A Week In Montreal, QC, On An $84,000 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries, where we're tackling what might be the last taboo facing modern working women: money. We're asking millennials how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.
Attention, Canadians! We're featuring Money Diaries from across Canada on a regular basis, and we want to hear from you. Submit your Money Diary here.
Today: a buying director working in fashion who makes $84,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a contour palette.
Occupation: Buying Director
Industry: Fashion
Age: 35
Location: Montreal, QC
Salary: $80,000 (Plus a 10% bonus that's dependent on performance. It's split into two. I got the first installment of $4,000 in the summer, and I haven't been told yet if I'll receive the second part, despite plenty of followup on my part.)
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $2,202.67
Gender Identity: Woman
Advertisement
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage: $674.95 (I've owned two other properties prior to this townhouse. After selling my first home with my ex-husband, I've had a substantial amount of money to play with for down payments on my other homes, hence the low mortgage!)
House Insurance: $125
Hydro: $148.60
Internet, TV, Landline & Cell Phone: $336.20
Health Benefits: $59.80 (This is automatically deducted from my cheque. It covers both me and P., my partner.)
Car Lease: $440
Netflix: $10.99
Spotify Premium: $16.49
Dog Grooming: $50
Québec Pension Plan: $230.60 ($115.30 is automatically deducted from each paycheque.)
RRSP: $120 (Plus a lump-sum of $10,000 at the end of the year.)


Annual Expenses
Amazon Prime: $79
Disney+: $89.99

Day One

4:35 a.m. — One of my two dogs is pawing at my face, telling me he's got to go! Unfortunately for him, he knows the routine, and he's got to wait. I take a quick shower, put my hair in a bun, apply makeup (Tarte foundation, Tarte mascara, Benefit brow pencil), get dressed, and walk the dog, all while P. is still sound asleep. I make a quick three-egg omelette and brew coffee, because I'm not human without it.
5:30 a.m. —  I'm out the door and realize I'm almost out of gas. I probably should mention that "almost out of gas" for me is when I hit the half-full mark on the gas gauge. You never know what kind of traffic or otherworldly thing can happen. I stop to fill up. $46.01 (Damn, missed $46 by a cent.) $46.01
6:30 a.m. — I get to work early, because I like to get in a couple of hours of peace and quiet before the hustle and bustle begins. Today, I go through 100 emails from the weekend. I've been trying to disconnect when I'm home unless it's really necessary. I'm a self-proclaimed workaholic. I typically answer emails or work on spreadsheets every evening until 8 p.m. I decided I need to stop doing that for my mental health and for balance. I have GAD (generalized anxiety disorder), and I'm always worried that something isn't getting done or that if I ignore an email someone will notice and it will put my position at risk, even though it won't. We should all have work-life balance, and I'm not curing cancer or helping the world with my work, and I need to keep reminding myself of that.
Advertisement
11:30 a.m. — Hangry is not a joke, people! I'm STARVING. I warm up harissa chicken with roasted potatoes and baby peppers. I've recently started getting meal kits delivered every week. With the hours I work and the minimal amount of time I spend at home, I enjoy not having to waste half my weekend grocery shopping and cooking. Each meal takes about 20 minutes to cook and will last me a couple of days.
2 p.m. — I'm in need of caffeine and a break, too. I go to the kitchen for my third (maybe fourth) cup of coffee to get me through the final stretch of the day. I can't wait to get out of here! $0.50
6 p.m. — The day is over! It's dreary out, so my motivation has been low. It may be time to start decorating for Christmas. I haven't been much in the mood lately, and P. isn't one to get excited about these things, but we push through and put up the tree, along with half the decorations and mini lights throughout the house. I realize I'm out of batteries. Amazon Prime, please and thank you! $16.35
8:30 p.m. — It's early, but I do my nightly skin-care routine: Origins Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash, First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads, and Origins High-Potency Night-A-Mins moisturizer. I brush my teeth, put on PJs, and go to bed. I play a little solitaire on my tablet and cuddle with my two fluffs while P. is snoring on the other side of the bed. I'm asleep by 9:30 p.m.
Advertisement
Daily Total: $62.86

