A Week In Ottawa, ON, On A $80,274 Salary

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Today: a communications advisor working in public service who makes $80,274 per year and spends some of her money this week on My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh.
Occupation: Communications Advisor
Industry: Public Service
Age: 24
Location: Ottawa
Salary: $80,274
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $1,983
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $717 (I pay this amount after my boyfriend chips in $400 for rent. I bought a loft-style condo last year for just over $340,000. Previously, my living expenses were crazy-low, because I lived with three roommates and was easily putting away $2,000 to $3,000 a month to save for a downpayment of $50,000. My parents also gave me an interest-free loan of $20,000 that I have to start paying back in three years.)
Condo Fees: $392
Property Tax: $278
Utilities: $80 (for my half)
Student Loans: $0 (I have about $23,300 in debt, but I'm technically still a student because I just submitted my thesis. I'll start paying back the loan once I defend my thesis later this year.)
Phone: $62
Internet: $17 (for my half)
Health & Dental Insurance: $0 (covered by employer)
Netflix: $0 (parents' account)
Bus Pass: $116.50
Savings: $1,500 (I have $12,300 saved, and some of it is invested in mutual funds.)
RRSP: $100 (I currently have $4,550 in this account.)
Pet Insurance: $42 (for two cats, both under a year old)
Annual Expenses
Gym Membership: $450
Climbing Gym Membership: $591
Home Insurance: $270
Spotify Premium: $30 (paid to my sister who owns the family account)
New York Times Subscription: $57 (for the student package)
Amazon Prime: $91

Day One

6:20 a.m. — My alarm wakes me up before my cats do for the first time in months.
7 a.m. — Showered, I go downstairs to make a pot of coffee and my usual breakfast of homemade granola, Greek yogurt, banana, blueberries, and maple syrup. I take my breakfast to my big, cozy couch and settle in with blankets. I wake up much earlier than I need to so I can take my time eating, drinking coffee, reading the news, or watching an episode of a show. Today, I read the New York Times real estate articles and watch a few Youtube videos. Eventually, I get dressed in jeans and a white blouse (I love casual Fridays!) and pack my bag: lunch, coffee, book, agenda, climbing gear, workout clothes.
8:35 a.m. — It's the Friday before a long weekend in Ontario, so there's nobody in the office. That means more time to review and edit deliverables without being handed more stuff. I resist the urge to boredom-eat.
12 p.m. — I take chicken and vegetable red curry leftovers outside with my book. I'm currently reading Palace Walk by Naguib Mahfouz.
2:30 p.m. — After a frustrating meeting, we get permission to leave early for the long weekend, which is jokes because I was going to do that anyway. I walk 25 minutes to my climbing gym, where I meet my boyfriend, R., and my bouldering buddy.
3:45 p.m. — R. and I make make a pit stop at the liquor store for a bottle of red wine and split the cost. $7.50
7:00 p.m. — We have a big salad and the last of the vegetarian chili R. made earlier this week while watching Masterchef. Then I summon my last bit of energy to tidy the apartment. (R. makes me two gin cocktails, which is also motivating.) He vacuums as I deep clean the bathroom and put in laundry.
10 p.m. — We fall asleep watching an episode of A Double Shot of Love in bed (feel free to judge, but I'm a sucker for shitty reality TV).
Daily Total: $7.50

Day Two

7 a.m. — We try to sleep in, but the cats have other plans. One kitten howls at the moon when she's hungry, and the other gently licks our noses to wake us up. It's cute but disorienting when you're half asleep. I go downstairs to feed them, put on a pot of coffee, and immediately fall back asleep on the couch.
9:30 a.m. —  R. comes downstairs and today is his birthday! He gets no present from me, since I bought him an Instant Pot a few weeks ago as an early gift. We make a celebratory breakfast: avocado toast, poached eggs, and roasted potatoes. Sooooooo goooooood.
12 p.m. — I bike to a 75-minute yoga class at my gym. I used to have a yoga studio membership but cancelled it over the summer because hot yoga + hot summer = misery. I'm trying to get my yoga in at the gym, but I don't enjoy the classes as much.

