A Week In Vancouver, BC, On A $302,200 Joint Income

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Today: a director working in charity who has a joint income of $302,200 per year and spends some of her money this week on second-hand toddler shoes.

Occupation: Director
Industry: Charity
Age: 37
Location: Vancouver, BC 
My Salary: $102,200 (Technically, I work 80% full-time, which is usually four days a week, but there are weekend, evening, and travel expectations, so I definitely work more than 80% in the end. I only just returned to work after parental leave, during which I received Employment Insurance and a 16-week top-up from work, so my salary doesn't reflect this year's income, of course. It's what I'm making from now on.)
My Husband's Salary: $200,000
My Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $2,875
My Husband's Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $6,000
Gender Identity: Woman

Monthly Expense
Mortgage: $3,681.66 (This includes property taxes and house insurance. Last year, we sold our duplex and bought a house to accommodate our growing family.)
Group Health Insurance: $74.52
Childcare: $2,450
House Cleaning: $120
Car Insurance: $160.68
Cell Phone: $0 (paid by employer)
Gym Membership: $125
Utilities & Internet: $180.22
Netflix, Crave & Google Music: $27
Globe and Mail Subscription: $31.47 (Am I a dinosaur?)
Travel Fund: $1,750 (We're going to Hawaii in February, plus a family reunion at Christmas that's across the country. Travel with kids is so expensive.)
My RRSP & TFSA: $2,033
My Husband's RRSP & TFSA: $2,117
We have one joint account from which we pay for our household expenses, including mortgage, taxes, childcare, living costs, holidays, and all my excessive coffees to get me through the sleep-deprived days. Although W. earns more at his job now, until a few years ago, I earned significantly more than him. Also, I started working at 22, but he didn't finish his graduate school and training until he was 30. He brought a fair bit of debt into our relationship, whereas I'd saved for a down payment for a house.

Day One

6 a.m. — M., the baby, wakes up, and I take him downstairs and feed him yogurt and fruit. I take a few bites myself. Our coffee maker is broken, and I can't be bothered to make tea, so we go into the playroom, and I get things ready for our upcoming weekend trip to a local island. M. toddles around until I realize we need to get going before the three-year-old, L., wakes up. I pack the fridge and freezer and get the sheets and diapers and such ready for our trip. Then I get baby M. ready and wake up the toddler, who doesn't actually want to be awake. My stomach is grumbling by this point, and we're going to be late for our breakfast date with a girlfriend and her baby.

8:30 a.m. — I throw on jeans that (still) feel snug around my postpartum body and put SPF cream on my face. I had skin cancer a few years ago, and sunscreen is a religious part of my day. So is mascara. I swear by Elate's clay mascara. Very little else is part of my daily ritual since having kids, unfortunately for #selfcare. The three-year-old is reluctantly trundled out to the car, and we head to a local brunch spot.
9 a.m. — The brunch joint is empty and perfect for catching up with my two babies and my friend's one-year-old. My friend brings sad news about our mutual friend and former colleague who is dying of cancer. I'm so grateful for what I have and so sad for what the world delivers to good people. Why?! I treat my friend, and we share a teary hug. Two coffees, two egg hashes, and three baby pancakes come to $34.45 with tip and tax, which is a great deal! $34.45
10:10 a.m. — I take my two babies to a classical concert designed for kids, even though we're running a bit late. Parking is $3.50 and the show is $26. The look on my three-year-old's face while the musicians play Tchaikovsky is priceless. $29.50
12:15 p.m. — I pick up my husband, W., from work and drive across the city to the ferry terminal. He has taken the afternoon off, so we can beat the crowds. Our strategy works, and we make the ferry in plenty of time. We pay with a preloaded card, so this $55 trip feels free, even though it isn't.
12:45 p.m. — The toddler is hangry, so we buy a ferry hot dog. It's disgusting, but he loves it. $5.50

2:30 p.m. — Once on the island, we stop for groceries for the next three days, even though I packed a lot of food as well. We pop into the organic shop and, because it's on the island, everything is more expensive than on the mainland: eggs, butter, milk, bread, bananas, and Smarties cookies. $30.65.
3:15 p.m. — We arrive at my husband's family's cabin and eat leftover takeout roti while unpacking and turning on the wood fire (as well as sweeping out mouse poop, ew).
5 p.m. — I get dinner ready, while my husband plays with the kids. They eat pasta and homemade meat sauce, which we'll also have later on. While they eat, I nibble on blue cheese and crackers and drink white wine. The sun breaks through fall clouds and everything looks freshly washed and sublime. I love the cabin. The baby starts his bedtime screeching.
7:55 p.m. — The babies are asleep, so my husband and I eat salad, red wine, pasta, and Bolognese. Shortly after, we curl up in front of the fire and read our books (a Gentleman in Moscow for me). I predict the baby, M., will be up crying in the middle of the night. I usually head to sleep as soon as my eyes get heavy, around 9:15 p.m.
Daily Total: $100.10