Day Two

4:20 a.m. — I'm up before my alarm. I have to wash and blowdry my hair, which I do every two days. It's thin and bland and boring and will be flat within an hour of what I always hope will be a beautiful all-day blowdry. I have an event tonight, so I take extra time to apply makeup, which means I add eyeshadow and eyeliner. I'll probably touch up before I leave work tonight, because why would anything look great for 18 hours straight? I make my three-egg omelette, coffee, and a shot of espresso this morning. P. is getting up to walk the dogs, so I get a nice break. I pack my bag with a change of clothes, makeup, my hair brush, and dry shampoo, because I'll definitely need the extra boost by 4 p.m.
6 a.m. — I'm at the office, going through emails, and I realize I left my breakfast on the kitchen counter. Thank you to the creator of Uber Eats. I order a McDonald's egg-and-bacon bagel and another coffee. $7.10
11:45 a.m. — I have an all-afternoon meeting starting at 1 p.m., so if I don't stop to eat now, I won't see food until I leave this office. I heat up my second portion of harissa chicken and roasted potatoes and eat at my desk. I read the newest Money Diary with an open mouth. It's the one from Washington, DC, and the OP has a joint income of $655,000. I definitely cannot relate, but it's out of this world. The comments section is always my favourite. Off to my meeting!
Advertisement
4 p.m. — The day is over! I go to the bathroom to change into a black dress with knee-high boots. I'm going to a fundraiser tonight for a cancer research centre that my family has been supporting for years. This event is always the official start of the holidays for me. It's one of the only parties I look forward to all year. The venue is beautiful, the people are wonderful, and the cause is near and dear to my heart.
6 p.m. — I arrive at the event. Tickets are $150, and my father buys them for us every year. I check out the decorations, the items up for auction, and the wonderful food. I get something yummy at each station—Italian, Lebanese, Greek, Japanese. Oh, the wonderful variety of food in this city! I order a glass of wine ($12) and check on an auction to see if I'm still the last bidder on my item. I'm not, and I've reached my bidding limit, so I will not be winning said item. $12
9 p.m. — I'm at home, my bedtime routine is done, and I get into bed next to P. and the doggies. I listen to them all snore for 30 minutes before getting up to watch Schitt's Creek. I can hear them snoring from the TV room! I probably fall asleep around 11 p.m. on the couch.
Daily Total: $19.10

Day Three

5 a.m. — Woah! This is new for me. I'm trying to sleep in and not be the first one to turn on the lights at the office. I take a quick shower, throw my hair in a ponytail, and put on foundation, mascara, and brows. I'm low-maintenance, and I work behind a computer all day, so I don't feel the need to go all out with my beauty routine unless there's a big client meeting. I throw on a pair of leggings and an oversized sweater and go downstairs to start coffee and breakfast, while the boys are all still fast asleep. P. isn't working today, so he'll take care of the dogs and the weekly house cleaning. Truthfully, I hate housework. I work too much, and I'm always exhausted.
Advertisement
6:40 a.m. — I'm at the office. Despite my sleep-in, I still turn on the lights this morning. I read through emails from the night before, head to the kitchen to toast a bagel, which I drown in peanut butter, grab orange juice and a bowl of fruit from my lunch bag, and go back to my desk to run daily reports.
10 a.m. — I'm feeling blah, so I take a walk around the office to stretch and get a cup of coffee from the machine. $0.50
11:50 a.m. — Hunger kicks in, and I heat up lunch, which is whisky beef with a potato-carrot mash topped with a mustard slaw. I wasn't sure about it when I picked it as one of my delivery meals, but it's good, and I've been craving red meat lately, so it hits the spot. I grab another coffee. $0.50
3:45 p.m. — I finished an impromptu meeting and am happy to be going home. The weather is gross, and a blizzard is starting up. This drive is going to be fun.
5 p.m. — I make it home! I'm looking forward to a quiet evening with nothing to do. P. has cleaned the house, cooked meals for the rest of the week, and taken care of the dogs. He lost his job a few years ago due to restructuring and took the opportunity to go back to school and study a trade. He recently graduated and started working, but the season for his work is winding down, and he's having trouble getting back into the groove of things. I took on all the house-related expenses when he went back to school two years ago and will continue to do so until he's working steady hours and has paid off his debt. I appreciate that he uses his down time to help around the house.
Advertisement
5:30 p.m. — I heard on the radio that today is the deadline for shipping Canada Post packages to be received by Christmas! Now I'm freaking out. There goes my plan to relax tonight. I have five Christmas packages to be wrapped, packaged, and sent out across the country. I spend two hours getting everything ready and sent out the door with P., who is rushing to the post office.
8 p.m. — Shipping cost $50, and he pays. He comes back with a bag of chips and a bottle of wine for us to enjoy as we finally unwind after our last dog walk of the day.
9 p.m. — P. has an early start tomorrow, so he's already in bed snoring with the pups. I get washed up for bed, put on my PJs, and jump into bed. I play around with a word search game on my tablet and fall asleep by 10 p.m.
Daily Total: $1

