
Netflix: $13.99
Disney+: $8.99
Gym: $11.30

Day One

6 a.m. — I actually get up with my alarm and go pee. My mom calls me at exactly 6 a.m. as well. She does this every day, so I don't sleep in. She's my second alarm. I shower and throw cereal in a bag to bring to work. It's gonna be a long day. Due to COVID-19, my schedule has been extended from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and I'm basically doing four jobs in one. I make a mental note that I need to print my hydro form for my new apartment at work.
12:10 p.m. — I Uber Eats two McDonald's Bacon and Cheddar Angus burgers with fries and Diet Cokes, one for me and one for a colleague. She has a positive, radiating personality that I can't help but like. The bill is $27.50, and I'm not sure the food was worth it. I get back from a half-hour break to 22 voicemails. TWENTY TWO. $27.50
6:34 p.m. — I dip 34 minutes into overtime. Scheduling for almost 20 providers is HARD. I can't wait to get home and watch Friends on Netflix. I usually grocery shop on Mondays, but the mall is closed and, for some reason, I only like going to the Walmart in the mall. I order a huge burrito from Fat Bastard Burrito Co. and a Jarritos via Uber Eats for $20. It's yummy and worth it. $20
Daily Total: $47.50

Day Two

6:30 a.m. — I'm ready for work. I check the bus schedule, and the next one doesn't come for another 33 minutes. I hate the suburbs. I get an Uber to the closest subway station, and I'm assigned a driver that I've had a couple times and don't like very much. He's kind of meh. $10.98
8 a.m. — I get a text that my HelloFresh box has been delivered. I got it for free, and I think it's going to be really convenient. Forty-minute meals? Fuck yeah. Spending $400 a month for convenience? LOL nah. I also call to set up internet at my new place. The plan is $60 a month with $20 off for the first year. With taxes, it'll be $45.20, which is sweet. I'm currently paying $800 a month, all-in (even laundry!), which is about $400 less than most one-bedroom basement apartments in the suburbs, but the bus suuucks. The place I'm moving to is above a store, $900 a month, plus hydro and internet, but I get access to three different buses going to three different subway stations, and my crib is going to be between two of my good friends.
3 p.m. — I get a second break and order nachos and a Diet Coke via Uber Eats. They're nasty: soggy, gross, and taste like they've been sitting out for hours. $18.06
8:26 p.m. — I finally get home and open up my HelloFresh box. I make the spiced steak burgers because the recipe seems like the quickest. I FaceTime a friend I recently reconnected with. We had a big blow out while vacationing together, and this is the first time we've spoken in four months. The convo is kind of fun, and the burger is pretty good. I've come to realize that I'm really lazy and even though the meals only take 30 to 40 minutes, I still don't want to cook.
Daily Total: $29.04

Day Three

8 a.m. — Ugh, I almost missed my stop on the subway this morning. I eat a leftover burger and fries at my desk for breakfast and oatmeal for lunch. My manager texts me TELLING me — not asking me — that she's adding more hours to my schedule. I'm upset, and I listen to gospel music to calm myself down. I love this company and, for the most part, working here is good, but this kind of thing bothers me. And it's very hard to survive on the pennies they pay me. This is not what I went to school for, but I lack confidence and I'm a pretty anxious person, so I tend to stay latched onto jobs even when they're going nowhere. I promised myself that in 2020 I was going to break that cycle and apply for jobs in my actual field, where the starting pay is $60,000 — almost double what I make now. But it seems like employers have scaled back on hiring due to COVID-19.
1:12 p.m. — Bruh, I've been pulled in 6,000 directions today. I just stuffed toast down my throat, and I'm taking a short break. My mom promised to buy me a couch, so I'm looking at options. I want a mustard-coloured one, but I'm most likely gonna get dark grey, because it's subtler and low-maintenance. I'm really excited about this new chapter of my life.
6:10 p.m. — I stop at Subway for three cookies and an iced tea ($5.75). I get to the subway station and have to purchase a pass for this month. I tapped my Presto card this morning, which put me into a negative balance, so I have to pay $5 before I can buy my monthly pass for $156. The card reader won't read my debit for the $156, but I do manage to load another $5. I'll just pay for the pass online. $15.75
9:02 p.m. — I make tacos from my meal kit and eat both portions. They're yummy, but now I'm going to have to buy breakfast and lunch tomorrow. Also, I tried refilling my Presto card online, and the website took my $156 and said "technical error." I hate Presto. This has happened before, and it took two weeks to refund the money, and I still have to find a way to obtain a pass.
Daily Total: $15.75

