A Week In Calgary, AB, On An $98,900 Salary

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Today: an engineer working in oil and gas who makes $98,900 per year and spends some of it on ginger beer.
Occupation: Engineer
Industry: Oil & Gas
Age: 26
Location: Calgary, AB
Salary: $89,000, plus a 13% annual bonus, which worked out to $9,900 last year.
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $2,500
Gender Identity: Woman

Monthly Expenses
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Rent: $950 (I live alone in a low-cost apartment but spend more than half my nights at my boyfriend's place.)
Phone: $74 (My work pays for mine, so I pay for my parents' plan. They supported me a lot throughout school, so I help them with what I can.)
Internet & Cable: $75
Electricity: $35
Netflix, Spotify, Amazon Prime & Crave: $0 (I mooch off my boyfriend, my best friend, and both of my sisters' partners. I promise they all still love me!)
ClassPass: $42
Gym: $61
Pension: $298 (This is auto-deducted from my cheque. My employer contributes $260 per month.)
RRSP: $450 (I currently have $25,600 saved.)
TFSA: $300 (I currently have $18,300 saved.)

Day One

6:50 a.m. — My boyfriend M.'s alarm goes off. He sets a few alarms, so we can cuddle before he goes to the gym and work. It's one of my favourite parts of the day! It's absolutely freezing in Calgary, with temperatures going as low as -35°C today, and we stayed at my place last night, which is a slightly farther walk to work for M. He says he's going to order an Uber, but I tell him I'll get it for him. My apartment is old, and the heating system isn't great, so I don't think he had a very good sleep. If it were up to him, we would always stay at his place — much fancier — but he understands I need to sleep in my own bed at least one or two nights a week. So, alas, covering his Uber seems fair. $8.05
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7:15 a.m. — My alarm goes off. I get up, shower, get dressed, and pack a work outfit for tomorrow, because I'll likely head to M.'s place right after work and stay there. I consider splurging on an Uber for myself, which I absolutely never do, but, as mentioned, it's -34°C! Surge pricing is bananas, so I suck it up and walk.
8:30 a.m. — I keep yogurt granola bars at work and usually have one in the morning for breakfast. My stash is running low, so I make a note to grab more from my place the next time I'm home. The morning goes by quickly with meetings.
11:15 a.m. — I was supposed to have lunch with a new friend I met at a networking event, but she says she'll have to work through lunch. We make plans to meet next week, and I decide to go to my favourite lunch-hour workout class instead. It kicks my butt!
1:30 p.m. — I heat up half of a quesadilla I bought for lunch yesterday but couldn't finish. I'm skeptical it will be good on the second day, but I'm so exhausted from the lunch workout that I devour it!
4:30 p.m. — I leave work and go get a Brazilian wax. I found this magical place where they do it super-quickly, and it barely hurts! I used to be all about the $25 Groupon Brazilians, but this place sold me on paying a bit more. $45.86
5 p.m. — I head over to M's. His roommate, B., and his roommate's girlfriend, R., had made a huge shepherd's pie the night before, and we were banking on leftovers, but when we get home, the leftovers are nowhere to be found. B. says he has too many Costco steaks, and they're going to go bad, so we excitedly agree to help him out. We make steak and eggs, something I've never experienced before. I can confirm it's delicious, especially when paired with a glass of red wine.
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6 p.m. — We spend the rest of the night cocooned in our blankets on the couch watching Younger and Friday Night Lights. We're in bed by 10ish.
Daily Total: $53.91

