A Week In Dartmouth, NS, On A $60,220 Salary

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Today: a human resources partner and babysitter working in public service and child care, respectively, who makes $60,220 per year and spends some of her money on a puffy coat.
Occupation: Human Resources Partner
Industry: Public Service
Age: 29
Location: Dartmouth, NS
Salary: $57,100 (HR), $3,120 (babysitting)
Paycheque Amount (2x/month): $1,381 (HR)
Paycheque Amount (1x/week): $65 (babysitting)
Gender Identity: Woman
Monthly Expenses
Rent: $630 (My partner and I split rent for a one-bedroom apartment with a den.)
Power Bill: $35 (for my half)
Student Loan: $81
Car Payment: $100
Car Insurance: $85
Internet: $49 (for my half)
Phone: $62
Health & Dental Benefits: $32.63 (My partner W. has a family plan, and I pay the difference between the single and family cost.)
Crave Premium: $20
Netflix: $0 (My parents pay.)
Savings: $1,000
Travel/Additional Expenses Fund: $100
Pension: $522 (deducted from my paycheque and matched by my employer)

Day One

10 a.m. — It's Sunday, and I get to sleep in! I usually babysit on Sundays, but the grandparents are in town, so I'm off the hook. I laze in bed with W., then get up and make an Earl Grey tea with eggnog (my new favourite holiday drink), and eat cereal while catching up on social media.

11 a.m. — I hit a Pilates class. It's all about the ass today — and damn, the instructor is tough but good. I volunteer at the studio once a week, doing light cleaning and admin work in exchange for my membership. It's fun, and I've met a bunch of people this way.
11:45 a.m. — My baby brother is coming to the city with another brother (I have four) to buy a car this afternoon, and I'm super-excited to see them! I hop in the shower, use my Frank hair mask to wash out the dry shampoo (I use it way too often), and do my weekly leg shave (who needs shaved legs in the winter anyways?). I use The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG on my eyelids to reduce puffiness, then put on basic makeup, and dash to the grocery store before meeting my brothers.
12:30 p.m. — W. and I meal prep for the week on Sundays, and this time I'm making us quinoa Greek salads for lunch and roast chicken and veggies for dinner. We eat vegetarian during the day and have meat for supper. It cuts down the grocery bill and is better for the planet. I pick up root veggies, bananas, more Earl Grey tea, eggnog (I'm addicted), flatbread pizzas, chicken, olives, cucumbers, peppers, lemon, eggs, English muffins, hummus, and cat food. It all comes to $95, which W. and I split. $47.50
1:30 p.m. — My brothers text me that they're here! I put on a second-hand sweater and a long, new-to-me wool-cashmere coat I picked up while thrifting a few weeks ago. I can't resist a good deal!
5 p.m. — My brother has finally negotiated the price of the car and gets the keys. He's pumped. It's an older sports car that he's wanted for a long time. I drive back to my place with the boys following. We leave his car in my parking lot and go for celebratory burgers. Before, though, he stops to take photos of his new car in the sunset.
5:15 p.m. — We arrive at a brewery, and I get a stout with fries and a burger, which is SO good — maybe one of the top burgers I've ever had. Each of us pays for our own meal. $28.74
6:15 p.m. — I hate saying goodbye to the bros, but I can't wait to see them at Christmas. I tell them to drive safely, and we group hug.
6:30 p.m. — I run upstairs to grab a few items of clothes I don't wear anymore and go to a clothing swap. All the proceeds are going to a local charity, which is awesome. The event is busy, but I manage to snag a cute blouse, a floral puffy down jacket, and sweater. I know I don't need any more clothes, but the swap is for a good cause $6
7 p.m. — At home, I do laundry while watching Succession. Doing chores is 100% easier while you're distracted. I put off meal prep until tomorrow.
Daily Total: $81.97