Day Two

8:25 a.m. — I wake up alone in a quiet cabin and realize my husband took the two children out to play on the beach. As predicted, the baby was up at 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. Although a quick breastfeed lulled him back to sleep each time, I'm exhausted: I've been pregnant or breastfeeding for almost four years now. Both of the children were up at 6:30 a.m. and hungry for their morning oatmeal. W. and I take turns getting up with them, so at least one of us can feel clear-headed. I hop in the shower as they return and do my Aesop rose deep-conditioning hair treatment.
9:45 a.m. — We pile into the car and drive to a nearby village. I buy a fancy coffee, a cookie, and water for breakfast ($10.05). The coffee shop's owner is a friend, so we chat while W. parks the car and wrangles the children into their Muddy Buddy rain gear. We all visit a farmers' market and buy two tiny, overpriced, and delicious baked goods ($8.25), which we try to share, although the demanding three-year-old eats most of them. $18.30
10:55 a.m. — We head to the local second-hand store to see if they have any winter clothes for the kids. It's a great place, and I check it out whenever we visit the cabin. I try to buy most of our children's clothes used, because they grow so fast, and our footprint on this planet is already way too big. I probably buy half of my clothes at the amazing consignment stores on Main Street in Vancouver. I hunt around while M. and L. play with used toys, and we leave with new shoes for L., plus a few miscellaneous Halloween decorations. $4.25
2 p.m. — After the children's naps, I prepare roasted vegetables and kamut pasta, which is either refused or thrown on the floor. Teething babies! So we move onto high-fat, plain yogurt, which is always a success. Then I bake cookies with L., which is fun. I have three of them and leftover roasted vegetables — a lunch of champions.
4:45 p.m. — The children are getting squabbly, so we head to the beach with crackers and water bottles for the kids and a bottle of red wine for W. and myself.
5:55 p.m. — The dinner for the children is on full-force, and I snack on blue cheese and crackers.
8:15 p.m. — Phew, children down. W. and I eat a light dinner of homemade soup and salad, then share the rest of the cookies while reading our respective novels. We rouse ourselves to play Codenames, a great little board game that actually works with just two people. I stumble to bed around 10 p.m., and W. follows shortly after.
Daily Total: $22.55

Day Three

6:35 a.m. — Another hard night. Sleep deprivation is a real thing. I love these little boys to bits, but they're wearing me down. Baby M. was up at 3 a.m., then L. woke up with bad dreams at 5 a.m., and in doing so woke up the baby. They share a room here at the cabin, which I'm mostly a fan of, except during the wee hours when shenanigans like this happen. I take the baby, because it's my morning. Shortly after, the toddler gets up, too, and we all slowly ease into the early dawn. I make buttermilk pancakes with blueberries that were grown here at the cabin in the summer, then frozen. I also brew a big pot of drip coffee. Breakfast tastes like summer, and I eat four pancakes with yogurt and maple syrup, plus two cups of coffee.
11:25 a.m. — The baby is too tired from his early morning, so I feed him and he goes down for his daily nap. It was a busy morning of playing outside while W. took some time for himself. I throw together a lunch of leftovers, then hide in the bedroom while W. and L. play with LEGO. There, I eat a Smarties cookie, check my work email, and contribute to a Kickstarter campaign my friend started. $65
4:15 p.m. — W. and I clean the cabin, while the kiddos nap. We're planning to come back next weekend with the entire family for Canadian Thanksgiving, so I leave essentials behind: diapers and wine. We hustle the children into the car and dash for the ferry that takes us back to the mainland for the work week. On the way, I snack on jalapeño cheese crisps, which sound atrocious but are delicious.
5:05 p.m. — We're early for a large family dinner party, so we do a very frenzied grocery shop. This is our big shop for the week and will last us a while. Our bills have definitely gotten larger now that there are four mouths to feed, even though they're small ones. On the upside, my husband and I eat in a lot more now that the babies need us in the evenings. My café visits have increased substantially, however, because I rarely have time to eat a decent breakfast on a workday. I have just returned to work after 15 months of maternity leave, so my routines are not in order yet. $200.81
6:40 p.m. — I've brought herb scones to the family potluck. It's great to see my huge extended family. I eat a smorgasbord of appetizers, a small glass of sour beer from a local brewery, and sit down for a rushed dinner, which is a delicious blend of beans, bread, lasagna, and two pieces of baklava for dessert. Sadly, the baby begins his nightly meltdown, so we leave to put him to bed.
10 p.m. — The kids are asleep and the house is clean. My bags are packed for the upcoming work week. So W. and I watch one episode of the amazing, hilarious, and short (!) Fleabag.
Daily Total: $265.81

