A Week In Toronto, ON, On A $330,000 Joint Income

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Today: an associate lawyer who has an annual joint income of $330,000 and spends some of her money this week on ginger ale.
Occupation: Associate Lawyer
Industry: Law
Age: 31
Location: Toronto, ON
My Salary: $150,000, plus a $5,000 bonus
My Husband's Salary: $160,000, plus a $15,000 bonus
My Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $3,890
My Husband's Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $4,200 (he has fewer pre-tax deductions than me.)
Gender Identity: Woman

Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $4,900 (We purchased a three-bedroom semi last year. We make equal contributions to a joint account to cover the mortgage and property taxes.)
Property Taxes: $375
Student Loans: $0 (I paid off $108,000 in 2018, and my husband graduated without debt.)
Electricity: $150 (paid by me)
Water & Sewage: $91.67 (paid by my husband)
Gas: $50 (paid by me)
Internet: $55 (paid by my husband)
Car Insurance: $200 (paid by my husband)
Netflix: $12 (paid by my husband)
Website Hosting: $17 (We kept the domain name for our wedding website for future family updates, and I've been maintaining an "In Memory" site for a relative who passed away this year).
Phone: $60 (This is for my husband's phone; mine is covered by work.)
My RRSP: $1,000
My TFSA: $50
My Husband's RRSP: $1,000

Annual Expenses
House Insurance: $1,150
My Life Insurance: $300 (above work coverage)
My Husband's Life Insurance: $330 (above work coverage)


Day One

6:15 a.m. — Our alarms ring and my husband, A., and I perform an instinctual synchronized snooze. I shower at night and eat at the office, so I curl back under the covers and snooze until he's nearly ready to go at 7 a.m. We both hate waking up early, and the 6:15 a.m. alarms are a recent thing. I'm currently pregnant and have been experiencing terrible morning sickness, except at night, so we're trying to get to work early and leave early. We're both lawyers, and before the pregnancy, we would typically start work around 9 a.m. and continue until 9 p.m. — or as late as midnight some days. We're trying to cut back to a 7:30 a.m.–to–6:30 p.m. schedule. Results have been mixed.
7:35 a.m. — Pre-pregnancy, I religiously had a bagel with cream cheese and a Diet Coke for breakfast each morning. Unfortunately, both of those items are on the "try not to" list for the baby, so I've amended my breakfast order: I bounce between a bagel with butter, a croissant, juice, and ginger ale, depending on the day. Today, I stop by the café in the lobby of my building and get a croissant, cranberry juice, and ginger ale. I eat at my desk while checking emails and catching up with my assistant. $7.59
10:30 a.m. — I jump on a call with a client. Mid-call, I feel a wave of nausea, mute my line and get sick in my garbage can. I haven't told anyone at work about the pregnancy yet, so it's been miserable feeling so awful and trying to keep it a secret. Luckily, I'm able to pull things together and finish the call with my client. I don't think they noticed the pause. I dislike the tradition of keeping pregnancy a secret during the first trimester. If I felt it was socially acceptable, my news would be public by now, but I feel pressure to keep hiding it until I'm further along.
2 p.m. — By mid-afternoon, I'm feeling somewhat hungry again, and need to get a few household items. A. and I tend to buy our own personal items and loosely take turns buying groceries and dinners out using our own chequing accounts. Occasionally, we'll have a bigger expense (such as a house-related repair) and talk about who has more extra cash, and that person will pay the bill. I pick up Smartfood and a bottle of soda water to have for lunch, shampoo and conditioner, hair elastics, and wrapped mints for my office candy bowl. I go back upstairs and enjoy my Smartfood and soda water at my desk while answering emails. $42.32
7:30 p.m. — My husband had a client call that ran long, so he picks me up later than usual. I was taking the streetcar to and from work before I got pregnant, but we've made the decision to drive together the last few months, so that I can avoid the smells and germs on the TTC. I love driving with him, because when we're at home, we're distracted by our phones, and while we're driving we get to talk and catch up. Once we get home, a 15-minute drive, he makes himself dinner, and I hide from the smell of cooking upstairs. I have applesauce and another soda water.
9 p.m. — After dinner, I call my mom, and A. logs back on to send a few more work emails. We then sit on the couch together, while I watch Netflix, and he plays a game on his Nintendo Switch. Occasionally, he'll look up and ask me to repeat something from my show, which I find supremely aggravating (why can't he just watch it or not watch it?) but also endearing (I like that he's kind of watching and can react when something crazy happens). We go to bed around 10 p.m.
Daily Total: $49.91

