A Week In Mississauga, ON, On A $64,000 Salary

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Today: a content producer working in entertainment who makes $64,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a stand mixer.

Occupation: Content Producer
Industry: Entertainment
Age: 24
Location: Mississauga, ON
Salary: $64,000
Net Worth: $52,310 (The resale value of my car is $14,000, and I have $38,310 in my RRSP, TFSA, and savings accounts.)
Debt: $0
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $1,907
Pronouns: She/Her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $0 (I live at home. In traditional Italian culture, it's common for children — especially women — to live with their parents until they're married. I plan to move out in a year or two once I have enough money for a 20% down payment for my own place as well as a stable emergency fund.)
Health & Dental Benefits: $0 (covered by work)
Car Insurance: $286
Phone: $56
Spotify: $9.99
Netflix: $0 (I use my family plan.)
RRSP: $1,000
TFSA: $500
Other Savings: $1,000

Annual Expenses
Amazon Prime: $45

Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
Definitely. I was a bright kid and loved school. I had a great time pursuing communication/culture/information technology and professional writing, receiving two degrees in four years. I worked part-time during school and full-time during the summers to save money. I took out OSAP loans and received a fair bit of grant money. I also received an academic scholarship for my first year of university. I paid about $2,000 a year towards my debt while in school and was prepared to take on all of it, but my mom came into some money and graciously paid off the loan for me.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
My mom was and is very frugal and always lectured us on the importance of saving money. However, as far as education about money goes, there was much to be desired. I didn't learn about investing, high-interest savings, taxes, or anything along those lines until my early 20s.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
I got my first job at a Second Cup when I was 15. I was excited to get real-world experience and a steady paycheque. If I wanted to go to the movies or buy a bottle of body wash, I had to pay for them from birthday money or savings, so a job made fulfilling day-to-day needs and wants a lot easier. A big moment for me was being able to buy my little sister, R., a new back-to-school outfit after my mom had refused.

Did you worry about money growing up?
My parents separated when I was 10, which left my mom paying off an expensive mortgage by herself in an area we should've realistically moved out of. She would often tell us we were "poor" and couldn't spend money as frivolously as other families in our upper-middle-class neighbourhood. That meant not going to overnight camp or having a closet full of name-brand clothes. I knew we didn't have as much money as my peers and knew better than to ask my mom for the expensive things that my friends had.

Do you worry about money now?
I think everyone worries about money. Am I making a fair salary for my industry? Can I afford to live in such an expensive area, like the GTA, on my own? For having a job in entertainment, I should be making more money. This is my first gig in the industry, and I didn't have experience when I got the offer, so I took what I thought I deserved. Knowing the value I bring to my work, I now know I'm worth a lot more. But during COVID, I can't complain — I'm very lucky to have a job! While my end goal is purchasing property and moving out, I'm definitely insecure when it comes to talking to financial professionals about mortgages. While I could save enough for a good down payment on a condo in the coming years, I don't know if I could afford the mortgage, plus condo fees, plus utilities, plus groceries without my partner moving in.

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?to
I'm not yet financially responsible for myself because I live at home, but I've paid my own way for personal expenses since I was about 16 years old. My mom is a very loving and giving person who would probably prefer for me to live with her forever, so if I lost my job, it wouldn't impact my life as drastically as others who rent or pay mortgages.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
I inherited some money from my grandfather when I was 10, but my parents used it to take my sister and I to Disney World for a week.

Day One

7:30 a.m. — I miraculously wake up before my alarm. I'm on my period, so my body is extra-exhausted from all the iron I lose bleeding. Yaaaaay womanhood! I read theSkimm, a super-informative newsletter, and my Notes From The Universe before crawling out of bed to get my wireless headphones. I have a mandatory all-staff Zoom call every Monday at 8 a.m. The call time is exhausting but necessary, because our team has to make a whole episode of television before 2 p.m. I mute myself and start my skin-care routine.
9:30 a.m. — I make myself an iced almond milk latte and scroll through Instagram. I stop dead in my tracks when I see one of my best friends had her BABY yesterday — a week and a half early! I text her immediately. We FaceTime, and I sob because my new niece is SO precious, and I love her already. After the call, I find an adorable congratulations card from a local business and have it shipped to my friend. $5
1 p.m. — It's time for lunch, and my first real meal of the day! I try to intermittently fast and am successful 90% of the time. I rifle through the fridge to find spinach, two eggs, mushrooms, feta, sliced kalamata olives, and red onion — the perfect storm for a Greek omelette.
4 p.m. — Woo! I just got offered a campaign with a brand I adore! I do micro-blogging on the side, and I take campaigns here and there. This one doesn't have a budget, but they're willing to give me a ton of product, which I love anyways, so it's a win-win!
7 p.m. — I've been super into plant-based meals lately, so I cook up a delicious slow-roasted eggplant with lemony Greek yogurt and spicy, garlicky croutons. It's to dieeeee for!
8 p.m. — I go for a much-needed walk and podcast. I'm an introvert and cherish alone time. One of the hardest parts about living with my family during quarantine is not getting my own space. After my walk, I settle in for a Lululemon power yoga class on YouTube. Then I shower, do my nighttime skin-care routine, FaceTime my boyfriend, J., and watch home renovation TikToks until I pass out at 10:30 p.m.
Daily Total: $5