Day Four

7:45 a.m. — The hustle is real! Our amazing nanny has arrived, and I leave for work. I stop at a nearby café, where I enjoy a cappuccino and pain au chocolat, which comes to $10, including a generous tip because these guys are my local. I reply to a few emails, then head into the office. $10
12 p.m. — During my lunch break, I head to a Lagree class (it's new to me, and I'm so obsessed). I use a free pass that I got because the fire alarm went off in the middle of a previous class. I stop on the way back to the office to buy diapers, wipes, spices, and a few goodies for my sister, who just had a baby. This all takes me about seven minutes. My use of time is unbelievably efficient these days, which both pleases and horrifies me. I also pick up a new book for my son, because book gifts are always welcome in our house. I eat an apple en route and listen to Lizzo on Spotify. $72.09
2 p.m. — I meet my colleague for a quick coffee ($18.98 for two flat whites and an open-faced tomato sandwich), which is so nice. It's such a treat to talk to somebody. I've recently changed positions, and my job isn't as social as it once was. I miss the banter that happens with a big group of colleagues. Alas, I'm back to work after 30 minutes. ($18.98 expensed)
4:30 p.m. — I meet a former colleague and good friend for a drink at a fancy vegan café in the shopping district, which is on my way home. I'm a few minutes early, so I stop next door at a chocolate shop to get her a treat, because I know she loves chocolate. I pick up a little something up for my husband, too ($5.25). I order a large glass of rosé ($24.04), and we catch up. $29.29
7 p.m. — I rush home, and it's all hands on deck until the children are asleep. I graze on their leftovers (carrots and rice with lentil dahl), and I'm too tired to make a decent plate for W. and myself, but we rally together and make a vegetarian lasagna for the upcoming week. We're in bed by 9:45 p.m.
Daily Total: $111.38

Day Five

6:45 a.m. — Me and both kids get ready for the day, while my husband gets a few more zzzzs. I somehow manage to feed the monsters, pack my bag, have a quick shower, and straighten my hair.
7:44 a.m. — I'm running late. I hop on my bike and head to work. My commute is an easy 20 minutes downhill. Though, of course, this means 35 minutes uphill to get home!
8:10 a.m. — I arrive in the office and am the first one here. I love when it's just me. I get a subpar coffee with milk and buckle down to address emails.
9:45 a.m. — I realize I haven't eaten and need decent coffee. Luckily, there are many options nearby. I get a drip and scone special for $4.45, which is a deal in the heart of the city. $4.45
3:30 p.m. — My day is jam-packed with meetings and follow-up reports. I'm on a role, so I keep going until I realize I'm famished. I eat two granola bars from my desk in quick succession, then finish up for the day.
4:30 p.m. — I'm heading home on my bike in the beautifully crisp fall air. I feel alive!
5 p.m. — I bump into the kids in the park with their nanny as well as a childhood friend. What a lovely way to end my day. I also get home to realize the housekeeper came today.
5:40 p.m. — My little sister comes over. Despite the horrible behaviour from my children, who are grumpy, I'm inspired to make a radicchio salad with dates, almonds, and a lemon vinaigrette. Auntie gets to play with the littles, and they calm down under her attentive care. W. comes home from work, and we eat delicious vegetarian lasagne and a huge salad. I put the baby down shortly after.
7:30 p.m. — W. and I head out to a local restaurant for dessert (tiramisu and doughnuts) and share a bottle of white wine. It's so nice and, for us, necessary to have a mini date. I feel like we haven't connected in a while. We walk home the long way. Trees are dropping their leaves, which are bright yellow and red. This is my favourite time of the year. Once home, we thank my little sister and appreciate our family network during the intense years of raising a family. It really takes a village. $72.25
Daily Total: $76.65

