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A Week In Toronto, ON, On A $133,000 Salary

Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. We're asking real people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we're tracking every last dollar.

Today: a finance director working in software who makes $133,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on margaritas.
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Occupation: Finance Director
Industry: Software
Age: 35
Location: Toronto, ON
Salary: $133,000
Net Worth: $514,000 ($140,000 savings, $75,000 in my TFSA, $180,000 in my RRSP, and $119,000 in investments.)
Debt: $0 (I paid off $25,000 in student loans a few years back.)
Paycheck Amount (1x/month): $7,200
Pronouns: She/her

Monthly Expenses
Rent: $825 (My partner and I split an apartment for $1,650, which is low thanks to the rental price dip during COVID.)
Electricity & Water: $60 (my half)
Rental Insurance: $0 (partner pays)
Phone: $56.50
Internet: $41.24 (split with my partner)
Extended Health & Dental Plan: $0 (paid by employer)
Life Insurance: $26.09
Spotify: $18.07 (I have the family plan and share it with my siblings)
Amazon Prime, Netflix, Disney+, & Crave: $0 (partner pays)
Savings & Investments: $3,500 (I save/invest at least 50% of my paycheques, especially because my work doesn't have a pension or RRSP program.)
Family Support: $300 to 400 (I pay for my parents' utilities, some home expenses, and some groceries)

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?
My parents were immigrants, and I'm a first-generation Canadian. My parents knew that being in Canada provided more opportunities for me and my siblings than we would've had back in their home country — even if we worked minimum wage jobs and didn't go to university. However, I was told by my high school teachers that I should get a post-secondary education to advance my career. I ended going to university because all my friends were going. I took out a $25,000 OSAP loan, which I paid back in full a few years ago (yay). I also paid for my CPA designation with some help from my previous employer.

Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
My parents never talked about money. They would, however, mention that my siblings and I had privileged childhoods compared to theirs (they grew up very poor). My parents' family were and still are in their home country and often called to ask for money. My parents would always argue over how much money they should give. Now that my siblings and I are older, my parents say they regret sending so much back home and not giving us kids more things.

What was your first job and why did you get it?
I worked as a dishwasher at a sushi restaurant when I was 16 years old. All of my siblings got jobs as soon as we could so we could have spending money.

Did you worry about money growing up?
Yes. My family always had food, but we never went out to eat, went to summer camps, or on vacation. My siblings and I weren't very privileged, but we grew up at a time when we played outside without the technologies we have today, so it was a happy childhood.

Do you worry about money now?
No. I make a very good salary and am aware that it's more than the average person makes. I'm also very good at investing and saving my money. However, I do worry that my partner and I cannot afford a house in Toronto. Houses in Toronto are very expensive!

At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?
When I got my first job, I started to help out with household expenses. I was fully responsible for my finances at 18 when I got my first full-time summer job. I have emergency savings to fall back on and, of course, my partner and my family would support me as well.

Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.
No. That would be nice, though.

Day One

6:45 a.m — My body is like clockwork and naturally wakes up at 6:30 a.m. I had a pretty bad sleep because I was thinking about all the outstanding tasks I need to do at work. My partner, T., wakes, and we do our morning cuddle. He gets up and makes coffee and breakfast. I'm lucky to have someone who does this for me every day. Today, it's French-pressed coffee and leftover pancakes topped with Greek yogurt, berries, and maple syrup.

8 a.m. — T. heads to work, and I sign on to work. My organization is fully remote! I try to plan my workday before my colleagues start at 9 a.m. and make sure there's coffee and a big glass of water on my desk. Sometimes I don't know if I'll be able get up from my desk before lunch.

12 p.m. — After being in meetings and working on urgent tasks all morning, it's lunchtime. T. comes home for lunch almost every day. I make us turkey sandwiches, and we split an apple. We're trying to get back on a diet after a full-blown summer of eating and drinking whatever we wanted.

