A Week in Toronto, ON, On A $58,000 Salary

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Today: a graphic designer working in technology who makes $58,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on a book.
Warning: This diary mentions sexual assault.
Occupation: Graphic Designer
Industry: Technology
Age: 27
Location: Toronto, ON
Salary: $58,000
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $1,839.81
Gender Identity: Woman
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Monthly Expenses
Rent: $825 (I share a house with two roommates and two cats.)
Home Insurance: $ 14.85
Internet & Crave TV: $30 (split with roommates)
TTC Pass: $138.55
Phone: $65
Gym: $33.90
Pet Insurance: $49.47
Spotify: $7.50 (split with a friend)
Netflix: $12.99 (I cover my family's account.)
Travel Fund: $160 ($1,326 saved)
TFSA: $720 ($12,204.96 saved)
RRSP: $100 ($1,026 saved)

Day One

6 a.m. — I wake up for the gym. I hate getting up early, but I feel like I should work out, because I'm getting a new tattoo this weekend and won't be able to exercise for the following week. I pack a banana as a pre-workout snack, grab my lunch from the fridge, feed the two cats, and head out the door by 7 a.m.
8:15 a.m. — My commute is an hour and 15 minutes, but I try to enjoy it by closing my eyes and listening to music. There's no point straining my eyes while I don't have to. At the gym, I do cardio (treadmill and rowing machine) and lift weights. I try not to compare myself to everyone there, or wonder why I'm not seeing more progress. I hit the showers.
10 a.m. — I get to work and, after checking emails, I make my post-workout strawberry protein smoothie. I like to add chocolate powder so it feels fancy. I attempt to break in new work shoes, the keyword being "attempt." Ouch.
12 p.m. — A co-worker brings in baked treats. I grab one and send an invoice to my therapist. We had a great session yesterday, and I usually send her payment right after, but I forgot. I love that she's not afraid to call me on my shit. $130
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1 p.m. — I eat the sesame-garlic tofu with stir-fried veggies and white rice that I prepped a few days ago. It's not looking good after three days, but I'm probably just getting tired of it. I eat the tofu, I can't stomach the rice anymore. I make up for the sub-par lunch by eating half a slice of leftover cake with coffee.
6 p.m. — Work drags due to difficult assignments, but it's finally time to leave. On my way to the bus stop, I pop into an antique store specializing in Turkish towels, and there's a closing sale. I buy my very first Turkish towel. I finally have more than two sets of towels! Is this adulting yet? $45
7 p.m. — I've had my eye on a fancy Urban Outfitters ashtray for joint-smoking occasions, so I stop in, but I can't find it anymore. I do, however, walk away with a cute skirt and a corgi mug (both on sale), and Mario Badescu Drying Lotion to wage war on my persistent breakouts. I ask the cashier if he can help me find the fabled ashtray and, to my joy, he helps me order it online and doesn't charge me shipping. Best of all, the price is $5 less than I was expecting to pay due to an online discount! I use a $25 birthday gift card against the total, which is $59.29. $34.29
8:30 p.m. — I finally get home, and the package of colour-changing hoop earrings I ordered from an artist on Twitter has arrived. They change colour in the sunlight! They look like giant onion rings but in a good way? I'm exhausted, so I eat leftover spinach pizza and watch the final season of Adventure Time to decompress.
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11 p.m. — I get ready for bed and apply witch hazel toner, niacinamide, moisturizer, eye cream, and the new spot-drying lotion I just bought. I don't like the idea of my partner seeing me with spot treatments just yet, and he'll be staying over for the next few days, so I want to use it while I can.
Daily Total: $209.29