Day Two

5:30 a.m. — My alarm goes off. My plan is to go to a 6 a.m. boot camp workout through ClassPass, so I set my alarm early to have cuddle time, but I can't bear the idea of leaving the bed. It's absolutely freezing, and I'm sore from the class yesterday. M. encourages me to go, but I tell him I'm staying in bed and will suck up the $15 fee for cancelling late. I've only ever done this once before when I was sick, so he doesn't push it. Instead of getting up to go to the gym at 6 a.m., like he normally does, he stays in bed with me all morning ($15 well spent). $15
7 a.m. — It's time to actually get up. With the wind chill, it feels like -41°C today, and I tell M. I'm still not ready to start the day — that I could call work and say I have severe food poisoning. We both laugh, and I grudgingly get up and shower. And what a great shower it is. I immediately feel ready to face the day.
9:30 a.m. — I've recently taken on a new project at work, which requires me to take courses at a nearby college, and I've been crushing them. I study for an hour and take a quiz for the current module and get 100%. This is all new to me, so there's a big learning curve ahead.
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10 a.m. — I signed up for an engineering mentorship program, and I meet my mentor for the first time. He's got a lot of experience and is eager to teach me more about the different areas within the company. He's also gracious enough to pay for my coffee. I leave the meeting feeling excited to learn more from him.
11 a.m. — M. messages asking if I want to grab lunch. We're both engineers for the same company, but in completely different departments (I met him through mutual work friends). We go to one of our favourite places nearby that has an incredible soup-and-sandwich deal. We pay for our food and eat at a nearby food court. I used to work on site, which meant I'd spend a few days a week away from home, so being able to have lunch with M. on a random weekday is nice. I tell him I'm glad I didn't have severe food poisoning after all. $8.40
12 p.m. — I come back to my desk and everyone is away for lunch. I love eating early, so I can avoid the rush and have quiet time once everyone else leaves. I take advantage of the down time to book dentist, optometry, and physio appointments! I feel all-around very productive today.
2 p.m. — I have an awesome meeting with my boss to discuss the new project I've been assigned. As mentioned, I have no experience in this area, so it's great to have a working session with him where he can guide me and provide support. He says he's going to make it a weekly meeting. Yay!
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4 p.m. — I walk to M.'s place with him. We have a lot of back and forth about logistics for the night, but finally figure it out. This living together but living apart thing is tough! We met shortly after both of us had signed one-year leases. We're planning to move in together this summer, and I can't wait! I pick up the overnight bag I have at his place, and we head to the grocery store. M. is lactose intolerant but loves butter chicken, so I told him we should make a lactose-free version this weekend. We get all the ingredients as well as some stuff to make dinner tonight. He also buys a couple of things for himself so says he'll just pay for it all.
6 p.m. — I make a stop at my place to pick up gym clothes and work clothes for the next two days, then go back to M.'s. We're both starving! I make a quick dinner of chicken, veggies, and rice.
8 p.m. — M.'s roommate organized a basketball team with friends, and our first game is next Tuesday, so a few of us get together tonight to practise at a recreation centre. I forgot how much cardio basketball requires! It's half-price night, and I pay for both mine and M.'s entry. $13.35
10:30 p.m. — We play for two hours, and I'm tuckered by the time we get home. Straight to bed!
Daily Total: $36.75

Day Three

5:50 a.m. — M.'s alarm goes off. He tells me he doesn't want to go to the gym. Early gym wake-ups are usually easy for us, but we're just not having it this week! I don't know if it's the cold weather or what. After what feels like 10 more alarms, we finally get up at 7 a.m. I hate multiple alarms! It defeats the purpose of staying in bed if you're going to keep interrupting your sleep over and over again. I never say anything to M. about it, but it seems like they just keep going off today!
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8 a.m. — I get to work and have one of my yogurt granola bars. I thankfully remembered to get some when we were at my place last night. I have a few meetings and make progress on the priorities I discussed with my boss yesterday.
11:30 a.m. — I run from a meeting straight to the gym! Today's boot camp feels exceptionally hard, but I'm so glad I went. I go back to my desk right after the class, because I have to leave work early for an event, and I feel bad taking a longer break to get food. I remind myself to eat something later, before I have too much wine.
2 p.m. — I have to get food. I run to an Urban Bean and back in five minutes! I get a breakfast sandwich on a cheese bagel with egg, bacon, and cheese — my go-to cheap lunch. $4.92
3:45 p.m. — I recently joined an association that does industry leader events, and the first one is for the CEO of my company. It started at 3:30 p.m., but I'm stuck in a meeting, so I ask my boss if I can leave, and I message the event co-ordinator who confirms things won't start until 4 p.m. and that coming in late won't be disruptive. I rush over and try to walk in looking not flustered.
3:50 p.m. — Let me just say it's 3:50 p.m., and the event has definitely started, and I'm definitely disruptive. It's in an intimate room with only a few people. There are no open chairs at the table, and I'm so confused about why nobody saved me a seat. A lady gets up from her seat and tells me to sit in it, quite literally beside the CEO. I'm mortified.
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6 p.m. — The CEO is a great speaker and has a lot of insightful advice. I have a glass of wine, but don't even think about reaching over him for snacks. Thank goodness I had that breakfast sandwich earlier. I find out the lady who gave me her chair is one of the co-ordinators and not an attendee, thankfully. I make a point to apologize to the CEO for being late, but the damage has been done. I walk out flustered and check my phone to see that M., his roommate, B., and one of our friends, L., are at a bar on the other side of downtown. Normally I'd Uber there, but I don't want to deal with that right now, so I hop in a cab. $11.20
8 p.m. — M. has a cider waiting for me at the bar, because he says I sounded flustered when I called. I was! I have tacos and another beer. I don't realize how tired I am until my body gives me clear indications that it needs to go to bed. M. is having a good time, and it's not even 9 p.m., so I insist he stays. He says he'll come with me, but honestly, I'm going to be asleep in the next 15 minutes. I pay my tab ($33.75) and walk to his place, which is only two blocks away. I'm asleep by 8:30 p.m. He comes home later and cuddles me right up. $33.75
Daily Total: $49.87
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Day Four