Day Two

7 a.m. — We get to sleep in a little later, because I have an 8:30 a.m. doctor's appointment. A. completes his usual morning routine, while I snooze and check Instagram. Luckily, my doctor isn't too far away, so we leave around 8 a.m. A. drops me off and continues to work.
9:10 a.m. — My doctor's appointment goes well, and our recent scan results are completely normal! We opted for early genetic testing, which also came back clear, so I wasn't overly worried, but it's nice to have confirmation. I call A. and tell him the good news. I then catch an Uber downtown to work, and sneak by my boss's office around 9:30 a.m. He typically arrives at 9 a.m., so I've been trying to schedule all of my appointments early in the morning. That way, I don't have to explain where I am. We have a great relationship, and I hate not being able to tell him where I'm going. I've had to tell a couple of fibs about dentist appointments to make my ultrasounds, and I feel bad about it. $14.15
10 a.m. — After responding to emails and showing my face, I pop down to the PATH (the underground mall that connects several buildings in the Financial District) and get a cheddar-and-herb bagel, double toasted with butter. I eat it at my desk with a can of soda water I brought from home, while answering emails. $2
11 a.m. — I lose my motivation and spend almost an hour reading the Globe & Mail and blogTO. Then I'm back to tackling the never-ending wave of emails.
2 p.m. — I visit Starbucks for a tall hot chocolate, no whipped cream. I know that my diet has been terrible lately (who the heck drinks a hot chocolate for lunch?!), but my doctor keeps telling me to eat whatever I can keep down for the next few weeks until the second trimester. Hopefully, the nausea will ease up soon. When I get back to the office, I meet with my boss, then meet with an articling student to provide instructions on a new matter. $3.94
6:15 p.m. — A. picks me up. I didn't do anything stressful today, but I'm completely exhausted. He drops me off at home and goes to Loblaws to get a few easy-to-heat meals for himself, and more crackers and soda water for me. I hang out on the couch and catch up on Instagram and Reddit, while he works at the dining room table, as per usual.
Daily Total: $20.09

Day Three

6 a.m. — Typical morning routine: A. wakes up, I snooze, check Instagram and read through my overnight emails. I used to be so stressed about responding quickly and would always send emails from bed in the morning and at night. Over time, though, I've relaxed and do a better job of determining whether or not something is truly urgent. I've found that most things are fine if dealt with the same day, which has given me a lot of freedom in planning my schedule and focusing on specific tasks, instead of constantly being distracted by each incoming request.
7:30 a.m. — I stop by the café in my building and grab a croissant and ginger ale. I eat at my desk, but throw most of the croissant away. Today will go by quickly, because I have a bunch of meetings. I enjoy days like this, because they're easy to record (in terms of billable hours), and it's fun to see other people around the office. $6.10
9 a.m. — I start with a client call, followed by a student meeting, an in-person client meeting (these are a relative rarity nowadays!), and a brief catch-up call with an associate in Vancouver. I'm starting to get hungry, but I power through and meet with my boss to catch up on memos I've been drafting.
3 p.m. — I'm legitimately hungry, and weirdly feeling better than usual. I go to McDonald's for chicken McNuggets and fries. I know, I know: They're terrible for you. But McNuggets are one of the few things that are relatively easy to digest. They're delicious, and I feel better for a while. No regrets. Thank goodness for prenatal vitamins or this baby would be made entirely of carbs. $12.76
6:45 p.m. — A. picks me up from work, and we catch up about our days. He's dealing with a difficult motion and may need to fly to Vancouver. I don't like staying at the house by myself, so I protest a little. We decide that we'll wait and see, but if he needs to go, I might ask my mom to come stay in our guest room (she lives about 15 minutes away from us). I know that's a bit unreasonable, but when I'm alone, every creak sounds menacing, and I never get as much sleep.
7:15 p.m. — A. makes himself dinner and cuts up an apple for me. I eat half of it, orange Jell-O, and salted crackers. We watch YouTube, then go upstairs to bed. I take pity on poor A., who has been deprived lately, because I've been so sick, and try to do him a favour, if you know what I mean. It ends with me getting extremely sick, and I get the sense he's secretly vowing to remain celibate until I'm 100% better. We finally go to bed around 10:45 p.m., and he rubs my back until I fall asleep.
Daily Total: $18.86