1:30 p.m. — I pop into The Body Shop to pick up Almond Milk and Honey Soothing And Restoring Body Butter. I LOVE this stuff. $17
2 p.m. — I bike past the grocery store and stop for aged cheddar, brie, blue cheese, baguette, crackers, strawberries, lettuce, two beers, coffee, and sponges ($56, split between the two of us). I also buy an assortment of desserts as a surprise birthday treat ($10). $28
3 p.m. — We make a super-big salad for a late lunch: lettuce, tomato, avocado, Boursin, red onion, boiled egg, and honey-mustard-balsamic dressing.
5 p.m. — Most of R.'s friends are out of town for the long weekend. We were going to host a birthday party, but we postponed until next weekend when more people are in town. Instead, we assemble our own charcuterie and cheese board: I make blueberry-chia-seed jam, while R. arranges the cheeses I just bought, along with duck liver paté, crackers, and strawberries on a cutting board. We crack the two beers while we're preparing the ensemble, then move onto wine.
7 p.m. — After finishing the food (and the bottle of wine, oops), things get a little weird. R. is unemployed, and we start talking about his job search, which puts him in a bad mood. I'm trying to be as supportive as possible because it's been difficult and stressful for him — for both of us, actually. I get him out of this funk by playing "Hey Ya" by Outkast, and we dance around the kitchen. Outkast saves the day again! Mood improved, we get dressed up to go to a neighbourhood bar for cocktails. I put on flowy black pants, a black tube top, caramel-coloured lipstick, and a pair of mules from L'Intervalle.
9 p.m. — We walk to the bar and sit on the patio. I order a spritz with Campari, Aperol, grapefruit, berry syrup, and Prosecco, and R. gets a whiskey sour. He also orders bison tartare, and I get a slider. Eventually, we split the bill and head back home. We have the desserts and watch TV before nodding off. $26
Daily Total: $71

Day Three

7 a.m. — I wake up early to have coffee and breakfast. I was going to do a weightlifting class but my whole body is feeling sore. Instead, I watch TV, vacuum (so much cat hair, all the time), and mop the apartment.
12 p.m. — After cleaning, my mom picks up R. and I for lunch at my parents' place in the suburbs. We eat salad, fries, and shrimp and chill on the couch.
3 p.m. — My mom drops us off downtown for a bulk food run. Whenever we go to the bulk store, we buy A LOT, but it lasts us up to three months. We get chickpeas, black beans, oats, nutritional yeast, pasta, rice, flour, salt, sugar, almonds, dried fruit, lentils, and chocolate chips (a necessity). I came prepared with a list and a container or cloth bag for every item. After the 10% student discount, the total ends up being $55.75. We split the cost and hop on the bus stop. $27.88
5 p.m. — I make a huge batch of noodles and stir-fried vegetables with plant-based “chicken," which I'm trying for the first time — and hate. I will not be buying it again. I split it into two bowls for dinner and Tupperware containers for lunches. After dinner, I take photos of items I want to post on Poshmark and Facebook Marketplace.
9 p.m. — Self-spa: I wax my arms, clean up my eyebrows, do a Himalayan charcoal face mask, wash my hair, and do a deep-conditioning hair mask.
Daily Total: $27.88

Day Four

6:30 a.m. — It's a long weekend for some people, but not for me! I live in Ottawa but work in Gatineau, and Quebec doesn't observe the Civic Holiday, so I get up and do my routine. I have to say, my skin is looking LUMINOUS.
8:20 a.m. — I settle in at my desk, all cleaned up after my bike ride and dressed in black jeans, black tank top, and a black Aritzia blazer. It's going to be quiet because half the office took the day off despite the fact it's not a holiday here.
11:45 a.m. — I take the rest of the day to work from home. On the way home, I stop at the gym for a 60-minute lunchtime weightlifting class. It kicks my butt.
1:30 p.m. — I get back to my home office (my couch) and respond to inquiries while eating the last of the curry and rice leftovers for lunch.
5 p.m. — I'm having a picnic dinner with a friend so I make a huge salad and bake banana bread, and she comes bearing gifts of pizza and garden-picked berries. I also make iced tea (lychee bellini from DAVIDsTEA — so good). We walk to a nearby park and catch up on life for a few hours.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