5:50 a.m. — M.'s alarm goes off. He grunts and says he's too hungs to go to the gym. I swear these past few days have been a bad depiction of our morning gym going! When his next alarm goes off a few minutes later, I take matters into my own hands and turn off all four of his alarms. We have some nice morning cuddles and wake up ready for work at 7:15 a.m.
11:30 a.m. — I make good progress on a few projects and meet M. for lunch. He says he felt rough this morning but is better now. We go to a nearby Asian lunch spot, and I get a delicious sweet-and-sour pork combo. $8.95
4:30 p.m. — I book a yoga class using ClassPass. I had intended to pick up my mat from home on Wednesday but forgot, so I pay the $2 mat rental. I have two yoga mats, so I'm going to leave one at work and one at home from now on. I'm shocked when it turns out I'm the only person in the class! I'm out of practice, so I'm freaking out, but the instructor is excellent, and my little private class turns out to be great. $2
5:30 p.m. — I make my way back to M.'s. and stop and buy ginger beer for Moscow Mules ($15.90) and ginger ale for mix if we get tired of the Mules. $20.02
6 p.m. — I'm planning on staying in tonight. M.'s mom makes delicious rum balls, and he recently got the recipe. He stops by the grocery store on the way home to get the ingredients, and we spend the night making them and hanging out with B. and his girlfriend R. I order Mexican food ($49.06) on Skip The Dishes and make us Moscow Mules in the copper mugs M. got me for my birthday. $49.06
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10 p.m. — One of our friends invites us out for drinks at his place. It's late, but I haven't seen that group in a while and want to go. M. indulges me and orders an Uber. We get there a little after midnight and have a drink. The group is debating whether or not to go to a bar and decides to go to the strip club down the street. Strip clubs are interesting places, and I know a lot of people have mixed feelings about them, but I honestly find the girls' athleticism and core strength on the poles so amazing! Cover is free for women and $5 for guys. I order myself a rum and coke and a vodka and orange juice for M. The bartender tells me doubles are on special, so I upgrade both ($25.31). One of our friends gets shots for everyone. We stay for about 30 minutes, then walk back. I know M. would have preferred to stay in, but I thank him for coming out. It was a random night but fun nonetheless. $25.31
Daily Total: $105.34

Day Five

9 a.m. — The plan is to wake up and make the butter chicken. We found a slow cooker recipe, so we need to put everything in for four hours, but the bed is so comfortable, and we're both still tired from the night before, so we decide to make it tomorrow and fall back asleep.
11 a.m. — We finally get out of bed and make breakfast. We clean up the apartment and get ourselves ready for the day.
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3 p.m. — We head to a nearby pizza place for happy hour. B. comes along, and we meet one of my friends, P., there. My friends and I used to come here every Saturday for happy-hour pizza and drinks. The group doesn't hang out as much anymore, but we're still fairly close, and M. gets along great with them. We share lamb meatballs and truffle fries and each order a pizza (they're small). I have one beer, and M. has two. $45.89
5 p.m. — We stop by the convenience store on the way home to pick up mix. M. pays for it. When we get home, we prep everything for the butter chicken, so we just have to throw it in the slow cooker tomorrow morning.
7 p.m. — A few friends are coming over to M.'s to pre-drink before heading out to a bar where an east-coast band is playing. We have a few drinks and a couple of delicious shots made by B., then off we go. There's five of us, so one of our friends orders an UberXL. I offer to split it, but he says it's all good.
9 p.m. — We get to the bar shortly after 9 p.m. Two of our friends saved us a table right by the stage. We spend all night drinking, laughing, singing, and dancing! I had never seen the band live, but they're amazing! I splurge and buy a $20 T-shirt. I don't have cash on me so that means a $3 ATM transaction fee, plus a $1.50 bank fee, so the shirt really comes out to $24.50, but oh well. I'm cool with supporting Canadian talent and won't be too hard on myself for not carrying cash. $24.50
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10 p.m. — I have two tall boys that are on special for $6 each and a mixed vodka drink my friend recommends that's $10. I also send the two guys in the band shots of whisky for $13. My total tab would've been about $40, but M. pays for all of it. I feel bad that he paid for the shots for the band, so I transfer him $20. He later realizes I did that and laughs, saying it wasn't necessary. $20
12 a.m. — I pay for the Uber home, where we snack on the leftover pizza from lunch and head straight to bed. $7.76
Daily Total: $98.15

