A Week In Calgary, AB, On A $105,000 Salary

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Today: a financial advisor working in banking who makes $105,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on Korean skincare.
Occupation: Financial Advisor
Industry: Banking
Age: 29
Location: Calgary, AB
Salary: $105,000
Paycheque Amount (monthly): $4,650
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $952.50 (I live alone in a one-bedroom apartment.)
Rental Insurance: $35
Storage unit: $12.50
Electricity: $35
Car payment: $510
Car insurance: $132
Cell phone: $69
Internet and TV: $101
Spotify: $10
New York Magazine Subscription: $5.99
Netflix: $13.99
Employee Share Program: $542
Retirement Savings Plan: $480
Emergency Travel Medical Insurance: $2
Medical and Dental Coverage: $36 (Over and above what my employer pays.)
Short-Term Disability Insurance: $8
Health Spending Account: $72
Pension Top-Up: $166

Day One

6 a.m. — My alarm goes off and, as is the dance every morning, I press snooze. My boyfriend is out of town, so the bed is considerably less cozy. I still have my own apartment but have effectively moved in with my boyfriend for the last few months. Since then, I have not gotten out of bed on time once. Seriously, not once. Cuddling > being at work on time.
6:09 a.m. — Pull myself out of said bed and make coffee. I used to be the number one customer at the Starbucks by my office but, much to the delight of my wallet, that is no longer the case. The reason? OATLY. It is the milk of gods (and also oats) and makes my home brew spark so much joy I could have my own Netflix series about it.
7:15 a.m. — Showered, primped, dressed, and out the door. I have team meetings at the beginning of each week. It's truly the only day I get to work on time. My day technically begins at 7:30 a.m., but I have been low-key showing up later and later for the last couple of years to the point that people believe my hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (They are not.)
8:30 a.m. — I have granola and some fairly disgusting cashew yogurt in the office fridge. It is the colour of sludge, and I'm curious whether anyone has ever repurchased this product. I begrudgingly eat this as I would otherwise be forced to walk over to Starbucks to get egg bites. Note to self: Stop trying to make non-dairy yogurt happen.
12 p.m. — Lunch was going to be my take on a veggie sandwich but, thankfully, a coworker ordered veggie pizza for the office, so I have a slice instead. Ingredients for a veggie sandwich remain in the fridge for tomorrow.
4:30 p.m. — I stop by the Korean market to pick up lemongrass. I'm going to make Chrissy Teigen's carrot-coconut soup this week because I basically do everything Chrissy Teigen says to. While at the market, I pick up a bag of well-priced shiitake, oyster, and enoki mushrooms. I have absolutely no plans for them, and they will likely rot in the fridge, but a girl can dream. $11.97
4:35 p.m. — I stop at the beauty counter on my way out because the woman that works there knows me by name. I pick up some face masks ($19.87) and COSRX Centella Blemish Cream, which I recently read about ($33.59). About a year ago, while battling adult acne (thanks, IUD!), I became obsessed with Korean beauty. It has legitimately changed by life. My skin is glowy and healthy and dewy and the source of daily compliments. After struggling to order things online (Canada customs suck), I found this beauty counter which is incredibly well-stocked. $53.46
5 p.m. — I'm meeting my best friend for a drink at a spot that serves $5 Aperol spritzes for happy hour, but it's closed, so we promptly enter the closest bar. I order a stout beer and she orders a mead-based drink that tastes like a mojito. We also get some chicken sliders and about eight glasses of rosé. We talk a lot about salaries, negotiating pay, and what people deserve to make. The bill comes to $58 (thanks, happy hour!), but my girlfriend picks up the tab.
8:30 p.m. — We head to a Latin bar next door for one last cocktail. Do you think we had one last cocktail? No, we had three margaritas each and guacamole because I'm not familiar with the concept of moderation.
10:45 p.m. — My carriage is about to turn into a pumpkin, so I pay the bill and go home. $81.90
11 p.m. — In bed sans boyfriend (sad), watching Call The Midwife, and thinking I should not be drinking like this on weeknights. Haven't figured out adulthood, but I will get there.
12:05 a.m. — Wake up because I have spilled an entire mug of tea on my bed and there is now no dry space to sleep. I lay down towels and fall back asleep.
Daily Total: $147.33