Day Two

6:45 a.m. — I wake up early again, only this time not for the gym. I'm working earlier hours for the next two days due to evening plans. I blearily get out of bed, shower, and get ready. I got this Dr. Brandt eye de-puffing gel from an old FabFitFun box, and it has turned out to be a dark horse in helping me look less tired (even though there's a husk where my soul used to be). I put on a full face of makeup, because I have an anniversary dinner tonight with my boyfriend, D. It's our three-year, and he's taking me to a secret restaurant. Out of the two of us, I'm the foodie, so this is a big deal.
9:15 a.m. — I settle into my desk and check my email. I eat a leftover scone from yesterday. It's a bit crumbly but still good. Today is a day full of leftovers.
1 p.m. — A big work project is aggravating me, so I take time out during lunch to run a few errands. First, I pick up a cupcake to surprise D. for his birthday, along with biscotti for us to share, because I couldn't resist ($12.77). Then, I pick up supplies for a sick friend from the pharmacy ($5.50) and a slice of pizza for the road ($7.60). $25.87
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1:45 p.m. — I join a friend in the kitchen, eat my pizza, and whinge about politics. Vote in the election, people!
4:45 p.m. — I heat up my tofu and rice in an attempt an early dinner, but the rice is mushy and my appetite is thrown off completely. After a few valiant stabs at the tofu, I dispose of it. #mealprep
5 p.m. — I finally leave work to go to see Todd Barry. It's JFL42 in Toronto, and we're seeing a few acts. D. loves this particular comedian, so I want to make sure I get us good seats. After a ride on an ancient streetcar, I successfully arrive right before a huge line forms behind me. I resist the temptation to buy a fried-chicken sandwich from a restaurant beside the venue.
6:30 p.m. — I buy a drink. I don't love the hipster bartender whose only vocabulary consists of the words IPA and lager, both of which he serves lukewarm. D. meets me in the front row of the theatre. We made it! $10.25
8:30 p.m. — The show is great. Barry doesn't roast D. as I hoped he would (he's known for crowd work), but it's a good show nonetheless. I'm feeling like a small dinner, and we opt for ramen and takoyaki at an adorable Japanese patio nearby. At the end of the meal, I light a candle and surprise D. with my birthday cupcake while singing him happy birthday. The bill comes to $36 and D. covers it.
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11 p.m. — We're back home and settled into bed by midnight. I'm hard-pressed to do my bedtime routine when I'm this tired, but D. pushes me to anyway, which is nice. My skin thanks him.
Daily Total: $36.12

Day Three

6:30 a.m. — Another day, another early alarm clock. D. kisses me goodbye and is out the door. I get out of bed, and spend longer than usual getting ready, because we have our anniversary dinner tonight. In addition to a full face, I wear my Maybelline Superstay lipstick, which is a godsend. I feed the cats, down two Vitamin C tablets because I feel a cold coming on, and am out the door by 8 a.m.
9 a.m. — I ease into a relatively laid-back morning. Our office provides cereal, coffee, and snacks, so I have a bowl of cereal and an Americano with an extra shot of espresso. I check emails, check the horrendous news cycle, and get to work.
12 p.m. — I go out for lunch with my boss and refuse to let her pay for my spicy salmon roll and seaweed salad. $11.73
1 p.m. — After lunch, I work on tedious editing projects.
5 p.m. — Luckily, I have a weekly check-in with my boss and a standing appointment with colleagues for a drink.
5:40 p.m. — I rush to change for my anniversary dinner, and I slip into an LBD that's a little chesty, honestly. D. picks me up in his chariot (an Uber).
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6 p.m. — We arrive at the restaurant, and I realize it's one we walked by yesterday. We order squash fritters, two pasta dishes, and drinks. Everything is made from scratch and delicious. D. covers the meal ($110.46).
7 p.m. — We're going to see another comedy show, Nicole Byer, but we have lots of time before it starts, so we have ice cream near the restaurant. D. instantly recognizes the soundtrack from Shrek The Musical on the store speakers, much to the delight/chagrin of the clerks. I get the toffee-vanilla swirl with sprinkles, because I'm an adult. D. gets a scoop of banana chocolate, and I cover the bill. $13
7:20 p.m. — It's still too early for the show, so we walk around. I check out a mysterious tarot card store, and we linger around a used bookstore. We both end up picking up books. I get Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain and The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I love the smell of old books. $23.10
7:45 p.m. — The show is all the way at Exhibition Place, so we have a long streetcar ride ahead of us. I'm getting tired and cranky from all the early mornings and late nights, and my heels hurt.
8:30 p.m. — After getting turned around trying to find the venue, we finally arrive. I'm grateful for this moment to sit down and relax. A woman behind me has a hot take on the Shane Gillis SNL controversy, which is annoying, but the show starts before I can say anything. It ends up being two great sets.
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9:40 p.m. — D. and I take Lyft home, and I cover it. We're exhausted and settled into bed by midnight. $21.52
Daily Total: $69.35