6:30 a.m. — I wake up to a sunny morning, but it's supposed to rain later today, so I take the bus instead of biking, just in case. I get ready and pack veggie-noodle stir-fry along with my climbing gear.
12 p.m. — It's been a relatively slow day, so I run through my budget and student loan numbers. My goal is to pay it all back in 18 months or less, so I've been focusing on saving a huge payment — $7,000 — to kick start the process and take advantage of the interest-free repayment period. I worked full-time during grad school, and I now make a comfortable salary that covers everything I need, so I can start making $700 to $1,000 monthly payments next month. Once I'm done my student loan, I will focus on paying off my mortgage. My aim is to be totally debt-free, mortgage included, by 40!
4 p.m. — I walk to the climbing gym. Today, I'm climbing alone. I'm still a novice, so climbing alone, surrounded by people who are pulling expert-level shit is intimidating. But the only way for me to get better is to keep coming back! I made a pact with myself to climb twice a week, even if none of my friends are available.
6:30 p.m. — I bus to my parents' place for a movie night with my little sister, who is moving back to Montreal soon. On the way, I stop to buy My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh. R. and I have to read it for our book club, and we were going to get it at the library, but we're 50th on the holds list! We split the $23 cost. At my parents' house, my sister and I watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding with snacks. $11.50
Daily Total: $11.50

Day Six

7:30 a.m. — I'm working from home, but I have a coffee date with a friend and former coworker. I shower, check my emails, and bus to meet her. I bring my own coffee, and we catch up for a bit before she pops the question: Be my bridesmaid? I excitedly agree. This will be my first time as a bridesmaid!
9 a.m. — I head back home and get cozy on the couch with my laptop and all my breakfast stuff. Resisting the urge to nap, I work on a few urgent comms pieces for senior management.
12 p.m. — Perks of working from home: lunchtime naps. I eat noodles and stir-fry and take a 45-minute nap.
3 p.m. — During the day, R. texts me that he bought a bottle of vodka called Vodkow for his belated birthday party. It's from a local Ontario Dairy Distillery that makes vodka from the unused milk sugar! R. is a cocktail buff and likes to keep a well-stocked bar cart. We split the $36 cost. Technically, the cost is already covered by our “party fund." Any time we throw a party, we return all the bottles at the beer store for change that we keep in a jar. We have accumulated over $60 in the party fund. $18
6:30 p.m. — After wrapping for the day, I eat a salad for dinner, with crackers and cheese on the side. I'm feeling a little low. R. went climbing, and I have the place to myself, which gives me a real sense of relief. Since he's not working, he spends a lot of time at home, meaning I barely get any alone time anymore. I make myself a vodka soda with berries and lime and settle into work on a job application for a few hours.
Daily Total: $18

Day Seven

6:30 a.m. — Every Thursday morning, I compile our grocery list. Since we're throwing R.'s birthday party tomorrow night, we need to get a bunch of supplies, plus our kitchen is bare: We only have a single apple, two potatoes, half a head of lettuce, and cheese. It brings me SUUUUCH satisfaction to see an almost empty fridge at the end of the week, with no wasted food!
8:40 a.m. — I spend my day working on speaking notes for senior management and editing an important deck for a project.
4:30 p.m. — I head out to the climbing gym. R. is at a job fair, and my bouldering buddy is unavailable, so I climb for just under an hour, making good progress.
6:45 p.m. — I meet up with R. at the grocery store. We pick up bananas, apples, lemons, blueberries, limes, tomatoes, red cabbage, Greek yogurt, avocados, cheddar cheese, goat cheese, zucchini, two types of frozen fish, cilantro, tortilla wraps, red onion, eggplant, lettuce, crackers, olive oil, tomato sauce, ice cream, and a six-pack of beer. On the menu for the party this weekend: two kind of tacos — eggplant “pulled pork” and battered fish — with pickled red onion, avocado, crema, and corn salsa. I use my student discount on Thursdays, and we've accumulated over $60 worth of points at this grocery store. The total ends up being $126, and we take $30 off that price using points. Finally, we split the bill between us. $48
8 p.m. — R. starts dinner (roasted potatoes and vegetables), while I hop in the shower. I put on comfy clothes and get settled on the couch. I quickly finish the last few pages of Palace Walk and excitedly pick up the new book we bought while I wait for dinner to be ready. The book starts off STRONG. As hungry as I am, I don't want to put it down.
9 p.m. — We devour dinner while watching the newest episode of Masterchef. We each have a beer and top off the night with cookies-and-cream ice cream. I'm feeling very warm, clean, and full.
Daily Total: $48
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