Day Two

7 a.m. — I sleep in until I'm very late for work. I tell work I will be late and then lay in bed watching The Office and running an ice roller all over my face in an effort to not look like I have consumed 1,000 drinks.
9 a.m. — Arrive at work very late. Two coworkers comment on how good my skin looks. That ice roller was the best $20 I have ever spent.
12 p.m. — I resurrect the veggie sandwich ingredients and make one. It is very good. Two pieces of seedy whole wheat bread with vegan mayo, dijon mustard, sharp cheddar, sliced cucumber, and fresh sprouts. I also drink four cups of green tea while chatting and eating with my two favourite coworkers. The green tea is slowly erasing the sins of my past.
4:45 p.m. — I leave work and go to a work event at a downtown dining club. It's an old AF members-only place that is a little stuffy but has about $50 million worth of art that I like to wander around looking at. I have a weird melange of buffet items for dinner and one glass of wine, but it's free, plus I don't have to do dishes.
9:30 p.m. — I leave my work event and head to a game. I play on a sports team. I'd tell you what it is but honestly no one knows of this sport. (It's ringette.) I pay about $600 for 30 ice times. I have a moral aversion to paying $20 for a drop-in fitness class when in reality that's how much my chosen sport costs me. I figure the sense of community and life-long friendships I have made through the sport count for lots, too. We lose. I go home defeated.
11:30 p.m. — Home. Bed. The Office. Korean sheet mask purchased earlier this week. No boyfriend still.
Daily Total: $0

Day Three

7 a.m. — Wake up extremely late again. Remind myself that I'm not a young buck anymore, and a girl needs eight hours of sleep. Resolve to start living my life better. Make coffee, shower, and make no efforts whatsoever to get to work on time.
12 p.m. — Lunch is a salad my work wife makes me. It's delicious and satisfying and gloriously free! One day, I hope be someone who meal preps and makes some weekly iteration of egg muffins every Sunday but, alas, I'm the person who buys groceries to meal prep and then day drinks on Sunday and falls asleep at 6 p.m.
4:30 p.m. — I swing by the grocery store. Tonight I will make the Chrissy Teigen carrot-coconut soup, but I want to make an appetizer to tide me over. Also: Blended soup isn't a meal. I pick up a loaf of sourdough bread, some fresh thyme, and a bottle of sparkling water to be served with Campari. $9.97
6:30 p.m. — My appetizer is mushrooms sautéed with butter, olive oil, fresh thyme, lemon zest, and lemon juice, plus S&P. Always S&P. I pile it onto sourdough and grate pecorino on top, then pop it in the oven for a few minutes. The soup is quite good, but it needs something more. I read the recipe again and realize I didn't use any of the accoutrements the recipe calls for. Chrissy, I'm sorry I didn't listen to you.
8 p.m. — Boyfriend is home! He is very tired, as am I. We lay in bed catching up, cuddling and watching The Office. Asleep at a very respectful hour. Mentally pat myself on the back.
Daily Total: $9.97

Day Four

7 a.m. — Every morning we set the alarm for 6 a.m., then cuddle for 30 minutes, then put on the New York Times podcast The Daily, then race out of bed at 7 a.m., late and hurried because we actually needed to be up at 6 a.m. I get ready in what has to be record time considering I do my hair, put on makeup, and get dressed in non-wrinkly clothes.
7:35 a.m. — I drop my car off for servicing and am told that today's appointment will cost between $450 and $600. Lesson when buying a car that is under warranty: Ask what the service requirements are BEFORE signing the paperwork. When unexpected expenses pop up that drain my cash reserves, I joke that I'm on a Greek austerity program. As it happens, my boyfriend also has a service appointment today, which is twice as expensive, so at least I will have a friend in austerity.
11:45 a.m. — The final bill is in the middle of the estimate. I'm both grateful that it is not $600 but also angry because fuck the warranty and the outrageous labour charge for less than three hours of work. $500.45
6 p.m. — For dinner I make a Rent Week lentil soup recipe from Bon Appetit. Honestly, the people at Bon Appetit are geniuses. Whomever green lit their efforts to engage the millennial population with delicious and inexpensive food deserves a raise.
7:30 p.m. — Dinner is hearty and good. We eat it with left over sourdough bread from last night. My boyfriend and I discuss our financial plan for the next couple of years. We want to buy a property in a nearby ski town so we need to SAVE. I feel grateful that conversations about money are never stressful or negative between us. I know there can be lots of shame around money and how people spend it, but we are committed to being very open and never judging. He also respects and requests that I handle the finances because that's my wheelhouse.
Daily Total: $500.45