Day Four

2 a.m. — I set an alarm for this time, because the guy I hook up with finishes work at 2:30 a.m. and comes over sometimes. He texts me to let me know he's too tired and wants to come tomorrow or Friday. I'm relieved because I'm exhausted AF. I drift back to sleep.
6:30 a.m. — I'm still upset about the transit-pass situation from yesterday, and I hate when I get like this. I Uber to the closest subway because I'm tired. $11
8:10 a.m. — I buy a huge breakfast at Tim Hortons: a sausage biscuit, a hash brown, a cinnamon bun, and a medium French Vanilla ($12.66). I lost 42 pounds last year, and I'm pretty sure I've regained it all. I definitely want to reduce fast food next month and get restarted on my weight-loss journey, but this breakfast is A1. Also: There's a toilet paper shortage at a lot of stores, but it turns out the Staples eco brand is still available, so I buy a 48-roll pack ($33.89). It'll last me a good year. I'm by no means an environmentalist, but I'm trying to pay more attention to packaging, reducing plastic, and eco-friendly stuff. $46.55
6:07 p.m. — One of the practitioners I work for gives me a bottle of wine as a bonus. I have the biggest crush on her, but she has a girlfriend, ugh. I vibe with her, because she's from the Caribbean like me, and she has an amazing sense of humour. I buy her a cookie and grab two for myself at the local café. $7.08
7:53 p.m. — I order a personal pizza and large breadsticks from Pizza Hut through Uber Eats. This is my Friday-night ritual, even though it's Thursday, because I don't work tomorrow. I love pizza and wine together. $24
Daily Total: $88.63

Day Five

8:54 a.m. — I Uber Eats liver, dumplings, porridge, and plantains for breakfast. Jesus Christ, I spend a lot of fucking money on Uber Eats. Side note: I also get an email to say my Presto order from a couple of days ago was received. $15.73
6:50 p.m. — My niece messages me on WhatsApp, asking me to Uber Eats her, her sister, and my mom McDonalds. I tell her that if my mom says it's okay, sure. My mom tells me to use her card, but I use mine ($25). My hookup texts me to say he's home all night, and I briefly consider going over, but a round-trip Uber to his place is around $85. He lives in a city about 30 minutes north of Toronto. The houses are huge up there, and I'd love to buy there one day. $25
7:02 p.m. — I Uber Eats again, even though I have food in the fridge. I get an A&W Papa Burger combo, a Buddy Burger, and an apple turnover. $20
9:33 p.m. — My brother back home asks me for $50, and I send $65. I worry about the financial impact COVID-19 will have on my brothers and their ability to provide for their families. With the Western Union fees, the total cost is $70.65. $70.65
Daily Total: $131.38

Day Six

10:51 a.m. — I wake up, and I already know today is gonna be uneventful, but I should really go grocery shopping. Instead, I roll over and watch TV. I cycle through the same four shows over and over: Friends, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Lucifer and Schitt’s Creek. Lucifer might be my favourite: I love the character Maze, and she’s bisexual and Black, like myself. 
3:53 p.m. — I grab an Uber to the local West Indian store for $6.59. There’s a line up that goes past a few stores on the plaza, but it’s moving quickly. I pick up pre-cut Tastee Cheese, a pack of bullas, buns, a few tins of coconut water, coconut drops, grater cake, Cheese Krunchies, St Mary's banana chips and Chippie's banana chips. The individual items don’t seem that expensive but — goddamn — they add up ($38.76). I Uber home for $6.79. $52.14
8:43 p.m. — I decide that I want to hook up with the guy tonight and take an Uber to his place ($42.54). We met during a trip in the Caribbean three years ago, and it turns out he lives about 45 minutes from me. My one-night stand has turned into a fairly long-term hookup. We talk for a long while, and I learn some stuff about him and where his head is at.
11:17 p.m — The Uber back to my place is $42.95. He always offers to pay for one of my Uber rides, and I always decline. He pays 40% of his income to his ex-wife for child support, and I feel like I’d be taking away from his kids. I need to put these hookup sessions with him on pause, though, because COVID-19 is getting serious, and I need to stay inside. $42.95
Daily Total: $137.63

Day Seven

11 a.m. — I wake up to a couple missed calls from my friend. I always let someone know where I am when I go see a guy I'm not in a relationship with, and I always text her when I'm back home. Last night, I forgot to tell her I came back.
2:04 p.m. — I finally make breakfast: eggs, cheese, plantains, and sausage. I have no oil, so I have to use butter instead. I’m getting so frustrated with this corona thing, because I can’t just run out and get groceries anymore. What makes me even more anxious is that I have asthma. I worry that if I contract COVID-19, it’s going to be game over for me. 
7:26 p.m. — It's been an uneventful Sunday. I make chorizo, corn, rice, and pico de gallo from a HelloFresh box. It’s good, but I could’ve done without the corn. I’ve been debating switching from a monthly to an annual Disney+ membership for $89.99, which would save me around $17 a year, so I sign up for my second free trial using my old university email. I watch a couple episodes of That’s So Raven before I fall asleep. 
Daily Total: $0

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For the latest information on asthma and COVID-19, go the Centre for Disease Control's website.

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