Day Six

8:30 a.m. — I wake up full of energy! M. is feeling rough from the night before. I tell him he can stay in bed, and I'll put the butter chicken in the slow cooker. I don't think I've ever seen him so happy! Since we've already prepped it all, it's a breeze. I go back to bed after, but I'm not at all sleepy, so I tell him I'm going to go to my place to unload my dirty laundry.
11 a.m. — I have a productive morning at home. I clean my bathroom, sweep and mop my floors, dust everything, and organize my closet. I find it so difficult to let go of clothing, even if I know I won't use it again, but I'm trying to get better. I fill up three bags full of stuff to donate and feel like a million bucks!
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1 p.m. — M. messages me. The butter chicken is ready, and I realize I'm starving. He picks me up and says he feels much better after sleep and a shower. We have the butter chicken with rice and garlic naan. It's slightly runnier than I expected but still delicious. We'll keep searching for the right recipe, but consider this a success nonetheless.
2 p.m. — We digest our food while watching football. I tell him I'm in the mood for ice cream, so we walk over to the grocery store and buy lactose-free vanilla ice cream. While we're there, I also buy yogurt to take to work, and he buys body wash and a few essentials. M. pays for it all. The weather has warmed up significantly, and the walk outside is refreshing. When we get home, we sprinkle lactose-free chocolate chips on the ice cream, and it's delicious.
4 p.m. — I decide it's finally time to shower. I've spent all day in sweat pants looking like a bum. I get ready, and M. drops me off at a nearby restaurant where I'm meeting two friends. I haven't seen them in months, and it's so nice to catch up! We order two pizzas to share. I would have ordered wine, but neither of them did, so I also pass. We spend two hours chatting, then split the bill evenly. $19.32
6 p.m. — I walk back to my place and tell M. to come over whenever he's ready. Earlier today, we agreed to stay at my place tonight. I finish going through my closet and my purses and even take out a few pairs of shoes to donate as well. Then I pack a bag for the week. I choose a few workout outfits for lunch classes and take out my yoga mat to leave at work. I also plan a couple of office outfits for the week with forgotten shirts I discovered while cleaning out my closet.
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8 p.m. — M. comes by, and we snuggle on the couch making plans for the week and watching Younger. We're hoping to go ice skating one day after work and skiing on the weekend. I go to bed excited for the week to come.
Daily Total: $19.32

Day Seven

6 a.m. — M. changed the sounds and frequencies of all of his alarms! They are sooo much better. He gets up and goes to the gym. I get up shortly after, shower, get dressed, and walk out the door.
11:30 a.m. — I finish another one of my class modules and book a bunch of meetings for the week to align strategies on projects with different stakeholders. M. messages me asking if I want to do a lunch run. I'm going to a class at 12:30 p.m., but I tell him I can pick up something quick and eat it at my desk. We decide on Subway ($6.49). I haven't had a sub in ages! On the way back to our desks, we stop at Starbucks. I made him a Passion Tango tea last night, and he loved it. I want him to try the Passion Tango iced tea lemonade. I order him a grande and get myself a tall, which is more than enough for me. I reload my Starbucks card, so even though the order is only $7.50, I technically spend $20. He loves the drink! We make our way back to work, and I eat at my desk. $26.49
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12:30 p.m. — I go to my favourite workout class of the week. This one is more strength-focused and less cardio-intensive. I always walk out feeling so strong.
4:30 p.m. — I book a barre class through ClassPass. Because of the Christmas holidays and cancelling a class last week, I'm in a crunch to use all of my credits before they expire. I would've preferred to mix in a yoga class, but barre fits my schedule, so off I go!
6 p.m. — I stop by the liquor store on the way home and pick up a pack of peach ciders ($15.56). M. and I are both obsessed with them. I get to M.'s, and he's already prepping a HelloFresh meal. I received a coupon code, so we're trying it out, and this is our first meal. My credit card wasn't working for some reason, so M. paid for it this week, and I told him I would get next week. (The coupon code gave us a 40% discount for two weeks.) Tonight, we make apple-sausage stuffing bowls, and they're amazing! Before I couldn't really justify the cost of a meal service for myself, but for two people it's reasonable. We might continue doing it every few weeks. $15.56
8 p.m. — After dinner, we go to Canadian Tire to get M.'s skates sharpened and to make him a copy of my apartment key. He pays for both. Then we head back home and have a nice night watching Younger and snuggling on the couch.
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Daily Total: $42.05
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