A Week In Central BC On A $64,800 Salary

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Today: an allied healthcare worker who makes $64,800 and spends some of her money this week on hospital scrubs for work.

Occupation: Allied healthcare worker
Age: 25
Location: Central BC
Salary: $64,800
Net Worth: $77,970 (This total includes an unexpected $30,000 inheritance I got in 2019.)
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $1,750

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $725 (I rent a basement suite with a roommate. Internet and utilities are included.)
Phone: $81
Extended Benefits: Paid by work. I only pay for 20% of the cost of each service.
Netflix: I use my parents account!
Spotify: $9.99 (I share my account with my mom in exchange for Netflix.)
Yoga: $61 (for unlimited classes)
RRSP: $400
Pension: $222.75 (deducted from each paycheque and matched by my employer)
TFSA: I contribute chunks a few times a year.
Investments: $150 (This, along with my TFSA, is managed by my investor guy.)
Savings: $200 (I try to put in more if I can.)
Annual Expenses
Car Insurance: $2,250
Provincial Professional Registration Fees: $600
National Professional Fees: $350 (includes additional liability insurance)

Day One

6 a.m. — I wake up with a sore throat and stuffed-up nose. I work in a hospital and have been exposed to COVID-19 patients, so I start to panic. I nudge my boyfriend, N., awake and ask him to feel my forehead and chest for a fever. He thinks I'm warmer than normal. I call in sick today and am grateful to have 15 sick days banked right now. My job is considered an essential service, and I cover paediatrics and don't want to risk spreading anything to the kids. I call our provincial COVID-19 hotline and spend 90 minutes on hold so they can tell me to self-isolate for 14 days. After speaking to my boss, we arrange to get me tested tomorrow, so we can be confident I don't have the virus.
12 p.m. — After cuddling N. all morning, it's time for me to go home and start my self-isolation. (Don't worry: He's working from home and self-monitoring for symptoms.) Thankfully, my roommate is working remotely from her family's home in another city, so I don't have to worry about spreading the virus to her. At my place, I call my mom. She's also an essential healthcare worker and got tested for COVID-19 today after developing similar symptoms. We live in different towns and haven't seen each other in months, so I obviously didn't catch anything from her. We chat, and I order her tea to be delivered to her home to cheer her up. $35.90
1 p.m. — I may as well use this sick day to watch some educational webinars I've saved up. While I listen, I go through the list of refunds I need to request. I had two weekend trips and an international trip planned in the next six weeks that need to be cancelled. I also prepaid for ski passes at two resorts. I send out requests for refunds from Airbnb and hostels, and ask the resorts to transfer my ski passes to next year. Airbnb and one hostel refund me automatically, so $300 will go back on my credit card in seven to 10 days. I'll wait to hear back from the other places.
5 p.m. — I make a quesadilla with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and cheese for dinner. My freezer and pantry are usually well-stocked, so I didn't buy many groceries last week, although I do regret not getting sparkling water, chocolate, and other comfort foods. My heart goes out to the vulnerable populations who don't have the financial means to fill their pantries right now, so I go online and donate $100 to my local food bank. I know I won't be spending much money over the next month due to social-distancing, and my income is secure. $100
Daily Total: $135.90