Day Six

7 a.m. — L., the toddler, snuck into our bed at 1 a.m., so I get to have much-needed cuddles with that cutie. The kid doesn't get much of my attention now that I'm back at work. He's growing up in front of my eyes. Cry! Reluctantly, I get up, shower, and rush out the door as fast as possible. I put an apple and yogurt into my bag for breakfast. I really don't have my morning routine down pat yet, much to my frustration.
8 a.m. — I do laundry on my way out of the door. Everything is rushed. On my four-kilometre walk to work, which is my exercise for today, I chat with my best friend who lives in Australia. She's not in a good place due to trauma in the past few years, but she's about to have a baby, which is exciting. I stop for coffee and realize the $20 bill in my pocket has fallen out! I berate myself (I have a poor inner dialogue, which is something I'm always working on), and my friend makes me feel better. I text my husband my frustration, and he helps by telling me the cash probably went to someone who needs it more than I do. Very good point. $4.25
9:30 a.m. — I arrive late to work, hot, hungry, and flustered. My boss is in before me, which angers me again. I try to get in before anyone else to do work without distractions, plus I leave earlier than most, so I can relieve the nanny. I start to feel nauseous with hunger but remember my yogurt parfait in my bag (jar of plain yogurt, walnuts, almond butter, and strawberries).
11:55 a.m. — I walk to a client-appreciation lunch at a lovely private club down the road from my office. I eat salmon, pasta, and a Greek salad. I turn down the wine, because I'll fall asleep at my desk if I drink! Two macaroons and two coffees with cream round out the afternoon. I attend a presentation and network.
4:15 p.m. — Back at my desk, I send emails and finish the day with a meeting. On my way out, I bump into my boss and feel self conscious about having to leave. He doesn't know I get in early so that I can leave (relatively) early. The things that women in their prime working years with small kids have to deal with. Such a hassle. I take transit home with a prepaid travel card.
6:30 p.m. — I feed the boys, clean everyone up, then eat my toddler's leftover lasagne, and enjoy a small glass of white wine after I nurse baby M. to sleep.
8:10 p.m. — My husband is working tonight, so it's just me for the busy bedtime routine. Oddly enough, it's easier in some ways. Maybe that's the controlling side of me. I do a million loads of laundry and watch way too many episodes of Fleabag. I go to bed too late (10:40 p.m.!), but I feel so great. I need time alone to recharge.
Daily Total: $4.25

Day Seven

5:30 a.m. — The baby is up. We share toast with almond butter and pieces of apple. I drink orange pekoe tea with a splash of milk.
7:30 a.m. — My husband is home, so I hustle out the door after a quick shower. My makeup routine for work includes Elate blush, which doubles as lip tint, Elate mascara, Aesop Fabulous Face Oil, and Neutrogena sunscreen. On more formal occasions, I'll also use Marc Jacobs eyeliner and Beautycounter foundation. I'm sensitive to scents, so I use K'Pure deodorant and no perfume.
8 a.m. — I'm at my desk in the office. A Thermos of coffee that I thought was full, courtesy of my darling husband, is empty. I must have grabbed the wrong one. Tragedy! I love homemade coffee much more than purchased coffee, but I spend way too much at cafés these days. Yes, I'm a coffee snob.
9:30 a.m. — My coworker brings danishes and a decent flat white for me as we work through strategy. Two other meetings that I prepared for yesterday conclude my morning.
12:10 p.m. — I buy a three-class Lagree pass and do a quick lunch workout. $75.56
1 p.m. — I meet my prenatal group friends for a quick lunch and eat a subpar salad and a chocolate cookie with an Americano. We chat work-life hacks, colleague problem solving, maternity leave policies, the upcoming election, and infant sleep routines. It's a rich and meandering conversation, and it's far too short, because I need to get back to work. $15.50
4:25 p.m. — A few more meetings fill the afternoon, then I hop on my bike to go home. In some ways, it's a Friday for me, because I'm at home with both babies tomorrow, but in other ways, the hardest part of my week is beginning.
5:30 p.m. — I make mac 'n' cheese casserole for dinner with a huge salad. This is followed by a dance party with the boys to Robyn, my three-year-old's favourite. W. comes home and joins us before the usual bedtime routine begins.
8:30 p.m. — Another Fleabag finishes the day for me, and I head to bed. W. follows, and we snuggle. It's been a good day.
Daily Total: $91.06
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