Day Two

7:30 a.m. — I'm not a morning person, and I've been waking up all night coughing — the end of a persistent cold. I recently found out that I have chronic sinusitis, and this cold is doing a number on me. I roll out of bed, put up my hair, and wash my face using Burt's Bees cleanser. I use The Ordinary Caffeine Solution on my tired eyes again, then my trusty Aveeno moisturizer and the usual makeup. I make Earl Grey with eggnog to take to work, because I need a pick-me-up. I also make coffee for W., because he didn't sleep well and is dropping off my car to get the winter tires put on. I grab an English muffin with peanut butter and a banana, and run out the door.
10:30 a.m. — An Old Navy email pops up in my inbox. I try to thrift all my clothes, but I need a new scarf, and they're on sale. I browse the website and pick out a scarf and mitts, boot socks, plus four pairs of fluffy slipper socks for my friends. We're having a Christmas-cookie swap in a few weeks, and these will be fun to give. $30.32
11 a.m. — My boss hears me coughing and goes to get me a tea. She's so nice!
11:30 a.m. — I book a massage to use up my benefits before the end of the year. I always use my massage benefits, and I've started dry needling for my neck and knee, plus I see a psychologist once a month. It adds up!
1:15 p.m. — It's nice working in this office, because the walk home is less than 10 minutes, and I can go home for breaks. When I get outside, it's raining and windy. Luckily there's an umbrella in my bag, and my hair stays dry!
1:30 p.m. — There's quesadilla leftovers in the fridge, so I heat them up and catch up on social media before going back to work. This time, I grab a rain jacket. W. calls me to let me know he's picking up the car. I had to get my tires mounted as well, which costs more. He lets me know it was $94, which we split. $47
6 p.m. — W. and I get home at the same time. I heat up leftover rice and veggies and meal prep our lunches for the week. W. is swamped with a proposal for work, so I turn on the Office Ladies podcast and listen while making quinoa and chopping veggies.
7:20 p.m. — I rush out the door to go to my favourite Pilates class with my favourite instructor. She's super-funny and always makes me laugh. Plus, her workouts are amazing!
8:30 p.m. — I get home and finish meal prepping. My mom calls because she heard I'm sick. I still haven't gotten my voice back, so I chat briefly with her and my dad, then decide to power-clean the apartment.
11 p.m. — The apartment looks great. I love waking up to a clean space (I'm a neat freak). I'm exhausted, so I crawl into bed with a cough drop, while W. works on the couch. I feel bad for him. Hopefully he comes to bed soon.
Daily Total: $77.32

Day Three

7:30 a.m. — I'm so not a morning person. I get up, put on the kettle for tea, and hop in the shower. My hair is naturally curly, so I swipe hair oil through it and scrunch it with John Frieda Sea Waves Salt Spray. I'd rather spend my time sleeping than styling my hair. I toast an English muffin with peanut butter, grab a banana and my lunch, and head out the door.
12:30 p.m. — I scarf my quinoa Greek salad with hummus and hop in the car to go to another office. I love the fact that my day can involve meeting with many different types of people, and I enjoy the travel, but I'm still figuring out my schedule and routine.
1:45 p.m. — I can barely talk anymore because my throat is sore, and I work from home for the rest of the day.
4:45 p.m. — Tonight is my night to volunteer at the gym. I quickly fry two eggs, add cheese, and stick them between pieces of cranberry-orange bread. Dinner at its finest!
6 p.m. — The gym is busy. I love the energy, and I've gotten to recognize a lot of the regulars. I check people in, then hop in on the boxing/Tabata class. I'm soaked in sweat by the end of it. I didn't think I would enjoy boxing as much as I do, but it's fun, and I've been building arm strength.
8 p.m. — I check the mail, and my Sephora order came! I'm not a makeup junkie, but I enjoy skin care. I'll open it when I finish cooking. I meant to relax and chill tonight, but I bought a whole chicken on Sunday, and I need to cook it before it goes bad. I'm trying a garlic-lemon recipe and throw potatoes, beets, and carrots in the pan to roast at the same time.
9 p.m. — Feeling accomplished, I get in the shower to relax. After making more tea (I'm really trying to get my voice back), I light a candle and open my Sephora order on the bed. I ordered the Ole Henriksen 3 Little Wonders Kit (The Truth Serum is my favourite to use in the morning), The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum, The Ordinary Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil, and a small Laneige sample kit for face and lips.
10 p.m. — W. gets home from hanging out with his friend, and I show him the chicken in the oven. He's impressed, plus the apartment smells so good.
Daily Total: $0