Day Two

6:30 a.m. — I wake up naturally and lie in bed for the next three hours, mostly reading news on my phone and scrolling Instagram. My dad sends photos of his cat, who is loving my dad's temporary home-office set up and all the extra day-time attention.
10 a.m. — I spend two hours on the phone with a friend and former colleague, W. We chat about COVID-19 and our personal lives for the first hour, then spend the next hour discussing a difficult case she's handling. I'm familiar with the population she's working with and able to offer advice on how to approach the issue.
1 p.m. — After inspecting my fridge and finding a questionable half-full can of pasta sauce that needs to be eaten ASAP, I make pasta, adding chopped veggies and hummus to the sauce. If you've never added hummus into pasta sauce before, you should try it! It adds creaminess and protein.
2 p.m. — My local yoga studio is doing a virtual class today, so I set up my mat for a gentle flow class. I pay for a monthly membership, but the studio is closed right now, so they've paused my subscription. Midway through yoga, my phone goes crazy, so I take a peek and see that work is trying to reach me. There's an issue my coworker can't solve alone. I walk her through the process for about 45 minutes, and we create a makeshift plan for the next few days.
5 p.m. — I go to a clinic to get my COVID-19 test. They have this system down, and I'm in and out in six minutes with only one patient in the clinic at a time. The nasal swab hurts more than I thought it would, and tears roll down my face. I nod hello to a doctor and a few nurses I recognize from work. The test goes to a lab in a larger city, so results won't be ready for another 72 hours. In the meantime, I can't return to work.
6 p.m. — I need comfort food after that test, so I heat up pizza. Over at his place, N. finds an online crib game, so we FaceTime and play together. I taught him crib on one of our first dates, and we play it in person most nights. Tonight, we play three rounds and he beats me two to one. Then we try out the Netflix Party extension, which lets you sync your show or movie with friends. All in all, it's a good date night in isolation. I'm not a huge fan of technology, but I'm currently loving the way it keeps everyone connected. Before I fall asleep, I reflect on the fact this may be the first day in a long time that I've spent zero dollars.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

7:30 a.m. — I manage to sleep in today! I scroll through news and Instagram before heating up frozen waffles I made last weekend. I'm grateful to have an apartment-sized deep freeze that allows me the space to do this. I text with my mom and N. and see that one of the hostels that was non-refundable has agreed to refund my stay, so that's another $100 back on my credit card sometime in the next week.
12 p.m. — I heat up leftover pasta and get a text from a friend who's going to return the extra bike she's been borrowing. She's headed to her hometown to quarantine with her family, and who knows how long she'll be gone. I take my lawn chair out in the yard to read in the sun while I wait. She rides up and stands in the driveway. We chat — more like yell, so we can hear each other — for 45 minutes. I'm sure our neighbours can hear everything, but it's nice to have a face-to-face convo while maintaining double the recommended distance. After she leaves, my elderly neighbour comes out to her yard. I keep the same distance, and we talk about our garden plans for this summer. She had the best garden last year, so I'm interested to hear her tips. I let her know to let me know if she needs anything.
3 p.m. — Smash & Tess rompers are on sale, so I buy another one. If I'm going to be hanging around the house for the next month or two, I may as well have two I can rotate between. I've had my other romper for over a year, and I wear it most evenings and weekends, because it's so comfortable. $113.29
4 p.m. — I make buns, because I never have enough time for that kind of thing. While I'm kneading the dough, my grandparents FaceTime me. It sounds like they're coping by themselves, and the weather is nice enough that they got outside for a walk today. They're both 80, and grandpa has two conditions that put him in the high-risk category if he were to catch COVID-19. Luckily, my sister lives 45 minutes away and grocery shops for them when they need supplies. I get distracted and under-knead my dough before it rises, but I think it should still work. I separate it into regular buns and longer, Subway-style buns.

8 p.m. — I light candles and fill a bath with a lavender bath bomb I found while cleaning out the bathroom earlier this week. I can't get my mind off the coronavirus, though. I'm not even that worried about my own test results but about my vulnerable patients and my family members. After the bath, N. and I watch The Good Place via Netflix Party. We FaceTime each other while we watch, so we can hear each other laugh (or cough in my case).