Day Two

8 a.m. — I wallow in bed, scrolling my phone for half an hour before finally getting up and making my bed. I go to the bathroom to empty my menstrual cup (TMI?) and apply lots of SPF, even though I'll be inside for most of the day!
10:30 a.m. — I whip together a quick bowl with steel-cut oats, sliced banana, almond butter, chia seeds, two Medjool dates, and coconut shavings, topped with cinnamon and a light drizzle of honey. I eat it while furiously sending emails and revising a script for a client.
1 p.m. — My body is begging me for a screen break, so it's time to get outside. I download a podcast for the walk, Ingrid Nilsen's One Step. This episode features an interview with my favourite money lady, Chelsea Fagan from The Financial Diet. She talks about her own money journey, as well as the social and emotional dynamics around money, personal branding, and influencer marketing. My kinda episode!
6 p.m. — For dinner tonight, I keep it simple and make a packet of organic rice and quinoa from Costco, since it only needs to be heated in a pan with two tablespoons of water. (Delicious! Would recommend!) I heat up leftover peppers and onions from a dinner past, cut up half an avocado, and tear up leftover rotisserie chicken for an impromptu burrito bowl.
7 p.m. — R. crawls into my room to watch Skin Decision: Before & After with me. I'm obsessed. I love seeing powerful women do their thing! While she's here, I consult her on our mom's birthday present. The KitchenAid stand mixer she's always wanted is on sale for 50% off at The Bay. It's not within our usual budget, but this seems like a good opportunity. With all the time we'll be spending at home, I'm sure she'll get our money's worth. The mixer retails for $599 plus tax, but we find it for $375. After a quick promo code search, we get the price down to $361 with tax and shipping. R. will contribute $150, and I'll pay the rest. $210
8 p.m. — I immediately regret the KitchenAid. It's SO expensive. I'll have to sleep on it and see if I still want to get it for her in the morning/if I can cancel the order. For as much as we're spending, I can get her a new outfit from Lululemon (she was complaining about her old pants, which I bought her five years ago) AND a nice arrangement of flowers. Ugh.
10:30 p.m. — I consult J. on the mixer over the phone, and he almost passes out when I tell him how much we spent.
Daily Total: $210

Day Three

8 a.m. — I pop in my AirPods and watch the latest James Charles video as I get ready for the day. He may have had his scandals in the past, but as a producer, I'm impressed with the quality of his videos and his natural on-camera presence.
9 a.m. — I remember I have a virtual therapy appointment scheduled for today. I'm an anxious person naturally and all this time at home makes it far too easy to overthink myself into problems that aren't there. The appointment is in my calendar for 11 a.m., but my confirmation email reads 11 p.m. This service offers sessions at all hours of the day for shift workers, essential workers and first responders, so it's quite possible either I or the counsellor accidentally booked an 11 p.m. session. I shoot off an email, asking him to confirm our time slot. Yup, it was accidentally booked for p.m. I'm bummed that a mis-com is cancelling my session today. I make the same oatmeal bowl from yesterday and eat while I work.
1 p.m. — I get a kind-of-surprise delivery from a coffee brand! They offered to send me coffee pods, and when I told the team I didn't have a machine, they sent me one! Even though my mom and stepdad have an espresso machine that I use, it'll be great to have my own. The machine is a good manifestation tool for me to focus on my savings goals. I wipe down the boxes with disinfectant and bring them into the house. I make a note to take a brand photo for them sometime this week as a thank you.
3 p.m. — I do a quick walkabout and phone call with J. He works late hours so calls and FaceTimes are all we can manage during the week. I take a 30-minute stroll before feeling rain on my face. When I get home, I wash raspberries and blueberries and slice a piece of old white cheddar cheese to have with Mary's crackers. I also pop almonds in the oven for a delicious avocado pesto I'm making for dinner tonight. Once the almonds are toasted, I get to work on the avocado pesto. It's extremely easy: basil, avocado, any sort of nut, garlic, salt, pepper, and EVOO.
6 p.m. — I boil water for my chickpea spaghetti and let it cook for six minutes. I drain all but a couple tablespoons of liquid, and add in my avo-pesto until it's coloured nicely. I drizzle a bit more EVOO to top and add red pepper flakes. It's so satisfying and also so clean!
7 p.m. — R. and I go to my room to watch more Skin Decision. We're in the middle of our second episode of the night, when my boss calls me. She's been preoccupied with our legal team and apologizes for the late ring. We talk about the current campaign I'm working on and review one of my prep docs. She compliments me on my work and says we'll chat more tomorrow. R. and I watch one more episode before we cut ourselves off.
8 p.m. — It's the perfect time to do a workout! I planned on a low-intensity session but end up doing VERY fast-paced PopSugar Fitness video. It gets me sweaty and fatigued. I let myself have a couple of extra minutes of cool down because damn. I get myself a small serving of frozen mango for an after-workout snack and chug a bunch of water.
9 p.m. — I do a quick body shower, apply dry shampoo, and FaceTime J. We play a game of Scrabble online, and I get salty about how serious he takes it. I like playing for fun, but he likes playing for points. We call it quits around 10 p.m., and I scribble gratitudes in my journal. I pass out by 10:30 p.m.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