Day Four

8 a.m. — Finally, no freaking alarm clocks! I love cuddling with D., but he sleeps in far too long, so I get up and put in a load of laundry, water the plants, and feed the cats.
10 a.m. — D. eventually comes down and prepares breakfast for us: cereal for him, and a cinnamon bagel with cream cheese and honey for me. We've been practising living together, and it's been going really well. D. went from being unable to fry an egg to preparing full meals, and I'm proud of him.
12:30 p.m. — We finally set off for the gym. It's a beautiful day, and I've been craving a bike ride, so I take my bike out of the garage while D. preps to run behind me. He's training for a marathon so running a distance that seems insane to me isn't that bad to him. It's a gorgeous 20-minute ride to the gym, and I've already worked up a good sweat when I arrive. My gym pass includes guest privileges and D. checks in behind me.
3:30 p.m. — We work out for about 90 minutes, doing a mix of treadmill and weights, and call it a day. We go back the way we came, and he actually makes it back just as I finish putting my bike away. I immediately jump in the shower, because we're meeting D.'s family for another birthday dinner.
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5:15 p.m. — I'm practising driving for my G2 and want to drive us to the restaurant, which takes about 40 minutes. Driving ends up being a nightmare. D. and I are still trying to figure out our dynamics in the car, and even though I'm a lot more comfortable than I used to be, I still make mistakes, plus there are a ton of assholes on the route today. Every mistake I make sets off my anxiety, and it's hard to recover. But we finally arrive at the restaurant on time and in one piece.
6 p.m. — The dinner is a Middle Eastern buffet, and I'm a terrible person to bring, because I eat with my eyes but have a tiny appetite. But everything is delicious and the spread isn't overwhelming. I eat two plates (that's what the gym is for!) of roast lamb with rice, chicken stuffed with spinach and cheese, salad, labneh, and seafood (plus a tiny plate of dessert I split with D). A belly dancer emerges to entertain the crowd, and a little slice of cake with sprinkles appears for D. I'm stuffed. When the bill arrives, his parents refuse to let me help pay ($170, plus tip).
8 p.m. — I can't drive on highways, so D. takes the wheel this time to drive us to his folks' place, where we have tea and another (!) birthday cake (pecan-caramel). After all the photos and happy birthday singing, we sit around the table and gossip for two hours before D. and I call it quits at 10 p.m.
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10:30 p.m. — I'm wiped at this point, but I still have a whole basket of laundry to finish folding, and I'm determined to keep watching the final season of Adventure Time (I will finish this series if it kills me). D. doesn't want any spoilers, so he sits on the couch next to me playing video games.
11:30 p.m. — I straight-up fall asleep beside him, at which point he wakes me up to get ready for bed.
Daily Total: $0

Day Five

8 a.m. — Cats, like roosters, are also nature's alarm clocks. I'm lingering in bed when the cats storm in and meow for breakfast. I feed them and fold the laundry from yesterday, watching even more Adventure Time.
10 a.m. — We make breakfast: over-easy eggs with sautéed mushrooms, onions, peppers, and hash browns. I have my last tattoo appointment (two of two), and I need a good meal to face what's gonna come next.
12 p.m. — I spend too much time lazing around and realize with a jolt that I should get ready for my appointment. I don't have time to shower, so I throw on quick-and-dirty makeup and head out the door.
1:15 p.m. — I arrive at my appointment, fill out forms, and settle in. D. is nice enough to get me iced coffee from the nearby McD's, and even though it's far too sweet (just like him), I drink it anyway.
3 p.m. — The appointment is all done! I read The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy to distract myself from the pain, but the tattoo looks amazing. It's a tiny tribute to my mom, and I'm sure she will love it. We live in separate countries, so it's nice to carry a piece of her with me. The tattoo ends up being $271, and I tip 20%. $325.44.
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3:30 p.m. — To celebrate, D. and I pick up bubble tea. I choose a limited-edition brown sugar drink. It's good but almost all milk. I'm sure my mildly lactose intolerant ass will regret this later. $6.78
4:15 p.m. — We're finally home! The appointment tired me out, so I set an alarm and take a quick nap.
4:45 p.m. — I get out of bed, spritz my face with rose water and go out for groceries. I'm taking D.'s car to the grocery store to practise driving, and he's tagging along (because he legally has to).
5:25 p.m. — The ride is a lot calmer than yesterday, except for the parking lot, which is wild on a Sunday. We're making baked eggplant penne, so we pick up pasta, a can of crushed tomatoes, Italian eggplant, ricotta, pecorino, and mozzarella. I also get Kawartha Dairy ice cream, veggie chips, hash browns, blueberries, kombucha, mushrooms, cereal, almond milk, cream cheese, and grapes. I foot the bill $107.72
6:45 p.m. — D. and I get home to the cats who are waking up from their naps. It must be hard being a cat. We unpack groceries and start cooking. I wash produce and play with the cats whenever there's a quick break. D. and I take turns washing the dishes.
8:45 p.m. — Dinner is an Italian affair. We have leftover red wine and sparkling water to go with our pasta, which is SO good, and we both take seconds. It's meatless yet still satisfying. We have peppermint tea with the biscotti I picked up days ago and a slice of leftover cake while watching Adventure Time. I've got him hooked on the series, too.
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10 p.m. — We both head upstairs, tuckered out. I shower, put on a green-tea mask, and chill on my phone while he plays video games again. We end up sleeping at around 12:30 a.m. We're so domesticated, it's great. I'm very ready for us to live together.
Daily Total: $439.94