Daily Total: $113.29

Day Four

8:30 a.m. — It was a pretty restless night, so I sleep in. I scroll through Instagram before getting a phone call from a coworker about something that was missed while I was home sick. I break into tears. Even though the mistake isn't my fault — I'm stuck at home — it would've been caught if I had been there. We chat and note a few things to bring up to management, so this doesn't happen again. Afterwards, I call my mom and cry some more. She's in healthcare, so she understands the guilt I feel.
11:30 a.m. — On the Facebook buy-and-sell page, I arrange to pick up scrubs. The seller agrees to leave them on her fence post in a bag, and I transfer her $30. Yay for a contactless exchange! I drive 25 minutes each way to pick them up, but I'm happy for a reason to be out of the house — and even happier about four pairs of scrubs to wear for work. Typically, I wear business-casual clothes, but I feel like scrubs are safer and easier to wash right now. I'll donate them once this is over. $30
1 p.m. — I heat up a veggie burger with one of the buns I made yesterday. The buns definitely need more salt, but they're otherwise good. After lunch, I play two rounds of online crib and talk with N.
4:30 p.m. — I have a crib date with my grandfather. He's very technologically savvy for his age, and it only takes 10 minutes of back-and-forth before we're up and running. Over the hour, we play three games, and I win two to one. He's funny and wants to recount everything to ensure the computer isn't making any mistakes. It's nice to connect with him, and I remind myself to do this more often. Afterwards, I heat up pizza to eat with raw veggies and round out the meal with a few cookies.
6:30 p.m. — I contemplate online shopping from a few local stores that put their inventory online while the shops are closed but decide there's nothing I actually need, despite my urge to support local businesses. I do order Purdy's chocolate through a friend's fundraising link that will be mailed to my home. Then I do the same evening crib/Netflix Party routine with N. He falls asleep, though, and I have to wake him up to tell him to turn off his computer and go to bed. $17.85
Daily Total: $47.85

Day Five

8:30 a.m. — I wake up after another sleepless night and find out my mom's COVID-19 test is negative!
11 a.m. — After a few hours of stressing, I call in to see if my test is back — and it's NEGATIVE. I call/text all the people that I had informed of my pending test, and who I'd been in contact with over the previous 14 days. I advise them to stay home regardless and feel a weight off my shoulders. I do a 25-minute home workout from the Lululemon YouTube channel. It gets me sweating. I shower afterwards and arrange for a socially distanced picnic with N. this afternoon.
12:30 p.m. — I pick up burgers and beer from a local brewery that has transitioned to take-out with online ordering. They just opened this past fall, and I know this pandemic is especially hard for new businesses. I want to support them now that I can leave the house. The park near N.'s house is empty. The weather is stormy and looks like rain and/or snow. I set up the lawn chairs and leave his burger on his chair with a bottle of hand sanitizer. My chair is set up 10 feet away to give us lots of space. N. arrives right when the wind picks up, but we tough it out for 25 minutes until we're both frozen. A few people drive by and take pictures of us from their car while giving us the thumbs up. We make plans to do this again soon, hopefully in better weather. $39.43
2 p.m. — I stop at the grocery store on my way home. The last time I was here, I felt intense anxiety. It's less crowded today, and there are social distancing cues marked out on the floor for people to follow. I find almost everything I'm looking for (zucchini, spinach, apples, bananas, sparkling water, crackers, chips, Annie's pasta, soup, taco shells, frozen pizzas, pierogis, yogurt, shredded cheese, tofu, hummus, and chocolate), except toilet paper. My current roll will last me 24 to 48 hours. I don't typically buy a lot of packaged/processed items, but I do today and spend a bit more than usual ($63.60). Canadian Tire is still open, so I stop by for a bag of soil to start seedlings for my garden this week or next. I'm happy to see Canadian Tire also has signs and markings on the floor to remind people of how far apart to stand. ($6.37) $69.97
4 p.m. — I browse Chapters Indigo online for new books. I have two my mom gave me that I still need to finish, but I anticipate I'll be doing a lot of reading over the next few months. I purchase Little Fires Everywhere and American Dirt. My roommate will read these once I'm done, too. Shipping is free, because the stores are shut down right now. Afterwards, I play three rounds of online crib with my mom. $35.79
5 p.m. — I get a call from W. saying that she's been laid off. She has a non-compete clause and can't follow any of her clients privately. She has a very vulnerable client who should have follow-up, so she asks if I want to take them on privately. I have private insurance coverage and have occasionally thought about doing some independent work, but I've never taken the leap. Now is the perfect time to try it. I consult my professional body's FAQ page on legalities, and I should be set if the client wants to work with me. I make a Caesar salad and a PB&J bunwich for dinner, followed by a square of my emergency chocolate.
6 p.m. — I play another couple of rounds of online crib with N. and skunk him! Then I disconnect for the rest of the night and run a bath. I only have one bath bomb left and a 1/4 bottle bubble bath. I anticipate this could be a long month or two at home, so I try to order more from Lush. The website won't accept either of my credit cards. I guess the universe is telling me not to spend any more money today.
Daily Total: $145.19