7:45 a.m. — Frig. I wake up this morning after an extremely weird dream that I was being hunted down by the military in a third-world country. What is going on with my brain? I REALLY could've used that therapy appointment. I scroll in bed for only 20 minutes today (I'm improving!) and hop up to do my skin- and oral-care routines.
9:45 a.m. — I have to bring my car to the shop today for an oil change, and Mom offers to come with me. I make us both coffees for the drive. Her usual is a long shot of espresso with two raw sugars and steamed almond milk. I make my regular iced almond milk latte. We hit the road in separate cars. My tank is empty — whoops — so I drive to the closest Shell to fill up. $42
10 a.m. — I painlessly drop off the car at a local mechanic, and we go to a No Frills with no line! We practically jump out of the car and run inside. This No Frills has such amazing produce. We grab carrots, mixed greens, kale, rapini, tomatoes, a cucumber, bananas, strawberries, avocados, green onions, garlic, red onions, white onions, sirloin burgers, brown mushrooms, red peppers, salsa, mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, prosciutto, pizza flatbread, chicken wings, pork chops, rice chips, rolled oats, SmartSweets, Annie's graham cracker bunnies, oatmeal cookies, granola, chickpeas, coconut milk, Rice Krispies, Honey Bunches of Oats, blueberry waffles, marshmallows, butter, eggs, Brickworks 1904 ciders, penne, tissues, toilet paper, paper towel, and SOS pads all for $200. So many good sales! (Mom pays.)
11 a.m. — The mechanic charges me a fair price for the oil change. I'd much rather support a small business than a big guy. I'll refer pals to him if I can. $80
12:30 p.m. — We're finally home. Mom and I are starving! We eat before we unpack the groceries, because we'll have to sanitize them. I have my oatmeal bowl and open my laptop to see if anything needs my immediate attention. I've been on my phone checking in all morning but still #anxiety. Luckily, I did a ton of my prep yesterday for my existing clients and nothing new has come in.
4 p.m. — We're having personal pizzas for dinner, and I grate a ball of mozzarella while watching YouTube. This being-at-home thing has let me help Mom out a lot more than usual. I hop on a FaceTime call with my boss who briefs us on legal updates.
6:45 p.m. — After dinner, I go for a big walk with R., because neither of us got much fresh air today. We hit our usual trail by the creek that runs beside our house. We listen to pop-punk and dance and sing along the way, plucking snails from the cement path and settling them in the grass, so they don't get squashed by an oncoming cyclist or scooter. We end up walking for over two hours.
9:45 p.m. — Three “Where are you?” texts from Mom, one phone call, and 13,000 steps later, we're home. I make R., Mom, and I herbal teas. We chat and eat an oatmeal cookie each. I'm washed up and in bed by 10:30 p.m., asleep by 11 p.m. Thank God it's Friday tomorrow.
Daily Total: $122