Day Four

8 a.m. — I'm working from an office that doesn't open until 9 a.m., so I get to sleep in. I make my usual tea and eggnog, plus an English muffin with peanut butter, which I eat while sipping warm lemon water. I don't usually have time for this in the morning, but my naturopath suggested starting each day like this to help with my stomach acid issues. She also suggested apple cider vinegar with water before lunch and dinner, but it tastes bad, and I always forget.
10 a.m. — After catching up with people in the office, I see an email for Basia Bulat pre-sale tickets. She's playing in Halifax in April 2020, and W. and I love her music. I spontaneously buy two tickets for a date night. $59
12:30 p.m. — I work through lunch, eating quinoa salad at my desk. I get a strong chocolate craving. Must. Resist.
2 p.m. — I email with a supervisor who wants to meet in person this afternoon to go over logistics of a new recruitment. Luckily, the office is on my way home, and work compensates me for mileage to and from my main location, so I don't mind doing a bit of travel.
3 p.m. — I still have my chocolate craving, so I stop at Starbucks. Sometimes you gotta live a little. I order a half-sweet, low-fat, salted-caramel mocha and instantly feel better. $6.30
5 p.m. — The coffee kick gives me energy. I go home and goof around with W. He heats up the chicken and roast veggies I made last night, and they're a hit!
5:45 p.m. — W. tries to convince me to chill, but I have a hard time relaxing. I'm supposed to do an abs-focused Pilates class at my gym's sister studio in Halifax, then go to a dry-needling appointment. I know I should relax and rest, so I can get rid of my cold, but I feel so much better when I work out. I give him a kiss and go.
6:45 p.m. — The Pilates class is challenging but good. I love the Halifax studio; it's a beautiful space. I'm so glad I went (the class is covered by my exchange membership with my regular gym).
6:55 p.m. — I show up early for my dry-needling appointment with my physiotherapist. I've been seeing her once a week lately to deal with a knee issue. She's great, and we have an awesome relationship. We chat about her current boy situation while she works on my leg. She turns on City and Colour to distract me from the treatment, and it helps! I leave feeling so much better and plan to come back next week to have her work on my shoulders. The treatment is covered 100% by benefits. ($70 expensed)
8 p.m. — I'm home and ready to relax. I get comfy, take off my makeup, massage rose seed hip oil into my face and neck, then seal it in with Ole Henriksen vitamin C moisturizer. I download new books on my Kobo and sip a small glass of red wine in bed (my guilty pleasure).
Daily Total: $65.30

Day Five

8 a.m. — One day closer to Friday! I still haven't caught up on sleep, but I try to perk myself up by listening to Alabama Shakes. I auto-pilot through my morning routine, grab an English muffin with peanut butter, and get my butt out the door.
9:30 a.m. — My friend L. texts me about plans tonight. Another close friend's grandmother passed away suddenly, so we're getting together to make her and her family carrot soup. I don't know how I'm going to last that long — I'm so tired but must push through!
12 p.m. — I grab a bubbly water and settle into a comfy chair with the newest edition of Women's Health magazine to take my lunch break. (I usually go for a walk, but it's so cold this week). There are interesting arm workouts listed that I could do at home, so I take note. I also scroll through emails on my phone and get distracted by Christmas gift guides. I LOVE gift guides and could look at them for hours.
5 p.m. — I'm finally home from work and have an hour to crash before meeting L., so I take a 20-minute power nap. Finally, I drag my butt out of bed, eat cereal with a banana (not the healthiest supper, but I'm not hungry), and leave to meet L.
6:30 p.m. — L. shows me all the renovations she and her husband have been doing to their new place. It's a cute, older house with a ton of character, and I'm so proud of her for everything she's put into it. She makes me tea, and I snuggle with her cat.
7 p.m. — We hop in my car to pick up soup ingredients. As we're leaving, my gas light turns on. Conveniently, there's a station at the end of the street, so I pull in. I get three cents off per litre with my credit card, so I fill the tank. $35
7:30 p.m. — We pick up carrots, lemons, garlic, butter, plastic containers, and a sourdough loaf. We also get a card to put in the bag. I'm in a weird mood and craving random things, so I pick up iced coffee, dairy-free eggnog, apple cider vinegar, and chips for a movie day with friends on Saturday. At the cash, I make the split-second decision to leave the iced coffee. It was an impulse pick, and I don't need it. L. and I split the cost of the soup ingredients. $20.23
9 p.m. — The carrot soup is cheap and easy. With the two of us working, we get everything chopped in no time. While it cooks, we have chocolate coconut milk ice cream with shaved chocolate (fancy!) and watch a Gourmet Makes video on YouTube. We're both obsessed with Claire Saffitz and Bon Appetit. (I love the Claire-and-Brad dynamic!)
10 p.m. — I take the soup home with plans to drop it off at my friend's place tomorrow. I climb into bed with W. and snuggle until we fall asleep.
Daily Total: $55.23