Day Four

4 a.m. — What is the world up to at this terrible hour? Not sure why I'm awake, but there's no falling back to sleep now. I get up, shower, (it's hair-wash day) apply makeup, and blowdry my hair. I pack up a bagel and lunch, make coffee, and scroll through social media until P. gets up.
5 a.m. — The dogs are up and ready for their walk. I have time, so I take the big one out first for a fast-paced half-hour walk. It's too cold for anything longer than that. Then I grab the little one for a stroll in the park.
Advertisement
6 a.m. — I pack up my stuff for work. It's the office Christmas party tonight, so I bring a change of clothes, makeup to freshen up, and dry shampoo.
8 a.m. — I'm finally through all my emails and reports. I take a 10-minute break to search the Tarte website. There's a 25%-off sale, plus free shipping! Of course, it always happens that my favourite shade in a contour palette is not sold separately, so I have no choice but to buy the whole palette again. I also pick out a new foundation and a foundation brush. $87.61
12 p.m. — Lunch time! I heat up my second dish of whisky beef with a potato-carrot mash, grab a ginger ale from the vending machine, and take a break in the lunchroom to chat with coworkers about our holiday party this evening. I predict a very unproductive afternoon, because everyone is leaving early to get ready for the party. $1.25
3:30 p.m. — It's quitting time, and I'm off to a gracious employee's house before the party. She's having the team over for appetizers and drinks while we get ready. Our office space is great and filled with predominantly women. In order to get a stall or a mirror in the bathroom, there would be intense jockeying that none of us are willing to go through.
6 p.m. — The holiday party has begun, and it's time to socialize (ugh), eat and, be merry!
10:30 p.m. — I'm too old to be getting home at this time! I took a shortcut home and had to pay the toll on the bridge. I already have a bridge pass, so it was only $3. I'm exhausted. Maybe it was all the dancing, or the food, or the socializing, but I need my sleep and I need it now! I wash up as quickly as I can, which means using face wipes to remove my makeup. I get in bed, crash on the pillow, and am out like a light. $3
Advertisement
Daily Total: $91.86