Day Six

6:45 a.m. — After snoozing my alarm, I finally get ready for the day. I gently wake up D. with too many kisses and wish him luck for his shift. He works as a nurse, and even though everything is usually fine, you never know what can happen. I pack my lunch, feed the cats, and am out the door by 8 a.m.
9:15 a.m. — I have a driving lesson in the evening, so I'm working a 9-to-5 day again. I grab cereal and my morning coffee to start my day. There's something nice about coming in early and getting shit done before the team gets in.
1 p.m. — I break open the ham sandwich I packed for lunch and grab a bubbly water and chips from the snack drawer. It's funny how much I used to hate sparkling water, and now I find it so addictive. I consider this evolution a real growing-up moment.
2:30 p.m. — My anxiety is flaring up today, and the exhaustion from the past weekend is hitting me. I try to reschedule my driving lesson tonight, but it's too late to cancel. I'll have to pull through.
4 p.m. — A bunch of projects get dropped in my lap at the last minute, and I'm more than a little stressed. The highs and lows in my job can get pretty extreme. I always try to have an "I'll handle it" attitude à la Olivia Pope from Scandal, but some days are harder than others.
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5 p.m. — It's finally time to skedaddle for the subway, and pray I make it in time for my lesson. I should have left 15 minutes earlier; the journey is over 70 minutes long, and everything that could go wrong does, in typical Toronto fashion. The bus is on a short turn, so everyone has to get off to wait for the streetcar, then something on the streetcar smells like literal shit, and the train is delayed. I text my instructor saying that I'll be late. Everyone knows what travelling by TTC means.
6:15 p.m. — I finally make it to my appointment and find my driving instructor waiting in the parking lot. Driving costs $80 per session, but I paid ahead for a couple of lessons. Learning to drive has been so much more work than I thought it would be. On top of the nerves, I've been dealing with PTSD because a driving instructor sexually assaulted me while I was behind the wheel back home. Needless to say, the thought of learning to drive again shook me, but this has been the summer of taking my power back, and I'm happy with my progress.
8 p.m. — I use the time tonight to practise parallel parking, reverse parking, and lane changing. To reward myself afterward, I eat leftover pasta and watch Adventure Time with my roommate. I share candied nuts from Bulk Barn and eat blueberries.
9:30 p.m. — I take a shower, wrap my new tattoo, and climb into bed. After a few minutes of frantic Googling, I'm paranoid about air bubbles in my wrap, so I re-wrap it and climb into bed again.
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Daily Total: $0

Day Seven

6:30 a.m. — Fuck it. I'm gonna sleep in, because I don't have to be at work until 10 a.m.
7:30 a.m. — I take my time applying makeup and do my physiotherapy exercises. I have a bad knee from a squat injury, and physio has been more than worth the money.
10 a.m. — I arrive at work on time and uneventfully. I grab breakfast and make a quick phone call to renew my medical cannabis prescription, before spending the rest of the morning in meetings.
1:15 p.m. — I'm stressed out, so I walk to the local Loblaws for sushi. So much about the sushi packaging is terrible for the environment but dammit, I do love my cheap sushi. $9.03
5:30 p.m. — I leave work early to go to a networking meetup. On the way, I stop at a bookstore to pick up Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino and Know My Name by Chanel Miller. The store is beautiful inside, and I can't stop touching all the perfectly bound books. The clerks tell me about the shop's local book club, which is meeting to discuss one of the titles I purchased, so maybe I'll check it out. $76.65
6:20 p.m. — I arrive at the event early enough to snag a few slices of thin-crust pepperoni and cheese pizza. Dammit, I told myself I wouldn't eat this crap. Why am I so shit at networking? I really don't feel like talking to anyone right now. Is reading my Kindle rude?
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8 p.m. — The event is finally over. I say goodbye to the few people I met, and rush out the door. I'm feeling more anxious than usual, and it isn't helped by my mother suddenly texting me with a bunch of tasks. I feel bad that I don't automatically want to do them, but I'm exhausted. I spend a moment feeling depressed, because I feel like I'm not doing good enough.
9:15 p.m. — Finally home, I rush to the fridge to eat a single piece of an indica chocolate bar to decompress. I have a longer-than-usual hot shower. I apply a Body Shop ginseng mask — whatever I can slap on my face for self-care, I guess. On the couch, I decompress and check my credit-card statement. Great idea, I know.
Daily Total: $85.68
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please visit Shelter Space.
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.
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