2 p.m — I have an hour-long telephone session with my therapist. I never really believed in this service until COVID; that's when burnout and the stress of being a minority woman in the working world came crashing down on me. My work reimburses me 80% of the $120, and I pay the rest out of pocket. $30

3:30 p.m. — I haven't been outside of our condo since Sunday, and now it's Wednesday. When work is busy, I forget there's a world outside of work, so when T. messages me to go for a walk, I agree. We stroll to Shoppers to pick up T.'s prescription and essentials for me: toothpaste, milk for coffee, eggs, tampons, and lottery tickets. Let's be real: If I won, I would give my notice ASAP. $33.83

5 p.m. —While working, I make T. and I Pizza Pops and taquitos. Yes, I know I said we were trying to be good, but everything in moderation, right? And besides, we said we have to make it to Thursday before we can eat out.

7 p.m — T. makes us a small salad with chicken for our real dinner. I'm still working because I need to finish some items this week, and my work has a staff event on Friday, so that day will be a write-off.

10 p.m. — I finally sign off, and I feel less stressed after knocking off a couple of things on my list. I watch football with T. before we head to bed.

Daily Total: $63.83

Day Two

6:30 a.m. — I wake up naturally and grab my phone in the living room. About a year ago, I started charging my phone in the living room to reduce my screen time, and it has been a great change. Back in bed, I read the news on my phone until T. wakes up to the alarm.

7:30 a.m. — T. makes a fried egg sandwich with avocado, turkey ham, and cheese, plus coffee, of course. We listen to the news and make plans to take the afternoon off to run errands.

12 p.m. — T. comes home with a steak burrito to share. We share a lot of our food to keep our portions in check. Your girl doesn't work out, so I keep my portions fairly small.

1 p.m. — T. and I go to Costco and Walmart to pick up a bunch of things for my work event tomorrow: a bunch of snacks, prizes, and baby gifts for my colleagues ($437.50 expensed). We also pick up a few things for ourselves from Costco: mixed greens, a gyro kit (on sale and amazing), Roots socks for me (on sale), and cookies. $43.59

6 p.m. — T. comes back from his run, and I sign off. I offer to take him out for patio drinks and food because I was grumpy to him during our errand run. We had to drop by my work office to pick up things for the event tomorrow, and it was a bigger hassle than I thought it would be. We decide to make the gyro kit and head out to a pub for a beer afterward. I want to pay, but T. grabs the bill first.

8 p.m. — We're back home and start watching F1: Drive to Survive. We like the series and watch a couple of episodes until bedtime.

Daily Total: $43.59

Day Three

6:30 a.m. — After waking up naturally, T. makes oatmeal with fresh raspberries and blueberries, plus coffee. I check my Slack messages for any last-minute requests before we head out.

8:15 a.m. — T. drives me to my work event, and we drop by Starbucks to pick up a traveler on the way ($22.54, expensed). T. helps me unload the car of all the event supplies, and I set up.

11 a.m — My work event starts, and the turnout is great! It's nice to see everyone in person because most of us have only met through screens. I'm awkward at first because I haven't had to do small talk in person in over 18 months. We order pizzas for the event, and I pay. ($338.27, expensed).

3 p.m — Some of my colleagues and I go for a drink at a patio because we don't know we'll see each other again. T. comes to pick me up and decides to join us. I have two beers, and T. pays them.

6 p.m. — After dropping the event supplies at home and freshening up, I Uber ($9.41) to meet a friend who recently moved to Toronto. We go to a Middle-Eastern restaurant and share a three-dip appetizer, grilled cauliflower, grilled shrimp dinner, and a bottle of white wine. We split the bill. ($57.16) $66.57

9 p.m. — My friend and I head to a rooftop bar for another drink. We get two jalapeno margaritas each. I pay for both of us. $83.17

11 p.m. — I Uber home and go straight to bed. $11.94

Daily Total: $161.68

Day Four

6:30 a.m. — I wake at my natural time, but it's a Saturday so I go back to sleep.
8 a.m. — T. makes over-easy eggs, bacon, hash browns, roasted cherry tomatoes, avocado, toast, and coffee. I'm spoiled.