Day Five

5:30 a.m. — I slept in! P. is starting work a little later today, so he'll be taking care of the pups this morning. I jump in the shower and quick-wash my hair, because I put hairspray in it last night. I tousle it with mousse in hopes of getting a little wave going and put on makeup. I get dressed in high-waisted jeans with a white crop turtleneck, grab a coffee, and go.
8 a.m. — Like most others here this early after the holiday party, I'm a zombie and need a second coffee, but the machine is broken. Water it is! I probably need to hydrate anyway. Maybe it will help this lingering headache.
10 a.m. — I get an email that one of my dog permits is expiring. At least now the city offers online payment. I fill out all the info and get my updated permit. $21
11:30 a.m. — No one brought lunch. The morning has been filled with meetings, and we're all in the mood for junk food. We order Harvey's using my Uber Eats account, and everyone transfers me money. I pay for myself and a colleague who is visiting from out of town. $18.23
3:30 p.m. — I'm so happy the day's meetings are over! I'm leaving early to pick up my new glasses. My eyesight worsened over the last year, and I need stronger lenses. I have a balance to pay when I pick them up, because only a portion is covered by work benefits. $225
Advertisement
8 p.m. — I go through my nightly routine. I'm excited to watch a cheesy Hallmark holiday movie and shut off my brain. P. is already in bed, because he has a 5 a.m. start tomorrow. I'm looking forward to spending a lazy day in a quiet house with my pups tomorrow.
Daily Total: $264.23

Day Six

5 a.m. — Well, I tried. Once I'm up, there is no going back. And it's Saturday, which makes being up at this hour so much worse. The dogs are still sleeping, so I make coffee and a bagel-and-egg sandwich, throw laundry in the wash, and clean the two bathrooms (I hate cleaning). I take my pups for a walk and sit down to read the news on my tablet.
11 a.m. — Two loads of laundry done! House cleaning done! Now what do I do with myself? I make more coffee and cuddle up with my dogs for another Hallmark movie. We have a holiday dinner party tonight, and I know it's going to be a long night with lots of people (I have major anxiety when it comes to social situations — any situation out of the norm, really).
5 p.m. — P. walks in the house and wakes me up. (I napped?!) It's time to shower and get ready. I wash my hair and blowdry it to a decent-looking level of straightness. I put on more makeup than usual, adding contour and eyeshadow! The resto is casual, so I pick out high-waisted jeans, a white lace turtleneck, and a pair of Dr. Martens. It's pouring rain and oddly warm for December in Montreal. Dinner was prepaid when we accepted the invite.
Advertisement
12 a.m. — We're home and in bed. I've reached my limit with holiday social functions. I'm mentally and physically exhausted and officially turning down any other invitations until after the holidays.
Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

8 a.m. — Now that is how you sleep in! The big fluff woke me up with a whine and paw pat to the face. I guess he needs to go. It's freezing outside, and the wind is crazy! He definitely does not want his full hour-long walk: After 10 minutes, his business is done, and he's pulling me back towards the house. Poor guy. Winter isn't even in full swing yet.
11 a.m. — My meal-kit box has arrived. P. is out grocery shopping for himself. He likes to meal prep for the whole week and can eat the same food multiple times a day, whereas I get fed up and end up spending way too much on takeout. We each pay our own grocery bill and have done so for the last three years we've lived together. I can't imagine spending $150 on groceries a week. That's an insane amount, but he eats five to six times a day, so it goes quickly, and we rarely have food to throw out at the end of the week.
3 p.m. — I finish cooking two of my three dishes. That's four meals ready to go for the week. P. has a meat sauce sitting on the stove for the next four hours. We decide to order a late lunch using Uber Eats and watch a couple of episodes of Emergence that have been sitting on the PVR for weeks. $62.51
Advertisement
8 p.m. — P. is in bed, but I'm wide awake. I wash up and put on my PJs, then sit down to watch 90 Day Fiancé.
10 p.m. — In bed and ready for Monday!
Daily Total: $62.51
Money Diaries are meant to reflect individual women's experiences and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29's point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.
If you are experiencing anxiety and are in need of crisis support, please call Crisis Services Canada at 1-833-456-4566 at any time or text 45645 between 4 p.m. and 12 a.m. ET. Residents of Quebec, please call 1-866-277-3553.
The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day. For more money diaries, click here.
Do you have a Money Diary you'd like to share? Submit it with us here.
Advertisement

More from Work & Money