Day Four

6:15 a.m. — For some reason, it feels like we have more time this morning, so A. packs a lunch and I bring soda water, Goldfish crackers, diced peaches, and rice cakes.
7:25 a.m. — I arrive at the office and have my soda water and rice cakes at my desk. My day isn't busy, so I browse online and read the paper. I also research the type of stroller we're planning to get. Man, those things are crazy-expensive! We're trying not to spend money on clothes, outings, and household things lately, because we know we have a bunch of big baby expenses coming up. We earn a bucket of money every couple weeks, but I'm stressed about maternity leave. I'm hoping to take 12 months, but I'll only receive my normal paycheque for four months. My firm gives 100% top-up for 17 weeks, but then nothing for the rest of my leave. This means that for eight months, I'll only earn employment insurance, which will work out to approximately 20% of my normal paycheque. I'm trying to save up at least eight months' worth of my half of the mortgage payments before going on leave (I'm 60% of the way there).
12:15 p.m. — I meet up with a friend from law school for sushi, and I order a bowl of steamed rice and ginger ale. She's thinking of taking a new job, which is scary for her, but I think it would be the right move. We slowly walk back to our offices and promise we'll get together more often. $7.15
2:30 p.m. — I absent-mindedly eat my Goldfish and peaches while drafting an agreement that takes longer than I expected. I end up working on it until A. picks me up.
7:15 p.m. — A. arrives, and I fill him in on the stroller research. He doesn't have an opinion, which is kind of nice (I like to make these kinds of decisions) and also annoying (I did a bunch of research and would like him to take more of an interest). We chat about our weekend plans — we're going pumpkin picking! — and stuff we'd like to get done around the house. When we get home, I'm not hungry, so I go upstairs to watch Netflix in bed while he makes dinner. I text with a long-distance friend, then fall asleep watching reruns of The Office. A. must've come in and turned off the tablet and the lights, because I wake up in the middle of the night to pee still wearing my top from work and feeling bewildered.
Daily Total: $7.15

Day Five

6:15 a.m. — Thank god it's Friday! I feel excited about the end of the week and get up at the same time as A. I get dressed, brush my hair, then go downstairs, and immediately realize I've made a huge mistake. A. has made Eggo waffles, and the smell is overwhelming. Out of instinct, I run out the front door and throw up in our front yard. Luckily, none of our close neighbours see me, but a random guy walking his dog looks alarmed, and it's super-embarrassing. A. vows not to toast Eggos for the foreseeable future.
7:30 a.m. — I go to Tim Hortons in the PATH and pick up a hash brown, a cinnamon bagel toasted with butter, and ginger ale. I eat breakfast at my desk. I'm mostly drafting short letters and providing instructions to clients by email, so it's kind of boring. Around noon, my boss leaves for the weekend, and I lose motivation. Nobody cares what I do during the day, as long as I'm physically present and hit my monthly billable hour target, but for the last two months, I've definitely been dragging behind on hours. $8.09
1 p.m. — I take a walk to clear my head, and stop by Shoppers Drug Mart in the PATH to get a few things. I pick up Triscuits, Fresca, a box of Kleenex, hand sanitizer, and Lysol wipes. A colleague is super-sick right now, and I'm hoping not to catch whatever cold/cough she has. $25.18
2 p.m. — I have a meeting with another associate about a file we share, then draft documents relating to that file.
3 p.m. — I start to think about leaving early.
4 p.m. — I lose all self-control and begin browsing the internet. I think of buying new knobs for our kitchen cabinets, which we've wanted to replace for a while, but then leave them in my Amazon cart over the weekend to make sure they're worth it. It will cost around $200 to replace all of the knobs, but I think they would make a huge difference. This is the kind of thing that I would've bought without thinking twice a few months ago, but now I'm not as confident.
4:45 p.m. — I can't concentrate at the office anymore, so I pack up my laptop and go home. I catch an Uber, which would normally be around $12, but I have a $4-off promotion. I get home and whip off all my clothes and congratulate myself on the fantastic decision to leave early on a Friday. It feels amazing to lounge in bed and scroll through Instagram while it's still light out. Life is great. $8.60
8 p.m. — A. is taking advantage of the fact that he doesn't need to pick me up, so he's working late. He's had a hard time adjusting to the reduced work hours, and I think sometimes he wishes we could still work until midnight. He's also been doing almost all of the housework lately, so I get a few things done while he's at the office. I do the dishes, switch out the garbage and recycling bags (almost toss my cookies but manage to keep it together), and put in a load of laundry. I then call my mom and chat with her while sorting through a big pile of mostly junk mail. It's funny, when we lived in a condo (until earlier this year, we were renting a 500-square-foot place), we never got much junk mail, but now that we're in a house, we're flooded with flyers. We've thought about putting up a No Junk Mail sign, but the flyers are actually kind of nice, because we're getting to know the neighbourhood through restaurant menus and local business ads.
9 p.m. — A. calls to say he's coming home and hasn't eaten dinner yet, so I order Thai food. He arrives before the delivery and pays for it. (I think it was around $45, but we don't keep track of things like that. We decide which one of us pays based on convenience, and it roughly averages out over time.) I have a bit of cashew chicken and steamed rice, and A. has pad thai. We finalize plans for pumpkin picking tomorrow and Thanksgiving dinners with our families on Sunday and Monday.
Daily Total: $41.87