Day Five

10:45 a.m. — My boss texted me at the stroke of 8 a.m. today, so I've been immersed in work all morning and only get a chance to make coffee now. I make one for me and Mom as I hear her stirring. I scarf down three Medjool dates and almond butter for a mid-morning snack. Mom and I decide on baked wings and a kale Caesar salad for dinner tonight. I look up my go-to Caesar dressing recipe from Bon Appétit and start whisking the ingredients before my 12:30 p.m. meeting. I have to separate my eggs, so I'll use the whites for lunch.
1 p.m. — I make an egg white omelette with yesterday's peppers, mushrooms, and rapini. I add feta and chopped sun-dried tomatoes to mix things up. I also have almost half a box of Annie's graham cracker bunnies because I have no self control.
4 p.m. — After a whirlwind of a morning, work has tied itself up pretty early today. I go out to our backyard to volley a tennis ball with Mom. We're both rusty but we have a lot of fun, and it's a beautiful day.
5:30 p.m. — I prep the chicken wings for dinner. I pat them all dry and dredge them in a flour-spice mixture before laying them on greased foil to bake. They cook for about 45 minutes with one flip in the middle, and they're gorgeous! I prepare and massage two bunches of kale before adding Caesar dressing and freshly grated Parmesan. Dinner is family-approved! My stepdad is picky so this is a win in my books. R. eats the kale salad until I tell her there are anchovies in it. Baby steps, y'all. R. and I go for a quick after-dinner walk and finish Skin Decision. Ugh, what a great show! I'm hoping there's second season.
9:30 p.m. — I chat with J. on FaceTime before I join a b-day Zoom call for my friend. Her boyfriend did an amazing job organizing this call and making a cute trivia game about her. After, I shower and use a co-wash and conditioner on my hair. I do the rest of my nighttime routine and actually moisturize my body for once. I chug a Sleepytime tea and water before my J-B-B (journal, book, bed).
Daily Total: $0

Day Six

9:30 a.m. — After a truly luxurious sleep-in, I peel up out of bed and do a quick face wash and aloe vera. I change into leggings and a workout top in hopes of inspiring myself to move this morning. I make myself an oatmeal bowl and coffee and watch an episode of Gourmet Makes (Doritos) until I feel awake. I settle in for a Lululemon power yoga class on YouTube. It's a good mix of doable and challenging. I shower, do a full skin-care routine, moisturize my body, and change into a cozy but cute black sweat suit.
1 p.m. — I do chores before I sit down for lunch: Swiffering, laundry, and washing the floors. I eat the kale Caesar from yesterday with a couple strips of bacon Mom fried crumbled into the mix. J. texts me asking if I want to go for a walk. Yes please! He'll be over in an hour. I curl my eyelashes and brush my teeth again because kale Caesar.
2 p.m. — Mom and I complain about how tragic our eyebrows are getting. I quickly do an Amazon search and find the exact brow tint my technician uses at Sephora. I buy one tube for now and split the cost with Mom, because she'll be using it, too. If we get good enough at tinting our own brows, we won't have to pay for it at Sephora again! $23
5:30 p.m. — After an extremely long socially distanced walk with J., he goes home, and I order spicy pork ramen with a gift card from DoorDash. I still pay for delivery and a fair tip out of pocket. $13
6 p.m. — I order this ramen all the time but this time it's WAY too spicy. Like the-10th-wing-on-Hot-Ones spicy. Also, there's almost no pork, no chopsticks, and no spoon. I write a note in the app and get a $9 credit.
10 p.m. — R., Mom, and I watch Interstellar for the first time and HOLY SHIT. We are unstable. I throw on some happy YouTube videos to watch before bed to try and erase some of the space trauma.
Daily Total: $36

Day Seven

9 a.m. — I read a couple chapters of my book before getting up. I make Mom and I coffees, as well as English muffins with almond butter, banana, honey, and chia seeds. We eat in the backyard, soaking up the sun.
12 p.m. — I change into a brown jumpsuit, do my hair, skin care, and makeup to take photos for the brand that sent me the coffee maker. Mom helps me with the shots, and I get a couple winners! After a big bowl of kale Caesar salad with bacon strips, I change into jeans, a white tank top, and a white fringe jacket to go on a walk with Mom and R.
3 p.m. — We drive west near Oakville to an expensive neighbourhood and ogle all the homes. Some of these lots have two guest houses in addition to huge main homes, and here I'm struggling to save for a 500-square-foot condo.
5 p.m. — I hop out of Mom's car into my own and drive to J.'s for another socially distanced walk. My feet ache by the time we're done, and we sit six feet apart in his backyard and play gin rummy. I lose miserably. I end up staying for dinner, upon his dad's request, and sit away from the rest of their family. We eat seasoned fries, Italian sausages, pita bread with all sorts of condiments, and these amazing avocado salads (halved avocados filled with red onion, tomato, and basil, dressed with salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice). I have a Brickworks 1904 cider, and J. and his dad have funky IPAs.
8:45 p.m. — At home, I use Costco makeup wipes and Garnier micellar water to scrub my face. I eat half of an oatmeal cookie and half of a macaroon J. made, washing them down with a ton of water. I take a body shower and change into my pajamas. I have another 8 a.m. Zoom meeting tomorrow, so I get into bed early, quick journal, and read before falling asleep.
Daily Total: $0
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