Day Six

7:30 a.m. — It's finally Friday! I've shaken my cough and am sleeping better, so getting up this morning isn't as hard. I have a few big meetings to prep for, so I go into the office early to get a head start.
12 p.m. — Someone made hot apple cider with pomegranates, and it smells delicious. I wander out of my office to grab a cup. I eat my usual quinoa Greek salad at my desk while responding to emails.
12:30 p.m. — I stop by the car dealership to pay my inspection fee. I bought a new-to-me car recently in another province and had to go through the registration here. $30.33
12:45 p.m. — After leaving the dealership, I drop off the soup. My friend is living with her parents while looking for an apartment, and I see her mom raking leaves in the yard. I hug her and give her the package. I never know what to say in these situations but hope I sound comforting.
1:15 p.m. — I leave my car off at home and walk to a meeting nearby. It's a co-worker's birthday, so we're having cake first. I can't wait!
5:15 p.m. — I'm so glad it's the weekend. I crash on the couch with a book. I just started Know My Name by Chanel Miller. It's sad, but she's an amazing writer. W. gets home, and we go for dinner at the same place I took my brothers last weekend. We both get burgers and split kimchi fries. I get a stout to go with mine. The burger is just as amazing the second time around, and W. loves it, too! We both eat way too much food and are stuffed. We split the bill. $31.47
7 p.m. — W. is going to play music with a friend, and I hang out and home with a glass of wine, a lit candle, and my book. I wash my sheets at the same time. I tend to jam-pack my weekends, but I need some solid down time right now.
12 a.m. — I slip into my freshly washed sheets. There's no better feeling.
Daily Total: $61.80

Day Seven

8:15 a.m. — My alarm goes off, because I have a massage at 9 a.m. I can't wait! I pick up my phone and see a voicemail from an unknown number. Oh no, the massage therapist is sick and cancels. What a bummer. I roll over and groan about it to W., who tells me he'll make me breakfast to make up for it. W. is an amazing cook and experiments more than I ever would. Today, it's two soft-poached eggs and cheese on crispy, spicy fried potatoes. It's so so good. I sign up for a Pilates class at the gym but get waitlisted. Darn, I guess I'll have to be lazy at home.
11:30 a.m. — I'm meeting L. to go to a Christmas craft market. I love this market, because it's never too busy, and I want to look for a Christmas present for my mom. I plan on using my babysitting cash to buy presents this year, so they don't come out of my salary.
11:45 a.m. — L. picks me up and wants to look for a Christmas party dress. We check out a consignment shop that always has great deals. We end up finding a red velvet dress that looks like something a figure skater would wear. I love it. It's a bit too small for L., so I try it on. It fits! I know I don't NEED anything right now, but the dress would be perfect for W.'s Christmas party next weekend. I cave. It's just too good. L. can't find what she's looking for but decides she might buy fabric and sew something. $20.30
12:30 p.m. — There are so many lovely things at the Christmas market. I settle on a felted fox ornament for a friend and a cute pop-up Halifax card for my friends who live in the Prairies. $45
1 p.m. — The owners of the consignment shop we visited this morning are paying cash for items this afternoon. I have to meet two other friends (I pack too many things into my day), so L. offers to take my clothes with her. I give her five items. I'll donate whatever they don't take to the Salvation Army.
1:30 p.m. — I pick up another friend. We're on our way a girlfriend's place to have snacks and watch corny Christmas movies. I'm so in the Christmas spirit already. We stop by Sobeys to grab hummus, spinach dip, and chips. $16.67
2 p.m. — L. texts to say that the owners took a sweater, jumpsuit, and dress. I made $20! It's not much, but basically cancels out the red dress I bought earlier. I'm pumped.
7 p.m. — We watch a ridiculous Christmas movie and snuggle on the couch. We also do a monthly brunch, so I'll see them next weekend. We rotate houses and each bring something. Today, we decide on the menu and agree to pick up cupcakes, champagne, and a birthday present for our other friend who will be there.
8 p.m. — I'm finally home. W. is at a friend's party, so I curl up on the couch with my book and another glass of wine. I love lazy weekends.
Daily Total: $81.97
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