Day Six

7:15 a.m. — I wake up out of habit and scroll through Instagram. I let A. sleep in and sneak downstairs with my tablet to watch TV and have breakfast on my own. I have grapes, crackers, and an apple juice.
10 a.m. — I go back upstairs to snuggle A. awake, because we want to leave for the pumpkin patch in an hour.
11:15 a.m. — We're on the road up to Markham. We've never been to a pumpkin patch together — this will be our first Halloween in the new house — but I used to go with my family every year as a kid. The drive is so much fun, and it's great to catch up in a totally stress-free way. We have a good time seeing the different farms, the changing leaves, and clusters of election signs. At one point, I throw on a Spice Girls CD and A. acts like he hates it at first, but gets into it by the second track.
12:30 p.m. — After trudging around the field for a while, we pick five pumpkins, bring them to a trailer, and I pay by weight. I think $18 is a great deal, given the fun of the activity and the size of the pumpkins. We're planning to keep three (one for each step on our front porch) and give two to A.'s parents. $18
3 p.m. — We're home, and A. has a quick call with his parents to confirm dinner plans for tonight. His mom is sick with a cold but still wants to host. We decide that I'll skip it, because I'm stressed about getting a cold or flu while pregnant, and it won't be enjoyable to hang out with her and have the dinner she made if I know she's sick. A. still goes to represent us and bring the pumpkins to his parents. I secretly think they'll enjoy the night even more this way, because they don't have tons of opportunities to hang out with him without me.
6 p.m. — Now that I'm home alone, not feeling terrible, and don't have much to do, I call my mom. She's bored, too, so we go shopping at the big box centre north of her house. She swings by to pick me up, and we visit Winners, HomeSense, Walmart, and Michaels. We try not to buy too much, but she ends up getting a pedicure kit and a box of granola bars, and I buy baby leggings and booties, a couple of Halloween decorations, and a baby thermometer. $59.73
9:30 p.m. — A. gets home from his parents' house, and I get home from shopping. I read while he watches Netflix, and we go to bed around 11 p.m.
Daily Total: $77.73

Day Seven

7 a.m. — I wake up early again and let A. sleep in. I have cereal and cranberry juice for breakfast. I'm still feeling a bit weird, but definitely better than earlier this week! I catch up on the work I should have been doing when I was slacking on Friday (and generally throughout the week). I pull out my laptop and start dealing with the non-urgent files I was avoiding, plus I catch up on recording my billable time (The most hated lawyer task in the world).
12:30 p.m. — A little after noon, A. wakes up and begins his morning routine. I used to stay up super-late and sleep in until the afternoon on weekends, too, but nowadays my body automatically wakes me up early and makes me feel tired by 9 p.m.
3 p.m. — We head over to Loblaws to complete our weekly grocery shopping and pick up appetizers for my family's Thanksgiving dinner tonight. In addition to our normal-ish weekly shop (English muffins, pasta, apples, pears, peaches, easy-to-make single meals for A., and tons of drinks because I'm always thirsty), we get fancy cheeses, crackers, and nut mixes as starters for tonight. We've been strictly instructed that there will be no oven room for apps, so we stick with a cheese-and-cracker course. I pay, because A. has paid the last couple of times. $141.31
5 p.m. — We arrive at my brother's house. He and his wife are hosting, because they just moved and want everyone to see their new place. My brother and I are super-close, and we get together at least once a week. His wife has made an incredible dinner: turkey, honey-glazed ham, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, peas, green beans, turnip, salad, etc. My grandma also baked two pies and a huge batch of cookies. The food is overwhelming, but I'm feeling relatively well and am able to enjoy dinner. It's my first complete, home-cooked meal in weeks.
11 p.m. — A. and I stay up later than usual, because tomorrow is a holiday, and we have no plans (he's also wired from all the sugar and well-rested from his sleep-in this morning). We make plans for the nursery and think about paint colours. I'm so excited that tomorrow we can just hang out, walk around our neighbourhood, and relax. I have a lot to be thankful for!
Daily Total: $141.31
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