1 p.m. — We chill on the couch all morning and finish the first season of F1: Drive to Survive. I snack on carrots, cookies, and carrot juice mixed with OJ. I like carrots.

2 p.m. — A girlfriend is taking me and another friend to the spa. She's treating us because we helped with her engagement party and wedding this summer. This spa is amazing, and we all get massages. At the restaurant in the spa, we share deep-fried shrimp balls, chicken wings, fries, and green juice. My friend pays for everything.

6:30 p.m. — I subway to meet T. and our friends at a restaurant for dinner. I'm so zen that I look very tired. T. has been talking about the amazing risotto from this place, but menu is limited due to a shortage of workers, so no risotto. We end up going to another restaurant and sharing nachos, sliders, and beers. T. pays.

10 p.m. — I call us a Lyft home, and we watch another episode of F1: Drive to Survive before bed. $12.71

Daily Total: $12.71

Day Five

8 a.m. — Same as yesterday, we sleep in because we can. Today's breakfast is leftover oatmeal, a toasted pita with PB&J, and coffee. We watch F1: Drive to Survive for the remainder of the morning.

12:30 p.m. — We Uber to a patio to meet our friend and her new boyfriend for brunch. I have a fried chicken burger with fries and a sour beer. The weather has been amazing, and I want to enjoy it. T. pays.

3 p.m. — We all walk with our friend's dog to a local coffee shop for iced coffees. T. pays for our coffees and calls an Uber for us to go home. We do our weekend house cleaning, which includes multiple loads of laundry. T. then heads out to meet a friend for patio drinks, and I enjoy my me time on the couch and watch some YouTube and take a nap.

7:30 p.m. — T. is home and I heat up the gyro for dinner. We then spend the rest of the night watching F1: Drive to Survive. We are addicted.

Daily Total: $0

Day Six

7 a.m. — Today's breakfast is oatmeal with apricots and dried blueberries and Americanos. After breakfast, I sign on to work and plan out my day and workweek.

9 a.m. — I meet T., and we head to the polling station. It's federal election day, and T. gets us coffees while I wait in line. It's nice to see everyone out to vote. We're very privileged to be living in a country where women are able to work, have control over their money, and VOTE! T. and I are voting for opposite parties and thought about not voting because we're cancelling each other out, but we're exercising our right to vote.

10 a.m. — Back at home and back to work. I snack on pretzels and hummus while I work away.

12 p.m — T. comes home for lunch, but I'm still on a work video call. He heats up the last of the pierogis and makes a Greek yogurt and hot sauce dip to go with it.

5 p.m. — I take a Lyft to wine night at a girlfriend's place, and I bring a bottle of wine from home. Our host is the hostess with the mostess. She has a full-on charcuterie board, bottles of wine, and sushi. She refuses to take any money because she said it's been so long since she hosted. I haven't seen some of the girls since before covid and it was so nice catching up. We all promise to do this again and take turn hosting. $18.66

10:30 p.m — I'm full of food and wine, so I take a Lyft home and get ready for bed, but T. and I squeeze in one episode of F1 before bed $12.72

Daily Total: $31.38

Day Seven

7 a.m. — Breakfast is Greek yogurt with granola and dried blueberries, with coffee. We need to go grocery shopping but decide we should try to eat as many things from our fridge and freezer so we can do a big Costco run soon.

10 a.m. — I'm starving and stuff my face with some goldfish crackers and make myself a tea before my next meeting.

12 p.m. — Lunch is a freezer meal: chicken dumplings from Costco. This is our favourite frozen dumpling. We jazz it up with some chopped green onions.

5:30 p.m. — After work, T. and I double team dinner. T. cooks up a steak, that we took out from the freezer this morning, and I make the salad and boil the corn on the cob that T.'s friend gave us. We open a bottle of red wine to go with the dinner. T. heads back to work. He works some evenings.

7 p.m. — I finish cleaning our place and now it's me time. I thought about doing some work but decide against it and watch random shows that T. wouldn't watch with me.

11:30 p.m. — T. is home from work and we head to bed. It's too late to fit in an episode of F1.

Daily Total: $

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