Day Five

6 a.m. — Alarm goes off and The Daily goes on. Every time I hear about abortion rights being taken away — or literally any backwards Republican effort — I get angry and then give gratitude that that is not our country or our culture. (Don't get me wrong; we have our own problems.)
9:30 a.m. — I'm feeling the need to eat all the carbs and sugar, so I go to Starbucks with my work wife and boss for a caramel macchiato and a scone. If I didn't have an IUD, I would worry I was pregnant. My boss pays.
12:15 p.m. — I go for lunch with a coworker and make a pit stop before lunch at a store that sells great jewelry and clothes. I buy a necklace from Israel and a gold charm bracelet. They are both 50% off. Side note: I don't think I have paid full price for clothing, jewellery, or shoes in nearly two years. However, I'm a pretty impulsive shopper and that is my burden to carry. $67.15
12:45 p.m. — We stop for gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches. Mine has about four kinds of cheese with caramelized onion and sweet peppers. It is BOMB. I also pick up some boar pâté and aged goat cheese for pre-dinner snacks tonight. $19.95
4:30 p.m. — I stop at Winners to buy shampoo. I work hard to keep focused and not browse through my favourite sections. Am successful (this may be a first). $21.95
6:30 p.m. — Boyfriend and I have pâté, cheese, and wine. We browse apartment listings and talk about where we would like to live when our leases are up. The apartment he (and we) is in right now is nice but too close to downtown. We're both getting tired of the daily surprises that await us when we walk out the back door. Sometimes it's used needles, sometimes it's human excrement. We know this is a reality of downtown living but still would like to move a few blocks away from the thick of it.
7:30 p.m. — Dinner is leftover Rent Week lentil soup and Netflix. We watch the new Chef's Table and decide we don't have enough meaning in our lives.
12 p.m. — Bedtime. I wash my face and do a lazy evening beauty routine of just four steps: oil cleanse, essence, serum, and night cream.
Daily Total: $109.05

Day Six

7:45 a.m. — Boyfriend works on Saturdays. He owns his own business so his reality is not 9-to-5. Sometimes I wish our weekend schedules aligned better, but it is nice to have a couple of days to myself. While he gets ready to go, I make coffee and a breakfast of bacon (leftover from the lentil soup), toast, eggs, and avocado.
3 p.m. — Today has been the perfect Saturday. Lounged in bed, did some laundry, cleaned, watered the plants. I strive to have one productive day a weekend so that I can spend the other day relaxing. I jump in the shower and head to an Italian food market for dinner supplies.
3:30 p.m. — Gas first. $41.46
4 p.m. — Specialty grocery stores are my kryptonite. My haul includes linguine, two bags of fresh pizza dough, dried orecchiette, spaghettini, rigatoni, tomato paste, a hunk of Parmesan, mozzarella, two cans of San Marzano tomatoes, fresh tomato sauce, Genoa salami, calabrese soppressata, mortadella, pancetta, ground veal, ground beef, olive tapenade, pesto, fresh marinated anchovies, and celery. Annoyingly, they don't have the only other two things I need: cheesecloth and carrots. $99.54
4:45 p.m. — I stop by a wine/specialty food/home goods store for cheesecloth and a bottle of red for tonight's recipe. $30.60
5 p.m. — Last stop: carrots and tulips. $11.05
6 p.m. — Making ragu bolognese (courtesy of Bon Appetit again). To start, we have crackers, tapenade, and warm homemade ricotta. PSA: Homemade ricotta is criminally easy to make and so much better than anything you can buy. We also decide to take a trip in the spring to Napa Valley and San Fransisco. We agree to put discretionary spending on hold until then and save money so we can eat and drink without want or worry.
12 p.m. — Bedtime. I fall asleep during some French foreign language movie. I can't be on a couch after 9 p.m. and not fall asleep. And I don't mean my own couch. I mean on anyone's couch. Friends, strangers, I don't discriminate. My dad is the exact same way, so I blame genetics and go to bed.
Daily Total: $182.65

Day Seven

8 a.m. — Normally boyfriend would be out of the house at 6 a.m., but he's staying in town to have brunch with his daughter around 11:30 a.m. We spend the morning in bed cuddling. This is a one-off in our world, so I'm soaking it up.
11:30 a.m. — Boyfriend is gone. I have leftover sourdough with ricotta and mortadella. I don't eat too much because I have a game this afternoon and I can't exercise with too much food in my system.
4 p.m. — Game is over and we've won. My team celebrates by having a post-game beer. I frequently marvel at this group of incredibly supportive and authentic women. $8.50
5: 30 p.m. — Home and starving. I ask boyfriend to make me a snack while I shower. He obliges and even brings me a beer while I'm in the shower. One of the many reasons I love him. Also, hot shower and cold beer after exercising is glorious.
6 p.m. — He makes genuinely delicious snacks. More sourdough with ricotta, but this time it's broiled in the oven and drizzled with honey. Also tapenade and crackers, plus a small bowl of leftover pasta.
8: 30 p.m. — Boyfriend wants to make a cocktail but we have no gin. We venture to get some. He buys it ($36.95), and then I make a request for fries from Five Guys because I'm all of a sudden peckish. He pays again ($6.50).
9 p.m. — Home. Negronis and fries — not a bad combination. We watch Losers on Netflix (a Canadian curling story made the cut!).
11 p.m. — Night cream, bedtime. Back to the salt mines tomorrow.
Daily Total: $8.50
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