Day Six

7 a.m. — The alarm goes off for my first day back at work. I snooze twice knowing I'm only wearing scrubs and that I washed my hair yesterday. I turn on the kettle and fill my travel mug with water for tea. I usually take the bus or bike to work, but it's cold out still, and I'm avoiding the bus. Luckily, I have my roommate's parking pass while she's away. Parking near the hospital is limited, and it takes longer to find a spot than it does to walk to the bus. There are new protocols with only two entrances into the hospital, so security can screen staff and restrict non-essential visitors. I get my temperature taken, and it's normal, so I can go on through. I eat the yogurt and granola I keep at work while I screen my patients' online charts from my office.
12 p.m. — The cafeteria is closed, so it looks like I'm eating at my desk. I hate doing this, because I feel like I can't get away from work. Plus, my office is tiny, ugly and doesn't have a window. I eat falafels I pulled from the freezer this morning on a homemade bun. I scroll Instagram for 15 minutes and work through the rest of lunch, so I can take off 30 minutes early.
2 p.m. — I'm able to connect with a few doctors faster than usual, which makes my afternoon run smoothly. I fill up my mug with hot water (and reuse the tea bag from this morning) and spend the rest of the afternoon charting (definitely the least exciting part of my job).
3:45 p.m. — I sneak out 15 minutes early and strip out of my scrubs and into street clothes. At home, I take a hot shower the second I'm in the door. Then I turn on the dishwasher and unpack my first Goodfood box, which arrived while I was at work. My friend sent this one to me for free, but I subscribed for next week, too. Given the uncertainty of groceries right now, that seemed like a good call. I used to get Chefs Plate or HelloFresh in university during finals season but haven't ordered a meal kit since then.
5 p.m. — N. drives down, so we can go for a bike ride. The only time we come within six feet of each other is when a goose pops onto the path, and I swerve towards him. Otherwise, social-distancing maintained. After the ride, he gives me a roll of TP. That's love!
7 p.m. — I start making a Meatball Mezze Platter from my Goodfood box when I'm interrupted by a text to come outside. W. and her mom leave a package of TP at my door and wave from the car. I'm blown away by their generosity. Who knew toilet paper was a sign of love these days? I finish my meal back inside; it's pretty tasty, especially because it's free!
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

8 a.m. — After doing the same morning routine as yesterday, I'm at my office eating breakfast and screening patients' charts. It's not too busy, surprisingly. It's rare we actually get time to breathe, but I know the downtime won't last long.
12 p.m. — N. texts to say he's outside to meet me for lunch. He brings sandwiches, sweet potato wedges, and my favourite kind of sparkling water. We sit on the side of the curb (six feet apart) and eat our lunch, social-distancing-style. We eat quickly and take a walk to make the most of the fresh air before I have to go back to work.
5 p.m. — I heat up the leftovers from my Goodfood box for dinner. I see my order for next week was charged to my card ($63.99), along with my Oatbox subscription ($16 after a referral code credit). Oatbox is the granola I keep at work for breakfast. It's pricey but so tasty and cheaper than buying breakfast every day. $79.99
8 p.m. — Typical evening quarantine routine: a few rounds of crib with N. followed by a Netflix Party watching of The Good Place. This isn't far off our normal in-person routine. I feel exhausted after a few full days back at work and fall asleep quickly.
Daily Total: $79.99
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